Self-Published Saturday/Repost of Songbird

I know it’s not Saturday, but I’m going to be gone all day watching grandkids on Saturday, so the SP Saturday posts are going up early. This is a repost of my Review for Songbird.

Self-Published Saturday (SPS) is my effort to help self-published and indie authors with the heavy task of marketing their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from cover design to marketing and more. This is my effort to take a bit of that load and help promote their books on a Saturday. Please share these books on your social media, so all of your followers can see these great books as well. Today’s first review is of Songbird, a wonderful cozy historical mystery by Gail Meath set in New York City, 1923.

Following the review is a short Q&A with the author, Gail Meath.

FULL DISCLOSURE

I am the editor of this particular book. I wanted to make sure you had full knowledge of that before you read my review. My review is honest and my opinions are my own. This was my first editing adventure, and I want to thank Gail Meath for allowing me the opportunity. I am planning to start freelance editing next year and am doing a few editing jobs right now free of charge in order to gain experience. So let me know if need any help!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Normally I come up with a paragraph describing the book on my own. But Gail Meath’s description is so good I couldn’t possibly come up with anything better, and it’s so clever I wanted to share it with you. So here is the book description written by Gail Meath.

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Meet Jax Diamond, a sharp, sophisticated, skilled, no-nonsense private detective. Or is he? Glued to his side is his canine partner, Ace, a fierce and unrelenting German Shepherd whose mere presence terrorizes criminals into submission. Well, maybe not.

But the two of them are a whole lot smarter than they look. And they have their hands full when a playwright’s death is declared natural causes, and his new manuscript worth a million bucks is missing.

Laura Graystone, a beautiful rising Broadway star, is dragged into the heart of their investigation, and she’s none too happy about it. Especially when danger first strikes, and she needs to rely on her own ingenuity to save their hides.

Join Jax, Laura and Ace on a fun yet deadly ride during the Roaring Twenties that takes twists and turns, and a race against time to find the real murderer before he/she/they stop them permanently.

BOOK REVIEW

This is a fantasically fun cozy mystery set in 1923 New York. The characters don’t just jump off the page, they pull you into their world. Jax’s sidekick, Ace, the wonderfully charming German Shepherd, will make his way into your heart in no time. The setting in 1923 New York City is well described and transports us back to that place and time. The portrayal of Coney Island makes you feel as if you are there, hanging on for dear life in the Steeplechase or winning a prize in the baseball toss. The mystery is so well done, with puzzles and red herrings that will keep you guessing. The main characters are complex and interesting. Jax, private investigator and former cop, has his own secrets to keep, and Laura’s talents are revealed to expand way beyond singing.

There is a sweet romance, but the complex and fascinating mystery is the star of the show, along with the lovable Ace. I highly recommend this book, the first in the Jax Diamond Mysteries series, to all mystery fans and to anyone who loves reading about our canine friends.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Songbird will be released November 11, 2021.

Q&A WITH GAIL MEATH

Songbird is a fun cozy mystery, and a little more lighthearted than your complex and wonderful previous historical novels, such as Agustina De Aragon and Countess Jacqueline.  Where did you get the inspiration for Songbird

 A while back, I found and fell in love with the cover, and I knew that I had to write a book around it.  Over the summer, I had so much fun researching the Roaring Twenties era; the story just became a reflection of how I envisioned life on Broadway back then.  And it was a nice break from writing about the struggles of war.   

The series is set in 1923 in New York City.  Did you face any challenges in setting a mystery during this time and place?  

Choosing New York City made research easier than other places since it is one of the largest cities.  And I found tons of information regarding historical restaurants, speakeasies, theaters, etc.  There was so much more I wanted to include in the book, but I didn’t want to distract from the story.

Your description of Coney Island is fascinating and the rides sound like deadly fun.  Seriously, I’m not sure how anyone survived some of these rides.  Was there a lot of research material available for 1923 Coney Island?  

Like the rest the city, there was a great deal of research, but none of the articles tells you more about the Coney Island Amusement Park than the video I found.  It is a hoot!  Note from Bonnie: Please check out the link here of old 1920s Coney Island rides. You won’t want to miss it, and you will also be wondering how anyone survived! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wz5vZmU8Dc&t=47s

One of your main characters is a German Shepherd, and he is delightful!  Was it challenging to make an animal a major part of the story, and do you have any dogs yourself?  

