Category Archives: Reviews

Lita’s book and story reviews.


Review: Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block by Michael Gardner is a mystery short story about an office worker named Ralph who travels back in time to unravel the disappearance of his favorite author, J. R. R. Tolkien.

Ralph Visited Oxford to Find Tolkien

Ralph Visited Oxford to Find Tolkien

Records clerk Ralph lives an uneventful life filled with computer work, caring for his cat Noodles, and reading his favorite fantasy stories. One day, a rift in space-time opens in his work cubicle, and takes him back to 1954 London. Thrilled at the opportunity to meet his favorite author, Ralph tracks down a bookstore, but cannot find his most favorite books of all time, The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring.

A dismayed Ralph visits Tolkien’s home in Oxford at number twenty Northmoor Road, and discovers that Tolkien has never lived in this version of London. What Ralph does next to correct this horrible error in the universe does not turn out the way he plans.

Writer’s Block is a fun diversion for Tolkien fans. The best part is Ralph’s practical approach of using time travel to meet one of his literary heroes. Besides, a world without hobbits, Frodo, and Gandalf is too horrible to imagine for epic fantasy fans. Rest assured that the world inside of Writer’s Block is only a story. Just to be sure, Lita checked her bookshelf, and The Lord of the Rings was in its proper place.

Writer’s Block on Amazon US

Writer’s Block on Amazon UK

Writer’s Block on Goodreads

Michael Gardner on Goodreads


Review: The Regent’s Gamble

The Regent’s Gamble by A. Payne and N. D. Taylor is a fantasy about the twenty-something mage Addison Rhydderch, and his efforts to unravel the magical mysteries infecting New York.

Addison is the Regent of a magical police force called the Manhattan Vault. Like its counterparts around the globe, the organization’s job is to protect the city from nefarious magicians and misbehaving fantastical creatures.



The confirmed bachelor meets his romantic match with a dryad named Saraia Lewis. They join forces to discover the source of disturbing magical mayhem that threatens to bring down both sides of their mundane and fantastical world.

Enjoyable descriptions of magical creatures, desperate melees, and a satisfying romance filled the pages of The Regent’s Gamble. The plot delivered many twists, and it riveted me until the satisfying conclusion. Lita especially liked the contrast of Addison’s powerful magic tempered with his human weaknesses. The authors created an immersive magical world. Lita could all but smell Manhattan’s reek, and feel the fizzy magic-fused air of faerie land against her skin.

Gentle Readers who are fans of immersive fantasy stories populated with believable creatures, and a mage hero worth cheering for, would enjoy The Regent’s Gamble. The frowned-upon liaison between human and dryad gave the story a spicy flavor. The Regent’s Gamble is filled with not-to-be-missed fantasy fun.

The Regent’s Gamble on Amazon US

The Regent’s Gamble on Amazon UK

The Regent’s Gamble on Goodreads

A. Payne on Goodreads

N. D. Taylor on Goodreads

In the Fairy Cave

Review: The Eighth Birthday Wish

The Eighth Birthday Wish by Bruce E. Arrington is a children’s fantasy about a little girl named Sophia who seeks a magical birthday gift from the residents of the Great Rock Faery cave.

Sophia Enters the Great Rock Faery Cave

Sophia Enters the Great Rock Faery Cave

Young Sophia is surrounded by siblings that sing well, but she cannot carry a tune. Determined to become the finest songstress, she goes on a journey with her parents to the Great Rock Faery cave.

Only she can go inside and pick the singing voice of her dreams from one of the faerie. Problem is that none of them have a suitable voice. Sophia discovers a faerie in a most unusual situation. The little girl then learns the rewards of unselfishness, which is the best birthday gift of all.

The Eighth Birthday Wish is a story told in rhyme, and lavishly illustrated with Sophia’s adventures. Lita could not wait to see how the little girl’s dilemma in the Great Rock Faery cave turned out. The simple story delivered a satisfying conclusion.

Fantasy fans of all ages would enjoy this gem of a tale. Lita shall look around her garden and see if it has an entrance to the charming Great Rock Faery cave.

The Eighth Birthday Wish on Amazon US

The Eighth Birthday Wish on Amazon UK

The Eighth Birthday Wish on Goodreads

Bruce E. Arrington on Goodreads

Bruce E. Arrington website

Tackle the Challenge

Review: Thought Symbols Magick Guide Book

Thought Symbols Magick Guide Book by Colin G. Smith is a nonfiction how to book for transforming conscious desires into graphical representations, and using the subconscious to make them come true.

Use Meditation to Enact Symbols

Use Meditation to Enact Symbols

Thought Symbols Magick Guide Book describes the origin of using symbols, also called Sigil Magick. The book gives a systematic guide of how to turn positive statements into pictorial representations that anyone can draw. Gentle Reader then uses meditation, or other techniques, to enact these symbols. Within weeks, the results manifest themselves as positive changes to the Gentle Reader’s life.

This easy to follow book was free of mysticism and vague references to obscure topics that make others of its ilk tiresome to get through. What Lita liked most about the book was its emphasis on manifesting positive desires, rather than dragging down the psyche with “I don’t want this” catalysts. Another likable aspect of this book was how to merge the thought symbols approach into a better-balanced lifestyle.

Self-improvement seekers looking for a pragmatic approach for turning positive motivations into life events would enjoy Thought Symbols Magick Guide Book. Lita recommends it for Gentle Readers who want the good in life to come true.

Thought Symbols Magick Guide Book on Amazon US

Thought Symbols Magick Guide Book on Amazon UK

Thought Symbols Magick Guide Book on Goodreads

Colin G. Smith on Goodreads

Colin G. Smith website and blog


Read About Lita Burke's Clockpunk Wizard World

Praised by Readers’ Favorite with a 5 Star Review: Lita Burke’s Ephraim’s Curious Device

Ephraim's Curious Device – 5 Star Review by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Ephraim’s Curious Device – 5 Star Review by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Readers’ Favorite recently read Lita’s fantasy novella, Ephraim’s Curious Device, and awarded it with a lovely 5 star review.

