Archives for posts with tag: dragons

Hi all:

As you know apart from writing and translating (when I have time!) I read books and review in a variety of places. And every so often I bring them here for your information. Today I have a varied selection. See if you find something of interest:

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly. Non-stop action and dragons in China.

Thanks to Net Galley I got a pre-release copy of this novel. It’s still in pre-order, so you can read about it before it comes out.

The Great Zoo of China is a good romp, a fabulous ride and a fast-paced adventure/thriller book. You have to be prepared to suspend disbelief and to not mind if situations are stretched a bit far, but if you are happy to do that…you’ll have a fun read.

The book reminded me of Jurassic Park and reading the interview with the author at the end (that I recommend to readers and writers alike) I was not surprised to discover it was one of his favourite books.  The main differences are the setting and the creatures. If Jurassic Park could be seen as a criticism of capitalism’s lack of scruples, one has to wonder, what would be crueller and hungrier, capitalism run amok or communism desperate to become the biggest power by hijacking the world’s attention? While you might have your own opinion on how likely a scenario this is, the possible reasons provided as background don’t interfere greatly with the enjoyment of the story, unless you take them too seriously.

The Great Zoo of China (hardback cover)

The Great Zoo of China (hardback cover)

The similarities with Jurassic Park go from the pseudo-scientific details (although this book’s premise is more fanciful if you like myths and dragons you’ll enjoy the thought), to the size of the creatures, little children, and families, the action-packed episodes and our wondering who (if anybody) will make it out live.

I liked the female hero although we get but a few glimpses of her previous life and there is little psychological depth, but she has guts aplenty. It’s easy to root for her.

To begin with, the book made me think of a huge action movie, later of an adventure computer game where the main character is always looking for a new weapon to fight the big menace (here really enormous). It also reminded me of horror movies with the scary monster who refuses to die and always keeps coming at you. And of the old movies by instalments where you would go from one nail-biting cliff-hanger to the next without time to catch your breath.

The book is a quick and easy read and a page turner. It made me very aware that there are only so many ways one can say big, huge, enormous…

If you’ve read many books in this genre I don’t think it will break new ground or be utterly surprising but it achieves its aims successfully and it is big. If you want escapism, a read that will make you jump and keep you entertained, this novel more than fits the bill.

This is the pre-order link:

The Serpent Papers by Jessica Cornwell

The Serpent Papers by Jessica Cornwell

The Serpent Papers by Jessica Cornwell. Alchemy, codices and witches in Barcelona

I requested a free copy of this novel from Net Galley when I read the description and saw this was a book about a quest for knowledge, the search for an old manuscript, and the action took place in part in Barcelona. Being from Barcelona and having loved books and reading all my life, it was difficult to resist.

The Serpent Papers is the story of the search for an old illuminated manuscript (a palimpsest to be precise) that has been hidden for years to prevent its destruction. The links of this manuscript with alchemy, an enigmatic figure (Rex Illuminatus confused  at times with the historical figure of Ramon Llull), immortality, witches, and women’s murders make for a complex story. At the heart of the novel there’s a scholar/detective/expert, Anna Verco, who might or might not have some paranormal powers (that might instead be due to organic reasons). Like in many of these books, the search for meaning also becomes an inquiry into the main character and what she stands for.

Cornwell (granddaughter of John le Carré) builds up a complex structure to tell her story. Letters from different periods, accounts of previous attempts at investigating Rex Illuminatus by other experts, interviews of people who knew the victims, dreams and hallucinations…All of them sound and read real, showing a breadth of knowledge and characterization rich and convincing. The language can go from the poetic and lyrical to the mundane and down-to-earth, changing registers with ease.

I loved the little snippets of folk story and legends of the city of Barcelona, the descriptions of the landscape of the island of Mallorca, and the challenges the story poses. It is not an easy read and it can be demanding, both of one’s attention and also of knowledge and deductive capacities. I wondered if a cast of characters for the different eras with some brief descriptions might not make the reading experience easier.

Men using their power and violence to silence women, women being cast as witches as a way of shutting them up, and centuries of attempts at keeping secrets under wraps are not new ideas (at times it made me think of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist although the novel is more complex) but that does not detract from a solid novel that I kept imagining in a big screen near us. I can see actresses fighting over the main character and Barcelona and Mallorca looking very handsome indeed in the adaptation.

I understand this is the first in an ‘alchemical thriller’ trilogy. The appeal and the pull on the imagination of the subject would keep readers coming back for more. Readers who like books about intrigues in a historical setting and with conspiracy theory backgrounds will enjoy it, although I suspect it might be slightly more demanding than previous titles that have become very popular.

In a separate note, I wasn’t sure about the Catalan sentences. There were a number of typos and I couldn’t work out if it was phonetically recorded rather than intended as orthographically correct. More consistency in that aspect would have made the book more seamless for me (that would not be a problem for people not familiar with Catalan).

