THE RISING WIND By Ken Floro III

The Rising WindA dull story this is not. With minimal characters, the reader soon dives into the story without a backward glance. The Rising Wind is based on a ship – The Rising Wind, and a remote island, but this is no ordinary island, far from it!

The island is inhabited by trolls, who eat animals and humans. They are not easy to kill for their bulky body, although they are dumb. This brings me to the Imperial Knights – Marcavius (Marc) and Montefax (Monty), who come on board of the ship to travel the seas on their voyage home. With them, come on board a goblin – their guardian, a monk, a thief – Din, a navigator and the only woman – Adrianna.

What begins as a pleasant voyage, turns dangerous when the ship is set off course by a fault – on first glance. They arrive at the island on the navigator’s persistence and so begins a tirade of entering the cursed island and rescues on numerous occasions. This is always led by the brave Imperial Knights of Steelvaeran.

Among the characters, Adrianna has a small role, perhaps significant but I cannot be sure. Nevertheless, she is a breath of fresh air. She is also, very much in love with a certain knight!

Ken Floro III takes the reader through rough undergrowth, frightening trolls, the haunting undead and other paranormal happenings. The book is simply written and easy to follow. Ken Floro III keeps the reader entertained throughout the novel. I liked how the author did not reflect on the character’s past during the telling of the story, as most novels do. This method of writing proved to be quite successful in bringing the story forward and avoided lagging.

Who are my favourite characters? It has to be the Knights for their fabulous witty personalities and bravery, and my worst is Din and the navigator, which, once you have read this book, you will understand why!

Thank you Ken, for this wonderful read!

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About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

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That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Rising Wind tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: After graduating into the Imperial knighthood, Marcavius and his cousin book passage aboard a merchant ship, the Rising Wind, to visit their family estate before reporting to the legions. They know no ship dares tread the heart of the Mennaidran Sea, yet along their voyage a strange fog suddenly sets the Rising Wind adrift in those haunted waters. Fortunately another passenger offers his skill as a navigator to save the day, yet he insists that the ship first detour to a nearby island to replenish its supplies. There the ship’s unlucky passengers soon learn that the monsters and magic of legend are no mere myths! Friends, strangers, and even bitter enemies must work together in order to survive and escape. Yet some of the greatest dangers they’ll face are destined to come from one another. Get The Rising Wind through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Ken Floro IIIAbout the author: Ken was born and raised in the South side of Saint Louis. After earning a degree in World Literature, followed by a degree in Culinary Arts, Ken soon made the obvious career move and went to work in medicine.

If you’re having any trouble guessing why, then you’ve probably never served time in the literary or culinary fields. A little taste of reality can suddenly turn a healthy paycheck, normal working hours, and long-term job security into sumptuous delicacies. Despite the sudden change in his employment trajectory, Ken never turned away from his dream of writing.

He’d nurtured a lifelong creative ambition, which had gained direction when a funny true story he wrote for a high school English class became so popular with his classmates they traded copies of it in the hall and passed them up and down the bus. Ever since that catalytic moment, Ken has been writing as a hobby and a passion. Thus far, he’s published eight books, along with several other tidbits. Connect with Ken on his website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.

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SCHOOL OF THE AGES: The Ghost in the Crystal By Matt Posner

A unique story, School of the Ages (book 1) promises excitement and energy with a touch of magic from within. It could School of the Ages - Matt Posnerbe compared to Harry Potter for it’s secret boarding school and magic, but it far from it. Matt Posner writes of a school that teaches magic from within the mind and soul of the student. They don’t wear pointed hats or wave wands to use their magic effectively. There are no mythical creatures, witches or wizards but spirits, advisers and a travel through time to auspicious moments in history which is where the haunting ghost becomes prominent.  There is a death in the book, which for me was very sad.

The magic is based on meditation. The power comes from within the subconscious as does strategies of defense against the enemy. Teenage aggression and love among peers, emotions of jealousy – are poignant through the story.

Simon Magnus is haunted by a spirit from the very first day and doesn’t leave him alone until Simon makes a deal with him. In the midst of this, we see the school year with Simon, as he makes friends, fights a student who severely dislikes him, falls in love with the prettiest girl in the school, becomes best friend with his roommate and becomes acquainted with his study partner.

One of the things I loved, was that the lessons here are wonderfully different.  My favourite is the summoning of spirits who are imprisoned to a certain material such as a stone or an artifact. Here is where me ‘meet’ spirits and can ‘listen’ to their conversations with Simon – very interesting they are too!

This is a great story with the right ingredients and I will not be hesitating to read the other books in the series.

ANCIENT ECHOES by Katrina Bowlin-Mackenzie

This story has fascinated me. I won’t say I loved it as that has a totally different meaning to what I want wolfto convey here. It goes beyond that. Ancient Echoes is about the power of three strong, yet cautious women: Phaedra, Velora and Kyra. Although Kyra is the main character in the book, Phaedra, her mother and Velora, her sister, have significant roles in this story.

