Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fall From Grace by J Edward Ritchie


424 pp
January 2015

ISBN-13: 978-1502973863

About the Book: 
Heaven: a paradise of all that is pure in Creation. Led by brothers Michael and Satanail, the Angelic Host is a testament to cosmic harmony and love. But when an unprecedented revelation threatens to uproot their peace, a schism splits the Host’s loyalties. Every angel has to make a choice: faith or freedom. Good or evil. Salvation or damnation.

War consumes Heaven in the first and most destructive loss of life that Creation will ever know. As brother turns on brother, the fate of Heaven and Earth rests in the hands of the Creator’s chosen son, Michael. How far will he go, what will he sacrifice in the name of their Father, to protect his family?

Witness the tragic downfall of a civilization told from both sides of a bloody rebellion. More than myth, more than legend, Heaven’s war will forever stand as a harrowing warning that even the purest of souls can fall from grace.

My review:
The author approached me, offered me a copy in exchange for a review. I did my usual double check of legitimacy and some reviews, and yes, saw most were freebies, but I was still intrigued. A slight surge of temporary wealth and the 99-cent price led me to buy the book. I don’t mind supporting fellow authors who are serious. And Jeff was personable. Upon opening my copy, I learned it was well-written enough for me to stomach—as an author and professional editor, I’m basically ruined for reading—and discovered very few issues that would keep me from regretting the purchase.

The story of the war in heaven is a stunner. It’s fiction—necessary for me to repeat to myself and all other readers. The author is clear that it’s not religious. But it’s almost hypnotic. I had to stop and ponder several times and spoke to a friend numerous times while reading. I almost wish the author had not used the biblical names for his world and its characters, because for the first third of the book I went down paths of “what if” and “hmm, interesting angle” knowing it’s fantasy/fiction. And not Christian.

Some issues are irrelevant because it’s not religious fiction or biblical regarding the anatomy of angels and references to humanisms; even the term “Father” for the Creator in a world where procreation doesn’t happen, as well as occasional veiled scriptural references might make some dedicated readers of serious science fiction or Christian fantasy groan, but the author’s take on the different types of angels and what their realm might be like is intriguing.

The fantasy elements of the Fires of Creation and the weapons of warfare went a little over the top for me, but that’s because I was taking the story too seriously. As mentioned, the author pulls in a number of cultural and mythical references and once I realized I didn’t really know where the story was headed I had a very hard time putting the book down. It was long—too long, really, and if I’d been the editor I’d have asked him to trim it—but the elements were intriguing. There were very few mistakes that didn’t throw me out of the book. Told from multiple narrator viewpoints. I do admit to buzzing though some of the brutal war imagery. Fall From Grace is a worthy debut novel from a talented author.

Fall From Grace is fantasy fiction using religious names and concepts, but is not an inspirational story. In fact, the graphic violence, occasional language, and sensuality may turn off some readers, so be aware this book is not recommended for under mature later teens at the earliest or those who think it might be theological. It’s not. But it might spark some conversation. The author has a number of posts about the story and his research on his website.

About the Author: 
“J. Edward Ritchie is a novelist and screenwriter specializing in epic world creation. He lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts with his wife and golden retriever.”

That’s what my novel bio says. Too bland and impersonal? Well, let me tell you a little more about myself. Oh, and you can call me Jeff.

I was born in the rural town of New Milford, CT. Skateboarding, movies like Star Wars and Braveheart, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, video games, and classic literature all had an immense influence on my psyche and molded me into a Frankenstein’s Monster of pop culture and academia. I knew what I enjoyed in life and never made excuses for any of it.

For ten years I pursued a career in screenwriting and even sold a few scripts.
The great American novel was calling my name, as it has so many others…
My wife and I relocated to Cape Cod, MA where I finished my first novel, the fantasy epic Fall From Grace. Trust me––you’ve never read anything quite like my war between the angels. Inspiring and brutal, loving and bloody, it embodies all of the thematic and fantastical elements that made me who I am today.

Movies, TV, books, comics, video games––I dig all forms of creative escapism. That’s me in a nutshell: a nerd-of-all-trades. Throughout my years at the keyboard, I believe that I’ve found the most important piece of advice for all writers. Actually, a piece of advice for everyone: find someone to love.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Madcap Fun with Lindsey Paley and her new book

Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes (A Camille Carter Novel Book 1)

June 2015
A Camille Carter Novel Book One

Buy on Amazon
2.99 ebook

From the Publisher:
When all-round buttercream princess, Millie Carter, becomes stranded at Craiglea Manor Cookery School, she believes her chance of enjoying a merry festive season is over.

The village of Aisford is Christmas-card perfect, but Millie hates it - she hates the snow, her freezing fingertips, and being forced to look like her Aunt Marjory in a mud-splattered wax jacket and wellies instead of her beloved shorts and sparkly sandals.

She plots her escape but ends up locking spatulas with the estate manager, Fergus McKenzie, who is forced to rescue her before she succumbs to a severe dose of hypothermia. Things start to improve with the arrival of handsome Sam Morgan, fresh from the beaches and rum shacks of the Caribbean.

Can Millie accept her fate? And will Aisford sprinkle some of its seasonal magic on her troubles?

Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes is a festive story of love and friendship and reaching for the buttercream icing and edible glitter when life gets tough. 

My review:
I love Lindsey Paley’s work. I love that each story is a little virtual visit for this American Anglophile to Great Britain. I enjoy her characters. This first submission in the Camille Carter series is no exception. She even made me miss winter with her summer release.

