The End, My Friend by Kirby Wright review

Riveting was the first word to come to mind. The scene was exquisitely created, the anarchy that reigned. Governments unable to control. Major countries and figures destroyed; despair and injustice reigned. This was the beginning of the end. The terrifying reality of what could happen when doomsday arrives. I have to admit, the description hit home. Some of these things are already happening. A bit creepy.


The characters have guts, having to be ruthless to survive. Some using violence, taking off others. You can feel the desperation, but at first it can be a bit difficult to connect with the characters. Although it is quite refreshing to have the main character not be “tall, dark and handsome”. An average guy that has an inner violent tendency. I could feel going more into the story that he has a driving need for blood and violence. An almost overwhelming sense, even if the odds are not in his favour.


Excitement builds as strangers come, wrecking the peace, and bringing death. The sheer will power for people to survive is only established with violence. But it would seem that many use the events as an excuse to do whatever they want.


It has quite an interesting plot, as the two main characters travel across America to reach a safe place to live. Their travels causing them to encounter vicious bikers, a group of military men, a quick skirmish with fighting women, a religious encampment that has aggressive control over the people, and finally to a place where they might be able to find peace…almost.


Although it may seem slow at times, it does set the scene for how the characters set up life. You do get the feeling though the comfort will not last long. Tensions mount as the past comes back to haunt them.


The leading up to the final climax was a bit suspected. A little bit violent, so for those a bit skirmish beware, but it does speak of the times. Certain parts alluding to animal cruelty was a bit unpleasant.


Overall, quite a good read. The author suitably depicts the end times, and how it affects a couple and the people around them. By the end it is easier to feel a relationship with the characters.


3/5 stars





Once Human by Massimo Marino review

The writing captured my attention from the start. It is almost poetic, helping the reader to envision an imaginative picture of an unimaginable universe, seeing what some may think is impossible to see. Yet the writer seems to make it plausible.

Although the second instalment, I already got a quick sense of what the characters are like and what they are faced with. A mass genocide that had occurred only left the world with small groups of inhabitants – ones that support the Moîrai, and ones that are convinced they have to destroy the Moîrai.

The creative use of language, the way the author sets a scene is riveting. I felt a connection with the characters. The complexity of the characters and the connections they have, the imagery, the structure; creates an image in the mind’s eye of a place forgotten, nearly destroyed. Feeling the sense of abandonment and desperation as separate groups of humans fight against each other for survival. But soon distrust mingles amongst those once trusted.

It is easy to get lost in this other world, the aura of the Moîrai and the influence they have. Scenery created by using popular structures and converting them into this desolate city. The raw intensity and desperation of these people makes it hard to fully comprehend what is happening, but in a good way. I wanted to keep on reading to discover more about this intricate plot.

It would seem that although the Moîrai are peaceful, it looks like they destroyed the earth, and a selected few were chosen to survive. They have no idea why, or how they were selected. A book hides many secrets. Secrets that led many to their deaths.

The main character can be seen to undergo a battle of morals. Having to choose between life and death, his own unique ability enabling him to do things that no other human can do. Making him nearly equal to the Moîrai. His inner emotions reveals the complexity of intense emotions of love, something the Moîrai cannot feel. The incredible power of the palladium, giving him the ability to see what no one else can.

Coming to the final climax will reveal the need for greed, power and the will to dominate. That the selected were part of something they could never have imagined.

The sadness of loss, the reality of living for eternity, leaves a trail of sorrow, but in that hope. Hope of a better future, hope that things will improve and hope to bring those responsible to justice. Even when you thought they had done enough, there is more to come.

I would definitely recommend reading all in this series.

4 ½ 5 stars

A Dubious Position by Gerald J. Kubicki & Kristopher Kubicki

A Colton Banyon Mystery #7

The beginning of the novel clearly helps the reader see what the underlying theme of the novel is going to be about. Nazi operatives intermingling in the U.S and Mexico, wanting to wreck chaos. This is not a historical novel, but an interesting take on what could happen if a group like that could infiltrate major positions in governments and other agencies.

Characters do have some spunk to them, definitely would benefit from reading earlier books to get more of a sense of the characters. At times it can be hard to connect, but whether more background would be more beneficial.

Events pick up pace, people in important positions are exposed. Mexico tries to go to war against America. The drug and sex trade going to go under unless they point governments in another direction. Focusing their attention away from them.

A lot of sexually charged energy amongst the characters. References to temptation, various attractive women involved in one man’s slightly messed up life.

The novel moves at a fast pace as the chapters are short, getting straight to the point. The main character as an interesting (shall I say) sidekick, giving him information about cases that no one else could possibly know.

A number of strong female characters pop into the picture.

With the plot including Nazis merging into present day society, and although some aspects aren’t realistic, it creates a fascinating subplot.

The characters work well together, although the main character is a male, the female presence of other characters is strong. Although the undertone of the book has a serious note, in many parts it is quite humorous. An easy read that would probably make many men jealous of the main character.

An exciting but uncommon finish, excitement building as you see plans coming together to catch the people responsible. You get a real sense of the horrors that occur, and how so many corrupt policemen in Mexico can wreck havoc.
The novel covers a variety of events that lead up to the main ending. It is quite a fun read with the frivolity of the characters, and the unusual help the main character gets.

3/5 stars

Matter of Resistance by Raymond Vogel Review

The start of the book instantly caught my interest. The battle between earth inhabitants (Earthicans), and Mars inhabitants (Marsians) are determined to break through Mars’ defense structures. Neither side trusts each other, but each side as a lot to lose if war breaks out.


They try to maintain a sense of normalcy, but the underlying threat cannot be ignored.


As usual when the threat of war looms, there are those that want to maintain peace, while others looking to advance their weapons to prepare to fight. A paramilitary group is established on both sides to advance their chances of winning. Marsians have their own unique and sophisticated weapon called the ‘shield’; this is what the Earthicans have to breach in order to get to Mars.


The definite highlight of this book is the child characters that are advanced beyond their years, making it easy to forget that they are just children. As each generation on Mars grows, their intelligence progresses with it.


Although there are many Earthicans that want to breach Mars, there are some that are determined to help Marsians survive an attack, or warn them of an impending one.


The cost of wanting profit versus caring about lives just reminds me of even though this actual event did not occur; all too often in war, profit over-rides human life. Many innocent people die because of some people’s selfish ambition.


An addictive read, feeling as if I have to closely read it as I might miss something. The more I read, the more involved with the characters I get. A vital aspect to any good novel, being able to connect with the characters.


The battle of wits and weaponry show who is the superior race. Excitement and tension build up as Earthicans try to dominate the Marsians.


When a character dies, it fuels the desire for revenge and feeling the need for war instead of peace. Actions done cannot be undone, the event forever changing the characters.


The ending was unexpected. Innovativeness proves successful over sheer aggressive force. A unique story, that although some may not perceive as realistic, proves to be just that. The way it is written makes the plot seem almost plausible, getting lost amongst the character’s stories.


I could easily see this as a movie, as the dramatic unfolding of the events, and the aspect of another planet would be great to watch.


4/5 stars



The Scriptlings review


The characters instantly grabbed my attention; the author describes them in a comical way, their magician “nicknames” just leaves it up to you to decipher why they are called that. The uniqueness of the characters sums up that this book would be a light and entertaining read. I already wanted to see what exactly this novel would unveil in the first chapter.


Although this may seem like just another magician novel, keep going and all will show that it has a whole other dimension to it.


The novel takes an unusual turn, as more characters begin to present themselves, more aspects are revealed. It can be difficult at first to connect, the almost absurdity of it all.


Simon, one of the characters unsuspectingly goes to a house where he appears to be killed, only to discover he is chosen to be a magician’s apprentice. Suffice to say, quite a humorous notion, which does appear to be an underlying theme. Comedy throughout the book.


An interesting turn of events takes place, not really sure where it is going to lead you me, but feeling that the two sets of masters and scriptlings are soon going to meet. I began to learn more about their way of life, and the unusual habits. Slowly the storyline grew on me, almost appearing that what is happening is perfectly realistic.


An interesting connection with computers and magic, how easy one could potentially destroy the other, I wonder…


An ominous tone is set, after a death implications are not seen by anyone. But a mixture of guilt and suspicion begins to wreck havoc among the characters. Each storyline merging with the others. Each chapter unveiling something new, gradually connecting the dotes.


The novel contains a lot of unique spell codes, revealing that this author has a good imagination, whether by plenty of research, or by his own interpretation, it is easy to get lost among this code.


Each chapter is labeled with each character’s name, so I got a good sense of each individual character, without having to figure who the scenes are jumping too. It helps to establish their unique voices in the story.


An interesting aspect is the inner voices two of the characters have that help them on their journey of discovery, or some way is another persona.


The characters create wit with their words and actions, learning along the way.


An interlude that occurs with a tribe that wanders and fathers magicians, with each interlude something more is revealed. At first it may seem these parts don’t really seem to contribute much, but as I read more it soon revealed a great deal and how this tribe impacts on the characters.



The reality of when someone is dishonest or not telling the whole truth causes sad and lasting consequences, an underlying principle there. As connections are pieced together and how it would seem fate had intervened.


The final interlude was enlightening, and admittedly unexpected. At times it was difficult to follow, but finally things began to make sense. Bringing all the characters together to expose the final event.


Ever wanted to learn about magic, read this book. All the spells you need. Full of humour, magic and colourful characters that reveal that in so many cases it is the one you lest suspect. Trust your instincts.


Usually not my type of book, but I personally enjoyed it. It’s nice to read something that doesn’t take life too seriously.


3 1/2 / 5 stars



Excerpt from Initiated to Kill


January, 1888

The solemn lodge hid from unworthy eyes, unnoticeable forgotten place made of

granite. Two Sphinx-like granite lions with women’s heads peered down from the

entrance of the lodge. An ‘ankh’ adorned the lion’s neck entwined with a cobra.

An image of a woman embellished the neck and breast of the other lion, speaking

of fertility and procreation.

Fervent men slowly made their way up the three levels of narrowing steps,

passing under the two Egyptian swords with curved serpentine blades, and

through the two tall bronze doors.

One man glanced up as he ascended the steps, silently mouthing “the temple

of the Supreme Council Freemasons,” made of brass letters and set into stone. He

looked toward the plaque cut into stone, “Freemasonry Builds Its Temples in the

Hearts of Men and Among Nations.”

Stone columns grew tall, high above the entrance and partially concealed an

image of an Egyptian god, backed with radiating sun and flanked by six large

golden snakes. He entered into the lodge entirely made of marble, exotic wood and

statues carved from gold.

The offices, dining room, Council room, temple room and meeting room were

decorated with many symbols, especially the serpent, and portraits of famous and

influential men lined the walls. The lights shone above the men, resembling stars in

the dark blue sky. And the golden serpents silently watched in the blue heavens.

The dark-headed man slowly removed his clothes and put on the long black

robe, placing a hood over his head to partially conceal his face.

In the recesses of the ancient temple, an ornately decorated room is filled with

candles, lighting the way for the men filing in. Dressed in long black robes, hands

pressed solemnly together, slowly the row of men trudge into the Temple room. Each

with their face down and instinctively form a large circle in the room.

The room fell with a deathly silence, then ‘knock, knock, knock.’ The

Worshipful Master spoke, “You will admit him in the name of the Grand Architect

of the Universe, and let him be placed in the West.”

Gradually the door creaked open, and a young man enters with a black robe

and the left knee and breast exposed. The young man’s face covered by the dark

cloth and led around the circle by a rope around his neck. The candidate is lead to

the oath of secrecy where the Worshipful Master stands. A sword is pricked to the

candidate’s left breast.

“As this is a prick to the flesh at this time, so may the remembrance of it be to

your conscience hereafter, should you ever attempt improperly to reveal any of the

secrets with which you are about to be entrusted.”

The group silently watch as the candidate is instructed to kneel with his left

knee bare and bent, his right foot forming a square and the body being erect in that

square. The left hand supports the Volume of the Sacred Law, compass and square

and right hand placed thereon.

