Brent Meske

Biography

Brent is a husband, father, teacher, writer, and sometimes artist living in Seoul Korea, originally from Detroit, Michigan. Brent reads Stephen King, Brandon Mull, Jim Butcher, and a hundred others. You should too.

Lately Brent's been all over the place: designing book covers both E and print, editing up books, and reviewing for AIA (awesome indies, look them up). It's an exciting time to be a writer.

*If you're like me and you don't like to be cheated, please don't use Authorhouse.com. In fact, since finding Smashwords I intend to republish 'Breaking Benjamin' in its entirety here soon enough, and I'm also looking for a print publisher, if you'd like to have one on an actual bookshelf.

Smashwords Interview

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are plenty.

*finding out the end. I'm not a writer who writes the end first and then writes the road to get there. I have a vague idea of what the end ought to be like, and usually in the process the characters take hold and we get somewhere within a fifty mile radius of the ending I'd originally thought up.

*letting events unfold. To hell with plotting. I let characters do the things they feel they need to do in order to solve problems, and a lot of times they surprise me with their ingenuity, their hideous malice, their bravery, and their cowardice.

*I get to be somewhere else. My life isn't the hardest, but it has its stresses, and the joy of creation takes me elsewhere, to a place where the clocks don't matter so much, and anything can happen.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've been away from home for so long that Lincolnshire, the town behind the Alphas and Omegas series has been my way to get back in touch with my little slice of the suburbs I knew growing up. Michael grew from a supposition: that even among titans, among super people who could melt your face off, or turn themselves into ice, there is a power greater than all of them: the power of our minds. See, when people go super, they all seem to give up on their brains and start solving every single problem with their powers rather than their wits. The other idea was that, without the normal life, super people would grow into false gods, people who would forget what it was like to be human and only remember the absolute power they came to by accident.

That's the Alphas and Omegas series.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Brent Meske online


