Milestones – or a Few Accomplishments over the Last Seven Years!!

Milestones!

Milestone the first:

Today’s post marks a number of milestones! What milestones, you might ask? The first significant milestone is that August 12 marks seven years since The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian publication date! Since that day,  The Carnelian picked up an Indie BRAG Medallion and a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal. I’ve published the other three books of the series, attended many festivals and books signings, spoke at schools, and learned more than I ever thought possible about writing. I’ve met amazing authors, reviewers, and book promoters. I keep writing (can you believe three WIPs?) and hope to publish my fifth book (the start of a new series) in 2020.

The Carnelian Cover Milestones

Though I haven’t hit the bestsellers list yet, I am eternally grateful to each and every person who took the time to read one or all of the books. My favorite author moment came from a teacher (and former classmate). She told me she struggled to get a student to read. When she told the student she knew an author (me), and maybe he would read my books. I sent her a set. She reported back to me that he loved them and has become a voracious reader! That makes it all worthwhile!

Milestone the second:

I also celebrate reaching the 15,000 Twitter follower milestone! Writing The Gemstone Chronicles made me aware of the various avenues of social media and, after trying most of them, settled on Twitter as my main social media platform. I know it isn’t a huge following, but I continue to grow it and I hope I’m providing some assistance to other authors out there.

Milestone the third:

The final milestone I’m marking is that this post is my three hundredth blog post! That’s right! This blog started on August 12th, 2012 to announce The Carnelian’s publication. What a long but interesting journey it has been! I’ve written posts about my books, book promotion sites, gemstones, duct tape, conspiracy theories, and many book reviews! I’ve even slipped a few posts about submarines and my time in the Navy. I like to post my book reviews and maybe give a fellow author a bit of exposure. I hope my posts reflect my rather eclectic interests both in the different genres I review and the occasional foray into my hobbies and interests.

As always, I’m humbled and grateful for everyone’s continued support and for the readers who’ve taken time to read my books and read and comment on my blog posts. Though I can’t thank all of you personally, please know how much I appreciate you and will try to continue to provide enjoyable content!

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Myths of the Mirror by D. Wallace Peach – My Review!!

Myths of the Mirror – My Review!!

Who doesn’t like dragons? For me, a fantasy novel with dragons will always have a place on my TBR list! When I received the recommendation for Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quartet #1) I added it to my list. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

In the distant mountains of the Mirror, exiled skyriders fly dragons in the old Way, merged in flesh, blood, and bone. Twenty years past, they fought for the freedom of the valley’s dragons … and lost.

Imprisoned in the stone lair, the captive dragons beat their webbed wings and thrash serpentine tails. They tear their flesh and batter their bodies against the black bars of their cells, iron grating against iron. The once peaceful creatures howl, tormented by spine and spur, their fury matched only by their despair.

Treasa, the daughter of exiles, seeks the secrets of a hidden past and a father she never knew. Gifted with visions, she glimpses pieces of years long lost and a veiled future that only raises more questions. The dragons visit her dreams, laden with contradictions that tear at her heart—for one day she sails in unfettered flight, her arms thrown wide, and the next she writhes in tortured darkness, desperate to be free.

The lair’s black-garbed riders sense the dragons’ growing savagery. Yet Conall longs to grasp their power, to subdue them and soar. He will endure the reek, filth, and terror of the lair to earn his right to fly. With a heart encased in steel, he masters the weapons of compliance to see his will done. At the cost of the woman he loves.

Then, a curved talon rends flesh and dragon scale, rattling against white ribs. Blood falls like rain and the world shifts. Treasa and Conall must decide who they are and what they stand for. Thus the battle for the dragon soul begins again. Alliances form, old myths are revealed, and new myths are born.

What I liked:

First, I enjoyed this book! The imprisoned dragons fueled much of the story and intertwined everyone’s lives and actions into a great story. The characters were good, the writing flowed smoothly, and the story had a nice pace. Romantic elements abounded throughout the book, which only added to the depth of the tale. All told, Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quarter #1) was an excellent book!

What I didn’t like:

The only thing I didn’t like in the book was the ongoing lack of communication between Treasa and her mother. I can’t really say much about it without adding spoilers, so you’ll just have to read the book and make your own decision.

Overall impression:

Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quartet #1) by D. Wallace Peach had all the elements for a great fantasy novel. Good characters, a downtrodden dragon population, romance, intrigue, and a good plot line made it a book I truly enjoyed. If you like fantasy, try this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with D. Wallace Peach:

Find D. Wallace Peach on her Amazon Author Page or her website. Check out the entire Dragon Soul Quartet and discover more about the author and her books!