I am an avid animal lover and have a little Boston Terrier now.  Years ago, as soon as I married and moved to the country, I adopted Gretchen, the most beautiful, loyal and loving friend I’ve ever had.  She even saved my son’s life once.   She is still sorely missed, so it was very easy and fun finding a place for her as Ace in this book.

Was Gretchen a German Shepherd?

Yes, Gretchen was a shepherd, and she looked just like the pic I have of Ace under the covers in the book.

It appears there will be a sequel to Songbird.  Can you confirm that? 

 BLACKSTONE, Jax Diamond Mysteries – Book 2, should be ready in March and takes place in New England, but I’m not done with BROADWAY yet (Book 3)

Thank you Gail, for another great interview and for answering my questions today on short notice!

PRE-ORDER SONGBIRD

Amazon US

Amazon UK

COVER RATING

I love this cover. You instantly know you are in the 1920’s, and Ace and Jax are represented by the cards in the left corner. Very well done. The cover was done before the book, which is unusual, but as Gail stated above, it served as inspiration for the story.

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday: 10 Great Self-Published/Indie Books to Check Out

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors promote their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If I can help promote their books in even a small way, I am happy to assist! I thought I’d attach links and covers of some of the wonderful Indie books I’ve reviewed in the past. Be sure and click on the cover to check out the book description and buy links on Amazon. Check them out and you won’t be disappointed! I’ll do other lists of this type regularly.

This is the first in the Robin Hood Trilogy. The second book is Robin Hood’s Widow, and the third is Robin Hood’s Return. These are five-star reads that combine the Robin Hood legend with Historical Fiction.

This wonderful novel by Gail Meath was an Editor’s Choice for the August 2021 edition of Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. It got 5 stars from me, too.

Another five star read, the Siege of An Loc is a historical novel about the Vietnam War told from the perspective of a South Vietnamese soldier.

This is Book one in the fascinating dystopian series Juche by Adria Carmichael It set in a North Korean concentration camp in the 1990s. There have been three books released currently.

This is a collection of Tanka poems that explore the issue of grief and celebrate the lives of the author’s departed family. This 5 star collection will cause you to both smile and cry.

Another 5 star poetry collection. Louise Bélanger’s Your Word, Your World is a collection of Inspirational poems that celebrates God and his creation.

This is Book 1 in the Talisman Series by Brett Salter. Rome is a boy who accidentally sets a tree on fire and eventually finds out he is really a dragon! Great 5-star Young Adult Series.
This is the first book in the Alice and Trudy mystery trilogy. Alice and Trudy have opened up a hotel that caters to the elderly, and their gang of residents is a hoot!

This fantastic book by Patricia Furstenberg takes you, through photographs, illustrations, and 100 word stories, on a trip through time in Transylvania’s history. You start in Neanderthal times and work up to the present. Really an entertaining and educational 5 star read.

Full disclosure, I am the editor on this book. But it’s a wonderful start to a cozy mystery series by Gail Meath that is set in the 1920s. Jax Diamond, private investigator, and his canine assistant Ace are on the case when a talented Broadway playwright is murdered. It will be released November 11, 2021.

BEFORE YOU GO

If you decide to check out some or all of these wonderful books, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other sites you use. Reviews are like gold to self-published authors.

Self Published Saturday/Dilly Dally Sally

Self-Published Saturday is my attempt to help self-published authors with the heavy task of marketing. Self-published/indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If this blog can lighten the load even a little bit, I am happy to assist! This week, I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful children’s book, Dilly Dally Sally by E.M. Blake.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Explore East London on a quiet summer day and discover how Sally finds her way home. Will her friends the swans and geese help?

The story is inspired by the real wildlife of Regent’s Canal and Limehouse Basin in London. There’s amusing situations and familiar objects to encourage parent-child interaction. It’s great as part of the bedtime routine while helping to support their reading skills. Have fun learning about animals, numbers and the love of family, plus develop life skills like relaxation versus procrastination, problem solving and safety.

This picture book combines photographs of places and wildlife in East London with the tale of a lost duckling to help stimulate children’s natural curiosity about the world. It’s reality with a dash of fiction and rhyme.  

