Seasons of Imagination by Trent P. McDonald

The author sent me an ARC of this book (pdf format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Amazon)

Trent P. McDonald’s “Seasons of Imagination” contains an eclectic mix of stories covering many places, times and even different genre, yet they all hold one thing in common, they are all about people.

Be they silly, serious or speculative, all of the stories are about us.

What makes us tick? Why do we say the things we do? Why do we react as we do?

So whether it seems the stories are exploring outer or inner space, in reality they’re always exploring the human space.

Here is an invitation to open the page and come with me to explore the Seasons of Imagination.

 

Genre(s): Kindle eBooks
> Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > Single Authors
> Teen & Young Adult
Books
> Literature & Fiction > Short Stories & Anthologies > Short Stories
Series: n.a.
Length: 267 pages
Release date: 2017-01-20

 

Teaser


I left the apartment. I was about to knock on Mr. Smith’s door when I heard him tell me to come in.

He was sitting at the table, his face ashen. He looked so much older, like he had aged 10 years in just a few hours.

“Are you alright, Mr. Smith?” I asked.

“Time is sitting heavy on me today,” he said. “Perhaps you are right. What does it matter if I’m here or not? You are the only person who knows I exist. The landlord has never seen may face. That picture and you, that’s all there is. I made sure the negatives and all copies were destroyed ages ago. When I burn it, I will be gone. …


My Opinion

This anthology comprises 36 different stories, taking you on thirty-six very different trips; some will make you happy, some will make you sad, others will make you wonder. There is one thing that they all have in common: They are unforgettable. I cannot tell you more about this anthology as it would spoil the fun of reading it yourself. Before reading the stories, please enjoy the awesome Introduction.

With Seasons of Imagination, Trent P. McDonald presents us with thirty-six little gifts. Each story is skilfully elaborated, has its own great flow. Ernest Hemingway once stated “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” Trent P. McDonald shows this masterly with every story – he created living people instead of mere characters. I was drawn into each story right away – very close to the protagonists. I could easily envision the characters and locations. I had a great time reading Seasons of Imagination. It is a very enjoyable read.

This is for you if you like a broad variety of stories on people, very likeable characters to cheer on their thrilling trip, surprises and food for thought – all packed in memorable short stories.

This is a book to read again. Highly recommended!

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Depending on the story.
Pace Steady
POV First/third person – past tense. Depending on the story.
Language :mrgreen: – 😳 Depending on the story.
Violence :mrgreen: – 😳 Depending on the story.
Sexual content :mrgreen:

 

About the author

I never decided what I wanted to do when I grew up. I compose and play music, draw and paint, take a lot of pictures, and yes, I write. I’ve written a couple of books that are sitting on my shelf waiting to go out and I write a new short story almost every week, which I often post on my blog, trentsworldblog.wordpress.com. I’ve collected some of the best short stories I’ve written and put them out as “Seasons of Imagination”.

I also like to eat, so I work as a computer nerd during the day while I figure out what it is I really want to do.

If you really need details, I was born and raised in Ohio by the shore of beautiful Lake Erie and now split my time between mountainous New Hampshire and the coast of Massachusetts.

One thing to know about me is that I hate to write bio-blurbs in the third person.

Connect with the Author:

Website:  https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/trentpmcd

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+trentpmcd

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Trent-P-Mcdonald-691454874219113/

Amazon:  Trent P. McDonald

Amazon:  books2read.com/u/bWZrwq


Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about Seasons of Imagination?  Or – if you did not yet read Seasons of Imagination – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

The Life and Times of Ichabod Brooks by Charles E. Yallowitz is Live! @cyallowitz

Spend your summer with Ichabod Brooks in this 11 story collection!  $2.99 on Amazon!

Cover Art by Circecorp

Enter the world of Windemere with 11 action adventure short stories featuring a man who is out to make an honest living.

Some heroes seek fame. Some seek fortune. Others simply want to save the world. Ichabod Brooks only wants to put food on the table for his family.

Known and respected as the man who can get any job done, Ichabod has seen his share of adventure. Most of which have been highly exaggerated by bards. Still, the man has his famous reputation for a reason. Whether it be climbing a temperamental mountain for eggs or escorting orphans to their new homes, Ichabod takes every job seriously and makes sure he is as prepared as he can be. Not that it helps since things always take a turn for the worse.

Available on Amazon!
Add it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: Preparing for Galaces

“Is this any way to greet an old friend?” a dwarf in dark gray chainmail asks before plugging his ears with his dark red beard. Wanting the bard to stop, the mountaineer marches over and puts a hand over the young woman’s mouth. “Are you supposed to use her as bait? I did hear there’s a hobgoblin pack that moved in a few months ago. You know how those drooling scavengers love elf flesh.”

“Sorry about that, Dex. She latched on at my last stop and I haven’t been able to shake her off,” Ichabod replies, shaking his guide’s hand. He rubs his own black and white beard at the sight of how his friend shows no sign of graying. “I have to give this one credit for tenacity, but this is where we part ways. Galaces Mountain is not a place to go unless you have experience, an excellent guide, and common sense. So far, I don’t see you having any of those things and I’m not going to babysit.”

“I must go. That’s the only way I can write about your newest adventure,” the bard insists, unwittingly proving Ichabod right. She crosses her arms and meets the icy stare of the dwarf, who she considers leaving out of her tale. “Being the first to speak of your climb will help my reputation. I promise not to cause any trouble and pull my own weight. Elves are graceful and agile, which makes us perfect companions for whatever it is you’re doing. Besides, Galaces Mountain doesn’t look like that bad a climb. The stories must be nothing more than colorful exaggerations.”

Ichabod puts on a pair of white-palmed gloves and slips a blue band on his finger, a charge going through his body to enhance his lungs. “I suddenly relate very well to this mountain. Take a look at the empty space between us and Galaces. You’ll see why this place has earned a reputation.”

The bard puts her lute over her shoulder and walks to the yellow rope, which sparks with a mild magic. At first, she is unsure of what she is supposed to pay attention to among the shrubs and fallen rocks. It takes the elf a few minutes to recognize weather worn bones sticking out from under a boulder. The limbs are splayed since the climber plummeted with the rough stone pressed against his back and the landing embedded him in the ground. Knowing what to look for, the bard realizes that there are at least ten old corpses hidden by the mountain’s litter. The bard spots the fresh body of a yellow-skinned creature sitting behind a shrub, the armored creature crumpled from landing butt first after its fall. She is about to ask a question when a small pain runs up her arm and she collapses into a magical slumber.

“Guess that’s more humane than knocking her on the head,” Dex mentions while Ichabod carries the young woman to the dwarf’s cart. He shields his eyes as he stares at the churning clouds that have been trapped around the peak. “Looks like the eagles captured a storm beneath their nest this year. Means the winds are going to be brutal and the tunnels are infested with horned spiders and revelers. Not going to be an easy trip. Sure, you don’t want someone else to take this contract?”

“I’d love to hand this off to someone else, but Chef Zyrk always insists that I take the job. I have no injuries, diseases, or family events, so I’m here,” Ichabod replies, sheathing his sleep-inducing shortsword. As an afterthought, he grabs a horse blanket and tosses it over the bard to hide her from view. “The Starwind Eagles lay eggs every ten years and now is the time to get to them. Wait any longer and the mountain will be crawling with hunters. A youngster wouldn’t know that or have you as a guide.”

The dwarf grins as he lifts the rope and gestures for his friend to lead the way. “They also don’t have your wife making deals that you can’t say no to. She mentioned that you’re getting three times the usual pay because this baby is going to be prepared for Duke Solomon’s wedding. Personally, I’m looking forward to your wife’s cooking after this. Surprised your gut isn’t huge considering that woman can make a pot roast even the gods would praise. Did you happen to bring some of her dishes for the road?”

“I can cook too, you know.”

“You can bake, Ichabod. Not the same as cooking in my book.”

“So you don’t want the cookies I brought.”

“Oatmeal and cranberry?”

“With a touch of cinnamon.”

*****

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog:  www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter:  @cyallowitz
Facebook:  Charles Yallowitz
Website:  www.charleseyallowitz.com

 

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UnCommon Origins: A Collection of Gods, Monsters, Nature, and Science (UnCommon Anthologies, #2)

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One of the authors sent me an ARC (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  4  of  5  stars

Plot
(by Goodreads)

UnCommon Origins presents 22 depictions of moments on the precipice, beginnings both beautiful and tragic. Fantastical stories of Creation, Feral Children, Gods and Goddesses (both holy and horrific), and possibilities you never dared imagine come to life.

Including stories from some of the most talented Speculative Fiction and Magical Realism authors around, UnCommon Origins will revisit the oldest questions in the universe:
Where did we come from?
and
What comes next?

Featuring:

The Hanging Gardens of Brooklyn by Rhoads Brazos – In the bustle of the big city, a young girl discovers that the otherworldly can appear in the most mundane of places. Speak peace to all strangers, for we may not know what we are waiting for until it arrives.

Aplanetary by Holly Heisey – Gemina followed eir lover in an experiment to be born on another world and live as an alien species. But on a harsh, unfriendly world, e finds love and loss, hope and self, and a life e never could have imagined.

Glass Heart by Sacha Hope – England, 1850. Wolt’s wife is dying from disease. He is desperate to find a cure for her affliction… not knowing that he created a monster instead.

Cultural Gleanings by Deanne Charlton – A woman awakes speaking a foreign language that feels familiar. How well can she and her husband communicate through pantomime? And what are those tiny noises?

Fringling by J.D. Harpley – Slave to the Klekan on a foreign planet far from his race’s birthplace, Baylin discovers there’s something powerful lurking within him. He fights the desire to slaughter his slavers and as the moral battle rages inside him, a new anomaly threatens to remove his identity and transform him into something entirely different.

Poseidon’s Tears by E.L. Johnson – An Atlantian girl witnesses the destruction of Atlantis and discovers what happens to the survivors.

The Curl of Emma Jean by Michele Tracy Berger – Two sisters under stress come to different conclusions about a strange child and what she means for their family.

The Price by Samuel Peralta – In the City’s old quarter, a Visitor to a shop selling wartime memorabilia meets its singular Proprietor, and his uncommon offering.

Growing Simon by Jo West – In a world in which she does not appear to belong, Jane is an ordinary woman driven to extraordinary lengths to achieve her dream.

The Terrible Discovery of Professor Charles Cooper by Jonathan Cromack – An English club style story set in the late 1800’s whereby an academic stumbles upon an abandoned laboratory in the isolated country and horrifically discovers the nature of the scientist’s research face to face.

The Last Star by D.L. Orton – Two beings watch the last star in our universe wink out and discover the answer to how it all ends. And, perhaps, how it all begins.

My Darlings by P.K. Tyler – Adaline has a secret growing within her, whether a gift or a curse remains to be seen.

The Tombstone Man and the Coming of the Tigress by Nillu Nasser Stelter – Jermaine Wyoming lives in a cemetery, isolated from the world, obsessed with the idea of replacing the memories of his harrowing childhood with new ones. Seventeen-year-old Lana Norse suffers from a debilitating disease that promises to rob her of her future. When the two meet, the boundaries of their worlds blur and it becomes difficult to tell what’s real from what is not.

In the Periphery by Erica Ruhe – Jayati Dawar is an advanced generation clone and part of a large-scale, deep-space mission to save humankind. But the violent death of her clone sister and surrogate mother, Samidha, raises disturbing questions about The Halcyon mission’s true objective. With no one to trust and nowhere to hide, Jaya must rely on her own intuition and the cryptic dreams of her original Source Mother… a woman who died hundreds of years ago.

Exhale by Laxmi Hariharan – Sofia must mate with Kris and birth a race superior to humans, but she cannot accept her fate. Can she create her own destiny?

interdimensional investigations initiative (iii) – ifrit by Briant Meske – Previously, Dr. Inman of the Tessera University Institute of Science and Technology (TUIST) opened a portal to another dimensional and what flowed through was… everything ever conceived. Every ghost and ghoul, every mad scientist and robot and dinosaur ever given fictional form fled the fractured containment field. Sealing the rift required the herculean efforts of a fourteen-year-old boy, but now the doctor has become infatuated with the interdimensional incision, and his lust for knowledge cannot be undone…

Swim with the Beavers by Robert Allen Lupton – A raging river washes a young boy from of his pioneer family’s wagon and the waters carry him downstream to be rescued by an unusual foster family. Do they save him or does he save them? Perhaps, they save each other.

The Least Child by Daniel Arthur Smith – After a two-month dry spell, a writer finds inspiration in the form of a small, plant-dwelling creature.

Consciousness by Zig Zag Claybourne – When even gods, holy men, and fantastical beings have existential crises of hope, love, and friendship, there is always the bearable brightness of tea.

Her by Rebecca Poole – A lifetime of toil. Believe when no one else does. Remain steadfast, stay the course. The last of his kind, he’s waiting. He who serves his goddess understands when others do not. He welcomes the final act, but devotion has a price.

The Apple by Shebat Legion – The Apple is a post-apocalyptic love story about survival and hope. It illustrates the strength of character needed to make a personal sacrifice to ensure a better future or any future at all.

Becoming Mage by Melanie Lamaga – A recovering alcoholic taps uncanny new skills as she matches wits with her former friends at the country club.

 

Genre(s):  Anthologies, Science Fiction, Horror, Occult, Magical Realism

Series:  UnCommon Anthologies, #2

Length:  361 pages

Release date:  2016-06-15

 

Teaser


Sometimes, he wondered how it would feel to be born on the other side. To be one of the wanted, cherished by loved ones, brimming with hope. It didn’t do to dwell. He quickly pulled the shutters down on his thoughts and locked them away in the murky depths of his mind.


My Opinion

This anthology comprises 22 different stories, taking you on 22 very different trips; some will chill you, some will make you sad, others will make you wonder. There is one thing that they all have in common: They are unforgettable. I cannot tell you more about this anthology as it would spoil the fun of reading it yourself.

With UnCommon Origins, the reader is presented a broad variety of stories. Each story takes you to its own world; I preferred a little break after completing a story, allowing the story to settle. I was drawn into most of the stories right away, there were only three I couldn’t relate to at all. I could easily envision the characters and locations. I had a great time reading UnCommon Origins. It is a very complex read. This is for you if you like anthologies, with a supernatural streak, a touch of horror, occasional science fiction, unusual characters, surprises, and food for thought – all packed in short stories of different length.

I loved the set-up of this anthology: Each story is followed by an ‘About the author’ section.

My personal favourites (order according to the book, no ranking):  The Hanging Gardens of Brooklyn, Cultural Gleanings, The Terrible Discovery of Professor Charles Cooper, The Tombstone Man and the Coming of the Tigress, Swim with the Beavers, The Least Child

This is a book to read again. Recommended.

In brief:

Writing Great
Plot Full of surprises
Mood Suspenseful; Hopeful; Dark; Thoughtful
Pace Steady
Characters Developed
Violence Some violence
Sexual content Some sexual content
POV Alternating persons

 

Amazon

Amazon US:  buy link

Amazon UK:  buy link

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Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about UnCommon Origins?  Or – if you did not yet read UnCommon Origins – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

My question for you cinephiles:
If the UnCommon Origins stories were filmed – who should direct them, who could you imagine as actors? Which of these stories would be your favourite on screen?

 

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

Book Blitz: First Brush on the Canvas

About the Book:
Graham, Daniel, their friendship, life and death.
Vampires, guardians’ adventures at night. Coffee, love and a new couple. Imli and her mother in a complex web of darkness. A small town girl confused about virginity. Michael Jaikishen and his writing endeavours. Child adoption by a gay couple. Mahabharat – a modern tale in an epic form. The spine-chilling tale of Tina and Uncle Joe. A juicy love story by our guest author Sujata Parashar. These and many other unputdownable stories in this book.


First Brush on the Canvas is an anthology comprising selected stories from Melonade (2014), a nationwide writing marathon organized by Writersmelon.com.


Goodreads * Amazon



Melonade Authors’ Intro:
 

Uttiya Roy – Nourished with Bangla literature, he aspires to change the world someday writing in English. His days pass blending Life Science textbooks with poetry. 

Upasana Bhattacharjee – We catch ‘em as young as they get! Our youngest writer is still a student, but that doesn’t reflect in the matured story she’s written dealing with inconclusive logics and paradoxes. 

Stuti Chandra – She writes because she’s alive. This lovely lady is from Patna and has dipped her nose in English Literature at Delhi. 

Shaily Bhargava – A photographer, a logophile and an Equity Technical Analyst – all in one. She reads and writes in Noida, accompanied by beautiful clicks through her lens and lots of Coffee. 

Arunav Chowdhury – Have you met this Proletariat Axomiya before? He’s a movie buff and a news junkie rolled into one, who writes wonderful modern takes on the age old Mahabharat. 

Rafaa Dalvi – A Mumbaikar, an engineer, a blogger and a prolific writer. He’s already made his presence in three anthologies and likes to experiment with different genre. 

Diptee Raut – A quilter, a blogger, a quirky mom, an amazing writer and our co-winner of Melonade’4. She’s one bundle of positive energy who can spin stories and weave quilts simultaneously. 

Abhishek Mukherjee – Have you read his blog posts yet? Though he likes to believe he’s only a Cricket Historian, you have to read his humorous takes on Mythology to believe he’s the best. 

Anwesha Ray – An amazingly sensitive writer, she lives and works in Bangalore with her family. 

Avishek Basu Mallick – He’s the winner of Melonade’4. If you wish to laud him for more, he’s an engineer and an MBA, working in Bangalore and a featured writer on Sportskeeda.

Arijit Ghose – Blend Carnatic music with exceptional satire and the result is Arijit Ghose. Cheeky, expressive and vocal – we hope he becomes a great writer someday. 

Amit Nangia – For those working in MNCs for years, he’s your inspiration. Amit’s first novel has just released after facing many rejections but that didn’t deter him from writing. Climbing the rocks, gliding in a parachute, bungee jumping or making cocktails; nothing could elevate his spirits as much as writing did.

Tnahsin Garg – Tnahsin often exercises his freedom by convincing other folks that ‘free will’ does not exist. His first novel ‘The Prophecy of Trivine’ is a science-fiction based in India.

Sujata Parashar – Author of the immensely popular ‘In Pursuit Of’ trilogy, and a wonderful poet. She contributes articles to various websites and magazines, and is a social activist. She’s a guest author in the book.