July 2015 – Page 2 – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: July 2015 (Page 2 of 2)

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Book Review: Angels to Ashes by Drew Foote

It’s Book Review Wednesday again, and boy do I have a treat for you! This is probably one of the best books I have read since the last installment of the Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch. Definitely worth your time!

 

Angels to Ashes

Barnabas, a Demon of Pride with the predatory heart of a salesman, defies the will of the Inferno.

Kalyndriel, an Avenging Angel, staggers beneath the weight of her own sin.

Walter, a damned human, witnesses the impossible, both on Earth and below.

Three unlikely allies unite against a terror beyond good and evil. Threads of desperation bind their worlds together: Hell, Heaven, and Earth. The emptiness before time gives birth to an abomination … one who dreams of unraveling the tapestry of the God who abandoned His children.

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Angels and Demons, alike, dance in the darkness as the world of man trembles beneath them. A mystery is born of a simple professor’s death: a trail that unveils the depravity in the souls of God’s firstborn.

All reap the wages of sin. All betrayals become inevitable over the course of eternity.

All is ashes.

 

My Review: 5 Stars

Let’s get the bad over with:

1. Too many adverbs. It makes the narrative a bit clunky, overdone, and contrived. I feel like the author could have cut 10 to 20% of the narrative and still had a solid book.

2. A few things were odd. For example, Adam said he refused to be “a puppet”. I didn’t know there were puppets in the Garden of Eden.

3. The “villain” was introduced a bit too early on. The Void is introduced in the third chapter or so, which sort of gives it all away. There’s a point at roughly the half-way mark where it would have made the PERFECT reveal. Up until that point, it’s all angels versus demons. It would have been amazing to reveal that the ultimate villain was the Void at that point.

4. The interludes were a bit unnecessary.

5. Head hopping issues. When it’s from the demon’s POV, it talks about the angel’s feelings, and vice versa.

Now for the good:

I love anything that takes a different approach to “common belief”. This concept of Heaven vs. Hell, good vs. bad was brilliant! The way some of the demons are actually “good” or “doing right” and the angels are “bad” or “doing wrong” was very well done, and I loved how the author wasn’t afraid to turn Christian beliefs upside down or inside out and look at it from another angle.

I cannot say how much I LOVED the descriptions of demons and angels. The depiction of Heaven was a bit iffy, but Hell was VERY well done. I loved how the different angels and demons were portrayed.

The perspective on the Fall of Man was highly intriguing. I won’t say more to give it away, but it was definitely food for thought.

In this book, Armageddon is presented as the Christian version of the Viking Ragnarok. A unique twist I found enjoyable. No “end of the world”, just the “end of an age”.

All of the characters in this book were well written, with no cutout or two-dimensional characters. Even the demons–the ones you encounter randomly throughout–have depth to them.

DEFINITELY a book worth reading!

 

Here’s a Taste:

I watched him consider my words. His past, his dreams, and his future collided on a troubled face. I witnessed the weight of his monumental pride struggle against the fears and doubts. He trudged toward the wet bar in his office in a firm that had no future for him or his pathetic regrets. The inevitability of his damnation built in the atmosphere like a thunderstorm.

Humans were always the same.

George poured himself a drink and shambled back to the desk that was too large for him. He sipped in silent contemplation. While each moment in the office was heavy with portent, the outside world barely moved. George’s secretary had barely taken three breaths during our discussion; time on Earth moved differently once Demons or Angels got involved.

George finally raised his gaze. There was resignation, and desperate need, in his haunted stare. He knew he was already damned, and now I all had to do was make it official.

“What are your terms?”

I smiled widely — the smile of the prowling shark, the last flash of white before everything became darkness: the hungry grin of a predator. Abyssal wings snapped open with a crack.

“You shall have: a partnership at this firm, worldly success, good health, monetary wealth, and wonderful relationships with your children and loved ones. I’ll even throw in a pretty young thing to go with your renewed success. I shall have: one eternal soul, originally belonging to George Clarence McCoy, payable upon your death.”

I leaned forward, hand outstretched. The lights in the office dimmed. Daylight died.

George McCoy exhaled a tremulous breath. He steeled himself for damnation and a headlong plunge into the fiery pit. Heaven would not miss his soul, but it would be welcome in Hell. That was his destination before we even met. He raised his eyes, met mine bravely, and stood.

He grasped my hand.

The burn of my Demonic touch was momentary, but the inferno to come would never end. The bargain was struck.

