Friday, February 16, 2018

Regency Romance by Susan Baganz

Lord Phillip's Folly (Black Diamond)



Lord Phillip’s Folly
Susan M Baganz

Christian Regency
November 2017
Pelican Ventures

Buy on Amazon

Ebook $5.99

About the Book:
No good deed goes unpunished. Lord Phillip Westcombe is a younger son and sufficiently independent. He has no need upset his tidy life with the messiness of love, but when he comes to the rescue of the lovely Lady Elizabeth Follett, and the two are found in a compromising position, his life takes an unexpected turn. Barely knowing each other, they are forced to wed. Embarking on a new life they must learn to trust God as they face an evil which threatens their lives and the security of the British Empire. Will the minions of the Black Diamond--the bounder who owns the soul of Elizabeth's father--succeed in their evil plans? Will Phillip and Elizabeth's new love and faith survive the test that awaits them? Or will they all fall to the Black Diamond?

My Review:
The undercurrents of Regency England are fraught with a plot to aid the enemy, and forces of evil influence the vulnerable. As the second son of an earl, Phillip’s older brother has the title and privileges thereof all wrapped up. Phillip will not inherit a title or much responsibility and earns a reputation as a reckless young buck in Regency England. When he does inherit a small country estate and turns his life around, his parents don’t believe he could change and set their hearts and minds to bear him from a distance. When he makes another reckless decision during his sister’s coming out ball and rescues a fair damsel in distress, he further inherits a boatload of trouble.

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of plots with its twists of creepiness. A young lord who turns his life around takes responsibility for a young lady who’s been victimized for most of her life. As devastating as Elizabeth’s life has been, she is in possession of a fine spirit and courage to beg rescue from a handsome stranger. I would think a woman who’s been through the terror hinted at might be more leery of strange men and wifely duties, but this young couple’s growing faith and mutual love for each other was clearly portrayed.

Sir Phillip’s Folly is another fine addition to the wily Black Diamond series. Characters intertwine and add to each other’s stories, but each book stands as a story on its own. Recommended for those who enjoy inspirational Regency romances. Told in multiple viewpoints with flair and drama and good period accuracy.

About the Author:
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Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Pelican Ventures LLC specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view. Website: www.susanbaganz.com

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sci Fi Soap Opera MM Perry

The 13: Mission's End Book One

Mission's End series, book 1: The 13
$3.99
buy books 1 & 2 $6.99
c. April 2017

Buy on Amazon

About the Book
After an epic 700 year journey, the 13 ships of the colonial fleet are nearing their new home. One of them isn't going to make it.

While everyone around her celebrates the end of their generations-long mission, Naomi frets. She knows a disturbing secret few are privy to. One of the ships in the fleet has gone dark. No one knows why.

Mike is an obedient soldier, but if his commanders knew the doubts he was harboring, he'd be the next one spaced. When he accompanies Naomi to the fleet's silent ship, his worst fears are confirmed. Naomi's life is in danger and he's the only one who can save her.

As they uncover the mystery of the unresponsive ship, they soon realize there's only one way they'll make it to Mission's End. One ship must fall. Mike and Naomi will do whatever it takes to make sure that ship isn't theirs.

My Review
Well thought-out science fiction soap opera, ala Future Shock, The Giver, and many other sagas of humanity in search of a new home. We don’t know why these people are sent off or what happened to Earth, but the fact that some 10-15,000 humans on thirteen generational ships know Earth and its customs makes for good connections without the author having to teach us too many new and strange things.

Perry has created a cast of memorable and well-fleshed characters. From floor waxers to different class engineers to genetically enhanced caretakers, societal structure is strict protocol on the ships. How else are thousands of people going to hold together for a 700-year journey?

But the truth of the matter is…not very well. One ship, the Magellan, the ship of this tale and its main characters, has maintained a very happy but restricted standard of living to keep its infertile placeholder humans pleasantly occupied during these last years before landing on a chosen planet. Everything during these many generations has been pre-programmed, from expected death and repopulation rate, to food, oxygen, medical needs, work and play, education and nurture. Redundant society has been programmed into three levels which don’t interact: command, general population, and military. All three are necessary for the survival and establishment of a new planet-bound colony. But things don’t go as merrily on other ships, which experience catastrophic accidents and/or mutinies.


