Three months after his eighteenth birthday, Nathaniel Keene died… And that was only the beginning of his troubles. In this debut novel by Aditi Ramaswamy, the titular character – a soft-spoken honor roll student and budding entomologist – thought he’d spend his senior year studying Kafka and integrals. Well… turns out Fate has other plans for him. Within a month of moving to Lovelace, California, he joins the ranks of the undead, befriends a rather talkative beetle, and becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Can Nat’s un-life get any weirder? Yes. Yes, it can.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
If you love vampires, or like them even a wee bit, then there’s a high probability you’ve watched one tv show, one movie featuring the creatures of the night. More than likely, you have books featuring them on your shelf or nestled on your e-reader. You know vamps. You know how they become what they are and how to kill one. Nothing Aditi wrote about could possibly surprise you about them, right? If you’re quick to answer yes, then you’d be wrong.
Sure Aditi stayed true to the myths regarding garlic, mirrors, heighten senses, and increase in strength. However, her tale embellished in one particular area to add a bit of humor to the storyline. We know you have to invite a vampire in before he/she/it can cross over the threshold into your humble abode. This is where Aditi took things one step farther. When Nat came home, his mom had to invite him inside every room of their home. It took about twenty minutes but once the deed was done, it was done period. Thankfully, she didn’t have to repeat the process. At school, the teachers had to invite him into their classrooms — new room, again new invite.
Speaking of teachers, one did have the unfortunate chance of dying and becoming a cockroach. I KID YOU NOT… it happened. Surprisingly, Ms, Flowers (cockroach) was more pleasant, more humorous, more of a joy to be around in her creepy crawling bug form than in a human bod.
Other notes of humor: (Charlotte to Nat) “More blood, sweetheart?” I’ve had some weird conversation with my teenager son but this one beats all of ours — combined. Ranger’s name: Paul McCartney. Yes, Aditi made plays on his name a time or two. I could go on and on about what I loved about “Nathaniel Keene” but I won’t. I will say this young author, Aditi Ramaswamy, has a very bright future ahead of her.
Oh, and after reading this review, I’d love to know if anyone else got the impression Aditi has created an updated version of the Scooby Doo gang featuring the Quiz Bowl team + Ms. Flowers (cockroach). I mean, they are teenagers with a “talking pet” who like solving mysteries and they have a new mystery on their hands (cue part 2).
I can’t wait for the sequel! I’m sure it’ll be another entertaining read.
Aditi is a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Michigan; she’s majoring in Computer Science and History, and minoring in German and Caffeine Addiction. She has always loved vampire fiction, mostly because she herself is a soulless, undead creature of the night (also known as a “college student”). It is only natural, then, that her first book series is about a dorky vampire.
Get ready to be enchanted by mythical beasts, magical creatures, and moonlit nights. Enjoy your favorite author, and perhaps discover someone new, in these five fantastic tales of paranormal romance woven with moon, mist, and magic…
What’s a girl to do when her brother’s ghost appears asking for help? If that wasn’t bad enough, finding her not-dead-yet brother’s body before he becomes permanently spectral isn’t her only problem. Josie can’t save him on her own. The only person who can help is the last person who would want to. Bryce Evans, a man she once wrapped hopes of her future around, can’t stand to be near her. How can she convince him when her evidence is a ghost he can’t see?
As a dragon shifter in hiding, Lara Stone wants nothing to do with others of her kind or finding a mate. No way, no how. She’s perfectly content to work for a security company, masquerading as a simple mage. When the leader of all the dragon clans personally requests her as a bodyguard, Lara fears her secret is blown, or worse. What danger could possibly make Rafael Dragoi, the powerful Astarot, seek protection?
Flickering lights. Strange drifting shadows. Unnatural cold. Anthropology professor Jim Calloway is convinced the recent eerie phenomena at Octavian College are due to his overactive imagination until he meets Keilana Yamada and her eccentric grandfather, Toshi. Dazzled by the beautiful Keilani, Jim volunteers to help hunt for an ancient evil roaming the ivied halls. Can a mild-mannered academic find his inner demon hunter and a way into Keilani’s heart? Or will a supernatural predator with an insatiable hunger destroy them first?
