Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Thine Eyes of Mercy Review Spotlight


I'm pleased to share the next exciting novel in The Birth of the Fae series, Thine Eyes of Mercy by Danielle M. Orsino. Read on for my review, more info, and a chance to win a mystery FairyLoot Crate!

 Thine Eyes of Mercy is the second book in Danielle M. Orsino’s Birth of the Fae series. If you enjoyed the first book then you are not going to want to miss out on reading this second installment of the series.

When Thine Eyes of Mercy begins not only has much time passed, but much as happened and many have been lost. The two monarchs have come to the conclusion that maybe...just maybe war is not what is best for them or their people. The cost has been heavy, not just for them, but for the humans who worshiped them. A truce is called. But for how long can it truly last? The treaty they agree on says that the Court of Light can continue with their dealings with the humans as advisors, and that the Dark Court can act as gods and goddesses of vengeance, but will not act in a malicious manner like in the past. It seems that all will be well for a time, but chaos is brewing in a form that could not see coming.

Thine Eyes of Mercy is a step above the first book in the series. I was quickly swept into the storyline and engaged with the characters as they are adjusting once again to change. So many Fae have been lost, and I was surprised and heartbroken to learn of the loss of certain ones. Both Jarvok and Aurora are more aware of the costs that they are facing with their kin. I appreciate that the author gives me more Jarvok in this book as well. I like that he reflects on the Weepers especially after everything that transpired in the first book.

There is a lot going on in this book. There is still friction between Queen Aurora and some of her bishops. It potentially spells trouble, as they really do reflect as self-serving creatures. She sees this, but it raises the question...why continue to tolerate it from them? Queen Aurora has grown as a character, but she seems to still be pretty trusting of those around her. She does handle certain situations swiftly, but other things she allows to slide. I appreciate that I get more characters with this book. The introduction of Queen Mary, King Henry VIII, and Bishop Awynn just to name a few. These characters point the story in this new direction and I like how it comes together.

Despite how much I enjoyed this story, I do feel that once again, there were missed opportunities for more details. I think that a small connector to how book one ended would have been a good idea. I say this because readers will learn of a particular loss because of the wars, but no real explanation as to what has happened. I was hopeful that there would be an explanation to be found, but there isn’t and I can’t help but feel disappointed. This character was one of importance, and so I would have liked to know what happened. I’m also a bit disappointed that King Jarvok doesn’t appear to have lost anyone of importance to him.

I like the twists in this book, but the final chapter has me more than a little confused when it comes to the behavior of the characters. I don’t understand why things devolve like they do, but I trust that there is a reason for it. I’m looking forward to the third book that is coming. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and encourage those who enjoy fantasy to read this book/series. I am rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. This book flows better and gives me more focus on other characters, but I would have liked to know some of the things that transpired to create such losses. If you enjoyed book one, I encourage you to pick this book up.


Birth of the Fae: Thine Eyes of Mercy, Book Two

Publication Date: December 1st, 2021

Genre: Fantasy

Queen Aurora, monarch of the Court of Light Fae and King Jarvok, Leader of the Court of Dark Fae are exhausted and battle worn after centuries of fighting. A war of attrition   had taken its toll upon their kin and power bases.

What happens when you have to give in to your enemy?

All wars eventually end even magical ones. The Dark and Light Fae have set their elemental magick and weapons down but, all is not quiet in the Veil…

King Jarvok was confident his army could win the war, but at what cost? It was time to act like a King not a power hungry megalomaniac. That was his Creator’s title not his. He reaches out to Queen Aurora, and the Treaty of Bodhicitta is signed.

The treaty promises the Fae will never spill each other’s blood again. Rules for their human worshipers are put into place. The Court of Dark must not interfere with humans in a malignant way, but they can act as gods and goddesses of atonement. The Court of Light can return to acting as advisors to the European royal families, as they have done for centuries.

However, Queen Aurora and King Jarvok will learn that while they were playing war games, their humans have changed and moved away from the old ways.

The two monarchs face unknown challenges in a world where Christianity not paganism is the new power.

Sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you do not.

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Available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

Locked Out of Heaven (Birth of the Fae #1)

Ride on the backs of fire-breathing dragons with the Dark Fae and watch the Light Fae play in the shadows of primitive humanity as they build their magical world.
Abandoned by their creator, two factions of powerful angels remain on earth after the Great War with Lucifer. They struggle to comprehend their Creator’s plan while their angel wings, a symbol of their angelic lineage, slowly and painfully decay. With no hope of returning to the Shining Kingdom, two groups of angels denounce their angelic lineage and develop into separate factions – the Court of Light, led by Queen Aurora, a former Virtue Angel, and the Court of Dark, ruled by King Jarvok, a former Power Brigade Angel. The two monarchs have opposing views on how to govern their kin, but the one belief they agree on is that human worship equals power.
Birth of the Fae: Locked Out of Heaven is an epic-fantasy adventure of heartbreak, rebirth, and hope that examines the bonds of family, friendship, and love. It is a fantastic tale of good versus evil in a beautiful world, where the Light Fae and their potent elemental magick are tested by the raw power of the dragon-riding Dark Fae warriors.
They are their own beings and masters of their own destiny. They are the Fae.

About the Author

Danielle M Orsino, destined to be a writer from a young age, was working as a nurse and treating a patient who needed some distractions during long I.V. Treatment sessions. So, Orsino reached back to a forgotten skill, A childhood dream. Danielle had wanted to be a writer and so she decided to tell a story. Little did she know the seed would grow into a fantastically epic adventure of heartbreak, hope and rebirth — Birth of Fae: Locked Out of Heaven. Drawing from her passion for comic books, Cosplay and fantasy along with her expert martial arts expertise, Orsino brings forth an electric and hopeful debut.

Danielle is taking on her biggest challenge to date: taking the story born from the long treatment sessions with a patient into a fantasy book series-Birth of the Fae: Locked out of Heaven. Expanding her love of writing, comics and exploring the world of fantasy novels, she delves into the realm of fairies and retells their origins from a completely new perspective. Orsino has a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Exercise science and is an LPN with a special interest in Lyme disease research. Orsino has been widely recognized from her influence and experience in martial arts realm, training for over 20 years and with over 500 tournament wins, and accumulating national and world titles. She has performed for former President of the United States Bill Clinton and has been featured on “Soap Talk, Fox Five news CBS, TLC and E! With this experience, she worked as a Fight Choreographer on ”Wonder Woman: Balance of Power” and has worked with the likes of martial arts legend Vincent Lyn and WWE marvel and action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Nothing Danielle ever does is simple, look at what NY times Bestselling author Clete Barrett Smith has to say about her debut endeavor: “After summoning this world into existence through an imaginative force of will, Danielle has scoured every inch of the landscape several times over. Critics often praise a story’s world building by saying that it feels “lived in.” Well, the world of the Fae certainly seems like that because Danielle herself has happily lived there for years as she worked to put all of this together…My favorite part of this story is that it is gloriously depicted in vibrant images.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Scarlet Princess Review Spotlight


 Scarlet Princess by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison is the first book in their Lochlann Feuds series. This book is a spinoff from the Lochlann Treaty series, but it’s not necessary to have read the previous series to really find yourself immersed in this book’s storyline. Trust me. I’ve not read the Treaty series, but after reading this book and experiencing the dukes and their infuriating behavior, I fully intend to grab those books up ASAP!

Scarlet Princess is the first book that I have read by these two authors, but as I’m sure you’ve already guessed it won’t be my last. Rown, the princess of Lochlann has managed to get herself into a “spot” of trouble along with her friend, Davin. They are far from home, stuck in another clan’s lands who really don’t like her family, and they get caught breaking the law. The punishment? Death. Yikes! Well, time to pull out the big guns. Where Rowan goes from being just another prisoner in the dungeons, she becomes the princess of Lochlann which changes everything. Now instead of the matter being handled by Clan Elk, Theo and his brother, Iiro, now a Summit must be called to decide – what to do with Rown? Ransom her for what they can get and then send her home? Or kill her and risk war with Lochlann whom they all resent and hate on varying levels? Decisions, decisions. Right?

When I first read the blurb for this book my attention was immediately grabbed. I wanted to know more about Rowan and what exactly her fate was going to be. I had no idea that the authors would manage to hit that “sweet spot” with her as a character either. On one hand, she’s infuriatingly irritating. I don’t like it when characters feel the need to needle and poke just to get a rise out of people. I view it as childish. But then, the authors turn around and show me a more amicable side of her that makes me want to gravitate toward her and claim her as a friend. Weird, but true, and I kinda like it. LOL! Rowan is fiery, but I appreciate that she knows (most of the time) when to roll with things and let the chips fall where they may.

I honestly had to snicker when I read that Rowan’s father would always ask her “can’t you go five minutes without getting into trouble?” The answer? To be fair...sometimes trouble finds her. What’s a girl to do then? LOL! This book is sprinkled with humor, budding romance, danger (it’s practically constant), and is truly revealing in how the other clans treat their people. Some revelations come in conversations, and then others the authors show as Rowan, Theo, and his brother Iiro and wife Inessa travel to get to the Summit. I ended up having mixed feelings towards Iiro. But I really feel that there is more to his story than meets the eye and I’d love to know it.