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The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1 by J.J. Anders – My Review!!

The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1– My Review!!

The Scholar Cover

I admit that I’ve not really listened to an audiobook in its entirety until I received an Audible gift certificate. I chose The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1 by J.J. Anders and narrated by Marnye Young as my introduction to audiobooks. Read on for my review.

Synopsis (from the author):

Anna is clearly different from others. With obvious physical differences and powerful abilities, she’s never quite fit in…anywhere. Having no knowledge of her parents, she sets out to discover her true origin. On the run for most of her life, she’s become a master at eluding capture, even a little cocky, you might say. When a sticky situation forces her hand, she hitches a ride with a wizard, who whisks her away to another world where, according to him, she’d been exiled from as a child. This new magical place seems oddly familiar as Anna discovers powerful enemies and treasured allies on her quest for answers. The dangerous journey thrust her headlong into the arms of Kriston, who finds himself caught between sworn-duty and insatiable curiosity.

What I liked:

First, I liked the story. Anna had some great adventures and met many interesting characters and creatures. The rock trolls were my favorite, though the huge horses were a close second. Secondly, I enjoyed Marnye Young’s narration. The various voices she used impressed me.

The book has many of the classic fantasy elements like a quest, cool creatures, adventure, and a touch of romance. The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1 moved along briskly and had enough action to keep my interest. Overall, a good book.

What I didn’t like:

I didn’t find the audiobook format to be a favorite. While Marnye Young did a great job narrating the story, I missed putting my own imagination into the story. The story itself, though entertaining, seemed a bit disjointed to me and jumped around more than I liked.

Overall impression:

The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1 audiobook was entertaining and beautifully narrated. Although I didn’t enjoy the audiobook as much as I would an ebook or physical copy, it made a couple of flights enjoyable. As far as the story goes, it’s a good one! If you like fantasy, give this one a try!

My rating:

4 Stars for the book

5 Stars for the narration

Connect with J.J. Anders:

Find J. J. Anders on her Amazon Author Page or her website. While visiting, consider leaving a review or a comment, and maybe buy a book or two!

Connect with Marnye Young:

Find Marnye Young on her website, check out the books she’s narrated, and maybe pick one up for your listening pleasure!

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The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz #1) – My Review!!

The One Discovered – My review!!

The One Discovered Cover

I love the way fantasy can move in so many different directions. It can be classic epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and even have a bit of the paranormal in it. Such is the case with The One Discovered (Chronicles of Diasodz #1) by Yvette M Calleiro. Here is my review.

Synopsis (from the author):

How do you choose when both options have dire consequences?

Sofia is a 17 year old who is quite content with her life. She has a caring boyfriend who also just happens to be her best friend since birth. She has a loving mother. She is successfully completing her last year of high school and enjoys her part-time job. She can’t imagine wanting more from her life…until Ar’ch (pronounced Ar-rick) enters her dreams, sparking a burning flame inside of her that she can’t seem to extinguish nor does she want to.

Ar’ch is a Diasodz (Die-ah-sodz), a species created by the Goddess back when God created humans. Diasodz were made to heal and protect humans, but when the Diasodz turned their backs on helping humans and left Earth to live in their own world, the Goddess abandoned them. Since then, their powers and their very lives have been fading. A prophecy foretold that a young girl born on Earth would be the Diasodz’s savior. Ar’ch and his brother, Angel, travel to Earth to retrieve her and bring her back to their world before her death day in order to save their kind. Ar’ch knows the drill: find the target, capture her, and safely bring her home. But what happens when the target captures his dormant heart?

Choices create action. Actions have consequences. When faced with the truth, what choice will Sofia make? Will she be able to accept the consequences that follow?

What I liked:

The One Discovered was a nice read. Written for young adults, I nonetheless enjoyed it. First, the book has solid characters. Sofia and Rafe make a good couple, and Ar’ch’s intrusion into her dreams and her life make for interesting conflict. The story hints of other powers at work, though Rafe and Sofia are ignorant for the most part.  Follow their adventures and see if Sofia comes into her powers!

What I didn’t like:

Despite the fact that Sofia and Rafe are a couple, their lack of physical attraction seemed out of place. In addition, Sofia’s repeated swoons over Ar’ch got a bit repetitive. A better explanation of what Ar’ch and Angel are would help, too.

