Category Archives: Book Reviews

Daughter of Light on Tour

Daughter of LightThis weekend my first novel, Daughter of Light, is on tour with Team Novel Teen! I have enjoyed the tour and met new readers. But I don’t want to hog all the fun. So here are the links to the blogs on tour. Many of them are holding giveaways including ebook and paperbook copies of Daughter of Light. And if you already own a copy, then enter to win one for a friend or family member :). So what are you waiting for? Click away!

Jill Williamson

ADD Librarian

Blooming with Books

Colorimetry

CTF Devourer

Katy McCurdy

The Librarian’s Bookshelf

The Ramblings of a Young Author

Shadow Writer World

A Simple Life?!

Who YA Reading?

Worthy2Read

 

CSFF Blog Tour-Captives

Captives by Jill WilliamsonThis month I have the pleasure of joining the CSFF Blog tour (Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy). The book featured is Captives by Jill Williamson.

Captives is a dystopia novel that revolves around a futuristic world where most humans live inside a walled city known as the Safe Lands. These humans, however, are infected with disease that has made them sterile. So now they are searching outside their city for uninfected blood by which to reproduce the human population.

Outside the Safe Lands are pockets of uninfected humans who live in small, rural communities. The protagonists of Captives are three teen brothers who live in one such community. The youngest brother longs for something more than the bare life he has and a chance to please his harsh father. So when an opportunity comes up for him to leave the outside and join the Safe Lands, he takes it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that by doing so, he has turned his entire community over to the Safe Lands to be breed for future human beings. The middle brother is captured by the Safe Lands and the oldest seeks a way inside to save both his people and his fiancée.

I really enjoyed Captives. The feel of the book reminded me of the Syfy show Defiance and The Hunger Games. The three different brothers and their story arcs were interesting to follow; each one presented a different picture of the Safe Lands and their own place in their family (the beloved oldest brother, the smart middle brother, the artsy youngest brother who doesn’t fit in).

I highly recommended Captives for teen readers and up who enjoy futuristic dystopia novels.

To find out more about Captives and what others on this tour had to say, click on the links below!

 

Julie Bihn


Thomas Fletcher Booher


Keanan Brand


Beckie Burnham


Jeff Chapman


Pauline Creeden


Emma or Audrey Engel


Victor Gentile


Timothy Hicks


Jason Joyner


Carol Keen


Shannon McDermott


Meagan @ Blooming with Books


Rebecca LuElla Miller


Joan Nienhuis


Asha Marie Pena


Nathan Reimer


Chawna Schroeder


Jojo Sutis

Jessica Thomas


Steve Trower


Phyllis Wheeler

 

Rachel Wyant

 

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

 

Book Review: The Remedy (Eyes of E’veria, Book 2)

The Remedy by Serena ChaseThe Remedy picks up where The Ryn leaves off (click to read my review of The Ryn).  In The Ryn, Rynnaia , the main character, finds out she is actually the long thought dead princess of the Kingdom. She was hidden at birth because she is the fulfillment of a prophecy that predicts she will free and heal her people from the Cobelds. Healing for those affected by the Cobelds’ curse will come from a hidden remedy, one that Rynnaia must find (hence the title of the second book, The Remedy).

I enjoyed this second installment by Serena Chase. Her writing style and story reminds me a lot of Jill Williamson and her Blood of Kings trilogy. Knights, quests, magical items, romance, and adventure. The usual fantasy fare with a unique twist.

Rose is a strong, likable heroine. She is determined to help her people, but at the age of 19 is still finding her own way in the world. Serena does a good job balancing the responsibilities and growing maturity of a young woman in Rose’s position: not too juvenile but also not seeming to know it all either.

If you enjoy high fantasy and are looking for a new series to start, I recommend The Ryn and The Remedy.

Book Review: The Ryn (Eyes of E’veria, Book 1)

The Ryn is a cross between a fantasy and a fairytale retelling. It centers on a young woman who grows up not knowing who her real family is, only to discover she is the Ryn, the long thought dead daughter of the king.

As Rose discovers who she is, she also learns she possesses telepathic-like powers, the power to hear the thoughts of others. But there are those who do not want the Ryn (Rose) to live, who tried to kill her as a baby and are now hunting her down. For she is the one from the prophecy who will finally defeat them and bring peace to the lands.

I enjoyed The Ryn. I love fantasy and especially anything like a fairytale retelling. The story and writing style reminded me of Jill Williamson‘s Blood of King Trilogy and Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale novels. You have the usual young person learning she is more than she thought, that she is the only one who can stop the encroaching evil, and possesses an amazing power. But what makes The Ryn unique is the world and the magic system.

There are storytellers who don’t just tell stories, but have a magical ability to bring the stories alive (imagine smoke and white sand forming characters in the story, coming forth from the storyteller’s hands). Great forests, a magical island, books that when you read them, you are drawn into the words and actually meet the writer (this is one of Rose’s unique abilities). Chivalrous knights, pirates, and a group of people with telepathic abilities.

