Reviews of J. Lloyd Morgan’s Books

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The Hidden Sun book review by Dawn Vanniman

“THE HIDDEN SUN is a wonderfully crafted fairytale. There’s a Princess, forbidden love, an evil overlord and a happy ending. What more could you ask for?

The plot moves along quickly and has great twists and turns. I was a little worried that it would be high fantasy at first, but it wasn’t at all. It was a lovely story and one that I could easily imagine the author telling his four daughters.

The characters were well-written with their own voices. A few of the names were groan-worthy, but cute, nonetheless. Ofcourse in most fairytales the names mean something and they help the story along, the same is true here.

The plot revolves around the Book of Law and how it is interpreted, which was definitely interesting. It makes you think of our Constitution and how different groups use it to prove what they want proved.

All in all, a great book and I highly recommend it!”

Debbie Davis, author

I always look forward to stories that take me away to another land, a place where life is different and times are far in the past. To be carried away by a beautiful heroine and a handsome hero with romance splashed in. Ahh, heaven! The Hidden Sun had this and more.
I fell in love with Eliana and Rinan right away. I wanted their love and happily-ever-after to work out. They were so pure and wholesome and cared for others more than themselves. They were so perfect for each other. They go forward with a plan that allows them to be together.
But the contest had to go on, and the book The Tome of Laws decreed that the winner marry the next in line to take the throne. Daimh was favored to be the next King to rule beside Eliana. He is good-looking and strong, but not always in the right ways. His father Abrecan, the Governor of Erd, plans to use his son as a pawn for his unjust agenda.
Meanwhile, there is a mystery discovered in the Tome of Laws that must be unraveled. It is a key that will unlock the course of the future. It becomes a race against time as the Governor and his evil minions work to ensure that no one ever uncovers the truth.
I can honestly say that I grew to hate Governor Abrecan so much that I wanted bad things to happen to him. He was the perfect evil villain, the kind you love to hate. He was more despicable the more you got to know him.
I was anxious the whole time to know if there would be a happily-ever-after or not. There was so much political intrigue and crazy plot twists that it kept me up at late at night wondering what would happen. I was really unhappy when some of the characters were killed off so soon. I was upset, I even cried, I was angry at the author, and it made no sense to me. But as I read on, I realized that it was essential to the plot of the book. I found myself falling in love again with other characters along the way. I wanted to personally go into the book and do bodily damage to Abrecan with all the things he did. I felt bad for his son. Who would want a dad like him, anyway?
I fell into the book and couldn’t stop reading. I made myself not look at the end of the book to see how it all finished, to see if the characters I loved were still there.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The scenes were vivid, the characters were distinctive and sometimes quirky. There was a great good versus evil theme that kept me turning pages. I recommend this book for anyone who loves romance set in medieval times. J. Lloyd Morgan is a vivid storyteller who weaves unexpected surprises along the way. I look forward to reading the sequel.

Berin Stephens, author of “The Dragon War Relic”

When I was asked to review The Hidden Sun by J. Lloyd Morgan, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It sounded kind of like a fantasy since it was set in a medieval-style kingdom, but when the book arrived in the mail I found out it wasn’t. Even worse, as I started to read it, it began to look like a romance. Ugh.
After reading the first few chapters, though, I was hooked.
And the book wasn’t a romance, though it had some romance in it (but not enough to make me nauseous). This was a political intrigue book with interesting and enjoyable characters. In fact, I enjoyed some of the characters so much that I got mad at what the author did to them. But then, that was what ended up sucking me in. It created a great emotional response, which is what every author wants to do. I also enjoyed the action and sports scenes which added another dimension to the novel.
I don’t want to go into detail about what happens, because that would ruin the surprises, and there were many. A lot of the story revolved around the Tome of Laws and how the various characters, both good and bad, worked with it or tried to subvert it to their own purposes. It seemed to parallel what we see today going on with the U.S. Constitution, whether that was intentional or not.  (author’s note:  it was intentional)
There was a recurring theme throughout the book, having to do with “the sun playing hide and seek.” This, of course, does relate to the title. Also, there were a lot of symbolisms with the various character names.
As far as age group, this could be read by anybody, but the political stuff probably won’t appeal to readers until in their teens. This book does get the official Berin Stephens Big-toe-up award for being a clean read.
An interesting moral dilemma comes up in the book and is worth noting: sometimes doing the right thing can be very difficult and at first seem to be the wrong thing. This is the dilemma the characters face and is one we often face in life. But don’t worry, doing the right thing does work out in the end. Or sometime . . . anyway . . . maybe in the next life.
I highly recommend this book for not only being a clean read, but also a thoroughly engaging story. So go get it. Now. Are you still here? Why are you still reading? Go, git, you should be clicking on Amazon right now!

