Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review: Every Kingdom Divided

Every Kingdom Divided

By:  Stephen Kozeniewski

Publish Date:  December 16, 2015

Format:  ebook

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  Stand alone

First Impression:  A world divided in beliefs. Can they see past them?

2035 A.D. After the 2nd American Civil War

Jack Pasternak, a laid-back California doctor, receives a garbled distress call from his fiancée in Maryland before her transmissions stop altogether. Unfortunately for Jack, citizens of the Blue States are no longer allowed to cross Red America.

He is faced with an impossible choice: ignore his lover's peril or risk his own life and sanity by venturing into the dark heart of The Red States. When the armies of the Mexican Reconquista come marching into Los Angeles, Jack's hand is forced and he heads east in an old-fashioned gas guzzling car.

First Sentence:
A shark's mouth of rusty bayonets and gaping gun barrels grinned at Jack Pasternak.

Purchase At:
Amazon /  Barnes & Nobles

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I read this book for my own enjoyment.

When Jack receives a text from his fiancee asking for help, Jack is determined to transverse the divided country and dangerous lands to come to her aid. From California to the far East coast he goes, crossing battle lines in America's civil war.

We get two stories in this book. Where Jack is currently as he tells his story of why and how he got here. Each chapter is one of the two places, keeping the feel as though he's in the moment. It's easy to follow as he does have a lead in at the end of current chapters to let us know he's returning to the story.

This world is crazy divided! So many issues in America. The country is divided by these issues and at war with itself. Everyone's beliefs have come to strong points and they will stand by them. We see these strong differences as Jack travels across the country and lives through each place. This story was written and published over a year ago, but it's something that strongly relates to the many different beliefs in our country, something that makes us strong but could easily divide us as well - like it does here.

The different divisions of America have their own slang to go with their beliefs. At times the slang slowed me a tad as I was reading, making me think on what the words meant again. Thankfully Stephen has a glossary for the words at the beginning. I suggest taking a glance over these so you are aware going in. I did and it helped place the words. But eventually I came to read the words and keep going, aware they were slang and what they meant.

When the book started, I was curious to see how Jack would get away from the firing squad. Then I grew curious of what Jack tells he's come across on his way to help his fiancee, and what trouble she was in. As his travels start, I became interested in the world that was new yet old. There were small curiosities that I wanted to know more about, like the woman that decided to travel with him. In the sections where Jack is currently I was lead to wonder if Jack's really telling a tall tale or if it was all true. I wasn't sure, and wanted to find that out too. And I learn all these things.

Jack's story shows how he's grown to become friends with people in two of the three fighting fractions in America. These three shouldn't be friends, they are of the different divisions of the world, but they are. They've risen above the lines of Red, Blue, or White and beliefs that are strong to become more. We see it through what they live through and their actions to help each other.

Thinking on the three friends, I really like the moral that is portrayed here. There is a reason behind the story and something to think on. A feel that all can be friends no matter beliefs, as long as you are willing. Something wonderful about this book, through all these characters live through and the moral you pick up on in the end, there is a lightness to the story that makes the traveling Jack's done seem as though it's a story to keep him safe from the firing squad. There is a ease at which the characters converse that keeps the story light.

This journey all fits together in the last few chapters. How all the people Jack meet on his journey are connected in the world. We learn why Jack is here. And does Jack finally find Lara?

For me this was a light, fun read that had more depth to it than I realized until the end. It was enjoyable.

***If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cover Reveal & Excerpt: The Perils of Prague

I found Doc Coleman by listening to Tales from the Archives by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine. He had a few stories that were told through the podcast and I found I enjoyed his voice. Well, both voices - story telling and narration wise.

I'm thrilled to share Doc Coleman's latest work to come our way. It's the first story in a brand new series he's starting. I'm excited to continue with his works!

I'm loving this cover. I find it startling, but in an intriguing and good way. Keep scrolling for a quick excerpt as well!

The Perils of Prague
The Adventures of Crackle and Bang, Book 1
Genre: Steampunk Adventure/Comedy
Release date: April 25, 2017
Formats: Kindle (Pre-order), and Paperback
Book Description:
Victoria, the Eternal Empress, has sat the throne of the British Empire for over 150 years. Her policies have brought peace to the world by suppressing the development of “dangerous technologies”, and where that has failed, her Imperial Troops, with their lightning rifles, have swiftly brought order. But there are still those who chafe at the yoke of peace.

When an evening’s entertainment in the British Protectorate of Bohemia unexpectedly leads to the destruction of the State Opera House of Prague, the eccentricity brilliant Professor Harmonious Crackle and his beautiful colleague Miss Titania Bang must team up with the Duke of Prague’s nephew and hunt down the evil genius responsible. Can they find him and stop him before he unleashes his new technology to terrorize the city and threaten the stability of the British Empire, and the Eternal Empress herself?

In a race against an unknown menace, this intrepid trio must search high and low and discover The Perils of Prague!

An excerpt from the book:
"You're serious!" Miss Bang’s brow was creased in ire. The hint of fire blazed behind her eyes.