BOOK REVIEW

This is a fun and educational children’s story that takes a walk with a very lost duckling as she tries to find her way home. Accompanied by real-life photos of Regent’s Canal and Limehouse Basin in London, this also teaches kids about these areas while they are reading a cute and entertaining story. The rhymes are adorable and may encourage kids to try rhymes of their own. Children and adults will enjoy the photos and the irresistible rhyming tale of Sally and her adventures.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellie M. Blake lives in London. She loves taking photographs of nature and writing stories. Her other interests include travel, cooking and healthy happy living. 

Once upon a time, she worked in education and did many other jobs, before, after and during completion of an MA in English literature, LLB, B.Commerce and BA. 

Dilly Dally Sally is her first book.

Click the yellow ‘follow’ button to receive emails about new book releases and special deals. 

She enjoys connecting with people. Please get in touch. 

Instagram

Website 

Facebook

COVER RATING

While I love the fun rhymes, real-life pictures of wildlife, and educational opportunities this book provides, the cover needs some work. The duckling on the front appears to have possibly been pasted in, as the background around it is a little darker than the rest of the photo. The lettering on the cover is not showing up well, and the author might consider trying a different color or font. This does not affect my rating of the overall book.

BUY DILLY DALLY SALLY

Amazon

Amazon UK

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read the ebook for free.

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday/How to Stop Binge Eating and Learn to Love Food Again

Self-Published Saturday (SPS) continues on a Sunday because I wasn’t available yesterday. Nothing will ever stop SPS, not even if I miss Saturday completely! Self-Published Saturday (SPS) is my effort to help self-published and indie authors with the heavy task of marketing their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from cover design to marketing and more. This is my effort to take a bit of that load and help promote their books on a Saturday. This week, Saturday got away from me because life happens, but it lives on. The spirit of SPS is the same, Saturday or Sunday. Please share these books on your social media, so all of your followers can see these great books as well. Below is a review of an important self-help book, How to Stop Binge Eating and Learn to Love Food Again.

BOOK REVIEW

This is a wonderful book for those who have a problem with overeating or who need to eat healthier. I loved the approach by this book, which is not a diet at all. It teaches new practices that will help you develop healthy lifelong eating habits, which in turn should help you lose weight. If you, like me, have tried all the diets without lasting success, read this book!

One of the things I loved the most about this approach is that it doesn’t eliminate any food group. Instead, it talks of eating a majority of healthy, unprocessed foods and learning to limit the sweets and simple carbs without giving them up completely. You learn about how sweets and simple carbs affect the body, and you are given the information to succeed, but not deprived of any foods.

I would recommend this book to anyone, like me, who has tried every single diet without success. This approach takes away the diet and focuses on you.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksirens. My review is voluntary.

LINKS TO BUY

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read the book for free.

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday: Blog Tour and Book Review/Butterfly Assassins

Normally I don’t do blog tours on a Saturday, but since this is for an Independently Published book, I can post this on Self-Published Saturday. Self-Published Saturday is solely devoted to Self-Published/Indie authors, and is my attempt to help them with the marketing side of things a little bit. As you know, self-published authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing. I am happy to give any help I can in that effort.

Butterfly Assassins is the second book in the Wifi of Dreams series, and I put up a review of the first book Wilson Indeed, earlier today. I have reviewed Wilson Indeed before, and I thought today was a great day to post them together. Butterfly Assassins is part of a Blog Tour by Zooloo’s Book Tours. Please see the book description and review below. ,

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Sally Bennett was an orphan and an only child. Incomprehensibly, at the age of ten, both her parents died in quick succession. Proof that fate deals our cards blind. One can be dealt three buses in a row, a run of traffic lights on red, or a pair of deaths; it all depends on the shuffle. Destiny was playing its hand and having led with a heart, the face card of her mother, Sally had no other option but to follow suit. 

When Wilson and Daisy play with the Tetris blocks of the future, problems soon stack up. Butterfly Assassins is the sequel to Wilson Indeed and takes us back to Sally Bennett, the car accident, shared dreams, and a divine intervention outside Davenport train station. This is Book Two is the WiFi of Dreams Trilogy.

In a recent survey, 85% of people said yes to the question: “Do you believe there are things out there that science can’t explain?”

If you’re one of those 85%, you’ll love The WiFi of Dreams series.

