5.0 out of 5 stars Courage under fire May 3, 2012


Format:Kindle Edition

The other reviews here have given plot and character hints, so I’m not going to waste time doing the same. There is something very brave about this book. First the attempt to create a half-language that the reader can still absorb and understand, yet completely imprints another culture. That would be brave enough on its own – but second, there is a sense of these two authors showing real courage in breaking taboos. They do not stint on the violence and some may find that harsh, but it’s a harsh world they have allowed us to glimpse. They show a world in which no-one is safe, including children, and don’t step back with false sentiment to protect the reader. Their world is not our world, but it’s as real as it can get. And at times it hints at great beauty – I for one would like to spend longer in the lives of the elf-kind, as opposed to their fight for survival. And I would also like more of the ‘breakaway’ trolls that show potential to rise above the more monstrous of their own tribe – they hold such intrigue as an evolving race. Yet I cannot fault the authors for their unstinting sense of purpose. To my mind, it’s as if they have painted the early stages of extinction for a race of people and we are watching the last embers desperately vying for life. It is for that vivid portrayal that I have given this review. Yes, okay, as another reviewer has pointed out, there are some formatting errors – but those would be simple enough to set right and when the content shows such promise, shouldn’t we be reviewing the prose? These two have experimented here. The characters themselves show courage, but it is the two writers who have set the pace and tried something different, fresh and innovative. Bravo.

5.0 out of 5 stars Elf Killers,September 25, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Elf Killers (Kindle Edition)

Another enjoyable read from the authors of the Heart of the Staff series of books. This side story to the series takes the reader back to the earlier history of the elf clan from the Heart of the Staff series, and of the elf killing trolls that hunt them for food. Though this is a side story, it can easily stand on its own. I truly enjoy the twists and turns of imagination that these two authors are able to spin. I would highly recommend these authors to anyone who is a fan of fantasy stories.

4.0 out of 5 Stars  I’m a sucker for Fantasy… August 16, 2011

By Melissa Chesley

Format:Kindle Edition

Elf Killers is a fast-paced, descriptive ride of emotional turmoil and flight or fight drama right from the get go.

As the young Elves are gathering their seedlings to head off to a new land to regroup and recoup their numbers after being hunted by the Elf Killer trolls for so long, they’re attacked once more to be thrown into the cook-fires.

Not knowing if all of the young Elves are dead or alive, the elder Elves have no choice but to sail away for distant lands on schedule, sacrificing the few young ones to save the even fewer of the race.

Carol and Tom provide a glossary in the back of this epic fantasy because of the Trollish language and the Elves Gwaelic speech. If you want to understand the book a little more in-depth, I suggest you read through the glossary first. At the beginning, it was a little difficult for me to get in to simply because the Trollish threw me off guard. Being an avid fantasy buff, though, I was not going to let that deter me.

The book is full of rich, imaginative scenery, Elves (which I absolutely adore and love anyway) and beautiful names, unusual creatures (more so than the Elf Killer trolls) and of course unicorns and Sprites. There is much to learn about this world, which I felt I was only given a bare glimpse of, because the pace was heart racing and the need for survival at the fore-front. But even with such a fast rush, I found the book difficult to put down and the authors found time to show that love can blossom, even in the most harsh of situations.

There were a few errors in the book, but nothing so bad as to throw you off the trail of the story. This book is well written, detailed and smooth. Once you get immersed in the Trollish language, you get the gist of what’s going on and can’t wait for … well I can’t tell you!

If you like epic fantasy, you will like Elf Killers. A sound story of good versus evil, overcoming all odds in adverse conditions and survival of the fittest.

M. L. Chesley, Fantasy author […]

4.0 out of 5 Stars Elves and Trolls and Sprites, Oh My! July 18, 2011

By Rae

Format:Kindle Edition

{On my review blog, I awarded this book 4 1/2 stars, actually}
E-book provided by the authors with no monetary award for positive review.

This debut novel, from the husband and wife team of Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps, is a fantasy delight for the reader who likes pure escapism when they pick up a book. Elf Killers is an Epic Fantasy following the adventures of young Elves who head out to rescue a group of Elven children who are snatched by Trolls while out in the woods. The Elves had been planning to pack up camp and take off on their ship for another land when the violence takes place, and the young male Elves embark on a long journey through the woods, through dark tunnels (with light courtesy of friendly Fire Sprites who light the way) and beyond the forbidding mountain, in search of the Troll camps. The book follows the tale of the Elves on their search, while alternating plot lines with the Trolls, who are portrayed as ugly, lacking in hygiene and manners, and barbaric hunters who prey on young Elves for dinner. There is a budding love triangle among the Elves and there is brutality when the two different worlds of Elves and Trolls collide, but most importantly, there is a satisfactory ending.

The authors use a special dialect for the novel with Trollish language and Elven Gwaelic words, but provide a glossary in the back of the book, which is fun to read, though I would suggest reading it before the story to immerse yourself easily into the plot. There are many characters introduced, so keep an eye on them as they make an appearance. After all is said and done, this is a mystical fantasy tale, a grown-up fairy tale of good vs evil, and an epic journey tale, which just happens to be with Elves, sprites, unicorns and trained falcons. If you enjoy pure, magical fantasy of this nature, the Elf Killers are waiting for you! I recommend this book!
Rae, Best O’ Books Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!, November 28, 2012
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This review is from: Elf Killers (Kindle Edition)

Great book by Carol Marrs Phipps!! I enjoyed reading this book from cover to cover. I recommend this book to young adults and fantasy lovers alike!!









5.0 out of 5 stars Good romp November 24, 2012


Format:Kindle Edition

Liked this concept – I’ve always enjoyed historical novels set in times of the plague and although this takes place in a fantasy time/place, the threat of the plague is ever present across the narrative. This presents the basic platform and on that healing, magic, good and evil all stake their claim for a little of the stage. Some interesting characters. Perhaps the most intriguing for me was Demonica, despite being enigmatic in this plot. However, I suspect there’s plenty more of her to come in the following books in the series! She’s a witch without moral, but she’s also canny, smart and witty. She’s not a mere cut-out of an evil woman, but one with intelligence. She doesn’t make an effort unless it’s worthwhile and it’s admirable of the authors not to push her beyond this too soon. She’s feels more believable as a result. You can almost hear her sighing at Ugleeuh’s rather more naive approach! This only emphasizes the potential power she might be able to wield and looking forward to seeing what that will be. Please bring her back!


5.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome Read! July 30, 2012

Amazon Verified Purchase
Up until I purchased Good Sister, Bad Sister (Heart of the Staff), I had strictly been a horror fan. I would only focus my leisure reading to two or three specific authors.
When “window shopping” for a new book, I ran across Good Sister, Bad Sister (Heart of the Staff). I am so very glad I stepped outside of my normal reading preference.
The story of these two sisters and their completely different personalities is very intriguing. In many ways, it reminded of my childhood. My sisters were the bad ones, of course!
I can’t wait to read the further adventures of Minuet and Leeuh! Thanks so much to the writing team of Carol and Tom Phipps for opening a whole new world to me.
I would highly recommend Good Sister, Bad Sister (Heart of the Staff) to any avid reader out there.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Sister, Bad Sister September 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
At the beginning of the book I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not. By about a quarter into it though, I was so caught up in the story that I found myself looking at the clock and realizing it was 3:00 am and I need to stop and get some sleep. I am anxious to begin the next book in this series.
Susan Waterwyk

5-stars of enjoyment for GOOD SISTER BAD SISTERGOOD SISTER BAD SISTER by Tom and Carol Marrs Phipps is the first book in an epic series titled THE HEART OF THE STAFF. Like Alice and Malice in Wonderland but instead of falling down a rabbit hole, it uses a magical “scrying ball” to help you travel through the enchanted kingdom. Niarg is inhabited by witches and wizards, humans, elves, and fairies, unicorns and dragons, and Ocker, (my husband’s favorite) a magically endowed raven, clever, ambitious, and a trifle avaricious.

The good sister, Minuet tries hard to change the sinister nature of Ugleeuh, the bad sister, a daunting challenge considering that Ugleeuh is selfishly focused on achieving power and wealth above all else. They are actually half-sisters, sharing the same father, Razzmorten (a powerful wizard).

A cruel and lethal plague sweeps over the land, and Razzmorten is determined to find and administer a cure. Minuet
works to help the sick while Ugleeuh runs off to learn magic from her Uncle Razzorbauch. Ugleeuh’s mother is the powerful sorceress, Demonica, who shows up at times to stir things up and add to the overall intrigue of the story.

The action keeps the story flowing to the end. Here’s a quote from Chapter 11: “Demonica set to work at once, hurling crackling lavender bolts from her staff into the faces of beast after beast as they thundered from the caves…”

The descriptive prose provides good imagery. Here’s a quote from Chapter 7: “…his castle was near the top of a great prominence overlooking a vast sea of twisted trees.”

All in all, I enjoyed reading the story aloud with my husband. I’m happy to recommend it to lovers of fantasy and magic. We have purchased THE COLLECTOR WITCH to continue with the epic.


Aug 28, 2012Wendy rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone!

