Torn (The Dothan Chronicles #1) by Charissa Dufour – My Review!!

Torn – My Review!!

Torn Cover

I wanted to get back to fantasy books and picked Torn (The Dothan Chronicles #1) by Charissa Dufour. It’s nice to come back to my favorite genre. Read on for my thoughts! Note that the author advises the following: Due to scenes of intense violence, reader discretion is advised.

Synopsis (from the author):

King Wolfric Eberhand battles the last nation to stand against his raging armies. With help from the deadly knight, Sir Erin Caldry, he hopes to conquer the land of Dothan once and for all. Using his wealth and power, he has formulated the perfect plan to finally take their rich land. What he doesn’t realize, is the youngest Dothan princess is currently a slave within his very own castle walls.
While out visiting the remote estate of a relative, Princess Bethany Kavadh is kidnapped by slavers. Bedraggled and weary, she finds herself sold into slavery. To her horror, she soon discovers that her new owner is none other than her family’s worst enemy, King Wolfric. To fight her rising despair and to keep what little sanity she possess, Princess Bethany begins to fight back, sabotaging the efficient running of the House and function of their Armies.
But what happens when they realize her true identity?
Will they ransom her for the wealth of her nation?
Will they keep her as a slave? Or will they inflict an even crueler punishment?
The only things for certain are: The war between two nations will escalate, and one young princess’s life shall forever be TORN.

What I liked:

I liked Bethany’s toughness, resilience, and her attempts to sabotage her captors. I also liked that her actions had consequences – both good and bad. Caldry was a good character. The family of the King was perfectly despicable in their treatment of each other and others. The story itself intrigued me and kept me involved in the tale. The harsh treatment of the slaves and the indifference of the slaveholders was intense at times, so be prepared. Overall, though, Torn was a good read!

What I didn’t like:

The biggest complaint I have about Torn was that it was much more of a romance than a fantasy novel. Not in a bad way, but it didn’t have the fantasy elements I hoped for in the book.

Overall impression:

Torn (The Dothan Chronicles #1) by Charissa Dufour was a good read! Bethany’s trials as a slave and her efforts to impede the King’s military conquests made for an entertaining novel. I thought it was more romance than fantasy, and the treatment of Bethany was difficult to read at times, but I truly enjoyed it. Read it and let me know what you thought!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Connect with Charissa Dufour:

Visit Charissa Dufour’s Amazon Author Page or her Goodreads page to find out more about Charissa and her many books! While you’re there, consider leaving a review or a comment (and maybe pick up a book or two).

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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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Pandora Syndrome by April Wahlin – My Review!!

Pandora Syndrome – My Review!!

Pandora Syndrome Cover

Pandora Syndrome: Stories of Ithiria popped up in my recommendations not too long ago. Though I’m not a vampire story fan, I read the blurb, and added it to my TBR list. Here are my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author):

After being shot outside a club on her twenty-first birthday, Pandora Todd, aka Dora, finds herself in the bed of a handsome stranger with a pair of snake-like fangs. Now, instead of a hangover, Dora wakes with an intense hunger for blood and the strange ability to control all things dead, a distinctly un-vampire trait. Unfortunately, just when Dora grows accustomed to the vampire aspects of her eternal life, she finds herself targeted by a rival necromancer. Soon, Dora becomes wrapped up in a plot that will shape her past, present, and future.

What I liked:

First, I enjoyed this book! April Wahlin did a great job of taking vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other horror denizens and made them more human than monster. It was an interesting way to make the story different from others. Seen through the eyes of Dora, the story follows her transition from new adult to vampire – something she doesn’t particularly like to be. Pandora Syndrome also handles Dora’s relationships with other supernatural beings in a humorous and entertaining way. All told, a fun read!

What I didn’t like:

I only have two minor complaints about Pandora Syndrome. First, the story moved a little slowly in places. Second, the cliffhanger ending. I know, personal preferences, but that is why they are minor complaints.

