Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Review - Thompkin's School for the Dearly Departed by Tabi Slick

Book Review
Tompkin's School For The Dearly Departed
Book 2 in the Tompkin's School Trilogy




Tompkin's School: For the Dearly Departed
by Tabi Slick
Genre: YA Paranormal/Dark Fantasy
Release Date: August 2nd 2017


 Visions of the past, powers beyond belief, and a school that has been waiting for them for over a hundred years. Kain and Izara's abilities have advanced far greater than they ever imagined possible and it's all due to their new friend that has joined them. This year will bring the Torvik twins closer to solving the mystery of who they are, why they have these powers, and even closer to unveiling the school's most haunting secret.


“The lights of the Artesian Hotel flickered as the party drew on into the night. I saw Bart Bessler dancing with Mary, and the bright, dazzling yellow eyes of the French, red-headed woman as she drew in the light around her. I shivered at the sight of the wolf-man killing one of the intruders that night they had chained Bart to the ground.“Destiny of beings is about to come to fruition,” the voice of the being’s human companion rang in my ear.The scene turned to liquid and then I saw Izzy standing in front of me.“You know his face,” a voice that didn’t belong to my sister bellowed from within her.I will return....I will return to my children.
My whole body writhed in pain as the voice filled my head.”


My Review

⭐⭐⭐
Beware Possible Spoilers
I was given a copy of this book for an honest review.

This book is about a brother and sister who have acquired powers they don't want, and don't understand. It's difficult for them to know who they can trust with some pretty dark secrets. They have enemies as well, and they don't know who they are, so their responses are often based on instinct. I love the premise.

The characters are diverse in personality, as are their friends. Izzy is bolder than her brother, and a 'take the bull by the horns', sort of personality. Her brother Kain, is more cautious. Both want to learn more about what they are dealing with. Choyce is a shady sort of gentleman from just before the Flapper era, and he needs something from them. 

This book is considered 'stand alone', and I agree that it is, but you will get more into it, and capture the plot sooner if you read book 1, first. I had trouble following and understanding the beginning, due to not knowing previous events and characters. There were also times when I had trouble knowing what specific setting or time we were in, since there is some time-travel, as a few posts transferred as reminders from the first book. There is also a need for editing, as there are places with a word that doesn't belong, and other places with missing words. While the editing issues are minor, there are enough to momentarily kick you out of the moment.

While there is a satisfying ending, there is also a twist which is always fun. The next book is set-up from there, so there is more to look forward to.

Book 1





About the Author

Tabi Slick was born in Kansas and grew up in the country where she was homeschooled for the greater part of her childhood. In middle school, her family moved to Davis Oklahoma where she attended public school for several years. Here she began her writing adventure and soon the world of Tompkin's Academy came to life. After graduating from high school in 2008, she spent a few years in Puerto Rico and wound up in Texas where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington. She was born with an immense appreciation for literature and continues to dedicate her time to her passion of writing.

Author Links

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Quirky Interview with Author Assaph Mehr

Sitting Down With 

Assaph Mehr

Author of Murder in Absentia




Genre

Historical Fantasy

Bio

I have always been fascinated by ancient Rome, from the time I was in primary school and first got my hands on Asterix. This exacerbated when my parents took me on a trip to Rome and Italy - I whinged horribly when they dragged me to "yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling", yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art.

A few years ago I randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair. I fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. When I decided to sit down and write a novel, the setting was clear in my mind.

---
Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife Julia, four kids and two cats. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he's writing - he seems to do his best writing after midnight.



Hey Assaph, What made you decide you wanted to write?

Always wanted to, just never thought I’d do it before retirement. Then one hot night in January (it’s Australian summer) two years ago, my wife complained that she has nothing left she wants to read. So after everyone was in bed, I sat down and started to write – and didn’t stop until I finished the manuscript for Murder In Absentia.

Who inspires you?

In terms of writing? The list is too big to make it justice… I grew up on classic sci-fi and fantasy. Read plenty of detectives and thrillers. Loved ancient Rome since my first Asterix.

These days it’s authors on a range from such as Neil Gaiman to Boris Akunin, from Ruth Downie to Jim Butcher.

Tell us about your stories.

My stories are subtitles as “Togas, Daggers, and Magic.” They draw in equal amount on my love for ancient Rome, Hard-boild Detectives, and Urban Fantasy.

Any quirky characters?

Most of them. Felix, the protagonist, is a bit miserly. He’ll never pass on free lunch, and tends to abuse his employer’s expense accounts. He’s not fussed about morals in general. Of his two cronies in Murder In Absentia, while he will never utter a swear word, the other uses them as punctuation.

