Saturday, July 1, 2017

Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant

by E. Lee Smith

Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant, by E. Lee Smith was a pleasant surprise. The story of a family who are unusually talented in fighting the vampires, known as the Revenant, that have ravaged the world destroying civilization, commerce, and most of humanity. There are pockets of human settlements, much like what was found during the settling of North American Continent. But most of the land is devastated and dangerous because of the beasts and Revenant who stalk and hunt the land. Most settlements have security forces called Watchmen and a few Stalkers, specialized in hunting and killing the Revenant. John Shadowhorn and his family are the best of the Stalkers, legends in their own time. Without being a spoiler, Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant is an unpeeling of how they do what they do so well. Though, I suspect, based on how the story unfolds, there is more to their talents than is revealed in this story. A sequel possibly, Mr. Smith?

I enjoyed this book very much. To keep things honest, I must reveal that Smith is a relative and friend of mine and this is not a genre I normally read or enjoy. However, because I know how creative he is, I did buy the book and read it before being asked and deciding to review it. With that said, I was surprised that I enjoyed this story as much as I did. Vampire, zombie, and demon stories do not normally interest me as they are overdone and pretty much the same story with different names attached. Smith’s creativity with this genre delighted me. The ‘science’ and foundation he laid for this story, the cause and effects that he created, here were great. It made sense and told the story well. Relationships were revealed and created among the characters that made the flow of the story easy to read and allowed for more than one surprising turn of events, even for a seasoned reader. I love surprises in a storyline that enhance a story instead of just adding drama. Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant has this. Character development was very well done. The ending gives closure to the story while leaving just enough questions like “what about…” and “what if…” that made me expect more later.

As a reviewer, I must point out what I missed, so here goes. There were some characters I would have liked to see fleshed out more, like Ethan Corey, Able Brewster. Who is Katherine, other than mom?
Jewel, though young, has talent only hinted at. Smashwords is a wonderful vehicle for e-books, but it would be great if I could get it on Amazon as well.

I cannot end the review without giving kudos to Mr. E. Lee Smith’s editor, Lisa Smith. Most self-published books have some trouble in the editing department. Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant was very well edited. The only trouble I had was in reading on various devices and that was a Smashwords issue, not an editing issue.

I recommend Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant to any reader who enjoys a good story of discovery and adventure. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gatehaven - A book review

  Gatehaven, by Molly Noble Bull, was an interesting surprise. Though billed as a Christian Gothic story for young readers, which I do not usually enjoy, I enjoyed it. Here I need to admit, however, that I am not a pre-teen or teen any longer. In my younger days I would have found the story tense. Though the plot involves the stalking and capture of Shannon, a na├»ve young lady, by grown men with dishonorable intent to her and her family Bull handles the situations appropriately for her younger audience. The two heroes, Ian and Peter, do their best to save and help Shannon see the danger and to see what love really is before it is too late but, to their frustration, she learns the hard way. Bull cites a lot of Bible scriptures, which I really enjoyed, but they could be irritating to someone who believes differently than I do. I found that for the most part the scriptures fit with the plot where they are used.  

   Shannon is sometimes very irritating in her naivety, but not unlike some friends I grew up with. The characters Peter and Ian were believable up to and including their frustration with Shannon. The protagonists were a bit shallow but did the job well enough to carry the storyline. Cally, a minor character but a catalyst in the plot, had a depth that I enjoyed. All of the characters Bull presents had a purpose in fleshing out the storyline so that by the end of the novel closure was realized.

   I will read Gatehaven again and will recommend it to Christian preteen and young teen readers. Like the setting, Victorian era, I found the style and the moral of the storyline obvious but tasteful. Good job Ms. Bull.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Angel War by Phillip Dodd - a book review

I found Phillip Dodd’s Angel War novel very interesting. It is one of those books that I had to sit back and think about after reading it. The fictional story of who Satan is and how he came to be who he is as told from his own perspective. Dodd has truly written a Christian Sci-Fi.


The story begins with the emergence of God himself and then from the time of the creation of the angels and the heavens and continues through the history of man to the end of the earth, at least as we know it. One of main things that make this novel so unique is that in all of the creations of God, the Angels, and Satan with his fallen angels, machines are used to create. They also use time jump and vortexes along with space ships and magical weapons in the conflicts of the story. Angel War emphasizes the love and connection of family and friends and the loneliness of the loss of these relationships. Also, there seems to be little difference between the society of Heaven, the society of Hell, and the society of Earth in that all beings have purpose, jobs, relationships, and individuality. No one rests on clouds plucking harps or writhes in flames scaring lost souls. The main difference is in the attitude or moods that the societies live and work with.


Dodd does very well with weaving the Bible, creation in particular, into this science fiction story. My first impulse while reading was rejection of some of Dodd’s creativity because I started out reading it from a Christian perspective. I needed to regularly to remind myself that this was a science fiction story with a biblical theme. The beginning was slow for me, with the history of the creation of the clans of angels and how it all began. However, as the story played out I realized how important the beginning history is to understand the events throughout the story. Dodd has woven an interesting story from a very unique perspective. This is one of those novels that will need to be reread to see the whole story – possibly several times.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Gift of Fire by Stephen B5 Jones

A Gift of Fire by Stephen B5 Jones

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img alt="A Gift of Fire" border="0" src="" /></a><a href="">A Gift of Fire</a> by <a href="">Stephen B5 Jones</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
I enjoyed A Gift of Fire: The Last God War. Book One by Stephen B5 Jones. The story is well told with a complexity to some of the characters that I enjoyed. The picture parallel with the dystopian society of Cityscape and many societies of today that have only two castes is drawn well. Jones made an interesting move when separating the ‘middle class’ of the Shanties to a hidden and distant region of Perma The creation of a new yet visual world is well done. The characters were like people I know so I related well with all of them, even the ‘villians’. Jones threw in some twists that make the plot more interesting. Some of the twists were not a surprise but some I did not see coming, which I enjoyed very much. <br><br>I had a little confusion with one of the time jumps but can see how the jump between time is necessary to understand some characters and actions in the story and in some of the historical references made by characters. Changes in the characters of Angla, Jenna, Awyna, and even Rafe to resolve conflict and point the way to closing the gaps between the three castes and cultures of Perma was smooth and well done. I must say, however, that Gabri was my favorite change and my favorite surprise. Well done Stephen B5 Jones. This is a story I will read more than once over the course of time, just to enjoy it.<br>
<a href="">View all my reviews</a>

Saturday, September 7, 2013

D. Brian Shafer

Shafer used Bible accounts of the rebellion of Lucifer and the creation to tell an interesting story. I did not find the story 'religious' at all. The characters, though they are angels, are infused with the emotions, feelings, and reactions of mankind so they were easy to relate to, unlike most stories about angels. Though portrayed as withdrawn, preoccupied, above the action, and unapproachable, God is not a main character yet the story centers around his actions. Similar to a father-figure in a story about siblings and their reaction to the father as told by the siblings while the father is in another room. The layout of the story was not complex but compelling to me as a reader. Without spoiling, the main twist was one I hoped for but did not see coming in the way Shafer wrote it. Yet it was still believable. Interesting enough to read again and to look for others in the series.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Works by Oscar Wilde

   This is not my kind of book. It is the story of the corruption of a young man just to see if it can be done. Definitely a Victorian story it comes off to me as very preachy with the moral redemption of the story coming at the end of a downward spiral. I started it on my own at the beginning of summer break and laid it aside after about half of it. It was required reading for an English class the next semester so I had to finish it. The corruption was complete and the redemption sacrificial.

   Dorian Gray, an extremely naive good looking young man, sits for a portrait at the request of his new friend Basil Howard. In the process of painting Dorian Basil falls in 'love' with Dorian's naive, innocent good looks. Basil wants to keep him always the same as an inspiration to art. But Lord Henry, third in the triangle, finds it much more interesting to tempt Dorian with all the pleasures of the senses that life offers just to see how far Dorian will go and how much it will change him. Doran is fascinated with the temptations. Once Basil's portrait is finished and Dorian actually sees his reflection in it he is amazed at his own beauty and immediately regrets that he will one day grow old and lose his beauty. At that moment he makes a fervent wish that his portrait would grow old and he himself would enjoy youth and good looks forever. It is not until his first major fall into Lord Henry's offered temptations that he realizes his wish has come true. From that moment on he spends his life satisfying all of the lusts and temptations of the senses that life can offer, all the while seeing the effects on the face of his portrait and not in his mirror. Good looks and youth open many doors to the world for him. 'No consequences" changes Dorian Gray's spirit and soul as the reader watches him spiral downward - until he hits bottom."> View all my reviews

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Toybox - book review - A new experience

by Heather Farthing

Toybox by Heather Farthing is an interesting experience. The story of someone who wakes up as a rabbit in the playroom of a little girl surrounded by other talking toys. As the plot unfolds you, the rabbit, discover how you got there and why you were chosen. Then, panic reigns as the owner of the playroom arrives, in an angry fit, and all characters run and hide except you.

Though a short story, it leaves you thinking "What if..." Written in first person Toybox wakes you up in a world similar to reality but not quite real. As you try desperately to figure out what is going on and where you are your dream becomes a nightmare until you, 1st person, turn it around yourself. Toybox reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode from years ago (still in reruns) except that I liked the twist at the end of Toybox much better. Though the book ended my thoughts continued to add to the story.

as reviewed on

Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant

Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant by E. Lee Smith Shadowhorn: Age of the Revenant , by E. Lee Smith was a pleasant surprise. ...