The Necromancer’s Bride Review

The Necromancer’s Bride
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic, #4)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

Book Summary

Forgiveness is not Gabriel D’Ange’s strong suit.

A self-appointed soldier of God with a penchant for ruthlessly punishing his enemies, he vanished after Anne Lawrence stabbed him with his own dagger.

The smart thing would be to let him go.

Unfortunately, Anne’s life isn’t just lonely without Gabriel. It’s insufferably boring.

Determined to heal the rift between them, she goes in search of her tempestuous former lover, black parasol in hand and daeva magic crackling at her fingertips. But Gabriel has his own plans afoot and Anne finds herself drawn into one of his tangled webs, much against her better judgment.

Gabriel’s nemesis has reappeared in Brussels, a vile slaver who’s plundering the Congo Free State with the blessing of King Leopold. Gabriel might be willing to give Anne a second chance, but not until Jorin Bekker’s head is lying at his feet.

Back in London, the quasi-reformed necromancer Balthazar sets his sights on the same quarry. He holds a very personal grudge against Bekker — and killing him might be the only way to keep Gabriel D’Ange from Balthazar’s own throat.

When the hunters collide at a lavish gala thrown by the king, Anne learns just how far she’ll go to save the man she loves.

Note: The Necromancer’s Bride is the sequel to A Bad Breed, which should be read first.

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Review

I didn’t have many expectations starting The Necromancer’s Bride, though I confess the title is what first drew me in. I also admit that I started to read this before A Bad Breed but didn’t have too much trouble following the sequel with the character development already established. Though I am likely to pick up the first book and read through it. Don’t judge me. I did it for Harry Potter too…

Ross has excellent character development and keen sense of moving the story along to keep you interested every moment. I could spend a few hours reading this and not realize it.

Anne is a force of nature and after finding Gabriel, it becomes clear how well they complete each other. The romance between them was done quite well. While complicated, it was their strength and love that overlays the dangers they must face together.

I especially enjoyed the time period of this book. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read one set in this time setting and it was so refreshing. Likely another reason this book flew by for me. The gothic and mysterious atmosphere of this setting, seems to give everything more drama. Which was a delight to read.

There is no doubt that I’ll be going back to read the first installments and more from Ross. Especially with her next book set to release soon.

About the Author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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The Open Portal: Review

THE OPEN PORTAL

Conquest of the Veil #1

By MICHAEL SCOTT CLIFTON

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal / Magical Realism

Publisher: Book Liftoff

Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 337 pages

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But with dreams, there can also be nightmares

Lonely and plain-featured, Mona Parker is just another faceless teenager at Spring Hill High School. One day she runs afoul of Lady Anne Golightly, a beautiful and arrogant classmate who turns Mona’s colorless life into a hellish existence. Bullied relentlessly and with nowhere to turn, Mona considers suicide. One night, Thaddeus Finkle, her guardian angel, appears. He offers her a way out—swap lives with another.

The choice seems easy, and Mona takes the angel up on his offer. She awakens on Meredith, a parallel world of Earth where magic has replaced technology. Mona discovers she is Alexandria, a woman of breathtaking beauty, and the daughter of a Duke complete with servants and riches.

Then she discovers the price of her bargain.

 Trapped behind the Veil, an impenetrable curtain of magic, the Duchy of Wheel is the last major province still unconquered by Marlinda, the creator of the enchanted barrier. Known as the Dark Queen, Marlinda’s cruelty includes a singular fondness for melding men, women, and children, with animals…and she has special plans for Alexandria.

Tal, the Prince and Heir of the Empire of Meredith, burns with an intense hatred for Marlinda and her minions. The Dark Queen’s raiders regularly cross the Veil to prey upon the helpless citizens living near the magical boundary. Despite an elaborate system of Watch Towers along the enchanted barrier, it is impossible for the Empire to stop all the raids. Desperate to protect his people, Tal takes dangerous risks to prevent these attacks. Banished to a remote garrison for his reckless behavior, while on a routine patrol, Tal leads an elite unit that happens upon a group of raiders—one whose leader possesses the means for opening a way through the Veil.

Thus begins the conquest of the Veil.