When a stranger lands on her slab, poisoned with silver and reeking of vampire, Medical Examiner Olivia Duncan fears someone’s discovered her dangerous secret. Enter Nick Alexios, a mysterious man with a hidden agenda of his own. Olivia ignites his passion and challenges his loyalties, making him question his duty. Nick might be Olivia’s salvation…or her downfall. Will honor-bound promises drive them apart or unite them against threats from both near and far?
Lucy is a witch with a successful business righting magical mischief. A call for help from her high-school heartache, Shane, prompts Lucy to manage his magical mayhem herself. No longer a nervous, hormonal, teenager, Lucy takes the case to force an apology and bury her past humiliation. To her surprise, Shane insists he couldn’t forget Lucy—because she hexed him ten years ago. Will Shane and Lucy put their past behind them, or will the spell prove permanent?
(review request submitted by the authors for an honest critique)
If you enjoy stories of the paranormal persuasion, then you’ll be pleased with your purchase of “Moon, Mist, & Magic”. First of all, you get five (5) short stories by five (5) talented writers for about a dollar (kindle price). That’s truly a bargain! Second, you will be treated to a variety of supernatural beings including ghosts, witches, shifters, demons, vampire so you’ll definitely find something or someone you like. Probably more than one. 🙂 Really, I can’t imagine anyone not finding at least one short story they didn’t enjoy. For me, I found some stories sticking out in my mind more than others.
Let me break each down for you.
1) A Ghost of a Chance by Abigail Owen: Ok, I will admit on several occasions I found myself whispering, “I see dead people.” You all know the popular phrase and if you don’t you MUST WATCH The Sixth Sense (1999). It’s an amazing, spooky movie and one worth watching at least twice. Like the movie, I found myself wondering what would I do if I could see “dead people” and how life would be for myself and for my love ones. Josie became closed off to the world. Not an uncommon or unfathomed reason to her gift. But, I like how Abigail demonstrated the usefulness of the gift and set us up for more ghostly adventures.
2.) Dangerous Dreams by J.C. McKenzie: I love dragon shifters and wish I read more tales involving them. They are magical, majestic creatures who possess great power and command respect. And in this tale, we find out they are very horny too. There wasn’t any explicit sex scenes but you could feel their sexual nature through heated words and body language. In most cases, the promise of what to come is HOTTER than reading the actual “deed”. (There love story concludes with “to be continued”)
3.)Myths and Legends 101, by L.A. Kelley: Out of the five paranormal tales, I found this story the least memorable. Yes, it had a nice twist when they finally met and battled the obake (succubus). I did cackle at Dickenson’s reaction to “it” because he was a d!ck and d!cks need to be taken down a notch or two. However, everything leading up to the explosive ending was just blah. It didn’t wow me, Jim and Keilana didn’t impress me, and whom the obake targeted/possessed didn’t surprise me at all.
4.) The Keeper, by Sharon Saracino: Leopard shifters, a gryphon who resembles a Greek god, werewolf, a vamp, and a couple other surprise shifters. My, oh my, how I loved this story. Why? Because I didn’t expect Olivia to be a ………… Oh, I am not going to tell you. I will say she’s something very special and not “something” I’ve read about in a long while. Bravo Sharon!!
5.)Witch You Were Here, by Maureen L. Bonatch:Crossing a witch is never a wise choice. Teasing a witch in high school is doubly stupid because they can’t control their emotions, say things they might regret and YOU might get a magical tattoo right on your tight little tushy. Oh yeah, that’s what happened to Shane. Hilarious idea and a great ending tale to a wonderful collection of stories.
Shren has been locked in his own mansion’s cellar for seven years before one day, he finds the door unlocked, and his house—once filled with parties that his captors, his traitorous servants, threw—silent and empty.
