Category: Good vs. Evil

+Blog Book Tour+ Ryder on the Storm by Violet Patterson

Posted Thursday, 6 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Storm Sullivan Saga | Emerald Seer series by Violet Patterson Boxed Set Edition

  • [ The Storm Sullivan Saga | Emerald Seer series ]
  • Book One: Ryder on the Storm
  • Book Two: Light My Fire
  • Book Three: Love Her Madly
  • Book Four: End of the Night
  • Novella: Whiskey, Mystics, and Men

Published ByMad Hatter Ink Press, 20 January 2014 [Omnibus Edition]
Official Author WebsitesBlog | Twitter | Facebook
Converse on Twitter: #EmeraldSeer

Available Formats: E-book, Softcover, & Softcover Omnibus
Page Count: 180 [Ryder on the Storm] | 450 [Omnibus edition]

Acquired Book:

I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Patterson on The Star Chamber Show ahead of electing to sign-up to be a stop on her blog book tour. I had a good feeling about her style as a writer, and I enjoyed her segment enough to request reading “Ryder on the Storm” in exchange for an honest review. “Ryder on the Storm” was originally published on 5 November 2011. I was selected to be on her blog tour by Tomorrow Comes Media, where I received a complimentary copy of the omnibus (print) edition of The Storm Sullivan Saga direct from the author, Violet Patterson. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Initial Thoughts:

I have always appreciated paranormal stories in motion pictures and television which are on the ‘cosy’ side of the genre, which means to say, I oft have to wait years in-between finding a series and/or a film that I can watch! The latest example would be “Ghost Whisperer” which I started to watch in 2012 via syndicated re-airings across two networks during daytime hours on basic cable! To the brink where requesting the series via ILL (inter-library loan) was most fruitious of me! I need to resume where I left off in 2013, which is between Season 2 or 3. The reason I am attracted to a series like Ghost Whisperer is because I love the paranormal elements which are contained within the story-lines but with the heart of a romance woven in for good measure! The dynamic of the lead character’s marriage is quite brilliant and I enjoy seeing where her adventures take her and her husband throughout the series.

To this end, I am always keenly open to seeking out paranormal stories in fiction, whether or not they are romantic in nature, even though I tend to be keen on the romantic side of what is offered! A good case in point is my dearly loved Ghost Harrison series by Heather Graham, which combines ghost-hunting and medium intervention on a deceased’s behalf with characters whose lives are either flawed or at a cross-roads. I am within the opening sequences of the series which has grown since I first picked up Ghost Walk set in New Orleans when I turnt twenty-ten. Shortly thereafter, I discovered the brilliantly delectable Aunt Dimity penned cleverly by Nancy Altherton!

I realise I am undertaking quite a unique spin to the genre, as most readers of paranormal stories like the barometer to be set more akin to horror than cosy, and surely do not flinch as easily as I might! Laughs. However, I think that this is what makes reading such a wonderful experience. There is a bit of something for each of us, and for those like me who want to stay ‘this side’ of hard-boiled whilst walking through a cosy, I can unearth the stories we can enjoy whilst the rest of the world devours the rest!

Author Biography:

Violet PattersonKnown in the convention circuit for her extravagant handmade top hats, Violet Patterson has also romanced her way into the hearts of Urban Fantasy readers with the Emerald Seer Series.   With a cast of Seers, Seraphs, Immortals and more, Violet strives to leave her Midwestern roots behind as she soars to the far reaches of her imagination to compose vibrant stories of action and intrigue, magic and fantasy.  Her current project promises to imbue part of the Emerald’s world with a healthy dose of Steampunk – stay tuned for Immortal Machinations.

Book Synopsis:

Ryder on the Storm by Violet PattersonStorm Sullivan is a Seer from an ancient line forced to return home after the brutal murder of her aunt. But Storm finds she’s inherited more than just the family estate.

Ryder Cohen is an Immortal, a former enforcer commissioned to eradicate the Sullivan line and prevent the rise of the Emerald. But Ryder has come to question his mission and the reasons behind it.

Ryder On the Storm is the first in the Emerald Seer series. An urban fantasy with a supporting cast of Immortals, Seraphs, and Deities this is just the beginning of Storm’s journey.

