The Midnight Rambler by C.S. Boyack #NewRelease @virgilante

It’s always a pleasure to welcome a fellow Story Empire author to my blog site, and today I’m happy to welcome C.S. Boyack to talk about his latest book release. If you have followed The Hat series, you already know about Lizzie and her sidekick, the hat, who just happens to be from another dimension with all kinds of crazy powers and skills, including playing the bass guitar using Lizzie’s fingers. I’ve read all the books in this series and can attest to the fact they are super entertaining! Mr. Boyack’s imagination knows no boundaries. Take a look at his newest creation!

PURCHASE LINK

It’s wonderful to get out and visit your blog, Jan. Means a lot that you’d donate your space to me. We all need places to promote, and I’d love to return the favor any time you’d like.

It seems like this tour is turning more into author tips and tricks than any I’ve done before, but they seem to make a good sales pitch. Before we dive into that, there’s a blurb and cover down below to give you more details about this story. My tips are also going to cover some of the events from the story.

So, why the flood? In every paranormal/supernatural/horror story, it’s important to delve into the isolation. The inability to escape or offer assistance. The characters have to solve the problems on their own. Pretty standard fare. I’m on record as trying to avoid low-hanging fruit, so I tried to come up with something different.

This is urban fantasy, and urban is part of the mix. It seems out of place to plunk my main characters in a remote cabin or put them in a plane crash miles from anywhere. After this many volumes, it would seem jarring to change the setting so drastically. I came up with the flood.

It isn’t unrealistic. 2022 seemed to have major flooding everywhere. While we were drying up out west and doing rain dances, other parts of the country were having their cars and homes washed away. Realistic…check.

Floods impede action. This is nearly as good as isolation because acting fast isn’t an option. My heroes can’t just cross town to save the day.

Part of these stories involves the struggles of a young person trying to make ends meet. Cars get ruined, and basement apartments are at risk during a major storm like this one. Work dries up after a major catastrophe. Plays right into my hands.

People sometimes have to stay put for a day or so, because nature is unforgiving. A young woman and young man staying in the same house might develop a certain kind of affection under the right circumstances if her magical hat doesn’t get in the way.

I had to do a lot of research into FEMA assistance after such an event, and made good use of it, even into the subsequent story, which I’m still drafting.

I promise not to make it so readers must read one story before tackling the next one. It wasn’t even that hard to pull off. FEMA food stamps are kind of self-explanatory even if you didn’t read The Midnight Rambler. I hope you will, though. It’s Halloween season and seems like the perfect way to while away an afternoon.

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Blurb:

Something evil is after the hat. The ageless enemies have battled many times, but this time Lizzie is wearing the hat. She’s also up against a ticking clock, in that if she can’t find the maker of her new friend’s medicine, he will die.

The Rambler has kidnapped the only witch capable of making Ray’s medicine in an attempt to make the hat sloppy in his efforts. He’s also flooded the streets with deadly minions to impede any progress our heroes might make.

As if that weren’t enough, Lizzie is facing more of life’s struggles, both financially and mechanically. This all goes down in the middle of a huge flood event that she’s ill-equipped to handle.

Join Lizzie and the hat as they battle the elements, the paranormal, and a being of pure evil. Lizzie might be battling some personal demons along the way as she and Ray grow closer.

Get your copy here: https://mybook.to/TheMidnightRambler

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August #BookReviews – @DWallacePeach @TPolen6 @StaciTroilo @JillWeatherholt

I read some AMAZING books in August, aside from the ones I’ve already posted through Lone Star Literary Blogging and NetGalley. I’m excited to share these additional reviews with you!

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Purchase Link

MY REVIEW:

This story gripped me from page one. A Necromancer is summoned by the King of Verdane. His beloved wife is dying in childbirth. Barus, with a severely crippled, bent, and gnarled body, is the Necromancer. He overhears the queen begging the king to save the life of the child and let her go. But in his grief, the king cannot make that choice, so both mother and child die. But Barus has already fallen in love with the beautiful child, and in the midst of the chaos surrounding the queen’s death, he steals the baby’s lifeless body, takes her to his thatched hut, and through the use of his knowledge and abilities, returns the child’s life. Never was a little girl loved more than Aster. Barus teaches her the healing art, and she grows into a beautiful and happy young woman who can communicate with dragons. So, when the king eventually comes to claim his only heir, things begin a slippery and deadly downhill slide.

Stephen Spielberg once gave writing advice to authors, telling them to put their characters up a tree and throw rocks at them. This author, D. Wallace Peach, did that in spades in this story. The unimaginable torture and hardships Aster went through were enough to have me biting my fingernails and holding my breath.

Captured and placed in a cage to freeze to death overnight, it appears all is lost. That is until young Jareh decides to disobey his powerful father and help her escape. The journey that one single action took them on was long, cold, and treacherous.

I won’t spoil the story by giving away too much. I’ll just say I was mesmerized as it all unfolded, leaving me gasping for breath more than once.

If you are a fan of epic fantasy that includes herbal healing, magic, dragons, corruption, and greed, you are sure to love this book! I highly recommend it!

 

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This YA Dystopian book gripped me from the beginning to the end. As a young boy, Asher Solomon has to run with his two sisters to escape being taken by The Colony soldiers. At first, he is sure it’s only a drill. After all, their father has insisted they be prepared for the one unavoidable time it would be real. And that time arrives at the start of the story. But when Asher’s sister is injured while escaping, he’s forced to leave them in a cave, promising to return for them.


The world-building in this story is phenomenal. The author did a fabulous job of creating believable characters in nail-biting situations of survival. Oh, and they are all teenagers.


The Colony has figured out a way to harvest highly sought-after, desirable genes from children in order to create a perfect society of beautiful people free of all disease. Of course, that kind of perfection comes at a price. The price of human life.


Children, referred to as outliers, are ripped from their families and taken to harvesting centers.
Asher joins a group of teenagers, Insurgents, whose mission is to rescue these children.
While Asher and his group may be young, they are wise and capable way beyond their years. There are a lot of characters in this story, but besides Asher, I loved Noah, Brynn, and Paige. They are the backbone and strength of the Insurgents.


But there are secrets. And when they are revealed, change everything Asher ever believed about his parents and his life, and have the potential to destroy everyone he loves.
This story concludes with somewhat of a happy ending mixed with a cliffhanger. I could see this entire story unfold as a movie and would be thrilled for the author if it were to be developed as a major film. If you are a fan of gripping dystopian stories where survival is tenuous, you will love this book.

