*REVIEW* ~ Girl of Glass, by Megan O’Russell

#youngadult #dystopian

Blurb

Two worlds…one glass wall…no turning back.

The human race has been divided. The chosen few live in the safety of the domes, watching through their glass walls as those left on the outside suffer and die. But desperation has brought invention, and new drugs have given the outsiders the strength to roam the poisoned night unafraid – but it comes at a price.

Seventeen-year-old Nola Kent has spent her life in the domes, being trained to protect her little piece of the world that has been chosen to survive. The mission of the domes is to preserve the human race, not to help the sick and starving. But when outsider Kieran Wynne begs for Nola’s help in saving an innocent life, she is drawn into a world of darkness and danger. The suffering on the other side of the glass is beyond anything Nola had imagined, and turning her back on the outside world to return to the safety of the domes may be more than she can stand. Even when her home is threatened by the very people Nola wants to help.

My Review

Addictive and hard-hitting – 5 stars

I absolutely LOVED this hard-hitting and addictive dystopian novel. It’s the first book I have read by the author and she is extremely talented in creating well-rounded characters and a riveting and thought-provoking read.

The central character Nola, the ‘Girl of Glass’ of the title, is flanked by two friends and would-be-lovers in an emotional love triangle: Kieran, who along with his father, has been banished from the domes for flouting its rules, and Jeremy a strict defender of the rules set by the dome dwellers and whose father is captain of the outer guard.

The writing flows beautifully and I felt the emotions of Nola, Kieran and Jeremy and empathised with their respective predicaments. The book also features some strongly developed secondary characters and excellent world building. The lives of those outside the domes , whose existence revolves around survival in a hostile environment, contrast with those of the dome dwellers, a privileged and ordered elite dedicated to science and duty. The impact of the drugs that many outside the dome are compelled to take to survive is pivotal to the plot and I enjoyed this element immensely.

Normally I shy away from books involving love triangles but here it worked for me, particularly so as Kieran and Jeremy, Nola’s friend and fellow dome dweller, shared a past history. I hugely enjoyed the tension filled plot as Nola is thrust into danger and is torn between two young men, whilst wrestling with her own moral compass in which she wants the best for all in the world and not just those fortunate to reside alongside her in the glass dome.

Should she chose the safety and order of the domes dedicated to protect the few or the danger and chaos of the world outside, where death can be just around the corner? It is only a matter of time before these two worlds collide and Nola will be caught in the crossfire and forced to choose.

A super read, one I’d recommend to teenagers and above.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair aand honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

https://www.meganorussell.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor/

 

 

 

Summer Review Round-Up 2016

Dear readers,

img_0166It may be Autumn, but we’re still clinging on to the end of Summer with our Summer reads from June, July and August recapped for you to check out. We hope you all had some great hols and had the chance to read a book or two!

One of the perfect summer reads for me was Alison Brodie’s THE DOUBLE, where the setting on a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur really grabbed me. A perfect read even if not on holiday as it certainly makes you feel like you are!

And, with many of our reads being dark, paranormal, sci-fi and HOT erotic, they’ll be perfect for warming up your evenings for the following months.

For more info on each book and our full reviews please click on the titles.

Happy Autumn, everyone!

Caroline & Tina 🙂 ❤

Shannon 1Angelis Vampire Series by Shane North, fantasy, paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

SHANNON (book 1) Blurb: Shannon’s life is happy except for her nightmares, but when she watches her mom and dad being murdered by the monsters in her dreams, her life falls apart. Her best friend turns out to be a werewolf, the man she thinks of as her other father is the alpha male, and her long lost uncle is a vampire lord from Angelis. Angelis is in another time dimension, a world ruled by Royals, a pureblooded line of vampires with powers never seen in this time dimension. Angelis is a medieval world of castles, and ancient magic that her mother and uncle were forced to leave to save their lives.

Shannon’s journey leads her to follow her destiny and meet the love of her life. Destiny and her uncle lead her to find out what she really is, where she came from, and to become the strongest immortal to live. Shannon learns to kill quickly, and to love like there’s no tomorrow when she meets her mate from her dreams. Simon, an eight-hundred year old Viking has searched the world for his true love when he meets Shannon. What will Shannon’s uncle, Simon’s maker, have to say about this? A young woman from South beach, destined to overthrow the vampire council and rule the immortal race with the help of the ancient Shaman Neeb.

Shannon 2SHANNON’S REVENGE (book 2) Blurb: My name is Shannon O’Callaghan and I’m immortal. I live in an amazing world of time travel and magic, where vampires and werewolves are normal and I call them family A family some would say are monsters, but they love me unconditionally and it’s the life I was meant to live. My father was Connor O’Callaghan, a visionary that led the wolves to peace and prosperity. My mother was Callidora Angelis, a Royal vampire from another time dimension. Their love and life together are what made my life possible, but, it is also what caused their death. And, it’s their death that fuels my journey of revenge on those who stole my life.

This immortal word is controlled by The Vampire Assembly. The Assembly is an evil group of twelve who decides the fate of its followers. They are devils dressed like mortal men who kill with pleasure and live off of blood slaves they keep in their dungeons. They are evil, they are responsible for my parents’ death, and I will see them dead. My day for revenge is finally coming and The Assembly is mine to kill. Then and only then will I rule this land as their queen.

ReaganREAGAN’S DESTINY (book 3) Blurb: Death has arrived in earth’s time dimension. A foul stench filled Shannon’s nose, a smell of sulfur and death. This might have been a vision, but her power spiked as she sensed the source and moved towards it. Her life force surrounded her as her swords appeared in her hands. She gripped them tightly and stepped through a massive oak door. Before her stood a giant of a man.

His essence was black as coal, and his soul had long been lost to his dark side. His ancient leather armor looked old and battled; it smelled musty from the dried blood and looked dry and brittle. This had to be Kyran. Evil always had a dirty, unkempt appearance, and his aura was encircled with death. She could sense his blood was similar to Damon’s, and she knew she would take great pleasure in killing him someday. But what happens when Kyran is taken to earth’s time dimension by Neeb’s evil brother, seeking to kill the remaining royal Angelian family and end their bloodline forever.

In this riveting spin off from Shane North’s Angelis Vampire Series, an unknown Angelian is faced with death, her new life and the destiny the fates have planned for her.

FigsFigs by Tabitha Rayne, erotic lesbian menage/romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Two girls, some fruit and an office perv—what could possibly go wrong?