Overall impression:

The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz #1) was a good read. Filled with a nice blend of fantasy and paranormal and good solid characters, it’s a book I recommend to anyone who likes the genre!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Yvette M. Calleiro:

Find Yvette on her website or her Amazon Author Page. While you’re there leave a comment or a review and check out the rest of her books (and maybe buy a few)!

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Hexborn (Hexborn Chronicles Book 1) by A. M. Manay – My Review!!

Hexborn – My Review!!

Hexborn

I’m happy to start 2019 with a review of Hexborn (Hexborn Chronicles Book 1) by A. M. Manay. This one came through my Amazon recommendations. Read on for my thoughts on this interesting fantasy novel!

Synopsis (from the author):

Hexborn. Abomination. Unclean. Young Shiloh knows exactly what she is. She just refuses to let that stop her. Her illness might make her an outcast, but her broken body hides great magical power. And she intends to make the most of it.

Silas, the king’s ruthless fixer, seeks to use that power to preserve the uneasy peace the kingdom has enjoyed since the end of the Siblings’ War. Silas hauls Shiloh from her mountain village to the wizard academy at the king’s court, where magic and political intrigue conspire to create danger around every corner.

Can this child of war save the peace? Or will old sins rise to threaten Shiloh, Silas, and the kingdom of Bryn?

What I liked:

Hexborn was an interesting twist on fantasy. Shiloh and Silas are strong characters, while the King is weak. The story follows court intrigue, arranged marriages, and religious persecution, all as a backdrop to Shiloh’s growing power and Silas’s concerns over her power and the threat of her heritage. Add to it the King’s marriage to Shiloh’s friend Penn and we have a lot going on.  All told, it’s an excellent read!

What I didn’t like:

My only real complaint about Hexborn (Hexborn Chronicles Book 1) was how long it took to explain fully what hexborn meant. Other than that, good stuff!

Overall impression:

I enjoyed the book! Great characters, plenty of action, intrigue, and hints of romance kept me turning pages. Shiloh’s powers are interesting and there are plenty of twists and turns. If you like fantasy, try Hexborn!

My Rating:

5 Stars

Connect with A. M. Manay:

Visit A. M. Manay at her website or her Amazon Author Page. While you’re there, leave a comment or a review and maybe buy a book or two! I know she will appreciate it!

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Feral (Paranormal Peacekeepers #2) by Lucretia Stanhope – My Review!!

Feral (Paranormal Peacekeepers #2) – My Review!!

Feral

 

I read Tainted Waters (Paranormal Peacekeepers #1) by Lucretia Stanhope a few months ago and gave it 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars). When Feral (Paranormal Peacekeepers #2) released, I added it to my ever-growing TBR list. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

Why are werewolves going missing? When a frustrated alpha requests the aid of the Paranormal Peacekeepers, a new partnership is formed. Alice and Amarok are assigned to get in and get answers before the pack problems bleed into the lives of the townspeople.

Prisoner or ambassador? As a hybrid, Alice is still struggling with what her place is at the Paranormal Peacekeepers when she is assigned her first mission and given her permanent partner. Before she can find out who is responsible for the missing werewolves, she has to commit to the job and ignore the voice in her head telling her use the mission as a chance to escape.

Loyal ambassador and former member of the para-military. Amarok is still broken from the death of his partner when he is assigned to work with new recruit, Alice. While he will vet her, and make sure she is safely returned to the Paranormal Peacekeepers, the bond of partnership means something to him that blurs the lines of following orders.

The mission takes them to emotional places they never imagined and tests the limits of their supernatural abilities. To solve the mystery of where the werewolves have gone they will need to redefine themselves and come together as a team.

What I liked:

I enjoyed the way Alice seemed to be growing into her new role as a paranormal peacekeeper. Her reluctance to open up to Amarok even as her attraction grows made for a nice subplot. Likewise, Amarok’s attraction to her and his own hidden past creates a good internal conflict. Add the missing werewolves, the hostile humans, and suddenly all the pieces combine into a good read!

What I didn’t like:

In spite of all the good points, Alice’s reluctance to reveal herself to Amarok and vice versa got a little repetitive.

Overall impression:

Feral (Paranormal Peacekeepers #1) by Lucretia Stanhope was a good book. You don’t have to read Tainted Waters to understand the story (but why wouldn’t you?), and the story, characters, and action kept me interested. If you like paranormal romance with a hybrid twist, try this one!

My rating:

4.5 stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Connect with Lucretia Stanhope:

Discover more about Lucretia Stanhope on her Facebook page or her Amazon Author page. While you’re there, please consider leaving a review or a comment and pick up a book or two!

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Halfway Unwrapped (Halfway Witchy Book 5) – My Review!!

Halfway Unwrapped – My Review!!

Halfway Unwrapped Cover

I love the Halfway Witchy series by Terry Maggert. I read the previous four books and happily added Halfway Unwrapped (Halfway Witchy Book 5) to my TBR list as soon as Terry Maggert released it. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

Something stinks in Halfway, and it isn’t a rotting pumpkin.

As Halloween grows closer, monsters begin emerging from the ground. Their beastly purpose is unknown to Carlie, but not to a group of tourists who have come to Halfway for the holiday. The visiting women look innocent, but bad things are happening wherever they go and their trail leads back to the one place that Carlie never wanted to see again.

From the depths of a toxic spring danger will break free again, and this time, there’s more than just the town of Halfway at stake. For Carlie, Gran and Wulfric, the most important event in the history of their lives is just around the corner, but they don’t know it yet, and neither do the strangers who would tear Halfway apart in the name of black magic.

Some things won’t stay buried, but with her charms and a shovel, Carlie will bury the past once and for all.

What I liked:

Like the rest of the series, Halfway Unwrapped feels like a visit to an old friend. Carlie, Gran, Wulfric, and the rest of the recurring characters are warm and familiar and out to protect Halfway in their unseen ways. The adventure is good, the writing excellent, it has great pace. Overall, an entertaining read!

What I didn’t like:

Despite all the good things in Halfway Unwrapped, I had a few issues with the book. First, the story seemed a little disjointed to me and didn’t flow as well as the others in the series. Secondly, the threat to Halfway was odd and the connection between the mushroom men and the strangers didn’t make much sense to me. Lastly, the ending, though unexpected, felt rushed.

Overall impression:

All in all, I enjoyed Halfway Unwrapped (Halfway Witchy Book 5) by Terry Maggert. The familiar characters, good writing, and unexpected ending made it a fun read, though I didn’t like it as much as the previous books. If you’ve read the rest of the series, pick this one up. If you haven’t what are you waiting for?

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Terry Maggert:

Find Terry Maggert on his Amazon Author site or his website and discover not just his Halfway Witchy books but also his other novels. While you’re there, leave a review or a comment, and pick up a book or ten!

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Made in the Image of the Goddess by Chantelle Griffin – My Review!!

Made in the Image of the Goddess – My Review!!

Made in the Image of the Goddess Cover

Made in the Image of the Goddess: The Legacy of Zyanthia Book One showed up in my Amazon recommendations recently. I read the blurb and added it to the TBR list. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

Saranon glanced up at the dragons as they flew overhead. The hour of darkness covered them as she watched on. She waited as Pennie examined the stone. It formed part of the shield locking them inside the camp. Shouts rang out on the other side. ‘Is that Galven?’ Pennie asked.

She nodded in reply. A twig broke on the muddy ground. ‘We have company,’ she said.

A lone sorcerer. Just one, but that was enough to give them away. Pennie ran for fear of being caught, while Tasha stood gazing out into the distance, ‘One day that will be us.’

Enter an epic tale of sword and sorcery. More than two hundred years ago a powerful sorceress freed her people then vanished. As time passed truth turned into myth and myth became legend. The time has come again. Saranon must claim her rightful place before Zyanthia falls.

What I liked:

I enjoyed the story. Saranon posseses cool powers and has interesting and entertaining adventures. Add dragons to the mix and Made in the Image of the Goddess has everything needed for a nice fantasy book.

What I didn’t like:

In spite of the good thing mentioned above, I had a couple of issues with the book. First, the book needs editing. There were just too many errors and they kept throwing me out of the story. Secondly, the story didn’t flow well to me.

Overall impression:

 Made in the Image of the Goddess: The Legacy of Zyanthia Book One has a lot of promise. With a bit of editing work, this is easily a 4 star book!

My rating:

3 Stars

Connect with Chantelle Griffin:

Find out more about Chantelle Griffin and her books on her Amazon Author page and on Goodreads. While you’re visiting, go ahead and leave her a comment or a review!

Connect with me:

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Find me and let’s connect!

Absence of Color (Spectrum of Color #1) by SK Wee – My Review!!

Absence of Color – My Review!!

Absence

Sorry I’ve been away, but I had to take a few days to visit Universal Orlando with my grandchildren and my lovely bride. Despite the vacation, I didn’t neglect my reading, although I had to wait to write this review. Today I want to share my thoughts on Absence of Color (Spectrum of Color #1) by S. K. Wee.