Recommended to Wendy by: Amazon browsing
I am a die hard fan of horror. I normally don’t pick up or even look at another book.
BUT – something about the title and the cover of this book drew me in. I am so SO very glad it did!
I immediately settled in following the lives of the sisters, Minuet and Leeuh. How striking their differences were is a story in itself. But, I am not the type to read and tell; so you shall need to read the book for yourselves.
I will say this, though. As a reader for mainly pleasure purposes, I thoroughly enjoyed the book “Good Sister, Bad Sister” by Carol Marrs Phipps. It actually reminded me of my sisters and I, although I won’t say who’s good or bad there (ha-ha).
I felt the story moved along smoothly and was well researched for characters and the era suggested. I am eagerly awaiting more of Minuet and Leeuh, and some great writing by Carol Marrs Phipps.
I would highly recommend “Good Sister, Bad Sister” – and any other works for that matter – by Carol Marrs Phipps, to any avid reader.
R.P. Rochford

I must admit that this genre does not always appeal to me but, in this case, the carefully crafted storyline really grabbed my attention from the outset and kept it till the very end. The book pictured an idealistic medieval world with kings, queens, wizards and dragons.Unfortunately, this perfect world is split between the forces of good and evil. On one hand Razzmorten, the good wizzard, his daughter, Minuet and her loving husband while on the other hand the evil characters, Razzorbauch, who is actually the twin brother of Razzmorten, Demonica who used to be Razzmorten’s wife but later became Razzorbauch’s partner and lover and Ugleeuh, Razzmorten and Demonica’s daughter. Ugleeuh is beautiful, perhaps even more beautiful than her half-sister, Minuet, but she is selfish and ruthless. Her actions engaged the reader’s concern, because she wasn’t just evil, she was very clever and shrewd with it. Here was a young woman who knew exactly how to turn all situations to her advantage. She seemed to have no conscience at all.

The kingdom of Niarg becomes the scene of the symbolical fight between good and evil. The evil characters being related to the good ones makes the situation even more complex, as it means that while this fact didn’t make any difference in the actions of the evil ones, it meant a real struggle for the good ones as they tried the impossible: to overcome the evil traps without destroying the lives of their loved ones.

In the midst of this struggle there was another problem Razzmorten and his friends had to deal with. There was a plague in the country that killed thousand of people and seemed to be unstoppable. As it turned out later, the plague was the result of Ugleeuh’s jealous actions.

To make the story more interesting there were some animal characters too with the ability of speech who could think and behave as humans. Ocker, the raven and Hubba-Hubba, Minuet’s pet bird, are very important creatures in the story line. Ocker was a very interesting character with his salesman, businessman features. He didn’t show much consideration for what the outcome of his services would be but towards the end his character improved and he seemed to develop some kind of conscience.

This book is an excellent first book of a series and I can highly recommend to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy and enjoys the magic world of a fairy-tale kingdom.

D.A. Knight

The Evil Twin RetoldGood Sister Bad Sister is a great start to the Heart of the Staff series.

Good Sister Bad SisterThe Wizard Razzmorten lives in the fairy-tale kingdom of Niarg not far from Castle Niarg. Razzmorten has two daughters: One good and one bad. The elder sister, Minuet is a good woman who tried her best to raise her half-sister, Ugleeuh. But Leeuh stubbornly refuses to embrace good behavior and this leads her down a path of betrayal and violent mischief.

To set the stage, King Henry calls for Razzmorten to deal with an outbreak of plague. The disease proves difficult and leads to plot developments freeing the evil sister from the boundaries of propriety and the control of her father which we suppose tempered her flares up and her pranks. Minuet eventually marries a prince, and this not only stokes the embers of jealousy, but frees Leeuh from her influence.

Unbridled by her father or her half-sister, Leeuh joins a criminal enterprise. Together with her uncle Razzorbauch and Demonica, they start a plantation to produce sukere, an undesirable intoxicant.

Before Good Sister Bad Sister closes Leeuh stirs up trouble. Magicians poison enemies, dragons burn villages, and Leeuh forces her father to turn on his daughter to help save the kingdom. For Epic Fantasy fans what more can you want?

Buy Good Sister Bad Sister:

Amazon US
Amazon UK – Kindle eBook


Carol and Tom make a good team. They develop Niarg and their characters reasonably smoothly. What Ugleeuh lacks in explaining the development of her character is more than made up for by the lack of silly, pseudo-psychological, Freudian mumbo-jumbo that often gets trotted out to explain inexplicable behavior. Happily, Ugleeuh is a villainess and for the most part we are spared any drawn out theories or pity parties.

As a pro-bono attorney, I find it refreshing to have a unapologetic, female villainess. No battered women’s syndrome or Stockholm syndrome here. Having seen women in such situations, I doubt most authors could accurately describe those conditions as they actually exist. Leeuh fits the mold of witches and wicked step-mothers wholack the conscience our enlightened society still expects from the so-called ‘fairer’ sex.

As always my ranking takes the target audience into account.

If Gentle Readers enjoy Epic Fantasy, they will enjoy Good Sister Bad Sister. Although the book should appeal to both boys and girls, there are certain scenes and subplots that will probably appeal more to girls than boys.

Though the story involves extreme violence, much of this is implied, off-screen, or otherwise softened for a younger audience. Good Sister Bad Sister is not a zombie horror epic full of graphic slaughter lovingly illustrated in gory detail for all those Gentle Readers interested in becoming forensic pathologists. There are some profane terms.

Format and Writing:

The writing is solid with clear descriptions and a good pace. Viewpoint shifts and transitions are handled very well. The writers are professionals and the reader is never lost in the plot or the story. Unfamiliar names are a feature of Epic Fantasy and not a bug. Though this might disconcert a non-fantasy fan, or might throw off anyone unfamiliar with the genre, it’s expected in Epic Fantasy.

The version of Good Sister Bad Sister reviewed for this post lacked an active Table of Contents. Though of no great consequence, I recommend that you don’t lose your place. Another minor quibble: Paragraphs are block formatted. Most fiction books use a first line indent to identify new paragraphs. Again this isn’t relevant unless, like me, you’re compulsive and you constantly notice the distinction through the whole book. I’m almost sorry to mention it, but it’s part of my own insanity.

This version also lacked a copy of the map. A map seems a bit silly to many readers of other genres, but many Gentle Readers expect to see a map in Epic Fantasy.

Good Sister Bad Sister offers an extensive appendix full of additional information for die-hard fans. For the general reader, the appendix shows how much thought the authors have poured into their story. If the Gentle Reader has to set the book down for a week or two, or if it will be some time before she begins the sequel, perusing the appendix may help her memory.


If you are an Epic Fantasy fan, I highly recommend the book. Good Sister Bad Sister is a great opening novel, and I’m certain the Gentle Reader will enjoy a few hours of pleasant reading.

About the authors: 

Carol and Tom Phipps are teachers and writers who spent the bulk of their careers on what we currently call Native American Reservations. They spent much of their time in the great, southwest desert of Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. No doubt their years of friendship with Native Americans, the wide open spaces, and the southwest’s laid-back culture influenced the authors. I hope their audience finds them and their stars rise.

Reviewed by:

Dan Knight

This is a review of the Kindle version downloaded during a free promotion.

The Collector Witch
5.0 out of 5 stars The Collector Witch September 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I was anxious to begin this book, having so loved the first book in the series, Good Sister, Bad Sister. As with the first book I found this one equally impossible to put down. I was totally captivated by each of the characters, both good and bad, and anxious to learn what was in store with each page. These authors have an excellent way of laying out the plot of the story and adding a touch of twisted humor which made it very entertaining. I am totally hooked and anxious to start on the next book.
Stone Heart
5.0 out of 5 stars  Stone Heart September 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
As with every other book in the Heart of the Staff series, I was absolutely hooked on this book as well, hating to see it end. I find the imagination of these authors absolutely fantastic. They made it so easy to feel the struggles and pain of the characters on the good side, and entertaining to laugh at the frustrations and bungles in plans of the bad side. I hope the authors continue with their writing… I for one have become a devoted fan!
                                           The Burgeoning  
5.0 out of 5 stars The Burgeoning September 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
True to form, for me, this book was equally as entertaining, captivating, and as addictively hard to put down as with each of the previous books in the Heart of the Staff series. I have been so caught up in reading this series and keeping up with each of the characters lives, always looking forward to what new adventure will happen to each of them on the next page or in the next chapter. When I reached the end of this book however, I immediately thought, Oh Noooo! The cliffhanger ending has left me with a feeling of withdrawal. I am hooked and can’t wait for the next book in this series to be released.




The Burgeoning


Jan 12, 2013

John Albarado rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars

this book is wonderful it was great reading





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2 thoughts on “REVIEWS”

  1. I just read a fantasy book I greatly enjoyed, The Empire of the Zon by RM Burgess, that I purchased on Amazon. Would it be possible to post a review here?


    1. Hi John,

      I’m sorry, but the reviews posted here are strictly about and for our fantasy books only. This is our personal promotional website. The only other reviews on this website are occasional reviews that I have personally done and post on the main page. However, there are plenty of blogs and even websites out there that may allow you to post such a review. Not to mention whichever online stores, such as Amazon, that carry the book you want to review.

      Best wishes,

      Carol Marrs Phipps

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