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howellpsionicbookfourthequesthowellpsionicbookfiveguardianangels

 

The Psionic series is a pentalogy revolving around a highly detailed world of humans and Psionics. Psionics refer to people who have acquired extra mental capacities such as telekinesis, mind control and a whole range of completely original abilities too.

The Pentalogy follows the story of Adrian Howell who coincidentally shares the name of the author. (Henceforth if I refer to Howell I mean the author and Adrian, the character.) After initially discovering he has the power of telekinesis he is plagued by headaches sent by an agent of the Angels. After his parents are murdered and his sister goes missing Adrian is alone with two rival factions vying for his allegiance.

I decided to review books four and five together as I read them without a break. A testament to the building of plot and suspense: I simply could not wait to find out what happened next after I turned the final page of The Quest.

The first three books set up and build upon the endearing characters of Adrian, Alia, and Cindy. As they inhabit the world of Psionics so they accumulate other equally rounded characters (Mark and Terry as examples). By the time you reach book five, every character whether minor or major are recognisable. The cast is truly staggering but each character Howell chooses to embellish with back story and personality is integral to the finale.

Book four had an unusual plot structure with most of the dramatic action happening at the beginning and then journey-style action happening in the middle. The final portion of the book slows down a beat or two but Howell still manages to keep the intrigue high. Although unusual the plot structure works immensely well. A whole host of new characters are introduced. I was concerned at first that they would overshadow the existing characters but they get roped into the overall story well and Book Five could not have worked without them. Although introduced towards the latter part of the series Howell gives enough time and attention to each character so that they do not get disregarded as another name or faceless character.

Book Five was a satisfying solution to the pentalogy. All loose ends were seen to and all plot points were given ample attention. Again a few more new characters were introduced with ample amounts of detail balanced with keeping the plot moving forward. Unlike Book Four, Guardian Angel had no let up of action. A points there may have been a little less action and a little less life-in-danger at points but the pace was unforgiving. After all the building of tension between the factions, high drama was to be expected and Howell definitely did not disappoint.

I do not want to say too much more about the series as I do not want to give any more away about the plot than I have already. The whole pentalogy is truly worthwhile reading. For anyone who wants to try a book by a self-published author this is definitely the place to start and the bench mark to set against the others in the market. Just because it is self-published Howell has proved quality does not need to be compromised.

On a personal note I’m a little sad that I’ve finished the series. Back to Lord of the Rings I guess!

The complete series is now available for download via Amazon.

If you want to know more about the author or the series you can read Howell’s blog here. It is not written in character but he has retained his pen name for the time being. There you will find details and links to all of the books in the Psionic Series and more detailed information about the author and contact details.

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howellpsionicbookthreelessergods 

The Psionic series is a pentalogy revolving around a highly detailed world of humans and Psionics. Psionics refer to people who have acquired extra mental capacities such as telekinesis, mind control and a whole range of completely original abilities too.

The Pentalogy follows the story of Adrian Howell who coincidentally shares the name of the author. (Henceforth if I refer to Howell I mean the author and Adrian, the character.) After initially discovering he has the power of telekinesis he is plagued by headaches sent by an agent of the Angels. After his parents are murdered and his sister goes missing Adrian is alone with two rival factions vying for his allegiance.

Books one and two explore the finding of his new powers and how he adjusts to live without the family he has grown up with. He develops strong bonds with Cindy and Alia and accepts them as a kind of new family but he never stops hoping for his lost sister Cat. Foolish mistakes and an escalating level of danger lead Adrian to claim he will never put himself in a dangerous situation again. Of course, that doesn’t last for long.

Lesser Gods picks up soon after Book Two finishes. Adrian is starting to go on missions for the Guardians in the Ravens team. However a mission goes awry and Adrian finds himself once again in captivity. Howell doesn’t spare any details here. The reader is treated to detailed descriptions on all the suffering and abuse Adrian suffers at the hands of his captors.

The second part of the book feels almost as though it should be a separate book altogether considering all the suffering and healing Adrian has to go through. But really it is a long crescendo that doesn’t really slow down until the end of the book. The series feels as though it has really been building up to a showdown between the Angels and the Guardians and the blood-trial is the first real taste of large scale action. This isn’t just a mission with a few highly trained individuals, this is two factions in the same living space. Howell builds the scene for the trial well and the … events that ensue don’t skimp or detail or tension.

On a personal note, this is my favourite of the series so far. You know you are reading a good book when you race through it to find out what happens and then feel slightly disappointed at the end because there’s no more to read. I consoled myself with the fact that I still have two more books to go and the war is really heating up now so I will get straight onto them.

