Category Archives: 4-star

Fire in the Blood: Book One of Last Moon Rising Series by Dale Ibitz

4 out of 5 stars

Genre:  YA Fantasy     Word Count:  58,126

Where to Purchase:

Amazon:  $2.99       Barnes and Noble:  $2.99

Description:

It’s Haley’s seventeenth birthday, and in a blink of an eye her entire life changes.  She finds herself on a strange planet, inhabited by peoples with strange powers involved in a war that has the capability of annihilating all life, even on the planet Earth.  While Haley is completely in the dark as to what brought this war to be, who the players are, and what it will take to prevent it she plays a key role in deciding the fate of this world and her own. But being a heroine is not so easy, especially when everything and everyone is unknown to her, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

Excerpt:

I grabbed the bridle hanging on the stall door, and slid inside.  My fingers shook.  my knees shook.  Even my lips trembled as I talked out loud to calm myself.

“I can’t believe how easy it was to sneak down here, big guy.  I think I even managed to fool Tuggin  Big trick, you know, being that he’s a Menta and has all these goofy powers.  Kind of scary, actually.”

I slipped the bit into his mouth.  “That’s not so bad, is it?”  I looped the reins over my arm, and then flung the blanket and saddle onto his back.  “I mean, not that I’m scared of Tuggin.  He’s just scary-looking sometimes.  I mean, his looks aren’t scary . . . he’s stupid hot . . .but the way he looks at me scares me sometimes.”

Review:

Writing in first person can be both good and bad.  If you need to be in the know, then first person is not for you, but if you can really identify with the protagonist, then it’s actually a great way to make this type story credible because you experience and learn things as Haley experiences and learns them.   As that’s all you know you also get to experience the uncertainties and bewilderment that she experiences.  This makes the storyline of a young girl transported to a strange world of which she knows nothing about much more realistic.

The character Haley is very believable and quite likable.  She behaves as a seventeen year old girl who has been  transported to a strange world and has no idea what is going on and who is trying to assimilate everything being thrown at her should behave.  A young girl who only recently was concerned with her hair, clothes, BFF, and the cute guy at school now has to deal with matters of much greater import.  And  Ibitz portrays this juxtaposition very well in Haley’s character.  It will be interesting to see her evolve in the series.

Ibitz also does a good job a presenting a fantasy world.  Unlike some books of that genre which simply add some magic, horses, and inns and call it a fantasy, Ibitz does create another world which has another reason for being:  various peoples, politics, and power that makes that world run.

The only real problem that I had with this book was the interaction between Haley and Tuggin at the beginning of the book.  It took on a more sexual footing and read like a teenage sultry romance novel, add to this the fact that they have  a “kidnapee-kidnapper ” relationship makes it a twisted sultry romance.

Content Rating:

Other than the first part that I mentioned in the review, this book was very clean.

Formatting:

Does not contain a table of contents.  Other than that it is formatted quite nicely.

About the Author:

Dale Ibitz currently lives in New Hartford, CT with her husband, two kids, and assorted pets. In addition to the YA fantasy, Fire in the Blood, she has penned a mid-grade contemporary novel. She is working on 2 more projects (one of which is Book 2 of the Last Moon Rising series) which will be available in 2012. She’s a fan of hiking, reading, seriously good writing, and chocolate! Music is a strong motivator for her writing, and she tends toward alternative metal, such as Puddle of Mudd, Three Days Grace, and Breaking Benjamin.  http://www.wix.com/daleibitz/daleibitz and http://dalesplace-dale.blogspot.com/

Demon Gates (Book One in the Nexus War Saga) by Robert Day

4 out of 5 Stars

Genre:  Fantasy    Word Count:  150,000

Where to Purchase:

Amazon US:  $0.99      Amazon UK:  £0.69    Barnes and Noble:  $1.99

Smashwords:  $1.99     Sony:  $1.99

Description:

An old evil is arising, and the people of Kil’tar are ill-equipped to deal with it.  The ones who should have the knowledge and strength to deal it with it have forgotten and grown weak.  The unsuspecting who are forced to deal with it need to learn and train.  Yet all will need to fight.   Some will live.  Some will die.  This is a story of that time.

Excerpt:

With the evening  came the eventual rise of the brother moons, shedding their mystical luminescence over the land, turning the lifeless scene below into one of eeriness as the orange glow bathed the ruins.  Valdeiron dozed restlessly, waking as the waning moons were almost touching the grey outline of the dawn-filled horizon.  He could not remember how long he waited and watched; only that neither sight nor sound had he seen of Cash or Trolls.  Ruing the missed rendezvous, the shouldered his pack and rose, stretching against the light of the new day.  Turning his gaze again to the south, he pictured in his mind what roads lay beyond the horizon.

Review:

Robert Day is a very talented author whose storytelling abilities are refreshing and, for the most part, unique.    There are some similar scenes between this novel and those in  Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.   And while Day does a good job with the combat descriptions they all tend to end the same way which gets a little redundant  and predictable.  Which is sad because the rest of this book is anything but predictable as Day is a gutsy writer, like George R.R. Martin, in that he is not afraid to kill, or cast off secondary characters.  As a matter of fact, how Day has approached secondary characters in this book is one of the reasons that this book is so good.

Unlike many other novels where the secondary characters reason for being and their actions revolve around the protagonist, in Demon Gates Day has given each of the secondary characters their own stories.  Yes, they are introduced to the reader because they have some connection with the hero Valdeiron, but their fate is not necessarily tied up with his.  It’s more the case of events occurring on Kil’tar and each person has to deal with them the according to who they are and the circumstances in which they find themselves.   While the heroes interests and the secondary characters coincide they stay together, when they don’t they part.  A very rare thing in a novel which makes for a truly good book.   

Content Rating:

The book contains no swearing.  It does have some graphic combat scenes, and there is one disturbing sexual incident.

Formatting:

Weird formatting:  more like its typewritten, then the regular font we’re used to seeing on the Kindle.  It does not include a table of contents, but other than that it’s perfectly fine.

About the Author:

Robert Day was born in Newcastle, New South Wales. His family moved to the small town of Gloucester when he was 10. He was introduced to Fantasy books by a friend soon after, and from then on hardly a day seemed to go by when he was not lost in some fantasy land rather than doing homework or chores. Around age 15 he discovered Dungeons and Dragons thanks to his older brother Jamie, further fuelling his imagination.
It was during a time when he had seemed to have read most fantasy available to him that he thought “How hard can it be?”
The answer being, of course, “Very Hard!”
Twenty years later, after turning what was originally one enormous manuscript into 2 moderately huge ones, he brings you Demon Gates, book 1 of the Nexus Wars Saga. This, his debut Novel, is the beginning of what will eventually be a 5 – 7 book series.
Robert now resides on the Central Coast of NSW with his beautiful wife Kerri, 2 cats, and a border collie dog named Jasper.

If you would like to learn more about this author and his other works you can find his blog at http://robertdaybooks.blogspot.com/ or go to his website at http://www.robertdaybooks.com/