Monthly Archives: September 2013

Review of The Jouster’s Lance

One thing I didn’t say – this book is M/M erotic and rather graphically so.

Jousters Lance

The Jouster’s Lance by A. J. Marcus A review by Julia Flowers writing as A. T. Weaver.

A.J. MARCUS has been writing to pass the time since high school. The stories he wrote helped him deal with life. A few years ago, he started sharing those stories with friends who enjoyed them, and he has started sending his works out into the world to share with other people. He lives

in the mountains with his extremely supportive lover. They have a lot of critters, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and rabbits. When not writing, A.J. spends a lot of time hiking, trail riding or just driving in the mountains. Nature provides a lot of inspiration for his work, and keeps him writing. He is also an avid photographer and falconer; don’t get him started talking about his birds because he won’t stop for a while.

* * *

As someone who spent nearly every weekend in the fall at the local Renaissance festival, I know you can find three types of people there. There are the patrons who come to spend their money and be entertained. There are the townspeople who, for a few short weekends a year, leave their mundane lives and are transported back in time to a fictional, fantasy world that somewhat resembles the Middle Ages. Then there are the professional performers who, for their livelihood, travel from fair to fair much in the manner of carnival workers or gypsies.

Such is Dale O’Toole, aka Diederik, the Demon Duke of Denmark. For the last five years, he and his two horses have traveled from fair to fair. Working as a jouster by day he also moves from man to man by night. When the book opens, we find him at the Scarborough Fair in Texas wondering if maybe it might be nice to settle down with one man, someone with whom he can form a lasting relationship.

He’s never been to the Colorado Springs fair, but when one of their regular jousters is sidelined by an injury, he heads north. There he meets Austin Renfro, one of the above mentioned townspeople who for several years has worked as a pirate at the fair. Austin is in the process of breaking up with an abusive boyfriend. There is instant chemistry between the two men. Shielded by Catherine and Jasmine, two townswomen who work at the fair, the two men begin a relationship.

As the two struggle with their budding romance, they are discovered by a homophobic bigot in the form of John Bishop, Dale’s opponent on the joust field.

When Dale is seriously injured, he discovers how much of a family his new friends have become. And Austin discovers just how much Dale means to him.

I like to compare a story to a tapestry and this author has woven a tale of love, friendship, and intrigue set against the background of the Renaissance festival.

This is the first of a series of stories based on Renaissance fairs by A. J. Marcus. I look forward to the rest of them.

A J Marcus

mailto:andy@ajmarcus.com

http://ajmarcus.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/AJMarcus/

http://www.amazon.com/A.J.-Marcus/e/B005WL9MY2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

News

I’m really enjoying reviewing. I’m getting to read a lot of books I normally wouldn’t. Even though they aren’t in genres I usually read, I feel comfortable reviewing them.

I feel that, as an author, I owe honest criticism to fellow authors regardless of whether I like their genre or not. After all, just because I don’t like opera, doesn’t mean I can’t tell if a singer is any good. I should be able to tell if an author uses proper sentence structure, grammar and punctuation even if I don’t care for the genre.

Enough about reviewing.

I’ve been working on Second Glances today. I’m thinking about changing the title to Cousins Four. After all, that’s who the book is about – four cousins. I know some of my author friends would probably make a series of four books out of it.

Review – Demons in the Big Easy

Demons cover

Demons in the Big Easy

A novella by Jamie Marchant

 Reviewed by Julia Flowers writing as A. T. Weaver

 Again I’ve been given a book to review that is in a genre new to me and I’m not sure in what genre to place it.

 It’s about witchcraft, demons and zombies, but it’s also suitable for young readers. There are no bloody massacres, no actual violence, no sex (although a couple of the characters are naked) and no profanity. I would not hesitate to recommend this for my teenaged grandchildren.

 Cassandra is a witch. Although we are not told her actual age, we know she has to be very old because 70 years ago, she visited Earth. She has lost all of her family except for twin granddaughters. Again, we are not given an age for the young girls. At first Caronwyn appears to be very young, early teens, however, in the end, I realized she’s older than I first thought.

