Monday, April 24, 2023

New Scifi Fantasy! Ascension by Kevin D. Miller


Ascension is the action-packed  sequel to Awakening that follows Leif’s journey to master the Berserker and Prevent Hel from  plunging the nine realms into a period of blood and darkness…

Title: Ascension: Book Two of the Berserker Chronicles
Author: Kevin D. Miller
Publisher: Bifrost Books
Pages: 318
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy

After his fateful fight in the bowls of an Asgardian prison, Leif returns to Midgard for  some much needed rest and recuperation. Unfortunately, his reprieve is interrupted when he is  unexpectedly attacked and once again pulled into a civil war between the gods. As he wrestles  with his past, Leif quickly learns his Berserker strength is no match when his enemies are the  gods themselves. In an attempt to grow stronger and control the rage within, Leif sets out to  track down a surviving Berserker clan that may hold the secret to mastering the gold-like  power the Berserker promises. Will Leif learn the secret and ascend?

Ascension is the action-packed sequel to Awakening that follows Leif’s journey to  master the Berserker and prevent Hel from plunging the nine realms into a period of blood and  darkness.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon →

Book Excerpt  

Chapter 4  

The electrical storm crashed around Leif in a terrifying staccato, burning his  retinas in the process. A wave of static energy washed over him, tingling his skin as the earth  shook from the cascade of lightning bolts that slammed into the ground, terrifyingly close.  Then, as quickly as the storm appeared, it was gone. Bright yellow sunlight spilled over Leif as  his nose was filled with the thick smell of ozone. He blinked to clear the flashing spots from his  vision; he nearly jumped out of his skin at the sight of Thor standing not two feet away from  him. The mountain of a god was dressed for war. His body was encased from shoulder to  boots in gleaming silver-plated armor. His trusty war hammer, Mjolnir, was held firm in his right  hand. Glancing at Leif, the thunder god gave him a quick smile before returning his focus to  Fenrir and Ra. Following his gaze, Leif was shocked to see, unlike him, the two dark gods had  not come out of the storm unscathed.  

A look of pure hatred wafted from Ra; the ancient god seethed in anger so palpable Leif  thought he could taste it. The god’s simmering orange eyes flared like the fires of Duat, causing  the berserked Leif to take an involuntary step backward. Ra’s shirtless torso was covered in  forked electrical burns, and his leather pants had been ripped to shreds from repeated  lightning strikes.  

Likewise, Fenrir appeared to have fared no better. His fur cloak was gone, probably  disintegrated in the attack, while his shirt and pants were in tatters. He too had a look of  outrage on his face, but hiding behind that façade, Leif saw true fear. With Ra at his side, Leif  knew the damned wolf couldn’t back down, not when he talked such a big game moments  ago.  

Bolstered by Thor’s presence, Leif let out a war cry, swinging his axes in a complex  pattern, warming up for the fight. He prepared himself to charge the battered gods, but a  gauntleted hand clamped down on Leif’s shoulder, giving him pause.  

“No, my friend,” Thor said in his thundering baritone. “You are in no condition to fight. I  know your blood boils, but you must know you are outclassed. Let me deal with them,” Thor  said, taking a meaningful step forward. As if to accentuate his point, lightning burst from the  Aesir’s armor, momentarily encasing the god before flickering out. 

Leif desperately wished to join the fight, but a tiny part of him knew he wasn’t strong  enough. If he were to fight, he would just get in Thor’s way or, gods forbid, get himself killed.  Gritting his teeth, Leif remembered his vow to not let his weakness be the cause of his  comrades’ deaths. So, he held himself back. The sheer rationality of his control surprised him.  When he had first awakened to his powers, the only thought he could muster while berserked  was who to fight next. Now, he was capable of at least a modicum of rational thought while  maintaining his berserked state. If he survived Ragnarok, he will be a much more deadly  warrior.  

Leif stepped back to give Thor some space, while Ra and Fenrir looked at each other  for a silent second. Ra unsheathed his strange sickle-shaped sword, and it glowed with the  same amber orange of a sunrise, perfectly matching his smoldering eyes. Fenrir bared his teeth  in a snarl as he soundlessly unsheathed his blade.  

The atmosphere grew still, as if the very weather was holding its breath. Then the trio  moved. It was then that Leif fully understood why Thor had restrained him. As the gods moved  back and forth on the street, minor sonic booms rang out as all three warriors cut loose. Even  berserked, Leif could barely follow their movements, let alone comprehend what they were  doing. The air and ground around them shook with their fearsome power.  




About the Author



Kevin D. Miller is an attorney in Southern California who spends his two hours a day  commuting to work either listening to sci-fi/fantasy books on Audible or plotting out the  storylines for his future books. When he isn’t working, Kevin can be found spending time  with his girlfriend Amy and their dog, Riley. Kevin enjoys writing, ceramics, playing  video games, kayaking in Big Bear and enjoying the ocean air in Newport Beach.




Sunday, April 23, 2023

The Page 69 Test: *The Shade Under the Mango Tree* by Evy Journey #page69


They say if you want to really find a good book, go to page 69 (the middle and meat of the book) and you like it, it's definitely worth reading. For today's feature, I'm zooming in on page 69 of Evy Journey's new cultural women's fiction, The Shade Under the Mango Tree.


After two heartbreaking losses, Luna wants adventure. Something and somewhere very different from the affluent, sheltered home in California and Hawaii where she grew up. An adventure in which she can also make some difference. She ends up in place steeped in an ancient culture and a deadly history.

Raised by her grandmother in a Honolulu suburb, she moves to her parents’ home in California at thirteen and meets her brothers for the first time. Grandma persuades her to write a journal whenever she’s lonely or overwhelmed as a substitute for someone to whom she could reveal her intimate thoughts.

Lucien, a worldly, well-traveled young architect, finds a stranger’s journal at a café. He has qualms and pangs of guilt about reading it. But they don’t stop him. His decision to go on reading changes his life.

Months later, they meet at a bookstore where Luna works and which Lucien frequents. Fascinated by his stories and his adventurous spirit, Luna volunteers for the Peace Corps. Assigned to Cambodia, she lives with a family whose parents are survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide forty years earlier. What she goes through in a rural rice-growing village defies anything she could have imagined. Will she leave this world unscathed?

Inspired by the healing effects of writing, this is an epistolary tale of love—between an idealistic young woman and her grandmother and between the young woman and a young architect. It’s a tale of courage, resilience of the human spirit, and the bonds that bring diverse people together.


Also available as an audiobook:

Barnes & Noble:



The couches in the corner across the banquette at Peet's are free. On impulse, I make my way to one facing the glass window and mark it with a stray newspaper. Minutes later, coffee drink in hand, I settle
down to read the journal with a little more privacy and comfort.

By now, I have quashed my guilt and anxiety about reading the journal. Intrigue is mostly what remains. It’s like I’m reading an engaging novel, I tell myself.

The next entry comes two years later. The first couple of years of college are often tough. My young writer might not have found time to journal.

After a few sips of café mocha, I lean back, cross my legs, and begin reading.


What do you think? Would you keep reading?