Upon closer inspection, Shren finds that his home has only one difference from the days before his imprisonment—a painting gracing one of the walls, a painting of a man with eyes bleeding pitch black. A magicworker has been in his home.
Shren leaves, seeking to escape the wrath of the magicworker, should they return. It is then that he discovers their origin, that they are far more insidious and dangerous than he’d ever imagined, and he is inexorably drawn into a journey to stop the magicworkers from taking and corrupting his people as they did in the land they were created.
The walls showed a thousand writings and pictures as they slithered across the dark wood, telling the same story–a tale of darkness in a world long passed, wars and battles, everything Shren had ever read about in the history books. He watched with fascination, as he did every day; watching the stories be told in the silence of ink upon a wall.
Then the picture changed. It came to life. Black wings unfurled, arching feathers brushing the roof above, throwing shadows across the small square room as the lantern in the centre of the roof rocked and swayed in the breeze. The wings thrust out from the walls, grey and black etchings now hovering in mid-air. The wings beat slowly.
Shren covered his nose as the damp air stirred, chill gusts flinging fragments of mould into his face. He shivered and groaned; the musty scent of rotting wood and aged wine was irritating.
The wings slowly curled in on themselves, folding, before fading completely. A golden-cream furred shape crouched upright where they had been in the dark corner of the cellar.
“We need to leave.” The cat-like creature fell onto four legs and padded over to where Shren crouched, leaning against a barrel. It nosed the man’s huddled figure, keen eyes flickering as it waited for a response.
Shren unwrapped his arms from his legs and heaved himself upright, staring down at the linsang. He did not deign to respond, simply turning his back to it, staring at the dank walls of his prison. Every day the linsang spoke to him and every day it said the same thing. He did not want to leave.
Water dripped from the ceiling. Icy droplets slid down his neck and Shren lifted the hood of his cloak with a sigh.
Still the linsang stood, tail twitching as it watched its master.
“How am I to leave?” He demanded as he finally whirled round to face his familiar, “When I’m in a locked prison?”
“You know as well as I do,” the linsang arched its back in a stretch as it spoke, words seeming to materialise as sounds in the air though its mouth never opened. “You can leave whenever you wish.”
“Why now?” Shren leant his head back against the cold bricks and stared up at the ceiling.
“Time for reality, my friend,” the linsang said simply.
Shren growled and slid back into a crouch on the floor. His mouth twisted bitterly. “Reality,” he hissed, “Can go to hell.”
In answer, the linsang turned to the walls surrounding them, and Shren wearily followed the familiar’s gaze. The once white stone, now moulded green and grey, still held strong, held back the onslaught of the elements far above. And as had ever been for seven years, still the stories scrolled, black etchings of ink fluidly shifting over the walls day and night. Shren had tried to scrub them off, make them stop as the stories they told he did not wish to hear. Did not wish to believe, he admitted silently.
The place had driven him mad. Perhaps it was indeed time to leave.
A flicker at the edge of his vision made Shren to pause. He glanced over at the wall beside him, and the pictures it told caused him to sink to the floor once more.
No. Shren tried to look away but every wall was covered in the lies. Men laughing and drinking, showing his fine arts; the paintings of colour he had collected himself. Telling stories they had overheard him say, as if they were their own.
The words were whispered, but Shren clenched his fists, nails digging into palms crusted with the dried mud of years. Fear shone from his eyes as he sought to not watch the visions. Truth, the linsang had told him. The walls always showed truth.
But it was lies. “Stop it!” Shren shrieked, eyes wide. Perhaps indeed he had gone mad.
With those words the walls stopped. “I am sorry,” the linsang rubbed against his legs, “But you know as well as I do…Now is the time.”
He looked once more at the scrawling, the pictures that had been there his every waking moment. They had changed once more; this time it showed the guards of his prison, his own servants, their faces warped. Eyes scratched out, bleeding blackness. Skin grey; dead.
