“HAPPY HALLOWEEN” from horror writer Deno Sandz

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❀ Desert Rose Reviews ☯ “Dracula: Hearts of Stone” by A.J. Gallant! *Review & Spotlight* “Cursed: Black Swan” by Ryan T. McFadden! *Release Day Blitz* *Review & Spotlight* “Wampus Springs – Mark of the Wolf” by Wade Faube


“Dracula: Hearts of Stone” by A.J. Gallant! *Review & Spotlight*

Posted: 30 Oct 2015 03:00 AM PDT

*Originally published July 15th, 2013.
Materials & images provided by Goodreads.com; review owned by Desert Rose Reviews.

It’s not Thursday, but this is an awesome book for Halloween!!  If you’re looking for a new read perfect for tomorrow, check this one out! =D

 TBT Review

Dracula #1

Dracula: Hearts of Stone (Dracula #1)

~Released: January 25th, 2012
~Length: 310 Pages
~Genres: Adult Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Horror, Fantasy

A tale of magic, romance and fangs.

New York City is under attack.

Dracula is suicidal in a world where evil vampires are in the early stages of taking over. The Master has lived too long and can’t find a reason to face another day. Nasty vampires are feeding on vulnerable mortals and causing chaos. Years ago he trained valiant sheriffs and expects them to defend the humans but they are being overrun. Piers Anthony, the author, is now a vampire. He spends his days attempting to get the Master to snap out of it and to defend the humans, without losing his head.

A 12-year-old girl is a rare hybrid, half human and half vampire; she was conceived the normal way, with her mother a mortal and her father a vampire. Jenny is slowly discovering that she may be a blood wizard. She’s already an accomplished vampire killer and can cast spells, but an underground figure has noticed the girl. Some believe that she might be the one of legend that tips the scale toward good.

Sheriff Alexander and his vampire German shepherd stand and fight for justice.

Will the red sheriffs be overrun? Will Michael finally get the courage to ask out the sheriff?

 About the Author

Formerly a screenwriter turned to novels.

A. J. Gallant is owned by a Siamese cat named Moon Diamond (who may or may not be a vampire).

The cat manipulates A. J. to get up every morning at five to take him for a walk so that he can chase bugs and mosquitoes.


 My Review
 5/5 Roses

Wow- this is truly one of the best books I’ve read in a very, very long time.

I absolutely love the way Dracula is depicted in this story- he’s comical, and deadly serious at the same time, which is just a perfect mix. The characters he has around him simply add to the humor and depth of his ancient personality.

Seeing life from Dracula’s point of view is just great- having lived for thousands of years, he is quite a character, and it isn’t hard to imagine that life would hold very few flickers of interest for him any more. Watching the spark of life come back to him throughout the book was wonderful, and it was interesting to find myself siding with him, and feeling sympathetic to his situation.

Watching stories unfold for several other character is really neat as well, and adds a layer of depth that I haven’t seen in many books. It gives the story a sense of reality- not being entirely focused on one character, but seeing how they all effect each other, and come together in the end.

It is certainly graphic in some areas, but not in a way that made me want to stop reading. Non-traumatizing graphic, if you will. It really shows a more “natural” side to the struggle between both vampires and humans, and also among the different kinds of vampires, either good-hearted, or evil. It’s a refreshing reality to a vampire story, and while dark, it is entertaining.

The writing style is difficult to get used to, at first. It’s written like a screen-play, as if you’re watching a movie unfold in somewhat disjointed scenes, from the points of view of several different characters. It’s quite a unique way of reading a story. While the depth of the book and writing take some adjustment, it is completely worth it. The ease in which the author depicts his characters and scenes is amazing- his colorful vocabulary and descriptive imagery make it very easy to get lost in the world that’s been created.

I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns, and the ending is superb- a complete surprise!! I am excitedly looking forward to the next book in the series.

I certainly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys vampire and/or dystopian stories. With action, comedy, suspense, and mystery, it’s a very well rounded book, and has the ability to leave most of it’s readers thoroughly entertained, and wanting more.

