At the River’s Edge by D.R. Shoultz

Summary:

Sunset Peak, North Carolina is cursed by murder and captivated by moonshine money.

The unsolved shooting death of Mayor Hank Richards has a five-year curse hovering over the historic mountain community. Townspeople look over their shoulders in fear as neighbor accuses neighbor.

Rumors of buried moonshine money captivate those seeking unearned riches, but haunt Emily Edwards, the strong-willed granddaughter of the purported moonshiner.

Shortly following the murder of Mayor Richards, James Wolsey returns from college to help his mom manage the family’s hardware business. James and Emily are traveling diverse paths when they meet, but quickly align on a common course. If not for obsessed treasure hunters convinced Emily possesses a map, it seems their future together is promising.

The couple’s attempt to dispel rumors of buried treasure leads them to the gravesite of Emily’s ancestor beside the New River. What they uncover at the river’s edge propels them into the path of the mayor’s killer, and unleashes a chain of chilling events that forever changes Sunset Peak.

Mayor Richards’ murder will not be the last in the previously peaceful town.

Amazon Link

Character:

James and his mother are good main characters. James is a good person if not a little vanilla. Emily is a live wire. Unpredictable for sure but I liked her gutsy demeanor. You also get to meet the two law enforcement personnel trying to solve the murder. The story has POV switches.

Plot:

The story just drops you in without much explanation or set up. Beyond that I hesitate to say more because there are lots of twists and turns. A good murder mystery that doesn’t stop there. When you think you’ve figured it out there are two more twists. I think I can say that a pair of bumbling idiots for side villains.

Overall:

This story was interesting and I struggled with the writing style of this story: was it narrative or third person? It was never clear. Furthermore this story needs clearer breaks! Beyond that it was a very enjoyable read with very vivid characters and believable sequences of events. The author kept it a great length. Easy to read in a few sittings.

Rating:

4 stars

A solid mystery with interesting characters. Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing!

Where did I get it?

I was gifted a copy from the author. This is a voluntary review.

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Shadows of Time by Ann Nolder Heinz

Summary:

Madeline (Maddie) Blake is not like other PIs. She has a unique gift, the ability under certain circumstances to bridge time and relive events that have already happened. When a heartbroken mother calls from Seattle and begs for her help in locating her missing daughter, Maddie cannot refuse. Yet it soon becomes apparent that someone will go to any length to prevent her from taking the case. Maddie’s grit and determination prevail, and she arrives in Seattle only to discover that more is at stake in the wealthy Hallowell house than a simple abduction. Questions abound. Why is the girl’s father so hostile to Maddie’s involvement? It is 1979, the Cold War is at its zenith, and he shows more passion over a famous Soviet dissident than he does in finding his daughter. Why is a man murdered and his body dumped on the curb in front of his house? Why does he summon a group of colleagues to a secret meeting in the middle of the night in what looks to Maddie like a full-blown conspiracy somehow tied to the communist regime in Russia? Why has a self-described freelance journalist ingratiated himself into the household and into Maddie’s investigation? Who is friend and who foe? As Maddie gets closer to the truth about what happened, she finds herself in ever increasing danger. Her psychic gift takes her from the city to the mountains to the coast and onto a Russian fishing trawler far out in the Pacific Ocean. Faced with the most horrendous odds she has ever encountered, she must use every last physical and emotional resource in order to survive and unravel the skein of lies and ambitions that lie at the heart of her case.

Amazon Link

Characters:

Maddie is a very smart but stupid all at the same time. I felt she needed a partner badly. Also I noticed she hesitates to share any information and then does it anyways. She is emotionally damaged but does a lot of growing through the book. Neil is my favorite character. There was something clever and charming about him. He was a good balance for her. There were a lot of supporting characters, but fair warning…don’t get attached to any of them.

Plot:

This is not a happy story. I’ll say nothing more than that for fear of getting everything away. What I can say is I was shocked to my core more than once. If you want a story where everything goes well…go to a different book. This one is gritty and realistic in an almost painful way. There were a few coincidences and moments when I felt like characters acted very predictably to push the story but it was few and far between. This book can stand alone.