As always the style and quality of writing is excellent showing that self-published fiction can be just as worthy of shelf-space and readers’ time as anything produced by the Big Six.

The complete series is now available for download via Amazon.

If you want to know more about the author or the series you can read Howell’s blog here. It is not written in character but he has retained his pen name for the time being. There you will find details and links to all of the books in the Psionic Series and more detailed information about the author and contact details.

howellpsionicbooktwothetower

 

The Psionic series is a pentalogy revolving around a highly detailed world of humans and Psionics. Psionics refer to people who have acquired extra mental capacities such as telekinesis, mind control and a whole range of completely original abilities too.

The Pentalogy follows the story of Adrian Howell who coincidentally shares the name of the author. (Henceforth if I refer to Howell I mean the author and Adrian, the character.) After initially discovering he has the power of telekinesis he is plagued by headaches sent by an agent of the Angels. After his parents are murdered and his sister goes missing Adrian is alone with two rival factions vying for his allegiance.

He narrowly escapes Ralph and manages to find a quasi-family he can just about tolerate. But the new family isn’t enough, he is still haunted by the idea that his sister is captured and alone. So he risks it all to find her. Landing himself and Alia in an underground prison.

Book Two: The Tower sees the return of Adrian, slightly older and yet still facing a mass of trouble due to his recently gained powers.

Fresh out of captivity, Adrian looks forward to respite in a safe environment surrounded by people like himself. Cindy and Alia live with him and they find between them a semblance of normal family life. Then he meets Terry. She abuses, humiliates and bullies him, all in the name of education.

The safe environment doesn’t stay so for long. At the welcoming ceremony a spy is released from their prison and it looks like an inside job. The Angels seem to be able to obtain alarmingly detailed information about Cindy putting everyone’s lives in serious danger. The guardians are convinced there’s another spy. And Adrian seems the likeliest suspect…

Howell does a lot of character development with the younger members of the cast. Alia no longer cowers and whimpers in the presence of strangers but she still relies on her older brother to keep her safe. Adrian is learning to listen to authority but still struggles to surrender complete control. Terry is an enigma to Adrian in the beginning and their eventual truce impacts both of their developments.

It is interesting when characters develop because of their interaction with each other rather than the happenings in the plot. It gives the characters an extra dimension of humanity. Alia is able to communicate with strangers because she feels safe and protected by Adrian and also through being desensitised to it after her incarceration. This shows she is overcoming her past demons and accepting her current situation as her new family.

The Tower takes place in very few locations compared to the first book but the development and dilemmas faced by the characters are increased ten fold as the Angels seek what they are truly after and doubt creeps into the mind of Adrian. What do his dreams really mean?

The complete series is now available for download via Amazon.

If you want to know more about the author or the series you can read Howell’s blog here. It is not written in character but he has retained his pen name for the time being. There you will find details and links to all of the books in the Psionic Series and more detailed information about the author and contact details.

howellpsionicbookonewildborn

 

The Psionic series is a pentalogy revolving around a highly detailed world of humans and Psionics. Psionics refer to people who have acquired extra mental capacities such as telekinesis, mind control and a whole range of completely original abilities too.

The Pentalogy follows the story of Adrian Howell who coincidentally shares the name of the author. (Henceforth if I refer to Howell I mean the author and Adrian, the character.) Adrian is just about thirteen years old in Book One: Wild-Born although because of his size most people think he is a lot younger. Throughout his younger years things just happened around him. Things fell off walls and shelves. Because it had always happened he thought it was normal. Until he went camping and people started to call him weird.

Imbued with curiosity and the imagination of a young child he starts to experiment. Nothing really comes of it until he has an accident. Lying in hospital recuperating his returns, out of boredom, to his experiments. For reasons he can’t explain he simply can make things happen. Weakly at first he manipulates his environment. Then, out of hospital, his experiments become more ambitious to the delight of his younger sister, Cat.

Adrian has absolutely no idea the consequences of this sudden power, but he is about to find out. He is tortured by headaches more painful than he has ever known. Then one night, a storm blows in and upsets the entirety of his life as he has known it.

Howell’s YA Urban Fantasy has enough gore, conspiracy and heart to appeal to the maturer reader also. It is set within our world but there is a secret undercurrent of warring factions and Psionics in hiding from various threats. Between the spaces of reality a whole world exists where anything is possible. A man with nightmares so powerful it shakes the very ground and warps anything near him; a entire underground operation that captures and tortures psionics to death or insanity, and an unlikely family that find and save each other.

