Sunday 27 February 2011

Catch This Book- A Review of Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider

My Book Review of Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze:

Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze is a unique entry in the vampire genre, portraying its characters as neither tortured romantics nor soulless bloodsuckers. Her Rakum are more of a race of lost people, embracing darkness or seeking Truth.

Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider tells the story of a novelist, Beth Rider, who is targeted by the ancient race of blood drinkers, the Rakum, because her books have inadvertently caused dissent in the ranks of these vampire-like creatures. As she tries to survive, she finds friends, enemies and a far greater purpose awaits her.

This novel constructs an appealing plot, taking the reader in an uncommon direction. The author has effortlessly tied the modern vampire myth with Biblical teachings and Hebrew tradition to achieve a fascinating fictional folklore of her own. She has also managed to bring a great deal of spirituality and spark to a well-trodden horror sub-genre. Her characters are strong, determined and vividly depicted as the sides of good and evil are slowly drawn.

Although I did find some of the prose intermittently veered into the “tried and true” area for my taste, I was quite captivated by the book and look forward to reading more of Beth Rider and the Rakum in the author’s other books. Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is a stellar offering and a wonderful read.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Fantasy and History Spring to Life: A Review of The Ash Spear

My Book Review of The Ash Spear by G.R. Grove:

The Ash Spear by G. R. Grove is an entertaining fantasy novel with a lyrical, engaging narrative; it is a spirited book with a strong voice. The book is the third entry in the author’s Storyteller series (Storyteller and Flight of the Hawk being the others). I haven’t read the other books, but I found this novel stands on its own without confusing the reader on what went before.

The Ash Spear is set in sixth century Britain and tells of the continuing adventures of the bard-in-training Gwernin as he encounters kings, politics, war and hardship. I was impressed with the setting and background; the author did impeccable research and the history is brought to life with magnificent detail.

Written in the first person, the tale is spun with an effective tone, well flavoured in nuance and the right inflections. The narrating character is a genuine portrayal, coming across as a three-dimensional person with flaws. He was at various times amusing, heroic, irritating and unsympathetic, but always interesting. The book also does a nice job in depicting other characters and having them interact as a whole.

The Ash Spear does have a few problems, with occasional lapses in grammar and some poorly compiled sentence structure in the beginning of the novel. Also, the author ended the chapters with the same sentence, which I found quite annoying and repetitive. The novel, perhaps, could have benefitted from a shorter length as well; while beautifully written, some of the scenes had expansive descriptive passages which caused the pace to meander a bit.

Still, it was an enjoyable novel to read and appealing enough for me to consider reading the rest of the series.

The Ash Spear is available through Smashwords
and Amazon:

Bonus Review:

My Book Review of Storyteller Songs by G. R. Grove:

Storyteller Songs by G. R. Grove is a unique mix of bardic style poetry and book excerpts. It is more of an introduction to the form and flavor of the author than a book of poetry, as the book consists of various poetic selections from the author’s Storyteller series, and a few passages of text. It basically gives a quick sampling of the novels without excessively spoiling their plotlines.

I enjoyed the poetry; it is excellent, nicely crafted, lyrical, and captures the essence of ancient Celtic culture. There is a graceful, evocative quality to the poems and it isn’t hard to imagine sitting in an archaic feasting hall listening to the words. Also, the surrounding prose that accompanies the verses is a tantalizing tease that piqued my interest in the books.

The book was a pleasant short read, and I think it makes a nice companion volume for the Storyteller series.

Storyteller Songs is available at Smashwords

and Amazon:

Monday 14 February 2011

Love Letters for Valentine’s Day

A Book Review of From the Heart: Love Stories and Letters from the Civil War by Jessica James:

From the Heart: Love Stories and Letters from the Civil War by Jessica James is a fascinating glimpse behind history, into the lives of individuals that lived and died during the American Civil War.

The non-fiction book is a collection of love letters written during this era, by people famous and not so famous, with explanatory tidbits by the author regarding these people and their circumstances. It is a short read, but a captivating one.

There are several sets of letters featured, including ones from Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart, and not only do you get insight into the writers of these letters, but also into the time in which they lived. They paint a vivid picture of a culture and values far different than what we know today. The book also brings an intimacy and a poignant touch to a war that many know only through harsh facts and statistics. These letters tell the story of the human beings involved, what they sacrificed and sometimes lost.

It is a gem of a book for a history buff, and a great read for all.

From the Heart: Love Stories and Letters from the Civil War is available at Smashwords

And on Amazon Kindle:

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