Author Archives: wedbriefsfic

Book Review: Blood of Elves (Witcher series) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Blood of Elves(The Witcher series)      Blood of Elves cover

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Publisher: Orbit

American release date: May 1, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy/324 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

War is raging. Nilfgard is aggressively consuming all the territory it can, gaining in power at an alarming rate. Something has to be done about this. But in order for that to happen, the other countries have to come to some semblance of agreement. Is that even possible?

Dandelion, the celebrated bard, thrills audiences wherever he goes with his original music, his tales of people and battles and lost loves. But Dandelion doesn’t always use common sense in singing of things which should not be mentioned, such as Geralt and Ciri. People should not know that Ciri exists, for that would only bring danger down upon her. The time is not yet come, for she has much to learn…

Other than himself, Dandelion truly loves wine, women, and song, sometimes to his detriment. Caught in a trap at a house of ill repute, he finds himself being tortured by an unpleasant fellow with a burn scar, by the name of Rience. Rience wants to know the whereabouts of the witcher and the girl, and doesn’t believe Dandelion’s protestations that his stories are tales without foundation, not truth. Luckily, help comes from an unexpected quarter for the outspoken bard.

Geralt takes Ciri to Kaer Morhen, the secret witcher stronghold. By the time Triss Merrigold arrives, she is surprised to find the young girl training as a witcher. Triss also senses that there is more to the girl than outside appearances might indicate. Do the witchers know this? When a young witcher accidentally lets slip a vital piece of information, Triss realizes more of the truth about who Ciri really is. And Geralt knows that the next step in Ciri’s preparation lies, not with him, but with Yennefer.

Ciri is definitely developing as a character. Of course, we know who she really is, but it’s interesting to watch her blossom under Geralt’s guidance. Their relationship is complicated, but I think it’s something of a father/daughter relationship, the only kind Geralt can enjoy. The same can be said for Yennefer. Reading the books as I watch the series is enlightening, as I’ve seen Yennefer’s backstory, which I haven’t read yet. I’m not sure how much I care for her, but her treatment of Ciri has redeemed her at least a little bit. I’m baffled as to the change of Dandelion’s name for the series, but a bard by any other name is still a fun character And now there is a song, Throw a Coin to Your Witcher which has become an Internet sensation, apparently.

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes in this book, and sometimes you really have to wonder which side to root for. The choices aren’t necessarily clear cut.  I loved the scenes with Geralt after he became a hired mercenary to protect certain barges from harm. But Geralt has his own agenda, as always. I also enjoyed Geralt’s travels with Ciri and Triss. This was a really good book and I look forward to the next one.

 

 

Wednesday Briefs: January 22, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

In Pieces #88 (20.6) by Julie Lynn Hayes

“If you’ll have me, that is,” Cassie quickly added. “It’s your decision, of course. I’m sure you’ll need time to think about it, but I’m totally serious about this. I believe in Salvation. I think the band is going places. But most of all, I believe in you and Ryan.”

“But how… I mean… That’s very sweet of you, but…” Ben stammered. “I can’t ask that of you…”

“You’re not asking, I’m offering,” Cassie said,

Click here to read my entire Brief:

Continue reading

Book Review: The Lady’s Champion (Disgraced Martyr #3) by M.F. Sullivan

The Lady’s Champion (Disgraced Martyr Trilogy, #3)        The Lady's Champion cover

Author: M.F. Sullivan

Publisher: Painted Blind Publishing

American release date: January 9, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Sci Fi/LGBTQ/356 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Dominia di Mephitoli has come a long way since her stint as governor and one-time rabid general for the Martyr cause. She’s lost her wife, who was her reason for living, as well as her family, and she’s afraid of losing everyone else. And why? Because of the Martyrs, and one in particular, her Holy Father, the Hierophant.

And yet, if she doesn’t continue the fight, the world will be doomed. Worlds. All of them. Past and present and future. For they all tie together, and sometimes it’s hard to separate what was from what shall be.

Dominia kidnaps her brother Theodore, her replacement as governor. But her father does her one better and snatches Rene Ichigawa’s cousin Tenchi, putting Dominia in an awful position. What else can she do but as the Hierophant requests, in order to save Tenchi’s life. Which involves returning to her father’s house. At least she can see her sister Lavinia again, who has sorely missed Dominia. And is still as innocent as ever.

Dominia has so many questions and few answers. Can she get herself out of this new predicament, defeat her father, and also bring back Cassandra? What is the truth about the Hierophant and his origins? Does he really come from a planet called Acetia? And whose future is the true one?

The Lady’s Champion is a roller coaster ride from start to finish, one that will make your head spin. As soon as you think you understand what’s going on, the roller coaster veers off in a new direction and you have to rethink everything. Before the final curtain drops, everyone is called to the stage once more. Old friends and new. Old enemies and new. And sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s who and what’s what.

The third book of the trilogy kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next, and hoping against hope that my favorite character, my darling Hierophant, would emerge unscathed. The scope and imagination of this series is staggering. A real mind-blowing story dealing with both physical as well as metaphysical realities, one that will open your mind to unimagined possibilities. Who’s to say what is real and what could become so in the future?

Dominia is a great, somewhat flawed heroine, as all good heroines are. The worst I can say about her is that her obsession with Cassandra did get on my nerves. Just my opinion, but I was never fond of Cassandra, and saw no reason for Dominia to carry on so over her loss. Of course, many will disagree with my own obsession with the Hierophant, who I admit is no saint, but there is just something about him that draws me to him. I make no apologies for him. He does some seriously bad stuff, but I still feel he has redeeming qualities.

This is a series that requires re-reading at some point, and I’m sure I’ll see things I missed and gain a new perspective of other things. I’ve enjoyed the journey greatly and will be sorry to leave this world behind, hence the need to revisit it again. I highly recommend the entire series. Give a copy to someone you love.

Congratulations, MF Sullivan, on a job well done!

 

 

Wednesday Briefs: January 15, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

In Pieces #87 (20.5) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Liza visibly flinched at Ben’s words, as if she’d been struck. She pressed one hand against her bosom in a melodramatic expression. But her eyes told the true story, battling between barely repressed anger and shock.

Cassie spoke up, filling the void. “You have ten seconds to get off my property before I call the police,” she said. “I don’t think they’ll be impressed when you tell them you lived here ten years ago. If I have to, I’ll get a restraining order against you. Don’t think that I won’t.”

Click here to read the entire Brief:

Continue reading

Book Review: Blue Morning, Vol 8 by Shoko Hidaka

Blue Morning, Vol 8    Blue Morning, Vol 8 cover

Author: Shoko Hidaka

Publisher: SuBLime Publishing

American release date: November 12, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Yaoi/282 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

The time is fast approaching for Akihito’s departure for England, and there is so much to be done, arrangements to be made. Knowing the feudal system is dying, Akihito is building the future of the Kuze house on much firmer foundations, such as the railroad and various industries. He and Katsuragi must fit in as much time together as they can, knowing they will be separated for two long years.

Meanwhile, Soichiro has been coerced at least into the arranged marriage he never wanted, his heart belonging to a geisha he can never have. He girds himself to meet his intended, only to find that Katsuragi works in mysterious ways.

Their time together drawing to a close, Katsuragi bares his soul to Akihito and tells him two years away from him is too long. In talking to Amamiya, Soichiro expresses his gratitude for what Katsuragi has done for him, and wishes him and Akihito the same good fortune. Akihito has had matching watches made for him and Katsuragi, which he presents to him just before he asks would he like to come to England with him.

What will Katsuragi’s response be?

This is the final volume of Blue Morning. So much going on, so much up in the air. I grew hopeful and anxious by turns the farther I read. This is the culmination of what Akihito and Katsuragi both have been working toward, even if it didn’t always appear so. This is a story very rich in both plot and character development, as well as beautiful artwork. I invested my heart in the story of these two men, followed their relationship through good times as well as hard times. Cheered, laughed, and cried. I’m sorry the story has come to an end, yet in my heart it isn’t over, and I know it will go on forever.

Beautiful finish to a lovely story.

