Perpetual Check by F. Nelson Smith

Perpetual Check by [F.  Nelson Smith]

I received a free ebook copy of Perpetual Check and was asked to read and review it. I was not obligated to write a review. However, this review is my honest opinion of this book.

Perpetual Check by F. Nelson Smith is a mystery that takes place between the decline of the Soviet Union and the dawn of the computer age.

Dani Morden is a young woman who loves and teaches history. To escape her controlling mother, she agrees to take a trip to England with her Aunt Lucy. Dani fully expected to be bored.

However, it isn’t long before a murder victim falls at their hotel room door and they become the prey of unknown hunters who believe Dani has something they want. Dani and Lucy don’t know who to trust and who not to trust.

Dani and Lucy also decide to try to solve the murder mystery on their own.

In addition, Dani is filled with bitterness she needs to deal with, as well as a problem she is not even yet aware that she needs to resolve.

F. Nelson Smith created a cast of unusual characters and a story plot that has more twists, turns, ups and downs than a roller coaster ride.

I must admit the story kept me turning pages until the last third of the book. In the last third of the book I felt the pace slowed a little too much and I believed the mystery could have been solved sooner.

However, near the end, there were more twists and surprises that kept me turning pages, yet again, until the end. I enjoyed how F. Nelson Smith wrapped up the mystery, as well as decisions Dani needed to make at the end of the story.

I give this story a 4-star rating.

 

Lander’s Legacy by C.S. Wachter

Lander's Legacy by C.S. Wachter

When Pop-pop Ian dies, Lander is left alone, not fully understanding the unusual powers he has. He quickly realizes that he is being pursued and he needs to find Castor Elm, the only person Pop-pop said he could trust. To find Castor, Lander has to outsmart his pursuers to travel to Castor’s home.

On his way to Castor’s home, Lander finds friends in a city who help out at a mission. As any normal teen, Lander feels out of place in his unusual clothes and he wants to impress Becky. Becky and one of the other teen boys take Lander shopping. He feels comfortable with these teens and enjoys helping at the mission. He wishes he could stay here indefinitely. However, an unexpected and unfortunate event makes it clear that Lander needs to continue on the quest for which Pop-pop Ian has instructed him.

Upon arriving at Castor’s home, Lander is not welcomed with the open arms he expected. Frustration fills Lander because he has no where else to turn. When he accidentally reveals his ability to cause certain stones to glow, Castor suddenly becomes interested in Lander. When Lander explains what Pop-pop Ian has told him and that Pop-pop is dead, Castor informs his family that Lander will be staying.

“Lander’s Legacy” by C.S. Wachter is the first book in a new series from a writer who has already proven she can deliver good fantasy stories with her 4-book series and sequel, “The Seven Words” series.

Once again, she holds her readers’ attention as she spins a tale of suspense and adventure as Lander must learn more about his special powers. “Lander’s Legacy” is an enjoyable, easy read. Lander and the other teen characters are well written and it’s obvious C.S. Wachter knows some teenagers, as her characters are very much like the teenagers I know.

“Lander’s Legacy” is a coming-of-age fantasy novel that follows Lander on his journey to find his place in this world or maybe in another. It is a story that is fitting for middle grade readers as well as Young Adults and Adults.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fantasy story of suspense and adventure. I look forward to the next book in this series.

Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing

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(This is a photo I previously used from Unsplash, and I apologize that I cannot find the name of the photographer who donated it this time, but I am thankful for the wonderful photographers who donate their great work on Unsplash so that I have a great place to find images to use with my blog posts.)

 

The Importance of a Good Editor

Sadly, no one responded to my plea for a topic for today, so I have had to decide what to post on. I hope that means you all find my topics helpful, but I really would love for you to let me know some writing topics you would like to see me cover because my hope is to really make this blog a place for me to interact with other writers, as well as readers, especially those who enjoy reading my writing, so that we can stay connected as I begin publishing my books.

So, today’s topic is in regard to editing. How many of you get distracted when you are reading a book and you suddenly come across errors in the writing, such as grammar, spelling, wrong word choice, confusing wording, etc? What about a problem in something like a mistake in a character’s name or description, the pace suddenly slowing to a degree where you find yourself losing interest, a mistake in the timeline, etc.?

If you’re anything like me, these errors aren’t just distracting. I also find them frustrating, especially if they occur frequently throughout the book, and I begin to wonder if the writer had an editor take a look at their completed manuscript before publishing it.

Most of the books I find that have the most errors are those that have been self-published. However, I also find errors, though not nearly as many, in traditionally published books.

As a reader, I have been tempted to stop reading a few books because the errors were so prevalent.

As a book reviewer, I find it extremely difficult to give a book with a lot of errors a four or five star rating. It may be a story that has a great plot and some wonderfully engaging and well-developed characters, but the errors make it quite unpleasant to read.

So writers, take my advice. I know a good editor costs a good chunk of money, but, in the long run, they are well worth their cost, especially if you want to publish the best possible story you can, and if you truly value good book reviews–and we, writers, all know how important those are to our future books if we want to keep readers.

I can hear some of you now: “Well, I go over my manuscript three or four times line by line with a fine-tooth comb. It can’t possibly have that many errors within, by the time I publish it.” To which I would respond, “But how many errors do you find acceptable for your finished published work to have?”

I know that I read over my manuscript very carefully several times as well. However, I also have two great critique partners who then read over it, and they always find more things I need to correct.

You see, as we read our own manuscript, we read it with a bias and a kind of blind eye because we read it as we know what we expect it to say, and I think that’s why we miss some errors.

In closing, I want to encourage you to seek the help of an editor, with some guidelines: 1) don’t choose the cheapest editor you can find; 2) be sure the editor is someone you believe you will be able to work well with and who has the best interests of you AND your story in mind and at heart; and, 3) don’t work with someone who is unkind and harsh. A good editor points out errors and makes suggestions on ways to correct those errors without being harsh or cruel and without belittling you or your work. Instead, a good editor will encourage you and simply do their best to make your finished story the best it can be.

Does all of this mean your story will be published completely error free? Possibly, but there is no guarantee. After all, even the best editors are human and may miss a couple small errors. However, with the help of a good editor, the errors will be few and far between — enough so that your readers won’t want to put your book down and they will be more likely to give out not just a four or five star rating, but also a glowing written review!

#WritingCommunity #WritersCafe #amwriting

A Step Through the Empty by H.E. Salian

A Step Through The Empty (The Vis Remaining Trilogy Book 1) by [H. E. Salian]

A Step Through the Empty by H. E. Salian is a debut novel. It is a fantasy story.

King Brynte has not been king very long and he faces many challenges, one of which is gaining the trust of his people. He is also faced with an arranged marriage he is unsure of.

Princess Istoria leaves her home to marry a king she is certain will make her life miserable, and soon finds herself thrust into a position where she must determine whom she can trust and whom she cannot trust.

In another world, an assassin has no loyalty to his master, which puts his life in danger, and could jeopardize other secrets he keeps.

Also, on earth, someone has sent information to a man who works in cyber security, information that is important for those in another world.

I found A Step Through the Empty a very unique story, in that it is a fantasy story that includes a king and princess in a castle that, at first, seems to be set in medieval times, but quickly proves otherwise as computer type technological devices are used. This led my mind to consider the possibility of “steampunk”. However, that idea was also put to rest as one very interesting character was introduced — a fantastical character. Then there are the different worlds, not to mention the Empty.

The most unique thing I found was how the author incorporated earth and some humans, like me, into the story, and how most of the characters from the other worlds were also normal humans.

Most of the characters in this story are endearing and I found myself rooting for quite a few of them and hoping they would survive until the end of the book. Many of the characters have become favorites, and their relationships with one another varied from delightful, witty, fun, and endearing.

Then there were the few characters I disliked and couldn’t wait to see them get what I thought they deserved.

A Step Through the Empty kept me turning pages from start to finish, and now I cannot wait for the next book in the series. I cannot wait to reconnect with these characters and see what happens to those I have come to dearly love.

This is definitely a book deserving of 5 stars and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or any great story.

I received an ARC of this story. I was not obligated to write a review, and this review is my honest personal opinion of this book.

The Opening Night Murders by James Scott Byrnside

The Opening Night Murders: An Impossible Crime Murder Mystery by [James Scott Byrnside]

The Opening Night Murders by James Scott Byrnside is set in Chicago in 1935 and is written like the old classic murder mysteries. It is James Scott Byrnside’s second book.

Detective Rowan Manory and his sidekick, Walter Williams, work to solve the murder that took place at The Red Rising Theater on opening night of a new play. While they try to find and follow clues for this murder, more murders follow.

Detective Manory and Walter are reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Walter is quite witty and brings humor to the tragic situations. He is a delightful character.

The cast of characters make for suspicious and possible suspects.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. James Scott Byrnside did a great job creating interesting characters, twists and turns and complications that led from one murder to another. This book kept me turning pages and had me guessing until the very end as to “whodunnit”.

The ending was well done. The murders were solved and there was a surprise and unexpected twist in the explanation.

The Opening Night Murders by James Scott Byrnside was very well written and I highly recommend it to those who love a good murder mystery. However, I will add a caveat in regard to language — there is quite a bit of profanity in this book.

I did receive a free copy of this ebook for my honest review. This review is my honest opinion about this book.

The Tech by Mark Ravine

The Tech by [Mark Ravine]

The Tech is Mark Ravine’s debut novel. It is the story of  a team of FBI agents, led by Alexandra Cassidy. Alexandra just transferred to Arizona and, after checking the background of her team, considers the possibility that she was transferred to lead a team of misfits.

Mark Ravine did an excellent job in writing all of the mental aspects of this book — Alexandra’s thoughts, the thoughts of other characters, the processing of the information and evidence.

He also did a great job writing the IT stuff  in a way that an average, even non-techie reader like me can understand and follow. The IT character he created that works with Alexandra’s team was very well-developed and interesting. The story line that involves him kept me guessing.

The story follows Alexandra and her team through many cases which include murder, theft, human trafficking and so much more. Alexandra’s life is endangered more than once.

The story held my interest due to the interactions between Alexandra and her team as well as lots of good, witty dialogue.

In addition, I found many of the chapters to be quite long, and I felt that the action scenes lacked the suspense they could have had. Again, the character’s thought processes in these scenes were well done, but these lacked in edge-of-your-seat action and suspense, instead coming across as very matter-of-fact.

Therefore, I give this book a 4-star rating. All in all, if you like crime drama stories, I do recommend this book because it did keep me turning pages until the end, and I thought the ending was very well done as well. I will most likely pick up a Mark Ravine novel again in the future.

I did receive a free copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest review, and this is my honest review.

A Weight of Reckoning by C.S. Wachter

A Weight of Reckoning: Sequel to The Seven Words by [C. S. Wachter]

A Weight of Reckoning by C.S. Wachter is the sequel to “The Seven Words” series. This series and sequel are a fantasy series that follows the life of Prince Rayne through many difficulties and hardships even as he serves as the Chosen Light Bringer of the One.

A Weight of Reckoning, as all of the books in this series, is very much a good vs. evil story. In A Weight of Reckoning, Rayne must face evil before his long-awaited wedding can take place. The question is, “will he survive this time?”

As in all of “The Seven Words” series, A Weight of Reckoning grabbed my attention right from the start and held my attention until the very end. The characters have become like friends as I have read this series. When you follow a group of characters through five books, if the author has done their job, you feel like you really know these people and they will have become people you care about. That is what C.S. Wachter has accomplished.

A Weight of Reckoning is also full of adventure and suspense, along with a touch of romance. There are unexpected twists that will surprise you. C.S. Wachter even manages to find a way to include some humor and wit, a welcome reprieve from the struggles Prince Rayne endures.

C.S. Wachter has a way of painting pictures with words, so that the worlds in A Weight of Reckoning, and “The Seven Words” series seem real, and the character descriptions bring the characters to life, not just physically, but their personalities are all distinct as well, making them leap off the page.

I have written reviews for the previous books in the series as well. To find them simply click on the “Categories” arrow in the side bar, select “Book Reviews” and scroll until you find them.

If you enjoy Fantasy stories, good vs. evil stories, and stories with adventure and a bit of romance, you’re sure to enjoy A Weight of Reckoning and the entire “Seven Words” series by C.S. Wachter. This was C.S. Wachter’s debut series and I look forward to more to come.

 

Scones and Scoundrels by Charlotte Graham

Scones and Scoundrels (Scheming Spires Mysteries Book 1) by [Charlotte Graham]

Scones and Scoundrels by Charlotte Graham is a cozy mystery novel that releases tomorrow! It is set in England’s Oxford University. It is the first of the “Scheming Spires Mysteries”series.

Laid off and recently widowed, Georgina Strange is beginning a new chapter in her life, attempting to fulfill a lifelong dream. However, after participating in a bake sale, Georgina becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. Her friend and confidante, Lucy, encourages her along the way, and even comes to her rescue on more than one occasion.

The outspoken Georgina had me smiling frequently as she spoke her mind. This delightful story kept me turning pages to find out “whodunit” until the very end. I was pleasingly surprised when the story didn’t end as soon as the mystery was solved, but instead gave me a taste of how Georgina’s life settled into a routine, as well as how her life changed because of her involvement in the murder mystery.

I enjoyed learning about Oxford University through descriptions and facts brought out in the setting. Georgina and Lucy were joined by a very interesting cast of characters, and Georgina learned something about herself as she learned the true characteristics of some of the college students and other characters she came in contact with.

Though there were two glaring errors in the story that really stuck out and distracted me a bit, they were small and brief. All-in-all, I really liked this story and I look forward to reading more of the “Scheming Spires Mysteries”. If you enjoy a good mystery with an amateur detective that is entertaining and easy to read, you will enjoy Scones and Scoundrels by Charlotte Graham.

I did receive a free Advance Reader Copy of this story in exchange for my honest review. However I was under no obligation to write this review, and this review is my honest opinion of the book.

Taming Julia by Jodie Wolfe

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I just finished reading “Taming Julia” by Jodie Wolfe and I read it in just two days.

Drew needs a wife as soon as possible if he wants to keep his job. He places an ad, but Julia isn’t what he expected.

Julia wears breeches and a stetson, and she totes more than one gun. She is unfamiliar with most things women do and wear, when she arrives in Burrton Springs to move in with a man she married by proxie.

Things don’t go as either Drew or Julia thought they would, and in the beginning, that makes for some laugh-out-loud reading. But as time passes, things grow more serious and the trouble becomes downright dangerous. Soon the reader is on the edge of their seat wondering how things will turn out for Drew and Julia and hoping for the best.

This is a sweet romance story with a message of faith, love, and perseverance. It is an easy read, and it grabbed my attention from the very first page to the last past. It was very enjoyable.

So, if you need something to cheer you up while you’re housebound due to the coronavirus, or you love Christian Romance stories or stories set in the Old West, this book is sure to please.

This is the second book I’ve read by Jodie Wolfe and I will continue reading her books because they are simply delightful. You can see my review of “To Claim Her Heart” by Jodie Wolfe here, and if you’d like to know more about Jodie, you can read my author interview with her here.

The Spirit of Things by Ben McQueeney

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Ben McQueeney’s debut novel will release on Amazon on April 8th. I have had the pleasure of receiving an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review.

I have only begun reading more of the Fantasy genre in the past year, but for those of you whose favorite genre is Fantasy, I think you’re going to like “The Spirit of Things”.

“The Spirit of Things” is a unique tale of Fulco, a Hume, living in the Elphen village of Tellusm. He is a young adult who is bullied by the local thug, and who finds it difficult to fit into the Elphen village. He gets into one scrape after another, not all through his own choices.

He feels a bit awkward as he takes an interest in an Elphen girl, but a romance begins to bud between them.

When he attends a sporting event with his brother, an event his mother has tried to keep him from for years, he discovers the power of Sapience. He is fascinated by this power and begins asking questions about it. His brother helps him get a horse and he realizes he has a special way with animals as he makes a special connection with this horse. Could he have Sapience that gives him control over beasts?

Then a stranger comes to town and Fulco’s life begins to change.

Fulco’s story is exciting!

There are also three gods who watch and fight over the land of Tellusm.

Ben McQueeney has created a world that is unusual and fascinating. He has also created some very unique fantastical creatures. His characters are realistic and believable. I found it easy to relate to Fulco, and I believe most readers will find they have something in common with Fulco as well.

“The Spirit of Things” is written for young adults and adults alike. If you enjoy the Fantasy genre or have thought about checking out a Fantasy novel to see why it’s such a popular genre, I recommend you read “The Spirit of Things”. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

“The Spirit of Things” drew me in and kept me turning pages to the very end. The end promises more to come and I eagerly await Ben McQueeney’s next book.