Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Darkest Loop by James Fant

Title: The Darkest Loop

Author: James Fant

Paperback: 292 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 20, 2017)

ISBN-10: 1975654579

ISBN-13: 978-1975654573

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author some time ago. This review is long overdo.*

 

This is my second read from this author. I absolutely loved COED and you can find my five-star review of that book here. I enjoy Fant’s writing style and how his characters always remind me of real people (which if you’ve been following my reviews long enough you know that’s my most favorite thing about books, good characterization and dialogue that sounds like real communication between people.)

On September 3, 2001 , Dallas gets a call from his friend Kevin inviting him to a BBQ during Labor Day Weekend. At the house Dallas meets Kevin’s sister Thena. Kevin and his wife Jasmine are trying to hook Dallas up with her. Everything seems normal at first, until Dallas wakes the next day to the same phone call from Kevin, the same invitation to his BBQ, the meeting of Thena and the same series of events from the previous night. That’s because it’s September 3rd again, 2001, and it will be for the better part of the book. Each September 3rd runs through September 11th and then Dallas wakes up to September 3rd again. The loops involve similar but different outcomes, playing on Dallas mind until he realizes he is stuck in a time loop.

What I loved most about this book was the Final Destination type clues sprinkled about. If you haven’t seen the Final Destination movie series then you’ve seriously been living under a rock. Briefly, the movie released in 2000 and is a supernatural horror movie about a young man named Alex who experiences a premonition of a plane exploding and killing everyone on it. After insisting everyone exists the plane, several people do and shortly afterward watch the plane explode just as Alex saw in his vision. Throughout the movie the characters will experience coincidences and DejaVu associated with the coming of their own deaths. So yea, this book is kinda like that but without the gory deaths.

In Fant’s Darkest Loop, I loved how something would happen in one loop and then the author would take us to a loop that gives us the same events from a different perspective. Like how Dallas smells the scent of a woman on his sheets and meets a woman the next day with the same scent. They are just meeting but have already met and been together. The series of coincidences and Déjà vu keeps you on the edge of your seat, especially since Dallas is trying to figure things out just as the reader is. This book also reminds me of Premonition , the movie starring Sandra Bullock.

The only thing I did not like very much is the ending. The anticipation and tension was so well done that I was not as impressed with the revelation toward the end of the book. Things got weird…I mean more weird than usual for this book and while weird can be good, I felt the author drifted and the whole reason behind the loop was not as satisfying for me as I had hoped. Otherwise, definitely a five-star read.

 

Rating

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 3.5/5

Thought Provoking: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Unfortunately, it looks like The Darkest Loop is out of print on Amazon. I do recommend you follow this author though and check out his other books. I recommend COED, linked above.

About the book:

Dallas Anderson is stuck in a time loop that repeats Labor Day 2001 to September 11, 2001. He thinks he must prevent the terrorist attacks to break the loop. But each loop challenges that theory, igniting a fiery romance between him and his best friend’s sister and exposing the dark truth behind Déjà vu.
About the author:

James Fant is an award winning author who lives in Charleston, SC with his lovely wife and two hilarious children. He received a degree in biology from College of Charleston and a master’s in business administration from Charleston Southern University. His love for literature was forged by the works of Eric Jerome Dickey, Walter Mosely, and Stephen King. He also finds inspiration from screenwriters Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin and Kurt Sutter. Literally, James has always been drawn to intelligent yet imperfect characters and he writes novels with them in mind.


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*Books are read in the order they are received. The sooner you get your order in, the sooner I can get to your book and get your review published.

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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Cursed Queen: Mystery Tales Series Book One by Carlo Ocaya

Title: The Cursed Queen: Mystical Tales Series 1

Author: Carlo Ocaya

Publishing: Coming June 19, 2019

 

*I was gifted a copy of this book from the author*

The Cursed Queen is part of Ocaya’s Mystical Tales series, a fantasy, mystery novel full of adventure and magic. The story takes place on a hidden Island called Ophen and the world is reminiscent of Bright; the movie starring Will Smith, where humans, orcs, elves, and fairies co-exist. In this book, there are short people called Hervecs, big, colorful skinned people called Broncords, animal people called Naiths, and magical people called Elves.

