Mateguas Island By Linda Watkins

ced9ce12681ec623c84721d1c3d5f8f0When Bill, an out-of-work software engineer, inherited his Aunt Jane’s house on an island off the coast of Maine, he hoped it would be a new beginning for his troubled family — a way to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, but it was the beginning of a journey into  betrayal and terror and an ancient Indian curse.  This is the tale that Linda Watkins masterfully tells in her book, “Mateguas Island.”

“Mateguas Island” by Linda Watkins is an enthralling and captivating book encompassing terror, suspense, horror, romance and fantasy elements, tightly woven into a well-crafted and well thought out and detailed plot.  The book is fast paced, with rich and interesting characters with detailed backstories told throughout the course of the book, so as to not make it too draggy in spots, which is definite plus.  Reviewing this book as a whole, I say that, but if I were to review this book as I read it, I might say that the book took on a bit more than it should have, that it suffers from the “too many cooks” syndrome or that it would have benefited from less as to opposed to more.  It has two love triangles, the mysterious symbols on the foundation, the mystery of the locked box and the white rabbit on the path beyond the bush in the garden, so there’s definitely a lot for the reader to digest, which leads me to the fear I was having when I was reading this book.  When you put in a lot of seemingly different things in a story, things with no immediate or apparent connection, you’re taking the chance of losing focus on your main plotline in order to pursue perhaps too many sub-plotlines.  All that being said, however, I applaud Linda for taking that chance, because it worked.  Reviewing the book as a whole, everything came together perfectly.

Character development is an important part of any book, and in Mateguas Island, this is done nicely, particularly and most importantly with the protagonist and antagonist.  However, I would have liked to have seen more done with the antagonist’s development.  Linda give us the full history of the swamp hag, the Mskagedemos, through Pete’s relating of the tale, but I would have liked to have seen it done in flashback (maybe by making Pete’s story the means to a segue into the flashback), giving the reader a chance to know the Mskagedemos more as a living, breathing character.  It would also give the reader the opportunity to look into her mind and get a fuller picture what makes her tick — of what her motivations are.

Before I close this review of “Mateguas Island,” I would like point out the success it has obtained.  It received the 2014 Gold Medal in supernatural fiction, awarded by the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards Contest and an Honorable Mention in general fiction from the 2014 Halloween Book Festival in L.A.    “Mateguas Island” has also received ninety-five five-star book reviews on Amazon and is a 2015 IAN Book of the year finalist.

The only question left to answer is, is this book a must read and the answer is no, it’s not.  This book is an absolute must read.

Review by Paul Pappas

At the end of my first review I tried something I called, question of the week, in the hope of getting some reader interaction.  Needless to say, this was a resounding failure, no one answered, but I still believe in the concept, so I will try it again.  First let me repeat my previous question, which was, in movies, TV or books, who is your favorite antagonist and why?  Now here is my new question.  To have a good or great antagonist, must the protagonist be equally as good or great?

Let me jump start the process by giving you my answers.  To the first question, I would have to say, Barnabas Collins from “DARK SHADOWS” and not because I’m a fan, but because of the amount of depth in the character.  When he was first introduced on the show he was pure evil, but then the onion began to peal and you discover the fact that he doesn’t want to be the way he is, that he hates it and that he feels remorse.  That’s what makes him a good antagonist and at the same time, a good protagonist.  And my answer to the second question, and this is only really my opinion, is yes, because the reverse is certainly true.  You can’t have a great protagonist if he doesn’t a great battle to fight and for that, you need a comparable antagonist.

Before I close out this post, I take a moment to publically apologize to Linda Watkins (already having done so privately) and apologize to all the people who follow my blog, for the lateness of this post in relation to my first.  In the future I will try to do better.

My next review will be of the book “Borrowed Time” by Ralph Brady.  From what I’ve read of it so far, it looks to be an interesting book.

“In Your Dreams” by John Swan

51y0iGARvJL._AA258_PIkin4,BottomRight,-43,22_AA280_SH20_OU32_When I first agreed to review “In Your Dreams,” a book reported by it’s author, John Swan, to be an epic fantasy, I was a fantasy virgin. I had not read that type of book before in my life, but now having finished it, I’m happy to say that John did not lie – it was indeed an epic fantasy and I am now a fantasy fan.

“In Your Dreams” is packed with rich description, intrigue and action, all held together by a well-conceived and well thought-out plot, which moves along smoothly. The book is further helped by snappy, well-written dialogue and excellent characters, most important of which, as with any book, are the protagonist and antagonist.

Mim, a young orphan girl with mysterious and mystical dreams, is our protagonist, and we first see her in chapter two when Eolan, a government diplomat on a long journey, dreams of her. In chapter three we are officially introduced to her and the fact that she too has dreams. She lives in a place called The Quilt and works in an eatery named The Last Stand, where she meets many people, among whom are Morra Losis and her minions.

Morra Losis, (our antagonist) is a cannibal and a servant of Izman, who appears to be, in my opinion, John’s take on Satan, as the Esme, an ancient race of magical beings that came before, appears to be his take on God like creatures. Morra Losis is intrigued by Mim and targets her, sending Mim on the run for her life and to a new life.

“In Your Dreams” is a roller coaster thrill ride from virtually the beginning to the end. And what an ending! John brilliantly decided to end it with a cliffhanger, so, I am happy to say, there will be more – in fact, six in all. I am happy to read and review the next, which is actually a novella called, “Trial Of The Heart.”

John’s book, in my opinion, earned and deserves five stars on all points and it definitely goes on my list of recommended books. And in closing I want to thank John Swan for giving us this book and for taking away my virginity – my fantasy virginity, that is.

Review by Paul Pappas

Question of the week:

Morra Losis is an evil character indeed, as I’m sure those of you who have read John’s book will agree, but throughout all of fiction: books, TV or movies, who is your favorite villain (antagonist) and why?