A very positive review of EMPIRE PALADIN by Self-Publishing Review!


“A staggering read. The development of the time period and paladin hierarchy is done seamlessly, such that it is difficult to tell where historical fact ends and fantasy fiction begins. This is a high-caliber novel about a unique time in history, and the inimitable protagonist has a Joan of Arc aura that carries this entire drama forward. Writing with delicacy and emotional sensitivity, while also blowing a reader over with visceral imagery and palpable tension, this is a difficult book to classify, but it should be near the top of your reading list.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★½

EMPIRE PALADIN: Descent into Hell

The powerful, gripping conclusion to the EMPIRE PALADIN series!

A tale of dark, brutal, and gritty historical fantasy.

The year is 1241.

The righteous (some might claim self-righteous) paladin knight, Camila Chastaine, is being hunted for her attempted murder upon a high-ranking official of the Holy Church. 

Camila’s former allies, the paladin, Talitha, and the sorceress, Fausta, join in the task of bringing Camila to justice.

A summons is sent to a western realm requesting the aid of a devout, zealous holy warrior, a Knight Templar, to assist in tracking down the rogue paladin.  The Templar’s reputation is well known throughout the Templar Order as an utterly merciless and ruthless soldier of the Holy Church.

As Camila seeks to evade capture and absolve herself of the accused crimes, that ancient evil, the Prince of Hell, who has so tormented her now delights in the opportunity to finally claim her soul!

Copyright © 2020 by M. S. Valdez.

EMPIRE PALADIN: Blood of the Unholy

The pulse-pounding followup to Empire Paladin: Realm of the Dead.

A tale of dark, brutal, and gritty historical fantasy.

The year is 1241.

The devout, righteous, paladin knight, Camila Chastaine, sets out on a journey to discover the truth of her past; a past of tragic demonic possession only hinted at through whispers from Satan, Prince of Hell.

Camila’s companions, her fellow paladins Talitha and Atrael, along with the sorceress, Fausta, are sent on a mission to determine the cause of several mysterious deaths in a distant mountain outpost.

An ancient terror of the night awakens from its long slumber; and blood begins to flow, the blood of the unholy.

Will the truth that Camila seeks destroy the few remaining threads of her sanity, or will the awakening of primal evil be her ultimate demise and that of her friends?

Copyright © 2019 by M. S. Valdez.

**REVIEW** – The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell.

Why, why, why did I not read this novel sooner?! As a obsessed fan over anything Arthurian legend, this is the novel (nay, the trilogy) that (trust me) you will want to listen to satisfy any craving for a take on the famous tale.

Bernard Cornwell’s rich take on the legend of King Arthur is so steeped in history and realism that you will completely believe it could have actually occurred.

The familiar characters, Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, etc., etc. are so well fleshed out that you will feel as if you are right there in the story with them. Are there a few twists and unexpected surprises to this rendition of the tale? Yes, and they make it all the more interesting!

A must read for any fan of the Arthurian Legend.

*Review* – A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

For most of this book, I wasn’t quite sure of how the story was going to go, or what was going to become of the main characters. It certainly keeps you guessing throughout.

The novel follows the life of a family: husband, wife, two daughters; who are going through normal everyday struggles. Except, of course, when the eldest daughter, Marjorie, seems to become “possessed”. This leads to a lot of family conflicts, some truly horrific. The youngest daughter, Mary (8), is trying to make sense of the turmoil around her. Mary is also very troubled about what is happening to her older sister given how much she looks up to her.

A reality TV show producer decides to document the family’s struggle with this possession. This is a boon and curse to the family as it means much needed income, but an invasion of their privacy and their lives as protesters descend on their house en masse.

While I figured the book would end in some cliche tidy bow, it certainly did not. It floored me! High recommended!

**REVIEW** The Fold by Peter Clines

(review of the audiobook)

This sci-fi tale chronicles the journey of Mike, a high-school teacher, who has a very rare and unique ability to remember EVERYTHING that he sees and hear with exact recall. And he can flip through his memories at will. He’s sort of a human super-computer. Mike is approached by a friend, who works in special projects with the DoD, to assist the government on a new technology that is being developed: the ability to fold space and make near-instantaneous travel between any two points in space. Think StarGate or Star Trek’s teleportation machine.

I had a hard time believing that Mike, with his extraordinary ability, would have ever decided to remain a high school teacher, but I was willing to make the leap of logic. Of course, the special DoD project goes awry and it’s up to Mike and his amazing ability to try and save the world (or worlds).

A few things bugged me (pun intended) about how the author describes Mike’s ability. He uses a metaphor of ants marching through Mike’s brain showing him images of whatever memory Mike needs to recall at that moment. It’s fine to use the metaphor a few times, but using it incessantly gets annoying. Also, describing how Mike has a habit of pausing a few seconds before making a response just got silly and pointless (unless there was some deeper hidden meaning that I missed, oh well).

The novel has typical Peter Clines cliche characters: the ultra-smart protagonist, the sexy-hot-smart chick who falls in love with the protagonist and just wants to have sex with the protagonist, the disposable side characters, etc.

The ending got really kooky and far too-much-over-the-top for me to take it seriously. Which was disappointing because, up to that point, the novel was very captivating.

The narrator has done Peter Clines’ books before and again does a very good job.

An entertaining, if somewhat ridiculous, sci-fi story.