Things really aren’t what they seem, especially when two ships join forces. I found the story exciting and page-turning. I love science fiction and appreciate enough detail to make a journey believable without getting stranded in too much tech talk. I did wonder at why so many people were necessary to “live” during the many, many generations it took to travel to the new world, when their real job was to build the new world and care for and nurture the first generation of fertile embryos when they reached mission’s end. The author chose to head-hop throughout which led to some confusion upon occasion about who was talking, though most of the story is told through a female engineer, Naomi Tesla. I thought her society was interesting, especially when seen through the eyes of others. It’s a lengthy saga, and you’ll want chunks of time to spend in Perry’s world when you pick up this book. I had to get the second one too.

About the Author

An image posted by the author.M.M. Perry has published ten books. By day, she is an expert cat and dog wrangler, a nacho connoisseur, and writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. By night… she does the same things. She is hard at work editing her next novel. She’s equally busy teaching her pug to sing along to the Muppets. She is known for saying, “No task involving a pug is impossible, just highly improbable.”

Read more about M.M. Perry at authormmperry.com

Friday, February 2, 2018

New Young Adult from Susan Miura


Healer by Susan Miura
Young Adult Christian paranormal
Releasing January 31, 2018
330 pp
Print $16.99
Ebook a42.99

Buy on Amazon US
Publisher, Vinspire Publishing

Read my review below.

About the Book:
Hovering just below the surface of Shilo Giannelli’s average existence lays an amazing spiritual power. Late one night, her world erupts with the revelation that, like her great-grandmother, she has The Gift. But the power to heal isn’t something she can share with the soccer team, her genius little sister, or her boyfriend, Kenji. Definitely not Kenji.

Deep beneath Misty Morning’s tough fa├žade is a lifetime of abandonment, foster homes and broken dreams. When her two-year-old son is abused by her boyfriend, her fragile world shatters…until Shilo prays for Tyler, and he is healed, leaving Misty grateful but incredibly curious.
Shilo can’t give Misty the answers she needs; she only knows she has a God-given destiny, and despite facing strained relationships, impossible decisions, and the threat of being hounded day and night for her abilities, she will fulfill it.


The journey Misty and Shilo take together unites them as friends but invites danger into their lives. And it will take a miracle for these unlikely friends to elude a gang bent on revenge, keep The Gift a secret, trust God in extraordinary circumstances, and hold on to the people they love.


Susan, what do you love about this book?
The growth in the characters, the unlikely friendship that blooms between Shilo and Misty, the romance between Shilo and Kenji, the relationship between Shilo and her little sister, and Shilo’s determination to use the amazing gift God gave her despite the challenges and heartache inherent in doing so. 

Introduce us to your quirkiest character.
That would be Julia, Shilo’s little sister. She’s a genius and vegetarian who loves astronomy and geology. She does not have an athletic bone in her body, unlike Shilo. In short, she’s everything Shilo isn’t, and even though she drives Shilo crazy, they have a very close bond. Julia provides a little comic relief from time to time.
~I agree--I loved her, too!

Share two things you learned either about the era/genre or about publishing while writing this book.
Regarding the genre, you really have to make yourself go back in time and remember the thoughts and feelings you had as a teen, while keeping the setting and social scene current. As for publishing, the actual writing part is only half of what it takes to be a published author. At least, it feels that way to me. Marketing makes up the rest. It would be great to just write and not promote, but that would be a career killer.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on Healer Book 2, though I don’t know yet if that’s definitely happening.  I’m also writing my first young adult sci/fi and trying to get a contract for a women’s fiction manuscript that has always been special to me. It’s about a woman who accidentally kills her best friend’s five-year-old daughter, so it starts out with a pretty hard tug on the reader’s heart.

How do you overcome your biggest challenge to publication?

