Book Review: ‘Bound’ by R.M Gauthier

R.M. Gauthier Bound
The mystery surrounding Landon Miller builds to a heart-pounding crescendo in this fantastic sequel to ‘Control’.
 The action is fast-paced and unpredictable, providing a really effective contrast between those moments of waiting and wondering that heighten the tension and intrigue even further.

Gauthier’s characters are for the well-written and believable, and the reader continues to build empathy with Lexi throughout the story. I felt involved in the story and shared in Lexi’s frustration and anger with various situations and other characters at various points of the plot. Gauthier very cleverly positions the reader to understand the central character so that her responses feel both reasonable and justified, even though the reader might not personally respond in the same ways. In all honesty, I know Lexi is much more brave than I am, even if her stubbornness is something I can totally relate to.

This was a great read that focused on the mystery and the chase, rather than the “underground lifestyle” portrayed in ‘Control’, which was really only alluded to in ‘Bound’.

Golden Acorns

‘Bound’ gets a lovely shiny Golden Acorn!

I’m really keen for the release of the third book in the series.
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Author Interview: Lyra Shanti

Interview Purple

Hi folks, welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview! Today we chat with Lyra Shanti,  author of the brilliant space epic series Shiva XIV and a number of other incredible works. 

Hi, Lyra. 

Hi, Squirrel.

I confess, I’m a little star-struck. 

Oh, you sweet thing!

Right, where was I? Ah yes. Here we go! What inspired you to write?

Where to start? So many things inspire me! Great films, books, plays/musicals, music, anime/manga, poetry, laughter, sex, love,  rain, moonlight, the ocean, tall ancient trees, mountains, lakes, and so much more!

Truthfully, everything affects me.  I’ve been writing poetry, plays, and songs since I was a child of seven, but I didn’t start seriously writing stories till I was in my late 30s. I always wanted to try novel writing, but was terrified I wouldn’t be good enough. Then, one day, I felt the urge to try. I stared at the blank white screen and suddenly envisioned an infant, held up at an altar by a priest. It was Shiva XIV I saw, but I didn’t know it yet. Slowly, the story came to me, and the rest is history.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I’ve read a few good ones, though I haven’t had a ton of time to read (spending most of my time writing and editing!) But I loved Sweet Vengeance by Aliya DalRae. Can’t wait to read book 2, Sweet Discovery! It’s such a fun, sexy paranormal series!

Oh, I’ve read those! They’re great!  What are you working on writing now?

Lyra Shanti Shiva XIV 4 The River Of Time

I just finished book 4 in my sci-fi series, Shiva XIV: The River of Time. Yay! I’ll be promoting that for a while, but my next book will be The Artist, a complete departure from sci-fi and fantasy.

It’s a story about a man named Apollo Antonius Vidali, an artist fighting his madness in search of true love. It will be a cross between historical romance and erotic freeform poetry! I can’t wait to get that done by next year. I think my fans will be totally surprised, and that’s exciting!

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I have a strange aversion to whistling. Not so much when a person does it on key and it’s a song they know well… but when it’s meandering and slightly off key. I can’t explain why, I just hate it so much. I’ve yet to write that into a book… I may at some point. Maybe if I were to write a thriller or murder mystery. I could see a murderer whistling right after he’s killed someone. Terrifying!

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Lord of the Rings. All of them…The extended versions. Not even kidding! Lol

I would also repeatedly watch Close Encounters, Back to the Future (all 3), Titanic, The Wizard of Oz, The Muppet Movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course, the original Star Wars movies.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Basically what I am. 🙂 From the time I was 7, I wanted to be a songwriter… and playwright. I never envisioned myself as a novelist. That’s new, but feels right!

Sometimes you just have to run with what life brings you, eh?

Absolutely right!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Winter… especially in S Florida. There really aren’t weather changes here, like, at all… so winter is the only time it isn’t hot and humid. I love cooler weather! I love sweaters and snow and holidays!

Autumn is a close second. If I were living where I grew up (in Bellingham, Washington), there would be beautifully warm colors in the trees and a crisp, cool breeze in the air. It would be heaven! Plus, Halloween!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Growing up, I loved Alice in Wonderland. I think Lewis Carroll had a bigger influence on my already wacky brain than I realized. Then, Shakespeare plays made my heart and mind swoon! And of course, I loved Tolkien and J.K Rowling. But my biggest influence and inspiration would be Hermann Hesse. Books like Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Narcissus and Goldmund had a huge impact on me as a young adult, and as a writer. His stories were full of philosophical “East meets West” ideas, but also romantic relationships with flawed characters I deeply related to. I have to say, without his writing I would never have been a writer myself. His stuff was poetic and brilliant!

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It’s hard work. A lot harder than some might realize… all the writing, editing, promoting, and worry over if anyone will like the story.