When Mae finally confronts the office perv, Rory, by taking part in one of his suggestive pranks with a fig, she starts a journey that changes the way she thinks and feels about her current partner, Janey. Janey lost her sight just before they met and Mae realizes she has been keeping Janey like a prisoner in her own home—safe, protected and unseen. After the scene with Rory, Mae decides to take Janey out and show her off to the world—something she should have done a long time ago…

Little does she know what a hellraiser her girlfriend can be.

Digital_Cover_ILLUS_2Sex Hell: A Love Story by Joe Canzano, comic fantasy, humour, paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: When Debbie de La Fontaine tries to spice up her love life by supernaturally tampering with her sex life, she is cursed to spend every future encounter in a magical place called “Sex Hell,” where the sex is ludicrous and amazing–but the romance is scarce.

Her only chance for escape is through the stingy clues supplied by a laughing demon, and the only way to obtain the clues is by returning to Sex Hell again and again to have outrageous sexcapades with the man she most wants to avoid–or does she?

Sex Hell is an absurd comic fantasy about the confusion of relationships. How is love related to sex, and how is sex related to love–and do love and sex need to be related at all?

*This book contains profanity and adult situations

All that glistersAll That Glisters by C. J. Fallowfield, contemporary erotic romance, humour (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: The spin off to the best-selling humorous erotic romance standalone, The Temptress.

Hunter Donovan. He was everything I openly loathed, but everything I secretly desired.

Cocky, arrogant, and crude. When Hunter wanted something, he pursued, relentlessly, until he got it. And right now, I was his prey. The trouble was, I didn’t want to be added to his endless list of conquests.

Gorgeous, masculine, with a body made for sin. The most perfect specimen of male I’d ever set eyes on, and he knew it. The trouble was, I saw the pain he was trying to hide, and I wanted to heal him.

He wanted my body, but I wanted his heart.

Coco Barella. She was everything I openly desired, but everything I’d convinced myself I didn’t need.

Beautiful, sexy, and sassy, all of the qualities that I wanted in my bed. Compassionate, loving, and perfect, all of the qualities I didn’t need in my life.

I needed to pull her to me, but at the same time I wanted to push her away.

When the sexual magnetism between two people is so hot, that it can scorch everything around it to ash, who will emerge from the flames victorious?

A standalone erotic romance novel, which contains adult content and is only suitable for the over 18’s

Natasha BA Most Demanding Mistress (Fashionably Impure #2) by Natasha Blackthorne, historical, erotic regency romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Scorching Hot Historical Romance

Miss Miranda Jones is indisputably the most beautiful, elegant and sought after courtesan in all of London. She hides a past full of pain and rejection beneath an exterior of pride. She knows that noblemen put their own fickle interests first and cannot be trusted. Scorned by ducal father, she never needed or expected anything from a man, except his financial support. Luxurious living makes a soothing balm against the sting of the ultimate rejection.

Now she’s madly in love with a nobleman who cannot afford to keep her in such extravagant style. And she wonders if a courtesan can ever afford to indulge her own passions? Can she really gamble so capriciously on her own future and put the happiness of the moment above future security? Will her gentleman prove himself no better than any other nobleman that she has known?

Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, has seen the men of his family destroyed through their obsessive need to possess beautiful women. He’d always thought himself immune to such unworthy drives. Now he’s fallen under the spell of Miss Miranda Jones.

Miss Jones’ high standards and past reputation foretells that she’ll be a most demanding mistress. Despite his relative lack of funds, Adrian is determined to work hard to protect and provide for her. Passion led this skeptical gentleman to declare himself in love. Yet as they enter a protector and mistress relationship, Adrian finds himself consumed with possessiveness. And he can’t help but wonder if is it true love that motivates him? Or is it the need to own her stunning beauty? He must find the answer before their tempestuous romance breaks both of their hearts.

A Most Demanding Mistress is part of the Fashionably Impure Series and is best read after Miranda’s Dilemma.

Reader advisory: This story contains frank sexual language and general bedchamber naughtiness. Abuse issues are alluded to in the backstory.

The General’s Daughter & Stolen Melody (Snow and Ash, books 1 & 2) by Heather Knight, post-apocalyptic, dark erotic romance suspense (reviewed by Tina Williams)

HKTHE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER (book 1) Blurb: Eighteen year-old Ilsa’s father, General Balenchuk, is one of the few men with balls enough to build a tiny island of civilization after a global catastrophe sends humanity to near extinction. He runs Bluefield Mountain with an iron fist, and he’s even more controlling when it comes to his daughter. Ilsa’s been dead inside for years—that is, until the person who hates her most takes her hostage.

When twenty-two year-old Talon Heinesman kidnaps Ilsa Balenchuk, it’s not just because the leader of a rival territory ordered him to capture the general’s daughter. Four years ago, her selfishness set into motion a series of events that resulted in his mother’s and sister’s murders. He’s buried his rage for four years, and now it’s time to mete out the punishment she deserves.

Their story sets Ilsa and Talon on a steamy, turbulent path full of danger, incendiary passion, and a bond so deep it could kill.

This romantic suspense novel contains dark, mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

STOLEN MELODY (book 2) Blurb: The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a HK1volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole persona of Melody was a corporate fabrication, and Imogen would like to forget that part of her past.

Ex-felon Axel Diehl is scouting ahead for a well-organized gang when he spots his fantasy girl. There’s no mistaking the small scar on her hand, those full lips, or that kick-ass figure. It’s too good to be true, and when the gang takes control of Sadie’s Bend he publicly claims Melody for his own.

Can sweet Imogen become the sexy Melody of Axel’s dreams? Can Axel give his poster girl the love she craves? Or will the violence of this new, post-apocalyptic world tear them apart?

This dark romance novel contains mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

THE DOUBLEThe Double by Alison Brodie, romance, mystery, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: A night she can’t remember. A week she won’t forget.

*

Beth is mistaken for rock star Sonita La Cruz, and ends up on a billionaire-dollar yacht. As a shift-worker in Glasgow, Beth has only known hardship. Now she’s in a world of uniformed stewards, delicious French food and rows of gorgeous designer clothes. Beth keeps quiet about the mix-up, determined to wear every outfit in her wardrobe before she’s sent home. What’s wrong with a little play-acting? Beth takes to the role of rock diva like a duck takes to water.