He blinked at her. "Of course, I'm serious. Such a joke would be in very bad taste!"

"I don't believe anyone ever accused my great-grandfather of having good taste," I commented ruefully.

The professor turned to me. "Your great-grandfather was actually quite a thoughtful fellow in his youth. He did throw the most excellent parties. I never did find out what made him such a misanthrope as he got older. I'd often wondered... Wait! Wait, I was going to tell you something. Something I'd just discovered." He looked down at the wing in his hand. "Yes! That was it! You remember the birds, the clockwork birds?"

I nodded. "Yes, Professor. It was just earlier this morning." I wondered if it was still morning.

Professor Crackle nodded vigorously. "Yes, they're a perfect recreation of the living creature. Or at least as best as I can tell, given the damage the sample sustained. If only I could examine an intact specimen."

Miss Bang spoke up. "You're drifting again, Harmonious."

"No, no, no, no! This is important. Did you get a good look at the singers? The male and female leads?"

"At the opera?" I asked. I wasn't quite sure where he was leading.

"Yes! Did you get a good look at them?" He seemed very agitated as he leaned toward me for my answer.

"Well, Professor, I am afraid I wasn't really concentrating on them for most of the performance. And when things livened up at the end, my attention was, well... on other things."

"And you, Titania?" He whirled to face Miss Bang.

"Other than the final song, they seemed quite capable, although somewhat uninspired performers." She paused in thought for a moment, touching one finger to her lips. "I'm not sure how to describe the final performance."

"Drat. I hoped one of you got a better look. Now we shall have to find what is left of them." The professor moved back to his workbench and put down the wing and his loupe.

"You want to go find their bodies, Professor? Isn't that a task better left to the police?" I did not fancy the idea of sifting through the rubble for pieces of the dead performers.

He turned to me. "Their remains, yes. But their bodies, I think not." He lifted the wing again and shook it to illustrate his point. "I think they were clockwork."

"A clockwork man? How is that possible?" I looked to Miss Bang, but she seemed fascinated by the idea.

"But such intricate detail, Harmonious... and such a complex series of actions to perform upon the stage. They were actually singing. It wasn't a phonograph recording. Even with the latest equipment, one can tell the difference. I've never heard of an automaton that could truly sing."

"Yes!" The professor looked like a child who had been promised a new pony. "Exactly! Such perfect duplication of the living form! When I went down on the stage and examined the woman, she looked otherwise normal except for the side of her face. The flesh sagged under a weight. I think a piece detached from the underlying support structure and dragged it out of shape. I believe the same person who made these birds constructed the opera singers as well. But I need more evidence. We need to find what is left of those performers."

"So, we're going back to the opera house?" Miss Bang asked.

"Yes! Well, no! We're already there. I'm sorry about the little detour, my boy, but I'm certain your uncle is going to want to see whatever evidence we can find."

"Surely he will be worried about my disappearance? Perhaps it would be best to just drop me off first and I can explain your theory to Uncle Randolph?" Much as I would like to avoid his wrath, putting off seeing my uncle could only make things worse.

"After losing a major landmark?" Professor Crackle asked. "Don't be ridiculous! He may be worried, but he will have hardly a moment to think on it. No, trust me, even if you went back now you wouldn't be able to get in to see him. But if we can find something to prove it wasn't an accident, we'll be able to get right in to see the duke."

"And the police, Professor?" I asked, wondering what Inspector Janecek would think about the professor's clockwork people theory.

"Yes, we must get there before they do! The last thing we need is for them to tromp all over everything and destroy the evidence we need." He grabbed a pair of goggles off of a bench and strode through the door. "Come along!"

"But, but that's not what I meant!" I sputtered and hurried to catch up to Miss Bang as she swept out of the room in the professor's wake.

Amazon Pre-order:

Author Bio:
Doc Coleman began his writing career in 2010 with the Nifty Tech Blog, a tech review blog that demystifies technology by highlighting some of the best consumer products available. Doc soon moved on to writing fiction, with the short story "The Gift”, and stories for the online magazine Flagship and for The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences’ podcast Tales from the Archives. His latest work is the first book of his steampunk series The Adventures of Crackle and Bang, The Perils of Prague.

Doc is a computer geek, a motorcyclist, a homebrewer, a podcaster, a writer, and voice actor. Sometimes, he even finds some time to relax, too.

Find Doc Coleman:
His Blog:
Amazon Author Page
Twitter: @scaleslea

Audio Book Review: Fall of Thrones and Thorns

Fall of Thrones and Thorns

By:  Jennifer Ellision

Publish Date:  September 27, 2016, Audiobook Release December 20, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 8 hrs
Narrated By:  Grace Glass

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Series:  3rd in Threats of Sky and Sea series; Book 1 ~ Threats of Sky and Sea, Book 2 ~ Riot of Storm and Smoke

Impression:  Satisfying conclusion to the trilogy story arc.

War hurtles in, a typhoon over the sea.

