Gratefulness, a Winner, and an Autumn Reading Challenge

Gratefulness

The brakes on the goblin railship squeal. The crystal-powered engine rolls into Ka Radiff in the Borderland. I clomp down the stairs to the dusty platform, the first to disembark. It’s the end of the tour through the known world beneath the Veil.

I wait at the bottom of the steps, smiling, grateful, so amazed at your kindness and enthusiasm. From beginning to end, I had a wonderful time. Thank you to all those who traveled with me, hosted the parties along the way, and stopped by to cheer my book on. As you descend to the station, I smile and wish you amazing adventures ahead.

A Winner

As part of hosting my official tour, I offered to draw a name from a hat (plastic container). The winner would receive my very best effort at a book or blog trailer. My husband did the honors. These terrible blurry photos are:

Randy’s hand in the container

Randy opening the crinkled paper

And the winner is:

Miriam Hurdle

I’m so excited to work with Miriam and create a trailer for her book Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude. Yay! Congrats to Miriam.

 

 

An Autumn Reading Challenge

My kindle overfloweth. One of the surprising results of a book tour is how many books I purchased from hosts and visitors. OMG! A clear consequence of unquenchable book-enthusiasm. Lol. To whittle down my pile, I’m challenging myself to read 60 books this season. No writing, no silly games on my phone, no mindless TV. Just lots of reading on the treadmill while trying not to trip! Wish me luck!

Thanks again to all my tour hosts, to everyone who visited and commented and visited and commented and visited. Lol. I’m so grateful all the readers who picked up a book and to the generous souls who provide the world with reviews. Happy Reading!

 

Liars and Thieves – Book Launch Central

Welcome to Launch Central for Liars and Thieves, the opening book of the fantasy series: Unraveling the Veil.

Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who offered their support and encouragement, and a special thank you to everyone who agreed to share the news on your blogs. I am overwhelmed by your kindness.

First, a little Happy Dance from your hostess:

Then help yourselves to some refreshments:

And hop aboard the goblin railship.

Below is a list of tour locations. Click on the blue link to get to the blog site and learn a unique tidbit about the book.

And while you’re there, I hope you’ll take the time to visit the posts of these generous and talented bloggers and writers.

Without further ado, let’s get this show on the road!

August 29

Jacqui Murray – Worddreams

Check out: A First Review of Liars and Thieves!

Jacqui’s Book: Against All Odds

 

 

August 30

Cage Dunn – Cage Dunn: Fibber, Fabricator, Teller-of-Tall-Tales

A Post from Cage: Diaballein 

Cage’s Book: Diaballein

August 31

Kennedy j. Quinn – Miss Liv Adventures – A Journey through Time… and Time Again

Q&A: Does Liars and Thieves have a map? 

A Post from Kennedy: The Lost Train Anthology: New release

Kennedy’s Book: Miss Liv Adventures Book Series

 

September 1

Kayla Brown – A Couple of B’s

Q&A: Your goblins aren’t stereotypical goblins. How did that come about?

A Post from Kayla: Top Ten Tuesday: Kayla’s Top Ten Audiobook Pick 

 

Staci Toilo – Staci Troilo: mulitgenre author also writing as DL Cross

Q&A: Which character was the most interesting to write?

A Post from Staci – Five Cover Reveals

Staci’s Book: The Gate: An Invasion Universe Novel (Astral Conspiracy Book 1)

 

Kim Laettner – Peace, Love and Patchouli

Q&A: Fantasy is a broad genre. Can you narrow down the description of this series?

Kim’s Book: Diary of a Middle-Aged Mermaid

 

 

Miriam Hurdle – The Showers of Blessings

Q&A: How do changelings shift into animal shapes?

Miriam’s Book: Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

 

A.S. Akkalon – Fantasy Author – Fantasy books, terrible advice and random silliness

Q&A: Do you have an image that shows a goblin city?

A Post from A. S.: Why I haven’t read your book

September 2

D. L Finn – Author D. L. Finn

Q&A: On and off, Talin spends a decade as Slink, a marten. What’s a marten?

Book: Just Her Poetry: Seasons of the Soul

 

 

Elizabeth Gauffreau: Elizabeth Gauffreau

Q&A: This series took almost 3 years to write. Why?