Aleksandr, the captain, arrives and is astonished to see a beautiful raven-haired girl lying on deck issuing orders through a loud-hailer. After talking to Beth, Aleksandr realises what has happened. His smuggling buddies, knowing Aleksandr needs to speak to Sonita about a kid’s crisis, grabbed Beth by mistake. Aleksandr is desperate. To save those children, he needs money, but Sonita has disappeared.

Beth rises to the challenge. She looks like Sonita, so why not BE Sonita? Beth does a magazine interview for one million dollars, and ransoms herself for another million. Beth saves the kids … but can she save herself? Too late, Beth discovers why Sonita disappeared.

*

A love story set against the backdrop of a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur, a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and a Glasgow housing estate.

BadNovember Rain (Bad Bloods #1) by Shannon A. Thompson, sci-fi dystopian, paranormal, urban fantasy (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

Beneath BrokenBeneath Broken (Imperfect Heroes #2) by C.J. Pinard, contemporary, military romance, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: He’s a clean-cut cop who loves a good challenge.
She’s a smart executive with no interest in falling in love.
It won’t take long for the flames of desire to scorch them both, forcing them to either douse the blaze, or succumb to the fire.

MASON
I don’t give up easily. My personality and training taught me that failure is not an option, and getting the attention of the beautiful executive president Harper Mathis is going to be my biggest challenge yet. But first I’ve got to find out why she’s so withdrawn. A woman that stunning must have secrets and I’m going to find out what’s hiding behind those baby blue eyes of hers. She’ll quickly see how much I love a good game of chase.

HARPER
I’ve gone through hell and am not ashamed to admit that I’m broken. Damaged goods. Used up and empty. I want nothing to do with men or love, especially not a cop and a veteran – one who puts his life in danger every day. I’ve been there, done that, and my heart has no interest in someone like Detective Mason Oliver. Even if he’s the hottest thing I’ve laid eyes on in a very long time. I get the feeling Mason always gets what he wants, though. Well, he hasn’t seen my stubborn side.

Beneath Broken is book 2 in the IMPERFECT HEROES series and is for readers 18+.

The Scottish Diamond helena fairfaxThe Scottish Diamond (novella) by Helena Fairfax, contemporary romantic suspense, mystery, drama (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: A powerful, intense and dramatic Scottish romance novella – one that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page…

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair…” When Lizzie Smith starts rehearsing Macbeth with her theatre group in Edinburgh, she’s convinced the witches’ spells are the cause of a run of terrible luck. Lizzie’s boyfriend, Léon – a former bodyguard – is mysteriously turned down for every job he applies for, until he’s finally offered the job of guarding “The Scottish Diamond,” a fabulous jewel from the country of Montverrier.

But the diamond’s previous guard has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The people of Montverrier are known for double-dealing and skulduggery, and the Scottish Diamond has a history of intrigue and bloody murder. Lizzie is plagued by nightmares in which Macbeth’s witches are warning her of danger.

Then Lizzie discovers she’s being followed through the streets of Edinburgh, and it seems her worst fears are about to be realised!!!!

The Scottish Diamond is a standalone story. Lizzie and Léon first met in the romantic suspense novella Palace of Deception, which is set in the Mediterranean country of Montverrier.

All That We Are Holly J GillAll That We Are (Trust #1) by Holly J. Gill, contemporary erotic romantic suspense, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: Holly knows that sitting behind her computer isn’t going to bring one of her romance heroes to life. And despite her matchmaking friend’s attempts, she’s still lonely, looking for her Mr. Perfect. Fairytales happen, right?

As a bestselling author, Ashton Noir doesn’t need anyone or anything in his life other than his imagination. That is until he comes across Holly’s Promotional Services’ website. Further exposure for his books can’t hurt.

Communicating through the Internet and then phone calls, professional interests turn personal. Realising they lack trust and confidence in different ways, can they have a future as a couple? Or are their dreams forever going to be their safe haven?

CaughtCaught by Lolita London, historical, erotic romance, erotica (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: A Lonely Doctor

His treatment for female hysteria calms his patients, and heats Dr. Thomas Winterbourne’s blood like nothing else. Unwed, and desperately lonely, he’s rejected the idea of marriage due to his singular desires.

A Thief

Jenny Marks feels no pity for the wealthy doctor who has more comfort than she has ever found in her nineteen years. She takes a job as his maid, intending on taking anything of value from him and any other upper class people that she can.

Caught

When Dr. Winterbourne finds her pilfering his mother’s jewels, he decides upon punishing her in the most scandalous of manners, unknowingly tying their fate together.

Mean GirlsMean Girls by Lucy Felthouse, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Adele Blackthorne is a big girl. She knows it, and she’s been picked on all her life because of it. But she’s gotten to the stage where she doesn’t care. She may be Rubenesque, but she’s healthy, too. Much healthier than the mean girls at the leisure center that point and stare and say spiteful things about her. Adele rises above it all, and enjoys her secretive glances at the center’s hunky lifeguard, Oliver.

As the bullying of Adele becomes worse, Oliver finds it increasingly difficult not to intervene. He doesn’t want to get into trouble with work, but equally he can’t stand to see Adele treated in such a horrible way. Especially since he doesn’t agree that she’s fat and unattractive. He thinks she’s a seriously sexy woman, and would like to get to know her better.

BiancaHow to Capture a Duke (Matchmaking for Wallflowers #1) by Bianca Blythe, regency historical romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: One reclusive bluestocking…

Fiona Amberly is more intrigued by the Roman ruins near her manor house than she is by balls. When her dying Grandmother worries about Fiona’s future, Fiona stammers that she’s secretly engaged. Soon she finds herself promising that she will introduce her husband-to-be by Christmas.

One dutiful duke…

Percival Carmichael, new Duke of Alfriston, is in a hurry. He’s off to propose to London’s most eligible debutante. After nearly dying at Waterloo, he’s vowed to spend the rest of his life living up to the ton’s expectations.

One fallen tree…

When Fiona tries to warn a passing coach about a tree in the road, the driver mistakes her for a highwaywoman. Evidently he’s not used to seeing women attired in clothes only suitable for archaeology waving knives. After the driver flees, Fiona decides she may as well borrow the handsome passenger…

TVThe Virgin of the Wind Rose (A Christopher Columbus Mystery – Thriller) by Glen Craney, mystery, thriller (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane becomes obsessed with a magical word square found inside an underground church guarding the tomb of the biblical Adam.

Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she and a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas must race an elusive and taunting mastermind to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged:

The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.

Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer’s connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.

TIOHThe Image of Her by Lorna Peel, romantic suspense (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Rachel Harris had been abandoned as a baby on the steps of a church-run children’s home in England, then later adopted. Who was her birth mother and what were the circumstances which led her to give up her baby?

Searching for someone who doesn’t want to be found seems a hopeless task, until Rachel meets Matthew Williams, a Church of England clergyman.

Then anonymous and increasingly frightening incidents begin and threaten to end their relationship. Are these actions connected to the mysterious events surrounding Rachel’s abandonment?

**ARC REVIEW** ~ November Rain (Bad Bloods #1), Shannon A Thompson

Young Adult

#dystopian, #urbanfantasy #scifi #paranormal

Bad

Book Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Dark and Insightful Dystopian read

November Rain is the first instalment in the Bad Bloods series, available for pre-order, alongside November Snow the next book in the series. It is a real treat to read –fast-paced, character driven and eerily prescient. Originally conceived by author Shannon A Thompson over a decade ago, it has now been re-released by Clean Teen Publishing.

The story is set in a world where the divisions between those in power and those who are reviled by the status quo are chilling and stark. This future dystopia echoes current world events where we are witnessing many societies becoming more and more fearful and intolerant of those who are different and where there is talk of walls, both physical and metaphorical being put up to keep people apart. The story is told through the eyes of young adults and children and I feel that the issues raised are all the more poignant for it.

Serena the heroine, a bad blood, condemned to death by the authorities, escapes her fate after being unexpectedly freed by a prison guard. Exhausted and injured she is on the run and is saved and healed by Daniel, a fellow bad blood who is leader of a rival ‘flock’ (a group of bad bloods who join together for survival). As the plot unfolds we learn that Serena and Daniel are linked in some way and that Serena has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that the result of the impending election is favourable to her kind, giving them a place in human society, rather than them being exterminated.

There is no love lost between Robert, the leader of Serena’s flock and Daniel. The two have a history, although neither the reader nor Serena is privy to the details. Both Serena and Daniel know that pursuing their friendship will undoubtedly lead to a confrontation, but nevertheless they are drawn to one another. Daniel and others know that Serena and her powers are special in some way. What is her role in safeguarding the future of the bad bloods at this crucial time of an impending election which pits those who would protect her kind against those who hanker after their destruction? Is she up to the challenge? Who will survive the approaching storm? Not all of these questions will be answered. Indeed, there is plenty of suspense and the scene is set for more revelations and plot twists in book #2 which I am impatient to read!

I am familiar with the work of Shannon A Thompson and she is an immensely talented writer. She does a fantastic job of painting the picture of the dystopian society which her characters inhabit. It is a world where the bad bloods, those who possess unpredictable and special abilities, are feared and persecuted. It is chilling in parts, often hinting at horrors, rather than describing them in detail. It is a reminder of how societies can sometimes turn against others, perceiving them as a threat purely on the basis of them being different. I was reminded of events from history such as the witch trails and the Holocaust, not to mention contemporary events surrounding the modern day diaspora of those from war torn countries which has resulted in the pressure of immigration on other nations, which  some are fearful of.

A top read for readers of Young Adult fiction and/or for those who are seeking a thought provoking read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6880615.Shannon_A_Thompson

https://shannonathompson.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShannonAThompson/

Review Round-up Feb ’16

Hi readers, we hope you all found something exciting to do with your extra day in February. We have been looking forward to the beginning of Spring, even though I did actually wake up to a coating of snow this morning!

We have just celebrated Mother’s Day here in the UK, and whilst I didn’t receive a book myself, I did have some chocolates to share (or not to share!) whilst enjoying Alan Jones‘ thriller BLOQ, to be released on April 1st. I do hope you all had a good day. Feel free to share your weekend reads with us in the comments below 🙂

Although a leap year, Feb is always still short and therefore we have a smaller review list. That said we still have a range of genres for you to choose from, whether it be a Young Adult post-apocalyptic, sci-fi fantasy action/adventure horror in Mark King‘s Daniel Jones series, historical romance in Sinful Possession by Samantha Holt, or a futuristic sci-fi paranormal in Em Taylor‘s Discovered. There is also a contemporary, military romance with C.J. Pinard‘s new series prequel, Antihero novella and a hot erotic read in Love Yoga by Serge de Moliere, plus more.

As always, please click on the title and author to read our full review post!

Thanks for following. Your views, likes and comments are always appreciated. Have a great month!

Caroline & Tina ❤

The Iron WebDiscovery (The Iron Web #1) by Kristin Ravelle, NA dystopian (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Penrith, Wales. Bryn is turning 22 and must register for One Earth Dynamic ID.

Buried in the mysterious N800 texts is a horrifying secret, an ancient evil that Bryn feels compelled to unearth. A secret that may underpin One Earth, the global agency that monitors and tracks everyone.

Curran, gorgeous, tortured OED fugitive, finds sanctuary with Penrith’s underground, Luxent, and discovers Bryn and her strange ability to throw condensed light. And unexpected love in a world suddenly seeming to go mad.

Can Bryn’s primeval earth magic help Luxent overcome other-worldly forces and the OED or will her growing feelings for Curran and learning the horrifying reality of the OED only lead down the road that goes straight into its ancient and evil web? 

***

Discovery is book I in the Iron Web series. Immortelle, Book II, finds Bryn and Curran on the run from One Earth to the mythological Dinas Affaraon. If they find Dinas in the Snowdonia mountains, they may learn new ways of fighting the OED.

AntiheroAntihero (Imperfect Heroes prequel) by C.J. Pinard, contemporary military romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Can a street punk on the wrong path be transformed into a Special Forces killing machine? Once he’s been “rehabilitated”, Ellis Anderson is determined to show the woman he loves that he’s nothing like both the lives he’s left behind. But actions speak louder than words – and he has a lot of work ahead of him.

sinful possessionSinful Possession (Cynfell Brothers #5) by Samantha Holt, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. The Cynfell brothers are the very embodiment of a sinful existence. But could the right woman change that?

Sloth

Miss Lila Radley was set to be the belle of the ball this summer. With her charming manners, beautiful looks and excellent connections, everyone anticipated her receiving endless proposals.

However, no one expected her to be kidnapped.

After she witnesses a murder, Lila finds herself in the hands of two overwhelmingly attractive brothers—entirely against her will. However, while the twin Cynfell brothers might be as devastating in looks as each other, only one intrigues her—the brooding Lord Ash Cynfell.

Unfortunately, he is the very reason she is in danger.

Already battling with his own demons, Ash finds himself with an additional burden to bear—Miss Lila Radley’s safety. He cannot very well abandon her as it was due to his inaction that a man ended up dead and a serial killer is now targeting her. Unfortunately, keeping the vivacious Lila protected until the murderer is found is going to test him in every way possible.

Can he resist her charm and beauty, aware a worthless man like himself is no good for a woman like her? All he knows is that when Lila turns her sunny smile onto his twin brother, his finds himself unable to summon his usual relaxed attitude. Has Ash Cynfell, the most reclusive brother, finally found something worth fighting for?

LachlanDiscovered (The Forsaken Blood series #1) by Em Taylor, futuristic, sci-fi paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Edinburgh is a city that’s slow to change. Which is why in 2061, Professor Lachlan Mackenzie still lives there. He hasn’t changed in the 1000 years since he and his shipmates abandoned ship, forsaken by the Vampyras millions of light years away and left to fend for themselves, feeding off the blood of humans.

Lachlan is drawn to sexy psychologist Kate the moment he steps into her office. He wants to protect her and help her overcome her PTSD. Ignoring the warning signs of his growing attraction he agrees to be her cabin mate on the journey to the new colony on Mars. But when Kate discovers him feeding on bagged blood, all hell breaks loose. Has he been set up by the Vampyr council leader? Will Kate ever forgive his lies? And how does he explain what he is to his long lost daughter who he meets on their journey?

As Kate starts to trust, outside forces threaten to rip them apart. Will Lachlan lose the only woman he’s ever truly bonded with?

HuntHunt for the Enemy (The Enemy series #3) by Rob Sinclair, international suspense thriller (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: The breathtaking and action-packed finale to the bestselling Enemy series. The Hunt is on. They’ve erased his past. Wiped out his very existence. But Carl Logan isn’t finished yet. On the run in a harsh Russian winter, Logan – once an invaluable asset but now branded a traitor – has been framed for murder. His own firm, the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency, have labelled him a rogue operative after two decades of loyal service. The agency is hunting him down… and they’re not the only ones. But there’s much more at stake than just Logan’s life. One by one, agents and informants from all sides, all allegiances, are dying. And Carl Logan is the only man who can put a stop to it, once and for all.

Love YogaLove Yoga by Serge de Moliere, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Morgan Love is one of the few African American yoga instructors in town. After her studies in India with the legendary Swami Monda, students flock to her classes. But without her own studio, money remains tight, and her personal life is a wreck after the last man in her life cheated on her.

When an attractive man enters her yoga studio, Morgan is instantly drawn to him. When she discovers the attraction is mutual, things quickly escalate, taking a dramatic and passionate turn. Eli is like no other man she’s ever met, and that includes his incredible sexual prowess.

But when Morgan’s past comes back to haunt her, she finds herself forced to turn to Eli. Are her hopes and dreams safe with this seemingly too-perfect man? Or will Morgan end up once again as a man’s sex toy?

Frenzy & Doom (A Daniel Jones Story #1 & 2) by Mark King, YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic action/adventure, fantasy horror (reviewed by Caroline)

Frenzy 3 v2Frenzy (book 1) blurb: Daniel leads a peaceful life with his family until he finds out a repulsive secret about the Over-seers, the ‘saviours of humanity’, and his security is blown to smithereens. He enters a world where death is the only certainty and quickly learns to kill – or be killed.

Enter Gwendolyn, with the charm of a snake and a bite that’s twice as dangerous. People skills aren’t her thing but she knows how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world; she’s a hotshot with a bow and arrow and can rustle up a mean rat soup.

Mary is the only person left alive over forty. She’s not too good at fighting but she knows where to find the one thing that could save their lives. Only Mary can remember life before the invasion, before humanity was brainwashed into following the procedures.

Pursued by the Over-seers, the Triclops and the barbaric hunters, can the three brave rebels triumph in their quest for survival? The odds are stacked against them – hold tight for a white-knuckle ride through a landscape of devastation!

Daniel Jones Doom Cover LargeDoom (book 2) blurb: Daniel’s peaceful life has been destroyed after discovering the hideous truth about the Over-seers – the new masters of humanity. Hiding in centuries-old flint mines from Hunters and from the terrifying Triclops machines, Daniel’s recurring nightmares lead him, once more, into danger. With mankind brainwashed under the false hope of a glorious new life in the Achievement Centre, he must return home through a devastated landscape to save his father
from certain death.

Daniel reunites with two fellow fugitives – Mary and her young companion Gwendolyn – to undertake a rescue mission so dangerous that death is the only guarantee. Is it too late for Daniel’s family or is it too late for humanity itself? Daniel Jones DOOM, the exciting new sequel to FRENZY a Daniel Jones Story, is another fast-paced, engrossing chronicle of three rebels who once again risk their lives in a vividly depicted world peopled by memorable new and known characters.

**DOUBLE REVIEW** FRENZY & DOOM (A Daniel Jones Story 1 & 2) by Mark King

I am so glad I had Mark King‘s Daniel Jones Story brought to my attention. There is action and adventure every step of the way in this extremely well-written post-apocalyptic fantasy series! Written for YA, it’s an exciting and thrilling series for anybody age 14+. I was totally gripped – a MUST-READ series!!

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook with an almighty force.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook with such terrifying power that once again the soul of humanity would cry out in fear tonight.

SILENCE.

Frenzy 3 v2Title: FRENZY (A Daniel Jones Story #1)

Author: Mark King

Genre: Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action/adventure

Date released: March 1st, 2013

Published by: Book Guild Publishing

Length: 226 pages

Blurb: Daniel leads a peaceful life with his family until he finds out a repulsive secret about the Over-seers, the ‘saviours of humanity’, and his security is blown to smithereens. He enters a world where death is the only certainty and quickly learns to kill – or be killed.

Enter Gwendolyn, with the charm of a snake and a bite that’s twice as dangerous. People skills aren’t her thing but she knows how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world; she’s a hotshot with a bow and arrow and can rustle up a mean rat soup.

Mary is the only person left alive over forty. She’s not too good at fighting but she knows where to find the one thing that could save their lives. Only Mary can remember life before the invasion, before humanity was brainwashed into following the procedures.

