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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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)!

Connect with me:

Find me on the socials on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr. Say hi and let’s connect.  And subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss a post!

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!

Connect with me:

I’m on the socials, so find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+. Let’s connect! And don’t miss a post. Subscribe to the blog!

Setting the Record Straight by V. W. Shurtliff – My Review!!

Setting the Record Straight – My Review!!

Record

I found Setting The Record Straight by V. W. Shurtliff in my Goodreads recommendations. Intrigued by the blurb, I added it to my TBR list. Here are my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author):

When I went to sleep, my life was normal. But when my dog woke me up the next morning, nothing was normal. I stood at the top of the stairs and my life fell apart. A dead man was in my living room. My parents were gone, my house was destroyed, and every police officer in the city was after me. But when I learned what was going on, that all seemed small. The world was at risk. A monster was taking over. And only I could stop him.

What I liked:

Setting The Record Straight has a lot of things to like. First, Elmo (the dog) was great. Tommy and his cohorts were good characters, and the there was plenty of action. The plot moved along nicely, and led us to a satisfying conclusion. I also liked the sacrifices needed to protect friends and family. Overall, a good read!

What I didn’t like:

Though I enjoyed the book, some of the dialogue needed improvement. In addition, the conclusion, though satisfying, left me wondering why the opposing forces just walked away after the resolution of the conflict.

Overall impression:

Setting The Record Straight was an entertaining read! Good characters, lots of action, and an awesome dog make it a fun and fast book. I recommend this one to anyone ages 10 and up who enjoy a bit of world-saving entertainment!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with V. W. Shurtliff:

Find V. W. Shurtliff on his Amazon Author Page or his Facebook page. After you purchase his book, please consider leaving a comment or a review!

Connect with me:

Let’s say hi on the socials! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming by Karl J. Morgan – My Review!!

2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming – My Review!!

Occasionally, I like to read a bit of dystopia. Because of this, Amazon sends me recommendations in the genre. My latest dystopian recommendation was 2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming (Revolution Book 1) by Karl J. Morgan. Here are my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author):

Is America’s future in the hands of a fourteen year-old boy? Jack Kennedy is growing up in a nation destroyed by a corrupt, uncaring government. While the elites live in splendor in their domed city centers, the masses live in squalor and poverty. Farmers struggle to survive in walled villages to protect themselves from the terrorists and gangbangers who ravage the countryside. The elderly are banished as there is no will or money to support them. The promise of our country has become a dystopian nightmare where life is hard and hope is an illusion.

Until now, Jack’s life has been good. When his best friend ventures to the nearby Ottumwa Free City to look for his former coworkers, Jack hitches a ride and discovers our president’s horrific secret. The truth is revealed in the slaughterhouse, and their lives will never been the same again.
In this fast-paced action thriller, Jack and his friends and family must fight the most violent and terrifying forces of man and nature to stay alive. If they succeed, perhaps there is hope for all of us; if not, we are doomed and America will be forever lost.

What I liked:

Karl J. Morgan did a good job of blending hopelessness and hopefulness into a thrilling book. Jack Kennedy and his girlfriend Alexis are teens forced to fight for their lives and perhaps for a better future. The horrors they and the rest of the US face make for some creepy moments, and the picture painted in 2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming is grim to say the least. Abe, a former Marine, was my favorite character, though Jack and Alexis are good, too. Overall, I enjoyed the book.

What I didn’t like:

I thought a few of the battle scenes were overdone. In addition, some of Abe’s skills were over the top. Lastly, the teens’ parents seemed more disconnected than I thought they should be.

Overall impression:

2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming (Revolution Book 1) has plenty of action, good characters, and moves quickly. The battle scenes provided an excellent picture of the state of the United States in the dystopian setting. I have to warn that there is strong language throughout, so this one is for older teens and above. If you like dystopian novels with an underlying current of hope, read this one!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Karl J. Morgan:

Discover more about Karl J. Morgan and his books on his website and his 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 on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr. Say hi and let’s start a conversation! And don’t miss a post. Subscribe to the blog! I look forward to meeting new friends!

Children of the Future by Jane Suen – My Review!!

Children of the Future – My Review!!

