Dark Mountain (Eno the Thracian #3) by C.B. Pratt – My Review!!!

Dark Mountain (Eno the Thracian #3) – My Review!!!

Dark Mountain Cover

 

I’ve had this novel on my TBR list for a while. I read the first two books of this series and enjoyed them, so Dark Mountain (Eno the Thracian #3) needed to measure up to those. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): Welcome to the Ancient World…where the mythology, monsters, and gods are real.

Eno the Thracian sets off to find the truth about himself and his possible descent from the Gods of Olympus. Instead he becomes involved with a race of people kidnapped from their homeland, set to toil endlessly by the will of a mad philosopher.

Facing his own fears and doubts and the curse of the Great God Pan, Eno also finds a woman worthy of his love, danger around every curve, and mushrooms…lots and lots of mushrooms.

Meanwhile, a hidden menace from the dawn of time threatens the civilized world and only Eno the Thracian, Hero for Hire, can stop the inevitable destruction.

What I liked: Dark Mountain (Eno the Thracian #3) entertained me! While perhaps a bit darker than the previous books, this one held all the elements for me. Eno is an excellent hero who embodies the classical hero characteristics. He is mostly humble, willing to take a stand for what is right, and constantly searching for ways to improve himself and the world he inhabits. Such is the case in Dark Mountain. The story is good, too, as we follow Eno trying to make amends with Pan, visit his mother, and follow the quest to the end. All told, I enjoyed the book!

What I didn’t like: As I mentioned above, Dark Mountain (Eno the Thracian #3) was a darker book than the first two of the series. For me, Eno seemed sad and not as vibrant as before and left me a little depressed at the end.

Overall impression: In spite of the darker tone of the book, I liked it! Not as full of the swaggering, boisterous Eno from the first books, it still captured my attention and kept me guessing through the end. If you like a modernized take on Greek mythology, give this one (and the series) a try!

My rating: 4 Stars

Connect with the author: Find C. B. Pratt on her website and her Amazon Author Page and discover her books and more about her! Please consider leaving a review for Dark Mountain (Eno the Thracian #3) or any of her other works.

Connect with me: I always enjoyed hearing from readers of the blog, so leave me a comment or drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. You can find on social media, too! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, so stop by say hi, and join the conversation!

Amelia Island Book Festival – Are You Going??

Amelia Island, Florida is a charming little place just north of Jacksonville, FL and just south of the Georgia-Florida line. Why am I telling you this? Well, every year in February, the island hosts the Amelia Island Book Festival! This year’s festivities begin on February 15 and culminate with the Author Expo/Readers Extravaganza event on February 17. For more information of the festival, click on this link! I’ll be there with the entire Gemstone Chronicles series, signing books and meeting lots of new friends, discovering new authors, and connecting with readers!

Amelia Island Book Festival GC Covers

2018 is the 17th Annual celebration and this year’s theme is An Amelia Island Encounter – Romance, Action, and Mystery. I’ll highlight a few of the events, beginning with Thursday, February 15. The Kickoff Luncheon starts the Festival on the day after Valentine’s Day. New York Times Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani (introduced by International Bestselling author David Baldacci) will give the keynote address!

Friday, February 16 has three great events. First, International Bestselling author Steve Berry and his wife and business partner Elizabeth will conduct a Writer’s Workshop. The workshop focuses on the important aspects the writing craft and the business of writing.

While Steve and Elizabeth Berry conduct their workshop, many participating authors will visit the 16 area public schools and Volunteer Pre-K to present to and interact with the students. This outreach program, called Authors In Schools, helps promote lifelong learning and literacy!

Friday evening is the Author Face Off Gala Dinner. Featuring Jennifer Armentrout, Lee Child, Karen Slaughter, Sherri Rinker in a face-off moderated by Steve Berry, the dinner includes a silent auction and much more. It’s sure to be a blast!

