'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Monday 29 July 2013

Sanctuary: Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse

Next up on Fantasy Muse is Sanctuary: Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse by Joshua Jared Scott.

Front Cover



The change strikes without warning. All across the world men, women, and children cry out in agony. There is no pattern, nothing to explain why some are afflicted and others spared, but in the end a quarter of the population falls. A mere seven minutes later the corpses rise and begin to attack the living. The speed in which it happens, coupled with the survivors’ disbelief and horror, is simply too great. Chaos takes hold. Civilization crumbles. Hidden away inside his home, Jacob Thornton prepares to flee. The streets belong to the shambling dead. Power vanishes. The airways are silent. To remain is to die. Sticking to back roads in an effort to pass unseen, he travels north. Others are encountered on the way, and together they gather supplies, seek a place of safety, and discover how to defend against the zombies, creatures which have begun to leave the population centers and spread across the land.

My Opinion

I love a good'ol' zombie book to tear into (no pun intended) and with one of my favourite  TV shows ‘The walking dead’ on its hiatus, I needed something to fix my zombie cravings.

I’ve always found zombie/post apocalyptic books fascinating and exciting to read, if done well that is. I guess one of the main reasons why I read these type of books is that without fail, they always leave me asking that single primary question that I'm sure other readers pose to themselves when reading such books - 
What would I do if that was me? 

I’d like to think, that if zombies should ever walk the earth, that I’d have some semblance of what to do.

Ok, moving onto the book. The story follows Jacob, who one day finds himself as one of the the few living survivors of a zombie apocalypse. It then follows his journey as he tries to find sanctuary. Along the way he meets other survivors, some good, some bad. The book is written as a journal in which Jacob is recounting his story, and so it’s told through his voice. It’s done well, and the author was clever in the way he dropped hints at will happen in the future.
I really liked Jacob as a character. He was thoughtful, smart and logical - all the attributes you need to survive an apocalypse. The other characters were all done well and each had their own distinct personality.
I finished the book (400 odd pages) in a day which gives you an indication at how enjoyable I found the book.

Some other thoughts on the book:

The book devotes chapters or interludes, as the author likes to call it, to individual characters, explaining how they got to that point in time. Personally I wasn't that much interested in those chapters/interludes and after the first few I kind of started to speed through them.

* I thought the ending was superb, and I was flying through the pages gripped by the action.


A fantastic book, that is easily one of my favourite books so far this year. As soon as I finished the book I desperately hoped that there was a sequel, but to my immense disappointment there wasn’t. I’ll certainly be checking in the future for any further books published by the author. 

Lastly, if you’re a fan of zombies then this book is a definite read. And even if you aren’t, then still check it as it might surprise. In a good way.

Out of 10:

8 Stars - Not much else to say really. 8* says it all.

Buy it here:

Monday 15 July 2013

Soul Meaning

The next book in my blog is Soul Meaning (Seventeen) by A.D. Starrling.

Front Cover


‘My name is Lucas Soul.
Today, I died again.
This is my fifteenth death in the last four hundred and fifty years.’

The Crovirs and the Bastians. Two races of immortals who have lived side by side with humans for millennia and been engaged in a bloody war since the very dawn of their existence. With the capacity to survive up to sixteen deaths, it was not until the late fourteenth century that they reached an uneasy truce, following a deadly plague that wiped out more than half of their numbers and made the majority of survivors infertile. 
Soul is an outcast of both immortal societies. Born of a Bastian mother and a Crovir father, a half breed whose very existence is abhorred by the two races, he spends the first three hundred and fifty years of his life being chased and killed by the Hunters.

One fall night in Boston, the Hunt starts again, resulting in Soul’s fifteenth death and triggering a chain of events that sends him on the run with Reid Hasley, a former US Marine and his human business partner of ten years. When a lead takes them to Washington DC and a biotechnology company with affiliations to the Crovirs, they cross the Atlantic to Europe, on the trail of a French scientist whose research seems intrinsically linked to the reason why the Hunters are after Soul again.

From Paris to Prague, their search for answers will lead them deep into the immortal societies and bring them face to face with someone from Soul’s past. Shocking secrets are uncovered and fresh allies come to the fore as they attempt to put a stop to a new and terrifying threat to both immortals and humans. 

Time is running out for Soul. Can he get to the truth before his seventeenth death, protect the ones he loves and prevent another immortal war?

My Opinion

From reading the first couple of sentences in the blurb I was immediately hooked. The author was very clever in how she wrote the synopsis and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if most people who’ve just read the blurb come away with clicking the ‘Buy-Now’ button.

The start of the book was fantastic, with plenty of action to keep me flying through the pages, and Lucas Soul is a character that I wanted to read more about after the first paragraph. The book is about these special type of humans that have sixteen lives - like a cat with 9 - and once they hit their seventeenth death they die permanently. So, in theory as long as they don't hit that magic number they can live as long as they want. Now, these immortals can be divided into two groups, the Crovirs and the Bastians (think Romeo and Juliet) and of course any mixing between the two is completely shunned. 

The whole concept of immortals and sixteen lives was fascinating and new. Doing a quick scan through my memories, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a book with a similar storyline.

The start of the book was high octane stuff and I was hoping it stayed that way throughout but like a sparkler it eventually fizzled out. After a promising start the story became muddy and unclear. I wasn't sure what was happening in terms of the storyline and the new characters that were being introduced. 

I was also becoming increasingly frustrated with the cat and mouse chase that seemed to go on forever. I don’t want to spoil the book but I will say this - the main guy Lucas travels halfway around the world looking for two people, and every time he get's near them they would escape. This pattern is repeated quite a few times. About 20% of the book (I may be exaggerating) is devoted to one big cat and mouse chase. Maybe the author intended for the reader to be in suspense but all I felt was frustration and annoyance. Perhaps it’s just me and one of my pet peeves. 

There is an element of romance in the book, and if you look past one major or minor issue depending on your outlook it was done well (I’m not going to say what it is in case you do decide to read the book).

The book did pick up towards the end. So much so that I’m tempted to give the sequel a go - which is great when you compare that to earlier when I was about to delete the book off my kindle. 

Some other thoughts on the book:

*Car chases got a bit repetitive. The first was fun to read but after the third one it got a bit tedious.

*The sidekick to Lucas was Reid, a former marine and cop. Personally I felt the character was a bit blunt and wooden....unless that is what the author wanted (I seem to be saying that quite a few times now, maybe I've read the book all wrong).

*The author has a wonderful talent when it comes to describing characters and setting the scenes. 


A book of three parts: The beginning = brilliant, middle = frustrating, end = done well. As I said before, I’m tempted to give the next book a shot but not until I get that stage where I’m desperate for a book.

From looking at the other reviews on Amazon, I can see a lot of favourable opinions on the book. I’m certain that while I wasn’t totally enthralled by the book, most will be (so I guess you should probably ignore everything I just wrote *Sigh* onto the next book).

Out of 10 stars:

6 stars - At the start of the book it was an 8, then it plummeted to a 5 but then it rose like a phoenix - ok maybe not like a phoenix - to a solid 6.


Buy it here

Friday 12 July 2013


The next post on Fantasy Muse will be about Palingenesis by J. Lewis Bennett.

Front Cover


Zeb Johnston inhabits a future world where a mega-corporation, Serene Soul Systems, sells the services of human clones for sex and sport. A wealthy, powerful businessman, Zeb's hobby is hunting clones in simulated worlds contained within massive domes. When he realizes one of those clones may not be the sub-human Serene Soul advertised him to be, Zeb is drawn to hunt the clone repeatedly. After stealing the clone during what was to be a hunt to the death, Zeb is forced to leave his good life behind and run from the corporate killers who are after him.

On the run, Zeb falls for a beautiful woman who helped create the clone he has stolen, but he is torn between his love for her and his knowledge of her past. At the same time, Zeb becomes haunted by nightmares about his own mentally challenged brother, who he left behind many years before in his pursuit of power and money. With the help of his ex-wife, a brilliant attorney, Zeb will attempt a daring rescue from the heart of Serene Soul System's headquarters. With everything on the line, will Zeb be able to save the clones and find what has been missing from his life?

My Opinion

I was asked to consider this book for review and after reading the blurb I immediately had visions of 'I, Robot' which starred Will Smith. I enjoyed that film so I thought I’d give this book a shot.

Well, I’m glad I did. I enjoyed the book but there were some points I didn’t quite like, but I’ll get to those later.

The blurb does a good job in basically describing what the whole book is about. Zeb is a successful businessman who in his spare time likes to hunt human clones for sport. The whole concept of that idea was intriguing and kept me reading. As the story progresses he realises that the clones are not so inhuman and lifeless as he thought they were. Feelings of guilt and shame spur him on to rescue one of the clones, later named Rick, and it was endearing seeing Zeb connect with Rick.

I didn’t particularly like Zeb in the beginning, I found him frustrating and naive but as the story went on he did start to grow on me and I guess that is what the author intended. So, it’s a thumbs up from me on character development. 

The love interest in the book is in the form of Simone, and for me, their relationship felt a bit too sudden . I mean within something like their second meeting they were ripping each others clothes off. However, saying that they do develop a deeper connection later on in the book. While talking about ripping off clothes, I would say book is more suitable for young adults and above. The book while not graphic does go into mature sexual scenes. 

As far as editing goes, I didn’t find any misspellings or grammar mistakes. However, I did notice a couple of times the name Simone switched to Suzanne briefly and then back again, which did leave me a little confused. I had to double check to see if Suzanne had accidentally crawled onto the scene while I wasn't paying attention.

Some other thoughts on the books:

*The story does become slightly stale during the middle. There is a portion of the book where the story didn't really go anywhere. 

*The book is told mainly through one person’s (Zeb)  perspective and while it was good to get a feel for him, I personally would have liked to have read other characters povs and to see what their thoughts were on particular scenes. 

*The ending was well written but I didn’t agree with it but that’s just me. I was hoping for a different outcome but that is what’s great about books. We don’t all get the result we expected or wanted.   


