Sizzler by Wolf Schimanski & B. J. Tiernan – My Review!!

Sizzler – My Review!!

Sizzler Cover

I read Standing on a Whale by B.J. Tiernan a while back and enjoyed her style of writing. I ran across Sizzler by Wolf Schimanski and B.J. Tiernan and decided to try it and read a little paranormal thriller genre. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

When Lexi-Jo Lyman, a Freelance writer, and Herbert Duvane, a mysterious computer technician, find themselves caught up in a bizarre takeover of the tranquil city of Margate, Florida, the heat is on. Personalities and behaviors are changing in the locals against their will, and no one can figure out why. Crime, murder and promiscuity are on the rise, and the gentle city is in utter chaos.

Looking through some curious journals, Lexi-Jo and Herbert discover that the only hope to extinguish the gripping phenomenon is to recover a lost amulet in the Everglades — the key to the hostile invasion. An expedition is set up, and the search for the amulet is on. Staggered by the dark web that is closing in all around them, Lexi-Jo and Herbert realize they are in way over their heads and reach out to Kellie Sierra, a Margate detective, for help. Will it be too late, or will they crack the dark puzzle that is threatening their lives and tearing the city apart?

What I liked:

I enjoyed the premise of the book. The idea of spirits controlling the actions of humans and drawing power from their evil behavior hooked me. I also liked the way the authors handled the sex and violence. It had an almost cozy mystery feel to it. It was there, but it wasn’t front and center in your face. Herbert and Lexi-Jo are good solid characters, Teddy is a nice distraction as they kid that helps them, and Toni and Ghost made great characters to dislike. Overall, a paranormal thriller that will keep you entertained!

What I didn’t like:

Despite the good things about Sizzler, I had a couple of issues. First, the relationship between Kellie Sierra and Lempke was stereotypical. Secondly, there were slow spots that I skimmed.

Overall impression:

Sizzler by Wolf Schimanski and B.J. Tiernan entertained me. Nicely crafted characters, an interesting paranormal twist, and lots of intrigue kept me reading. There were a few slows spots and the interaction between Kellie Sierra and Lempke was predictable. If you like paranormal thrillers, though, read this one!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Connect with B.J. Tiernan:

Find B.J. Tiernan on her Amazon Author Page or her Goodreads page. Stop by and visit, leave a comment or a review, and maybe buy a book or two!

Connect with Wolf Schimanski:

Find Wolf Schimanski on his Amazon Author Page and his Facebook Author page, too! Visit to discover his Meter series and maybe pick up a copy!

Connect with me:

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Shadowed by Death by M. A. Adler – My Review!!

Shadowed by Death – My Review!!

Shadowed by Death Cover

I’m trying to expand my reading preferences, and I found Shadowed by Death (An Oliver Wright World War II Mystery #2) by M. A. Adler. I’m usually not any kind of historical fiction reader, but I liked the blurb. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision. 

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger. 

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.

What I liked:

World War II novels are sometimes difficult reads, especially when the story deals with horrific events like the Warsaw ghetto. M. A. Adler did an excellent job of working the events into the story and using it to explain Sophia’s motivations. Sophia and Oliver are great characters, but my favorites are Harley and Blue! I also appreciated the research work into the blind eye turned by the world to Russia’s atrocities.

What I didn’t like:

There wasn’t much to dislike about the book. If I had to pick something, there were a couple of slow spots. Other than that, no complaints from me!

Overall impression:

Shadowed by Death was an enjoyable read despite the background subject matter. Good characters, intriguing plot, plenty of twists and turns, and a satisfying conclusion kept me involved and interested. If you like historical mysteries, read this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with M. A. Adler:

Find M. A. Adler on her Amazon Author page or her website. Visit, find out about her books, maybe buy one or two, and consider leaving a comment or a review!

Connect with me:

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Say hi and let’s connect!

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!

Connect with me:

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The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) by Michael P. King – My Review!!

The Traveling Man – My Review!!

The Traveling Man Cover

Every now and then, I like to read a crime thriller. I ran across The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) by Michael P. King and put it on the TBR list. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

In a life-and-death contest among criminals, even the most cunning may not survive…

The Traveling Man and his wife have built a life for themselves conning criminals and getting away scot-free. But when their latest scheme to sell contaminated land goes south, they find themselves in a cat-and-mouse game with the crime boss who’s turned the tables on them and the partners who’ve betrayed them.

Are you ready to take a walk on the wild side?

What I liked:

The Traveling Man was a fun read! Lots of action, plot twists, great cons, and betrayals kept me guessing what was coming next. Add to the mix the innocents caught up in the game, the oddly ethical bent of the Traveling Man, and it’s a winning combination.

