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: 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.

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!

Author Interview: Catherine Weaver

Interview Orange

Welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview, in which Book Squirrel meets Catherine Weaver, the author of the Island of California books, which are fantasy books set in the present day Silicon Valley area and the magical Island of California.

Welcome, Catherine!

Thank you, Book Squirrel. It’s lovely to meet you!

Tell us, Catherine, what kind of audience you write for.

My books were written for middle-grade readers and have absolutely nothing in them that is not family-friendly. Kids who have read the books so far really like them, and most adults who have read them like them, too.

That’s great! It’s true that the best kids’ books are loved by adults as well.

Yes, there’s a child in all of us.

Or, at least, a very cute little squirrel. 

Yes, of course!

Are your books all in a series, or are they single titles?

The novels, Gold Dust and Phoenix Down, and I am currently working on the third in the series, Dragon Oil.

I also have two books of short stories: Tales From the Island of California, and More Tales From the Island of California.

What inspired you to write?

I come from a family of writers. My mother, Jane Blue, is a poet, and her mother wrote articles for newspapers in San Francisco, so I grew up with the idea that writing was something people do. But what really inspired me to actually start writing books was my huge love of reading, plus my love of the San Francisco Bay Area. I read lots and lots of books that I loved, but noticed there was a distinct lack of fantasy books set in the SF Bay Area and Silicon Valley, which I feel are among the most magical places on Earth, and I wished I could read a book like that. Since I couldn’t find them, I decided to write them.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I like them all, but have a special place in my heart for my first book, Gold Dust.

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

Ask me this on a different day and I will give you a different answer. I am a voracious reader and I have a lot of favorites. Right now I’m reading Ready Player One, which I am enjoying very much. I just finished Anansi Boys, which I feel is a perfect book. I also think most of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett are perfect. I completely loved The Martian and can’t wait for the sequel. The Thin Man is one of the best books ever written. The Harry Potter books are likewise amazing. When I was a kid, I read and re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to a point where I had them memorized, and the same goes for the Chronicles of Narnia. There are many more.

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

Today I have to say Ready Player One.

What are you working on writing now?

The third book in my series, which is called Dragon Oil.

Do you have any books planned that feature… you know… squirrels?

Uh… no. Sorry.

It’s okay. It’s never too late, you know.

I’ll keep that in mind.

Thanks.
What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

When I went to Switzerland and stayed with friends in Yverdon near Lausanne, rented an Alpha Romeo, and drove all over the french part of Switzerland, then down the Rhone Valley in France to Marseille, staying in Valence on the way.

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

I really hate prejudice, greed and the way artists are devoured by the machine. I also hate religious, cultural and gender discrimination. These things are addressed in my writing, in a way that is palatable for kids. My books are full of humor, so the things I hate are not hit over anyone’s head.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.

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

An architect.

Cool!
What’s your favourite season? Why?

I like autumn the best because it’s sunny but not too hot, the air smells of wood fires, and the low sunlight slanting through the turning leaves is beautiful.
And all those lovely nuts!
Absolutely!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Terry Pratchett, Dashiell Hammet, JRR Tolkien

Great choices! 

Thanks!

Where can we follow you on social media?I’m on Facebook and Twitter and I also have a webpage.

You’re also welcome to check out my Amazon author page, which has all of my books on it.

Just click through on the links.

Thanks for being here today, Catherine. 

Thank you for having me!

Book Review: ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ by Eric Tanafon

Every now and then, as a reader, I experience an incredible moment of revelation when I take in an expression or image of something that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.

No sooner had I started reading ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ than I had to stop and experience the moment. I had just read an extraordinarily beautiful sentence: “The forest clearing was a web of moonlight and shadows.”

What perfect imagery!  It is simple and direct, but powerfully evocative at the same time.

In that moment, I was there. I had been transported to that forest clearing and drawn into the world of the story, even before I knew anything else about it.

This is the magic a writer works when wielding the wand that is their pen.

Eric Tanafon Robin Hood Wolf's Head

Tanafon continues to cast these spells with magnificent imagery throughout this book. As tales are told and the various storylines develop, the author provides the reader with a feast of sensory morsels that both satisfy and delight the reader.

At times, such images can be consumed at speed. Others, like this one, demand more thoughtful digestion to fully appreciate the skill in Tanafon’s craft:

“The autumn day had dawned softly, with light mists gathered around the sun like a veil. In the late morning the forest was still sweet and moist, haunted by the ghosts of decaying leaves.”

As a writer, I lost count of the times I read a sentence or two and thought to myself, “I wish I had written that!”

Tanafon’s genius in reinventing the story of Robin Hood as a paranormal adventure is equally as enchanting as his writing. The stories of Robin Hood, his band of followers and of their enemies are interwoven, not as a braid but as a rich tapestry. Thus the old stories are retold, stripping back the gloss of legend and hero worship and offering the reader a far more thought-provoking and deeply engaging retelling of the famous tales.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s not just a fantastic read: this is literature absolutely worthy of the top shelf.

Available on Amazon.