Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan
Published March 2016 by himself
12 reviews with 4.3 average
Joshua's life is on the line, as he attempts to navigate through the magical world to find the truth about his father. He and his companions will need to use all their cunning to stay alive and avoid the dark forces of the Goat. Will Joshua find the magical orbs and open the Portallas, a gateway to other worlds, before he is killed?
Joshua sets out to learn the truth about his father. Along the way, he finds friends, enemies, adventure & romance. Most of all, he finds himself.
Joshua, a young woodsman, is approaching the age of decision. Despite the tales of his father having died in a skirmish with another tribe, Joshua's dreams are telling him otherwise. The young man yearns for the truth and decides to enlist the help of his village elder to guide him. Armed with little more than the cryptic musing from the ailing elder, Joshua sets off to find the Oracle with his best friend and an imp, who is travelling the land to find others of his kind. It isn't long before they stumble into a beautiful and ingenious young woman who is herself on a journey of discovery.
On the way to the Oracle, Joshua comes by some curious magical artefacts. Can these help him to find his father? An evil and malevolent creature of the underworld known only as the Goat learns that Joshua has possession of some of the magical orbs needed to open the Portallas, a permanent gateway that links worlds together. Enraged, the Goat sends his dark forces to thwart Joshua and to prevent him from fulfilling his destiny.
Travelling through fantastic landscapes, the four travelling companions meet strange people and creatures alike, and must use all their cunning and ingenuity to find the remaining magical orbs. Will Joshua find all the magical artefacts needed to open the Portallas and free his father?
PORTALLAS - Forestium: The mirror never lies is full of twists and turns, as Joshua goes on a veritable roller-coaster ride of challenges that will test his courage and emotional strength.
This Young Adult Fantasy Adventure is the first in the series and will appeal best to young teens. The magical world of Forestium is filled with adventure and the coming of age story will resonate with young adults. Destined to be one of the best selling fantasy adventure series, book 1 has a storyline that moves at a fast pace with lots of twists and turns.
The first chapter is a prolog. I'll read it for you now:
Here's my problem with prologues.
I think that prologues should give you information to help you better understand the upcoming story, whether it's an in depth look at a character, the world the story takes place in, or the intricacies of the magic system. What did we learn from this prolog that we didn't learn from the Amazon book description.
There are humans and some of them are dying of a plague. There are birds with magical feathers which can change color, though we aren't told what that change of color indicated. I'm not sure if it was leading them to the healer. I guess not, since it had stay perfectly white until they found the Metamorph. I t hought it was going to be the payment for services, but the man told Valoria to put it away before someone saw it. Who knows.
There are Imps. In a crowded rickety town, something appears to be killing them.
There are magical balls of fire which cause carnage, or maybe not. Our family come upon a town square that is filled with carnage. However, each powerball that appears chases down an imp and vaporizes it. So, where did the carnage come from? I'm not sure.
Our family flees the town and finds a Trader. He has an orb which creates a vortex through which Melachor sees another land. The trader climbs through just before Melachor's family is consumed by one of the balls of light. Before he is consumed by another ball, he grabs the orb, left by the trader, and everything goes black.
I think thte story is nicely written. There are enough fantasy elements to keep most readers interested who are into that genre. The book cover is beautiful and remeniscent of the genre with a woodsman holding a hand mirror showing the image of a goat headed man.
But the prolog frustrates me. I would just as soon skip it for the number of questions it raises and doesn't come close to answering. It doesn't appear to relate to the book description at all, and if these don't begin to be answered in the first few chapters, I would probably put it down to read something else.
Two more notes are:
"Barely able to stand" is repeated in the third paragraph. I don't know if this is a literary technique or a mistake. The literary technique is to repeat a word or phrase three times on the first page to create a mood. This phrase occurs only twice and in the same sentence. This second reference takes me out of the story to wonder why this mistake was overlooked by the editors. With a third instance of the phrase would resolve that feeling of confusion, as it was used to nail down a feeling or theme. In this case it doesn't, so, to me, it seems like a mistake.
Such an error on the first page sets me up to look for more editorial errors, rather than to enjoy the story. In the prolog the author mostly regained my interest.
Second, and finally, the book description ends with:
Destined to be one of the best selling fantasy adventure series, book 1 has a storyline that moves at a fast pace with lots of twists and turns.
Best selling fantasy adventures brings to my mind, Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, The Stormlight Trilogy, The Belgariad, The Sword of Shannarah, Game of Thrones. Is this novel destined to join these fantasy adventure giants? I don't think so.
I would say it looks like it will be good, but I doubt it will overtake any of those.
In this episode I interview Chris Mannino. We talk about teaching theater in high school, a trip to the alleged birth place of King Arthur, his inspiration behind his Scythe Wielders Secret trilogy, and working with Audible and ACX.
The first two books in the trilogy, School of Deaths and Sword of Deaths, are out now, with the third book Daughter of Deaths expected to be released later this year.
