#NewRelease – Dragons Walk Among Us @DanRiceWrites

I am so pleased and excited to share an awesome new book release with you from a fellow Wild Rose Press author, Dan Rice! Take a look at this fabulous cover!

But I am going to let Dan tell you about it!

Thanks for having me as your guest today, Jan. I’m super excited about my new book and I hope your readers will be too!

            Dragons Walk Among Us is about the friendship between the protagonist Allison Lee and her squad. I imagine them as typical high schoolers with lives and interests and conflicts young adult audiences will identify with. For example, Allison is infatuated with cross country star Jason, who sees her only as a friend, if a good one. Unbeknownst to Allison, her close friend Haji harbors a ginormous crush on her.

            The card-carrying members of Allison’s squad are Dalia, her BFF, and Haji, the editor of the school’s online newspaper. The three of them are inseparable, although Allison seeing or perhaps hallucinating mythical creatures threatens their bond. While the story is 100% Allison’s, Dalia and Haji are significant players in the novel’s plot. As such, I give each unique interests, while allowing for enough overlap for great friendships.

            Let’s take a closer look at Allison. She is more introverted than her squad but isn’t painfully shy. This one trait differentiates her quite a bit from her more outgoing friends. Her passion is photography in all its forms. In fact, she photographs many of the sporting events Haji covers for the school newspaper. Allison’s also concerned about the environment and photographs local climate protests that Dalia organizes. Right away, you can see how their interests are different yet intersect. I hope this makes their friendship seem realistic.

            Of course, there are other ways I differentiate the characters. Allison is biracial and, at one point, suffers abuse for her appearance. Dalia dyes her hair neon pink and sports a nose ring. While the two girls are cross country runners, Haji refuses to run even when in danger, citing flat fleet––okay, he runs eventually because he’s not a dunce. In terms of how they speak, Dalia is typically upbeat, while Allison is a bit more subdued. Haji, being obsessed with all things sports-related, often uses terminology and sayings derived from athletics.

            I hope the realistically portrayed friendship between Allison and her squad adds an extra layer of depth to Dragons Walk Among Us, making the characters irresistible to readers. In the end, after all, no matter how fantastical and well told the tale, it’s the characters we remember.

Blurb:

 Shutterbug Allison Lee is trying to survive high school while suffering the popular girl’s abuse. Her life is often abysmal, but at least her green hair is savage. Her talent for photography is recognized by the school paper and the judges of a photo contest.

While visiting her friend Joe, a homeless vet, Allison’s life irrevocably changes after an attack leaves her blind. All her dreams as a photojournalist are dashed as she realizes she’ll never see again. Despair sets in until she is offered an experimental procedure to restore her vision. But there are side effects, or are they hallucinations? She now sees dragons accompanying some of the people she meets. Can she trust her eyes, or has the procedure affected her more than she can see?

Excerpt:

Dalia resumes talking about strategies to solve the equation, but I barely register a word. My gaze is lured back to Dr. Radcliffe like a particle inexorably pulled into a black hole. My eyes widen, and my jaw slackens. Furrowing my brow, I blink, desperate to clear the mind-boggling absurdity from my vision.

Projecting from Dr. Radcliffe’s body is a shimmering golden dragon, the European variety complete with sparkling golden scales, talons, and green wings. The dragon fades and flashes in and out of existence. The tail, the bulky body, and leathery wings pass through the wall as if all are insubstantial. This is insane asylum madness. I must be hallucinating, or maybe it’s my prosthetic eyes. Not a single person, and there must be at least fifteen people in the library, notices the beast. On top of that, the dragon doesn’t make a sound. There is no way an animal of that size can be silent in such a confined space.

I don’t know if I should hope it’s my eyes or not. If it’s not my eyes, I’m a nutter. If it is my eyes…it’s too terrible to consider.

I draw a shuddering breath and chew on my lower lip. The hairs on the back my neck stand up straight, and my body tenses like prey ready to flee a predator. I want to look away from Dr. Radcliffe and the craziness glimmering all around him, but I can’t.

“Allison. Allison.”

I tear my gaze away from the professor, but I still glimpse the dragon’s glimmering golden light in my peripheral vision.

Dalia stares at me in evident exasperation. “Did you hear anything I just said?”

My gaze shifts back to Dr. Radcliffe and the draconic projection surrounding him. A student walks straight through a foreleg. My mouth drops open.

“What is it?” Dalia asks and turns in her seat to face Dr. Radcliffe. She turns back to me. “Do you know him?”

“Know who?” I shift my gaze to Dalia, long enough to catch her puzzled look, then look at Dr. Radcliffe.

“That old man you’re staring at,” Dalia says. “Are you okay? Is he the one who attacked you?”

I stare at my friend. “What? No. How would I know? I don’t have any memory of that. That’s Dr. Radcliffe. He knows my dad.”

I see golden scales and a red cardigan right behind Dalia. I look up and feel like my prosthetics are going to pop out of my head. Behind Dalia is Dr. Radcliffe and the twinkling winged beast.

“Oh my God,” I whisper.

A spectral golden forefoot with foot-long white talons passes straight through Dalia’s chest.

“What?” Dalia says. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Dr. Radcliffe stares at me from behind rimless spectacles. He is holding a thick book at his side. I try to meet his gaze, but my eyes keep flicking up at the looming dragon’s head, staring down at me with yellow eyes split by black pupils.

“You’re Raymond Lee’s daughter,” Dr. Radcliffe says. “Wait. Don’t tell me. Alice.”

I shake my head. Dalia faces the professor.

“Hello, Dr. Radcliffe,” Dalia says. “Allison was telling me all about you.”

“Oh, that’s right. Allison. How could I forget? And who are you, young lady?”

“Dalia.”

“What a lovely name. Your hair. Pink like a dahlia,” the professor says and hefts the book he holds. “Well, I will let you young ladies get back to it. Good day.”

Author, Dan Rice

Dan has wanted to write novels since first reading Frank Herbert’s Dune at the age of eleven. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he often goes hiking with his family through mist-shrouded forests and along alpine trails with expansive views.

Dragons Walk Among Us is his debut novel. He plans to keep writing fantasy and science-fiction for many years. You can explore his blog at https://www.danscifi.com.

Social Media Links:

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June #BookReviews Part 1 @dlfinnauthor @kim_redford @LizCroweAuthor @lcarrollbradd @dalia_dupris

Welcome to some of my June reading thoughts!

It was such a pleasure to read the newest release from D.L. Finn!

It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy. Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I have enjoyed everything I’ve read from this author and this book is no exception. The author has a unique talent for making you stop and think, “What if?” In this book about the tree fairies and the ancient Redwood trees, we find an ordinary family with an extraordinary connection to nature on a camping trip. What happens to the children first, then to the adults is both heartwarming and magical. The family is given a mission to save the beautiful Redwood forest from destruction. Then the author takes us years ahead and we find the two children, Daniel and Colette grown, married, and with children of their own. The tree fairies visit again and the connection is forged between the human and fairy families, and the Wise Trees who speak to the fairies. The two following short stories, are in two different fairies’ POV and are delightful as well. This book is classified as a Middle School level, but at almost seventy, I thoroughly enjoyed it, so it is a wonderful read for all ages! If you love magic, nature, and fantasy all combined into a lovely heartwarming story, you will love this book! I highly recommend it.

Violet Ashwood arrives in Wildcat Bluff County with one agenda: convince the hunky Mr. July from the Wildcat Bluff Fire Rescue’s annual benefit calendar to be the face–and body–of her new lonely hearts online dating service. She didn’t count on his firm refusal, nor did she count on seeing him again. Until she discovers he’s her new landlord.

Kemp Lander, aka Mr. July, wants nothing to do with Violet’s schemes to make him a model for her Cowboy Chat Corral, particularly once he finds out she fudged the truth on her rental contract by claiming she was a cowgirl. He’s got enough problems trying to keep trespassers off his ranch and doesn’t need the distraction of his sexy renter.

All Violet and Kemp want is to save their livelihoods and have their lifelong dreams realized. But it’ll take joining forces and discovering they’re better together to finally meet their goals.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own thoughts. What’s not to love? A rugged handsome cowboy who is also a firefighter sets the tone for this smoking sexy read. When Violet Ashford comes across a calendar from Wildcat Bluff County, Texas that features its volunteer firefighters, she is enthralled with Mr. July. He would make the perfect face for the new online dating site she is developing. But she has to meet him. She puts her life in San Antonio on hold and responds to an ad to work as a cowgirl in Wildcat Bluff County. This is the perfect opportunity to meet Mr. July and approach him about being her model for the site. What a surprise when she finds it is Mr. July (Kemp Lander) himself who has hired her to work on his ranch. Violet knows nothing about being a cowgirl, but she’s a fast learner and determined. The sparks fly between Violet and Kemp but with trespassers digging holes all over Hallelujah Ranch looking for hidden bootlegger gold, and Violet learning how to be a cowgirl, there is no time to explore the sparks. One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the tertiary characters. Bertha, who runs a gourmet chocolate shop, Cousin Lester, The Buick Brigade, Sydney Steele, the other firefighters, the radio DJ and many more helped add layers and dimensions to this story. So, it’s not just a romance. It’s much deeper. Add Fernando the wonder bull and his love, Daisy Mae, and you’ve got all the makings of a busy and engaging read. Also, the added layer of the history of the Hallelujah Ranch and the hidden speakeasy along with the mystery of Lady Mauve was fun. So, anyone who is looking for a hot sexy romance with lots of layers will enjoy this story as much as I did!

When Emerson Tyler’s unrequited high school crush crashed into her first group meeting of the DSN’s social media department, it was strange, to say the least. When she learned that her crush wasn’t as “unrequited” as she’d always believed, things got even stranger. On the day Bryce Nordlinger had crushed her teenaged heart—not to mention ruined her reputation in order to save his lady-killer status—she’d sworn that she’d never trust him or any man ever again. And she had no intention of breaking that oath, no matter how much more tempting he’d become as a grown-up NHL star.
Bryce had always wanted Em to be more than the smart, snarky high school girl who helped him with his terrible English essays. But he’d been busy burnishing his rep as future jock stud, and when his fellow hockey bros caught him skating with her alone in a deserted rink, he’d chosen the easiest path—one that left her hurt in a way he never thought he’d be able to heal. His complete shock at seeing her all grown up and more beautiful than ever in the meeting room at DSN morphed into a steel-plated resolve. He would win her back and make up for the mess he’d made of her high school senior year while dragging the once-proud Detroit hockey program out of the dumpster fire and back to prominence at the same time. 

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I received a PDF in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.
A second chance love story. National Hockey League star, Bryce, returns to his hometown when he’s traded in the league. A chance encounter with an old high school flame sets this story in motion. But it takes more than one encounter to repair the damage Bryce inflicted on Emerson’s heart. He has to work hard to earn his way in, to her forgiveness and to her love. I received this book as a gift and although it was a bit confusing at times, by the end, it worked itself out. The author did a good job of combining sports and romance. This book is Steamy and the language is foul. I do not find either of those offensive but some readers might. I enjoyed tagging along with Bryce and Emerson for the ride!

 

A visit to the coastal Oregon town where her brother is a lighthouse keeper opens Gala Pedersdotter to the wider world. So much so that she dreads returning to the family dairy farm in the eastern part of the state. She’d rather while away the summer on friendly outings in the company of two attentive loggers, Hal and Bork. Her secret wish is that roguish Hal will ask to court her.
Instead, she’s surprised by Bork’s fervent request to act as his pretend fiancée during his parents’ upcoming week-long visit. Of course, she agrees to help out this quiet man with his dilemma. When her decision threatens the balance among the friends, Gala is torn between Hal, who has suddenly shown interest and fulfilling her promise to Bork.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I received this novella as part of a contest entry. I struggled with the first part of the book. The author did a lot of “telling” in narrative form. There was no action and little dialogue. But as Gala’s friendship with Hal and Bork developed and her attraction to Hal grew, the dynamics of the story picked up. A pretend engagement for the sake of Bork’s parents who were coming for a visit seemed simple enough. But nothing is ever as simple as it appears. I won’t leave a spoiler for the story but by mid-story, my attention was captured and I had to see what Gala would choose. The story has a satisfactory conclusion.

 

Rebecca Layton returns to her beachside hometown of Sunnyville, California, determined to explore the possibility of rekindling her past relationship with the love of her life, Raymond Colton. She’s devastated to discover that he has moved on and is now engaged.
Raymond Colton harbors resentment towards Rebecca for abandoning him to pursue her dreams of life in the big city. Now she’s back and more beautiful than ever. But Raymond’s heart has been broken more than once and risking more heartache with Rebecca isn’t a gamble he’s willing to take.
When Rebecca agrees to use her marketing expertise to help Raymond’s father salvage his failing family business–Colton’s Ice Creamery–she and Raymond are thrown together, and old flames are ignited. Can they heal the wounds from their past and embrace the possibility of a brighter tomorrow?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is a novella I received in exchange for a fair and honest review. It was a quick, entertaining read. It is a romance set in a small town with unrequited love between two adults that began as teenagers. But there are lots of obstacles in the way that prevent them from finding the courage to revisit the flame that sparked so many years ago. There’s a lot of water under the bridge. I loved the plot. I loved the characters and this novella has a satisfying ending.

#BookReviews! @fredsdiary1981 @hmkindt @nonniejules @EnigmaSeries #RRBCAuthors

I read constantly. And it’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to post some of my reviews. So, today I’m going to remedy that.

The books and reviews are listed in random order.

THE BLURB:

A holiday can change everything…

…it did for Fred.

He went on a two-week break with three friends to the Spanish island of Ibiza in July 1976. It was so enjoyable they all vowed to come back for the following season.

In April 1977, Fred returned to Ibiza, alone, in pursuit of his dream.

Behind him, he left his family, his girlfriend, and a promising career in banking.

Challenges lay ahead.

This would be no holiday.

He needed a place to stay and to find work that would sustain him through the next six months.

This true to life memoir follows 21-year-old Fred’s adventures as he acclimatises to living abroad. In a time before instant communication, he keeps in touch with family and friends by letter. They are his lifeline to home.

If you enjoy reading about people’s life-changing experiences, then this book is for you.

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir from Robert (aka Fred) Fear! As he took me along with him on the many adventures he had in Ibiza during the summer of 1977, I never lost interest or got bored. That summer changed the author’s life. It was not all roses. He had to work hard at different jobs to make ends meet. He slept in a tiny room and shared a bathroom with other tenants. But the magic of the island outweighed the discomforts. Mr. Fear gave me an inside view of moving to a foreign place and becoming a local. He immersed himself in the culture, the people, and the jobs he had to work in order to stay the entire summer. It became apparent throughout the story, that he grew through the experience. His confidence increased and his determination to have more adventures grew. This is a well-written memoir. The author made me feel as if I was there with him. I found it to be highly interesting and entertaining. Anyone who loves to read true stories will surely enjoy this one!

PURCHASE LINK:

THE BLURB:

Dottie Gale would hitch up with a tornado if it took her out of Kansas. Stuck in a dead-end teaching job beside her cheating ex Corbin isn’t her idea of a dream life. So when her wicked new principal Maxine Westward gifts her a trip to Las Vegas, she grabs her ruby slip-ons and heads for the nearest yellow brick road.

Forced to drive the entire way, Dotty picks up the motley trio of a dimwitted hunk, a heartless drifter, and a cowardly educator along the way. Far out of her comfort zone, the Kansas teacher and her passengers embark on a surprising adventure. But when Dottie reaches her destination and receives an unexpected declaration of love, she wonders if the journey has changed her far too much to accept…

As Westward’s fiendish plan to ruin her trip takes shape, will Dottie finally find her happiness somewhere over the rainbow?

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips: The Modern Tale of Dorothy Gale is an award-winning romantic comedy. If you like wise-cracking heroines, heartwarming stories, and hilarious twists and turns, then you’ll love Heather Kindt’s emerald of a novel.

MY 4 STAR REVIEW:

While this story is slightly comparable to the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz, I loved the way the author delivered it in a modern-day setting with realistic characters. Dorothy (Dottie) Gale wants out of small-town Kansas, especially after a new principal takes over the school where she teaches. She’s stuck in what she sees as a boring life with no future. Her childhood friend turned boyfriend, turned cheater (she thinks) is her main reason for wanting to run. So, when she is handed the chance to attend a teacher’s conference in Las Vegas, she jumps at it. But there are drawbacks. The evil principal insists that Dottie drive from Kansas to Las Vegas, and to save money, has to pick up two other teachers along the way. And that’s not all she picks up. A hitchhiker named Tina, joins the trio. The group has lots of adventures along the way including a visit to a county jail in handcuffs. I found this a very entertaining book to read. The choices Dottie is faced with, as well as the lessons she learns, are well executed. The author did a great job of telling this story and the book is error-free. If you like lighthearted stories with a touch of sizzling romance, you will enjoy this story.

PURCHASE LINK:

THE BLURB:

During this pandemic, I offer a 5-part Micro Read series on how COVID19 has impacted and interrupted lives around the world. Since the beginning of this crisis, I have followed and also documented every step and misstep along the way by the current administration in Washington, and also the plus and minus moments of our local leaders around the world. As deep as we are right now into this disease, some still don’t really know what’s going on, or how it’s impacting them – mentally, physically and emotionally. Now, the issue has moved extremely close to my heart. They want to send our kids back to school during the worst pandemic of our lives.

I am a Mom who values many things, but above all else, I am a Mom who values life.

Everyone is sharing their opinion about what we’re living through and how it should all be handled – now it’s time that you heard mine.

MY 4 STAR REVIEW:

Author, Nonnie Jules is well-known as someone who does not shy away from sensitive topics. In her new short story release, she stays true to that persona. She brings some valid points to light along with solid references and research. In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, we face very uncertain times, not only in the world of education but in every facet of our lives. This short book is filled with advice, reasoning, and logic. My hat is off to educators everywhere and my hat is off to this author for putting together such a comprehensive narrative regarding the issues we face in our current times.

PURCHASE LINK:

THE BLURB:

Hopelessly in love and desperately fearful!

Zara and Buzz are products of vastly different upbringings. Their chance meeting ignites attraction they must explore. Even with lies and omissions, they find themselves falling in love. For them its good thing love is blind.

A defining incident offers the opportunity to explore a future together. They move away from everything for a fresh start. They optimize their experiences to build a life they never imagined in the Caribbean. Then their demons’ surface.

Zara distrusts love because of her past. She’s afraid to commit anyone. Buzz wants love, better than what he’d lost.

Will Zara slip through his fingers? Can they honestly bury their past? If those secrets are shared, will their love be destroyed?

MY 4 STAR REVIEW:

I love the idea of this story. It starts with a high tension rescue that grabbed me right away. Buzz and Zara have dark pasts, but they deeply love each other. This short story covers a span of several years within the twenty-five pages, which leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination. But, the main focus is the deep love they feel for each other. Buzz continuously, over the years, asks Zara to marry him and she always declines. We get a glimpse into her sordid past and what is holding her back from the big commitment. We also get to see the two share their passion for technology by imparting their knowledge to students who are hungry to learn, as they settle on the island of Puerto Rico. The ending is somewhat jolting. And it leaves the story open-ended for more, which I hope these authors will explore. I’d like to see this love resolved. While there is some inconsistency with points of view throughout the story, it is error-free and engaging. It can be read in about thirty to forty minutes.

PURCHASE LINK:

I hope at least one of the books grabbed your attention and that you are now hurrying over to Amazon to make your purchase! Thank you for stopping by and supporting these authors!