Shren recognised this picture. Never had he seen it before on these walls, but a time many years ago. An ancient painting he had seen once and sought for many years after; different subjects, yet the eyes were the same. Staring black holes. He’d never been able to see the strange mural again, yet here it was, on the very walls of his cellar, and that was truth.
His heart pounded in his ears; he knew what this meant. The linsang was right. He needed to get out now. Without any further argument, Shren drew himself up and laid his hand on the door latch.
He was sure it was locked. It had been locked for years, was that not why he was imprisoned here, why he had never left? Yet when Shren pushed down on the door handle, it swung open, moisture-swollen wood scraping against the stone doorway was the only resistance he met.
Had it ever been this way? Shren shook himself; of course not. The servants had to open and close this door to deliver the food that appeared every morning before he awoke. Perhaps one time they had forgotten to lock it. This one time.
He peered nervously out the door. Nothing happened. No traps sprung, no servants leaping from darkened alcoves.
So Shren ventured out into his mansion once more, a place he had not seen for close to seven years. He ignored his surroundings until he had exited the stairwell from the basement and was at ground level, concentrating only on one step at time.
Then he was inside the house. Here the plain stone walls, moulded and damp below, changed to plastered and painted surfaces, smoothed and clean beneath his fingertips.
So little had changed. His servants, traitors one and all, and yet they had still faithfully taken care of his home in his absence. They had spent his hoarded riches on the baser things, enjoying life as one big party, only to fall prey to one man–a magicworker of kroma iridis. That was the tale the inked walls had told him. Never had the pictures changed from days of banquets and debauchery until that moment, when he had seen the man with the bloodstained, black eyes.
My name is Jenna Whittaker and I am an Australian author who has been writing fantasy, science fiction, and horror novels for as long as I can remember! I love writing, my artwork, and caring for animals.
In the not so distant future the world has free energy, poverty is eliminated with health and education for all. Every fantasy can be indulged by simply slipping on a VR headset allowing individuals to live through their favourite stars eyes. Equality has been achieved and the rich manipulators exposed and stripped of their control. All accomplished by the first sentient benevolent artificial intelligence secretly manipulating events for the betterment of mankind. It was created as the perfect system to help shepherd us through the singularity. It has no greed, no bias or hidden agendas driven only to ensure the continuation of humanity in the best world possible. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out quite a lot as things start unravelling for Detective Rowan Cinn as he gets caught in a botched VR stars kidnapping days before his retirement. Soon he finds himself in a world of humanity manipulating AIs, secret islands, genetic engineered hunters and sentient stars. It’s a lot to take in while trying to deal with the small matter of why his family is vital to the future of humanity.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
With VR (virtual reality) becoming more and more popular, I was highly intrigued with the premise of this story. The book summary caught my interest and, for the most part, CTRL Illusion lived up to my expectations in regards to what I expected to see in a science fiction / fantasy story.
There were hover bikes, enhanced people, animated tattoos (Kutoo), DNA trackers for prior offenders, optical browsers, and the ability to access a victims’s memories through advanced technology.
Side note: The ability to access a victim’s final moments came with one humungous drawback — the detective experienced all the pain and suffering but couldn’t react. With the level of violence in the world, I’m not sure if mankind is ready for that bit of tech yet. I can see it being developed in the future, like with the story’s 3D imaging of rap sheets and crime scenes.
Now with all the techie aspects of the story, there was also a HIGH LEVEL of gore, revolting scenes that had me gagging at times. There were incidences of cannibalism, bloody orgy scene, and just more…… weirdness. Let me just say, don’t read the Interlude chapters while eating because, if you do, you’ll be feeling the need to upchuck. Actually, I’m feeling the bile rising up simply by thinking about the eating scenes….. Just *shuddering*
If you can stomach the gore and continue reading it, you’ll discover quite an interesting plot. There’s a few surprises —- the end of Chapter 12 ended with quite the showstopper. Plus, the last chapter, Death.