Chef Millie is one raw dough woman, missing that essential ingredient that would create the perfect recipe of life. Trouble is, she keeps trying all the wrong additions and making messes. Fleeing from tragedy to heartbreak to heartbreak and to fling, readers follow madcap, clumsy, chip-on-her-shoulder, opinionated Millie as she stumbles unknowingly headlong into a scheme to catch a crook. Maybe she’ll even catch a break, but there’s no end of fun in store with Book One.

Told in third person multiple viewpoints, this delightful contemporary British tale will delight readers who like stories with twists and turns and a little zest with their romantic scenes. The story is billed as a novella, but it’s not all that short. Fun read.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Delightful Short Pet Read

I've been privileged to work with many authors on a vast array of projects, everything from short horror, flash fiction, quick little reads to epic historical novels. Eliza Earsman has an interesting history, besides a growing list of lovely tales to read. Manley, the rescue cat, is a charming tale at a sweetheart price.

About the Book:
Manley was in a bad way. Dehydrated and exhausted from a long ‘stowaway’ journey, he was found in the back of a removal merchant’s haulage truck. One day and 400 tarmac miles earlier he had crawled in to examine what he thought was a load of peace and quiet. Falling asleep on a sofa wasn’t the best option but that is what happened—and he had no way of raising the alarm. 

The two hardy workmen fed, watered and soothed him. Short of leaving him on the mean city streets, they had no option but to take him to an inner city London animal shelter. Staff there found a microchip identifying his owner but the ‘owner’ didn’t want the cost of hauling him back to his south-of-England home county. 

June 2015
20 pp
Buy on Amazon

My review:
A lovely story about the relationship between two adventurous souls, one human, one cat. Manley might have been rescued from the shelter, but he rescued Shelagh, his boon companion, every bit as much. Nice little reading nugget, cat romance, charming adventure, and yes, Manley's expression on the cover, a little smug, a little shy, and little sleepy, says it all. Delightful For those who like a quick short pet read.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Penelope Marzec and Patriot's Pride historical fiction

Margaret, the heroine of Patriot’s Pride, first appeared as the indomitable younger sister of Agnes in Patriot’s Heart. Margaret and her pet pig, Jonas, stole many scenes in Patriot’s Heart. I knew I had to give Margaret her own book and I am delighted I was able to do so.

One fact, which initially inspired me to write the book, was the impressment of American sailors by the British even though the Revolutionary War had come to an end. Eventually, the practice turned public opinion against Britain, resulting in the War of 1812.

I did quite a lot of research for the book and discovered many ways in which our world has changed considerably since 1784, which is the year Margaret embarks on a journey to England.

I wrote a blog post on how recipes used to be called receipts. I wrote another on the sad statistics of surgery in those long ago days. I love research and am fascinated by the details of history.

Naturally, once I read about the sad state of surgery in those days, it wasn’t difficult to imagine Derrick, a surgeon, who is haunted by his brother’s death. When his prayers went unanswered, he turned his faith to science. He believes studying with an esteemed surgeon in England will return meaning to his life.

Then there’s Margaret, whose fiancĂ© died at the hands of a doctor who bled him to death. On board the Prosperity, she meets the arrogant Doctor Fortune who considers her no less than a milkmaid. She considers him a butcher. Though she must journey to England to hear the reading of the will of her grandfather, the Earl of Broadcraft, she finds herself constantly confronting Derrick on his methods of healing. Yet, there is something about his soulful eyes that attracts her. When a British ship presses the Prosperity’s sailors into service, Margaret and Derrick must work together if they are to reach England. But can they ever learn to trust each other enough to allow love into their hearts?

Below are the buy links!
Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore, heard stories about Captain Kidd, and dug for his buried treasure. All she got was a bad case of poison ivy. Deciding books were better than buried treasure, she discovered romance novels and was soon hooked on happy endings. She became an early childhood educator and found her own hero in an electrical engineer who grew up in Brooklyn, played the accordion, and was immune to poison ivy. Now retired, Penelope either writes her stories or paints seascapes in oils. Sometimes she sings while her husband plays the accordion.

You can find Penelope at her website.
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Find her on Instagram @marzecpenelope

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Novella by Canadian Fav Sharon McGregor

Fiona’s Knight of Dreams

Sharon McGregor
June 2015 Prism Book Group

Historical romantic novella


The good ladies of Timber are ready to find a wife for their new single minister. Charles has ideas of his own when he meets Fiona, the lovely accident-prone and outspoken part-time librarian. Fiona, on the other hand is holding out for a knight on a white charger to carry her away from her humdrum small town life. Fiona and Charles are thrown together as they begin to solve an old mystery which has turned up in a library book. Will Fiona's white knight ever show up to sweep her away? Will Charles ever run out of invitations for cream cakes and lemon slice? Fiona might just discover the sound of hoof-beats when she least expects it.

My Review:
Post World War II in Canada...everyone has been affected somehow, whether family member or friend, and the new young single pastor in Timber has his own experience as an army chaplain. Fiona thinks of herself as a klutz and futureless. Young, naive, unsure, she’s not sure what to think when the pastor comes calling. Using a little mystery in a library book as the beginning of their courtship, McGregor paints a charming story of regaining a life of purpose, and finding a sure path to the future in this novella.

I enjoy this author’s stories and recommend them for readers who like clean and sweet bite-size romances for a vicarious adventure in historical Canada.

Sharon McGregorSharon McGregor is a west coast transplant from the Canadian prairies. Her imagination and story weaving got its start when she was an only child living on a farm. She's moved on from cowgirl dreams to romance and mystery, but hasn't lost her love for horses.

When not writing or reading, she's busy with the two shops she shares with her daughter- an ice cream and candy store and a bath boutique.