“The Open Portal is packed full of action from the time it begins in our mundane world, to when it jumps to another. It has all the elements of a good fantasy: a cruel queen; a frustrated prince; and beautiful girl with a pure heart. There are brave boys, werewolves, white priests, and watchtowers. I can’t wait for the saga to continue.” — Abookanight

The Open Portal was aptly named for its grand use of fantasy, adventure, and dizzying effect of imagery. Often reading through the lush descriptions were like walking through a portal myself. I was reminded of many of my favorite fantasy novels as well throughout this book. Continuously impressed by the details and wild imagination, I’m definitely recommending this one to fantasy lovers. 


There was great appeal to Mona. She isn’t the characteristically beautiful protagonist that drives many YA fantasies. She also begins her story as a semi-well adjusted, charitable person that cares for others. Her story is more than the growth she goes through but the journey to discovering more outside yourself. Despite a vicious bully and apathetic caregivers, she continues to be kind to her brother and keep surviving. Complex in many ways, her emotions are wrought with doubts and desperation for shreds of happiness. A weak link taken advantage of by a sassy ‘guardian angel’.
Now in the body of Alexandria, beauty and power come with danger and responsibilities. A thousand year war that has ravaged Meredith with blood thirsty monsters created just for evil purposes. Clifton does not shy away from the graphic nature of their image and misdeeds. Mona’s-or rather Alexandria’s-kindness could be her strength in this whirling and twisted fantasy. 
Razor was my second favorite character. As deadly as he is vicious to even his own kind, his scenes immediately gripped me with the turbulent nature of what’s to come. The author had an incredible sense of character development throughout all the many characters we jump to. I did occasionally have to write a note for names and places though. I’m guilty of doing this before so this may just be me. 


With all fantasies, I become frustrated with wanting to share everything that’s happened and my thoughts. I’m very anti-spoiler so I’ll say that this book was very enjoyable. I read it in a quiet room to a crowded auditorium and it felt like there was no difference. Distractions didn’t exist when I’d truly become captured in this world. 

Michael Scott Clifton, a public educator for over thirty-eight years as a teacher, coach, and administrator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie and family cat, Sadie. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, he enjoys all kinds of book and movie genres. His books contain aspects of all the genres he enjoys…action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novel, The Janus Witch, received a 5-Star review from the prestigious Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, and he has been a finalist in a number of short story contests with Edges of Gray winning first place in the Texas Authors Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine. Clifton’s latest book, The Open Portal, launches the fantasy book series, Conquest of the Veil. In addition, look for the YA novel, Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator, to be released soon. He is available public speaking.

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Rune’s Folly: Review

Rune’s Folly 
By Garen Glazier
Publication date: February 5th 2019
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult

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Book Synopsis

By day, Tansy McCoy is a florist making charmed bouquets for the citizens of Junonia, capital of the Kingdom of Terranmar. By night, she’s an assassin and the keeper of the Dangerous Garden where deadly blooms grow. Together with the town tailor, butcher, baker, and metalsmith (just don’t call her a candlestick maker), she is part of the Guild, a secret group of spell-wielding thieves and mercenaries. Their task: consolidate all that remains of the realm’s fading magic under the ruthless King Zeno’s control.

Impetuous loner Tansy chafes under her Guild demands. She longs to quit her town and trade and head for the hills. Unfortunately, King Zeno has other plans. He wants to marry off his daughter to Terranmar’s famously reclusive wizard, Rune Hallows, and he’s willing to have the Guild kidnap him to make it happen. Fail to deliver the wizard and the consequences will be swift and deadly.

Reluctant but determined, Tansy sets out on the long journey to faraway Wentletrap and Rune’s desolate tower by the sea. To get there she must cross a swamp full of sinister surprises, battle a werewolf, and outrace a bloodthirsty band of revenants, while she wrestles with her own magical powers that seem to be expanding in unpredictable ways.

But reaching Rune’s tower is only the beginning. When Tansy learns the real reason behind the king’s contest, she’ll need to decide whether to give in to the growing forces of magic ready to reclaim Terranmar or embrace her newfound powers to save the kingdom.

Review

This book is filled with mysteries to discover. I was instantly involved in the fast paced plot of Rune’s Folly, which kept me guessing. The author does an amazing job of introducing the characters in way that were creatively descriptive and easy to remember. The odd and interesting names helped as well. I especially enjoyed the settings and occasional blurbs of history to help you imagine this world.