Pursued by the Over-seers, the Triclops and the barbaric hunters, can the three brave rebels triumph in their quest for survival? The odds are stacked against them – hold tight for a white-knuckle ride through a landscape of devastation!

REVIEW ***** (5* RATING)

I was blown away by Frenzy! Admittedly, it has been a while since I have read a post-apocalyptic adventure series, but author Mark King drew me in with his great story-telling skills, fantasy and some brilliant characters. I was so hooked I went straight on to read the sequel, Doom!

In a world, not as we know it, but only as Daniel and future generations know, we realise that mankind is isolated in small villages, left only alive to ‘farm’ themselves ready for what they believe will be a time for rest and rewards in the ‘Achievement Centre’, which they are due to attend after their fortieth birthday. This is a world, unlike anything we know now, where humans go back to basics, with no reminders of the past, and a world run by other beings: the Over-Seers!

The story gives the reader a true sense of what it is like to be Daniel, describing his home life, daily routines and reactions perfectly. There is no holding back from description when it comes to Mark King‘s terrific writing. The reader is truly drawn in, feeling every moment as Daniel does.

Daniel is a great, young character, living in a hut with his family, and being able to live off the land, felling trees with his father, in order to trade for food. They are living a relatively comfortable life given the circumstances, aside from the usual lack of sanitary conditions and few clothes, etc. After all, this is all Daniel has ever known.

However, after celebrations of a friend departing to the Achievement Centre, Daniel and his young friends decide to wander whilst playing a game. During this turn of events, Daniel discovers something so incredibly horrifying about the Over-Seers and the future of his human friends! Even more terrifyingly, he is found out, and now has no choice but to run for his life throughout the desolate lands, for he simply cannot return to his village and safe haven of his family.

Not only does he fear the Over-Seers, and the prospect that they could attack his family if they are aware of just who he is, he has to outrun human hunters and the terrifying, ground-trembling Triclops! His insubordinate and mischievous actions have landed him in a horror he has never known. His only slight relief comes when he meets survivors Gwendolyn and Mary, who work with him in an attempt to save humanity!

Initially, Frenzy was a story I would have recommended to 11+ readers, however after learning the secret as Daniel did, and the sheer shock, horror and gore I quickly changed my mind. Frenzy, however is an exceptional read, easy to follow, yet at a nice, quick pace for the adventure it holds. You will be hooked! I would advise it for readers certainly 14yrs+.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Daniel Jones Doom Cover LargeTitle: DOOM (A Daniel Jones Story #2)

Author: Mark King

Genre: Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action/adventure

Date released: December 12th, 2014

Published by: Book Guild Publishing

Length: 238 pages

Blurb: Daniel’s peaceful life has been destroyed after discovering the hideous truth about the Over-seers – the new masters of humanity. Hiding in centuries-old flint mines from Hunters and from the terrifying Triclops machines, Daniel’s recurring nightmares lead him, once more, into danger. With mankind brainwashed under the false hope of a glorious new life in the Achievement Centre, he must return home through a devastated landscape to save his father
from certain death.

Daniel reunites with two fellow fugitives – Mary and her young companion Gwendolyn – to undertake a rescue mission so dangerous that death is the only guarantee. Is it too late for Daniel’s family or is it too late for humanity itself? Daniel Jones DOOM, the exciting new sequel to FRENZY a Daniel Jones Story, is another fast-paced, engrossing chronicle of three rebels who once again risk their lives in a vividly depicted world peopled by memorable new and known characters.

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

DOOM is another incredibly written, fast-paced post-apocalyptic adventure from author Mark King. The sequel to Frenzy, it continues where we left off with young Daniel Jones surviving with Resistance veteran, Mary, and her young companion, Gwendolyn.

Daniel has begun to have terrible dreams after witnessing the horrific methods of the Over-Seers. He is also aware that it is coming up to his father’s fortieth season, where he knows his dad will be preparing for a life of rest and rewards from the Over-Seers in the Achievement Centre. After a life of being brainwashed by these beings his father, and the rest of humanity, simply have no idea of the horrors that await them. It’s simply too much for Daniel to bear; he must return to his home village to warn his family. Only that would be difficult with the Over-Seers sending Hunters and Triclops to hunt him and his companions down! This boy loves a challenge, and with his friends support they are a team to be reckoned with.

Meanwhile, we learn that the consequences of Frenzy (Daniel Jones book 1) has left John, Daniel’s father, in a tired, weary and fragile state. Not only has he lost his son to the desolate lands, without knowing why, he now also works alone, chopping down trees, with no horse to pull his cart. He is emotionally and physically drained with only the hope of the Achievement Centre to relieve him of his exhausting life.

“… but with losing his axe, his horse, and his son in the space of two days John was not going to take any risks with his chance of entering the Achievement Centre, and in receiving a lifetime of the rewards that were promised.”

I am absolutely hooked with this series, longing to read the next instalment. It is a perfect read for young adults and over, with the right dosage of action, horror and gore mixed with great dialogue, brilliant characters and an addictive storyline.

Will Daniel reach his village to warn his father? Or will be captured by the Hunters, along with his companions? Is it too late for his father to be saved? What will become of Daniel, and all of those he cares about? This truly is a MUST-READ that I would recommend to place at the top of your reading list!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

FRENZY and DOOM, books 1 & 2 of the Daniel Jones Story were provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

You can purchase both following the links below:-

FRENZY

Hardcover Amazon UK

Kindle edition Amazon UK

Hardcover Amazon US

Kindle edition Amazon US

DOOM

Hardcover Amazon UK

Paperback Amazon UK

Kindle edition Amazon UK

Hardcover Amazon US

Paperback Amazon US

Kindle edition Amazon US

 

**REVIEW** ~ Discovery (the Iron Web, #1), by Kristin Ravelle

New Adult Dystopian

The Iron Web

Book Blurb: Discovery (the Iron Web, #1)

Penrith, Wales. Bryn is turning 22 and must register for One Earth Dynamic ID.

Buried in the mysterious N800 texts is a horrifying secret, an ancient evil that Bryn feels compelled to unearth. A secret that may underpin One Earth, the global agency that monitors and tracks everyone.

Curran, gorgeous, tortured OED fugitive, finds sanctuary with Penrith’s underground, Luxent, and discovers Bryn and her strange ability to throw condensed light. And unexpected love in a world suddenly seeming to go mad.

