The Ghost Chronicles 2 by Marlo Berliner – My Review!!

The Ghost Chronicles 2 – My Review!!

Ghost Chronicles 2

 

I read the first The Ghost Chronicles by Marlo Berliner recently (and gave it 5 Stars in my review) and immediately added The Ghost Chronicles 2 to my TBR list. I wasn’t disappointed!

Synopsis (from the author): What’s there to fear if you’re already dead?
Plenty.
Michael and Sarah now know for certain, there is a destination after death.
They also know they better find their way out of the afterlife fast, before the devil claims Michael’s soul.
What they don’t know?
Before they can get to heaven…
they may just have to go through hell. 

What I liked: As with the first book, we join Michael as he and Sara try to find their way and their individual purposes so they can move on from their ghostly existence. We learn more about each and Tom’s role begins to take shape, although his frequent unexplained disappearances got to be annoying. I enjoyed the characters’ development, the story, and how they reacted to different trials. Will Michael and Sara move on or will they discover why they are still here? Will they give in to their passion? You’ll have to read The Ghost Chronicles 2 to find out!

What I didn’t like: In spite of the elements listed above, the story dragged in places, with a few repetitive scenes. The slow spots didn’t detract from the book much, but it made it a little less enjoyable and I found myself skimming through a few of the battles.

Overall impression: I liked the book and I was quickly drawn into Michael and Sara’s limbo world. The Ghost Chronicles 2 kept me guessing how it would evolve and the roles Michael, Sara, and Tom would play. If you enjoy paranormal romance and ghostly shadow worlds, read this one!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Do you have your copy of The Ghost Chronicles 2 by Marlo Berliner? If not, what are you waiting for? Once you read it, please consider leaving a review and share it with your friends. I know the author will appreciate it! Surf on over to her site or Amazon Author page to her book and learn more about her!

While you are surfing around, why not leave me a comment on this review (or any others)? I appreciate it too! I also look forward to connecting with new friends on social media. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Stop by and say hi!

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

Finding the Fountain of Youth – My Review!!

Fountain

 

 

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

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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.

Connect with me:

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!

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

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

Spellsmith

 

 

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)

Connect with the author:

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!!

Connect with me:

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!!

Forest

 

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!!

The 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

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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.

Connect with me:

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.

The King’s Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello – My Review!!

The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) – My Review!!

 

 

King Arthur and the legends surrounding him and the Knights of the Round Table are fascinating. Cheryl Carpinello combined the legendary figure with the coming of age story of three friends in her book The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table), and I had to add it to my reading list. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): Three Friends. Three Quests. Three Mysterious Predictions

In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith’s apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man. When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king’s treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder. Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight’s quest to save their friend’s life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all.

What I liked: Adding a coming of age twist to the King Arthur era was a neat storyline to me. Gavin, Philip, and Bryan all have different fears to confront, and each handled their quest bravely. The idealism each displayed was inspiring, and there was enough action and intrigue to keep my attention. In addition, a few interesting secrets sets the stage for a good story. Lastly, although written for ages 9-12, I enjoyed the read!

What I didn’t like: The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Roundtable) had a few predictable parts, especially during the three quests. Additionally, although I liked the characters, they were a bit clichéd.

Overall impression: The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) by Cheryl Carpinello captured the essence of the King Arthur legends and the idealism embodied in the stories. Good characters, nice plot twists, and a few surprises make the book is an excellent read for ages 9-12 (or anyone who simply enjoys a good book!

My rating: 5 Stars

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Have your or your children read The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)? If not, consider adding it to your list! If so, please consider leaving a review. It only takes a few minutes and means a lot to the authors! While you’re surfing around, stop by Cheryl Carpinello’s Amazon Author page or her website and check out all her books!

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Speaking of surfing around, why not head over to the socials and connect with me? I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Of course, you can email me at bill@williamlstuart.com, too. And, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss a post!

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker – My Review!!

The Emperor’s Edge – My Review!!

Emperor's

 

 

Steampunk is a genre I’m beginning to like more as I read it more often. I enjoyed the mix of fantasy and steampunk elements in Lindsay Buroker’s The Emperor’s Edge quite a lot. Here are my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author): Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.

Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin, is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills… or someone wants her dead.

