December #BookReviews @JacqBiggar @Virgilante @vickyburkholder @YvetteMCalleiro @teagangeneviene @DanDwayneSpenc1

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I have had a wonderful month of reading and discovered two new authors. To me, that is part of the joy of reading, to explore. All reviews are strictly my own opinion. I only post 4 and 5 Star reviews.

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MY REVIEW:

A wonderful holiday story that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. Grace Donovan has moved with her six-year-old daughter, Cassie, to a new town. She is hopeful her daughter, who has Leukemia, can participate in a trial treatment program. What she hasn’t bargained for is the kindhearted school principal that sets her heart racing. Widowed, Grace has not considered falling in love again.
But Cassie wants to see her mother happy and her Christmas wish is for someone to make her mother smile again. Well, and she also wants a puppy.
I loved all the characters from Avery, who quickly befriends Cassie, to Kyle the handsome school principal, and his twin brother, Keith. They are all realistic and believable.
This story has all the elements to create a wonderful holiday tale. From children to puppies, a sleigh ride, and a romance, it has it all. This is a short two-hour read and well worth the time. Jacquie Biggar is a talented writer and has the ability to draw the reader into the story with the characters. I highly recommend this story for any time of year, but especially around the holidays.

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MY REVIEW:

This is the final book in The Lanternfish Series, and I have to say it is an epic adventure from beginning to end. In this segment of the series, we see James Cutler go into debt to refurbish The Lanternfish and put her into service to help put an end to the horrible war between the Hollish and Prelonians. Only this time, his journey takes him from the high seas to a land war with adventures and mind-boggling risks galore. We see all of our favorite characters, Fala, Dan, Serang, Mal, Mule, Biscuit Bill, the Root Monsters, and the Palumbos play important roles in this part of the story. There is non-stop action from the time the Lanternfish sets sail until James returns to his home and wife. The author did a great job of wrapping up all the loose ends for each of the many characters, including the Root Monsters. While I enjoyed all the adventure, the final wrap-up, and many happy endings had me smiling through a tear or two, especially with the lovable Root Monsters. If you love fantasy, action, a little magic, and a whole lot of realism, you will enjoy this entire series. I do highly recommend you start with book 1 and work your way through the trilogy to fully understand the final segment. Kudos to the author for this tremendous undertaking!

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MY REVIEW:

This is a very short read and highly entertaining. A theater constructed in 1917 was repurposed and turned into a college in Shreveport, Louisiana. Professor Aston Ross Goldsmith taught in the English department. Everyone had left the building for Christmas break. Professor Goldsmith was packing up to leave when the floor suddenly gave away under him and he fell into a sealed vault with a skeleton and a diary. Convinced he was hallucinating having received a concussion from the fall, he couldn’t believe the ghost of the skeleton was conversing with him. What a mystery that unfolded. I won’t leave any spoilers, but let’s just say the good professor’s Christmas was certainly not dull. 

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MY REVIEW:

Gisele is a warm and caring young woman who has moved to the Gingerbread Lodge nestled in the Pennsylvania mountains to help her aging aunt run the business. Even though Gisele’s mother (her Aunt Minerva’s sister) is disappointed that Gisele doesn’t want to remain a part of their hugely successful hotel empire, Gisele wants more meaning from life. And she loves her aunt, as well as the lodge where she spent many of her growing-up summers. This story reunites Gisele with a teenage sweetheart and despite the difficulties and obstacles they face, they know it’s fate that has thrown them back together. This is a heart-warming story that is just perfect for the holiday season. It combines all the elements of a gorgeous old lodge, loving aunt, long-lost love, a snowstorm, and a reunited family. If you are looking for a lighthearted read with a warm fuzzy ending, this is perfect for you. I could smell all the delicious cookies both Aunt Minerva and Giselle baked.

