Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Travel at the speed of "The Hyperspace Project: The Awakening" from Donald Swan

Amazon Link
With a name like Nick Bannon, you know that even without looking, trouble is just going to find him.  Even an innocent "trial" of his hyperspace project becomes something that can wind up causing problems all over the galaxy. 

The problems start when Nick's trial goes just a little too well, and instead of preliminary testing, Nick becomes the first human to experience hyperspace.  Which would be great - if he had any idea where he was.

After an appropriate "greeting" from a not so friendly alien race, Nick is forced to ditch his ride inside a foreign space craft.  This is one decision that Nick makes that turns out to actually work in his favor.  On board are Kymeans, almost 8 foot tall Rakozians with four arms that would make Hulk Hogan jealous, Meth breathers, and a green female Arisian (a cat like race) with a rather large secret she is hiding.  While "not so well thought out bravery" is not a quality that Nick Bannon is lacking - the sight of the 8 foot  Karg the Rakozian brings a line that had something to do with "live to fight another day."

With some handy technology that aids language, Nick soons finds himself in the middle of a galactic war in a galaxy he previously didn't even know that existed.  Things are always tough for the new kid on the block, but when that new kid has a technology that could be used as the most powerful weapon the aliens have seen - well - that kid is going to attract a lot of attention whether he wants it or not.

Nick would love to just hop in his ship and just cruise hyperspace back home, but it's hard to get to a destination if you don't know where you are going.  So while trying to figure that dilemma out, why not just pick a side and fulfill an ancient prophecy or two along the way........


I found "The Hyperspace Project" to be an immensely enjoyable read.  I kept picturing Harrison Ford, but with the Indiana Jones personality, but in a Blade Runner world as Nick Bannon.  The pacing was great, Swan did an awesome job giving just enough desription of the new technology and alien races without dragging the story into a grinding halt.  The story had a feel good sense that I got from watching "Guardians of the Galaxy" - where you get to know the characters to the point where you actually want to meet themand have a few drinks at a dive bar to hear more stories.

The dialogue and writing were top notch - and it was clear that this story was thought out before Swan committed it to paper.  With all of the rehashes (really - can we do a Spiderman reboot just one more time please.....) it is nice to meet some new characters in a new adventure - and it doesn't have to end here, since Swan already has book two on the shelves. 

Highly recommend this book for lovers of sci fi!!!

(awesome website, by the way!)

Monday, December 29, 2014

A high seas tale of treachery and murder - a whale of a tale!

Amazon Link
Once the sea gets its grip into you, it is almost impossible for a seagoing man to turn a deaf ear to its siren's song.  Joseph hears the song, and decides to leave everything and sign up as a crew member aboard the whaler ship "Fortune".  "Fortune" might just happen to be the least appropriate name for this ship, however.

After starting their journey successfully and the crew getting along fine with their experienced captain, fortune turns a blind eye to them.  As if hunting and harvesting a whale isn't dangerous enough - when you also have to battle the plague and homicidal maniacs - well, it is enough to make a sailor wish he were a landlubber who decided to sit this trip out.

You can guess some of the author's influences throughout this book, but in the end Michael really does make this book "his own".  A true "last man standing" on the high sea's, this sea story will harpoon you right away and pull you right on board with the rest of the crew of the "Fortune".


Michael does an exceptional job in his description of the ship, and it is obvious in the detail how much effort and love he put into this novel.  If you love stories of the sea as much as I do, you will find the level of detail unmatched in almost anything else you have read.

Add to this "educational" material a story that is going as fast as a ship with a strong tailwind, and you have a novel that you just won't be able to put down.

I get many offers to review books, but every once in a while - I need to take a break from the randomness of the "list" that I have and read something that I choose to read.  "The Whaler, Fortune" was a book that I chose to read based on Wyatt Michael's other book "Revenge of the Wolf" that I was fortunate enough to review.  I loved the pacing and detail in the plot - and Michael does not disappoint in a setting that is entirely different.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Another Pixel Hall Author! "Traveling Left of Center" by Nancy Christie

Buy Here!
“Girl,” my mama had said to me the minute she entered my hospital room, “on the highway of life, you’re always traveling left of center.” (from “Traveling Left of Center”)
What happens when people face life situations for which they are emotionally or mentally unprepared? They may choose to allow fate to dictate the path they take—a decision that can lead to disastrous results.
The characters in the 18 stories in “Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories” are unable or unwilling to seize control over their lives, relying instead on coping methods that range from the passive (“The Healer”) and the aggressive (“The Clock”) to the humorous (“Traveling Left of Center”) and hopeful (“Skating on Thin Ice”). But the outcomes may not be what they anticipated or desired. Will they have time to correct their course or will they crash?

The website link for the book is A “Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories” study guide for book clubs, classrooms and other discussion groups is available as a free download at

(Not a review - cover and book description only from my friends at Pixel Hall Press!) 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

More Inspiration From Ray White! Read "Alexia's Legacy"

Amazon Link
On June 15th, 2014, Father’s Day, the unthinkable happened - that moment in your life that you can never imagine, except in your worst nightmares. Alexia Ardeleanu, a beautiful young lady with unlimited potential was suddenly and tragically taken from us by a drunk driver. The drunk driver who killed her was driving 82 miles an hour when she plowed into Alexia’s car and others that were stopped at a stoplight in Houston, Texas.