*I was given an eCopy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.

~*~*~
 
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“Cursed: Black Swan” by Ryan T. McFadden! *Release Day Blitz*

Posted: 30 Oct 2015 02:00 AM PDT

Book Blitz!
*Materials & images provided by Girls Heart Books Tours.

A Fixer Novel

Cursed: Black Swan

~Publisher: Dragon Moon Press
~Released: October 30th, 2015
~Genres: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

“Let’s get one thing straight—I’m a fixer. You need someone murdered? Then hire an assassin. You need something stolen? Call a thief. But if there’s something no one else can do, or a job that no one else wants, then you talk to me.”

Nathaniel specializes in the strange, the weird, and the dangerous. But no matter how far he runs, he can’t leave behind his bloody past, nor the ghosts that chase him.

His latest job was supposed to be simple—recover the sword Black Swan. Except there’s no such thing as a simple job. When the operation goes bad, the Crucifiers, the Crooked Hand, assassins, and Crusaders are all hot on Nathaniel’s trail…for a sword he doesn’t even have. All he has to do to get it back and set his world right is to find the woman of his dreams…and kill her.

 About the Author

Ryan T. McFadden
Ryan T. McFadden is a writer of fantasy and horror, with short stories and novellas published through Dragon Moon Press, Edge SF & F, and Absolute X-Press. In 2014, his novella Ghost in the Machine won the Aurora Award (Canada’s most prestigious award for SF&F) for Short Fiction.
His motley past involved such dangerous work as database administration, ice cream flavouring (seriously, that’s a thing), hockey league administration, screen printing, web design, furniture building, and home renovations.

He lives in London, Ontario, with his two beautiful, but sometimes diabolical daughters, who he is sure are plotting to one day overthrow him.
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*Review & Spotlight* “Wampus Springs – Mark of the Wolf” by Wade Faubert!

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 06:00 AM PDT

*Materials & images courtesy of Goodreads; review owned by Desert Rose Reviews.
*Originally published on September 16th, 2013; re-posted for our TBT Review.

~Released: February 25th, 2012
~Length: 284 Pages
~GenresYoung Adult, Horror, Thriller, Paranormal, Suspense
At sixteen years old, Lori Foster has seen a lifetime of pain and suffering. Four years earlier, she watched as her best friends were savagely mauled to death by a rogue wolf, then barely escaped with her own life. The scar on her neck is a constant reminder of just how lucky she was that stormy day in Wampus Springs.

Four years and hundreds of miles from the attack, Lori still searches every shadow for the return of her tormentor. She finds ordinary life to be a struggle, but when she meets Josh Hughes, things appear to get on track. With her best friend Jessica Tanner and her new love in her life, Lori lets her guard down, but it may be premature. When her menstruation begins, her nights are ravaged with nightmares of the attack. The nightmares seem to be more than a coincidence, they seem to hint at an inevitable confrontation between Lori and the wolf that mauled her four years earlier.

About the Author
Wade Faubert
 Wade Faubert
I live in Ingersoll, Ontario and enjoy writing my novels with a link to my area. Wampus Springs is my debut novel and is set in the fictional town of Ridgeway, Ontario. Ridgeway is a combination of all my favorite places I grew up in. It’s a collage of Ridgetown, Rondeau park and every other water front paradise Southern Ontario has to offer.
 My Review
 4/5 Roses

The synopsis on Goodreads had me pretty intrigued, as well as the cover- red eyes always peak my interest. I was excited for the chance to read this book in exchange for a review, and I’m glad I did, because it was an exciting ride!

The plot was as good as the synopsis sounds. Lots of danger, adventure, personal drama, and murderous stalking wolves. While she’d been safe for several years after the wolf attack, Lori always feared her attacker would return to finish her off. When her whole world shifts as dramatically as her changing body, she’s quickly thrown into a living nightmare. Forced to stand against her worst fears, Lori’s story takes us on a roller-coaster adventure.