After Bree’s life was torn apart, Nereidium had represented a haven to her. A place that—if she could save it—was beyond the King’s reach.

And, at last, she’s arrived upon its shores. But things in Nereidium are not what they should be.

The land is plagued by a rash of mysterious earthquakes, the likes of which it’s never known. The governors are distracted by old traditions, while Bree and her friends grapple with changing identities and the sense that the longer they wait to take action… the greater the danger from Egria grows.

Bree is tired of living under the shadow of King Langdon’s power. And she’s tired of waiting for him to be the first to act.

In this final chapter of the Threats of Sky and Sea series, it all comes down to Nereidium or Egria. To Bree or the King. It’s kill… or be killed.

And not everyone will escape the battle unscathed.

First Sentence:
The water is darkened with my spilled lies and the blood's still slick against my palms when the Nereid soldiers seize us, along with anyone else who made it safely to land.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Bree and her friends have come to help Nereidium stay safe from King Langdon and his Ruin Reaping. But as everyone's trying to adjust to the life altering news shared, they learn that Nereidium is suffering from new troubles of their own - earthquakes. Could it be that King Langdon has found an Earth Shaker and looking for their hidden land. King Langdon needs to be stopped before he gains to much power and destroys more than his own lands.

The writing sounds so poetic in how the moment and feelings are described as we open on the beach with Bree and her friends. Grace's narration keeps a rise and fall to the words and sentences that adds to the feeling we get. Very beautifully written.

Grace feels to put a lot of thought in the story as she voices the characters. The sentences flow neatly together, making us feel as the scene and words are together in thoughts. No sentence or words, unless needed to be, feels to stick out as an extra addition. I like this flow. But, with this strong thinking also comes a feel as though the pacing is slow with the drawing out of the words. This was an easy fix for me as I bumped the speed a quarter to keep going a bit faster.

We start at the exact moment Riot of Storm and Smoke ended.

Everyone's lives are changed coming into this book. Bree's true self is known. Which also goes to say for Aleta as well. Caden left his father, the king, and his land. There are so many possible ways this could play out, and for the good in coupling way. But these are drastic, sudden changes.

We also start to get to know new characters that are from Nereidium. In the beginning, Lady Helen seems nice and could be easy for Bree to talk and work with. I feared she would turn on Bree as others had in the past.

We start to see there is more at work than just people and Elementals. The Makers are gods/goddesses that are believed in (though not truly called gods/goddesses) have an influence in what's happening too. They have attempted to contact those of our group in different ways, some ways that may not be direct. It was a gradual draw to this through the books, but we get there and I like it. Though, if the balance in the world doesn't come to an even keel, the Makers may let the world go. I enjoyed this story as we get a connection to the Water Element and gods/goddesses in the world.

We move through time quickly with this book. We get the telling how many days or weeks have passed as we start into each chapter, if time has passed. There are times we don't get a time frame but know they've crossed sea or land to be to a destination point.

We get the story from Bree, Aleta, and Caden's POV. As all in their group are important, these three are the one's impacted the most and have connections we need to know about. Their feelings and knowledge is very important in how things will play out in the end. Bree grows up in this book, growing into a strong young woman. Aleta, strong as she is, has a brief fall but her determined personality returns and she moves on. Caden still has things to work through as he hasn't faced his biggest. Things come together and work, mostly, out after they all fight for their lives and countries.

There were are few moments with these characters that felt breezed over and not 100% believable for me. The separation from Bree, they didn't work harder to see each other and the time frame apart seems long but may not be as long as I got the feel for. They are determined young adults and this seems to not fit for me. Then when they leave Nereidium, the queen is let go easily. Really? After being lost all these years they'll let her leave without argument? Let alone on such a dangerous expedition? Erm... I don't know. I felt these moments could have been strengthened.

One big fight for part of the crew is very neat as it's a battle of Elementals, nature and humans fighting. Lots happening and sounds fast but cool seeing the use of Elemental powers. I've enjoyed seeing them use their powers in small moments and this is bigger and more action.

In the end this was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I like where the relationships are left. These are young adults with important lives to live. But where the major arc ends is fitting as well.

**If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mythical Monday #72 - Kundalis Dragons and the Kundalini

Art work by: @Burntlaughter on Twitter

It seems there are many books influenced by or based on Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are many different Mythology's and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

Kundalis Dragons and the Kundalini

Living in the center of Washington State during fire season is like an invitation to write dragons. I come from the soggy, western part of the state originally, and the first time a wall of flame raced across my front yard it just about sent me right back to Seattle.

Now I spend my summers anxiously watching the windows, and even when my own life and limb are blissfully safe from incineration, the distant plumes of smoke are pretty much always a thing from May to Sept. Fire. Everywhere. Like clockwork.

Given the situation, I think it was pretty inevitable that I'd get around to writing dragons.

The Kundalis dragons in my Soulstar series, do their singeing and battling over the dry grasslands of the Columbia Basin. They aren't ordinary fire-breathers, though. I needed something a little different for a sassy urban fantasy with metaphysical overtones. I wanted dragons that stood for something, and also, that echoed the strengths and the flaws of the characters attached to them.