Children of the Future by Jane Suen hit my TBR courtesy of a Goodreads recommendation. A nice mixture of science fiction and mystery, it was a quick and entertaining book.

Synopsis (from the author):

Where are the missing children?

A small yellow school bus pulls up in front of the little red brick schoolhouse. Telly, the bus driver, discovers all of the children are missing — all except one very frightened Billy who has hidden in a cabinet. Where is everyone? Telly and Billy are determined to find the answers.

The little town of Rocky Flats is stirred into a frenzy. Nothing like this has ever happened before! Where have the children gone? Why? As the clock ticks and the little town rallies together in the search, will they find the children before it’s too late?

What I liked:

Children of the Future was a well-told simple tale. Telly was a good solid character and Billy was a brave little guy. Together, the two of them set out to solve the mystery of Billy’s missing classmates. The story revolves around the search and the clues the two uncover. I enjoyed Telly’s discovery of the truth (though no spoilers from me) and the little surprising twist at the end. Overall, a fast and fun book!

What I didn’t like:

The book was a little simplistic and, aside from Telly and Billy, the characters were one-dimensional. The anxiety shown by the parents of the missing children seemed almost non-existent and unrealistic.

Overall impression:

I enjoyed Children of the Future! The book had nice elements of science fiction and mystery and the tale moved along quickly. I recommend this novella to anyone who likes a quick fun read with a surprise ending.

My rating: 4 Stars

Connect with Jane Suen:

Find out more about Jane Suen and her books on her Amazon Author page. While you’re there, consider leaving her a comment or a review!

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The Reviled (Dark Fey Book One) by Cynthia A. Morgan – My Review!!

The Reviled (Dark Fey Book One) – My Review!!

The Reviled Cover

 

I’ve had my eye on The Reviled (Dark Fey Book One) by Cynthia A. Morgan for a while. I added it to my TBR list and it finally reached the top. Read on for thoughts on this epic fantasy novel!

Synopsis (from the author):

Ayla has an exceptional combination of magical gifts: empathic telepathy, discernment, and the gift of healing.

Gairynzvl was abducted by The Reviled at the age of seven, and suffered cruel neglect, abuse and deprivation – a process designed to turn childfey from the Light.

Now, fifteen years later, he is a Dark One who lingers in the shadows, trying to communicate with Ayla.

Through her extraordinary gifts and against all odds, Ayla listens to him when no others will, and touches his pain.

What I liked:

The Reviled (Dark Fey Book One) had everything I like in a fantasy novel. Good characters, surprising twists, a little romance, and action. Ayla was a personable character, but Gairynzyl stole the show. A Dark Fey trying to return to the light, his contact with Ayla sets the stage for the story. Ayla’s struggle to decide between two worlds and two loves made it a great tale. Overall, an excellent read!

What I didn’t like:

In spite of all the good things in the book, it did get a little slow in spots. Other than that, not much to complain about!

Overall impression:

The Reviled (Dark Fey Book One) kept me turning pages. Good characters, nice storytelling, good conflict, and well-written action sequences make this a book for any fantasy fan.

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with the author:

Find Cynthia A. Morgan on the Dark Fey website or her website. If you read (or plan to) The Reviled (Dark Fey Book One) or any of her other books, please consider leaving a review.

Connect with me:

You found the blog, so consider leaving a comment or subscribing. Connect with me on social media, too! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Say hi and let’s start a conversation!

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1) – My Review!!!

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1) – My Review!!

Minutes Before Sunset Cover

Amazon gave me this recommendation, so I checked the blurb. After reading it and a few of the Amazon reviews, I added it to my TBR list. Read on for my thoughts on Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1) by Shannon A Thompson.

Synopsis (from the author):

Two destinies. One death.

“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.” 

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful–too powerful–and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him–even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

What I liked:

First, the storytelling was excellent. Second, the characters were easy to relate to and reminded me of people I knew those many years ago in high school. Lastly, the dual personas of the shades was an interesting twist. The action held my attention, and Eric and Jessica’s budding attraction added the romantic element. Overall, an enjoyable read!

What I didn’t like:

in spite of how much I enjoyed the characters, Eric’s brooding teen personality was too stereotypical. Other than that little thing, not much to dislike!