A Post from Liz: Where the Story Wants to Go

Liz’s Book: Telling Sonny

 

September 3

acflory – Meeka’s Mind

Q&A: Do you create the plot to suit your characters, or do you create the characters to drive the plot? Or a bit of both?

Andrea’s Book: Miira (book 1 of Innerscape)

 

Jan Sikes – Writing and Music

A Post from Jan: Sunshine Blogger Award!

Jan’s Book: Flowers and Stone

 

 

Elizabeth Merry – embookstuff

Q&A: Do you write for a specific audience?

Elizabeth’s Book: We All Die in the End

 

September 4

Robbie Cheadle – Robbie’s Inspiration

Q&A: What kind of magical skills do the elves in your story possess?

A Post from Robbie: Covid-19 twisted fairy tale cake

Robbie’s Book: Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook

 

Teri Polen – Books and Such

Q&A: What kind of magical skills do the goblins in your story possess?

Teri’s Book: Subject A36 (The Colony Series Book 1)

 

Debby Gies – D. G. Kaye, Writer

Q&A: Author Chat with D. G. Kaye

Debby’s Book: Twenty Years After I Do

 

 

Pete Springer – Pete Springer

Q&A: Why does shape-shifting cause the environment to heat or cool?

A post from Pete: A Funny Memory

Pete’s Book: They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher

 

Dawn D. – Dawn’s Nights

Q&A: Do you have an image that shows your inspiration for the Borderland?

A Post from Dawn: Black Lives Matter

 

September 5

Sue Vincent – Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Q&A: What draws you to the fantasy genre?

A Post from Sue: France and Vincent… Finding Don and Wen

Sue’s Book: The Initiate (Triad of Albion Book 1)

 

Marjorie Mallon – MJ Mallon YA Author and Poet

Q&A:What prompted you to write in your chosen genre?

A Post from Marje: A Warm Welcome to Kyrosmagica – Crystal Magic – The Magical Home of Books, Writing, and Inspiration

Marje’s Book: A Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone

September 6

Jina S. Bazaar – Jina S. Bazaar – Author’s Inspirations

Q&A: Naj’ar’s weapon of choice is a glaive. What’s that?

A Post from Jina: About Heir of Ashes

Jina’s Book: Heir of Ashes (The Roxanne Fosch Files Book 1)

September 7

Tessa Pulyer – Tessa Talks Books

Q&A: Why are you releasing the whole trilogy within 60 days?

 

 

Felicia Denise – Felicia Denise, Author

Q&A: Which character was the hardest to write?

A Post from Felicia: #Teaser, “Malice and Forethought: Short Stories of Malice and Murder”

Felicia’s Book: Malice and Forethought: Short Stories of Malice and Murder

September 8

Trent McDonald – Trent’s World (the Blog)

Q&A: In the Unraveling the Veil trilogy, what skills does a mage possess?

A Post from Trent: Embers – Short Stories 

Trent’s Book: Embers: Short Stories

 

Julie Holmes – Facets of a Muse

Q&A: How did you come up with the titles for your books in this series?

A Post from Julie: It’s Here! #mystery #aviation #amreading #newbook #releaseday

Julie’s Book: Murder in Plane Sight (Sierra Bauer Mystery)

 

September 9

Bette Stevens – Bette Stevens, Maine Author

Q&A: Why are changelings vegetarians?

A Post from Bette: Happy Birthday Maine! + #Writing Challenge

Bette’s Book: My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

 

Audrey Driscoll – Audrey Driscoll’s Blog

Q&A: What was the biggest challenge in writing this story?

A Post from Audrey: New Book: Tales from the Annexe

Audrey’s Book: Tales from the Annexe

 

September 10

Mae Clair – From the Pen of Mae Clair

Q&A: At one point the story suggests that all people are changelings. What does that mean?

A Post from Mae: New Release: Murder They Wrote

Mae’s Book: Murder they Wrote: An Anthology of Short Fiction

 

September 15

Leonard White – Len’s Diary

Q&A: What part of writing is easy for you?

A Post from Len: In Between

 

 

September 16

Gabriela Marie Milton – Short Prose

Q&A: How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?

A Post from Gabriela: Moonlight Love 

Gabriela’s Book: Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings

September 19

Steven Baird – Ordinary Handsome

Q&A: How do you define success?