Wednesday Briefs: January 8, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Adrift: Chapter 73 by J. Alan Veerkamp

Less than a minute later, Vosh made a show of the collar’s remote as he entered the open cell, brandishing it like some ancient ward against evil. Arad placed a hand on Roku’s shoulder. He could feel the muscles wound and tense, ready for action under his touch. A warning yowl made Arad shiver. Roku had rolled to a crouch, poised on a hair trigger to take another shot at Vosh, restrained or not.

“Don’t. Please,” Arad whispered. The tension remained, but Roku eased back a bit. Now was not the time.

One eye on them, Vosh crouched down to check Pakko.

Click here to read the entire Brief:

Continue reading

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 12 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 12      Bleach, Vol 12 cover

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 4, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Renji Abarai, assistant captain to 6th squad’s Captain Kuchiki, after being defeated by Ichigo has only one thing to say to him—“Save Rukia!” Kira and Hinamori come upon Renji and are amazed that he has been defeated, but they are too late to fight Ichigo, as he and Ganju and Hanatoro have already gone. Kira and Hinamori intend to send Renji to be healed by the 4th Company but are prevented from doing so by Byakuya Kuchiki, who instructs them to dump him in a cell! Gin Ichimaru assures Kira and Hinamori that he will send word to 4th Company anyway. Toshiro Hitsugaya appears after Gin leaves and warns Hinamori not to trust the Third Company, especially….

 

Head-Captain Yamamoto overlooks Gin’s previous actions and declares all-out war on the Ryoka.

 

Ichigo awakens to find himself being healed by Hanataro of the wounds he suffered fighting Renji. When he insists he’s ready to go, Ganju knocks him out again, proving how weak he really is. Hanataro tells Ganju that Ichigo’s life was saved by a mask in his pocket, one which resembles a Hollow. How did he acquire such an object, though?

 

Disturbed by the idea of fighting, the peaceful Hinamori, assistant captain of the 6th Company, seeks out her captain, Aizen, to speak with him. His soothing voice and words, his calm smile, relax her so much she falls asleep. When she wakens, she finds Aizen gone and she is going to be late for assembly if she doesn’t hurry. Luckily, she knows a short-cut, but in taking this route, she comes upon a horrific sight!

 

Hinamori finds herself in hot water when she tries to attack Gin for what she believes he has done, only to be confronted by Kira. Hitsugaya steps in between them and has both arrested, then warns Gin not to ever make Hinamori bleed. Rangiku Matsumoto visits Hinamori in her cell and brings her a letter addressed to her that was found in Captain Aizen’s room, revealing what he has discovered.

 

Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatoro approach the high tower where Rukia is being held, which seems surprisingly empty of people, only to feel a frightfully enormous spiritual pressure. The pressure turns out to belong to the soul reaper who Ikkaku spoke of to Ichigo, Kenpachi Zaraki, captain of the 11th Company. He anticipates an interesting fight against Ichigo and is excited to get started. Ichigo tells Ganju and Hanataro to go ahead and continue with their mission while he stays behind to engage in battle with Kenpachi.

 

Meanwhile, Chad has run into the captain of the 8th Company, Shunsui Kyoraku, a very laid-back fellow in a pink flowered kimono. Shunsui attempts to get Chad to have a drink with him,  not wishing to fight, but to no avail. Chad is giving him no choice in the matter.

 

I love this volume of Bleach for many reasons, but I have to mention first and foremost that I adore Shunsui Kyoraku, and these is his first real scenes in the series, which is exciting. Also the first real scenes with Kenpachi and Yachiru. I was upset over the unexpected and tragic death that occurred in this volume, but you’ll find that happens in Bleach, like it or not. It’s exciting to watch Ichigo work his way through the various captains and lieutenants of the 13 Court Guard Squads in order to reach Rukia. He is far stronger than they gave him credit for being. Uryu and Orihime were absent in this volume, but I’m sure we’ll see them soon.

 

I just finished watching the anime and am excited that I am still living the Bleach story through the manga. I understand that the manga goes beyond what I saw in the anime, so I look forward to seeing where it takes me. Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one!