An enjoyable book but there were times when my mind wandered. With a somewhat unique storyline it will definitely appeal to those looking for something different.

Out of 10 Stars:

6 stars - Better than average and I was tempted to give it 7 but I reserve 7-10 stars for exceptional books.


Buy it here:

Wednesday 3 July 2013

The Mine

Next up on my blog isn't actually a fantasy book but more romance. I know it may sound a little weird that a site called Fantasy Muse is reviewing a romance book but I’m not too fussed about it.

The title of the book is called The Mine (Northwest Passage) by John A. Heldt.

Front Cover


In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

My Opinion

I was asked by the author to consider his book for review and after reading the blurb, I jumped at the chance. 

The book is based upon Joel Smith, a cocky, brash young man who is transported back to 1941, the year in which America joins the war. 
Once Joel arrives in 1941 does the book start. On his adventures he makes friends and he also meets his grandma, which was a nice touch. Of course it wouldn’t be a romance book without the love interest, Grace. 

I really enjoyed the book and how the characters interacted with each other. The central love story was well written, however, I did think that they fell in love with each other a bit too quickly. There wasn’t as much development between Joel and Grace as I would have liked before they started declaring themselves madly in love with each other. 

The pace of the story flowed nicely. I started reading the book in the early afternoon and by the time I looked up it was nearing midnight and having to work the following morning, I grudgingly had to put it away. Suffice to say I finished the book within two days. 

A few more scattered thoughts on the book

*I liked how the author transported Joel back in time, it wasn’t just **puff** and you’re gone. There was a somewhat logical explanation to it.

*I thought the author was clever in choosing what time of year he brought Joel back. With the events of Pearl Harbour around the corner, it was interesting to see how Joel dealt with that issue.
‘Should he warn his friends or not?’ That was a question that I was fascinated by.


Fans of ‘ The Time Traveler's Wife’ and ‘Back To The Future’ will enjoy this book and there was even a reference to Marty McFly in the book!

I can unequivocally say that I'll be reading this book again in the future and for me that's a great indicator at how thoroughly entertained I was by the book.

My rating out of 10 stars:

8 stars - A fantastic book in which the somewhat bland looking cover does not do it enough justice.


Buy it here:

Monday 1 July 2013

Strange Metamorphosis

The next upon request is called Strange Metamorphosis by P.C.R Monk.

Front Cover


When a boy is faced with a choice between two tracks for his future, an unlikely source sends him on an expedition across a meadow...as a bug. Forced to trust his instincts and follow his heart, he must complete his quest before it is too late to return to the land of humans. 

Marcel is at a crossroads. He has been offered an apprenticeship at Villeneuve, the neighboring country manor, which would allow him to follow in his late father's footsteps. At the same time, he has won a scholarship at a renowned technical college in Paris, a move that would require him to face the unknown with no guarantee of success. His friend Julia, a city girl through and through, is encouraging him to take a chance and go to Paris. Unknown to Marcel, she has her own reasons to recommend this as well. As the machinations of Marcel's world and that of Villeneuve unfold, Marcel finds help in the most unlikely source imaginable: an ancient oak tree.

Progressively turned into a bug, Marcel must go on a quest across the meadow to feast on the royal jelly in order to return to his human form. Forced to carve his own path and follow his heart, he sets off and quickly finds himself teaming up with a wonderful group of insects, each of which has their own agenda. And with time running out and his existence in peril, Marcel must fight to the finish, or die a bug.

My Opinion

The book follows Marcel, a young boy of 15, as he slowly transforms into a bug. It follows his adventure as he tries to get back to being human. 

I’d like to describe this book as a coming-of-age type novel where the main character initially starts off as being indecisive and lost and through various hardships/adventures the character grows and develops as a person. 

Coming back to the title - Strange Metamorphosis - seems apt as Marcel does undergo a transformation but not just physically but emotionally/mentally as well.  

The story starts of a bit slow and only really kicks off when Marcel transforms into a tiny person. He is then told by a oak tree that he must eat some royal jelly honey in order to get back to normal size. Along the way, Marcel picks up insect friends who help him on his mission. What I really enjoyed whilst reading the book was the different bugs that appear and their unique character. Monk has done well in creating individual personalities to each bug and my favourite has to be Miss Bea, the honeybee.  The author has a clear affinity towards insects and that’s shown throughout the book.

This book is definitely one to read whilst sitting in your garden on a warm, sunny day, sipping a cool drink. 

'A summer book' - That is what I would label it as.

As for editing goes, I didn’t find any typos or grammatical errors. It's really well written.

At 200 odd pages I would say that the author had definitely got his story length right. Any longer and it would have ran the risk of dragging but by keeping it relatively short the story flowed at the right pace.


I would wholeheartedly recommend Strange Metamorphosis to those who enjoyed ‘James And The Giant Peach’ and the film, ‘A Bug's Life’.

My rating out of 10 stars:

7 stars - A good family book to read whilst relaxing in your garden.

Buy it here: