Book Review: Balance

A runaway princess. Time-twisting magic. What she doesn’t want? A knight to the rescue.

This month’s book review is on a new fantasy romance called “Balance” by Inghild Okland. This book is Inghlid’s debut novel, an accomplishment in itself, and something fun I found out in her bio is that she is a soil scientist. Coming from a farming family, I found that particular bit of info neat.

In the book, Inghild does a great job building her world of a sprawling desert with the occasional oasis. I also feel that she gave her main character, Vildi, a fun personality. This book was clean in violence, language, and sexuality, and where it’s written in first person, I found it hard to put down.

However, I also came across some things that bothered me about this book. The first is that the pace is quite slow, and the first three chapters were the character living the same day over again (think the movie “Groundhog”). It took a very long time for me to understand the purpose of Vildi’s “Do-Agains,” which pulled me out of the story several times.

Another thing that slowed things down in this book is that most conversations took place over a meal. Now, I get that this happens in real life, but it is one of the most boring ways to deliver dialog, and my editors were quick to point it out in my own books. Instead, I feel the author could have made a more engaging book by having greater amounts of the conversation happen while the character was actually in motion.

Despite the faults of this book, I found myself reading it well into the night and intrigued as the romance between Vildi and her prince grew. It was well-formatted, and I saw no significant issues with the text itself (typos, etc.). However, I would only give this book four stars for the above problems.

This book may not be action-packed (I’m looking at you, Garret), but if you are looking for a sweet, clean romance book for you or your daughter to read, I would highly recommend it.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the newest book review, and if you pick up this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Until next time!

Vanessa

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my social channels on Thursday for the cover reveal of “The Comstock Chronicles, Book 2, The Raider’s Curse.” 

Book Review: Storm Fire

Welcome to the latest book review. This post is one of the highlights of my month and I look forward to sharing great new books with you. Let’s dive in!

Book Blurb:

Would you kill a king to save your people… even if he was your father?

Fourteen-year-old Jaime Pappas expects to live the remainder of his life on the chilly alps of the Air Kingdom. But he doesn’t expect the king’s men to arrive to his farmstead—or burn his brother for treason.

Forced to run, Jaime’s world upends when he discovers a chilling prophecy that will call him to exchange his farmer’s cowl for a crown. Meanwhile, ancient nightmares are returning to the mortal world. Signs abound that the end of times is near. His true enemies might not be who they seem.

Torn between duty and his heart, he will have to decide whether he will learn to raise storms to stop the king…who also happens to be his long-lost father.

Can the young mage rise to liberate his kingdom—even if he must burn with the rest of his family?

Begin your next biggest epic fantasy adventure into a world of complex new lands, political intrigue, dangerous romances, and teenage heroes. Readers who enjoy classic fantasy and have a hunger for epic worldbuilding will love this.

My Take on Storm Fire

My first thought when I picked up Storm Fire from fellow indie author, Jasmine Young, was I love the cover. A cover like this screams epic fantasy and Young did not disappoint. There is a reason this book is a #1 bestseller on Amazon.

The story follows the tragic beginnings of Jaime Ottega as he discovers and harnesses his powers over the elements. It’s set back in an alternate Roman reality and I love the rich detail built into this book. My overall rating for this book is FIVE big stars. Though reader discretion is advised throughout as there is a fair bit of violence.

five yellow stars on blue and pink background
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Pexels.com

(NOTE* I would NOT recommend this book for anyone younger than 14.)

Here is how I rated this book. (The scale is 1 being least and 10 being greatest)

  • Story structure: 9.5
  • Language: 2
  • Violence: 4.5
  • Sexual Content: 4

The Breakdown

Story Structure 9.5: Young does a fantastic job with her world building. It feels rich and vibrant without becoming too heavy with details. I love the way she describes her settings by using multiple senses. The story pulls you in immediately as Jaime is forced to watch events unfold in his town, ultimately launching him on his journey to save his country. The only reason this didn’t get a ten is because there are a few instances where I had to reread a passage to understand the situation. Otherwise, this was a gripping tale that did not allow for skipping pages.

Sexual Content: 4. It is insinuated that a man rapes another man’s wife, but we get no details here. Only that her wrists are bruised the next day and they find out she is carrying the man’s child.

Violence: 4.5. This is epic fantasy. Blood and battles will be part of the narrative, but I wouldn’t say it was overdone. However, there were some sections that made me seriously cringe.

Language: 2.5. Very little was found in the way of swearing. Mostly threats made by other characters and a constant reference to “the gods.”

Did you enjoy this review? Let me know by liking this post or leaving a comment. Also if you pick up the book I’d love to hear you

BOOK NEWS!

The second installment of the Comstock Chronicles is off to the editor and will be back in my hands come late March. Concepts for the cover are coming in and I hope to be able to share with you the new cover soon! This book is scheduled to be released in June of 2022.

Book Review – The Kingdom of Lies

I had the pleasure of connecting with author, Megan Lynn Rose, back in December of 2021, who asked if I would read and review her book. I was elated to help a fellow fantasy author, especially with her debute novel.

When I read a book, I break it down into four categories. First is the overall story structure. Second is strong language. Third is violence, and finally, sexual content.

My overall impressions were this was a well-written book. The cover was beautiful, and I love the hint of magic from the main character. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes to read fantasy romance with that ever-endearing love triangle, but here is my breakdown. 

(NOTE* If you’re looking for a book for your child, please read it first to make sure you are ok with the level of morality.)

Here is how I rated this book. (The scale is 1 being least and 10 being greatest)

  • Story structure: 8.5
  • Language: 2
  • Violence: 2
  • Sexual Content: 3

The story was a great emotional read. I binge-read half of it in one night when I needed to forget about frozen water pipes bursting in our barn. A few things that threw me off were that several elements were from the modern era and not the typical medieval framework we see in princess novels. References to Lake Michigan and Chicago also threw me off a few times because I wasn’t sure if we were talking about the land of the United States or if we were still in the fantasy land. However, the drive behind the characters’ actions was easy to follow. It helped the reader get behind them as they fought for what they wanted.

The language was fairly mild. There were a few instances of swear words, but minimal.

The violence was likewise mild. Things are kept light in this regard.

The sexual content got a higher rating because of the references to sex between the main characters. This relates to an act in the past, but we don’t get much description. As well as an act the main character wants to do in the future but only with her husband. In my opinion, this gets to be too big of an issue of discussion towards the end. But the resolution of the book is well done.

My overall rating of this book is four stars, and I look forward to reading book 2 when it becomes available.

5 Things Holding You Back From YOUR Dream

When I very first started college, I had no desire to write a book. In fact, I went into Agricultural Business and Advertising. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been reading obsessively since I could first read silently at age eight. But I never had a burning desire to write a book until about three years ago.

I had been working hard at building up my photography portfolio and was getting a lot of inquiries foI had been working hard at building up my photography portfolio and was getting a lot of inquiries for collaborations. I focused mainly on headshots, portraits, and product photography.

However, as I was finishing up editing a client’s photos, I wasn’t happy. So with the money I earned from that job, I purchased an iPad and keyboard attachment and decided to give writing a try for a while. I told myself that I’d pick up my camera professionally again when I got tired of writing.

But the thing is, I’ve been writing now for three years solid. And I’m not tired of it. I feel energized every time I sit down with my pink tablet and start writing another scene. I’ve now published my first book, which you can find here, and am working through the rough draft of book 2.

So how did I find what drives me to get out of bed at 4 a.m. (Yes, you didn’t read wrong. I said 4)? How did I finally let go of all those things that held me, and likely you too, back from doing what I loved most?

Here are 5 things that could be holding you back from YOUR dream.

Being Afraid of Stepping Outside Your Box

Now, if you read that little story up there, you would have noticed, I didn’t go to school to become a writer, far from it. I went to school intending to start my own farm someday and learn how to manage it from the ground up. The only writing classes I ever had in college were a public relations writing course and a journalism class.

Yet, by taking those two classes, I found that I was good at it. I even had my PR professor ask me to sign one of my assignments because he thought I did so well. But I was going to help my husband farm while I did photography as a side business because that’s what I’d always done and always going to do.

But I wasn’t happy. I felt burned out and that I was neglecting my kids. So I decided to take a chance on something new. Something that would allow me to be home with my kids and still support my family. I stopped letting my fear of failure take hold, and I took the leap to what felt like changing my identity.

Being Afraid to Start

Maybe you don’t know where to start and feel stuck. If this is the case, then perhaps the best thing to do is jump in anyway. Anything new is hard but is so often worth it. If you never take that first step, you’ll never know if you actually like it. For all you know, you could be the best, but you’ll never know until you try.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

Louie Lamour

You Don’t Have the Support You Need

Since I have become a writer, and even when I was a photographer, I was astounded at the number of social groups that offer support. Even if no one in your physical space is supportive, you can reach out on Facebook or other locations and instantly get friends. You don’t have to do this alone. 

There are also a plethora of classes and other means to learn the craft you are dying to try.

You Aren’t Accountable to Anyone

This one is huge. We are all great at starting something, but it’s another matter when it comes to finishing. Especially if we’re the only ones involved. Talk to your spouse, your sibling, your parents, your friends. Find someone you can go to who will help keep you on track and check in to make sure you are making progress.

Not Keeping Your Commitments to Yourself

In the Earthspark, one of the biggest themes is “Love, Family, Honor.” The first two are pretty explanatory, but honor is the key here. Do you live your life with integrity? Do you strive to keep every commitment you make with your spouse? Your coworkers? Your friends?

What about yourself? How many times have you tried a diet only to have it fail within a week? Or how many times have you told yourself you were going to learn a foreign language? We are the worst at keeping commitments to ourselves because often no one else knows.

This needs to change. You are important. What you do matters. This was hard to learn as a mom. I always felt like my kids and spouse took priority, but I am important too. If you are going to keep a commitment to anyone, keep it to yourself. Accomplish that dream that’s been living in your back pocket for years.

Let me know what you think of this article. Leave me a comment or reach out to me on my social channels.

About the Author
About the Author

While Fantasy is my primary genre of writing, I feel that we shouldn’t neglect what’s happening in the real world. Which is why my site offers many self-help and motivational articles in addition to news and fun stuff about the Comstock Chronicles. Check them out!