Reviewing Indie Authors One Book at a Time

Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

#SpotlightSunday – The Awakening

Author: Andrew Wichland
Series: Dragon Knight Chronicles

About the Book

Today is Alec-Ryuu’s thirteenth birthday. Today he takes his final test in preparation for joining the resistance against the dreaded and powerful Black Dragon.

Nonmagical beings have been forced into hiding by the dragon’s rule, and Alec-Ryuu’s small village lives under the constant threat of exposure and enslavement. Alec-Ryuu, or Ryuu as he prefers to be called, is not your average human. He is the son of a being of great power—stronger, smarter, and faster than friends and rivals alike.

A gold-embroidered box in a cliffside cave sits waiting for Ryuu and his friends. The box’s contents offer the strength to finally strike back at the Black Dragon, should the young warriors have the opportunity.

But that opportunity may be over before it begins. Emissaries of the Black Dragon have discovered Ryuu’s village, and the time has come for the ultimate choice: surrender to a life of slavery, or fight—and possibly die—for freedom.

A fascinating mix of fantasy, science fiction, and mythology, Dragon Knight Chronicles begins the story of Ryuu’s struggle against the most powerful being in the galaxy.

About the Author

Andrew Wichland is a twenty-eight-year-old living on the spectrum who grew up in rural Sandwich, New Hampshire. His autism made fitting into his community difficult, especially in high school, where he found comfort and support in Harry Potter, Animorphs, Eragon, and other fantasy series.

Wichland’s imagination offered a safe place when he needed to escape. He now writes stories to let his dreams soar.

Learn More




The Book of Em: The Last Gatekeeper – Richard Brant

bookofemIn the fantasy style of Piers Anthony, Brant takes us to a place where the modern human world meets the world of faeries, dwarves, centaurs, and other mystical creatures, a place where time does not exist. For the world of Em, the Gatekeeper is a figure from prophecy and one of immense importance. For the young man destined to be the Gatekeeper, the duties and consequences of his destiny will change his life – in both beneficial and injurious ways.

Ben of the human world represents much that is wrong with the modern human world. He is depressed and withdrawn, symptoms of his constant physical and emotional abuse by the man who is neither his father nor his mother’s husband, but a man to which his mother attached to when he was a successful football player and she needed a place to raise her illegitimate child. Ben has no friends, nor does he seek friendship knowing it will only bring down a wrath upon him and his mother. He is protective and wishes to help someone, yet he is nearly helpless to do so being young and inexperienced.

Creole of Em is a half-human and half-faerie, the daughter of the previous human Gatekeeper, and the one destined to be the mate of the Last Gatekeeper. With an abrasively teenage personality, she is the opposite of Ben and opposes him at many turns throughout the book. From her, Ben learns the value of opening up to friendship.

4 Stars


Ocean Gods, Roman Blades – Andrew Knighton

ocean-godsIn a short and battle-heavy narrative of a Roman legionary, Ocean Gods, Roman Blades follows Varus, a man who struggles to keep his innate warring drive in check to follow the discipline of a Roman warrior.

Giving mythology life in acts of incredible yet horrifying magic, Varus and his squad fight against pirates responsible for attacking Roman merchant ships.

Knighton writes with insightfulness, using the perspective of the protagonist to spy into the complexities of the characters surrounding him while still driving home the theme of a man trying to change himself to suit the world into which he was born.

4 Stars

Hydrostatic-Level of Fire – CM Blackburn

hslf-cmbThey thought it was a cheat code, but these three kids were in for a surprise when they pressed the special combination on the computer keyboard.

No one knows who invented the game; Joe only knows he’s heard it is the best game ever. Joe and his siblings find themselves locked into the digital game, struggling to beat the level in order to go home. An exciting read for kids in the middle grades, this book takes kids on a timely adventure through a dangerous volcanic world and demonstrates how even kids can work together using the strongest trait of each one to make it through tough situations, including thinking through the puzzles of the game under intense stress.