The Emerald Seer saga continues with rebirth in LIGHT MY FIRE and intensifies with an uncovered past in LOVE HER MADLY. Still craving more Emerald Seer action? Check out WHISKEY, MYSTICS, and MEN to discover Angeline’s secrets.

An Introduction into Storm Sullivan:

The gift of sight is one paranormal gift that I am quite familiar with as it was the same gift given to Johnny Smith from “The Dead Zone” tv series based on Stephen King’s novel. A novel I have not yet read and a series which changed my perception of what constitutes a King novel and story. The gift of second sight is one gift I always felt might be one of the hardest to gather one’s wits about oneself as you’re constantly struggling against the backflow of other people’s lives and emotions contained therein. You get only pieces of reality as it streams through your own mind’s eye and you have to process what you’re seeing and why those fragments are as important as they are. Storm Sullivan walks off the page as a curiously strong yet conflicted character who is confident in her gift, but perhaps not as confident in where her gift leads her. Her emotional world is a bit demurred and off-page, as she’s credited as being unemotional rather than completely self-centered. I oft wondered if for such a gift to work fully, if part of your other senses have to take a bit of a hit and defer to the one sense that is coming out of you at such a strong force? You can only be pulled so far in different directions before the body and brain will make the choice to save itself in the long-term.

The book cover for the omnibus edition (as featured above) is quite exquisite as it pierces your attention by seeing Storm’s emerald eye ancestry as well as (in my opinion) a rather poignant slice of suspense in seeing the lightning crackling across the pitch black night’s sky! I love books which taunt a piece of their stories ahead of being picked up to be read! I’d presume then, the lightning is an exclamation of how sight is a jolting force in Storm’s life as electricity is always super-charged and strikes without warning. Such then, I’d presume would be how the gift of sight would feel to the receiver!

Ryder on the other hand appears to be both ally and foe in regards to Storm, as he is introduced as a self-educated and self-assured immortal who’d rather go his own way than to fill a need or calling. Except to say, he has a strong sense of right and wrong, as well as a keen awareness that knowledge can benefit everyone who chooses to acknowledge the truth it sheds into light.

My Review of Ryder on the Storm:

The unique tone of the novel is set against the volley of moving and shifting between the lifepath of Storm and Ryder directly as they are living their days. I like the interchanging scenery and scope of the story being leveled between two protagonists who can handle the spotlight as much as share it equally. Time loops and bends between their worlds, and yet, their each living in the same dimensional space, with a few alterations therein. Ryder is presented as an Immortal Seer Slayer and Storm is the Seer who comes from a lineage of powerful women who are gifted with sight. The opposite nature of their trades, and the willingness Patterson has in placing them in each others path reminded me of Buffy and Angel outright. Generally speaking, a vampire slayer would not normally be woefully and romantically enticed nor entwined with a vampire! I loved the interplay of the previous paranormal character’s romantic arc and seeing how this story is aligning for Storm & Ryder to cross-sect gave me a renewed hope towards paranormal romance as a genre worth pursuing!

Whilst Storm’s story begins at the tragic death of her Aunt Trin, I felt a softening of the tragedy by Storm’s own perseverance to uncover the truth of her Aunt’s murder. Rather than be consumed fully by the eclipse of sorrow, she’s a woman who thrives on purpose. The inclusion of going through her Aunt’s house and belongings as her inheritance takes effect was reminiscent of how each of us looks for a bit of normalcy after the death of a loved one. Time always feels suspended a bit after a person dies, as though parts of their essence is still with us and not gone at the very same time. Whilst reading over the initial aftermath of Aunt Trin’s passing I brought back to mind what the Hollowell sisters went through on Charmed. As the Hollowells sister’s powers were bound to a certain extent as well.

Her Aunt’s death gives Storm a window into her life she had not yet come to bring into full focus. Her childhood friends who seemed benign and kind, were suddenly re-presented as her guardians. Known as Seraphs, I will admit I had not yet come into contact with this creature previously, but the fact they had delicate wings made me smile! I had a feeling they might be Angelic in nature due to their ability to sense when their charges are in danger and/or in need of protection. As much as the heated and rather intense attraction that Storm starts to feel for Ryder challenges everything she had previously conceived as her ‘normal’ setting in relating to the opposite sex. This is one version of instant attraction that is magnified by two fates being entwined to each other by a force yet revealed.

The firestorm that ignites into action soon thereafter is what starts to bring Storm and Ryder together, which at first felt serendipitous but later proved to be a bit more destined. There is a crossing of a path in their histories where neither can discern nor deny they are meant to be conjoined. Interspersed into their encounters are other paranormal characters shifting and moving around the center story. I admit I am out of my depth to understand the components of their histories, outside of rudimentary knowledge about werewolves and a baseline general scope for immortal races. (here I refer to the immortal race explored in “Highlander”) What captured my attention though is the conspiracy angle of what was driving the fixation on Storm Sullivan as far as her would-be attackers as well as the disillusion about who she is and what she is in the grand scheme of things. The intricacies of how Patterson chooses to reveal the labyrinth maze of plot allows even the novice reader of this genre to pick up on the energy that is pulsing throughout the text! It’s a riveting adventure underscored by the mystery of identity and destiny, of which I cannot wait to continue forward in the accompanying sequel Light My Fire!

Paranormal Romance or PNR as a genre:

I am always thankful when I stumble across a new genre to explore because it allows me to flex my literary wings and see if I can alight in a new setting, world, and timescape that is completely different from the regular realms I currently read regularly. I wasn’t quite sure what elements create the paranormal romance experience which is why I went in a bit blind into reading Ryder on the Storm, except to say I did pick up on the subtlety of seeing the irony held within the title! By conferring with articles related on the subject (as seen below my review), I discovered that some of my own experiences mentioned here are key examples of the evolution of the genre itself! This encouraged me a bit that perhaps I’ve been dancing around the genre without really knowing that I was involved with the steps! There are classic examples of phenom related to this genre that I bowed out of becoming attached too as well: Twilight for instance only served as a plausible decoy of a hiatus from Nanowrimo 2008 at a point in time where I needed a two-hour break away from my characters & computer! Sookie Stackhouse is at the opposite end of the spectrum from where I like to wander as well.

There are full-on aspects of this genre that have left me a bit puzzled whilst reading Ryder on the Storm, as I felt as though I was in the middle of a story arc already known and fleshed out. This is one aspect of trying a new genre which backfires a bit on you as a reader, as you do not have a point of reference to guide you as you make your way through. There is a whole undercurrent back-story I am sure to seraphs, immortals, and other worldly additions that fell a bit short on me. This did not present an issue as far as getting into the heart of what drove Storm and Ryder, but it did take me out of the belly of the story a bit as my mind tried to sort through a faded memory from my years watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Charmed, and even The X-Files. Nothing pulled to mind. The one element I struggled to remember the most is ‘why a person’s sense of smell’ is deeply important to a Seer & Immortal? Its like scratching at your memory and never being able to pull forward what you already knew previously!

I am thus intrigued and I want to continue to seek out novels which will continue to formulate my introduction. I’d be keen to know which authors and novels stand out in my readers minds as a point of reference of knowing where to go next? Especially taking into account my preferences to read the cosier stories verse the more intensely graphic? As much as I want to continue forward and read the further chronicles of Storm Sullivan which I now have on hand!

Possible next reads: (as searched through my library & ILL catalogues)

[all of which I have come across previously but never attached to this genre!]

  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness
  • Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin*
  • The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (previously mentioned)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern*+
  • The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley
  • The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
  • The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore
  • M.J. Rose’s Reincarnationist series is being read for an upcoming review in May
  • {*} already in the hold queue at the library; {*+} itching to read!
  • {sidenote:} The Ghost Harrison & Aunt Dimity series are considered paranormal romance!
  • I clearly have a penchant for ghost-centered stories!

Fly in the Ointment:

By now, I think I have established that I always look for several Book Turn-Offs which run the gambit of what I disclosed in my Review Policy to what I wrote in the meme. Patterson doesn’t use vulgarity to carry the story, but rather inserts the occasional colourful word here or there to empathise a strong emotional conviction and/or reaction of one of the characters, and I am thankful to her for this as it shows that she doesn’t lean on vulgarity as a tool but rather as an exclamation of piercing a point. Having said that, I still find my eyebrows raising when certain explicit words are used irregardless of the context and mirth of usage. Which is why I am including this notice on my review in case a reader would prefer to avoid reading these expletives completely. I personally was not as offended due to the length of story you can read before arriving at a word that irks rather than soothes. In an ideal world, I’d never come across vulgar words in literature but that isn’t going to happen because even in classical literature strong language is generally favoured.