We spent a lot of time crying and still want to cry every time we think about it. But we have chosen instead to honor her memory. We want to share the lessons she taught us and we feel she would have taught others, if she had been given the time. Alexia was special in what she accomplished and in how she lived her life.

She had a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average in a double major of Accounting and Finance at the University of North Texas. She had taken her GMAT and was working on her LSAT so she could get double graduate degrees in Law and an MBA. She was successful in her job and was a campus leader. She was a Resident Assistant, had won multiple scholarships, and was President of the University of North Texas Professional Leadership Program. 

But most importantly she was a wonderful friend, daughter, and servant leader. She was special because of her daily focus on the important things in her life and how she unconditionally gave to others.

We want to emphasize that she was not perfect and that was what made her special. The leadership lessons we learned from Alexia are techniques anyone can learn and apply. She was not successful because of natural gifts; she was successful because she made choices every day that led her to be successful and a true servant leader. 

Our goal in this book is to share her real life examples and choices so you can learn how to make these lessons work for you. We hope that you can see the obstacles and challenges all successful people face and can learn how to persevere and live a life of happiness, success, and servant leadership.
Note from co-author Ray White:
I was lucky enough to be a mentor for Alexia; and as in most of my Mentor/Mentee relationships, I definitely learned as much from her as she did from me. In this book you will see a lot of emails addressed to me from Alexia. Our relationship included daily updates about how she was doing and whether she was on track for reaching the goals in her life and more importantly being happy and successful. We focused a lot on making sure she made taking care of herself a priority and took time for the actions necessary to keep her healthy and happy so she would have the energy be a successful servant leader for others. These emails are a great way to capture what she was thinking and what was really going on in her life. They give us the opportunity to not only see the important characteristics of a good leader but also to observe the concerns, challenges and imperfections as well.
We have structured this book to show real life examples from Alexia or people she interacted with, a summary of the lesson, and then an opportunity to help you reflect and improve on your related leadership skills.
We hope you enjoy the book and learn the reality about how you can be a servant leader who is both successful and happy.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Author Interview with Robin Landry, author of "It's Like Here Only Better"

Amazon Link
1.  Your book is a very touching tribute to your son.  What made you decide to share your story with everyone? 

At first I just had the dreams of Tim in a blog, but after hearing so many people say how much it helped them deal with their own loss, I decided to put it out to a wider audience, and to make it more permanent.

2.  Did being a reviewer of so many books make your job as author easier or more difficult? 

I believe that being a reviewer actually makes me a better writer because I read now with the idea of saying what I like and what I dislike about a book.  After a few hundred reviews, I found that I had a much better idea of how to write than I did before.  I couldn't help reviewing my own writing with a more critical eye, and applying the strengths I'd seen in other authors' works. 

3.  What had been the highlight for you concerning this book? 

Both seeing how the cover reflects Tim so well, and having people who've read the book tell me how it affected them in a positive way, and lastly, the worse thing about losing your child is feeling like everyone has forgotten them.  I've made Tim immortal in a small way and that makes me happy as a mother.

4.  What is the one piece of advice that you would like to share with your audience? What was the best advice you received?  
Just as it's hard to see how you look without a mirror, it's hard to judge your own creative work without the input of others. Sometimes it's hard to hear, but it always helps, so get as much criticism as you can because most people genuinely want to help you.  And of course read as much as you can and start reviewing, because it changes both how you write and how you read, for the better.

5.  Having gone through something similar, I know that feelings about the event never really go away. I personally find it harder to remember all the details as time goes on. Do you have any type of ritual or annual event that you do to keep his memory alive? 

Well, since we're coming up on Christmas, I put a stocking up for Tim, and I visit his grave site once a month and leave something that represents the time of year it happens to be.  I leave small gifts like flowers and Hot Wheel cars, and a Harley motorcycles, and  talk to him.  I know he's always listening, in fact he told one medium, that he listens now a lot more than he ever did before as a teenager.

6.  What is one thing you know now after writing a book that you wish you knew before you started?  
How easy it is to do the whole thing yourself.  I waited 5 years because I thought I would have to go through a publisher, but really self-publishing is easy. I asked an author I'd reviewed for a cover designer, and I looked up a editor on the web.  It's very easy to have a professional book these days so really anyone can do it.  I would recommend that everyone tell their story if only to have a copy to hand down to the kids.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

You can feel the love and anxiety come through the pages

Amazon Link
Book Description

Ever feel your life spinning out of control? You hang on for dear life and hope you end up face forward, and all intact when the storm ends. Situations and circumstances out of your control will come your way. We found ourselves in such a storm after giving birth to our second child, perfectly formed, or so we thought.

You grab onto trust and faith in the Lord as you find out your core essence- how you will withstand the next waves of life that will wash over you.

The amazing realization that if only our eyes could have seen all that was happening around our dear baby as he grew. As events were revealed, we saw the extent of God walking by our side, preparing the way, extending His love and comfort. We are utterly convinced that ‘Every Breath’ has been given and we are to be living each day with purpose.