Overall impression:

April Wahlin did a good job with her characters, the story, and building a supernatural world superimposed on Los Angeles. A few slow spots and the cliffhanger ending bothered me a little, but not enough to knock the rating. If you like supernatural stories, read this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with April Wahlin:

Find April Wahlin on her Amazon Author Page, Goodreads, and her website. Check out her books (and maybe buy one or two), and leave a comment or a review!

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The Set Stealer by Jonathon McElhaney – My Review!!

The Set Stealer – My Review!!!

The Set Stealer Cover

It’s time to head back to the fantasy realm. This time it’s The Set Stealer by Jonathon McElhaney, a book from a fellow Georgia author and one that showed up in my Amazon recommendations. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

A Set is a gift. A power that one can bring from within themselves and manifest to change the physical world. Everyone has at least one, ranging from the mundane to the all powerful. That is, everyone except Kayla. But when her father is murdered in front of her, Kayla is sent on a collision course with destiny as she is forced on an adventure to discover not only who killed her father but who she is. Searching within herself, Kayla must find her own power – even without a Set to protect her – and save not only herself but the world she loves.

What I liked:

Overall, The Set Stealer was a good story. I liked Kayla’s character and her quest for knowledge. The pace of the story was good, and there was plenty of action with plenty of blood and violence to go along with it. The training sequences interested me, and the final battle added an interesting twist. If you enjoy dark fantasy, add this one to your TBR list.

What I didn’t like:

At times, especially in the battle scenes, the book seemed more like a superhero battle than a fantasy novel. I would have liked to have more information on exactly what a set is and why the sets manifest themselves so differently in each person. Lastly, The Set Stealer could have used another pass by the editor.

Overall impression:

I liked the book! Good characters, lots of action, intrigue, and Kayla’s quest made for an enjoyable read. On the downside, my biggest issue was the book could have used additional editing. However, if you like action filled fantasy, read this one.

My rating:

3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 stars)

Connect with Jonathon McElhaney:

Find Jonathon McElhaney on his Amazon Author Page or his website. Visit, look around, and maybe pick up a book for yourself! While you’re there, please consider leaving a comment or a review.

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Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) – My Review!

Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) – My Review!!

Blood Relic Cover

I read the first two books of the Paranormal Peacekeepers series by Lucretia Stanhope and thoroughly enjoyed them. I added Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) to my TBR list a while back and finally got a chance to read it. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

When a string of dead witches points to the illegal practice of making relics that eternally drip with magic blood, Alice is called to go deep into the vampire underground. The mission plants her as the lead on a military targeting squad, serving a branch of the PPK she despises. To reject the task means the blood of witches on her hands. To succeed means her and Amarok will never be simple ambassadors again – if they ever were.

With her and Amarok one step closer to serving the military division of the PPK, she finds comfort in her new, albeit temporary, partnership with the vampire Matthias. While balancing their own evolving relationship, Matthias prepares her for what she will see in the blood dens.

Once she steps into the seedy world where ruthless vampires pay to play with magic blood it is quickly clear that everyone underestimated the vampires’ cravings. Can the power she keeps hidden from her keepers save her life without changing it into a life of service not worth living?

What I liked:

After reading the first two books, Alice is like an old friend that you are eager to catch up with and find out what she’s been doing. Amarok and Matthias make great foes and love interests for her, and Alice’s growth into a complex woman continues. Lots of action and intrigue with this one and many twists and turns kept me interested throughout. If you like dark fantasy, Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers#3) is your kind of book!

What I didn’t like:

Despite the action, there were a few slow parts in the book. In addition, Alice’s quandary over who she loves got a bit repetitive.

Overall impression:

I enjoyed Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3), though not as much as the previous books. This one is quite a bit darker, with more violence and blood, and delves deeper into sexual situations that the other books. Overall, an entertaining read for dark fantasy fans!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars)

Connect with Lucretia Stanhope:

Find Lucretia Stanhope on her Amazon Author Page or on her Facebook page. Discover more about the Paranormal Peacekeepers and her other books (and maybe buy a few). While you’re there, consider leaving a review or a comments!

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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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