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MY REVIEW:

A YA novel that every teenage girl should read! Cecilia (CiCi) is on top of the world. It’s her junior year in high school. She’s co-captain of the cheerleading squad, dates the hottest guy in school, Ryan, has a constant BFF, Dee, and lives with her mother in an upscale house. She has everything any young girl could want. Her world falls apart when her mother remarries. Now with a step-dad and step-sister, things change rapidly. The most compelling part of this story is the way CiCi attempts to deal with the horrors that are inflicted on her. The author did a fabulous job of staying in a teenager’s point of view, but at the same time giving CiCi some good coping skills and insights. I do not want to spoil this story for the reader, but it does deserve a warning as it deals with forced rape. What I took away from the novel is a deep sadness that rape happens way too often to teenage girls and that so often, they are terrified to say anything, afraid no one will believe them. The story has a warm and satisfying ending with immense character growth. Kudos to this author for tackling such a sensitive topic in an honest and tactful way. I highly recommend this book!

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MY REVIEW:

Journey 9 begins with Haldis leaving Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide trapped in a different realm within the lost library. There are floating doors to choose from and each holds danger as well as magical possibilities. The urgent mission is to restore Zasha back to herself and release her from the grips of Fotia, another life from centuries past. Thyrus the dragon is only one of the Listeners the trio meets in this realm. And it is Thyrus who restores Zasha back to her current self. At times, he seems helpful and other times he grows vicious. What I enjoy the most is watching Emlyn grow in confidence and strength throughout this journey. She is a far cry from the girl we met in Journey 1. In the meantime, the army of the dead is amassing and danger lurks around every corner. Magical and fantasy are words I would use to describe these journeys. I found more typos in this segment of the story than any of the others, but still not enough to keep me from turning the pages.

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MY REVIEW:

In this segment of the Journey, Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide face intensely unimaginable adventures, from the shocking death of Haldis to being separated from the rest of their party. The responsibility now lies completely with these three to rebuild the veil. Hallr, the King of the Dead, passes the third and missing staff to Emlyn and what a personality change he undergoes. With Emlyn’s guidance, the three pass through the painting of Pergesca on the wall inside the library, and into the realm of the dead where they are met by a giant venomous snake. Thyrus, the dragon comes to their rescue, but there are some very tense moments. Emlyn is overwhelmed by the city of Pergesca once they arrive. It is beyond anything she’s imagined. She enjoys the food that is different from anything she’s ever had. She’s never seen a restaurant. I am worried for Zasha as she left Osabide and Emlyn to go to the hall of the Daes Matres, but she hasn’t returned. I can’t wait to see what adventures await these three next. And what a gorgeous cover this book has! As others have said, I do recommend that you start with Journey 1 if you decide to read this fantasy. Otherwise, you will be lost.

That’s it. I hope you found something new to pique your interest!

Wreck of the Lanternfish – #NewRelease from C.S. Boyack! @virgilante

I am SO excited to share my blog space with C.S. Boyack today! He has a brand new release, the final book in the epic high-seas fantasy trilogy. I have read both the Voyage of The Lanternfish and the HMS Lanternfish and highly recommend them! I am currently knee-deep into the Wreck of The Lanternfish and again, highly recommend this entire series! I also recommend you start with book 1, then devour the entire series! Think of it as binge-watching a riveting Netflix series. 🙂 Seriously, these three books would make a fabulous Netflix series. Maybe someday!

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Thank you for letting me borrow your space today, Jan. I have a new book out called Wreck of the Lanternfish. This is the concluding volume of the Lanternfish Trilogy. Unlike my other series, this one almost has to be read in order.

Today, I want to talk about one of the more popular characters in the books. Serang has evolved into a co-main character. She was raised in a monastery system by monks who taught her to read and write, and also fight like a Kung Fu master.

She found herself in charge of a disgraced army of warriors from the country of Giapon. In the last volume, they were inserted into the war between Hollish and Prelonia with the sole mission of finding the mysterious Fulminites and destroying them if possible.

The Fulminites are no pushovers, their members make up the Black Assassins as well as the exploding monks. They are the real power behind the Hollish throne and the driving force behind the war.

Serang’s warriors are mistrusted by both sides, including the one they’re supporting. They’re so different than anything this continent has seen. From their Eastern features and dress, to their way of fighting and warfare. This part of the world has never seen anything like them.

To fulfill her captain’s orders, Serang will have to cross the wilderness and avoid anyone who might mistrust or betray them. She’s also going to have to face the ghosts of her own past, of the purging of the temple system that made her an outlaw in the first place.

Perform your morning meditations and stretches. Sharpen up your guandao, and join Serang as she hunts the Fulminites in ‘Wreck of the Lanternfish.’

Wreck of the Lanternfish purchase link

Trilogy link

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Blurb:

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious pirate Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war, if he’s not already too late.

James will have to merge the skills of commander and con man into something new to make this work. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercenary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by both sides of the war, she appears as a third combatant on the battlefield. She may eliminate the mysterious order, only to succumb to the demons of her own tragic past.

Strap on your swords and hoist the colors one more time as the thrilling Lanternfish Trilogy comes to an end.

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Mountain Laurel Christmas On Tour – Day 1! #ShortStory #Christmas #FamilyDrama #Music

I am thrilled to take Mountain Laurel Christmas on a short blog tour!

Our first stop is at C.S. Boyack‘s place!

Boyack is a speculative fiction and fantasy writer extraordinaire! I have read most of his work and highly recommend it for great entertainment.

A series that is diverse and eclectic is Lizzie and The Hat.

Lizzie St. Laurent inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate. The hat had belonged to her grandfather. But this is no ordinary hat. Being from another dimension, the Hat has powers! Lizzie and her new partner embark on journeys to hunt and destroy dark entities such as vampires and werewolves. And all while playing music in a band.


Another fabulous series from Boyack takes place on the high seas aboard a ship known as The Lanternfish. I devoured these books and there is a brand new one I haven’t had a chance to crack open yet.

You can find The Lanternfish Series HERE!

So, pick up a book from this talented author, then head on over to the blog tour.

Leave a comment, share, and enter to win my Blog Tour Giveaway!

C.S. Boyack Blog Tour Post

October #BookReviews @shannonsmyers @maeclair1 @teagangeneviene @virgilante @sgc58 @1rburkey @TPolen6

I had quite a busy month of reading and I am happy to share my 4 and 5-star reviews on some fabulous books! Because I have so many, I won’t be sharing the blurbs but will have purchase links if you want to know more.

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MY REVIEW:

I don’t know what this author’s experience is with motorcycle clubs, but she got it right. They live by a code that normal people cannot understand. Their definition of justice is often dealt with raw violence and Myers depicts that perfectly in this book. Jamie Quinn didn’t stand a chance in hell for any kind of a decent life. His father made sure of that. And when he finally got rid of the monster he called Dad, he felt no remorse. In fact, quite the opposite. But his father had introduced him to the Silent Phoenix motorcycle club. And when there was no other place to turn, Jamie turned to the club. Before long, he earned a reputation that no one dared challenge. He could kill without any remorse…and he did. Celia was seventeen, a straight-A student, growing up in a wealthy country-club family. But her father had a drug habit and it cost Celia everything. When the MC took Celia to pay her father’s debt to the club, her entire world came undone. And while the big biker took her virginity, she found herself strangely attracted to him. She saw kindness in his eyes. And Jamie couldn’t get Celia out of his mind no matter what he tried. But she was just a kid. A kid that wound up pregnant with his child. This story is fast-paced, violent, raw, and gritty. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Then came the ending and I literally gasped. Do not expect a resolution in this story. It ends with a gut-wrenching cliffhanger. I am invested in these characters, so I have no choice but to get the next segment of Silent Phoenix MC. If you are not squeamish about violence, rape, profanity, and drugs, you will love this story! The only reason I am not giving this book five stars is because of the ending. I needed a resolution and felt cheated.
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MY REVIEW:


This book is a solid adventure, from one story to the next. While each is different and eclectic, one common thread is woven throughout, and that is Mae Clair’s distinctive writing voice. It is hard to pick favorites, but for me, a few stood out on a personal level.
Kin-Slayer was a mixture of family drama and a mythical creature. I was not prepared for the gut-wrenching ending. The author did a fabulous job of showing the emotions of a tortured soul.
Desert White was probably my favorite. Suicide is not always the answer, as Micah had imagined. The redemption in this story left me smiling. Here is an example of the descriptive prose from that short story: “But in the desert—with life ebbing from his veins, the bloated moon a silent observer overhead—he’d been seized by a violent desire to live.”
Miss Lily Makes a Wish had me chuckling. To watch this frail old lady command an entire army of genies was nothing short of brilliant writing!
I’d be remiss not to mention Father’s Day. That story tore at my heart and left me astounded. If you are looking for entertaining stories that take you off the beaten path, you are going to love this book from Mae Clair! I highly recommend it!
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MY REVIEW:


As Emlyn’s journey continues, and the story unfolds, we get to see more about the characters with who she is traveling. In this segment, we learn a bit more about Haldis, the Watcher, and the Spirits of the Dead who can move between the veils. We also get a glimpse at Emlyn’s brother and his determination to remain with the status quo. But he gets a well-deserved admonition.
One of my favorite scenes in this segment was with Elder Pwyll’s encounter with the dead.
Mairead’s knowledge of history is revealed in her interaction with the dead king.
It becomes evident that the rip in the veil between the living world and the dead is growing larger as numbers of spirits move between them.
We also get to see Mercedes in action with her unique ability to diffuse any situation.
But the deeper look into the character Boabhan is the most significant part of this story and it leaves me wanting to know more about her. I appreciate her kindness toward Emlyn.
The gripping scene at the waterfall left me speechless. The mystery of the rune is solved! I’m ready for the next segment as I know there are more heart-stopping moments coming!
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MY REVIEW:


This segment of The Dead of Winter series begins with heart-stopping action and tension! Arawn appears out of the waterfall on the back of a huge black-winged creature and grabs Boabhan with its huge talons. Emlyn attempts to save her only to be swept up in the air.
Their companions fight to save the two.
I have to say this is my favorite segment so far. What is revealed about Boabhan and Arawn is chilling and horrific. And Emlyn is witness to it all in her dreams. It leaves them both shaken.
Emlyn relies more and more on her mentor Osabide as this story unfolds. But I love the way each of the Daes Matres has taken the child under their wings to teach her as well as protect her.
The events that unfold at the ancient dwelling where they seek shelter moves the story forward in a big way. Emlyn gets new colorful clothes, something she’s never had. And she learns more about the silvery-haired man and wolf. A new rune enters the story in this segment.
The depth at which we are seeing these characters is a testimony to this writer’s ability to show them. And the ending left me wanting to reach for the next part of this journey!
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MY REVIEW:


I have read several books by this author and each one is unique and entertaining. The Yak Guy Project had me hooked from page one. When Ted wakes up in a desert, in an alternate reality, he’s sure he’s done for. That is until a talking Yak rescues him. The journey this man embarks on is full of insane situations. It is obvious that Ted has been shot and most likely died in his other world.
And, the ultimate goal now is for Ted to grow from a disgusting selfish parasitic person into a caring and more spiritual man. The Major Arcana from the Tarot cards comes into play with various situations and characters Ted encounters.
One of my favorite characters (besides the talking Yak) was Snark. I also love how throughout the story there is an admonition to always watch out for the lions. Somehow this translates into an ironic paradox that I could relate to. Sort of like watching out for the sharks (the human ones).
The author’s description of the land, the people, the animals, and most of all the interactions between them take the reader right into the story with them.
The need to survive is strong and Ted will do anything for another chance to live. I enjoyed this dystopian story with all its nuances. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to be entertained!
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MY REVIEW:


