Robert Luis Rabello
When I was a young boy, my favorite place in the entire world provided shelter from the blistering summer sun beneath twisted, tangled California Live Oaks. The arroyo lay carpeted in a crisp bed of fallen leaves, beneath which water always flowed. Toward dusk, living creatures moved from their dens and resting places--small amphibians, birds and mammals--coming out to hunt, or be hunted.The contrast between the busy streets of my home town and this quiet place, which lay within a thirty minute bike ride of my house, drew me with increasing frequency as I grew older. My mother never complained when I brought new 'pets' home. I kept tadpoles in a jar, toads and snakes in a terrarium, then dutifully returned them to the 'wild' after observing their behavior for a little while.The day I saw an army of bulldozers arrive, my heart sank. Although somebody once told me that the subspecies of California Live Oak native to the San Rafael hills where I grew up lived in no other place on earth, the giant machines knocked them to the ground without mercy. In their place, a massive, fetid, noisome mountain of garbage rose toward the sky. I vowed to leave that place and live somewhere far away, where my new 'favorite place' could remain pristine. I swore that I would forsake California for Canada.Although that memory has faded, and its impact muted by a myriad of different experiences, somehow it retains an influence over my attitude toward people and the world I observe. It could be a better place, if something within us would change--That restless desire to instigate a revolution lies at the core of what motivates me to write. I put words on paper in the naive belief that somehow you will be different after my work has been read. This is not arrogance,merely hope.
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Where to buy in print
Dreams and Missions: Deveran Conflict Series Book Five
When Algernon Ravenwood falls into the Desolation River, he is compelled by circumstances to confront his personal weaknesses.
Kira, Algernon’s twin sister, has to face strong opposition to her charitable work without the formidable assistance of her brothers.
While Garrick, the twins’ older brother, is deployed to the Saradon Plateau, his new bride, Brenna, faces life without her beloved.
The Hollow Solitude
Of all the creatures who live in the upland forest, the winged gwynling are the most beautiful, intelligent and endangered. What will happen when Jhiran Vell finds herself trapped on a gunboat with smugglers? Will her wits be enough to preserve her life?
Four Days to Freedom
As an insurgency spreads through the ancient city of Abelscinnia, paramilitary police detectives begin investigating the highly suspicious activities of a wealthy businessman named Tegene, son of Asabi.
Why is he buying weapons and heavy equipment? Is Tegene planning to overthrow the government, or does he have something else in mind?
The Girl in the Game
Fourth year seminary student Lynden Velez has a fateful encounter with the star center of Sacred Vimlitia during a school-sponsored lacrosse tournament. Who is the girl? Why is she playing men's lacrosse? How can Lynden get to know her when she won't talk to him?
Ceremonies and Celebrations: Deveran Conflict Series Book IV
Cassie Velez and Jared Hohner, uneasy guests of King Alejo at his palace in Kameron City, witness rioting and political intrigue.
Kira and Algernon Ravenwood begin ministering to exploited women in Marvic, coping with hostility and mistrust.
Garrick worries that his fiancee, Brenna Velez, is suffering from mental illness in the days leading up to their long-anticipated wedding.
Crisis: Deveran Conflict Series Book III
Algernon Ravenwood struggles to build a home on Superstition Mesa, but discovers giants living nearby. His twin sister, Kira, suffers a lingering, secret malaise. As her past haunts her present, can she find hope for the future? Garrick, their brother, faces defeat as a combat leader and dissent within his ranks, while his beloved Brenna is held captive. Will she seek revenge when she escapes?
The Long Journey: Deveran Conflict Series Book II
As a brutal civil war encroaches on the Tamarian border, Garrick Ravenwood undertakes officer training in preparation to stop the humanitarian crisis. Brenna Velez, the girl he loves, worries that the civil war will destroy her family's estate and their high-tech light forges. Meanwhile Garrick's younger brother, Algernon, travels to war-torn Kameron to find and rescue his wayward twin sister.
The Edge of Justice: Deveran Conflict Series Book I
As the Azgaril Northern Liberation Army invades the tiny nation of Tamaria, Centurion Dathan Herulus faces the difficulty of harmonizing his orders with his conscience. As the Azgaril move north, Garrick Ravenwood, a young Tamarian soldier, meets Brenna Velez, a refugee who has fled the destruction of her homeland. Their courage helps Tamaria resist the might of the invading force.
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Smashwords book reviews by Robert Luis Rabello
on Nov. 18, 2011
Overview: Rosaline Enescue escapes from the frightening brutality of her husband in Romania by running away to the United States. She begins a new life as a high school student, but meets a young man named Gabriel, to whom she finds herself irresistibly attracted. How can this be? Where did her self-control go? How can a mere human so captivate her attention? The answers trace back to her homeland and the life she left behind.
Cover / Graphics / Maps : The cover is simple, evocative and looks professionally laid-out. The orange rose has significance to the story and is allegorical of the main character.
Interior Formatting: I read the Kindle version. There were no glaring format issues. The font was large enough to be legible, but small enough to permit speed reading without adjustment.
Readability: Sample paragraphs averaged a readability index of 5.8, which is appropriate for the target audience and most readers of this genre. I had no difficulty with any of the vocabulary or sentence structures in this novel.
Names: All of the names were easily pronounced and accessible. Since the story takes place in a modern context, place names are recognizable.
Hero / Heroine: Rosaline Enescue is a bit of an enigma. Given the terrible ordeal described in the prologue to this story, it's reasonable to expect a degree of hardness and an aloof attitude from this character. In general, people like their protagonists to be strong, and Rosaline certainly projects inner strength and mental toughness. She's described by other characters as kind and loving, but she acts more like a streetwise and vigorous force to be reckoned with, rather than a sweet, gentle female. The descriptions that characterized her as the latter grated against the former.
I'd expected Gabriel Marsten to be a dumb jock, mindlessly interested in conquering opponents on the football field and girls in the social arena. But he evolves as the story progresses, from the inaccurate caricature of an athlete into a decent, intelligent and caring young man. He becomes the type of boy that a father would be proud to call his son, only to transform further into something ELSE, entirely. It's both fascinating and disturbing to experience. Amy Miles has done a terrific job of defying expectations with this character.
Supporting Characters: Sadie and William Hughes are siblings who live next door to Gabriel Marsten. They maintain an annoyed, teenaged tolerance for one another throughout the book, though the role that William plays in the story is less significant than that of his sister. Sadie befriends Rosaline, though the two appear to have very little in common. Nicolae, a mysterious exchange student, transforms from a creepy kid into something very different as the story progresses. I felt that a little platforming of his capabilities early in the story would have made for a smoother character arc near the end.
Villains: Rosaline's husband, Vladimir, occupies a menacing role that exists mostly on the periphery of the story, except for the very beginning and the very end. A lot of the conflict in this book is internal, with Rosaline, herself. The reader is effectively kept in suspense about the danger of her powers throughout the story. This is something that Amy Miles has done very well.
In addition, flat characters, like Claire Scofield--Gabriel's girlfriend--and Oliver--Gabriel's jock friend--serve as antagonists and provide the occasional comic relief. There's a scene involving Claire using Gabriel's leg as an erotic dancing prop that had me laughing.
Plausibility of Storyline: There's a degree of suspending disbelief that every fantasy story must be given. That's certainly true of this one, but there were scenes and behaviors, such as Rosaline's frequent disappearances, which did little to advance the plot and probably could have been cut or modified without impacting the overall story. High school students making travel arrangements and departing the country without parental approval raised my brows too, but this IS a story for young readers, and that audience would likely be unfazed by that detail.
Reviewer's Response: Amy Miles has written a vampire story that defies convention in many ways. Though I am not in the target market for this genre, the story retained my interest throughout, and I actually found myself enjoying the characters, particularly Rosaline and Gabriel, as they evolved. One of the strengths of the independent author movement is that it permits stories that depart from main stream, commercial themes and plot lines to be heard. I believe this story is a refreshing example of that trend. For young adult readers, in particular, this is likely to be a very enjoyable story.