Friday Feature

Just a quick note to say Marcia Meara invited me to be her first Fabulous Friday Guest Blogger, a weekly series she is launching. If you get a chance, hop over for a visit. I’m talking about—you guessed it—folklore.

Marcia is a bubbly and friendly blogger with an unmatched sense of humor. She’s also uber supportive of other writers. Give her a blog a follow while you’re there, then give Marcia a shout about doing your own Fabulous Friday guest post.

See you at Marcia’s place!

February Book Reviews, Part 2

Hey, gang! Thanks for joining me today as I trot out the final half of my book reviews for February. If you missed part one, and would like to check out what other books consumed my reading time during winter’s coldest and snowiest month, you can find it here.

For the books below, click the Amazon link for blurbs and additional details. I’m only sharing my impressions of each to keep the post from becoming too long.


Book cover for The Hunting Party, a novel by Lucy FoleyThe Hunting Party
by Lucy Foley
A snowbound setting, a killing, and multiple suspects—as soon as I read the premises for this book I was all in. A group of old friends, together since college, reunite every year to catch-up with one another—this time over the New Year’s holiday at an isolated resort in the Scottish Highlands.

This is a privileged group of characters, used to fine dining, the best in champagne and party locations. Some are stuck in the mindset of their college days when responsibility only lingered on a distant horizon, while others have moved onto the reality of demanding careers or starting a family. At first glance, most are superficial, pretty on the surface with a darker underbelly. There are stress fractures in the friendships, fissures that have been building over time, only to rupture with the glittery festivity of New Year.

Most of the characters are flawed in one way or another and very few are above reproach, but the complexity of their entanglements makes for riveting reading. There is no black or white in their actions but nuanced layers of manipulation, one-upmanship, old grudges, and petty jealousies. If that sounds like people you don’t want to get to know, it’s worth taking the time with these characters. They’re skillfully painted by the author, brushstroke by brushstroke. It’s only in the closing chapters that the surface gloss of each is stripped away, and we see them for who they truly are.

My only complaint is that it does take a while to settle into the book. There are four female POVs and one male. Multiple POVs do not bother me, but all the female narration is done in first person (the male in present third). As a result, it took several chapters before I was able to get a grasp on who was narrating. I had to keep flipping back to the title headers until I adjusted to the voices and who was who. If not for the so many narrators (in first person), this would be a five star read for me. It requires a bit of work at the beginning to adjust, but if you enjoy a murder mystery with complex suspects and multiple motives, this is a delicious tale in which to lose yourself for a few days. Extra kudos to the author for catching me by surprise with the murderer and motive.

Genre:  Psychological Thriller
Amazon Link


Book cover for Evil Lurks, a Horror Anthology by various authorsEvil Lurks
(Multiple Authors)
This is a hard book to rate, because of the diversity of stories. All are geared toward the paranormal and horror. I’m sure each reader will have stories that resonate with them more than others. There were a few gems that really stood out for me including The Revelation, Spirit of Lonely Places, Life in There, Onryo, and A Break In. I also enjoyed the first story, Cat Food, which may make you look at your felines a bit differently. Collections of stories are nice because you needn’t read them all at once, but can enjoy a tale over a lunch or coffee break—in this case, along with goosebumps and shivers!

Genre:  Horror Anthology
Amazon Link


Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weedsEnd of Day
by Mae Clair

Yes, I read my own book—cover to cover without an eye for editing. Having just submitted the third and final book of this series to my editor, I wanted to make sure there was good flow from book two to book three. Obviously I’m not going to review End of Day, but if you’d like to see what other readers think of my second venture into the fictional town of Hode’s Hill, follow the link below.

Genre:  Supernatural Mystery/Suspense
Amazon Link

 


I’ve already got my nose in the the first of March’s books, and am making a dent in the BEHEMOTH I call my TBR.