Steven’s Book: Ordinary Handsome

 

 

September 22

Jessica Bakkers – Jessica Bakkers Creator of Speculative Fiction and Dark Fantasy

Check out: A Review of Liars and Thieves

Jessica’s Book: Guns of Perdition

 

 

Book Information:

Title: Liars and Thieves

Series: Unraveling the Veil, Book 1

Genre: Fantasy

Kindle Global Link

Soon available in Paperback

August Book Reviews

Only four this month! I’ve been slacking.

Actually, I’ve been super busy preparing for my launch and then dropping into bed at night, too tired to read.

This month, my offering of  4 and 5 star reviews includes fantasy, sci-fi, and a children’s book that my 7-year-old grandson reviewed. I hope you enjoy the browse.

Click on the covers for Amazon global links.

*****

Coyote Summer by Laura Koerber

I really, really enjoyed this book. The story starts with a “boys will be boys” rape of a very drunk teenager at a party. The main character, Ben, doesn’t participate, but he also doesn’t take strong action. This story is about his loss of innocence as he grapples with his guilt and the disheartening cultural biases, including within his own family, that force the victim into silence and give the perpetrators a break.

The story, the attitudes, and the choices of all the characters felt authentic to me. I related deeply to Ben as his rosy, privileged world dimmed, and he was forced to grow up and consider his values and actions, to decide what kind of person he wanted to be. Though his situation was unique, the loss of innocence and the rite of passage into adulthood felt universal. He’s a great character that I liked a lot.

There is a paranormal thread to the story that complements the main one. I wasn’t sure the paranormal aspects were necessary, but they didn’t detract, and I appreciated Ben’s relationship with the young woman Puppy and how healing and defining that was for him. All of the characters were beautifully written. The pace is perfect, and the story moves along without a hitch. The ending felt important. Highly recommended.

*****

Serang by C. S. Boyack

This is my first read from Boyack that wasn’t a madcap paranormal adventure, and I enjoyed the seriousness of this story. It’s described as an origin story about Serang who has a role in the Lanternfish books (which I haven’t read yet). I think that description is exactly right.

The story begins when Serang is 6 years old and progresses through her teens. As a child, she’s abandoned at a temple by her mother. The monastery becomes her home, its residents her family, until the Emperor has the monks killed. On the run, Serang finds a new master who continues her training as the two of them travel across the harsh land.

The characters are wonderfully 3-dimensional, and I enjoyed the way their relationship developed. The worldbuilding is exquisite. After I finished reading, I learned that the tale is a fantasy, and I laughed because I had assumed that the setting was a real place.

The plot consists of the journey as well as Serang’s training and mastery. As an origin story there’s no giant climatic conclusion, but there is a satisfying ending to the intriguing tale. The pace is steady overall with moments of exciting action. I recommend this book as a companion read/prequel to the Lanternfish books, which I’ll be reading soon.

*****

Aftermath (Book 2 of the Shard Chronicles) by Ono Northey

Aftermath is the second book in the Shard Chronicles series. Any book that’s over 600 pages makes me a little squirrelly, but I enjoyed the first book in the series and dove in.

The main strength of both books is the wonderful characterization. Steve is an awesome protagonist and tough as nails. In this book, we get to know the bad guys who were rather nebulous in the first installment. These mages are so powerful that they almost don’t know how to function in the real world and the situations can get funny as well as outrageously weird. They also kill and destroy indiscriminately without the slighted idea that this might be wrong.

The writing is exceptional. Northey has a wonderful grasp of language, description, action, and dialog. It’s hard not to be impressed. The world-building is also outstanding. It’s broad and deep, and comes off as real science and psychology… and after reading, I almost believe that magic exists. Overall, I enjoy the long discussions of the power of perception and mind over matter, though some readers may find this too labored.

And that gets me to the challenge with this book. I think it suffers from a second book slump. As wonderfully as its written, there’s a long long stretch (about half of the book) where the plot stalls. Several characters from book 1 disappear while Steve trains his mind and the mages prepare for conflict within their ranks. The action is great when it happens, but much of this book seems like preparation for the third book. That’s a lot of preparation.

This is a hard book to rate. I love the writing and characters and didn’t skim any of the 600+ pages. But the lack of movement in the plot and long delivery were a disappointment. I’m going in the middle with four stars and a warning to readers that the “action” in this book is conceptual more than physical.