I found them in the Kundalini serpent.

Kundalini is the Sanskrit word used to represent personal energy. It has other names, of course, Shakti, Chi or Qui as well as many others. In traditions that focus on enlightenment through the raising of one's energy, this Kundalini is often symbolized as a big snake. Eureka.

The Kundalini serpent is said to be coiled at the base of a person's spine, in their "energy body," and through meditation techniques can raise up through the chakras toward the crown of the head. The higher the snake rises, in essence, the more evolved and blissful the person becomes.
This awakening and progression of the serpent rapidly became the idea for my dragons. What happens if the serpent gets free? What if the person isn't so enlightened, and the Kundalini awakens anyway? On a lighter note, what sort of trouble could a rampaging Kundalini serpent get its owner into in the middle of Eastern Washington.

It turns out, quite a lot.

Since I was writing chick-lit and hoping to keep it humorous, the invisible Kundalis manifested with a bit of an attitude. They remain affiliated with metaphysics, but also bring with them the hang-ups, flaws and personality disorders of their owners. They fully controlled dragon attaches to his host by means of a tail tip through the navel, and the chakras translated into the colors of each dragon, lending each the powers related to their particular flavor of energy.

I found out later that the word, Kundali, is also a reference to Vedic astrology. In parts of India, Kundali matchmaking is used to ensure the astrological compatibility of couples before marriage. This idea becomes the soul mate concept in the Soulstar books. The dragons' compatibility or discord translates into the inter relationships of their "anchor" characters.

The mythology of energy became the core of my dragons, complete with some pretty suspicious claims of enlightenment. The interaction between their owners became a statement on compatibility and the complexity of human interaction. From the Kundalini serpent, the Kundalis dragon took shape.

What do you get when you mix metaphysics, yoga, and urban fantasy? I got giant, invisible, belly button dragons... and a ton of metaphysical chaos.

About Author:
Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor.

Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she’s since come to her senses. Now she fills her minuscule amount of free time with things like crocheting, belly-dancing, and abysmal ukulele playing.

Find Author:
Author Site
Twitter:  @MothinDarkness
Facebook Author Page

Purchase Books:

Mythical Monday #71 - Valkyries

Art work by: @Burntlaughter on Twitter

It seems there are many books influenced by or based on Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are many different Mythology's and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.


Growing up, I played a lot of RPG games; both pen and paper and video games. I remember my earliest exposure to Norse mythology, Vikings and Valkyries was in a Dungeons and Dragons manual called Deities and Demigods published in 1980 by TSR Games.

I was very young at the time, but I had a friend who was a couple years older and he liked to give me these D&D books as gifts. This one held my attention for hours and hours, days and days…all the way through high school.

The art was simple pen and ink drawings, but the pictures depicted gods and goddesses from different belief systems and cultures. My favorite back then was the Greek and Norse gods. Oddly enough, still is now.

On the page that listed Valkyrie “Choosers of the Slain” there was a big piece of art. It showed a bunch of women on winged horses carrying dead soldiers. I was intrigued. Where could I find more?

Sadly, I never read much more about them. I don’t think I had seen any movies about or with valkyries in them either. I had only heard a few stories from my friend who was well-read and educated.

It wasn’t until I was a few years older that I was given a Boris Vallejo calendar. It was then that I truly started to fall in love with fantasy art, and started to see more examples of valkyries.

To this day, I have only a fuzzy recollection of mention of valkyries in a few movies. Can’t really recall if I saw them in any films or cartoons. Weird.

So when I decided to write a new Dark Fantasy - Horror novel a few years ago, I came up with the idea of using valkyries as one of the themes. I wanted to write a story about a warrior woman who was abducted from battle. But by who, why, how?

I like to research. But I like to research facts. Then, when writing fiction, decide which facts to add and which facts to alter. I could shape my world into the Viking Age…make few changes to history here and there. No problem. But as I began to research Valkyries, I kept falling into that same Google trap over and over…Operation Valkyrie…not what I was looking for…but what always popped up. So eventually I decided to create my own myth around what little I knew.

They were strong, yep! They had classic Viking-opera armor, yep! They were beautiful, and they flew…in some capacity they flew. Great!

I ordered and skimmed through a Norse Mythology book, it linked valkyries to the goddess Freyja. Perfect. That was all I needed to know.

I sat down one afternoon and sketched out my ideas. I tried to blend all the fantasy art I had seen growing up into an amalgamated vision of a valkyrie. What I came up with was a warrior women who was not only a “chooser of the slain” but a protector of the innocent. Tall and strong. With large magical wings that when summoned appeared out of her back. A being who could traverse the world of the living and dead as well as the realm of the gods, yet only when called by their master, the Goddess Freyja. I considered what other powers would this mythical being have—well, akin to an angel, I figured the ability to heal and the ability to calm, or sway a man’s mind.