Overall:

The writing style was very enjoyable. It was consistent and colorful.  I did find the dialogue tags very annoying. They were all over the place. Beyond that it was a very enjoyable. The plot and story can be down right brutal at times, uncompromising, but that is was makes it so impressive.

I was very excited about the aspect of a mystery in 1979. However, it soon began to take on a different feel. It had more of a spy novel. The biggest failing of this book was the setting. It started off decently strong, but faded out very quickly. After that the setting was mostly nonexistent.

Rating:

4 stars

A kidnapping story with a spy novel feel. This unforgiving story will take you on a ride with twists and turns that have a gritty feel.

Where did I get a copy?

The author gave me a copy. This is a voluntary review.

Solar Scavengers by Barry L. Marshall

Summary:

He just wanted to be a pilot, and then the scavengers attacked…

Solar Scavengers are considered a security threat to the Commonwealth. StarSec has hunted them for years, but the balance of power shifts when alien technology abandoned on Mars is discovered by a faction of the scavs.

This technology could benefit humanity, but unfortunately, it falls into the hands of a tyrant named Feng who plans to use it against the Commonwealth. The solar system is plunged into war, and now, the future of the human race depends on a young man drawn into the situation by a mysterious girl…

Amazon Link

Characters:

I struggled with the characters throughout this book. Stormy was probably my favorite, but even she didn’t stand out. Cody was written like the unintended hero. I never really connected with him. Cris was a good balance when he was added. I actually really loved the idea of a handicapped main character, I only wished it had lasted longer. There were a wide cast of supporting characters. Most of the characters seemed to instantly trust everyone…which made for unrealistic circumstances.

Plot:

The winning part of this book was this books twists and turns. Honestly it lulls you into a state of predictability and then throws a curve ball. I fell for it, missed the hint earlier on about what was coming. Despite that the plot was a bit all over the place. Sometimes it felt like it was caught in a feedback loop—trust, clever idea, successfully outwit…repeat.

Excellent and very detailed action scenes. It was the winning part of the book. I could envision each moment in my mind. They were vivid and excellent science fiction scenes.

Overall:

This is a Young Adult novel to the max. Over the top villains, too trusting main character that gets everything (nearly) right. So much teenage angst! Not to mention that everyone just seemed to connect instantly. This book has a tendency to tell rather than show.

The characters were a major failing of the book but they did improve by the end of the book. The plot was much more interesting but punctuated by more than a few surprises. The dialogue is clumsy and choppy—stilted in parts. There was a lot of potential in this book but just as much wrong with it. A good start that could easily be refined.

Rating:

2.5 stars (rounded up)

A YA novel with a Sci-fi backdrop. There is as much that I liked about this book that I didn’t. That being said there is more good than bad.

Where did I get a copy?

Author provided a copy. This is a voluntary review.

A Monk’s Tail by Kyle Spencer

Summary

For Bow, a gun-toting, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed firefox monk, life as a monster-hunter is pretty straightforward. Until, that is, he runs afoul of a power-hungry warlord and gets himself imprisoned. There he helps a young maus named Susi escape, but in doing so unleashed nightmarish forces hellbent on capturing his new ward. Now, with the help of a giant bear alchemist and a violent nun, Bow must stay one step ahead of his perusers and certain death. But Susi is harboring a dark secret, one that could spell doom for them all.

Amazon Link

Characters

Quirky—that is the word that comes to mind when I think of the characters in this book.  At its lead is Bow, a charming dumba**. He is a jerk but in a mostly adorable way…mostly. Susi the second front runner and a sweetie with a secret. After Susi and Bow become fast friends there are a few others that show up. My favorite of the bunch is Talia—she is also a firefox like Bow and a good balance for him. It has a similar feel of Guardians of the Galaxy but in the fantasy genre. My biggest complaint is there are multiple points of view…all in first person. *groan*

Plot

The plot has a tendency to run all over the place. Where the main group is mostly being chased but also hunting monsters. It zigzags like a Dungeon and Dragon (D&D) campaign. Not necessarily a bad thing but it does cause lulls in a few areas that thankfully don’t detract from the story. That being said there are lots of impressive action scenes. Ones that make the pages and minutes melt away. There are a few past flash backs that didn’t really feel necessary and detracted from the story. That being said the ending is shocking and unexpected and yet realistic. People don’t always make the best choices and sometimes they make really terrible ones.

Overall

There is this kiddish charm with adult themes. Sometimes it is difficult to match the flippant attitude/feel of the book with the violence. I laughed out loud more than once. It had very vivid characters and scenes. The book is littered with fandom references. It make the world seem a little all over the place but had solid enjoyable characters to make up for it.

The author is clearly a D&D lover. It is apparent from the start. Furthermore, there is D&D overload when one of the characters plays D&D. Like D&D inception. I half expect the ending to be a critical fail on a roll because of how unexpected it was but that just added to the feel of the story. An absolute bonus! I have a feeling Bow’s adventures are far from over.

Rating

3.5 Stars (rounded up)

It was entertaining. If you love D&D and would like an amusing fantasy adventure—pick this up!

Where did I get it?

Author provided a copy. This is a voluntary review.

2018 – 3rd Quarter Writing Updates

It is that time again! Let’s how much progress I’ve made on my goals and how much more I’d have to do in the next three months!

Goals for my writing for 2018:

  1. Finish getting The Gate Trilogy Ready
    1. Book 2 – Publish Summer August 8 of 2018 (The Nowhere Gate)
      1. Beta readers (First came back two are behind and I’ve scheduled a fourth)
      2. Schedule Cover Reveal (July 7, 2018)
      3. Professional editor
      4. Pre-order link: Amazon
    2. Book 3 – Publish Summer Fall of 2019
      1. Edit (Lots to rewrite but edits are done)
      2. Cover Completed
      3. Do rewrite
      4. Transcribe edits (Started! Five chapters in!)
      5. Beta readers
      6. Cover reveal
      7. Professional editor
  2. Publish Audiobook
    1. Unfathomable Chance
      1. Release in 2018 – Release happened in May. 
    2. Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand
      1. Find voice
      2. Consider publishing 2019
  3. Focus on Unfathomable Plan
    1. Finish writing in 2018 (October Update: Hit 42,000 words!)
    2. Start editing 2019
  4. Work on other writing projects after Unfathomable Plan is done.
    1. Temporum: The Four Seasons – Book 1
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing
      3. Finish Writing 2018 (On Hold)
      4. Edit
    2. 1001 Islands 2
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing
      3. Finish Writing 20##
      4. Edit
    3. Seven Eves – Alaskan Supernatural Crime Novel (on hold)
    4. Demon’s Due – Paranormal Erotica/Romance
    5. Noble Chronicles Series (5 Books Planned)
    6. Zendar 2 (Added April)
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing (On hold until NaNoWriMo 2018)
      3. Finish Writing 2018
      4. Edit
    7. Write Anthology Short Story – (Part of Gate) – Romance
      1. Write!
      2. Submitted for review!
      3. If you are interested go to my new anthologies page: The Truest Gate
    8. Write Anthology Short Story – Epic Fantasy
      1.  Write!
      2. Submit for review!
    9. Worlds Apart Sci-Fi Anthology
      1. Submit Story
      2. Help with Release
  5. Consider Publishing Love’s Metamorphosis in eBook
  6. An Honest Misunderstanding
    1. Publishing on Wattpad in 2018 – To come out over the winter! 
    2. One Beta Reader is editing
  7. Editing Projects
    1. Red Door
    2. Truthseer (Started editing in September)
  8. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2018
    1. Will be writing Zendar 2: A Tale of Wind and Blood
  9. Work on Escape Room information.
    1. Conjured Kingdoms
      1. Writing
      2. Find Cover Artist
      3. Website Summary
      4. Book Summary
      5. Promotional Video and other supporting work
      6. Room/Puzzle work
    2. Work on video language
    3. Work on media kits
  10. Keep up momentum on writing events, speaking events, and conventions.
    1. Book and Attended Steamposium CANCELLED BY COORDINATOR
    2. Book and Attend Arctic Comic Con (April 2018)
    3. Book and Attend SenshiCon (September 2018)
    4. Book Read Alaska
    5. Attend Read Alaska
    6. Submit Application for World Con 
      1. If I get in Attend WorldCon in San Jose.
    7. Apply for Emerald City Comic Con (2019)
      1. On the wait-list for Artist Alley.
  11. Read 503516 6 books before December 31st

Writing updates:

Now I’m over 42,000 words into Unfathomable Plan, but I’ve been very busy attending conventions. When I’m not doing that I’m editing the King’s Gate (book 3), working on two other writing projects, and editing Truthseer! The King’s Gate is scheduling for release on September 9, 2019.

Anthologies:

Crazy Ink Anthologies is still working on The Curse. Woot! It is scheduled for next year but I’ve already submitted it for review.

The Epic Fantasy anthology story is a little stalled out but I’ve made some more progress. The working title – A Ghostly Gate. I’m totally behind writing this but I’ve gotten around the hard part and starting the easier part that I already had a clear picture of. Should hopefully wrap it up this month.

The last anthology is a sci-fi that has to take place in space. It is my old story – Pandemonium. I’m taking it down from here shortly!

Escape  Book:

Conjured Kingdoms is about half done. It is such fun and when done will be a short story for middle school to young adult age. However, it will be fun for all ages! It will cover the story leading up to the ‘creation’ of the escape room. I can’t wait! I’ll share the summary soon – keep and eye open!

Reading Goal:

It is my goal to read 50 books. So far I’ve completed 44 reviews and have finished one more books but haven’t written the review. So technically I have 5 to go. I’ll get there in no time because I have most of them lined up!

Happy reading!

Land of Peace (Book 2) by Cyana Scriptora

Summary

Prince Audax Leonis has been struggling to make sense of the last few days.
One moment his sweet Anna was dying in his arms and the next he was being consumed by a giant vortex.
He woke up in a strange world, a world of noise and chaos.
The goddess had saved Anna.
But she had also made a grave mistake.
What had Iustitia been thinking?
“They will think that I have abandoned them. They will call me a coward.”
Sleep is impossible. The guilt and fear sickens his stomach.
He hears them in his dreams. The people that have died, and those that will, those that are alive and suffering at the hands of that monster and his despicable men.
“Send me back! Please, I have to return!”
He cries in the middle of the night, but there is only silence.
There are no answers, never answers. Just more questions.
Tomorrow he will walk to her room and see her.
Perhaps, tomorrow will be the day.
But until then, he is trapped. Trapped in time.

Characters

Anna and Audax return. I wish there was more growth in both characters but they grow closer together in this book. Developing their relationship and realizing their mistakes which was rewarding to read. Liz and Alex are also back. Liz irritates me to no end, she is kinda of an idiot. Alex was much more charming and I honestly can’t see what he sees in Liz. I did like many of the new character arcs—especially Venia’s although I fear hers is going to end in tragedy. The author did a good job keeping all of the

Plot

This second book is more of a YA romance with all of the ‘romance’ stories rather than a YA fantasy. I am not often a fan of time travel but so far this author is playing it safe and kept it believable. That meddling with the past affect the future…or even the events of the past. Love that aspect of it. What was really fun was Audax experiencing the ‘magic’ of technology of the modern age. I was laughing out loud at a few parts. There were a few scenes and pieces that felt way too convenient: like Liz just paying Audax’s bills at the hospital and Avam just knowing how Errata felt about Videns.

Overall

Something I realized with this second book was the gods are from Greek mythology. Which was such a disappointment because that meant all of the world building is borrowed. Even the fairy lore thrown in. Like last time the story and writing progressed enjoyably. Actually I felt like this book served more to introduce new story lines with new romances, rather than progress the plot. There were aspects I really enjoyed and others that felt unnecessary. Overall still an enjoyable read with lots of interesting characters.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded up)

More of a YA romance than a YA fantasy, this was the second installment that is more in the future than the past of this story. Lots of new characters to fall in love with!

Where did I get a copy?

From the author for an honest review. This is a voluntary review.