Book Review – The Viking by Marti Talbot

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The Viking
Marti Talbot
4 Stars

Well Gentle Readers, this tale of star-crossed lovers is no Romeo and Juliet.

Stefan, son of a Viking Commander and a kidnapped Scottish woman is finally of age to go to sea with his father where he can seek plunder and riches of his own. He had no idea his first sea voyage might be his last.

Kannak, whose drunkard and abusive father has disappeared, struggles with how to help her mother maintain their independence. Her decision to go to the market and find a husband is interrupted when three Viking ships beach to attack the village.

Neither of them knew Kannak’s decision to hide Stefan from those pursuing the “missing Viking” would lead them down the road it did.  Adventure, fighting, love and loss. A well rounded read to be sure with a twist at the end you will never see coming.

The only thing that was a bit off putting was how the Vikings and the Scots all seemed to use the same jargon. I am no history buff but I didn’t expect Vikings to say things like “wee laddie” and “lass”. All in all however, a good read from a talented writer.

Check it out now and also look into this prolific author’s other works.

The Viking on Amazon

Marti Talbott’s website

Book Review – Crystal Magic by Madeline Freeman

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Crystal Magic (Clearwater Witches #1)
Madeline Freeman
5 Stars

Well Gentle Readers, this was a delightful little adventure in the life of sixteen year old Kristyl Barnette, social outcast. That is, until her mother’s untimely death has her moving to the small town of Clearwater with an aunt she hasn’t seen in years. Now she gets a fresh start where no one knows her or all about the “mishaps” at her previous school.

Sadly, her first day starts off with her crossing paths with the “raging bitch” of the school, Crystal Jamison. Fearing things are just going to be the same. Kristyl is rescued by Owen Marsh, dubbed “Krissa” and taken into his group of friends. Now with a sense of belonging, Krissa faces the school days with a smile. Krissa has a secret however, one that could tear her newfound happiness apart.

Madeline draws you in with relatable characters and an easy narrative told by Krissa herself. We get to see the inner workings of the main character’s mind and live her experiences through her own words. You want to like Krissa and you root for her “second chance” in Clearwater. Despite the sadness and torment she has experienced, she hasn’t become completely bitter and jaded.

I recommend this book especially if you enjoyed movies like “The Craft”. While Crystal Magic is a bit less dark, it holds a similar theme of witches in high school.

Don’t forget to check out Madeline’s other books. I have a feeling my To Be Read list just got a bit longer with this author.

Crystal Magic on Amazon

Madeline Freeman’s Website

 

Review – Nano Contestant, Part 1 by Lief Sterling

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Nano Contestant, Part 1
Lief Sterling
5 Stars

Lief takes us into a futuristic world where biotech is nearly as commonplace as Starbucks is on every corner today.

What would you do for $100 Million dollars? Would you give up a limb or two for cybernetic implants to increase your speed or strength? Would you have specially engineered DNA to make yourself the better competitor? How about experimental nanotechnology that could blow up and kill you?

Roland has a secret. His father is a brilliant biotech engineer, but now he’s facing a death sentence. The Pinnacle Corporation is to blame. To prove it, Roland needs to enter their annual Tech Games. The Tech Games are where the best and the most expensive tech is showcased in a winner takes all brutal competition. People die in this competition, but Roland has no tech. He doesn’t have bionic limbs, or genetically engineered DNA. He doesn’t even have nanotech. That is until he discovers a bit of tech his father was working on.

With the help of his father’s computer genius friend Skylar, Roland takes a chance on his father’s untested tech and finds himself in line for the Tech Games. It doesn’t take long for him to draw the attention of a nearly illegal level cyborg competitor, Duke. Roland doesn’t need to win, he just needs to stick around long enough to find out what the Pinnacle Corporation knows that could free his father.

I suggest you try this episode out, as Leif will leave you looking for more. Unless of course, you are scared Duke will squash you.

Nano Contestant Part 1 on Amazon

Leif Sterling’s Website

Review – Spy for a Dead Empire by Dan McClure

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Spy for a Dead Empire
(The Adventures of Grant Scotland Book 1)
Dan McClure
5 Stars

I have a real treat for you today Gentle Readers. Dan McClure’s debut novel is a fantasy delight. Adventure, danger, magic, love and betrayal. Oh, and a book that could reshape the world.

