Gathering of the Four – Book Review

Gathering of the Four by A.E. Bennet is book one of the Serrulata Saga, not counting the prequel Yours and Mine that covers how a couple of characters met. Gathering of the Four follows Leora of Mae, Roland Shallowbrook, Aurora Verte, and Leopold as they struggle to deal with being outcasts in The Realm and try to survive long enough to bring justice to a cruel and powerful sovereign. While the four come from very different living situations, they must work together and cope with the secrets that tie some closer than one would expect. The book is filled with exciting turns, making it difficult to put it down.

The first thing I want to address about Gathering of the Four is that it does contain scenes of abuse and sexual situations. So if you are uncomfortable with either of these, this is probably not the sort of book for you. The scenes of abuse and implied abuse explain the situations characters are in or have lived through. As for the sexual problems, they are delightfully steamy but not exceptionally detailed. However, the apparent affection between the feelings involved makes reading them enjoyable. These situations are few and far between, but they are common enough to make a note of.

Another thing I want to discuss is world-building. When you first pick up Gathering of the Four, you might think this is another fantasy series, and it certainly does have fantasy aspects. However, as I read, I was delighted to find out that there are some problematic dystopian situations, and this book does, in fact, take place on our very own Earth. I will not go into further details on the subject in order not to ruin any twists in the book, but the world that A.E. Bennett has created is one of the most exciting I have read about in some time.

I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.

Family Curses Field Notebooks (1880-2020) Chapbook Review!

Family Curses Field Notebooks (1880-2020) by Tenacity Plys is concise but exciting. I read this short story in a cute little chapbook-style printing that was mailed to me. At 33 pages, it’s definitely a short story, but the fact that it is delivered in such a nice packet with a pleasant paper texture fulfills the physical need I and many others require from our books. More so as you work your way through the story and realize what the cover is displaying. Now this chapbook is more than your usual short story. We are given quite a bit in the 33 pages. The story follows Virgil Sykes as they clean out their aunt’s attic and stumble onto the writing of another aunt, which contains more papers inside it!

We have four characters in Family Curses, Virgil Sykes, whose writing is dated 2020, and their aunt Virginia who’s writing took place in 1993. Her uncle who’s essays took place in 1965, and finally, his father who’s writings took place in 1880. Now you might fear that having four different voices in one 33-page book might be confusing but fear not! This short story is written clearly, with each writing set denoted clearly. It reads much like a textbook with various brackets and footnotes that allow you to get each writer’s opinions. My only complaint is how this short story comes to a close! I want to know what happened, darn it! Honestly, not knowing what happened at the end of a book is like saying you just got a bite of your least favorite candy bar. It is still fantastic. This is a must-read! Go pick it up!

Dusk Upon Elysium – Book Review

Dusk Upon Elysium follows Geoff as he does his best to cope in a world that has been overcome by the dreadful Nergal virus, a terrible disease said to have infected even plants and animals. Locked away inside small enclosed homes with only government-distributed work and food to keep them busy, the people of the world trudge along assuming what they are told by the news outlets is true. There is hope, however. A virtual reality program called Paradiso allows people to escape their troubles and reality into the paradise they always wished they could have had before their lives were torn apart by disease and questionable government tactics. nothing bad could come from this situation. What could happen here?

I found Dusk Upon Elysium to be a really exciting book one that I found managed to skirt the line of being just similar enough to our post-COVID reality without being too close for comfort. That nearness in the story, while done in many a dystopian novel, particularly the ones written in the last few years, is particularly well done by Tamel Wino in this novel. I found the slight hint of biological horror and the ideas of what could be happening outside of the assumed safe homes of the people of the world intriguing. Even more so I found the mental tribulations of the people of the story even more exciting. Geoff and other characters are thrown through a variety of mental turmoil that is both relatable and traumatizing. 

Reviewed for Reader’s Favorite

Inhuman Acts- Book Review

So when you spend most of your time reading and reviewing books you find that there are very few truly original feeling stories these days. Most authors take an idea that’s been done and put their spin on it. This is simply how it goes these days. As they say, its all been done before. Except perhaps it hasn’t. With Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French you will not experience this issue. Was all that set up necessary for me to tell you that Inhuman Acts is an original story worth picking up? Damn right it was, allow me to explain.

So when you read the back cover of this delightful book the first thing you may think is, with zoonotic diseases creeping in to humans are we dealing with some kind of zombie novel? Or perhaps, is this concept hitting a bit too close to home with the virus scares of the last few years? Well to answer the first question, no we’re not dealing with zombies here, we’re dealing with living people affected by rabies! Which is highly unlikely to happen in real life. And if you are worried about this book bringing up reminders of COVID, I wouldn’t worry much, the infected animals and people in this book are not experiencing any similar. You can still get that delightful reading escapism from this fantastic novel.

Now that I have covered that lets cover a couple other things. So characters, how do they feel? They feel real. Their personalities, jobs, internal conflicts, its all real. While we may not all be cops or ecological scientists, but the characters are written in a way that we can certainly understand the issues they are going through in this story. The story itself? Fantastic, and a must read. A curious thriller with just enough description to make you cringe and shiver but not be able to put the book down!

Pick up Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French, and tell your friends to do the same!

Petra and the Sewer Rates – Novella Review

Once again we drop in toe Juno and the Lady series with Petra and the Sewer Rats. This Novella takes place a few years before Juno and the Lady, well quite a few years, following the mother of the titular character of the first book Juno’s mother Petra as she discovers that her isolated life in a safe home within Fairacre has been kept safe from the dark and violent goings on of the homeless girls of the city. When Petra sees how dreadfully these children are being treated, she tries and find a home for these disowned girls.

Naturally, this does not go as planned, or else it would not make for a good story now would it? Following Petra, we see where Juno gets a determination and grit. Petra’s story is sad, and I will not go in to particular detail as this is a novella so it is a fairly short read. That in mind, I would suggest you pick up Petra and the Sewer Rats if you had an interest in learning more about the town’s background after reading the last two books in the series!

Juno and the Lady – Book Review

Juno and the Lady by G.J Kemp is the first novel in The Acre Series by G.J. Kemp. This first book follows young Juno as she goes from a young orphan living in a finishing school where they teach girls to be good little wives, to a fire elemental power wielding warrior. Along the way she befriends a fiery (literally) feline, various sewer dwellers, and men who would have once been her enemies.

The Story of Juno and the Lady is a colorful one. We are not only given the main story of the evil Lady’s attempt to control the town of Fairacre, but we are also allowed to see the complications surrounding this town and apparently every city in the known world. Woman are secondhand at best, trained in schools for men to pick their perfect wives. I always find that any book touching subjects of gender inequality are either great at it, or lacking. In the case of Juno and the Lady, the issue is addressed well.

The characters of the book are well written which is often hard to manage when you have a cast of so many, despite the handful of characters who make their appearances throughout this novel, they each remain their own person, with their own personality and moods. They changes they go through feel real, and there is plenty of character progression, even beyond the main character Juno’s self-discovery.

I suggest Juno and the Lady to any fan of fantasy. I am looking forward to the rest of this series. I want to read more about the characters and the world of The Acre Series.

Cinder – Book Review

I have stumbled on to another surprising library find. Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a dark retelling of the classic story. Following Cinder, and abused young woman in a future where World War IV has ravaged the world that has become a single Empire whose greatest enemy is i their not so distant Lunar cousins. Cinder it turns out, is not just an abused young woman in this telling of the classic fairytale, but in fact a Cyborg, made so because of a childhood accident. This is not as cool as it sounds, as Cyborgs in New Beijing are considered less than human.

This young adult novel is a exciting tale. While I have read many a fairytale rewrite, this one kept my attention with its gritty under belly and politics of a seemingly at peace futuristic Earth. The characters and their thoughts, and paranoias plus the explanations of the various ‘magics’ that take up this world all fit nicely in to a fun science fiction novel that any fan of the genre would enjoy. Like most young adult novels, there is an aspect of romance, however while it has a center point in the story, it is far from the main characters only concern making the story feel a whole lot more related than just another fawning teenager story.

In short, if you are looking for an exciting fairy tale retelling, I strongly suggest you pick up Cinder.

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book – Book Review

Have you ever wandered through your local library, or scrolled through its websites pages aimlessly hoping to find a book that catches your eye? Maybe some random treasure you never would have picked up if you were in a bookstore and certainly nothing you would have ordered online? Well, I did just that and it surprised me to find Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Lost in a Book. 

Now I know what you are thinking. Is this some kind of sequel attempt in literary form? We all know about the many dreadful direct to home video sequels Disney has provided us. However, no, this is not a sequel, it is an additional story happening in the middle of the original tale.

After being introduced to the Beast’s extensive library, Bell stumbles in to an enchanted book. This book soon has the young woman tied up in an endless battle between Love and Death, finding her trapped. An exciting tale that we certainly know has a happy ending, as we know how Disney’s original story ends. However, despite this absolute fact, that does not keep this novel from being an interesting read.

I picked up the audiobook version from the local library’s website and it was spectacular. I really suggest you give it a listen.

I would suggest this novel to Disney fans, as well as fans of YA novels. This read is a bit advanced for younger children and some of the concepts are a bit dark, but it is certainly an enjoyable tale.

The Sword of Saint Isidores – Book Review

The Sword of Saint Isidores: The Circles of Time: Book 1 by David Tomas Kay is an intriguing historical fiction work. What comes off first as simply a history of an assumed cursed sword, turns into an epic spanning generations of an extended family as they learn to cope with ill luck that seems to be handed to them, by the sword or created by fate. The history of the Sword of Saint Isidores is covered from the time of its creation, its theft, and the deaths of many who held its ownership.

The world and time of the story are well researched. The conflict between Norse and Christian beliefs and how those who followed either religion coped with being in different circumstances of the time is certainly believable. It is clear that the author did his fair share of research in order to bring this slice of history to the readers. This results in a well-rounded and realistic historical fiction work, avoiding the nasty and common issue of an overly clean and romanticized history. The Sword of Saint Isidores is a must-read for historical fiction fans and I certainly intend to pick up the rest of the series soon.

Amazon Finds – Creative Zen Headphones

This post includes a affiliate link. If you use the link to purchase the product I get a percentage that goes to supporting this website. You can find my full affiliate disclosure here.

So I hate earbuds. I know, I know. They are small compact and easy to carry. However, they are also really easy to loose, as well as easily stolen by trouble making cats who think anything they can fit in their mouth is worth making off with. So when these headphones popped up as a review option, I was more than pleased to take a chance to check out these over the ear headphones.

These things are fantastic. They have great sound and I can’t hear a dang thing through them! I have found them great for relaxing in bed with my Switch before I fall asleep. They connect easily to every device I have Bluetooth on, Phone, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Super useful for everything.

If you wish to try them out you can fine them here.

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