Book Review – Wicked Embers by Keri Arthur

Wicked Embers (Souls of Fire, #2)Wicked Embers by Keri Arthur

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book 2 in the Souls of Fire series picks up right after our initial foray leaves off. The Crimson Death is being used by a tool, vampires and red cloaks (sindicati) alike are spreading fear and terror and slowly gaining ground. Emberly Pearson, our heroine and phoenix, is trying to recover lost research that will lead to a vaccination or hopefully a cure.

Wow. I mean I love Keri Arthur’s writing. Her previous series (The Dark Angels novels) hooked me and that’s why I dove into this new offering (that, and there’s a phoenix. Hello!). And Keri never disappoints. You have action, passion, dynamic action and intricate characters. Even our villains are rich and deep. You have to love a book that is so fulfilling!

This particular book deals with a mysterious killer, one whose form shifts and changes and yet can disappear like smoke. Not a shapeshifter. Not a vampire. And it getting more daring and more lethal…and Emberly’s dreams are not giving her much notice for stopping it.

All the characters from the first book are back – Emberly, Rory (her spiritual phoenix mate), Jackson (fire Fae), and her ex-lover Sam who is part of the undercover, unmentionable police force that works the non-humans. And then there are the vampires. And oh boy are there plenty of those!

This is a can’t-put-down-book and I finished it off in three big gulps. Can not wait for the next volume because this one leaves me hanging! Do give Keri Arthur a try — she’s top drawer in fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal and gothic fantasy.

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New and Future Happenings

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Hello out there! Long time no share. I do apologize but have been busy. Let me share some recent events.

First, I am pleased to announce that I was included in a wonderful anthology entitled Mirrored Voices: Best Contemporary Poetry, compiled by poet/author Paul Morabito. The anthology was ranked #1 on Amazon’s best new poetry anthologies. I’m pleased to be included with some of these quite extraordinary poets. If you are looking for a small compilation of current poets, you might consider this one. I do not get anything for this anthology (it all goes to the editor) but it is a good kindle present! Click here.

In case you missed it on Facebook, I’m delighted to announce that By Light Betrayed received a 5 Star Review from Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards AND I was named a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards. So, my vampires are happy.

Next, I’m delighted to announce that I have finished Midnight Assassin, the┬ánovella that was promised in the back of By Light Betrayed. Expect a release in 60 days or less! I’ll keep you posted.

While I work the publishing (and promotions and all that good stuff), I’m busy finishing some other works (a memoir, a fairy story, a vampire novel/series).

And of course, a part of me is thinking ahead to National Novel Writing Month because I am one of two Municipal Liaisons for the Charlotte region in North Carolina and it’s time to start planning for this month of hell. Seriously. Month of HELL. What to write? What novel can I get 75% finished in November? Oh the pain.

Finally, looking forward, I am going to appear on The Ron Shaw radio show on Oct 26 (more on that as we get closer) and then next year I am already planning on two author signings (on in NC and one in FL).

Whew!

Lots to keep up with and I promise you’ll be in the know going forward! Also, I’ll be publicizing some of my friends’ releases and I hope you’ll join me in helping them launch some terrific books.

If we haven’t connected on Facebook or Twitter, please lets do. I’m more often there than here for personal stuff but this is where the key events are happening.

Thank you for hanging in there. I’ll be back in a day or so to talk about more serious things.
Now, go back to your writing!

Yours Between the Lines,
Sherry

Book Review – Tobacco Barns of Western KY

Tobacco Barns of Western KentuckyTobacco Barns of Western Kentucky by Lynn Bartlett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An incredible book by a talented photographer over three years in the making, this volume is a colorful panoply of delights. The old barns of Kentucky’s tobacco past are disappearing as the land and “progress” reclaims them. Here, Bartlett has captured the look and feel of a people’s history, a land reclamation and a sense of retrospective. But there’s nothing sterile here. Instead you get a true sense of the land, the love the author feels for the subject and the sense of protectionism that she feels for her subject. The compassion arrayed in her layout if obvious and you come away with a real sadness for a lost history but sharing her love and joy for the land and the memories of a people’s once thriving industry.

The photography is sharp and vivid, the colors a mix of stormy and early morning, with a few interesting black and white mixed in. Comments are kept to a bare minimum but provide needed and necessary historical insight.

I was blown away at both the size (12×9) and the minimum price. If you are a lover of our country’s hidden past, and a Kentuckian, you must get this book. I wanted it because my father was from KY, and I know the author from when we were children. With this book, Bartlett has established herself as both a professional photographer of renown and an insightful author. I hope she will do another such book in other areas of our country because I see her as becoming a much sought after pictorial historian.

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Tribute to Ray Ferrer, RIP

Umbrella by Ray Ferrer

Umbrella by Ray Ferrer

A Ray of Hope

When the sun comes up,
it never asks where the shadows come from
or where they go.
Some believe they run to twilight,
sheltering from the glare.
I don’t believe that’s so.
The light in your eyes is as bright as day.
Illumination out of darkness
is sometimes an echo
of residual sunshine
leftover from twilight
running away.
~
by Sherry Rentschler, May 22, 2015
~

For Ray Ferrer who died May 20, 2015

Click here to purchase that print or any others by Ray Ferrer.

Book Review – Solomon’s Seive by V. Danann

Solomon's Sieve (Knights of Black Swan, Book #7)Solomon’s Sieve by Victoria Danann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, Book 7 in The Black Swan Sage, Solomon’s Sieve is a return to the glorious writing and style that made me like Victoria Danann so much. Events from the last book seem totally forgotten and we are back in the drama of our Black Knights and their troubles and foibles.

