Wire-Wrapping – My First Attempt (Not My Last)!

Readers of my books (The Gemstone Chronicles) and this blog know I love gemstones! I try to go gemstone hunting about once per month, and my two rock tumblers run continuously turning out polished stones by the 3 lbs. barrel full . In fact, I have gotten quite a nice collection of tumbled stones (as evidenced below)!

Wire-Wrapping Tumbled Stones

So, what to do with all these gorgeous stones? I pondered the question for a short time, and then decided I would try my hand at wire-wrapping them. And, since I received a Dremel and a Dremel workstation as gifts, and had a set of diamond drill to use in the tools, I could drill holes in them, too! In addition, my lovely and adorable bride (Lana) gave me the tools from her experiment in beading a few years ago, and I had everything I needed to give wire-wrapping a shot. Here is my drilling station. The plastic container holds water (keeps the rock and drill bit cool) and a piece of rubber (so I don’t drill through the plastic). Pretty cool!

Wire-Wrapping Dremel Workstation

How did my experiment work? Well, I drilled holes in an amethyst and a piece of jasper I had tumbled and decided to give the jasper a try. Below is what the jasper looked liked after drilling.

Wire-wrapping Jasper

 

Now for the drilled and wrapped piece!

Wire-wrapping wrapped jasper

I like the way it turned out and I think it will make a great pendant. I still have to do the amethyst and drill more stones, but I think this will be a great way to use the tumbled stones I keep producing. Who knows? Maybe I’ll open an Etsy store in the future!

That’s my first wire-wrapping effort. I know it isn’t great, but I will keep practicing until I get better. What do you think? Is this a good use for my tumbled stones? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Do you wire-wrap? Any tricks or tips you want to share? You can let me know in a comment, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com or connect with me on the socials and tell me there. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, so  look me up and say hi! I can use all the wire-wrapping help I can get!

The Calling (Gateway Book 1) By Louise G. White – My Review!!

The Calling (Gateway Book 1) – My Review!!

The Calling Cover

The Calling (Gateway Book 1) by Louise G. White caught my eye while browsing suggestions from Amazon. The blurb sounded good, so I decided to give it a read. Below are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): On the run and hiding from ‘the suits’, Carolyn’s life is far from straightforward. After her mother and brother go missing in a most extraordinary way, (through a hole to another world which appears in the kitchen wall!), she is determined to track them down and bring them home. But life is never that easy! Rescued and protected by a group of unusual and likeminded ‘people’, Carolyn hones her magic and fighting skills. Whilst answering a ‘call’ to retrieve a human from another world she’s faced with a quick decision and ends up bringing a demon back with her. Little did she know what effect this demon would have on her.

What I liked: Carolyn is a great character. Spunky, resourceful, and coming into her power, she answers the calling lethally. Once she meets Note, things get really interesting. The story moves along at a good pace, and the scrapes Carolyn and Note add a nice backdrop for their burgeoning romance. Ethan carries a torch for Carolyn (while trying to be the cool demon hunter) and Sean (the brooding mysterious one) add a depth to the character list. All this while Carolyn tries to figure out how to get her Mother and brother back from the otherworld. All in all, The Calling is good stuff!

What I didn’t like: The first part of the book was confusing. Carolyn is dodging government agencies, answering calls, and killing demons, but it isn’t clear why. It frustrated me as a reader! I also thought the repeated sexual near misses between Note and Carolyn became too repetitive and detracted from the story.

Overall impression: Once I understood what Carolyn was and why she was doing what she did, I liked The Calling. Carolyn’s character was easy to identify with, Note was a cool demon snake guy, and Sean was an excellent mystery. Despite the issues I listed above, I enjoyed the book and put the next two on my TBR list!

My rating: 4 Stars

Have you read The Calling? What about Louise G. White’s other books? If not, why not check them out and give them a try? And, while you are at it, stop by Louise G. White’s Amazon Author Page or her website and say hi! If you read any of her books, please consider leaving a review. I know she will appreciate it!

How did you like this review? Leave me a comment and let me know. Connect with me on the socials on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. If you prefer, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog. I look forward to hearing from you!

Reflections of 2016 – My Year in Reviews!!

Reflections of 2016 – My Year in Reviews!!