BOOK REVIEW

Book 2 in Steve Walsh’s Wifi of Dreams series is possibly even more creative and imaginative than the first book. It cannot be read as a standalone. In order to understand the intriguing world of dreams, you must enter the Marketplace through Book 1, Wilson Indeed. The Marketplace is a Town Square of sorts for the world of dreams. In Book 2, we revisit Sally Bennett, to whom we were introduced in Book 1, and we follow her to the Marketplace. We are also brought back into Wilson’s life and see the complications that manipulating the future can cause. The characters are so well done, and the story is clever and captivating, with many twists and turns. The fantastical Marketplace, its many inhabitants, and their complex schemes will keep you turning the page. The omniscient narrator is fascinating themselves, as they appear to be the ones pulling, or trying to pull, the strings. The way that dreams interact with the real world is captivating.

Butterfly Assassins shows us how the world can turn on a whim or the flutter of a wing. It is a creative adventure that should not be missed.

I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. I also obtained a copy on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Walsh

For twenty years Steve Walsh honed his skills in prose as an advertising copywriter; the ‘ideas’ man in a Manchester based marketing agency that carried his name.

In the late 1990’s he stumbled into the world of the dotcom entrepreneur and his claim to fame is as the creator of the hotel booking service, laterooms.com and the first car insurance comparison site, easycover.com. So, the birth of Meerkats, a Welsh opera singer and being confused.com might be considered as down to him, for which he apologises. 

He now uses his vivid imagination and gentle Mancunian wit to write visionary fantasy novels with bold concepts. Wilson indeed, the first book in his trilogy The WiFi of Dreams takes the reader on a richly imagined, fact meets fiction adventure story to which we can relate and feel we can touch. A whimsical interrogation of the inexplicable and fundamental tenets of our lives – the role and meaning of dreams, the nature of the hereafter, hard and soft science, a love story – what more can you want? 

Butterfly Assassins is the second book in the trilogy.

Born and bred in the north west of England, Steve Walsh has three children and likes to fly fish in his spare time.

BUY BUTTERFLY ASSASSINS ON AMAZON

  1. If you read the book, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads, and wherever you post about books. Reviews are needed and are extremely important. Some people are intimidated by the thought of leaving a review. Don’t be. The review doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. A couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the author in a big way.
  2. Please press the Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress buttons below and share this book with your friends and social media followers. Even if a book is not your cup of tea, it might be theirs, and this gives them a look at it too!

Self-Published Saturday/Wilson Indeed

It’s Self-Published Saturday! This is the day dedicated solely to reviews and promotion of self-published authors. Self-published/Independent Authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. SPS is my effort to help those authors in the area of marketing. Today we have Wilson Indeed, the first book in the Wifi of Dreams Series by Steve Walsh. This is an extremely clever and creative novel about the merging of the real world with the world of dreams. See my review below.

BOOK DESCRIPTION & REVIEW

BOOK DESCRIPTION

In The Market Square, the fantastical setting for all his dream activities, Wilson Armitage is able to take night classes on any subject and absorb a wealth of knowledge from just a few hours of sleep.  As though logging into a wifi of dreams to download information.  As his childhood passes, both wary of and reticent to acknowledge his extraordinary ability, Wilson attempts to lead a normal life and stay beneath the radar of family and friends.At the age of seventeen however, his cover is blown by Daisy Meadowcroft.  During a chance encounter in The Market Square, they agree to meet the next day and are propelled from a dream world into the reality of a coffee shop in the centre of Manchester.  Enthralled by their shared gift, they strike up a close friendship and encourage each other to seek a rational, scientific explanation for their unique talents.

Butterfly Assassins, the second book in the trilogy, is available on Amazon.

In a recent survey, 85% of people said yes to the question: “Do you believe there are things out there that science can’t explain?”

If you’re one of those 85%, you’ll love The WiFi of Dreams series.

BOOK REVIEW

I was captivated by this imaginative novel that immediately throws you straight into the action on the first page. At first, this book seems to be going a certain direction, but suddenly you realize you are reading something extraordinary and going on an amazing adventure with the intriguing young Wilson. Going to school in his dreams, Wilson can speak several languages, restore classic vehicles, perform life-saving medical procedures, and more, and he is still a kid. 

