Friday, May 22, 2020

May Book Reviews

For May, I have three reviews and a preview of a book now scheduled for release on August 11 (NOTE: Release of this book has been pushed back at least once due to concerns about COVID-19 and might be delayed again).

  • Historical fiction (The Man With Two Names);
  • A crime thriller/romance (Death Notice);
  • A young adult fantasy (The Sapphire Eruption); and 
  • A crime thriller (A Private Cathedral, to be released Aug. 11).

Happy reading,

The Man With Two Names: A Novel of Ancient Rome (The Sertorius Scrolls Series Book 1) by Vincent B. Davis II 

Sertorius Faces Enemies from the Roman Forum to the Wilderness of Gaul

With themes that resonant today (“The idea of an innocent statesman is more myth than the Minotaur”) and a history of ancient Rome that comes to life, it’s easy to find much to like in The Man With Two Names. The protagonist of this historical fiction, Quintus Sertorius, is pressed into political service when his father dies, leaving his hometown without a presence in Rome—a presence that’s necessary if his village is to receive the aid they need to survive. Service to the Roman patricians soon runs counter to Sertorius’s values, however, and he joins the Roman Legions in order to keep his people from starving. Now, his once possible benefactors in Rome become his mortal enemies, forcing Sertorius to face threats on two fronts—from the nobility and from Rome’s enemies in the distant battlefields of Gaul. It’s hard choice, picking the more treacherous and deadly of the two.

For the complete review, see:

Death Notice (A Kisses and Killers Thriller) by Lolli Powell

An Exceptional Blend of Romance and Crime Thriller

I once read that if romance was part of the name for a book’s genre (e.g., historical romance, romantic thriller, etc.), the romance would always take precedence and the plot might become a backdrop for intimacy. At the opposite extreme, thrillers may have the main characters jump into bed even when their behavior is more surprising than the story’s plot twists. When and how did this attraction develop when they are on the verge of a grisly death? But author Lolli Powell avoids either extreme with skill and finesse, producing a tale in Death Notice that is as naturally romantic as it is gut-wrenchingly tense.

For the complete review, see:

The Sapphire Eruption: An Epic Adventure (The Sword's Choice Book 1) by I.M. Redwright

The Start to What Promises to be an Epic, Fantasy Adventure

On his seventeenth birthday, Noakhail (Noakh) learns that he had been selected by a magic sword to rule the “fire” kingdom of his world. To take his rightful place, however, he’ll need to defeat the current king who commands a formidable army, who has the twin to Noakh’s magic sword, and who has had years of training and practice in its use. That, in a couple of sentences, is the central conflict of the series, The Sword’s Choice. Book 1 of the series, The Sapphire Eruption sees Noakh learn of his situation, attract a small band of followers, and develop his plan to return, which will take him through each of the other kingdoms (water where he’s been in hiding, earth, and air). The book also foreshadows a conflict with the water kingdom, whose magic sword has also recently selected a new queen, Vienne. She too must learn of her sword’s powers and is opposed by the reigning queen. And neither was favored for selection, Noakh being an unknown commoner and Vienne the least ‘queen-like’ of her princess sisters. Coincidences? Maybe, but more likely, the similarity of backgrounds and plights will play into this tale as it unfolds.

For the complete review, see:

A Private Cathedral: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux #23) by James Lee Burke

Hard-boiled Crime and Paranormal Make for an Uneasy Mix

The first thing I noticed about A Private Cathedral is the author’s writing style. It’s eloquent, evocative, and vividly descriptive. Author Burke doesn’t write about a sunset, but about strips of orange fire in the clouds. And while the final metaphors and similes may change—this review is based on a pre-release version of the novel—Burke’s writing style won’t, and that’s a definite plus. I appreciated the mental images and feelings his expressive prose engendered. I enjoy this style, however, as ‘seasoning’ to the text and for my taste, Burke over-seasoned this book. Amid action, he often paused to paint a word picture of the setting, or of a flashback from the protagonist’s past as a child or in Vietnam, or of a historical or mythological reference. I would have preferred that Burke depict the setting and once done, let the action flow. Additionally, he frequently rendered his flowery prose in quite lengthy sentences. One I noticed was 76 words long with seven conjunctions (and) to tie it all together. Probably as a result of these stylistic decisions, I found the story a bit slow, somewhat repetitive, and unfocused in places.

Release now set for Aug. 11 but the full review is on Goodreads here:

(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)

Monday, May 11, 2020

eBook Deals and a Paperback Giveaway

This time, I have some great, limited-time Kindle eBook deals for you and a drawing for some best-selling, Sci-Fi paperbacks. I hope you find something to enjoy.

Stay safe,

The Giveaway

Win 4 bestselling Sci-Fi books plus some awesome swag!

Follow some amazing authors and enter to win paperback copies of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, a Doctor Who Dalek mug, a BSG Starbuck Funko Pop, a Star Trek communicator, and a Firefly card and dice game. You can also come back every day for special tasks that will earn you daily entry points!

The Deals
(Prices change constantly. Be sure to verify all prices before purchase.)

