Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tiger’s Paw Snippet – Weekend Writing Warriors – Part 9

Ninth entry for the #8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop –


Humans run it, but Elves go there and Therians go as well. Someone is approaching Therians and convincing them to go fringe. I propose that a Therian go to the Blue Star and wait until he is approached, then we will have the contact agent. If the Therian can persuade this agent that he is considering going fringe, perhaps we will catch an even bigger prey, the head of the Fringe movement.”

A snarl rose from the back of the room. I didn’t bother to turn as Michael, one of the Lion commandants who were still surly about their perceived loss of station, stalked up behind me. Much as I disliked having him at my back, I would not acknowledge that I thought him a threat by turning to face him. The surly commandant would enjoy that too much.


The above is an excerpt from my WIP novella, Tiger’s Paw, the prequel to The Therian Way, my urban fantasy series. This time it picks up in the middle of Baran’s speech. This entry is a direct continuation from last week’s, which you can read here.

Tiger’s Paw excerpt (c) Kimberly A. Rogers and kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com blog.

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Book Review Wednesday – Dragon’s Touch

Dragon’s Touch by A.R. Johnson

Amazon Book Description:

“Dragons, mages, and estranged siblings collide in a struggle to control the Kingdom of Rioch.”

The Guild of Mages is determined to destroy the dragon race at all costs. Queen Christine, keeper of the peace and leader of the dragon riders, strives to maintain stability in Rioch. Amidst this struggle, Zharah is torn between the anti-dragon teachings of her childhood and her unwitting bonding with the dragon hatchling Elihan. She must cross the kingdom in search of her long lost brother and the answers to her future as a Dragon-Touched human. She finds both friends and enemies along the road, but above all she finds herself.

I came across this book when it was being promoted on Facebook in a Christian Indie Authors group I’m in and I decided that it certainly couldn’t hurt to try out a debut Christian fantasy. I wasn’t disappointed with my pick.

Plot – Grade A-

I have read a lot of fantasy books and I know it is difficult to come up with a completely unique plot, often authors must depend on HOW the plot is carried out in order to achieve that which is different from the other fantasy offerings with similar plots. This particular book does have a few elements that are similar to Dragonspell, the first book of Donita K. Paul’s Dragon Keeper Chronicles, mainly the orphan girl who finds the dragon egg and accidentally hatches it. However, the format and details about the bond between dragon and dragon rider presented in this book is very different as are the circumstances surrounding how Zharah finds the egg so I didn’t feel like I was reading a re-write of a book I have loved for years. It was a bit predictable regarding certain elements, but that didn’t bother me too much. There were a few places where I felt the plot was TOO tight since there were several potential subplots that could have been explored as well but received more of a brush than anything, perhaps they will be explored in the next book. The plot was neatly tied up at the end of the book but the next adventure was also hinted at and partially set up, which I enjoyed.

Content – Grade A-

This is a very clean fantasy, especially in regards to language. There isn’t a true romance this time around. It’s more of a crush’s first blush. My only personal quibble was that this has been set up  to introduce the (much-dreaded on my part) love triangle between Zharah and the two guys she meets in her quest to find her brother. I admit I am not a fan of the love triangle, so I ended up hoping love potential #2 would die. No such luck. However, I am hopeful that maybe this won’t turn into a full-out love triangle since there is a very good reason for Zharah to choose love potential #1. I’ll keep reading just to see if my hopes or my fears are right. 😉

There is violence present in this book. The bad guys are evil, especially their leader, and people are referred to as being maimed or killed. However, it is all very bloodless except for some minor injuries. There is also magic in this book and I was intrigued by the difference having a relationship with the Creator makes for the magic users. Those who do not have a relationship might kill themselves if they use more than their personal reserve of magic. On the other hand, those who do have a relationship with the Creator don’t have to worry about burnout and re-charging their magic reserve. I thought that was a great way to integrate magic without it becoming “god” in that world.

Spiritually, this book was rather subtle in its use. Partially because Zharah does not have a relationship with the Creator and she’s not even really seeking Him (yet). I would have enjoyed learning more about how the religion works when we interacted with the knights. I also would have enjoyed a bit more curiosity or asking questions about the Creator on Zharah’s part. I did have some reservations about how she still doesn’t seem to have established a relationship with the Creator at the end of the book, considering what happened for her personal (potential) relationship. However, I can accept this if Zharah’s personal relationship with the Creator, or lack thereof, is addressed in the next book.

