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Singing with Whales

Review: The Girl Who Sang with Whales

The Girl Who Sang with Whales, IsleSong Book 1 by Marc Secchia, is an epic YA fantasy about a young woman named Zhisu and her coming of age story in a sea-faring world.

Zhisu lives with her mother on the outermost tiny island of their atoll group. On the far side of their spit of sand is The Deep, a stretch of sea that no one from her archipelago ever crosses. During an encounter with a huge whale during a routine fishing trip, Zhisu uses her marvelous singing voice to coax the whale into saving her drowning mother.

Her Mother’s Bittersweet Passing Leaves Zhisu Deep in Debt
Her Mother’s Bittersweet Passing Leaves Zhisu Deep in Debt

Her mother’s bittersweet passing leaves Zhisu deep in debt, so the young woman leaves her tiny island home to work off her expenses in the Grand Harbormaster’s employ on Germioi Atoll. Despite her unusual ocean-blue eyes, blond-white hair, and webbed toes called a Mermaid’s Foot, Zhisu settles in, makes friends, and lands smack in the middle of Conservatory politics. Her unusual singing voice marks her as a rare female Bard, one who might have a powerful talent to summon the largest whales to guide and protect ships from sea dragons.

Argalioi Raiding Parties Take What They Wish
Argalioi Raiding Parties Take What They Wish

Trouble brews. The Argalioi, conquerors who relish pain, threaten Zhisu’s world. Although they live across The Deep, the Argalioi raiding parties take what they wish and there is little that Zhisu’s people can do to withstand the attacks. Even worse, the Argalioi need Bards. They will stop at nothing to acquire these rare singers to guide their war ships.

The Girl Who Sang with Whales is a delightful fantasy. It is an immersive experience filled with descriptions ranging from island culture to the sea-centric idioms that fit this archipelago-filled world. Zhisu is a strong woman who strives to overcome her humble roots, but has a fetching modest nature that makes her an engaging heroine. Secchia has created a wonderful water world in The Girl Who Sang with Whales, and I can hardly wait to plunge into the sequel.

The Girl Who Sang with Whales on Amazon U.S.

The Girl Who Sang with Whales on Amazon U.K.

The Girl Who Sang with Whales on Goodreads

Marc Secchia on Goodreads

Technology Paranoia Make for a Delicious Fantasy World

Review: Stones (Data)

Enter a Fantasy World Where Stones Have Mystical Power
Enter a Fantasy World Where Stones Have Mystical Power

Magical mysticism and paranoia about the near-future Internet. What a delicious fantasy world!

Today Lita shares a recent excellent read about a young man who finds a magic stone and battles an ego-centric corporate mage who will destroy Matt if he doesn’t help create a loathsome future for humanity.

Stones (Data) by Jacob Whaler is an epic fantasy about Matt Newmark and his adventures after finding a magic stone on a skiing trip. Matt is in so many ways a typical twenty-something guy with a love of skiing, an all-encompassing adoration for his girlfriend Jessica, and a sometimes strained relationship with his dad. Ever since Matt’s mother died in a horrible accident, his father Kent had both of them live vigilant lives.

What If Certain Stones Could Shape the Future of Mankind?
What If Certain Stones Could Shape the Future of Mankind?

Father and son daily outfox their world’s intrusive technology that would expose them to the corporate thugs that also want Kent and his son dead.

Matt’s newfound stone is no simple souvenir of a spectacular wipeout on the ski slopes. It is one of a handful of keys that powerful people have used over the centuries to shape the future of civilization. Another stone holder, Mikal Ryzaard, has transformed from a bookish professor to the head of the most powerful technology and financial corporation on Earth. Ryzaard is desperate to merge the power of the stones, and this mega-egoist magician will stop at nothing to get Matt’s cooperation.

Technology Paranoia Makes a Delicious Fantasy World
Technology Paranoia Makes a Delicious Fantasy World

Stones (Data) is a delight of a story about a likable young man thrust into the dual shadowy worlds of counter-technology and mysticism. After Matt leaves Colorado for a summer internship in Japan, Whaler’s excellent plot swings between Matt and Kent as they battle Ryzaard’s relentless killer of a corporation. Tension crackles between the magician newbie Matt and the corrupt Ryzaard, leading to a satisfying conclusion that balances power and matters of the heart.

Stones (Data) on Amazon
Stones (Data) on Goodreads
Author Jacob Whaler’s website

Immerse Yourself in the Rich and Sensual Magical World of the Enchanters in Tredan's Bane

Praised by Readers’ Favorite with Multiple 5 Star Reviews: Lita Burke’s Tredan’s Bane

Discover How Enchanter Nyle's Essence Kiss Shatters Everything Lanith Knows About Magic, Tredan, and Herself
Discover How Enchanter Nyle’s Essence Kiss Shatters Everything Lanith Knows About Magic, Tredan, and Herself

Welcome to that sensual fantasy world of Lita’s, the Enchanters of Sye. Come take a look at the new goings-on about Tredan’s Bane.

Readers’ Favorite recently read Lita’s epic fantasy, Tredan’s Bane, and praised it with lovely 5 star reviews.

In Tredan’s Bane, a magical oddities dealer hides her kidnapped husband’s dangerous spell book. Immerse yourself with a ghostly warning, secret magic, and Enchanter shame–then be ready to RUN! This is what Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite had to say about Tredan’s Bane:

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

“Tredan’s Bane by Lita Burke is a fantasy story filled with suspense, intrigue, and magic.

The constant attacks from the Church force the Enchanters to escape. Tredan, Lanith’s husband, has also vanished. Both her shop and home have been burnt. She seeks the Enchanter Nyle’s help to search for Tredan.

They find Tredan’s journal where he has written down spells that will ruin the Enchanter’s magic. At the same time, an Enforcer comes in time to take Tredan’s journal. Lanith should keep the journal away from the Church magician so that the Enchanters are not destroyed. Lanith is also overpowered by Nyle’s charm and she has to resist him.

Surround  Yourself with the Deep and Sensual Magical World of the Enchanters in Tredan's Bane
Surround Yourself with the Deep and Sensual Magical World of the Enchanters in Tredan’s Bane

The story is very intriguing and, at the same time, exciting. The scenes are evocative and sensual. The Church is the dominating factor in this tale which has many ingredients. The author has woven a story of adventure, magic, romance, passion, intrigue, suspense, murder, and religion with expertise.

The book is well written and it is action packed and fast paced. The author has done well in defining each character. The Enchanter Nyle’s character is ‘enchanting’ and mysterious. Another exciting part of the story is provided by Lanith’s pet dragonette who is also part of the main plot.

The tension between the Church and the Enchanters is palpable throughout the book. That gives tension and a unique angle to the story line.”

Ghostly Warning ~ Secret Magic ~ Enchanter Shame
Ghostly Warning ~ Secret Magic ~ Enchanter Shame

Read Chapter 1 of Tredan’s Bane then watch the Tredan’s Bane book trailer. The Tredan’s Bane e-book is available now with instant gratification for Kindle, Nook, and iPad/iPhone. The paperback book is on Amazon and CreateSpace.

Extend your visit in Lita’s Enchanters of Sye fantasy world. Find out more in Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane, read the back cover blurb, revel in Chapter 1, watch the Wrath book trailer, and have Wrath join Tredan’s Bane on your Kindle, Nook, or iPad/iPhone.

Hello, Foxy Bright-Eyed Boy

Review: Birdbrain

Have We Become So Heartless to Ignore the Magic of the Woodland Worlds?
Have We Become So Heartless to Ignore the Magic of the Woodland Worlds?

This is the second of three reviews for Lita’s recent reads. While not a fantasy, this story nonetheless transported Lita into the magic of the woodland worlds and the heartbreak of their destruction.

Birdbrain by Virginia Arthur is a contemporary novel about a young woman’s life as a passionate environmentalist.

Birdbrain covers the life of a 1970’s young woman named Ellie and her laughter, losses, and struggles to save the wilderness she loves. Disaster and delight swirl around her. It starts when she mistakes the date for an outdoor picnic, discovers birding, and gets the courage to divorce her emotionally dead husband.

Hello, Foxy Bright-Eyed Boy--Beware of the Bulldozers
Hello, Foxy Bright-Eyed Boy–Beware of the Bulldozers

The chapter about Ellie’s struggle to save the doomed plants and animals of an open space next to her sister’s California home made Lita weep. Arthur’s description of a fox killed by bulldozers will haunt Lita now when she sees one of these beautiful animals in her backyard.

A memorable character is Tomas, a young Native American park ranger that Ellie meets on her wandering road trip to heal from the California wildlife massacre. He explains the spirit shapes she sees dancing on the land, talks of the land’s decline, and gives her a totem made from his hair and an eagle feather.

