Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review: Redheart

Redheart by Jackie Gamber

Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side. Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land.

As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship. Riza Diantus is a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village, and when she finds herself in peril, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. Yet to do so means he must confront his past, and embrace a future he stopped believing in.

A tale of friendship, courage, and ultimate destiny, Redheart invites readers to a wondrous journey through the Leland Dragon Series. [Source]

I received this novel for review from the publisher. I was also granted a guest post from the author. CLICK HERE to read Jackie Gamber's thoughts on dragons in YA novels.

Redheart is a YA fantasy novel about dragons. Considering most YA fantasy novels these days are about vampires, I was pretty excited about a little, shall we say, change of scenery. Dragons!

Kallon is our main dragon character; Riza is our main human character. They meet, unexpectedly, and form a shaky friendship. Neither one of them seems to really get along with the rest of their kind. They are both lonely and hurt, unknowingly waiting for each other.

Their friendship takes an interesting journey around the Leland Province, to places that neither of them have ever been, especially Riza. They spend time together, and time apart. Each of them feels pain at the other's sufferings. They both sacrifice much for the other, culminating in the ultimate sacrifice at the very end.

From the very start, I had a feeling about Riza. I just knew something would happen to her; she would change. Orman Thistleby, who is Kallon's wizard friend, even hinted that something about Riza was different. Hence, the ending was not much of a surprise to me.

Jastin Armitage, human dragon hunter, and Fordan Blackclaw, leader of the dragons, both made my blood boil. Particularly Jastin. He was rude, obnoxious, self-righteous, and vindictive. I was glad to see him humiliated at the ending. He deserved it for everything he did to Riza and Kallon.

Throughout this novel, I was very pleased that it actually followed the basic elements of story grammar. The rising action was thrilling and left me on the edge of my seat, yearning for the big climax. There was enough of a resolution to give me some closure while still leaving me excited about the sequel. Speaking of, I really can't wait for the sequel! Big changes are coming to Leland Province, for both humans and dragons alike.

About the author: Jackie Gamber is an award-winning freelance editor, as well as award-winning author of the fantasy novel Redheart, available now through Seventh Star Press ( and ebook at a special rate of $1.99!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guest Post: Jackie Gamber

Dragons and YA Fantasy – Playing with Fire?

By Jackie Gamber, Author of Redheart

Dragon mythology has the distinction of being found in nearly every culture from ancient to modern, in all parts of the world. Asia, South America, Europe, even Australia; images of scaled and serpent-like creatures seem to inhabit the collective psyche of humans everywhere.

In asking ourselves why, we struggle for an answer; dragons just seem true to us. Sure, they’re long gone now. Extinct, one way or another. But if we examine our history, our art, and our written language, dragon representations across culture are too common. Too familiar. Too coincidental. Dragons must have existed once upon a time. Didn’t they?

At least one thing is certain. Dragons have existed, still exist, in our imagination.

And in our literature.

In our imagination, dragons are free to evolve, develop, and grow into personalized symbols. Fire can destroy, but can also cleanse. Scales are a toughened shell against the world, or a protective armor. Claws dig, or climb. Wings carry or evade.

How we perceive dragons, either communally or individually, becomes how we believe them to be. Let’s say if dragons did exist, to us they would be killers. Or monsters. Or pets. Or friends.

In this way, as with so many mythological beasts (vampires, werewolves, or slimy bog creatures) dragons can come to represent parts of ourselves. Our untamed human nature. Our wild side. Our monster within.

What better place to explore this theme than in Young Adult literature? Young adults are in the act of becoming. An evolution in themselves, busily examining values, trying to settle on just how they see the world, and their place in it. They know the struggle with the beast on an intimate level.

If you’re a teen, you’re on a first name basis with your monster.
So how do we face the dragon? Is it a beast to be slain? A monster to be destroyed? A strength to be unleashed? Do we battle with our wild nature to the death, or nail it with a tranq gun and drag it off into the brush?

The best part of YA fantasy (classic or otherwise) as that we’re able to investigate all those options. Whether our dragon is a skin to be shed, as with C.S. Lewis, or a beast of burden to be ridden, as with Anne McCaffery, or a bully to be outsmarted, as with J.R.R. Tolkien, we can see each dragon as the author sees it. We can regard how a master storyteller deals with his or her dragon, and we can take notes.

Jackie Gamber is an award-winning freelance editor, as well as award-winning author of the fantasy novel Redheart, available now through Seventh Star Press ( and ebook at a special rate of $1.99!

A veteran of the USAF, she is now, among other things, a rosarian, a professional BookTaster, and an avid believer in imagination. Visit Jackie and her BookTastings on the world wide web at

Many thanks to Jackie Gamber for vising my blog! Come back tomorrow for my review of her novel, Redheart.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Signups are OPEN!

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

The second annual Once Upon a Read-a-thon is coming up soon! This read-a-thon is being hosted by Pure Imagination, Reading Angel, and Candace's Book Blog. It runs from 12:01 am on July 11 to 11:59 on July 13th.

I am super-excited about this because this read-a-thon last year is the very reason that I started a book blog. I'm hoping to read more this year than I did last year, depending on my work hours.

Anyway, CLICK HERE to sign up!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: Davi

Davi (Tales of Suruale, #1) by Roy C. Booth, Brian Woods

Humans and dwarfs have been at odds for generations. When human blacksmith Davi is sent to the Dwarven King to reopen the local trade routes, he finds himself more at home with his enemies than he ever did with his own kind. [Source]

One of the authors sent me this free ebook to read and review.

Davi is a short, sweet novella about the human of the same name. Sent from his home on an impossible quest, he chooses his own path. He uses his humble personality and his unique talents as a master smith to befriend the dwarfs and to create a new life, a new family.

At a few points in the novella, I was nervous for Davi. I didn't trust the dwarfs and I thought for sure that they were going to turn on him. But they didn't. They accepted him as a brother, they appreciated his talents and his presence, they healed him when he was wounded, and they even allowed him to take on a dwarven wife.

As a I said earlier, this is a short and sweet novella. It's a quick read for someone who enjoys this branch of fantasy but isn't quite ready for LotR.


Guest Post: Graham Parke

It's the Summer of Gomez!

Get free books and win a Kindle or iPod.

As reviewers have been calling “No Hope for Gomez!” the perfect summer read - light, fast, fun - I decided to give this summer's Gomez readers some exclusive content and the chance to win prizes.

About No Hope for Gomez!

It's the age-old tale:

 -   Boy meets girl.
 -   Boy stalks girl.
 -   Girl already has a stalker.
 -   Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

We've seen it all before, many times, but this time it's different. If only slightly.

    When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. 

What Gomez isn't ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, the phone-sex salesman who hounds him day and night, the super sexy lab assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science.

   But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced delusions, he decides it's time to go underground and work out a devious plan.
Read a chapter.

Nominated for Book of the Year by both ForeWord Reviews and USA Book News, here's what reviewers have to say about "No Hope for Gomez!":

“Extremely witty and clever writing.” -- California Chronicle

"An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers' film in book form." --

"A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!" -- Reader Views

"A Party for your Brain!" -- Warren Baxter

Warning: clinical studies have shown that reading this novel is likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex and elevate your random luck by about 9.5%**

(** These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

With every cool summer party comes a gift bag, so here's just some of the stuff all summer readers will get:

  • Exclusive new story collection

  • No Hope for Gomez: The Lost Chapters

  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook

  • Signed hi-res poster + bookplate

Additionally, several lucky readers will win a prize. I'm raffling off a Kindle, an iPod Nano 8GB, and five exclusive spin-off paperback novels that are not available elsewhere!

All you have to do to have a "Summer of Gomez", is get the book from any store before July 12th 2011 and forward your receipt to, Barnes and Noble, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE)

Every purchase counts as an entry so increase your chances by stocking up on some extremely cool birthday presents ;)
Points towards additional entries are gained by getting your friends to join in, and tweeting/blogging/face-booking (is that a verb?) about the summer of Gomez.


Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.
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