 When Carowyn’s twin sister falls through a gateway between Dohman and Earth, Cassandra has no choice but to try to find her. Against her grandmother’s wishes, Carowyn goes also. Earth has changed a lot since Cassandra was last here. Carowyn is terrified of the differences between Dohman and Earth, particularly automobiles.

 Caronwyn sat on the bench far too closely for normal courtesy. “Grandmother, when I heard the stories, I never dreamed it would be like this.” She gaped at the huge crowds of tourists, snapping photos of the wrought iron balconies. She stared in horror at the automobiles speeding by on the street in front of them. “How can anything move so fast? It can’t be safe.” The automobiles did seem a lot faster than Cassandra remembered them, and there were a lot more of them. The styles were also different, both of the automobiles and the people who passed by. Many wore short pants and shirts that covered little. She remembered skirts far shorter than the ankle length considered proper in Domhan, but not women showing so much skin. Times had certainly changed since she last came across. Cassandra removed her cloak and clutched her pack with its thousand dollars tightly.

 They meet and are joined in their search for Aine by a homeless man. Jake has been in and out of therapy for years because he sees demons everywhere.

 Cassandra casts a spell to help find Aine. What they finally find is a large shock to Cassandra.

 The ending leaves room for stories about Cassandra, Caronwyn and Jake. One would hope they make it home to Dohman safely and that Jake comes with them.

 If I had any complaints with this novella it would be it lacks in description. How old are Cassandra and Caronwyn? What do Caronwyn and Aine look like? Although Cassandra and Caronwyn are asked if they are part of a Renaissance fair, we aren’t given a good idea of their clothing other than it’s old-fashioned.

 All in all, this is a delightful little story, one which I will read again. I also look forward to other works by this author.

 ***

Jamie Marchant describes herself as married and living in Auburn, Alabama with her husband, son and four cats. Her information can be found at:

 : http://jamie-marchant.com

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamie-Marchant-Author/164706710298768?ref=hl

 http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5258855.Jamie_Marchant

 http://www.amazon.com/Demons-Big-Easy-A-novella/dp/1481906984/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378563670&sr=8-1&keywords=Demons+in+the+Big+Easy

Good Morning All

Just a bit of update. As you  know, I’ve been doing reviews for another blog site. I’m really enjoying reading a lot of new genres.

On the writing front, I haven’t done much since I finished Shifter Born except a short story titled Josh’s Christmas Angel which I submitted for an anthology to be published by Love Lane Books in the UK.

I’ve also signed up for NaNoWriMo. Have a great story – can’t wait to start writing it.

 

Review – Blood Fox

Blood Fox cover

Curse of the Blood Fox – Sleepless

Reviewed by Julia Flowers writing as A. T. Weaver

Sleepless is the first of a trilogy by a first-time author. Hopefully she will finish the trilogy and go on to more books.

Sera Ashling is a graduate of the University of South Florida, with a B.A. in Creative Writing. She has an intense and disturbing love for fantasy and sci-fi anything, and thinks everyone else should too. Currently surviving by making fleece hats and selling them online, she spends the rest of her free time on manga, video games, and… writing, because she does that for work as well as play. She likes to focus on dialogue and character development in her stories, which range from young adult to adult and stay mostly in the speculative fiction genres.

I’m a bit confused as to what genre to call this book. Is it fantasy? Yes. Is it sci-fi? Yes. Is it a legend? Yes. What it isn’t, is boring. It has monsters, unicorns, enchanted swords, enchanted forests magic users, and almost anything else you’d want.

The story of the enchanted swords, Valentina and Phernando would make a good book all in its own.

If you are looking for a fast read, or a fluffy plot to pass the time, don’t start this book. It will take you into worlds you can only imagine. I’m generally a fast reader, but every word of this book needs to be relished.

 What is a Blood Fox? This is a question I asked.

 “No one knows the Blood Fox is actually Santo, a polite, introspective mercenary who avoids sleep whenever possible. She might look young and inexperienced, but looks can be deceiving, especially for one who is tormented by a curse that was meant to drive her mad over a century ago… and it hasn’t entirely failed. The truth is that Santo is only interested in answers. Who cursed her? Why? She has only hazy memories, and no leads.”

 I’ll admit, it gets a bit bloody for my personal taste at times, but if you like sword fights and magic, this is for you.

 “Our bandits were perhaps starting to realize that they had bitten off more than they could chew. It was still hard to individualize them until they attacked, but one did stand out; he was tall, and there was stubble on his chin sticking out from below his mask. He was shouting orders to circle back and regroup. He might have been the leader, but there was only one way to be sure. I snaked forward through the crowd, knocking stray swords away with my own, and swung at him when I was within a couple feet. He only just managed to dodge, but Valentina still bit sweetly into his side. A desperate lunge from one of his fellow bandits jarred me and sent my sword flying into the dirt.

 The man cried out, and it was like I had disrupted a beehive. Bodies swung around and swarmed close, pushing me back as he stumbled into them. I retreated, only Phernado in hand, trying to find a safe place amid the flashing blades.

Suddenly something flat and hard pressed against my back. I almost turned and swung, but I heard a familiar chuckle that told me Traken was there and I let out a shaky breath. It was strange fighting alongside someone else.”

 Admittedly, there are probably places where the author could have tightened the story a bit without losing the overall thread, but I’m not sure how.

 Often, a story’s end is obvious from the beginning. A lot of the ‘fun’ of a story, is in getting to the end. I was not able to see where the author was going. The end came as a big surprise.

 I’m looking forward to the next chapter in the lives of Santo and Traken.

 The author can be found at:

 http://seraashling.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html

 mailto:seraashling@gmail.com

 http://www.facebook.com/SeraAshling

 http://www.amazon.com/Curse-Blood-Fox-Sleepless-ebook/dp/B00ENN6SVK/ref=sr

Reviews

I’ve started doing some reviews for another author’s blog. I’ll post them here also. We authors need all the exposure we can get.

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Reviewed by A. T. Weaver.

 

April Adams is a thirty-something full-time wife and mom, born and raised in Texas. She is an animal lover, a Whovian, an anglophile, and a dreamer. She also works with the children’s ministry at her church.

 

I purposely did not read the bio of this author before I read the book. I wanted to get a feel for her work before I knew anything about her.

 

“When the battered woman wakes on the frosted grass, the only thing she remembers is the blood-thirsty cult offering her as a sacrifice in a ceremony gone serendipitously wrong.

 

She has no name, no past, and seemingly no future as her swollen eyes slide shut for what she hopes is the last time.”

 

I like to think of a book as a tapestry where the author weaves a story by her words. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when an author can make you not only see what her character sees, but also smell and hear through the character’s nose and ears, pictures are not necessary.

 

“The only thing I could feel was pain fighting a desperate battle with the freezing cold…The smell of my own fear intermingled with that of the rotting leaves I lay shivering beneath in a fetid bouquet.”

 

Ms. Adams has managed to weave intrigue, fantasy, romance and adventure into a spell-binding tale of good versus evil. At times, I was reminded of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. There are elves, dwarves, evil fairies, sprites and magic all in a quest to overcome the evil that has plagued the world for thousands of years.

 

Her blending of Pagan rituals and Christian beliefs show that it’s possible for different religions to work together. The four elements of Paganism mixed with a belief in The Creator work in tandem to defeat the War Lord (which I took to be synonymous with Satan.)

 

In her interview, Ms Adams was concerned about the sex scenes. I found them to be very well-written and innocent – the bedroom door was shut.

 

I have to say, I think my favorite character is Candlewick the tent who magically provides for the characters’ every wish:

 

“I wished that Candlewick would provide us a bath in that big copper tub of hers.

 

She obliged, and warm sudsy water up to our shoulder blades became a romantic place to sip wine and talk.”

 

Admittedly, it took me a few chapters to really get into the book. But once there, I did not want to stop reading. I’m certainly glad I didn’t. When I came to the end and realized it was the first of a trilogy, I wanted to cry. “What happens next?” I was reminded of the movie serials when I was a child. On Saturday afternoon, we’d see one chapter of a story and have to wait until the next week to continue. I’m ready for the next chapter which thankfully is being released this month.

 

Shattered – The Legends of Rune is available in both print and Kindle at Amazon.com.

 

Shattered

 

April Adams can be found at: April Adams