First and foremost, I love the magic aspects of this book. I can see the knowledge and research that likely went into it. Also, Tansy being a green witch was great to discover. I did an internal fist pump at that. Mainly, because it’s so rare that magical books I’ve read have had them and really described what they do. Rune’s perspective was interesting but confusing at times, at least in the beginning. I enjoyed switching from both of their perspectives and motivations. It was interesting to compare Rune and Tansy’s situation. Both want to escape, to find a better life, but ultimately choose their fate for themselves for many reasons. As the story unfolds, and more wonderful action takes off, I believe many will enjoy reading this!

I’ll definitely check out book two when it comes out to see just how much Rune and Tansy will grow.

About the Author

I have always called Seattle home and find the perpetual gloom to be a wonderful writing ally. I like coffee shops, bookstores, dancing in my living room and singing in my car. The opening scene of Up makes me cry. Three Amigos makes me laugh. Fashion magazines, croissants, and long, long baths are my guilty pleasures. They might occur separately or together.

I prefer boxing classes to yoga, and I get some of my best ideas when I’m running. I loved school and spent more time than one really should getting a business degree in marketing and a master’s in art history. In an ideal world I’d go to bed at 2am and wake up at 10am. I’ve never been an early bird, and I feel strongly that alarm clocks kill dreams.

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Paper Bag Mask Review

Rating:
Paper Bag Mask

By Brock Heasley

Publisher Pen Name Publishing

Published October 23rd

Pages 252



At the same moment he catches his teacher giving illegal drugs to a student, Redmond Fairweather loses his friggin’ mind and steals Mr. Street’s prized possession—a stupid wooden sword with round edges that will never, ever cut through anything—“The Whomper.”

Redmond has no idea why he stole the Whomper. He guesses his extreme dislike (okay, hate… so much hate) of the school’s most popular teacher probably has something to do with it. To his surprise and delight, the hottest girl in school, Elodia Cruz, hates him too.

Soon, Redmond’s small band of misfit friends joins up with Elodia and the most popular kids on campus to hold the Whomper for ransom, pull off an elaborate, broad daylight heist to steal something even bigger from Mr. Street, and expose their teacher for the scumbag he really is.

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Review

There’s so many things that go into a book to make it special. The characters. The plotline. The meaning. As a reader, I always want to somehow predict the outcome. It can be frustrating, especially if I’m right. I wasn’t in this case which just made the experience better. Paper Bag Mask has this sense of ‘chaotic good’ energy that can make a reader, such as myself, stay up to early hours of the morning reading because it honestly can’t be put down.

There’s just so much to say about this book. I’ll try to not create a jumbled mess of a review for you readers. First and foremost, I wanted to somehow reach into the virtual pages of this book and smack Redmond over the head. Not in a vicious way. It’s much like watching a puppy destroy your prized sneakers. It’s cute? But also, whyyyyyyy puppy?! Redmond is the puppy if that wasn’t super clear.

The adults in this book had me so frustrated and confused. Mainly by their odd and somewhat illegal behavior (for future readers, it’ll be what happens to Deep). However this book is so clever in it’s writing. While I won’t claim to be the expert, it has a series of internal and external voices that emerge throughout the plot. Redmond is our main character, driven by motivations that he doesn’t quite realize or won’t admit. However, throughout the book, other voices emerge such as the popular Elodia, Alice, and Mr. Street. Then you have your narrator, which can sound eerily similar to Redmond, perhaps an older version that is telling us the story. Or perhaps an altered version of the Author. Either way, the narrator can be unreliable at times and will purposely mislead you. Or maybe it was just me. The point being is you’ll be able to read the lines between the lines and discover subtle stories that the reader can and will discover. (The sentence makes more sense in my head.) Even the often hilarious asterisks placed throughout the story add an extra mixture to this memorable book. Not to mention the great art! I can easily see why this book has become so popular. Brock Heasley has a great sense of humor that can be lighthearted and dark without bringing the pacing down. It reminded me a bit of Rick Riordan’s talent of writing humor into intense scenes.

So I’ve mentioned the clever writing. Let’s talk about the characters. Each of them are interesting, are flawed, and unbearably realistic teenagers. I wasn’t too keen on teenagers even when I was one. Mainly because they can be mean, erratic, and easily say harsh things without the repercussions. Actually, that’s a complete lie and generalization that doesn’t pertain to an age group. Instead, we have Elodia, who is a popular girl and completely aware of her status and how it affects others. We also have ‘actual’ Elodia, who despite being popular, considers herself to only have one friend. She’s smart and stands up for people. She sees Red’s potential for more and is forgiving despite many things going wrong.