When the story started, we met a traumatized teenager, scared of everything, and understandably so. Watching her personal growth throughout the story was inspirational. One of the best parts of the book, is the fact that she’s not the only character who grows, and who we get to see deal with personal issues. Several of the characters become addicting throughout the book, and keep you just as interested in their stories as you are in Lori’s. Each character faced a wide range of emotions and adventure, keeping this gripping book flowing quickly til the last page.

While Lori is the main character of this story, the author wrote from several different points-of-view. When done well, shifting points-of-view make for some of the best stories, and add layers of depth to the story that can rarely be achieved otherwise. Luckily this book was very well written, and while there were some editorial mistakes, the overall writing was captivating, keeping the reader hooked on a thrilling story.

Overall, I liked this book. I took off a star due to some intense vulgarity, some mature content and language, but other than that, I enjoyed this story. I’d recommend this to any fan of YA/NA wolf stories.

*I was given an eCopy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.

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Where We Might Sample Europa’s Ocean *** Posted From Centauri Dreams

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 06:25 AM PDT

No one interested in the prospects for life on other worlds should take his or her eyes off Europa for long. We know that its icy surface is geologically active, and that beneath it is a global ocean. While water ice is prominent on the surface, the terrain is also marked by materials produced by impacts or by irradiation. Keep in mind the presence of Io, which ejects material like ionized sulfur and oxygen that, having been swept up in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, eventually reaches Europa. Irradiation can break molecular bonds to produce sulfur dioxide, oxygen and sulfuric acid. And we’re learning that local materials can be revealed by geology.

A case in point is a new paper that looks at infrared data obtained with the adaptive optics system at the Keck Observatory. The work of Mike Brown, Kevin Hand and Patrick Fischer (all at Caltech, where Fischer is a graduate student), suggests that the best place to look for compounds indicative of life would be in the jumbled areas of Europa called chaos terrain. Here we may have materials brought up from the ocean below.

“We have known for a long time that Europa’s fresh icy surface, which is covered with cracks and ridges and transform faults, is the external signature of a vast internal salty ocean,” says Brown, and our imagery of these areas taken by Galileo shows us a shattered landscape, with great ‘rafts’ of ice that have broken, moved and later refrozen. The clear implication is that water from the internal ocean may have risen to the surface as these chaos areas shifted and cracked. And while a direct sampling of Europa’s ocean would be optimal, our best bet for studying its composition for now may well be a lander that can sample frozen deposits.

chaos

Image: On Europa, “chaos terrains” are regions where the icy surface appears to have been broken apart , moved around, and frozen back together. Observations by Caltech graduate student Patrick Fischer and colleagues show that these regions have a composition distinct from the rest of the surface which seems to reflect the composition of the vast ocean under the crust of Europa. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Brown and team, whose work has been accepted at The Astrophysical Journal, examined data taken in 2011 using the OSIRIS spectrograph at Keck, which measures spectra at infrared wavelengths. Keck is also able to bring adaptive optics into play to sharply reduce distortions produced by Earth’s atmosphere. Spectra were produced for 1600 different locations on the surface of Europa, then sorted into major groupings using algorithms developed by Fischer. The results were mapped onto surface data produced by the Galileo mission.

The result: Three categories of spectra showing distinct compositions on Europa’s surface. From the paper:

The first component dominates the trailing hemisphere bullseye and the second component dominates the leading hemisphere upper latitudes, consistent with regions previously found to be dominated by irradiation products and water ice, respectively. The third component is geographically associated with large geologic units of chaos, suggesting an endogenous identity. This is the first time that the endogenous hydrate species has been mapped at a global scale.

