Tears of Heaven by RA McCandless

This fantasy adventure is filled with colorful characters, comedy, and it references all my favorite movies and television shows. Ok, most of them. This author has a brilliant sense of humor and a talented grasp of dialogue.

“By Hera’s toenails…”

This novel chronicles a long lifetime, switching from the past, circa 221 BC to modern day. The story follows the life of Water Lily AKA Del, a seven-foot woman sold as a slave. Our unlikey heroine is not helpless. Her pirate shipmates are convinced she is Ares in female form. Her origin is a mystery; her power is awesome.

Eventually, the timeline from the past catches up with the plotline of the future. All is revealed in the last twenty-five percent of the book in a twisted mind bender. I love stories with a strong female character, and Del does not disappoint. I expected glorious fight scenes and battles on the high seas. I was surprised to find a beautiful love story. Well done. The book is rightfully named Tears of Heaven. It ends with an intriguing cliffhanger. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.


Writing for Rescue by MJ Fahy and Other Authors

It’s hard to pick a favorite in this anthology of short stories. Each tale encompasses animals that are rescued. Some are fiction, and some are tributes to more than pets, but family members that touch lives with loyalty and love. I hope these authors continue to craft words. I would love to read more!

I’m a sucker for any book with a dog. So, when MJ Fahy, author of the Tatty Moon series, announced the publication of this book, I had to get it. I love this author. Yes, she writes MG, but I’m a kid at heart. I adore getting lost in an innocent fantasy full of adventure. And magic. Lots of magic. MJ’s story in this anthology is called Midnight. It’s so precious, I wish it were longer. She dedicated this story to all of her pets, past and present, listing each of their names. It gave a real touch to the fiction.

Yvonne Marjot’s story called Norah’s Ark was short but sweet. This author has a way with words. As with each of these stories, there is an element of rescue that boils down to humans being humane. From the title, you can see that Yvonne has a clever sense of humor.

Lyn Flanders wrote the awesome story called For Dogs. Her first-person tale read like a memoir. Though Lyn’s story is named For Dogs, it covers much more than that. “Cats Rule OK!” I loved the emotional story of sweet William. Thanks for sharing your words.

Ian Stewart wrote a fantastic story called Flash. What a primo name for a dog! Again, this story read like an account of Flash’s life and vacations with the family. I couldn’t tell if it was fiction because it read like a diary, or a family newsletter one might receive in a Christmas card. Thanks for sharing, Ian. Flash’s story will be with me, forever!

Karen Taylor, author of Vampire Legacy series, wrote Belle, A Dog’s Tail. I’m a fan! I enjoyed the tone of this story. I believe it would make an excellent full-length novel. Especially since the author has an entertaining way of describing Belle from puppy to adulthood. It read like a first-person memoir, so I couldn’t tell if it was fiction. It read as if a dear friend was telling me a delightful dog tale over tea.

It’s apparent that all of the authors are animal lovers. When reading their words, it’s obvious we all feel the same about our four-legged friends. We share the joy of their puppy and kitten years. We understand the grief when we lose them. There is a connection through this collection of stories: love. It’s wonderful. Thank you for writing this book. I hope it helps ease the suffering of animals and supports the Romanian rescue centre to provide a sanctuary for abandoned animals.

Demon’s Cradle: Book 3 in the Devany Miller series by Jen Ponce

If you’ve gotten this far in the series, like me, you are hooked on more than magic sugar. From the first book, the inventive magic in this novel is amazing. I would like a Magic Eye of my own.

This one is definitely a love story of Urban Fantasy awesomeness. Not only is it full of passion, but the bonds of family are a love story, too. Kroshtuka, the Wydling, is a worthy mate for Devany. I enjoyed the previous characters, the growth of her children, Liam, and Bethy. Best cat name ever: Cheeseweed. The new characters are intriguing, as always. The Rider. The twists and turns in the plotline kept me at the edge of my seat.

Besides Neutria, the inner-spider bitch, my favorite characters are Nex and Jasper, Ty’s soul. I think it would be cool to be a soul, so I love that concept. Nex has some awesome dialogue. “I believe he now has part of your soul as well.” Chilling when a somewhat sarcastic head of a bloodsucker says it. Warning, there are some life-and-death sacrifices that are emotionally stimulating. To tears.

I love how this book ended. As in the previous books, there is a bit of a cliffhanger that makes me want more. Looking forward to the next in the series!

Journal of the Undead: Littleville Uprising by S.G. Lee

This YA novel has crossover appeal that bleeds into other genres. Despite the amusing references to zombie movies, this book is more than horror. It includes new love, budding friendships, survival and dealing with loss of family. Before the first blatant zombie kill, Emma and Evan struggle with the problems most teens have: a new school, air-head cheerleaders, gossip, sports, and adjusting to their dad’s new wife.

The author develops the characters so well; I immediately fell in love with the twins and the Stone family. Like most zombie stories, I fretted over losing any of them. Just when I was lulled into young romance, the reality of dealing with a zombie apocalypse would rear its ugly head. I absolutely adored the inner dialogue of the main characters. Brilliant!