The one thing I did notice is there are not a lot of battles or fight scenes. This first book seems to center more around Rose discovering who she is and growing in her power. But I suspect there will be more action in the following books.

Overall, if you enjoy fantasy, then I recommend this book 🙂

To find out more, check out these links:

TWITTER @Serena_Chase

*I was given a free ARC for an honest review of this book.

 

How to Help Promote an Indie Writer

I am an indie writer. What that means is I am published through an independent press that specializes in a particular genre. At Marcher Lord Press, we seek to fill a niche that many larger publishing companies are not targeting: Christian speculative fiction. This includes science fiction, fantasy, steam punk, dystopia, you name it.

However, as a small specialty press, it also means we don’t have the big marketing budgets that larger publishing houses have. We find ways market ourselves. Not easy, I assure you :). Some of the things we do are: seek out places to be interviewed or reviewed, do book giveaways, and guest blog on different sites. But many times these efforts are only tiny pebbles tossed into the vast ocean of books.

You see, my biggest hurdle an indie author is being found by readers. How do people find my story with so many books out there? And if they do find my book, how do they know it is worth reading?

This is where you, the reader, come in. You are my greatest supporter and ally.

I can hear what you are thinking: I love your book, but I don’t like doing book reviews! I totally understand. It takes a lot of guts for me to write a review. So let me introduce you to other ways you can help an indie author like me get the word out.

Amazon Like: Every book on Amazon has a “like” button attached to it. It’s just like “liking” a post on Facebook. Press the button and tada, there is another “like”. But when a book accumulates enough “likes”, then Amazon begins to promote that book more. Easy, takes 10 seconds, and helps out authors like me. So if you enjoyed Daughter of Light, would you consider “liking” it on Amazon?

Daughter of Light Kindle

Daughter of Light Paperback

Amazon Author Page: I have an author page on Amazon. Just like the “like” system for books, by “liking” my author page, people will be able to find me more on Amazon. Would you consider “liking” my page?

Morgan L. Busse

Kobo: Easy peezy. Once again, all you have to do is click and “like”, only this time it’s through Facebook.

Daughter of Light Kobo

And lastly, “liking” it on the Marcher Lord Press website:

Daughter of Light

No scary reviews, no tacking stars onto my book. Only a couple quick clicks that take less than a minute. And yet by doing this, you will be doing more for me as an author than anything I could do. You, my readers, make a huge difference.

So would you consider taking a moment and helping an indie author out? I would so appreciate that! Thank you.

 

When Reading Loses its Magic

When I was a child, I devoured books. In fact, I broke the record of the most books read in one year at my elementary school. I read anything I could get my hands on. I even read Shakespeare, biographies, and encyclopedias :).

As an adult, my love for a good story continued. I found myself blessed with a husband who loved reading. Even better, we loved the same kind of books. We read Star Wars novels together, Harry Potter together, even Twilight. And I would read whatever nonfiction he was going through, whether it was on church ministry, leadership, or spiritual disciplines.

It wasn’t until I became a writer that reading began to lose its magic. I still read, but now that I was learning the craft of writing myself, I began to critique what I read. I couldn’t help myself. If I learned to stay in one-person point of view, then every book I read that didn’t follow that rule I thought was wrong.

As an author recently put it, reading a book is like watching a magic show. It’s fascinating and you are caught up in the spectacle. But when you start to learn the magician’s tricks, the show loses its charm. You know how he does it now. And you begin to critique the magician if he doesn’t do it right.

So how does a writer find her way back to the magic of simply enjoying a story? That’s a hard one, a feat that has taken me almost 2 years to learn.

One, I had to learn to turn off my inner editor. If there is one thing I have learned in writing, it is there are many styles of writing. And one style is not necessarily better than another. Just different. Both accomplish the same thing: a well-written, emotionally engaging book. But if I let my particular style drive my reading, then I am bound to be disappointed in a book that is different than me.

Two: don’t go into a book with preconceived ideas or emotions. What do I mean? In this industry, it can be easy to let jealousy come in and distort my view of a book. That is not right. If I am jealous, I will not see the good in a book, I will only be looking for the bad. But if I learn to rejoice with my fellow authors when they produce a good book, then I will enjoy their written work (for more on that topic, click here).

Thirdly, I need to let myself enjoy the experience of reading. Drink a cup of tea, curl up on the couch. Allow myself to be drawn in and taken to another place. And make the writer part of myself stay home! It has no place in my pleasure reading.

When I do this, I am finally free to just simply read. I get to experience the book as a reader. And the magic of reading comes back, just the way I remember it as a child.

 

Book Review: Finding Angel

Finding Angel by Kat Heckenbach is a story placed in our world about a girl who discovers she has the magical ability to “find” things. Because of her ability, the villain tried to murder her when she was seven and take her ability (in this story’s framework, if you kill someone with magic, you absorb their magical ability).

Angel is now in her early teens living in a foster home with no memories of her past. But when a young man comes into town, magic starts to happen. Angel finds her way home to Toch Island and begins to remember her past and her magic.