Technical – B+

In general, this book was very well-edited. I only spotted a few awkward moments where the wrong synonym is used for the context of the sentence. The most prominent was when the evil leader waves healers forward to take his lackey (most recent victim of his wrath) to the healing wing “to treat to” his wounds. Here it should have been “to treat his wounds” or “to tend to his wounds.” I already touched on the missed opportunities for the plot to be further rounded out, so I won’t say much more other than I would have liked to see a bit more world development so I could have been able to further immerse myself in the world. I also would have liked more character development but that is something that can be addressed in succeeding novels.

There were also some places where the writing was a bit too formal and the explanation was too thorough when I would have cut words to tighten things up and help keep the flow steady had I been editing. However, for a writer who is not only  working on her debut novel but is also just sixteen, the raw skill is magnificent. The technical aspects just needs a bit more polish to help Johnson shine at her full potential. I was impressed that the language didn’t feel too modern to fit a medieval-esque fantasy world.

Final Grade – B+ or 4.5 stars

Overall, I liked this book a lot and I can see that A.R. Johnson has a ton of potential as an up-and-coming author. It wasn’t a perfect offering even when I take into consideration the fact that this particular book straddles children’s and YA fantasy. However, Johnson is going on my authors to watch list because I can see so much potential in this first book that I am certain she will be one of the greats for Christian fantasy as she matures as a writer. I look forward to reading her next book. I would recommend this book to people who are looking for a quick, clean Christian fantasy to read or are looking for a family-friendly fantasy book to help interest their younger readers in fiction. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Dragon’s Touch is available through Kindle.

Next Week – Double Book Review – The Pinocchio Factor and Black Crow’s Blessing by Sophronia Belle Lyon

 

Tiger’s Paw Snippet – Weekend Writing Warriors – Part 8

Eighth entry for the #8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop –


The mutters and other wastes of time continued and I resisted the urge to roar them into silence, but his majesty had no such need for restraint. King Caderyn roared and the Council fell silent. It wasn’t a bad roar for a leopard. The King of the North American Therians nodded to me. “General Baran, you have a plan concerning this growing fringe presence?”

I gave a curt nod. “I do, Sire. The traitor, Devin, made it clear that he was approached in the Blue Star, a nightclub on the outskirts of Richmond.


The above is an excerpt from my WIP novella, Tiger’s Paw, the prequel to The Therian Way, my urban fantasy series. This time it ends in the middle of another speech, which is why I don’t have a closing quotation mark. This entry is a direct continuation from last week’s, which you can read here.

Tiger’s Paw excerpt (c) Kimberly A. Rogers and kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com blog.

Book Review Wednesday – The Remedy

The Remedy: Book Two of the Eyes of E’veria by Serena Chase

Amazon Book Description:

PURPOSED by birth. DESTINED by prophecy. REVEALED by Truth.
Now, her time has come.

Having come to terms with her long-hidden identity, Princess Rynnaia E’veri is ready to take her rightful place. But before she can join her father at Castle Rynwyk, she must endeavor to fulfill a 200-year-old prophecy and defeat the Kingdom’s ancient enemy, the Cobelds. Joined by her faithful knight, Sir Julien de Gladiel, and a gifted group of friends, Rynnaia must trek a dangerous path through canyons, forests, and into the very depths of a mountain where, if the prophetic scrolls prove correct, she will face an unknown foe, alone. Treacheries will be discovered, sacrifices will be made, friends will be lost, and love will be tested, but if even one line of the riddled prophecy is misinterpreted, Rynnaia will fail . . . and the Kingdom will fall.

Beginning at the point THE RYN ended, THE REMEDY concludes an epic re-imagining of the classic Grimm fairy tale, Snow White & Rose Red, but the Eyes of E’veria series is only beginning . . . Book 3: The Seahorse Legacy (May 2014) begins an adventurous retelling of the classic Grimm tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses and an epic scope that will conclude the second 2-book set of the Eyes of E’veria series when Book 4: The Sunken Realm releases in 2015.

I started reading this series because of this book’s absolutely gorgeous cover. I kept reading this series because I was blown away by the first book. Book Two concludes the epic re-imagining of the Grimm classic Snow White and Rose Red.