The women are the daughters of Atlantis, who survived in a cave for a century after the City of Atlantis – their home, was submerged into the deep waters of the sea. The survival in the cave gave powerful abilities to the women: immortality and telepathy.

Phaedra is a prisoner in her own home, afraid to leave and fearing the demons of her past. Velora, a shape-shifter, is a rescuer of twelve lost children taken from the reservation. Her family of shape-shifters come handy when an unfortunate event befalls Kyra.

Kyra, the widow of Thorne, mourns his unfortunate passing away which leaves her alone and vulnerable. In a turn of events, she becomes bait to an unruly clan of shape-shifters who want to tear and possibly kill her. They want Atlantis, with or without her…

The last chapters convey the telepathic conversations between Phaedra, Velora and Kyra when Kyra is taken prisoner on a boat. Will Velora be able to save her sister? Will Phaedra be able to overcome her fears as her past comes to haunt her all over again?

Katrina Bowlin-Mackenzie writes well with words to entice us forward into the story. Her pen weaves a relationship of supernatural/fantasy magic that will delight the reader.

I recommend this book whole-heartedly – a damn good read!

The Wizard of Crescent Moon Mountain by Oldman Brook

I thought stories about wizards, dragons, elves and other magical and mythical creatures were done and dusted, overwritten and that no other author could write something different and original. I take back that thought!

The Wizard of Crescent Moon Mountain was given to me as a review copy in paperback. When I saw the cover, I loved it. It was appealing and promised a good read;  I wasn’t disappointed. Although the book was lengthy to read – 431 pages to be exact, I didn’t find one page boring or tedious. I enjoyed every page!

Brook describes a fantastic world where men, wizards, elves, dwarfs, dragons and shape-shifters live, although not side by side but that is another story. These are the good guys. There are bad, powerful and ugly ones too – the goblins, ogres, pets and warrior – the dark wizard who wants to take over Everlast. The characters are the ‘story’ and we hear of legends, myths and time travel.

Greybeard is a wizard who travels through Everlast with his friends, the dwarfs, the shape shifters, the elves and a cowardice man called Perrywinkle. They travel far and wide to find help from other such creatures such as the Jotunn who are giants and the dragons who can speak. They join the army of man and go into battle with the abhorrent warrior. This warrior is disgusting, revolting and a frightening monster that uses a dead man’s face as a mask. He has an army too – of goblins, who are too horrible to comprehend. Oldman brings us nice things as well such as the feasts, the warm cozy beds provided by a lovely women and a little love interest.

Oldman writes very good descriptions of all his characters of which I applaud him for. He throws in serious discussions and a few jokes as well to hollow out the slow build up of tension as the story develops.

I have my favourites – Pengwellen the dragon, dear old Greybeard the wizard, Stryker and Forster who are shape shifters. Everyone will hate the goblins because they are meant to be disliked. It is clear the narrator has a very dim view of them too!

So if you love to read fantasy, about creatures and of different worlds and of course of adventure, then go and get this book. It’s not often I get to read a spectacular story as this one!

Jabin and the Space Pirates by Bev Allen

What a story! Not quite fantasy as I originally thought but a thriller mixed with such brilliant imagination!

Bev Allen shows us two worlds – the real and the fantasy, in terms of human understanding.   Jabin, is a teenager boy who lives with his God fearing aunt and uncle whom, if he gets them annoyed, only gets a sample of a meal or if worse, no food at all. Jabin has no parents and no home he would like to call “home”.

The planet they live in is New Wales where two faiths are dominant – the Church and Chapel worshippers and between them the Monarchy. The space pirates are a bunch of non-forgiving thieves who want to take whole planets and rule. They come and take women for prostitution, sometimes kept as their own property and sometimes to sell for high profits, to other men. Small boys are taken for slavery and profit as well as very young children and babies. On a whim, they also kill.

There are reports of mutiliation, wide gruesome massacres and abduction which only the pirates are responsible for. The army of New Wales and Earth are recruited to fight such monsters!

Jabin volunteers to be taken by the pirates in order to leave another boy behind. He finds himself as the body guard of an evil man called Wittenmier who is ruthless and frightening to the core. He has NO mercy. Jabin is the body guard of a different kind, he is a slave and is required to stand around Wittenmier, making sure his plate is filled and his wine glass is topped up as well as commanded to do other slave duties. If he fails, then he is beaten or worse. Sometimes, he is denied food for days and is everyday, chained up in the kitchen.

Jabin meets many amiable people along his miserable life, such as the beautiful, breath-taking Antonia, Colonel Mike Eveson, Major O’Hagan, RSM Jivan Singh and some more but there are equally nasty and evil men who make his life a misery.

Bev explores many avenues such as child abuse, drug abuse, negligence, brutality, bullying, power then love, discipline and hope.   Jabin and the Space Pirates is not a story for the feint hearted as there are scenes of unforgiving acts – a lot of gore and blood. In this book, sorrow is first and Jabin is in the centre of it.

I applaud Bev’s writing style and the difficult story-telling which shows she has thought it out thoroughly, researched and polished it to a high standard.

I would reccomend this book but beware! It is not for the feint hearted!