Tomas represents the land’s passionate soul for the second half of Ellie’s life. Out of the many unforgettable people in Birdbrain, this mystical, funny, and breathtaking man is Lita’s favorite character in the story.

Land's Passionate Soul
Land’s Passionate Soul

Ellie is an outspoken advocate, and sometimes her convictions dominated the narrative. Lita thought these passages were appropriate for Ellie’s mindset. Gentle Reader may think differently.

Birdbrain ends by coming full circle, when Ellie saw her first bird through borrowed binoculars. Applause from Lita for ending the tale well. With Birdbrain, Virginia Arthur has created a funny and poignant story.

Birdbrain on Amazon US
Birdbrain on Amazon UK
Birdbrain on Goodreads
Virginia Arthur on Goodreads

Romance for a Siren and a Merman in the Ocean Depths

Review: Echo of a Siren

A Siren Rises from the Water and Saves a Foolish Young Man
A Siren Rises from the Water and Saves a Foolish Young Man

Lita was busy the past few weeks with drafting the next Clockpunk Wizard story, Glitter Ponies. There were also some wonderful reads, so here is the first of three reviews for those stories.

Echo of a Siren by Sonya C. Dodd is a fantasy romance about a young man named Greg who is rescued from drowning by a revengeful mermaid. It is also an unusual courtship between two loners swirling in tragic circumstances.

Greg accompanies his foolish friend Jake on an ill-advised boat ride into a ferocious storm. The waves capsize the craft and plunge the men into the unforgiving sea. The lovely siren Rachel, who gave up her human life to instead seduce and kill men floundering in the ocean’s embrace, feels a twinge for the near-dead Greg. Following the faintest urging in her once-human heart, Rachel rescues him instead of devouring his life force.

A Romantic Interlude for a Siren and a Merman in the Ocean Depths
A Romantic Interlude for a Siren and a Merman in the Ocean Depths

For Lita, who lives in the middle of the continent, Echo of a Siren wove a vivid world about living next to that harshest of mistresses, the sea. Water’s chill, the rotten fish reek in the tangy ocean air, and love’s desperation between Greg and Rachel made Lita shiver and reach for her coat.

Greg’s guilt, plus the mistreatment from the bullies grieving for drowned friends, was heartbreaking. Loved ones can lash out at survivors, and survivors punish themselves for making it through.

Rachel had good reasons to hate men when she was alive. Her backstory was wrenching, yet her kind treatment of Greg was a compassionate touch. Even as an undying mermaid, she too was subjected to heartless treatment from her siren kin. Dodd’s story plunges Gentle Reader into a chilly fantasy world and watery heartbreaker.

Echo of a Siren on Amazon US
Echo of a Siren on Amazon UK
Echo of a Siren on Goodreads
Sonya C. Dodd on Goodreads

Which Wizard Would Create a Monkey Homunculus?

News Release: Gentler than Steampunk

Find out why it is nonsense for wizards to have lightning fingers
Find out why it is nonsense for wizards to have lightning fingers

Hooray for the news! 1888 Press Release has posted a news release about Lita Burke’s newest Clockpunk Wizard book, Old Bony Blue Eyes.

Gentler than Steampunk: Clockpunk Author Releases New Book

In a land filled with twisty wizard’s magic and the 16th century technology of Leonardo da Vinci, comes the latest book by fantasy author Lita Burke.

Fantasy author Lita Burke has released Old Bony Blue Eyes, a new story in Ms. Burke’s Clockpunk Wizard series. It is available… (read the rest at 1888 Press Release)

Read about other Lita Burke news releases.

Read more about Old Bony Blue Eyes.

Get Old Bony Blue Eyes for Kindle, iPad/iPhone, and Nook.

Lita Burke Featured
Gentler than Steampunk: Clockpunk Author Releases …
September, 2013 @ 1888PressRelease.com
A wizard faces a peril-filled journey to Sir Death’s castle to win a powerful spell book for a love-starved dragon.

Announcing the Release of Old Bony Blue Eyes

Clockpunk Wizard World is a Land of Airships, Automata Powered by Minor Demons, and the Technology of Da Vinci
Clockpunk Wizard World is a Land of Airships, Automata Powered by Minor Demons, and the Technology of Da Vinci

It is time to buy your ticket and take your seat. The airship leaves now for another trip to the Clockpunk Wizard fantasy world of Lita Burke. All aboard!

