Book Reviews

Review: Ten Years of Darkness by Kristen M. Chambers and Viktor H. Strangewayes

Color palette here is carefully selected with a feather radiating magic. Nicely done cover. completed this review via a free copy in cooperation with StoryTellers on Tour and the author’s blog tour.

Whispers & Wonder
Westveil Publishing
Beneath A Thousand Skies
S.D. McKinley
Queen’s Book Asylum

For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.


A darkly humorous mash-up of time travel and dark fantasy, in which our heroes discover there is more to our history than we’ve been led to believe. Discover a world of demons and dark Magic, of ancient civilizations and unexpected alliances, hiding just out of plain sight…

A demonic plague carried by time-traveling bats, a dripping mechanical construct from ages past, and a talking quill which gleans the truth from a person’s blood. A few months ago, that would have been enough to make Kristen question her sanity, but after everything she’s seen, they seem pretty par for the course.

After a brief encounter with a mysterious stranger leaves Kristen with an unusual Magical artifact, she begins to realize there is far more to our world than she’s been told, and the very future of humanity may just rest in her hands. Joining forces with some rather unlikely allies – a nervous neighbor whose dreams of Magic are quickly turning into his nightmare; a diminutive yet feisty Lumynar, who may be the last of her kind; and a wisecracking demon who happens to share the moniker of a fictional spy – Kristen sets out on the journey she had always dreamed of, but may not be prepared for.

With potential horrors looming on the horizon, access to Magical resources obstructed by powerful forces, and more questions arising with each encounter, our heroes must band together and fight for their world and the fate of humanity. But for every question answered, many still linger: Have they chosen to support the right factions? Are their goals worth more than those they are fighting against? And worst of all, have they gone through this entire process before?

From the group who founded the Vaal’bara Historical Society, Ten Years of Darkness is a prequel which can be read before Volume One or after Volume Five. The prequel takes place in an unsettling time before many events transpired, yet is simultaneously affected by their outcome, following characters both new and familiar, and bringing as yet untold details to light while also exploring others from a unique perspective. Those seeking to learn the true mission of the Society may very well choose to start here, while other readers who have already traveled the timeways at our heroes’ side will find many clues to further their journey as they look toward the future.

Ten Years of Darkness presents originality in form with handy visual-graphic hints at progressions in story line with visual clues as to what kind of scene transformation is taking place such as time transformation, portal, written document or vision. This element works well and added value.

In regards to further specifications on format, each chapter is professionally titled and paragraphs are separated by a double-carriage return, being non-indented in the print book and indented in the eBook format. While I didn’t mind the double spaced paragraphs in the print book, the indention and spaced paragraphs did bother me slightly in the eBook as a violation of too-much-wasted-white-space. Albeit the former were small offenses in my vouch for criticism regarding form in writing. All things matter.

Unfortunately, most events or thoughts in the book come in quick passing. It’s fast paced adventure through space and time with magical elements of time crystals, talking quills and a transformational, riddle giving knife. In my readings, I found it difficult to decipher what was important in the book and what wasn’t, being there not much accentuation toward important things and non-important things. Although, with all these details spinning at me I still found escape into a meta-world where things are surreal and interesting in a way that we do not find in our present reality, which was great in seeking escapism and food-for-thought. The writing itself, on a small scale was executed well with little-to-no typos or sloppiness in regards to grammar and punctuation.

“May the quill prove mightier than the blade.”

Page 101, Ten Years of Darkness

I have mentioned before that what I look for most in a book is complete immersion, being enveloped in a proverbial wrap of feeling, giving me emotion ( whether good or bad ) and instilling a sense of complete atmosphere which I found mostly lacking in this book. This is why I believe that happened: there’s not much further explained and proves to be too verbose with not much poetic nature and the writing seems cut short both in character elements and setting when thoughts, actions and setting could be appropriately, even slightly expanded upon to give us a little more background and feeling about what is happening and most importantly: why . . . in order to give my imagination some taste. It could use a good rambling re-cap in spots to tie everything up nicely. This begs the argument against imagination vs too much information, but what I am seeking here is just a little more in regards to setting, character and thoughts to feed that imaginative construct in my mind. It seems that this book might be a product of all the advice online about writing and that presents dangers in itself of lacking soul and individuality that is needed to encompass a complete personal thought as paragraph and a complete feeling as form and book. I feel as if I know nothing about these authors through their writings – neither good or bad in itself.

Now the flip side of this is we are given plenty of room to appreciate the premise of the book being that reality is more than meets the eye, exploring the concept of worlds interacting with our own in ways we cannot presently understand. Then, we are presented an option to decipher importance of specifics on our own – as a feat of imagination and grasp for something more than simply what is presented in front of our face, in the writings. I absolutely loved those magical touches including naming demons after elusive cartoon characters that I personally grew up with via media, thus inciting a correlation previously not thought about, ending in personal amusement.


Ten Years of Darkness presents originality in form and function, while delivering fun themes surrounding time and magic with comedic characters and mischievous events; even not normally animate characters such as knives and quills that interact with the fictional world. But, it lacks depth in regards to the reader deciphering what is important in the story and what isn’t with little-to-no back tracing or reasoning to why things happen or even thoughts. However, I would imagine telling a story that resides outside reality, but delves into meta-reality, might present the same exact problems because it would lie outside common reasoning. Ten Years of Darkness – definitely worth the read @ ★★★☆☆ three stars out of five.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

Music Promotions Resources

Call for Help – LJ and Rom’s Book Tour

It has come to my attention that the turn out, so far for LJ and Rom’s Signature book tour via Story Tellers on Tour is a bit low to make it into the Signature realm due to the number of current sign ups. With this post, I hope to turn that around with your help. At the end of the day you don’t owe me anything. However, if you help me I at least owe you a physical book ( if you would like it ), no matter where you stay if Amazon delivers to you.