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 15
Kept Secrets: A Whispering Pines Mystery, Book 2
By Shawn McGuire
Occult Suspense
Regular Price: $4.99  Sale Price: $0.99

If you knew you could catch a killer, would you?

Tucked next to a pristine lake, the part-Medieval Europe, part-Renaissance Faire hamlet ofWhispering Pines is a utopia . . . except for the recent murders.

One month after arriving in the Northwoods, former detective Jayne O'Shea has settled comfortably into small-town life and is making good progress with her task of getting her grandparents' house ready for sale. Then the shocking death of one of the carnies rocks the community, and the villagers look to Jayne for help, placing her in an impossible middle ground of not wanting to get involved and needing to ensure justice is served.

When a second carney turns up dead, and the newly hired sheriff--more concerned with ticketing tourists than catching the killer--dismisses the death as an accident, Jayne has no choice but to step in. Can she uncover the truth before the murderer strikes again?

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 16
I’m Glad You’re Dead (Preternatural Chronicles Book 1)
By Hunter Blain
Dark Fantasy Horror
Regular Price: $3.99  Sale Price: $0.99

What price is beyond reason for revenge?

From behind the barred windows of his cell, that's exactly what John Cook must decide after helplessly witnessing the brutal execution of his proud father and his beloved mother.

A disheveled man with eyes the color of sunset and swathed in Victorian clothes matted with earth makes an offer John cannot possibly reject. John's heart stops beating and a new unlife begins.

Fast forward five hundred years to modern-day Houston, and we find our antihero working with an unlikely ally, Father Thomes. Together, they work toward using John's abilities for the light in an effort to bleach his blackened soul. If it means he gets to exsanguinate a few badies in horrific, imaginative ways without further damning himself . . . well, you know what they say about doing what you love.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 16
Hindsight: Coming of age on the streets of Hollywood
By Sheryl Recinos
Regular Price: $9.99  Sale Price: $2.99

Kirkus Review: "The fact that her story has a surprisingly happy ending (as the initials “MD” after her name on the memoir’s cover attest) does little to blunt the sting that this gritty narrative of homelessness and young womanhood leaves in its wake."

Hindsight: Coming of age on the streets of Hollywood walks you through Sheryl's harsh upbringing and takes you on a journey with her as she struggles to survive as a homeless teen. This book will give you a glimpse into what it is like to feel unheard, unseen, and unloved; and it will reveal the impact of caring adults on traumatized youth.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 16
Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors: Book 1 in the Nyssa Glass Steampunk Series
By H. L. Burke
Regular Price: $2.99  Sale Price: $0.99

Nyssa Glass is a reformed cat burglar turned electrician's apprentice, settled into a life repairing videophones and radio-sets. However, when her past comes calling, she finds herself forced into one last job.

No one has entered Professor Dalhart's secluded mansion in almost a decade, at least not and returned to tell the tale. If Nyssa wants to ensure her freedom, she'll brave the booby trapped halls and mechanized maids. Nyssa has skills, but this house has more than its share of secrets. As she steps into the cobwebbed halls lined with dusty mirrors, she has to wonder. Is the House of Mirrors really abandoned?

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 17
Wayward Magic (Magic Underground Anthologies Book 2)
By Melinda Kucsera and 20 other authors
Fantasy Anthology
Regular Price: $2.99  Sale Price: $0.99

Wayward Magic (Magic Underground Book 2) reveals stories of missing people, rescue, and most of all, magic. Our heroes will grapple with magic gone wayward in order to save themselves, their families, and often the world. This collection features:

  • Out-of-control magic that could destroy a young apprentice’s master and their world
  • A woman’s hidden magic leaving her with more freedom that she wanted
  • Sisters at the center of a black magic scandal must stop the city from falling to demons
  • The ill are suddenly protected from death by an unlikely hero…a teenage physician
  • Famine-stricken subjects await precious cargo currently stranded on a ship
  • A holy order must save a town from a pretty poison most magical and most deadly
  • And more!

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 15
Ahren: The 13th Paladin (Volume I)
By Torsten Weitze
Sword & Sorcery Fantasy
Regular Price: $5.99  Sale Price: $3.99

The bestselling epic fantasy book series "The 13th Paladin" from Germany is finally available in english!

Ahren can hardly believe his luck. His normal life consists of being beaten up by his drunkard father or bullied by the village lads. But at the annual suitability tests for apprenticeships, the young boy finds himself selected by Falk, the guardian of the forest.

From his new master he learns the skills of archery and how to fight the Dark Ones. And then, on the day of the Spring Ceremony, he touches the Stone of the Gods and it illuminates for the first time ever. It isn’t long before a cantankerous wizard turns up and urges Falk and Ahren into action. There is no time to waste, for something evil is awakening.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 16
A Good Demon Is Hard to Find: A paranormal romantic comedy (Supernatural Sweethearts Book 1)
By Kate Moseman
Humorous Dark Comedy
Regular Price: $3.99  Sale Price: $0.99

Sometimes, a date from hell is just what you need...

When Erin thoughtlessly lays a curse on Mark, her cheating ex-husband, she doesn’t expect a well-dressed Great Earl of Hell to show up in her kitchen to fulfill the curse (and make damn good coffee while he’s at it).

Andromalius specializes in wickedness and revenge. He’s ready, willing, and able to rain down hell on Erin’s ex—but when Mark announces a hasty new marriage, Erin needs more than just revenge.

She needs a date to the wedding.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 17
Dillard Double #2: Injustice for All & Reasonable Fear
By Scott Pratt
Legal Thrillers
Regular Price: $6.99  Sale Price: $3.99

Injustice for All

A criminal court judge is found hanging from a tree.

A young employee of the district attorney's office goes missing.

In this third book of the best selling Joe Dillard series, Dillard finds himself in the middle of two volatile mysteries.

Reasonable Fear

Three young women are found floating in a lake.

Dillard becomes heavily involved in the investigation with Sheriff Leon Bates and soon realizes that he is up against an enemy that he has never before encountered -- someone so rich and so powerful that the course of justice could be altered by money and political influence.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 17
In Sight of the Mountain
By Jamie McGillen
Young Adult Historical Fiction
Regular Price: $4.99  Sale Price: $0.99

In the devastating aftermath of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire, nineteen-year-old Anna Gallagher faces considerable pressure to marry well and soon. But she has no intention of giving up her freedom to keep house. She wants to be the first woman to summit Mount Rainier.

Anna's grandfather couldn't disapprove more. And after he discovers that she's befriended a Duwamish woman in the forest, he threatens to disown her completely. 

Inspired by the trailblazing women of the 19th Century who dared to summit Mount Rainier, In Sight of the Mountain is a charming coming-of-age story, but it also casts the reader's gaze upon issues of colonialism, class, and women's far-too-narrow options.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: May 17
Simon Sees
By Othello Bach
Regular Price: $2.99  Sale Price: $0.99

Elise can’t stop staring at her first foster child. Simon is only six, with wide lavender eyes and dark curls that make him disarmingly beautiful. But he doesn’t talk. When she asks him why, he says, “No one likes the things I say.” 

When he finally talks she understands why he has bounced through several foster homes in two years. He speaks of unfathomable things—things he sees that others don’t. And he only wants one thing—to find the man who knows where his mother is.

The hunt soon makes them the hunted.

Prices change constantly. Be sure to verify all prices before purchase.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Nothing but Freebies Newsletter

When times are tough, like now, people are often at their best—lending a hand to those out of work; delivering meals to healthcare workers; and even doing the small things, like stepping off the sidewalk to maintain social distance.

So, in the vein of (really) small things, here's my monthly newsletter with nothing but freebies, because a bit of escapism can be important right about now.

First, check out a cozy mystery by Lolli Powell and three psychic mysteries by Chariss Walker, all free during May. Then, depending on your genre preferences, I have Sci-Fi/Fantasy and/or Crime, Mystery, and Suspense book fairs. All the authors ask is that you consider leaving a review. And finally, want something for your shorter breaks? How about a short story? I have quite a few of those, as well.

Hope you find something to enjoy. Stay safe,

The Body on the Barstool by Lolli Powell
Cozy Mystery
FREE May 8 & 9


When New Yorker Erica “Ricki” Fontaine inherits a bar in an Ohio River town, she’s determined to change the Top Shelf from a bar known for its Friday night fights into the kind of drinking establishment where you can bring your granny. Finding her ex-husband dead on a barstool at opening time one morning just might put a kink in those plans.

Get it here: 

Get the first three books in the Becky Tibbs Psychic Mystery Series by Chariss Walker
Becky Tibbs didn’t ask for the job or the gift of being a medium, but after her parents died, the unusual ability became a bequest – a gift handed down from her mother’s side of the family.

A Medium's Birthday Surprise - FREE May 12

Used to dealing with ghosts on a daily basis, Becky is not easily surprised. However, on her 26th birthday, Becky gets the biggest shock she’s had in the past ten years and it’s a doozy.

Get it here: 

A Medium's Thanksgiving Table - FREE May 26

Becky tries to live as normal a life as possible. She’s planning a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with her brother and sister, but will her special dinner go according to plans?

Get it here: 

A Medium's Christmas Gift - FREE May 27

Christmas is a busy season for everyone and Becky has her hands full when she helps a newly departed ghost whose stepfather is a major player in the Colorado drug cartel. Will Becky find peace and joy during the happiest time of the year?

Get it here: 

Summer Fantasy and Sci-Fi Review Fair – May 1 to May 31

You’ll find more than 35 stories in the Summer Fantasy and Sci-Fi Review Fair, including my near-future mystery, Killer in the Retroscape.

And they’re all free if you’ll consider thanking the author with a review.

Get your copies here: 

Stories of Crime, Mystery, and Suspense – April 17 to May 16

There are more than 30 stories in the Crime, Mystery, and Suspense book fair including my dark, crime thriller, Of Half a Mind.

These, too, are free, if you'll consider thanking the author with a review.

Get your copies here:

The best short stories – May 1 to May 30

Are the breaks in your day better suited to a short story?

Then select from among 65 of them in genres from romance to science fiction in “The Best Short Stories” giveaway.

Get your copies here: