Archive | September 2013

REVIEW: A Higher Voice

A Higher Voice by Sheri Wren Haymore

Britt Jordan is a famous rock singer. He’s been a hit for more than 20 years. Lately, though, he’s had some issues. He’s hearing overwhelmingly loud noises in his head and feels excruciating nausea. Nothing seems to quiet the noise or calm the sickness except dumping ice water over his head – complete pitchers of ice water. Nothing that is, until he meets Dena Martin.

Dena is the owner of a small-town newspaper and the mother of a 12-year-old daughter. The connection between Dena and Britt is instantaneous. Within days, Britt knows this is the woman he wants to share his life. She has quieted the noise in his head and healed the sickness in his gut by her very presence.

There is more to this simple story, though. Britt is losing his voice. His career will be lost to him without his voice – but Britt has damaged it beyond repair with years of screaming into the microphone.

Add to this ongoing drama a stalker; a psychotic brother who looks eerily like Britt and hates him fiercely and the story gains even more intensity.

Sheri Wren Haymore wrote most of her characters as multi-dimensional beings, making Britt easy to like. He walks off the page and takes on the persona of a “real” person. The reader gets wrapped up in the saga of Britt’s and Dena’s lives. Secondary characters are not as well developed. One example is Phillip, Britt’s brother who is stalking Dena. There simply aren’t enough details provided to make his hate understandable. He comes off as a cardboard cutout of a character.

Dena, though definitely a well-created character, is occasionally too sweet, almost saccharine. I found myself asking how many people are always this kind and always this patient, and found it unlikely any human could be quite this perfect. Dena could be annoying with her sweetness. She was also a really religious person, and brought the “Christian” aspect to the book.

Frankly, I am not a fan of Christian fiction and, as a general rule, do not read or review it. That being said, Haymore never came off as preachy and only had her characters mention “being saved” or church or other traditional Christian terms a very few times. When it came time for Britt to do some soul-searching, at no time was any specific type of religion foisted about. This was a very refreshing change. For those considering reading A Higher Voice (and I encourage folks to do so), I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

A Higher Voice is an exceptionally well-written novel with a smooth writing style and fun characters. Even though the novel is quite thick, it is so wonderfully engrossing and the tale so appealing, I read it almost entirely in one sitting. The author is able to pull the reader into the story so deeply, the outside world ceases to exist. The reader wants to know what happens to the characters. The characters’ lives take on meaning and importance. Haymore is an author to watch.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing

Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing by Steven Luna

Tyler, a tall, lanky, blue-eyed, poet and musician “pretty” boy son is living unhappily with his not very handsome, short, mechanic father. Tyler’s mother died of pancreatic cancer. Tyler firmly believes that he and Tom have absolutely nothing in common. Tyler’s mom understood him. Tom doesn’t.

Tom struggles to make things work with Tyler, but Tyler is frustrated by the differences between them. Tyler no longer calls Tom “Dad.” Tom is simply “Tom” to him. Tyler knows this hurts his father, but he cannot seem to bring himself to care.

Tyler’s and Tom’s arguments get heated; Tyler thinks it’s only a matter of time before they actually hurt each other. His mom’s last words to Tyler included making him promise that he and Tom would take care of each other. That promise is being broken.

Tyler has a wonderful girlfriend, a great best friend, and a good support system in his band. His girlfriend Chelsea is understanding and supportive.

Tyler seems to be an angry, angst-ridden teenager who pulls many stunts just because he can. He doesn’t plan on going to college and fights with Tom at every opening. He takes his anger out on his fellow band members and friends. However, there are deeper issues. He has recurring dreams about his mother. What do they mean?

While cleaning the garage, Tyler finds his mother’s journals and begins to read them whenever he has a private moment. Soon, he discovers a powerful family secret. What if Tyler’s father is actually a formerly famous rock star and not Tom after all? This makes so much more sense to Tyler. He begins to draw parallel upon parallel. He decides he must find out the truth for himself. So, Tyler leaves the safety of his home, betrays all who know him and departs for parts unknown to search for his “real” father.

