I'm probably an oddball among authors because I never studied a liberal arts degree. I never gave writing any interest until I had an amusing concept for a YA fantasy book series and long story short, I started to write for fun. Before I knew it a little over a year later, I finished 6 novels of the series and have a 7th novel that remains half-finished.
When I'm not fighting with busted typewriters and filling out TPS reports, in my free time I go to weird places on vacation and love it!!! :D
Un Libro Ominoso
by Nancy Foster
El elfo mortal Lord Spaulding debe buscar la forma de traer a dos niños humanos de vuelta a su nación y en el camino destruir un peligroso pedazo de hechicería que yace escondido en su castillo antes de que el Rey Salman y la guardia Äimita lo descubran.
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Smashwords book reviews by Nancy Foster
on Feb. 04, 2019
I personally believe the book's official plot description to be really misleading, because it makes you believe that Lily is an evil person, which the book proves from the very start that she is frustrated about her situation, more than anything else.
That said, this is the first time I have read a book starring: conjoined twins! Just that Lily died when she was an infant during surgery to separate her from Rose's lower back, but her soul is stuck to Rose's body and fully incapable of communicating with anyone. Not even ghosts can see her.
Lily has lived this way for Rose's entire life, and she's pretty fed up seeing the world from Rose's back. She can see and hear everything that goes on, but she can't smell, touch or taste anything, much less be able to share her thoughts (which are expectedly riddled with age appropriate swearing).
Rose of course doesn't know any of this. She has lived her entire life with her dad in the English countryside sometime in the 1950's, and would have continued to live without knowing about her sister's plight until two classmates taunt her to accompany them one evening to practice some spells from an occult book. Most of the wacky spells don't work, but Rose recites the incantation to make spirits visible, and what do you know? Lily's tethered ghost appears and Rose can hear and see her for the first time!
After recovering from the shock on behalf of both startled parties, Lily suggests that they should recite a spell that could open the portal to the spirit world in order to liberate Lily from her imprionment. Little did they know that they would enter the netherworld of Killian and enjoy plenty of wacky adventures in the search of their deceased mother who could be the only person capable of separating them.
I really, really liked the worldbuilding. Killian is just this strange planet with little countries inspired by different Earth eras where dead humans live a temporary second life. Sadly the bewildered sisters can't enjoy a tour of their strange surroundings because both humans and incomplete spirits (derisively called primitives) aren't welcome and the current ruler of this world usually executes them. Most of the book is a wild goose chase where the girls meet eccentric friends such as Pei, Stanley, and a small group of petty criminals transformed into human sized ayes, while the governs and bounty hunters are chasing them wherever they go.
Rose is bashful, whereas her sister Lily is very sassy and with a lot of attitude issues. Lily starts to develop a softer side when she discovers she can do amazing things Rose can't in the spirit world (I won't spoil it though). I really enjoyed Stanley's character. He's just really funny and stubborn. The Irish brothers are also interesting. The chapter that delves into their human life paints them as victims, but they now live in Killian as ruthless mercenaries.
All in all, the book really surprised me by how much fun it was to read it in one go, and had it not had the misfortune of being placed in a highly competitive group in this year's spfbo, it would have easily made it to the semifinals of its assigned blog.
Even if YA isn't your favored genre (given the sisters are 9 years old, I think this book is technically middle grade although a mightily darker one), this book has all of the adventure and none of the heroine does insanely stupid things, boring Mary Sue tropes or something that a lot of people hate: teenage love triangles. This is a story of sisterly love that was very fun to read!
Ablaze in Mirth
on June 01, 2019
So much potential!
Imagine a world where vampires are not only commonplace, but they have been enslaved by humanity. Forced to live underground and work unmentioned thankless jobs for eternity, they are also fed donated blood which keeps them alive, but devoid of the pleasures of savoring blood from the source.
But vampires do have a small edge. Any human that is unfortunate enough to be turned becomes enslaved as well. And enslavement is no walk in the park. Rape, humiliation and an insanely restrictive life where being chained up and muzzled like an animal in exchange for the privacy to bathe without human watcher armed with deadly UV guns watching their every movements grants us a glimpse into the miserable life of Matias.
And he has his heart set in the right place to compete in the annual Ablaze tournament, a sort of Hunger Games panacea of violence and victory where vampires voluntarily sign up (the story doesn't specify how but it probably involves spend money or some kind of favor from their human masters). Contestants get a combat nickname, are assigned one of 8 different arenas located in the surface during broad daylight and rely on trapdoors and an assortment of other puzzles that could either opening doors to stay in the shadows, or becomes engulfed in flames of deathly sun rays. To make things more interesting, contestants are issued their own UV guns and can lure other vampires to their deaths for extra points.
They must get 1 challenge to unlock the escape elevator before the arenas become flushed with sunlight, ensuring their deaths. Killing vampires along the way grants extra points, which are critical to reach the final round and potentially win their freedom.
Matias has his heart set in the right place, and wants to be free in order to liberate his wife Sara and his infant daughter Jade. He doesn't harbor any ill feelings for the other vampires, and only wishes to defeat them honorably. But other contestants are not as decent, and he must be leery of assassins and tricksters during the freebie resting days in the cavernous prison.
The instant I read the book, the story got me hooked. Matthew has a really good knack for creating fascinating characters and worlds that suck you in (literally). In that sense, I could instantly view a movie version of this story to be a huge crowd draw. Who wouldn't want a new Hunger Games featuring enslaved vampires? W00t W00t!
And I love the relationships Matias forms along the ways with his competitors. If there was anything that detracted me from giving the full 5 stars was because some parts of the writing were confusing and I needed to read them twice. Descriptions of the individual arenas with different themes were sorely missed and it felt like the book was more of a rush to the conclusion without fully enjoying the ride.
I really believe the story could have been turned into a novella, there was more than enough backstory to do this and I would have literally devoured it. Despite the flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and believe the author should seriously consider a full-fledged novella. Dystopian paranormal book lovers would be thrilled to read this!