Book Review: Ever After by: Chloe Miles

Rating: 5/5

Publisher: Smashwords Edition

Publication Date: March 29, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Book Links:  Goodreads

Synopsis: One of Savannah’s friends is hiding a secret that will change her life—forever.

In this heartbreaking yet heartwarming conclusion to The Faded Trilogy, Savannah is facing an epic final battle with The Forces—and the possibility of losing Hunter forever.

If Fort Everwick no longer needed protecting, and Hunter was free to cross over, would he stay with Savannah as he promised—or leave her to live the normal life she deserves?

Savannah can’t imagine her life without Hunter, but does he love her truly enough to let her go?

Until then, The Chosen Ones only have one thing on their mind—defeating The Forces. But they are stronger than ever—and not prepared to go down without a fight.

Will The Forces finally be defeated once and for all? And can Savannah and Hunter really live happily ever after? 

Series: The Faded Trilogy

Review: EVER AFTER is the heartbreaking and heartwarming conclusion to the Faded Trilogy. The Chosen Ones have become stronger and The Forces’ numbers are dwindling. The Chosen Ones are now in college and making changes to their lives as their relationships evolve. They’re making mature decisions, but for Savannah and Hunter their friends’ lives are a source of both joy and pain. Embarking on new adventures, making new friends, and becoming the adults they were meant to be, The Chosen Ones are close to fulfilling their duties. I don’t want to give too much away, but EVER AFTER is a beautiful story and had the perfect ending. I think readers who have enjoyed the first two books will be blown away by EVER AFTER!

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Book Review: See No Evil by: Chloe Miles

Rating: 3/5

Publisher: Smashwords Edition

Publication Date: February 26, 2013

Origins:  From Author for Review

Book Links:  Goodreads

Synopsis: “You could have perfect vision and still not see the evil in someone. Well, at least not want to see it, anyway.”

The enthralling story that was built in Faded continues in exciting and unexpected ways in this action-packed sequel in The Faded Trilogy.

Are Savannah’s dreams predicting the death of someone close to her? Or is it someone even closer than she thinks? Can Savannah save one of her best friends—and stop another from suffering the same fate?

Savannah will need more strength than she ever has before if she is to defeat The Forces for good, and with Hunter’s love and encouragement to believe in herself, she finds the confidence she never knew she had.

However, while The Chosen Ones become more confident in their roles as protectors of Fort Everwick, The Forces only become more evil—and prove they will stop at nothing to win.

What will Savannah do that will change everything and determine her position of power over The Forces forever—and prove to them that she just might have it in her to beat them at their own game?

But while becoming their biggest threat, it also reinforces Savannah’s position as Gwen’s most cherished target.

Series: The Faded Trilogy

Review: The Chosen Ones (Madison, Abigail, Jackson, and Savannah) have faced The Forces and lost a loved one. Their bond is diminished as one suffers, but they’ll need the strength of them all to defeat The Forces for good. Savannah and Hunter’s love is stronger than ever, which she’ll need as her dreams show her a frightful future. As The Chosen practice with their powers and grow more confident, The Forces’ evil grows deeper and more devastating to everyone around them. Why do The Forces want Savannah to join them? Can Savannah save her friends and the town?

SEE NO EVIL takes up right after the events in book one, FADED. The Chosen Ones, especially Savannah, are being targeted by The Forces. The Forces (Gwen, Griffin, and Chad) have their own agenda for the town and its inhabitants, but Gwen wants Savannah most of all. Hunter and Savannah’s love continues to grow, as does the other Chosen Ones’ relationships. It was hard to see how much Hunter and Savannah wanted to be together while dealing with the fact they never could. The Forces were even more manipulative than in FADED and brazen in their attacks. It’s hard as humans, and especially teenagers, to shield yourself from emotional torture – something The Forces are very good at inflicting. The Chosen Ones are growing into their powers and their lives, which was both good and bittersweet. SEE NO EVIL is a good bridge book in this trilogy.

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Book Feature: A Beginning, No Middle, And An End by: G. Eric Francis

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: August 8, 2014

Synopsis: The 21st Century is approaching its midpoint, and the world has changed. While nations still have their own names, there are no longer any borders. What was once 196 different governments and ideologies has been reduced to one. One of the most successful men in this new world is JaFrancis Brownell . A video game and book publisher, he is worth billions, with a fan base to match. At the verge of publishing his 200th title, a friend brings to his attention something from the past that he didn't know existed, forcing him to come face to face with someone he hasn't seen in years...his father, Franklin. A writer who never made it, he is a bitter and bigoted man nearing the end of his life's journey. Angry at his son for not only ignoring his own natural gift for writing, but for his alternative lifestyle as well, the two strong-willed men butt heads. But an unexpected threat due to JaFrancis' fame brings danger from those who want what he has. Now both father and son not only face years of hurt feelings, but a clock that will definitely strike midnight for one of them...but not in a way either one expected.

