Eric Olafson: Black Velvet by Vanessa Ravencroft

Eric Olafson: Captain Black Velvet

Title: Captain Black Velvet

Author: Vanessa Ravencroft

Publisher: Inkitt

Date of publication: July 26th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Number of pages: 542

POV: 1st person

Where you can find Eric Olafson: Captain Black Velvet: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Follow Eric Olafson’s epic adventure through a multi cultural mega civilization as he goes deep undercover in the 51st century as Black Velvet – a female pirate captain of a mysterious background.

Thrust into the life of a starship captain, Eric Olafson is now the commanding officer of the famous spacecraft, the USS Tigershark. On their mission to hunt pirates and criminals, Eric and his unusual crew are sent into Freespace, disguised as the very outlaws they are chasing. Eric reveals himself as Black Velvet, a gorgeous female with long blonde hair, a killer body, and a reputation that stirs fear throughout the galaxies in civilians, space pirates and criminals alike.

Eric is still oblivious to the fact that he is destined to play a central role in an ancient conflict of cosmic proportions, but something is stirring. 

Trigger Warning: None

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The Son’s Path by Hildebrand Hermannson

The Son's Path

Title: The Son’s Path

Author: Hildebrand Hermannson

Publisher: The Poet’s Truth

Date of publication: July 16th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Number of pages: 234

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Seeing one side of wealth and power, Sunu, the Slayer of the White Aurochs, has set his eyes on greater fame. For his envy of others’ glory is clouding the truth of who he is and what he was meant to be…to the point of disappearance. With the warnings of his austere father falling on deaf ears, it will take more than a man for Sunu to see that glory is not the only thing awaiting him outside his humble village. After striving against his father during a bullish storm, a dazzling rainbow draws Sunu out of his longhouse into a sacred oak grove, where he hears the whispering of a horse made from the sun. “There is more than what is seen.” This horse was sent by a mysterious friend, who gives it secret counsel, to help Sunu see the truth and the enemy unseen. In a journey that reveals the mystery of life, the horse must shed light on everything Sunu has to lose and everyone influencing his decisions—how they’re affecting the Sons of Man—so he will choose the right path to imperishable fame.

My review:

I love reading less known books by lesser known authors. Don’t get me wrong, I like popular authors too but I really enjoy giving the unknown authors a chance. Which I did with The Son’s Path and I was greatly disappointed by this book. A magical horse who talks to a teenager and takes him on adventures, sign me up. What I read, though, really didn’t live up the hype in my mind.

This book turned out to be one of the most boring, tedious books that I have read in a while. While it was pretty interesting in the beginning, I found that the characters really didn’t fit into the mold for Germany in 109. While the raids of Germany (ie the Saxons) were historically accurate, the mannerisms and vocabulary of Sunu seemed to model after a modern-day 15-year-old at points in the book. Which was kinda at odd with the historical setting in the book.

I had a very hard time getting through the book. If the author had just focused on Sunu and his coming of age story or even Sunu and Runa/Mystery’s adventures, I think that the book would have been a lot better. But, instead, the coming of age story was woven in with Mystery’s story and it just got confusing at points. I can’t tell you how many times I had to back up and reread a page because I felt that I missed something.

Sunu was very difficult for me to connect to as a character. He just didn’t come across as a nice person in the book, even at the end….when everything was revealed and he was supposedly changed for the better. For some reason, as a reader, I didn’t believe that and that, among with other things, ruined the book for me. I couldn’t get past his actions and his greediness in the book.

What I did like was that the author did have a glossary at the back of the book. I didn’t know it when I was reading and struggled with some of the words/names of people, place, and religions that were used in the book. But it was there and I was happy about it after the fact.

The end of the book was just as confusing at the rest of the book.

How many stars will I give The Son’s Path: 2

Why: I am actually being very generous with a 2-star rating. I gave it that because of the historical facts that were used in the book. It was very well researched in that regard and that is why I bumped my 1 star up to 2. Other than that, I found this book very tedious to read and had a very difficult time finishing it.