Alice, a girl that immediately recognized the kindness in Redmond but also the flaws. She’s creative and confident in who she is. Except when she isn’t. She’s loyal, even if that means not always standing by her friends. In short, Heasley does a great job writing characters. I was never waiting to get through a scene or to the next chapter. It was great just reading in the moment and having a laugh.

I tend to perceive an overall meaning in a book. It helps tie up my thoughts about it and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. What I took from Paper Bag Mask was forgiveness. Not just forgiveness from people that apologize but the ones that don’t. The people or events that just happen and there’s really no way to make it the way it was. Everything and everyone changes and we can get lost in the shuffle. We can feel we’re alone or invisible. Redmond calls himself invisible in the very beginning and I easily have felt that way as well. It’s forgiving the little things that get to us and can build up over time. Mistakes that we make and are made against us. Maybe not everything has to have a meaning. Not every book. But I enjoyed what Paper Bag Mask offered and I know many other readers will too.



Brock Heasley is a writer and artist who, to the shock of absolutely no one visiting this site, was a member of such prestigious high school organizations as “The Nerd Herd,” “Last Picked for Teams,” and “They Who Eat Alone.” He is a graduate of California State University Fresno, the creator of the online comic The SuperFogeys, and the award-winning filmmaker behind The Shift.

Brock lives with his wife and three daughters in California where they enjoy Pixar movies, dancing in the living room, and eating breakfast for dinner.

  




12/17 YA/NA Book Divas Excerpt
12/17 Just Books Guest Post
12/18 The Page Unbound Review
12/19 All the Ups and Downs Interview
12/19 Blunt Book Blog Review/Excerpt
12/20 Unbound Book Tours Interview
12/20 Rebecca R. Cahill Guest Post
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Story Bends Review

 
Story Bends
Published October 9th
 
What if your only escape from death was to meet it half way?

 

If the voices called on YOU…

 

Needed YOU…

 

 

Brought YOU in between the Bends of time where all faith is lost to those who wait. Your etchings hold the secrets to guide them on their way. Yet, there will be no safe passage if evil finds you first and you have no toll to pay.

 

 

Soul Bends is one of the most explorative books I’ve read. It reaches beyond normal writing with poetic descriptions that can leave you dizzy. Frequently I would get lost in this book. Not only by the story but by the writing style. It was interesting in many ways. At times, it read like pure poetry. Even the day to day events of Edward were filtered with unusual and quirky words to enjoy.

It follows Edward Story, a boy that is living his second life. That is to say, when unfortunate circumstances as a child meant crossing over, he got a second chance. Except remembering and comprehending are different things. Where Edward drifts between the wakeful and dreaming, consciousness is a mystery. He struggles with the in between, The Bend, that once claimed him. There he meets others lost and trapped in their circumstance, not much different from him. Except he is. He can move from there to here; and with his journal no less. Maybe he is their answer. Maybe they are his.

 

Truly this is a wonderful journey into self discovery and coping with our own broken parts. It is an inspiring read that challenges not just your own perspective but sense of usual reading. This book will frustrate you, delight you, and give you a unique reading experience. Most definitely recommend it to all.

Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of this book!

 

I began making my first connections to story in the early days of my childhood. Raised by my mother who ran an in-home daycare was where my imagination could run free and unencumbered. It was a safe zone and I learned from that experience the power of unconditional love.But my story wasn’t always filled with happy ever afters, and I came to understand that there are some sorrows and trauma that are part of all of us. As love and joy are universal, so is pain and suffering. Through the magic and alchemy of story, we can reach farther and heal our wounds.

I started my teaching career nearly 20 years ago and knew from the moment I began that this was my true calling. Teaching was in my bones and so, naturally was the little nip of my conscience for storytelling. I work to build strong, long-lasting relationships with my students. In fact, I began on this path toward a writing career because of the imprint they’ve had on my spirit. What I didn’t know was what the Muse had in store for me as the children I still come into contact with today continue to inspire the stories I write.
My greatest loves are exploring nature and spending time with family and friends. Whether I’m splashing it up on the local reservoirs, rafting down the Poudre River with my husband, two boys, and our dog Sophie, or shaping young minds in my classroom, I consider myself lucky to call Fort Collins, Colorado my home.

 

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11/12 . A Striking Viper, Caught in a Web Interview
11/12 Book Inspector Guest Post
11/13 . Just Books Excerpt
11/13 . All the Ups and Downs . Interview
11/14 . YA/NA Book Divas . Excerpt
11/14 . Blunt Book Blog . Review
11/15 . The Faerie Review . Audio Excerpt
11/15 . The Page Unbound Review
11/16 . Rebecca Cahill . Guest Post
11/16 . Jennifer Reads . Review
11/16 . The World of My Imagination . Review

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The Big Inch Review

THE BIG INCH

Misfits and Millionaires #1

By KIMBERLY FISH

Narrated by Sydney Young

Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance / WWII Spies 

Publisher: Fish Tales Publishing

Date of Publication: August 1, 2018

Length: 10 hours, 22 minutes

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Fans of Pam Jenoff, Susan Elia MacNeal, and Kate Quinn will want to read the first book in a sparkling WWII historical fiction series, The Big Inch. Lane Mercer is a spy recovering from a disastrous mission in France when she’s assigned to protect the interests of the new federal project sending American oil to the Allies. Thrown into the high-stakes world of Texas oilmen, she’s inventing maneuvers on the fly to outwit would be counter-intelligence and Fascist sympathizers. Complicating her mission is a handsome con-artist who manages to be under her feet at the most inopportune times. Trapped between trusting her gut or trusting her informers, Lane has to learn to navigate a town that is laced with more intrigue than she’d ever have guessed, and she soon discovers that the life she might have to save. . .is her own.

Kimberly Fish’s well-researched writing drops readers into the colorful world of the American home front known so well to those who lived alongside the Greatest Generation. Buy The Big Inch today to begin this exciting first novel in a WWII series set in Texas.

PRAISE FOR THE BIG INCH: 

“Narrator Makes Book Exciting!” 

 5 Stars Review on Audible

“Kimberly Fish’s writing style snatched me out of my easy chair.” 

— Vickie Phelps, author of Moved, Left No Address

“Kimberly Fish has a gift for combining conflict, emotion, and characterization to create a compelling story.” 

— Louis Gouge, author of Love Inspired Historical Four Star Ranch series

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The Big Inch packs a wallop of brilliant lines and inspiring women.

“You think you’re the only one who knows failure? For every three steps we take forward, two are covered in shit. If you can’t handle the unpredictable nature of this work, maybe you don’t need to be in Theo’s agency after all.” – Tesco to Lane

Kimberly Fish broaches upon so many wonderful emotions and topics throughout this book, all while giving us an intricate puzzle of mysteries Lane must enfold. Lane is driven by her guilt, frustration, and dreams she hasn’t fully discovered for herself. The pure and unashamed brilliance of her characters are amazing. I can’t help but think from a writers perspective and how massive this book is. Not all in pages, don’t worry readers. It’s in the mystery, in all of the individual and distinct characters. How their backstory and motivations can shine through in the first bits of dialogue.

The narrator, Sydney Young, helps with this too. Lane’s wit flies off the ‘pages’, especially combined with the narrators exuberant characteristic imagination. She captures each voice with it’s own distinct flavor. Showing us her versatility in the sometimes comically energized characters to the stubborn business men. I have to give her props for bouncing between the twang, the drawl, and the high pitched voice of Minnie all in a span of a few minutes at times.

The skips and breaks moved the story along at an even pace that kept me interested. As both a reader and listener of audiobooks, I connect mainly in the internal struggle of the characters. It’s what has always inspired me to write as well. Lane has plenty of external forces forcing her out of a comfort zone she’s strategically created and putting her in danger a time or two. Inside, she’s a mess. To put it bluntly. It seems like tragedy has become a pervasive shadow that follows her. With the harsh history of her mother, the loss of a husband, and the traumatic events in Paris; Lane is one of the most complicated and interesting characters I’ve read. Her interactions with every character are intriguing and very well written. I’ve mentioned the differences of characters but it really is something I enjoyed. It wasn’t overwhelming to me but simply more and more fascinating to hear from Young’s narration. Suffice to say, I’ve kept this vague as to not spoil the several big and small surprises in this book. I personally couldn’t guess most of them correctly. Which was aggravating because I’m usually very good at that…

The Big Inch had a cinematic quality as well. Lets get going Hulu or Netflix. Chop Chop. I’d like my ‘strong women spy/romance thriller’ yesterday please and thank you.

There’s not many downsides to this book. Especially to a reader that enjoys this genre. While it’s not my first choice, I obviously enjoyed it quite a bit. It had a great sense of balanced writing to keep you entertained. Young also is very talented in narrating and I could hear her potential for improving as well. The only thing that was an issue were the pauses she tended to take. At some points, it was to create tension or the meaning, but others seemed random at times. Still, after a few chapters, it was easy to acclimate to it. This book can be enjoyed in different ways. When I wasn’t able to use headphones, I tended to simply grab the book and start reading. This made it more intriguing as I was able to picture the characters in new ways and also read the action scenes how I like. Young’s narration also brings you steadily through the beginning of the book, which starts a bit slow before picking up. By being able to listen to it, it was easy to remain interested throughout the introductions and buildup.

All in all, this was some well-research and impressive writing. I’d recommend it to those that love mysteries, period dramas, strong women characters, and historical fiction. Or just anyone that likes reading. You know who you are.

Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for almost 30 years. In the course of research for the Longview Chamber of Commerce 100-year compilation, she stumbled across a 1940s federal works project that was too good, too war-winning, not to be retold to modern audience. In 2017, she released The Big Inch, her first WWII spy thriller detailing the crazy, big pipeline project that fueled the Allies to a win in Europe. The Big Inch has also been released as an audio download on Audible. That eye-opening novel was so consumed by readers, she quickly followed it with a second WWII spy thriller set in Longview, Harmon General. Both of these novels will be helpful to her work with the City of Longview’s 150th birthday celebrations which begin in January of 2020. Comfort Plans, a contemporary novel also set in Texas, continues her love of history by weaving old letters into the renovation of an iconic Hill Country farmhouse. 

Kimberly enjoys speaking on the value of weaving history and nostalgia into our plans as we grow our communities for the future. 

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Sydney Young is a lawyer, award-winning writer and audio book narrator from the Lone Star State. Her next theatrical project will be directing “SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE,” for the Paris Community Theatre stage (Feb. 2019), while her novel “I AM HOUSTON,” is being submitted for publication by the Loiacono Literary Agency. Sydney has long been a reading advocate, including with her readings to an adopted second grade class each year. She loved voicing THE BIG INCH for all of its authentic Texas voices and true characters, all while she learned the history of the East Texas oil effort for World War II.  Visit Sydney’s website for more information on her writings, theatre, and audio books.

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Choice of Audio or Signed Print Copy of The Big Inch
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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/5/18

Joint Guest Post

Nerd Narration

11/6/18

Audio Book Review

Chapter Break Book Blog

11/7/18

Audio Book Review

Tangled in Text

11/8/18

Narrator Interview

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11/9/18

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The Book Review

11/10/18

Audio Book Review

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11/11/18

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Momma on the Rocks

11/12/18

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11/12/18

Audio Book Review

Forgotten Winds

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Lake Effect Review

Lake Effect
By Nicole Tone

Publisher Pen Name Publishing
Published September 25th
Pages 308

After the death of her fiance, Sophie Daniels is struggling to keep herself together. Painting is the only way she’s able to clear her head and stay grounded. For her art isn’t a hobby — it’s her religion. With a semester away from finishing graduate school, she knows that, despite her loss, things are going to get better. In fact, her thesis advisor has even taken a special interest in her. Sophie’s convinced that she’s found the mentor that she’s been looking for. When he shows he’s interested in her in more than just a student/teacher way, she obliges him. Until his wife leaves him.
 
Sophie learns the hard way what happens when a man cannot take responsibility for his own actions.
 
Now she’s back to square one in pulling herself back together. She hasn’t just lost her fiancé anymore: she’s lost parts of herself she’s not sure she’ll ever get back.
 
Like her ability to create.
Lake Effect is a raw exploration of human emotion and what it takes to save your own life.
 

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Lake Effect was like a concentrated ball of heavy emotion that I couldn’t put down. I may be different from Sophie in many ways but our similarities hit close to home several times. Life is complicated enough getting by in our responsibilities but the struggle of friendship, relationships, money, grief…seems all consuming to the point where time flies by. Similarly, Lake Effect moves quickly through Sophie’s life and her grief. It’s the expectations that weigh on her. The ones from her worrying friend, blunt co-worker, obsessive professor. Herself. When is she expected to move on? How? Why does she need to?

A phone call changed her life and now causes her instant trepidation when she hears the phone ring and like that call, she ignores it until she can face it later. With these actions in life, she has to face the same painful realizations that she can no longer ignore.

I’m keeping this vague for a reason because Lake Effect is all about emotion. About the abstract. Beneath the written lines and twisted throughout her story, are meanings that I’m sure will unfold for everyone differently. That’s the point and why I enjoyed Lake Effect so much. As a writer and artist, I was truly blown away and truly enjoyed this book. With a story that reaches so many sensitive topics, I had thought I’d be angry with the character and her choices, already waiting for the end result. However, that’s not the point. Sophie very well shows us herself. Once thinking only of the end result. Of a marriage. Of a happily ever after. It’s about how those sudden and unpredictable changes that turn our life around can’t be ignored. Can’t be rushed. But finding herself again, her voice, her own muse is a journey that can’t be followed. It must be lead on your own.

Nicole Tone has always had a passion for writing. She has her BA in Creative Writing and Literature and an MFA in Writing. Nicole is a freelance writer and editor with pieces in Heels Down Magazine, Hello Giggles, Femsplain, and more. She is also the editor-in-chief of Pen Name Publishing.

When she isn’t writing, she likes to dabble in photography, horseback riding, and traveling. She has a deep love for herbal tea, craft beer, and good coffee.
Nicole lives in Buffalo, NY, with her husband, three cats, and two very large dogs.

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Mistletoe Miracles: Review

MISTLETOE MIRACLES
Ransom Canyon
by
JODI THOMAS
Sub-genre: Holiday Romance / Western
Publisher: HQN
Date of Publication: September 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 354
Scroll down for an exclusive giveaway from Jodi Thomas! 
A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.
Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas. Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another. Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?

In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging, and plenty of Christmas spirit. 
”Deeply poignant moments and artfully
rendered characters create a rich story that
transports readers to an idyllic place.”
Publishers Weekly
 
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Get ready to cozy up to this wonderful chimney side read. Mistletoe Miracles offers us 3 wonderful love stories told in alternating chapters. There’s Griffin, the handsome rancher looking to get hitched in order to save his ranch, Jamie, a school teacher who has invented a husband in order to keep others at bay, and Jaxon, a recluse wanting to mind his own business but ends up rescuing an injured dog and taking him in.

The three different stories are not connected in any way, but each story is heartwarming and uplifting. I enjoyed each of the main characters as their stories were told. It’s neat how in each story the characters meet up. For Jax, he rescued Mallory’s dog. For Griffin, it’s the ranch gal Sunlan. And or Jamie, she pretends she’s married to Wyatt.

Of all the characters, my favorite was Griffin. Right from the start, the cowboy rancher pulled me in. He is kind, compassionate, down to earth. I loved how instantly you could see how much he wanted to save his ranch and help out his brothers. I especially loved it when he stopped by Franklin sisters house to ask for match making help. It was so stinkin cute I kept giggling.

Each character though is incredibly well crafted. They each have their own unique tale and seeing them brought together is fascinating and enjoyable. Mistletoe Miracles is a thick book, but in my opinion a fairly quick read. Who doesn’t love a few adorable love stories?

If you enjoy love stories with a splash of Christmas, than these stories are for you. They are clean, fun, and adorable reads. The p

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable. 
With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.
Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and checking up on their two grown sons.
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Out of Sight: Review

Out of Sight
By Matthew S. Cox 
Publication date: August 13th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

Book Synopsis

 

Most Citizens hold Outcasts in dim regard, but Sima never expected they’d throw her off the planet.

In 2411, overpopulation has spread a plaque of filthy, congested city to the corners of the Earth. Government has raised corruption to an art form, and no one hears the cries of those left to die in the dark passageways of civilization. Following the End of Nations, people cling to the only division left: social status.

Since running away from home four years ago, she’s managed to stay a step ahead of death―or worse. At sixteen, she’s getting too old to survive from begging, despite her best effort to pretend she’s younger. Worse, the sidewalks teem with little kids edging in on her turf, monopolizing Citizens’ charity with their wide, pleading eyes and genuine innocence.

A chance meeting with suspiciously nice cops leaves her more confused than ever. Between deadly gangs, unforgiving security forces, and a terrifying madam eager to exploit a girl her age, merely getting older is the biggest threat to her life. With no good choice to make, she risks the least of three evils.

Sima thought her life on Earth had been dangerous…

She hasn’t seen anything yet.

 

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Review

 

I’m not ashamed to admit that I judged this book by it’s cover and was instantly intrigued. Visually, it’s stunning. The imagery in this book is equally as stunning. It immediately pulls you in to colorfully descriptive settings and general tone of what Sima has to face. Plus there are additional illustrations that vary per chapter!

 

This Author clearly is skilled at poetically detailing his plot. I instantly loved the style. Along with a fast paced and intense plot, it was easy to read this in no time at all.

 

Apathy and Rebellion strolled hand-in-hand with Death, and the second she made friends with either, he’d come calling.”

 

Sima has little options after leaving her troubled past behind. Literally begging to survive, becoming older sets new challenges. What few choices she has are taken from her. Suddenly, she’s in the governments hands which sets her on path she didn’t expect. The Progenitor Program.

 

Sima is a complicated character that does not only grow through her bravery but also kindness. She’s a solitary being and wants to survive by her own abilities. Jealous of the young kids that beg and earn more ‘glint’, her day to day life take a large part in the beginning. Mainly, Sima isn’t perfect and struggles fairly often during the book. Her character was created very well in my opinion. After all, she’s only sixteen and surviving each day takes quite a bit of time. She’ll come to learn more important things in life.

 

I found the pace well written and mainly enjoyed learning about this dystopian world with little empathy. The secondary characters were equally enjoyable, especially the young kids Sima interacts with. There is some action as well, which develops further in the book and was great. It’ll be very interesting to see how Cox might tie up some less explored secrets of this world. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book!

 

About the Author
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.Hobbies and Interests

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats. Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future.

 

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Embassy Review

 

Embassy (Recovery #1)
Publication Date: January 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 330

 

 

Arman Lance was supposed to travel the galaxy with his father, not watch him die. He was supposed to experience the adventures from his father’s stories, not isolate himself from the world. He was going to join the Embassy Program, fly across the galaxy, and find Ladia Purnell, a girl from another planet whom he loved years before.

Clinging to his fading hopes and dreams, Arman joins the Embassy Program to fulfill that last promise. If he can reach Ladia, he’ll never have to worry, never have to feel alone. But it doesn’t take long for his plan to fall apart when he’s confronted by his fellow Embassy recruit, Glacia Haverns, the ever-smiling adrenaline junkie who decides it’s her job to show Arman there’s more to life than chasing a desperate obsession.

 

 

Check the rest of the series on Experience Daliona!

 

 

Embassy blew me away. Martin clearly thought this book out with amazing detail to bring different meanings to each page. I have high expectations for any science fiction novel. I grew up watching every show and movie I was allowed. Then I was venturing into reading sci-fi and now writing it. What I hope to achieve in my own book is what Embassy offers. I had a good feeling about this one and it paid off. Embassy is packed full of those intriguing science fiction elements that broaden the way you see the future. Along with the confident tone of scientific elements, is the strong backbone of emotional turmoil and challenges that can interest anyone.

 

Martin does an excellent job of world building as well. The imagery given allows the reader to expand in their imagination, without the over-exhaustion of too much detail. Certain details are still explained clearly and were very exciting to read. Such as a game invented called Hologis, a holographic dodgeball type of game that I would likely last one minute in. The overall pace and first person point of view works really well with the clarity of what Arman is facing. Another note, though it’s not important to everyone, was my love of all the character names, planets, and so on. They weren’t too complicated for one. I can find myself reading a book and getting confused or lost in all the different words that try to be different from every other book. Embassy may have a larger than life world but it seemed more exciting than overwhelming.

 

Characters were refreshing. I use that word a lot but it fits. Arman is complicated, not always likable, but creative and chasing a love from years ago. Suffering a tragic loss and feeling his own guilt over what happened, he isolates himself and leaves everything behind. Including his family that are also suffering from the loss. Like I said, not always likable. Arman adapts and grows to his new ship life. Another character, Glacia, was my favorite. She, along with others, make Arman gain perspective about how he had been spending his life and the opportunities in front of him. Glacia is tough, smart, and was a very real character to easily connect with for me. I really enjoyed this book and encourage others to check it out! I know that I’ll be adding the rest of the series to my list of what to read next!

 

 

S. Alex Martin grew up fascinated with astronomy and reading Harry Potter. His books reflect his vision for the future of humanity in the way of space exploration. He hopes to help inspire that same love of the final frontier in another generation to do his part to help progress humanity a little further.

In the words of Stephen Hawking: “There should be no boundary to human endeavor.”

 



August 20th

August 21st

Rebecca R. Cahill | Audio Excerpt
August 22nd

Just Books | Interview

August 23rd
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