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I write mainly fantasy. I've been published in "Litsnack, "Moon Drenched Fables," "Lightning Flash Magazine," "Shadowcast Audio Anthology," "Joyful!" "50 to 1 Blogspot" and "Postcard Shorts.com."
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A Fortnight of Mustard
Catholic Once Again
on June 02, 2011 :
I have to start by saying I'm not a big paranormal/fantasy fan and it takes a lot to hold my interest in this genre. I also am not a fan of urban fiction. Even so, Syzygy grabbed me firmly by the wrist from the beginning with Berenstadt's unique word styling and gentle humor and kept yanking until I had no choice but wonder where this "narrated" story would lead.
Although at times Bea grated my nerves, the supporting characters were charming/captivating/curious enough that mattered little. In fact, I was more intrigued by the supporting stories than the main line. And yet, that didn't bother me, either. The twist was in just the right place and the story moved along well.
Syzygy is what an indie book should be: experimental, unique, well-written, and thoughtful. The deeper themes running through make this much more than a fun fantasy. Amanda Berenstadt is an author to watch.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
on Jan. 13, 2011 :
I can't say anything that the previous review didn't already say better. An interesting twist on the werewolf theme, with humor, and romance. A very fun read.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
on Sep. 04, 2010 :
Syzygy is as unusual as its title. Uniquely presented as a story told to Miriam, an old woman in a mental hospital, by a new patient, the reader is taken along with Miriam into a world of tension, conflict, mad scientists, and the sacrifices that can only be made for true love.
Syzygy is an exciting tale of a paranormal organized crime family pitted against two young lovers, told in a fresh and enchanting new voice. The characters are fun and well developed, the plot intriguing, with numerous twists and turns. Can true romance survive evil and betrayal? Is the love of one woman enough to help a disturbed young man reclaim his honor and integrity? Or will the betrayal of both good and evil ruin our hero’s chance to be more than he ever believed he could be, even as he tried to be less than he is? And can the price of having superpowers ever really be too high? For all these answers and more, Syzygy is a must read. Definitely worth the time.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Aug. 23, 2010 :
*A classic, sure to attract a cult following*
This is far and away the best fantasy novel I have ever read! Harry Potter, Edward and Bella, you've met your match. Fans will re-read this enchanting novel, share it with friends and treasure it for years to come.
When Finn Wilde's clan orders him to kidnap Bea Jones, he falls crazy in love with her instead. He must choose between Bea and the family he grew up in - an organization that demands death to traitors.
The fairy-tale romance of Finn and Bea is told by a mysterious new patient at a mental hospital. Found in dirty jeans and a tattered Hawaiian shirt, the young man won't reveal his name nor where he comes from. He only speaks to one soul, a widow grieving the deaths of her son and husband. Miriam grows entranced by his often comical, sometimes dark, narration.
Of course he's making it all up. Who'd believe a strange race of men living among humans since the time of King Arthur? --But the patient knows his characters too well for them to be imaginary. He relays their dialogues and adventures with true warmth, affection and uncanny detail.
First we meet Finn, a computer nerd trapped in a super-strong body. He's one of the Fir Na Gealaí, whose power and speed allow them to leap tall buildings and bend parking meters in half. The super senses of the Fir come at a price --their monthly syzygy, a violent, murderous hour (well, 12 hours) in which each Fir must be locked up until the urge to kill has passed. A cure for the syzygy might lie in Bea's blood, and a mad scientist will do anything to get her, alive or dead. When Finn can't bring himself to hand her over to Dr. Malum, his rival Tom gets the job done.
Day by day, the story unfolds as young "John Doe" meets the widow in the courtyard. He is sweet, vulnerable, and witty, but quick to panic and put the story on hold until his mood swings back from manic to pensive. The more he talks, the more Miriam suspects he is one of the characters in his own story. But which one? --None of them, of course; it is only a story, after all, however wonderfully and compellingly he tells it. At least, Miriam keeps telling herself.
Bea's humor and resilience, even in captivity, will snare readers and keep them turning pages faster than a Fir during his syzygy. Every character in the novel is unique, memorable, clearly drawn and loveable. Bea's uncle Lucas, her friend Sam, and even the "bad" guys are funny and believable. Bea's online video logs (vlogs) and Finn's ancient curse bring Arthurian legend and modern technology together in story that sparkles with vitality, hope, life or death conflict, searing sacrifice, and the healing power of friendship and love.
Amanda Borenstadt is a novelist to watch. This first effort is so sterling, readers will demand more.
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)