Sometimes I think of it like The Blob. Remember that old movie with Steve McQueen? There was even a remake in the 80s with Kevin Dillion. Of course I watched them both. And, of course I’ll keep reading, because—it’s an addiction, you know? 😉

February Book Reviews, Part 1

Despite having two DNFs on my reading list this month, I still managed to discover some good books. The DNFs were authors I didn’t know and had not read before. Both titles sounded promising, but after six chapters each, neither could get off the ground. Needless to say I was disappointed, but I did enjoy some great books I want to share. Because I read six in February, and one of the later reviews is rather long, I’m splitting this post into two parts.  Look for part two on Wednesday.

Once again, because I don’t want to make the post too long, click on the Amazon link if you’d like to read the blurb and learn more details about the book selections.


book cover for Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensWhere the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens
I expected this book to be great, given all the buzz it’s had. The story is engaging and holds the reader’s interest. I was especially taken with the vivid descriptions of the marsh and small-town life in the 1960s. I was halfway through the story thinking how good it was, but kept waiting for that extra something to make it “great.”

And then it happened…

The last third of this book is what elevates it beyond good story-telling to exceptional story-telling. Where the Crawdads Sing deserves all of the accolades it’s received and more. The characters are ones that will linger in my mind for a long time to come, especially the conclusion of their story. As for the marsh—it became a character in itself. This is a book I can easily see myself going back and reading again. A wonderful coming of age tale with added layers of mystery.

Genre:  Literature and Fiction > Coming of Age
Amazon Link


book cover for The Lost Man by Jane HarperThe Lost Man
by Jane Harper
This is the second book I’ve read by Jane Harper, and I have a third on my Kindle. She always spins a good murder mystery plot, along with a compelling Australian setting. This time around, the reader is treated to the remote solitude of the Outback, whose grit, dust and dry heat seem to permeate every scene.

Brothers Nathan and Bub Bright meet up at a legendary gravestone dividing their properties, only to find their third brother, Cameron—in charge of the family homestead—dead. Harper takes her time introducing the reader to an array of characters as well as family background issues that become key later on. I thought the beginning moved a bit slowly, but the mystery eventually took off. At that point, I couldn’t flip pages fast enough.

There was a continued reference to a particular item (no spoilers) that I thought much too heavy-handed (I get it, already!), but other than that this was a good read. I waffled back and forth on the identity of the killer and was proven right at the end, but not for the reasons I suspected. Jane Harper is on my auto buy list, and although I didn’t care for this book as much as The Dry, it delivered a solid tale with an awesome ending.

Genre:  Mystery and Crime
Amazon Link


book cover for Can't Let Go by Alison GreyCan’t Let Go
by Alison Grey
This is a quick easy read, built around old secrets, friendships, betrayals and lies.  The main character, Larkin, marries into one of the most privileged families of Charleston high society. Larkin comes from a poor background and doesn’t fit in–until she’s befriended by Caroline Beaufain, the queen bee of the social scene. Although the book doesn’t really take off until the middle, the beginning is far from draggy. The author has a way of introducing characters and setting scenes that kept me flipping pages, even as I  was waiting for the hammer to fall.

This is a psychological thriller, so don’t expect explosive action. It’s more about figuring out what each character has to gain and what they’re willing to do to achieve their goals. When the impact does hit, the fallout is quick and jaw-dropping. I won’t say I’ve never seen this plot done before, but the way Grey handles it is riveting and fresh. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author and have already pre-ordered her next release!

Genre:  Psychological Thriller > Suspense
Amazon Link


So what do you think? Do any of these appeal to you? Have you read any?  What’s next on your reading list?  Drop me a line below and let’s talk books!

New Release: Heart of the Storm by Debbie Peterson #TimeTravel #SweetRomance #Bermuda Triangle

It’s another release day for my good friend, Debbie Peterson! Debbie writes mesmerizing tales of time travel with a splash of sweet romance mixed in. In her newest book, Heart of the Storm, she addresses one of the foremost unexplained mysteries to baffle scientists for centuries—the Bermuda Triangle.

Please welcome Debbie as she shares a true-life incident from the Triangle, and celebrates Heart of the Storm.


Book cover for Heart of the Storm by Debbie Peterson shows girl in foreground wearing a DEA t-shirt with old clipper ship in background on a sunset sea

Hello Mae! Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of Heart of the Storm.

Once upon a time, five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, known as “Flight 19,” took off from the Naval Air Station in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was during the afternoon hours of December 15, 1945. The routine training flight was no big deal, really. They were to conduct a bombing exercise known then as “Navigation Problem Number One.” It would take a mere three hours. During this mission they would fly to a place called the Hens and Chicken Shoals, drop a few practice bombs, then head north and fly over the Grand Bahama Island. Afterward, they would turn in a southwesterly direction and go back to base. Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor, an experienced World War II pilot, served as flight leader.

At first, all went as planned…at first.

About 2:30 p.m. the boys dropped their practice load over the Hens and Chickens Shoals and turned north as scheduled. That’s when the routine flight became anything but routine. You see, from out of the blue, and quite unexpectedly, Taylor reported the compass of his plane wasn’t functioning correctly. He became convincedthey were all flying in the wrong direction. A sudden, tumultuous rainstorm, accompanied by high winds and heavy clouds worsened the situation. They couldn’t see a  thing.

“I don’t know where we are,” said one of the pilots over the radio. “We must’ve got lost after that last turn.”

A Navy flight instructor, who was flying near the coast of Florida, overheard the chatter. After he informed the Air Station of the situation, he radioed the Avengers and asked if they needed assistance.

“Both my compasses are out and I’m trying to find Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,” a panicked Taylor said. “I’m over land, but it’s broken. I’m sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down.”

That didn’t make any sense at all. After all, Taylor had made his scheduled pass over Hens and Chicken Shoals less than an hour earlier. Yet, for some reason, he now believed his squad had somehow drifted hundreds of miles off course and ended up in the Florida Keys. Pilots lost in the Atlantic were trained to fly their planes toward the setting sun. This, of course, would take them west toward the mainland, even if they didn’t know where west was. In the hope he could locate the Florida peninsula, Taylor turned his squad northeast.

“Dammit,” one man groused over the radio. “If we would just fly west, we would get home.”

Taylor finally turned around and headed west, but shortly after 6 p.m., he once again changed direction. “We didn’t go far enough east,” he said. “We may as well just turn around and go east again.” The transmissions became increasingly faint. By now, fuel would be running low. Taylor instructed his men to prepare for a crash landing in the ocean. “All planes close up tight,” he said. “We’ll have to ditch unless landfall…when the first plane drops below ten gallons, we all go down together.” A few minutes later, the only thing that could be heard over the radio was unnerving static.

Treasure hunters thought they solved the puzzle of the missing planes in 1991 when they found five World War II-era Avengers on the ocean floor near Fort Lauderdale. However, the serial numbers didn’t match those of “Flight 19.”

There are many such stories that have taken place inside the Bermuda Triangle. There are a few things they all have in common, though: A sudden, raging storm, malfunctioning gauges, disorientation and feelings of being hopelessly lost…

Such a setting is found in the beginning of Heart of the Storm, in a story where past meets present and the adventure begins!

Blurb:
DEA agent Aliyana Montijo must stop a drug lord’s killing orders and find a government mole. With a contract on her head, she trusts no one. While heading back to Florida with evidence, lightning strikes her plane. As it careens into the ocean, she thinks she sees a pirate ship. What she finds is a dashing and most unlikely ally.

Four centuries ago, Wolfaert Dircksen Van Ness captained a vessel for the Dutch West Indies Company. Then an unearthly storm in the Bermuda Triangle blew him into a parallel dimension. After rescuing Aliyana from a similar tempest, he finds himself drawn to the courageous beauty and wants to aid her mission.

In the midst of danger, the two find themselves falling in love. Then a misunderstanding tears them apart, perhaps forever…

photo of Debbie Peterson, AuthorAbout Debbie Peterson
Debbie is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She has-and always has had-a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, making an impossible love possible, and happily ever after endings. She loves music, art, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and thunder storms.

When she’s not busy conjuring her latest novel, She spends time with the members of her very large and nutty family in the lovely, arid deserts of southern Nevada. She also pursues her interests in family history (which she also teaches), mythology, and history.

You can find her at the following haunts:
Website
Twitter 
Facebook
Goodreads

Buy Links
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple I Tunes

It shouldn’t be this difficult! #socks

I need to vent. About socks.

Least you think I’m taking up your time for something truly ridiculous, I want to clarify that I’m talking about sage green socks. But not just ANY sage green socks. This is about sage green women’s socks.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Ha!

My husband is fond of pointing out that fashion designers cater to women because we’re more likely to drop $$$ on what we want. I agree with the latter part, but I’m not convinced of the first half after venturing into the world of socks. Guys have far more options than women do.

a pair of sage green women's loafers with gold embellishment across the bridgeRecently, I purchased a pair of sage green loafers. You can check them out at left. Aren’t they cute?

I bought them to go with a pair of sage green straight leg pants I have. Given I’m one of those people who like to color-coordinate their wardrobe, I wanted sage green socks to match the loafers.

There was a day I would have used ivory or eggshell, but I’m getting older and that can be a funky look. I’m not sure I can pull it off anymore, plus I already have some cool jade jewelry for contrast.

My first step was to shop locally. I had fun, and even bought a bunch of other stuff, including two more pairs of shoes and a purse. But I couldn’t find sage green. I couldn’t even find green.

No worries. We all know Amazon has everything, so I went there next. I scrolled through pages and pages of socks. Things with characters all over them, compression styling or heavy wool, none of which I wanted. Eventually I found a pair I thought I would work—except they were out of my size. 😦

I went back to the drawing board and discovered—shock of my life—that you can find almost every color imaginable in a sock…for men! I’m talking aqua, lemon, tangerine, lavender, tomato, peach, and yes—sage green! Seriously? Yet nothing for women. 😦

Eventually, I realized even Amazon couldn’t help. My next step was to consult Google, which delivered a ton of sage green matches—for men!

I was fuming. Until I hit upon an idea. If I could get sage green in a man’s sock, I’d buy a man’s sock. Easy peasy. I am just so freaking clever, especially when it comes to shopping. 😉

Once again I consulted Google, learning that my 7.5 shoe size is the equivalent of a 5 in a man’s shoe. Ha, ha, ha! I had beat the powers that be.

Empowered with new knowledge, I went back to Amazon and discovered pages upon pages of sage green socks for men. But my joy quickly turned to frustration when I realized that most men don’t wear a size 5 shoe. Reality check—none do. I even tried searching under boys, but the only results I got were for men. Apparently boys don’t care about color.

There went my sage green socks.

Back to Google again, and I found a “small men’s sock store.” Surely they would have my socks, right? Turns out they had small sizes, but in limited colors. No sage green.

By this time, I had invested over an hour in a search for sage green socks. I tried Google again, and after clicking through every link on the page one results, found an ad at the bottom for a sock store. Joy of joy, they had my socks—although it’s freaking ridiculous what I paid for them.

In the end, however, I conquered my quest and my sage green socks will be here this week. Happy, right?

Yeah…..except I’m eyeing up a pair of pink loafers to go with my pink pants. It’s like Lay’s potato chips—you can’t be satisfied with just one. 😉

Reviews on January Reads

A while ago I made some noise about posting reviews on my blog. I never did this in the past, but hope to do it monthly as I move ahead. I’m afraid posting reviews and blurbs will make the post too long, so I’m only going to share my reviews. If you’re interested, click the Amazon link under each book for the blurb and more information.

To kick off 2019, these are the books I read in January. Maybe one of them will appeal to you.


book cover for Final Girls, a novel by Riley SagerYou know all those slasher movies where a group of teens are stalked by some crazed killer and when everything drills down to a close, there’s only one person remaining? That’s the idea behind Final Girls.

In this case, Quincy Carpenter is the “final girl” of Pine Cottage. The sole survivor of a grisly night when her friends were butchered in the woods. Ten years later, she has her life almost back on track, when Sam, another final girl shows up on her doorstep. The plot quickly gets twisty. While I thought the book was a little slow in getting started, it’s a page-turner once Quincy and Sam begin interacting. Riley Sager weaves layers of mystery, including plenty of threads that lead the reader astray for several surprises at the end.

Suspenseful, tense and satisfying. A recommended read!

Amazon Link


Book cover for Verses of the Dead by Preston & ChildWow! I’ve been addicted to this series from Book 1, and Verses of the Dead is a home run in so many ways. I had doubts about Pendergast working with a partner, but the addition of Agent Coldmoon was a stroke of genius. Not only is Coldmoon a great character, but it gave readers a chance to see Pendergast–along with all his quirks and unorthodox methods of working–through his eyes. Toss is a new boss for Pendergast, new location (Miami Beach) and a string of bizarre murders and you’ve got a perfect recipe to hold the reader glued to the page.

The authors verge away from anything supernatural this time and stick to crime-solving, something Pendergast does exceptionally well. I love “watching” him work. The murders, the method in which they occur, and the reason behind them unfold in an ever startling trail of clues. Pendergast (and Coldmoon) get to interact with several new, interesting characters. Cab driver Axel was one of my favorites. The high-speed taxi ride through Miami is a blast.

I also have to applaud the authors for creating an unusual killer with an unusual motive. Although I love the supernatural twists in many of the Pendergast novels, I admit to enjoying the intriguing details of crime-solving best. I also believe this is a book you could pick up, having never read a single Pendergast novel before, and thoroughly enjoy without knowing any background from the previous books. The new location, new boss, and addition of a partner all go to “seeing” Pendergast through fresh eyes. Highly recommended!

Amazon Link

NOTE: Aloysius X. L. Pendergast is a book boyfriend. I love this guy! These books are pure addiction for me. Although this is book 18, it’s a great place to start for an introduction to the character if you’re unfamiliar with this series.


Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish headWhat a rollicking, magical, high-octane, deftly plotted adventure! Remember when Dorothy steps from her black-and-white world into the Land of Oz for the first time? That explosion of color, wonder, and delight is equivalent to what the reader experiences in Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Wow, where to begin? I won’t reiterate the plot (click the link and read the blurb), but I will say you’re in for a treat with this story of pirates, high-sea adventure, a diverse cast of characters and plenty of bizarre creatures. Where else will you encounter root monsters, an anvil bird, Fu dogs, owlcats, and a moving reef? And those are just some of the imaginative beings Boyack introduces with his latest release.

I developed a special fondness for the root monsters with their unwavering loyalty, nightly story-telling sessions, rabid delight in receiving names, and atrocious mangling of language. Of special note: You can’t read this book and not appreciate the cleverness of “I I I I”

Trust me. 🙂

The cast is every bit as colorful as the creatures and extremely diverse in backgrounds. They each have such strong personalities, it’s hard to choose a favorite. Even secondary characters and third level characters get plenty of moments to shine. The battle scenes involving mortars, guns, and claiming ships are perfectly executed. I was dazzled and glued to the pages.

I have read several books by this author but this one is in a league of its own. Hop aboard and set sail. You won’t be disappointed!

Amazon Link

Note: Craig Boyack is one of my Story Empire co-authors. I’m giving an extra shout-out here, because he really nailed it with this book!


book cover for No Exit by Taylor AdamsDid you ever read a book and just KNOW it should be a movie? I’ll be shocked if a filmmaker doesn’t pick this story up. According to my Kindle, I devoured 70% of the novel in one sitting. I would have finished the whole thing if I hadn’t needed to call it a night and get some sleep. The next day I tuned out everything else and dug in, irritated by any distraction that pulled me from the pages. This book held me GLUED!!!

Darby Thorne is a wonderful protagonist, an average college student who likes to take rubbings of gravestones. When a blizzard strands her at a rest area with four strangers, she makes a horrifying discovery. One of them has a young girl caged in a van outside. Seeking help, Darby tips her hand to the wrong person—the kidnapper.

Hooboy! I applaud the author for creating one of the most twisted, psychotic villains I’ve ever encountered in a novel. Even more for giving Darby the inner strength and courage to stand up to this predator. She is clever and strong, but never portrayed as a kick-ass hero. She does what she does out of necessity, full of doubts and weaknesses along the way. Jay (the girl in the cage) is also one tough cookie, as she proves when she and Darby team up.

Throughout the long night, the two play a game of cat and mouse with Jay’s abductor. One that involves intellect, physical strength, endurance, and constantly puts Darby in the crosshairs of impossible situations. Her goal is to survive until morning when snow plows are certain to reach the rest area. In the meantime, she is cut off from the world with a dying cell phone, a young girl depending on her, and a kidnapper determined to silence her. It’s hard to say more about this book without giving away spoilers.

There are numerous twists and surprises along the way with a constant buildup of suspense. Sometimes it creeps, sinister and edgy, other times it explodes. The characters are well developed, and the snowbound setting adds a suffocating feeling of claustrophobia. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If I could give it more than five stars I would. I have no doubt this will become one of my favorite reads of 2019.

Amazon Link


Book cover for Linda McCartney: A Portrait by Danny FiieldsAs a diehard Beatles fan, and most especially a McCartney fan, I’ve always been interested in anything related to Paul or Linda. I’ve read several books about the Beatles and Paul, and was excited to find a book on Linda. I enjoyed reading this, getting a glimpse of Linda’s background, her early years, life as a renowned photographer, years with Paul, and her devotion to vegetarian and animal causes. Some of it was a little plodding, but on the whole it read smoothly and held my interest. I loved getting to know Linda up close and personal. She was an amazing woman who I will always admire!

Amazon Link


Review sharing is new to me. I read most every night as a way to unwind and I look forward to sharing the books I discover. Do any of these books intrigue you? What about the covers? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Must I Read it Again? #amediting

Frazzled looking woman with goofy expressionEditing. It’s a reality of writing, and sometimes it can be torture. Anyone else out there ever get sick of reading their own work?

Last week I was in hyper-edit mode, going over, and over, and over my manuscript so many times, I cringed at having to read it. Again.

As someone who edits as I write, you’d think clean-up wouldn’t be hard. When the manuscript is done, all I need to do is tweak, tighten, and make corrections suggested by my critique partners. Easy-peasy, right? If only that were the case.

During one of my marathon days of editing my husband asked, “Don’t you have an editor who does that?”

Yes, but I’m doing pre-edits and I want them as whistle clean as possible. I also had a deadline so time was not a luxury I could afford.

Reading the same book three times in three days is exhausting. That might not seem like a lot but keep in mind this is the same book I’ve been plugging away at for an extended time—writing, editing as I write, thinking about the characters, dreaming about the characters, weaving and unweaving plot threads. I’m literally sick of the story right now. I need a break from it.

According to my editor it will be roughly two weeks before she sends her first round of content edits. YAY! That gives me time to start plotting something fresh. I’m excited about the break.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m thrilled with the way Eventide turned out and can’t wait to unleash it on the world when the time rolls around (there’s a creature in it, so I get to use the word “unleash.” 🙂 ). For now, though, I am more than happy to put some distance between myself and the story.

How about the rest of you? Do you ever get sick of reading your own work when in edit mode? How do you deal with it?

Reading, WIPs, Raven, and the Puppy Bowl

Sunday was odd. It’s normally the one day I stringently devote to writing but I finished my WIP last week and shipped it off to my editor. That amounted to a lot of Snoopy dancing Friday and Saturday night. I started reading a new book, Where the Crawdads Sing, which appears to be the “it” book of 2019 if all the buzz is true.

I’m currently 55% through, and although I’m glued to the story, I’ve yet to discover whatever it is that makes this book so haunting and unforgettable. Fingers crossed the magic will reveal itself before the end.

Sunday became a day of getting my year-end tax receipts together—not a chore I look forward to. It took several hours before I was done, and I am glad to finally have the chore behind me. Afterward, I discovered the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet and was glued for the entire two hours.

I’d heard of the PB before, and even caught glimpses here and there, but never actually watched the whole thing from start to finish. Aside from the genius behind the marketing—which I couldn’t help appreciating—the Puppy Bowl is an overload of cute. With teams Fluff and Ruff, hamsters in a blimp, cheerleading kangaroos, sloth referee, kitty half-time, and an Amazon gray parrot doing updates, you can’t go wrong. I plan to be back every year.

As I write this, I’m watching the Super Bowl, and don’t know the outcome, but I’m enjoying the commercials. Anyone else love the Bud Knight and the competitive look at corn syrup?

I’ve got a crazy work week lined up with several meetings on the day job and several after-work appointments. At least the weather is going to be in the forties and fifties, a huge jump over the single digit temps of last week. Raven was glued to my side day and night for warmth.

And speaking of my beautiful feline, how is it possible for her to be comfortable like this.

black at squished between pillows on couch

Weird, huh? For something less bizarre, you can find me on Story Empire today with a post about Writing Tight. Raven invites you to drop over and say hello. I hope to see you there!

Book Review: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack #FantasyAdventure #PirateAdventure

For the new year, I’m going to be adding a variety of posts, including sharing book reviews. With the amount of books I read a year, why not? 😀

I still haven’t finalized the format. Most likely it will be something I do on a monthly basis with reviews of the books I’ve read during the month.

But to get started, I’m doing a stand alone review. I finished Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack last night and am still thinking about the highly imaginative world the author created. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this story. I’ve read a number of Craig’s books, but this one rocks the boat! Heehee. Pun intended.

Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish headFirst the Blurb:
An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

MY 5-STAR REVIEW:
What a rollicking, magical, high-octane, deftly plotted adventure! Remember when Dorothy steps from her black-and-white world into the Land of Oz for the first time? That explosion of color, wonder, and delight is equivalent to what the reader experiences in Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Wow, where to begin? I won’t reiterate the plot (just hop up and read the blurb), but I will say you’re in for a treat with this story of pirates, high-sea adventure, a diverse cast of characters and plenty of bizarre creatures. Where else will you encounter root monsters, an anvil bird, Fu dogs, owlcats, and a moving reef? And those are just some of the imaginative beings Boyack introduces with his latest release. I developed a special fondness for the root monsters with their unwavering loyalty, nightly story-telling sessions, rabid delight in receiving names, and atrocious mangling of language. Of special note: You can’t read this book and not appreciate the cleverness of “I I I I”

Trust me. 🙂

The cast is every bit as colorful as the creatures and extremely diverse in backgrounds. They each have such strong personalities, it’s hard to choose a favorite. Even secondary characters and third level characters get plenty of moments to shine. The battle scenes involving mortars, guns, and claiming ships are perfectly executed. I was dazzled and glued to the pages.

I have read several books by this author but this one is in a league of its own. Hop aboard and set sail. You won’t be disappointed!


Gang, go forth and ONE CLICK. This isn’t just a adventure story, but one that builds on character relationships, too. You won’t regret setting sail!

It’s Release Day! End of Day by Mae Clair #SupernaturalSuspense #Mystery #Thriller

Today is the book birthday for End of Day, book 2 of my Hode’s Hill trilogy.  If you enjoyed book 1, Cusp of Night, you’ll find this one in the same vein. Once again, I’m visiting the small Pennsylvania town of Hode’s Hill, but with a plot whose tentacles reach back to the town’s founding. As in Cusp of Night, I’ve spun two mysteries—one in the the past (taking place in the year 1799) and one in the present. You get two separate mysteries that tie together at the end.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

The past is never truly buried…  

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

~ooOOoo~

In Cusp of Night, I introduced the reader to the spiritualist movement of the 1800s, sham mediums, and a creature called the Fiend.

This time around, the story touches on Church Grims, Folk Memories, and a collection of monsters. Yes, monsters. I do love my creatures 🙂 The two lead characters—Jillian Cley and Dante DeLuca—had minor roles in Cusp. They take center stage, along with several new characters who bullied their way into the story. I never saw Madison, Sherre Lorquet, or the Porter Brothers coming until they appeared in their respective scenes. All added new layers which helped develop the plot. My muse knew what he was doing.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered. If you haven’t already grabbed a copy and would like to, you can purchase from the bookseller of your choice through this link.

Although this is the second book of a series, it can also be read as a stand alone. I would love to tell you more about grims and folk memories, but for now, I’ll let them unravel in the book. 🙂