Ultimately, though, it’s worth all the pain. At the end of the day, I get to see my worlds born into a virtual reality where it will live on forever. And I can say I did it my way… like Sinatra. 😉

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Editing books! And a second thing? Hmm… Driving a car in the city. Driving itself doesn’t scare me, but other people in their cars do! They’re nuts!

Wait! Nuts are good!

Okay. I guess you could say they drive me crazy!  *makes Fozzie Bear face* Get it?! Wakka wakka!

Moving right along…

Ah, I see what you did there!

*laughter*

So tell us, where can readers find your books?

My books are all on my Amazon page and my website at www lyrashanti.com.  

Awesome! Where can readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for being here today, Lyra! You’re incredible! 

Awww, thanks! You’re pretty special too, Book Squirrel!

Book Review: ‘Fateful Attraction’ by Lucretia Stanhope

The third book in the series, this sequel to ‘Blessedly Bound‘ and ‘Burning Captivation‘ takes the central character Gwen and the reader on another emotional roller coaster of danger and discovery as she seeks answers and justice, which are equally difficult to find. There are plenty of heart-in-your-throat moments as the story unfolds, especially as the distinctions between good, bad and sheer, unrepressed evil become clearer.

As with the previous books in the series, the central mystery and some of Gwen’s questions are solved, but other challenges and quests remain for future books. There is nothing repetitive or boring about this story or this series of books. The story just keeps on developing and building with each new phase.

lucretia-stanhope-ewt-3-fateful-attractions.jpg

Golden Acorns

Yet again, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lucretia Stanhope’s work. It’s another Golden Acorn from me.

Book Review: ‘Michael’ by Valerie Albermarle

One of the marks of a wonderful writer is that they are able to capture the reader’s imagination from the outset. When Michael wakes up to a clock that reads 15:74, the reader is drawn into the mind of Michael and into the world where he works so hard to make sense of things. So many questions are raised in both Michael’s mind and that of the reader, both directly and by inference, that one is keen to discover the answers.

Valerie Albermarle Michael

Albermarle’s writing is delightfully visual. “Out in the street a robust wind played with sparkling beads of the night’s rain.” It is images like this that make reading a book like ‘Michael’ so engrossing: the imagination is regularly fed a delicious morsel that keeps one hungering for more.

Michael is a complex and well developed character. By revealing different layers of his life and personality at different times, the author invites the reader into something of a relationship with the character, developing empathy with him as the story progresses. Quirky and thoughtful, Michael is a man to whom the reader warms very quickly.

The author often leads the reader to contemplate the significance of time, not just in terms of a rogue clock, but also in how we think about time and often disregard it. This adds a layer of reflection to one’s reading of the story, causing one to think about their own relationship with time and deadlines and further engaging them in the premise of the book.
“Round clock faces without beginning or end gave the illusion of infinite repetitions, infinite new chances, while digital clocks showed only how early or late you were for an event in your infinite life. But old instruments like sand or water clocks weren’t shy about telling people that the time runs out, and life together with it.”

At times the story picks up a new strand, which leaves the reader wondering but intrigued until, before long, things fall into place and the fabric of the story begins to be woven together from all those different threads.

The best way to experience this story is to not be set in one’s expectations of what it will be or what it will deliver. Allow the author to stimulate and lead your thinking. The structure of the story, and the story itself, are reminders that life is not predictable or set in stone. Approaching stories, or life itself, with an open mind provides endless possibilities, while closing doors leaves one alone with disappointed expectations.Silver Acorns

I very much enjoyed the journey that this story took me on. I’ve awarded it a Silver Acorn.

‘Michael’ by Valerie Albermarle is available on Amazon.

Book Review: Burning Captivation by Lucretia Stanhope

A couple of weeks ago I read and reviewed ‘Blessedly Bound‘ by Lucretia Stanhope. ‘Burning Captivation’ is the sequel, the second in Stanhope’s Elemental Witch Trials series.

Lucretia Stanhope EWT 2 Burning Captivation

Equally as enchanting as the first book in the series. this sequel to Blessedly Bound sees Gwen’s life take a turn in a direction that neither the reader nor she expected. A mystery that Gwen must solve becomes increasingly complicated by developments in her own life that spiral beyond her control. Still discovering the extent of her own power and what it means for her life, she is thrust into a world plagued by intrigue, political machination and vain ambition.

Stanhope’s supporting characters are complex and multi-dimensional, making them a challenge for both Gwen and the reader to figure out. The delicious way in which she blurs the lines between good and bad, friend and foe, adds layers of intrigue to the story and engages the reader deeply in the story.

As with the first book in the series, the central mystery is solved, but other questions remain in its wake.  The reader is left with the suggestion that something big is about to happen in the next book, but also with the knowledge that it could be something that might just complicate Gwen’s life futher before things improve for her again.

For anyone who hasn’t read Blessedly Bound, this story could stand alone quite effectively. But then – why only read one great book when you can read two? Golden Acorns

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a Golden Acorn from Book Squirrel for this great book.

