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:

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

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!

Connect with me:

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

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!

 

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!

Connect with me:

Connect with me on the socials or subscribe to the blog! I on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+, so say hi and let’s talk!

 

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!

Connect with me:

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

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets – My Review!!

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets – My Review!!

Boston Metaphysical Society Cover

Steampunk is an interesting genre for me. Part science fiction and part Victorian era, it provides a great backdrop for Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets by Madeleine Holly-Rosing. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

Politics and power. Demons and spirits.

When ex-Pinkerton detective Samuel Hunter married Elizabeth Weldsmore, the heir to one of Boston’s Great Houses, he knew his life would change forever, but he never expected the return of Elizabeth’s psychic abilities.

Not only do they have to keep it a secret, but Elizabeth must learn quickly how to master them. For a psychic in a Great House is a political liability which her father, Jonathan Weldsmore, knows only too well.

As the Great Houses jockey for power, the three of them must contend with treachery, subterfuge, and potentially a new demonic threat, in this political and supernatural thriller set in an alternate-history Boston of 1890.

What I liked:

I really liked the story. Samuel and Elizabeth are a great couple and the secrets they keep are fodder for the story. The paranormal aspects of Elizabeth’s gift move the tale along, and Samuel’s clashes with her over her secrets add intrigue. In addition, Jonathan’s interaction with the Great Houses and all the machinations surrounding them, plus his attempts to control Samuel and Elizabeth gives the story a lot of depth. Overall, a most enjoyable read!

What I didn’t like:

Despite all the good things in Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets, there was a lot of description of the clothing and the steam-powered vehicles. While I understand the clothing and the mechanized aspects of steampunk are important to the theme, there was too much of it in the story for me.

Overall impression:

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets was a good book! Good characters, lots of action, paranormal gifts, Great House intrigue, and a sacrifice at the end all add up to a steampunk novel that I enjoyed. I recommend it to all steampunk fans and to anyone who might be interested in the genre!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with Madeleine Holly-Rosing: Did you know Madeleine Holly-Rosing writes graphic novels? Well, if you visit her website or her Amazon Author page, you can find them and more. While you’re there, please consider leaving a review or a comment!

Connect with me: I’m on the socials. If you are, find me and connect. 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!

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!

 

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!

Connect with me:

If you use social media, let’s connect. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest! Find me and say hi! If you don’t want to miss a post, please subscribe to the blog!