Interview with Donna Hatch, author

Donna: Today, my guest author is J. Lloyd Morgan, Author of The Hidden Sun. Welcome! Thanks for visiting me today. My first question is, what genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

To be honest, The Hidden Sun doesn’t fit in a particular genre, per se. It has a broad classification of fantasy because it takes place in medieval times in a fictitious land with fictitious characters. However, magic isn’t used and there are no non-human characters. Heck, there aren’t even dream sequences. I wanted to write a story where interesting characters were faced with challenges that they couldn’t solve with technology or magic. Too often (way too often) I’ve been disappointed in fantasy books where at the pivotal moment the hero suddenly uses a magic power that they didn’t know they had (and neither did the reader) to save the day. I feel like it is cheating. The same could be said about technology—after all, the technology of today would appear to be magic to someone four hundred years ago.

Donna: Very true! So tell me, what are you working on now?

The Hidden Sun is a pretty much a standalone book. However, while editing it, I got an idea for another story using a minor character from The Hidden Sun. My second book is written and is in the editing stages. Along the same lines, I got an idea for another book which I’ve just started writing. I’ve completed the outline and have written the prologue and first chapter. The best way to describe how these books fit together is similar to The Chronicles of Narnia. The setting is the same, but time passes and new characters are introduced.

Donna: How do you write? Are you a pantser (seat of the pants writer) or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I’m actually a combination of the two. I’ve written rough outlines for both of my completed books, but the actual stories were significantly different in the end. Why? Because as the characters develop, they will do things or act in ways that may cause the story to change. I would say it is really the characters that influence me the most, because as I get to know them, I’m curious to see what they will do when I present them with a challenge. To me, that is the magic of the writing process. At the same time, I need some sort of overall story I want to tell—sort of like a lighthouse on the horizon. There can be any number of ways to reach the lighthouse, and sometimes the original way I had planned on getting there changes—for the better.

Donna: Aren’t those little deviations fun? How do you choose your characters’ names?

This is actually a fun part of writing for me. For character’s names, I pick them based on what the name means and how it relates to the character. A couple of examples from The Hidden Sun:
One scene takes place in a store that sells candles. The owner’s name is Chandler, which means “candle seller.” Another minor character is distinguished by his pronounced crooked nose. His name? Cameron. The meaning? “Crooked nose.” For fictitious names for places or events, I use anagrams. An example: each spring there is a contest where young men from all over the kingdom come to compete for the right to become guardians. The name of this event is the Mortentaun—an anagram for “Tournament.”

Donna: Wow, the really great name of Cameron suddenly took on a whole new meaning for me. Tell me what motivated you to write your current book?

I had a very vivid dream one night—which actually turned out to be chapter eleven in The Hidden Sun. I told my wife about the dream and she said, “That’s interesting. Who were those people?” The answer? I didn’t know. From there, I thought about where these characters came from and what they would do next. In addition, one of my favorite movies of all time is The Princess Bride. As a father of four daughters, I wanted to write a book they could read, yet at the same time, it was something adults could enjoy. From the reviews I’ve received thus far, I’ve succeeded.

Donna: What’s the craziest, bravest, or stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

Writing a book is the craziest and bravest thing I’ve done. It takes a lot of guts to put your work out there to be judged by the masses. It would have been so easy to quit and give up at any time along the path, but I didn’t. A fun side note: the start of chapter ten of The Hidden Sun is my response to those that thought I was crazy to write a book. It works well in the story as it moves the plot along, while at the same time it gives me an outlet to express myself.

Donna: Okay now here’s the power round:

Favorite food? Capt’n Crunch—my main food staple while going to school.

Favorite dessert? Homemade cherry pie—yummy!

Jeans and T-shirt, or designer clothes? Jeans and a T-shirt, designer clothes go in and out of fashion too quickly.

Guilty pleasure? Sleeping in on Saturdays.

One word that describes you? Clever

Favorite flower? Snapdragon—so much so, I even named a character after the flower.

Favorite sport? Baseball—I’m a huge Atlanta Braves fan.

Donna: Thank you very much for the interview.

Thank you so much for your time! It’s been fun to reflect back on the process and how far things have come.

C. K. Bryant, award winning author

I have to tell you that this was a very enjoyable read. I loved the way the author weaved the events together in little snippets, giving me a full view of the story through different character’s eyes. I loved and hated the characters, which is a good thing. Each was portrayed in such a way that it brought those love/hate feelings out about them and made me either cheer for them or want them destroyed. I do have to admit, however, that when certain characters were killed off in the book, I was not happy. I wanted them to find happiness and live the life they hoped for. But as the story progressed I realized that their deaths were necessary in order for the bad guys to get what they deserved and for the real “happily ever after” ending to materialize. It isn’t often that the ending of a book brings tears to my eyes, but this one did.
All in all, this was a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good medieval tale. J. Lloyd Morgan is an excellent story teller with a vivid imagination. The twists and turns woven within the story kept me wanting more, especially toward the end when I could NOT put the book down.

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