Of course, my vision of a valkyrie could fight. So she needed arms and amour, all of which I imagined as bestowed upon her by Freyja. The valkyrie would have magical armor that the woman could grow or shrink—wear or hide. As well as a kind of “holy spear” weapon that could be summoned when needed. Again, I saw my valkyrie as very angel-like.

Would she be invulnerable? Would she actually carry the bodies of men to Valhalla? Would this be a blessing or a curse for her? Who would be her natural enemies if she had them?

I don’t want to spoil too much. See, the main character of THE LIFEBLOOD OF ILL-FATED WOMEN, Astrid, is struggling to figure what is real and what is not. Is she alive? Is she dead? What happened to her when she vanished from the battlefield? And why is she so far from home now?

The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women is set in the Viking Age and filled with Norse Mythology. It is a Dark Fantasy novel with elements of Horror and Romance. I hope you check it out. Thanks

About Kevin James Breaux:
Kevin James Breaux has written seven books and devoted the past eight years of his life to crafting short stories and novels. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Breaux is always enthusiastic about the challenge writing presents. He lives by the motto “Write Makes Might!”© and sees each new page as an opportunity to improve and advance.

Find Kevin James Breaux:
Twitter:  @kevinbreaux

The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women
For Astrid, there is no greater honor than dying as a true Viking warrior and ascending to Valhalla. She anticipates it in every battle and is always eager for the next fight. When she hears the sounds of war outside her father’s stronghold of Birka, she answers the call. But a golden light envelops her, and she is suddenly gone.

If that light had taken her to Valhalla, she would have been at peace.

Instead, this golden light dumps her into a snowy, awful, godforsaken land. Astrid has no idea where she is or how she got here. She begins to suspect that she is in Hel, the underworld of Norse mythology. As Astrid searches for her home and family, a farmer, Warren, comes to her aid. Astrid doesn’t trust him at first, but she will have to rely on Warren and other companions when her destiny reveals itself.

Purchase the book:

At Barnes & Nobles

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Audio Book Review: Treasure of the Dead

Treasure of the Dead

By:  David Wood & Rick Chesler

Publish Date:  March 14, 2016, Audiobook Release January 26, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 4 hrs 42 mins
Narrated By:  Jeffrey Kafer

Genre:  Thriller

Series:  9th in Dane Maddock Origins series; Book 7 ~ Amber

Impression:  The boys get their feet wet at their own treasure hunting.

Maddock and Bones set off on their first treasure hunting adventure!

1715- Blown far off course, their treasure-laden ship sinking, a crew of Spanish sailors struggles ashore, only to encounter a horror out of their worst nightmares.

First Sentence:
Alonso Sanchez paced the deck of the El Senor San Miguel.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles (ebook or Print) /  Book Depository


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

In 1715 a ship full of treasure has been pushed off course with terrible storms. El Senor San Miguel runs onto land. When one of the crew makes land, he is horrified by what he finds limping on the beach.

Bones agrees to go on treasure hunting in the vast ocean with Maddock and has the first spot in mind. Bones had received a call from a dear friend of his when she received information from a cousin that's been found dead, mauled by animals. Maddock and Bones will quickly learn that trouble follows them whether in the service or on their own hunting treasure.

Jeffrey has voiced all the stories in this world with these men, and he is with us again. Jeffrey has become the voice of Maddock and Bones and all friends they interact with. The best part, I feel as the personality and tone given to Maddock and Bones fit the people written in words. For some reason Bones feels natural, but he's probably my favorite of the two. lol. Jeffrey never gives away a feel that something is coming, he adds just enough tension to the story by keeping in the here and now. This leaves me feeling comfortable with the characters but knowing with the writing of David and Rick that something is coming, I'm just waiting for it.

In the beginning we see a glimpse of a different side of Maddock and Bones. They left SEAL just months ago, and both are struggling adjusting to civilian life. Bones seems to be worse in a different way than Maddock, needing a release for pent up frustration. I like seeing them struggle after their life has been SEAL for so long. The life they lived is completely different than how they are to live now. Maddock shows up to ask Bones to help on a treasure hunting expedition, something they know how to do but less dangerous for their lives. These two never lose their great humor that makes me smile even in the tough times.

This is a slower start in the way of action for Maddock and Bones. But the authors strategically write in sections, as they are known for, with other characters. The events of the other characters then lead to our guys arriving, and things don't go as smoothly as it should, which could be to Bones and Maddock's liking. Well, maybe just Bones. They do enjoy their danger.

We see Bones flirting, as usual but with someone that he has some past with. The friend that contacted Bones is/was more than a simple friend. She and Bones have history together.

I always enjoy getting to spend any hour with Maddock and Bones. Their banter always brings a smile to my face while their adventures make my heart race. I enjoy the twist to the history that's created, a twist with a slight paranormal feel to it, as we go on the expedition not knowing what we'll walk into yet knowing it's going to result in danger and action.

This book is shorter in length, as audio it's just shy of 5 hours. The authors keep the story to the point of action, where we learn details of what we are looking for which leads eventually to troubles for our guys. We don't waste time getting from one point to the next as long as there is nothing extraordinary happening.