Saturday brings the Author Expo/Readers Extravaganza. Held at Fernandina Beach Middle School, this event allows readers and authors to get to know each other and includes book signings and breakout sessions. Famed chef Jacques Pepin will be on hand to sign his cookbooks and Steve Berry, Sherri Rinker, Jennifer Armentrout, Karin Slaughter, and Lee Child all conduct breakout sessions. With nearly 100 noted authors, games, arts and crafts, and food trucks, this will be a day to enjoy! I know I’m looking forward to the festivities!

Are you going? I’m going to be in space 105, so stop by, say hi, grab a book or 4 (and pick up a gemstone)! I look forward to meeting each of you!

Want to let me know you’ll be there? Email me at bill@williamlstuart.com or leave me a comment. I can also be found at the following socials: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, so contact me and let me know if you’re attending!

 

The Ghost Chronicles by Marlo Berliner – My Review!!!

The Ghost Chronicles – My Review!!!

Ghost Chronicles Cover

 

Although paranormal books are not usually high on my list, Amazon recommended The Ghost Chronicles by Marlo Berliner. I’m glad Amazon did! Read on for my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author): Can Michael get to heaven before the devil gets him first, and if it means leaving Sarah is he sure he still wants to go?

Michael Andrews had everything – a loving family, a great girlfriend and a promising basketball career. That was before the accident that took his life. Now, he’s a ghost, wandering among the living, struggling to understand why he’s stuck. All he wants is to move on.

That is until he meets Sarah, an attractive young girl who died just as tragically as he did. The only trouble is falling in love and binding oneself to another soul is forbidden, for it may keep one or both of the souls bound to earth for longer than they should be.

To make matters worse, there’s also a danger in going too far with Sarah, because the “joining” of two souls in the afterlife is also strictly forbidden and they don’t know what will happen if they do go that far. Each time they touch they can feel the boundaries of their energies slipping perilously into one another.

Things get even more complicated as Michael learns he’s being pursued. Demons are after him because he’s a marked soul, a soul the devil wants very badly for some unknown reason.

So, maybe falling in love in the afterlife isn’t such a good idea.

Inspired by the legend of a haunting at the Angel of the Sea bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ.

What I liked: The Ghost Chronicles was an interesting book. Paranormal to be sure, the novel deals with the death of Michael, his inability to move on from a limbo-like state, and his budding romance with Sara (another ghost who can’t move on). Michael’s character and his struggles drew me in and the mystery around Tom and his frequent disappearances added a nice element to the story. Michael’s family’s grief and the impact of his death seemed real. Michael and Sara’s relationship was a nice romantic addition. Overall, an excellent read!

What I didn’t like: Despite everything I liked, The Ghost Chronicles dragged for me in places, especially when Michael visited his home after his death and his repeated encounters with the demons trying to capture him. I thought there could have been fewer demon battles.

Overall impression: The Ghost Chronicles by Marlo Berliner was an excellent read! Well-written, filled with characters easy to relate to, nice bits of romance, plenty of action, and enough mystery and intrigue to keep me turning the pages. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys paranormal romances!

My rating: 5 Stars

Is The Ghost Chronicles on your TBR list? If so, please consider leaving a review. If not, why are you waiting? Please don’t forget to stop by Marlo Berliner’s Amazon Author page and website to find out more about her and her books!

If you have time, leave me a comment on this review. If you don’t have time for that, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com or connect with me on the socials. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I’d love to know what you think about my reviews!

Finding the Fountain of Youth by C. A. King – My Review!!

Finding the Fountain of Youth – My Review!!

Finding the Fountain of Youth Cover

 

Another recommendation from Amazon in this week’s review. Today, it’s the fantasy novel Finding the Fountain of Youth (Shattering Effects of Time Book 1) by C. A. King.

