The Ravenstone: The Twain by Diane Solomon and Mark Carey

The Ravenstone : The Twain by [Diane Solomon, Mark Carey]

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of this book for my honest review.

About the Book:

The Ravenstone Part 2: The Twain by Diane Solomon and Mark Carey is the second book in their “Ravenstone” series. It is a fantasy story. The two main characters, thirteen-year-old twins, Nadia and Aidan must time travel several times throughout this book in order to do what they have been called to do. They must face dangers and an enemy they thought they would never see again.

My Review:

The Ravenstone Part 2: The Twain was even more exciting than the first book. This time there is more adventure and danger for Nadia and Aidan. A couple situations the twins find themselves in had this reader on the edge of her seat. There is a very fascinating chapter that involves a unique twist. The twist includes a dilemma that disturbs Nadia until closer to the end of the book, where another character explains what really happened to Nadia. I really liked that character’s explanation. The story is very well written, although I did notice more errors in this book that should have been caught by an editor than in the first book, there were not so many as to distract me from the story. Ms. Solomon and Mr. Carey did an excellent job creating tension and suspense in this story. They also created some interesting characters for Nadia and Aidan to interact with in the story.

This story addressed natural disasters and global warming in a unique, interesting, and plausible way. It was a fun and exciting read.

The story held my interest and kept me turning pages, especially in the last third of the book when the tension and suspense were at their peak. Before reaching the end of the book, I found myself hoping there would be another adventure for Nadia and Aidan in the not too distant future, and the ending definitely points to that possibility.

I highly recommend this book, as well as the first “Ravenstone” book, for anyone who enjoys fantasy stories that include time travel, suspense, and adventure. Also, both books are clean reads and are fitting for ages 10 through adult. I would also recommend them as family read alouds.

I give this book 5 stars.

Armor of Aletheia by Ralene Burke

Armor of Aletheia (Sacred Armor Trilogy Book 1) by [Burke, Ralene]

“Armor of Aletheia” by Ralene Burke is a new release by this Fantasy writer. It is the story of Karina, an orphan raised in a castle. But when the king dies, his wife wants Karina dead.

The Creator sends Karina on a quest, where she meets many new and interesting friends. Before her quest can be completed, however, she must return to the castle and seek help for the Temple of Aletheia, but is thrown into the dungeon.

Karina faces many obstacles and must lead in a war. The story is filled with action, adventure, and a bit of romance.

This is the first book I have read by Ms. Burke, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well written and captured my attention at the start and held it until the very end. Her characters were well developed and I became invested in them from the start as well–wanting those that I liked to succeed and those that I did not like to fail.

Ms. Burke included one unexpected twist I had not anticipated as well, which added tension and conflict to the story.

This is obviously the first book of a series, as it ends with the words “To Be Continued”, but the ending holds enough resolution and ends wrapped up to satisfy the reader until the next book is released.

If you are a Fantasy reader, you will enjoy “Armor of Aletheia”. I believe this story is suitable for middle grade readers through adults. There is violence due to war, but it is not overly graphic. There is no inappropriate language or explicit intimate scenes.

Billie the Kid by Paul Summerhayes

Billie the Kid: The Sky Fire Chronicles Book 1 by [Summerhayes, Paul]

This is the newest release by Paul Summerhayes.

I chose to read Billie the Kid by Paul Summerhayes: 1) I am an Old West fan. Therefore, the title caught my attention; 2) I like the cover; and 3) a friend told me about a weekly email she signed up for that sends titles of “clean” fantasy/speculative fiction stories, and since I’ve begun to enjoy this genre and prefer to read “clean” stories, as well as the two previous reasons, I chose to read this book.

As a writer, I like to know more about the author and the book that I choose to read. Therefore I googled “Paul Summerhayes” and found his website where I learned that he calls this book “Historical Fantasy”. I also learned that there was a prequel–a novella, The Texan and the Egyptian. I also learned about the other books and other genres that Paul Summerhayes writes. The other thing I learned was that Paul Summerhayes has been a computer gamer for a long time, and that he has had the opportunity to write professionally for the gaming industry, and I learned that Billie the Kid was self-published by Paul Summerhayes. On Mr. Summerhayes’s website, I also found his blog and read a few of his blog posts and read that he does a few of his own revisions and then sends his work to an editor. After acquiring all of this information, I eagerly read The Texan and the Egyptian as well as Billie the Kid.

My first thought as I read Billie the Kid was that it wasn’t what I would call “clean”. There is profanity scattered throughout the book. It’s not Mr. Summerhayes fault that I was disappointed by this, for he had nothing to do with the email that claimed this as a “clean” fantasy/speculative story. But I now know not to trust that email. I learned as I continued to read Billie the Kid that this email must consider anything without explicit sex scenes “clean”, for that was, thankfully, no where to be found in Billie the Kid.

Now for the story itself, I liked the character, Billie, enough to read to the end to see what would happen to Billie. However, I was not impressed by the actual writing of the book. The vocabulary was simple and there were quite a few grammatical errors throughout the book. I am used to reading fantasy/speculative that has a more developed world, as well as a more complicated plot line and well-developed characters.

I wouldn’t call this “Historical Fantasy” because, though it supposedly took place in the old west, everything was so futuristic and fantastical that there was virtually no actual history in it.

I also found that it is very loosely a series so far, as the prequel was not really tied into Billie the Kid with the exception of the mention of a character from the prequel in one scene and the very brief appearance of two characters, from the prequel, with no real interaction in another scene. I’m not sure if Mr. Summerhayes has plans to weave a stronger thread in future books, but in my opinion, to write a series, there needs to be a fairly strong connection from book to book to keep readers interested in reading the entire series.

I would also say, that, having read one other book that was actually written about computer gaming with for an intended computer gaming audience, I would say that Mr. Summerhayes’s book would most likely be most appreciated and valued by computer gamers who take the time to also enjoy a book now and then. This is based on the fact that Mr. Summerhayes includes lots of action and violence in the book with minimal description of the world and very little explanation of the plot line. So, though I found the story interesting enough to stick with it to the end, I also found it lacking.

Disappointment was my takeaway from this story, especially when the story revealed the current cultural view that “everyone is inherently good; no one is really bad”, as there were no clear cut good guys or bad guys. I believe our culture needs to get back to “seeing” that there is clearly good and bad and not everything is acceptable. Therefore when the cultural view finds its way into our stories, I believe we have a very serious problem, and I hope this certainly does not become the norm.

Finally, though I found the story interesting enough to read to the end, I was more disappointed than anything with the overall story, and I will not be reading any future books in this series.


Unblemished by Sara Ella: Can I Just Say “Wow”?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers.

Unblemished by Sara Ella is a fantasy story about a young girl, Eilyana, in her seventeenth year of life. She has low self confidence due to a large red mark on her face and wishes she was invisible. However, there is a young man in her life that has been extremely kind and encouraging to her, and she is in love with him.

Tragedy strikes and Eliyana’s world begins to crumble. She runs out into the city at night, and that’s when she begins to see that her life isn’t exactly what she thought it was.

I am new to reading fantasy stories. I never really cared for them in the past, and Unblemished is one of two or three recent fantasy stories I have read.

Can I just say “wow”? This book is packed with so many things that make a great story. It has suspense, a couple of scenes are a little scary, and there is plenty of romance. I completely fell in love with a character named Ky. I was also frightened for Eliyana several times, but all of the romance in the story seemed so strong and sweet, and some of it came across as really pure.

Sara Ella did a fantastic job of creating characters that made me love and care for them, want to see them succeed, as well as some that made me hate them and want to see them destroyed, or at least defeated. There were a lot of characters and a lot of plot twists that moved the story along and kept me guessing at what was going to happen next. Ms. Ella certainly kept me riveted, to the point that I was always disappointed when I had to put the book down and wait to pick it up again the next day.

Unblemished certainly made me think about how easily we can become ensnared in things that are not for our good, or for anybody’s good, by the choices we make and in our actions. This is one of the rare books that continues to take up space in my mind as I continue to consider the characters and the things that happened to them, and that may yet happen to them.

Yes, Ms. Ella left an open ending, leaving me with lots of questions. This is the only thing I didn’t like about the story, although I will say, it wasn’t as much of a cliffhanger as some I’ve read. But I do so hope that she’s planning on writing another book to continue the lives of some of these characters.

If you are a fan of fantasy stories, I’m fairly certain you’ll enjoy this one.

Top Ten Tuesday

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, as per The Broke and the Bookish, we are to post 10 Beach Reads, books we plan to read on the beach.  Not being a beach person, myself, I will post 10 Mountain Reads.  I would much rather spend a week or weekend in the mountains than at the beach, and mountains are as good a place to read as the beach.

So here are my top ten choices to take to the mountains:


This mystery/suspense is just the kind of book to keep me turning pages as I sit outside a cabin enjoying the sounds of nature.




Yes, I am a huge Dee Henderson fan.  I totally loved her O’Malley series.  I can’t wait to dig into this one and all of her other books that I haven’t read yet.


I have never been a big fan of fantasy, but I find a growing interest in that genre, and Magonia sounds like a good read.


Another fantasy novel that has captured my interest.  I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet, though.


We gave T.V. up a long time ago, but my parents still watch a lot of T.V. and sometimes when I visit, I catch a show or two.  Interestingly enough, many of the shows are based on books, which makes me quite happy because I’d rather read a book than watch a T.V. show anyway.  So, after seeing an episode or two of “Castle” with my mom, I looked up the books.


Yes, this too, is a book that a T.V. show is based on.


This book was suggested by a speaker at a writers’ conference I attended in November 2015.  It sounded intriguing and so it’s on my TBR list, and since the title is “The Poisonwood Bible”, it sounds like a good mountain read.


Thought the cover copy made this book sound fascinating.

So, do you prefer to read your books on the beach or in the mountains?