Prayer and walking is my way of overcoming any challenge. I’m also blessed with a great support system of family and friends. If I’m having a tough time with something, I take it to Jesus first, usually while I’m walking by the lake. I figure, if he can make a way for sinners to get into Heaven, he can help resolve my little challenges. Then I move on to people with skin. 

My review:
A young lady on the verge of adulthood is thrust into a lifestyle of secrets at a vulnerable time. Just when she can see an inviting future filled with college, music, faith, and especially a wonderful, almost too-good-to-be-true boyfriend, Kenji, Shilo learns of a fearsome and awe-inspiring family secret that’s been passed down through the generations. Under dire warning from her mother, Shilo must never, ever tell anyone. But it’s a secret Shilo can’t hide.

Sixteen, ready for the best summer of her life, Shilo experiences her second use of a God-given Gift when she accidentally heals a child. She learns early on, though, that the Gift cannot be taken lightly or for granted. Despite her mother’s warnings of becoming a media frenzy or even delusional with power, Shilo is put in an uncompromising position when her boyfriend’s life is at stake. Under the influence of enormous family stress, Shilo has pushed Kenji away, something that’s tearing her apart. Their reunion and subsequent revelations may not result in all that she or her family wish, but the words and actions cannot be undone.

Miura’s story is a nicely shaped and paced young adult story that’s well defined. The real angst of teenagers and tweens is lovingly created with a cast of characters that will leave a mark on the reader. Told through multiple first-person viewpoints, Shilo’s appeal as a young lady in love, mature, yet vulnerable, is a great story to share with young people. This is a lengthy book for young adult, so although I recommend for seventh grade and up, younger readers should be good readers. Younger readers should have parental supervision regarding some mature situations (teenage pregnancy, abuse, drug running, some violence, and serious injury).

The theme of obedience running through the story, speaking to trust, conscience, responsibility, obedience to authority figures such as teachers and pastor, parents, and especially to faith in God and acting on that faith, is wonderfully illustrated.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Month Long Multi Book Giveaway for February




Want to find a new writer, learn what novels some of your favorite authors are reading, or find new book reviewer and blogger recommendations?
Visit POTL to participate in this new launch beginning in February. All genres are included whether it’s novels from debuting authors to award-winning/bestselling authors with multiple books and/or series. The best part -- it's all free for readers to enter, as authors are generously donating copies of their books each month to help find new fans and build up their reading communities. Be part of this wonderful new group right now! I’m excited to participate in this month’s giveaway and can’t wait to share with you all that will be offered in the coming months. You never know which surprising authors might just show up on the list this year!


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Track 9 by Sue Rovens

Track 9

Track 9
By Sue Rovens

$1.99 eBook
$12.00 Print

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes and Noble

About the Book
After a catastrophic railway accident leaves a trail of carnage and devastation in its wake, the small train station in Rain, Germany is shuttered. Six months later, Gary and Grace Wolf, returning home after their belated honeymoon, find themselves trapped inside the now defunct terminal. What they discover within its walls leads them to make harrowing decisions. What they learn about each other pushes them to the brink of disaster. Back in Bloomington, Illinois, their best friends, Mike and Sarah Waverly, await their return. A few hours before the plane is scheduled to land, Mike becomes tormented by troubling premonitions concerning Gary and Grace. Driven to find out the truth, Mike finds himself battling mysterious and inexplicable obstacles that plunge him into his own personal hell. Everyone's fate hangs in a precarious balance as the clock runs out.

My Review
Tying inexplicable zombie terror, bad donuts, wholly unlikeable clueless tourists and even worse friends, an obnoxious prescient child, a train that is and isn’t there, and tying it between small town Illinois and very small town Germany, is no mean feat.
Readers of horror will be intrigued by Rovens’s story of a very, very bad train wreck and the aftermath of ghoulish behavior by the survivors…and the non-survivors. Meanwhile, devious and dull, faithless and obsessive business partners and friends air their grievances as their fates play out both in Illinois and Germany. Mike can’t seem to realize he lives in nasty Gary’s pocket, even when Mike’s wife points it out and he agrees. Grace can’t seem to find a personality until it’s too late, and her husband, Gary…well, let’s just say everyone gets what he or she deserves in this adventure of a honeymoon gone horribly wrong.
Told in migrating viewpoints, the reader is treated to a devolution of humanity as fears are aired and hung out to wave in the gory breeze. Lots of body parts, phantom invasions, premonitions, and bumps on the head, let alone in the night. A nice big bang finishes the job. I did have to put it down and finish it in the morning…