What I liked: In addition to the fantasy and steampunk I mentioned above, I simply liked the story. Amaranthe is a nice character, with tons of self-confidence (and a bit of self-doubt), Sicarius is a believable villain/hero with a mysterious side, and the rest of the supporting cast plays their roles well. Filled with enough action and intrigue to keep me turning pages, The Emperor’s Edge was a most enjoyable book!

What I didn’t like: The Emperor came across as an idealistic simpleton, and the regent was a bit stereotypical. Likewise, the gang Amaranthe negotiated with was too easy for a tough street cabal.

Overall impression: The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker was a fun steampunk read. I liked the characters, the action, and the way the villains ended. All in all, a good book for those who enjoy fantasy and steampunk!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Have you read The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker? What about any of her other books (and there are a bunch)? If you have, or plan to, please consider leaving a review. It only takes a few minutes and authors love them!! Another thing authors like is to connect with their readers and fans. You can find Lindsay Buroker on her Amazon Author page or her website.

Speaking of connecting, you can connect with me on the socials! Don’t be shy, just stop by and say hi. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe. Lastly, if you want to email me, drop me a line at bill@williamlstuart.com!

 

The Eighth Circle of Hell by Gary Dolman – My Review!!

The Eighth Circle of Hell – My Review!!

Circle

 

I really stepped outside my normal reading boundaries with The Eighth Circle of Hell (Atticus and Lucie Fox) by Gary Dolman. It was dark, disturbing, and not for the faint of heart. Read on for my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author): In the 19th century, when the British Empire was approaching its zenith, the Victorians began to believe that, with their power and their fabulous wealth, they could do anything. Certain gentlemen became convinced that they could indeed do anything…and get away with it.

A noted Harrogate philanthropist is found murdered, the victim of a brutal and frenzied attack. His apparent killer, a frail and elderly workhouse ‘imbecile’, had fled his house as a child.

The Eighth Circle of Hell follows strands of lust, love and revenge as they twist together and stretch across that most notorious of times: the Victorian Defloration Mania.

What I liked: Despite the obvious horrible and disgusting subject of the book, the story was very well-written and didn’t sensationalize the material. Gary Dolman treated the villains as monsters and they deserved the loathing I felt for them. The victims drew my sympathy. Atticus and Lucy, our erstwhile detectives, were a civilized counterpoint to those they pursued. While I can’t truthfully say I enjoyed to story (the topic was much too disturbing for that), it does offer insight into the times and psychology of those who feel they are above the law.

What I didn’t like: I would have liked to have seen Atticus and Lucie more disturbed by their investigation than they seemed. Perhaps it was the stiff upper lip of the British, but they didn’t come across as appalled by the actions of the “gentlemen.” Outrage would have added some authenticity to the story.

Overall impression: The Eighth Circle of Hell (Atticus and Lucie Fox) is a story of brutal lust, predatory men, and revenge. It handled a horrible subject as delicately as possible, and had a few twists that kept me guessing the outcome. Well-written, the book was filled with characters I won’t soon forget. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a fictional insight into the darker side of Victorian society. Beware, though, as I mentioned before, it is deeply disturbing and not for those under 18.

My rating: 4 Stars

What did you think of The Eighth Circle of Hell by Gary Dolman? You can tell me by leaving a comment. Consider letting the author know by leaving a review. You can also connect with Gary Dolman on his Amazon Author page or his website. Visit and find out more about him and his books! I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

If you enjoyed your visit to my site and/or this review, subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any posts. If you’re on the socials, connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Lastly, you can email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I love to meet new friends!

e-Murderer (Jenna Scali Mystery, #1) by Joan C. Curtis – My Review!!

e-Murderer (Jenna Scali Mystery, #1) – My Review!!

e-Murderer Cover

As a Georgia author, I like to read, review, and promote my fellow Georgia authors. I set a goal to read one of my colleagues’ books each month. I’m starting with e-Murderer (Jenna Scali Mystery, #1) by Joan C. Curtis!

Synopsis (from the author): On this anything but typical Monday morning, Jenna Scali, who works part-time for a shrink, opens an email that depicts the brutal death of a young girl. On that same day the police uncover a dead coed two blocks from Jenna’s house. The e-murderer’s description creepily echoes the death described in the newspapers.

