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.

Self-published Saturday: May 22, 2021

Self-published Saturday is my weekly feature where I showcase a self-published author, provide a review, and include links to buy the book. As I’ve said before, self-published authors have to write, edit, and market their book, arrange for cover design, and more. They have to do it all, and they appreciate reviews so much. If you decide to read this book today, be sure to put up a review. They are so important to authors. My selection for Self-Published Saturday this week is a Young Adult Time Travel novel Arriving Through Time by Heather L. Barksdale.

Lizzie has been through a family tragedy and is having a tough time, but she is supported by her two best friends, Sam and Jeremy. They are currently navigating high school life and dealing with bullies Gary and Tiffany. Then a class project has Lizzie wondering about her ancestors, and a school trip ends with the three friends hurtling through time, along with their bullies and Lizzie’s secret crush. Although at first it appears to be a freak occurrence, the time travel seems very designed, as all of the teens begin to meet long dead ancestors.

What I loved about this story is that it combined time travel fiction and genealogy, two of my favorite pastimes, and it did this in a clever way. A class project and a DNA test have brought questions about Lizzie’s ancestors to the surface, and unexpected time travel gives her a chance to get answers. This book reminds us that our ancestors were living, breathing, people, not just names on a family tree. They blazed the way for us, good and bad, and everything they did enabled us to be alive today. We also learn something along the way as we visit people and places that are important to American history.

I loved the way time took the six travelers to locations that were pertinent to all of them and their ancestors and gave them both answers and surprises. I have found those kinds of surprises in my own genealogy research. 

If you are a fan of young adult novels, time travel, genealogical research, and/or historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. I received a free copy of this book from the author. I also picked up a copy on Amazon, where Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free. My review is voluntary. 

BUY ARRIVING THROUGH TIME ON AMAZON

Remember if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read this book for free. Just click the link above. Remember to leave a review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather L. Barksdale

Heather L. Barksdale has been a physical therapist, a researcher, a military brat, and now a novelist. She has also traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia seeking adventure. She is an avid fan of historical fiction and calls upon her adventures as inspiration for her stories. She and her husband share their home in Jacksonville, Florida where she enjoys snuggling with her cats and rooting for the Jaguars.

Heather’s Website

My Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated)

Self-Published Saturday–May 15, 2021

Since I am going to be traveling and attending a funeral today and Saturday, I am putting up Self-Published Saturday a day early. Your Words is a delightful book of poetry and photographs by Louise Belanger. I’ve also added a link to Louise’s new website below. She is currently giving away prizes in random drawings for anyone who subscribes to her website. This first drawing is this Sunday, May 16th. Make sure you subscribe for a chance to win.

This poetry book is accompanied by beautiful photographs and primarily speaks to the author’s thoughts about the pandemic, struggles in life, and her relationship with God. There are also some lovely story poems about nature. I was most interested in the poems about nature and relationship with God. The author shares her feelings honestly and with emotion.

The poem Power in Life spoke to me. It asks the question: “How can life go on when I’ve just experienced this crushing loss?” Having lost my Mom in 2020 and my Dad in 2019 , I definitely can relate to that. I also enjoyed “A Life With You, Now and in Eternity.” This is about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins.

The photographs are well done and are a great companion to the poems.

The author’s style is warm and embracing, and she shares her faith in a loving way. I would read her poetry again.

I picked this book up on Kindle Unlimited, where members can get a digital copy for free. I also received a free copy of the print book from the author. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.

Link to Your Words on Amazon

Link to Louise Belanger’s New Website. Check it out!

Louise’s Facebook Page

My Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated)

Self Published Saturday: May 8, 2021

Here is another edition of my weekly feature, Self-Published Saturday. Self-Published authors need our support. If you like the book I’ve chosen this week and decide to buy it, please share the link with your friends and put a review up on Amazon. It’s so important for these authors.

The book I’m highlighting this week is The Milk Wagon by Michael Hewes. Enjoy.

#BOOK REVIEW: THE MILK WAGON

The Milk Wagon is a fantastic thriller set in the 80’s, much of it revolving around a group of high school boys. As an 80’s high schooler myself, this was a wonderful walk down memory lane. This book has the 80’s high school mentality exactly right, and transported me back there as the movies we watched, the cars we drove, and the way we thought were so accurately described. 

This novel was perfectly woven together as both an 80’s book and a crime/murder thriller. There were many twists and turns, and although I am usually pretty good at guessing the “bad guy,” i was totally wrong this time. The fact that this book was not predictable impressed me. 

The characters are so well done, especially the 80s high school kids, that I was sad when it ended. That’s how you tell a great book. You don’t want it to end.

If you love crime thrillers, if you loved the 80s, or if you just love a well written book, check this one out.

I received a free copy of this book from Michael Hewes and BooksGoSocial via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Hewes

Michael Hewes earned his undergraduate degree from University of Southern Mississippi and his law degree from Ole Miss.

A retired JAG officer, Hewes currently practices law in Gulfport, Mississippi, where he lives with his wife and their three sons, two dogs, and one cat.

Link to The Milk Wagon on Amazon: 

Link to other work by Michael Hewes: 

Link to my Goodreads review 

Link to my Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated)

Self Published Saturday

I’m starting a new feature every Saturday. I will share a review of a self-published book to help Indie authors. I have read some amazing self-published books, and I am happy to help you discover them too. Self-published authors not only have to write their books, they have to arrange for cover design, editing, marketing, and more. They have to do it all. I am happy to help these authors by promoting their books here. If you would like to request a review of your self-published book, just click the Review Requests link on the home page (top right).

My first share will be a review I did a couple of weeks ago of an amazing book by Gail Meath, a wonderful self-published author. Agustina De Aragon is about a captivating real-life woman who fought against Napoleon in the early 1800s. She is sometimes known as the “Spanish Joan of Arc.” Please enjoy my review below and support this self-published author. Links to buy this book are included at the end of the review. This book is only $2.99 on Kindle right now.

Gail Meath brings a legend to life in this beautiful historical romance/thriller based on the life of Agustina Raimunda Maria Saragossa, or Agustina de Aragón, also known as “The Spanish Joan of Arc.” We learn the true story of Agustina’s heroic acts during the First Siege of Zaragosa, her life as a soldier and prisoner, and her romance with her beloved Juan Roca. Set in Barcelona and then Zaragosa, and other points in Spain, we meet Agustina as a girl and then follow her into womanhood, motherhood, and war.

The author’s meticulous research into the life and customs of early 1800s Spain is obvious, as Agustina’s world comes alive. The reader will feel as if they are there, visiting the marketplace and working alongside Agustina in her father’s bladesmith shop. The love story between Agustina and Roca is very well done, and their passion and dedication to each other are painted across every page. 

When danger arrives in the form of the Napoleon-led French Army, we can see the bloody battles and the savagery of the enemy, as well as the bravery of the Spanish people, as they fight off onslaught after onslaught. The terrible price of war is shown again and again, and the reader will weep along with Agustina as she faces unspeakable loss. The author’s knowledge of the topic is impressive, and I learned so much about Napoleon’s attacks on and eventual takeover of Spain. Although Agustina is famous for her acts during the First Siege of Zaragosa, she was also a mother, soldier, and prisoner of war, and it all comes alive in this novel. The ending is absolutely intriguing, and not to be missed.

I require two things from historical fiction. The first is that I be transported to the time and place being described. There is no question I felt transported to marketplaces, battlefields, and even prison in this fantastic novel. The second is that I learn something, and this book introduced me to Agustina herself, and then taught me much about the Napoleonic wars.

Agustina De Aragón introduces us to a compelling real-life legend, takes us into her world, and shows us the realities of war. It is a must read for fans of strong female characters. If you have never heard of Agustina, this book will introduce you in an unforgettable way.

LINK TO BUY AUGUSTINA DE ARAGON

LINK TO MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

LINK TO MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR GAIL MEATH