Review – Nourished By That Which Consumes by Joseph Ephraim

Nourished By That Which Consumes by Joseph EphraimGenre: Thriller

ASIN: B008O7VQLS
59 pages

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Available at the following locations:
Amazon

Visit Joseph Ephraim on the web:
Twitter


Book Description

The author does not include a description of his novel. He opted to use his prologue and first chapter to entice potential readers instead. I will give you a brief description instead.

Zhang Yu-Lin is a young Singaporean woman. Her father is a gambler who racks a debt he cannot hope to repay. He wishes his daughter would help by becoming a call girl. She refuses, unwilling to degrade herself so. That is, until the loan sharks pay a visit to their house and botch their intimidation attempt. Zhang Yu-Lin loses her mother and two siblings in the fire that consumes their home.

Yu-Lin’s woes worsen when her father loses his composure when next faced by the loan sharks. In a sudden rage, he murders the gangster. Yu-Lin loses the last remaining member of her family to a prison sentence.

Yu-Lin vows vengeance on those who had taken her family from her. She uses all her attributes—intelligence, beauty, determination—to infiltrate the criminal organization so she may one day make those responsible for her anguish pay in kind.


My Review3-Star_rating

Nicely Written But Lacking Depth

Joseph’s writing style made this story quite easy to follow. This was an enjoyable read, and I found myself wanting more.

I read the entire thing in one sitting, but found myself unsatisfied despite the quality of the prose. Joseph could have easily doubled the length of the book if he had explored the sub-plots that were mentioned throughout the story. It seemed to me that Joseph was under a deadline and needed to get the project done as quickly as possible. He flew through the story, marvellously writing the necessary parts to still make things flow naturally. But this made his characters a little one-dimensional. He did mention some back stories, but never elaborated on them. This would have made the book even more enjoyable, in my opinion.

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Review – Kaylen’s Rising by Yves Robichaud

Kaylen's Rising by Yves RobichaudGenre: Young Adult Fantasy

ISBN: 978-0993974601
322 pages

Publisher: Water’s Edge Publishing

Available at the following locations:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Visit Yves Robichaud on the web:
His Site
Twitter


Book Description

Book 1 of the Tomes of Taria Series

Kaylen has been in the dark for fourteen years – in every sense. His people are hunted, so they must struggle to survive within underground caves. His community despises his family, taunting him constantly. His parents keep him housebound, forbidding him from wielding sword or wand.

When he is finally allowed to attend school, the harsh truth reveals he has much to learn – including a unique magical ability. Kaylen can summon and control skeletons!

With surface-dwellers threatening war, he will need every friend he can make, and to stay true to himself if he is to survive what is to come.


My Review3-Star_rating

A Fast-Paced Tale That Forces Readers To Keep Reading

Don’t let this average rating fool you. Kaylen’s Rising is an excellent story. It is fast-paced and full of action. There is always something happening, forcing the reader to keep flipping the pages to see what happens next.

What this book needs is a little more depth. The characters are a little flat and their relationships do not evolve much, save for a small few. There is a budding love story, but it goes no further than its inception. Future books will most likely elaborate on these romances (I will clarify nothing so as not to spoil the story), but this novel left me disappointed. Kaylen’s family history is revealed nicely throughout the book, however, so I was quite satisfied with his development.

The final confrontation is a little anticlimactic for me. The tension builds beautifully until the final moment, then it just deflates. The problem is resolved too easily in my view, so I was disappointed.

All in all, though, this novel was a good read. It is meant for an audience of children between ten and fourteen, and I believe most of them would enjoy this story.

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Review – Huntsman by Michael R. Wilson

Huntsman by Michael R. Wilson

Genre: Epic Fantasy

ISBN: 978-1478172352
378 pages

Available at the following locations:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
ITunes
Kobo
Smashwords

Visit Michael R. Wilson on the web:
His Blog
Facebook

Twitter


Book Description

~AD 1011 Ancient Finland~

Once upon a time…Words held more Power and dragons roamed the world.

For Eyulf, the youngest son of a minor lord, the opportunity to train with a Rune-Singer Mage was the chance of a lifetime. He is content…until he discovers a volume of Lost Words, powerful Runes forgotten through the ages. Corrupted by Magic he cannot control, things go wrong quickly.

Jaakko, a simple huntsman, returns to his home late one night to find his village destroyed by a creature out of legend. Obsessed with the monster and his desire for revenge, he spends fruitless years hunting the beast before he realizes that it toys with him and he lacks the Power to destroy it.

When Avitus, an officer aboard a Byzantine ship of war, learns that his captain’s orders are to sell their ship and abandon the crew in the far North, he finds himself a penniless outlander. When he finds work as Steward to a future king he feels all will be well…until the crippled Mage comes to court.

Aila, spurned by Eyulf in his quest for Power, has quite happily made a new life for herself without him. When he returns, and tries to claim her once more as his betrothed, her fear of the potent magic he wields keeps her from confiding in the few people she feels she can trust.

One by one, they are drawn into Eyulf’s treachery.

The Hunted Mage Trilogy incorporates a blend of History, Fantasy and Ancient Finnish folklore.


My Review4-Star_rating

A Tale Exceptionally Told

Michael did an excellent job weaving this tale. The characters are so well rounded and compelling they drag the reader along as they stumble through their troubles. I find myself unable to decide who to root for, but I desperately want to know what happens to all of them.

The book is divided into three parts, with many years passing by between acts. I found myself a bit confused with certain details at the beginning of new sections, which interrupted the easy flow of the story. But these were mere bumps in an otherwise smooth ride that is a fantastic tale.

Any fantasy enthusiast must add Huntsman to their collection. I know I have and will definitely buy the other titles to complete the set.

I simply can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Reviewing the Written Word

In today’s world, individuality is touted and thinking for oneself is encouraged in most cultures. But, when it comes to making a choice for ourselves, most still like to hear opinions from others. Or, in today’s age of cyberspace, they want to read about their options.

5-Star_rating_system_PCAR_01Very little people nowadays will visit a retail site and click on the “Proceed to Checkout” button without first reading the provided revues of said product. The amount of 5-star ratings more often than not makes the consumer’s decision for them. Let’s face it, when having to choose between two similar items, going with the one more people like just makes sense.

This is also true in the book industry. You’ll hear about the die-hard readers who go to book stores and read a few pages before opting for a volume. Most on-line book outlets give you that same option, letting you read a preview. I will proudly admit I am one of these. You can tell if the story will interest you with a quick scan of a paragraph or two.

But what if you’re picking up a novel for someone else? What if that person prefers to read in a genre you would rather not know even exists? Let’s face it. Some readers would prefer to forget there was ever a Twilight, while others will hunt me down to pay for this slander. Personally, I find Stephenie Meyer‘s plot twist illogical and detrimental to the story, no matter how well she writes.  But other members of my family love her books, so I would still buy her novels as gifts.

It’s in these situations when I would rely on revues. Not knowing which volume to pick, I would let the masses guide me. Many do this, as well, when they just want to read the latest best seller. Sometimes all you know is you want a thriller. You don’t care who wrote it or whether it contains vampires or not. In this case, it makes sense to go for the book liked by the most amount of readers.

And that’s why we have reviews!

2301723_sPart of my previous blog dealt with book reviews. I was always open to trading opinions. I know, many disapprove of authors swapping works for revues. A lot of novelists abused the system, using each other to boost their ratings. I never took part in that sort of scam. The authors I worked with knew exactly where I stood. I wanted an honest revue from them, and I would give them the same. I wasn’t looking for a perfect rating. If they didn’t like the story, I wanted them to say so. And they knew I would do the same.

I neglected my blog shortly after that, so I didn’t revue that many books. In the next few posts, I will share those reviews again. Most of these stories are worth the read and deserve the reminder they are still out there, available to the masses. I’m sure the authors won’t mind the extra exposure.

Before we get to those, however, I feel I should explain how I rate the stories. Many sites use different methods and scales, so a 4-star review from on site could mean something totally different than a 4 out of 5 rating somewhere else.

This is how I work:

First, I need to emphasize I rate novels on readability. The important thing is the story, the flow of events and how the author manages to keep my attention. Syntax and grammatical errors only register with me if they detract from the tale. I will not call out a writer for their use of the passive voice, unless it makes me put the book down. I won’t, like, you know, say anything about, well, using the totally unnecessary filler words that dramatically slows down the 10232322_salready languishing pace of the story, like in this sentence, unless it happens way too often. I do not teach the English language and will not pretend to know all the obscure rules nobody seems to follow any more. I’m looking for a narrative that captivates the reader, forcing them to turn one more page despite their need to put the book down.

On this blog, I use the expected 5-point system. Each score designates a specific opinion on the book, as follows:

  1. Did Not Finish — The novel was so bad I put it down without getting to the last page. I loath not finishing what I start, so it takes a lot for me to give up on a story. You should not see many 1’s, but if you do, I strongly suggest to keep away.
  2. Would Not Recommend — Though able to read the entire story, it did nothing to impress me. My copy of this book would be on the list to donate. It would have no place in my personal library. It would not be mentioned when someone asks me what I think they should read next.
  3. An Okay Story — I know a 3 out of 5 doesn’t look that good, but these stories still have some gems scattered through the pebbles. Novels in this categories are those I enjoyed reading, but would most likely not read again. There was something missing, and sometimes it will be so subtle I can’t put my finger on it. The novel may be interesting while I read it, but not enough that I will want to read it again. I might still suggest these books to someone I think would enjoy them.
  4. Excellent Book! — Captivating stories and exciting climaxes get you in this category. These are the tales I will talk about to like-minded readers. There will be minor glitches I dislike, but nothing too glaring to detract from the overall awesomeness of the narrative. These books will find their way onto my shelves, either physical or electronic.
  5. Oh My God! Perfection! — Rarely will I give this rating. When I say perfection, I mean perfection (in my opinion). There has to be nothing in the novel I wish to change. These are the stories you wish to pick up again, even if you just finished reading them a week ago. Not only will these books grace my shelves, I’ll be looking for a second, signed copy, to lock away in a display case.

That, in a nutshell, is how it works here. You will see the structure of my reviews when I post the first one in a few days. I have rambled on long enough to bore you with those details.

I will offer myself to authors out there who wish to have their books reviewed. Simply get in touch with me through my website, MarcLabelle.com. Or send me a private message using Facebook or Twitter.

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