When Jenna receives other emails, she takes what she knows to the police and thus begins her journey in the path of the e-murderer. Her curious nature impels her from e-messages to dead coeds to a ring of prostitutes. With the help of her quirky friends, Jenna learns that she’s more than a conduit for the killer. She’s his target.

THE E-MURDERER is a race to find a psychotic killer before he kills again.

What I liked: First, many of you know I’m a huge University of Georgia fan. e-Murderer is set in the beautiful home of the Dawgs, Athens, GA. That was a great start! Secondly, Joan C. Curtis spins a nice mystery full of twists and turns, a little romance, and enough memorable characters to keep my attention. Lastly, it kept me guessing until about three-quarters of the book before I finally figured it out. All those things add up to an entertaining read!

What I didn’t like: A couple of the characters didn’t seem to have a reason to be in the story except as maybe a red herring. While I appreciate the attempt to keep me guessing, the eventual culprit made them seem unnecessary add-ons.

Overall impression: e-Murderer (Jenna Scali Mystery, #1) entertained me! Although I’m not a mystery fan in general, this book had enough twists and turns, interesting characters, and a style that seemed almost a cozy mystery. All in all, an excellent read!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Have you read e-Murderer by Joan C. Curtis? If so, please consider leaving a review. Reviews are important to authors and lets them know what readers think about their work. And don’t limit yourself to one book. Joan C. Curtis has more and you can find them at her website or her Amazon Author page!

If you liked (or didn’t like) my review, leave me a comment and let me know. I appreciate the feedback. If you want to catch all my reviews, subscribe to the blog. in addition, I’m always open to connecting on the socials. Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest and say hello!

Annwyn’s Blood by Michael Eging and Steve Arnold – My Review!!

Annwyn’s Blood (The Paladin of Shadows Chronicles, # 1) – My Review!!

Blood Cover

I usually prefer my fantasy books to be a bit on the lighter side, but occasionally I will delve into the darker side of the genre. Annwyn’s Blood (The Paladin of Shadows Chronicles, # 1) certainly fits the bill. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): When Marianna was spirited away by unknown raiders, everyone expected a ransom demand to soon follow. Such was the peril of everyday royal life in the chaotic times following abandonment of the misty isles of Albion by indifferent Rome. But when weeks went by without word her father, High King Mattheus, dispatched teams of trusted warriors to find her and bring her assailants to account.

Young Erik, Scion of the House of Birkenshire, was one of these. Separated from his comrades and alone in hostile territories, he plunged headlong into forgotten vales and desolate coasts in pursuit, driven onward by precious memories of stolen tender moments. Then he stood before the grim fortress – wherein he found, not the innocent damsel of his youthful desires, but a terrifying beauty borne of an ancient evil that bound his soul to an even more primal force bent on regaining its place in the halls of human exaltation.

Now caught between two worlds, he must resist the temptations of his beloved-turned-succubus while protecting his family, his people and his world from the encroaching grasp of Arawn, Lord of Annwyn, Ruler of the Dead, Elder God of the Mabinogion. In this journey to regain his soul, the knight must find a way to strike the fatal blow against a resurgent primal darkness.

What I liked: Annwyn’s Blood has all the elements I like in a fantasy book! Evil, good, magic, and a quest to restore a soul all combine to make the book a great read. Erik, our protagonist, searches for Marianna, the daughter of the King. Unaware of the evil lurking where he finds her, he battles an evil being and loses his soul. But, enough, I won’t do spoilers! Suffice it to say, if you like dark fantasy, try this one!

What I didn’t like: I only had a couple of small issues with Annwyn’s Blood. First, it was difficult to follow exactly who was who and I found myself having to reread some parts for clarity. Secondly, Some of the interactions at the convent seemed out of sorts with the story.

Overall impression: Annwyn’s Blood is an excellent start to The Paladin of Shadows Chronicles. Definitely not for children, the book is dark fantasy well-suited for adults. If you are a fantasy fan, read this one!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

If you’ve read Annwyn’s Blood, what did you think? Leave me a comment and let me know. More importantly, consider leaving a review. It only takes a few minutes and I’m sure Michael Eging and Steve Arnold would appreciate it! If you want to contact the authors, find their Amazon Author pages here and here.

If you want to connect with me on the socials, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to connecting with new friends!