Synopsis (from the author): The Shinning boys have always followed the straight and narrow path through life – never deviating from the course for the greater good, but never fully applying their abilities to fight for it either. That all changed the day their younger sister became the victim.
The problem: the villain they have to face to save her is time itself.
The only possible solution: a handful of myths about artifacts believed to have the ability to reverse the grip of time.
Their one lead sets them on a quest to find an ancient civilization of Mermaids to unlock the secrets of the Fountain of Youth. What they discover along the way is more than they could have ever anticipated. The three boys will come face-to-face with their own demons as they are forced to make a choice. What price are they willing to pay to save their sister?

What I liked: Finding the Fountain of Youth had many of the elements I like in a story, good characters, an epic quest, a villain or two, and intrigue. Jessie and Nadine provide the romantic element, the professor is both unlikable and mysterious, and the search for the mermaids to save the brothers’ sister is a good quest. The book had plenty of action and I particularly enjoyed the voyage to recover the treasure chest. Overall, a fun read!

What I didn’t like: Despite all the good things listed above, the story dragged in spots. Additionally, a better explanation of the brother’s magic would have improved the story for me.

Overall impression: Finding the Fountain of Youth (Shattering the Effects of Time Book 1) by C. A. King was an enjoyable book. A good story, nice elements of romance, mythology, and fantasy, along with lots of action kept me entertained. I would recommend this one to fantasy readers everywhere.

My rating: 4 Stars

Have you found Finding the Fountain of Youth by C. A. King? What about her other books? If you have (or plan to), please consider leaving a review! Don’t forget to visit C. A. King’s Amazon Author page and her website to discover more about the author.

While you’re at it, consider leaving a comment about this review, drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com, or connect with me on the socials! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I look forward to meeting new friends!

Halfway Drowned by Terry Maggert – My Review!!

Halfway Drowned – My Review!!!

Halfway Drowned Cover

Readers of my blog and reviews know I’ve read the first three books of the Halfway Witchy series by Terry Maggert and enjoyed them immensely. When Mr. Maggert released the latest in the series, Halfway Drowned (Halfway Witchy Book 4), it went directly to my TBR list. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author): A magical storm. An ancient shipwreck. A hidden evil.
All three are tied together as Carlie must defend Wulfric against his past, which emerges after a raging storm tears across Halfway Lake.
When government agents descend on Halfway to investigate the mysterious shipwreck, Carlie discovers that all is not as it seems.

A thousand years old, the Viking ship holds bones. And secrets.
Not everyone went down with the ship. There were survivors, but they might be less than human. They cross paths with Carlie in a showdown that will bring her own secrets to light, for saving Wulfric came with a cost. Now, it’s time for her to pay.

Dive in with Carlie as she fights to save the one person she can’t lose.
Herself.

What I liked: As with the other books in this series, I enjoyed the story. Carlie is her usual spunky self, and Wulfric lends both a romantic and somewhat comical relief. Granny is Carlie’s anchor and the citizens of Halfway provide an excellent supporting cast. The evil that comes to halfway from the shipwreck fits the bill perfectly, and the nerdy government agent develops into a likeable character. Overall, a Halfway Drowned is a good entertaining book.

What I didn’t like: I never quite grasped the purpose of Officer Domari. Additionally, this book dragged a little for me in places.

Overall impression: Despite the items mentioned above, I enjoyed this book. With familiar characters, good storytelling, and waffles, how can you go wrong? I’d recommend this one to anyone who’s read the first three and recommend the series to anyone who enjoys excellent books!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars)

Witch (see what I did there) of the Halfway Witchy books by Terry Maggert have you read? I hope the first three so you will be primed to read Halfway Drowned (Halfway Witchy Book 4).Please consider leaving a review when you finish each. Don’t forget to visit Terry Maggert’s Amazon Author page and his website to discover his many books!

If you enjoyed the review (or didn’t), leave me a comment and let me know. If you’d like, connect with me on the socials, too. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Stop by and say hi or shoot me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com!

A Little Rebellion Now and Then by Scott Skipper – My Review!!

A Little Rebellion Now and Then – My Review!!

A Little Rebellion Cover

I saw this cover on Amazon and it intrigued me. In light of the world in which we currently live, I decided a little satire might be just the thing. I took a chance on A Little Rebellion Now and Then by Scott Skipper. Read on for my opinion!

Synopsis (from the author): When a leftwing activist from the Nixon era morphs into a conservative writer of political incorrectness, can she ever escape the evil eye of the establishment? Political winds may shift but some things never change. If you pull on the dragon’s tail, you’d best be ready to take some heat. Kate is no stranger to a jail cell, but she thought she got past that four decade ago. Then again, in a world run amuck with knife brandishing jihadists spilling from their sharia zones, maybe a jail cell is the safest place to be.

What I liked: I enjoyed the parallel stories of Kate in the 70’s and her adventures in contemporary America. The common thread between the two eras (government) and how Kate fought it from two perspectives was a unique approach. Scott Skipper captured the 70’s drug use and lingo well, and Kate’s current predicament was reminiscent of Big Brother. Overall, A Little Rebellion Now and Then was an entertaining read.

What I didn’t like: The story had a few gaps that left it incomplete for me. For instance, more on how Kate morphed her political views would help provide continuity. Her children didn’t appear until near the end of the book, and they seemed almost an afterthought and didn’t add much to the tale. Issues like that took me away from the meat of the book.

Overall impression: A Little Rebellion Now and Then by Scott Skipper was a good read. Though not my normal genre, the book entertained me with its satirical look at issues, while giving a raw account of the 70’s counterculture and current events. I recommend this one to anyone over 18 who enjoys a flashback to the Kent State era and the current political climate.

My rating: 4 Stars

When you read A Little Rebellion Now and Then by Scott Skipper (and you know you want to), please consider leaving a review and visiting his Amazon Author page and his website.

While you are surfing, find me on the socials and say hi! I love connecting with new friends. Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest.You can email me at bill@williamlstuart.com, too!

Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford, #1) by F. P. Spirit – My Review!!

Ruins on Stone Hill – My Review!!

 

Ruins on Stone Hill Cover

I went back to my fantasy roots for this review. As with many of my recent reads, this one came up on my Amazon recommendations, so I decided to read Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford, #1) by F. P. Spirit. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): It has been nearly one hundred and fifty years since the end of the Thrall Wars, when the four dread Thrall Masters wreaked devastation across the land of Thac. The world has been relatively quiet since, but dark things have started to rise again around the little seaport of Ravenford. Monstrous bandits stalk the woods to the west, huge creatures terrorize farms to the north, and a dark presence has taken up refuge in the ancient ruins to the south.**

The town’s only hope may lay in four newcomers: a fearless young warrior with blades of fire, an elven wizard as deadly to his friends as his enemies, a cynical halfling who just may be an assassin, and a quiet gnome whose very touch can heal. Banded together with the tall warrior, Titan, and her mercenary companion, the novice heroes set out to confront these creatures of darkness. Yet they quickly find they are facing more than just a few rogue monsters, for there is a greater force behind them all.

From eerie woods to underground caves to haunted ruins, the young heroes encounter terrifying monsters, creatures of the night, and demonic sorcery. Can they stand against the forces of darkness, or will they too fall prey to the evil that has targeted Ravenford.

What I liked: Ruins on Stone Hill took off with a bang and the action was good throughout. The heroes prove themselves as stout companions and great friends. Joined by Titan and her companion, the band best monsters, mages, and trolls while dispensing their own brand of justice. Plenty of sword and sorcery action, short interesting quests, and touches of romance made the book an enjoyable read!

What I didn’t like: My chief complaint about the book was the overuse of certain words like smirk and snuck. Rarely did a character smile or grin, but they smirked a lot. Besides using snuck in the narrative, a few other grammatical errors jarred me out of the story.

Overall impression: Despite the issues listed above, I enjoyed Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford, #1)! Plenty of action, cool quests, interesting monsters, and enough magic kept me reading. I would recommend this one to any fantasy reader!