Plot – Grade A-

Because this is a sequel, it does play catch up for those who haven’t read Book One or haven’t read it recently. However, I thought this was handled well, especially for a novel written in first person, since it is mostly handled in little clarifying asides spread out over the first five or six chapters. Much better than a true, clunky info dump. I really enjoyed the quest portion of the story but even though it is around 140 pages shorter than Book One, it felt longer since the plot slowed to a crawl in some places, particularly in Part One. I enjoyed getting to know the cast of characters introduced in the first book better. But there was a little too much dithering and “we’re getting ready for the quest” and “we’re on the quest but not quite yet” going on for my personal taste. The attempt at a twist toward the end of the book felt very forced this time because I had figured it out from the first time it was mentioned and it pushed the envelope for me to believe that these intelligent characters can’t figure out this one oddity means something different than the assumption the story goes with because it just didn’t make sense for them not to figure it out sooner.

Content – Grade A-

This is a clean fantasy. There is a stronger romance angle as Rynnaia and her knight go from courtship to marriage. But it is all still very chaste and sweet. There’s only three kisses (not counting kisses pressed to her hand) before the marriage and they don’t occur until the very end of the book.

However, there is one scene where Rynnaia is attacked in her bed by a man with instructions to “ruin” her. There was understandable concern on part of her father and others that the attack had been carried out further than it was but this is handled very tastefully.  There is violence and one character dies, but it never comes across as unnecessary or gratuitous.

Rynnaia’s character growth seemed bumpier this time around. She struggles with having faith and hope. However, she also has instances of pride and vanity that come one right after another, which felt forced and rather out of character. It almost seemed to me that there was a fear of Rynnaia being too perfect but the pride and vanity and her consequent angst of how awful she is to feel these things came across as contrived and frankly annoying. I think it would have flowed better if she had dealt with either the pride or the vanity or at least had more space between them .

Spiritually, this book has a much heavier and pronounced thread, which is both good and bad. I liked the clear need to rely on the First. But, the First “shocks” Rynnaia so many times by speaking to her throughout the book that the big spiritual moment at the end is no longer as significant as it could have been. I was actually reduced to rolling my eyes after yet another “gasp of shock” as the First speaks because it happens so often, it made me question WHY it was a shock.

Technical – Grade A-

There were more typos and homophone issues in this book than its predecessor. There were also some formatting issues. In particular, there were several instances where the italics for thoughts and telepathy would be used for regular narration. In one case, the second half of telepathy was left in plain text and the first sentence of narration immediately following was italicized instead. As mentioned before, there are some pacing issues that could have used some further tweaking.

Final Grade – an A- or 4.7 stars

Overall, I enjoyed the book. Even though it wasn’t as flawless as Chase’s previous offering, I still look forward to reading the next entry in The Eyes of E’veria series. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of epic fantasies and imaginative retellings of classic Grimm fairytales and who also enjoys a clean, sweet romance as a side development. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

The Remedy is available through Kindle.

Next Week – Dragon’s Touch by A.R. Johnson

 

 

 

Tiger’s Paw Snippet – Weekend Writing Warriors – Part 7

Seventh entry for the #8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop –


“Where were you approached?”

He gurgled and whined before finally rasping, “The Blue Star.” I questioned him for another hour, but Devin didn’t give up anything else. Leaving him under the watchful eyes of my lieutenants, I went to speak to the Therian Council. This threat to our way of life would be addressed.

ΘΘΘΘΘΘ

I crossed my arms, waiting for the members of the Council to cease their mutterings about my initial report. Only King Caderyn and his brother, Shamus, remained silent.


The above is an excerpt from my WIP novella, Tiger’s Paw, the prequel to The Therian Way, my urban fantasy series. We’re ending the interrogation and this time it picks up where Baran’s questioning left off in the last entry. This entry is a direct continuation from the last snippet, which you can read here.

 

 

Tiger’s Paw excerpt (c) Kimberly A. Rogers and kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com blog.

Book Review Wednesday – The Third Heaven

The Third Heaven by Donovan Neal

Amazon Book Description:

The prequel to the Bible is here!

We have always thought Hell was created for man…we were so wrong.

The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars is book one of a five part series that explores the fascinating story of the Fall of Lucifer.

Lucifer was God’s perfect creation. Yet he rose up to betray the Lord and bring Heaven itself to civil war.

Many tales have referenced this great angelic war but few have sought to explore the behind the scene relationships between God and the angelic hosts. Why did a third of Heaven seek to overthrow their creator?

