Tag: Alliance of the Amazons

Guest Review: The Brazen Amazon by Sandy James

Posted August 19, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Brazen Amazon by Sandy JamesReviewer: Judith
The Brazen Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, #3) by Sandy James
Series: Alliance of the Amazons #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: May 6th 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Series Rating: five-stars

Zach Hanson is a tech wizard, capable of creating and improving gadgets—including remote nuclear warhead launchers. But he's always known that he's destined for something more, something greater, something...supernatural.

Powerful Air Amazon Gina Himmel is one of four sisters called to protect the world from those who would do it harm. Demigods in league with an Ancient have been taking over the bodies of leaders in the military and technological sectors, and Gina is sent to San Francisco to watch over Zach.

Under Gina's protection, Zach is introduced to a world of ancient deities, rogue gods and the bold, brazen Amazons who keep humanity safe. Amidst the whirlwind of battle, Zach and Gina discover a love that could give them the power to save the world—or destroy it.

The Reluctant Amazon and The Impetuous Amazon.

103,000 words

If you have read the first two novels in this series, you will know that each of the present Amazons–Earth, Fire, Air, and Water–are young women who have been raised by the priestess of their respective patroness goddess in preparation for each one assuming the mantle of responsibility as an Amazon warrior. There are two Sentinels who are immortals given to these women to teach them the skills they will need to go up against evil that is well beyond what most people consider the “real” world. Earth and Fire Amazons, Rebecca and Megan, have married one of the Sentinels. Yet here is Gina, the “air” Amazon, attracted to a human, knowing full well that there is no immortal aspect of his life and there is no future for them.

This novel is filled with personalities right out of the mythology tales of Egypt, Greece, and So. America. The goddesses themselves are in an eternal feud along with one goddess’s twin brother, a self-serving and narcissistic deity who lives for the adoration of others. His shenanigans are never ending and some of his self-centered actions are at the root of the evil in this novel.

Gina herself is one of those women who has never “fit.” She is taller than others her age, she was always outspoken and opinionated, she seldom knew a stable environment other than the love of her “aunt” who raised her, and came to see that kind of transient life as “normal.” She finds relationships difficult–everyone she has ever loved has left her. She’s OK with tumbling Zach but love? No way, no how. So one can easily see that Gina is not a “comfortable” person and while she believes she is comfortable with who she is, there are signs that deep in her heart is the longing for the kind of authentic and lasting love her sister Amazons have found with their spouses and children. Through out the novel there is that tension between what Gina is prepared to accept in her life over against what she deeply desires. Accepting love from anyone is a risky business–no one who has ever loved her has every stuck around.

I have liked this series from the start and that is saying something, as I am not usually drawn to fantasy. I always enjoyed mythology but thought Amazons were a little over the top. Yet because I really like this author’s work, I was OK with reading the first book and have been delighted with each subsequent novel in the series. Yet his one is not as comfortable for me. Now that’s not a bad thing. No one says one must feel warm fuzzies over every novel one experiences. It is a testimony to Ms James’ writing skill that the reader is jarred out of comfort zones with the anger, the overt evil, the questions posed by the actions and attitudes of the characters, the mystery of why Ra, to father of all gods (according to Egyptian mythology) should even create a god known as “the Destructor.” Yet it is all here and it is all flashing around and exploding in one place or another until one wonders how the author brings it all into sync and makes it all come out. That she does, and again I was left to wonder how a writer actually concocts all this stuff. Such creativity often boggles the mind.

This is a gritty and edgy novel, one that will drag the reader into fictional places some of us seldom experience. That being said, it is entertaining and on many levels the kind of mind exercising read that many of us really crave. I love the warm fuzzies. Don’t get me wrong. But I like stories about characters who have to work for every single speck of romance or who, like Gina, struggle so hard against letting the power of love into her life. Perhaps that is the greatest lesson here: learning to love makes anyone stronger rather than weaker. One can easily see that such would be a sticking point for an Amazon.

Don’t miss this story. It’s a fantastic read and one that fantasy romance fans will appreciate. I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

The Series

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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Guest Review: The Impetuous Amazon by Sandy James

Posted April 8, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of The Impetuous Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons #2) by Sandy James

Megan Feurer is strong and impetuous, like the Fire element she represents. She is an Amazon, sworn to protect humanity from demons, demigods and all manner of supernatural beings who wish ill upon the world. But her fire burns hot and fast, and her unpredictable control of the element brings into question her fitness as an Amazon.

Johann Herrmann chose the life of a Sentinel—a trainer of the four Amazons—to save his sister’s life. Now bound to the patron goddess Rhiannon, he knows his duty demands a solitary existence. But when he’s assigned to evaluate the Fire Amazon, his sacrifice becomes much more difficult.

Megan’s passions ignite a flame that neither she nor Johann can control, and the goddess Freya has reason to fan those flames. A mysterious force is gaining power, and Megan and Johann must join together to fight. And once a passionate fire has started, it’s nearly impossible to stop.

Wow!!  you can say that again!  This second book in the Alliance of the Amazons series is chock full of action, emotion, good, evil, rogue personalities, sexual frustration, and more.  And once again Sandy James has hit the literary ball out of the park.  Saying there are twists and turns is to put it mildly.  As a stand alone novel it is a fascinating read.  As a second novel in a series that rests firmly on information and action in Book 1 it is beyond fascinating.  Reading the first novel is almost a must do.
Perhaps the energetic nature of this novel is will in keeping with the firey nature of the Fire Amazon who is the central character.  She is beautiful and charismatic, extremely intelligent, with a finely honed sense of justice and a deeply ingrained desire to see people treated fairly, especially the weak and helpless.  In fact, her sense of outrage is so close to the surface that her Sentinel is sent to “re-train” her in order to give her greater control over her flaming powers that are becoming embarrassingly obvious as she runs to the rescue of victims in public settings.  It’s a big problem for those who are sent to “scrub” the memories of humans who observe her extraordinary actions.   What Megan doesn’t know is that Johann actually comes to her with secondary orders to send her back to her human world if she can’t get a handle on her penchant for public displays of her powers.
The is sooooooo much going on in this book.  I have to say that I was really caught unawares a number of times when the actions, relationships, and situations zigged when I expected them to zag and I found myself thinking, “How does she come up with all this?”  It is a constant source of admiration that authors construct the stories that they do.  And to do it with this mix of contemporary life together with Ancient goddesses and extraordinary female and legendary warriors gives me a sense of wishing I could do that.  I have a fairly active imagination but I really don’t think I could figure out some of these situations or resolve some of these conflicts as do authors who manage to do it so well.  Ms James is one of those authors and she has packed a ton of surprises in this story.  And the action . . . lots and lots of it, some of which involve personalities and conflicts that figured prominently in Book 1.
Like the heroine in Book 1, Megan faces her own personal challenges.  She is a woman who has been formed by loss and past hurt, a woman who has had to develop her inner sense of power and independence and while that personal power makes her who she is, she needs to learn to be — not dependent, but inter-dependent — a person who can enhance her own abilities by coupling them with the powers of others instead of always thinking of “going it alone.”  Perhaps this her greatest challenge.  We have all read stories about people who go through life fearing abandonment because of past experiences.  We all feel that from time to time, I am convinced.  It is that sense of connection between the “sister” Amazons that gives Megan a foundation for the lessons she must learn as she develops into a powerful warrior, far beyond what she could have ever expected.  And the love story between Megan and Johann has some surprises attached to it, the kind that make the reader really wonder if these two are ever going to be able to “get their groove” going.
All in all, it is a truly fine piece of writing and a novel that is a joy to read.  Amazons and Atlantis and that kind of stuff has never really interested me for some reason.  But having read the first book in this series, I was compelled to move to Book 2 and I am so glad I did.  I don’t think anyone who really enjoys superior fiction writing will want to miss this book.

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.
This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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Guest Review: The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James

Posted April 4, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James

The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior. But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don’t, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons. Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.

An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years. He understands Rebecca’s confusion at the new world she’s been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn’t stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.

When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers–but they come at a cost. Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?

I have read a number of Sandy James’ works and found them always to be well written, constructed logically and with a fine grasp of the overall plot and story concepts.  And it was because of my previous enjoyment that I was OK with reading a sort-of paranormal kind of romance mixed in with the contemporary as long as it was authored by her.  It’s not my usual pick of themes, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed the story and was excited to be able to move right on to book 2 in the series.

To say that our heroine was “reluctant” is sort of a misnomer.  She was not only reluctant, she was really unprepared and not well suited (in her opinion) to what she was being asked to do as an Amazon warrior beholden to the Earth goddess Rhiannon.  Rebecca was so apparently unsuited to her “calling” that the goddess herself was prepared to return her to her earth existence with no memory of her unhappy and often painful experience of preparing herself to fight the forces of evil alongside her other Amazon “sisters.”  Rebecca was a thoughtful, considerate, careful and caring kind of woman who felt right at home teaching little kids and fitting in with her friends and teaching colleagues.  She didn’t deserve to be mislead and snookered by her loving-mom-above-all-else kind of bridegroom, a man who evidently was so weak-willed that he had to get drunk in order to abdicate his betrothal obligation in front of all Rebecca’s friends as well as the triumphant leer of his mother.  Add in the fact that she was then claimed by a sexy Scotsman at the door of the church, given the choice of running away with him, and faced with the possibility of leaving behind the hurt and humiliation.  Who wouldn’t have gone with him?  However, to have found out that she was entering into a completely different life, one where she would be living on a different plane of existence was a large jolt, especially when she found out that her former friends and her students wouldn’t even remember her.

Yet this book is about the journey of discovery Rebecca had to make to discover her own inner strengths, to become aware that she had powers of good judgment and leadership she had either been unaware of or ignored in the past.  She also had to discover that she did indeed have the physical wherewithal to meet the demands of what it meant to be an Amazon warrior.  That’s probably the greatest difficulty she faced immediately.  Later there were other challenges that served to make her stronger.  Suffice it to say that this woman’s expanded awareness of her capabilities was WAY beyond anything she could have ever imagined in her former existence.

This is a very captivating story of one woman’s experience that took her into unexpected directions.  She discovered a new level of relationship with her Amazon sisters, with the Ancients (as the various goddesses were called) as well as seeing a new level of evil that threatened humanity and demanded her special skills.  Her relationship with her Sentinel Artair was problematic in that her goddess lusted after him and was not very happy about the attraction that seemed to be developing between him and her Earth Amazon.  Yet in spite of the idiosyncrasies of this powerful Ancient, the love story between Artair and Rebecca is interesting, certainly laced with difficulties, but entertaining to read and a vital part of this novel.

One of the most compelling aspects of this story is the nature of the relationships between the various Amazon warriors.  Each seemed to have their needs and hang-ups–they were human, after all–and yet in spite of their capacities to fight evil in their own special way, they were first and foremost women of heart and intelligence and who valued the friendship and sisterhood that formed during their training phase.  There are times when these loyalties are challenged and strained but I would hazzard to comment that every relationship is subject to stresses that put those ties to the test in all our lives.  Their willingness to cover each other’s back, to be supportive when not in a leadership role, to defer to the wishes of their goddesses and Sentinels while still maintaining their own sense of self was, for me, a delight to read.  All of the women in this novel were special in their own way and being under the guidance and direction of others didn’t dilute that special quality in any way.  I love it when characters are given those traits.

This book was released in the Fall of 2012 as the first in a new series.  While the books in the series are stand alone, I think it is important to read this first book to gain a good foundation for enjoying the novels to come.  It’s a very good read that combines lots of literary themes and will be entertaining for lots of readers on lots of levels.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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Guest Author (+ a Giveaway): Sandy James – Amazon

Posted March 13, 2013 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 28 Comments

No matter what I write in the future, I think I will always consider my Alliance of the Amazons books some of my greatest stories. Why? Because for the first time, I created a world. I populated it. I set the rules. I could do pretty much anything I wanted. Muhahaha…

Actually, writing urban fantasy feels like playing God in some ways. It’s a thrill to be able to decide what can and can’t happen in a world the writer creates from her own imagination. In the case of my Amazons, I decided to use myths from other cultures…in fact, I decided to use all cultures.

There’s such a wealth of great myths, legends, and stories out there. Why limit myself to just the typical Mt. Olympus deities? I wanted to use the wealth of characters from every culture imaginable! So I did!

Choosing a way to make each warrior special in her own way was a little more difficult. My son and I tossed around ideas until it dawned on me that I wanted them “balanced,” which triggered a notion of how the elements of nature complement each other. My Amazons would represent the four elements. After I made that decision, the women’s characters easily sprang to life.

I spent a lot of time deciding which goddesses would be the patrons for which Amazon. I love studying, and doing the research on different cultures and the divinities they worshipped was a blast. The stories I read about the deities also gave me even more ideas for powers the warriors could receive from their patronesses.

I chose Rhiannon for Earth because of her history of being tied to the Earth—several tales of Rhiannon involve her loyalty and love for her land and people. I also love the tales of King Arthur and Rhiannon as the Lady of the Lake.

Freya was a super goddesses for Fire since some of her Norse mythology involves her ability to use fire. I also loved her handling of animals, especially her hawk. That gave me the idea of letting the Fire Amazon be able to shapeshift into a hawk…and then into other things because I allow my ladies’ powers to grow as they mature. In addition, Freya has a mischievous twin—Freyjr—who has been both a curse and a blessing to the Amazons. He particularly plays an important role in The Volatile Amazon, the fourth book of the series.

The Air Amazon is given her aid from the Mayan goddess Ix Chel. Every piece of art I found for Ix Chel made her look like Cher in her heyday, which I thought could be a fun addition to the story. Her mythology also gave me a lot of “ammunition” to use for her Amazon.

Finally, what better goddess than Ganga for the water element? I was inspired not only for her connection to healing through the Ganges River, but because I have a former student I’m very close to who is Indian. She helped me understand the culture better, and I always pictured her whenever I wrote about my Water Amazon.

The Reluctant Amazon—Earth’s story—released September of 2012. I was thrilled at the response! It’s currently the number one urban fantasy romance for Carina Press. Fire’s story—The Impetuous Amazon—debuted in January and has been an All Romance Ebooks bestseller. The Brazen Amazon releases on May 6th. The series ends in September when The Volatile Amazon—Water’s story—appears.

This is a “closed” series. The Volatile Amazon is the end of the Alliance of the Amazons in many ways, so this generation of Amazons will fade into the sunset. But remember—there can always be a new generation.

To celebrate my series, I’m holding a giveaway through Book Binge. Two lucky winners will be given the first three books in the Alliance of the Amazons series!

Please note: you must include a valid email address with your comment to be eligible. Contest ends 3/20/13 @ 11:59pm.

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