Where to buy in print


Books

The Wizard's Tower (Rory II)
By
Series: Evenings with Rory. Price: Free! Words: 2,510. Language: English. Published: November 8, 2013. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
The wizard's tower is falling down, falling down, falling down! The Wizard's tower is falling down, my fair lady.
Kim Hyejin (Something Super)
By
Series: Something Super. Price: Free! Words: 5,420. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2013. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
(4.33)
Kim Hyejin is the daughter of the last dictator of the utterly demolished nation of North Korea, a princess and a prisoner, sent to live in a land she despises. And all because of two American superheroes.
Overcomplicated (a Tale of Breaking Benjamin)
By
Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 7,210. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans the world over into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are all part of the curriculum for students. 'Scope' has it all at Clements: a girl named Monica and an excellent sniping record. Yet he's still trapped within the Clements walls.
Sick Summer Camp (Something Horrific)
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Price: Free! Words: 2,030. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2013. Category: Fiction » Horror » General
(5.00)
Jane is sick at summer camp, her second day of a gorgeous hot summer...and is that a 12 year old girl with an axe? Chasing a boy across the parade field, screaming her head off?
Super Nobody (Alphas and Omegas Book 1)
By
Series: Alphas and Omegas, 1. Price: Free! Words: 87,670. Language: English. Published: May 21, 2013. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
(4.82)
Michael is just an ordinary, average, normal, every day middle schooler in the perfect town of Lincolnshire, a town that happens to have more superheroes per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. What could possibly go wrong, surrounded by so many people who could destroy the town with a snap of their fingers?
Buildup and Breakup (a Tale of Breaking Benjamin)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 6,820. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans the world over into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are all part of the curriculum for Clements students. It's final assignment time for Jess, Jiri, Raspazzi and Crandall, when a pileup on the highway threatens to expose the bodies.
Broken (a Tale of Breaking Benjamin)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 8,840. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, training the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are each on the curriculum for Clements students. Jon Talbaine has always been the black sheep of Clements, and now he's backed into a corner. How far will he go to get out?
Harriet's Mystery (Evenings with Rory I)
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Series: Evenings with Rory. Price: Free! Words: 2,500. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2013. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories
(5.00)
Harriet is your average, everyday, garden-variety honeybee. Until one day, when her life is changed forever, she comes upon a Mystery. It's a Mystery of tiny, yet epic proportions. Harriet's mystery is the first in a series of stories inspired by Rory's Story Cubes.
Bagged in Korea
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Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 79,130. Language: American English. Published: March 21, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Travel
(5.00)
One busted nose, two black eyes, one torn up bed, bruised pectorals, blood pooled on the floor, a crumpled in front door. I’m only five months into my contract here. If I leave now, my boss is not just going to charge me for the plane ticket that got me here and refuse to pay my flight home. Yet I love this country. What is it about Korea that does it for me?
Exo
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,110. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00)
Exo Corps are the garbage pickers of the fleet. We’re also the advanced scouts. The high speed pursuit and the high-risk terrain. You don’t get assigned to Exo unless there’s nowhere else to go. You’re always on some whacked mission where you’re about to be shot in the back of the sensor array. To the places the enemy’s sensor jamming, because they can’t just blanket nuke every planet we come to.
Superhero Stories Written in Ink (Something Super)
By
Series: Something Super. Price: Free! Words: 3,960. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2013. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
What would it take to turn someone into a superhero? Marcus Patterson is about to find out.
Patriots (something Super)
By
Series: Something Super. Price: Free! Words: 1,160. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2013. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(5.00)
Just what might happen if the US military employed superheroes? You never know.
Under the Knife (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 6,600. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are just a taste of the curriculum for Clements students. Vern is just a cybernetics doctor now, after graduating...a blackmailed doctor, with serious money troubles.
Forever Ends (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 7,340. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Maria Lacosta is a longtime graduate, but now faces the stresses of being an assassin. Her psychiatrist, Isabelle, tells her she doesn't have to go it alone. Yet Isabelle has her own agenda. And she has waited forever for this moment.
No Games (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 8,120. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are just a taste of the curriculum for Clements students. Teddy Drysdale couldn't care less about Clements. To him it's all a game. But Colonel Ross is about to raise the stakes.
The Long Road Home (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 60,770. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Military
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons and martial arts are just a taste of the curriculum for students. Alexis is the one orphan Garrett Ross has serious doubts about. After all, Clements admits ten year olds, and her parents are viciously murdered when she's nine.
Three Simple Rules (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 15,490. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are just a taste of the curriculum for Clements students. Mark Eblin is one graduate who's never been amazing...and now he's been had.
The Elf and the Ogre (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 5,990. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are just a few of the classes for Clements students. Melanie 'marshmallow' Marsh has been plagued by two bullies. What can she do to break free?
Medicate (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 12,910. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are just a taste of the curriculum for Clements students. Ellis Haverdel is bullied heavily by an older squad. And the cure for what ails him? Rebar.
Water Torture (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 7,130. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Unfortunately none are perfect, especially hotheaded Amy Dunwald, and even genius Evan Aaronson. Can these 18 year olds complete their mission to destroy cruise ship, or be crushed by their doubts and the ocean below them?
Just A Phase (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 8,430. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Only one other child has been admitted with living parents: Gideon Ross. Can Jeremiah Whitfield, heir to a multi-billion dollar corporation, escape his repulsive household, can he survive Clements once he's in? Are they right? Is it a phase?
Inheritance (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 13,660. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. But something went wrong, and one of the school's regents enrolled his son shortly before he died. Was it really a heart attack, or is Gideon Ross right and there was foul play involved?
Amour Amour Amour Amour (From the desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 5,540. Language: English. Published: December 27, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. It's a world where technology is implanted into your body, and where corporations are more powerful than the nations they reside in. Where does love figure into a world like this?
Two For One (From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross)
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Series: Clements Academy. Price: Free! Words: 11,670. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.00)
The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are just a taste of the curriculum for Clements students. Jaxun Reynolds is one of these students, though he wants out. And lucky for him, he's just found the perfect patsy.
Seven and the Eggs of Cadbury
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 60,410. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2012. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
Seven is on a mission: to save his sister Periwinkle from certain peril. On the way he'll face the Whatchamacallit, the legendary Twix, fight alongside some Skittles, and foil plans of the Smarties. Will he prove strong enough to be back to the farm before chocolate harvest, or will he end up just another candy crunched under the weight of the evil Emperor?