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MY REVIEW:

This is a book that is so real, you can imagine Vanessa and Royce Keller being your next-door neighbors. Royce Keller is an esteemed doctor. Vanessa spends her time helping raise money for charities. Then there are three children, all teenagers.


Somewhere along the way to building a busy, successful medical career as Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Keller lost touch with his wife and children. That is until tragedy strikes.

When his teenage daughter, Hope, is brought into the emergency room, a victim of a motorcycle accident, he doesn’t recognize her. He goes against all medical protocol by treating her and then, in a frantic attempt to save her waning life, gives a blood transfusion directly from his vein to hers. After all, she is his daughter, and their blood should be a match. The result is Hope’s death. The reason—severe trauma wounds and a blood mismatch. The first of many secrets is revealed. Hope is not his child.


And that’s just where the story starts.

The family undergoes such an emotional rollercoaster from the first page of this book until the end. It is a character-driven story, and those are my favorites. While, at times, I wanted to shake both Royce and Vanessa, what they went through on their journey to redemption is relatable and believable. The two remaining children were often stronger than their parents as layer after layer of trust had to be rebuilt.

And did you know it is possible for twins to have different fathers? I didn’t until I read this book. It is called heteropaternal superfecundation.

This is family drama at its best. If you are a fan of deep psychological wounds, healing, and acceptance, you will enjoy this story as much as I did! I highly recommend it!

 

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I received this book as a gift and found it to be a refreshingly light read. Several things appealed to me, such as the small town setting where everyone knows everyone, a single dad raising a little girl, who is also a paramedic and dashingly handsome, and a big city lawyer who has given up on love and God.
Faith is woven throughout the story, but it’s done in a tasteful way so that it doesn’t come across as preachy.
One of my favorite characters in the story is Rebecca, a precocious little girl who adores her father. While the plot and storyline are predictable, I enjoyed the light-hearted read, and it left me feeling hopeful. I am a sucker for a happy ending. Especially one where all the characters come out winners. This author writes from the heart, and that is obvious in this story. If you love Christian-based clean, and wholesome romances, you’ll enjoy this book.

June #BookReviews @dlfinnauthor @DAntion @TeaganGeneviene @harmony_kent @CharlieDaniels @pat_garcia

I’ve had a wonderful month of reading outside the NetGalley and Lone Star Literary books I already reviewed.

I only share 4 and 5-star reviews. Reviews are strictly my own opinions.

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Book Cover for Life and Soul
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MY REVIEW:

Poetry is not meant to simply be read, it is meant to be savored. It is the truest and most raw form of emotions expressed. In this beautiful collection, the author takes the reader through a journey of loneliness, seeking, and finding.
The journey is honest.
Alone in a crowd, an empty life, and deep longing fill the first section of Life and Soul. This stanza expresses it perfectly, “Sitting at a crowded table. Good food, good friends, good wine. And still, a silent tear escapes the corner of my eye…”
The seeking and wisdom in the second portion of the book grabbed at my heart. “All paths and all ways lead to luminous light…” And this, “Love yourself ‘fore another. Believe in yourself. Only then can you love all.”
The Brief Soul collection of poetry brings a short reprieve and understanding. Then it flows into Friendly Soul. I think my favorite in this segment is “True Friend.” “Friendship does not measure nor count the give and take…” Then the joy of finding that one, THE ONE is expressed in joy and gratitude and pure love. In the poem “Bridge,” this line grabbed me, “Through still waters that run deep, love has built a bridge between your soul and mine…”
In the final section of the book, “The Soul,” you will find an eclectic variety of poems expressing a gamut of emotions and experiences. If you appreciate well-written emotive poetry, I can highly recommend this collection from Harmony Kent!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Deep in a California forest, a grieving widow has not only lost her husband but her loyal canine of many years. She is existing in isolation, close to ending it all and joining Rob in death.

Andrea Burr has lived in the forest for so long, that it’s quite comfortable to her, even with bears rummaging through her garbage. She’s a crack shot with a gun and can take care of the generator and necessary wood supply. She prides herself on her independence.
But things change quickly. First, a dog shows up and she happily takes him in and feeds him. Then next a cat with a rat on her back shows up and Drea takes them in as well. And just in time, because she desperately needs a purpose and company. But imagine her shock when she realizes these animals can talk. Oh, and they can use the bathroom and flush the toilet. But it is what they reveal that is both fascinating and horrifying. And that’s just the beginning.

A serial killer is on the prowl and his victims are widows. Andrea is in his crosshairs and he begins to toy with her. Luckily, her late husband’s best friend, Adam, is a policeman. He tries his best to protect her. But it’s Andrea who takes down the killer. Now, it’s over and she can relax.
Wrong! Next comes a crazed lunatic, then aliens.

There are so many complex layers to this story and the author did a superb job of weaving them all together, including a little light romance. This sentence from the book sums it up perfectly: “Ghosts, aliens, serial killers, crazy men trying to take over the world—life won’t be dull around you, Drea.”

If you are a lover of animals, enjoy tense nail-biting suspense, and happy endings, this book is a must-read for you. It is so well-written and gripping. A page-turner for sure!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

We see performers on stage and think what amazing lives they must lead, but as Charlie Daniels shows in this book, it’s never as it seems.
The memoir starts with Charlie’s birth when a bureaucratic mixup put an s at the end of Daniel, therefore changing the family name forever. His parents were LaRue and William Daniel. But the world would know Charlie as Charlie Daniels.
I loved the depiction of his carefree growing-up years as an only child. While he states his father was an alcoholic, the man worked hard and taught Charlie to work hard.
Throughout this memoir, Charlie Daniels shows us the ebb and flow of trying to get established in the world of music. He had several bands before ever settling on The Charlie Daniels Band (CBD) which the world came to know quite well. He was often broke, but he had a fire burning inside that pushed him to keep trying.
Then when the dam broke open, it broke big and the CDB was off and running. And run hard, they did. One of the things that impressed me in this memoir is the strength and determination Charlie had to rise above all the odds and do it with integrity. Honesty was of utmost importance to the man and he demanded it from the people who worked for him.
His love for his wife and child surpassed everything else and that shines through in the writing. Charlie Daniels rubbed elbows with the most elite in Nashville, Hollywood, Los Angeles, and New York City, but he never changed. He had a burning passion for the music he loved.
He sums it up in this excerpt: “If you don’t have a fire in your belly and a heart so full of desire that you can’t imagine your life without a career in music, don’t even put your foot on the path because you are going to get your heart broken.”
He spent an entire lifetime in the music business. At the age of seventy-one, he was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. Then nine years later, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
I think the biggest thing I took away from this beautifully written memoir is the importance of falling down, getting back up, and digging out. As someone once said, it’s not the number of times you fall down that counts, it’s the number of times you get back up. That describes Charlie Daniels. If you are a fan of Southern rock music, you will definitely enjoy this memoir.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

What an epic conclusion to Emlyn’s journey. I’ve followed this saga from book 1 through to the ending.
I’m not sure where to start. I loved everything about this final chapter of the Dead of Winter saga. The author wrapped it up perfectly.
The emotions and insecurities Emlyn felt, despite her amazing accomplishments, made the story realistic. And it was great to be reminded she is only twelve years old, although her abilities far exceed what any normal adult could do.
I won’t leave any spoilers. So much happened in this final episode. I loved the part the goddess Coventina played. Despite her fierce demeanor, her compassion and care for young Emlyn are shown. As the story unfolds and concludes, we are taken along for an intense nail-biting battle against the King of the Nightwalkers. Then the Veil must be repaired so that the dead can return once more to their world and the living world could be safe once again. I think my favorite scene was with Emlyn and Coventina flying. I could almost feel it through the words.
So much happened in this episode, I found myself breathless. What a way to end a saga! I give this author kudos for such a huge undertaking with this series. 

Knuckleheads book cover
PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I have always been fascinated by the dream world and the mystery that surrounds it. But lucid dreaming holds an even greater intrigue. Is it truly possible for someone to purposefully travel in dreams? In this book, Zach finds out. This coming-of-age tale is told from Zach’s point of view in a conversation with his daughter, Abbie.
The conversation begins following Zach’s retirement party and takes the reader back through his growing-up years in Pittsburg, Pa., and his attempt to explore and understand his paranormal ability of lucid dreaming. His best friend, Billy, has psychic abilities. He can’t always know details, but he knows outcomes. The lengths Billy will go to to protect Zach touched me. Both Zach and Billy are particular about whom they confide in and Zach’s father becomes their go-to person. I loved how the father respected the boys’ abilities but also how he tried to help them learn how to use and control them.
The setting, the sixties, is a wonderful era; Pre-computers, pre-cellphones, pre-TV as we know them. The author did a fabulous job of bringing me into this time period with his descriptions and wonderments. The bowling alley belonging to Zach’s father is the setting for a lot of the scenes, with manual pin-setting and maintenance of the lanes. The two boys had so many lessons to learn and I loved that both of them were hard-working and conscientious (something today’s youth could use). The mention of a transistor radio certainly took me back in time, as well as eight-track players and manual transmissions in cars. And while the unusual formatting of the conversation between Zach and Abbie was slightly off-putting at first, once I got into the flow of the story, it disappeared into the background. A great journey backward through the eyes of Zach, but with a paranormal twist. I enjoyed this story!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is a super short read (thirty minutes) that left me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Tessie has never been married and she’s turning sixty-five. She’s always dreamed of living in a big house full of children with a man who adores her. But it’s only a dream.
Or is it?
Surprises are just around the corner for Tessie. This book encourages people to never give up on a dream or on love!

That’s it for me this month. I hope you found something that grabbed your attention. 

Stranger In The Mushroom Patch – #NewRelease @AmandaMThrasher #Review #Giveaway @LoneStarLit #TheMischiefSeries @PRPpress

I am delighted to share a new book from my longtime friend, Amanda Thrasher! This entire series is a pure joy to read!

THE MISCHIEF SERIES
Mischief in the Mushroom Patch
A Fairy Match in the Mushroom Patch
Spider Web Scramble
Stranger in the Mushroom Patch
by
AMANDA M. THRASHER
 
Chapter Book / Fantasy / Action & Adventure / 2ND-4TH Grade
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
 
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 

 

Mischief in the Mushroom Patch, 2/2013, 146 pgs


 

Where do fairies get their magical fairy dust? After leaving the mushroom patch without permission, two mischievous fairies find themselves in more trouble than they can handle. Boris, with a broken ankle and a bent wing, is unable to walk or fly, and Lilly must devise a plan to escort him safely back to the mushroom patch. As with all actions, there are consequences! Lilly and Boris have broken colony rules and wasted precious fairy dust. Sentenced to work in the dust factory, the two learn a valuable lesson about the production of fairy dust, but can they survive the foreman?
 
 
 
A Fairy Match in the Mushroom Patch, 2/2013, 162 pgs
 
Lilly, Boris, and Jack are back! The three friends are together again in this newest addition to the Mischief Series. A natural disaster has taken the elders by surprise, and the scientists are unprepared. Damage to the colony is inevitable! Can the Master Engineers devise a plan to save the colony before they lose their home? The fairies’ Kick-a-Berry Match has been postponed as well, and the fairies must find new ways to entertain themselves until the pitch dries up. Along the way, they make a new friend named Pearle, and though she cannot walk, she can fly with ease. Valuable lessons about friendship, teamwork, and perseverance will be learned as the fairies embark on their newest adventure.
 
Spider Web Scramble, 2/2016, 170 pgs
Every third year, on the fifth full moon, the Mushroom Patch holds a magical Spider Web Scramble. Excitement buzzes through the forest as the fairies prepare to scramble the magical webs in order to complete the course. As a special treat, the elders disclose that the stars will be coming down to join in and play. A wish will be granted for the fairies who are pure of heart and manage to beat the clock, locating the star that has their name etched on it. With the no-fly rule in place, teamwork is the only way Pearle can complete the course. But little do they know that possible danger is in their midst. Will the magical spider web scramble be postponed? Will the stars grant Lilly, Boris, and Jack their wishes? Find out in this delightful magical adventure.
 
 
Stranger in the Mushroom Patch, 2/15/22, 212 pages
Gold Recipient of The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA)
 
Lilly, Boris, and Jack Are Back! Get Ready for a Human Attack!
Who knew a slimy moss bomb war between friends would lead to an adventure of a lifetime! From strategizing with the elders for their playful battle to, of all things, escaping the clutches of a human! It doesn’t take long to learn the fairies shockingly have more in common with the child than they ever could have imagined. Broderick, everyone’s favorite spider, provides the goodies, and Lilly supplies the fairy songs and games. Filled with twists and turns, adventure, and fun, find out if the fairies and the elders can help the stranger reunite with her family. Or will there be a human attack?!
 

Amanda M. Thrasher was born in England, moved to Texas, and resides there still. She’s an award-winning author of Young Adult, General Fiction, Middle Grade, Early Reader Chapter, and Picture Books. Amanda is a multiple Gold Recipient of The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA), earning the award in multiple categories, including Young Adult, General Fiction, and Early Reader Chapter Books. She is also a multiple Gold Medal winner of the Readers’ Favorite International Book awards, a New Apple Literary Award, and has earned a first-place North Texas Book Festival award.

Amanda founded and is the CEO of Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, an independent publishing company. She shares her writing and publishing experience with others through school visits, book signings, trade conferences, and workshops for aspiring writers of all ages.

In addition, Amanda was contracted to write a graphic novel for the Driving on the Right Side of the Road Program. The publication is part of the Driving on the Right Side of the Road (DRSR) program, developed by the Law-Related Education Department of the State Bar of Texas Law Focused Education, Inc., and the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center with funding from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Department of Transportation. The program’s purpose is to offer a preventive educational program to encourage responsible decision-making when it comes to obeying traffic laws and following safe practices. The graphic novel titled What If … A Story of Shattered Lives was adapted into a reader’s theater for as few as five speakers or as many as twenty-six.
 
◆  WEBSITE  ◆  FACEBOOK  ◆  TWITTER AMAZON  ◆
 
————————————–
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
 ONE WINNER! 
Signed copies of the Mischief books, Captain Fin
+ $50 Starbucks Gift Card
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 7/1/2022)

Knuckleheads #NewRelease @DAntion

If you have followed Dan Antion on his fabulous blog, then you are already acquainted with this man. But now, he’s releasing his debut novel, Knuckleheads, and I am thrilled to host him here today on his Book Blog Tour!

Thank you so much, Jan, for inviting me to share your blog space and introduce my debut novel Knuckleheads, Book 1 in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series.

Knuckleheads is the childhood story of the two main characters in this paranormal series. The story is being told by the recently retired Zach Amstead to his adult daughter, Abbie, the day after his retirement party.

Jan, you’ve asked me to talk a little about Zach’s wife, since this is the only book in which she is featured, albeit as a child. Zach explains early in the book, that his wife, Veronica, has been gone for about 15 years. The only things we learn about Ronnie (Veronica’s nickname) are shared in retrospect during the conversation.  

Perhaps an excerpt will help. This is from a classroom scene Zach is describing. Abbie interrupts periodically. In the book, Abbie’s interruptions are set off in a paragraph style that is hard to replicate in WordPress. To help with that, I’ve highlighted them in blue for this post.

“Mrs. Coleman handed those of us in the first row a stack of worksheets. We knew to take one and pass the rest back. I couldn’t resist sniffing the remnants of the ditto-machine fluid as I handed them to the girl behind me, Veronica Bailey. Ronnie giggled and sniffed the papers, too.” Then Mrs. Coleman said, ‘Miss Bailey, please don’t encourage Mr. Amstead.'”

Abbie gave me a wide-eyed look. “Mom got in trouble?”

“Your mom was a bit of a tomboy. She didn’t mind getting yelled at, a little. She never did anything that was bad enough to get punished for, but she liked to laugh, so she looked for the things in life that were funny.”


Ronnie and Zach are friends throughout the book. They were in separate schools for a while and then reunite in high school, toward the end of the book. Once they were back in the same school, they became closer, but not boyfriend/girlfriend. In the excerpt below, Zach’s friend, Billy, is giving Zach a ride home and letting him drive, as practice for his upcoming driver’s test. Ronnie asks for a ride to her house.

I let Ronnie sit in the front so she could give Billy directions. When we reached her house, I got out, so I could switch to the front. Billy was getting out to let me drive.

Ronnie leaned over to me and whispered, “Something else is bothering Billy.”

I knew that as well, but I smiled and whispered that I’d try to find out.

Billy yelled over, “If you two want to kiss goodbye, I promise I won’t look.” I looked at Ronnie, but she laughed and turned away. “Maybe some other time, Zach.”

While not boyfriend and girlfriend during the story, the affection seems to be building and Zach certainly had an interest. In this last excerpt, that fact is noticed by Abbie.

Ronnie walked away. I followed her. She thanked me for what I said but mentioned that it was never a good idea to embarrass Ron. I started to explain, but she stopped me and said, “I know, you can’t help yourself. You can’t let these things go, even though you know you can’t change his mind. That’s what I love about you, Zach.”

Abbie smiled softly, then started laughing. “Lemmie guess, you were all excited at the thought that mom loved you.”

I grinned. “Well, yeah, a little.”

I hope these excerpts give a little insight into the character of Veronica Bailey and how much she meant to Zach and Abbie.

Thanks again, Jan, for the chance to share a little from my book. I hope your followers enjoy it.

PURCHASE LINK

BOOK BLURB:

Zach and Billy didn’t ask for the paranormal powers that were beyond their capacity to understand or control. Zach, interacting with his lucid dreams, and Billy, “gifted “with shadowy glimpses of the future struggle to make sense of the world around them. Adults in authority in the nineteen sixties have no time for what they consider mental outliers of the baby-boom.   The boys are institutionalized, marginalized, and ignored.  Zach’s father learns of the challenges they face as children and knows the dangers they will face as adults. With no way to comprehend how these boys perceive and move within their world, he must find a way to guide them. 

Knuckleheads Kindle Edition

Knuckleheads Paperback

About The Author:

Dan Antion was born outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up and attended college in
the area around western Pennsylvania. Dan has written and published the popular No Facilities
blog since 2011. A lifelong interest in writing became a reality after he retired from a successful
A 42-year-long career in information management.
Knuckleheads, published in June 2022, is the first book in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series. This
story introduces the main characters in this series, in which the next two books will follow in
the late summer and early winter of 2022.
Dan lives in Connecticut with his wife, a few pets, and all the wildlife they can feed.

Author, Dan Antion

Dan’s Author Page on Amazon

The Dreamer’s Alliance Series Blurb:

The Dreamer’s Alliance series chronicles the challenges and dangers faced by two men who have been gifted with paranormal abilities. From their struggles to understand and control these powers through their battle with the attempts of corrupt authorities to exploit them.

A Voice In the Silence – #NewRelease @dlfinnauthor

I am super happy to bring you a brand new book release from my longtime friend and fellow Story Empire contributor, D.L. Finn! Not only is she a poet extraordinaire, but a fabulous children’s story and novel author.

I will be sharing my review of this wonderful story a little later this month. But for now, I’ll turn it over to D.L. and let her tell you about her newest book release.

Thank you, Jan, for having me on your beautiful blog to celebrate the release of A Voice in the Silence.

Do you believe in ghosts? The possibility that there are some souls who just haven’t moved on because they have some unfinished business, or perhaps they just want to hang around and make sure everyone is okay?

Unfortunately, most of us can’t sit down and talk with these lingering spirits, but they do have ways to let us know they are here with us. They might move stuff around, a song that had meaning to you comes on, or you feel the spirit there next to you. There is that unmistakable cold spot they bring with them, and visitations in dreams. The most important message that often comes through is they want you to know they are there with you and they love you.

Then there are those who are gifted, like mediums. They can pass a vague message along to you from the other side. But what if you could directly communicate with your loved one? Would it be a normal conversation like you used to have with them, or would it be something different since they have changed? This communication ends up much like traveling to a different country where they speak a language you are unfamiliar with. The other side seems to have a language of its own.

So getting a message from the spiritual realm might take a bit of translating. Or at least that’s what Drea is about to learn from some very unlikely translators in A Voice in the Silence.

Fun Finn Facts

  1. After sitting at the desk writing, I need to exercise by walking in the forest or doing my stretches.
  2. Our dog Sara, and either my kitties Rupert or Zuzu, are my computer companions.
PURCHASE LINK

Blurb

Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.

Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.

Excerpt

The fading day’s dull orange glow filled the void in Drea’s attention usually occupied by the TV and computer. The landscape held no movement, not even the expected high winds that had caused her power to be shut off to prevent forest fires. A surge shot through her body in the same uncomfortable fashion that the flu had done last week. But it wasn’t a virus relapse—it was a warning that someone, or something, was watching her. 

Perhaps it was a wild animal. A deer, or even . . . “Rob, is that you?” She held her breath, waiting for a sign. Finally, she blew out the empty hope when she couldn’t keep it in anymore. Two years of this had worn her down.

The cold gun on her lap offered no protection against the dark thoughts that took her to a place that was getting harder to climb out of. She pulled her sweater tightly around her and scrutinized the tree-lined driveway that led to the curvy country road. She shifted her weight in the yellow-and-white lounge chair and studied the weapon in her hand.

“You understand, don’t you?”

The .45 pistol her husband had bought her for protection ten years ago had become her confidant when she tired of talking to ghosts. Today, though, it carried the heavy weight of her existence.

“It’s too much. Just too much loss. I’m so alone, and to top it off, Robbie’s so far away.” Her throat tightened. She sipped some water and took a deep breath. “I must disappoint you, even thinking about using this gun on myself, Rob. It would devastate Robbie if I—”

Drea’s shoulders slumped, and her head followed when her glance caught a prominent headline in the morning paper she had retrieved from the end of the driveway. An unidentified woman’s body had been found, and a killer was on the loose. She used the gun to cover the fearful headline, even though her chances of being murdered by a serial killer were slim to none.

She shook her head. What she needed to focus on was her relationship with her son. They used to be so close, before he met that woman. Now he barely called his mother to check on her after his father died or when her beloved pets passed. This morning had brought an unwelcome text from him.

Tammy isn’t feeling well. It wouldn’t be a good time to visit right now. Sorry, Mom. I’ll talk to you soon. Love you.

“I hope he wakes up someday, Rob. That woman is toxic. Of course, you saw through her the first time you met her. I should have listened to you. Do you hear that, Rob? It’s me admitting I’m wrong, which we both know hardly ever happens.”

Amazon Purchase Link US
Amazon Purchase Link UK

Author, D.L. Finn

Author Bio

D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

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D.L. Finn blog

Author Amazon Page

#NewRelease – From Brick and Darkness by @JLS_author @wildrosepress

I am thrilled to introduce a new author to you today. J.L Sullivan is a fellow Wild Rose Press Author, and this is his debut novel. I’ll let him tell you about it.

Welcome, J.L.!

PURCHASE LINK

Thank you for the warm welcome, Jan!

I love cities. The bigger, the better. A city creates adventure around every corner. I’ve traveled to New York City several times and never experienced the same trip twice. For my wife’s birthday, we took a train to Chicago for a long weekend. We did all the tourist requirements, but the best part was when we accidentally stumbled into a tiki bar we found around the back of a building that served insanely indulgent—and often aflame—cocktails. That “accident” became the most memorable part of the trip.

So when I wrote From Brick & Darkness, it was important to me to set it in the right city, with all of the excitement—and uncertainty—that accompanies an urban setting. Where else could you find a hundred-year-old apartment building with an abandoned cellar down the street from a comic book store owned by an eccentric storyteller?

I’ve lived most of my adult life in St. Louis, and have always appreciated its nooks and crannies. It has vibrant neighborhoods clustered beneath luxury high rises that sit next to abandoned buildings. The juxtaposition was the perfect setting for a dark novel about djinn.

And like my protagonist Bax, St. Louis has more to offer than it appears, has made some questionable decisions, and in the end, will need to rely on friends to surmount some of its greatest challenges. Telling Bax’s story in my hometown made perfect sense.

I hope you enjoy going on Bax’s journey in St. Louis as he learns you may not always want what you wish for.

Courtesy Wild Rose Press

BOOK BLURB:

Bax always fantasized something remarkable would happen in his life. So when a decrepit man with glowing purple eyes offers him a ring intended for his estranged father, Bax accepts.

The ring speaks to Bax in a dream, tempting him with a vision of a powerful djinn. Desperate to make his fantasies a reality, Bax unleashes a creature called Ifrit, but soon learns this djinn isn’t what the ring led him to believe. Feeding off the depths of his subconscious, the sinister demon fulfills what he thinks Bax wants by manipulating, threatening, and murdering. With everyone he loves in danger and a trail of crimes pointing back at him, Bax must scramble to solve the puzzle that will banish Ifrit forever.

EXCERPT:

Neck bones popped as his head rotated toward me, his face eclipsing the rays of the streetlight. His irises were dull purple, glazed over with a foggy film, and deep-set wrinkles radiated from the corners of his eyes like arrows drawing attention to them.

A shudder caused the keys to slip from my hand and clank on the ground. My face burned with shame that the poor man’s appearance had startled me. My rudeness would have disappointed Mom.

“I’m sorry, but really—” I snagged my keys.

His hand slithered out of the brick-colored sleeve as his arm rose, trembling as he strained to hold the weight of his own limb. Gloved in loose, veiny skin, his skeleton hand had yellowed fingernails so overgrown they grew in on themselves like curly birthday ribbons. As his fingers unfurled, he revealed a ring nestled in his palm.

It was large. Too large. The ring resembled the toy jewelry Jason’s sister played with or something from a Halloween costume. Grimy gold with a single dull purplish jewel that matched his eyes.

His hand trembled under the heaviness of the ring. “Take it.”

Shifting my backpack to my other shoulder, I took it. “What is this?”

The corners of his thin lips curled into a grin as a gust of warm, dry wind cut through the chilly October night and swirled around me.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Brick-Darkness-J-L-Sullivan-ebook/dp/B09THQ24TC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2QI1IHMS3OVJV&keywords=from+brick+and+darkness+sullivan&qid=1646400481&sprefix=from+brick+and+darkness%2Caps%2C81&sr=8-1

BN.com: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/from-brick-darkness-j-l-sullivan/1141068076?ean=9781509240081

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60508978

Bookbub:https://www.bookbub.com/books/from-brick-darkness-by-j-l-sullivan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J. L. Sullivan writes young adult stories inspired by gritty urban environments and the tales that percolate within abandoned buildings and desolate alleys. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Princess Penelope Picklesworth.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Website: www.jlsullivan.net

Twitter: @jls_author

Instagram: @JLS_author

Facebook: @jlsullivanauthor

April #BookReviews @linneatanner @teagangeneviene @RobertaEaton17 @harmony_kent @ColleenChesebro @Marjorie_Mallon @mhurdle112

Most of my book reviews for April have either been for Lone Star Literary Blog Tours or NetGalley, and already posted, but I do have three more to add.

Courtesy Pixabay

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is a well-written short story incorporating ancient Roman history with fiction. The author did a great job of writing a fictitious account of what could have actually happened. The story begins when two young aristocrats are contemplating their futures. Lucius Antonius is sure of a high-ranking position under Augustus Caeser.
To his surprise, when he is summoned to meet with Augustus, he finds himself forced into a position of either forsaking his family or facing sure death. The father of young Lucius is accused of being a traitor and Augustus issues the order that Lucius must assist in his father’s forced suicide.
The young man is torn between his love for his father and fear of Augustus if he doesn’t obey.
I enjoyed the bit of romance between Lucius and his slave, Brigata. The story shows the great contrast between slaves and noblemen and the big lesson Lucius learns.
While my heart broke for all the injustice being doled out by Caesar, I enjoyed the growth in Lucius as he had to make hard choices. The story depicts the time period perfectly.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This thirteenth segment of the Dead of Winter series is heart-stopping! Battles are raging. Arawan has amassed a huge army of the dead and the fingers of grayness are creeping closer and closer to Pergesca. But Goddesses are appearing in this part of the story and it leaves me hopeful that together with their combined powers, they might defeat the king of the nightwalkers. Coventina was introduced in this part of the story and although tiny, she is mighty and fierce. Emlyn’s confidence in her own abilities is growing by leaps and bounds. She is experimenting with different pieces of magic and is surprising herself when the results are astounding. Then the goddess Deae Matres embeds the emblem of the society of the Deae Matres, the five-petal flower, into Emlyn’s skin. That makes her the youngest ever to bear the mark of the society.
We see in this segment of the story just how deeply attached Emlyn has become to all of her friends. She cannot bear the thought of losing any of them in the fierce battle.
Then we get to see Thyrus, The Listener show back up in the form of a dragon. Emlyn’s affection for him is touching. The battles rage and Emlyn is in grave danger when the story comes to an end. I cannot wait for the conclusion!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Poetry Treasures is an apt title for this unique collection and collaboration of poetry. It is an eclectic and talented group of poets who have come together to contribute to this anthology, and while writing styles are different, each poem is to be savored. Reading this collection also gave me the opportunity to meet some new authors, such as Elizabeth Merry, Jules Paige, and D. Avery. At the same time, I enjoyed poems from authors that I know and follow, Robbie Cheadle, Colleen Cheseboro, Miriam Hurdle, M.J. Mallon, and Harmony Kent. I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. Each poem deals with relationships in some way, as that is the overarching theme.

M.J. Mallon’s poem, “No Holidays for Writers,” struck a chord with me. Here’s one small example, “Goading, grinning, “Edits to do!” My evil editor winks. Tormenting me…with spelling games confuse and contest…”
Then there’s this one from Lynda McKinney Lambert. “I heard the roar of Harley Thunder. The warrior in black leathers returned home.”
I loved all of the poems. So, if you want something with variety and are a lover of deeply expressed poetry, this would be a great book for you!

That’s it for me for April. If you missed any of my other reviews for the month, here you go.

https://jansikesblog.com/2022/04/21/bookreview-the-catch-heartofafrica-bookblogtour-lonestarlit/

https://jansikesblog.com/2022/04/09/bookreview-summer-nights-with-a-cowboy-_caitlincrews-netgalley/

https://jansikesblog.com/2022/04/08/the-bones-of-amoret-newrelease-herbertwriter-lonestarlit/

Books I loved! March #BookReviews @stacitroilo @virgilante @hmkindt @wendyjaynescott @LBroday

March was a super busy month for me, but I still managed to read some GREAT books!

Created in Canva
PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is the third installment in the Keystone Couple novellas and it was great to see some of the characters from the first two books make cameos, especially Rick and Romy.
Elena is a wedding planner. She lives on her family’s vineyard in a huge house that fits all of them. And while her job is to help happy couples unite in marriage, she is closed off as far as any future love for herself. The author cleverly threw in just enough backstory to understand Elena’s cynicism that stems back to her high school days ten years ago. Aaron is a policeman and is Rick, Elena’s cousin’s, best friend. He’s always wanted to date Elena, but after the high school fiasco, never had the nerve. Instead, he settled for a narcissistic self-centered woman I enjoyed loathing. The minute Heather shows up in the story, I wanted to slug her. Unfortunately, Elena did, which ended up with her in Aaron’s handcuffs.
My favorite part of the story was how the author showed Elena’s big heart with a more than generous gift to Aaron’s sister who is suffering her own tragedy. With so many obstacles standing in their way, it looked impossible that Aaron and Elena would ever get together. This is a great romance and a short read and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes humor, tragedy and some despicable characters all rolled into one story.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Anytime I pick up a book from C.S. Boyack, I know I am in for a treat. This book did not disappoint. Book #5 in The Hat series is different. Lizzie and The Hat are on a unique sort of quest, one that involves hunting a human killer instead of zombies, ghouls, or even werewolves. A coven of witches is in danger. One has already been killed and no one is safe. They hire Lizzie and The Hat to find the killer.
The story takes several unexpected turns. It was good to see the regular band members from Lizzie and The Pythons. And I enjoyed the relevant path the band took to get more exposure. It’s true to life. Every band needs a promo video and let’s not forget T-shirts to sell. I’d like to have one of those T-shirts. (hint, hint, Boyack)
I loved the new characters Boyack introduced. Cyrus, Dash, and Destiny all added so much to the story and I absolutely loved the witchcraft part of the story. I’d be remiss not to mention the “creatures” that come into this story. Noodles is straight-out fantasy, and even though his physical appearance is frightening, he has a heart of gold like any devoted pet. I had never heard of Bog Trogs or ambergris. Those were new to me.
Another thing I love is Boyack’s easy way of slipping in things from previous books, like this: “The little black fox trotted past revelers dressed as a cluster of root monsters…” And this, when Cyrus is giving Dash a journal: “This one is an Experimental Notebook…”
Anyone familiar with Boyack’s previous works will recognize these clever insertions.
The magic is over the top in this book. I won’t leave any spoilers, but let’s just say I was on the edge of my seat a couple of times. Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Excitement…all words I would use to describe this latest book from Boyack. I highly recommend it!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This book is a spinoff from the Eternal Artifacts series and I absolutely loved it. It is YA fantasy at its best!
The story begins with Catron and her father, who is a glassblower. Catron is his helper but has dreams of something better, something more exciting and adventurous than glassblowing. So, when Dawkins, a member of King Mo’s elite guard, shows up with claims that Catron has been chosen to learn at the Vradian Academy, she has mixed emotions of excitement and fear, as well as sadness about leaving her father.
From the start, I fell in love with this character. As other characters arrive in the story, also students of the academy, we start to see relationships form and bonds built. It seems that none of them chose to attend the academy. Through various circumstances, it was forced. This almost immediately gives all of them a common bond. And when lives are threatened, they are able to work together using their individual talents.
This author does a fantastic job of writing from a teenager’s point of view. The thoughts, words, and actions are believable and well portrayed throughout the story.
If you love a story with tons of adventure, magic, and teenage drama, this is a book you will love. And it is not limited to the YA category. Without any doubt, adults would enjoy this escape into fantasy as well. I highly recommend it!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This book wraps up the unforgettable Lone Star Ranch stories. Crockett Legend fell in love with Paisley Malone when they were just kids. But a family feud tore them apart and to add salt to the wound, Crockett, who is now a judge, had sentenced Paisley’s brother to prison for crimes he’d committed. Then the brother died. There is no way they will ever be able to get past the bitterness. Or is there?
Only Linda Broday could craft a story so compelling out of such broken pieces. Evil abounds in this story. Hatred and spite take center stage.
Love is a powerful healer, though and a healer, Paisley is. When the Lone Star Ranch needs a nurse to tend to injured and sick, it’s the perfect way for Crockett to keep Paisley safe, and to work on trying to mend their fences.
Add in a hilarious talking parrot and you’ve got quite a complex and intriguing story. I love the way Broday works the characters through all obstacles. When any happy outcome seems impossible, she finds a way to bring back together what is shattered. A great historical western romance that I highly recommend. It is the perfect wrap-up to the Lone Star series and while I shed a few tears at some of the events, I closed the book with a happy heart.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This book contains 31 different writing prompts based on mythical creatures such as unicorns and mermaids. Each prompt is designed to spark the imagination of a child (or adult) who is wanting to write a fantasy story. The colorful illustrations are a delight and lend to the prompt suggestions. For example, one prompt asks the budding author to describe where dragons live while another gives a what-if scenario. What if you are gifted a magical pair of ballerina slippers that transforms you into a dancing fairy, but you mix them up with your regular shoes. If you have a budding author in your family, this book of prompts is the perfect gift. My granddaughter who loves to read and to write will be getting this book for her birthday this year.

That’s it from me. I hope you saw something here that piqued your interest!

January #BookReviews! @NLBadger @TalesOfWhoa @DavidGrann @DarleneLF @SharonSala1 @colleenhoover @LBroday @teagangeneviene

I’ve had another month of some amazing reads! I only post 4 and 5-star reviews.

Created in Canva
PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I bought this book because of the setting. The Isle of Skye is fascinating to me and any story set there attracts me. And I was not disappointed. It is a love story like none other and a wonderful prequel to the Clan of Dragons series.
The improbability of a huge black dragon and tiny woodland fairy falling in love is huge. But that’s exactly what happens in this story. Duff is a dragon. Robina is a tiny fairy. But when using her magic, they are able to shift into human form, and they fall deeply and eternally in love. Robina tries to return to her fairy home after making love to Duff but finds her heart is empty and torn. Then when her mother reveals a huge dark secret, it sets Robina free. I loved everything about this story from the powerful, but lonely dragon to the tiny and magical fairy. I look forward to the rest of this series.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Wow! I read this book in one sitting. I had to find the answers to Brad and Cara’s disappearance. But then when I did, I reeled with the shock of the truth. This story has all the things to keep a reader engaged. A missing twin brother, a haunted forest, rumors galore, and people turning up dead who dare to share any information. This author created a creepy and sinister atmosphere that transported me directly into that thick and dark forest along with Dan and his father, as they embarked on a mission to find out what had happened to Brad and Cara ten years earlier. Throw an ancient and evil alien into the mix and you have adventure galore! The twist the story took at the end had me gasping. The characters are multi-dimensional, the writing superb and the story gripping. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great tale!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I have to be honest, it took me a couple of tries to finally get into this book enough to read it. And when I did, I couldn’t believe the horrors that were inflicted on the Osage Indian tribe. When the United States government forced the tribe onto reservation land in Oklahoma, they had no idea they were forcing them onto huge oil deposits. Once it was discovered in the early 1900s, the Osage became the richest Indian tribe in North America. But because of the way the government still viewed Indians, they were not given control of their money. Instead, they assigned guardians. The story is based around one Osage woman’s family. Mollie Burkhurt had two sisters and a mother. The story begins with the murder of her younger sister, Anna. A single bullet to the back of the head. Then over time, other murders occurred until the only member left of her family was Mollie herself. There was now a total of 24 Osage murders and not one case solved. J. Edgar Hoover had just taken over the newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation. When the huge number of murders gained his attention, he recruited Tom White, a former Texas Ranger to head the investigation. It took several years, but the corruption at every level of government was exposed along with the man behind all the murders. The motive was money and control. This is not an easy story to read and in fact, I found it quite tedious at times, but it recounts a time in American history that deserves to be told. Kudos to David Grann for telling it in such precise detail. I can only imagine the amount of work that went into research for this exposé. And I have heard they are in the process of making this story into a movie.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