About the Author
Sue Rovens is a suspense/psychological-horror indie author who is an active member of the Chicago Writers Association. Her two novels, Badfish and Track 9, are available in both paperback and Kindle formats. She also has two short story collections, In a Corner, Darkly: Volumes 1 and 2 - think Twilight Zone kicked up a notch.
Sue also runs a blog, suerovens.com, part of which features interviews with authors from a number of different genres. It's a very active blog with content being added a number of times per week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Historical detective mystery from Sabrina Flynn

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From the Ashes
Sabrina Flynn
c. 2014
A Ravenwood Mystery, book 1 of a 3-book series
Historical detective, California history, 1900

$4.99 eBook
$15.00 Print

Buy on Amazon 

About the Book:
Atticus Riot took a bullet to his head the day his partner was killed. Three years later, Riot returns to San Francisco to put his ghosts to rest, but the abduction of an heiress snags his attention. Two ransom demands are delivered, and the husband of the abducted Isobel Kingston is hiding the truth. 

The clock is ticking. Can Riot find Mrs Kingston in time, or will she become one more regret among many? 


My Review:
I have to admit I always pick up review requests for self-published books with a jaundiced eye but I was more than pleasantly surprised by Flynn’s book. I was enthralled and wanted to immediately purchase the next two in the Ravenwood Mystery series posthaste, no matter how large my review pile. And that’s saying a lot for me.

Of course it helps that I love the era and genre, historical detective novels. Atticus Riot is a wonderfully developed character. We’ve obviously come in the rebirth end of things, for Atticus as well as the newest adventure he steps into. Thus, the title, well-fitting for this first book in a series. Riot returns to San Francisco from a sojourn in Europe to put an end to the former business he and his dead partner ran, the Ravenwood Detective Agency, conveniently located just up the block from Pinkerton’s. However, his manager, Tim, talks him into just one more case before he officially retires. An heiress has been kidnapped.

Throughout the case Riot is visited with the ghostly advice of his late partner, for whose death he cannot forgive himself. He’s haunted by past cases where he hasn’t been quick enough to prevent death and makes it a goal to see it doesn’t happen this time. As the body count rises, however, Riot’s last case may become a lost cause.

There is so much rich history in the era and area that Flynn could have easily lost us in detail. She does introduce a quirky cast of characters who have taken over the Ravenwood mansion and then drops them, but I hope we’ll see more of them in the future. The pacing is perfect, and the twist is that the reader is treated to events of the crime in a back-and-forth catch-up chase until one day time equals out.

Surprises, not exactly cheat-the-reader moments but very subtle hints and clues will keep readers who adore this type of fiction on their toes. Told in multiple viewpoints from Riot and the victim’s points of views, well-researched. Near flawless writing shows the care the author took with her book.
A review copy was provided through VoraciousReadersOnly.com

About the Author:
Sabrina lives in perpetual fog and sunshine with a rock troll and two crazy imps. She spent her youth trailing after insanity, jumping off bridges, climbing towers, and riding down waterfalls in barrels. After spending fifteen years wrestling giant hounds and battling pint-sized tigers, she now travels everywhere via watery portals leading to anywhere.




Friday, January 19, 2018

New Fiction from Tam May The Order of Actaeon


The Order of Actaeon: Waxwood Series: Book 1 by [May, Tam]

The Order of Actaeon, Waxwood Series, book 1
Tam May

c. Janurary 2018
Dreambook Press

Print ISBN 978-0998197920
Print $10.95
Ebook $2.99
Buy on Amazon

About the Book
Sometimes the hunter becomes the hunted.
Jake is heir to the fortune and name of the prominent San Francisco Alderdice family. Although dearly loved by his sister Vivian, his passion for art and his contemplative temperament make him a pariah in the eyes of his bitter, tyrannical mother Larissa.
Eight months after his grandfather dies, Larissa announces the family is going to Waxwood, an exclusive resort town in Northern California, for the summer. At first, Jake’s life seems as aimless in Waxwood as it was in the city. Then Jake meets Stevens. With paternal authority and an obsession for power and leadership, Stevens is the epitome of Larissa’s idea of a family patriarch. Jake develops a hero worship for Stevens who in turn is intrigued by Jake’s artistic talent and philosophical nature. Stevens introduces him to the Order Of Actaeon, a group of misanthropes who reject commercial and conventional luxuries for a “pure” life in the wild.
But behind the potent charms of his new friend and seductive simplicity of the Actaeon lifestyle lies something more brutal and sinister than Jake could have anticipated.

My review
Literary, and in this case, psychological fiction, is often hard to classify. It’s meant to be thought-provoking, and May’s full-length fiction certainly does that. I admit not having a base from which to understand the Alderdice family and others like them who can simply afford to move to a resort for several months, where the bulk of this story takes place. I’m also from a hunting family, so I also can’t personally understand the depth of horror others feel about killing for food. Maybe for perverse sport or torture, yes, but not as a necessity for gathering food.

That said, I also recommend readers understand the background of the very basic Greek myth of the hunter, Actaeon, before or during reading this novel. May does share the story in different ways through the book, but having a base knowledge first helps.

The Order of Actaeon is an oddly coming-of-age story about adult children who have never grown up in a family seemingly in isolation in many ways. The story begins in contemporary times in San Francisco and begins on a left foot in the purview of the family matriarch saying farewell to her dying father. Her view of her adult children seemingly sets one tone for the book that ends with the Introduction and Larissa’s voice. Jake takes up the storyline in chapter one. Jake will probably never step into the family patriarchal role of leader and business mogul. He has an artist’s soul, if not encouragement or self-acceptance. A character is introduced who has the power to send the family on a summer break, and then shoved off-stage. While on this summer break, another powerful man, Harding Stevens, steps into the gap and changes the course of their lives.

Another important aspect to appreciate this novel is to step into Jake’s shoes as he slowly reveals the depravation of his psyche and the desperation to fill it with love and admiration, no matter the source. May’s lyricism in describing the comparison Larissa makes between Jake and his father, no longer in the picture, show this beautifully when Jake broods that his mother has “kept photographs never taken and never thrown away” of his father. The love of his sister will never be enough. Jake’s need to garner the admiration of Stevens starts on the highest of proverbial pedestals, and you know what they say about the length of the fall. While he charms Larissa and repels Vivian who also has a strange attraction to him, Jake comes the closest to leaving his self-imposed funk.

The reader is led on an emotional awakening with Jake and Stevens. Toward the climax of the story, Stevens asks, “No one is going to alienate you anymore, isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?”

I’m not really sure how to describe what seems to be merely a prop, the Order of Actaeon as a group of men Stevens seemed to have stumbled upon. When I try to recall exactly the role of the group, I wonder if the story wouldn’t be just as good without them. But this is just the first book in a series, and I’m sure there are plenty more twists to come.

About the Author:
Tam May was born in Israel but grew up in the United States. She earned her B.A. and M.A in English and worked as an English college instructor and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher before she became a full-time writer. She started writing when she was 14 and writing became her voice. She writes psychological fiction, exploring characters’ emotional realities informed by past experiences, dreams, feelings, fantasies, nightmares, imagination, and self-reflection.

Her first book, a short story collection titled Gnarled Bones And Other Stories, was nominated for a 2017 Summer Indie Book Award. The first book of her family drama series, The Waxwood Series, is out now in paperback. She is currently working on the second book of the series and a work of psychological women’s fiction titled House of Masks.

She lives in Texas but calls San Francisco and the Bay Area home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading classic literature and watching classic films.


For more information on Tam May and her work, feel free to check out her website at www.tammayauthor.com.