Finding Angel is a YA novel. It’s not very fast pace, but it is filled with interesting magic ideas and twists and turns as Angel unravels the mystery of who she is. And the writing style of Finding Angel reminds me of Madeleine L’Engle’s.

*Spoiler* The only caution I will put in is there is a bit of violence at the end involving genetically manipulated animals (being an animal lover, that was hard to read).

YA is not really my genre of choice, but I know that my younger self would have devoured this book. So I would recommend this book for anyone who loves modern day fantasy or YA fantasy.

 

Book Review: I Am Ocilla

I Am Ocilla begins in the mind of a young woman trapped in a dungeon who has lost her memories. She cannot remember who she is or where she is from. The only thing she knows is that her name is Ocilla.

She is rescued by two tree men and starts her journey across the five kingdoms. She meets fairies, giants, elves and more. As she travels and finds companions, her memories slowly come back. She is more than she seems. And slowly Ocilla begins to realize that she alone has the power to save the five kingdoms, but it will require that she remembers who she is…in time.

I loved I Am Ocilla. In fact, I read in two days. It was one of those books I could not put down. Diane M. Graham does an excellent job using first person point of view to help the reader experience Ocilla’s fears and struggles with her memory loss. I enjoyed the journey as Ocilla slowly discovered who she was and met people from her past.

The characters are great too. Men who turn into trees, an invisible panda, and dragon people. They may sound weird, but I thought Diane’s creativity to build her own races or place her own twist on a common race rather than borrowing from the usual fantasy fare (elves, dwarves, etc…) made this fantasy story unique.

I definitely recommend I Am Ocilla. And I just discovered this weekend that I Am Ocilla is on sale for the kindle. A great time to pick up a good book :).

 

To find out more about Diane M. Graham, visit her website at http://www.dianemgraham.com

To purchase I Am Ocilla on ebook or find out more, click here.

 

Book Review: A Greater Strength

A Greater Strength by Rebecca P. Minor is the second installment in the Windrider Saga, following the first book, Divine Summons (click to read my review).

In this second book, Vinyanel, the lead male elf character, is put in charge of finding five missing talismans. These talismans are important because one cannot enter the elf city of Delsinon without one. And if a talisman were to fall into the hands of an enemy, it could be disastrous.

Vinyanel is joined on this mission by the half elf/half human prophetess Veranna, his dragon Majestrin, two other elves and a captured assassin. The rest of the windrider group is made up of a winged lion, griffon, and a pegasus. I liked how the windriders are not all dragons.

I felt the characters were deepened in this second book. Yes, there is still a lot of action and fighting, but if given the choice, I’m more into characters, and this time there is more character development. That brought me further into the story.

A Greater Strength is written along the lines of traditional fantasy filled with elves, dragons, gnomes, and unique places. If that is the type of stories you enjoy, then I definitely recommend this book.

*The first cover shown is actually for the entire Windrider series in hardcopy form. I read the series in ebook form, cover to the right.

CSFF Blog Tour-Night of the Living Dead Christian, Day 3

Spiritual Factor: Night of the Living Dead Christian is full of spiritual questions, lessons, and thoughts. What I found most interesting is how Matt categorized different people into different monsters, each with their own inner issues and needs.

The werewolf represents those of us who succumb to our baser instincts. We see how destructive we can be when we let loose the beast within. We hurt our friends, our families, and ourselves. We want to be free and desire to not hurt others anymore. But the wolf beckons and we answer the call, turn savage, and leave a trail of blood behind us.

The vampire represents those of us who leach life out of other people in order to give life to ourselves. In other words, we use people. And once we’ve used them, we ditch them to the side and look for another fresh life to use up. We don’t like to look in the mirror because we are ashamed of what we do and do not want to see what we have become. But we lack the ability to stop.

The zombie represents those of us who mindlessly follow others without rationally thinking for ourselves. We buy a particular leader’s books, podcasts, and videos. We never learn to read and understand God’s Word for ourselves. Instead, we let leaders tell us what to do and then heavy handedly encourage others to do the same. Disclaimer: it is not a bad thing to follow church leaders. But when we lean heavily on a leader for our spirituality, it usually means we are not leaning heavily on God.

The robot represents those of us who, if we lived in the world of Star Trek, would have been born Vulcan. We tend to over think and have a hard time feeling. Everything is a cold calculation. The problem with that is we forget to love people the way God loves people.

The mad scientist represents those of us who have an answer to everything. And because we have the answer, we don’t listen to anybody else. It also means that we think we can fix the world. In other words, we have a big problem with pride.

There are other monsters listed in the back of Matt’s book, but I list the top five that show up during the story. As you can see, it’s kinda funny to compare people to monsters. And yet look how scarily accurate the descriptions are?

We are all monsters. Or as the Bible would say, we are all sinners. And no matter how hard we try, we cannot get rid of the monster inside of us. Only God can. Only God can bring true transformation, transformation that starts from the inside out.

I highly recommend Night of the Living Dead Christian. And if you really want, I also recommend Matt Mikalatos’s first book My Imaginary Jesus.