This sends Tyler on a journey searching for fulfillment and something else.

While Tyler’s trying to find what he needs, Tom, Chelsea, and Tyler’s other friends are suffering because they don’t know how to find Tyler or even if he’s alive. Each pulls inside him or herself and deals with the pain individually.

Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing is very well written. Tyler’s journey becomes the reader’s journey. It becomes one the reader feels compelled to follow. The outcome becomes exceedingly important. As the reader travels with Tyler, the secondary characters become more developed. Through Tyler, the reader learns more about the world around him and those he loves.

This is a story about personal growth, loving through loss, and growing through pain. It tells about letting go and holding on. It is beautiful work of art.

This ARC was received in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Purge of Prometheus – Book Three

Purge of Prometheus - Book Three

Title: Purge of Prometheus
Series: Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 3
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: September 6th, 2013
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Word Count: approx. 123,000
Genre: Science Fiction
Content Warning: Language and Violence
Recommended Age: 16+
Synopsis: The final confrontation between the Alien Alliance and the Terran Empire begins in this exciting conclusion to the Brink of Distinction trilogy.

One-by-one, the brilliant suns of Alliance space are disappearing, left cold and lifeless after exposure to the Terran biological epidemic. Trapped on one of the sunless worlds, Keryn Riddell, the ruthless Wyndgaart warrior, fights against both a frozen landscape and her Terran captors.

As Keryn fights for her life, the psychic Yen Xiao leads the Alliance fleet in pursuit of the Terran Destroyers threatening the Alliance homeworlds. Yearning for leadership of the fleet, Yen begins to wonder just how far he’ll go for the power he craves.

GoodReads

Fall of Icarus – Book Two

Fall of Icarus - Book Two

Title: Fall of Icarus
Series: Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 2
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: September 6th, 2013
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Word Count: approx. 125,000
Genre: Science Fiction
Content Warning: Language and Violence
Recommended Age: 16+
Synopsis: The Terran Empire has broken the Taisa Accord and invaded Alliance space in this exciting second novel in the Brink of Distinction series. Survivors of the Empire’s first assault, Yen Xiao and Adam Decker swore vengeance against the Terrans. Joining forces with the enigmatic Keryn Riddell, the three warriors must find a way to destroy the Terran fleet. But the Terrans have a secret weapon: a biological agent sold to them by an renegade smuggler. Now it’s a race against the clock to capture the smuggler before the Terrans decimate the Alliance homeworlds.

When everything they do proves to be not enough to stop the Empire’s violent invasion, the Alliance takes the fight directly to the Empire by invading Earth! But Earth may not be the biggest threat to the safety of the Alliance. The biggest danger may be one of their own.

Amazon | GoodReads

Burden of Sisyphus – Book One

Burden of Sisyphus - Book One

Title: Burden of Sisyphus
Series: Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: September 6th, 2013
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Word Count: approx. 80,000
Genre: Science Fiction
Content Warning: Language and Violence
Recommended Age: 16+
Synopsis: Between the alien Alliance and the Terran Empire, a neutral zone stretches between the galaxies, a demilitarized zone that was established 150 years previous, following the Great War. The peace accord granted a semblance of peace to the universe. The peace, however, is a facade, and it is the responsibility of Michael Vance and his covert operations team to maintain that illusion.

Recently, the Alliance lost contact with one of their outposts near the neutral zone. Surveillance scans show an abandoned city and no signs of life. The Alliance does what it always does: send in the best. But an unexpected betrayal leaves Vance and his team stranded. Worse, the city that was supposed to be dead is quite alive. And the monsters that now roam its streets are slaughtering his team, one at a time.

Amazon | GoodReads

Jon Messenger – Author of Brink of Distinction Trilogy

Jon Messenger - Author of  Brink of Distinction Trilogy

About the Author:
Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq and a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti.

Jon wrote the “Brink of Distinction” trilogy, of which “Burden of Sisyphus” is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq. The trilogy was accepted for publication through Crimson Tree Publishing, an adult imprint of Clean Teen Publishing. Jon Messenger’s young adult novel: Wind Warrior was published in June 2013 through Clean Teen Publishing and has hit bestseller status and has been nominated for a Readers Choice Award.