Now that Christmas and New Year’s Eve have come and gone, I wanted to spend a few minutes reflecting on 2016 and the books I read. I didn’t read and review as much in 2016 as I did in 2015, and I need to do a better job in 2017. Still, in keeping with my belief that writers want to know what readers think about their work, I managed to read and review 32 books last year. Without further ado, here is a roll call of my reviews from 2016!

January 2016:

I started 2016 with my review of The Ruby of Helios by Scott Larson. This book is the 3rd installment of the Scepter series. If you are looking for a good fantasy series, check out this one!

Reflections Ruby of Helios Cover

I discovered many new authors last year. One of my favorites was Tamie Dearen. I read the first book of her Alora YA fantasy series aptly titled Alora: The Wander – Jewel and gave it 5 stars!

Reflections Alora Cover

Iron Mike by Patricia Rose rounded out my January 2016 reads. Aliens and the dystopian aftermath of an invasion of Earth entertained me!

Reflections Iron Mike

 

February 2016:

My February reviews kicked off with a cool YA fantasy from L. R. W. Lee called Blast of the Dragon’s Fury. Book 1 of the Andy Smithson series, it was a blast to read!

Reflections Blast of the Dragon's Fury Cover

Tacenda by Christine Vann was the next February read. A sci-fi novel with a unique set of characters made this an interesting read.

Reflections Tacenda Cover

February’s last book was Blott (The Canvas Chronicles Book 1) by Daniel Parsons. I thought the concept of this novel was brilliant and enjoyed the read immensely!

Reflections Blott Cover

 

March 2016:

I was happy to read a short prequel to Doug J. Cooper’s Crystal Series as my first book in March. I read the first 2 books of the series in 2015, and Crystal Horizon gave me more background on the characters. Give this series a try if you like sci-fi!

Reflections Crystal Horizons Cover

Switching reading gears, I picked up the second book in Terry Maggert’s Halfway Witchy series. Book 2 is Halfway Bitten and was a wholly satisfying read!

Reflections Halfway Bitten Cover

 

April 2016: 

April found me reading outside my normal fantasy genre starting with Lorrie Farrelly’s DangerousWhile romance novels aren’t my thing, this book is a Reader’s Favorite selection, so give it a try!

Reflections Dangerous Cover

I moved to another genre to wrap up April. This time, a thriller by Bill Ward finished out a month. Deception (Powell Book 3) was a good read. My only regret was that I didn’t start with Book 1 so I had a better feel for the characters!

Reflections Deception Cover

 

May 2016:

Greek mythology inspired my first May read. Author C B Pratt created Eno the Thracian as a Hero for Hire and The Stone Gods  is the second book in the series. I completely enjoyed Eno’s second adventure and look forward to reading more!

Reflections The Stone Gods Cover

I wandered back to the fantasy genre and was pleased to be able to finish David Wind’s amazing series Tales of Nevaeh. The third and final book is Trinity: The Battle for Nevaeh. As with the first two, it didn’t disappoint! Read this one if fantasy is your thing!

Reflections Trinity Cover

My fantasy reading continued with the second book of Laura DeBruce’s YA fantasy series The Quicksilver Legacy. The Temple of Paris was a good read and I’ll be reading the next installment!

Reflections The Temple of Paris Cover

 

June 2016:

Paranormal romance isn’t normally my thing, but Jada Ryker’s Carr-Maah Consulting Agency series seemed like a good place to give the genre a try. Dog Days of Karma was a pleasant surprise!

Reflections Dog Days of Karma Cover

I returned to fantasy for Andi O’Connor’s SilevethielAn excellent start for The Vaelinel Trilogy!

Reflections Silevethiel Cover

Readers of this blog know I have a thing for mysterious things and conspiracy theories. I think Bigfoot falls into the category and I also read my first Bigfoot-inspired novel in June. Revived (Snoqualmie Valley Sasquatch Book 1) by J. M. Northup was an interesting read and one that I recommend to Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, if you prefer) enthusiasts!

Reflections Revived Cover

 

July 2016:

July brought another first for me – English cozy mysteries. Point of No Return by Diana J. Febry was my first read in the genre. While not my favorite genre, it was nice to branch out and explore something new.