My rating: 4 Stars

Are you reading Ruins on Stone Hill by F. P. Spirit? If not, do you plan to read it? If and when you do, please consider leaving a review! Also, plan to visit F. P. Spirit’s Amazon Author page and his website to find out more about the Heroes of Ravenford series!

While you are visiting and reviewing, leave me a comment about the review. Consider connecting with me on social media, too! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also email me at bill@williamlstuart.com! Don’t be shy!

Spellsmith and Carver: Magician’s Rivalry – My Review!!

Spellsmith and Carver: Magician’s Rivalry – My Review!!

Spellsmith and Carver Cover

 

Spellsmith and Carver: Magician’s Rivalry by H. L. Burke showed up in my Amazon recommendations recently. After reading the blurb, and discovering the author is a military spouse, I added it to my TBR list. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): An estranged son. An adopted heir. A magical attack that forces them to work together.

The disappearance of Auric Spellsmith’s mother has strained his relationship with his father to the breaking point. Now, after five years away at the Magicians’ Academy, Auric returns home, determined to prove himself to his father and claim his birthright.

Apprentice Jericho Carver has held Spellsmith Manor together in Auric’s absence. Now his master’s son is back, and if he can’t get rid of Auric, Jericho will forfeit his career and lose all hope of wooing the master’s enchanting daughter.

Neither man intends to back down.

But then Master Spellsmith vanishes into the mysterious Fey Lands. With Fey magic threatening the mortal realm, Auric and Jericho must work together to save the man they both see as father.

What I liked: I enjoyed the interesting was magic was cast in the story. The story also showed a stark contrast between old and new ways of spellcasting (both have their advantages and disadvantages), and the use of Fey energy was cool. There were many underlying storylines in the book, which kept me entertained. Jericho and Rill’s romantic chemistry complemented the story nicely and set the stage for much of the rivalry between Jericho and Auric. Despite their rivalry, the two magicians set all aside to rescue Auric’s dad, giving the story its quest element and action. All in all, Spellsmith and Carver: Magician’s Rivalry was a good read!

What I didn’t like: There were a couple of things I didn’t like about the book. First, the cliché strained relationship between Auric and his father was too predictable. Secondly, the rivalry between Auric and Jericho seemed contrived. Other than that, no complaints from me and both were minor.

Overall impression: I liked the storyline, the underlying conflicts, and unique spellcasting. The journey into the Fey lands had enough twists and surprises to hold my attention and the book was well-written. I would recommend this one to any fantasy fan!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars)

Did you add Spellsmith and Carver: Magician’s Rivalry by H. L. Burke to your TBR? What are you waiting for? And, while you are adding it, stop by her Amazon Author page and website and say hi! When you’ve finished reading it, don’t forget to leave a review!!

What are your thoughts about the review? Leave me a comment and let me know. If you’d rather, drop me a note via email at bill@williamlstuart.com. I appreciate the feedback. Connect with me on the socials, too! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I look forward to meeting you!

 

Beyond the Forest (Gem Powers Series Book 1) – My Review!!

Beyond the Forest – My Review!!

Beyond the Forest Cover

My readers know I love gemstones. I even based my books on gemstones and their magical properties. When I ran across Beyond the Forest (Gem Powers Series Book 1) by Kay L. Ling and discovered the book also focused on gemstones and magic, I had to read it. Glad I did!

Synopsis (from the author): Lana can draw arcane powers from gemstones. When she started reading the folklore, it sounded farfetched. She should have closed the books right then and walked away. Special abilities are nothing but trouble. Someone always wants you to do something impossible. Or dangerous. Usually both. Like going through a portal to save an oppressed race in another world. In this case, gnomes, whose ruler happens to be a gem master with unimaginable powers.

Lana decides an exploratory mission seems harmless. She can visit the other world and come up with a plan. Who knew there would be flying serpents, mutant insects, and goblin-like mutant gnomes? Or that she’d end up in a dungeon while the queen decides whether to kill her or turn her into an enchanted creature? The gem master hopes to rule Lana’s world next and has already put plans in motion. Lana is determined to escape from the dungeon, but then what? She has two potential allies with gem powers, and she’s afraid of both. But with two worlds in danger, and time running out, she may have to trust them.