A Note on the Omnibus Edition:

I haven’t read a POD or print edition straight-off of a Kindle book series previously, so I am not sure if the formatting for The Storm Sullivan Saga is a regular occurrence or if it is limited to this edition. I thought at first I might have trouble adapting to the lack of page numbers and paragraph structures that I am used too in regular print editions of novels, however, it’s the words within the context of the story which pulled me into the world of Storm and Ryder which allowed me to suspend what I normally find inside of a book! So much so, that it reminded me a bit about watching foreign language motion pictures. After awhile, your mind gives you the illusion that your watching a film in English when in full effect your listening to Italian (“Life is Beautiful”) or Mandarin (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”). My mind has always given me the freedom to encourage my heart to soak into a story even if the regular format of finding the story is altered. Whilst watching both motion pictures listed in this paragraph, I could have sworn the characters were speaking English towards the ending chapters of their films! I heard the story by heart you see, and I never realised how quickly I had to read the subtitles in order to keep up with the dialogue of the action!

In this way, the beauty inside The Storm Sullivan Saga omnibus edition (boxed set – definition of the author) is that you get to become entreated into one parapsychologically gifted woman’s life as though you entered through a portal slipped to you inside her private journal! The mere fact I am reading a previously released Kindle e-book novel warms my little bookish soul’s heart because it proves that in due course all books are available for all audiences; including those of us who cannot read on a ‘screen’ and must await a print edition!


{Virtual Road Map for “The Storm Sullivan Saga” Blog Tour}

Violet Patterson Tour via Tomorrow Comes Media

Be sure to catch the next two installments of this showcase on JLAS:
Jorie interviews Ms. Patterson on the last day of the tour: 9 March,

and Ms. Patterson shares a Guest Post on Friday 7 March!

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:
Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Hoston my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings

{SOURCES: The Storm Sullivan Saga & Ryders on the Storm cover art, book synopsis, Violet Patterson photograph & biography provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Post dividers were provided by Shabby Blogs, who give bloggers free resources to add personality to their blogs. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Paranormal Romance: here, there, everywhere with the new science fiction – (

Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance – (

Defining Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance: What’s the difference? – (


Posted Thursday, 6 March, 2014 by jorielov in Angel, Blog Tour Host, BlogTalkRadio, Bookish Discussions, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Novel, Familiars, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Go Indie, Good vs. Evil, Immortals, Indie Author, Paranormal Romance, Parapsychological Gifts, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Reading Challenges, Romance Fiction, Seers, Seraphs, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, The Star Chamber Show, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks

+Character Post+ [from] the Leland Dragon series by Jackie Gamber

Posted Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

Character Post from the Leland Dragon series:

Leland Dragon series by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

{a special stop on the “Reclamation” blog tour!}

{ converse via: #LelandDragons & #7thStar }

Book Synopsis of ‘Reclamation’:

The exciting conclusion of the Leland Dragon Series!

Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council.

All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons.

Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined.

Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken.

War is here.

The stakes?

Perhaps the whole world.


I am thrilled to peaches to welcome, Ms. Gamber back to Jorie Loves A Story! She will be sharing a special piece for this stop on the blog tour, which features a portion of a character’s journal from the Leland Dragon series! I am always seeking out ways to bring extra content to my dedicated readers and visitors, whilst participating on blog book tours! In this way, I felt having a guest post from the perspective of a character might be quite enjoyable for all who stop by! If you dropped by during my Seventh Star Press Focus Week &/or whilst I reviewed ‘Redheart‘ previously, you are familiar with my passion for this particular fantasy series steeped in lore and built strongly in a world whose heart endears you to return! I hope this glimpse at Ms. Gamber’s writing will prompt you to read the series that has enchanted me for all these moons since I last visited within the realm of ‘Redheart’!!

{ Character Blog: Gladdis by Jackie Gamber }

Dear Journal:

I considered trying to write this journal entry the way Drell has been teaching me to write in his dragon language, but I don’t know enough words yet to be able to say a whole sentence, let alone spell them all correctly. It’s enough of a challenge just to speak it.

Dragonspeak is full of throat growls and front-of-the-mouth consonants that feel like a waterfall through my teeth, and I wish I was better at it because it’s already so close to singing that I want to add melodies and see what happens then. I heard Drell sing once, or rather hum under his breath. When he noticed me looking at him, though, he stopped and pretended it never happened.

I think there is much more to Drell than he lets on.

Drell is very patient with me, which is a good thing. A kind thing. Because Sela is so very busy with all her dragon council business I hardly see her, and without someone to talk to, I would feel swallowed up by this mountain. By the dragons.

Drell helped me root out some dandelions for Orman this morning. At first, I thought Orman was needing them for potions, or magical ingredients of some sort. But Drell thinks the wizard is just trying to make wine.

I think there is more to Orman Thistleby than he lets on, too, but I don’t dare ask. The man can whither a grape to a raisin with one glare of those gray eyes. I’m always trapped between wanting to get his attention, and hoping he’ll never notice me. He keeps talking about how old he is, how tired and frail he is, but I’ve never seen a star burn so bright. Right inside those gray eyes of his.

I held a stone in my palm last night. One of the little nubs Orman is trying to drench in magic. He’s been stripped of all his crystals and things; we all lost everything when we fled Esra to come to Leland. Orman feels the loss more than the rest of us, I think. He thinks he’s powerless without his stones, but I don’t believe he is. Not really. Because when I held the pebble of amber glass (it had fallen from his desk, I was putting it back), I felt it alive. It pulsed through my hand, into my wrist.

He must be doing something right, to make that stone respond to my touch the way it did. As though it knew I was there, in the room, keeping it company. When I laid it back on Orman’s desk, it stopped shivering, and went to sleep.

I almost spoke, to reassure it I would be back, before I realized what I was doing. Strange though. I could swear that crystal already knew what I was about to say.

One of these days, I would like to ask Orman about it. If I can just face those eyes. Maybe today, since Layce has asked me to ask him if he will meet her under the giant fir.

More tomorrow.


Fun Stuff for Your Blog via{ About the Author }

Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart”, “Sela”, and “Reclamation”, Books one through three of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world-wide web at:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

If this doesn’t prompt one to soak into the Leland Dragon series, I am not sure what would! Laughs. I think when you find yourself over the moon in joy in reading a series, you want to read each new installment as quick as lightning, or at least, this is the place I have reached with Leland Dragons! I am ever so very thankful to Ms. Gamber for creating and sharing this little treasure of a glimpse into Reclamation! I will be posting a review of Reclamation on Friday, 28th of February, so please be sure to drop back to read my observations and thoughts therein! I am delighted beyond joy itself for being able to participate on this blog tour because this is one series that I feel so very strongly attached too! Its one of those series that you discover during your ordinary hours of reading, and become struck by the awe of the world which illuminates into view! You get excited at each turnt of a page and your heart leaps a bit in anxiety to see what is going to occur next! This is what I live for whilst reading one story after another! To discover the stories that never quite leave you, and leave a small impression inside your memory!

Virtual Road Map for “Reclamation” Blog Tour:
Be sure to catch the next installments of this showcase on JLAS:
Jorie reviews “Reclamation” & interviews Ms. Gamber within the week!

Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:
Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Hoston my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “triptych of Leland Dragon series” by Matthew Perry and the tour host badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie submitted a request to host a Character Post as part of the tour and received this special post in response by Ms. Gamber through Stephen Zimmer; for which she is grateful!}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.