Yuna Queenertia has just awakened from a coma and does not understand who she is or where she is. She lives with a woman named Marianna Waterglow, who calls herself Granny, a woman named Anna and her daughter Samantha, who everyone calls Sam. Sam is hilarious and I enjoyed how the author has developed her character. (I admit I liked her better than Yuna. She just seemed more real to me, like a real little girl.) I enjoyed the tension surrounding Yuna’s confusion about who she is and why she is not allowed out of her room. The anticipation makes you want to keep reading. We soon discover that Yuna has silver hair and that because of this hair she is cursed. The people throw stones at her and treat her badly. As the book progresses, we follow Yuna, Sam, and their family on a journey of self-discovery as Yuna searches for her memories. We are taken back to her childhood for some backstory, introduced to more interesting characters with interesting abilities and discover many twists as secrets are revealed.

I do wish there was more that tied in with Yuna’s hair though. A lot is revealed but I felt that it became more about the Wraiths (a terrorist group in the magical realm), than it was about Yuna’s discovery. I would have liked for the story to dig deeper into the history behind people with silver hair more than it did. But, this is just book one so who knows what Ocaya’s got up his sleeves! I think it’s fascinating to depict someone with this hair as someone who is cursed because normally gray and silver hair is indicative of someone with wisdom.

I can see this book as a movie and would recommend it to young adults. I just feel like children would love it. Yuna’s History and Tradition teacher, for instance, is a Hervec with a long mustache that reaches to the floor, a long robe and glasses. I think this would be funny to see on the screen. Then there’s the funny little fairy Yuna and Sam meets in search for Anna. I can’t tell you much else without spoiling the book, but there’s a youthful, fun, innocence about this book that I love. Although the anticipation of Yuna discovering her memories wrecked my nerves (lol), this was a fun, adventurous read.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 4/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 4 /5

Overall Rating: 4 / 5

 

The Cursed Queen (Mystical Tales, #1) is available for Pre-Order at various retailers. Click Here.


About this Author:

Copyright©2019. Carlo Ocaya.

Carlo Ocaya was born and raised from the island called Saipan (No, not Spain, Saipan). Staying within his hometown for the first 19 years, he decided to join the Marine Corps and was sent to the U.S. mainland in California.

During his time in the military, Carlo began writing his first few drafts of the Mystical Tales series. He got the idea of his first book by the thought of his home. The setting of the island was meant to contain similar features as his homeland with the people and settings slightly altered. His adventure towards the states is what has created and developed his future ideas on books.

He went to school overnight in order to study the basics of writing and further his knowledge on grammar and literature. It wasn’t until the next few years that he gained the confidence to publish the book.

Independent and thriving, Carlo uses his knowledge from software engineering class to further develop his website into what it is now. He continues to further his education by learning the tricks and trade at San Diego Mesa College.

Now residing in Santa Ana, California, he stays with his brother and goes to school full time. Carlo hopes to partake in future book events and display his writing, skills, and books to others.

His first book, Mystical Tales: The Cursed Queen, will be featured within LA Times Festival of Books and San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival.

Follow him Online:

Website: https://carloocaya.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OpTmystic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Carlo_Ocaya

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/op_t_mystic/


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Black History Fun Fact Friday – Twins or Nay?

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I’m not so sure we should call this a fun “Fact” Friday. It’s more like a Black History Fun Mystery Friday. Who wants to play? Get your magnifying glasses out, you’re gonna need them!

What if you were arrested and brought into jail, but upon entering were told that you had already been there? In fact, you were arrested before. “No I wasn’t,” you’d most likely say. The clerk will proceed to show you pictures of yourself. “Wow,” you think. “That’s my picture but I’ve never seen it before.”

Will West
Mug Shot of Will West

That is what happened to Will West and William West. I admit this story is still controversial. Were they twins or not? I cannot say for sure myself. As a twin, naturally this story fascinates me. Was it a trick? Was it real? Did something supernatural take place? Maybe one man went back in time? Whatever happened, we have a real doppelganger situation on our hands (What’s a doppelganger? I take it you don’t watch Flash the TV show. A doppelganger is the version of you that exists in another timeline). I’m not joking. I think there really was something supernatural going on.