See Lucifer and his actions in a light never before seen. Journey back to the beginning, and see the drama unfold before your eyes: as allegiances are broken; choices made, and why all of creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God!

˃˃˃ Man’s was NOT the first sin

See the back-story to mankind’s own story, in this powerful, gripping tale of angels at war.

I am always on the fence when it comes to angel-oriented speculative fiction. I decided to try this book because I had only read one other book that focused on the fall of Lucifer.

Plot – Grade A-

The main focus of this book is painting the backdrop of and the first war in heaven. It’s not solely focused on Lucifer, Michael is also one of the primary narrators. Michael and Lucifer, in particular, are referred to as brothers but as the book progress all of the angels refer to other angels as brothers. It is an interesting choice and helped to ‘humanize’ the otherworldly creatures. At times, Lucifer seems almost too sympathetic but then he turns around and acts like a spoiled child, a cunning and very dangerous spoiled child. There is a twist near the end of the book that made me raise my eyebrows on the theological front but other than that the plot had great potential in the plausibility of the musing on and exploration of how the events of Lucifer’s fall as recorded in Isaiah and Revelation COULD have played out.

Content – Grade B

This book is about a war in heaven and it involves fallen angels and HOW they became that way so violence is to be expected. However, the final battle is quite drawn out and there is a LOT of blood flying and spurting through the air. This combined with the graphic picture of hell in the prologue, the various gruesome deaths, and detailed torment made me feel that it was a bit gratuitous in places as far as violence. I know the author is attempting show the harsh reality and the brutality of the fallen angels but it was a step too far for me personally mainly due to the extensive battle.

I wouldn’t say there was sensuality in this book. However, the language at times seemed to be treading in an odd direction of graphic sensuality when describing Hell personified. Such as referring to Hell as behaving like a slut and then Charon who acts as Hell’s Watcher and the embodiment of the Wrath of God is described as screaming in response to a limb being cut off not in pain but in an “orgasmic and masochistic” manner. It was…uncomfortable for me. This is due in part to the fact that sin is just now emerging in the thoughts and hearts of angels and yet Michael is able to supply the above description, which doesn’t really fit into a pre-Fall equation from my personal standpoint.

From a mythology and folklore enthusiast’s point of view, I was intrigued by Neal choosing to name angels after familiar names from various mythological pantheons such as Lilith, Ashtoreth/Astarte, Zeus, Dagon, one fallen angel changes his name to Ares, Minos, Tiamat, Ra, etc. It made sense that angels would share the names and in some cases functions of mythological figures since man worshipped creation instead of the Creator. However, if you aren’t a mythology and folklore enthusiast and aren’t familiar with the mythological pantheon, it could be confusing. Such as with Ashtoreth who keeps being called Astarte and if you didn’t know they were two names for the same mythological figure, I think it would be very confusing.

Technical – Grade D

Unfortunately, the execution of this intriguing book was severely hampered by the technical mishaps. The comma usage is very distracting since there are commas where they shouldn’t be and no commas where they should be. There are also issues with periods, question marks, quotation marks, apostrophes, and even dashes either showing up where they shouldn’t or missing from their proper place. The language used can be very beautiful in some places and the word pictures are often skillfully painted. However, some of the descriptions are jarring and took me right out of the book. There are also a number of cases where typos or homonym errors occur or the phrasing just doesn’t quite work. There is also a very bizarre instance where a long and important section is suddenly in first person when everything else, even other narrative sections by the same character, is written in third person.  I would recommend that the author hire a professional copy editor to finish polishing this book so that the concept is portrayed to its best advantage and then release a revised edition.

Final Grade – C or 3 stars

Overall, I can see the potential in this book. The author has talent and an intriguing take on the possibilities revolving around fleshing out the story of Lucifer’s fall. However, I cannot help feeling this book needed to go through another round or two of editing before it was released and it is a shame that the potential of the book is almost overshadowed by technical difficulties. I’ll be honest that the angel-oriented subgenre of speculative fantasy doesn’t really appeal to me, it is always a hit or miss. This one is right on the line of hit and miss since I can see the potential but I’m not likely to feel compelled to pick up the next four books in this series. I would still recommend this book to mature believers who are fans of Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and angelic speculative fiction/fantasy. Recommended for ages 18 and up.

The Third Heaven is available through Kindle and paperback.

*Please note I was provided a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not paid to provide a positive review. My opinions are my own.

Next Week – The Remedy: Book Two of the Eyes of E’veria by Serena Chase