The Whisper of Fire by Ben McQueeney

53100376. sy475

The Whisper of Fire is the second book in the “Beyond Horizon” series by Ben McQueeney. As a reviewer, I received an ebook copy of this book and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

In The Whisper of Fire, we are reunited with Fulco Garumson, a Hume, who lives among the Elphen in Tellusm, in the town of Phenii. In this book, he returns to his Elphen family after spending three weeks in prison. He tries out for the popular Portare team. He also trains to improve his Sapience power and is invited to join a girl named Nina on a quest.

The first thing I would like to address is the actual writing of this novel. I found this book frustrating to read because it has not been well edited. There are a lot of grammatical errors, missing punctuation, missing words, and additional or incorrect words. There is a famous rule in the writing world—writers have been told for years, “show, don’t tell”. Unfortunately, The Whisper of Fire is “told” more than it is “shown”.

Now, let’s talk about the story and characters. I found the first half of the book more difficult to read than the second half. The first half lacked in action. It seemed to be the build up for the second half of the book. However, because I love the character of Fulco, I continued reading and was much happier with the second half of the book.

There was also one section in the book that, seemed to me, to explain racism in Tellusm in a way that seemed to make it acceptable. This may or may not have been the author’s intention. It may have been a lack of proper editing, but I found it disturbing. However, it was a brief section, but there was a sort of “racism” throughout the story between the different types of characters.

Despite the technical issues in the writing, the second half of the book drew me in because of the action and the characters, especially Fulco. Terrible things happen to Fulco and his friends and family in the second half of the book. Two of the biggest and most terrible things that happen are unexpected and shocking. However, Fulco does not give up. Even in his darkest hour, he finds a reason to go on, and he decides he must go on the quest.

Another thing I liked about The Whisper of Fire is the way that Ben McQueeney includes his spirit world and gods in chapters he calls “Interludes”. These chapters are a glimpse into the lives of the gods and bring them more into the story than they were in the first book, The Spirit of Things.

Also, a word of caution: the book is listed as Adult Fantasy and does include some mild language, as well as some graphic violence.

If you like fantasy novels and you liked The Spirit of Things, you will most likely like The Whisper of Fire, especially if you are a Fulco fan, as I am.

Despite the problems I found with this novel, I know I will read the next book in the series, The Fear of Gods, when it becomes available, because I want to go on Fulco’s quest with him. I am invested in Fulco’s life and the lives of his friends and family. I only hope Mr. McQueeney will be sure the technical issues are well edited before its release.

Also, despite the problems with this novel, the second half definitely redeemed the book for me. Therefore, I give The Whisper of Fire by Ben McQueeney 4 stars.

Oh, the Fallen by Abigail Kay Harris

57699381. sy475

As a reviewer, I was given a free ebook copy of the novella Oh, the Fallen by Abigail Kay Harris. I was not required to write a positive review or any review, but this is my honest review.

Oh, the Fallen by Abigail Kay Harris is a novella that Ms. Harris released for Memorial Day 2021. It is the story of a young man getting ready to join the army. His father was a veteran and Matt was raised to be strong in his faith and to stand for his beliefs and his country.

It only took me about 2 hours to read this novella, but what a story was packed into so few pages. Ms. Harris did a fantastic job of creating characters and writing a story that grips your heart right from the start. Americans who love their country and their freedom will be able to relate to Matt and his father, as well as other characters in this book. The tale follows Matt in the army and introduces the men he meets and serves with. The characters are so richly developed, and as the story unfolds it wrenches the reader’s emotions.

I was on the edge of my seat. I laughed. I cried. This is the most powerful novella I have ever read.

This story is not just for Memorial Day. It is for any day. We have soldiers serving our country every day. If you are an American who loves your country and appreciates our military, you will love this book.

I give Oh, the Fallen by Abigail Kay Harris 5 stars.

Misty Dreams by Josephine Strand

Misty Dreams

As a reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Misty Dreams by Josephine Strand, and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review or any review.

Though I read a wide variety of genres, my favorites are the romance genres, and Misty Dreams is one of the most interesting romance stories I have read in a long while. It is the debut novel of Josephine Strand, and I have to say it is a topnotch debut novel. It is well written and has been well edited.