When things start to come out in the end, it all happens fast. Maybe a bit to fast, but that's the way it washes out in the end - all at once.

** If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Audio Book Redemption Song

Redemption Song

By:  Craig Schaefer

Publish Date:  June 13, 2014, Audiobook Release March 6, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 9 hrs 33 mins
Narrated By:  Adam Verner

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  2nd in Daniel Faust Series; 1st Book ~ The Long Way Down

Impression:  How is Daniel going to pull through this? That's the thought I had, and curious to see how he does.

Daniel Faust, Las Vegas sorcerer and career criminal, has never pulled the trigger on an innocent man. When the infernal Prince Sitri challenges him to do just that, though, he can't walk away. His lover, Caitlin, is Sitri's right hand...and if Daniel refuses the job, he'll never see her again.

While Daniel works to unravel Sitri's twisted game, putting his principles and his life on the line, Caitlin has problems of her own. A pack of renegade halfbloods are in town, armed to the teeth and aiming to go to war with hell itself. Their leader is a bad memory from Caitlin's past, one she thought dead and buried centuries ago, and he's got revenge on his mind.

As if that isn't bad enough, the fallout from Daniel's last job descends in the form of an FBI task force, aimed at putting him and everyone he cares about behind bars. The feds have a magician of their own, one who knows all of Daniel's dirty little secrets. Throw in a mythical road map to hell and the ghost of a 15th-century serial killer, and the stage is set for a deadly collision.

Sitri's games are never what they seem. Everything is connected. If Daniel and Caitlin can't solve the puzzle in time, the consequences will tear them apart forever.

First Sentence:
The ghost of Merle Haggard kept Sophia trapped in her house for two weeks.

Purchase At:


My Thoughts and Summary:
*At my request, this audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

Another of Daniel's friends is brutally murdered by Meadow Brand, the woman who's connected to Lauren Carmichael and likely after Daniel for thwarting her occult a few weeks ago. Then Daniel learns Prince Sitri forbids his lover from seeing him. It's a spiraling fall when Daniel agrees to take a job for Prince Sitri to gain his trust to be with Caitlin. The job... to kill a good priest. When Daniel visits the man, he ends up saving him just to fall into the mouth of the beast. Daniel has to work his magic to save himself, the priest, and keep his love if she wants him.

I enjoyed the first audio book in this series, and the same holds true for this one which is done by the same voice, Adam Verner. I am always thrilled when we get the small extras with voices, like giving a vibrating sound to voices and such. Adam adds these extras in for us to give us the feel and sound of what's described by Craig. I love the personality Adam puts into the words as he narrates. He is in the moment as the character and it comes through. He also voices each with different tones to match the feel of the character, male and female, along with slight accents when noted. I love how easily Adam converts to the different tones, personalities, and accents keeping the story in a smooth flow. Amazing work.

Craig has crafted this story with many items needling Daniel. Daniel has a rough start in this book as things start to spiral downward for him in life. He's determined to keep trying through, and that doesn't always work out. All these things working at Daniel are important and come together at the end, or Daniel uses them that way.

What are these items?
~ A dear friend is murdered by someone who's killed a friend before.

~ Daniel finds himself under the microscope of Special Agent Harmony Black from the FBI as she's investigating Nicky Agnelli and all connected to him in any type of operations. Nicky's not a friend, but turning any information on one of the biggest crime bosses over to the FBI wouldn't be healthy for Daniel. And there are ties Daniel has with Nicky that could not go well for Daniel if Nicky's caught.

~ Caitlin, Daniel's lover, is working to create a safe home for cambion refugees trying to get to Prince Sitri's borders. But, there are cambion's mixed in with different beliefs. Beliefs that they can be cured of their curse and harm others they see as 'spawn of evil'.

~ Daniel and Caitlin love each other. Then, stand before Prince Sitri to learn that he sees Daniel as an enemy. Caitlin is forbidden to consort with Daniel, unless he performs a service for Prince Sitri. Kill an innocent soul. If he refuses he could lose his love forever.

Craig goes for the big punches. He has no worries about blood and gore. When the 'bad guy' hits, they hit hard and ugly. We start off with a bloody death in chapter one and the tension rises from there. Even though Craig writes dark, the story doesn't come across heavy. Daniel's personality helps lift the story, along with Adam's voicing of his dry humor.

We pretty much get the lowdown on what's happening in this complicated world of demons and magic in the beginning. So much happening at one time and Daniel's connections are all seeing something different. But it creates a wonderful feeding bed for so many possibilities.

The connections between all the problems is so well done. They are connected yet happening on their own, thriving off the others to help their selves. But, anything involving demons can't be easy and they would play off others to get what they want. I'm always mesmerized at the well thought out actions and interactions in Craig's stories. Wow.