The series follows Suzie Sarnio, a thirteen-year-old whose world is turned upside down when she discovers that she is destined to be a Death. She always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe, but now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. As her year progresses, Suzie uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must learn and embrace the reason she was chosen to be the first female Death in a million years.
To learn more or to read an excerpt from the book, go to http://bookpublicityservices.com/school-of-deaths-the-scythe-wielders-secret-book-1/
Christopher Mannino's life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life. Growing up with adventure and fantasy stories filled with magic and imagination fueled him to create stories of his own.
School of Deaths began when Mannino spent a semester abroad at Oxford. On one side-trip, he became stranded on the Cornish coast, by Tintagel, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. Following a sleepless night above a noisy pub he climbed to a rocky peninsula to watch the dawn. Feeling completely alone, and attacked by winds from every direction as he clung to a cliff, Mannino imagined a character isolated in a strange world, attacked and bullied.
The Scythe Wielder's Secret is a series of Young Adult fantasy novels, which address issues of bullying, sexism, and social justice, all in a rich epic fantasy adventure world. As a teacher, Mannino hopes to inspire teenagers and other readers to dream and confront issues through their own determination.
Learn more about Mannino and his books at www.ChristopherMannino.com
YA YA (Young Adult Books) Public Facebook Group
Amazon Book Description
At eighteen years old, Cassidy has suffered more loss than most…
At the end of her senior year, her boyfriend, Jace Peters, was killed in a car accident, and her grandmother died only weeks later of a heart attack. Emotionally lost, Cassidy desperately searches for an heirloom her boyfriend was wearing in the crash—her mother’s gold ring. But during her search, Cassidy discovers more than her ring.
She finds a gate to the Demon Realm….
A battle is brewing, and Killian—head of the Demon hunters—preps his Clan for the approaching conflict. They’ve been working to secure the gate between his realm and the mortal world. But it’s been nearly impossible since Rya—a voracious demon on a quest to expand her power—devoured the soul of his Clan’s necromancer. Now Rya is possessed with the necromancer’s powers and she may break through the gate at any moment.
Apparently Rya isn’t the only one Killian has to worry about…
When Cassidy accidentally crosses into the Demon Realm, Killian can’t understand how a human girl survived the transition. Now he has to find a way to return her to her own world, or risk her being caught in the crossfire, which is a complication he definitely doesn’t need.
Once back in the Human Realm, Cassidy readies herself for battle. She signs up for Krav Maga classes, where she meets Tyler Romaitis—a handsome, tenacious, humble guy. He seems almost perfect, but nothing is ever that easy.
And as the balance between good and evil shifts, Cassidy finds herself—and her ring—at the heart of the conflict for the survival of mankind.
Between the Bleeding Willows (The Demon Hunters Series Book 1) by D.A Roach was
Published in March of 2016 by Limitless Publishing, LLC
33 Customer Reviews with a 4.8 average. She has four other books listed on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.
I saw Between the Bleeding Willows mentioned on the YA YA Young Adult Books Facebook Group (Link in the show notes) and it really caught my eye. A dark haired, dark eyed woman blends in with stom clouds in the sky behind her. Ravens wheel around her in the sky of the background. Below her in the foreground, the title is superimposed over a graphical design which implied knives or sword edges from a weapon.
I liked the cover enough to go to the Amazon Kindle page (Link in the shownotes) and read the description. Here's the description.
I found the description compelling enough to buy the kindle edition and read the first chapter. I'll read that now and then we'll see if I want to read further.
So this is chapter 1
Writing excuses,,,,first rule about plot....flashbacks.
This first chapter is a series of flashbacks
You can break the rules if you do it good enough. Did the author? I didn't hate it, It didn't make me want to stop reading. I don't know, at this point, if we've caught up to present time or not.
It's the same reasone I skip most 'Prologs'. I feel like they are telling us about people who are unimportant to the story, or that we will find the salient points in the following chapters.
The author began this final scene with "That night" and not refering to the previous scene, I have to believe she's still narrating the past.
At the end of this first chapter I still have enough interest and questions to keep me reading. I'll give it another few chapters before I decide if I want to finish it.
The cover was great, the Amazon descpription was compelling, the writing is clear, the character empathetic, and I want to find out how Jace is envolved after his death.
While I don't give this a five star raving review, it's good enough to keep me reading.
I should have an interview to share next week. So, thanks for listening and I'll see you then.
Connie A. Walker’s interest in fantasy developed before she started grade school. Her sister, June, who was five years older, practiced her reading skills by reading to Connie. June introduced her to The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, The Arabian Nights, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and hundreds of fairy tales. Connie fell asleep every night with visions of elves and ogres, sorcerers and enchanted lands, flitting through her mind.
When her sister started junior high school, the reading sessions dwindled to a few times a week. Suddenly Connie had difficulty sleeping. She began having nightmares. She dreaded going to bed.
One night, when Connie was very tired and having difficulty falling asleep, she pretended that June was reading her favorite story to her. She drifted off to sleep and had pleasant dreams. After that, when she went to bed, she reviewed other tales she had heard, often embellishing the action and adding characters.
