Song of Nümenstar by AJ Feagin

Publication Date: August  25, 2019

When a group of Daejic students disappear, Commander Karawn Kross and the female Mystik Ka’myla Ad’uar embark on a mission to find them. What they find instead while searching catacombs beneath the highly secure city of Soaleste can change everything.

 

A lot of authors attempt to boost their writing credibility by saying that their stories are like those of popular or bestselling authors and seldom can the similarity been seen by the reader and when it is, it comes off as a poor copy. Not the case in Song of Nümenstar by AJ Feagin. The Amazon entry likens Song of Nümenstar to Dune and Star Wars and I can see the likeness. The similarity falls in the incredible work Frank Herbert did in building the world of Aarkis. It’s in the pageantry and diversity of Star Wars.

From the first sentence, a character’s “Sonarum” is warning him of danger and the reader is sucked in. Like the aforementioned Dune, Feagin isn’t talking down to her readers. Explanations come and are folded into the story in a way that is natural and doesn’t stop the reader. If there’s a glossary, I missed it and, really, it’s not needed. Readers learn the world and it is complex by accessible. There is the forest world and the great walled city reminiscent to this reader of a somewhat more sinister Oz.

There are a lot of things I loved about Song of Nümenstar and probably chief among them is the idea of the Daejic students. It doesn’t spoil the book to tell readers that the students have “extraordinary gifts.” Their job is to serve and protect and readers of this blog will know that I am a bit of a superhero fangirl. It is with them that the book is opened and it is they that have disappeared and require the skills of the honorable and cunning Commander and the gentle and diplomatic Mystik.

Another truly enjoyable aspect of Song of Nümenstar is how fast paced a read it is and how enjoyable the plot twists are. Sci-fi, especially as detail heavy as this read is, can be plodding but Feagin keeps it moving. Rather like Barry Eisler’s Rain series, her detail is action. There was a point in the novel where I stopped and just pictured an author with charts all over her walls to keep every detail straight. When you think about the work that went into this novel, it’s daunting but it’s not something that is visited upon the reader. Readers of this blog will know that I often give leeway to the first book in a series as the author will improve as they get to know their characters. Feagin has lived with her characters and knows them intimately. She is a part of the world of Song of Nümenstar. No excuses needed. Song of Nümenstar is a work of art.

Is it strange that I’ve said very little about the main characters? Like the house in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, is maybe the world the main character? While I’ve called back to many authors in this review, Song of Nümenstar is truly a one of a kind read. I’ve read thousands of novels – no exaggeration – and when I finished Song of Nümenstar, I couldn’t think of any book that I’d read that is truly like this first book in the Daejic Saga. I am so eager to see where this series goes.

If you’re looking for a uniquely wonderful sci-fi read or you’re someone who appreciates generally good fiction, pick Song of Nümenstar up today.

 

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Reviving the Commander by Nadine C. Keels

Publication Date: June 4, 2019:

Opal, to the outside world, seems to be happy, carefree and content with her spinsterhood. When she meets the Commander Exemplar of Diachona’s Army, a man who longs for his late wife, she feels an undeniable and yet hopeless attraction. The Exemplar is the first man she’s felt a pull with in a long time but he’s the father of the King and she has a dark secret. Is Opal destined to live her life alone?

 

Reviving the Commander is part of the Movement of Crown’s series. I have read the first book but that was long ago and I’d be lying if I said that I remembered anything about the book. Clearly, it would be helpful but not necessary to read the book before embarking on Opal’s story.

I think anyone reading the title of this story knows where it’s going. The Exempler is a man lost in grief. Opal is a woman lost in fear. Like many of us, she walks around with her public face of sweetness and light and inside the demons are at work. She’s fearful and ashamed and worried that if people knew her for who she really is, she would be hated and reviled. The unique charm of Reviving the Commander is that the characters are so authentic. Often, in romance, the male character is older, a bit of a man-whore and a throwaway cutout. Staid, (yes, that’s his name) is solid and caring. When we meet Opal, she’s simply enamored. Her infatuation has come to an all consuming point but she knows that if the King’s father is looking to marry again (or entertain himself) it won’t be with someone no one else wanted.

This is not a snap-together part connection. Keels gives a solid base for why these people should be together and why her audience should cheer for them. They are sweet and in conversation and development of characters, Keels shows herself as a student of human nature. Reviving the Commander  is economically arranged but well written. The craftsmanship of the work is especially impressive when one considers that it is set in a completely fictional world.

Reviving the Commander is a novella standing at an easy read of 172 pages. There are some surprises and turns readers may not see coming but, ultimately, Reviving the Commander is a story of love and faith. As a wholly non-religious person I can appreciate the biblical connection that isn’t overbearing for the reader.

If you like sweet fairy-tale like romantic stories, Reviving the Commander  is the story for you.

 

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Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Tara Jenkins Reid

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

In Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel, it’s the early 1970s and Daisy Jones is a major L.A. talent playing in small clubs and dreaming of living life to its fullest and making the kind of music she loves, but she and her record label have different ideas of success. When Daisy meets Bill, they clash in a big way but together they will become epic. Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel is a rock & roll autobiography set in the days of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

 

 

The literary circle in which I travel has been raving about this book for a few weeks, so I decided to pick it up and ended up reading the 336-mock-rock history in one sitting. Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel is a visual read. Framed as an oral history, it starts with Daisy, the poor little rich girl. She is a free-range child with a big talent and is broken in a way that leads her to the sort of self-destruction that will lead readers to think they’ve heard the story before … because they have. In fact, I have read that this novel is a fictionalized version of Fleetwood Mac, a band about which I know almost nothing (I was only permitted to listen to gospel music growing up so my actual rock knowledge era is the 1990s and Queen) so caught none of the parallels.