Craig draws me in, paying close attention to details as there is always something happening. Just when you think things can't get worse. It does. And keeps you wondering how Daniel's going to fix it all. With all that's happening to Daniel, Craig timed it perfect - right when I was starting to not like the down and out Daniel, it hit Daniel why he was on this path and there is new revived life to the story and Daniel. The Daniel that's always thinking and scheming to come out the other end is the Daniel I enjoy. We get him at the start and when he returns, the story feels to jump in excitement once again. So two amazing skips of heart as we take off!

Oh, I've enjoyed Craig's writing and creation here. I'm totally on to the series!

**If you found my thoughts helpful please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mythical Monday #70 - Shifters and Skinwalkers

Art work by: @Burntlaughter on Twitter

It seems there are many books influenced by or based on Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are many different Mythology's and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

Shifters and Skinwalkers

My YA Paranormal Mystery series in which SHADE is the first novel features a number of myths and mythological beings. The main character, a teenaged girl named Shade, discovers in the first book that she’s a ghost whisperer. This means that she can see and hear ghosts. Ghosts reach out to her when they need help resolving issues from their lives on Earth before they can move on into the afterlife.

By Book #2, SHADE AND THE SKINWALKERS, Shade discovers there are more mythological beings roaming the Earth. In this book, she encounters shifters and skinwalkers for the very first time.

There’s an important difference between these two creatures. While shifters are mythological, skinwalkers are part of Navajo religious and cultural lore.

Shifters have much in common with several of Carl Jung’s archetypes. They seem to have most in common with the Shadow archetype. In Jung’s own words, “Taken in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries.” The Shadow represents the shadowy parts of ourselves that we don’t like to recognize as being parts of ourselves. It represents the wild, chaotic impulses that we tend to deny and push down into our unconscious. This archetype is perfect for fictional stories in which the Shadow can be released and given full rein. In shifter stories, human beings shift into animal form. In animal form, they can do either good or bad; but, no matter what, they’re frightening, as they’re no longer tied to the norms of human society. SHADE AND THE SKINWALKERS includes both good and bad shifters. There’s a cute little cat; but there are also much larger, more vicious animals into which shifters change form.

Other Jungian archetypes that shifters represent are the Magician which is described as mysterious and powerful, the Witch or Sorceress which is described as dangerous, and the Trickster which is described as deceiving and hidden.

When human characters have the magical ability to shift into animal form, they add an important element to literature. By reading about episodes of shifting and morphing into animal form, we’re able to vicariously tap into our own dark impulses, to see them in action and process them. While observing or becoming one with the Shadow, the Magician, the Witch/Sorceress and the Trickster, we feel thrilled and frightened. We understand, even if only on an unconscious level, more about ourselves and the human condition.

Skinwalkers are a step beyond shifters. In Navajo religion and cultural lore, skinwalkers are evil witches capable of shifting into animal form. They don’t simply morph into animal form because that’s part of their biological makeup, as is the case with shifters. It’s believed by the Navajo that there is, instead, a period of time in which a human being must violate societal taboos to prove worthy of becoming a skinwalker. It’s often felt they must go as far as committing horrific crimes such as cannibalism, incest or murder against their own kin in order to become a skinwalker. Understandably, the Navajo are quite frightened of these creatures.

Adding both shifters and skinwalkers to my YA Paranormal Mystery novel, SHADE AND THE SKINWALKERS, allowed me to explore a great many themes about friends and families, good vs. evil, and heroes and villains.

About Author:
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Marilyn Peake writes in a variety of genres, mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. She’s one of the contributing authors in Book: The Sequel, published by The Perseus Books Group, with one of her entries included in serialization at The Daily Beast. In addition, Marilyn has served as Editor of a number of anthologies. Her short stories have been published in seven anthologies and on the literary blog, Glass Cases.

Find Author:
Author Site
Twitter:  @marilynpeake
Facebook Author Page

Purchase Books:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Post #162

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Sorry I went MIA in the middle of the week last week. I just couldn't function any longer. Things hit the low on Wednesday and I shut down. My mind just couldn't deal with the real world any longer. I'm a sleeper, and my sleep was terrible all week. I did get some rest this weekend, though it was all broken up. But I'm starting to feel a bit better. Today, with this post, I'm starting to get back out and do things.

One of the things that happened, I had a sick dog that sent the day over the edge. She's been leaving stool samples all over the house for the last three days. Athena was sick. Got her to the vet Saturday morning to learn she has hook worm. And the reason for the appointment, the skin infection is back to the point of more pills. Lovely.

At the beginning of the week, we jumped back to square one with kiddo and his college search. *head desk* He just has no idea where to go or how to pick where. We are in contact with 4 more colleges, in addition to the 3 he was narrowing down to. Three of the 4 he had cut from the list are back on and adding another one.

I know this is one of the biggest decisions in a persons life. How do you make it? Know what is the right choice? We've been trying to help him, and he gets frustrated then so do we. There are so many aspects to picking a college to look at. It breaks the brain in trying to figure it out.