There are many characters that populate just the first book, but each is rendered in such detail and with such empathy that regardless if they are a main character or a side character holding the door open for them on their way out, they feel as real and as tangible as anybody else.

The real action starts when the source of Adrian’s headaches is explained. His whole world is turned upside down and a touching journey begins to bring his sister back to him. Howell maintains the pace without tiring the reader. Each setting is created with the same level of literary skill as the characters making for an entirely vivid read without getting too bogged down in the details.

The Psionic series is entirely self-published by Howell and to date it is the best produced e-book I have seen. Not even a typo has managed to escape the author’s notice. It really is a pleasure to read a book that has had so much care taken over it.

The complete series is now available for download via Amazon.

If you want to know more about the author or the series you can read Howell’s blog here. It is not written in character but he has retained his pen name for the time being. There you will find details and links to all of the books in the Psionic Series and more detailed information about the author and contact details.

(Will be reviewing Book Two: The Tower just as soon as I finish reading it. I’m already at 27% and I only started it last night!)

Long Time No Post

It has been a long time since I’ve posted anything even remotely to do with reading. Between wedding plans, Christmas and general home improvements I haven’t found much spare time to be reading at all.

I have picked up the kindle again and am proud to say I have finished reading Tolkien’s The Two Towers. I even managed to read it quick enough that I still retained most of the side characters names and know the gist of the plot. I did put it down for a while around the Entish part and I think that was about the point that I got stuck last time ten years ago!

I am onto the final book now and it would be great to say I’ve finally read lord of the rings but I won’t hold my breath just yet.

As a side book to lighten the mood of the archaic sounding narrative of Tolkien I decided to try out some of the free self published books available on Amazon. The first one I tried was particularly amateur. I won’t list the title as I didn’t give it a fair reading, probably no more than a few paragraphs.

The second one, Adrian Howell’s Psionic Book Four: The Quest was far more entertaining. I hadn’t read any of the prior books but this didn’t seem to matter as the narrative was clear and easy to follow. Any important preceding events were mentioned when they had an impact on the current plot and the technical aspects of the characters abilities were fairly simple to follow.

The action started from the first page and do far, 10%, it hadn’t let up yet. I will post a full review when I get to the end and I already have the previous three books downloaded so I can get the full picture of what happened Adrian and his sister.

The quality of this eBook is not just in the writing but in the editorial care the author has taken over their work. I try not to get too caught up in the technical aspects but it is far more enjoyable to read a book that has been cared about.

I think I have read as much as about writing as I have fiction itself. And reading other people’s advice doesn’t seem to help me develop my own style. Yet I buy into their advice, trawl the internet for how to construct a plot, and generally tie myself up in knots thinking this is far too complicated for me. I just want to write but I don’t know how.

The thing is, I can write. I know how to hold a pen. I know how to type on a keyboard (I don’t even have to look – go me!) So what is it about crafting a novel that I find so damn hard?

It was never difficult when I was a child. Looking back on what I wrote then, yeah there’s a few flaws and no I don’t think anyone else would read it. But I did it. I finished the stories I started and even sent a few off to some publishing houses. Their letters were firm no’s in every case but I did it and kept trying. Where did that all change? Surely it should be the other way around. Why am I so reluctant to finish anything and send it off to be rejected? Am I afraid now I no longer have the excuse of being a child for my failings. Will I have to admit to myself, no you are never going to be a writer?

All the books I buy and blogs I read tell me I can be a writer, no matter what. Just keep going. Is this a marketing ploy for me to keep buying their books to find out what I should do next?

[Written on a Saturday morning instead of working on a plot outline for my next book / avoiding editing my previous book …]

 

 

Twelve Books Later

I hardly even know where to begin. Since the last time I posted I’ve read twelve books. Twelve! I feel like I’ve been glued to my Kindle and neglected everything else. Certainly my own creative writing has taken a back seat to it all. But there’s a good reason for it. I wanted to read the popular books, a decision spurred on by reading My Sister’s Keeper, and find out what makes them so successful.

In no particular order, then, these are the books I read…

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

I never heard of this trilogy until it was due to be released as a film. By the time the trailers rolled around I had heard more than I wanted to. The trailer itself confrmed my suspicions: an americanised version of “Battle Royale”. I won’t compare the books to the Japanese film as it has been done, many times and there’s nothing more than I can add really. Except my own opinion as to why the Japanese film is more disturbing than these books. The children in “Battle Royale” were all from the same class and they had grown up not knowing that what they would end up doing to each other was a distinct possibility.