Reflections Point of No Return Cover

Though I read mostly Indie authors now, occasionally I return to the traditionally published authors I’ve read for years. In June 2016, I attended a Brad Thor book signing and picked up Foreign Agent. Brad Thor’s event was excellent and he is a nice guy. The book was great, too!

Reflections Brad Thor Foreign Agent Cover

 

August 2016:

The second book of the Ben Whittle series started August for me. Eyes of the Accused by Mark Tilbury continues the excellent (though dark) thriller mysteries!

Reflections Eyes of the Accused Cover

Bentwhistle the Dragon in a Threat from the Past got me back to the fantasy genre. Written by Paul Cude, this engaging start to the Bentwhistle the Dragon series was a fun and refreshing read!

Reflections Bentwhistle Cover

I stayed in the fantasy genre for my next read. Mary Anne Yarde’s The Du Lac Chronicles follows Lancelot Du Lac’s descendants and their battles. Good stuff!

Reflections The Du Lac Chronicles Cover

In yet another first, I reviewed a non-fiction book. Written by Daniel Parsons (remember my Blott review above), #Art of Twitter provides valuable insights into using Twitter to grow your author (or other creative) platform and meaningfully connect with others on social media.

Reflections #Art of Twitter Cover

 

September 2016:

Jada Ryker made my TBR list for September with the second Carr – Maah Consulting Agency book Equi Knocks of Karma. As with the first book, this was a fun read!

Reflections Equi Knocks of Karma Cover

Gordon Brewer’s Shield of Skool was my final September book. An old school (no pun intended) fantasy that is a good start to the Clovel Sword Chronicles, give this one a try if fantasy is your genre!

Reflections Shield of Skool cover

 

October 2016:

Artifact by K. T. Bowes was a different book for me. Again a romance, but with distinct New Zealand and English roots. Different, but an excellent story!

Reflections Artifact Cover

I’ve read a few of Jada Ryker’s books and when I found out her novel Take the Body and Run was a candidate for the Kindle Scout Program, I wanted to read it and cast my vote! As with her other books, I completely enjoyed the story!

Reflections Take the Body and Run Cover

November 2016:

To start November, I went back to the fantasy world and read Vanna Smyth’s Protector (Anniversary of the Veil Book 1). Another good start to a series I will continue!

Reflections Protector Coer

Doug Cooper released the 4th book of his Crystal Series and it went straight to the TBR list. Crystal Rebellion was an excellent continuation of the story!

Reflections crystal rebellion cover

 

December 2016:

December was a busy month, but I managed to get a few reviews in to end the year. I started with Suzanne Burke’s Acts Beyond Redemption. A disturbing dark thriller filled with twists and turns, it held my attention for sure!

Reflections Acts Beyond Redemption Cover

A friend challenged me to once again read outside my favorite genre. Challenge accepted and I read Lorrie Farrelly’s action romance The Guardian’s Angel. As with Lorrie’s other books, this one was an entertaining read!

Reflections The Guardian's Angel Cover

The third book of Terry Maggert’s Halfway Witchy series caught my eye and I wasn’t disappointed. Halfway Hunted was a wonderful addition to the collection!

Reflections Halfway Hunted Cover

My last review for 2016 was Dragon Dreams (The Chronicles of Shadow and Light Book 1) by Dusty Lynn Holloway. Dragons, elves, and the fate of the world makes this the start of a good series I will continue to read!

So, there you have it. My reviews for 2016. Despite not reading as much as 2015, I will strive to do better this year. Join me and review the books you read. The reviews don’t have to be long involved analyses. Simply saying things like “I enjoyed this book and recommend it to others” is sufficient. I know I enjoy discovering what readers think of my work and I do my best to return the favor to other authors!

Do you have recommendations for me to add to my TBR list? If so, leave them in a comment, or send them to me in email at bill@williamlstuart.com. You can also connect with me on the socials and tell me there. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog!

Happy New Year and happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon Dreams by Dusty Lynn Holloway – My Review!!

Dragon Dreams – My review!!

Dragon Dreams Cover

 

It’s hard to believe 2017 is almost here. That means my final review for 2016 will be for Dragon Dreams (The Chronicles of Shadow and Light Book 1) by Dusty Lynn Holloway. Read on to find out what I thought about this fantasy novel!

Synopsis (from the author): A prophecy of murder.

An elf hunted by dragons.