What I didn’t like:

Despite the good parts mentioned above, the book did bog down a few times as The Traveling Man and his plans fell apart. I had issues with some of the dialogue as well.

Overall impression:

The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) was an enjoyable read. The cons were flawed enough to be believable, the characters’ amoral enough to pull off their scams, yet Rob (the title character) had an ethical side. If you’re a fan of crime novels, read this one. Please note there is sex, violence, and strong language.

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Michael P. King

Find Michael P. King on his Amazon Author Page and his Goodreads Author Page. While you’re there, check out the rest of his books (and maybe buy a couple) and leave him a comment or a review!

Connect with me:

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Find me, say hi, and let’s connect! Don’t miss a post, either! Subscribe to the blog! If you liked the review (or if you didn’t), leave me a comment!

Bump Time Origin by Doug J. Cooper – My Review!!

Bump Time Origin – My review!!

Bump Time Origin Cover

I read all of Doug J. Cooper’s Crystal Series and enjoyed them immensely. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I added his new book Bump Time Origin to my TBR list when he released it. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

On his twenty-fifth birthday, Diesel Lagerford is visited by a twenty-six-year-old version of himself. His look-alike spins impossible tales of their shared future, claiming they have dozens of “brothers” from parallel timelines who can visit each other using a T-box, a machine they bankroll with lottery winnings. He introduces Diesel to the incredible Lilah Spencer, the T-box operator, and Diesel falls head-over-heels in love. But during his travels across timelines, Diesel learns that Lilah will soon die under suspicious circumstances. Devastated, he joins his brothers in a race to save her. Can they solve the mystery of her death before it’s too late? And will their unusual solution play out over time in the ways they had anticipated?

What I liked:

As with the Crystal Series, Bump Time Origin was a well-written and entertaining read. I enjoyed the different take on time travel and the conscious effort to alter the time continuum. Diesel and Lilah were good characters, and the relationships between the brothers added a lot to the story. Ciopova (the AI) made the perfect amoral character. I won’t go into that (no spoilers), but if you like sci-fi and time travel books, read this one!

What I didn’t like:

I appreciated Doug J. Cooper’s efforts to keep the Diesels straight, but it will still a little difficult to follow at times. Other than that, not much to complain about with Bump Time Origin!

Overall impression:

Bump Time Origin was a well-written piece if sci-fi! With an interesting take on time travel, romance, and great AI, read this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with Doug J. Cooper:

Discover Doug J. Cooper and all of his books on his Amazon Author Page or his website. Visit, check out his work, and maybe buy a few for yourself!

Connect with me:

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Find me and say hi! If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog!

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.

Connect with me:

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The Case of the Tattooed Buttocks by Alan Hardy – My Review!!

The Case of the Tattooed Buttocks – My review!!

The Case of the Tattooed Buttocks Cover

I’m not a big fan of cozy mysteries. Given that, I’m not sure how The Case of the Tattooed Buttocks (Inspector Cullot Mystery Series #1) got on my Amazon recommendations, but with a title like it has, I had to add it to my TBR list. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

A DETECTIVE/MURDER MYSTERY LIKE NO OTHER…

Following the murder of a sexy, blonde bombshell (and, soon after, the bloody, gruesome, shocking murder of yet another sexy broad), ex-Inspector Cullot is called in to team up with his old side-kick, Detective Sergeant Watkins, to investigate the baffling crime. Together they set about solving the mysterious deaths at Bounderdales, the opulent mansion of the oil magnate, Henry Barble. A small group of the rich, decadent, sophisticated and ultra-sexy are staying at the mansion. What secrets are each of them harbouring? Who are the guilty parties? And what is the dark secret from his own past which causes Cullot’s frequent moments of dark despair? Why did he leave the Police Force? Did he jump, or was he pushed? Why does he now work in a department store, in Ladies Underwear?

The police constable first on the scene of the initial murder, PC Blunt, is ready to record every detail of the case, and assist his colleagues in their work. But what is his own past..? Is he as half-witted as he seems? What about gorgeous, sexy blonde bombshells, Stephanie and Gloria? And louche, limp-wristed Anthony Newhome? And Barble’s son, Oswald? And Barble’s demure, bespectacled secretary, Abigail? And ex-movie star, Janice Butler? Are they all who they say they are, or are some of them involved in a deadly game of murder and revenge? How are these murders linked to the unsolved Night-Club Hostess Murders which took place two years earlier? And, most puzzling of all, what is the meaning of the tattoos on the gorgeous buttocks of the assembled ladies? Thrill to the suspense, the heart-ache, the twists and turns, the laugh-a-minute of this hilarious, baffling mystery. Get ready to follow the roller-coaster plot, with one surprise after surprise, and scintillating word-play and sparkling dialogue between the marvellous host of characters. Will you be able to work out who did it? A detective/murder mystery like no other…

What I liked:

The Case of the Tattooed Buttocks was an interesting read. Lots of quirky characters, plenty of humorous moments, and a murder made for a good story. Add to the plot the backstory of Inspector Cullot, his interest in ladies undergarments, his dark episodes, and fun plays on words, and you have many elements of an entertaining novel.

