Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Featured Author: Ivan Amberlake(Breakwater Harbor books)

An urban fantasy writer, an avid beta-reader, proofreader and editor who enjoys reading fantasy, crime and thriller books.

I love active protagonists who get into a lot of trouble on their way to the truth, and never give up whatever happens to them.

I love watching action movies like The Matrix, Harry Potters and have a soft spot for sitcoms like Friends and The Big Bang Theory.

"The Beholder" is my debut paranormal fantasy novel. This is what Joe Kovacs, #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of "Ginger the Gangster Cat", said about it: 'THE BEHOLDER is a tight and fast-paced thriller combining the crawling claustrophobia of Stephen King's "It" and the exciting arcane symbol-hunting of Dan Brown's "Celestine Prophecy"'

A HarperCollins editor said in their review of The Beholder: "[Amberlake] shows a real passion for language in his descriptions.

Where can I find Ivan? 

Worlds of Light and Darkness are about to clash. And Jason will be in the thick of it.

In AsunciĆ³n, Minsk and Sydney, people die under mysterious circumstances. Each branded with an arcane sign, they are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When more people are missing, with similar signs appearing in and around their homes, Jason, an average New Yorker, realizes the victims are a riddle addressed to him.

He is the final piece.

Emily appears, the most beautiful woman with extraordinary powers and startling amber eyes, and tells Jason that powers dormant within him are about to wake. In the world of Light- and Darksighted, he is the only person who can prevent Darkness from enslaving the world. He is the Beholder whose advent has been awaited for many years.

Setting out on a journey with Emily, Jason discovers many improbable things like Sight, Soulfusion, the Hall of Refuge, but the greatest surprise arrives the moment he sees Emily and finds real love. 

My review: 
This book was unlike anything I have read before. It has subtle elements of urban fantasy, fantasy, paranormal, science fiction and thriller. It is impossible to decide where it fits and for that reason I think it should have a wide appeal. You don't have to be a big fan of any of these genres to enjoy the ride and that is pretty unique..I think I'd go 3.5 stars on this one if I could.

Jason's violent nightmares are causing him physical and mental pain and his world is turned upside when he discovers that he is gifted in the paranormal way. Being the key to survival against the dark shadows that seek to destroy him and humanity is scary when he doesn't even know his own powers. Trying to protect his friends and learn from the girl he is falling for complicates his life even further as he tries to help his allies fight their deadly enemy.

So what was good about it? Firstly, the language use is excellent-I cannot believe that the author does not have English as his first language! That is quite a gift to have and I was seriously impressed by it. The use of words is perfect for the plot and each situation. There are flowing descriptions that aren't too complicated, world building without huge info dumps, simple storytelling that carries you along and a plot that is always moving forward. The story is totally different featuring battles between gifted individuals using light and dark energy as weapons, which was a clever concept and worked well. The characters are all interesting but there is no attempt to tell you everything about them. I'm guessing that will happen over the course of the series. The love story part never detracts from the main plot and there are no sex scenes. Nice to see a lack of swearing as well.

I found it a little difficult to follow a couple of bits where energy was being described but I don't think that was down to the author, more down to my brain going blank when I'm presented with the science stuff! I never was a science nerd and it's a reason I struggle with science fiction. I think most readers will follow it much better than I did, to be honest. For me, there could perhaps have been a bit less about his feelings for Emily (and her frequently mentioned amber eyes), though to be fair, their relationship is mentioned in the book description and it is a minor niggle.

Overall I did enjoy the book and I recommend it to fans of pretty much every genre! 

Where can I buy this book?

Callum Blackwell thinks his life can’t get any worse. But he’s wrong.

Callum is haunted by the dead. The only thing that keeps them away is a diary he has found in the basement of his house.

After he moves to a godforsaken town of Olden Cross, the haunting stops. But one day Callum and his friend Nathan find something terrible.

And then the dead reappear.

Callum’s existence turns into a living hell. Boys and girls Callum’s age start disappearing, and when Callum least expects it, his diary goes missing. 

My review:
Callum is constantly pursued by the ghosts of the dead and the only way to stop them from getting him is to write about them in a strange old diary that he found. In the new quiet town that he lives in, ghosts leave him alone-until the day his friend Nathan shows him something strange in the woods. Now the ghosts of dead children are haunting him day and night and kids from his school are going missing, and Callum is the only one who can solve the mystery.

This was a creepy paranormal story with the 'don't go into the woods' warning to it. The plot was a bit different, which is always a good thing and not easy to do with a paranormal theme. The author's descriptive work is excellent, and you can see exactly what he wants you to see through Callum's eyes, right now to the colours fading from life every time the ghosts are coming. One thing that I have noticed about this author is that his word use is always perfect. The descriptions of the world he is building are always new, not a tired cliche that you have seen in countless other books, and it always seems to fit just right into the story. There is plenty detail about Callum's ghost problems and the diary to let you know what is going on but enough enough to bore the reader. I felt there was a nice balance.

Callum is quite likeable and I felt sorry for him because his sister treats him with such contempt, and the school bully seems to be picking on him for no reason. Nathan is the fun friend who tries to look out for Callum so you warm to him despite his appearance being brief. I didn't feel much of a connection to his other friends, other than Vivian as the book progresses, but it wasn't too vital for the story. Gloria was my favourite character though.

I did have a couple of minor plot niggles. I wanted to see a bit more of Gloria and her back story as she was the one who really fascinated me. I felt that she was a bit underused when she seemed so important to the story. I would have liked the scene in the library to have been longer and more detailed, giving us more about the previous missing kids. I also wish the attack at the school had been longer, along with the big finale. I guess I wanted more of these bits because they were the bits of the book that I liked the best. But these niggles are more about what I wanted to see in the book, and no reflection on the author's writing.

This book should appeal to anyone who enjoys a paranormal story, a creepy horror story or ghost story. I'd give this a 3.5 out of 5. 

Where can I buy this book? 
Featuring gripping Independent authors from around the world, FUSION is the first collection of short works published by Breakwater Harbor Books. Contributing heart-pumping tales of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Crime are seven stories that will thrill you, rivet you and some will even make you sleep with the light on. Authors from across a wide variety of genres, Dee Harrison, Ivan Amberlake, Claire C. Riley, Scott J. Toney, Mindy Haig, Cara Goldthorpe and C.M.T. Stibbe. 

Where can I buy this book? 

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