Brent Meske’s tag cloud

3 musketeers    academy    active    aero    agent    agents    alpha and omega    alphas    assassin    ax    axe    bee    blood    candy    childrens    clements    comic    cybernetics    cybertechnology    doctor    dropship    english    espionage    exo    fantasy    flash    foreigner    future    ginger    gummy    gummy bears    horror    jennings    korea    kravens    lincolnshire    magic    mckorsky    mech    michael washington    military    mms    murder    mystery    nanotechnology    north korea    orphan    orphans    peeps    powered armor    rajasthan    reeses    reunification    school    scope    series    shadwell    short stories    skittles    smarties    snickers    sniper    south korea    space    stone    summer camp    super    superhero    superheroes    sword    teacher    teaching    terrence jackson    training    travel    twix    werthers    whatchamacallit    wizard    yellow brick road    york   

Brent Meske's favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by Brent Meske

  • The Alien Who Took Control of Earth on Dec. 02, 2012

    Please tell Trent S. to keep up the good work. Soon he will have the power to rule the world. -some writer in Korea.
  • Perfect Weather for a Baby's Funeral on Dec. 11, 2012

    A well-written, dark, often cynical look at the human condition. I was on hand to read many of the first and second drafts, and I'm glad I have them all in one place. Well done, Guy.
  • The Warm Lands on Jan. 19, 2013

    A powerful tale of magic and desperation. I've never really rad fantasy as a short story...usually when you label something epic it's weeks and months of getting sucked into the setting and the travel and the history all made up by the author. This story was an exceedingly adept micro-epic tale. All those elements were there, just compacted down. The title is a bit strange for something 'epic'...but fits the story. Thank you for the read, Fran.
  • Elysium Part One. Another Chance on Feb. 05, 2013

    There are some enormous pluses to this book, such as believable and well-drawn characters, interesting plot developments, and Roper handles the pacing very well. Here's the trouble...Mr. Roper has trouble with apostrophes, and there are a limitless number of these issues spanning the whole book, distracting you from what's going on. Secondly, and this is what kept the book from being four stars, is TO BE CONTINUED. This is part of Smashwords don't do list: don't upload a book that's not finished. If it had a resolution of some kind, I could let it go, but the way this ends practically begs the author to get a bazillion fan letters saying 'cripes, finish it already!' Stars for nice setting, interesting idea, very good treatment and very good characters, minus stars for proofing errors and a nonexistent ending/resolution of any kind.
  • The Last Ambassadors on Feb. 06, 2013

    It's so refreshing to finally find a short story on Smashwords that holds its own as a story, even if it's supposed to be attached to a series. The characters, events, history, and world are fleshed out enough that I can put pieces together without being forced to read the series itself. That alone should have given 'The Last Ambassadors' top marks. However, I'll add this: this story's got good ideas, fully realized sci-fi that sounds really cool and maybe only a tiny bit farfetched. It's polished, begins and ends, and has a really nice premise as well. Thanks for this, Fran.
  • The Last Bite on July 02, 2013

    I'm going to give this five stars. Awesome little story. Well-written, well-paced, with a wonderfully voiced main character, memorable details, and a great ending. Thanks for this.
  • Empty Vessels on July 04, 2013

    In large part, I had the same feeling about Empty Vessels as Phillip Berrie. However, while I loved the beginning of the story, once we got into the middle and toward the end, the pace was a bit too fast and characters seemed to have quick mood swings (I'm dark and brooding one minute, joking with my buddy the next minute, shouting and crying a minute later). I felt the story could have been explored further, and that the ending was a bit unsatisfying. This is still far and away better than most other Smashwords authors out there. Keep up the good work, Lisa.
  • The Gods in the Jungle on July 31, 2013