Both ‘Blessedly Bound’ and ‘Burning Captivation’ are available on Amazon.

New Release: The Silver Feather

The Silver Feather is a hauntingly macabre tale for October reading or for any time of year.  It will please lovers of horror and ghost stories, and provide a delicious treat for folks who love to find a good spook in a book.
The Silver Feather Titled 6x9 Low Res
Reviews are already coming in on Amazon and Goodreads.
Here’s what they have to say so far:ScreenHunter_427 Oct. 04 16.59ScreenHunter_428 Oct. 04 16.59

Fun Fact: When the story was finished, it came up at 6664 words. The author added two more words so that this spooky little read had exactly 6666 words.

Just right for a month which offers both Friday 13th and Halloween, don’t you think?

The Silver Feather is available in your favourite digital store via www.books2read.com/aufeather

Paperback available soon.

Author Interview: Melvin Taylor

Interview Purple

 

Welcome everyone! Today we meet Melvin A. Taylor, Indie author of The Kindred Spirits book series. The series consist of two novels since 2011. Currently, Melvin is working on the third book entry which will be released soon. 

Hi Melvin! Welcome!

Thanks, Book Squirrel. You can just call me Mel if you like.

Sure thing! So tell us, Mel, what inspired you to write?

An inner voice saved my life during 9/11. That same voice spoke to me and planted a seed in my mind with an idea around a series of three books, which ultimately sparked my interest in writing and the rest, was history.

Wow! What’s your favourite thing that you have written? 

The first book in the series The Kindred Spirits: Rivers Return. After writing the book, it felt weird actually holding the book in my hands. A simple idea went from a thought to a physical finished product. I still can’t get my head around it.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written? 

Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson MD.

Who moved my cheese? That’s an intriguing title. 

Well, yes, I guess so.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year? 

Steve Harvey’s book, Jump.

What are you working on writing now? 

The third book in The Kindred Spirits series, which I hope to publish early next year.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had? 

Traveling to Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland on business. I was there for a little more than two weeks, respectively, in both cities—18 days in Zurich, came home for a week, then 18 days in Genova. After work and on the weekends I took full advantage of all that Switzerland had to offer. It was awesome and beautiful.

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I detest shady people…the ones that come across as friends but really have a hidden agenda. So the main villain in the book is based around that type of person.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are several movies that I could watch all day: “Miss Sloane”, “The Warriors”, “Ghost”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Predator”, “To Sir With Love” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

I’ve always wanted to be a businessperson. My grandfather had that entrepreneurial spirit and business savvy, which I gravitated towards and, unconsciously, it has become a part of my DNA. To date, I’m an author of two books and founder and CEO of an independent record label called 45 Records Entertainment. Growing up, I had no idea this would be my path, but I’m grateful and the grind doesn’t stop. Who knows what will happen in the future.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love the Fall! Cool enough to wear sweaters, bundling up in warm clothes and the beauty of the changing leaves.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations? 

My sister, Carol A. Taylor, as well as Jackie Collins and John Grisham.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons. 

Rupert A. Taylor (my grandpa), Carol A. Taylor (my sister) and my cousin Gary O. Davis. They’re successful individuals, working for themselves! They go to sleep at night with dreams and they wake up, still living their dreams.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

Remember, after writing and completing the book, that’s when the real work begins!  Be patient promote, promote and promote!! Always remind yourself the process is a marathon, not a sprint.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

1) I wish life it self was easier! I wish it came with a map, blueprints, instructions or directions as to what to do or not to do. A guide would eliminate all the mistakes that I’ve made in my lifetime. But, I’m learning as I’m going and growing and there’s a lesson in each experience. We all go through moments where we either feel discouraged, unmotivated and uncertain about ourselves—sometimes all three, ya know? But life is not about how you fall down, but how you get up. I think sometimes in life we need reminders about this, myself included; which is why I started my Resilient Warrior Story blog series and Resilient Warrior Community Facebook Group to promote stories of any kind. Sharing stories and experiences can assure someone else they aren’t alone. And the older I get, the more confident I become in my journey and where I’m headed…it’s a good feeling.

2) Losing loved ones (my mom, my dad and grandfather). If I could only spend one last time with them, to pick their brains or simply sit quietly with them…just to listen to them inhale and exhale again. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. Life has such a vicious cycle. I wish loss were easier to accept but I know that our paths will cross again and we will meet up on the other side. Hopefully, no time soon—and on the up side, I know I’m making them proud.

Oh, I’m sure you’re making them proud!

Thanks, Squirrel. That means a lot.

You’re welcome. Tell me, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter @MelvinATaylor
Instagram @MelvinATaylor
Facebook @AuthorMelvinATaylor
Great! And where can we find your books? 
They’re on MelvinATaylor.comAmazon  and Goodreads
Thanks for being here today, Melvin. It’s been great! 

Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!