We knew about Europa’s abundant water ice, and we also expected to find chemicals formed from irradiation. The third grouping, though, being particularly associated with chaos terrain, is intriguing. Here the chemical indicators did not identify any of the salt materials thought to be on Europa. The paper continues:

The spectrum of component 3 is not consistent with linear mixtures of the current spectral library. In particular, the hydrated sulfate minerals previously favored possess distinct spectral features that are not present in the spectrum of component 3, and thus cannot be abundant at large scale. One alternative composition is chloride evaporite deposits, possibly indicating an ocean solute composition dominated by the Na+ and Cl ions.

spectra

Image: Mapping the composition of the surface of Europa has shown that a few large areas have large concentrations of what are thought to be salts. These salts are systematically located in the recently resurfaced “chaos regions,” which are outlined in black. One such region, named Western Powys Regio, has the highest concentration of these materials presumably derived from the internal ocean, and would make an ideal landing location for a Europa surface probe.
Credit: M.E. Brown and P.D. Fischer/Caltech , K.P. Hand/JPL.

The association with chaos areas is significant. Because these spectra map to areas with recent geological activity, they are likely to be native to Europa, and conceivably material related to the internal ocean. In this Caltech news release, Brown speculates that a large amount of ocean water flowing out onto the surface and then evaporating could leave behind salts. As in the Earth’s desert areas, the composition of the salt can tell us about the materials that were dissolved in the water before it evaporated. Brown adds:

“If you had to suggest an area on Europa where ocean water had recently melted through and dumped its chemicals on the surface, this would be it. If we can someday sample and catalog the chemistry found there, we may learn something of what’s happening on the ocean floor of Europa and maybe even find organic compounds, and that would be very exciting.”

So we’re learning where a Europa lander should be able to do the most productive science in relation to astrobiology and the ocean beneath the ice. Keep your eye on the western portion of the area known as Powys Regio, where the Caltech team found the strongest concentrations of local salts. Powys Regio is just south of what appears to be an old impact feature called Tyre. The image below, with the concentric rings of Tyre clearly visible, reminds us that an ocean under a mantle of ice is vulnerable to surface activity and external strikes that would break through the ice and deposit ocean materials within reach of the right kind of lander.

800px-PIA01633_Tyre_impact_structure_Europa

Image: The feature called Tyre, showing signs of an ancient Europan impact. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The paper is Fischer, Brown & Hand, “Spatially Resolved Spectroscopy of Europa: The Distinct Spectrum of Large-scale Chaos,” accepted at The Astrophysical Journal (preprint).

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“The Dragon God” Book # 2 of the Horn King Series by Brae Wyckoff

dragon god silver award

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Voted “BEST New Epic Fantasy”
Rated “TOP Fantasy Book” for a series

“With magic rocks and dwarf slaves, this is a cross between Temple of Doom and Lord of the Rings.” – Raven Reviewer

As the heroes of Ruauck-El emerged triumphantly in The Orb of Truth, the first book in the Horn King series, they could not have imagined that an even greater evil still lay ahead of them.

Raina has discovered a new threat to the realm, and teleported King El’Korr – against his wishes – to the West Horn King’s capital city, Tuskabar, in hopes of thwarting an evil Mystic’s plan to acquire the five dragon stones. Each relic harbors an ancient dragon spirit, and, if combined, would unleash a multi-headed deity beyond imagination, to begin a reign of terror upon Ruauck-El.

Meanwhile, Bridazak and friends are in search of Spilfer Teehle’s missing family. Their quest leads them to visit old enemies, travel through beautiful but deadly locations, and will ultimately take them on an adventure of new discoveries of themselves.

Each group is on their own mission, but as destiny would have it, their fates are more entwined than they could possibly know.

Internationally acclaimed author, Brae Wyckoff, brings a new depth to fantasy storytelling in The Dragon God.

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“I would like to see the places he incorporated into the story”

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A 5 star review from M. Cornett for “Parallel Roads” (Lost on Route 66): Time travel the Mother Road by Dennis Higgins

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“Newling Traveler” (As I Sleep Book 1) by Patrick O’Scheen

newling traveler

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Candice Michaels is a high-school junior who might never go to college. She lives an ordinary life, waiting tables in her father’s café, but something is very unusual about her.

When she falls asleep she returns to a magical world—or is it just a dream?

Candi finds herself wrestling with dark magic. Will she face her innermost fears, or will she let them control her?

The fate of both her dream and real worlds may lie in the balance as she travels toward her destiny. One false step and she could lose everything.

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