Can Bryn’s primeval earth magic help Luxent overcome other-worldly forces and the OED or will her growing feelings for Curran and learning the horrifying reality of the OED only lead down the road that goes straight into its ancient and evil web? 

***

Discovery is book I in the Iron Web series. Immortelle, Book II, finds Bryn and Curran on the run from One Earth to the mythological Dinas Affaraon. If they find Dinas in the Snowdonia mountains, they may learn new ways of fighting the OED.

Original and compelling dystopian read

Four stars ****

In Discovery -The Iron Web, the heroine Bryn becomes involved with an underground organisation which is battling to resist and expose the mysterious and secretive One Earth Dynamic which governs society. I found it to be a compelling read, full of danger, mystery and suspense, which references otherworldly influences and  earth magic. I also enjoyed the romance between the Bryn and Curran, a young man who is on the run.

Bryn is working hard to uncover secrets contained in a some ancient texts which have been deposited in the library where she works. She is convinced that they  hide a deadly and ancient evil. Due to her interest in the documents, she attracts the attention of Luxent, a body committed to exposing the horrific truth about the One Earth Dynamic.

Luxent also want to learn about Bryn’s  ability to  produce condensed light, an ability which  Luxent wishes to harness for its own use in its battle against some of the darker manifestations of the OED. The author does an excellent job of revealing the terrible lengths the organisation will go to in order to maintain control and protect its secrets. I was on the edge of my seat as danger mounts and Bryn is put under pressure to put herself under the control of the OED by registering her ID.

I also enjoyed the growing friendship and romance between Bryn and the mysterious fugitive  Curran. We are also introduced to a number of other characters, including Bryn’s best friend Lys and members of Luxent. Whilst this read very much focuses on Bryn’s journey, my interest was very much piqued by Curran and I am looking forward to finding out more about their relationship in future instalments as Luxent’s resistance against the OED develops.

The book is set in Penrith in Wales and I enjoyed how the author created the alternative dystopian world in which her characters inhabit. It was believable and chilling in how it incorporated modern day and future technologies and I loved how it wove ancient earth magic into the plot. The read ends on a cliff hanger which serves to set up the forthcoming book in the series, Immortelle really well. I am now very curious to know more and am looking forward to how the story develops.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Details

Amazon US   Amazon UK

Author Contact Details

http://kristinravelle.blogspot.ca/ (Kristin’s Blog)

@KristinRavelle on Twitter

https://twitter.com/KristinRavelle

https://www.pinterest.com/kristinravelle/ (Kristin on Pinterest)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17382244-the-everlasting-spell

 

 

 

*AUTHOR POST* ~ Nicholas Boyd Crutchley on the inspiration behind Dream Alchemy (Life and Shadow series) ~ includes excerpt

 Dystopian Fantasy/Sci-Fi

We are delighted to welcome author Nicholas Boyd Crutchley  to our blog. Nicholas is the author of Dream Alchemy, an exciting dystopian fantasy/sci-fi adventure which is part of the Life and Shadow series, a labyrinth of interconnected stories through deep time. The novel explores the impact of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems and compassion in society.

I will be reviewing Dream Alchemy in the coming weeks and in the meantime Nicholas has kindly submited a post where he reveals what has influenced him on his writing journey. He has also very kindly shared an excerpt. Tina 🙂

Dream Alchemy

Book Blurb

A warrior battles hydra.

The Blood Plague liquefies eyes.

A rapper rails against Earth’s ecological ruin.

From the pitch Abyss, Chaos corrupts our dreams. 

On stealing the dreams of an old warrior and priestess, Chaos discovers them to be essential ingredients for his dream alchemy. With their souls the dark god can control Sol, Dragonland’s angelic ruler, and release his wanton daughter, Babalon, from Hell. If the devil queen returns and swallows the angel’s soul, the veil separating reality from the pitch Abyss will tear, and Chaos will pour forth and warp reality. Can Sol defeat Chaos? Or will Babalon’s poison kiss seduce him?

Through the psiqnet, a network of human minds and quantum artificial intelligences (QAIs), consumers shop Earth towards ecological ruin. The preachers of Gaia, ecoterrorists woven within the system, seek to bring economic and ecological harmony through Gaia QAI. Yet as Gaia begins to infect other QAIs with compassion, the Blood Plague rises, intent on exterminating humankind.

What force connects Dragonland and Earth?

The Life & Shadow Series explores how genetic engineering, synthetic biology and nanotechnology will impact humankind and Earth’s ecology. More specifically, themes include the outcome of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems, and compassion in society.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   e-book  Amazon UK  paperback

Amazon US e-book  Amazon US paperback

Author Post

Seeds of Dystopia

At eighteen my first breakdown began, which continued throughout my degree and beyond. After graduation, I painted factory roofs, peddled Betterware, and sold computers, easels, music tapes, videos, and other junk bought cheaply.

At age twenty-four, a second breakdown conjured voices. Reeling from the chatter, I fled for five years, until I became a high school teacher. The voices pursued me to a teaching post in the Middle East, after which I returned to the UK. There, while hiking in the Scottish Highlands, a Canadian lass wearing sturdy hiking boots met me and said, “Hey, fancy living in the Rockies?”

Twice yearly, thousands of golden eagles migrate from Alaska to Mexico via the valley I lived in. While watching them from atop a frost-weathered ridge, my heart married the girl with sturdy hiking boots, and soon so had my legal status. Together we lived, tenting below -20°C, while conjuring in campfires wondrous imaginings. As she cooked up new recipes for wild camping, I imagined stories to write while waiting for a work permit.

At age thirty-six, a third breakdown conjured another me, who provoked a divorce. After signing my love away, I found myself back in the UK and no longer able to teach. While retraining through an MSc in Ecology and Conservation, I explored environmental contamination and habitat destruction, and wondered whether humankind’s avarice would continue to overharvest natural resources, and how synthetic biology might replace and enhance such resources. Could biologists and ecologists tailor organisms and ecosystems to create self-renewing resources for humankind’s industrial machine? Could humankind interface the biological world with the industrial complex, as researchers now splice flesh with machines? And what about nanotechnology, social networks and cybernetics? Would consumers and corporations connect via neural interfaces woven into brains by injected nanomachines? Facebook on LSD?