    A great, meandering stroll through the jungle, complete with wildcats, dangerous trees, and dragons. I was a bit skeptical when it came to the beginning of this book, the forward, but I was immediately put right by the beginning of the story. It centers around a conflict between the Servants and the Tall Ones, the latter the ruling class of courtiers, Lords and Ladies. From the start I was entranced by the beauty of the storytelling, the clear and unmistakable voices of the various, well-written characters, the setting with its Machiavellian political machinations and Byzantine social structure. Tuuke was my favorite character, and probably the author's as well. Perhaps I presume too much. My only gripe was with the setup of the world. In the beginning, with its dusty streets and open markets, seemed a sort of high fantasy setting (in the jungle). Fast forward over a hundred pages, and here comes steam driven machines and electric lights! Even later on, we have guns! We need mention of this before the halfway point in the book. Overall, I give this book five stars for aspects I don't often see in Smashwords books: great formatting, clear and powerful storytelling, a complete story (no breaking it into parts and tacking on TO BE CONTINUED), for drawing me in and making me care about the characters, and for having a great vision. The thematic elements, of views on life and death, of upper versus lower class, only slowed down the story in one tiny place and really, if that's the biggest problem with a book on Smashwords, it deserves six stars. Mostly those thematic elements held the story together exceedingly well. Last note: there were two character names that got stuck in my teeth, and no matter how I tried to wiggle my brain, I couldn't dislodge them. Most of the names were just fine. But these two were main characters, and it was very distracting at times to read those unpronounceable names over and over and over again.
  • Ripple, A Tale of Hope and Redemption on Aug. 21, 2013

    Ripple: a heart-breaking and hopeful tale I received Ripple for free in return for an honest review…and found it to be pretty incredible. Because of this, I’m going to spend a long time explaining exactly why Ripple gets four (and a half) stars instead of five. Ripple is a multi-dimensional look at the lives of the survivors of rape: the women, their children, the husbands they later have, their work lives, all of it. The author paints a really heart-breaking picture of several lives that have been directly and indirectly affected by this, and mechanisms they use to cope. Ultimately, Ripple ends up being a tale of growth and overcoming the demons that haunt women unfortunate enough to be preyed upon by men. I don’t generally read books like this: I’m a strict believer that tales ought to take me away from the world, and that I can orbit the planet, slip back in time, ride mythical beasts, or shoot salsa from my fingertips at will. So Ripple is a massive departure, slamming me in the emotions with plenty of reality. Some features of the book that were really staggering in their excellence: the author does an amazing job of coming across as a legal expert, horse rider/enthusiast, long-distance runner and (definitely far from least) a survivor. It’s these details, along with her well-crafted, realistic dialogue, that kept me with the book even though it was far outside my genre preference. The author also maintains a number of strong voices (and by strong I mean consistent): the gutsy female attorney who keeps her emotions largely in check versus the emotionally ravaged teenager. Writing in consistent voice is tough, and the author pulls this off well. Stylistically, I wasn’t put off at all by the large amount of italicized stream-of-consciousness episodes that appeared in the book. They were a great gateway into the characters’ minds. The pacing built up very well, until about sixty percent of the way through…as events began to really heat up, I was slowed down and a bit bored by very detailed explanations and analyses of cross-country running. Still the book picked back up again, and finished off with my only large gripe. As a pure Smashwords, indie-written and produced book, I would give this seven stars out of five. However, I’ve chosen to review this book more like a piece of literature. I believe it’s that sort of quality, and deserves to be on bookshelves with ‘Bestseller!’ stickers with yellow explosions meant to draw the eye. Overall I really enjoyed being submerged in this dark other genre and coming out of it with a light heart. So it’s with a bit of a heavy heart that I conclude with my only con about the book, which happened to be too big to ignore. SPOILERS FROM HERE ON: The bad guy didn’t convince me. From the first of the first-person point of view chapters, I didn’t really buy it. I guess there was a bit of guilt on my part, being a guy and reading about men who victimize women, and possibly ever being seen in this sort of light. I thought about this guy a lot, about how he’s not like any of the guys I know, but yeah, there are definitely men out there who think about nothing other than football and whose pants they can get into. Okay, that I can buy. My problem with the bad guy was that he was too flat. First, it seemed strange that the rest of the book, pertaining to the actual survival and coping process, should be in third person, while this jerkbag should get to narrate directly to me. Second, it didn’t seem like he wanted to succeed. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not want rapists to succeed. But they do all the time in real life, and it didn’t seem to me that this guy, quoted as being ‘the best at what he does’ (paraphrased actually), should be so monumentally stupid about finding and raping the girl he’s obsessed with. He’s painted with a brush that makes him look stupid and slovenly, yet he’s ‘the best’. We can’t really have both. If he’s smart (and we don’t get enough about how he’s smart) he would be doing more to cover his tracks, like planting kiddie porn on his neighbor’s computer and then having his neighbor steal his wi-fi connection, for instance. If he’s desperately suicidal and this is his last big fun hurrah before he offs himself, we don’t get that from the book either. Instead we get a two-dimensional monster that’s so bent on finding and raping a little girl that he doesn’t care about committing multiple murders (or being killed himself) just to get in one girl’s pants. I suppose that, for a fictional story, this is okay. I suppose that many of the people reading this will also need solace in trying to cope with their own trauma, and this guy getting his comeuppance will make them feel better. The problem is that all the other characters (especially Gary, who ends up being in less than five pages of the whole book!) seem so real. I was sort of incredulous at the beginning of the bad guy’s parts, and kept hoping it wasn’t going to turn out like I expected…and then his subplot went the way I hoped it wouldn’t.
  • Psychic Wisdom on Love and Relationships on Nov. 11, 2013