4 Stars



The Phase Transition – Ryan Okerlund

ptroThe world is entering a new age, leaving our current phase of natural laws and lapsing into a new phase where the chemical reactions that keep our machines and technology running no longer exist. Replacing our combustion engines and our cell phones are abilities to heal and transform and communicate with plant and animals, abilities we consider to be magical. Factions battle for control of this new age, the White Order, the Black Order, and the Gray Order, each seeking to control the Chosen and the rest of humanity. The book crosses boundaries between Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Several different individuals start out apart and on separate paths, each dealing with the sudden change in Earth’s physical reality by seeking to retreat from dangerous cities and people, all traveling north. Eventually, all of these individual converge into a battle group, all heading for the promised land of New Atlantis. Through this mode, we learn of each character’s personality to a minute depth – the sheer number of participants does not give ample time or space to delving deeply into each one. (Perhaps future installments will give each character their due.)

The first several chapters kept me engaged, following just two of the main characters into a mystery known to one and not the other. As soon as the other major characters began to arrive, the momentum suffered. The main storyline of the imminent phase transition and power struggle after its occurrence became lost in a muddle of names and descriptions.

3 Stars – Great beginning, but lagged in the middle and slowed the enjoyment.

The Cat Factory and Other Stories – Tim Newton Anderson

Using his imagination and perspective, Tim Newton Anderson offers up this collection of 20 short stories with attributes of fantasy and the paranormal.

The collection opens with the amusing fantasy that cats (and dogs and other living creatures) are fashioned by guilds of artisans at a commissioned price. “The Cat Factory” is also a cautionary tale about appreciating things that aren’t perfect and, perhaps, to be mindful of what our cats might be conspiring to

“Angel House” bands together a group of people who are along in life for one reason or another – the death of a loved one, self-deprecation, substance abuse – and faces them with the prospect of seeing angels after taking tainted diet pills.

Each story examines human nature through the experimentation of free imagination, letting go of the laws of physics, nature, and even society to test the morality of human nature.

Available on Amazon












Weekly Spotlight – Red Paradise

51+VImUEsCLAbout the Book

The shadow of a new, dominant species cast over the ruins of the old world.

Hunted by a deadly, viral predator, a lawman, a tiger-striped gigolo, and a steely smuggler come together to unravel the mystery behind a remote grove rumored to remain immune from the outbreak and out of reach from the shadow of death. The closer the expedition gets to their destination, the more vulnerable they become to this Promised Land’s temptations and each other. At the heart of this seductive, alien Eden, they slowly realize that paradise doesn’t belong in this world.

About the Author

Bodden Autor Pic

James W. Bodden is an LGBT writer from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In addition to writing fiction, James has hunted for fresh corpses as a crime beat reporter and for UFOs as the host of a paranormal radio show. He is the writer of the Red Light Princess and Coffin Riders. Red Paradise is his latest novel.

Available on Amazon.

Check out this blog for more information.



Chapter One


The smoke thickened and blacked out the streets of the camps. Only the red, glass eyes of the inquisitor’s gasmask were visible through the rising cloud of ash and debris.

Rhys turned the bend on the next corner, locked back into step with the rest of the priests, and rushed inside the ground floor of a rundown tenement building; he stood guard and took his position surrounding a lone, red door at the end of an unlit hallway.

The inquisitor unholstered his daggers in one swift movement. Black northern steel gleamed in the darkness. He signaled his partner, and they moved for the red door together.

Rhys kicked the door open. His partner sparked up a mortar and tossed the live round inside. The charge detonated with an explosion of gunpowder and white phosphorus.

The priests stormed in back to back, pivoting in opposite directions to clear the area. They spotted movement through the haze and turned their blades on a woman cornered with her daughter by a fading cook fire. The girl clung to her mother’s skirts. Her skin was scorched with chemical burns. Piss leaked down her legs as she whimpered and screamed.

Rhys clipped the girl under the chin with the end of his dagger, “Quiet… “

The inquisitor withdrew his blade when her mouth shut. He turned his back on the girl, and wandered around the room. Dry straw crunched underfoot. Rhys rifled the pantry and the beds looking for something valuable to steal, but nothing here was worth his while. He spat on the floorboards and rolled his eyes. This was going to be another slow night.

The inquisitor kicked an empty piss pot across the room and cursed under his respirator; he fell back into position with the priests just as the judge entered the room.






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