When he meets Daisy in the dream state and they decide to meet in the real world, that’s when the fun really begins, and when danger starts to lurk ever closer. From the dream world to the real world, Wilson’s abilities soon become known to the “powers that be.” When Wilson and Daisy investigate the disappearance of Vanessa, the mother of Wilson’s best friend, they truly begin to shake things up. 

Wilson Indeed is a captivating mix of fantasy, science and mystery that will take you on a fascinating ride into the world of dreams. Through Wilson and Daisy, we can explore the possibilities of what can happen when the fantastical world we visit when we sleep crosses into real life. This is the first book in the Wifi of Dreams series. I highly recommend this to fans of Fantasy, Young Adult, Mystery, and Science Fiction, as well as those who love genre mashups.

Thank you to Zooloo’s Book Tours for a copy of this book. I also purchased one on Amazon. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.

COVER RATING

When I first reviewed this book on this blog, it had a different cover, which I thought could have been a lot more noticeable. Since then, it appears to have been updated, and I prefer this cover, which I think “pops” a lot more. My only criticism is that the author’s name should be a lot larger and more prominent so people will see it and remember it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

For twenty years Steve Walsh honed his skills in prose as an advertising copywriter; the ‘ideas’ man in a Manchester based marketing agency that carried his name.

In the late 1990’s he stumbled into the world of the dotcom entrepreneur and his claim to fame is as the creator of the hotel booking service, laterooms.com and the first car insurance comparison site, easycover.com. So, the birth of Meerkats, a Welsh opera singer, and being confused.com might be considered as down to him, for which he apologizes. 

He now uses his vivid imagination and gentle Mancunian wit to write visionary fantasy novels with bold concepts. Wilson indeed, the first book in his trilogy The WiFi of Dreams takes the reader on a richly imagined, fact meets fiction adventure story to which we can relate and feel we can touch. A whimsical interrogation of the inexplicable and fundamental tenets of our lives – the role and meaning of dreams, the nature of the hereafter, hard and soft science, a love story – what more can you want? 

BUY WILSON INDEED ON AMAZON

BEFORE YOU GO

  1. If you read the book, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads, and wherever you post about books. Reviews are needed and are extremely important. Some people are intimidated by the thought of leaving a review. Don’t be. The review doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. A couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help with book sales in a big way.
  2. Please press the Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress buttons below and share this book with your friends and social media followers. Even if a book is not your cup of tea, it might be theirs, and this gives them a look at it too!

Self-Published Saturday: July 3, 2021

Welcome to another edition of Self-published Saturday, where I highlight another great self-published book and author. This week’s feature is Fire Blossom, written by the talented Gail Meath. Before you check out my review below, please remember that if you decide to read the book, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book sites you may frequent. This is so important for self-published authors.

The second thing I’d like to ask is that after you read the review, go to the Twitter and Facebook buttons below and share it on your social media, if you have social media accounts. This will help spread the word about self-published and indie authors even further.

In Texas, 1843, Comanche princess Fire Blossom returns to her village after a secret and passionate liaison with her betrothed, Lone Wolf. She is met with a horrific scene, as almost everyone in her village has been slaughtered by a hateful and violent group of white men. While attempting to flee, she is captured and forced to leave with these men, only because of her blonde hair and blue eyes. After her torture at the hands of one of them, she is left for dead and meets Colton, whose wife was murdered by a Comanche warrior. As she grows closer to Colton, who tries to get her to remember her former life, will she overcome blocked memories and look into her past? Meanwhile, Lone Wolf is on her trail, angry and desperate to find her.

This is a compelling and action-packed romance about a woman who belongs to two different worlds during a time of great turmoil. I learned a lot about the conflict between the white settlers in Texas and the Comanche during the mid 1800s, as they continued to inflict hatred and slaughter upon each other. The upheaval, anger, and injustice of the time is well portrayed by Gail Meath. Fire Blossom is such a likable and interesting character, as she is not just a princess, but an expert horsewoman and skilled fighter with deep love and respect for the Comanche. Caught between two worlds and two men, she struggles to find her true self and her true love. Her resilience and passion are written into every page, and her journey into her past is fascinating and compelling. Fans of historical romance will love this one, and will be thrilled that a sequel is coming in Fall 2021.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. It can also be purchased outright for only $2.99

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Meath

Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings. 

The subgenres of her books vary from action-packed westerns, plot twisting murder mysteries and biographies of powerful women who defied the strict rules of society fighting for the freedom of their countries. Her romances may exclude steamy sexual scenes, yet the intensity between heroine and hero will satisfy your deepest fantasies. 

Outside of writing, she spends loads of time with her two grandchildren. 

BUY FIRE BLOSSOM ON AMAZON

*Just a reminder that if you decide to read the book, please leave a review.

Self-Published Saturday: June 26, 2021

Happy Saturday! My choice for Self-Published Saturday this week is a wonderful book by Grace Mattioli called The Bird That Sang in Color. It’s a gorgeously written novel about finding true meaning in life. As always, just a reminder that self-published authors have to do it all. Their job does not stop at writing the book. They are in charge of cover design, marketing, finances, budget, and everything else. Your support means so much to them, so if you do buy the book, please remember to leave a review. Reviews are crucial for self-published authors.

The Bird That Sang in Color is the saga of a family dealing with death, conflict, grief, alcoholism, and depression. Donna’s father is an alcoholic and she carries that into her married life to Frank, who has a problem with alcohol as well. Donna is devoted to her children and her brother Vince, a talented musician and artist. Donna has long encouraged Vince to get a “real” job, a house, and the other trappings of success, but Vince continues to go his own way. After Vince’s death, Donna finds a picture book in which Vince has drawn different scenes from his life. For Donna, this shows the truth about Vince’s life, and also about hers.

Though the beginning started out a little slowly for me, this is a fascinating story that asks tough questions. What is success really about? Who is really dead and who is really alive? What is real happiness? Do material things make you happy, and are they fitting substitutes for joy and passion? What makes you truly happy? Most importantly, this book asks the reader to look inside themselves to see their own life pictures, assess their lives, and decide what is important and what is not. And for that, it gets five stars.

Kindle Unlimited members can download this book for free or you can purchase the Kindle version for only 2.99.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Mattioli

Grace Mattioli is the author of two novels–Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees and Discovery of an Eagle, and a book of short stories, The Brightness Index. Her forthcoming novel, The Bird that Sang in Color, will be released January 17, 2021.

Her fiction is filled with unforgettable characters, artful prose, humor, and insight about what it takes to be truly happy.  She strongly believes that if people were happier, the world would be a better place.

She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her cats. She worked as a librarian for over twenty years and has had various other job titles, including jewelry designer, food cart owner, shopkeeper, book seller, substitute teacher, art school model, natural grocery store clerk, short order cook, food server, street vendor, barista, and a giant Twinkie! 

She has been writing creatively since she was a child and has participated in various writing workshops and classes. Her favorite book is Alice in Wonderland. Her favorite author is Flannery O’Connor. Her favorite line of literature comes from James Joyce’s novella, The Dead:  “Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”

LINKS TO BUY THE BIRD THAT SANG IN COLOR

Amazon
Bookbub

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

Additional Reminder: If you read this book, make sure and leave a review.

Self-Published Saturday: June 19, 2021

Today’s Self-Published Saturday feature is The Search for Synergy, the first book in The Talisman Series by Brett Salter. As always with self-published books, be sure to leave a review if you decide to read it. Reviews are extremely important for self-published authors who have to do all of their own marketing.

#BOOK REVIEW: The Search For Synergy

Rome is a 14 year old boy who suddenly finds himself seeking out fire and danger.  When he accidentally sets the neighbor’s tree on fire in an unusual way,  he catches the eye of a schoolmate, Julian.  Julian begins watching Rome closely and soon discovers what he suspects is true.  Rome is a dragon, and Julian will be his knight counterpart, once they achieve Synergy and get their full power.  They are descendants of dragon and knight families of old.  Together, they can save the world from dark forces that are coming.  Rome soon meets Mr. Jones, who has been training Julian for this moment since he was seven years old, and they begin to try to unlock the secrets of Synergy.

The whole concept of hidden dragon and knight families with special bonds and powers from the time of King Arthur is exciting and interesting.  The beginning 30 percent or so of the book is spent on Rome learning about who and what he truly is.  Then the first epic battle between good and evil happens, and it is awesome.  I enjoyed this hidden world where dragons are real and live among us, knights are still training to save the world, and evil creatures keep trying to break through into Earth from the void.  

The friendship and bond between Rome and Julian is believable and fun.  The evil creatures we’ve seen so far, the Garms, are powerfully described.  Rome’s fantastical transformation is a joy to read and experience along with him. This start to The Talisman Series reminds me a little bit of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia.    I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Riders of Fire and Ice. 

Although I have seen this book described as middle grade fiction, which would be roughly ages 8 – 12, I think kids under the age of 13 should read it only with parental supervision, and I would categorize it as young adult instead of middle grade.  The battles with evil creatures could be scary for young kids, and the fact that Julian has been trained by Mr. Jones since he was seven and the two of them keep a lot of secrets from his parents set off some alarms for me. 

Even as someone who is in her 50’s, I truly enjoyed the start to this young adult series.  After all, as C.S. Lewis said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of 10 which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond.”

I have rated this gem of a book four and half stars, rounded up to five on sites without a half star option.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brett Salter

Brett Salter’s background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration he found as a kid in Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss.  In his formative years, he joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty.  As an adult he took on a dare and wrote The Talisman Series.  He has published four books in this series so far:  The Search for Synergy, Riders of Fire and Ice, Windy City Ruins, and The Battle for Verdana.

BUY THE ENTIRE TALISMAN SERIES ON AMAZON (Kindle Unlimited Subscribers Can Read It For Free)

THE TALISMAN SERIES WIKI FAN PAGE (SPOILERS!)

*REMINDER: AS ALWAYS, IF YOU DECIDE TO READ THE BOOK, PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW. THE AUTHORS APPRECIATE THIS SO MUCH!

Self-Published Saturday: May 29, 2021

Once again, it’s time to feature a great self-published book. I really enjoy this feature because it helps independent authors with the monumental task of promoting their books. If you decide to read this book, please write a review and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites where you talk about books. This helps authors so much. I can’t stress that enough. Your review makes a difference.

Today’s book is the first in a series that captivated me from the beginning, The Hamelin Stoop series by Robert B. Sloan. In fact, I have been known to drop everything and ignore my giant TBR list in order to read the next installment. See the review below.

BOOK REVIEW: THE EAGLE, THE CAVE, AND THE FOOTBRIDGE

Hamelin Stoop is an exciting young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure series in the vein of the Chronicles of Narnia and even Harry Potter.

In The Eagle, The Cave, and The Footbridge, Hamelin’s mother Johnnie is on the run from evil trackers, so she places him, still a little baby, on the stoop of an orphanage in a tomato box. One of the only legible words in the note she left was “Hamelin,” and since he was found on the stoop, he was named Hamelin Stoop by the orphanage staff.

Upset and frustrated, Hamelin runs away from the orphanage when he is 8 years old. That’s when strange things begin happening. He is drawn to a cave by a talking eagle, and then he begins to learn more about his parents and his true purpose. There is a related story about three princesses in another land as Sloan begins to weave this tale together.

This is a “good vs. evil” adventure series which drew me in immediately, and I am always excited to see the next book. This book has everything–talking creatures, evil overlords, distant lands, and lost princesses. So far, there are three books, and I’m anxiously awaiting the fourth. I see definite nods to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, which is always a good thing. I would recommend this to anyone over 10 years old who enjoys fantasy, adventure, and good vs. evil stories.  As C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” And this is a great children’s story that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

I received a free digital copy from Booksirens. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Robert B. Sloan is President of Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He is also a former President of Baylor University. Dr. Sloan and his wife Sue have seven adult children and more than 20 young grandchildren. He is an author, communicator, educator, and leader—all hats he has worn many times for a variety of reasons. These four areas represent life experiences that have provided him and his family with many memories. It is in the experiences of life that memories are made and lives are shaped.

Robert Sloan has a passion for Christian higher education and the spiritual formation of young people for the glory of God, which can be seen in both his professional and personal life.

Dr. Sloan’s Website

FASCINATING Article by Dr. Sloan About Why He Wrote The Hamelin Stoop Series

BUY BOOK 1: THE EAGLE, THE CAVE, AND THE FOOTBRIDGE

BUY BOOK 2: THE LOST PRINCESS AND THE JEWEL OF PERILUNA

BUY BOOK 3: THE RING OF TRUTH

*If you are a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber, you can borrow all three books for free.