S.G. Lee wrote this story with compelling dialogue, realistic reactions, and thrilling plot. This writer specializes in describing the human side of such an epidemic. I appreciated the little details like the sentiment of fulfilling the last wishes of those who died. In most end-of-the-world stories, people are so busy trying to survive the monsters, they forget to be human.  S.G. did not let me forget that.

I can tell this is going to be a primo series. I liked the cliffhanger ending and look forward to the next book. I recommend it to all ages and readers.

Jango’s Anthem, book 2 of the Zombie Fighter Jango series by Cedric Nye

This one is for the ladies! Zombie fiction isn’t just for guys, anymore. Cedric Nye is an equal-opportunity writer when it comes to the Zombie Fighter Jango series. His books are empowering, regardless of gender or even species. The previous novel was dedicated to victims of child abuse. This one is for “survivors” which perfectly fits this work of monster-mashing, mentally-intense art.

Jango is a hero. But like all primo defenders of justice, he is broken. From the first book, The Road to Hell is Paved with Zombies, we learn about his fractured mind. The mystery of the dog and the albino woman is well written. In the second book, Jango’s Anthem, we are privy to the final piece of his fragmented mind, and it’s a thing of beauty.

This author killed it! (Pun intended.) Let me tell you what I liked about this book without spoiling the beastly brilliant plotline. The chapter called US and THEM was freaky-cool! It introduced Vanessa, my fave! If the TV show Walking Dead and the movie True Grit had a baby, it would be this mutated western. I love that it takes place in Arizona, my home. I adore Jango’s alpha-dog attitude and survival instincts. Yeah, he’s got more baggage than winter visitors that come to the Sonoran Desert, but he is strong enough to bear the burden of his past and all the bullshit in his future.

I would like to thank the author for writing a highly entertaining series with equally powerful messages about personal identity, mental strength and surviving victimization from every type of monster, zombie or human. I’ve already suggested this book to my family and friends. I think ten zombies would agree that this book is badass beyond words or screeching moans.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Zombies by Cedric Nye

I love monsters, so reading Cedric Nye’s Jango series was a no-brainer. (And not because zombies ate my brain!) This story is a laugh-out-loud, cringe-inside read. This author is from my neck of the woods…err, my neck of the desert, so supporting a local indie is a pleasure. The story takes place in Prescott, Arizona. From escaping a Geo Metro to engaging a zombie apocalypse, Jango is a primo protagonist. He’s more than a badass warrior in a horror movie.

“…it wouldn’t be long before they opened the tiny automobile like a piñata full of Jango treats.”

More than guts and gore, this novel gives a psychological profile of the main character, giving him a three-dimensional personality. His love interest, in the story, did not want to like him. Like Sonja, I valued this alpha-type male who was cool enough to show her survival techniques with weapons. And, he quotes Shakespeare. Serious swoon factor that I didn’t expect from a zombie novel written by a guy. The love story within – yes, I just said, love story – is realistic and touching. I need love in an apocalyptic story. Otherwise, what are they fighting for? Jango also fights for his sanity as he deals with his past: the worst kind of child abuse.

I loved the chapter titles. They gave hints to the events of the well-written plotline, foreshadowing the action, and clever Jangoisms dispersed throughout the book. The chapter, “Jango Shows His Nuts,” is not about a flasher, but a well-trained warrior who has the huevos to prove it.

“monkey-strong and bughouse crazy”

Quoting this book is so easy. I appreciate the movie references, the fight scenes were engaging, sometimes fall-out-of-the-chair funny, and filled with blood, guts, and gory details of weapons and brilliant escape strategies. I look forward to reading the other books in the series. Also, kudos to the author for dedicating this book to abused children, and his charity work for the local Humane Society/dog shelters in Phoenix. This dude is more than a kickass writer. He is a humanitarian and a friend to all four-legged creatures. Thanks, Cedric, for being a primo role model!

Shivers: 9 Dark & Twisted Tales by Heather R. Blair

Twisted, dark, chilling, a bit of fun, some romance, and a whole lot of love! Heather’s characters feel real. Even the supernatural ones. Especially the supernatural ones! This author writes badass fantasy with compelling vampires and not-so-typical werewolves.

This anthology of fantasy stories has some unique plot twists. My favorite was the first story, On Edge, and the last story, Max in NYC. Read the book, and I think you will agree. I do not want to ruin the plotlines, so I will just point out some of the things I liked about these awesome stories:

A quote from Shades of Winter “Like Frankenstein, chasing the monster I created.”

The Fourth of Never, another clever title to a story I wish would never end.

The Game has a surprise character from one of Heather Blair’s Celtic Elementals series.

Other novels I love by this author: Phoenix Rising, Smoke in Moonlight, and Blood in Fire. If you ignite over paranormal romance, consider Heather R. Blair’s books flaming hot!