Grant Scotland is a an operative for Zyren’s equivalent of the CIA or MI6,  maybe not as smooth as James Bond though. When an old friend comes to town looking for help, Grant springs into action the only way he knows how. Full steam ahead and little regard for his own safety.

Double crossed by a former lover, Grant’s on a mission that just keeps getting murkier as he goes. Throw in an almost honorable gangster with a nearly criminal general and you get a massive tug of war over a magical book with the powers of Gods.

Run headlong with Grant as he tries to rescue his friend’s family and recover the magical tome. This great read will certainly keep you racing along to its conclusion.

Check Out “Spy for a Dead Empire” on Amazon

 

Review – The Cloud Children by Janene Scott

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The Cloud Children
(Gargoyle Gumshoe Book 2)
Janene Scott
5 Stars

Janene Scott did it again my Gentle Readers. She sucked me in with her first person, friend talking over a couple of beers approach. I couldn’t put this one down. This time, we get to see so much personal growth out of Mama Carly’s ‘willful chile’.

Demetria Stone, everyone’s favorite gargoyle detective is back at it again. This time, she takes to the streets of Portland in pursuit of a child trafficking ring capturing human and ‘Folk children alike. Partnered with her once human nemesis turned friend, Henry Anderson, Demetria races off to do some bad guy stomping. Unfortunately for them both, things are going to take more than one twisty turn.

As if a child trafficking ring isn’t enough, Demetria is picked to be Groundmother to a bunch of adolescent air elementals on holiday, distant cousins of course since she is a stone elemental after all. Nothing in her long life prepares her for this task, but she soldiers on. Oh, why didn’t she go to the meeting? Ha ha.

Humorous and gripping, this next step in the career of Demetria Stone will keep your butt in the seat until the last page. Just when you think everything is revealed but the wrap-up, Janene smacks you with another curveball. Buckle up kiddo’s, because the rock is going to roll in this one.

The Cloud Children on Amazon

Check out my review of Book 1 in the Gargoyle Gumshoe series – Stone Cold Killer

Don’t miss Janene’s site The Mirror Verse

Book Review -Mindspeak by Heather Sunseri

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Mindspeak
(Mindspeak Series #1)
Heather Sunseri
5 Stars

Heather dives right into the world at least one geneticist or conspiracy theorist has conjured in their mind when it comes to altering a person’s DNA before birth. This is a world of intrigue and secrets woven tight with thrills and danger galore.

Lexi Matthews, an assumed name, is a senior at the prestigious and private high school of Wellington. Students at Wellington are there for a reason, they all have parents who are famous, loaded with money, and have a reason to fear for their children’s safety. Students at Wellington are also high on the gifted scale, academically and athletically. Wellington prides itself on a diverse and well rounded curriculum.

When a new student joins the senior class, an oddity in itself, Lexi is chosen to show him around and introduce him at a school dinner when all the new students are introduced. Jack is special for another reason than being a senior when he transferred to Wellington, he is also already part of The Program, a fast track to a medical degree that students at Wellington apply to during their senior year. Already being in The Program sets Jack apart from all the other seniors. When Jack reveals a connection to Lexi and her father, things start to spiral out of control for Lexi’s structured little world of studying and swim team.

Suddenly Lexi is embroiled in a conspiracy regarding her world famous geneticist father and work he did with Jack’s father before they were both born. As Lexi tries to find out the truth, her secret ability to influence the minds of others comes in handy. Jack reveals he is as talented as she, although in a different way. The two have to learn the truth of the research their fathers were involved in before it is too late for Lexi and everyone she cares about. Can Lexi trust Jack even through the secrets he keeps close to his chest? The heart wants what the heart wants right?

I recommend you check out this fast paced suspenseful tale with just enough romance thrown in to make your heart swoon.

Mindspeak – Free on Amazon (as of 4/6/2016)

Heather Sunseri’s website

On This Day – March 24th

Though his birthday is 2 days away my Gentle Readers, today belongs to Tennessee Williams. His highly successful and Pulitzer Prize winning play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opened on this day in 1955 in New York City.
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Tennessee Williams was a child of an abusive traveling salesman and an overly controlling mother. It is believed he used his family, especially his mother and beloved sister Rose, as the basis for characters in multiple works.

Williams, though alcoholism and drug use eventually took his life, was a picture of overcoming obstacles in order to succeed. Though he was pulled from school to work for his demanding and demeaning father, Williams would return to school, eventually earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from University of Iowa in 1938. He took great care of his mentally ill sister Rose, especially after her disastrous lobotomy administered as a cure for her schizophrenia.

In Williams we learn that you can overcome any obstacle, but beware the demons you allow entry into your heart. Williams went from being a favored punching bag of his father, to a very successful playwright. It is unfortunate that his later years would be claimed by alcohol and drugs.

Seek to overcome the doubts, naysayers, and those holding you back from your dreams my Gentle Readers. Just take care that you do not fall victim to what you were trying to overcome. Until next time. Live well, write well, be well.

Spell a Day – Jan 20th 2016

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Image from Lil’Lunas.

It is a good lesson to learn to always be mindful of the blessings in your life. Sometimes we get so hung up on the negative we forget about the good things we have. Today’s spell is about making a blessing jar. Even if you don’t believe in magick and spellcraft, this is a good idea to do.

Take a jar of any reasonable size. A quart mason jar should be sufficient. Near your jar you need to keep a pen and some sort of paper. An assortment of little colored Post-it notes would work wonderfully according to Natalie Zaman (the contributor of this spell). I have to agree, the different colors would look pretty in the jar. So, each day you need to write down something you are thankful for on the little notes. Roll or fold it up and place it in the jar. When the jar is overflowing, take them out and read them one by one to remind yourself of the blessings in your life.

Now, you can do a lot of things from here with your blessings. Recommendations include writing them all down somewhere like a journal. You can also release it into the world through a cleansing fire. I would probably end up blogging my list for all of you first, which I am sure would be terribly boring to read through.

I have a little poem to share with you all on the topic.

Blessings
My blessings abound
A wonderful home, good job
Loving family

My cup overflows with joy
Laughing with my young boy
Over the antics of his friends
I hope this never ends

I adore my beautiful wife
She truly is the love of my life
I cannot begin to count the ways
She brightens each of my days

I’m thankful each day
For the blessings in my life
Son and loving wife

Book Review – Murder Run, By Shelly Frome

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Murder Run
Shelly Frome

5 STARS

That’s right gentle readers, Shelly Frome’s book, Murder Run, garnered 5 stars from me. I am a fan of mobsters and mystery so this book hooked me from the beginning.

Jed Cooper is a simple man. He likes to work with his hands and doesn’t talk fast, or much at all. This makes his latest gig as personal handyman to a reclusive dancer vacationing in Connecticut ideal. Miss Julie has a secret though. One that could cost Jed his life. When Jed receives a mysterious late night phone call he rushes to Miss Julie’s side, only to be caught standing over her dead body by the local state trooper. Now Jed has two detectives and the trooper on his tail as he tries to piece together what happened to his beloved employer. His journey takes him back to his roots in New York, where run ins with people from his old neighborhood only make him wish for the country life all the more.

Sal Palmeri, a Capo past his prime, receives several odd missives which bring him panicking back to his old haunts. Two murders and a recent string of arrests by the Feds have everyone in the criminal underworld jumpy. Concern over exposure to his operations that could cost him his quiet retired life, Sal tries to take the reins back while struggling with short term memory problems.

What is the connection between these two and how will the death of Miss Julie change the lives of everyone who ever knew her? I guess you will have to pick up a copy of this book to find out.

Murder Run Tour

How to Keep Writing From Weighing Your Life Down

Fantastic post. Have to share.

Drew Chial

1. DraggingI’ve bloggedat length about how a writer’s life experience can improve their fiction, but I haven’t written on how the reverse is true, how fantasy can improve a writer’s reality. If the responsibility of writing weighs you down use it as an excuse to go outside and do something.

A Life Worth Commenting On

In screenwriting class our professor had us keep a journal, a place to document our fears. It was not a diary. It was a tool for scene building, a method for adding authenticity to atmospheric descriptions. We were to venture into unknown territory and write about it, to find a place that put us on edge, where the adrenaline heightened our senses, so we could chronicle everything we felt.

Turns out a lesbian bar wasn’t that far outside of my comfort zone, not because I was leering at the ladies, but because they seemed fine…

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