So, the interesting subject of “Well, I’m your reader / follower, so it may create a conflict of interest if I don’t like the book and I have negative things to say about it.”

Look, I can’t stress enough how, yes you may say something about the book that is completely wrong in my perspective, or you may give it a dreaded one star rating. I can’t guarantee that won’t make me feel some kind of way, but what I can guarantee is that I won’t let it affect our relationship as a blog content creator / follower, that is totally separate as far as I’m concerned. This is the end of the line for promoting this book, so I really want this to turn out well.

Will you please help me? Also, a blog isn’t required for this. It’s open to bookstagrammers as well or any other places on social media.

Also – if you don’t want to partake in the tour, maybe at least you know someone who will? So a re-blog or a mention in a non-blog-o-sphere group would be awesome, even if it’s the only thing you ever personally do for me, I would be elated. After all, this is a help me / help you world. No? 😉

Tour Details:

How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal 
by S.D. McKinley
February 17th–23rd

Hi Follower!

We’re organizing a book tour for S.D. McKinley’s standalone Comedic Adventure Fantasy novel, How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal, which will take place from February 17th–February 23rd.

We’re seeking Bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us show How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal some love with reviews and features across blogs and social media. All participants will receive eBooks to read and review. A limited number of physical copies will be available for tour participants based in the US ( If you help me via this blog post, I will send you a physical copy myself, wherever Amazon delivers ) at the author’s discretion.


PUBLISHED: July 2020
GENRE: Action, Adventure, Historical Fantasy, Humor
PAGES: 155
CONTENT WARNING: Violence, Non-graphic sex

Amazon US

––Ride along with LJ and Rom as they travel the US to stop the death of their friend Dom, a legendary heavy metal guitarist. What unravels before their eyes is a trippy conspiracy against them and technological warfare on the dreams of not only Dom, but humankind alike. Action packed with fast cars, guns, monsters, magic and an ending like no other.


On a heavier note: Dean Guitars Artist’s Series just relaunched the limited edition Dime Razorback Rust in their tribute to late Dimebag Darrell Abbott. Man, oh man and this guitar is a work of art itself. We’ll see if the heavy metal gods ship one to my doorstep with a review, here on later in the first quarter of this year:

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

Promotions Resources

It’s Official – Story Tellers on Tour Roadie / LJ and Rom’s Tour Announcement

I thought long and hard on whether I wanted to be a weirdo, be a Roadie and an author with Story Tellers on Tour. They are great, so I decided . . . YES! And, now it’s official. I have a review for 10 Years of Darkness coming on Febuary 8th. I thumbed through a couple of pages, and it looks like a really cool book:

It is so important to be invloved in things, so I modified their website badge. It’s re-stealable for other roadies as well. I’m just going through all this trying to stay sane, so I made some graphics, which was a stress reliever. The black border is just because of CSS settings 😉:

You may click the picture to get a high quality version. WordPress is compressing images and making them ugly. This is for roadies only!
This is for roadies only!

That’s it for now. I’m super busy with everything going on. Enjoy your day. The blog tour for LJ and Rom book #1 is right around the same time as my scheduled date for 10 Years of Darkness, but I’m still waiting on an official announcement, EDIT: Here is the sign up form for LJ and Rom’s Book Tour, running February 17th through the 23rd. I’m confident will happen soon. Stay tuned guys!

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.


A.M. Justice’s Woern Saga Prize Bundle

A very special shout-out to the team at Storytellers On Tour, partnered with Rafflecopter and fellow author A.M. Justice for sending out these two great looking prize books. I briefly scanned a review on A Wizard’s Sacrifice: Book Two of the Woern Saga, and coincidently, it seems right up my alley from blurb on the back:

Victoria of Ourtown believes two things: that the bright, wandering star in the heavens is an abandoned spacecraft which brought her ancestors to this world and that destiny and the will of gods are nonsense. Vic used to scoff at stories of wizards too, until she acquired their powers. Once a warrior, now a secret wizard, she just wants to live an ordinary life and find a way to atone for the mistakes she’s made.

Ashel of Narath knows that the wandering star is the god who created humanity, but this difference of opinion doesn’t stop him from loving Vic. All that keeps them apart is a thousand miles and a tragic loss.

Lornk Korng needs Vic and Ashel to execute his plans for conquest. The fact both want him dead is but a trifling snag in his schemes. A bigger problem are the world’s indigenous aliens and an ancient enemy whose victory could wipe out humankind.

As plots and counterplots clash across time, Vic and Ashel must choose their allies carefully, or risk losing not only each other but everything they know.

A gripping tale of wizardry, warfare, and moral dilemmas unspools in a breathtaking blend of fantasy and science fiction.

[ Source: ]

I’m focusing on book number two, instead of book one of the series, as book two, A Wizard’s Sacrifice was just released this month ( November, 2020 ) and could use a little more attention. I can tell you as first thoughts from the prologue, this story kicks right off with some gritty, bloody action and there is an onslaught going on. Perfect first impressions. Let’s see if it holds up? 🤔

Guys, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley