Welcome back to another random book review roundup! Now that the holiday season is nothing more than a distant sight on our rearview mirrors, it’s time to get back to reading and reviewing some awesome indie and self-pubbed works. My apologies for missing December as things get pretty hectic during those times and my available reading time was nearly non-existent as a result.
This month I’ve listed three great reads all deserving of five stars in their own right. If you’re interested in the works of these talented authors, give them a look and see if anything whets your appetite. In most cases, reviews are posted here, Amazon, and Goodreads. Links are almost always supplied below each submission to author pages or the reviewed work specifically. Read for the love of it and keep writing if that’s your thing, you never know who is reading your work!
Side note- I’m trying to post monthly but may not always be able to what with my own pursuits, but I will try. I wanted to get these reviews up for January before I beta read a book from another awesome author, and its one I’m excited about jumping into! Without further ado, here are the reviews…
In the Time of Standing Stones: A Legend of the Carolyngian Age (Legends of the Carolyngian Age Book 1) by Joseph S Samaniego
Epic and sweeping fantasy adventure.
In the time of Standing Stones, Samaniego’s first book within his Legends of the Carolyngian Age, fantasy adventure takes center stage in this epic offering. With in-depth character customization and expert-level details, Samaniego wastes no time letting his readers know that they are about to embark on an expansive journey of the ages into a vibrantly detailed world with an ensemble cast of heroes and villains that radiates high fantasy and the timeless feel of stories and movies of the past.
While the mode of good versus evil is evident within Samaniego’s work, he takes his readers well beyond the trope with a rich history that includes swords and sorcery, crafted faraway places, myths, legends, and top-rate threats among warriors and kings. As it stands, Book 1 of Legends of the Carolyngian Age, is deeply and finely crafted. It offers a rewarding read-through with enough twists and turns to keep it well-paced and enjoyable throughout from the start of this journey into Samaniego’s world. It is definitely worth the read for fans of Clash of the Titans, Lord of the Rings, Beowulf, and many more.
The love of history, the attention paid to the realms of fantasy, and the finely crafted understanding of mythology are equally evident in Samaniego’s work. Readers enjoying one or all of those areas of interest will be hard-pressed to find another series that expertly weaves all three within its pages.
KLS-9 (The Eden Evolution Series Book 1) by Leigh Grissom
Non-stop thrill ride.
From the start of Grissom’s first book of The Eden Evolution Series titled, KLS-9, readers will instantly know that they are in for a treat, even if it comes blood-soaked and angry. Hitting a fast pace right out of the gate, Grissom delivers a twisted pounding tale of shadows and conspiracy, dirty decisions, and the changing dynamic of escaping the past while maneuvering through the future all the while catching readers up to the sizzling backstory already in progress in small digestible snippets. Never letting up, readers are taken on a deadly journey within a world of revenge, psychic powers, greed, the gray area between right and wrong, and good versus evil.
Cleverly crafted characters set the stage in a future-like dystopian world of superpowers, corporate wants, military needs, and the human experience of feasting on the scraps left over. Self-worth and cash value streamline as technology mingles with bounty hunting flair and survival dabbles between nightmares and reality as Grissom’s main character, Kerry Sheridan, struggles to maintain, escape, and understand a past that quickly comes back to haunt her. Joined by a memorable supporting cast, Grissom expertly displays her descriptive talents regarding the locals and locales within Horizon, the fictional city of lost souls, seedy nightlife, and second chances making it feel real and drawing readers into its depths instantly as the dirty travels hand and hand with the clean representing every facet of nearly any society.
With unrelenting action and brief moments of emotional realness, Grissom portrays a strong female lead with moments of brutal truths and honest feelings while showcasing the driving force of a woman pushed too far, stretched too thin, and holding a grudge. Combining science fiction, action, and suspense into Grissom’s first part of her series, KLS-9 is sure to entertain readers craving a devilish mix of all three with its subtle nods to Battle Angel, Blade Runner, and The Long Kiss Goodnight. Does not disappoint!
The Beauty of Decay by Lisa De Castro
Hauntingly beautiful and deceptively complex.
Deeply moving, Castro’s poetry covers the entire human experience more in 24 pages than most books of greater length. At the first read-through, many readers may be taken aback by The Beauty of Decay’s lack of additional pages, additional offerings. It is shortly thereafter that the magic and wonder of skillful exposition by Castro begins its unpacking within our fragile minds as it blossoms into recognition, understanding, and touching interconnected sentiments that resonate within each of us.
The Beauty of Decay does what it is intended to do under Castro’s masterful guidance and that is, enlighten while comparing and contrasting, relate while differing, and finally, caress the soul. Showcasing aspects of death and birth, Castro weaves a poetry offering that appears simple at first glance but tugs at the very fabric of our existence the longer it is left to steep within us. Placing items, views, thoughts, and processes into life as coexisting cycles, as ends, as beginnings in every aspect of the cosmos, The Beauty of Decay is that in every way and will stay in the mind and heart of all who venture among its timely and powerfully depicted pages.