He belonged to me.

 

 

About the Author:

Drew Foote is 32 years old and currently lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He works full-time as a defense contractor and served 14 years in the United States Air Force. For more information, visit www.drewfoote.com

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Angels-Ashes-Drew-Foote-ebook/dp/B00UC7NIWS/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Read Drew’s thoughts on his website: www.drewfoote.com
Connect with him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drewbfoote?ref=bookmarks

Writing Has Taught Me to Make Sacrifices

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could spend every moment of the day doing something we love? Whether you want to play music, write books, or fly kites for a living, there’s nothing like being able to live your passion.

But in order to live your passion, you often have to make sacrifices.

You have to sacrifice your time. You rarely have enough time to do everything you want to do, so something has to go. Only a few very lucky people can pay the bills by writing all day long, and most of us have to spend hours at our day job. What little time we do have available is occupied with writing. Say goodbye to video games, TV, and often time with friends and family.

You have to sacrifice your dreams. Perhaps you dreamed of being a professional skateboarder or escape artist. As you work toward that dream, you realize that it is a time-consuming passion. It takes up every minute of your day and all of your brain power. Every other “lesser” dream you had is put on hold or forgotten in order to chase that passion.

It’s not always fun, but it’s a necessary part of life!

I just spent almost my entire weekend working at my desk. I got the final edits on The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer back from my publisher, so I had to go over them. I also spent the weekend polishing up my manuscript, making sure it’s as good as it could be. I had to cram all that into two days in order to reach my publishing deadline.

What happened to my family during that time I was working? I don’t know, which sucks. They had to entertain themselves while I worked, rather than us being able to do stuff together. I have no doubt that I’m going to hear about it at some point, but it was a sacrifice I had to make.

To make things worse, I didn’t really get a day off. It’s Monday and I’m back and work, and I feel like I didn’t take a break at all.

But to me, it’s all worth it! It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make because it’s going to ensure that the final product that I put out is not just good, but AS GOOD AS I CAN MAKE IT.

Sacrifices may suck, but they are an important part of being the best you can be.

The Eternal Struggle to Be Better

Being a consummate professional is exhausting!

It’s nearly impossible to be “the best” at what you do, no matter what it is. There will always be better writers, better accountants, better athletes, better models, or better CEOs than you. It’s just the way of life.

Life is all about striving to be the best version of ourselves, to become the best we can be. We are constantly working toward self-improvement, growth, and change, all for the sake of finding that true “best” within ourselves.

But, damn, that’s hard work!

Think about it: you’re never able to just sit back and rest with the progress you’ve made. As soon as you reach one goal, you have to start working toward the next. You can never take a break, because if you do, you’ll lose the ground you have gained. All of your progress will be for naught.

I find this a bitter pill to swallow. It’s impossible to go from struggle to struggle without ever taking time to enjoy what you have achieved. If you’re always working toward the next goal, you totally miss out on the joy of the now. You are so focused on living in the future that you fail to keep your eyes fixed on the awesome that is “right now”.

People go through life always fixated on their next goal, their next promotion, their next big sale, their next book, that they miss out on the little things happening around them right now. I know that I’ve skipped events with friends and family so I could focus on making progress on my WIP, because it’s something I’m passionate about. I love the feeling of making progress in my work, as it will help me reach my “goal” of finishing another book.

But it’s taking a toll on me. I’m currently in the middle of writing two books, and waiting for another to be published. I’m working in five different directions at once, and it feels like I’m spinning my wheels. No matter how much progress I make as a writer, I’m never going to be as good as the people I strive to emulate. I’m just not good enough.

Don’t get so caught up in the eternal struggle to be better than you say that to yourself. You are absolutely “good enough”! Sure, you can be better, but so what? Life is all about making progress, but it’s also about enjoying life. You can’t live under the gloomy burden of “not good enough”, with your eyes always fixed on the ideal “better”.

Love the progress you’ve made, laugh at your mistakes, and be excited about all that is to come. That eternal struggle will swallow you alive, or it will make you stronger!

2thefanatic

Book Review: The Fanatic by Cynthia D. Witherspoon

It’s Book Review Wednesday!

Today’s book is a Part 2 of a novel I reviewed a while ago. It’s a unique blend of ghost stories, Greek mythology, and modern life that I find quite intriguing.

 

The Fanatic

Allison Thomason had it all. Fame. Fans. A television show she loved like no other. Until Eva McRayne came along to push her out of the job she was born to do and into obscurity.

Determined to see her downfall avenged, Allison calls upon an ancient evil to help her destroy her enemy. One who understands all too well how easy it is to be pushed aside.

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My Review: 3.5 Stars

This book continues the story of Eva McRayne, the ghost hunter/media journalist/spokesperson for the Greek god Apollo.

I enjoyed Book 1 enough to want to read this one, so I was thrilled when the author sent me a copy for review. It made for an interesting read. There was a lot of fascinating Greek mythology (the story of the Sibyl and her Protector, as well as the Three Fates, Athena, and other elements), which is always a plus for me.

However, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book. This one focused a lot more on the main character’s broken heart than the actual story. Being a man, I found the emphasis on that relationship to be a bit overdone, but I’m sure it’s something other people will enjoy–so not a real flaw.

There were some flaws that needed a bit of polishing, including a number of punctuation and grammar mistakes. I found a lot of instances of writing that felt a bit amateur-ish, such as the author signaling what is going to happen. At one point, the MC is learning how to fight, and the narration says, “Little did she know that she was going to use those skills in the next twenty-four hours”. For me, that puts me off and irks me.

I’d have to say that I was pleased with the ending. The ending of Book 1 felt a bit bland, but this one had a much better, more solid ending. That being said, there was no “hook” to make me want to read Book 3. There’s no mystery left unsolved, no thread that I want to unravel. The strength of the character and story alone may not be enough to make readers pick up the next book. The author needs to give us a reason to continue…

 

Here’s a Taste:

Allison hesitated for much longer than I deemed necessary before she let up. She kept the blade within striking distance as I doubled over coughing while the air returned to my lungs.

“Get the mirror.” She grabbed my coat to jerk me to my feet. “Now.”

I staggered over to where Cyrus was waiting with a look of fury that scared me. I knew if he were ever given the opportunity, he would tear my opponent to pieces. He raised his hand up as if pressing it against an invisible wall between us as he examined my bloody face.

“Give me the mirror, Cyrus.” I extended my hand. “Please.”

“Eva, no.” Cyrus narrowed his eyes at Allison. “You will regret this day dearly, girl. Apollo will ensure your soul suffers for the trespasses you have committed.”

“The mirror or I slit her throat within inches from you.” Allison pressed the tip into my skin. When Cyrus didn’t respond, she pressed harder until I whimpered. “I’m waiting.”

“Take it.” Cyrus pulled Apollo’s mirror from Joey’s camera bag. He tossed it over to her feet. “Release the girl, Thomason. She will be unable to help you now.”

“No. I need that chant.” Allison gestured for me to pick up the mirror. “Tell me what to say.”

“We must be facing each other.” I wrapped my hand around the carved gold. I had spent the past eight months avoiding the relic at all costs. Now, it gave me a renewed sense of purpose. Of strength. I whispered my thanks to Apollo as I stiffened beneath the knife. “You must have both hands free to hold onto the mirror with me.”

Allison dropped Athena’s blade into the snow, dismissing her own goddess in an instant at the promise of more power. She may have been considered an obsessive fanatic in life, but her dedication in the afterlife was pathetic.

“Poor little damsel in distress. I told you I was better in every way. Under the terms of your trial, you have lost.” Allison sneered as we faced each other. “You must relinquish your title and your soul. Tell me the words I need to say to claim my victory.”

I don’t know what came over me, but as I looked down at the golden mirror in my hand, I realized how much being the Sibyl had become a part of me. Yeah, not being able to look into a mirror without the fear of seeing the dead was annoying. And not knowing which Greek monster would come after me next was nothing less than unsettling. But I was the Sibyl whether I liked it or not.

I planned on keeping it that way.

I swung the mirror upwards, slamming the glass against the side of Alison’s face. She cried out as she dropped to her knees. The glass cracked, so I smacked it against the edge of a gravestone to ensure it was completely broken. One hit was all it took.

I threw the remains of the ancient mirror down amongst the weeds.

“I’m no damsel.”

 

 

About the Author:

Cynthia D. Witherspoon is an award winning writer of Southern Gothic, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy. She has been published in numerous anthologies since 2009. Her work has appeared in several award winning collections including Dark Tales of Ancient  Civilizations (2012) and PellucidLunacy (2010).

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fanatic-Oracle-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00QYI7S84/

Hit up her website: http://www.cynthiadwitherspoon.com

Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cynthia-D-Witherspoon/315516345297331

 

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