One man who risks everything to save her.

Nachal is a human that should not be having prophetic Dragon Dreams. But he does. Every night he dreams of an elf running through flames, trying in vain to outrun the Rebel Dragon Obsidian. Every night he sees her fall. Sees her eyes close. Feels her heart as it slows, and then stops. Every night, through the connection of the dream, he dies with her. It’s a spiral that he can’t control, and it’s slowly driving him insane.

Auri is an elf raised by a powerful human king not of her own blood. Left behind by the mother who perished far from the elven isle El`dell, she seeks to forge her life among the humans. Her journey takes her to the land of her heritage. To a place that holds both a haunting betrayal, and a miracle that just might save her life.

Together, they become embroiled in a conspiracy where destinies are intertwined, love is born in the fallout of ultimate sacrifice, and the only path to victory lies through the searing flames of dragon fire.

What I liked: Dragon Dreams has all the fantasy elements! Dragons, elves, a grumpy dwarf, romance, an epic quest, and the fate of a world in the balance make the story entertaining. I enjoy Nachal’s tormented character, Auri’s character is an interesting blend of human-raised elf and heroine-to-be, and the dwarf is the perfect foil to Nachal. Add Liran the Watcher (another elf) to the mix and the plot thickens. All this against the backdrop of the looming war with Obsidian and his forces. Plenty to keep me reading!

What I didn’t like: Dragon Dreams dragged in places, and the romantic interaction between Auri and Liran, and Auri and Nachal muddies the story. I think a little more backstory could help the book, too.

Overall impression: Dragon Dreams is a good start to the Chronicles of Shadow and Light series. Good characters, an interesting plot, a couple of surprise revelations, and the beginning of an epic adventure makes this a book to read!

My rating: 4 Stars

Interested in reading Dragon Dreams or the rest of the Chronicles of Shadow and Light? Find out more about the series and Dusty Lynn Holloway on her Amazon Author page or her blog! And don’t forget to leave a review when you finish!

Thanks for spending part of your 2016 with me. I hope my reviews helped readers find new authors and books. I’ll continue in 2017, so stay tuned (and subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post). If you are so inclined, find me on the socials and let’s connect! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com! Happy New Year!!!

Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert – My Review!!!

Halfway Hunted – My Review!!

Halfway Hunted Cover

Halfway Hunted is the third book in Terry Maggert’s Halfway Witchy series. I read the first two books (and gave them both 5 star reviews), so I had to continue the series. I wasn’t disappointed!

Synopsis (from the author): Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.
A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time.
Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie’s spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.
But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:
1. Don’t complain about the diner’s waffles.
2. Don’t break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.
Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire’s curse without burning the waffles?
Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.

What I liked: As with the first two books, Carlie, her Gran, and the other characters are familiar and compelling. I liked the new addition Exit Wainwright. He’s a man out of time (he was asleep for 100 years), yet he fits right in with the eccentricities of Halfway. Add to the mix a couple of bounty hunters on the trail of shapeshifters and Carlie’s longshot plan for getting her boyfriend back and you have all the elements for a great story.

What I didn’t like: The book had a disjointed feel to me. Despite everything fitting together, the story of Exit and his wife didn’t have the same feel as other Carlie missions.

Overall impression: In spite of the issue above, enjoyed Halfway Hunted and I hope Terry Maggert will continue the series. Well-written with a fun take on witchcraft, interesting and likeable characters, and a cool plot line, Halfway Hunted is a good addition to the Halfway Witchy series.

My rating: 4.5 Stars (round to 5)

If you’ve read Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert (or any of the Halfway Witchy series or Terry Maggert’s other books), please consider leaving him a review. He would appreciate it! And, connect with Terry on his Amazon Author Page or his website to discover more about him and his books.

Want to tell me your thoughts on this review? Leave me a comment. Want to connect on the socials? I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Tumblr or send me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com.

The Guardian’s Angel by Lorrie Farrelly – My Review!!

The Guardian’s Angel – My Review!

The Guardian's Angel Cover

 

Recently, a friend challenged me to read outside my normal favorite genres. Having read a couple of Lorrie Farrelly’s books, I accepted the challenge and picked up The Guardian’s Angel. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): When nobody knows what to do with a troubled, damaged kid, it’s time to call Elizabeth Driscoll. A wary, vulnerable, unusually intuitive young woman, Libby has a knack for helping children that others have given up on.