    Psychic Wisdom on Love and Relationships: Definitely Worth It 4.5 stars I was skeptical going into this book for a number of reasons, but I want to lay out the advantages and strong points first. The book itself offers realistic, positive advice from a number of angles regarding what individuals ought to do in relationships. Despite any fundamental differences of opinion I might have had about the worldview of the author, the writing was clear, sometimes humorous, and well organized. I felt myself reflecting on my own relationships (past, and on my current marriage), thinking about ways to strengthen my own marriage. In this respect, definitely a win, because not only was the book written mostly for women, but I'm a guy and took something away from the read. Each chapter included general advice, several examples from the author's experience as a help line adviser and psychic, and ended with several bullet points which were actually the most helpful suggestions. The bulleted suggestions were really nice to think about, and the layout of the book helped, again, with organization. It's likely a reference I'll keep and check back in on. From a formatting or textual standpoint, there were a handful of typos, which didn't bother me really. However, a couple of sentences had some strange wording, or seemed almost run on. This is the cause of the half star loss. The enormous difficulty, of course, is placing the book as non-fiction. I don't personally believe in psychic phenomena or even God, but the book is full of the author's feelings from her 'guides'. The entire chapter on intuition was difficult, though I believe the author handled it very carefully. Earlier in the book, she was careful to point out that 'God' could mean any spiritual guide, as well as your own inner self. This sensitive presentation of a very touchy philosophical and controversial topic was essential for the book's readability and credibility. Overall, this book is a quick and helpful resource for anybody looking to reflect on their relationship status. While I'm not certain the author is a psychic, I believe she knows relationships through years of hard work and experience with singles, the relationship-bound, and married folk. The wisdom, wherever it comes from, can be useful to just about anybody. I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
  • Mystical Mountain Magic - Deceiver (book 1) on Feb. 08, 2015