Jon Messenger’s Brink of Distinction Trilogy

                      Title:  Burden of Sisyphus

Series:  Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 1

Author:  Jon Messenger

Published:  September 6th, 2013

Publisher:  Crimson Tree Publishing

Word Count:  approx. 80,000

Genre:  Science Fiction

Content Warning: Language and Violence

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis: Between the alien Alliance and the Terran Empire, a neutral zone stretches between the galaxies, a demilitarized zone that was established 150 years previous, following the Great War. The peace accord granted a semblance of peace to the universe. The peace, however, is a facade, and it is the responsibility of Michael Vance and his covert operations team to maintain that illusion.

Recently, the Alliance lost contact with one of their outposts near the neutral zone. Surveillance scans show an abandoned city and no signs of life. The Alliance does what it always does: send in the best. But an unexpected betrayal leaves Vance and his team stranded. Worse, the city that was supposed to be dead is quite alive. And the monsters that now roam its streets are slaughtering his team, one at a time.

 

Amazon | GoodReads

Title:  Fall of Icarus

Series:  Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 2

Author:  Jon Messenger

Published:  September 6th, 2013

Publisher:  Crimson Tree Publishing

Word Count:  approx. 125,000

Genre:  Science Fiction

Content Warning: Language and Violence

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis:  The Terran Empire has broken the Taisa Accord and invaded Alliance space in this exciting second novel in the Brink of Distinction series. Survivors of the Empire’s first assault, Yen Xiao and Adam Decker swore vengeance against the Terrans. Joining forces with the enigmatic Keryn Riddell, the three warriors must find a way to destroy the Terran fleet. But the Terrans have a secret weapon: a biological agent sold to them by an renegade smuggler. Now it’s a race against the clock to capture the smuggler before the Terrans decimate the Alliance homeworlds.

When everything they do proves to be not enough to stop the Empire’s violent invasion, the Alliance takes the fight directly to the Empire by invading Earth! But Earth may not be the biggest threat to the safety of the Alliance. The biggest danger may be one of their own.

 

Amazon | GoodReads

 

Title: Purge of Prometheus

Series:  Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 3

Author:  Jon Messenger

Published:  September 6th, 2013

Publisher:  Crimson Tree Publishing

Word Count:  approx. 123,000

Genre:  Science Fiction

Content Warning: Language and Violence

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis:  The final confrontation between the Alien Alliance and the Terran Empire begins in this exciting conclusion to the Brink of Distinction trilogy.

One-by-one, the brilliant suns of Alliance space are disappearing, left cold and lifeless after exposure to the Terran biological epidemic. Trapped on one of the sunless worlds, Keryn Riddell, the ruthless Wyndgaart warrior, fights against both a frozen landscape and her Terran captors.

As Keryn fights for her life, the psychic Yen Xiao leads the Alliance fleet in pursuit of the Terran Destroyers threatening the Alliance homeworlds. Yearning for leadership of the fleet, Yen begins to wonder just how far he’ll go for the power he craves.

 

 GoodReads

 

About the Author:

Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps.  Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq and a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti. 

Jon wrote the “Brink of Distinction” trilogy, of which “Burden of Sisyphus” is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq. The trilogy was accepted for publication through Crimson Tree Publishing, an adult imprint of Clean Teen Publishing. Jon Messenger’s young adult novel: Wind Warrior was published in June 2013 through Clean Teen Publishing and has hit bestseller status and has been nominated for a Readers Choice Award.

 

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

 

 

Crimson Tree Publishing Links

(An adult division of Clean Teen Publishing)

Website  | Facebook   | Twitter

 

Giveaway Details:

There is an international tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

Digital copy of all three books in the Brink of Distinction Trilogy, a digital copy of Wind Warrior, Wind Warrior bookmark and Brink of Distinction bookmark.