For some, the above may appear closer to utopia than dystopia, especially with probable advances in fusion power, industrial ecology, aggregate manufacture and artificial intelligence. Imagine a guilt-free throw-away society that efficiently recycles manufactured goods. A person, mentally linked to Prime, Amazon’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence (QAI) computer, finds no product that quite meets their specific need. With help from Prime, she designs a new product, and has it 3D-printed using locally sourced recycled materials and inputs harvested from renewable synthetic organisms. Fusion powers the process so no greenhouse gases are emitted or further planetary warming occurs.

Perhaps because of my PhD in mental illness (Paranoia, hallucinations and Delusions), and MSc in Ecology & Conservation, I saw the shadow side of the above. Dream Alchemy begins the telling of this shadow.

Excerpt from Dream Alchemy

Prophecy 

Noah leans back against rock, sweat beading down his naked body. Ruby light, cast by gemstone scales adorning a colossal statue, bloodies his skeletal features. Beneath the effigy’s gaze, in the pit at the centre of the mine, fornicate slaves. Their rapture climbs rough-hewn walls, claws towards him, whispering for him to join them. The choice, to either crack rock for emeralds or debase oneself in the pit, all slaves endure.

Temptation draws the slave’s stare to the pit, and the statue of Queen Babalon, Whore of Hell, watching over it. The devil queen’s indigo hair caresses her scarlet flesh and voluptuous breasts, and trails along her ruby-encrusted serpent’s tail. The demon’s emerald eyes desire his descent into the pit, where lust consumes.

Around the pit, with scourges in hand, watch two slavelords. The bull-headed giants stand on cloven hooves, snorting approval at the debauchery below. One casts down a length of knotted rope, bellowing, “Use this.” Noah flinches on seeing the rope, as the slavelord booms, “I bet she survive; one urn snakebite grog.” The other brute responds by pawing the ground, crying, “Done.” Together, they each lift an urn and drink alcoholic aphrodisiac. Noah can almost taste the blend of naga venom and alcohol. The memory cascades into scarlet-lit images of a girl, bound by his hand. The slave’s head sinks as he recalls her screams.

The snores of a nearby slavelord, punctuated by hammer blows that punish rock, lifts the suffering slave from shame. Looking up, he sees the sleeping beast, drunk on snakebite grog, and beyond, Nombuso, whose muscles flex across his gangly frame. Noah studies the ebony adolescent’s thick lips, broad nose, and the rag swathing his missing eye, and wonders how he continues to resist the pit. Does Nombuso also believe slaves are brothers and sisters, who should care with gentle touch, not caress with a lascivious one? From the boy’s gritted teeth and wild eye, and the emotion behind each hammer blow, Noah understands anger, welling rage, not belief in compassion, fortifies Nombuso against the devil queen’s desire.

Athuen, Queen of radiant form …’

Noah’s eyes snap to the dark recess from where the whisper emanates.

‘Joined Alta, sunbeam on the storm …’

Standing, he leaves his hammer and approaches the shadowed alcove. The pit, Nombuso and the slumbering slavelord forgotten, he reaches the recess.

‘Together stars filled her womb …’

Where a pale rock face meets a charcoal-grey face, a vein of black rock meanders. There, Noah senses the source of the voice.

This world’s beginning, love’s bloom …’

The slave claws at the black vein, scraping free flake after flake. Blood stains torn fingers as from within the created cavity emerges rainbow fire. The volcano of colour overflows, then erupts—a plume of myriad hues. The hammers of slaves fall silent, leaving only bovine snorts to echo through ruby shadows. Before frightened stares Noah pries more foliated rock away, uncovering a multifaceted diamond, the source of the heatless flame. The gemstone’s triangular facets paint his face vivid crimson through deepest violet, and hypnotise. Forgetting all else, he frees the jewel and presents it to those gathering around him. The diamond’s psychedelic mushroom cloud coalesces into a gold sun cupped by a crescent moon. A mellifluent voice resonates:

Athuen, Queen of radiant form

Joined Alta, sunbeam on the storm

Together stars filled her womb

This world’s beginning, love’s bloom

So we blessed with joyous prayer

Nights with dreams, truth laid bare

The other miners see the vision, hear the voice, and do not see the waking slavelord. Eyes full of hope, hearts courage, they watch as sun and moon morph into their ruler, Queen Babalon. 

Then woke Chaos, pitch Abyss

Who conjured evil, poison kiss

Serpent enchantress of dark desire

Whose forked tongue, made all a liar

Whore of Hell he named Babalon

Devil queen, corruption’s paragon 

 

Babalon enslaved, people cursed

Corrupting all, in lust immersed

With emerald eyes and scales of scarlet

She seduced souls, gorged the harlot

This wanton whore so devilish

We lost hope, made no wish 

The slavelord stands, whip in hand. Neither Noah nor the other miners notice him as a winged warrior, armed with sword and shield, morphs from Queen Babalon. Noah weeps at the majesty of the shimmering angel, awed by eyes radiating sunlight and outstretched wings that shine moonlight. Shaking with emotion, he believes words that prophesy:

Now Sun and Moon, Gods of Light

Give their son, angel of might

And through Sol smite devil queen

Forge kingdom true, peaceful dream

Where wise children forever grow

Beyond the stars, forever go 

 

Seek your saviour, where hydra roam

Through toxic mists, choke and groan

Find Paradise Portal sparkling gold

In circle’s centre, seven stones old

Within soars freedom’s peace

From Beyond, angel Sol release 

 

“I said what that?” A crack of the slavelord’s whip flays Noah’s forearm, and sends the Prophecy Stone sailing. Holy vision and divine voice fade.

“Magic?” the beast snorts, bloodshot eyes wide. “Slave no magic. You die.”

Noah does not cower as the monster draws back his whip: emboldened by the Prophecy, he stands proud.

A dread sound silences the cavern.

The slavelord topples forwards, his skull caved in. Shocked, Noah looks up from the twitching beast to the boy with one good eye. “Nombuso?” he whispers.

“I heard the words,” Nombuso says. “I saw the moon and sun, and their angel child.”

The slaves glance at one another, overwhelmed by the power of the Prophecy. Then, they turn to the ebony boy wielding a sledge hammer, who eyes approaching slavelords.

About the Author

Nicholas studies ecology, plays chess, exercises and hikes. He writes science fantasy novels and short stories from a variety of genres. He spends his spare time identifying plants and trying to understand humankind’s impact on ecosystems. He lives with himself, barely.

Connect with Nicholas

http://www.nbcauthor.com

http://www.goodreads.com/nbcauthor