Will I reread: No

Will I recommend to family and friends: No

Age range: Older Teen

Why: Violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Once A Hero: Diaries of a Space Marine by Watson Davis

Once A Hero: Diaries of a Space Marine by [Davis, Watson]

Title: Once A Hero

Author: Watson Davis

Publisher: Unknown

Date of publication: January 10th 2015

Genre: Science Fiction

Number of pages: 56

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find Once A Hero: Amazon

Book Synopsis (from Amazon):

Paroled from military prison, Dorothea wants to kick back and become a regular citizen with a regular job but the wrong people remember who she is, what she’s done, and who she’s killed.

Those people want her dead, and they’re willing to pay.

Welcome to the first novella in the Diaries of a Space Marine military science fiction series, a rousing tale of a warrior who’s trying to fit in.

Buy this book and start the adventure.

My review:

I really enjoyed reading Once A Hero. While short, it was full of action and science fiction (hello, on a different plant) with a main character that I didn’t know if I wanted to feel bad for, strangle her or a combination of both.

Not a lot of background is given about Dorothea, just that she was in jail for war crimes and that she was hated by the population. So when she was paroled, I knew that trouble was going to follow her and oh boy did it.

I really can’t go into the book except that it does get interesting when she is released. People are out to get her and she literally cannot go anywhere without someone attacking her. Which explains why she did what she did later in the book. Heck, I would have done the same thing.

For it being a short story, I felt that the author did do a great job with letting me get to know Dorothea. I also liked that he set up for the other book. How he did that, I really can’t say (will be giving away a major reveal in the plot).

I am very interested in seeing how the other book pans out. Because of Dorothea’s choices.

This would be a perfect book for the beach, pool or sitting out back with your kids during summer vacation (guess where I read Once A Hero….lol).

How many stars will I give Once A Hero: 4

Why: Short but good. Makes you need to read the next book.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence and language

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

The Waking Land

Title: The Waking Land

Author: Callie Bates

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Date of publication: June 27th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Number of pages: 400

POV: 1st person

Where you can find The Waking Land: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Lady Elanna Valtai is fiercely devoted to the King who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition powers that suddenly stir within her.

But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.

My review:

The Waking Land is one of those books that pull you in from the explosive first page and will not let you up for air until the intense end. A book with vivid writing, memorable characters and a storyline that will stir your imagination.

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Demon Lights (Blackwater Lights Trilogy) by Michael M. Hughes

Demon Lights (Blackwater Lights Trilogy)

Title: Demon Lights

Author: Michael M. Hughes

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Hydra

Date of publication: May 23rd, 2017

Genre: Paranormal, Horror

Number of pages: 253

POV: 3rd person

Series: Blackwater Lights Trilogy

Demon Lights – Book 3

Where you can find Demon Lights: Barnes and Nobles| Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

From the cult-favorite author of Blackwater Lights comes the finale to a dark paranormal horror trilogy in the cosmic horror vein of H. P. Lovecraft.

The world is collapsing. Governments have fallen, and anarchy reigns. Yet a greater danger looms imprisoned in ancient objects from distant space: bodiless aliens with an all-consuming thirst for freedom . . . and human blood.

They have a strong ally in Lily, a powerful sorceress, and leader of a globe-spanning cult. In an isolated compound deep in the frozen north, Lily cultivates a group of children whose paranormal abilities can be harnessed to unleash the alien apocalypse. Now she has acquired the final pieces to the puzzle: a gifted young boy named William and his mother, Ellen, whose safety is the bargaining chip Lily needs to compel the child’s obedience.

Once again, William and Ellen’s last hope is Ray Simon. Every time Ray and Lily have crossed paths, she has come out on top, and even now she is one step ahead. But this time Ray is not alone. Accompanied by Claire and Mantu—devotees of the enigmatic Brotherhood of Eleusis, who possess psychic abilities of their own—Ray sets off on a desperate mission of rescue and revenge. Only the fate of humanity itself hangs in the balance.

My review:

This is my first book that I have read from Michael M. Huges and I got to say, I really enjoyed reading Demon Lights. It struck the perfect balance between horror, science fiction, and action. I couldn’t put the book down and I think I read it within a couple of hours. Any book that engrosses me that much is a keeper. The fact that it is the 3rd book in the Blackwater Lights Trilogy didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for Demon Lights. If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know how much I dislike picking up a book mid-series or even the end. Demon Lights could be read alone if needed to. While the past books were mentioned (and piqued my interest) but they did not overwhelm this one. Just enough background was given to understand the main characters and how they came into the situations that they were in. Then the book takes off.

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Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney

Fata Morgana

Title: Fata Morgana

Author: Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Date of publication: June 13th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: Unknown

POV: 3rd person

Series: No

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

At the height of the air war in Europe, Captain Joe Farley and the baseball-loving, wise cracking crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress Fata Morgana are in the middle of a harrowing bombing mission over East Germany when everything goes sideways. The bombs are still falling and flak is still exploding all around the 20-ton bomber as it is knocked like a bathtub duck into another world.

Suddenly stranded with the final outcasts of a desolated world, Captain Farley navigates a maze of treachery and wonder—and finds a love seemingly decreed by fate—as his bomber becomes a pawn in a centuries-old conflict between remnants of advanced but decaying civilizations. Caught among these bitter enemies, a vast power that has brought them here for its own purposes, and a terrifying living weapon bent on their destruction, the crew must use every bit of their formidable inventiveness and courage to survive.

Fata Morgana—the epic novel of love and duty at war across the reach of time.

My review:

This book made me a little sad in spots because my grandfather was a gunner on a B-17. He didn’t serve in Europe, though, he served in the South Pacific. It wasn’t until my son, then 5, started expressing an interest in airplanes, that he started talking about the war. Of course, he didn’t tell my son everything, just the names of the planes he flew on and he had pictures of “the ladies” as he called the planes. My son was fascinated that planes had people painted on them and was fascinated that Papa shot guns out of the back at the bad guys. He didn’t understand why Papa got weepy eyed when talking about people he served with who were KIA.

When he passed in 2015, we found his medals as we were cleaning his apartment. Among them was a Purple Heart….that was buried in the bottom of a draw. My mother wasn’t surprised and said he was injured during the war. We also found the pictures he had hidden away of his squadron with the dates of death and names written on the back. Everything was saved, I believe my mother has the pictures and the Purple Heart in a bank deposit box.

What I liked about Fata Morgana is that it was on point with everything that my grandfather had told my son and myself. From what the crews wore, to how the gunners were strapped into the shortwave radio operator to the people who handled the bombs, 100% accurate.

The science fiction aspect of the book was well written too. I liked that the Fata Morgana was taken 200 years into the future. A very bleak future, might I add, where the remnants of human society are forced to live in two domes in a crater. They are also fighting each other in a war that is as old as the domes themselves. Very surreal.

The B17 crew had to be my favorite characters to read. The personalities of each one come across the pages and make you smile. What I also liked is that the authors stayed true to how men from that era acted and their views on women and people of nationalities/color. I also like that they all smoked like chimneys.

I did like the romance between Captain Farley and Wennda. It was innocent, with only a kiss but it was real and I liked it.

There are a couple of twists that are thrown into the book that took me by surprise as I read it. One of the twists was big and it changed how I viewed the world that Wennda lived in. There was so much action and at one point, I was on the edge of my seat chanting “You are going to make. You are going to make it”. Want to know why I was chanting that? Read the book!!

The end was very bittersweet. I have a theory about what happened at the end of the book but I refuse to ruin the book for people. It is best that you read the book for yourself. Because I feel that people will have the same theory as I do.

How many stars will I give Fata Morgana: 4

Why: This is a book that will go on my keep shelf. It was action packed with memorable characters who quickly got under your skin. The storyline was pretty good too. It did lag in a couple of spots but the authors did a great job of getting the book back on track.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older teen (16+)

Why: Violence and some language

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Return to Lan Darr (Heroes of Distant Planet: Book 2) by Anderson Atlas

Return To Lan Darr

Title: Return To Lan Darr

Author: Anderson Atlas

Publisher: Synesthesia Publishing

Date of publication: July 11th, 2016

Genre: Action, Adventure, Young Adult, Science Fiction

Number of pages: 353

POV: 3rd person

Series: Heroes of Distant Planets

Strange Lands – Book 1 (review here)

Return to Lan Darr – Book 2

Immortal Shadows – Book 3

Where you can find Return to Lan Darr: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Surviving Lan Darr not only changed Allan’s life, it rocked him to his bones. On Earth, he’s simply a boy in a wheelchair who got lost in the woods, but across the galaxy, Allan is a hero. He must find a way back there.

Returning to Lan Darr might just kill him. Though Allan’s learned the hard way that he does not die easily.

Back on Earth, Allan’s uncle and his best friend race after Allan without an inkling of how deadly Hubbu travel can be. Chaos ensues, spawning disorder, confusion, and panic as the travelers end up on different worlds at different times and face extreme ecosystems, mysterious enemies and push the clock of death to the absolute breaking point.

The second book of the Heroes of Distant Planet Series cranks up the excitement, the mystery, and even the humor. A perfect and inspiring story for 12 and up.

My review:

After reading Strange Lands, I couldn’t wait to read book 2. I couldn’t wait to get back to Lan Darr with Allan and see what adventures were in store for him. I wasn’t disappointed and was thrilled that different worlds were introduced. I love it when worlds are added in a series that had only one world. It totally changes how I see the book. Return to Lan Darr does this and it makes the book magical.

I felt bad for Allan, in the beginning of the book. He went to a wonderful land, became a hero and when he tells people, they think that he is hallucinating and the therapist discussed with Rubic that he may be suffering from a form of schizophrenia. But the biggest blow came when Laura, his best friend, doesn’t believe him and then steals his diary….only to lose it at school and the pages are photocopied and passed around the school. The humiliation (and the fact that Laura wasn’t allowed to hang out with him), made Allan do something rash. He went back to the mountain to prove to Laura and his schoolmates that he was right. Except, he didn’t land in Lan Darr with the first poof of pollen. Nope, he landed in a place called Peebleland (inhabited by bat people). To get to Land Darr, he has to go through a planet called Katonaay to get the flower for Lan Darr. Katonaay isn’t what it seems and when Allan gets to Lan Darr, he is in for a big surprise. If you want to know what, read the book!!

I did like that Rubic tried to be more of a parent to Allan in this book. He settled down, got a job (with a 401K and health insurance) and was preparing to be a “regular” adult (but is there such thing as being a perfect adult). When Allan disappeared after inhaling the pollen of a purple Hubbu flower, he does the responsible thing and looks for Allan, then Laura when it comes up that Laura is missing also. But evil is coming his way and when Jibbawk, the evil ex-ruler of Lan Darr, makes his appearance at the house, Rubic goes with him…..looking for Allan. Rubic and Jibbawk have their own adventures while searched for Allan on distant planets with the help of multicolored Hubbu flowers.

Laura has a different sort of adventure, and in a way, made up for her stealing Allan’s diary. Not going to go into it, because doing so would kinda ruin her story, but she isn’t as weak or as helpless as you think she is. She also shows great compassion for certain people at certain points in the book.  Again, I really can’t get into her story because there will be spoilers.

I was thrilled that Mizzi made an appearance in the book and  I was even more thrilled that Asantia was featured more in this book. There was a secret that was revealed in the book that I actually guessed in book 1. Not going to say what but I wasn’t surprised when the connection was made.

The end of the book was not what I expected….at all. I liked it because it was different and I usually don’t see these types of endings. It did leave the series open for a book 3, too. Which I can’t wait to read if/when it happens.

How many stars will I give Return to Lan Darr: 4

Why: I really enjoyed reading this book. From the unforgettable characters to the engaging plotlines, this is a book that any tween, teen or adult would love to read.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age Range: Young Teen

Why: mild violence

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**