 

Rafflecopter Widget Code:

<a id=”rc-28b5da33″ href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28b5da33/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

<script src=”//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js”></script>

 

Rafflecopter Widget Link (if you can’t embed the widget, just link to the giveaway):

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjhiNWRhZTZkZTBhNWYxZWY3MjA4N2M1NmVhMDIxOjMz/

Brink of Distinction Trilogy – Jon Messenger

Brink of Distinction Trilogy - Jon Messenger

Title: Burden of Sisyphus
Series: Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: September 6th, 2013
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Word Count: approx. 80,000
Genre: Science Fiction
Content Warning: Language and Violence
Recommended Age: 16+
Synopsis: Between the alien Alliance and the Terran Empire, a neutral zone stretches between the galaxies, a demilitarized zone that was established 150 years previous, following the Great War. The peace accord granted a semblance of peace to the universe. The peace, however, is a facade, and it is the responsibility of Michael Vance and his covert operations team to maintain that illusion.

Recently, the Alliance lost contact with one of their outposts near the neutral zone. Surveillance scans show an abandoned city and no signs of life. The Alliance does what it always does: send in the best. But an unexpected betrayal leaves Vance and his team stranded. Worse, the city that was supposed to be dead is quite alive. And the monsters that now roam its streets are slaughtering his team, one at a time.

Amazon | GoodReads
Title: Fall of Icarus
Series: Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 2
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: September 6th, 2013
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Word Count: approx. 125,000
Genre: Science Fiction
Content Warning: Language and Violence
Recommended Age: 16+
Synopsis: The Terran Empire has broken the Taisa Accord and invaded Alliance space in this exciting second novel in the Brink of Distinction series. Survivors of the Empire’s first assault, Yen Xiao and Adam Decker swore vengeance against the Terrans. Joining forces with the enigmatic Keryn Riddell, the three warriors must find a way to destroy the Terran fleet. But the Terrans have a secret weapon: a biological agent sold to them by an renegade smuggler. Now it’s a race against the clock to capture the smuggler before the Terrans decimate the Alliance homeworlds.

When everything they do proves to be not enough to stop the Empire’s violent invasion, the Alliance takes the fight directly to the Empire by invading Earth! But Earth may not be the biggest threat to the safety of the Alliance. The biggest danger may be one of their own.

Amazon | GoodReads

Title: Purge of Prometheus
Series: Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Book 3
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: September 6th, 2013
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Word Count: approx. 123,000
Genre: Science Fiction
Content Warning: Language and Violence
Recommended Age: 16+
Synopsis: The final confrontation between the Alien Alliance and the Terran Empire begins in this exciting conclusion to the Brink of Distinction trilogy.

One-by-one, the brilliant suns of Alliance space are disappearing, left cold and lifeless after exposure to the Terran biological epidemic. Trapped on one of the sunless worlds, Keryn Riddell, the ruthless Wyndgaart warrior, fights against both a frozen landscape and her Terran captors.

As Keryn fights for her life, the psychic Yen Xiao leads the Alliance fleet in pursuit of the Terran Destroyers threatening the Alliance homeworlds. Yearning for leadership of the fleet, Yen begins to wonder just how far he’ll go for the power he craves.

GoodReads

About the Author:
Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq and a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti.

Jon wrote the “Brink of Distinction” trilogy, of which “Burden of Sisyphus” is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq. The trilogy was accepted for publication through Crimson Tree Publishing, an adult imprint of Clean Teen Publishing. Jon Messenger’s young adult novel: Wind Warrior was published in June 2013 through Clean Teen Publishing and has hit bestseller status and has been nominated for a Readers Choice Award.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

Crimson Tree Publishing Links
(An adult division of Clean Teen Publishing)
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway Details:
There is an international tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
Digital copy of all three books in the Brink of Distinction Trilogy, a digital copy of Wind Warrior, Wind Warrior bookmark and Brink of Distinction bookmark.

Rafflecopter Widget Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Widget Link (if you can’t embed the widget, just link to the giveaway):
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjhiNWRhZTZkZTBhNWYxZWY3MjA4N2M1NmVhMDIxOjMz/