Author Bio: You know, I hate talking about myself, but I do love talking about why I write.

I always have crazy ideas floating through my head, whether it be about undercover chickens, kids who discover the cure for some deadly disease, or other strange concepts that I will eventually get from head to keyboard.

I was born in NYC in the late 1960's (so I remember when "Scooby Doo" actually was good). I graduated from Syracuse University in the 1990s, and moved out to the MidWestern US when I figured making sandwiches for a living wasn't my intended purpose in life.

I met my wife while at a club called "Gators", and I have two great kids, including one with special needs, which makes for special times most days.

As for what I like to read, anything that will take me on a grand adventure works for "The Hunger Games" series is a big plus.

When I am not writing (or commenting on the world around me), I am a huge movie fan (summertime is my favorite time of the year), I collect music (over 19k on my iPod, with Prince being my favorite) and cheering for (and banging my head against the wall) my favorite baseball team, those 27 time World Champion Yankees (hope there aren't any Red Sox fans reading this :)

Well, that's it. Simple guy who hopes to write books that entertain you, all the while hoping to one day make a living out of it.

Excerpt: The driveway that the cabbie dropped JaFrancis off at was about 150 feet long. Taking a deep breath to finish calming his nerves, he began to walk towards a house at the end of it. About 3 minutes later, he stood in front of a large door, jet black in color with a window on top.

He began to raise his hand to ring the doorbell, before he heard a “click” sound to his right.

JaFrancis slowly closed his eyes, a heavy sigh emitting from his throat.

“Did you forget to take your DementEnd pills again?” he asked the person who had a shotgun aimed at his head.

He slowly raised his arms, turning around slowly, since he didn’t want his trip…or his life for that matter to end abruptly. The shotgun remained aimed at his head, until a pair of eyes appearing above the handle of the shotgun recognized who was visiting his home.

“JaFrancis?” the holder of the gun said, as he slowly lowered its barrel to the ground. “What the hell are you doing here?”

JaFrancis lowered his arms, a half-hearted smile crossing his lips. Taking one hand, he slowly moved the weapon away from him, before gently taking it away from the man who was holding it.

“Hi, Dad,” he replied.

As JaFrancis took the shotgun and rested it against the door, an elderly man in his late 70’s squinted as he stared at his offspring.

“Rich boy actually decided to come check up on his old man, huh?” Franklin Brownell said as he folded his arms. “What, you couldn’t send one of those white boys who work for you to come do the job for you?”

JaFrancis was about to reply, when his father lifted his hand to stop him.

“Wait a minute,” Franklin said, as he took a deep breath.

A moment later, he let out what had to have been the loudest bit of flatulence ever heard on the Planet Earth.

JaFrancis’ nose wrinkled, as the odor hit his nostrils like a boxer’s uppercut to the chin.

“It’s good to see that you haven’t changed,” JaFrancis said, as he waved his hand in front of his nose.

The waving of his hand caused his ring to turn slightly, accidentally making his eyeglasses appear on his face.
“What the ant fuck is that, boy?” Franklin said, taken aback by what he was seeing.

JaFrancis quickly waved his hands again, causing the glasses to disappear.

“Just something you would call a waste of a good shit of time, Dad,” he replied.

Franklin looked at his son, trying to stifle a smile, as that he was glad to see him, yet angry at the same time. It was the first time he had set foot on his porch in more than a decade.

“Hell boy,” Franklin said, “I’ve never understood all of those fancy toys you have. Sorry about my was just yodelin’! Besides, I’m 77 years old. At my age, I have to prep myself when I crack one off! I never know if what flies out is gonna be gas or a chocolate factory explosion!”

“Charming, Dad,” JaFrancis said, as he mentally prayed that a strong wind would show up so it could take away the odor that was assaulting his nostrils.

“Besides,” Franklin continued, “don’t you know that a fart is good for ya? It’s good for the heart, helps prevents strokes…shit…it even may prevent cancer! Read that somewhere once. You could say that my ass is like a doctor I carry with me all the fucking time!”

“I am sure you are right, Dad,” JaFrancis said, shaking his head at what he just heard. “Now that you have tried to not only kill me with your gun, but with your ass, can we go inside?”

“I guess,” Franklin replied with a grunt. “But shit, I wish I could take a picture of this moment. If they still made cameras, I’d snap a picture of you and then have it buried with me when I died. At least I’d see ya a little more often in the afterlife…blowing your non visiting ass’ head off over and over again as I hung out in purgatory.”

