Book Review Tuesday: HMS Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack, The Twins by D.L. Cross @Virgilante @stacitroilo

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageWelcome to another Book Review Tuesday. I have two five-star reviews to share today. Both of these books are wildly imaginative and engrossing from start to finish. If you enjoy ingenious fiction, you’re sure to love both of these!

book cover HMS Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack shows clipper ship on stormy seasH.M.S. Lanternfish
Lanternfish Series Book 2
By C. S. Boyack

C. S. Boyack delivers another colorful adventure with HMS Lanterfish. I loved the first novel, Voyage of the Lanternfish, which introduced us to James—pirate captain Bloodwater—and his crew. The gang is back again (including the scene stealing root monsters), along with new characters, imaginative creatures, and plenty of action. James is drawn from a peaceful retirement to act as privateer for the war effort.

As always, Boyack delivers a story that brims over with adventure and explosive action. There are exploding monks (and that’s only part of the “explosive” action, LOL), a possessed weapon, a shogun, con artists, terrifying creatures, a beautiful princess, and a crew of thoroughly unique characters. Some standouts for me are the relationship between James and his adopted son, Mule, and Serang, a fiercely loyal female warrior who can kick butt like no other and who gets her own ship this time around. It’s hard to catch your breath when Lanternfish sets sail.

If you enjoy fast-paced fiction, a good sea yarn and a fun time, you’ll love this book and this series. And if you have no clue what a root monster is, grab your copy of HMS Lanterfish and prepare to be enchanted, as these guys have plenty of tales to tell, and they are not shy about it as the crew can attest. When a root monster earns a name, it is really something special, just one more highlight in this wildly entertaining book!


Genre: Sea Stories > Pirate Adventure > Epic Fantasy

Book cover for The Twins by D. L. Cross shows black sun with fiery corona above ruins of city, UFOs and Ying and Yang symbols The Twins
Astral Conspiracy Series Book 4

by D. L. Cross

I’ve been following this series since book one. The Stones has been my favorite to date, but The Twins comes in a close second. Once again, the action is nonstop, following different POV characters through separate pulse-pounding situations, all coming to a head in the closing quarter of the book. For fans who have followed the series, there are several surprises in store, including one jaw-dropping revelation that sets up book five, the closing novel in the series. That revelation is sheer brilliance on the part of the author, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. I also really loved Cross’s slant on Roswell with what took place there and why. Yet another perfectly lobbed plot grenade.

There is strong cast of characters in this series, and by now I’ve spent a good deal of time with all of them. As their loyalties change, and circumstance reveals news sides to their personalities and underlying motivations, I found my own loyalties changing—including grudgingly admiring more than one character I once detested. Although each chapter is a constant adrenalin rush, it’s almost impossible to catch your breath in the closing quarter of the book. I fully expect The Lab, book five, to deliver a nail-biting and riveting finish to this stellar series. If you enjoy alien invasion stories with exceptional character development, polished writing, and an engrossing storyline, The Twins, and the Astral Conspiracy series are not to be missed! I would love to see Netflix turn this into a series.


Genre: Alien Invasion > Colonization Science Fiction

Book cover shows two figures in black silhouette in an empty room with large windows and curtains behind, gunman shooting victim in backI also read Murder They Wrote last week, a murder mystery anthology in which I have a short story. It was great to sit back and enjoy tales my co-authors created. C. S. Boyack, and Judi Lynn set up murder mysteries that allowed me to revisit with characters I love.

Boyack used Jason Fogg to tell his story, and Judi Lynn brought back Jazzi and Ansel from her popular series. Both were stellar mysteries.

I enjoyed every offering in this collection, but must give a special shout out to Julia Donner for  Murder at a Garden Party or The Unpleasantness in the Study, a Regency tale full of dry wit and humor. I enjoyed it so much, I want to track down more stories with these characters.

Genre: Anthology > Murder Mystery

As always, I wish you happy reading and hope that a title I’ve shared will spark your interest. I am also still reading the Harry Dresden series, and recently finished book 14 of the 16 that are currently in release. Book 17 releases in October, so I’ve got to read fast to catch up. Most of the Dresden books run 500-600+ pages, so it’s taking me a while, LOL!

And if you’d like to learn about Murder They Wrote, and the story I wrote for the anthology, I invite you to visit Marcia Meara’s blog today, where I’ve got the spotlight for Guest Author Tuesday. Marcia is a good friend, a Story Empire colleague, and a fantastic author. If you’re not already following her blog, you’re missing out on something special. You can find today’s post, HERE.

78 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: HMS Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack, The Twins by D.L. Cross @Virgilante @stacitroilo

  1. A few big hitters here, Mae 🙂 they sound very worthy of your five stars. I’ve got so many books on my TBR pile, I think I officially have to quit writing just to get through them all 😉
    JK – I will be furiously devouring books in the coming weeks though!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I’m on this dreaded cycle where I read three books but add another five to the Kindle. I keep losing ground.🤣 Oh well, if excessive reading is my worst habit, I can’t complain. Thanks for giving me two more temptations, Mae. 😎

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Mae, your enthusiasm never ceases to steal my breath. I am honored.

    You nailed your description of the Lanternfish gang. Craig’s inventiveness knows no bounds. I love Mule and Serang and the whole cast, but you know me and the root monsters. I’m their biggest fan.

    Wishing all of you the best with the anthology. Such a fun and varied collection. I know it wouldn’t be appropriate for you to sing your own praises, but someone (and I appoint myself) needs to point out how fantastic your entry was. No supernatural elements or crazy cryptids, but still the quintessential Mae Clair work—stellar storytelling via beautiful language.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m looking forward to both Lanternfish tales and plan to re-read the first Astral Conspiracy book (which I loved) so I can binge read that whole series at a go. (My favorite way to read any series when possible.) AND, I just finished Murder They Wrote last night, and loved the collection! Truly something for everyone, and several stories particularly resonated with me. Will try to get a review up today or tomorrow, as I want to tell the world how good it is. (Plus you are also telling them over on my blog today! 🙂 )

    Great reviews, Mae, but then you are exceptionally skilled at writing these, and that’s something I appreciate. With a TBR pile like mine, I really like reading reviews before adding more to the teetering stack. Thanks for these! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think we’re surrounded by teetering stacks, Marcia, LOL! I keep adding to my TBR as well.
      Thanks for reading Murder They Wrote. I agree that there is a bit of something for everyone in that collection. It was so much fun to participate.
      And you’re sure to enjoy HMS Lanternfish and the rest of the Astral Series. Two very different types of tales, but both so good!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on Entertaining Stories and commented:
    It’s a good review day for me. Stop over to Mae Clair’s place and check it out. She reviews HMS Lanternfish and the anthology, Murder They Wrote. There is also a stellar review of The Twins, by DL Cross. Mae is a super supportive author and a dear friend. Check out her blog and consider following her while you’re there. She’s also an outstanding author who I can’t recommend highly enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ll say it again. You have a knack for writing great reviews. I read HMS Lanternfish and liked it even more than the first book. And The Twins is next up for me to read. I thought The Stones was action-packed but this one sounds like it must fly even faster. My story’s in Murder They Wrote, so I’m biased, but I liked every story in the anthology, and that doesn’t happen that often. And thanks for the mention for Jazzi and Ansel.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these books, Mae. I thoroughly enjoyed HMS Lanternfish – the old characters from the first book and the new characters Craig introduced. I have Staci’s series on my radar and the anthology on my kindle. I hope to get some more reading done this weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

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