Aside to that the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale was well executed. It’s a shame that Katniss was so indecisive. At times I felt like reaching into the pages, shaking her hard and screaming stop leading them both on, just pick one and stick with it. A writer who can illicit such a reaction has certainly done her job well.

The fighting in the arenas was also interesting. Collins is the first female writer I have come across who can write fighting into a book without it seeming forced or unbelievable.

Although these books are aimed at the young adult market I would not hesitate in recommending them to any reader if they fancy something different.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

This is my second read through of the book in an attempt to read the whole set. A feat I undertook at fourteen and am still yet to do. Somewhere between the lengthly setting desciptions and multitude of names I struggle to read these books. The plot and fighting in between does little to help me on my way. It doesn’t help that I’ve also seen the subsequent films before I managed to get to the books so I already know what happens.

However reading this for the second time on holiday where I only had beer and cabaret hotel entertainment for distractions I really got into this one. I’m not about to deconstruct a book written over the period of two decades. My meagre graduate knowledge pales in comparison to the writers’ ability. That said it wouldn’t be a favourite for me as it is for others.

Nineteen Minutes & The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Two unrelated books are set in the same area. The lawyer Jordan McAfee makes an appearance in both books but other than that there is no crossover. Both books centre around a court trial and the effect of the crime across a vast range of characters. Picoult switches between male and female perspectives and does a convincing job on both angles. The merits of her writing stem from characterisation rather than plot. I found both a little predictable; but it was not the outcome of the trial that was intended to suprise the reader but instead the resolve and reactions of the main characters. The interplay between her characters and overall development has solidified my opinion that Picoult is a good writer in the Women’s Fiction genre.

Ringworld by Larry Niven

A continuation of my aim to read more sci-fi led me to read this book. I’d not heard of it but was recommended to read it by a friend. I struggled my way through, not wanting to appear uncouth or uneducated for not being able to finish it. I struggled to see its point, what it was trying to convey and the plot seemed slow and awkward. I finally managed to finish it on holiday with no distractions. Whether it was due to the lengthy time I took to finish this book or if I really have no business reading sci-fi I did not get the ending. At all. I later discovered my friend had given up three parts of the way through the book so I should not have felt ashamed.

That said the technology in the book and the imagined alien races were fascinating. The plot itself did nothing for me. For a reader looking for a book about exploring an alien planet I would direct them towards Dan Simmons’ Hyperion.

Twilight Quadrilogy by Stephanie Meyer

My main reason to read these books that I have so long avoided will be better explained by the last book in my list.

If Hunger Games’ Katniss seemed an irritating character, she had nothing on Bella Swan. At times I hoped the vampires bit her to stop her being a hormonally-driven lovesick wreck of a person. Twilight also revolves around a love triangle except that Bella has already made her choice but keeps the other guy around as a back-up. To fill the needs that a dead guy can’t. A warm cuddle for one. Twilight severely lacks a danger-filled arena to break up the mushy bits.

In comparison to other vampire novels, this does not live up to standard. It brings little new to the genre except perhaps that the vampire’s diet dictates the colour of their eyes. The final penultimate battle is marred by being written from Bella’s perspective – who had the genius shield p0wer that sucked all the exciting action potential out of the scene.

I can hear people asking why I bothered to read all four if I hated them so much. My answer is I wanted to see if Jacob Black won in the end, he was the only character I felt warranted any sympathy. Also I heard a rumour about the vampire biting the umbilical cord with his teeth. The answer is I can’t tell you, the wonderfully stoic Bella Swan managed to faint, again. The pregnancy sequence was the books redeeming part. Enough gore and horror to place this book on the edge of the vampire genre.

And finally…

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

No, I didn’t like it. No, I couldn’t put it down. For the sake of a writing blog I will focus on its merits as literature. Another irritating character but I’ve torn her apart once so no need to do it again. The descriptions of both mundane and erotic scenes seemed repetitve. Each chapter brought a recap of what had happened before. And I noticed a continuity error in the contracts. Something I’ve never seen before, not even in indie-published novels. The extraneous characters to the unusual love affair seemed flat and unformed.

What I didn’t know when I was reading this book was that I could have read it all online, for free. And no I don’t mean trawling PirateBay for ripped off ebooks. It started out life on FanFiction.net as pornographic twist onTwilight. Some genius then swapped out all the names and published it practically word for word. There is still a version of this FanFic online if you look hard enough.

Still this is the first erotica book I have read so I will thank the person who recommended it for opening my eyes. Still, I think I will stick to my regular books in future. I’d take a bloodbath in an arena over whips and chains any day thank you! Especially if the chains are applied to any form of Bella Swan.