This fantasy novel is truly engaging from beginning to end. Everytime someone or something interrupted my reading...I was not a happy camper. LOL! I was like...what is it? What do you want? What do you need? Now, go away and don’t bother me. Yes, this is one of those books that you’ll grab and I recommend locking your door, getting comfortable with some snacks and drink because you’re going to want to stop until you’re done reading it. I will give this one other warning and then no more – beware the ending. If you are one of those people who rant about “cliffhanger” endings...either skip this book or wait until the series is done to read this book. When I got the ending and turned the page and there was no more...I may or may not have looked like a mad scientist (picture wild hair) looking for more. LOL! I need to know what happens next!!! This can’t be happening!

These two authors have really created an amazing book and I just know that things are only going to get crazier from here. I can’t wait to grab the next book and dive back into this world. I need to know what happens next, because I want Rowan to find happiness. While there were moments that I wanted to stuff something in Rowan’s mouth to keep her from talking, I cannot deny that this book fully captured me from the beginning and left me begging for more. In my opinion, this book more than earns it’s five stars. 2022 has just gotten started and already this is one of my favorite books of the year. I’m rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy fantasy novels full of danger, thrills, budding romance, and twist endings then you’re going to want to grab this book. I highly recommend this 100%.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Pets for Legion Review Spotlight


 Pets for Legion is a Christian horror novel by Shawn D. Brink and focuses on a small town Iowa that has found itself plagued with an insidious evil. A new teacher by the name of Sasha James is about to find herself caught in the cross hairs of that very evil as it seeks to claim her. This twisted story will lead you on a merry chase in a battle of good vs evil. Who will triumph in the end?

Pets for Legion is the first book that I have read by Shawn D. Brink and it is also the first ever horror novel with a Christian focus. Normally when I think of horror, I imagine twisted evil, close calls with death, and characters struggling to survive. While this book does hold these elements, for me, there are a lot of missed opportunities to really play this up to really bring the “horror” aspect of the story to life. The story pulled me forward with a lot of questions as to why certain scenes played out the way that they do. The deeper I delved into the story, the answers were soon to be explained as the author draws the connections between each of the characters and their particular interactions. A prime example would be Clay’s failure to complete his task. He doesn’t wish to displease the chief, but he does, and so I figure things won’t go well for him. Well, when nothing really happen I was confused, but when the revelation comes it makes sense.

I feel that this story had a lot of potentials, but it just doesn’t reach that potential. There are some elements that just don’t make sense to me. Legion demands Sasha, but why? Simply for foiling Clay’s attempt to kill? I needed this aspect of the story to make sense. I kept waiting for the author to indicate that there was something unique about Sasha that would call for Legion demanding her to be captured. I also didn’t quite understand Legion’s desire to have her immediately. There is no timetable given for the chief to get her, but he heads out immediately and it’s not long before Legion becomes impatient with waiting.

In respect to time, this book reminds me of one of my favorite horror movies, The Collector. In that movie, everything takes place inside of an hour, but it feels longer due to everything that happens within that entire span of time. With Pets for Legion, everything transpires within one 24 hour period (more or less). It’s wild and bizarre at the same time. LOL! You get the impression of how strong Legion is to an extent because all of this chaos is going on throughout the town, but where is the reaction from the residents? The deeper the story goes, it gradually begins to shift toward a character who is strongly religious. Up to this point, I kept waiting for something darker, more twisted to happen. When the religious character shows up the author amps up the Christian overtones and themes. I don’t mind it really, but it begins to take over.

While the story continues to be a “horror” story in certain elements, the Christian focus becomes exactly that...almost the entire focus moving forward. There are a lot of missed opportunities to balance both aspects and have them play together to create a story that would have been dramatic, edge-of-your-seat, horror and still allowing in the Christian aspects. I understand the author’s goal/wish to show that through faith good triumphs over evil, but with that goal, you sometimes get derailed. At a certain point, even with a couple of surprise twists, it becomes all too clear what the final outcome will be. I wanted more nail-biter drama, that would have had me questioning what the ending will be.

