Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Tag

Review of The Warble by Victoria Simcox   2 comments

In this first adventure of the Bernovem Chronicles, young Kristina is whisked away to the magical land of Bernovem after she opens a mysterious box from her teacher. There, she finds out she must deliver the magical Warble to its resting place and break the hold of the evil queen holding everyone in bondage. Though danger lurks at every turn, Kristina and the friends she makes along the way fight to bring back peace to the realm.

The story has a Narnia vibe, what with Kristina being sucked away into a magical land with gnomes, fairies, dwarves, and talking animals, but carries a distinct flavor of its own. Each page is a delightful enchantment, and when you reach the end, you feel the need to go back to the beginning and start reading all over again. The character development is solid, and the writing clear. And even more, I loved the parallels to the return of Christ that were weaved throughout the story.

Victoria Simcox is a highly skilled and creative author who has managed to carve a unique world that I look forward to visiting once again!


Posted September 16, 2017 by J.M. Christian in book reviews

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Halflings by Heather Burch Review   1 comment

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves Halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in their earthly mission, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

(Description from Amazon)

It sounds rather exciting, and after months of poring over reviews from Amazon and debating, I made the plunge and bought the book. Normally, I’d end up with a prize read and a “phooey you” to the naysayers. Sadly, they proved to be right this time.

I wanted to like the story. I really did. The story starts out strong, placing us with Nikki, the protagonist of the story, right in the middle of a terrifying chase with hellhounds. Then things go downhill. Nikki is presented as the epitome of the modern self-assured woman. She is a karate master who wins trophies in the contests she enters, drives a motorcycle, and is a talented artist. But behold Mace, the Halfling. At his appearance, her brains turn to mush, and her speech fades, for he is…hot.

Not to be outdone, here comes Raven, the bad boy Halfling with his pathetic attempts at snark that will never come close to matching Iron Man. And he too is…hot.

And there is Vine, he with the long womanly hair who also is…hot.

By now, you should get the gist of the story. Instead of it going somewhere with a solid plot and real character development, it plods along agonizingly with Nikki’s attempts to understand the Halflings and her inexplicable attraction (simple lust, really) to Mace and Raven. Vine, apparently, who is just as attractive, is too young and of course would never fit into the proverbial love triangle.

Some reviewers claimed they didn’t like the religious overtones in the story. I was like, “where are they?!” Yes, God and angels are mentioned, especially since the Halflings are part angel due to being the offspring of fallen ones.

But that’s it. What we are treated to is a trip down Nikki’s hormonal lane where she feels a hot thick stream through her system, and how hard it is to breathe in the presence of the god-like Halflings.

It’s not a big book. Maybe a little over three hundred pages. But it felt long. I had to stop several times while I waited for my disgust to subside long enough to continue. And continue I did. I plugged away through the drivel and then reached the end, a hastily rushed climax that sets things up for the next installment in the series.

Halflings seeks to be the Christian alternative to Twilight, but all it can do is show that Nikki is hot; Mace is hot; and Raven is hot. And the story itself doesn’t even reach the halfway mark into being a story, let alone a Christian one.

Verdict: pass

Fairy Tale sneak peak   2 comments

It’s a little later than I intended, but I am happy that I at least made it to post on here today! Here is the snippet from the first draft of my fairy tale novel, as promised. Bear in mind that it is the first draft, so it won’t be as polished as it should be. Please feel free to like, comment, or share. Any and all are always greatly appreciated. 🙂
And now, enjoy!


A single tear traced its way down Lumina’s cheek. She stared silently at the solitary lump of dull stone, the only sign to remind anyone of the existence of the man who lay beneath it. But no one would remember. Like the passing of a dog, a lamb, or a tiny sparrow, none would really mourn. The memory of the man who once breathed and walked the earth with the rest of them would be forgotten, as though he never even existed.

But that was life, folks said. It was something that couldn’t be changed, only accepted. Why then, was she having such a hard time accepting it?

Lumina picked up her lantern, wiping away another stray tear, and looked one last time upon the grave that held all the family she’d ever had in the world. After another moment, she turned away and trudged down the grassy knoll alone, back to the village where all except her lay fast asleep in their beds.

Like a wraith in the night she passed through the silent streets, her lantern the only light in the murky gloom that draped over everything around her.

Only when she reached one house, smaller than the rest with a thatched roof dyed a garish red did she turn from her solitary march and enter inside.

No booming laugh met her, no twinkling eyes peering at her from under bushy brows. All was dark and empty.
Lumina completed the routine she did every night before going to bed. She washed the dirty dishes from supper and set the table for morning, before changing into her nightgown and brushing her hair, going through all the motions but without feeling or enjoying anything she did.

She placed her brush down and stared into the mirror, at the ghostly-looking reflection staring back at her with hollow-rimmed wide eyes.

Flickering light from the single candle burning on a stand played along burnished silver hair that fell to one side of her pale features, and along two ears, small and narrow, that tapered to a point at the top.

Changeling, the people of the village called her. Lumina wasn’t like them, didn’t look human enough. She did not like the dark that everyone had no choice but to live in, and her desire for light only annoyed them, for in a world ruled by unending darkness it was folly to think of asking for otherwise or wishing for anything different. It was what their lives were ruled by, the only way they lived and could remember living. Anything else was madness. And death.

None had understood Lumina or her queer thinking. But Kron did. Kron, the elderly carpenter, had possessed the same strange desire she felt, that burning passion for more than the small comfort of a candle or lantern.
So he took her in as his own, an unknown, amnesiac changeling whom none could understand him wanting. He became a father to her, gave her a name, and revealed his secret dream.

Posted October 10, 2015 by J.M. Christian in My Books

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October Doings   Leave a comment

A happy October to you all! It’s fall time, and it’s a season I always get excited about. Everything is colorful and the scent of Christmas seems to fill the air. It’s like magic comes to life in this world. This month, I thought I’d go ahead and leave an early post instead of leaving this blog unattended for months on end. Due to being almost ridiculously busy, I never got to leave a post here on Crown of Ravens being finally published. Below is the cover I made for the book, as well as the link if you wish to check the book out.

Crown of Ravens Full Cover

Gorgeous, isn’t it? It’s almost hard to believe that there’s only more book left to write in the series before the adventure is finished. I get misty-eyed just thinking about it! But all good things must come to an end, sad though it is to admit. One adventure ends, and another begins.

Currently, I’m almost a quarter of the way through the first draft of the third book, and things are looking good. The story is really shaping up into what I think is the most epic of The Heart of Light Trilogy, with a lot of surprises and twists that even caught me unawares. As I mentioned a couple posts back, I wanted to get to work on a new series to get published for next year. Good news and bad news. Good news is, most of the kinks have been worked out and I’m currently polishing things up in the first draft. What’s the bad news? I had a little over 6000 words written up for it that will mostly get scrapped, leaving me back to almost square one. Still, with everything mostly all set and ready to go, I should be able to make it up quick. I have also started two other projects, which I am super-excited about. Both are fairy tales and one of them I’m writing for this contest here.


The other is inspired a lot by the movie Maleficent and a fantasy book from the ’90s called Children of the Night by Harold Mrya. This one I’ve probably made the most headway in. Over fifteen thousand words and growing. Not too sure where it will finish at, but I’m hoping for something over the twenty-five thousand mark.
Anyway, that’s about it for now. Feel free to like or comment. Next Friday, I will be giving a sneak preview of one of my fairy tale novels, so make sure to tune in then. 😉

The Dreamhorse   Leave a comment

I know, I’ve been terrible with posting on here, and I apologize for that. Honestly, I don’t know how other people are able to handle multiple social networking sites and all with the rest of the business and manage to balance it all. One more thing for me to learn, I guess. I don’t have anything really profound to post on here right now, so I thought I would share a piece of art I made in GIMP for my gallery on Deviant Art. Hopefully, all of you will enjoy it. Credit for stocks used goes to the following:






You can see more of my art on my gallery here at Deviant Art:

The Dreamhorse

Crown of Ravens Cover   Leave a comment

Well, I was looking for something to post on here to hold to my promise of a second post this month, and I thought I might as well show all of you the official cover for my upcoming book, Crown of Ravens. All the art was made by me with a LOT of help by the good Lord above, with the exception of the water, which is a brush by obsidian dawn:
If the image looks a little strange, it’s because I was trying to get it to match up with a scene in the book, which I think I nailed just about right. So anyway, feast your eyes and enjoy!


Sample Preview   Leave a comment

Well, despite my best efforts, I ended up not having a post ready for November. Things have been hectic lately with trying to get my new book published. One thing with a story, it’s like a kid you have to take care of constantly that demands most (if not all) your attention. Since I missed posting last month, I shall try to make up for it with a second post for December. I actually wasn’t sure what to put up for today, so I decided I’d let all of you have a sneak look at my upcoming book, Crown of Ravens, the exciting sequel to The Dark Wolf. Hopefully some of you will leave a comment or two. 😉 Enjoy!



Chapter One

Dark clouds covered the sky, and the distant echo of thunder rumbled ominously. A cold wind blew, its icy fingers trailing over the heads of ancient sculptures carved in the figures of crowned men and women in flowing robes, each standing over a sepulcher of stone, and bending the tall green grass that sprouted through the cracked, weathered cobblestones which dotted the small courtyard.

Alec shivered as he rode on a grey stallion, and he pulled his cloak tighter around him. The wounds he’d received from the battle at Tartha were aching from the cold, and he knew they would start paining him even worse the longer he sat there. The chill in the air was almost unnatural for this time of the year, making it feel more like the beginning of fall instead of summer.

As though anything has been natural lately, he thought as he watched the line of soldiers before him carrying the caskets containing the bodies of Annette and Gerald.

Alec heaved an inward sigh at the memories it brought. Once before he had made this journey when Hadrian had died, dutifully trailing behind Annette, who she rode at the head of the company with Elaine on her left and Gerald at her right, as they made their way to the tombs of the Romarian kings and queens.

It was a much different procession this time. There was no crowd of onlookers, no ostentatious ceremony, no courtiers, and only one priest in front of the procession. Whereas Hadrian had been taken to his resting place with much pomp and ceremony, Annette and Gerald were led without any fanfare, almost as though they were just mere commoners instead of royalty.

Elaine rode beside him, the wind tossing her auburn locks and causing her cheeks to redden. Although she looked composed, Alec could read the pain in her gaze. She had gone through much lately. From being kidnapped and held captive somewhere in the Southern Territory, to having to trek through it alone with the very one responsible for her disappearance, only to find her home under attack by an enemy beyond what any could have imagined. Now both her home and family were gone, as well as the one she had lost her heart to.

The procession soon stopped at the entrance to a sepulcher. No statue of the deceased lined the entrance, and Alec doubted any would soon be made in the future. For right now, both Annette and Gerald would lie together without any marker to bear remembrance to their existence.

He pulled his horse to a stop and watched as the men carried the bodies inside while the priest uttered the blessing of the dead. When the priest was done, he waved his hand and the soldiers pulled shut the great bronze doors, which the priest then locked. Once the priest and the men were seated on their horses, Elaine turned her steed around and led the procession back in the direction of Tartha.

As if on cue, the heavens opened and the rain that had held off suddenly poured down upon them. Alec pulled up his hood to shield his head from the downpour and looked at Elaine sorrowfully as she rode slightly ahead of them. She made no move to try to protect herself from the rain and rode through the shower without pause.

Alec released a heavy stream of white vapor from his lips. How long ago was it since he had been at that point? How many times had he been close to falling over the edge of the pit of utter despair and grief, and yet had to pull himself back up? When his wife and son died, part of him had died with them, and for a long time he had been perilously close to letting it all go and joining them.

But he had not. Somehow, he had gotten the strength to go on, although not without much inward pain and sadness that never left. He wondered if Elaine was that strong and it scared him to think of what might happen if she was not.

And there is nothing I can do. That was the hardest part. Watching the little girl he had known and loved suffer so and being helpless to bring her out of it pained him deeply. In a way, he wished Darvir was here right now.

It was hard not to be suspicious of the man’s sudden disappearance, despite Elaine’s explanation of him being forced into a portal by the one called Ruval, who had orchestrated the attack on Tartha. She had not said much, and Alec had refrained from asking more. While Alec didn’t trust Darvir fully, he had seen the love and adoration in Elaine’s eyes when she looked at him, and he would have gladly put aside his reservations if having him here would have helped made things easier for Elaine.

It had been two days since the horrific battle fought at Tartha. Two long, miserable days of hunting down the last of the beasts called grorgs, searching for any survivors, sorting through the wreckage, dragging out the burnt and mutilated bodies of the townsfolk and soldiers for burial, and burning the ones of the grorgs. It was an enormous task and partly why it had taken so long to attend to the burying of Annette and Gerald.

A bleak and dour mood seemed to hang over everyone. Even Alec couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed and depressed when he saw all the destruction and death around them, and with talk now about this Zar’ul being real and preparing to attack all of Elser, it only added to the weight. He couldn’t remember there ever being a time in Romar’s history as dark as this.

The rain eventually began to slack off as they reached the city and entered the remains of what had once been the most envied and beautiful city in the world.

Alec stared at the burned wrecks around them. Several buildings had collapsed completely, while others leaned hap-hazardly on their foundations, their roofs caved in and the once polished white stone now blackened beyond recognition.

The streets were stained with blood and strewn with rubble, and several times they had to lead their horses around large piles of fallen stone which lay in the middle of the road. It broke Alec’s heart to see such grandeur and life gone from a city that once had been the glory of all of Elser.

Is this what awaits us all? To see everything laid waste before we ourselves lie among the ruin? Normally, Alec was not one given to such gloomy ruminations, but this devastation had shaken him to the core, challenging everything he thought he knew and rocking his foundation. The things he had taken for legends were unfolding before his very eyes, and monsters once thought to be old wives’ tales lived and breathed.

Alec had always prided himself on being a man not given to superstition or fables. He had believed only in the world around him and the physical things it held. Nothing existed beyond that, or so he’d thought. Sorcery, portals, daemonolves—these were now the new reality, and he didn’t know how to reconcile himself to it.

Alec and the rest rode up the path to the entrance of the palace. When they entered, he glanced at the host of men and elves patrolling the area and clearing away the wreckage in their search for bodies.

Of the legion of elves Lord Arthorr had sent with them, nearly a quarter were dead or injured. Fortunately, Romarian troops, six thousand strong already en-route for the invasion of Draidin Wood, had received word of the attack and arrived to help, albeit too late to do anything more than help with the finding of the dead and survivors and searching for what few grorgs had fled the battle.

It was strange to see the two races together after centuries of warfare and mistrust, and while both had put aside the old hatreds and prejudices for now, occasionally it still flared up, causing more than a few fights to break out. Such occurrences were troublesome, but on a whole, both sides were doing better together than Alec would have thought possible.

A multitude of tents dotted the outer courtyard of the palace that had been mostly cleared of debris. With the main residence completely ransacked and in a state of ruin like the rest of the place, they were left with no other choice but to camp outside, while the majority of the Romarian soldiers were stationed near the outskirts of the city.

Alec was surprised when Elaine abruptly broke away and rode off in the direction of the main residence. He stopped for a moment and watched her go before motioning to some of the men behind him.

As they followed after her, Alec dismissed the priest and the rest of his men before continuing on alone into the camp. He sighed regretfully. Although he knew what Elaine was feeling and hated intrusions on her privacy, with Annette and Gerald dead she was the last of the royal line, and he could not afford to take any chances with her safety, regardless of the circumstances.

He pulled his horse to a stop when he heard voices arguing heatedly. Alec frowned when he spotted two soldiers, one a man and the other an elf, open anger painting their features as they faced each other, looking nearly ready to come to blows.

What is it now? No doubt it was some imagined slight or insult that had started the whole thing, and, as usual, everyone nearby turned a blind eye to the whole matter.

Alec urged his horse towards them before halting and swinging down from the saddle. He suppressed a grimace at the stab of pain that shot up his injured leg and called out authoritatively. “What seems to be the problem?”

His voice cut short their squabbling. The man, seeing him, immediately straightened and saluted sharply. The elf did nothing else except fold his arms and look at Alec with a look bordering on disdain.

It’s nothing, sir,” the man said stiffly. “It was simply a misunderstanding, is all.”

A misunderstanding. There had been a lot of that lately, and Alec was growing more than exasperated with it. There were enough things to deal with without having to add more fuel to the fire.

I see. Let there be no more ‘misunderstandings’ then,” Alec said sharply. “I understand we have not always been friends with the elves, but we are now allies with them, so I would suggest that both of you learn to get along with each other. Understood?”

Yes, sir,” the man replied grudgingly.

Alec looked at the elf. The elf met his stare defiantly and said in a harsh voice, “I take no orders from humans.”

Alec’s eyes narrowed, his anger now beginning to rise at the elf’s insolence. “You may not be under my command, but as your rank is still below mine, you will show some proper respect or I will thrash you myself,” he growled.

The elf’s eyes widened for a moment in surprise before anger darkened them, and his hand crept to the hilt of his sword. “You are welcome to try if you have the strength, old man.”

The Romarian soldier next to the elf stared at him in shock for a moment before raising his hand angrily. “You stinking elf! That’s the last insult you’ll make!”

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