Overall impression:

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1) had all the elements for a good paranormal romance book. Good characters, lots of teen angst, romance, and the background of Eric’s impending fight to save his kind made this one a great start to the series!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Connect with the author:

Find Shannon A Thompson on her Amazon Author Page or her website. Please consider leaving a review and let her know how much you liked the book(s)! I know she’ll appreciate it!

Connect with me:

Find me on the socials or leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on my review! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest or you can drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. Say hi and let’s connect!

The Sapphire of Poseidon by Scott L Collins – My Review!!

The Sapphire of Poseidon – My Review!!

The Sapphire of Poseidon Cover

I read and reviewed the first three books of the Scepter Series by Scott L Collins. When he released The Sapphire of Poseidon (Scepter #4) it immediately went on the TBR list. I’ve finally got to it and I’m glad I did! Read on for my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

With the Emerald and Ruby now reunited with the Scepter of Harmony, the rebellious group of children intent on overthrowing the malevolent King Argyle must face a new challenge: recovering the Sapphire of Poseidon. In order for the full power of the Scepter to be restored, the jewel must be inserted back into the staff.

With Argyle now at war with Queen Kyrie, and his ships scouting the lake to locate her, as well as the realm of the Merfolk, the small band of insurgents must find a way to cross the Great Lake while avoiding not only Argyle’s fleet, but the kraken he’s released in an attempt to draw the Queen of the Lake into battle.

Time is running short as Argyle is sure to figure out their plans for bringing together all the pieces of the Scepter. Once he does, it’ll be a race to recover the remaining gems, and if Argyle finds one first, the fight, and the kingdom, will be lost forever.

What I liked:

As with the other books in the series, following the cast of characters on their adventures is like renewing old friendships. Daniel and his friends travel to recover the Sapphire of Poseidon. Along the way, they make new friends and reunite with old companions. The story is excellent, King Argyle continues to be sufficiently evil, and our heroes’ abilities continue to grow. All in all, The Sapphire of Poseidon is a wonderful addition to the series!

What I didn’t like:

Other than a couple of slow spots, there really wasn’t much to dislike about this one!

Overall impression:

The Sapphire of Poseidon (Scepter #4) is an excellent book! With familiar characters, plenty of action, budding romance, and the evil King Argyle, it kept me entertained! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good YA fantasy adventure!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with the author:

Find Scott L Collins on his Amazon Author page and his website. Discover more about the author and his books and consider leaving a review for The Sapphire of Poseidon (or any of his other books)! I know he’d appreciate it!

Connect with me:

Please leave a comment if you liked (or didn’t like) my review. Connect with me on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. I enjoy connecting with new friends. I look forward to meeting you!

Ring of Fire by Stevie Rae Causey – My Review!!!

Ring of Fire – My Review!!

Ring of Fire Cover

My TBR list is all over the place. I have fantasy, crime thrillers, dystopia, and more fantasy on the list. First up is Stevie Rae Causey’s Ring of Fire, the first of her two book series.

Synopsis (from the author): What If Everything You Knew Was A Lie?

Kala’s people have been at war with the Mystics, a group of magical beasts and beings, for as long as she can remember. It was Mystics who killed her parents. Or so she thought.
When an elf saves her life, Kala’s whole world is turned upside down. The line between right and wrong blurs as she finds herself falling in love with the enemy.
Hiding their affair isn’t easy, and when Kala confides in the wrong person, a new war ignites. Can their love unite their people, or are their people doomed to repeat the past? 

What I liked: Ring of Fire had much to like. First, Kala’s character was easy to identify with and her relationship with Azlyn (the elf who rescued her from her kidnapper) was a great backdrop for the story. Cazlyn, Azlyn’s nephew was a great character. Nice world building and the inclusion of the other races added depth to the tale. Overall, I enjoyed the book!

What I didn’t like: Some of the book was slow to unfold and was predictable at times. Other than that, no complaints from me!

Overall impression: Ring of Fire by Stevie Rae Causey was an entertaining read. It had enough twists, turns, and intrigue to keep my attention. With solid characters, good storytelling, and a touch of romance, I would recommend this one to anyone from tweens and older who enjoy a good fantasy!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Connect with the Author: Find Stevie Rae Causey on her website or her Amazon Author Page and find out more about her books!

Connect with me: Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com or leave a comment. I’d like to connect with new friends!