Near the beginning of the story, a little girl is seriously injured in a department store one Christmas Eve, and the Santa Claus from the store takes a huge interest in her and her recovery. Her head injury causes amnesia, and when she cannot remember her name, the Santa takes to calling her “Misty”, short for “mysterious”. One day while Richard, the Santa, is at work, someone comes to claim Misty and return her to her family.

Years later, Richard, struggling with some losses in his life, goes to an island to get away and hopefully, heal. He meets a young woman there and memories of Misty resurface creating more turmoil within Richard. Could this young woman be Misty? If she is, could they have a future together?

Misty Dreams kept me up past my bedtime every night until I finished reading it. It was hard to put down when I had to. The story was unique and Ms. Strand created such wonderful characters, I couldn’t help but love them and want to see them overcome their struggles and be happy. There was conflict and suspense from the beginning until very near the end. There was even a surprise twist near the end.

Misty Dreams is a wonderful story of heartache, struggles, and love. It is not a formulaic romance story and the characters will live on in my memory for a long time. Misty Dreams will be placed on my “favorites” list, and I look forward to more great stories by Josephine Strand.

I give Misty Dreams 5 stars.

Escape From Paradise (Walk With the Wind Book 1) by D. Richard Ferguson

Escape from Paradise : A Christian Adventure Novel (Walk with the Wind Series Book 1) by [D. Richard  Ferguson]

Escape From Paradise is the first book of a two-book set by D. Richard Ferguson. It is an allegorical tale that is reminiscent of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, but D. Richard Ferguson digs deeper and includes more abstract concepts. As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy, but was not under any obligation to write a positive review or any review of the book. This review is my honest opinion of Escape From Paradise by D. Richard Ferguson.

In Escape From Paradise, Adam is torn from his home and family and dropped into an unfamiliar world where gold heals and fruit is the main food source. He begins a new life for himself in this world and is content enough until a little girl claims she can take him to someone who can help him return to his family.

He then begins a journey where he encounters giants, wild animals, and marauding mountain people. He must decide who to trust, and must also face his own struggles and the reality of who he is, and he must make a decision that will change his life for better or worse forever.

D. Richard Ferguson’s novel is well written and the story is fast-paced and has well-developed characters that the reader can relate to. The story’s message is compelling and the tale draws the reader in. The novel offers plenty of adventure, danger, and suspense. The reader follows Adam’s life, struggles, and decisions, is forced to examine his or her own life struggles and decisions.

This is Book 1 of the two book, Walk With the Wind set, and this book offers enough of a satisfying resolution so as not to leave the reader hanging from a cliff, but promises more as it makes clear that Adam has an important job to do in the next book.

Escape From Paradise was a pleasure to read as it was well-written, well-edited, and engaged the reader in Adam’s life, compelling him or her to continue turning the pages.

I give Escape From Paradise by D. Richard Ferguson 5 stars, and I look forward to reading Book #2 of the Walk With the Wind series. I recommend this book for Young Adult and Adult readers. Younger readers may need some help in understanding some of the concepts presented in this book.

The Rhise of Light: Darkness Overcome (Book 1) by Max B. Sternberg

The Rhise Of Light: Darkness Overcome Book One (Darkness Overcome Series 1) by [Max B Sternberg]

The Rhise of Light: Darkness Overcome (Book 1) by Max B. Sternberg is a debut Christian fantasy novel. As a book reviewer, I received an Advance Reader Copy, and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a review of any kind.

I prefer a book that takes me deep into the mind of the main character, but this book was written mostly from a narrative point of view, therefore I wasn’t as deeply engaged in the main character’s life as I would have liked.

The main character, Leon returns home after his Naval airship is destroyed in battle. However, things at home are not what he had hoped and though he wants to help, he has no power to do so. Therefore he sets out on a new adventure, unsure of where he is going or what he will do.

Along his journey, he meets a dwarf, a pyromancer and her dog companion. These characters join him on his adventure after helping him battle a group of undead (a.k.a. zombies) that have been reeking havoc on their town. As this group of misfits continues on their journey, they meet more fantastical creatures and face more battles, and each of them must face pains of their past.

The main characters are my favorite part of the book. They are well-developed and unique, and seem an unlikely group of friends, but a bond of friendship builds between them.

There are some action scenes, as well as scenes of suspense that kept me turning pages.

Finally, there is a Christian message that threads throughout the story. I found it a bit unclear in some of its lessons, but it certainly exhibits hope and love.

I recommend this story to young adults and adults who enjoy Christian fantasy or who are looking for a story of friendship and hope amid life’s difficult struggles.

Max B. Sternberg promises two more books to come in this “Darkness Overcome” series.

I give The Rhise of Light 4 stars.

A Few Changes to this Blog

This is a photo I used before here on the blog, from Unsplash.

I have tried to have a set schedule of posts here on my blog, but that’s kind of gotten left by the wayside. Every now and then, I have to take time to re-evaluate what I’m doing here based on life circumstances or just a desire to freshen up the blog.

Right now, in my life, my time is divided between family responsibilities, finishing the school year with my youngest son, my writing, and reading and writing book reviews. Although my Wordless Wednesday photo posts were very popular, since Covid started, I don’t go many places and therefore don’t take very many photos anymore. So, for now, Wordless Wednesday will not appear. I hope to be able to post them, at least occasionally, in the future.

I am planning to start a monthly e-newsletter where I will give updates on my upcoming novel, self-editing tips for writers, and other goodies. I should have that all figured out and set up for you to sign up for it here on the blog by the end of the month.

So, for now, I will continue to post lots of book reviews, and anything else that I feel pressed to share, but it will all be either writing related or stuff that’s going on in my life. I also hope to get back to writing Flash Fiction pieces for Fridays.

I hope you all are well, and that if you’re a writer, that you are continuing to write.

Have You Heard About MeWe?

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

If you are part of any writing group, you’ve been told that as a writer you need to “build a platform”, “have a presence on social media”, “write a blog” — these will help you gain a reader following. This is important in today’s world. People are constantly on the worldwide web, especially the social media sites, and if they are readers, they want to connect to their favorite authors on the web or social media sites.

I used to have an Instagram account but found it too time consuming having to always take pictures to share with whatever I had to say. I used to have two Facebook accounts — a personal account and a writer account, but there was too much drama, and during Covid and the last presidential election — too much nastiness and too much focus on politics. Finally, I used to have a Twitter account and for a while, I thought I really liked it once I connected with the writing community, but eventually, I stopped spending time there too. For me, all these social media platforms seemed to be huge distractions and seemed to take up too much of my time.

So, have you heard about MeWe? I had some friends telling me they had opened a MeWe account. They said it’s the newest in social media and it’s similar to Facebook, but with some great differences. At first, I didn’t really pay attention because I didn’t want to get sucked into social media again. I was enjoying not being distracted by all that. Eventually, I decided to check it out. I read all of the information about it, and I mean ALL the information, including the entire Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, and guess what I found, MeWe has no ads/no pop-ups — nothing to clutter your screen. MeWe doesn’t use algorithms, so when you make a contact (otherwise known as friend) you can see everything they post if they allow you to. What do I mean if they allow you to? MeWe’s privacy settings are controlled by you. You get to decide who you want to allow to be your contact and what you want to allow them to see.

So, if MeWe doesn’t have ads, how do they make money? They have extras you can purchase, like special emojis and stickers, etc. They also have a Premium level available for $4.99 a month, which gives you special features like video journals, voice/video calling, cloud storage custom themes, and custom emoji and sticker packs. But I’m on the free plan which I can remain on forever, unless I decide to change to the Premium level. There is also a Trial Period of the Premium level if you want to try it out.

I have been on MeWe for a couple months now and I love it. I have joined a couple writer groups, reader and writer groups, and reader groups. I have made some great connections and I am really enjoying interacting with my contacts.

So, if you’re looking for a fun, no hassle, you call the shots social media site, I suggest you try MeWe, and if you are a writer and you decide to join, you might enjoy being a part of the group I just started on MeWe. My group is called “Christian Writers Write Now” and it’s geared for writers to exercise and share their writing skills. If you are or have been on Twitter and know about their writing prompt activities, I have started one on this MeWe site and it’s off to a great start. In addition, group members are encouraged to share their Flash Fiction stories, blog posts, writing tips and experiences. They may also promote their latest book once a month only. I don’t want it to become over ridden with self-promotion, but I do want to know what writers are publishing and what they have available. There is also a group chat where members can chat about writing or other things they have in common.

I hope to see some of you on MeWe.

Update on My Writing Life

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

I hope those of you who follow this blog have been reading and writing. I have been doing a lot of reading. My writing stalled for a while, but I’m starting to get back into the groove and feeling excited about my writing again.

About a month ago, I was approached by a small publisher who was interested in my work in progress (WIP). I sent my manuscript, though my edits weren’t complete. They said not to worry about it because if they decided they wanted to publish it, they would require a grueling edit anyway. Well, they really liked my manuscript and they offered me a contract. You would think I would be thrilled about that, right?

Well at first I was, but then I carefully read and studied the contract, and after prayer and careful consideration, I decided it wasn’t the right decision for me and my novel. However, that experience made it crystal clear to me that I will be an indie published writer, and I have lots of indie published writing friends who are encouraging me along that path and willing to offer tips and advice.

So, how soon will my first book be available, you might ask. It will be a while yet. I do need to finish edits, and under the advice of a friend, I have put the manuscript aside for a month or maybe six weeks and am focusing on writing something else. My friend said this would be a good thing to do because the I can return to my manuscript with fresh eyes.

What am I writing? A short story. I have a strong reason for writing it, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with it when it’s finished.

What’s new in your writing life?

Making the Love List by Barbara DeLeo

Making the Love List: A sweet, small town, older brother's best friend romance (Tall Dark and Driven Book 1) by [Barbara DeLeo]

As a Book Reviewer, I received an ebook copy of Making the Love List by Barbara DeLeo, the first book in her Tall, Dark, and Driven series, and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review or any review.

In Making the Love List, Yasmin Katsalos has been in Borneo, but now she’s come home, but she’s not the same studious, conservative girl she was when she left, and when her brother, Nick’s, best friend, Lane, is forced to work with Yasmin on renovations of her family’s restaurant/wedding venue, sparks begin to fly. What will happen to Lane’s relationship with Nick and his parents if Lane gets involved with Yasmin?

Making the Love List is a steamy contemporary romance story that will make you laugh, grip your heart, and maybe even cause you to shed a tear or two. Barbara DeLeo has done a great job creating engaging characters as well as a unique plot, and I love the way the characters learn some difficult things about themselves amidst the conflict of the story.

For my readers who like their romance clean, I will mention that there is a scene in Making the Love List that includes quite a bit of sexual innuendo. There is also one sexual scene that is not explicit that takes place between two characters who aren’t married.

For those of you who like your romances realistic and know that things in the real world aren’t always as they should be, I think you’ll find Making the Love List by Barbara DeLeo fresh with an unusual twist.

This book is also well written and has obviously been well edited.

I give Making the Love List by Barbara DeLeo 5 stars, and I look forward to reading the rest of the Tall, Dark, and Driven series.

Off the Map by JL Crosswhite

Off the Map: In the Shadow Book 1, a Christian Romantic Suspense (In the Shadow, Christian Romantic Suspense) by [JL Crosswhite]

Off the Map by JL Crosswhite is a Christian Romantic Suspense novel. It is the first book of the “In the Shadow” series, and as a Book Reviewer, I received a free copy. This is my honest review, which I was under no obligation to write or post anywhere.

Allie, Melissa, and their siblings had been planning to take a road trip together for years, and now was the time. At the last minute some of their siblings backed out, disappointing both women. The two of them and one of their brothers decided to take the trip anyway, and invited three other people: Melissa’s boyfriend, Allie’s long-time crush from their growing up years, and one of their friend’s sisters.

JL Crosswhite created characters the reader could care about, and she did a great job creating tension in their relationships. The trip started off well. However, as the story continued and Ms. Crosswhite shared all the places the characters traveled and stopped to see, the pace seemed to drag a bit. My interest started to wain as each place was mentioned but the details to paint the places in my mind weren’t fully developed became more like a list.

However, danger reared its ugly head during the trip and the suspense began to build. Then an unexpected twist made me gasp and kept turning pages. The romances in the story were sweet, and the ending was satisfying.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a sweet romance story with a dose of suspense.

I give Off the Map by JL Crosswhite 4 stars.