What a fun read! Carly is laser-focused on making her summertime business a success. When she’s not serving her delicious ice cream to patrons, she’s creating new flavors to tempt their palates. And what a great location! Her ice cream hut sits on the beach in Southern California, and long lines are common. She has no time or interest in love. She tried it once and got burned. Never again. The humiliation of the broken engagement still stings, even after a year. She wasn’t good enough for Declan (or so his mother proclaimed.) The story opens with Carly bartending at a bachelorette party as a favor to a friend. She’s anxious to try out her new alcohol/ice cream concoctions, which are an instant hit. The male strippers hired for the party are dressed as firemen. So, it’s no wonder Carly had her doubts when real firefighters showed up. Sparks flew, but she would never date a fireman again. Her father and brother are both firemen. It’s too dangerous. No, never a fireman. But when circumstances throw her and Noah together in a fake boyfriend, girlfriend scenario, neither are prepared to fall in love. This is a quick read with fantastic scenery and delicious ice cream melting under the spell of Noah Blaze.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This book is different from anything I’ve ever read. Occasionally, I thought to myself, “this is too far-fetched to be believable,” then the next thought I’d have would send me deeper into the story. Is it possible for two people to die at the same time and switch bodies when one is resuscitated? Maybe. But I’ll start from the romance aspect of the story. Leeds had money. He didn’t need to work, but he loved music so took a gig playing bass in a band that he hated their music. When they land a job playing a wedding, Leeds’ life changes forever. The sister of the bride captivates him completely. Layla is fresh, honest, uninhibited, and pushes every boundary. Months into their relationship, an incident changes both of them forever. So, when Leeds decides to go back to where their love first bloomed, at the house where the wedding had been, weird and unexplained things begin to happen. He wants so desperately to salvage the love he has for Layla, but she’s changed. She’s not the same girl and he grows farther away from her. Enters Willow. Willow is a ghost trapped in a realm she cannot get out of. But there’s something hauntingly familiar about Willow and when she takes over Layla’s body so she can communicate with Leeds, he feels the old spark he used to feel for Layla. I won’t spoil how all of this got worked out, but it is intense and I might have caught myself holding my breath a time or two. Different? YES! But a great story I couldn’t stop reading! If you like stretching your mind beyond all your normal limits and boundaries, this might be the story for you!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Lily Catherine Brownfield has suffered so much in her young life. As the book opens, she is in the hospital recovering from a horrible car crash that leaves her disfigured. Her shallow fiance takes one look at her face and immediately turns away in disgust. When she gave him back the ring, I wanted her to stuff it down his arrogant throat. She’s recuperating in her beach cottage when a newspaper blows across the pristine sand. She chases it until she retrieves the trash. But then her curiosity is piqued when she sees the newspaper is from Oklahoma, and for the lack of anything better to do, she puts it back together and reads it. But it’s a classified ad that draws her attention. A cook is wanted for a three-month round-up on an Oklahoma ranch. Maybe this is exactly what Lily needs, to get away from the awful memories of the car crash and breakup. She makes a call without realizing it’s the middle of the night two time zones over. A sleepy male voice answers and she inquires about the job. He hires her sight unseen. Case Longren just needs someone to cook for the cowboys during round-up. He’s beyond shocked when beautiful blonde-haired Lily arrives to fill the position. It is inevitable that the two of them get together, but it’s a long road. Lily’s mistrust of all men keeps him at arm’s length. After all, how could anyone look at the horrible scar on her face and not be disgusted? She is every time she looks in the mirror. To say it took some work to break through her icy barriers is an understatement. But with a lot of help from mother nature and near-death close calls, she begins to melt. I loved Lily’s father and brothers. They were all such unique characters. This is a fun read and satisfying love story with a great ending.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

It’s been a while since I posted a review of one of my sister’s books, but this story captured my heart from the first page. Sam Legend Jr is a conflicted man. He’s left his prestigious family and is living like a hermit in a primitive dwelling. His only passion left in life is making knives. That is until Cheyenne Ronan bursts into the dwelling and threatens his life. The attraction between the two is a slow burn and it takes a while for Sam to forgive himself for the death of his wife and accept a new love. There is lots of action and lots of memorable characters in this story. Watching it unfold is like watching a flower open under the sun. If you love romance set in the 1800s, you will love this story. If you love flawed characters, you will love this story, as both Sam and Cheyenne have their secrets. I highly recommend it to anyone who just loves a well-written and compelling character-driven story!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Another compelling installment in Emlyn’s journey! This segment of the story begins on a slower note with Gethin and the gift of a powerful sword. Then it moves swiftly back to Pergesca where we left Emlyn, Osabide, and Zasha in Journey 10. Throughout this segment, perhaps more so than the others, Emlyn grows stronger and more confident in her powers. I loved the introduction of new characters, as well as the reuniting of the old. When Zasha goes before the High Council of The Deae Matres to warn of the dangers coming, I was somewhat surprised by the political structure of the council. I had expected it to be made up of people like the Deae Matres we have been traveling with through these novelettes. Not the case. Just that scenario brings a touch of reality into this fantasy story and I can see the resemblance of our government. What I love most about Journey 11 is the way the author brought me into the story through her excellent descriptive scenes. The clothes they wore, the food that ate, the way the city appeared—I was there! I also love how Emlyn creates and holds a portal with little help from Luce. A great part of the story!!

That’s it for this month. I hope you found a book you cannot pass up!