*****

Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space by Toni Pike

I purchased this book for my grandson, and this is what he said about it:

I liked this book. It’s about this boy, Brody Cody, whose mom died. He and his dad live together and Brody doesn’t have very many rules. Then his dad goes away and comes back with a new mom. Brody doesn’t like her because she has rules, like eat vegetables and do chores. He thinks she’s an alien. The best part is when he thinks he sees the spaceship. I liked Brody, and he found out having a mom was pretty good. I read the whole book. There aren’t pictures, but it was good.

*****

Happy Reading!

Pondering Time Zones

All images from Pixabay

Andrea (acflory) from Meeka’s Mind and I were emailing about time zones relative to my launch. Our discussion made me think of this old post from the archives. I hope it gives you a smile. 🙂

+++

No stranger to discussions of the fluidity of perception, I’m often pondering the different ways we interpret events, places, and people. I include myself in the mix. Who I am is entirely based on a host of perspectives, mine and others, and it changes minute by minute.

Even the date and time of my birth is subject to interpretation depending where you and I live relative to the International Date Line. Time is real, I suppose, but it’s also invented. When my brother used to fly back from Guam, he would arrive in Seattle an hour before he left Guam. Weird, huh?

When I started blogging, I became more aware of the play of time zones. I’m closer to the time-flip than quite a few readers so while I’m posting over a coffee and buttered bagel, some of you are slipping into your pajamas after a long day. If I post in the afternoon, you’re snoozing or rushing off to work… tomorrow.

WordPress occasionally confuses me. My stats show views on Tuesday while here it’s still Monday. My posts are time-traveling into the future! You’re commenting into the past.

Then it gets more complicated…

According to Kiss Metrics timing is everything and knowing when to post is “mandatory” for any successful blogger.

  • The highest percentage of bloggers read posts in the morning. Therefore, I should post occasionally at night?
  • A higher percentage of men read blogs in the evening and at night. Oh, so perhaps I should post in the morning…
  • The average blog gets the most traffic on Monday.  So, now and then I should post on Sunday which is Monday in half of the world.

To be fair, these recommendations are based on Eastern Standard Time, so it shouldn’t be all that muddling to me. Yet I care about my readers across the oceans and continents, and I think about them and where they are in their “times,” so near and yet thousands of miles away.

To finish off the stats here are the rest (based on EST):

  • The average blog gets the most traffic around 11 AM.
  • The average blog gets the most comments on Saturday.
  • The average blog gets the most clinks on Monday and Thursday.
  • The average blog gets the most clicks at 7 AM.

According to that round up, the best time for me to post is just before 4 AM on Saturday morning. Not gonna happen.

I’d love to hear about your slice of agreed-upon time. What day and time is it for you? When you blog, do you pay attention to time zones?

 

The Bossy Muse insists that I need help

My Muse (pixabay compilation)

I have my feet up in my writing room, and I’m getting a little cross-eyed from editing commas.

I look up and listen. Someone’s clomping up the stairs. I’m hoping it’s the hubby with an iced coffee. But no such luck. I hear the roar of a howler monkey, and my laptop nearly flips to the floor. I know who it is.

My muse.

She walks in without knocking. The monkey on her shoulder bares its yellow teeth and squeezes a banana until the peel splits. The muse sits beside me and puts her boots up on the coffee table. The howler smears banana on my arm and grins.

I frown at the mess. “Why did you have to bring him?”

She ignores my question and gives me a flat look. “I just had an iced coffee with your husband. He said you’re planning to do the usual.”

My chin draws back. First, where’s my iced coffee? Second, I have no idea what “the usual” means.

I’m about to ask when the howler swings to the floor and starts pulling books out of my bookcase. He bites the corner of Jacqui Murray’s new book Against All Odds. I jump up and snatch it from the beast’s teeth. It barks at me, and I growl in reply.

I keep one eye on the monkey while questioning my visitor, “Okay, I give up. What’s ‘the usual?’ You know, I have work to do for my launch.”

“Exactly,” my muse says. “A launch is more than one blog post announcing a new book.”

“Oh.” I wince. “But… but that’s…”

The muse arches an eyebrow. “… what you usually do?”

