I like finding fantasy from small presses. One place I check regularly is the “Small Press Bookwatch” on the Midwest Book Review site. Their capsule reviews give bookstore owners and readers a quick look at each book along with the name of the publisher and the publisher’s web site. The following recently reviewed books are all available on Amazon. Click the book covers for the links.
The Guardians of Time by Damian Lawrence
- Kirkus: This is a compelling, detailed read, and one that offers its audience something solid to chew on. Lawrence does a masterful job of drawing readers into his fully realized, morally complex vision of the future.
- Midwest: When the world is out of time, anything to buy some would be very much welcomed. “The Guardians of Time” is a fantasy by Damian Lawrence as he constructs a tale of the world on the brink of destruction faced with the environment revolting. With the assistance of time travel, Mark Lawson tries to buy the world much more but in the process may only expedite the process. Blending the history of Greece into a tale of balance, “The Guardians of Time” is a choice and much recommended read for fantasy readers.
Remember Me To Paradise by Amy J. Benesch
- Publisher: A Shapeshifter from a planet known as Paradise, comes to Earth on a mission to rescue other Shapeshifters who may have become trapped in Earth shapes and are unable to return to their home planet. During his time on Earth the Shapeshifter becomes a dog, a duck, a pigeon, a human male, and a human female. It is as a human female that the Shapeshifter begins to forget his true identity. Although her dreams terrify her (she can’t understand why she dreams of flying and of making love to women), she keeps working to put the pieces of the puzzle together and recover her memory, although with each passing day she becomes more identified with her current shape and less likely to believe the truth of who she really is.
- Midwest: It is hard to remember what we truly are at times. “Remember Me to Paradise” is a fantasy telling of Shapeshifters and their efforts to return to their home planet of Paradise. Trapped in earthly forms with little memory of their true identity, they feel disconnected as humans and must slowly come to terms with their true nature. “Remember Me to Paradise” is a fun and much recommended pick for fantasy collections.
The Last Seer and the Tomb of Enoch by Ashland Menshouse
- Publisher: Aubrey Taylor’s quaint and cozy life in the subdued, Appalachian town of Lake Julian had never been exceptional. Shouldered by his lifelong friends, Buzz Reiselstein and Rodriqa Auerbach, he quietly endured the puerile punishments of a persistent pack of pesky bullies that included the most-feared kid in school, Magnos Strumgarten, and his own obnoxiously, well-accomplished brother, Gaetan. Comfortable in his humdrum niche of the absolutely average, Aubrey never pushed back. Until…fate dug a little too deep…and the unseen darkness of unspoken places rattled his mediocrity. When spurious specters and elusive mountain men battle for a tomb of Watchers, buried in ages past, only those who choose to look beyond the surface feel the grip of the ancients’ revenge. Unusual disappearances, a colorful cadre of insightful townsfolk and a whirlwind of blunders and mishaps exposes the struggling forces that transform Aubrey and his friends into more than spectators amidst the oldest war of all.
- Midwest: Trapped in a conflict of time, the world struggles to squeak through. “The Last Seer and the Tomb of Enoch” is a science fiction and fantasy epic from Ashland Menshouse as he spins a tale of angels and watchers looking over the fate of the world as our traditional world is torn apart by its march to the future and the pull of the past legends and mythology. “The Last Seer and the Tomb of Enoch” is an excellent pick for fiction fans looking for a massive overreaching and unique tale, highly recommended.
Finding Magic by Ray Rhamey
- Publisher: Annie is a gifted healer in the Hidden Clans, descendants of a Celtic ancestress with a genetic inheritance of mental abilities that enable them to do magical things. She can slow aging, cure disease, heal a heart from the inside . . . or crush an enemy’s as it beats. They hide to escape persecution that has haunted them through the ages, and they’ve moved safely among us since the Salem witch trials. But a Homeland Security agent penetrates Annie’s disguise, and she’s forced to flee. On the run as a suspected terrorist, Annie is desperate to protect her kin from discovery. Then a greater threat arises when a clansman bent on avenging the murder of his son creates an unstoppable killer plague. Annie is the only hope for billions of people . . . if she can evade capture. With high-stakes conflict and human drama, Finding Magic explores loss, prejudice, family, and the human magic within each of us.
- Midwest: When something is not understood, it is feared. “Finding Magic” follows Annie, the latest in a long line of a priestess clan with the power to save or destroy lives. When a government agent finds that her clan has this power, she finds her people under the gun as terrorists, and with the outbreak a new plague that could end humanity, she finds that more than ever she must live and be free or else there will be nothing to protect. “Finding Magic” is a riveting work of modern fantasy, highly recommended.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of two contemporary fantasies from Vanilla Heart Publishing, “The Sun Singer” and “Sarabande.”