    This book is an unbelievably inventive and plot twisty sort of epic fantasy that is at once peculiar, original, fresh, and fun. Deceiver begins with the 'Wahooo!' of Skye, a settler to someplace unburdened with the history, greed or machinations of typical expansionist European empires, and his near-death ascension to the summit of Misty, the sentient mountain. Along with Misty, Skye also has the unique opportunity to meet Igneous, the forthright, yet cheerful caretaker beneath the mountains. He quickly gets a crash course in saving the world, and then literally gets a crash course in leaving Misty. Near death again, Skye needs to save the Anasazi village before their chief, Bending Tree, succumbs to his injuries. Conflicts abound in Deceiver, both from without and on the mountain… eventually pandhandlers come seeking Misty's riches while some malevolent force terrorizes Misty's inhabitants with sweet song and a rotten heart. Chief among Deceiver's virtues is a beguiling ability to get the reader into the action from the word go. Using a somber, yet oddly hopeful and cheerful tone reminiscent of another generation, the author brings us to a world where hope is an endangered species, but the most important species of all, and where humor breaks out from unexpected places, like shafts of light on a cloudy day. Readers begin to feel the sort of Bradbury-like power of the author to evoke moods and emotions with seeming ease. Characters are strongly written, beginning with Skye and proceeding on to the native Anasazi people, along with the naïve yet wise, funny yet ages-old Igneous, and later Toby and Erikson, who play dual roles as villains and comedy relief, an interesting mix. Later, even Mariah and her caretakers each have their unique voices and culture. This tale is brimming with magic in a loosely defined age of exploration world (though there is a pretty sweet map), and yet this is far from the traditional sword and sorcery tale. Deceiver begins with promise, delivers, and transforms into something else entirely in just a few hundred pages. Yet throughout, the same tones and subtext run just beneath the surface, binding three separate acts together into a strong unified whole. Another reviewer likened this to a Native American folk tale, and I'll echo that apt observation here. If there are any critiques to be made about the book, the first is that it seems rather full of thick vocabulary and sentence structures for a YA audience. The second is that the book, as part of a trilogy, eschews a resolution to the climax. Though a minor resolution does occur, there doesn't seem enough of a recovery or 'falling action' or whatever one might call it. And while the Deceiver itself is undeniably a part of the book, and an important one, its role is only just ramping up by the end of the book. The good news is that you don't have to wait for the continuation of the tale. Redeemer, book 2, is already available.
  • Mystical Mountain Magic - Redeemer (book 2) on March 04, 2015

    You are cordially invited to see what happens when eight men decide to take on a sentient mountain. Redeemer, the second book in the Mystical Mountain Magic series, begins with the former Captain Erikson, alone and miserable, trying to forget what he's done, trying to drink it away or sleep it away. And when he's recruited to go searching for the very thing that's driven him to the brink of insanity, Erikson has no choice to say no. This book, for the first third or half, does not seem at all like the book we just left. Indeed, Deceiver seems a deceptive name at first, and it's hard to believe for the first fifty percent of Redeemer that we're likely to see anything like redemption. Erikson and Razor find their path littered with blood and bodies and misery. And what they'll find when they reach Misty is in some ways even more terrifying. But though we're inundated with darkness and horror and blood, the rays of light we saw in Deceiver eventually shine through, and the promise of a better tomorrow is carefully, carefully held up for us to see, and hope it isn't shattered into a million pieces by a stiff gust of wind. The powerful, simple and colorful prose we saw in Deceiver is in full effect in Redeemer, with all the characters' voices still plainly well-worded and carefully thought out. All the favorites are still there, but readers need to wallow through that darkness at the beginning in order to reach them. The setting hasn't changed, and the world remains structured carefully: that same pre-industrialization or Colonialization period, where the huge island is sort of the new world. It's expertly expanded through choice description. There is one nit to pick with the book, and it's difficult to say whether or not it deserves to pull a whole star off the rating for the fault. There is one character who speaks in song lyrics. Sometimes couplets, sometimes quatrains, this character always ends off with rhyme. Almost always anyhow. Except, the effect doesn't exactly live up to the hopes. Rhythmic speech is almost always nonexistent for this character, and the rhymes are often forced. Add to this the fact that this character occupies a spot of major significance in the book, and there is a seriously long section in the middle where this character speaks at considerable length, and it is honestly quite distracting. Understandably, the English language is difficult to rhyme in the first place, but for this to occupy such an important role in the book's outcome makes it difficult. Ultimately the book does live up to its name, and we get to see quite a bit of atypical fantasy magic thrown around, which I won't spoil, that I do want to award Redeemer its fifth star. Thank you, Mr. Brooke.