According to the story, Will West (or Will Tell, certain sources give different last names. Most of them use West so I will in this article) was arrested in 1903 and sent to the Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas. Back then they used a facial recognition system called The Bertillon System. The Bertillon System is a system developed by Alphonse Bertillon, a French criminologist who first developed the system of physical measurements of body parts, especially components of the head and face, to produce a detailed description of an individual. Invented in 1879, the system became known as the Bertillon system and gained acceptance as a reliable method of criminal investigation, though there were complaints that the system was flawed. The West case proved that it was in 1903 when two unrelated black men would inadvertently inspire the use of a different system, or at least that’s what is documented.

Will walked into Leavenworth in 1903 and caused the Clerk to double check his records. He was adamant that he’d seen this man before. In fact, not only did he see him before but it was two long years ago. Yes, he is sure of it. He had already arrested the man standing in front of him and his name was William West.

Using the Bertillon System would not help in this case, as the men had the same measurements and were identical in appearance. Let us imagine what the conversation was like. The clerk, whose name was McClaughty, pulls out Williams records, flips through them and looks up at Will. His mouth is twisted, his brow carving deep lines in his head. He looks away, staring at the files in front of him and then back up at Will.

“So, what you’re saying is that this ain’t you?”

The man turns the files around to show a photo of what looks to be the man in front of him.

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Mug shot of William

Will’s eyes buck but he shakes his head.

“No. I mean, that’s my picture but I don’t know where you got it from. I have never been here before.”

The Clerk did more searching and discovered that a William West was arrested two years ago for murder and that Will was a different person altogether. The incident caused the move from The Bertillon System to that of fingerprinting in criminal cases. Or at least the start of its use in the U.S. Fingerprinting had been used before in other parts of the world. According to Google: “The English first began using fingerprints in July of 1858, when Sir William James Herschel, Chief Magistrate of the Hooghly district in Jungipoor, India, first used fingerprints on native contracts. (By the way, Twins have different fingerprints)

Here’s a side by side of Will and William:

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Some sources say that the men really were Twins. If this is true, why would Will lie about it? I mean, he was being arrested. What would be the motive behind the twin’s actions? Did they commit a crime together and one just got caught later?

If you scroll up to the first photo of Will and then back to the profile of William, their heads are shaped differently. William’s lump is more pronounced and there’s more of a curve. William’s profile also shows that his cheeks are slightly more sunken in, which isn’t so in the first image. This would indeed show flaws in the Bertillon System, which gave the men the same measurements (but you can look at the back of their heads and see they are shaped differently). William is also wearing more of a frown than Will is. According to the story, William was arrested for murder two years earlier. By the look on his face, he appears to have been incarcerated longer. I won’t say that he did it because we are talking about 1903 here ( a time where black men were often accused of a murder they did not commit), but he does look to be more agitated than Will.

Will’s image is also lighter and that’s either a mole or ink above his lips and under the nose. Either way, it’s not in William’s photo. Neither is what looks to be a scar on William’s head present in Will’s picture. There’s enough evidence physically to see these may, in fact, be two different people. One thing’s for sure, these men look too much alike not to be twins, but who knows? Maybe Will is from a different timeline altogether or the men really were not related. After all, the truth is stranger than fiction.


Here’s a throwback for fun by the way. This is Tracey and me turning ten. I can’t use a recent picture because then it’ll be obvious. I have locs and she doesn’t.

Can you solve the mystery? Where’s EC? (Lol hee hee)

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Photo Source: Copyright©Yecheilyah Ysrayl. May, 1997

Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – Mystery Fog

 

Welcome back to another episode of Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge as hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading and Ronovan of Ronovan Writes. Now, I drafted this post as a piece of creative writing in general at first as part of another prompt. Then I thought to myself, “Wonder what the writing theme is today?” That’s when I went to Colleens blog and found Mystery. “Cool! I was already writing about the mysterious fog.” So, below is my creative piece and writer’s quote.

man-person-fog-mistDear fog, your kind of a mystery. I mean, what’s going on in there? I imagine its like when the clouds rise from their heavenly thrones like marching bands just to see what the ground feels like. Like when angels bow and secret themselves in the blanket of the air. Something familiar enough for the humans to recognize without fear. Fog. That moment when spirit meets earth in search of its other half. Floating its way through time wrapped in clouds and smelling of forever. I wonder if we become one with eternity just by walking through you. Like hands dipped in hope; the smell of expectation against our noses; a taste of courage on our tongues.

I think the Earth and everything around it is connected – the sky and the planets and the stars and everything else we see as a mystery.
– Marion Cotillard
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