This book is one the reader must sit back and savor. It consists of images combined with a variety of syllabic poetry styles from simple Haiku to complex butterfly cinquain. Each is beautifully done. The author shares her unique perspectives in such a way that the reader is swept up into the scene. The first poem, “Washed Up,” is a great example, filled with stark reality, then hope. My all-time favorite poem is “Our Legacy.”
Writers
seek to inspire
those of us not yet great
to leave behind a legacy
of worth.
Fame and fortune are not required
if we are remembered
for our acts of
kindness.
As a writer myself, that one really hit home. “Silver Lining to Isolation” was another one that hit home as relevant and timely. “Life’s Progression” brings the entire circle of life to completion.
I love this line, “Wrinkles mark passing time…”
The flash fiction stories inserted following the poetry are poignant recollections of childhood and other life events. Every story, every poem, every line is well-written and powerful. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a unique perspective on life
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MY REVIEW:


I met Jacob and Petra in the first Enigma Series Book and their attraction was strong. So, with this short story, we got to travel into the future and see the couple happily married and with a child. I loved their devotion not only to each other but to the child. Christmas is coming and both Jacob and Petra strive to get the most unusual gift possible for each other and then keep it a secret. But this year, the secret gift Petra has to offer is one that not only surprises but stuns Jacob. This is a heartwarming story of family, love, and miracles. It’s a short and satisfying read!
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MY REVIEW:

This is the perfect read for the spooky Halloween season! Cain is a seventeen-year-old teenager who feels a heavy responsibility for his family after his father’s death. I love this character’s respect for his mother and attentiveness to his little sister. He and his best friend, Finn, love to hang out, play video games and talk about things that interest them, mainly playing soccer and girls. When Cain’s mother gets a great deal on a new house and they move in, things begin to change. At first, Cain is convinced he’s getting forgetful when the door leading up to the attic is open without explanation. But it’s no coincidence. Sarah is a teenage girl who met her demise in the house when it was under construction. The things that unfold with her story bring out empathy for what happened to her and Cain is motivated to help her. But Sarah is bent on revenge. She uses Cain to occupy his body, then to suck his energy out so she can use it to exact her form of justice against the boys who lured her to the house, then buried her alive when they thought she was dead. This is an on-the-edge-of-your-seat, holding your breath kind of story. I don’t want to leave any spoilers, but the level the anger and evil escalate to is off the charts. If you like a good horror story, this book is for you. It is rated YA, but any adult fan of this genre will enjoy it! The author left the ending open for a sequel.

JAN’S 2020 TOP TEN LIST

Every year, I face the difficult task of choosing only ten books from the many I’ve read to go on this list. I think this year was the hardest so far, as I read so many great books. But, here we go. I’ve included purchase links in case one grabs your attention.

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In Search of McDoogal

Stardust

Perfectly Imperfect

Unwelcomed

No Pedigree

Treacherous Love

New Book Release – Mrs. Molony @virgilante

I am super excited to turn my blog over to C.S. Boyack’s personal assistant and robot girl, Lisa Burton, today and let her tell you about his brand new release – another Lizzie and The Hat adventure!

Oh my gosh, Jan. It’s so nice to be here. This is a place I always wanted to visit, and promo for this book is perfect. This is the third book in The Hat Series, and this time it involves the country music scene.

Lizzie and the hat are on the trail of two vampires. They’ve kidnapped this poor woman and are feeding off her like some kind of milk cow. Before joining the ranks of the undead, they were team ropers. Turns out old habits die hard.

The rodeo circuit, and country folks in general, aren’t immune to a good party. This provides a fertile hunting ground for these particular vampires. At a party, some country girl is always going to get a little too drunk, and wind up becoming one of their victims. If hunting is slow, they always have the woman at home.

Since Lizzie and the hat have a small cover band, it gives them access to various events where they do a little hunting themselves. This is no simple feat, because the rodeo circuit moves around. Vamps have to hole-up during the day, so they can’t realistically move too far.

The hat had to do a little research, and increase the playlist for Lizzie and The Pythons. Being a younger person, Lizzie wasn’t overly fond of country music and this leads to a bit of tension between them.

Fortunately, I set her up with some expanded wardrobe that allowed her to fit in as a country performer. This all happened somewhat casually in Viral Blues, which I played a part in.

I should tell you that Craig worked pretty hard to make sure people don’t have to read this series in order. There are little things that cross over, like the wardrobe stuff, but you really can go out of order without confusion.

I know you’re involved in the music business, so this should be a good topic for you. For each of his books, Craig sends me to spend time with Sean Harrington to create some promotional artwork. I know the stories and try to recreate scenes from the book. This one is a concert image from one of the musical appearances.

Your fans are welcome to use it as iPad screens, phone backgrounds, or whatever they like.

Now I’d better get to the links and such before Craig gets upset.

Blurb: Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead.

The person who put them onto the trail is also a vampire, but he has to be the worst vampire in history. Is he really that pitiful, or is he setting a trap for our heroes? Does the woman even exists? Can Lizzie and the hat find her before she also takes up blood sucking?

Follow Lizzie and the hat as they use their cover band to stalk vamps across the country music scene.

Purchase your copy here: The Ballad of Mrs. Molony

Other stories in the series are:


The Hat
Viral Blues

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

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New Release! HMS Lanternfish – C.S. Boyack @virgilante

I am super excited to share a new release with you from C.S. Boyack. In fact, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the second book in the Lanternfish Series because I loved book 1 SO much!

At any rate, I’m turning my blog over to Craig so he can tell you about his new book! By the way, don’t you just love this cover? I do!

Hi, Jan. Thanks for having me back here to talk about my newest book. This is my first attempt at a classic trilogy, and we’re dealing with book two here. It’s called HMS Lanternfish.

In the original book, Voyage of the Lanternfish, James started off making plans for the future with the woman he loves. The ruling power of his country mistook him for his father who was a notorious undercover operative. They kidnapped his lady friend and forced him to start a war if he wanted to save her.

Plans didn’t work out the way the rulers expected. James was a merchant sailor, so he commandeered a ship and took to piracy against his home country. That’s a nutshell version of the first book, but there’s a lot more to it.

HMS Lanternfish opens with their home continent at war from coast to coast. Odds are slim and chances are few, but Lanternfish is still one of the largest warships on the sea. Using a semi-official charter as a royal privateer, James and crew take Lanternfish to war.

Nothing is ever that simple, and they get blown off course. Since this is a fantasy tale, it allowed me to explore some exotic lands and that was part of the charm of the original tale. With war a long ways off, Lanternfish takes to actually being a privateer. They have two goals, acquire goods that might help with the war effort, and discover the secrets of the Fulminites, a religious order that seems to be made up of suicide bombers controlling the land battles in favor of their enemies. Of course, they have to make it back in time to make a difference.

HMS Lanternfish is filled with fantasy creatures, exotic lands and peoples, and a bit of humor fans of the first book enjoyed.

I’m running a special right now. HMS Lanternfish is temporarily priced at 99¢ in an attempt to get it off to a good start. From August 10 through August 14th, Voyage of the Lanternfish will be free. I’ll drop a cover and blurb if you’d like to join this crew.

***

Blurb: The Lanternfish crew completed their original mission, but got exposed to a more global problem. An entire continent is at war, headed up by a head-strong young king with dreams of power, and pushed from behind by a mysterious religious order known as the Fulminites.

Rather than let their country fall under the iron boot of conquest, James and his crew set sail once more to see what kind of muscle Lanternfish can lend to the war effort. Acting precariously under an unofficial charter as a privateer, even his allies aren’t always his friends.

HMS Lanternfish explores new worlds on its way to war, and drifts considerably off course. It features an international crew of characters, and for fans of the first book, the root monsters are back, too. Tall ships, a few con games, martial arts, and everything you loved about the original book is all returning.

Hoist the colors and wheel out the guns. Lanternfish is taking to the high seas once more.

HMS Lanternfish: 99¢ for a limited time.

Voyage of the Lanternfish: Free until Friday.

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

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Grinders – New Release from C.S. Boyack @virgilante

It is with excitement and great pleasure that I turn my blog site over to C.S. Boyack today so that he can tell you about his latest cyberpunk novel, Grinders!

Take it away, Craig!

Thanks for the invitation today, Jan. I’m honored to address your fans with my new book, Grinders. I’ve offered multiple topics on this tour, and I’m really excited that you chose The Grid.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story, set in San Francisco. This means an environment with a lot of neon, holographic advertising, and bustle. Computers and the Internet are a big part of these stories. That’s the “cyber” part. They also seem to have a seedy, almost underground, element to them. That’s the “punk” part. Now that you know what we’re dealing with, let’s talk about The Grid.

The Grid falls firmly under the cyber part of the environment, but it’s more than that. It’s almost a character in its own right, because it controls so much of the people’s lives.

At its core, The Grid is made up of hexagonal solar panels that have replaced all of the asphalt. It’s pebbled glass for traction. They fit together like Legos, and there is one scene with some repairs being made. So far, so good, right?

With all this electricity, this grid is hooked up to the Internet. We’re already seeing electric automobiles, and some self-driving technology, so I took the next step. All of the vehicles are paired with The Grid, and a central computer drives them all with incredible efficiency. Imagine four lanes (or more) buzzing along at 60-90 miles per hour. The cars are all about one foot from each other, and we would consider that tailgating today. The Grid is capable of moving them all at once, so this isn’t a problem.

Commuters simply tell an AI in the vehicle where they want to go, the AI communicates with The Grid, and they’re off to the races. Lane changes are accomplished with computer efficiency, by slowing down the adjacent cars to make a hole.

City streets have cross lane traffic to worry about. Stoplights are antiques in the world of Grinders. The Grid starts and stops traffic to keep all lanes moving at their best pace. When traffic stops, the lights have been replaced with holographic billboards that pipe advertising to the passengers.

Automobiles still dock for the night and recharge, but they also draw a small amount of power from The Grid. This is done via contact brushes, and The Grid will even pull over inefficient vehicles for a repair ticket if they cannot maintain the speeds required.

But like they say on late night television, but wait, there’s more. So far, I’ve only talked about ground level. In the world of Grinders, everything is delivered to small heli-pads at each residence and business. Drones provide staples and extras right to your apartment window. One of my main characters is fond of having liquor store deliveries made.

Some of these drones are huge, and include UPS trucks with larger loads. With all this lesser air traffic, how do they keep from crashing into each other? There has to be a way to set patterns and timing. This is yet another function of The Grid.

Imagine a moving van sized drone bringing your belongings to a new apartment. Not only does The Grid have to create a clear path to the building, it also needs to communicate with ground traffic to make a suitable parking space for landing.

The Grid is a wonderful creation. Pollution is all but gone from the Bay Area. Aggressive driving and accidents are a thing of the past. People even send their children to school in a car without adults. They can play games or read along the way. Businessmen can review files instead of drive and lean on the horn. Housewives even send the pets out for grooming without having to leave the house.

As an author, it’s fun to think ahead. A lot of this technology already exists. I hope someone smarter than me can make it happen one day. I like the idea of cheap solar power, efficient commuting, and the elimination of aggressive drivers from our streets. I’m still not on board with having someone else choose my produce, then deliver it to the house, but some of this is already being done too. They might not be using drones, but how far away is that technology anyway?

I hope you guys will give Grinders a chance. Thanks again to Jan for lending me her space. Now it’s time for me to drop a cover, blurb, and that all important purchase link.

Blurb:

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

Purchase link: http://mybook.to/Grinders

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

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#Book Share! @virgilante @MarieDrake72 @maeclair1

I think this is the perfect way to start off a new year of blogging!

It had been a while since I picked up a book that I absolutely could not put down! But, then I got three in a row. So, I had to share!

The first is THREE RULES by Marie Drake.

MY REVIEW:

It has been a long time since I picked up a book that I could not put down. I ignored housework, ate snacks and read until I reached the end. The author’s writing style reminded me of V.C. Andrews. The subject of this book is sexual abuse and I did not know until the end of the book when I read about the author that she is a survivor of abuse. The writing comes from someone who has experienced the pain, the horror, the guilt and trauma that sexual abuse brings. The author did a great job of concealing the true identity of the abuser until the very end of the book. I was shocked. She gets deep into the psyche of the victim. The nightmares, panic attacks and paranoia are depicted in a raw and honest way. This book is not for the squeamish, but it is a well-written compelling story that I hope will encourage victims of sexual abuse to speak up and break the awful silence! And never forget the three rules! I highly recommend this book.

Marie Drake is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

The next one is SERANG by C.S. Boyack

MY REVIEW:

This story was one that I couldn’t put down! I was intrigued by Serang’s character when she was introduced in The Voyage of The Lanternfish and it was great to learn her backstory. To say she faced hardships and trials would be putting it very mildly. At a very young age, after her father died, Serang’s mother left her on the steps of a monastery as she could no longer care for her. But after a few years, the new Emperor hellbent on destroying all of the temples sent soldiers to kill everyone and burn the temple. Rescued by a traveling monk, she came of age under the teachings of Master Yong. She learned to become a fierce warrior and her intuition grew. The way she received her master weapon, the Guandao was fascinating. Her journey to the Temple of the Wind and then through the caves was heart stopping. I also have to say there was humor scattered throughout the book, even though the overall theme was most serious. This book is fantasy at its best! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good story and fabulous world-building!

I know the holidays are over, but this Christmas Holiday Novella would be a treat anytime of the year! Food For Poe was both entertaining and easy to read but be prepared for unexpected twists and events! I am a huge fan of this author, Mae Clair, and have read most everything she has written!

MY REVIEW:

I absolutely loved this novella! It started out as a sweet romance, but typical of this author, there was soon a ghost, a mystifying myth, and jaw-dropping magic. It is well-written and I read it in one sitting. I loved how the author wove these character’s lives together in a few short pages. But the twist came when a Changeling also appeared and some nail-biting pages followed. I won’t give the story away, I’ll just say how much I enjoyed it with all the twists and surprises. If you are looking for a romance with lots of added side plots, I highly recommend this novella!

I hope that if you haven’t read these books, you’ll pick them up if they appeal to you! Click on the book title to purchase!

Jan Sikes Top-Ten Book List for 2019

AND THE WINNER IS!! I am ashamed to say that I almost forgot to draw a winner for this blog post, BUT, I saved myself at the last minute. 🙂 The winner of the $10 Amazon Gift card is Stephanie Ortiz Jenkins!! Stephanie watch your inbox! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It is always a challenge to pick just ten books from the many books I read each year. Because it was so difficult this year, I have listed a Bonus book and also some fabulous short stories. I hope you enjoy my Top Ten, and if you see a book that catches your interest, click on the purchase link and add it to your TBR list!

PURCHASE LINK: WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

PURCHASE LINK: THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO

PURCHASE LINK: WHATEVER IT TAKES

PURCHASE LINK: THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE

PURCHASE LINK: VOYAGE OF THE LANTERNFISH

PURCHASE LINK: END OF DAY

PURCHASE LINK: VANISHED

PURCHASE LINK: MEMOIR OF A MAD WOMAN

PURCHASE LINK: THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME

PURCHASE LINK: WHEN CAN I STOP RUNNING?

PURCHASE L INK: REFLECTIONS

PURCHASE LINKS: RAVE WRITER’S INT’S SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA) ANTHOLOGY VOL I

CASTE METAL

VISITORS: A SHORT STORY MYSTERY

RED EYES IN THE DARKNESS – A SHORT STORY

MEGAMAX

SLIMMER

And, last but not least, I will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card to some lucky person! Just leave a comment and share this post to be entered! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! HO! HO! HO!