Old Bony Blue Eyes, the next story in the Clockpunk Wizard series, was released in all eBook formats today. Instant gratification is available now for Gentle Reader’s Kindle, iPad/iPhone, or Nook.

In Old Bony, Wizard Kadmeion faces a peril-filled journey to Sir Death’s castle to win a powerful spell book for a love-starved dragon. Along the way, he gets questionable help from Lady Luck and the bickering duo of Lord and Madam War.

A wizard faces a peril-filled journey to Sir Death’s castle to win a powerful spell book for a love-starved dragon.
A wizard faces a peril-filled journey to Sir Death’s castle to win a powerful spell book for a love-starved dragon.

Kadmeion’s half-elf assistant Sir Bright, and the wizard’s weredog familiar Furgo, go with him on his trip. They learn that Sir Death is a wizard with a curious shortcoming, plus he owns a wonderful library stuffed with all of their world’s magical knowledge.

This trip, we visit the airship pilot Copernicus and learn the differences among minor demons that inhabit homunculi. Fairy Izlyesende coaches Kadmeion about girlfriends. And Sir Death shows Kadmeion the dangers that powerful wizards weave when they laugh themselves silly.

Enjoy your trip to Lita’s Clockpunk Wizard world. Old Bony Blue Eyes available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Underground Demons have Good Reason to Leave the Surface-dwellers to Their Fate

Review: Demoniac Dance

A Goblin Waits by the River
A Goblin Waits by the River

Demoniac Dance by Jaq D Hawkins

A runaway child bride befriends goblins and discovers her magical powers.

Namah, a young woman from the far side of the river, escapes an arranged marriage on her wedding day.  After a harrowing pre-dawn ride in a tipsy boat, she meets wonderful magician friends–one of them Namah’s older sister who was also a runaway bride. But trouble threatens Namah’s magic-filled life on this side of the river.

Invasion, Reluctant Goblins, and Silly Dating Restrictions

Count Anton receives a visit from a bureaucrat bearing the unwelcome news of a neighboring king claiming Anton’s lands. An invasion force will soon swarm up the river. Anton’s people are farmers and craftsmen, not soldiers. And the reclusive underground goblins refuse to help.  After years of hateful actions from Anton’s people, the goblins have good reasons for leaving the surface dwellers to their fate.

Goblins have Good Reasons for Leaving the Surface Dwellers to their Fate
Goblins have Good Reasons for Leaving the Surface Dwellers to their Fate

Invasion preparations swirl around Namah and her new friends. Along the way, a handsome young goblin named Ja’imos catches her eye, but they cannot be together for oh, so many silly reasons.

The Battle Arrives

Without goblin fighters, even Namah and her young women friends must help however they can.  With the girls’ Amazon-like painted faces, archery skills, and the simple art of distraction, their unanticipated feints harry the invaders.  These king’s soldiers terrify Anton’s inexperienced fighters, but when the would-be conquerors draw blood from Anton’s long-time goblin friend Haghuf, the escalated war is more than Namah, Count Anton, and their unwelcome visitors could ever imagine.

A Smiling Goblin--Nothing to Fear Here
A Smiling Goblin–Nothing to Fear Here

Come of Age and Come to Terms With Me

Coming of age stories are a timeless delight, and Demoniac Dance delivers. Namah is a clever untrained magician, but she struggles with pubescent naïveté. This conflict gives Namah more depth than the usual clueless, but stubborn heroines found in YA fiction.

Count Anton is also a complex figure of a practical ruler who, ten years after marrying his Countess Ariane and producing a son, has fooled himself for the duration by saying he does not regret marrying the wrong woman. By the end of Demoniac Dance, we see his actions, thoughts, and heart align.

Ariane could have easily been the sad, put-upon woman who knew from the beginning that Anton loved another. Ariane surprises us with her response when Anton reveals his intentions.

The Dance Creates Magical Fuel for Humans and Goblins
The Dance Creates Magical Fuel for Humans and Goblins

Dance With Me

The enchantments in the Demoniac Dance world focus on the powerful and earthy pulse called The Dance. The surface-dwelling magicians and the goblins draw on it during group gatherings to create magical fuel for their spells.

But The Dance has a darker shade. Namah unwittingly gains an invitation to one of the goblin’s group dances. The sensual throb of The Dance raises grownup emotions that panics her into flight.

Ignorant of the dangers in the dark goblin tunnels, Namah runs directly to a deep pit, only for Ja’imos to snatch her away from death’s edge and hold her his strong arms. What passes between them is magic of a different sort, but worthy of the deep emotions of The Dance.

Demoniac Dance on Amazon US

Demoniac Dance on Amazon UK

Demoniac Dance on Smashwords

Demoniac Dance on Barnes & Noble

Jaq D Hawkins website, author blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook

Review: Becoming a Superhero

This young man couldn't put himself together
This young man couldn’t put himself together

Becoming a Superhero, Based on a True Story by Oliver Galang

Warning: This story has some occasional adult language.

Becoming a Superhero was a coming-of-age tale about a drifting young man from a military family lost in a mire of gambling, prostitutes, and depression. It was also a humorous telling about the whims of peer pressure and finding a memorable psychologist. The duality made for an entertaining read.

The story centered on young Oliver, who convinced himself early on that he was a budding superhero like what he saw in movies and comic books. But reality showed he was instead an awkward nerd, and his family’s frequent moves made it difficult to keep friends. Cultural differences, and his parent’s meager finances, created misunderstandings with everyone. Oliver tried a military career like his father, but did not stay. Then came life’s real temptations.

Oliver wouldn't face his inner landscape
Oliver wouldn’t face his inner landscape

What Do Young Guys Want?

With Lita’s lifelong puzzlement about how men think and why they act in such interesting ways, this story gave insightful clues. For example, during a speech at his sister’s wedding, Oliver quipped “I hope it works out,” then didn’t understand, despite his well-combed hair, why high school girls weren’t interested in dating him.

Becoming a Superhero described many places where Oliver tasted the fun of life (having a lovely girlfriend with a french accent, a winning night at Blackjack, landing a high-paying job), then immersed himself to excess. He abandoned girlfriends and instead frequented prostitutes. Recreational card playing turned to gambling addiction. The job no longer supported his indulgences, and Oliver racked up credit card debt and bankruptcies.

Not what this young man wanted, but Oliver made more choices to return to the adrenaline soaked, but disastrous pursuits. Here was a guy that avoided introspection, to his folly.

How does a person rescue themselves from life's well?
How does a person rescue themselves from life’s well?

Let’s Shrink-Wrap That

A refreshing voice entered Oliver’s life–a new psychologist. The first question this therapist asked Oliver was “You fell in love with a prostitute…are you crazy?”

My, oh my. Lita had to put down her Kindle for a minute to recover from this lovely line.

Then they discussed Oliver’s superhero yearnings. They talked over his wish to get married. Was it to have kids? No, it was something else. This clever section of Becoming a Superhero finally showed us the real reason for Oliver’s destructive lifestyle. There was a way out of the well that Oliver kept falling into. After the journey through this superhero wannabe’s life, we learned what this young guy really wanted–and he was a superhero all along.

Becoming a Superhero is on AmazonSmashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

More about Oliver Galang at Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Forever Boy by Lita Burke

New Cover for Forever Boy

Forever Boy by Lita Burke
In Forever Boy, a dog flees his cruel master, befriends a wizard, and discovers his shapeshifting magic.

The last new cover for the spring clean takes you to the Clockpunk Wizard fantasy world in Forever Boy. There you will find Wizard Kadmeion’s ~twisty~ magic.

Life is dirty, difficult, and all too short for the dogs digging up the deadly mandrake roots that wizards animate with minor demons. A pup named Go Fer has an odd magical talent. He does not die from the fatal screams of newly unearthed mandrakes. Go Fer’s master, a prideful minor magician, sees Go Fer’s talent as a fluke saving him the cost of replacing dogs killed by the mandrakes’ cries.

One morning, a young Wizard Kadmeion and his half-elf assistant Bright watch Go Fer at work. This mandrake extraction goes horribly wrong, and Go Fer runs away during the hubbub. After seeking out the wizard, the dog’s life is not the same. In fact, Kadmeion discovers Go Fer is not a dog after all.

An exciting life as the wizard’s familiar awaits Go Fer. Instead of using mandrakes, Bright has built clever clockwork men who pilot Kadmeion’s wonderful airship. Go Fer would have a new name, a new boy appearance, and he would fly with his new master between islands that float above the sea.

But Magic Guild law makes the mandrake harvester Go Fer’s master, and Kadmeion will not go against the guild. Go Fer must return to the dog-murderer, lose his wondrous boy form, and dig mandrake roots until he dies. Which will be the very next time, unless the clever clockwork man and the kindly wizard can get him out of this fatal mess.

Forever Boy now available on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.