Synopsis (from the author):

“Secret orders and brotherhoods, wizened sages and mages, stealthy assassins and spies …” Shared misery forges an unlikely friendship between three young adventurers…

Frankie the daughter of Bhaelor’s Ruler and her father’s servant. Only it gets worse. He’s going to trade her into slavery.

Twig, kidnapped after his mother’s death, is used and abused by Bhaelor’s ruler. Since Twig is believed to be dead, there’s no one looking for him.

Conny, a young mage, is tricked into coming to Bhaelor. His magic may give his master the true power he desires.

Rescued by an underground spy network, Frankie and Twig realize they have a chance to right some wrongs. Frankie is optimistic and believes in a good future. Twig is bitter and ruled by his past. He wants revenge. Conny is left behind to learn the full extent of his magic but he will not be easily tricked again. Each must play a part in pretending to be something they are not. They share a destiny, a converging path but can they overcome the horrors they’ve lived to discover their true abilities? Who can they trust? Appearances can be deceiving and no one is who they first appear to be.

What I liked:

First, Absence of Color was a great story. Our three heroes are coming of age and face many different challenges. For Frankie, becoming a woman brings new abilities. Conny has to deceive his master and hone his magical talents. Twig battles inner demons from his time with the Amir and tries to prove himself a man in Darby’s eyes. Darby and Wagner are excellent as Frankie and Twig’s mentors, and Lil Red, with her fingers in many pies, plays a crucial role. The Academy is cool, and the intrigue woven through the story makes it an enjoyable read!

What I didn’t like:

Although an integral part of the story, the abuse children face at the Amir’s hands was disturbing. Other than that, not much to dislike in the book!

Overall impression:

Absence of Color (Spectrum of Color #1) has all the elements for a great read! Good characters, lots of intrigue, a touch of romance, and the trials of coming of age make it a fun read. I recommend this one to all fantasy readers, though I’d say it is definitely PG-13!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Connect with S.K. Wee: 

Find all of S.K. Wee’s books on her Amazon Author page or her Goodreads page. Since you’ll be there, please consider leaving a review for her books once you’ve read them!

Connect with me: 

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The Bow of Destiny by P. H. Solomon – My Review!!

The Bow of Destiny – My Review!!

The Bow of Destiny Cover

After a couple of science fiction books, I’m back to fantasy with The Bow of Destiny (The Bow of Hart Saga Book 1) by P. H. Solomon. This one comes from an Amazon recommendation and I’m glad they recommended it!

Synopsis (from the author):

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.

This unique epic fantasy will keep you turning pages as Athson discovers his destiny is both inconvenient and unavoidable.

Athson has seen things that aren’t there and suffered fits since being tragically orphaned as a child at the hands of trolls and Corgren the mage who serves Magdronu the dragon.

When a strange will mentioning a mysterious bow comes into his possession, Athson’s not sure it’s real.

But the trolls that soon pursue him are all too real and dangerous. And they serve Corgren and his master, the hidden dragon, Magdronu.

Athson is drawn into a quest for the concealed Bow of Hart by the mystic Withling, Hastra.

But Athson isn’t always sure what’s real and who his enemies are.

With Corgren and Magdronu involved, Athson faces frequent danger, his grasp on reality, and the reasons behind his tragic past. 

What I liked: P. H. Solomon built a cool world! I related to the characters easily and I enjoyed their adventures. The actions scenes entertained me and the hint of romance between Athson and Limbreth added a nice element to the story. Athson and Hastra’s uneasy relationship gave an extra bit of intrigue.  The antagonists, Corgren and Magdronu, played their parts well and rounded out the story. The Bow of Destiny is a good fantasy book!

What I didn’t like: Despite all the good things listed above, there were a couple of things I didn’t like. First, Athson’s reluctance to accept is destiny was repetitive. Similarly, Limbreth’s struggle to tell Athson the truth was repetitive.

Overall impression: The Bow of Destiny (The Bow of Hart Saga Book 1) was a good book with lots to like. Good solid characters, good story, complex relationships, romance, and intrigue all combine for an enjoyable tale. I recommend this one to all fantasy readers!

My rating: 4 Stars

Connect with P. H. Solomon: Find the author at his Amazon Author page or his website. Visit and discover more about The Bow of Hart series and maybe pick up a book or 3! While you’re visiting, please consider leaving a review or a comment.

Connect with me: If you use the socials, connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Say hi and let’s start a conversation! As always, shares and comments are always welcome.