Skull’s Vengeance – Book Trailer

A Celtic warrior queen must do the impossible—defeat her sorcerer half-brother and claim the throne. But to do so, she must learn how to strike vengeance from her father’s skull.

AS FORETOLD BY HER FATHER in a vision, Catrin has become a battle-hardened warrior after her trials in the Roman legion and gladiatorial games. She must return to Britannia and pull the cursed dagger out of the serpent’s stone to fulfill her destiny. Only then can she unleash the vengeance from the ancient druids to destroy her evil half-brother, the powerful sorcerer, King Marrock. Always two steps ahead and seemingly unstoppable, Marrock can summon destructive natural forces to crush any rival trying to stop him and has charged his deadliest assassin to bring back Catrin’s head.

To have the slightest chance of beating Marrock, Catrin must forge alliances with former enemies, but she needs someone she can trust. Her only option is to seek military aid from Marcellus—her secret Roman husband. They rekindle their burning passion, but he is playing a deadly game in the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty to support Catrin’s cause.

Ultimately, in order to defeat Marrock, Catrin must align herself with a dark druidess and learn how to summon forces from skulls to exact vengeance. But can she and Marcellus outmaneuver political enemies from Rome and Britannia in their quest to vanquish Marrock?

Lets talk! Learning to bowl

Let’s Talk! Learning to bowl, is a beautiful story that follows young Harper who has a very special best friend named Emma who happens to also be autistic. Their latest adventure takes them to the bowling alley where they learn to bowl with their new friend Jerry, who is in a bowling league. While learning to bowl, Emma sometimes takes her face mask off and, because Harper is the greatest friend, she takes on the role of educating Coach Phil on how Emma understands what we are asking of her by communicating with flash cards. Which leads to everyone having a great time at the bowling alley, and another successful adventure for the friends.

This is a sweet picture book that shows how children can be amazing role models that promote inclusivity and understanding of people with special needs. The story is perfect for the developing reader who is ready to take on longer sentences and new vocabulary words. The illustrations by Blueberry Illustrations are incredibly adorable, vibrant and wonderfully shows each character’s emotions. I feel it gave the story such warmth and charm.

I enjoyed learning about the author at the end of the book and I can tell her background in working with special needs children is very near and dear to her heart, and that passion shines throughout her book. I loved how she included some of the mannerisms children with autism exhibit. This makes them seem natural and like nothing is different or strange about them.

Lets talk! Learning to bowl is a fantastic children’s book that will educate readers while promoting diversity and inclusion.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B0B8BLVS1L

Buy Now From Amazon

We Are Them

The War Years follows the story of Harry, the proprietor of a small, run-down restaurant. As the book starts he’s miserable and he has every right to be. He lives in a future where the world has been ravaged by a deadly virus and people have seemingly worthless inoculations forced upon them. The United States as we know it has fallen and all that is left appears to be a ragtag collection of small struggling settlements. In these settlements food is scarce, corruption is high and everyone is forced to contribute to the “war effort”. A war that cost Harry his beloved brother. No one seems very clear about where exactly the war is or why they are fighting it. It is against the “savage Arabs” and that’s about it. Harry’s eyes are slowly opened when he comes into contact with a strange viscous fluid and he begins to question the stories he has been told. What follows is a thrilling journey where Harry and his ragtag team of allies try to uncover the truth and discover what is going on in their weird little town, and the world at large.

I had not read the first book, but this did not hamper my enjoyment of The War Years at all. The events of the first book and the proceeding years have been hidden away in the book by the authorities, so we uncover the mysteries at the same time as Harry. I’m sure some reveals would hit harder if I’d read the first book but it never slowed me down.

The book reads like a more dystopian version of 1984; if that’s possible. Much like in Orwell’s masterpiece Harry lives in an autocracy where he is repeatedly told everything is okay, despite the rather obvious evidence to the contrary. People are swept up in a form of hyper nationalism that makes no sense to Harry, or the reader. As Harry slips further into his paranoia he in fact becomes saner whilst everyone around him seems increasingly insane. This transition was utterly fascinating to me and was very well executed in the book. It seems clear that Samuels has much to say about the current state of affairs in the world.