My face contorts. My stomach hurts. She’s going to make me do a real launch. My little introverted self squirms at the thought. “Do I have to?”

“I’m not forcing you to eat a goblin’s heart.” She rolls her eyes and takes Jacqui’s tooth-marked book. “Jacqui does great launches. Run it by her. If you do half of what she does, it will be ten times more than your usual.”

“But she’s good at everything.” I slump, my head sliding down between my shoulders. “She’s so organized.”

My muse looks as sympathetic as a stump. “The next time you see me, we’ll discuss a new book. It’s up to you to finish this series up and give it your best. Ask for help.”

With that, she takes the monkey’s hand and clomps down the stairs. I get up and peek out the window. The monkey vanishes in the sunlight. My muse turns to wave and shifts into her next shape, the one that will invade my space in a few months with fresh inspiration…

***

Thank you to everyone who signed up. I’m so grateful for your kindness and generosity.

 

 

 

Liars and Thieves Trailer

After a day of preparing for a launch, my brain shuts down, and I relax by playing with images and music.

After all the long posts, lately. I hope you enjoy this short one.

Liars and Thieves, the 1st book of the Unraveling the Veil series, is available for Preorder at $.99.

I hope you enjoyed the show.

 

 

Talin, a Changeling

Liars and Thieves, the 1st book in the Unraveling the Veil series, is in the final stages of… everything. Lol.

I introduced two of my main characters: Naj’ar, a goblin here, and Alue, an elf here.

To finish off the trio, here’s a peek at Talin, my changeling. He starts this snippet as a jackal. I hope you enjoy!

Talin sat on the smooth stone and scratched. Other than the vermin infesting his coat, the afternoon had progressed with minimal effort. He’d shift into his familiar self and bathe, then seek a meal of roots or greens. Something edible that didn’t include voles and other Borderland rodents. He could do without ingesting any more hair, bones, and all the other peripheral disgustingness that accompanied the gobbling down of wild meat.

He raised his nose, nostrils twitching at a new scent. The scruff on his neck and shoulders bristled.

A cat. A wild one.

Changelings didn’t stalk changelings, and something big and stealthy lurked in the jungle. He leapt from the sunlight, slipped through a natural trellis of twisted vines, and spent hours evading the panther that had sniffed him out. Exasperation surrendered into a growing sense of urgency. Head down, ears alert, he bounded over a stream and between the stilts that supported the railway spur in its treacherous descent. Already too long in jackal form, he was overdue to shift. And shifting presented some serious drawbacks.

Nose to the ground, he found the path he sought, and by twilight reached one of the tree-stands that peppered the Reaches. The ladder would present a challenge, but if he could manage it, the stand would likely save his life.

He circled the base of the tree, seeking a cache of buried crystals, and found none. Another obstacle. With a huff, he scanned the shadowed growth and tasted the air for unwelcome predators. Langur monkeys crept along the upper branches, and a shy loris blinked at him with pooled eyes, but no cats prowled the area. Poisonous snakes slithering in the trees would be the greatest threat, but there wasn’t much he could do about them. He sat on his haunches and closed his eyes.

He called up his human pattern. A cold shiver accompanied the brutal constellation of pain that sparked deep in his bones. The transformation would require only minutes, but after so long in a borrowed form, it would feel like hours.

The skeletal changes came first. He sank to his knees as his oblong skull crushed inward at the muzzle and bulged in the cranium. His neck compressed. Shoulder blades and ribcage shrank while hip bones expanded and rearranged their connections to fibulae and spine. His tail withered into a pointed coccyx deep within his flesh.

The air around him froze as he drew mass from the trees and ground to accommodate his larger size. A ring of frost crept outward from his contorting feet. Arm and leg bones elongated, and he gritted his teeth as the bones in his front paws shattered, seven pieces reforming into the twenty-seven of his human hand. He curled into a ball, breathless, as his elbows, knees, all his joints and cartilage switched to accommodate altered movement. The intensity of his pain weakened as his skeleton took its final shape and the rest of his internal mechanisms rippled into alignment.

His skin shifted last. Hair altered its texture, fine on his bronze limbs, scratchy on his jaw. Long and dark on his head.

