Book Review: ‘Shiva XIV’ by Lyra Shanti

‘Shiva XIV’: the next space epic you need to read. Seriously.

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‘Shiva XIV’ is a wonderful sci-fi/fantasy blend with some beautifully crafted magical elements. Or a blend of fantasy and magical realism with sci-fi elements.
Or… never mind. Suffice to say, it’s fantastic.

There is so much that is original in this story. Shanti has really proven herself a master of world-building in the variety and the incredible richness of the settings and unique planets she has created in ‘Shiva XIV’.

Ancient philosophies and vastly different world views characterise the different planets and their populations. These, in turn,  infuse the lead characters with the qualities and complexities that drive them and keep the reader engaged in the story as it unfolds. Not only are there the universal themes of love vs hate and good vs evil, we see the characters struggling with the same opposing forces in their own loyalties and ideologies.

 

The first book of three already published in what promises to be an absolutely brilliant series, it’s no exaggeration to say that ‘Shiva XIV’ could easily become the next space epic series. It would easily fill the void that Star Wars fans will experience after the final episode is released, given that it deals with many similar themes in new and entirely original ways.

 

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Shanti’s narrative flows easily, carrying the reader on Ayn’s journey of discovery and destiny. This book ends on a cliffhanger, but the reader is satisfied enough by the partial resolutions and revelations given in the final chapters of ‘Shiva XIV’ to not feel cheated or short-changed, yet Shanti successfully piques their curiosity enough to leave them wanting more. There’s so much more that is yet to  be revealed!

 

‘Shiva XIV’ gets five very-well-deserved stars from me.  I am very keen to move on to the next Shiva XIV book, ‘The Veil of Truth’ very soon!

 

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Author Spotlight: Eva Pasco

Weekly Author Spotlight: Eva Pasco
January 15, 2017

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Eva Pasco is the author of ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ and ‘Underlying Notes’.
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Both her novels explore issues relevant to women in the 21st century while taking readers on a journey that engages them with wonderfully crafted characters and intriguing storylines.
Click through to read Book Squirrel’s review of ‘An Enlightening Quiche’.
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Eva also writes personal and reflective short stories, which can be read free of charge on her Authors Den page.
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Eva is currently putting together a series of her memoir pieces for publication. This series is a wonderful trip through yesteryear, bringing up hits and trends of the past, and some very treasured memories.
You can be sure the Book Squirrel will let you know when that book is released!
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Eva has author profiles at:
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You can also visit Eva’s website at https://evapasco.com/
Reviews of Eva’s book ‘An Englightening Quiche’ can be read here.
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Book Review: ‘Fallen Into Bad Company’ by Kayla Jindrich

What a ripping yarn! I thoroughly enjoyed…

What a ripping yarn! I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of the man who fell into bad company. It’s a story that explores the contrasts between guilt and innocence, and between conscience and volition in a world populated by pirates, privateers, and settlers in the New World.

The characters were well developed, especially the main character, Matthew Blackwell. The author does an excellent job of evoking sympathy for Matthew, William and Stephan, and of crafting the hardhearted world in which they live.

5 stars, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum  for this rollicking pirate story.

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Author Spotlight: J.B. Richards

Author Spotlight: J.B. Richards

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Jeannie JB Richards is the author of ‘Miriamne the Magdala’, which is a fabulous read.
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After years of extensive historical research, Jeannie has written ‘Miriamne the Magdala’ as the first of her “Yeshua and Miri” series.

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The ebook of Miri is only $3.99 at Amazon – excellent value for such a well-researched and well-written book.

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A review of ‘Miriamne the Magdala’ is posted on this blog, if you’d like to read it.
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You can also preview the second book by reading the first chapter of the second book, titled ‘Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road’.
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The second book in the Yeshua and Miri Novel Series is due in coming months. Narrated by the character of Yeshua Himself, it promises to be the most powerful, insightful, and revealing look into the mind and life of the Youth destined to become the Christ yet!
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Yeshua is coming
You can learn more about Jeannie and her amazing book series, and find links to buy ‘Miramne the Magdala’ on her website at  http://www.yeshuaandmirinovelseries.com/
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Jeannie also runs a fabulous project called ‘Indies Helping Indies’ in which she reads and reviews books that may not yet be so well known to the public, yet which deserve some more attention and readership than they currently have.
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You can find out more about this project at The Writer’s Block and read Jeannie’s fabulous book reviews there.

You can follow Jeannie on the following social media links:

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Instagram: author_jb_richards
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Jeannie also has author profiles on
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Finally, you can read a really great interview with Jeannie by Benjamin Thomas on The Writing Train blog.

Book Review: ‘Miriamne the Magdala’ by J.B. Richards

This is a wonderful book that gives the reader a rich and rewarding reading experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Miriamne the Magdala’ and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

This is a wonderful book that gives the reader a rich2016-10-22-12-11-02

and rewarding reading experience.

The reader is taken on Miri’s journeys of discovery,

love, anguish and coming of age as the story progresses, sharing in her thoughts and secrets as a close confidante. Richards’ portrayal of Miri as a strong, faithful and somewhat feisty young woman gave a new and quite captivating dimension to this young woman, whose character is quite one-dimensional and only briefly touched upon in Biblical accounts. An important note is that the novel does not purport to be a retelling of any Biblical story, nor does it seek to preach or “convert” anyone: this is  historical fiction, and must be understood as such. Comparisons with the Bible must be put aside when one picks up this book and enters the world of Miri, Yeshua and their families.  It is a considerable achievement on the author’s part to have succeeded in blending historical traditions with fiction to craft such a powerful and beautiful story.
The fabric of the novel is woven seamlessly. Events, relationships and challenges interweave to create a compelling story that develops against the backdrop of first-century Galilee. The entire cast of characters is vibrant and realistic, each richly portrayed through expressive writing and magnificent imagery. Every setting is vibrant and full of life, feeding the reader’s imagination with enough detail to allow each scene and environment to evolve in the mind as one reads. This novel offers rich sensory experiences – sounds and smells abound with the narration, and the reader experiences both the heat of the day and the coolness of a tiled floor underfoot with equal impact.
One of the most enchanting elements of this novel is the dialogue, which almost speaks itself aloud in one’s mind as the story is read. The reader can hear the voices, the laughter, and the feeling between characters as they converse and tell their own stories through the pages of the book.
The mystery and questions that develop throughout the novel also serve to keep the reader  engrossed, always wanting to know more and to discover the answers that they, and the characters, are seeking.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Miriamne the Magdala’ and look forward to reading the next book in the series.
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Book Review: ‘Control’ by R. M. Gauthier

“If you thought ’50 Shades’ was good, this is better.”

I couldn’t put this book down. Right from the start, the characters were interesting, and I could relate easily to Lexi as she explored her thoughts and feelings. Before long, I felt like I knew her and was travelling alongside her in her adventures. I grew protective and defensive of her as the story progressed, and felt anger at those who hurt or disappointed her.
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Comparisons with ’50 Shades’ are probably unavoidable, except that Gauthier’s ‘Control’ is better written and the characters are more realistic. There is much less graphic sex, but the tension and desire are palpable, which I actually find a lot more interesting. As an avid reader, I am thankful that there is a lot more thoughtful character development and a far more believable plot. The characters are less wooden and far less shallow and selfish than Ana and Christian, who both frustrated me and angered me at different times.

There are some occasional typos, but they are easy to overlook as the story keeps moving at a really good pace, with some surprises and twists to keep the reader hooked.
There are some sophisticated and complex ideas and themes explored in this book that really challenge the reader’s own perceptions and assumptions. While some of the elements of the book are things that many people might not ever undertake or express an interest in, the point is that we can all benefit from remembering that there is always more to someone’s story than what they are willing or able to tell us.

 This book is only for an adult audience, and I’d suggest that those adults be open-minded and not too conservative in their outlook on life. If you fit into that demographic, then you’ll enjoy this book. If you thought ’50 Shades’ was good, this is better.

I really enjoyed ‘Control’.  Gauthier also has two related novellas, ‘Waiting’ and ‘Longing’, available on Amazon. They are also well worth the read!
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Book Review: The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries by J. Schlenker

‘The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries’
by J. Schlenker is an eclectic collection of
light-hearted, generally humorous short stories …”

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‘The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries’
by J. Schlenker is an eclectic collection of
light-hearted, generally humorous short stories that each deliver something for the reader to muse on. Whether this is a moral or just an entertaining idea varies from one story to the next. While some are more thought-provoking than others, each story is well-written in Schlenker’s conversational, easy-going style.

This was a good collection to pick up and put down throughout the busy Christmas-New Year holiday period, and would easily suit readers with busy and demanding lifestyles, as well as those who just enjoy a good short story from time to time.

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