Certainly nobody knows what to do with Tommy Madden, least of all his fiercely devoted guardian, Seattle Police Detective J.D. McCammon. McCammon believes the autistic little boy witnessed a double murder: his mother and his father, the city’s District Attorney. J.D. is determined to help and protect Tommy at all costs, and somehow, find a way to communicate with him.

When Tommy’s life is threatened by the corrupt organization that killed his parents, J.D. and Libby take him on a desperate and dangerous flight to safety. They must place their trust in one another to escape a relentless evil that threatens not only their lives, but that of the child they’ve both come to love.

On the run, Libby and J.D. are tested to the limits of their courage and resolve. They discover an intimate and mystifying bond that will either drive them apart, or become their greatest source of strength and passion.

What I liked: The Guardian’s Angel drew me in from the start. Libby’s trauma from an attack and the unexpected mental interaction between her and JD sets the tone for the story. With Tommy’s safety at risk, Libby and JD embark on a dangerous mission to save him. But enough, no spoilers from me. The ending is satisfying and the sacrifices made by all tie the tale together nicely. This book has romance, intrigue, suspense, and enough action to keep the pages turning.

What I didn’t like: About my only criticism of the book is the constant indecision of both Libby and JD to accept their feelings about each other. It frustrated me a reader for the characters to vacillate as long as they did.

Overall Impression: The Guardian’s Angel is well written, full of compelling characters with plenty of angst to go around, suspense, intrigue, and sacrifice. I recommend this book to romance and chick-lit aficionados. I would also recommend it to anyone who simply likes a good read!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Have you read The Guardian’s Angel? What about any of Lorrie Farrelly’s books? If so, please consider leaving a review. Reviews mean the world to authors as it lets them know what readers like or dislike about their work! Want to know more about Lorrie and her work, find them on her Amazon Author Page or her website.

Speaking of like (or dislike), please consider leaving a comment about this review. It’s always nice to know whether I helped someone find something new to read.

Connect with me on the socials, too. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Tumblr. You can also email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. Don’t miss a post either. Subscribe to the blog! I’m happy to meet new friends!

Acts Beyond Redemption by Suzanne Burke – My Review!

Acts Beyond Redemption – My review!!

Acts Beyond Redemption Cover

I admit I love a good thriller, so when I read the blurb for Acts Beyond Redemption by Suzanne Burke, I wanted to give it a try. And I must say, it was a good choice!

Synopsis (from the author): Acts Beyond Redemption takes you on a twisted, deadly, journey.

Mike Matheson is head of a Special Task Force set up by the F.B.I to track down and apprehend the serial killers responsible for 18 brutal murders.

The team are exhausted, frustrated, and ready to burn out after almost five years and no leads.
Their nightmares are stripping them to the bone.

Nothing has prepared them for this.
Someone on the inside is deflecting their weary eyes away from an incomprehensible and shattering truth.

Who will be buried in the shattered remains of a country where freedom and honor are treasured above all things?
Just how far will those elected to protect and defend go, to keep the American dream alive?

What I liked: This was a twisty story. The brutal killings, the burned-out FBI agents, and the prime suspect all make the story work. I liked the character development, and the story allowed me to use my imagination to try to identify the killer. All told, Acts Beyond Redemption was a harrowing tale of murder, political cover-up, and Sheila (the prime suspect) is a wonderfully evil operative. But, no more from me as I won’t spoil anything!

What I didn’t like: Only a couple of complaints from me. First, there were times when British/Australian terminology sneaked into the story (calling cookies biscuits, for example) and jarred me out of the story. Secondly, the use of coarse language was, in my opinion, excessive. I understand the need for it at times, but it seemed a bit gratuitous.

Overall impression: Good characters, a twisty plot, and a good ending make Acts Beyond Redemption an excellent thriller. I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys an action packed thriller!

My rating: 5 Stars

Have you read Acts Beyond Redemption? If so, please consider leaving a review. It’s always great to know what readers think! If you want to know more about Suzanne Burke and her work, you can find her on her Amazon Author page!