However! On Friday we had a college visit at a new college (new to the list but he had already applied and was accepted to). It seemed to be the fit. They have the academic structure I understand and he could pick up classes to double major with mathematics and concentrate in the field he wants - actuarial science. Cool. He talked to the football recruiting coach. Goodness was he nice and kiddo liked what he had to say on how the team plays. Will he play? I don't know. This is a higher division school. He could though as it's a smaller school. It's hard to say what the years will bring. But they do red shirt their freshman (which means they will not play but could play for 4 years still, if in school for 5 years). The campus is smaller but seems as it's active enough for kiddo. And the food was really good. So, this may be the place. We'll go for one more visit to get the campus tour, as we missed that when we were there Friday, and see what he thinks then.

So, fingers crossed we will be done with the college search at the beginning of April.


The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... Ugh. It's been a bad week. I think Tuesday was the only day I got any exercise in. I did legs workout on equipment and elliptical.

What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Will start new Monday.
Content Editing Work

Current Audiobook:
Will start new Monday.

Current Podcast Book Listen:
Stonebriar Casefiles: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole Spencer (You can listen for free too!)

Finished Last Week: 
Every Kingdom Divided by Stephen Kozeniewski

Audiobooks from Audible:
Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision
A Human Element by Donna Galanti

Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing yet.



Last Week on the Blog:

Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)

Guest Posts:

Mythical Monday - The Myth of Samurai

Spellbound in a Flash:
Nothing new last week. But always enjoy viewing what I have shared.

Challenged Writers:
February Update on writer-ly items, with a picture of book working on.

Around the Internet...

Primal Dawn by Ryan Kirk

"What I found interesting was Kindra and a huge decision she makes. This decision feels unusual from what I thought she would do. Ryan takes the leap to make his characters go further and gives them a setting to do things they would not normally do. This is a decision that will change lives, but could be the only choice to save the life on the planet they've visited. Very interesting. This is one thing that sticks out in my mind about the story, and makes the story individual."

Podcast Review:

Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



This Week to Come on the Blog:

I have a Mythical Monday scheduled, and I'll work to get two reviews finished and scheduled.


Received Last Weeks:
(Note: Links to Amazon are buy links where I could earn commission, in case you are interested.)

For Review Consideration:
Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan
Goodreads Synopsis:
An epic new fantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the same world as his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy.

The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place - a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of a suppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.

The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with wile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall's present.

As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.

Audio Books Requested for Review:



Free Ebooks:
(On my Kindle and Nook App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
First World by Jaymin Eve
Goodreads Synopsis:
A paranormal romance series. 
An epic journey. 
If the Seventine are released, will anyone survive?

Abigail Swish might not love her life, living in gang-ridden New York in 2035 and training to fight and survive with Compound 23. But she is grateful for a few things, especially her no-filter-between-brain-and-mouth best friend Lucy and her escape each night into a dream world far different from her own. 

In fact, sometimes she lives for the fleeting moments she spends at night with the man who fuels every romantic fantasy she’s ever had. But each morning reality returns. She could just cry. But she won’t of course; tears don’t change a damn thing.

Then without any warning, a month before her eighteenth birthday, everything does change. A guardian finds her. He explains, in a strangely familiar accent, that she was stashed on Earth for safekeeping and has been lost to her family ever since. And it is time to return home. To the First World; a land of unimagined beauty. 

Abigail and Lucy find themselves escaping New York, ending up on another planet and traversing through an unforgiving wilderness. Yeah, because that sort of thing just happens every day. Luckily an unexpected saviour arrives; the man from her dream-world. Brace is six-and-a-half feet of gorgeous perfectness, wrapped in an arrogance like no other. Unable to trust his assistance, and unsure which of her instincts to follow - kiss him or punch him in the mouth - Abigail eventually accepts his help to find her family. 

And what a family. Enter Josian, her father; larger than life and apparently not even human. He is Walker, a planet-less race revered as gods, causing mischief and mayhem through-out this star-system. Unfortunately, there is no time for a cosy reunion, since no one explained that by returning to First World her half-Walker genetics would act as a catalyst setting forth a chain of events which could spell disaster for not only her existence but that of all worlds.

First World is book one in the Walker Saga, a seven-book paranormal fantasy series.

Blood Warrior by H. D. Gordon
Goodreads Synopsis:
When her home is attacked by murderous vampires, 17-year-old Alexa is forced to leave her mother for dead in order to save her sister. She soon learns that she is the last known member of an elite race of supernatural Warriors, and is thrust into a world full of vampires and werewolves who all seem to regard her as some sort of savior. Meanwhile, Alexa battles a monster within herself that seeks to gain control; a monster that seeks blood.

The hidden city she finds herself in appears perfect, but Alexa's instincts tell her that all is not right within its walls. When she is asked to attend a school of fighters, whose exams consist of gladiator-style competitions, she must decide who she can trust among the smiling faces. And, when she meets Kayden, a vampire she feels undeniably drawn to, she must decide if she can trust herself.

Free Audio Books/Stories:

Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Treasure of the Dead by David Wood & Rick Chesler
Every Kingdom Divided by Stephen Kozeniewski
Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision
A Human Element by Donna Galanti