As the ache inside him faded and his sweat cooled, the air returned to its familiar sticky humidity. His heart rate slowed. Strength spent, he could barely move, unconsciousness luring him into a dreamless sleep. Naked, he rolled to his hands and knees and rung by rung, hoisted himself up the ladder.

“Death would be easier than this.” He chuckled like a tipsy drunk. At the top, he collapsed, his legs still propped on the ladder.

Good enough, he surrendered to sleep.

Coming Soon!

July Book Reviews

I’ve been writing like a madwoman, so fewer book reviews this month – but some good ones!

My offering of  4 and 5 star reviews includes romance, historical fiction, mystery, family drama, superheroes, and prehistoric fiction. I hope you enjoy browsing.

Click on the covers for Amazon global links.

*****

The Sister Pact by Jacquie Biggar

I read this book in a day and thoroughly enjoyed the distraction. It’s a romance, but so much more than that. The story has a maturity to it that I appreciated, genuine characters struggling with all kinds of relationships, old hurts, forgiveness, and love.

Holly Tremaine is ill and, forced to leave her job, returns to the dysfunctional home of her childhood. You couldn’t cut the tension with a chainsaw, and she immediately wonders what the heck she just did. An old beau enters the scene, but so do old wounds, misunderstandings, and hurtful assumptions between the family members, particularly between Holly and her sister Susan.

One thing that I enjoyed about the book was how genuine the family and characters felt, flawed but trying hard to make their lives work. The focus is on Holly who shares the story’s pov, primarily with her sister. The writing is polished and tight, which provides a speedy pace while allowing for some beautiful descriptions. The plot works well and wraps up nicely. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy romances, relationship stories, and a fast-paced entertaining jaunt through family life. A perfect beach read.

*****

Cape Menace by Amy M. Reade

This mystery begins in 1711 in Cape May, New Jersey, a small settlement in the new world. Sarah Hanover’s mother disappears, and despite their grief, she and her father, the local apothecary continue on. But the question of what happened to Ruth Hanover never goes away and Sarah is determined to discover what happened.

I like historical fiction and the richness that a particular time period adds to a story. In this case, the beliefs about healing are fascinating – a reliance on blood-letting, drawing out a burn with hot metal, and shaving a head to cure a fever, to name a few.

The entire tale is tole in Sarah’s first-person pov. She’s a great character, kind and obedient to her father, but endowed with a well of inner strength, resilience, and independence. She’s also a bit of a snoop, which is highly improper, and about which she feels guilty. Secondary characters are also wonderfully developed, particularly Sarah’s father.

The mystery aspect of the story is well done with a weave of red herrings and parallel running plots. Despite all my guessing, I wasn’t able to guess the ending until it came. The book isn’t particularly bloody or scary though there is plenty of tension at certain points. The writing is polished and beautifully edited. Highly recommended for readers of historical fiction and cozy mysteries. Appropriate for YA and adult audiences.

*****

A Ghost in the Kitchen: Three Ingredients 2 by Teagan Geneviene

I’ve read a number of Geneviene books, and what I love about them is how light-hearted and whimsical they are, full of great characters, fantastical creatures, and quirky adventure. This one is no different. Pip and her grandmother have the ability to see ghosts and several show up in Granny’s kitchen, including a rather colorful Maestro who enjoys cooking. The story has mermen, cursed cowboy ghosts, and Daisy, Pip’s friend who died under mysterious circumstances. Pip and her friend Andy are determined to discover the truth.

This is a lively story with great characters and a lickety-split pace. Pip is a 1920’s flapper with an engaging personality, and the story is full of fun lingo. I haven’t read the first book in the series and though there are references to what occurred, this book worked fine as a stand-alone. A lighthearted, magical read

*****

Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

Families aren’t easy, filled with flawed humans who bounce off each other in myriad directions, some sweet, some chaotic. When a family is full of secrets, things can get pretty tangled. Ben Glass was the glue that held his family together, and when he’s killed in a traffic accident, his widow Olivia and their five grown sons start the process of shattering.

Olivia struggles for control, and one by one begins interfering in her sons’ lives. She is the keeper of one of Ben’s secrets, but the young men have secrets of their own, and like an overpowering mother, she tries to “fix” everyone and “fix” their relationships. There were definitely points in the book where I wanted to shake her. That said, there aren’t any villains in this story, and I appreciated that real-life quality.