Franklin then brushed by JaFrancis, opened the door, and motioned for his son to come inside. JaFrancis stood there for a moment, wondering if he had made a mistake in coming to see his father. However, he knew that it was something he had to do…not only for his business sake, but for his old man’s as well. Taking a deep breath, he stepped inside, quickly closing the door. He didn’t want to let the deadly smell that came from his dad’s backside into the house with him, questionable health benefits aside.

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Book Review: Faded by: Chloe Miles

Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Smashwords Edition

Publication Date: August 24, 2012

Origins:  From Author for Review

Book Links:  Goodreads

Synopsis: “Savannah wanted to kiss him, but she had never even kissed a human guy before, let alone a ghost. How was she supposed to kiss him if he wasn’t really there?”

Savannah has never been in love before, but she’s in love with Hunter Emmerton. He’s cute, funny, charming ... and a ghost. How can you date someone if nobody else can see them?

When seventeen-year-old Savannah Fraser and her three friends are killed in a car accident, they are given a second chance at life by a group of century-old earthbound spirits who need their help.

Savannah learns she is a Chosen One, which means she can switch between human and spirit form, heal people, and control the weather—and she is also now invincible.

The Chosen Ones are the only ones who can defeat The Forces—a trio of evil half-spirits who are slowly destroying the perfect little town of Fort Everwick with violent storms and not-so-natural disasters—and stop them from harming everyone they care about.

The Forces are set on destroying everything Savannah knows and loves, but they also have a more sinister plan—they want a new member to join them. They won’t give up until they get the one they want—and they have Savannah firmly in their sights.

But what Savannah didn’t count on was falling in love with Hunter. She’s never loved anyone the way she loves Hunter, and she knows he loves her, too. But how can they be together forever if he no longer exists and she’s the only one who can see him?

Will Savannah have enough belief in herself to defeat The Forces, or will they be able to lure her to the dark side and turn her against her loved ones—and tear her and Hunter apart?

Series: The Faded Trilogy

Review: The idyllic town of Fort Everwick is watched over by four spirits, guardians of the land imbued with paranormal powers. In the 1980s, they chose four souls who would have perished in a car accident to save and bestow powers upon, but it didn’t work out as planned. Three of them turned evil, forming into what they’d come to call The Forces. Now another group of four teenagers has a fatal accident and the spirits decide to give it another chance, hoping these four will be The Chosen Ones. Accepting these powers means they can switch forms between spirit and flesh, heal, and control the weather. It also means helping defeat The Forces and restoring peace to Fort Everwick. It’s a lot of responsibility to rest on teenagers’ shoulders. Will The Chosen Ones be up to the task?

Hunter, Oliver, Rose, and Hattie are the four earthbound spirits who made a grave mistake 30-odd years ago when they rescued four teenagers from death. Now Hunter has had a vision of another set of four teenagers and the good they can do, if the others agree to save them. Readers are definitely going to be amazed by the detailed world and intricate characters. Savannah, Abigail, Jackson, and Madison are The Chosen Ones, saved by the spirits and willing to fight for their town against The Forces. There was a lot of information laid out before the action started, so it is a little slow in the beginning. FADED features distinctive personalities, otherworldly powers, ghosts, diabolical evil, and the start of an epic love story. There’s something for everyone in FADED!

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Guest Post by Devin K. Smyth, author of Badili

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Publication Date: June 29, 2014

Synopsis: Enter the world of Lucey Chimney, a 13-year-old girl enslaved on a remote Virginia plantation in the early 1800s. She and her family are barely surviving under the regime of a barbaric overseer and an indifferent master. Lucey feels helpless to do anything--until an ailing stranger is found in the woodlands nearby. Charged with his care, Lucey learns more about the stranger, including his claim to possess an ancient power, one that could free Lucey and the rest of the plantation's slaves. He's willing to give her the power--but at what cost?

Guest Post: When I'm searching for a new story to read, I ask myself a basic question: What makes this story unique? When I begin a new project, I ask a similar question: What about my story makes it different from others in the genre?

With my new novel BADILI, there are familiar elements from recent bestsellers--a teenage-girl protagonist, a historical setting, and a touch of the supernatural. What separates BADILI is that the protagonist, Lucey, isn't concerned about romance; she's more interested in a revolution that could end the slavery she and her family endure. While at first Lucey feels trapped by her dire situation, as things worsen on the plantation, her true nature is revealed as someone determined to take control of the uncontrollable.

The storytelling also differs in writing style. Many young-adult stories today are written in first-person present tense. BADILI, in keeping with its historical setting, is written in past tense and in third person. This limited point of view adds mystery as the reader must discover each character's motivations through their dialogue and actions, instead of through a running interior monologue that a first-person approach often depends upon. Also, the style of BADILI is in the tradition of Poe in its word choice and syntax, again in keeping with the timeframe of the story.