Before this book, I think it would have been safe to say I had no idea that “Christian horror” even existed, and if I did know (subconsciously) I’ve never read any. I typically tend to shy away from Christian themed novels due to that they tend to be a bit heavy in pushing religion and faith. While this book doesn’t, in my opinion, measure up to what I typically classify as “horror” it does have some good elements. I think that there were missed opportunities to really bring the horror elements to the forefront and make this story truly thrilling. I’m not necessarily saying pump it full of more gore, violence, and other things that separate horror from the rest of fiction. More details in the right places to let readers know exactly what has been going on in this small town and for how long would have been nice. A better balance between the horror and the Christian needed to be struck, because at the end of the day, the Christian aspect ended up overpowering the rest and making it more of a story about faith standing up to evil.

Small details can make a big difference in a book, and I think in this book’s case it causes it to fall a bit flat in the end. From a horror story aspect, this book hits at a 3 out of 5 stars. It’s okay, but it’s not that great. When it comes to the Christianity angle of the story I’d say that it hits higher even if it does get a bit preachy in places. For a Christian novel I’d say that this book would probably be a little higher than a 4 out of 5 stars. Overall, due to the imbalance (leaning more Christian) and lack of details to truly flesh out the storyline I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. The story doesn’t 100% live up to the title for me. If you love horror stories for the scares, the thrills, and the true creepiness then this book probably won’t be a good fit for you. If you enjoy stories of where good triumphs over evil and you get a happy ending, then this is probably the book for you.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Earth 7 Spotlight Review


Earth 7 by Summer Whitton and Emily Walker is a fast-paced science-fiction novel that crosses both space and time. Earth 7 is book one in this new series as the authors explore space, the history of Earth, and the threat that looms over them all.

The blurb for Earth 7 really captured my attention as a sci-fi fan. The story sounded really intriguing and I originally thought that this book was going to be a stand-alone novel. Well, that is until I got to that ending. Then I was like...okay, this is going to be more than just one book. Right from the beginning, the authors throw readers a curveball. You’re expecting sci-fi, but what you get is a familiar story that most have read in a Bible. I was honestly shocked because that wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Don’t worry though! This book doesn’t go down a religious rabbit hole. The authors are just looking to put a bug in your ear. It’s a bit strange in my opinion, but I pushed forward with an open mind to see where they were going to be taking this whole storyline. At the end of the day, it’s essentially “what if we’re basically “excess” from another planet, molded to be what we are now?”

Earth 7 focuses on El, an “alien” from Earth 1, and Quaid, a “disgraced” archaeologist. El is on a mission to find a team who went missing and Vadik, a man intent on destroying the world. Signs point to the team that El is looking for are long gone, one of them being the man that she loved. Now, her heart yearns to return home, but without the right tech to do so, she’s stuck on Earth. The good news though? Scattered around the planet hidden in ancient ruins is the tech that she needs to get home. The trick is actually finding the locations, which is no piece of cake. So luck strikes for her when Quaid and his daughter (mostly it was his daughter) decipher the code to turn on the beacon that will point the way.

This book’s pace is really quick-moving, but in the process, I feel that it misses out on a lot of details that could really help bring it to life more and flow better. The authors give me some details about Quaid and how he got to be in the situation that he’s in, but not much else really. I get how the mishap handling of the “discovery” really dealt him a serious blow, but I don’t understand how he let it impact his life so negatively. He literally lets it drag him down to the point that he becomes neglectful of his life. I mean, you’ll understand when you read what his house and yard look like. I’m surprised his neighbors haven’t complained to the city about the yard. LOL! He complains about those ladies, but they must be somewhat nice to not be yowling at him all the time about his laziness. Then there are his best friends. The only one of the two that we get more than a few lines about is Jaxon. We get more information about Spencer later, but once again, it’s not much. I know that they aren’t the main characters, but it never hurts to give me more information about them to make the story more interesting. Quaid’s daughter is also a miss in my opinion in that the authors want to depict her as autistic, but I didn’t see much to showcase that. Honestly, throughout the book, I mostly viewed her as extremely smart with some scenes when her anxiety began to get the best of her.

This book has a lot of good elements to it, and a storyline that kept me page-turning to find out what was going to happen next, but it still had quite a few issues. There are editorial issues that were just bound and determined to make it into the final edit. Then there are some “issues” that just, for me, hit the ear wrong and had me going back and rereading the sentence/section several times. In some cases, it’s words that could have/should have been left out and the sentence would have flowed better. In other cases, words are missing or should have been flipped around.

Page 40 - “...the leeches here from the Earth 1 don’t know where it is.” I’d have recommended taking out “the” because it really doesn’t contribute anything to the sentence, and I feel it’s just not needed.

Page 41 – “So, we’re going to hunt humans after they find the map, and then what?” In this sentence, I would have added “the” in-between hunt and humans. They’re not going and hunting all humans, just Quaid and his group.