This seems to be the end of the saga though I was left hanging. The major plot of the story, the main plot of the reason for the Knights – eradiation or cure of vampire – sorta got lost in the unfolding romance of Book 7. The “trouble” the Knights are sent to deal with, a large recall of knights back to the Jefferson Unit (where the knights are housed and trained) went by the wayside as we have yet another romance between a knight and a young woman. It goes much as the others, love at first sight, lots of sex and a happy resolution.

The other plot of the story is much more intriguing, that of the new Sovereign and the newly almost married now grieving Farnsworth, the Operations/Secretary.

Despite the tale being one that is predictable in the outcomes, the way to the end is peppered with some delicious laugh-out-loud moments, and some very dynamic interactions. I credit Danann with her amazing dialogue and her ability to give her characters a sense of life that is rarely felt in most Indie authors, and does in fact impress as if you were reading a very established famous author. Danann is masterful at scene description and the fluid way her tales moves from person to location.

Additionally, Danann’s writing style continues to flow like a swift flowing river that is a ride not to be missed. It is very enjoyable and enviable. Her style is engaging and you can’t help but be immersed.

Though I continue to dislike Danann’s lack of book formatting and wish she gave as much attention to her print set up (because it would give the same “elegance and class” as her writing carries), the book was a book (not a novella) and I was once again happy in the length. But I do not like the binding, for it is weak and does not like readers, beginning to separate before I finished the novel.

All in all, this seems to be the last in the series of the print volumes. The plot was not actually resolved, as far as I can tell, so maybe there will be more. I hope so. I have enjoyed the ride.

Just remember the rule of the order, (I love this): “The plural of vampire is vampire.”

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Book Review – A Tale of Two Kingdoms (Danann)

A Tale of Two Kingdoms: 6 (Knights of Black Swan)A Tale of Two Kingdoms: 6 by Victoria Danann

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve been a huge fan of Danann’s Black Swan Series, gleefully extolling the virtues of every volume and posting reviews. Unfortunately, this book left me sad and irritated. I rate it 2.5 stars.

The good: Victoria Danann is an excellent writer. Her mastery and skill in creative writing is what kept me (and thousands of others) coming back for more. Each book has built upon the last with skill, despite baffling me here and there. But Danann has kept the threads tightly woven and I have really enjoyed that.

Then we get to this volume. I’m unhappy with it. First, in every book we are told in hard bold type, all caps, that reading the books in order is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Then in every single book Danann gives us a summary of every single book to date. That was annoying but I overlooked it (and skipped the summaries) because the books were that good.

But this volume not only includes the summaries of the last five books but it also has excerpts from the last five books, and the last book has an excerpt of 20 PAGES! Not acceptable! Of course, you clearly understand WHY when you realize that this is NOT A NOVEL This is a novella. The book begins on page 53!!! (Minus a few extra blank pages, inappropriately numbered). And so we get 180 pages to read for Book 6.

I hate to say this but it is a rip off for bibliophiles like me who hate ereaders. 180 pages?? That is but half of a normal book, folks. And it stings more because the story isn’t that great.

In all the previous volumes, Danann has put several stories together and blended them, seamlessly. This tale – of a Romeo and Juliet love story between an elf and a fairy (predictable? Yes) – is not only unoriginal but could have easily been added to a previous or future volume with the skill that I have seen Danann use. The last book was dynamic and this is just — dull. Well-written but ordinary. Even the story needed to be stretched by giving us an entire chapter of our male fairy planning his escape. The detail was needed to expand the 180 pages, obviously.

And so when a book disappoints and does so with unacceptable artiface, one notices the other things that are irritating but previously were overlooked. Like, the binding of the paperbacks is poor and does not hold up well with more than one read. The books are formatted for ebooks but in print, no effort has been made to make them look like a REAL book, ignoring acceptable formatting standards in front and back matter. And though I disliked this in ALL the print books, it was glaringly obvious in this volume with all the added excerpts which should not have been included.

All in all I am seriously disappointed in this book. The story is good enough because Danann can write. But the tale is unexceptional and would have been better served included in with another book.

I have always looked forward to the next book but I am hesitant about Book 7. If I didn’t already have it, I might not be eager to spend the money. I do have it though, so onward. My recommendation is get this in ebook and suffer through the extra “stuff.” And the formatting may not be an issue then either.

P.S. Note to author – with all the summaries and then the excerpts in this book, you definitely do NOT need to read the previous books to get the story.

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Book Review – Gathering Storm by V. Danann

Gathering Storm (Knights of Black Swan, Book 5)Gathering Storm by Victoria Danann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is book 5 in the Black Swan Saga and I need a word that is beyond fabulous or extra wowiezowie. This is, BY FAR, my FAVORITE of the series and is a most excellent book! Not only does it have all the elements that make authors drool – drama, adventure, high caliber action, sex, sorrow and love (oh man can you say, ‘wow?’) – but it also has a truly fine story not done before in the previous volumes. How about doppleganger and demon screw-ups? Are you interested now? What about cross dimension travel and assassination attempts.

Yup, this is one helluva book and one heckofa ride. I could not put it down and I raced my way through it, devouring every little morsel of exquisitely written, detailed, clearly imagined world and character. I love this book.

Basically we have our usual Black Swan Knights working with new trainees, old knights, and “true” vampires (the good guys!), a lost knight, a fake knight, a demon baby who grows to be a young woman in less than a month and one heck of a knock-down, acutely detailed invasion of the knight’s “fortress” all to seek out and kill our always leading lady, our heroine Elora Laiken.

This book should be a movie script. It plays like it in the mind while you are reading. Fabulous stuff. PLEASE join me in this series!

I’m heading off to begin book 6. I hope it is as wonderful as this one. I can’t emphasize enough how sated I feel, as a reader, and how delightfully envious I am as a writer. Good stuff people!
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