Finally, the setting is not used as an exotic device--establishing the action in the early 1800s means that there's little call for the abolition of slavery, and the isolated plantation means that running for freedom is a nearly impossible task. These elements add intrigue and authenticity to the story, while leading Lucey to believe that the only solution left to her is rebellion, one she may not survive.

If you're looking for a haunting read with a historical background, give BADILI a try. Thank you for your support.

Excerpt: Chapter I

Christmas 1805

Durham Bend was unseasonably warm that festive December evening—so mild that Lucey Chimney wore no more than her new calico dress patterned in green and white. Careless of the fresh frock her mother made her don for the holiday, Lucey began climbing what was known as the Mistress’s Tree. The white walnut’s branches offered regular rungs for Lucey to ascend, as she often would when her work in the Big House was over.

But there was no work today—at least not in service to the master. Once the menfolk put in place a long line of wooden tables, Lucey had helped decorate each with colorful pumpkins and squashes in celebration of the plantation’s harvest. Folks from miles around had come to enjoy the merriment, and Lucey smiled at the clapping and embracing upon every arrival. She watched aunts and uncles and cousins catching up with each other and guffawing as tales told in years past became even taller, a session of the dozens ready to arise at any moment. The men were adorned in suits and rimless hats, while the women were aglow with red ribbons woven through their hair. Children ran this way and that, their multitude of games and races colliding like waves.

From her perch, Lucey breathed in the fragrances of roasted corn and fatted hog, fried fish and sweet-potato pie, Hoppin’ John and collard greens—a feast that had been in the making for days. Nearby, a few of the young men were stamping out grass to fashion a dance ring while a huddle of musicians inspected and refined their homemade instruments. Even the overseer Mr. Foster and his drivers were in cheerful moods as they drank corn whiskey as quickly as if they’d thieved the spirits. It was a hoe-down indeed.

Beyond the festivities, the whole plantation opened before Lucey. Off to the north was the Street, the rutted lane where the folks’ cabins stood, fifteen on each side. Farther along the lane were the cotton press and gin house for processing Durham Bend’s primary crop. Clustered around these buildings were the smokehouse and corn crib, as well as the carriage house, stables, and smithy—a domain exclusive to Lucey’s father and his forging talents. Dotting the landscape in the distance were various other outbuildings, all cordoned off by a windbreak of trees that bracketed Goose Creek, a winding waterway that served as Durham Bend’s border to the north and west.

Looking south, Lucey could see the squat cabins that made up the drivers quarters, then a grove of trees separating the rest of the plantation from the Big House. East of the master’s manse was nothing but pastureland, save for the Mistress’s burial vault. It lay alone in a corner of Durham Bend, the matriarch of the plantation as lifeless as the fields that spread just behind the tree where Lucey sat.

But she could sit no more when she spotted a boy at one of the tables. “Jasper!” she called with a wave as she hurried down the Mistress’s Tree. Once on the ground, Lucey started running, her skinny legs, like those of a chicken and with the same lurching gait, churning along. Lucey’s deep-brown hair, braided into tails, whipped about with every stride.

When she came up to Jasper, he only shrugged in greeting with shoulders so narrow that it could be a matter of question whether he was facing forward or turned to one side.

“How come you’s jus’ sittin’ there?” Lucey asked.

“Paw say I ain’ got no call to join in,” he said, his voice honking like a goose’s as was usual for his age.

“C’mon,” Lucey said, tugging at his spindly arm. “Let’s us see how far we can roll my hoop. Mister Ben ain’ gonna see none.”

Jasper squinted into the setting sun and spied the landscape for his father, the Reverend Ben Newell. He was in the middle of a group of women, his eyes boring into each of them, his hefty hands gesturing to the heavens while his hefty belly bounced with the effort. “Don’ reckon I better go nowheres,” Jasper said. “Paw already done tan my hide fo’ gettin’ verse wrong.”

“’Cept ain’ no one else gonna wanna roll hoop wit’ me.”

Jasper kept his eyes on his father, then sighed and slid off the bench. “Where yo’ hoop at?”

A brilliant smile came to Lucey’s face, and she ran off. Jasper trailed behind as Lucey skidded to a stop before her family’s cabin, little more than a box of mismatched planks topped with a patchwork of shingles. Resting against a post was a rusted rain-barrel belt, which Lucey snatched up. “Now we gotta find us a good stick,” she said to Jasper.

Lucey led him to the grove near the Big House, and they wended their way through the stout trunks. Despite kicking and picking at every fallen limb, the pair discarded them all as too knobby or mangled to be of any worth. Lucey searched until she came to the far edge of the grove. Just ahead was the oyster-shell path that curved through the flower garden and up to the Big House, which rose ominously before her. In the dying light of day, the manse’s columns appeared aligned like an order of ghastly sentinels forbidding further passage.

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