Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A fast-paced magical adventure

In the middle of a stressful move to a big city, the Book Dragon has read H. L. Burke's Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians' Rivalry and gives it 5 claws!
Here's my review: "4.5 stars for a fast-paced, fascinating story of rivalry and loyalty with several interesting plot twists. The main characters are thoughtfully rendered and wonderfully human (or not quite human). I liked the way magic spells were done in this universe as well as the concept of rifts between worlds, and the growth of the main characters is believable and fun to watch. The pivotal scene near the end is brilliant. Recommended for fans of magical fantasy with a dash of romance."

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: YA contemporary novel with a perfect voice!

The Book Dragon has read A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman and gives it 5 claws!
My 5 star review: "I'm often leery of contemporary YA fiction in present tense with a first person POV. I have been unable to finish several because the MC came off as whiny. But Engelman's voice is perfect for the story, and her 16 year old MC Katelyn is so believable and likeable, I wondered if the author had based her on a real person. Her family's situation is real and heart-breaking, but hope is woven into this story on every page. While dealing honestly with the real problem of depression, A Single Bead is a celebration of family and love and the power of prayer."

A Single Bead is featured on the website Catholic Teen Books. Check out the other reads!  


Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A beautiful love story

The Book Dragon has read Melanie D. Snitker's Finding Joy (#5 in the Love's Compass series) and gives it 5 claws!
My 5 star review: "What a beautiful story of second chances and finding oneself after life-altering events! I loved the two main characters, and my heart ached for them while each worked through a painful past. I love the depth of Ms. Snitker's characters and how she makes their faith a part of who they are. It was great to spend more time with some of my other favorite characters from the other books in this series. Happy the beagle was a sweet addition, too. I highly recommend this book and this entire series to every fan of sweet Christian romance."

Monday, May 1, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Compelling historical fiction about an unforgettable young king!

The Book Dragon has read Susan Peek's Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades and gives it five claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for a compelling story about an inspiring young king during a turbulent time and place in history. Made king at age 13, surrounded by enemies without as well as within his kingdom, and dealing with the unimaginable effects of leprosy, this young man's steadfast faith in God and his inspirational courage have left an indelible mark on my heart. King Baldwin's best friend, Theodore, and the Templar Sir Geoffrey were also well done, so well done, in fact, that two final scenes brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't unreservedly give this book 5 stars, though, because a few instances of slang and modern words pulled me out of the 12th century with a bit of a jar. Young readers will find this book fascinating, fast-paced, and unforgettable."

Crusader King is featured on the new Catholic Teen Books site.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A Fantasy of Friendship and More!

 
The Book Dragon has read H. L. Burke's Beggar Magic and gives it 5 claws!
 
My review: "4.5 stars for an imaginative tale of friendship in an interesting world where people are separated into Highmost and Common, and the mysterious Strains are more than just ethereal background sounds. Common Leilani and Highmost Zebedy form an unusual friendship and find more than either expected when Zebedy receives her assignment to Research Manor and asks Leilani to be her aide, including heart-pounding danger. Recommended!"


Monday, April 10, 2017

Spirit Filled eBooks is giving away a

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to one lucky winner on April 18th! Scroll down to the bottom to enter!

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Check out these great reads from our SPONSORS~

Consider supporting an author or few by buying their books Many of these books are available FREE with Kindle Unlimited, so you can Read them for FREE with your FREE 30 Day Kindle Unlimited Trial!

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Superbly written fantasy set in Ethiopia

The Book Dragon has read The Enchanted Castle, book one in the Shioni of Sheba series by Marc Secchia and gives it 5 claws!

My review: "What a fantastically rendered story with the weight of legend behind it! I loved the character of Shioni and empathized with her struggles and cheered her bravery. I've been fascinated with African legends for many years but now I'm eager to learn more about Ethiopia and very anxious to read the rest of Shioni's adventures! Each character in this book is living and breathing, the setting realistically drawn with all 5 senses, and the suspense and danger is enough to stop your breath and make your heart beat faster without being too scary for younger readers. Bravo, Mr. Secchia!"

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A powerful YA about spiritual warfare

The Book Dragon has read A. J. Cattapan's Angelhood, a powerful YA about the spiritual warfare going on all around us, and gives it 5 claws.
Here's my review: "When I first began this book, I didn't think I'd be able to finish it, but I kept reading, and I'm glad I did. It's difficult for this Mom to read about teen suicide, but I know it happens, and hopefully this story will reach troubled souls who might wonder whether or not ending their life would be best for themselves and others. This is a powerful story and a vivid reminder of the spiritual battle going on all around us, and I felt so uplifted by the ending. Highly recommended."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Publication Story

In 1986 my husband and I became foster parents while living in Waco, Texas. We not only had our three year old son, but a five year old foster daughter. Later a four month old baby boy with a heart monitor temporarily joined our family, and I was pulling out my hair. My husband suggested I find something "adult" to do one evening a week while he kept the children. Since I'd always liked writing stories, I took a creative writing course at Baylor University.

I enjoyed that class so much I started pumping out short stories, dozens and dozens of them. I had always loved science and thought it would be easy for me to write science fiction. My excitement outpaced my ability, and I started submitting my stories to magazines in 1987. My first rejection was handwritten on a sticky note. It basically said, "Not for us; try again" so I did. Over the next five years I collected over 600 rejections before I sold my first story, a clean fantasy to an anthology compiled by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
My first rejection in 1987
We gave up being foster parents after two years, but I continued to write, even while homeschooling our son and later his younger brother. I found success with magazines, writing nonfiction articles on spec and short stories for children. As Catherine Jones, I published in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Cobblestone, Jack and Jill, Hopscotch, Boy's Quest, and dozens of other less-well-known magazines. I sold two easy readers and had a nonfiction book for older children published about the Navajo Code Talkers, which brought me "fifteen minutes of fame," since I did go on television and radio. I also learned public speaking the hard way, and developed a multi-media presentation which I gave to thousands of people over several years. Even after almost 20 years I still get requests for that presentation.

Then cancer struck in 2005, and it took nuclear-bomb strength chemo to put it in remission. My brain was so scrambled I couldn't get back in the groove of writing for magazines. I did publish my first novel in 2012, a MG fantasy allegory of the cancer journey called Leandra's Enchanted Flute, and the editor wanted to know if there was a sequel, so I wrote Return to Finian Jahndra, which Cool Well Press published in February 2013, one month before they went out of business. I got my rights back for both books, but I was crushed.
Return to Finian Jahndra 1st and only printing from Cool Well Press
I didn't want those stories to die, so after discovering the online group Clean Indie Reads, I was motivated to self-publish the two books. Since our homeschool was Quinlan Creek Academy, I used the name Quinlan Creek Press. I had no idea how to market the books, but at least they were available.

After almost 25 years and 22 rejections, I finally sold a YA historical fiction near and dear to my heart to Pauline Books & Media in 2014: the story of "Good King Wenceslas" from the point of view of his servant, which was released in January 2016. I also sold another easy reader the same year. Persistence is so important in this crazy publishing business!

Meanwhile, my father had been diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2011, and to distract myself while I helped my mother care for him during his last eleven months, I gave myself a writing exercise. In 1988 I'd tried to write a fantasy novel, which didn't "work" even after three complete rewrites. So I threw away everything but the opening scene and asked the characters to tell me their story, not for publication but as an outlet for my grief. Chapter after chapter literally poured out. It was like watching a movie and trying to write it down as fast as I could.

By the time I reached chapter 80, I realized this was more than one book, and ended book one at chapter 43. I paid a content editor and a proofreader and was sending out queries to agents and publishers when suddenly and unexpectedly my cancer came back in early June 2015, with such excruciating pain my husband and I thought the doctor would tell us it was stage 4 and nothing to be done but pain control. So I found a pre-made cover, asked the designer to change a few things, and self-published Mercy's Prince (book one, which could stand alone) as my "good-bye" to family and friends.
Thankfully a different chemo put the Beast back in remission, but again chemo brain made it difficult to concentrate. Eighteen months later it's still a problem, but I've managed to publish books 2 and 3, have finished book 4, and am working on book 5 (the last in this YA Christian fantasy series).

Even though I never intended to self-publish, I can now say I am a hybrid author. I still struggle with marketing, but I give thanks to God daily for His mercy. My goal is simply to write stories my grandchildren can read after I'm gone. I used to think I wanted to be a best-selling children's author and win a Newbery Medal, but now I just write for the love of writing, and if someone reads and likes my books, that's just icing on this God-blessed cancer survivor cake.
My three greatest blessings--my grandchildren

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A fun and heart-warming story of friendship, with riddles!

The Book Dragon has read A. J. Cattapan's 7 Riddles to Nowhere and gives this wonderful story of friendship, solving riddles, and overcoming challenges 5 claws!
 
My review: "This is a fast-paced, kid-friendly, wonderful story about friendship and overcoming challenges. The riddles were especially fun and made even this grownup want to tour the Chicago churches mentioned in the book. Highly recommended for ages 10 and up!"
 
Note: For more information about this author's books as well as others writing clean fiction for Catholic Teens, visit this brand new site, Catholic Teen Books.



Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A fun mystery set in the Texas Hill Country

The Book Dragon has finished Stephanie P. McKean's Bridge to Nowhere and gives it 4.5 claws rounded up to 5!
My review: "4.5 stars for a fun story set in a fictional Texas Hill Country town which rings so true, I kept wanting to find it on my map! Miz Mike is such a loveable MC with a heart of gold and a penchant for attracting trouble. I really connected with her and want to read more of her stories now. With an eclectic cast of colorful town residents including villains and heroes, there is never a dull moment! Just one place where the tension lagged and the emotions didn't quite ring true, but it did not detract from the overall enjoyment of this story. Recommended!"


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fall in Love with Fantasy Books this Valentine's Day!

This Valentine's Day, the talented authors at Fellowship of Fantasy have banded together to provide a great selection of free and discount Fantasy and Speculative Fiction stories. Browse the titles, select as many as your heart desires, and discover your next favorite author!

All Fellowship of Fantasy titles are author rated with a guaranteed content level no higher than PG-13, so you shouldn't encounter graphic sex, gratuitous violence, or excessive language.

As pricing can be subject to the whims of the vendors, please verify that the deals are, in fact, still active before purchasing. Thank you!



FREE titles:
 
The Buick Eight—Frank B. Luke-Amazon
Cora and the Nurse Dragon—H. L. Burke-Amazon
Lands of Ash—H. L. Burke-Amazon
Prince of Alasia—Annie Douglass Lima-Amazon
Awakening—Julie C. Gilbert-Amazon
Leandra's Enchanted Flute—Katy Huth Jones-Amazon
Mercy's Prince—Katy Huth Jones-Amazon
Woe for a Faerie—B. Brumley-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble
Chasing Lady Midnight—C. L. Ragsdale-Amazon
Jin In Time Part One —Karin De Havin-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble
Nyssa Glass and the Caper Crisis—H. L. Burke-Amazon


99 cent titles:

Rebirth—Frank B. Luke-Amazon
Seven Deadly Tales—Frank B. Luke-Amazon
The Hidden Level—AJ Bakke-Amazon
To Save Two Worlds—AJ Bakke-Amazon
The Regency Shifter Series—KM Carroll-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble
Academy of Secrets—Michael Carney-Author Website
Sunbolt—Intisar Khanani-AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo
Wyndano's Cloak—A. R. Silverberry AmazonBarnes and Noble
The Stream—A. R. Silverberry -AmazonBarnes and Noble
Rainbird—Rabia Gale-AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo
Reality Break—Jennifer Kibble-Amazon
Battle for the Throne—EJ Willis-Amazon
Nyssa Glass's Clockwork Christmas—H. L. Burke-Amazon
The True Bride and the Shoemaker—L. Palmer-Author WebsiteAmazon
Cry of the Sea—D. G. Driver-Amazon
Foxtails—Erica Laurie-Amazon
Eun Na and the Phantom—Erica Laurie-Amazon
Perma-free titles found here: Fellowship of Fantasy
 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Exciting continuation in this fantasy series

The Book Dragon has to file a couple of ragged claws after reading this nail-biter, The Maladorn Scroll, book 3 in Tamie Dearen's Alora series, and gives it 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5!


My review: "4.5 stars for this exciting continuation of the Alora series with characters I've grown to love. The stakes are high and the situation becomes critical and even deadly for some of the good guys, with betrayal and heroism in equal measure. It's difficult to write a review without spoilers, but I did want to see more in a climactic scene where some of the action was missing and felt like a "fade out" with the camera. Other than that, the story was very satisfying with both nail-biting scenes and sweet moments that made me sigh. I recommend starting with book 1 and reading all three!"