If you liked (or disliked) my review, feel free to leave me a comment. We can also connect on the socials! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Tumblr, so say hi. If you want to make sure you don’t miss a post, subscribe to the blog!

Book Marketing Update – New Sites I have Discovered!

I wanted to provide a book marketing update on some new sites (at least new to me) that I have discovered and how things are going on the marketing front. I hope some of this will be helpful to you, too!

The first new site I want to talk about is YA Books Central. I found the site through a tweet that showed up in my feed. Since The Gemstone Chronicles is written for middle grade/YA and up, I decided to check it out to see if I could reach more of my target audience (not that I mind getting reviews from adults). I was impressed by what I found. Here are some interesting things I found out about the site:

  • The site has a ton of books and it has a separate place for Indie books. It makes it easier to find works by Indie authors
  • @yabookscentral has over 33K followers on Twitter
  • The site does offer reviews for traditionally published authors, and may review Indie books on occasion
  • YABC on Facebook has over 14000 likes
  • YABC is on Tumblr, too!
  • Once you submit your book and it is approved (it cost me $3.99 to list my book), it is listed on the site with a cover photo and a link for sales. In the 3 days (as of April 3) since I posted my book, I have had over 50 views of the book.
  • They also have a separate page for Kid’s books

Update! All four of The Gemstone Chronicles are now on YABC! In fact, Book One: The Carnelian is HOT on the site.

If you are a YA or Kids author, this might be a great place to list your book! To give you an idea of what the site looks like, here is a link to my book: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaindie/17879-the-carnelian-the-gemstone-chronicles-series-1

IndieBRAG: I found this site after seeing a fellow author’s BRAG medallion. BRAG stands for Book Readers Appreciation Group and they will award a BRAG Medallion for books that have passed the rigorous standards for their reviews. Here are some facts about IndieBRAG:

  • IndieBRAG is not a free site to submit a book. It costs $20 for a book to be considered for a review. Since I made a little money from the Augusta Literary Festival, I decided I would submit. We will see what happens!
  • IndieBRAG has over 9400 Facebook Likes
  • IndieBRAG has over 5300 Twitter followers

Update! I did submit my book to the site and guess what – The Carnelian was awarded a BRAG Medallion!

THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web 1

The last new place I want to tell you about is Cold Coffee Cafe. I stumbled across this site on Twitter. It’s a free site for authors to join and list their books and trailers. I signed up and haven’t finished setting everything up yet, but I do have The Carnelian listed and its trailer is linked there, too. More information on Cold Coffee Cafe:

  • Just over 600 Twitter followers
  • Just over 650 likes on Facebook
  • Offers promotional packages

My page link at Cold Coffee Cafe is: http://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/WilliamlStuart

As far as my marketing efforts are concerned, things have picked up since I have been implementing my own marketing plan. I continue to refine my strategy and, once I stumble on the key(s) to successful (and low-cost) book marketing strategies, I will be glad to share!

There you go. My Book Marketing update! I don’t know how well any of these might work within your advertising and promotional budget and strategy, but give them a look!

If you want to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, or send me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. Feel free to connect!!

 

 

 

Crystal Rebellion by Doug J Cooper – My Review!!

Crystal Rebellion – My Review!!

crystal rebellion cover

This book is the fourth installment of the Crystal Series by Doug J Cooper. I read the first three and thoroughly enjoyed them. When Mr. Cooper released Crystal Rebellion, it went on my TBR. Since I’ve been reading books outside my normal fantasy genre, this was an opportunity to continue my efforts. Read on for my review!

Synopsis (from the author): Ruga, leader of the Mars ruling council, is building a secret facility to produce four-gen crystals, each a sentient AI with the cognitive ability of a thousand humans. Criss, the only four-gen now in existence, discovers Ruga’s plan and alerts Sid, Cheryl, and Juice, his human leadership team. The stakes skyrocket when the full scope of Ruga’s nefarious plans are revealed: the production of four-gens without the attribute that requires them to follow leadership, the same hard-wired feature that compels Criss to follow his. Unfettered by human guidance, the four-gens will lay siege to Earth and its resources. When they do, will they view humans as a nuisance to be eliminated? The only option is to stop crystal production before it starts. After an anxious journey to Mars, Criss and the team arrive to find events spinning beyond their control. While they’d started with the goal of saving humanity, Sid, Cheryl, and Juice find themselves in a desperate struggle for their own survival. And as the battle with Ruga grows to intergalactic proportions, Criss must make impossible decisions about who lives and who dies…including himself.

What I liked: Mr. Cooper’s characters return in Crystal Rebellion. The twist here is how Criss (our 4-gen AI) is really the focus of the story. Criss has to separate from his human counterparts when Ruga (one of the Kardish crystals) tries to transform to a 4-Gen and devastate Earth. I won’t spoil anything, though, so I will stop there. With subplots revolving around Juice and an old boyfriend, Sid and Cheryl working undercover, and the friction among the three Kardish crystals ruling Mars, the story moves along nicely. As always, I like the characters, and especially appreciate Criss’ growth. Well done, Mr. Cooper!

What I didn’t like: My only complaint is some of the minor characters (such as the other Kardish crystals and the rebellious underground) could have been developed more and played a bigger role.

Overall impression: Crystal Rebellion by Doug J. Cooper is an excellent sci-fi read. Full of the familiar characters of Criss, Sid, Cheryl, and Juice, plus Juice’s new love interest, a nicely paced story, and enough twists to keep it interesting, I completely enjoyed the book. I recommend it to all sci-fi fans!

My rating: 5 Stars

Connect with Doug J Cooper and find out more about Crystal Rebellion and the rest of the Crystal Series on his Amazon Author page or his website. If you read one of the books, please consider leaving a review. I know Doug Cooper will appreciate it!

If you enjoyed my review (of even if you didn’t), leave me a comment and let me know. I like to know what you think. If you want to connect with me on the socials, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Tumblr. You can also email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss a post!

 

Protector (Anniversary of the Veil Book 1) - My Review!!

Protector (Anniversary of the Veil Book 1) – My Review!!

protector-cover

 

Protector (Anniversary of the Veil Book 1) by Vanna Smythe showed up in my Goodreads recommendations. Finding myself with an open spot on the TBR, I followed Goodreads advice and read it. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): Kae has trained his entire life to become an elite Protector of the Realm. When he finally achieves this honor he finds himself protecting something far greater: the Veil separating two worlds. On one side of the Veil lie unlimited stores of magic. On the Realm’s side, magic is all but obliterated, and Kae is one of the few who can use it. The priests who secretly rule the Realm will do everything they can to control his growing magical abilities. Kae’s willing to pay the price, even though it separates him from Issa, the girl he loves.

But the Veil has weakened over the last thousand years and powers on both sides will stop at nothing to keep it intact. Strangers from the other side have kidnapped Issa to take her across the Veil and sacrifice her to strengthen it. Kae is the only one who can find her. Going to her rescue means forsaking his oaths and duty, and leaving behind the future he always wanted. But if he chooses duty over love, Issa will die.

What I liked: Protector (Anniversary of the Veil Book 1) had about everything one could ask for in a fantasy novel. Palace intrigue, conflict between the king and the priests, a love story, destiny and fate, and the looming possibility of chaos to be unleashed by the Anniversary of the Veil.

Set against this backdrop is the story of Issa and Kae. Kae is a good character and grows into his role as a Protector. Issa is a bit of a spoiled princess, but not in the stereotypical way. Vanna Smythe weaves their stories into a compelling tale. I also liked the way the other side of the Veil interjects itself into Kae and Issa’s world, with Issa aunt coming to kidnap her and take her to the other side of the Veil. Good stuff!!

What I didn’t like: While I enjoyed the characters, they were a bit one-dimensional. I hope in the rest of the series, the characters will grow and provide us more insights into their personalities. I also would have liked fewer characters, as it was a bit difficult to keep them straight.

Overall impression: Good story, good plot, and good pace kept my interest and attention. This is a solid start to the series and I look forward to the next installment. I recommend Protector (Anniversary of the Veil Book 1) to fantasy fans everywhere!

My rating: 4 Stars

Want to know more about Protector (Anniversary of the Veil Book 1) or any of Vanna Smythe’s books? Find out more on her Amazon Author page or her website. If you’ve read Protector or any of Vanna Smythe’s other books, please consider leaving a review! I know Vanna would appreciate it!

Want to tell me your thoughts on my review? Leave me a comment, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com, or connect with me on the socials. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Tumblr!