Overall Daisy Jones & The Six is a generic saga of decadence in the era of bell bottoms, booze and blow. There is a heavy reliance on readers being familiar with the decadence of the rock scene in the 1970s. Reid paints a very accurate emotional picture of the era. The fashion and music culture read true. Reid in no way goes for broke. She alludes to the uncomfortable, skirting around it. There’s something to be said for a lack of gratuitous self-destruction but that’s the 1970s; you do it or you don’t and there are ways not to celebrate the illegal. Word on the street is that the novel is becoming a movie and to translate, the screenwriters will sensationalize, so in the end, discretion is not valorous.

Daisy, herself, is somewhat poorly characterized. She is an amalgamation of troubled female singers. I have seen the hand-wringing and worried trigger warnings. Let’s be clear, a lot of what is on the page is very general. There are groupies and there are no ID checks. There are some really questionable things but they’re glossed over. There is a saint vs. whore subtext for Daisy and another female character that is perplexingly overdone in literature and discredits everyone, and really, distracts from the core story adding a tragic Janis Joplin spin without the emotional impact because that’s hard to connect with the cliff notes of a 1970s singer. This is in no way a spoiler because I don’t know if readers, in the end, will care if Daisy wins or loses … and in this case, winning is perhaps not holding the expected definition. We know Daisy captivates because we’re told she does, it isn’t something we see.

If you’re considering reading Daisy Jones & the Six, do it because it’s getting rave reviews and I may be the lone 2-stars. If you’re looking for a really interesting story of the 1970s, head over to Netflix and watch When You’re Strange; a film about The Doors.

If you like the 1970s, check out Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Tara Jenkins Reid on

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About Tara Jenkins Reid
For more information Tara Jenkins Reid and her work, visit her website. You can connect with her on FacebookGoodreads, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter @tjenkinsreid.

Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone

Publication Date: August 14, 2015

Book Review: Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone, science fiction trilogyIt’s 2250 and an apocalyptic event has destroyed civilization which is now divided into three categories and life is a perilous proposition. Romy is 20 years old and aspires to the highest level of society. She’s worked hard and yet seems to come up short. How will she handle the truth of her situation? Continue reading Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone

The Desolate Garden by Daniel Kemp

Publication Date: September 23, 2017

The Desolate Garden by Daniel KempHarry Paterson’s father, Lord Elliot Paterson, is murdered and because he stands to inherit the title, Harry is the #1 suspect. Judith Meadows is assigned to stay with Harry during the investigation to keep him safe and also garner whatever information she can to help solve the case. Together they look into strange messages that Harry received from his father before his death regarding strange transactions at the family bank. Continue reading The Desolate Garden by Daniel Kemp

The Fated Stars by Veronica Scott

Publication date: November 4, 2017

 

The Fated Stars by Veronica ScottIn The Fated Stars by Veronica Scott, Samell is an empathetic priest who was kidnapped and sold to a carnival where he’s forced to tell the fortunes of paying guests. He is resigned to his existence until mercenary, Larissa, steps into his tent and he sees in her a fierce spirit with the potential to keep him alive. When Samell and Larissa attract the attention of dangerous foes, can they get out alive? Continue reading The Fated Stars by Veronica Scott

Stateline (Dan Reno Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave Stanton

Publication Date: January 4, 2014

 

Stateline (Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave SantonIn Stateline (Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave Santon, Dan Reno is hired by a powerful man to find his son’s killer. He soon finds cops on the take willing to do anything to stop him. Can Dan find the killer and manage to stay alive? Stateline is the sixth book in the Dan Reno series.

Continue reading Stateline (Dan Reno Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave Stanton

Welcome to Romero Park (Night of the Victorian Dead #1) by Amber Michelle Cook

Publication Date: March 18, 2018

 

Welcome to Romero Park by Amber Michelle CookWelcome to Romero Park by Amber Michelle Cook is the first novel of the Night of the Victorian Death series. Selected elite families are invited to a house party in the English countryside. When tenants of the host start disappearing and traveling elite are attacked, it’s clear that darker forces are at play. What is really going on at Romero Park?

Continue reading Welcome to Romero Park (Night of the Victorian Dead #1) by Amber Michelle Cook

Dog Gone by Mike Faricy

Publication Date: July 1, 2015

 

IDog Gone by Mike Faricy n Dog Gone by Mike Faricy, P.I. Dev Haskell finds himself pet-sitting his new girlfriend’s dog, a golden retriever named Morton when she has to leave town for a family emergency. Through Morton, Dev meets Princess Anastasia, a standard poodle show dog looking to take top honors. When it becomes clear that someone is angling to keep Princess out of the contest, Dev goes to work to keep his canine friend’s love interest safe and healthy for her bid to win the crown. Dog Gone is the twelfth book in the Dev Haskell Private Inspector series.    Continue reading Dog Gone by Mike Faricy

The Seven Year Dress: A Novel by Paulette Mahurin

Publication Date: May 16, 2016

 

The Seven Year Dress: A Novel by Paulette Mahurin The Seven Year Dress: A Novel by Paulette Mahurin, is the story of Helen Stein. Helen is a teenager ripped from her family and sent to Auschwitz and lives its horrors but also finds a kindness and selflessness in humanity that helped her survive against the odds.

Continue reading The Seven Year Dress: A Novel by Paulette Mahurin