Just in case you want to check what others have said, here is the Guardian:

Here the link to the actual book:


Alex Haley's Roots. An Author's Odyssey by Adam Henig

Alex Haley’s Roots. An Author’s Odyssey by Adam Henig

Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey by Adam Henig. Shining some light on the Roots controversy.

This is an informative account of the period of time in Alex Haley’s life following the publication of roots and the TV series but it is not a complete conventional biography. Although it does not delve deep into the author’s motives (it is not a deep psychological portrait), it does a great job of reviewing existing sources and even on occasions adding new material from interviews. I was aware of some of the controversy surrounding ‘Roots’ but not of the evidence and details that unfolded. This is a must for people interested in Roots and Haley, and considering its length, it offers a good summary of the sources. I’d love to see and read more of the extensive sources the author explored to produce this work, as there seems to exist much untapped potential.

A well-written and compelling account of a fascinating work (however we might choose to define it) that changed people’s perception of African-American history and stories.

As an author, I also enjoyed the collection of blogs chartering the journey of Adam Henig to, first research, and finally self-publish the book. I hope more books will follow.

Thanks to all the authors for their books and special thanks to all of you for reading. Please, like, comment, share, CLICK and above all, keep reading!

Hi all:

As you know on Fridays I like to bring you guest authors and/or new books. Today I do a bit of both. I’ve met Kathy Rollinson (K.J.Rollinson) through social media and realised she’s another author who is not constrained by genres or fashions, and whose muse takes her high and low.

Here I leave you what her Amazon page tells about her and then a list of her books. You’ll see there’s plenty where to choose from.

Author K.J. Rollinson

Author K.J. Rollinson

K J Rollinson born in Salford, Lancs. Published first book ‘Fallyn and the Dragons’ 2012. A trilogy – the second book, ‘Fallyn in the Forbidden Land’ was published June,2013. The third book, ‘Fallyn and the Sea Dragons’ was published in April 2014. They are fantasy books for any one who is a kid at heart, and enjoys reading about dragons. Because I think George and the Dragon gave dragons a bad press, most of my dragons are ‘goodies’, although, inevitably, there are some evil ones as well.

In complete contrast I have published on Amazon Kindle, ‘The Rode to Justice’ (John Rode, 1st grade detective, murder stories). The main protagonist, John Rode, has a droll sense of humour, into Shakespeare, and his sense of justice is sometimes in conflict with the law. In one of the stories he quotes ‘This is a Court of Law young man, not a Court of Justice.’

One of the writing groups I belong to Wordplay Writers’ Forum, Spain, has won the anthology award for their book ‘Shorts for Autumn’, awarded by the Writing Magazine, published in the UK, with worldwide distribution. I have three stories in the book.

If you are interested in learning more about my books and/or Wordplay Writers’ Forum visit my website at kjrollinson/author/

I now live on the Costa Blanca, Spain. Interests when I am not busy typing – golf, swimming, line dancing, quizzes, and generally enjoying life in the sun.

Belong to various writing groups and enjoy mixing with people with imaginative minds.

Fallyn and the Dragons by K.J. Rollinson

Fallyn and the Dragons by K.J. Rollinson

Fallyn and the Dragons (The Fallyn Trilogy Book 1)

Do you remember your dreams? Well Allan and his three friends remember theirs. They are transported to a dream world where dragons are their steeds. Come! Fly with them on their magical adventures when they meet a shapeshifter, Solo the abandoned dragon, together with Drablo, who bumbles, belches and burps his way along, and little Dracito, the smallest of the dragons. This book is suitable for anyone who enjoys an exciting fantasy adventure.

Fallyn in the Forbidden Land by K. J. Rollinson

Fallyn in the Forbidden Land by K. J. Rollinson

Fallyn in the Forbidden Land (The Fallyn Trilogy Book 2)

Do you remember your dreams? Do you wonder what it would be like to live in your dream world?
Well, Allan knows what it’s like. What’s more amazing is that his twin sister, Eileen, and their two closest friends, Martin and Carla follow him into the dream world.
Come! Fly with dragons as they glide and swoop with Fallyn and friends, in this second book in the exciting Fallyn trilogy.
In the medieval dream world, on the Island of Nashta, the friends are Lord Fallyn, Lady Eila, Lord Merin, and Lady Kalla. The problems in their real world often reflect those they face in the dream world. They use teamwork to overcome the difficulties encountered in both worlds.
Dragons have had a raw deal throughout history, seen as enemies that need to be destroyed – not so in Nashta. There you find displays of affection, kindness, strong, distinctive, loyal dragons, showing courage and humour. There are evil dragons too who have to be challenged.
The book is not merely about how good triumphs over evil. The four friends, through the course of their adventures, grow closer and the sub-plots of romance between the four main characters provide added intrigue. They grow in maturity as they deal with their emotions.
Fallyn and company meet fascinating characters, including a mysterious race of little people called Chougans and their dragons. They learn to play their exciting game of Chouga.

Are the Chougans responsible for the band of red dragons attacking Nashta? Or are the dragons led by Prince Bato, banished to the Forbidden Land. Could Bato be Colin Bates, Allan’s archenemy in the real world?
In this fascinating, fast-moving book, all is revealed, and the interweaving of the two worlds produces a magical adventure.

Fallyn and the Sea Dragons by K. J. Rollinson

Fallyn and the Sea Dragons by K. J. Rollinson

Fallyn and the Sea Dragons (The Fallyn Trilogy Book 3)

This third book of the ‘Fallyn’ trilogy continues the adventures of Allan/Fallyn, his twin sister Eileen/Eila, his girlfriend Carla/Kalla and their friend Martin/Merin, as once more they enter their medieval dream world on the Island of Nashta.

At first, Carla ventures into the dream world on her. She receives a plea from her dream mother Anala when three of the Chougans are missing. It is time for Allan and friends to enter their dream world to find them.

They meet Captain Black Bert a charismatic, handsome pirate captain, who has morals of sorts; he boasts he only robs ships that are enemies of his country.

When the pirate ship is wrecked on Guano Island, four sea dragons rescue the three Chougans and the pirate chief. The pirate crew meet Prince Bato and his henchman, Andralo, banished to the island following another thwarted attempt to overthrow his younger brother King Rudri.

Has Prince Bato changed? His evil rages seem more controlled. On the other hand, is he just biding his time and scheming to escape from the island?

The plot again moves between the real and dream worlds. Colin Bates, Allan’s archenemy is in prison, but is allowed to go on holiday to Pembrokeshire, Wales, at the same time as Allan and friends are going to the same area. Their paths cross when Bates escapes to Ireland – or does he?

Allan and Martin find their sub-aqua training in the real world an asset in the dream world. They have to dream to their subconscious personas to ‘invent’ a diving bell and other diving equipment so they can find the lost Chougans. Fallyn and Merin also have to take careful warning of Kalla’s vision when she foresees ‘tangled arms waiting to ensnare,’ as they enter the mysterious underwater world.

In an exciting climax, all dilemmas are resolved in both the real world and the dream world, and so we bid farewell to Lord Fallyn and his dragons in this final fantastic fantasy fable!

The Rode to Justice by K. J. Rollinson

The Rode to Justice by K. J. Rollinson

The Rode to Justice

Detective John Rode knows New York like the back of his hand. He also knows that around every street corner is a homicide waiting to happen. When the call comes, Rode and his rookie, Gina Morris, are the ones called for. When murder is the main course, Rode makes sure the perpetrators get their just desserts.

Four stories of murder that will beg you to read more.

I’m sure we’ll have plenty more to come for K.J. Rollinson and I’ll keep you updated.

Thanks to K.J. Rollinson for her books, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know the drill, like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK!

I met Shannon McRoberts through the group of authors ASMSG (I’ve mentioned them quite a few times before). Shannon is a very active member of the group and she’s not only and extremely talented writer but also a gifted visual artist and her wizardry with computer generated images is as legendary as that of her characters.

She’s here to bring us news about her new book Verses of Athine. I know some of Shannon’s work and I can say that her take on mythology is well suited to modern times. Forget about male gods always getting their way, here the females give as good (often better) as they take .

I leave you with her news, her fantastic cover and of course the link to her new book. And some freebies…


Shannon's picture


This book has novellas 1 through 4 in one setting and replaces my original trilogy, which has been retired. These books have had fresh edits to them and are the best they have ever been. If you haven’t read these works since March of 2013 you haven’t read all the new changes. This book helps you gear up for Cursed Bloods which is book 5 in the Daughter of Ares Chronicles; it is due out in 2014. This book is only 5.99 and is less than buying each book individually (even with freebies). If you buy it before 4/15/2013 on SMASHWORDS you can have a 30% off coupon! WJ97T

  • I also have two free short stories on smashwords from the N’Loron Universe and my first novella Athine Verses: The Beginning is free over there all the time now 🙂

Take what you know about mythology and throw it out the window…

Do you have any idea what Zeus, Odin, Pandora’s Box, Atlantis, Machu Picchu, Hera, Nike, Dragons, Vlad, Clones*, and Vampires have in common? Athine does!

The Daughter of Ares Chronicles follows Athine as she uncovers the secrets of her destiny while interacting with key figures from many mythologies. Athine is not your ordinary immortal born goddess. Learn of her mysterious origins, learn why Zeus hates her so much, find out where vampires come from, and learn what really happened to the dragons.

Contains books 1-4 at one incredible price! This allows you to catch up on all the action in preparation for the next book Cursed Bloods (Winter 2014).

*Clones-for a full understanding of this also pick up The Secret of Genetic Corp X.

Links to Verses of Athine:

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to CLICK!

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