Self-Published Saturday: September 4, 2021/Leviathan

Self-Published Saturday continues! Again, Self-Published/Indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing and beyond. This Saturday feature just attempts to give them a little help and introduce books to readers who may not have seen them before. This is a repost of a review I did of Leviathan, a World War I Novella by Malcolm Havard. I was blown away by his ability to captivate the reader and felt transported to the cockpit of a WW1 plane. See below.

BOOK REVIEW

Leviathan is a fascinating ride with a young pilot through the British skies during World War I. The thoughts of the pilot flash back and forth from his BE2 single engine biplane, to his mission, to events from his past. He’s chasing a Zeppelin, the Leviathan that has come to invade his country and attack its people.

The author’s description of flying the World War I era biplane was so meticulous and detailed that I felt like I was in the cockpit of the plane, learning to fly. At the same time it was filled with emotion, as the pilot’s thoughts flashed back and forth from his plane and his surroundings to events from his life. I was completely impressed by the author’s ability to transport us into this plane and into this pilot’s inner feelings and experiences. Malcolm Havard is an Indie author who has written a gem in my opinion. I would highly recommend this for anyone interested in World War I historical fiction or aviation, or anyone who just wants to read a great story.  

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Malcolm Havard

Malcolm grew up in Sheffield, has lived and worked in Australia and the Middle-East but now lives in Crewe in Cheshire, England. He is a prolific and award-winning author who writes both novels and short fiction. He has, in the past, worked in a variety of genres.

Despite the variety, all have a similar DNA containing strong, often flawed but believable characters and telling great stories. His current body of work includes the mountaineering thriller, The Last Mountain, a 1950s Spy novel, Contrail, and Touched, a haunting novel about love and loneliness.

He has now found a niche writing historical fiction usually with an aviation background. He has published bestselling stories about WW1 and Hurricane Season, a blend of fiction and non-fiction stories and features centered around the legendary aircraft, the Hawker Hurricane. He has just written the second book in his LMF series set in WWII, and has recently released the first of the Three Brothers Trilogy, which covers a family during the turbulent period of 1910 to 1939.

Link to Malcolm Havard’s Website

Link to Buy Leviathan by Malcolm Havard on Amazon

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read this for free.

Link to My Goodreads Review

Link to my Amazon Review (“Helpful” Votes Appreciated)

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. 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: August 21, 2021

It’s Saturday, and I’ll be reviewing only Self-Published/Indie books all day. Saturday is exclusively Self-Published/Indie. Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie authors market their books. As I always say, Self-Published/Indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. My hope is that this feature will give them a little help. Please remember that if you decide to review the book, leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else you review the book. This is so important for Self-Published authors. Today I am featuring the wonderful Alice and Trudy mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph, set in post World World II Yorkshire. I actually reviewed Books 2 and 3 for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. I haven’t written a book review for Book 1 yet, but I’m including a book description. My reviews for books 2 and 3 are below. They can all be read as standalones.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Fleeing an abusive husband, Trudy finds herself helping to run a private hotel (The Avalon Hotel) for elderly guests. But only a couple of weeks after her arrival, Alastair Mackie, one of its owners, is poisoned. Suspicion falls on Trudy and on Alastair’s wife, Alice.

Together, Trudy and Alice struggle to find the identity of the killer, or even a reason for the murder. They are helped along the way by Ben, a man from the moors, and by dear Doctor Taylor himself, beloved by the elderly residents of the hotel.

Only slightly in the way are Colonel Starr, who has difficulty telling one war from another, Calvin Hunt with his shocking remarks, the name-dropping Mrs Shand and the frequent fainter (but artistic) Fay Bowen. Oh! I almost forgot Miss Harriet – she is easy to overlook.

While Alice tries to discover the secret behind the killing, Trudy must fight with a husband who is determined to force her back.

Set in a large Victorian house in Yorkshire in 1947, this novel introduces readers to a new pair of detectives – Alice, raised in a country mansion by aristocratic parents, and Trudy, daughter of a butcher from the market.

BOOK REVIEWS

In England in 1947, Princess Elizabeth prepares to marry Phillip Mountbatten. And at the Avalon Private Hotel, sweet, elderly Miss Harriet is planning to marry John Prentiss. But there are obstacles in the way. Neither John nor Miss Harriet is particularly interested in wedding planning, there are issues agreeing on a church, and to top it all off, somebody wants to kidnap Miss Harriet! Alice, Trudy, Kenneth Wilson, the local police detective, and the guests at Avalon band together to try and keep the wedding on track and protect Miss Harriet. Tidbits from Elizabeth’s wedding are dropped throughout the book. This is the second in the wonderful Alice and Trudy Mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph.

This is an entertaining read which alternates between the perspectives of Alice, the owner of the Avalon, and Trudy, who helps her run the hotel. In addition to wedding plans, we are caught up in the other residents—Fay, who is using her considerable talent as an artist to sketch the local dogs; Colonel Starr, whose mind is generally geared to military matters; Mrs. Shand, who does some uppity criticizing of the wedding planning, both royal and non-royal; Calvin, the elderly flirt; and Sophie, who tries to help out in every situation. Alice’s aristocratic family makes appearances, as do Ben, a local man, his dog Yan, and others.

This is a sweet, mild cozy mystery, softer and more comfortable than most. It is a relaxing read about post-World War II England. I loved the characters, especially the elderly hotel guests. Fans of weddings, cozy mysteries, and postwar novels will enjoy this book.

In post-World War II Yorkshire, Alice and Trudy are taken aback when Jeremiah Bickerstaff, the formidable patriarch of the rich and powerful Bickerstaff family, makes the surprising decision to move into a vacant room at the Avalon hotel while recovering from a stroke. Despite begging, conniving, and groveling from his family, he will not move back home. This makes things difficult for Trudy, as Bickerstaff is the grandfather of her abusive ex-husband, Jeremy. Then another young man enters the picture. He bears a strong resemblance to the Bickerstaff grandsons. Is he a long-lost heir? When a death happens on the premises, one of the elderly tenants is quick to point the finger. Was it an accident, or something more? This is the third book in the Alice and Trudy mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone.

The elderly Avalon gang is back in another delightful mystery adventure. Led by hotel owner Alice and manager Trudy, the aged but active residents lend a hand and plenty of opinions after Mr. Bickerstaff joins their ranks. This series is such a delight to read. I truly enjoy all of these characters, especially Colonel Starr, who thinks everyone should join the Army, and Mrs. Shand, who is always ready with a comment, whether you want to hear it or not. You will laugh at the hijinks of this hilarious crew of lively lodgers. Fans of cozy mysteries will want to rent a room at the Avalon hotel, and stay long-term.

OVERALL COMMENTS

This is a warm hug of a cozy mystery series with characters who keep you chuckling. You will want to continue coming back to the Avalon Hotel.

BUY THE ALICE AND TRUDY MYSTERIES ON AMAZON

Click on each book cover to buy the books on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read the whole series for free! They are also only $2.99 each to buy the ebook version.

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. 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, July 31, 2021

This is the newest edition of Self-Published Saturday, where I highlight self-published books and their authors. As you know, self-published authors have to do their own marketing, and I hope with this feature to help spread the word about their books. This week’s feature includes two books, both by Brett Salter. They are books 3 and 4 of his Talisman Series. I reviewed Books 1 and 2 already, and I have provided links below. The Talisman Series is a young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure–with dragons! As always, if you buy the book, please remember to leave a review. This is so important for self-published authors.

Book Review: Windy City Ruins (Book 3)

In Book 3 of the Talisman series, Rome, Julian, and Mrs. Case head to New York to meet with a contact and learn more about the talismans and their mission. Circumstances land them in the “Windy City” of Chicago, and they meet new friends and face new challenges. With targets on their backs and evil drawing ever closer, they continue to search for information on how to defeat the Tyrant King and his armies. I continue to enjoy this series, as Rome and Julian learn even more about talismans and their mission, and they meet fascinating new friends along the way. Rome continues to grow and learn. While I was still frustrated with Julian’s rudeness early in the book, he begins to show some growth as well. The group meets even more players in this game and we are introduced to another type of dragon. There is a shocking surprise that will provide more challenges than ever. I continue to be fascinated by the dragons in this series and the good vs. evil battle as a whole. Brett Salter has given us a fascinating world to explore in the Talisman series.

Book Review: The Battle for Verdana (Book 4)

Rome and Julian’s search for true synergy takes them to the forests of the Pacific Northwest where they search for answers and deal with the ever-pursuing enemy. More surprises and new friends await them in the latest book in the Talisman series.

Wow! Five stars for this one as Rome and Julian continue to grow in strength and humility. There are ups and downs, and a fantastic surprise at the end that will not disappoint. As always, epic battles abound, and I really enjoyed the character growth I saw in this book. This book teaches kids important lessons in integrity, humility, and team building. A team is made up of those with different strengths and talents, and I am glad to see this lesson shown so well in these books. I am looking forward to Book 5 and the adventures that await.

LINK TO MY REVIEW OF BOOK 1: THE SEARCH FOR SYNERGY

LINK TO MY REVIEW OF BOOK 2: RIDERS OF FIRE AND ICE

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 TALISMAN SERIES

You will find links buy all four books of the Talisman Series by clicking on the photo above.. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read them for free.

Q&A With Brett Salter

Brett Salter was kind enough to answer some questions for me, and I thank him again for taking the time out to do that. Here is the Q&A below:

What inspired you to write the Talisman Series?  I’ve told this story a bunch of times.  And it’s completely true.  My mother dared me to write a book off a premise we came up with together, and I just went with it.  Before I knew it, I had the first book done and since it ended on a cliffhanger, we were like, “What next?”.  I realized that I liked writing so much that I just kept on going.  Now, I’m sitting on 4 self-published books and 7 more waiting in the wings (get it?)

What is the main message you want readers to take away from this series?  I think the main thing I want to impart on young readers is to always take that first step into adventure.  It could be a situation in real life or cracking open a book and following along with characters.  Preaching creativity is really what I strive for with my life and my kids’ lives.  I want them to be passionate about their interests and always be creative because this world need creativity now more than ever.  

How is Book 5 coming along?  Can you share the title yet, and how many books do you have planned for this series?  I plan on releasing the 5th book of my proposed 12 by winter of this year! It needs an edit or two….or three or four. And it needs some cover art, but it should be out early 2022. Book four ends with a pretty big cliffhanger regarding our heroes and their powers.  Well, that DOES get resolved, but the 5th book opens so much more trouble for our heroes in the form Darkbrand threats. Plus, we get a ton of reveals regarding the “big bad’s” plans, more Talismans, and we maybe, possibly, definitely get to visit a new dragon den???  I have several titles in the mix, but I have not settled on one yet.  This book is going to be a little darker than the previous 4, so I need title reflective of the darker turn in the series.  I’m open to suggestions

In your bio you mention being inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings, among others.  Both series feature scenes with dragons, of course, and Eustace from the Chronicles of Narnia even turns into a dragon at one point.  Obviously Eustace was a boy who was turned into a dragon and Rome finds out he is a dragon disguised as a boy.  However, is Eustace an inspiration of sorts for Rome?  That’s an interesting question.  I think the idea of Rome transforming into a dragon may have unintentionally been inspired by Eustace Scrubb or perhaps a similar character from another work of fiction.  But I will say this.  The main difference between Euastace and Rome is that Eustace’s transformation furthers his character development by forcing him to look at his attitude and behavior and change the way he treats people for the better.  Whereas Rome’s transformation is meant to be more in keeping with his destiny.  Confirming he is a dragon DOES change him for the better, but It’s more of realizing his future than trying to make up for past indifferences.  I do see the similarities though.  

What other authors are you reading now?  I read everything E.C. Meyers puts out because most of his books are cannon side projects to my favorite show RWBY.  I’m reading “The Breadwinner” by Deborah Ellis alongside my son for a school assignment.  I just finished “Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut.  And, I intend to start “War for the Oaks” by Emma Bull on a friend’s recommendation.

Do you have any other series planned for the future?  Abso-lutely!  I do have the humblest beginnings of a second series in the works.  I have the plot of the first book and the “Legendarium” already put to paper (or hardrive).  That series will be a work of portal fiction mixed with destiny fiction and entail more adult themes as compared to The Talisman Series.  I came up with the idea in between writing books 8 and 9, and I WILL eventually get around to writing that series.  Maybe after I put out book five of The Talisman Series this winter.

Thanks again to Brett Salter for his great responses to our questions!

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. 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: July 17th, 2021

Here is the newest edition of Self-Published Saturday, where I highlight great self-published authors and introduce you to their books. As you know, self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. My hope for this feature is that it helps authors in their marketing efforts. This week I am featuring Riders of Fire and Ice by Brett Salter. This is the second book in the Talisman series, a middle grade/young adult fantasy series with dragons! See my review below.

As always, if you decide to buy the book, make sure and leave a review. Reviews are very important for self-published authors, and really all authors, as it helps spread that so important word-of-mouth that can make your book a success. Please also share this post on social media by using the Twitter and Facebook buttons below. Feel free to reblog this as well. We need our self-published authors to get as much attention as possible.

BOOK REVIEW: RIDERS OF FIRE AND ICE

Rome is a boy, but has learned he is really a dragon who can take human form. Julian is from a family of well-established knights. Together they are a brotherhood, and they are descendants of dragon/knight alliances of old. They have been searching for complete Synergy, and although they have found a shadow of it, full Synergy is still not in their grasp. Full Synergy will give them the use of all of their powers. They head off in search of answers in order to fight the evil that is coming.

Rome and Julian head to London on a school trip, chaperoned by a principal who is giving Rome suspicious vibes. Although they do plan to educate themselves on this trip, it has nothing to do with school. They want to find out more about Camelot and its connection to Synergy. Along the way, they meet new friends and new enemies, get the answers to more questions, and develop more mysteries to explore.

Although this is the second book in a series, it can be read as a standalone because there is a synopsis of Book 1 in the prologue. If you want to avoid spoilers, read Book 1 before looking at the prologue. Rome is really growing as a character, learning about his abilities, and questioning his background. Julian still has a lot of character flaws and his treatment of others sometimes annoys me, but the author begins showing us the reasons behind his behavior. The battles in this book, as always, are fierce and entertaining, as Rome grows in strength and wisdom and faces even fiercer enemies. Julian’s character development is much slower, but there are hints of maturity to come. More clues are provided in the mystery of the talismans, and Rome gains some much-needed allies.

This is an engaging and creative YA/MG fantasy that continues to ask the question: What if you found out you were a dragon? The answers take Rome on the adventure of a lifetime.

Four and a half stars, rounded up to five on sites with no half star option.

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read the whole series, which currently consists of four books, 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!

MY AMAZON REVIEW (“HELPFUL” VOTES APPRECIATED)