Then there is Araxus, with his cursed mind and independently wandering eyes…

If you were a character or creature in one of your stories, what would you be, and why?

I certainly wouldn’t want to be the griffin!

I’d probably love to be Felix. He’s a bigger and better extension of me, after all. Though I wouldn’t want to live in his world, doing what he does. Too many narrow escapes, too many trips down the sewers.

Ewww. 
If you could disappear in any story, (aside from your own) which would you choose?
Ooh, something utopian. Nice comfortable meadows and an immortal lifespan to read all the books I want to read. Would be boring to read about me, but I’d be happy.

I laugh.
Your lost in that story right now. Which character are you?Oh, we’re doing it this way, are we? I’d pick Eric Klein’s upcoming book, The One, and his protagonist BJ Armstrong. There is a LOT to be said about a world where 3D printers can fix you faster than any surgey today.

Why?

Because, as I said, I do appreciate my modern niceties, like medicine and hygiene. The worlds I usually read about are a lot more gritty. Something with advanced technology, but not too far ahead so I lose myself. And I think I’d get along quite well with BJ and his life style.

If you were a fantasy creature, what would you be, and why?

A unicorn, to ride all the maidens…

Oh, it’s the other way around, you say? Never mind…

Sorry, you can't win them all.

I love bouncing around with alternative choices, so …

Angel or demon?

Demon. They get to meet a lot more interesting people.

Fairy or Witch?

Fairy. Not enough warts for a witch.

Land or air?

Air! I dream of flying.

City or Country?

Why can’t I have both? Which I do, actually. Living on the edge of the suburbs, working in the city with access to everything, and taking frequent drives in the country.

I do too, actually.
Candy or Cake?

Cake. Definitely cake.

Red or blue?

Purple.

Ah, you're out!
Black or White?

Are merely an illusion. Life is made of shades of grey. (Or grey shades, if you read my latest short story).

That should be fun. Check it out everyone. While the price is right.
Coffee or Tea?

Coffee mostly, but I’m not averse to the occasional cup of tea.

Music or Television?

Neither. Books. They account for both.

Paperback or Kindle?

Love paperbacks, can’t compete with carrying a kindle.

Boat or Plane?

Plane. I dislike floating jails surrounded by hungry wildlife.

Is there anything you’ve really wanted to do that you’ve never done?

Walk on the moon.

Are there any books planned for the future that we can look forward too?

Lots and lots! Some of them even written by me…

Scary Hahaha.

I’m close to finishing the second full-length Felix mystery. By the time you read this, I’ll probably be deep in edits. It’s titled “In Numina” and the subtitle is “A story of haunted houses and house-hold gods”.

Household Gods. I like that. Wonder if any of them vacuum.
Do you have a website?

http://egretia.com

Blog?

http://egretia.com/news

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook: http://facebook.com/AssaphMehrAuthor

Twitter: @assaphmehr

How about an Amazon page?

Murder In Absentia on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XbfKN1

Is there anything you want to add before calling it a day?

I’ll take my Scotch like my women – single (malt) and of legal age. Two fingers, neat. I can also be bribed with a good martini.

It’s was great having you Assaph. Thanks for joining me today.

Thanks much for hosting me!

Cover Reveal! Demon's Blood by Lissa Bilyk

Cover Reveal
Demon's Blood
By Author Lissa Bilyk


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Review - Fractured (Mirrorland #1) by Majanka Verstraete





⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Summary
When Piper discovers an old antique mirror on the attic of her new home, she has no idea what terror she unlocked.

Eerie shadows lurking in the night and estranged voices crying out for help are only the beginning. As Piper’s world comes crumbling down, she realizes everything that she believed was imaginary, might have been real all along.

Something is very wrong with that mirror. And if she doesn’t find out what, the mirror might end up killing her.

With some help of old and new friends, Piper tries to get to the bottom of the mystery. One thing is for certain: the mirror preys on the guilty. But what exactly is she guilty of?


Author Bio

Majanka Verstraete is a twenty-four year old author from Belgium. She studied law and is now studying criminology at university. She writes speculative fiction for children and young adults. When she's not writing or helping other authors with marketing, she likes spending her time playing World of Warcraft and binge-watching Netflix.

She's the author of "Valentina's Spooky Adventures", a picture book series for kids with a vampire as main character, and of the "Weirdville" series, chapter books for fans of "Goosebumps". Her young adult series include "Mirrorland" (YA Dark Fantasy) and "The Angel of Death Series" (YA Paranormal).

Her newest book, "Reflected", the second book in the Mirrorland series, will release in May 2015.

She blogs about herself and her writing on http://majankaverstraete.com




I was given a copy of this book for an honest review

I loved this book, and really wanted to give it five stars, but there were things at the end that I felt needed more explanation. I understand this is book 1, but still felt there were a couple of issues. Those issues don't destroy the story, however, it has a strong plot that plays out well. So, I'm going with four stars.

There are a couple of places with an extra word, and one place with a missing word. I don't rate grammar, but since these can't be avoided, I figured they should be mentioned.

After the prologue, the story starts off a little slow. I think the goal was to introduce characters and give a little set-up, but once you get past that, hang on for the ride. The tension is strong throughout. The main character Piper, (love that name), lives with her mother who likes to fix up old houses and move on to the next one. Both she and Piper love antiques, and they are grounded people, who are not easily frightened. That is shaken when Piper falls in love with an antique mirror and moves it into her room. 

Piper has a good relationship with her Mother, but finds herself in a situation where she has to find the answers she needs on her own, and protect herself in the process. Even her best friend isn't always able to be at her side. While that scares Piper, it does not stop her. She goes from a non-believer who is a little weak due to a difficult background, to a young woman who takes the bull by the horns. That's not to say it's easy. 

I won't give any spoilers, but will say that this story has all the things that make a story strong. Friendship, suspense, love, betrayal, a strong and balanced backstory, and character growth. I can't wait to see what happens in book two.

Find Marjanka Verstraete's books
Amazon
Barnes&Noble
Goodreads






Thursday, July 13, 2017

Reflections - The California Gold Rush

Revisiting Reflections



California wasn’t even a state when gold was first discovered in the Sacramento Valley in 1848. The state joined the union in 1849.

Over a hundred thousand foreigners uprooted their lives, moving to California by any means necessary, hoping to find their fortunes. In 1849, San Francisco’s harbor was so inundated with boats that it took days for travelers to be able to disembark.

Imagine reaching down to retrieve a shiny nugget of gold. There was a time we could do that. But it didn’t last long, and soon the miners had to dig and pan to find this precious metal. By 1855, less than ten years after it started, the Gold Rush was history.

For more information on the California Gold Rush, check out my Reflections Pinterest board.




Cursed to live in a world behind a mirror, Juliette learns the skills of survival from a unicorn, blood-thirsty beran, and a cantankerous, but beautiful, centaur, while being forced to watch her family and friends grow old without her.

Amazon US http://tinyurl.com/ReflectionsUS
Amazon UK http://tinyurl.com/ReflectionsUK
Paperback https://www.createspace.com/5054082
Audible: http://tinyurl.com/AudibleReflections

Monday, July 10, 2017

Reflections: Regency Era Corsets


Revisiting Reflections





The guest post I sent out a few days ago was based on the Victorian Era. The Carriage takes place in that time period. Reflections takes place in the Regency Era, and moves forward from there. There were some differences in actions and style.

When we read about the Georgian and Victorian era, we always hear about tight bone corsets. Sometimes they were worn so tight that internal organs were forced to move aside. But in the Regency era, women escaped that fate. Corsets were made to enhance a lady’s natural curves, rather than making them smaller.  Like the modern day bra, the corsets of the Regency era were made to lift the bust, creating a shelf that highlighted the breast.

Muslin and silk were common fabrics, and dresses were embroidered intricately by hand. They flowed to the floor, draping like the robes of ancient Rome. Still, they wore a petticoat, chemisette, and long stockings held by garter belts for modesty.

While Juliette was not royal, her father was a man of wealth. As such, she would have been required to be a slave to the fashion of the age, wearing a more modest dress by day, and an elegant gown for social gatherings and parties at night.

To see and read more about Regency era fashion, check out my Reflections board on Pinterest.


Cursed to live in a world behind a mirror, Juliette learns the skills of survival from a unicorn, blood-thirsty beran, and a cantankerous, but beautiful, centaur, while being forced to watch her family and friends grow old without her.

Amazon US http://tinyurl.com/ReflectionsUS
Amazon UK http://tinyurl.com/ReflectionsUK
Paperback https://www.createspace.com/5054082
Audible: http://tinyurl.com/AudibleReflections

Saturday, July 8, 2017

New Blog


Jena Baxter's Bookworms




Maybe I should have added this to my earlier post, but the topic is different, and I didn't think about posting until now.

I've recently began a new blog called Jena Baxter's Bookworms. It showcases Author interviews, guest posts, excerpts, and reviews done by Brandy Mulder. Although I'll have one to post in the near future as well, and I may start doing more reviews here as well. There will be giveaways, and you can learn about Authors you may not have met before.

Here is the link if you'd like to follow:

https://jbbookworms.blogspot.com/

Hope to see you there.
Jena


While I'm here, don't forget to read this month's chapter of Coven's of Misty Haven.

http://www.jenabaxter.com/2017/01/the-covens-of-misty-haven.html

It sounds unimportant, but Authors need our reviews



An Old Guest Post, The Charm and Truths in Historical Romance, by Jena Baxter




It's been a while since I've done a musings sort of post. I started a new blog recently to showcase Authors, some are friends, and others are people I've never met. We all have something in common though, and that's that we think, and muse, and think, and muse, and then comes the work, whether that work is putting together a story that's worthy to be read, or marketing, which requires a good deal of thought as well. This post kind of falls in the middle.

I always ask Authors for guest posts. It isn't because I'm lazy, although, I am sometimes, but because I've found that readers like to read fresh articles and thoughts from Authors they might not be, or often aren't, familiar with. While I rarely get much feedback on my blogs, I know that you are reading them, so I'm still here, posting and musing.

This week while searching the internet, I ran across my first or second guest post on a blog. I was horrified when the blog tour company asked for it, and spent a lot of time coming up with the topics I needed to share. I thought this post might be worthy of a re-post, so scroll on down.

Hope you enjoy it. I'm may go searching for the other post I did on that tour. It was a humorous take on the alpha male in romance. If I find it, I'll post it too.

Now, without further pondering, I present ...



The Charm and Truths in Historical Romance
by Jena Baxter


Hello, my name is Jena Baxter, and I write YA fantasy and historical romance.

I never planned on writing historical fiction, but I’ve always loved history, and wanted to write a novel of The Little Matchgirl, that was closer to Hans Christian Anderson’s vision. I guess that’s a little contradictory, but I hadn’t seen past that particular story yet.  I started my research on the time period, and studied the story, and what he might have seen. Later I learned it was a prompt from a popular calendar someone gave him, but I’ve also read that he meant for it to be a statement of his time.

I’ve always thought it was interesting that Little Matchgirl became a children’s Christmas classic. A young girl is afraid to go home because she didn’t sell any matches. It’s New Year’s Eve and she’s cold, so she lights her matches one by one to try and stay warm, hallucinating until she dies sometime before morning, and her grandmother – who is now an angel – takes her to heaven. We see the romance in her visions and the dream of a better life, and forget she’s a lost child on the street somewhere. I’ve written two published novels since then and my Little Matchgirl still hasn’t been written.

The Victorian Era was such a time of hope, but also a time of despair. It encompassed the Industrial Revolution. Many people suffered incredible losses; a few opened factories and made a fortune. Unfortunately, so many people flocked into London that employers could pay less than they should, and many lives fell into poverty. Even children had to work some pretty terrible jobs.

And yet it’s still a period of romance. The language of flowers, courting, dancing, gorgeous dresses, and long walks with a hopeful suitor. But a woman had to choose well because who she chose defined not only who she was, but also the comfort of her future. I found a diary entry by a gentleman who said he had everything he needed and it was time to get a wife to care for his home. Forgive me for not being able to give you my sources, in changing computers I’ve lost more than a few things I studied.

We all know about the dreaded corsets. They were uncomfortable and often cut off the air flow so much that women would faint. Men saw them as delicate creatures. They would be too, if they couldn’t breathe, but women have always paid for beauty, whether by cash or disfiguration. What I had never realized was that the internal organs had to go somewhere, so they were pushed up and down, away from the beautifully sculpted waist.

In my recent novel, The Carriage, my main man and heroine have to face a clash of cultures, because Alexis is an independent twenty-first century woman. They learn how to compromise to make the relationship work, and my leading man, Ezra, is cutting edge for his time.

The facts of the era sound discouraging, and in some ways they are, but time has proven that romance is eternal. From the beginning of time until now, love has always made the difference.




I have to add that my rendition of The Little Matchgirl has even now, still not been written. I've planned and re-planned, and I now have something I'm happy with, so once I'm caught up, I hope to sit down and pen that story.

Hans Christian Anderson was an incredible man, who cared about the suffering of society, because having been poor as a child, he faced a good deal of cruelty himself. And yet he grew up to learn the art of story. He gave us not only the tragic short story of a little lost girl, but The Christmas Shoes, and the classic favorite, Little Mermaid. A kind and incredible man, and no less an incredible Author.

On top of that, he got to meet and hang out with The Brothers Grimm, and Charles Dickens. That sounds pretty cool to me.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July's newsletter is out. Read the current chapter of Covens of Misty Haven.


The July newsletter is out. Check out my Author introduction for this month, CL Gaber, and the current chapter of Covens of Misty Haven.

The website chapters have been updated with images as well.