Page 42 – “they were more advanced on the newest planet than on even Earth 7.” This one really drove me a bit nuts. I’d have either switched around “on” and “even” or just taken out one or the other.

Page 48 – “there’s no reason to run!” Vadik yelled as he chased her. I just want to talk to you.” In this sentence, I think the issue is pretty obvious. A piece of punctuation is missing.

Page 82: - “However ill-evolved of you.” To give this context, El is getting in a dig at Zadix calling him “ill-evolved” but the way it’s done it just doesn’t come off right. I feel that it should just say “How ill-evolved of you.”

This book is a mixed bag of bad and good, but it has a lot of potentials to be really good. I’d have liked more details and for the storyline to flow better, but for a first combined work by these two authors this is a decent start. I’m choosing to rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. The editorial issues cause this book to automatically lose a star because there were too many to really ignore along with some being truly distracting. The storyline itself holds a lot of promise, I just want more from the characters and for Earth 1 to be a part of the storyline as well since we get some of Earth 6, 7, and 8. If you enjoy science fiction novels and are looking for something new I encourage you to check this book out. I think you’ll enjoy this book, but if you don’t like may want to pass on this one. I hope to find out what happens next with El and Quaid.  

Monday, January 17, 2022

Girl Island Spotlight Review

 Girl Island is a standalone fiction novel by Kate Castle. This book explores the question – what would happen if a group of teenage girls were stranded on a deserted island? Will they come together for the sake of survival, or will petty mean girl attitudes threaten any hope of leaving this place alive?

Girl Island is the first book that I have read by Kate Castle, but this dystopian style story is one that really captured my attention and kept me page-turning to the end. The author introduced me to young Ellery Holmes. Not too long ago she lost her father to a medical emergency. Her bright shining moment in her life overshadowed by his unexpected loss. Now, the time has come for her to go on a trip with a group of other teens but she has no idea of how her survival skills will be put to the test. Let’s be real, survival was never part of the original plan for this trip.

While I’ve never read “Lord of the Flies” or watched the movie “Mean Girls” I’ve read enough books with bullies and I feel that these characters would accurately fit into that particular book and movie. Whitney comes off as really insecure and having some perverse desire to be in control and let people know she’s there. You almost feel sorry for her to an extent...almost. While the girls are originally stranded with a couple of guys, I’m honestly not sorry when they disappear. Trust me, you won’t be either. The guys were knuckleheads at best and didn’t contribute much. LOL! Ellery is really an interesting character, but I appreciate the flashbacks that answer some questions that arise. While I had to wait for some answers, the wait is well worth it.

As you get a healthy dose of “disrespectful brat” you also get quite a bit of tragedy as well. One tragedy is a bit predictable since it’s what lands them in their situation, but I had hope for the others. So when more loss makes itself known throughout the story I can’t help but feel a bit of heartbreak.

I really can’t say that this book has a “happy ending” it does have a suitable ending. Not everything gets spelled out as to what the final results of it all are, but the author leaves readers to fill in the blanks for themselves. Which, to be honest, I’m perfectly okay with. The truth always comes out.

I truly did enjoy this book, and quickly devoured it, so I’m satisfied with rating this book a well-earned 5 out of 5 stars. This book is packed with danger, some romance, engaging characters, and a gripping storyline. If you enjoy YA fiction with a touch of dystopian then this is a good book to pick up and an author worth checking out if you’re looking for something/someone new.  


Friday, January 14, 2022

The Last Cowboy Book Tour


Welcome to the book tour for the historical fiction novel, The Last Cowboy by Jan Herrman. Read on for more details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card!

The Last Cowboy

Publication Date: November 7th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction

As the romanticized period of the American “wild” West wound down, most cowboys rode off into the sunset. Hank Miller must follow a different path. In The Last Cowboy, he survives the Civil War, Texas sized desperados, and the great San Francisco earthquake. With a debt to pay, Hank will place himself and his twin sons in great danger in a new, wild and untamed frontier—Morocco!

This is a sweeping tale of a reluctant hero of the West. It is also a story of romance and international adventure, stretching from west Texas to San Francisco, Chicago, New York, London, Tangier and the Moroccan Rif. The novel spans an equally expansive time frame: 1860 to 1912. The backdrop is the American frontier with all its enduring myths and troubling realities.

Ultimately, his heroism earns Hank unexpected wealth, friends on three continents, and the love of an extraordinary woman. Now ensconced in a mansion in the most exclusive neighborhood of San Francisco, Hank has a beautiful wife and three remarkable children. He wants nothing more than to enjoy them all and the highly successful international tour business he and Beth now operate. But a last, perilous mission awaits. Hank has a debt to pay and a friend to rescue in a far-off land.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Jan is a retired physician living with his wife, a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. Their children have all flown the coop.


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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers Review Spotlight


 Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner is the first book in her new Jules Keene Glamping Mystery. Jules runs a glamping resort with beautiful vintage trailers that she rents out to small families and individuals who want to get away from the city without going too wild with their “camping experience.” Business is going great, and everyone is happy until trouble shows it’s face in the form of one of her “long-stay” customers turning up dead. What exactly happened to curmudgeon Ira Perkins and why was he found in nothing but a red satin thong?? The trailer he was staying in was also ransacked, so one would think it’s over. Right? Well, the trouble doesn’t stop there as more seems to follow. Ira claimed to be a writer, but what was he really and why do his actions continue to haunt them?

Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first book that I have read by Heather Weidner, and the storyline really captured my attention. While this story is the first in the series, the author has already established Jules’s business and hints at previous attractions at one time between some of the characters. I love that Jules learned quite a few things from her dad as she was growing up and that they also worked together to create many of the vintage trailers she uses at her resort. I appreciate that she also has such a good relationship with her Aunt Roxanne to work together at the resort as well. I love the family ties that surround Jules.

As I was reading this story, I began to wonder when exactly the murder was going to happen, but don’t worry it’s not too deep into the storyline. I have to say that Ira really is not a pleasant person. I thought that since Aunt Roxanne goes and spends a bit of time with him that maybe he’s not that bad. Nope! Wait until the next morning. That man blows his top like nobody’s business! So, of course, when he winds up dead, I’m like...well bless his heart, how tragic. LOL! Though the trouble with him in life may be done and over with, Jules’s troubles with him after-death are just beginning. It’s not long before Jules has the police on speed dial and more visitors who aren’t looking to check in to one of her vintage trailers. Rip them apart and the ground they stand on? Yes. Absolutely.

I have to admit that there are several times during this book that I completely forgot that this was a first in a series. LOL! I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing really. Probably a bit of both since I’m an avid reader of cozy mystery novels. Jules really has some truly amateurish moments in her sleuthing that I think create big risks for those around her. Granted, that is the nature of the beast when it comes to mysteries and deaths. I just felt that in some cases she takes some risks that could have had collateral damage for those around her. A prime example would be when she’s chasing after unknown individuals speeding through town. It’s bad enough that these reckless people were blazing through Fern Valley like it was a speedway. Things for me get compounded when Jules decides to essentially join in the speeding through town to either: 1) figure out who they are or 2) find out where they’re going. Jules honestly has no qualms pulling out in front of people for the sake of satisfying her curiosity. Her actions could have really come back to bite her if the Sheriff had gotten any complaints concerning her during those chases.

This book is like a really big puzzle, but some of the pieces are hidden and the only way to piece it all together is to find those stray pieces. Jules digs deep to figure out what was really going on with Ira Perkins. For someone who should have been in hiding, he really didn’t want to be too hidden away. In death he brings a lot of chaos and trouble into Jules’s life, but the trouble isn’t just with him as some locals get into some mischief after things don’t go their way. It makes it look like Jules is a magnet for trouble, but that’s just necessarily the case.

Jules, in my opinion, is an interesting character. I love how she runs the resort especially. While these people may not be “long-stay” customers, I appreciate how she takes the time to know their names and be more than just “customer-service” friendly to them. She works to create a sense of community for these people and help make them feel welcome and at home. The author gives readers a nice sense of community and connection whenever Jules goes into town as well. So many in Fern Valley appreciate Jules for what she’s doing, because she’s not just helping herself, but everyone in the Valley as well. I love it. The author does an excellent job showcasing Jules as a truly exceptional individual who wants to help all those around her.

This book is a truly enjoyable story from beginning to end. The author masks dangerous characters by having them use fake names, but their behavior is rarely above board. Of course, there were times when I was a bit suspicious of Agent Stafford. I is it that he’s always popping up somewhere that Jules is when she’s in town? That’s weird, right? LOL! Not going to lie I did slide a bit into Aunt Roxanne’s lane and think...well...maybe he’s interested in her a bit beyond the case. Maybe? LOL! It’s always fun to imagine.

While this story may not be a fast-paced thriller, it definitely keeps you on your toes wondering...what’s going to happen next? There are some budding romances fluttering around the pages, but nothing concrete just yet. I’m sure that there will be more to come as the series progresses. I enjoyed reading this book and the thrills and chills that Jules and those around her experience while piecing together Ira Perkins’s twisted story. If you enjoy cozy mystery novels or are just looking for a brand new series to dive into, then I encourage you to pick up this book. There is so much to enjoy with this book, and I don’t think you’re going to want to miss out.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Blind Rage Spotlight Review


Blind Rage is the first book in Nick Clausen’s new apocalypse thriller Under the Breaking Sky. Get ready for the author to take you on a thrill ride of horror as a crack in the sky is striking people blind and sending them into a murderous rage.

Blind Rage is the perfect name for this book as something strange is happening throughout the whole earth and chaos reigns supreme. This book gives readers multiple points of view from various characters as they each find themselves “immune” to the strange crack in the sky. While other people are struck blind, and go on killing sprees with no concern for themselves, some are not affected at all. Those who don’t look or who aren’t affected quickly become the victims of attacks. While these sightings of the crack don’t last, the impacts are long-lasting. Panic ensues, and nowhere is truly safe.

Blind Rage is a full-length novel, so buckle up and brace yourself for the insanity that lies within these pages. The author absolutely knows how to write a good horror thriller and I absolutely love it. I’ll be the first to admit that in the beginning, I would probably be one of the worst people to be with. LOL! When Gina is trying to help a young boy escape an attack things get really dicey. While he’s laying around on the floor moaning, she’s hissing at him to be quiet. Self-preservation says – fend for yourself. Either he makes it or he doesn’t. Compound self-preservation with the fact that she has two kids who need her...and yeah. Odds are not exactly in his favor if it had been me. LOL! But of course, strength in numbers is once again the name of the game. Don’t believe me? The blind ones do.

While this sounds just like another apocalypse-style horror thriller, the trouble doesn’t stop there. There is another twist buried in this book, and I have to say I was wondering what it would be. On one hand, I was thinking, this might just be a struggle for survival, but nope! The twist in this book put me on the edge of my seat. Immediately I was like...wait! What?! What do you mean?? What’s going on? So on one hand, we have the blind ragers, and now there is more danger that comes in plain sight and looks “innocent” enough until it’s too late.

I have to say I applaud the author for not keeping this incident solely in one place. It really amps up the drama while just mainly focusing on one location in the story. It adds another level of drama, especially when one of the characters points out the various population densities in other areas. Compound this with people’s natural curiosity and you just know that things are going to hell in a handbasket. There are so many layers to this book and it will have you thinking...what if?

This book is a thrill ride of danger, horror, and secrets. You can’t trust anyone. Not completely. Danger lurks around every corner and things are only getting worse as the blind “evolve.” This book more than earns its 5 out of 5 stars. I couldn’t put this book down, but when I absolutely had to it stuck with me as I wondered...what’s going to happen next? Prepare yourself for unexpected twists, characters who will doom all around them, and choices that will make or break those impacted by them. If you love a good horror story mixed with apocalypse themes then this book is a good pick for you! If you’ve read books by this author before and enjoyed them, then don’t miss out on this one!  

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Heart of Hope and Fear Spotlight


Welcome to the tour for the gorgeous final installment in The Order of the Crystal Daggers series by C.S. Johnson, called Heart of Hope and Fear. Read on for my review, more details, and a chance to win hardcover editions of the entire trilogy!!!

 Heart of Hope and Fear is the third book in C.S. Solomon’s The Order of the Crystal Dagger series. The story continues with Eleanora and Ferdy wedding hastily after acquiring the reluctant consent of the former Empress, his mother. While Eleanora is happy in that respect the relationships around her with her grandmother and her brother continue to be strained. Eleanora has brief moments of regret, but she mostly remains immersed in her own bubble of happiness only occasionally disturbed by moments of fear when it comes to the future. War continues to brew as Karl’s whereabouts remain a mystery and continued rumblings in the political world threaten danger all around. Is there any hope for peace or will everything be brought into chaos in the name of a new sovereign country?

Heart of Hope and Fear being the final book in The Order of the Crystal Dagger series brings both an epic and a fitting conclusion to this series. Eleanora being the main focus of the story really discovers that everyone has secrets. It comes as a shock to her in some cases despite everything that she has already been through with her family and those in the Order from the beginning. While they have managed to capture Lumiere they find themselves in quite the quandary. He seems to have wanted to be caught by them, and he's still hiding secrets as well. Does that make him more or less dangerous? Will he help them or will he be part of the plan that attempts to destroy them and everything they love? 

Throughout this series, I've struggled with Eleanora as a whole. In the beginning, I liked her because she was fierce and she stood for her family, but as the series moves along she seems to become more selfish in her mindset. She becomes so wrapped up in Ferdy that she's willing to let her relationship with her brother suffer and boy does it suffer! But that's not the only relationship that suffers. I had really hoped that a true relationship would develop between Eleanora and her grandmother, but that never happens as some nasty truths come to light about what exactly happened with her mother. 

This book is really full of twists, turns and suspenseful moments that will have you shocked and page-turning to learn what happens next. As this book is part of a series I recommend that you start from the beginning otherwise you'll probably end up confused as to what is going on. While the beginning of this series was a bit slow for me, once the story really gets going it's truly engaging as you watch Eleanora grow from a "simple serving girl" to a spy who is determined to save those she loves and the kingdom that she calls home. 

This is a well-written historical espionage novel and I enjoyed reading the series. I'm rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I wanted Eleanora to finally grow up and mature, but that never really happens which is a disappointment for me. The twists throughout this book really make it worth reading and I loved the historical aspect of it as well. If you enjoy historical fiction with a healthy dose of espionage and some romance then this is a good series to check out.

Keep reading for an excerpt from the book, a chance at a giveaway, and be sure to check out my fellow bloggers views on this book as well!

Heart of Hope and Fear (The Order of the Crystal Daggers #3)

Publication Date: December 2nd, 2021

Genre: Historical Romance/ Historical Fantasy/ Spy Trilogy

In a moment of desperation and desire, one girl takes a leap of faith to secure the future of her nation — and save her family.

Prague, 1871

Despite the many demands that come with being a member of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, Eleanora Svobodová has plenty of reasons to celebrate. With Lumiere’s capture and Lady Penelope’s reluctant acceptance of Ferdy, not even Ben’s painful ire can completely diminish her joy.

But just as the future begins to look bright, the past catches up to Eleanora and the other members of the Order.

For as they investigate Karl’s disappearance, Eleanora learns the shocking secret about her mother’s final mission—and Lady Penelope’s treachery—just as the Emperor heads to Bohemia to conduct a special tripartite council, despite the threat to his life.

Can Eleanora and the Order find a way to save the kingdom? And even if they do, will they be able to survive a new betrayal from among their ranks?

Full of surprising twists and turns, Heart of Hope and Fear is the final book in The Order of the Crystal Daggers, a historical romance spy trilogy from C. S. Johnson.

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Louis Valoris chuckled as he stirred his tea with a spoon. “I do believe it is time we were formally introduced, Lady Eleanora.”

It’s you,” I whispered, shaking my head in shame.

I must say, you look so much like your mother. Even in the moonlight, I would’ve sworn it was her ghost if Lumiere hadn’t found you and your brother last year.”

Eleanora.” Lady Penelope scowled over at me. 

I gave her an apologetic look, but I knew it wouldn’t do any good. She’d warned me before Louis was crafty and full of cunning, and I’d been completely caught off guard.

I must commend you on her progress, Pepé,” Louis continued. “But she’s still very naïve, and that’s dangerous, especially for one who carries the weapon of the Order, yet none of its secrets. How do you know she won’t betray you when she learns the truth?”

Eleanora is a loyal member of the Order,” Lady Penelope said, her voice full of resignation instead of pride. “She will not betray me.”

It would be nice to see her live up to her mother’s legacy.”

At his disparaging tone, rage and fury rocked through me to my core. Lumiere had told me less than an hour ago how Louis had a hand in poisoning my mother and killing Nassara—and now I knew he’d used Xiana to fulfill his plans.

The dead deserve some respect, Louis,” Lady Penelope warned, speaking before I could yell at him. “I’d rather talk of the present than the past, now that we’ve arrived at our final rendezvous.”

She reached down and pulled out her own violet-colored dagger in one hand and a pistol in the other.

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About the Author

S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at

CS Johnson | Facebook | Kofi


Giveaway: Click the link below for a chance to win a hardcover set of The Order of the Crystal Daggers Trilogy! 

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Book Tour Schedule

January 3rd

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) (Review)

B is for Book Review (Spotlight)

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight)

Sadie’s Spotlight (Spotlight)

January 4th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight)

@atrailofpages (Review)

Bunny’s Reviews (Review)

I Love Books and Stuff (Spotlight)

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight)

January 5th

Stine Writing (Spotlight)

Sophril Reads (Review)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

January 6th

@wraithreads (Review)

Jessica Belmont (Review)

January 7th

 @takealookatmybookshelf (Review)

The Faerie Review (Review)

 @bookishkelly2020 (Spotlight)


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