Within a short while, she was making up stories of her own. That was when she decided to become a writer.
When Connie was seven years old, she won an annual writing contest sponsored by her elementary school. Students in first, second and third grades were eligible to enter. She was the first first-grader ever to win. Her story, “Stop, Look, and Listen,” was about a dog who acted as a crossing guard.
Throughout elementary and high school, Connie made her homework assignments enjoyable by being creative. When doing research papers, she presented the facts within a fictional frame story or a play. Essays were often written as satires, ending with unexpected twists. Connie considered everything she wrote as a prelude to a career as an author.
While getting her Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre at Brigham Young University, she had four original plays produced: a one act comedy and a two act drama (both of which were contest winners), plus two musicals. Later, she had two other one act comedies produced. After graduation, she worked as a technical writer, a graphic artist, and a public relations specialist. In the evenings, she wrote short stories, plays, poetry, and outlined ideas for fantasy novels. She filled a filing cabinet with unpublished manuscripts. A single mother of two, Connie often found her writing time shunted aside by such things as chicken pox, science projects, strep throat, baseball games, stomach flu, and school activities—all those things associated with parenting.
In the meantime, she had to make a living.
As her children entered the teenage years, financial demands increased, and Connie felt the need to develop a career that provided a predictable and adequate income. She attended the University of Utah and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in social work. She has been employed as a foster care caseworker, a psychotherapist, and a clinical programs manager.
Now retired, she finally has enough uninterrupted time to write professionally. Her children’s book, Timmy and the K’nick K’nocker Ring, is a fantasy about a young boy who is transported to a world where his special talents are considered magic. It took first place in a local writer’s contest, Children’s Literature category, and was the grand prize winner as well.
The Spire of Kylet, a young adult fantasy, is the first book in The Wolkarean Inscription Trilogy. Katrine is a fifteen year old girl who thinks she has her life all planned out. But, after performing an act of heroisn, she is adopted into a tribe of wizards and receives their powers. Suddenly, she is thrust on a path toward a new destiny whether she likes it or not. The second and third books in the trilogy, The Eyes of Landor and Triumph at Serpent’s Head, are now available.
Connie is currently working on a second Wolkarean trilogy.
Her books are available through Amazon.com in paperback and kindle version.
Episode 42 A first chapter review of "Water so Deep" by Nichole Giles.
I read this book about a year ago when it was first published and was one of the books that gave me the idea that maybe I should start a podcast talking about Young Adult books. I met Nichole a few years ago at a writing conference. She was so friendly and approachable, I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to get these authors on a podcast and have them talk about their books, their characters and their inspiration behind their writing. We've talked a bit about doing an interview, but we just never seem to connect.
So, I thought I would go ahead and do a first chapter review of the book that got my mind headed in this direction and see if I can get her on an interveiw some time in the future.
Water so Deep was published in February 2015 by Jelly Bean Press.
It has 72 Amazon reviews with a 4.1 average.
Here is chapter 1:
The book cover shows a girl in a white cotton dress, underwater, and swimming to the surface. I think this is a great cover and illustrates the theme of the story. A young woman who is struggling to find the balance between her underwater and on-land self...between what she has grown up and familiar with becoming more and more out of reach to the person she is becoming, who she knows nothing about.
Nichole's use of imagery and tone in her writing makes her story a delight to read. I give her writing and description five stars. The lightning storm, the falling rain, and the transformation from mermaid back to human create a compelling mystery.
We see the foundations for the mer-folk established in this first chapter which follows throughout the book and builds logically and convincingly. I give plausibility five stars.
Setting is wonderful and clear. Of course, if you're going to have mermaids, you need the ocean.
Characters we meet in the first chapter. Emma Harris, our protagonist. Merrick, a mer-man who we learn is her intended below the surface. Tom, who was her love interest, until just now. Others who are introduced through implication are her parents, grandmother, her brother, and the Sea King.
What makes me want to read further...
Of course, I've already read this book and know what you don't know. But the characters in the first chapter are all compelling. Who is Merrick and why does he feel he has a claim to Emma? What is Tom's problem and what makes him think he has the right to judge Emma beat her up? As a man with daughters, the first time I read this book I wanted to grab Tom by the throat and shake him.
What is Emma's origin that she is turning into a mermaid, and her parents have not? She makes mention of her grandmother. Does she, or did she, know something that she didn't share with her grand daughter?
Who is the love interest that we haven't heard about yet? Oh, that's right. You haven't heard about the love interest who isn't Merrick. I don't think I'll spoil the story to tell you that there is a guy who becomes important to the story who you haven't heard about yet.
Is there a way out of it, or is she destined to become a mermaid, and end up in a marriage to Merrick?
Water so Deep isn't a treatise on the moral values of our contemporary youth. It doesn't make any allusions or assumptions about about society. But if you like a story with endearing characters struggling through conflicts to find love and happiness without having to endure torrid, bodice ripping, love scenes, this will be a book you will enjoy and remember.