What I didn’t like:

My biggest complaint is the book tried too hard to be funny. The constant correction of PC Blount by Watkins (and others), along with the too frequent mispronunciation of his name failed to move the story forward. Cullot’s mysterious musings got old quickly, too. Lastly, the meandering path to solve the mystery made it difficult to follow.

Overall impression:

I was optimistic about reading The Case of the Tattooed Buttocks. Sadly, the book disappointed me to a degree. The book had some neat elements that I enjoyed. Despite the good parts, I tired of the characters constantly correcting PC Blount and the mispronunciation of his name. In addition, the path to solving the mystery meandered a little aimlessly. Lastly, the excessive effort at humor detracted from the story. Perhaps the intent of the book was to poke fun at the cozy mystery genre. All told, if you enjoy racy cozy mysteries, read this one and decide for yourself!

My rating:

3.5 Stars (Rounded to 4 stars)

Connect with Alan Hardy:

Find The Case of the Tattooed Buttocks and other books by Alan Hardy at his Amazon Author Page and his Goodreads Author Page. Give them a visit! While you’re there, consider leaving a comment or a review, and maybe buy a book or two!

Connect with me:

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Find me and let’s connect! Don’t miss a post. Subscribe to the blog! I look forward to meeting new friends.

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!

Connect with me:

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Say hi and let’s connect!

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!

Connect with me:

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Say hi and let’s connect. And don’t miss a post. Subscribe to the blog!

Making History by Bruce Polky – My Review!!

Making History – My Review!!

Making History Cover

 

A friend recommended Making History by Bruce Polky and I added it to my TBR. Read on for my thoughts about this sci-fi novel. 

Synopsis (from the author):

One little decision can get you killed, or something worse.

Dav jumps from planet to planet in Safe Space selling computer hardware, whether people need it or not. His life starts to fall apart when his Personal Assistance Device crashes. Like every citizen of Safe Space, his PAD’s been his ID, wallet, phone, and more, from the time he was six years old. Without it he can’t travel, can’t work, can’t even buy lunch!

Under Government law, every citizen must carry their PAD at all times, and any modification is illegal. Leaving it unattended will set off alarms, even calling it bad names will get you fined, or result in a visit from the Protectors.

Marsy, a black-market tech, can fix his machine, but her work has attracted the worst possible attention. Marsy is dragged off by the Protectors, kicking and screaming till the last. Dav gets out, but the Protectors know who he is and that is not a good thing. His new PAD is much more than he expected. Through it, he gets a glimpse of what lies behind Safe Space and the rigid control of the Government. Everything he has always known about life is challenged. If the Protectors find him, they will remove him for what he has discovered. He must learn to work with the new capabilities of his upgraded PAD to survive, but this device plays by its own rules, and it could kill him even faster!

His only option is to hunt for Marsy. She can tell him what this damn thing is, and maybe together they can uncover what the Government is hiding.

Or maybe humanity’s whole future has already been decided.

What I liked:

First, I liked the story! A nice mix of science fiction and dystopia with a few little twists along the way kept my attention. Samuel (our resident computer inhabiting Dav’s PAD) was an entertaining character. Dav himself was a good character, too, though I liked Samuel better. Marsy and Garth added nice background, but the story revolved around Dav and Samuel. The discoveries Dav and Samuel made and government control of everything showed the dystopian side of the book. All told, a fun and entertaining novel!

What I didn’t like:

For me, the science fiction wasn’t futuristic enough. Yes, the PADs were cool, but from a technology perspective, not much different that tablets and phones available today. The space travel was cool, but the habitats, again were not so futuristic.

Overall impression:

Making History by Bruce Polky entertained me! Dav and Samuel’s adventures and the secrets they uncovered made for an interesting and thought provoking book. While it could have been heavier on the science fiction, the story kept me interested. If you enjoy sci-fi with a nice mix of dystopia, read this one!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Bruce Polky:

Find Bruce and his book on his Amazon Author Page. While visiting, consider leaving a comment or a review and maybe pick up your own copy of Making History!

Connect with me:

Let’s meet on the socials and connect. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr. If you see me, say hi! Don’t want to miss a post? Subscribe to the blog!