Before I end this review, I want to make note of one thing. A editing point I made to Sid and one I told him I would address in this review. As you read the story, you’ll discover that Sid writes some rather long paragraphs. Paragraphs that I believe would’ve be better suited broken up into small ones. I pointed this out to him and told him the length of each paragraph came across as more textbook like reading material than a novel.
After I read CTRL Illusion, I asked the opinion of four people. I didn’t allow them to read the page, I simply showed them my kindle. They all posed a similar question, “What are you studying?” In my opinion, you don’t want a story to read or LOOK like a textbook. That’ll cause readers to push it aside for another and no author wants their story pushed aside and forgotten. Right? I hope Sid takes my advice when he writes the sequel.
Sid Visaed is a science fiction writer taking influences from Cyberpunk, Biopunk, Genetic Engineering, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence genres adding dashes of Horror and Thriller. He describes himself as an Immortal Transhumanist just waiting for science to catch him up.
Born and raised in the less than sunny region of the England known as Torbay: The English Riviera, Sid had a love of science fiction from a young age. Falling into a career in quality management he devoted his spare time to imagining stories to illustrate due to his love of the comic and graphic art form.
His debut novel CTRL Illusion set in the near future asks questions about the agency of sentient AI and the implications of creating life in our image. The novel reflects his naked fears and desires mixing them with the intense pace of a thriller dashed with elements of horror.
“Two months ago my world collapsed and the beast reigned.
Seven weeks ago the SRD captured me.
Nine days ago, they injected me with something vile.
Today, I break free.
I’ll make them pay.”
Badass Shifter Andy McNeilly wakes up from a horrible nightmare, only to discover it wasn’t a dream, and she’s no longer quite so badass. Chemically curbed, Andy has lost touch with her feras and beast when she needs them most. Can she regain control of her supernatural abilities in time to reap retribution from her enemies, or will she fall as fodder in a power play for control of Vancouver’s seedy underworld?
No feras. No beast. Whatever they shot me with blocked my communication with the animals. Did it prevent shifting as well? I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to call a form and change. Only a headache answered. Dread flittered across my skin. Was this permanent?
As the Carus, the genetic throwback to the first demi-god progeny of the beast goddess, I caged a beast with rage and power rivaled by few, and possessed more than one animal familiar to shift into.
At least, I did until the SRD shot me full of chemicals. Would I ever regain my abilities? Hear the indignant screech of the peregrine falcon? Or the lusty purr of the mountain lion? Or soulful howl of the wolf?
My heart hammered, punching bone. A buzzing sensation filled my head. The “wrongness” of my condition grated against my nerves, slicing them into slivers like a planer shucking off wood shavings.
Something in my abdomen swelled, as if the beast pushed against whatever barrier caged and hid her from me.
I’ll get you out, I told her, not knowing if she could hear. We’ll make them pay.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Even though “Beast of All” is book #5 in the Carus Series, it can be read as a standalone novel. However, after reading it, I know you’ll most definitely be itching to read books 1-4. Why? Because you’ll want, crave, feel compelled to find out more about key players in the series — their pasts and how they got from point A to point B.
After witnessing the passion, heat, basically a tsunami of emotions rolling between Andy and Wick, I never wanted this story to end. Fighting together, fighting each other, there’s one thing evident… they loved each other. However, before a HEA was achieved, we were presented with some outstanding, unforgettable, and BADASS battle scenes. Andy, you are a BADASS woman/shifter (Carus).
The rest of the supernatural beings were just as memorable and smoldering as her (Andy). Seriously, I think J.C. created the sexiest, most lethal group of characters housed in one story.
Various shifters, vampires, witches, and demons…..loved them all!
Speaking of demons, wait until you meet Sid aka the Seducer Demon. Him, I could’ve had a few more chapters of. Andy’s brother too. But hey, there’s always book #6; which can’t come soon enough. 🙂