“‘Vouch safe Thine Aid, Almighty Father, Grand Architect of the Universe, to

this our present conviction. Grant that this Candidate for Masonry, now kneeling

before thee, may dedicate and devote his life to thy Service, and become a true and

faithful Brother amongst us. To this end endue him with such a competency of thy

Divine Wisdom, that assisted by the secrets of our Royal Masonic Art, he may be

better enabled to display the beauties of true godliness to the Honour and glory of

Thy Most Holy Name.’ “

“‘I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear to have my throat cut

across, my tongue torn out by the roots, and my body buried in the rough sands of

the sea at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows in twenty-four hours . . .

should I ever knowingly or willingly violate this my solemn oath or obligation as

an Entered Apprentice Mason. So help me God.’ “

The young man is then presented with white gloves and escorted to the pedestal

in the East to become an Entered Apprentice.

Throughout the ceremony the dark-haired man’s heart skipped excitedly.

Another man would join them, and this man would be the one. He had done a lot

to encourage them to allow this man to be initiated.

But he could never have foretold the events to come.


A candlelit chamber houses a secret meeting where four men sit around a

table, each wearing the long black robes and only talking above a whisper.

“The time has come to make our stand and proclaim to our Brothers that it’s

time. It’s our time to cause such a panic, that people will not know whom to turn

to. That the reliance on religion and government will pass. It’s our time to take

control, and whoever does not stand behind us will fall.”

“Yes, we must give a sign to our Brothers that can only be recognised by them,

that will shock the world over again.”


Chapter 1


London, 1996


“Mummy, mummy, wake up! Please don’t leave me.” A dark shadow

appeared, as a man advanced towards her.

“Mummy’s not going to wake up, but daddy will look after you.”

“Please don’t hurt me, I’ll be good. I promise.”

An arm went around the child, and darkness fell.


* * *


Seville, 2010


A mixture of sounds and smells fill the streets of Seville. The

reverberation of marching bands, crying and laughing erupt through

every street. The scents of orange blossom of azahar, incense and candle

wax waft softly through the air. I close my eyes, and inhale the aromas

that blow by.

A crowd of onlookers watch the statues of saints on floats meander

their way along the streets. And as the image of Christ begins winding

through the busy streets, the people claw to get near it. They touch, kiss

and confess to the image as it moves to the church.

12 Sharlene Almond

I relish the sights as the


Madruga or processions bring to life the week

before the crucifixion. Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday each represents a

day before the Christ was crucified, and


pasos or floats carry the images

of the Virgin Mary.

My thoughts wonder to the first time I experienced this unique event.

“Make sure you save your strength for Friday and Sunday, my dear,”

my aunt advised. “On Friday morning we can travel back through time to

the morning that our Lord had to carry the cross through the shouting

crowds up to Golgotha Hill.

“And in the afternoon you will witness many statues passing through

the streets with Christ on the cross, representing the Crucifixion.

Our blessed Holy Mother Mary will also be carried through the streets,

as she represents the sorrow she felt when her son was crucified.”

That day was filled with mourning. People cried and pleaded for

forgiveness, as statues of Christ and Mary were carried on the floats. I

could remember my aunt explaining to me about the sudden explosion

of instruments and songs that erupted all over the city on Friday night.

“It represents how God tore the land in two. How the temple curtains

were torn from top to bottom. The tombs broke open, and the bodies of

many holy people were raised to life.”

My heart beat as I remembered that dramatic night. How tears had

filled my eyes because of the suffering of Christ. I had told my aunt that

I didn’t want to return, it was so sad.

“Oh, my child. This is not the end. On the Easter Sunday it represents

Christ rising from the dead. It’s the best part of Holy Week.”

I had reluctantly attended. The day was full of light, colour and

energy. People celebrated in the streets, crying and laughing at the same

time. Vibrations erupted all over the city as the church and cathedral

bells rang out, celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

I felt a hand gently nudge me out of my reverie.

“Come on,” Celestina encouraged, “otherwise we will never be able

to get home again.”

I glanced back at the floats one last time, finally turning to withdraw

from the celebrations.

We navigated through the busy crowds into the narrow, winding

cobbled streets of Santa Cruz. The whitewashed houses lengthened up

on each side of us. The ancient houses provoked a unique appearance

with the way they sloped towards each other.

Entering through the iron-gated doors into the courtyard filled with

century-old gardens and aromatic orange trees, many could still hear

Semana Santa travelling down the streets.

Initiate d to Kill 13

I welcomed the familiar feel of our Spanish-style apartment, the walls

graced with white paint and paintings that were collected by both of

us. Splashes of maroon brightened up the traditional earthy tones that

decorated our living room.

I strolled through the dining room that led out onto the patio and

gazed out over the Alcazar gardens. The variety of trees, flowers, ponds,

fountains and terraces provided a view unique to Seville.

Closing my eyes, I leaned against the iron railing and inhaled the

delicate aromatic scents of rose, orange and frangipani that garnish

each patio along the street.

I draw in the culminating aromas, but the sounds that made the

people laugh with pleasure, I couldn’t experience. The marching bands,

the trod of the horses did not reach my ears.

I subconsciously reached behind my head and fingered the scar

crisscrossing along my hairline. The scar that would daily remind me of

what I lost, of what I could never get back.

Staring out at the deserted streets, I reluctantly entered in the humid

confines of the apartment. Celestina hummed along to some music,

swaying her hips as she placed grainy bread on top of a stacked sandwich.

Her model-like height of 5’8 accentuated her thin frame, while her long

black hair cascaded down her shoulders and nearly reached her lower

back. The intensity of her emerald green eyes, matched with her sexual

prowess drew men to her like flies.

Her confidence was something I could never achieve. A weakness I

could never let go.

Celestina handed me a plate and proceeded out on to the patio. We

sat in silence, staring out at the Plaza’s gardens.

First making eye contact with me, she wiped her hands on her short


“So, do you want to hear about my latest conquest?” Her eyes held a

mischievous twinkle.

Shaking my head in amusement, I couldn’t help but smile. I didn’t

need to go out and have fun, she did enough for both of us.

“Perhaps you should write a book. You have enough tales to fill a

large novel.”

I turned to her, waiting for her provoked reaction.

Smiling, she tilted her head back.

“Someone has to.”

Shaking my head once again, I stood up, making it clear I wasn’t in

the mood for one of her tales.

14 Sharlene Almond

“While you daydream, I’ll go for a walk to clear my head. Those

smells were enough to intoxicate anyone.”

She didn’t reply as I made my way out.

I stood for a moment in the courtyard, everything around me silent.

I again fingered the scar on the back of my head. The injury that caused

permanent damage, an injury that left me unable to hear

Excerpt from Blood Behind the Castle Walls



1600, Csejthe Castle



High above the village of Csejthe, on the massive mountaintop of the Carpathian

Mountains, a castle hides the beginning of a murderous rampage.

Elizabeth sat looking at herself in the mirror, admiring her beautiful reflection.

Behind her a servant terrifyingly combed her hair, petrified of doing something


Elizabeth smirked; she knew the terror she invoked. The punishments she

would force on these servants if they stepped out of place was legendry. Like her

aunt, she didn’t just punish her servants for minor inconveniences, she would

punish them for any reason. She enjoyed watching the pain in their eyes, aroused

by the screams and pleas.

She stared at the young servant. Such beautiful unblemished skin. She was

once like that. Unmarred by age and trials. Now she felt herself getting old, even

though her beauty was known all over Hungary, she felt sure one day that too

would fade. What would she have then?

Her husband dead, her children occupied with their own lives, and her beloved

aunt brutalised and murdered.

She felt an inner resentment to this young child, the young girl’s hand

trembling under her steady gaze. Dropping her eyes, she wanted to whack all the

beauty from her. Suddenly, a sharp yank jolted her back.

Wheeling around, glaring at the trembling creature, “you fool. How dare you

hurt me that way.”

Her large brown eyes widened in terror, “mistress, I didn’t mean to. I’ll try

better, I promise.”

Elisabeth didn’t bother to listen to the girl’s pleas. Her hand whacked against

the girl’s soft flesh. Tears trickled down the servant’s face. But Elizabeth wasn’t

looking at her; instead transfixed by the small amount of blood left on her ring.

Touching the crimson liquid, she felt the rejuvenating properties of the young

blood seep into her skin.

The young servant stared, terrified, wondering what would happen to her.

Elizabeth turned, gazing at herself in the mirror. She could swear she looked

younger, healthier; a new glow started to appear.

Ignoring the frightened child, she rushed from the room, thoughts catapulting

in her mind. Excitement filling her.


“IIona, I’ve found what I have been seeking. Come, we must begin right away.”


Chapter 1


2012 Germany


Pain radiated through the young woman’s body. A bone creaked, blood

spurted from her nose. Her opponent towered over her, disdain turning

to a sneer. Grabbing her by the hair, he tossed her across the room. Her

body slammed against the hard cement wall, the coldness of the cement

floors permeated through her body. The overwhelming pain increased

with every move.

“Now will you talk? Tell me what I need to know and this can all stop.”

Spitting out blood, she watched his lips move. “You can go to hell,

I’m not telling you anything.”

He smiled, “oh, I have other ways of getting you to talk. You’ll be

begging to tell me everything you know.”

* * *


2016 Romania


I woke up feeling the familiar surroundings of my small Romanian

house. The biting cold chilling my flesh as I quickly got dressed and

trotted downstairs to where my punching bag was located, converted

laundry room to mini gym room.

The bag swung backwards and forwards as my fists and feet connected

instinctively, my imaginary target bloodied from my onslaught. Cold

sweat started to form as I reluctantly strapped on my snow running shoes,

emerging into the freezing morning.

Snow blanketed almost every house, the roads covered with the heavy

snowfall during the night.

Jogging past the old village cottages, I thought back to what brought

me here. It had been six years, and still those memories lingered in my

dreams. Waiting patiently to resurface; people and events governing why

I came here.

I had only been in Transylvania for two years, my body still refused to

adjust to the icy chill carried by the snow.

At this time of the morning sanest people were still in bed, as I picked

up my speed, I wondered about my own sanity.

I missed the warm weather; where even in winter snow remained in

isolated regions. Now snow even blanketed the city’s main centres.

The Poiana-Rusc Mountains loomed high above the small village of

Ruda, the snowy peaks a beckon for villagers.

I’d travelled all around Europe and nothing could compare to these

mountains. The Poiana-Rusc Mountains that swept from Ukraine to the

north, through Transylvania and towards Serbia. When I first saw these

mountains the sight was breathtaking. It had only started to snow, the

peaks showing the evidence of the approaching winter. The Carpathian

Mountains arched around the 600 miles, seen by every angle.

Although winter was freezing here, most visitors claimed it was the

most beautiful season, resembling the days of the infamous Dracula


My warm breath mingled with the cold air, creating a smoky haze in

front of me. Continuing around the village, my footprints made tracks

all the way back to my cottage.


The tall Acacia trees hunched toward one another, its barren

branches covered in snow.

I first glimpsed the cottage, hidden amongst the golden-yellow

flowers, changing from cream to white, all crowded in globular heads or

cylindrical spikes, decorating the deep chocolate trees.

Peering through, and finally daring to enter the diminutive winding

gravel pathway. Feeling as if I was a giant intruding on a peaceful fairy

tale. Birds chirping, the fresh smell of spring and flowers. And there

it was; a Hanzel and Gretel cottage, its oak milk chocolate panellings

fitting perfectly, plucked from nature.

Stepping inside was like stepping back in time. The large open

fireplace dominating the small sitting room, with a large sofa perched

in front of it, a white oak coffee table in the centre, on either side

two hand-crafted birch rocking chairs. Hand-woven cushions placed

respectively on top.

Off to the right a dainty kitchen, an old fashioned tea pot and kettle,

aligned with a range of English teas beside them. The modern appliances

of a fridge and microwave seemed somewhat out of place. As if shoved

there, and forgotten.

Moving through the sitting room, immediately in front of me was a

door with lace curtains covering the small window leading out back, to

an awe-inspiring view of the mountains.

Off to my left and up the oak stair case the bathroom, with a bath

and shower combined. The lace curtain assemblage ever present. At the

far end of the shortened corridor lay my room. Its pine panelling of the

wall and ceilings immediately placed me in the comfort of a forest. The

queen-sized bed taking up most of the room and maple dressing table

the other end, each covered with matching white lace doilies.

Opening the balcony doors to reveal the mass of green meadows

covering the mountainside, I knew that I wouldn’t want to leave.

A trickling of snow brought me back to the present, the snow turning

my clothes into mini icicle sticks; I knew I had to get a move on before

I froze to death.

I hastily unlocked my door, hurriedly removing my mittens and

beanie. I strolled over to the fireplace and quickly started the fire,

immediately feeling the warming effect of the embers sparking to life

once again.

Taking a steaming shower, I sat down with my cup of roasted coffee.

Staring into the fiery furnace, I wondered what this new week would



An Army of Judiths by C.J.Underwood

The prologue first got me quite interested in what was going to happen in this novel. Set in the 1500s it was an interesting beginning, at the end of the prologue it made me want to see who this woman was the man was talking about.

Unfortunately it did tether out in excitement a bit. I can see what the author was doing. Creating a picture of both sides of the coin – that of the Spanish and the Dutch. I would have preferred little bit less detail about their everyday life.


I did enjoy the voice of the character, as I prefer novels that are written in the first-person. And you get a real sense of what life was like in the 1500s, especially before the war and during the war.

However, if you persevere through some of the earlier chapters to get the back story, it will be worth the wait. As the story grows, and tells of the young women who sought revenge because of the atrocities done to people around them.

The historical aspect of this novel is detailed and well-researched.


The novel picking up as the stark reality of the fact that women will have to kill themselves, or face rape or torture by the hands of the Spanish. The desperation of the entire township can be felt, some even turning on each other. The brutality is shown on both sides as it is clearly shown what happens to traitors.


This novel displays the strong female characters, how their strength and courage over-shadows that of a man’s. The group of women that remains fearless.


It is quite a depressing ending to the novel, but depicts the hard reality of war. Although I felt the novel could have moved faster, there are a lot of historical aspects to the novel that would fascinate a lot of people, especially those that did not know much about the Dutch revolution against the Spanish in 1570s, like myself.


Although many of the characters are fictitious, one of the main characters does have some historical backing, and the author does highlight her major role in the revolution and the politics of that township. She depicts an inspirational character, as back in those days it was very rare to see women fighting or being a major part in any military tactics.


People that enjoy historical fiction will certainly find this novel very informative. And of course, it’s always nice to see that it is not the hero that is the main focus, but the heroines.


4 out of 5 stars


Jax and Marbles by Jacqueline Lorraine Conwell

It was quite an unusual start to the book, poetic in parts. The start detailing a peaceful and tranquil place, yet the character seemed lost, alone. I wasn’t quiet sure where this was going until I read more. One of the main characters starting off in the afterlife, an accident occurring, then nothing, next thing he knew he was somewhere he didn’t recognize, a place like no other, referring to a ‘being’ called ‘G’, you can take the reference as you like.


The book continues that ‘G’ sends Jax back to earth to help a young woman, both are very lonely, and you instantly get the feeling they both need each other without them meeting first.


It creates a different aspect to the character, Jax being able to look beyond other people. Meeting others that are like him, or similar to him, all there to help him be there for another person that needs a friend.


The story switches to Marble or Alexia, both main characters are talking in the first-person. Her desperate need of someone to talk to is what brings Jax or Julian back to earth.


Unfortunately the story does move at a slow pace, a little excitement builds where you can get the sense something bad is going to happen, but the lack of connection with characters does make it hard to get fully involved.


The plot does have a unique aspect, displaying how one person can impact so many people’s lives. There is a bit of immaturity about the characters, but that may have been what the author wanted to convey.


You do get a sense at the end that there may be another story to come. Ground work being placed for that character. Certain wording in the novel has some lovely poetic rhythm to it.


It is quite a short book, a 175 page novel, but it doesn’t really need to be too long.


Although parts of the novel were enjoyable, and the voices of the characters unique, I do feel more events could have been included to liven up the novel, making it move faster. It would benefit from been written like a roller coaster, events causing you to go up and down, keeping you on your toes.


A book most suitable for teens.


3/5 stars