Posted Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Character (Guest) Post by Author, Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Supernatural Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, YA Fantasy

+Blog Book Tour+ The Pact by Mitchell S. Karnes

Posted Thursday, 30 January, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Pact by Mitchell S. Karnes

The Pact by Mitchell S. Karnes

Published By:  Black Rose Writing, 22 August 2013

Official Author Website: Site

Converse on Twitter: #iwasbullied, #bullying, #bullied

Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 232

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on “The Pact” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by TLC Book Tours, in which I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Mitchell S. Karnes in exchange for an honest review . I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired To Read:

As foreshadowed on the companion Author Q&A piece on bullying which coincides with this book review, The Pact is a story which appealed to me very much as I was bullied in school since a very young age. In the 80s/90s bullying wasn’t as widely spoken about nor understood. Generally back then, if you were picked on you were told to ‘buck up and take it’ and not be such a silly emotional girl. I am thankful I had my parents to support me and help me avoid the worst of what could have happened by switching me out of schools. I have always been wanting to advocate for social change and social conscience in regards to being bullied, and by featuring this novel on my blog, I am taking the first step towards this goal!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comMitchell S. KarnesAuthor Biography:

Mitchell S. Karnes was born in Kansas and spent his childhood in Illinois. He lives in Franklin, TN with his wife, Natalie, and five of their seven children, where he serves as the Pastor of Walker Baptist Church. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and three Master’s degrees. Mitchell’s first novel, Crossing the Line, made the Southern Writer’s Guild’s “Must Read” list. His short stories include: “When Nothing Else Matters,” “A Family Portrait,” and “Grampa Charlie’s Ring.” He hopes to entertain, challenge, move and teach through each and every story. The Pact is just the beginning…the first book in a four-part series.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Re-visiting School & the Life therein for teens:

The Pact opens innocently enough as the central character who is being bullied is seen going through the motions of his everyday life at school. Paul is targeted from observation in this early stage of the story for being different from his peers; including his exploits in literature which delve into history as he is an avid researcher for a role-playing game he’s keen on. Karnes deftly brings back the joy and the trauma of life within school walls for those who have had to deal with bullies at some point in their lives. The scene is bittersweet and real, by giving both sides of the action supplemented with short back-stories on each of the characters. I appreciate this discovery of who the bullies are as they are bullying Paul, as it opens the door to understand what makes a bully tick.

At the very same time, I appreciated that the main lead character of Scott enters the scene by deftly using defense skills to deflect and defuse the situation before it could grow worse in proportion. I oft wondered myself if self-defense classes might have helped me handle similar situations where the physicality of being bullied was being tested against the skills I clearly lacked in knowledge. I never wanted to study martial arts to instigate a fight, but rather to defend myself when the bullies turnt uglier in their abuse towards physical threats which could escalate without warning.

The insertion of the role-playing game of Warriors & Thieves is quite bang-on and accurate as eighth grade or ninth grade is generally the years in which role-playing enters into the life of teens eager to break out of the droll of school related angst. I even liked how each of the players would choose different approaches within the gameplay itself to assert their own voice into the realm of the game! I also knew that the author might dig a bit deeper into the presumed reality of the game and the actual reality of each individual group who plays the game. Given the fact that each set of gameplay is based on each individual Game Master’s vision for the game, the game itself can take on different queues for each round of simulated action. The balance between good vs. evil and light vs. dark can vary as much as what the general focus of each game is elected to be featuring. As the story moves forward, the interplay of the characters lays a foundation rooted in inspirational fiction as an essay on how to find balance between faith and life as its lived.

My Review of The Pact:

I had a knowing smile on my lips as I began the first chapter of The Pact, as Karnes had a way of travelling me back through time and re-entering my own life on school grounds. Despite the difference in gender from the lead character, there was enough semblance of recognition of an average day at school for me to re-adjust my mind’s eye to endeavour to go back into that hidden world just out of view. I say ‘hidden world’ because life at school isn’t something that you can prepare for nor is it something that you hope it will be. You have to adjust to what comes across your path as you live through the experience. Heavy leaden backpacks, heavy books, your shoulders off-setting the balance and trying to keep in step with your schedule of the day’s classes is all par for course! Such a great lead-in for the story!

Luke might be a war-monger in Warriors & Thieves, but I was curious to seek out what was motivating him to push Chris and Paul out of their comfort zones of reality into the common bloodshed of warfare. There are many ways to accomplish self-confidence and self-advocacy without pushing the envelopes of violence, especially unrelented violence in a game which is usually grounded in skill, maneuvers, and obstacles. Chris on the other hand has a brilliant way of keeping the rules of the game intact by pushing the action of the game forward within the confines of the realm, but lacks the clarity of knowing how to enliven the story of which the world-building is meant to carve out of its niche. Paul is the innocent of the group, learning as he builds confidence through his friendships. Scott comes from playing the game through his father’s advice. Endeavouring to give a bit more of a back-story to each of the characters which gives you a lifeblood to the game eliminating the one dimensional interface. One of my favourite revelations is when Scott shows Paul his hand-drawn map of Canaanshade which he created with his father. The intricacy of the world arc is exactly what all of us hope for in our fantasy realms of reading adventures! Lit alive with creatures and characters you want to know more about.