Despite its dystopian future setting The War Years seems all too possible after the events of recent years. The War Years is an excellent dystopian thriller that fans of observant and intellectually-invigorating mystery novels will enjoy.

Pages: 452 | ASIN: B0B57SPPX1

Buy Now From Amazon

Skull’s Vengeance

This historical fantasy story is set in the first century AD, where Brittania is at constant war with Gaul. The protagonist, Catrin, is a Celtic warrior who has a difficult romantic decision to make when her secret Roman lover, Marcellus, refuses to join her as her king in Brittania. She can either live without him in her homeland or live with him in Rome as his scorned foreign mistress.

I enjoyed the depth of Catrin’s character and how her bravery manifests throughout the story. She is a strong female protagonist that reminds me of Lagertha’s character in the TV show Vikings. Catrin has a wicked half-brother, Marrock, who is a powerful sorcerer who will stop at nothing to destroy her. I reveled in Marrock’s character probably just as much as Catrin’s character. I enjoy a good villain and I think that it’s the villain that really sells a fantasy story, to me anyway. Catrin has no option but to join forces with former enemies. The dramatic turn of events throughout the novel is unpredictable and makes it difficult to choose when to put the book down. I was always interested in seeing how Catrin was going to handle the next twist.

As the fourth book in a series, the action relies on the considerable backstory to make sense of the plot. Tanner does make an effort to fill in the details to get the reader up to speed. I think this book is better as a continuation of an epic rather than as a standalone story, but if you don’t mind missing a few details you’ll still find plenty to enjoy in this novel. The best part of this book, for me, is the way the action is set amongst real-life history and well-known legends. The story fits within the lore of King Arthur and mystical Druids, giving this novel an authenticity that many fantasy stories lack.

Skull’s Vengeance is an evocative and gripping fantasy adventure that long time fans of the series will heartily enjoy. This is a fast-paced read that will appeal to fans of epic fantasy that are looking for a bit of history infused in their fantasy lore. Skull’s Vengeance has well-defined characters, a deep backstory and a well-drawn plot. I think it’s best suited to adult readers who don’t mind some graphic violence and sex scenes.

Pages: 402 | ASIN: B0BC2GCFGG

Buy Now From Amazon

Building High Trust CommUNITY

In Building High Trust CommUNITY: Lessons Learned from the Past and the Year 2020, authors Pamela Shockley – Zalabak and Sherwyn Morreale bring forth issues affecting society, how the past has influenced current events, the status quo, building communities, and living in harmony. The authors passionately write about a myriad of topics that affect the average citizen, as they offer solutions to some societal problems. This insightful book is profound and will encourage readers to develop a stronger value for all life and instill a sense of unity in themselves. The authors write using simple language, phrases, and words that are easy to comprehend as they hope to reach readers of all ages.

There is plenty of history discussed in this book. The history aspect is my favorite part of the book as the authors point out past historical events’ impact on shaping our future. Pamela Shockley – Zalabak & Sherwyn Morreale write about the tragedy that was the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the civil war, the great depression, and the January 6 Insurrection, among many other events. I enjoyed going through the analysis by the authors as it provided me a different perspective than I had previously seen. The authors are not just great at narration but also great at explaining even the most complex subjects in a manner that the average reader can grasp.

Building trust takes work. The authors discuss why most people do not understand the magnitude of trust in communities despite them thinking they are trustworthy. I love that the authors take their time in explaining trust as a virtue and how a dependable community is appealing. Chapter two has everything one needs to understand trust and why it matters. The explanations they give are short but deep enough to make one identify with the discussion.

I appreciate the authors for talking about their first-hand experiences when discussing certain subjects. Through their eyes, I understood why inequality is still a significant issue in the world and why vices like racism, nepotism, and prejudice are still rampant. In addition, the lack of access to basic needs like healthcare and education is still a crisis even in the world’s biggest democracy is something to be concerned about.

What I enjoyed most about the authors’ writing is their ability to direct the reader tword reflection on their daily experiences. In addition, I appreciate the author preaching about love, kindness, and compassion even amidst the pandemic and the chaos witnessed.

Building High Trust CommUnNTY is an educational book about politics, economic conditions, and these things’ impact on US citizens. Readers learn how to build trust, be organized, and practice self-reflection, among other things, in the most demonstrative approach.

Pages: 192 | ASIN : B0BDFPQJ77

Buy Now From B&N.com

Peyton’s Promise

When Peyton arrived at Calumet Castle for a summer job, she had only a vague idea of what to expect. She knew of her wealthy employers and that her progressive ideas and choice of career made her a target for the social circles but little else. It came as a huge shock to find herself working alongside her childhood best friend, Patrick, and in turn, they were both shocked at how much their three-year absence from each other had changed them. Rekindling her relationship with Patrick, navigating new feelings for him, rediscovering her faith, trying not to anger the staunchly old-fashioned housekeeper of the castle, and doing her actual job give Peyton a busy and conflicted summer to contend with.

Peyton’s Promise is the third novel by Susan Mathis in her Thousand Island Gilded Age Series. Set in the Thousand Islands, on the St. Lawrence river, these stories take the setting and make it a palpable part of the story being told. Peyton’s Promise is no exception, describing the sights and homes of the area with beautiful depth and recreating what it might have been like in the early years of the 20th century when the area was a popular destination for many of the wealthy elite in society.

Mathis is adept at weaving historical figures into her fiction and has done so in this story with the Emerys. Calumet Castle’s owners function as the mostly absent champions of Peyton’s work, an upholsterer beyond her apprenticeship. Mathis always includes a brief note to explain the real history she has included, with details about the families, their homes, and more about the area.

Peyton’s Promise has a similar feeling to the other Thousand Island stories. Readers will find enjoyment and take comfort in returning to the beloved landscape and having the experience of revisiting a favorite vacation location. The storyline moves quickly with an internally conflicted heroine, a love interest that seems too much at odds to ever succeed, and a rival antagonist that seems on the cusp of bringing disaster more than once. This book is truly wonderful and difficult to put down! The pacing has readers engaged from start to finish. Additionally, the amount of detail included about the Islands is just enough to encourage some further research. They are perfect for a light read for those that love a Christian historical romance novel.

Pages: 291 | ASIN : B09N6J5X6M

Buy Now From B&N.com

Squash The Boorish Louts

Don Shearer Author Interview

The Ballpark Buster follows a boy who grows to be over seven feet tall and takes the baseball world by storm with his impressive skill and strength. What inspired the setup to your story?

I had been reading about a young man known as the Alton Giant — Robert Wadlow of Alton, IL. Robert had a pituitary disorder that caused him to grow at an unprecedented rate. In fact, he was more than 8 feet 11 inches tall when he died at the young age of 22 in 1940. Somewhere around the time of that research, I accidentally rediscovered a set of captivating baseball park cartoons done by artist Gene Mack for the Sporting News in the mid-1940s. I liked these cartoons as a kid, and as I revisited the panels after all these years I started thinking about what would happen if a super-large kid (one who benefited from a surgery that Robert Wadlow did not get) landed in historic baseball settings of the past. It took a lot of fitting together of plot puzzle pieces and baseball chronology in order to make this “new” history possible, but my big kid Buster made his way and knocked down quite a few barriers. 

Buster Logan is a charming character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

I wanted to keep Buster pretty down-to-earth throughout the book. Although he has obvious physical gifts, I didn’t want him to try and intimidate anyone as he competed in professional sports and lived his life. He did not draw attention to himself. He was a quiet boy with a lively sense of humor. He never veered away from the simple values of loving one’s family and being accepting of others along the way. 

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Buster’s great size often positioned him as an outsider, and I didn’t minimize the struggles he had as a young person who sometimes took abuse from competitors, unruly fans and insensitive strangers. In the book, Buster rubs shoulders with others who are outside the norm in one way or another — players like Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski. Buster both provides and receives encouragement from them. He interacts with a number of vicious people (including one major league manager) and, with great effort, learns to conduct himself with restraint even though he’s tempted to squash the boorish louts.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

This isn’t anything traditional, but these days I’m writing and assembling a large compendium of comedic wordplay puns paired with images. (You could even say they’re memey.) I’m likely to release them as a collection in early 2023.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Every once in a while, a miracle of nature occurs in our midst. This is a story about Buster Logan, who was born a normal Pennsylvania boy but soon begins growing much bigger than those around him. It turns out he has a medical condition that causes him to grow to the point of a near-giant. Although modern medicine is able to intervene and slow his growth, Buster has already become a very large person at over seven feet tall. He’s also extremely powerful, as he takes up weightlifting after his recovery from surgery. Bringing great size and strength to the realm of sports, he becomes a true force on the field. Eventually making it to the major leagues in his late teens, Buster takes many of the classic ballparks of the 1940s and ‘50s by storm, hitting astonishing home runs in baseball cathedrals like Forbes Field, Ebbets Field, Sportsman’s Park, the Polo Grounds, old Yankee Stadium, Crosley Field, Braves Field (Boston) and Shibe Park. Travel alongside our good-natured baseball giant as he conquers these hallowed ballparks with jaw-dropping blasts.

Adventures Through Reading

Katie Marie Author Interview

T-Rex and Tuck Explore the Zoo follows a little boy as he uses his imagination to embark on an educational adventure at the zoo. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for the T-Rex and Tuck Explore series in general is my son, Tucker. He loves to go on “adventures” and has quite an imagination. He has a stuffed dinosaur that he takes along with him all over the house and this relationship was the inspiration for the “best friend” character concept. I have always enjoyed writing, but becoming a mom was the inspiration I needed to come up with the story setup and run with it. This first book, T-Rex and Tuck Explore the Zoo, came to me after our own family visit to the zoo and how much he enjoys books about animals. The next book in the series will be T-Rex and Tuck Explore Outer Space which the illustrator is currently working on.

The art in this picture book is very cute. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Jessie Johnson?

I absolutely adore the art in this picture book! Jessie Johnson, the illustrator, is very talented and was able to capture the vision for the characters exactly the way I had envisioned them. I had posted a job on the site Up Work and feel so fortunate that she applied. I had narrowed it down to a few artists and had them illustrate a character concept. She blew me away with her initial design. She is a college student in North Carolina and I am in the Kansas City area so the communication has consisted of zoom calls and emails, but I think we work well together and we are excited to continue our working relationship for the entire series! She has a bright future ahead of her.

What were some ideas that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

One of the ideas that was important to me for this children’s book was the focus on imaginative play. I love the idea that kids can go on adventures through reading and I think this story does a great job of that. I wanted the book to be engaging as far as being able to make animal noises with your kids while reading it and acting out different movements. My kids favorite books are the ones that can be interactive. I also wanted to incorporate some educational information about the animals while still making it fun to read.

When and where will this book be available?

This book is currently available on my website http://www.authorkatiemarie.com as well as Book Baby’s Book Shop https://store.bookbaby.com/book/t-rex-and-tuck-explore-the-zoo

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Instagram

IN THE FIRST INSTALLMENT FROM THE T-REX AND TUCK EXPLORE SERIES, TUCK USES HIS IMAGINATION TO TRANSPORT HIMSELF AND HIS BEST FRIEND, T-REX, TO THE ZOO. IN THIS WONDEROUS ESCAPE FROM THE RAINY DAY INSIDE TUCK’S ROOM, THEY LEARN INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT DIFFERENT ZOO ANIMALS AND GET TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN ALONG THE WAY.

%d bloggers like this: