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Grief For Heart: The Vincent Du Maurier Series, Book 4 by K. P. Ambroziak

This is the post excerpt.

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Grief for Heart

Paige

Author K.P. Ambroziak

 

Genre – Paranormal Fantasy
Pages – 210

I was given the honor of reading “Grief For Heart: The Vincent Du Maurier Series, Book 4 by K. P. Ambroziak before its release on July 14, 2017. Thank you Paige for that privilege. With very few exceptions (Anne Rice, Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker among them) I read mostly Independent and Self Published Authors. I have quite a lovely library (digital and physical) of some of, in my opinion, the finest literature available in that category. K. P. Ambroziak is among one of the finest of those authors in my humble opinion. I have had the opportunity to read all of K. P. Ambroziak’s books and I believe “Grief For Heart” is the crown jewel among them. I am so glad that Vincent Du Maurier spoke to her and gave her more wonderful words to pen. If words were a painting or a piece of beautiful music, this would be a masterpiece. She etches every word and phrase in just the right cadence and with so much feeling and care. In a place and time unknown, but painted as Icelandic or Norse in this chapter of the series, she has brought to life some of the most beautiful characters in some of the most enchanting, chilling and exciting locations in her imagination. The prose in this chapter of the series is pure poetry, and her style of writing is magical. This is the reason I read. Very rarely will you find an author that fits the reader like a second skin, but in K. P. Ambroziak I have found that perfect fit. For anyone who has taken the time to read my little scribe I beg, implore, and hope that you will give authors like K. P. Ambroziak as much attention as you would your favorite mainstream authors. You will find that some of the best literature you will ever read it amongst those authors. Let the story continue…and it will in the next chapter “Sorrow For Soul”. Until then, I sit with the memories of these stories and in wonderment as to where we will go next in this series. Well done my literary friend, well done indeed.

(From back cove and beginning of this chapter):

Dearest Saba,

You cannot know how proud you make me, how fierce you’ve become in your transformation. You are the one to raise men, to create the world I have quit. This narrative is only a snippet, your beginning, the impetus that set you on this course. But you must see it for what it is, too, a testament to whom you have become since. I may have fallen away, but I’m not gone from our world. Our forefather has seen to that, and in my place he shall stand. Honor him as you have done me. Love him as you have loved me. Be the daughter to him you have been to me, one no father can deny.

Don’t be surprised at the knowledge I’ve acquired, the things I’ve uncovered here, words and deeds I’ve recounted. As a mortal, as the first descendant of man, I was not privy to omniscience, but now …

My change brings many insights, gifts from beyond. As my eyes were opened, so too were the paths to other worlds. Know this, my daughter, you are and always will be a goddess, a being knit from celestial thread, forged in the fires of other spheres, equipped with a grace too great for mortal material. So, too, are you as they said. You are His. You now belong to Vincent Du Maurier.

Dag

Dragon Dodgers (Wounds in the Sky, Prequel) by V.R. Cardoso

Dragon Dodgers

Genre – Fantasy/Novella

Pages – 80

Oh what gems I find on my Kindle from days past. I’ve had this little story on my Kindle since 2015 and just got around to reading it. “Dragon Dodgers (Wounds in the Sky, Prequel) by V.R Cardoso was quite a lovely, enjoyable, and a very quick read. Fast paced story and interesting characters throughout. A very nice start to this series. V.R. Cardoso does a splendid job in developing a world of make believe that is easy to digest and get lost in along with some unique and unusual characters. I am looking forward the next book in this series “The Dragon Hunter and Mage (Wounds in the Sky, Book One)”.

Synopsis (from back cover): Life on the Ground, Death in the Sky.

Dragons rule the land and mankind hides underground. Only a brave few dare to cross the great outdoors – Surface Runners.

Enrig of Saggad longs to leave his underground home, seeking adventure and freedom on the surface, far away from the caves of his youth and the reprimands of his addled mother. Joining the Watch seems promising, but what he really dreams of is becoming a Surface Runner, evading Dragons and running across the land for treasure and glory. It is a far flung wish for one as young as he, until a chance encounter lands him in the lap of the Dragon Dodgers, a Company of Surface Runners on a very special mission. Will Enrig be allowed to join them? And if he is, will he find anything other than death?

A Wizard’s Dark Dominion (The Gods and Kings Chronicles, Book One) by Lee H. Haywood

A Wizard

Genre – Epic Fantasy/Adventure

Pages – 278

Two things become abundantly clear to me after reading “A Wizard’s Dark Dominion (The Gods and Kings Chronicles, Book One)” by Lee H. Haywood, (1) Indie writers rock, should rule the world, and have keys to every locked room of imagination (2) Epic Fantasy is one of the most exciting genres out there. “Fear causes weak men to cower, wise men to take action, and foolish men to perform incomprehensible acts” is a favorite saying of Headmaster Rioley. It would be wise to heed the words of wise men in my opinion. While the majority of this book takes place in a dark, dungeness prison fortress of greys and black, Lee adds color through atmosphere, action and dialogue. From start to finish the story flows and travels with a masterful and well thought out rhythm, never missing a beat. The characters are interesting and keep you wanting to know more about them. Lee has laid the groundwork for what I believe will be a brilliant and exciting journey in epic fantasy. There is much more to happen in the world of Laveria and I am so looking forward to many more chapters of this exciting read.

“Haunt you? I empower you. I tell you the things you need to hear. I make sure you’re not controlled by cowardice. Think of all we have done together. We have learned to Channel the Sundered Soul. We have mastered the dark art of the Old Magic. We have escaped the inescapable confines of Coljack, and left a path of ruin in our wake We have become akin to gods.”

Synopsis (from back cover): The gods gave mortals the gift of magic. Misuse of this power almost destroyed the world. Now, children who exhibit magical traits are seized by the Arcane Council and sent to Taper Academy. To prevent a repeat of past tragedies, the students at Taper are taught a simplified form of magic. But not everyone is happy with such rudimentary knowledge.

When Demetry, a promising young wizard, discovers a fire-damaged book hidden in the headmaster’s study, he can’t contain his excitement. The book is the Paserani Haote, an ancient spell book that contains the original teachings of the gods. Due to the book’s dangerous content, the Arcane Council ordered the destruction of all copies. Bored by the pace of his lessons and eager for a challenge, Demetry delves into the book’s dark arts. But when he fails to control the book’s most treacherous spell, it sets off a deadly chain of events that rocks Taper Academy to its core.

Although Demetry’s crime is punishable by death, the Arcane Council inexplicably spares Demetry’s life. Instead of being sent to the gallows, he is sent to Coljack, a fortress prison built to house the kingdom’s most dangerous criminals. After the prison warden begins to put Demetry through a series of brutal tests, Demetry realizes the prison isn’t what it seems, and the key to it all might be his mysterious new cellmate, a man who was once the most feared wizard of all.

Sugar Skulls by M.R. Tapia

Sugar Skull

Genre – Fiction/Fantasy/Surrealism

Pages – 212

Used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) and the Roman Catholic holiday All Souls’ Day, Sugar Skulls represented a departed soul, had the name written on the forehead and was placed on the home ofrenda or gravestone to honor the return of a particular spirit. Sugar Skull art reflects the folk art style of big happy smiles, colorful icing and sparkly tin and glittery adornments.

I am not a wordsmith, and I do not make a living at spinning half truths into believable stories so I hope that I can do justice with this review of “Sugar Skulls” by M.R. Tapia, as I try to explain my experience with this phenomenal read. Manuel described it as on the transgressive side of fiction opposed to horror. I would further describe it as being on the fringes of surrealism fiction. There were times during my read of this book that I felt like I was sitting comfortably in the twilight zone.

Micah DeAttta, or Meeks as he is called by Death is Mexican-American and is forced to sit face to face with Death as they discuss Meeks life and his demise. At times he is maudlin and morose and sinking in despair from drug and alcohol use. At times he is combative and defensive and stands up to Death demanding answers. Meeks wonders if he lived a life worthwhile and if he has taken advantage of all that it had to offer. I found myself chuckling from time to time as these two engage in some very witty banter. It seems like at times they are trying to outdo each other with who can be wittier. Meeks experiences and discusses just about every emotion a human can feel, and the author does a masterful job at describing those emotions and drawing the reader into the discussion. I cannot begin to imagine where one’s head had to be to write this book but it was filled with turmoil and emotion. It’s about regret, losses, fears, needs and desires. A thought provoking piece of fiction, well written along with a bit of Aztec lore and mythology. A read that will leave you in a sense of wonder. This is only my second read by M.R.Tapia, and I must say that I had two, totally different but positive experiences. I am looking forward to filling my book shelves with all of this author’s work and look forward to his next piece of fiction no matter the genre.

Synopsis (from back cover): “Life is a matter of death. Death is a matter of fact.”

Micah DeAtta learns this as he awakens with Death seated across from him, whetting his sickle. Micah has no choice but to converse with Death in order to figure out his own demise. As their conversations become a battle of wits, Micah is forced to relive prominent deaths of family and friends before learning of his own. Each death happens in real time, each correlating with the nine levels of the Aztec underworld. Before it is said and done, Micah will have been forced to face his fears, his losses, and the fact that although life may be too short, death is forever.

Mystery: Angels and Demons by S.C. King

Mystery Angels and Demons

Genre – Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Pages – 141

“Mystery: Angels and Demons” by S.C. King is my first read by this author. This was a bit of a miss for me I’m afraid. The story had little to no cohesion, and the flow and pace of the story lacked  rhythm. It felt like there was something missing in the very beginning of the book, as if this was a continuation of another book. It was a quick read, but of the 24 chapters, it was not until chapters 22-24 that a story started to develop. As the beginning of the book seemed to be missing something the end of the book left you with a big question mark and no real ending.

Things were not helped by the fact that the book contained numerous grammatical errors. The concept was there, but I’m afraid it just didn’t come together for me. I have other titles by this author in my library and am hopeful that I will have a different opinion about them.

Synopsis: (from back cover): It’s scary coming upon the scene of a car crash. Buddies Brett and Dennis didn’t know what to do. Seeing someone in the devastated car scared them even more but they had to see if he was alive. Pulling the body out of the car they saw the bullet hole. This man had been shot, but was still alive. Without wasting any time, they rushed him to a nearby hospital and helped save the man’s life.

James Harris was a young attorney in town and had no idea who would try to assassinate him. In fact another man had actually been assassinated near the same time, on the other side of town. Was there some connection between the two cases?

As James was recovering in the hospital, the police were doing their investigation. Was the intent to have two murder victims, or was James a victim of mistaken identity? Was this a mafia hit, two murders for hire or were Brett and Dennis just out for some thrills? Yes the two men who had saved James Harris’s life were now in custody, being accused of the murder across town and the attempted murder of Harris.

Convinced of their innocence, and knowing he owed them, James Harris made it his mission to find the real murderer. Risking life and limb he slowly uncovered the evidence and it all pointed to a wealthy businessman, a leader of a mysterious cult.

Could Harris, a young, rather inexperienced attorney, stand up to a powerful businessman and convince the jury of the businessman’s guilt? Would he be targeted as a result and become a real murder victim now?

The Shepherd of Fire (The Soul Stone Trilogy, Book Two) by Matt Moss

The Shepherd of Fire

Genre – Epic Fantasy/Adventure
Pages – 258

Matt Moss is back with a vengeance and taking few prisoners in the second installment of “The Shepherd of Fire (The Soul Stone Trilogy, Book Two)”. In “The Path of Man (The Soul Stones Trilogy, Book One)” Matt lays the foundation and paves the way for the possibilities of the next books with great skill and imagination. Book Two, for me at least, surpassed any expectations I may have had in my days of anxiously awaiting the next installment. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading the story yet you are missing out on a wonderful experience at Epic Fantasy at its very best and will have you reevaluating what you think this genre should be. It has a Arthurian feel to it with splashes of mixed mythologies from Norse to Asian that blend together almost like they belong in the same neighborhood. If you are looking to escape to a world of well thought out, creative and believable characters and storylines then you will not be disappointed. I love when I’m reading a book, I almost feel the motion of the characters and the story is so vivid in my imagination that it seems to be taking place right in front of your eyes. That is the feeling I had reading both installments of this trilogy thus far and I am so looking forward to the next chapters in this exciting, intelligent and edge of your seat action/adventure.

Synopsis (from back cover):

The ground will shake and fire shall rain down from the heavens in the last days of man. Rivers will run dry, crops will wither and die, disease will plague mankind. Nations will rise against one another. The sun will turn blood red, the black moon will rise, and the beast will be unleashed upon the world to devour the flesh of man. Look for him coming in the west, four horsemen of death at his side as they emerge on a black cloud of lightning.

-Prophecy as depicted in “The Patch of Man”

Through the ashes, one man rises to power and seeks to take control over the kingdom.

The Oracle prophesies destruction upon all who oppose him.

The remaining members of the Order rally for one final mission. If they fail, the kingdom, and possibly all of mankind, will surely bend to his will.

Death and flames are left in his wake, for no one dare deny the Shepherd of Fire.

Come As You Are & Other Short Stories by Steven Ramirez

Come As You Are

Genre – Horror Short Stories

Pages – 188

“Come As You Are & Other Short Stories” by Steven Ramirez is a novella and 9 short stories of some of the creepiest gore I’ve read. From demons in a school locker to a lunatic sleepwalking Mother, this book will cover just about all your horror yearning needs. Each story is intense and on the edge of your seat reading. I had a few favorites the title story among them and I was also quite impressed with “A Bone In The Throat” and “Rigino Sings”. I enjoyed them all actually, but those are standouts for me. This is my first read by Steven Ramirez, but with a collection like this I look forward to discovering more of his title. I snagged a copy of this book from NetGalley and for that I am so very grateful. I look forward to getting to know this talented horror writer.

From the back cover: “Ivan’s innocent and unwitting flirtation with the demonic is first-rate supernatural horror. Ramirez’s characters are beautifully defined, particularly Ivan and Hershey, the school janitor, who turns out to be much more than that. His plot is beautifully scripted and the suspense and supernatural dread emanating throughout this story make it impossible to put down until the last page is read.” —Readers’ Favorite

“A chilling YA horror novella. There is no telling what direction this novella is going to swing, as the surprises come quickly. Come As You Are is successful at sending chills down your spine over the course of a fast and enjoyable read.” —Self-Publishing Review

“Out of all the elements I liked about the collection, it is the character display that stood out the most. Ramirez truly is a master at bringing his cast to life, and then binding you to their ordeal. Overall, I think it is a stunning collection many readers will enjoy.” —Horror Palace

Some things are better left alone.

Ivan Stein isn’t sure he can survive seventh grade, let alone middle school. Living in a town known for its poverty and violence, he is regularly bullied along with his best friend, Ollie. But fortunes can change. One day, Ivan finds an old notebook in an abandoned locker at school. Despite a stark warning, he takes the book and unleashes powerful magic he can use to punish his enemies. But demonic forces control the book’s pages—a terrifying evil that will inflict suffering on the good as well as the bad and take his soul as payment.

Come As You Are is supernatural horror reimagined as Young Adult fiction. But don’t be fooled. Its violence will disturb you and its depiction of people living in a gloomy, desolate town without hope will make you cry. Pray that Ivan and his family can survive this dark, perilous journey.

Also in this collection:

“Nailed It”

“Brown the Recluse”

“I’ve Been Better”

“A Bone in the Throat”

“Regino Sings”

“A Proper Revenge Takes Time”

“Something to Hold”

“The Widow and Her Magician”

“Walker”

What Everyone Deserves by Dan Ackerman

What Everyone Deserves Cover

Genre-Paranormal Urban Fantasy/Supernatural/GLBT

Pages – 222

If you are looking for something a bit anomalous or sui generis then “What Everyone Deserves” by Dan Ackerman is the book to read. While this was put forward to me as a GLBT M/M Romance it is much more and far more and away from any kind of that sort of book I’ve ever read. The characters, and that’s what they are characters, a blue fertility demon, a few vampires, some witches, fairies, an assortment of other creatures, and even a few humans coexist in a 1950’s era New York City. It’s a story of tolerance, acceptance and self awareness and accepting yourself and others for who and what they are. It’s about the daily struggles, tussles and undertakings in everyday life regardless of your background. At times witty, at times charming and touching, and at time angry and argumentative, but always in each instance there seems to be a lesson to be learned (not in a preachy told ya so kind of way, but in an open dialogue and  discussion kind of way). There is a bit of romance, but not until the very end of the book, so if you are not into the mushy, yucky, lovey dovey type of prose then you will love this read. It’s more a book about friendships for the most part. This is my first read by Dan Ackerman, but I look forward to reading more work by this talented author.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you to Dan for gifting me an e-copy of this incredible and eye opening read.

Synopsis (from back cover): In this 1950s period drama, Junius is a New York City fertility demon with a crush. Ever since falling from heaven he’s been alone. Except for the mothers and children he watches over.

James Kelly Rosenburg, a black soldier with snowflakes in his hair, walks right into his life with a big problem. James Kelly, turned vampire during the war, is new to New York and its prohibition against vampire killing in city limits.

Junius offers to teach him to overcome his bloodthirsty instincts and live a proper Manhattan life. Their growing friendship leaves them both conflicted as they explore a city both welcoming and alienated by their kind.