Category: Fantasy

Book Review: Winterset Hollow by Jonathan Edward Durham

First off, I have to say that I absolutely adored this book! The year isn’t over yet, but I’m confident that this one will be making my Top 10 list. Yes, it’s that good.

I want to suggest that, if at all possible, please do yourself a favor and start reading at page 1, without reading any sort of summary or book description first. I think you’ll enjoy the story even more if you have no idea what’s coming. The story’s events were still a bit of a surprise, but I would have been full-on shocked and stunned if I hadn’t read the description first.

Now, on to why I loved “Winterset Hollow” so much:

  1. It’s different. I read a lot of books, so when I come across one that really strikes me as something I haven’t experienced before, I take notice. While this book has some familiar fantasy and magical realism elements, the direction and nature of the story itself is truly unique. When an author manages to surprise me like this, I’m always impressed.
  2. The actual story is very good. If you haven’t already read the description, I’ll provide the spoiler-free version: A young man and his friends visit the island home of the author of a favorite book. Many things happen during this visit, and they will surprise even if you have read a more detailed summary. They will THRILL you if you go in blind.
  3. The characters were very well-written. I felt like I really knew all of the major ones by the time the story ended. Eamon, the main character, is provided with an incredibly detailed psychological profile. Enough is shared about everyone else who matters to the plot that the reader understands each of them and their motivations. I felt so connected that I’d love to read a follow-up book (or even a short story) about what happened after the novel ended.
  4. The writing itself was impressive! I don’t just mean that the book was free of typos and grammatical errors. It was, but that is to be expected. I mean that the actual writing style was amazing. This book was beautifully written, with a lyrical quality evocative of Markus Zusak. Don’t worry…the writing style never bogs down or takes away from the flow of the story in any way. It’s just perfect!

Thank you, Jonathan Edward Durham, for writing such a fantastic book. This one will have a home in my permanent collection, and I eagerly await whatever you come up with next.

Five out of five chunks of my absolutely favorite sharp cheddar!


Book Review: Twilight’s Fall by J. Steven Lamperti

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment in the “Tales of Liamec” series. The story itself was interesting: a young king and his entourage are ambushed while traveling, and when he finally arrives home, he’s facing a full-scale revolt. The reader meets lots of news denizens of Liamec, including royals, advisors, schemers, revolutionaries, and even a few who are no longer among the living. It was interesting to see so many types of people, and each added something important to the tale.

The author provided a lot of information about the geography of the area throughout the book, and I enjoyed getting a better sense of the land. Since a good bit of time is spent in Capitol, I gained a better understanding of the country’s government and major city as well. All of these made me appreciate this fictional land even more than I already did!

The final major event of the book (which I won’t share to avoid spoilers) was impressively well-written. It was very detailed, and I could easily follow all of the action. And there is PLENTY of action in this book to keep the reader fully engaged. I may even have shed a few tears by the end.

As an added bonus for readers of previous books, a former minor character gets a large role, and I liked seeing how his past very unique experience affected him in the present. The book had a definite conclusion, but teases some possible events to look forward to in future installments.

Honestly, I think this has been the best book in the series so far. We got more character development, more knowledge of the land, and more action. Five out of five chunks of sharp cheddar!

Book Review: Moon & Shadow by J. Steven Lamperti

I’d been hearing good things about the “Tales of Liamec” series, so I was excited to start reading with “Moon & Shadow”, the first book. It definitely did not disappoint….all the good reviews are definitely warranted!

The book reads very much like a traditional fairy tale. A young man, Sebastian, pulls the moon out of the sky one night. This leads him through a series of events he never could have anticipated as he fulfills what was obviously his destiny all along. I enjoyed the story itself, and was eager to keep reading to see what would happen next.

I also enjoyed the character of Sebastian. He is an interesting, detailed character, and I liked him more and more as additional details were revealed about his life and personality. A side character, Anise, was also intriguing, and I anticipate seeing more of her in future installments (based on some details provided in this one).

I like the idea of the fantastical world of Liamec, and that there are additional stories set there that will let me see more of this place and the people that inhabit it.

One final note: As I read the book, it didn’t really feel like I was reading. It felt more like I was sitting around a campfire listening to an old friend telling me a story. It was lovely…maybe some of the Liamec magic came through in real life?

Definitely 5 out of 5 chunks of perfect cheddar!

Book Review: Kaji Warriors: Shifting Strength by Kelly A. Nix

“Kaji Warriors: Shifting Strength” by Kelly A. Nix is an impressive debut novel. The world-building was outstanding. The author was able to give me a pretty good sense of this world and how it works early on, with plenty of additional detail to follow throughout the rest of the story. By the end, the depth Ms. Nix had created was truly amazing!

Main character Atae was also excellent. She was well-drawn and very detailed, with lots of strengths as well as enough weaknesses to make her realistic and likeable. I enjoyed reading about her life and aspirations, and getting to know her as I read. I also appreciated other key characters, especially Solum and Jequi, who both added a great deal to the storyline.

The plot itself was a blend of political intrigue, personal relationships, and a Hunger-Games-esque tournament toward which everything is leading. There was always something interesting going on, with character development along the way. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series to see what will happen as these characters move on to their next big challenge: The Gridiron!

5 out of 5 cups of shredded mozzarella!