Without giving too much away, the family’s journey through grief and separation into repair is the main focus of the plot. A lot of detail and description gives the book a leisurely but steady pace. The characters are thoroughly developed, three dimensional and unique, with full emotional lives. I felt a lot of empathy for all of them, even for Olivia as she bungled along, an imperfect person who wants so much to manage her family into healing. In many ways, the story is about family strength and love. Recommended for readers of family sagas and literary fiction.

*****

Bystanders by Phillip Murrell

This is a great read for anyone who loves action, a plot-driven story, and superheroes. But it’s not typical of superhero reads since the superhero has almost no role in the narrative. Instead, the story focuses on those touched by his actions – a news anchor, hospital workers, EMTs, law enforcement, criminals, and a couple of teenage bloggers.

Don’t expect any deep character development, emotional turmoil, or personal growth. For the most part, the characters are simply reacting to events and don’t have overarching goals that drive the action. But do expect well-rounded personalities revealed through exceptional dialog, the strongest element of the book.

The pace is good throughout, though there are times when the dialog, though realistic, goes off on short tangents. There’s some humor around the superhero’s name, and there’s plenty of violence, so be prepared for blood. An entertaining book that I recommend to readers of plot-driven superhero and action novels.

*****

Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray

This book concludes the fascinating trilogy that began 850,000 years ago as Xhosa and her People begin their search for a new home, migrating across continents, meeting different peoples, and facing the harsh elements. They learn new skills, adapt, and develop strategies that help them survive. I recommend reading this series in order since it entails a single journey.  (For the full review, click here.)

*****

Happy Reading!

Against All Odds: New Release Review

I’ve been a fan of Jacqui Murray’s prehistoric fiction for years now. Her latest, Against all Odds, the 3rd book in the Crossroads Trilogy, is just out and my review is below.

Did I mention that I’m a fan? I’ve read and reviewed:

Born in a Treacherous Time 

Survival of the Fittest (Crossroads Trilogy 1)

The Quest for Home (Crossroads Trilogy 2)

And, newly released:

Against All Odds (Crossroads Trilogy 3)

If you need an August read, why not give prehistoric fiction a try.

The Story:

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Trailer:

My Review

This book concludes the fascinating trilogy that began 850,000 years ago as Xhosa and her People begin their search for a new home, migrating across continents, meeting different peoples, and facing the harsh elements. They learn new skills, adapt, and develop strategies that help them survive. I recommend reading this series in order since it entails a single journey.

What I’ve enjoyed most about Murray’s prehistoric fiction is the meticulous research, which shines through and brings the time period to life. While the glimpses into prehistoric life were mesmerizing at the beginning of the series, this third installment focuses more on the characters and their personalities and how they adapt to situations. The natural landscape and elements continue to be a challenge but there are more encounters, both cooperative and aggressive, with other humans, including cannibals.

The cast of characters has grown over the trilogy and a glossary of names at the book’s beginning is worth browsing for a refresher. Murray also provides some research detail in a foreword that is interesting though not required to enjoy the story. The book moves along at a good pace, and the author does a great job envisioning the world through prehistoric eyes with terminology that creates an aura of the past. Highly recommended for readers of prehistoric fiction.

Meet Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also an adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page     

Blog: Worddreams                                    

Instagram                       

LinkedIn                             

Pinterest                                

Twitter                               

Website                                 

 

Happy Reading!

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries 2020- Pot Luck #Writing – Why to avoid “ing” words in fiction by D. Wallace Peach

I’m over at Sally Cronin’s today with a reblog of a writing post about why to avoid “ING” words. If you missed it, stop by for a gander. And while visiting, be sure to browse Sally’s smorgasbord of offerings. Happy Friday and have a glorious (and safe) weekend!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives… and I will be picking two posts from the blogs of those participating from the first six months of 2020. If you don’t mind me rifling through your archives… just let me know in the comments or you can find out the full scope: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020

This is the first post for Diana Wallace Peach and this week some help when navigating the grammar rules regarding the ‘ing’ words..

A few weeks ago, I had a blog-conversation with Jacqui Murray of Worddreams  about editing out “ing” words. I’ve heard many times that these words should be avoided when writing fiction but never understood why. While some writing no-nos stab me in the eye every time I read them (such as filter words words), “ing” words never really bothered me.

So, a…

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