What I liked: Beyond the Forest drew me in immediately. Lana’s interest in gemstones and the folklore surrounding them was a familiar theme for me. The way she meets the gnomes and enters their world was entertaining, and the mystery surrounding the hound was a nice twist. The creatures she meets and befriends provide a bit of comic relief, and there’s even a little romance. Add to all of that, the danger presented by the queen to both worlds and there’s something for everyone!

What I didn’t like: Despite enjoying the story, it did bog down at times. In addition, fleshing out the supporting characters would help the story.

Overall impression: Beyond the Forest (Gem Powers Series Book 1) was a fun and clean read. I identified with Lana and her love of gemstones, the quest was good, and the action entertaining.In addition, I enjoyed getting to know the rats and their antics provided comic relief. I would recommend this one to anyone who likes clean fun fantasy!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Have you added Beyond the Forest (Gem Powers Series Book 1) to your TBR list? If not, what are you waiting for? Please take a few minutes and visit Kay L. Ling’s Amazon Author page and her website to find more of her books. Once you read the book(s), please consider leaving a review. I know Kay Ling will appreciate it!

Any thoughts on the review? If so, leave me a comment or send me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. Don’t be shy. And connect with me on the socials. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Lastly, don’t miss a post: subscribe to the blog!

 

The Merkaba Mystery by Iva Kenaz – My Review!!

The Merkaba Mystery – My Review!!

Merkaba Mystery Cover

 

Sometimes I randomly select books to read and review. That was the case with The Merkaba Mystery by Iva Kenaz. A different kind of fantasy, but an entertaining read!

Synopsis (from the author): In the year 1896, a young woman finds herself standing in the river, not remembering where she came from or who she is. The only link to her past is a bag containing a few symbolic objects, including the Tarot cards.
Followed by a cloaked figure, she ends up in Prague’s Jewish Town, which she recognises as an alternate version of her home. With the help of her newly found friends and occasional flashbacks, she begins to unravel her past connection to esotery, magic and places that initially seem unreal.
One day, she meets a young man whom she recognises as her best friend. Through their mutual memories, she discovers that her origins are stranger than she thought, and that one of the first words she recalled, Merkaba, is the true key to her past and future.

Set in an ancient European city with a distinct esoteric history, Prague, and inspired by the author’s curious dreams and visions. It explores the secrets of interdimensional travel, the Tarot, and the Merkaba. Each chapter is symbolically and archetypically aligned with one of the Major Arcana trumps.

What I liked: The Merkaba Mystery was an interesting blend of mysticism and fantasy. I don’t know much about Tarot, but the cards became the thread connecting the story. I enjoyed Seraphina’s journey as she struggled to regain her memories, and Vilma, Dora, and Hieronymus were great supporting characters. The mysterious cloaked character added intrigue and Seraphina’s relationship with Turi provided the romantic element. All in all, good stuff!

What I didn’t like: Although I enjoyed The Merkaba Mystery, I had a little trouble following what location the story was in at any given moment. I also felt the story came to a standstill on occasion.

Overall impression: The Merkaba Mystery by Iva Kenaz was an interesting blend of fantasy and mysticism. With compelling characters, a bit of romance, and Seraphina’s search for her memories, the story moved along nicely most of the time. If the Tarot intrigues you, and the descriptions of Prague fascinate you, then read this one!

My rating: 4 Stars

Are you adding The Merkaba Mystery by Iva Kenaz to your TBR list? When you finish, please consider leaving a review! While leaving your review, check out Iva Kenaz’s Amazon Author page and her website.

What do you think of the review of The Merkaba Mystery? Leave me a comment and let me know. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post, and connect with me on social media! Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I love to meet new friends! If all else fails, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com.