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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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:

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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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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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The Last Descendant (Sanyare Chronicles #1) by Megan Haskell – My Review!!

The Last Descendant – My Review!!

The Last Descendant Cover

I found The Last Descendant (Sanyare Chronicles #1) on Indie Brag, a site that showcases the best of Indie Authors. After reading the blurb, I added it to the TBR list. Here’s my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

Raised in a realm where humans are no better than slaves, Rie Lhethannien has struggled for decades to earn a meager post in the High Court messenger service. Even training as an elite fighter isn’t enough to earn the respect she craves. Scorned by the high elves who rely on her loyalty, Rie’s closest allies are the fierce carnivorous pixies who travel by her side.

When she’s attacked on a routine delivery by assassins from the enemy Shadow Realm, Rie’s martial prowess keeps her alive…and frames her as a traitor. Facing execution at the hand of an unmerciful high elf king, Rie must forsake her oaths and flee into enemy lands to prove her innocence. The secrets she uncovers may threaten more than her honor or even her life…for war is looming in the nine faerie realms. 

What I liked about The Last Descendant:

The Last Descendant has all the great fantasy elements. Rie, a human coming into unknown powers, intrigue, battles, magic, elves, a forbidden realm, and a quest to uncover the truth. What more can a fantasy reader ask for? In addition, it’s a well-written and well-paced book. Fantasy lovers a series to keep them occupied. Well done, Megan Haskell!

What I didn’t like about The Last Descendant:

I’m not asking for an info dump, but more background on the Shadow Realm would help. I’m sure it comes out in the subsequent books, though, so I’ll have to wait.

Overall impression:

As with all the books I’ve read with Indie Brag Medallions, The Last Descendant (Sanyare Chronicles #1) is well-written and entertaining! Good characters, nice battles scenes, intrigue, and a touch of romance make it a book worth reading! I recommend this one to anyone who likes fantasy!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with Megan Haskell:

Find out more about Megan Haskell and her books on her website or her Amazon Author page! While you’re there, please consider leaving a review or a comment (and maybe buy a book or two)!

Connect with me:

I’m always interested in meeting new friends. Find me on the socials on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr. Say hi and let’s start a conversation!

 

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!

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Riven (My Myth #1) by Jane Alvey Harris – My Review!!

Riven – My Review!!

Riven (My Myth #1) by Jane Alvey Harris showed up in my Goodreads recommendations. Intrigued by both the cover and the blurb, I added it to my TBR list. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

Which reality would you choose? Seventeen year-old Emily’s dad is in prison for securities fraud and her mom’s strung-out on pain meds, leaving Emily to parent herself and her younger brothers and sister. She’s got things mostly under control until a couple weeks before Dad’s release, when voices start whispering in her head, and Gabe, the hot lifeguard at the pool, notices the strange brands engraved on her arm…the ones she’s trying desperately to hide. Emily doesn’t know how the symbols got there or what they mean. They appeared overnight and now they’re infected and bleeding. She’s pretty sure she’s losing her mind. Stress, insomnia, and her wounded egos drive Emily to self-medicate, which has to be why the nightmares from her childhood have resurfaced, why they’re commandeering her conscious even when she’s awake. It has to be why the fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help. Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She’s powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment…to lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They’re hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality before the man who tortured her can prey on her younger brothers and sister, too. Time is running out…

*Non-Explicit Trigger Warning: This book deals with the issues of child molestation and child abuse. 

What I liked:

Riven had many of the elements of classic fantasy. From the Fae, the First Realm, and the dragonflies in the real world, to the runes cut into her arm, the intrigue and magic made the story seem real. Emily’s substance abuse and her mother’s illness provided the perfect reasons to slip between worlds. The abuse noted at the end of the synopsis, though horrible and uncomfortable, wasn’t explicit and didn’t overtly dominate the story. Emily’s escape mechanism from the trauma did dominate the story and, by using fantasy elements to depict her protection, Jane Alvey Harris did an exceptional job handling the topic.

What I didn’t like:

At times, the story was difficult to follow, especially when Emily interacted with her siblings. It was sometimes unclear whether she imagined everything or if her siblings also saw what she saw. Gabe’s insistence to be included in Emily’s life (despite the fact it was explained late in the book) was a bit odd for me.

Overall impression:

Excellent characters, a good story, and memorable fantasy elements made Riven (My Myth #1) a book to read. Certainly not for early YA, this one is geared more toward older teens. The book handles a difficult subject well, but with the fantasy elements dominating the story, it is a good read. Fantasy fans should read it!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Jane Alvey Harris: 

Find out more about the author on her Amazon Author page and her website. While you’re there, please consider leaving a review or a comment!

Connect with me:

Find me on the socials and let’s connect! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest and I look forward to meeting new friends!

 

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.