As the story eases back into the schoolyard drama of sorting out how to find your way on a wrestling team, we start to see a switch in the path the story is leading the reader. At the conclusion of Chapter Five there is a haunting foreshadow which queues in a larger message of the evolving narrative. Whilst we see Scott become a member of the Junior High Wrestling team, we see the underpinnings of his confliction over finding the balance between strength and humility. To know when to assert one’s knowledge of the fight on the mat and when to be humble and yield to your opponent. The chapters in which we see the interaction of the boys on the team lend a good viewing of the complexities all youth have during their growing years especially as they sort out how to be fueled by self-confidence but not clouded by pride.

Intuitively, Karnes keeps a few antidotes of Scott’s life away from the reader’s eyes, so at first the only way to foresee what could happen next is noticing the slight changes in his behaviour and reactions of speech. Then, in Chapter Twenty-Two the character flaw of Scott is pushed into full view and shocked all who discovered his darkest secret of which even he doesn’t fully understand the severity of.

Although I knew the intensity of the subject at hand, the sequent deaths in the story came at quite a shock as did the level of rage. This is a cautionary tale of how sometimes the lines between fiction and reality can become blurred and the true lesson is knowing the signs of when someone can no longer separate the difference of the two.

Inspirational Murmurings of Advice for teens:

What I was keen to see develop is if Scott’s family would embrace how he played the game with his late father’s advice on how to bring out the light in both the fictional realm of Warriors & Thieves as much as in the living realm of teenage life. There is always going to be ignorance for something people fear outright without merit, but if everyone took the time to actually see from the point of view of the teen who is involved, I think it would break down the barriers of communication. To see where they are approaching what they do in their everyday life and worlds, and understanding what motivates their interest, we are a step closer to understanding what is truly right and what is a caution for being wrong. I am never one to advise going against a child’s interest out of fear of what it might involve, but rather advocate for an open line of conversation to engage in the child’s interest and to root out what they are actually into. You always have to believe in your child (son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, etc) first and foremost, and then, a measure of goodwill and willing to accept their interests if they have their heart and mind in the right place.

I also think it’s a good example of how one person’s influence can sway your thoughts away from what you internally already know are true. To be given feedback from a youth minister that contradicts how your own father raised you, I would imagine would weigh most heavily on your heart and mind. I had a measure of hope that this is one thread of the story Karnes would lead Scott to realising the difference between a positive influence and one that is not entirely negative but not entirely positive. I had hoped for him to redefine his belief in his father’s guidance and learn whom to trust now that his father has passed and can no longer offer him advice. This is one thread of the story that faded from view as the chapters took a turn in direction I discuss below in Fly in the Ointment.

I believe that no one should eclipse the methodology of parenting of a child when the parent is taking an active role in their child’s life. Parents who understand and know their child inside and out, know where their heart lies, and where their interests truly are leading them. Even grandparents need to become familiar with their grand-children’s interests and activities, because what might be viewed by outsiders as negative influences might actually be a way for their own grandson/daughter to directly impact positivity into the lives of their friends. At least these were my thoughts until the chapters in the book started to reveal how Luke was having trouble separating fiction from reality. In this instance, the greatest threat to the young lives in the story was Luke’s inability to proper distance himself from his role-playing character as he brought the game into real life where it did not belong to be explored.

Fly in the Ointment: (with a few spoilers)

Despite my champion belief that the story would triumph the bullying behaviour in the story, I was quite mystified as to the level of violence which erupted out of the heart of the central character’s wayward actions. I would have much preferred the central focus of the one event that stemmed directly out of the gameplay of Warriors & Thieves which took place at Luke’s grandparent’s house rather than the climax at the railroad bridge. One whole section felt a bit forced to me which is when Scott’s grandmother fervently urges her husband to ‘jump the rails’ ahead of the oncoming train. I didn’t foresee this anywhere in the story as behaviour befit his grandparents and the sequencing of their deaths had heavy emotional impact but could have been avoided completely.

I believe this is an after-school special which went too far to prove the point on behalf of bullying and what leads ordinary events to escalate to violence. If there had been a disclaimer in the beginning stating that this was a story based on living events where the characters names were changed, I might have gone so far as to say this was one isolated incident went horridly wrong. Yet, there are little nudges of discourse in the chapters themselves, where Scott takes on the role of being a bully rather than a bully’s guardian. In real life this can happen, as those who are tormented can oft times think the best course to deal with their attackers is to turn the tables. However, unlike in real life, a reader is privy to the character’s thoughts and thus, their motivations of a change in outward behaviour. This line of personality change in Scott is never actually addressed in a forthright manner but rather eluded too instead.

Also, what surprised me more than anything is the complete lack of common sense on behalf of all the boys involved, to where they would not confide in anyone: not a parent, a teacher, or a peer adviser. In my own life, if I ever saw any measure of extreme bullying coming towards me, I always deferred first to a faculty member but post haste confided in my parents as soon as I was off school grounds. I knew better than to attempt to deflect the worst threats of which are not always idly spewed by those who choose to cause harm to others. If the story is to serve as a lesson and guide to those who are being bullied, wouldn’t it have been better to write the story with a resolving ending of a better way of addressing the core issue!? And, why end the entire book on a loosely conceived cliffhanger, eluding to a larger story than what was presented?!

I am conflicted to say the least after reading this story in full. I only hope that my review of the book and of the posting of the Q&A session with the author will spark a measure of a response in both comment sections to where the dialogue can become open to all who want to weigh in on this topic which affects all of us. (whether indirectly or directly)

Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing:

The Pact remains true to form what teens regularly face in the fear of their next encounters with those who bully them. The incidents revealed inside do not shock me as they might some who read the story for the first time on just how far young boys will go to torment someone they feel they have the right to enforce power over. I am thankful that my own history of bullying was limited more to verbal insults (which carried with it a hearty dose of emotional anguish) and minor physical altercations which are too minor to mention in light of what occurs in the novel. I am not sure what originally instigated the behaviour of adolescents and college-aged co-eds to haze their fellow students and athletes.

As the story reveals, each of the key bullies of the story: Joe, Sammy, and Mark each have troubles in their own life and homes which starts to unravel what motivates them to torment Scott and Paul. Yet none of their actions would circumvent the actions of Luke, who like Scott is the greatest threat in the story. After concluding your reading of my book review of The Pact please take the time to read:

the first half of this showcase,

my Author Q&A on bullying with Mitchell S. Karnes!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

The “The Pact” Virtual Book Tour Roadmap:

  1. 28 January: Review @ Tiffany’s Bookshelf
  2. 30 January: Author Q&A & Review @ Jorie Loves a Story
  3.  3 February: Review @ Patricia’s Wisdom
  4. 5 February:  Review @ You Can Read Me Anything
  5. 10 February: Review @ Suko’s Notebook
  6. 10 February: Author Q&A @ YA Reads
  7. 12 February: Review @ Maureen’s Musings
  8. 17 February: Review @ Seaside Book Nook
  9. 18 February: Review @ The Things You Can Read
  10. 19 February: Review @ Shelf Full of Books
  11. 20 February: ReviewSavings in Seconds

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

This blog tour is courtesy of:

TLC Book Tours | Tour HostThe Pact
by Mitchell S. Karnes
Source: Author via TLC Book Tours

Genres: Young Adult Fiction, YA Fantasy, YA Urban Fantasy

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: The Dragon's Pawn

Published by Black Rose Writing

on 22 August, 2013

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 232

Be sure to scope out my Bookish Upcoming Events to mark your calendars!!

{SOURCES:  Mitchell S. Karnes photograph and biography, The Pact book cover and the logo badge for TLC Book Tours were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.


Posted Thursday, 30 January, 2014 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Bullies and the Bullied, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Novel, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Gaming, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, Literature for Boys, Middle Grade Novel, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Role Playing Games, School Life & Situations, Sports and Jocks, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, TLC Book Tours, Transfer Student at School, Wrestling, Young Adult Fiction