Monday, January 23, 2017

Mike Hartner - A Quiver of Character

3. A Quiver of Character by Mike Hartner (2016)
The Eternity Series Book 5
Length: 115 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started: 7 January 2017
Finished: 23 January 2017
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Dorothy at Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 8 October 2016
Why do I have it? I like short stories and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

From all four books from The Eternity Series, here are several short stories featuring some of the minor characters who have inspired a certain amount of curiosity about their own stories. From James Stuart's cousin Bart and a particularly overconfident sea captain named Marek in I, Walter; to Crofter Shipping crew member Jose Corazon and Crofter family banker Michael Farnsworth in I, James; to the first female sea captain Mary Crofter Farquharson's four sons Keith, Kyle, Ian and Fergus in I, Mary; and Margret and Aileen - the adopted daughters of Reverend Angus Mackenzie in I, Angus - each of these characters have their own stories to tell beyond the books of The Eternity Series. And here are just a few of them: a baker's dozen of such background stories.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book; it was refreshing to delve back into the world of The Eternity Series. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future and I give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Introducing The Good Dictator: The Birth of an Empire by Goncalo J. Nunes Dias!

I'm delighted to tell you all that the first book in Gonçalo J. Nunes Dias' dystopian science fiction series The Good Dictator - The Birth of an Empire will soon be free to download for a very short time from Amazon. Yes, for one short weekend - from Saturday, February 18th, to Sunday, February 19th, 2017 - The Birth of an Empire by Gonçalo J. Nunes Dias will be available to download from Amazon for free! I would advise you to grab your own copy as soon as you can!

Meet Gonçalo J. Nunes Dias

Gonçalo JN Dias was born in Lisbon in 1977, and graduated in Environmental Engineering and Natural Resources of the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco. He lives today in the Basque Country, Spain.

The Good Dictator I, was his first novel. It became the most downloaded book in Portuguese last April, on Amazon, and it has now a good English translation.

Before writing the second part of The Good Dictator, he's now writing a crime fiction

Besides writing Gonçalo is a fan of birdwatching, cork trees, movies and athletics.

Connect and Socialize with Gonçalo!

The Good Dictator: The Birth of an Empire by Gonçalo J. Nunes Dias (2016)
Length: 258 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

The Good Dictator: The Birth of an Empire Blurb:

An unidentified object parked on the moon - and no one seems to know where it came from. Gustavo, a middle-aged computer programmer with a comfortable and grey life, decides to make a list of what he would need to survive a hypothetical attack. He becomes obsessed with the list, spends a fortune, robs a drugstore: his own family thinks he is going insane.

However, after the attack, it’s the insane who are well prepared for a new era in society. First book of a trilogy.

May you read well and often

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mike Hartner - I, Angus

2. I, Angus by Mike Hartner (2016)
The Eternity Series Book 4
Length: 249 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 19 December 2016
Finished: 5 January 2017
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Dorothy at Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 8 October 2016
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by. this author in the past.

Fourteen-year-old Angus Mackenzie had never really had any great ambition for his life. Growing up during a time when Scotland is being torn apart by dissension and civil strife, Angus is content to live his life quietly - taking care of himself and his family, and protecting them to the best of his ability. However, as war rages around him and he loses those he loves most, Angus grows increasingly more disillusioned by the state of his country. 

As a man of peace Angus has seen his share of death, and he is certain that the North has lost more men to the violence of war than it ever did to the ravages of Nature. Although he wants no part of such violence, it seems as if a peaceful existence and a loving family may not be a part the Grand Plan for Angus. Because the North needs a leader; someone who is able to build communities.

However, Angus Mackenzie must first undergo his own trials by fire. He must be tested, shaped and molded by his adversity. The person who emerges from this particular crucible will ultimately be a much stronger and much wiser man; someone who is held in the highest esteem and much beloved by those who know him. Angus Mackenzie will hit both highs and lows as he travels across the lands of England, Scotland and France, all before he meets the challenge of a new land.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I wasn't quite sure where the story would go from the previous book, as Angus Mackenzie wasn't actually a relative of Mary Crofter. However, I found that this book worked perfectly within the series; the plot was just as intriguing as the previous books and advanced the story along very well. I would give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Blast For Sword and Sorcery Series by Dylan Doose

Hello Everyone! I hope that you're all having a wonderful day today. I am delighted to welcome Dylan Doose, author of the dark fantasy series Sword and Sorcery to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Mr. Doose will be going on a Virtual Book Tour with Pump up Your Book! lasting through the beginning of January. This is also my twenty-eighth Book Blast post ever, but I still hope that I do The Sword and Sorcery Series by Dylan Doose justice.

About Fire and Sword:

Condemned to hang for their crimes, they'll march instead to perish as heroes, or live as free men.

A broken nation in need of a savior - ravaged by plague, decimated by dark magic, infiltrated by a foreign evil seeking to dominate from within. Three will rise to save the beleaguered land. But will they be enough?

A fantasy adventure for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Scott Lynch!

Three men condemned to die: Aldous Weaver, a heretic monk turned sorcerer, imprisoned for accidentally incinerating the leader of his order. Kendrick the Cold, an infamous crusader turned fugitive, is a villain who knows he can never be a hero. Theron Ward, an aristocrat with a penchant for slaughtering monsters, and a legend in his own mind.

When the kingdom of Brynth is threatened by a far greater evil, the unlikely trio must make a choice - seek to escape this land that cries for their execution, or find the true heroes within themselves. And then, armed with fire and sword, march together against the forces of darkness. But can three such disparate warriors ever prevail?

**Fire and Sword received an Honorable Mention from Library Journal 2016 and a Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable 100 for 2015**

Don't miss the dark fantasy that reviewers are calling 'gritty, fast-paced and compelling' - get your copy of Fire and Sword today!

Purchase your copy:

Amazon * Barnes and Noble * IBooks * Kobo

About Catacombs of Time:

In a world where the Rata Plaga and ghouls feast on the dead, doctor Gaige De’Brouillard believes science, not magic, conquers all.

Even death is just an equation to be solved.

When De’Brouillard is called upon by the Lord Regent to cure a curse and save one of the damned, he must battle for his career, his faith in science, and even his life. In the darkest slums and deepest catacombs, the doctor finds himself staring death in the eye with no scientific solution at hand. Has the doctor finally come across a question that science cannot answer, and will he pay with his life?

Don't miss the dark fantasy that reviewers are calling 'visceral,' 'fantastic,' and 'intriguing' - get
your copy of Catacombs of Time today!

Purchase your copy:

Amazon * Barnes and Noble * IBooks * Kobo

About The Pyres:

Once again, three unlikely heroes must band together in a fiery conflict between gods and demons.

A country ravaged by civil war, now threatened with evil unleashed by rivers of blood. Three must rise again to save the beleaguered land and thwart a dark prophecy.

A fantasy adventure for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Scott Lynch!

Theron Ward, Aldous Weaver and Kendrick the Cold must band together and fight again. This time, they are caught in the timeless clash of gods and demons, and led by the dark prophecy of dreams.

A ruthless warlord, the Dog Eater, rises out of the rivers of blood from civil war. As friend and foe reach out from futures past, the three will see a city of white stone turn black with ash...and the only way forward is through the fire. One thing is certain, none of them will ever be the same. And one will be transformed in ways he never dreamed. Dare the three depend on the blood ties of the past to carry them through this terrible night?

Don't miss the next thrilling installment in the dark fantasy that reviewers are calling 'gritty, fast-paced and compelling' - get your copy of The Pyres today!

Purchase your copy:

Amazon * Barnes and Noble * IBooks * Kobo

Meet Dylan Doose

Writer. Sculptor. Bad fitness advice. In between writing books, award winning fantasy author Dylan Doose fills his not-so-busy schedule with martial arts, mountain biking, paddle surfing, weight lifting, and of course HBO, PS4 and increasing the size of his beloved personal library. Dylan’s Fire and Sword received an honorable mention from Library Journal in 2016 and was a Shelf Unbound Notable 100 for 2015.

Connect and Socialize with Dylan!

Website * Twitter * Facebook

Fire and Sword Excerpt:

The thing left a trail of thick black blood and green pus. More a stream than a trail, if Theron Ward, hunter of monsters, wanted to be precise. It was wounded and wounded horribly, but not dead.

Grimmshire was not the only town ruined by the plague. As far as Theron knew, the whole country had a piece of it. The rats came with those terrible black boils. Rats larger than dogs. In the beginning, they came in swarms. Now they appeared alone or in small roving packs, as if a once powerful tether that bound the group had been weakened.

Four years ago, they had come and spewed their filth into the town. Two days was all it had taken until half the town was crawling and squealing with the rats, puking up pus and bursting black boils. The other half of the town became the swarm’s feast.

Those who didn’t turn simply couldn’t. The priests said that only the sinners turned, that the pious were protected from the plague. Theron doubted that, for he was not a pious man and he knew a thing or two about sin - sins of the flesh mostly - and he had been exposed to enough plague to wipe out a city.

Yet he had not turned.

Theron suspected something more sinister than nature, or the work of gods and devils to be the villainy incarnate that had unleashed such wickedness upon the land. He suspected something more human, or slightly more than human. Unpopular opinion, but his opinion nonetheless.

It was midday, but it was dark in the ruined town. The clouds shrouded the sun, gray and threatening, but not a drop of rain. The once green pastures were yellow as far as the eye could see. Once this had been a bustling, happy little town. Now there were just the colors of pus and piss and ash all around, beneath those suffocating gray clouds.

There came a rustling sound from the chapel, the one building in the town not entirely burned to the ground. It had been painted white when it was built, and painted black with soot and ash when death had come to its town. The stained glass windows were shattered, shards of the vibrant panes scattered round in the dirt and the yellow grass.

Theron burst through the door. His skin crawled at the sight of the wounded thing within the chapel; they always made his skin crawl, though he had killed over a hundred. He could kill over a thousand and still his skin would crawl.

Theron was a beast hunter, had been for nearly a decade, but the rats had always disturbed him the most, more than any creature or demon. What made the things so terrible was not the giant, rotting buckteeth that burst from the mouth. It was not the boils or the tufts of matted fur. Not the long tail or the brutish muscles, not the naked, sagging female breasts or the male parts dangling, filthy and crusted.

It was the eyes, for the eyes remained entirely human. And so, Theron was certain that a human being was still left in there, with no control over what it had become and begging for its torment to end.

This one had been a woman once, perhaps a mother, a lover, a sister, a daughter. For a dreadful moment he pictured his own sister taking the form of the wretched thing before him.

May you read well and often

Monday, January 2, 2017

Kathryn Meyer Griffith - Christmas Magic 1959: A Short Story From my Childhood

1. Christmas Magic 1959: A Short Story From my Childhood by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2016)
Length: 19 pages 
Genre: Short Story 
Started: 1 January 2017
Finished: 2 January 2017
Where did it come from? I originally downloaded a copy of this book for free from Smashwords. I downloaded a second copy for free from Amazon.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 4 November 2016 from Smashwords; Since 9 November 2016 from Amazon.
Why do I have it? I like short stories and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

The Meyer family had gone through its fair share of difficulties - yet even as it struggled to make ends meet - the Meyer children always felt surrounded by the love and admiration of their parents, their grandparents, and their siblings. Although money was tight, the Meyers had never experienced any sort of deprivation or neediness during their childhood. Now Kathryn Meyer Griffith, a prolific author for over forty years, reminisces about one of her most cherished childhood memories.

Christmas had always been a special time for the whole Meyer household. However, it would be the Christmas Season of 1959 that would perhaps provide many of the sweetest memories for the Meyer children. Perhaps no family member felt the Christmas spirit more than nine-year-old Katie Meyer. She loved absolutely everything about the holiday, but that Christmas Season of 1959 seemed even more magical to her because Katie had recently survived a life-threatening medical emergency.

This story is about one of Ms. Griffith's most cherished childhood Christmases; a very special Christmas Eve spent with her brother Jimmy, their other siblings, their mother, father and grandparents. It is a story of family, tradition, and everlasting love. With the recent passing of Ms. Griffith's brother Jim in 2015, she felt compelled to write this short story as a tribute to his memory as well as in honor of her family. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this little vignette, and give it a solid A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Robert Wideman and Cara Lopez Lee - Unexpected Prisoner: Memoir of a Vietnam POW

22. Unexpected Prisoner: Memoir of a Vietnam POW by Robert Wideman and Cara Lopez Lee (2016)
Length: 343 pages 
Genre: Non-Fiction 
Started: 18 November 2016
Finished: 21 December 2016
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Samantha at Roger Charlie for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 25 October 2016
Why do I have it? I like non-fiction and Robert Wideman and Cara Lopez Lee are new authors for me.

Having spent the past three and a half years in the Navy, Lieutenant Robert Wideman was looking forward to returning to America after completing his tour of duty during the Vietnam War. The recent newlywed had big plans and dreams for his future, and was determined to put them into practice as soon as he came back home. With only twenty-seven days left in his tour of duty - on what should have been just another routine bombing run for him - Lieutenant Robert Wideman's plane is shot down and he crashes in a secluded village somewhere in North Vietnam. The date is May 6th, 1967.

His deepest fear is realized when he is captured and held as a Prisoner of War for the next six years. Although Robert endured the sort of treatment that makes people question humanity, physical torture was never his biggest problem. During his six years spent in captivity, Robert experienced first hand the pain that is orchestrated by other people: shocking instances of 'Man's inhumanity to Man', as well as the truthfulness behind Jean-Paul Sartre's words: 'Hell is other people.' 

Unexpected Prisoner by Robert Wideman and Cara Lopez Lee chronicles a POW's struggle with both enemies and comrades alike; his mistreatment by Vietnamese interrogators and his various dealings with American commanders. Robert Wideman's poignant and heartbreaking memoir further chronicles his personal struggle to maintain a firm hold on his dreams for the future in the face of such prolonged trauma. Ultimately, Robert must find a way to survive and to maintain a solid hold on the memories of his past life, his faltering dreams of the future, as well as his own personal sense of himself as a person.

I must admit that while I learned quite a lot about the Vietnam War in school, I was slightly surprised to learn just how much more of a vicious reputation the South Vietnamese soldiers had than the North Vietnamese. I realize that the Viet Cong - as the South Vietnamese allies of the North - had rightfully earned such a horrific reputation for brutality; but while the North Vietnamese soldiers were considered the enemy, they also seemed slightly less brutal in their treatment of prisoners of war.

In my opinion, this was a thoroughly thoughtful memoir and I truly felt for Mr. Wideman and everything he went through during his captivity. I also understand how hard it must have been for him to come back home and have to adjust to civilian life. To be perfectly honest, I found the story to be extraordinarily poignant and thought-provoking. Although I spent more time reading this book than I probably would have preferred, I would definitely give this book a solid A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Monday, December 12, 2016

Introducing Vampire Blood: Prequel to Human No Longer by Kathryn Meyer Griffith!

Hello Everyone! I was delighted to learn that Vampire Blood by Kathryn Meyer Griffith will soon be free to download from Amazon - at least for a short time. Yes, starting in January of next year, Vampire Blood by Kathryn Meyer Griffith will become free to download from AmazonVampire Blood by Kathryn Meyer Griffith is the prequel of Human No Longer, which I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing back in July of 2013. I would advise you all to grab your own copy as soon as possible!

Meet Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. But I’d already begun writing novels at 21, over forty-two years ago now, and have had twenty (ten romantic horror, two horror novels, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and three murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press; and I’ve self-published my last five novels with Amazon Kindle Direct and my dinosaur novels are my best-sellers.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-six years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha and Cleo, and live cat Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *FINALIST* for my horror novel The Last Vampire - Revised Author’s Edition ~ 2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *FINALIST* for my thriller novel Dinosaur Lake.

Connect and Socialize with Kathryn!

Vampire Blood: Prequel to Human No Longer by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2015)
Length: 264 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

Vampire Blood: Prequel to Human No Longer Blurb:

For years the vampire family lived in the shadows, hidden by the night and people's disbelief; feeding on animals or throw away people who would never be missed. As the family moves into an old theater to cover up their crimes, the youngest are restless and determined to live as they like. Killing and feeding when and where they want. Feeding on who they want. 

Only the oldest vampires have managed to keep them in check. But no longer. Unaware of the nightstalking menace, the townspeople of Summer Haven, Florida, blithely go about their daily lives until, one by one, they disappear.

Screams are heard in the night. Fear grows. But the lost are never found...alive. 

Jenny Lacey and her father, who are hired to renovate the old Grand Theater, can't escape when they find themselves caught up in the middle of the vampire's war. In the end, it's up to Jenny, her brother and her ex-husband to get rid of the bloodthirsty fiends that are destroying their town...if they can.

Human No Longer by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2012)
Length: 267 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

Human No Longer Blurb:

Jenny and Jeff Sanders become victims of a bizarre crime; leaving Jeff dead and Jenny in a temporary coma. She returns to her children. With Jeff’s death she must move back to her childhood home, a haunted farmhouse, in Summer Haven, Florida, where once they destroyed a family of vampires.

Jenny has no appetite. She’s edgy. Her eyes hurt. She thinks it could be trauma or grief. Until one night she can’t resist the night woods or the overpowering urge to drink warm animals’ blood - and accepts the truth. Her attackers were vampires.

Now she’s becoming what she once reviled. She can’t abandon her children but must find a way to live in the human world. At night she hunts, in the day hides what she’s becoming and attempts to fit in.

Then townspeople begin dying. Like years before. With her blackouts, she fears she may be the killer, or is it her vampire attackers? For they've found her and demand she joins them–or her family will die. She resists until they kidnap her children. Then she has to find a way to outwit and ultimately destroy them.

The prequel to Human No Longer - Vampire Blood - is also for sale on Amazon.

May you read well and often