Random Book Review Roundup- #4

It’s been a while. Ok, it’s been a few months but we’re back and at it with our Random Book Review Roundup! This time, we’re running with a theme. Ok, I admit, I didn’t realize it until I read them but there was a theme in there amongst this offering’s three titles. In this round, family plays a central role in some fashion within all three of our reads. One, family is the people we choose in our life to adventure with. Another, family is the reason for bloodshed and revenge and finally, family is the root of all evil and that which breaks and destroys.

Listed below are the reviews for all three books with links included. All reviews are posted on Amazon and Goodreads if possible. In the case of not yet released titles, the review will be posted when book is available to keep everything flowing smoothly. If you like the reviews, check out the books. You may find something you like. Keep reading, keep writing, and enjoy!

The Pain Eater by Kyle Muntz

The Pain Eater by Kyle Muntz may seem a typical run-of-the-mill horror novel, but readers will find that it goes much deeper as the story develops. At its start, Muntz cleverly places his chess pieces on the board in the form of a family dealing with a recent death while delivering snippets of prose to his readers alerting them of a coming storm and the fear lurking just off-screen. As the veil is lifted with his created family on what is shown to the public and what is kept secret, readers will find that the shifting parameters of a broken unit come with bigger problems, messier issues, and lives forever thrown askew as a result.

Delicately dancing around supernatural elements and depictions of gore, Muntz introduces his key players before subsequently tearing down their built-up walls with growing moments of drama that stem not only from current situations in their lives but also from a past that still haunts them in many ways on vastly different levels. Interactions amongst the characters within The Pain Eater are as important as the oddity of that which Muntz adds into the mix. Dark mingles with light, inner conflict holds hands with emotional freedom, and life silently nods to death forming a mosaic displaying the human condition under the guise of creeping horror.

One-part supernatural and one-part slow-burning family drama, Muntz masterfully intertwines the two allowing his readers to explore the struggles within us all, the private moments in our own heads, and the screaming realities we’re all subjected to throughout life. Also blending elements of sci-fi into his brilliant offering, Muntz has achieved a deeply rewarding read soaked in darkness and misery that builds tension as well as a growing distrust and confusion along the way from his main characters.

Fans of horror will find the superbly teased storytelling direction of Muntz’s work deceiving as it doesn’t follow the typical flow of standard blood-gushing novels. Something tells me from the finely crafted past, present, and train heading towards a cliff feeling within the pages that he wanted it that way from the start. Brooding, powerful, and equally sinister in its delivery, The Pain Eater cuts deep as a shadowy fest of brutal feelings and even darker escapism.  

Preorder Here: https://www.amazon.com/Pain-Eater-Kyle-Muntz/dp/1955904065

Scorned: A Legend of the Carolyngian Age (Legends of the Carolyngian Age Book 4) by Joseph S. Samaniego

In Scorned, Samaniego’s fourth book of his Legends of the Carolyngian Age series, family meets fantasy in a generation hopping read that delivers. With historical references aplenty and enough bloodshed to delight the warriors in us all, Samaniego draws readers into his new offering with heart, hate, and a slew of characters that resonate with us all.

Following Rowena, a child born of both noble lineage and dwarven blood, Samaniego masterfully showcases the family construct and the political barriers preventing her from obtaining her rightful place in the kingdom through his main character’s eyes. Frowned upon for being a bastard child, Samaniego wastes no time putting Rowena through the paces as she is forced to make decisions that not only reshape her future but his entire created world.

Alongside expertly detailed locations, Samaniego focuses on the life and livelihood of his main character and all she experiences while providing brilliant depictions of action, heartbreak, and the fury of a woman scorned across the span of many years. The expertly crafted political framework based on historical nobility is easily digestible while details of war, magic, fantasy species, and weapons added to the mix ensure readers are moved along in the story without being bogged down in the specifics.

At its heart, Scorned reads exactly as it sounds and never waivers in favor of tired mechanics or cliched references. Samaniego stays on track to deliver an epic fantasy that spans lifetimes, something he has professionally proven to give time and time again with his other books. Although the fourth in his series, Scorned can be read independently but readers may find greater enjoyment in catching themselves up to speed with previous installments to experience the richly rewarding depth Samaniego has created. With beautiful maps that aid in his informational weaving of class systems, the shifting tides of nobility, and the struggle one woman endures just to be proven worthy by those that despise her very existence, Scorned is a strong female lead focused thoroughly enjoyable story that is deserving of a read.     

Grab it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09XKVT9P5

Perception Check (The Mages of Velmyra Saga Book 1) by Astrid Knight

Unforgettable geektastic adventure.

Astrid Knight’s first book from The Mages of Velmyra Saga, Perception Check, lets readers know from the first few pages that they are in for an adventure for the ages. Fun, fast, heart-warming, and clever in all the right places, Knight’s fantasy read delivers the goods for lovers of the genre and surprises at every turn with magical realism and role-playing greatness.

At its start, readers are introduced to Violet Spence, a young woman struggling for a normal life after experiencing a supernatural past that still haunts, and one that can be seen as a mystery waiting to be solved, a dilemma on a troubled mind. With the help of friends and companions, all of which are expertly detailed and individually different, Violet may get her wish as she is thrust into a journey that will change the very lives of all involved and one that will tilt reality on its ear in the process.

While the epic quest, or journey, isn’t a new idea in fantasy settings, Knight knocks that trope out of the park with Perception Check after masterfully reshaping the idea with a grand display of finely crafted characters, locations, and floods of the fantastical that will leave many a geek forever smiling. Leaving no stone unturned, Knight explores and touches upon nearly every single part of what works in the fantasy fandom ensuring her readers are not only drawn into her world but love every single second of its delivery.

Nods to team mechanics, chosen weaponry, comic relief, and odd species both deceptively evil and remarkably humorous are speckled throughout that ultimately build a wonderfully decorated foundation that is both enjoyable and blissfully reminiscent of days of card games and cartoons, and nights of table-top dungeon runs and video game controller blisters. Knight gives her readers the good versus evil treatment on a grand scale with this fun and feisty action/adventure jaunt while offering each of us a wink that she knows what we expect, like, and secretly crave from our childhood memories.

Expertly written, Knight showcases her ability to develop characters and push them to their limits in a way that makes her readers feel connected, feel like each of us is represented, and equally part of a wide and colorfully diverse species all with flaws, all with hopes, and all with dreams of a better tomorrow. Though only the first of a series, Perception Check sets the bar high for future installments from Knight. After reading this highly rewarding tale that leaves readers wanting more, something tells me many of us won’t need a roll of the dice to decide to revisit Knight’s world knowing that dazzlement and additional feats of fantasy await. Not to be missed, hits every mark, a great read!   

Jump in here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09VYB9ZJ5

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