Review: Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Senlin, a mild-mannered school teacher, is drawn to the Tower of Babel by the grandiose promises of a guidebook. The ancient and immense Tower seems the perfect destination for a honeymoon. But soon after arriving, Senlin loses his young wife, Marya, in the crowd.

Senlin’s search for Marya carries him through slums and theaters, prisons and ballrooms. He must survive betrayal, assassination, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find Marya, Senlin will have to do more than survive. This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.
4 out of 5 stars
Senlin Ascends presents a distinct creation that sets it apart. The Tower of Babel is truly a wonder of the world, with elaborate settings and diverse culture. Thomas Senlin has high expectations of what he'll encounter within, but those lofty ideals are quickly doused with the cynical reality he finds. Like many tourist traps, the Tower is romanticized by those who've never been there, but a brutal existence hovers around every corner.

Senlin's reserved demeanor is charming in a refreshing way. The steady pacing throughout the book reflects his steady intellect. This creative story engages the mind and challenges the reader to puzzle out who can be trusted, and who can be saved.

You can find it here on Amazon, or on Goodreads!

Review: I Was A Teenage Weredeer by C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus

Jane Doe is a weredeer, the least-threatening shapechanger species in the world. Blessed with the ability to turn furry at will and psychically read objects, Jane has done her best to live a normal life working as a waitress at the Deerlightful Diner. She has big dreams of escaping life in the supernatural-filled town of Bright Falls, Michigan, and her eighteenth birthday promises the beginning of her teenage dreams coming true.

Unfortunately, her birthday is ruined by the sudden murder of her best friend's sister in an apparent occult killing. Oh, and her brother is the primary suspect. Allying with an eccentric FBI agent, the local crime lord, and a snarky werecrow, Jane has her work cut out for her in turning her big day around.

Thankfully, she's game.
4 out of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in an Amazon giveaway and was deerlighted. This is my first leap into the work of C.T. Phipps.

Many types of werecreatures live openly in this world, and they operate within a certain hierarchy, with werewolves being at the top. As Jane Doe uncovers details of her town's past, she must face her own prejudices about other shapeshifters and trample her assumptions about good and evil.

Allow me to fawn over the character development, as it seems to be a strength here. Jane is great! A young woman, resentful of her dependence on her parents, but not quite ready to hoof it on her own. She finds herself on an unexpected hunt when her brother is accused of murder, and suddenly she has way more riding on her shoulders than she feels ready for. Her snarky attitude shows she's willing to buck the system, and there are enough pop culture references to assure us she's a proper geek.

The cast is filled with a wide range of characters, with interesting backgrounds that are gradually revealed as the case unfolds. I would have liked to have seen Jane's connections to some of them deepen. She's a bit awkward with expressing emotion and doesn't always follow her hart's desire, but we do get a sense of more to come.

The pace plateaued for awhile just when I wanted it to pick up, but overall this is a fun read. The story is definitely YA in nature, reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal detective stories and, of course, puns. (Note: You don't have to admit to enjoying the puns.)

You can find it here on Amazon, or on Goodreads!

Here I Go, Expanding to New Interests

While I've still been active on Facebook, the Kreative Joose blog has sadly suffered neglect. The truth is, I've become immersed in the world of fantasy indie authors. Managing the marketing and publicity for Jesse Teller's books is a fun, rewarding experience that takes a lot of my free time.

I've struggled with whether to keep this blog going, or to abandon it entirely. I started it as a hobby when I realized how much I enjoy encouraging creatives, be it art, design, writing, or other ventures. This realization was a direct result of the time and energy I had spent encouraging my husband, Jesse. And as I invested more time in his endeavors, I saw it was pulling me away from Kreative Joose.

Then I remembered his work was the inspiration for this blog in the first place. So, I'm going to meld the two.

Kreative Joose will keep it's name, but the focus will be more heavily on writing. Fantasy and self-publishing topics will be regular content. I'll feature a variety of authors, including reviews of books I'm reading. This is a great way for me to keep this blogging hobby going as it reflects my evolving creative support and interests.