In Ephraim’s Curious Device, a wizard seeks a magical thingummy to free his kidnapped familiar. It is the second story in Lita’s Clockpunk Wizard series, where wizards with ~twisty~ magic live on a plate-shaped ocean world. The wizards fly their fantastic airships between islands that float far above the sea. Here is what the Readers’ Favorite reviewer had to say:

The Clockpunk Wizard series is a marvelous and magical melding of steampunk with epic fantasy that is fresh, original and really quite exciting.

Ephraim’s Curious Device is Book 2 of Lita Burke’s epic fantasy series, The Clockpunk Wizard. Kadmeion, a young wizard, and Sir Bright, his Metal-Man and companion, have been summoned by Lord Hissalumieon of Mevil City. When they get there, the lord and his wizard, Nob, inform them of the quest Lord Hissalumieon needs them to complete. Read more of the review…

Ephraim's Curious DeviceRead Chapter 1 of Ephraim’s Curious Device for FREE now.

Watch the Ephraim’s Curious Device book trailer.

The Ephraim’s Curious Device e-book is available now with instant gratification for Kindle US/UK, Nook, and Kobo.

Curious how the Clockpunk Wizard adventures began? See how Kadmeion befriended a very unusual familiar in Forever Boy–read Chapter 1 now for FREE.

Continue your explorations of the Clockpunk Wizard world in Old Bony Blue Eyes–read Chapter 1 now for FREE.

Two Disturbed Young Men

Review: Spilt Milk

Spilt Milk by D. K. Cassidy is a short story collection that tells the entwined lives of two very disturbed guys, Caleb and George.

A Disinterested and Abusive Father is Oblivious

A Disinterested and Abusive Father is Oblivious

A drug-addicted mother dies in childbirth producing her son Caleb. A disinterested and abusive father is oblivious about his young son’s predilection for harming small animals.

After performing a heinous crime that lands him in a juvenile mental hospital, Caleb welcomes his eighteenth birthday. The young man can now seek friends that understand him.

George learns early to build a closet sanctuary that his battling parents never bother to investigate. It comforts George to fill his fortress with misbegotten collectables. He too is now an adult. Rather than battling a dangerous addiction, collector George embraces it. His vice is a monstrous lifestyle, because his imaginary friends urge George to do so.

A Surreal, Yet Reasonable, Dreadful World

A Surreal, Yet Reasonable, Dreadful World

Caleb posts a help wanted ad for a worker who loves collecting special things. The night job takes place behind the hospital. Caleb and George hit it off. Pity the people who catch the duo’s interest.

Spilt Milk is a subtle, disturbing, and delicious collection of related short stories that takes the reader into a surreal, yet reasonable, dreadful world. The stories have no bloody and squeamish parts, but nonetheless, they made Lita’s gut cringe. Between George and Caleb’s vignettes are glimpses into the sad and odd souls who cross their path. D. K. Cassidy uses a masterful hand in describing the characters. The frugal prose is much more effective than gushing over the bloody details. Lita just had to read the book twice, and it scared the bejesus out of her the second time, too.

Spilt Milk is highly recommended for Gentle Readers who have always wondered why some innocent-seeming people make them feel like a hellcat just ran over their grave. Now we know.

Spilt Milk on Amazon US

Spilt Milk on Amazon UK

Spilt Milk on Goodreads

D. K. Cassidy on Goodreads

D. K. Cassidy Blog and Website

Lady of the Lake

Review: The Secret of Excalibur

The Secret of Excalibur by Sahara Foley is a fantasy about a modern-day young man named Arthur Merlin, who struggles with mastering his phenomenal psychic powers.

A Head Injury Gave Arthur the Ability of Astral Projection

A Head Injury Gave Arthur the Ability of Astral Projection

After a head injury that gave him incredible psychic abilities like pyrokinesis, astral projection, telekinesis, and resistance to nuclear explosions, Arthur is finding his way in life. His new abilities frightened old friends. Now, he wanders. No government agency or military can hold him because he teleports to safety at the first sign of boredom.

His journey has landed him in London. At a paranormal studies lab affiliated with MI6, he finds a lovely telekinesis expert named Doctor Ruth Burns. His powers make for an unusual romance. He ends up working for the government, and the dangerous work turns Arthur’s life into an exciting twirl.

The Lady of the Lake and the Legend of the Sword Excalibur

The Lady of the Lake and the Legend of the Sword Excalibur

But something draws him to a mysterious lake shrouded in Arthurian lore. The Lady of the Lake, and the legend of the sword Excalibur waiting in its depths, is a mystery that only Arthur’s fantastic powers can unravel. The truth under the waters is nothing like Arthur imagined.

The Secret of Excalibur is a delightful entwining of Arthurian mythos, a modern Merlin, and clever supporting characters. Arthur, despite his fantastic powers, is an ethical young man with a refreshing innocence. Ruth is a brainy and practical counterpoint to Arthur’s impulsive approach to life. The plot kept Lita guessing, and she could not wait to learn what was waiting in the lake. Contrary to the legends, Arthur’s fate was a delightful surprise.

For Gentle Readers who are fans of King Arthur stories, The Secret of Excalibur is a satisfying blend of the legend with a modern-day wizard. Be warned, because the real sword under the lake is nothing like the legend.

The Secret of Excalibur on Amazon US

The Secret of Excalibur on Amazon UK

The Secret of Excalibur on Goodreads

Sahara Foley on Goodreads

Sahara Foley website and blog