Every Breath by Tracy Burkhart is a read that will take you through all the anxiety, tears, love and hope that parents go through when faced with uncertainty.  Often, we can deal with this uncertainty and crisis when we are the ones going through it, but when it involves a child the ability to cope as we normally would doesn't seem to be an option.

This short book is packed with emotions from cover to cover.  Burkhart does an excellent job putting feelings and emotions into words.  She also describes all of the steps that many parents go through along the way when faced with these kinds of events.  One that I feel many of us can relate to is "bargaining" with God.  While we might know on the inside that this isn't something to be done, I can certainly relate to the feeling of "needing to do something."

It was also a testament to the family to see how everyone pulled together and did whatever little things that they could offer to help out.  I believe that this experience is one of the reasons that led them to decide to "pay it forward" through mission trips.

Each of us must make our way in this world on our own journey.  Each person we pass by during the day has a journey and a story that we often have no idea about.  If we knew these stories, maybe we would be just a little nicer and more understanding to everyone we touch throughout the day.  Maybe we would realize that we really aren't "alone" in what is making us tired, depressed, anxious, or ready to give up.  While it is important to understand that each of us reacts differently when faced with these events, it is just as important to remember that a small act of kindness or supportive words can make all the difference in the world.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Book! The Sword of Agrippa by Gregory Lloyd!!! Science, shamanism, past and future collide in the search for dark energy.

Smashwords Link
The oligarchs control science and religion. Roy Swenson, a scientist banned from the US is in Prague on a quest to discover dark energy, a form of energy which could transform the world and lead to a new tech revolution. Not everyone is happy with his prospects.

Mainstream science and religion view him as a threat. Dark energy could change humanity's view of everything and disrupt a lucrative status quo for the world's leaders and their backers.


Unconventional Science

Roy chases his dark energy dream with everything from graphene-coated sensors to experiments with pineal glands and DMT. His team of PhDs includes experts across an assortment of fields, from shamanism to advanced sensor technologies.

At night Roy's dreams take him through secret rooms in the Great Library of Alexandria as a young Roman soldier, Marcus Agrippa. Agrippa falls in love with an Egyptian slave priestess. In the secret chambers of the Great Library she guides him through racks of now lost scrolls.

Empire of Blood

Along the way Agrippa is forced into making painful, personal sacrifices for the glory of Rome. He eventually builds the Pantheon, not as a tribute to war, but as a quiet dedication to the priestess who introduced him to love and enlightenment.

Both heroes fight to the end, each in their own way. Their dreams power them through devastating events and sacrifices as they seek the betterment of humanity. 

(Not a review - Book Cover and Description as part of a paid ad - come back often to see the review and author interview!)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I now know that even wizards can have really, really bad days.....

Amazon Link
Reading Sharon Bayliss' "Destruction" makes my holiday's look like utopia.

It is safe to say that David Vandergraff has had better holiday seasons.  Not that he is a grinch - not by any means.  But bringing home two love children from that you had to an affair and introducing them to your wife and three kids without warning could land you on Santa's (and your wife's) naughty list. Mistletoe magic just isn't that powerful to fix these kinds of problems.

Like that isn't enough - David discovers he is losing his company, cars are crashing into his living room, kids are running away, a daughters friend who they were watching while the parents were on vacation becomes a little more of a permanent member of the family.  It is enough to make a person want to flip out and look for someone to kill......

After a freaking crappy week like that, one would think that discovering that they could do magic would be the high point of David's week.  But discovering there is magic, and then discovering he is a "dark wizard" doesn't seem to be adding anything but more problems.

Oh yeah - everyone else around David are wizards too, but for some strange reason he seems to be the last one in on the joke.  It is almost like he has been living in a fantasy world up until this discovery - could there be an logical explanation for this?  Unfortunately, when your whole family consists of wizards and witches, logic isn't always applicable.


Bayliss has created a first novel in a series that will grab your attention.  The best part is that the second book is already out - so you don't have to wait six years like you do with George R R Martin.

I literally have over 200 books sitting in my "in box", but every once in a while I need to take a break and read something that I pick and that I want to read.  The next book on my "me" list is "Watch Me Burn" - which happens to also be by Bayliss and happens to be the next book in this series.

This book was that good.

The characters popped off the page to me, and each had a personality that seemed to be uniquely "theirs" - in a way that felt natural, not contrived.

I don't know if this book is listed as Young Adult or not, and I really don't care.  I liked Hunger Games and Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children because they were great stories.  "Destruction" is a title that should be on your "to read" list if you liked those books, no matter what age you are.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Freaky creatures, insane asylums, and secrets make for an awesome adventure!

Amazon Link
Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro follows the young protagonists Hunter Glenn, and Elly Ann through an adventure ripe with adversity, paranormal monsters, secret societies, and most haunting of all, a life without their parents.
The book follows both, the sibling’s emotional struggle from their parent’s sudden loss, as well as their physical journey into a new and strange “home”, an ancient and creepy mansion known only as the Belmonte Estate.

It is here where they first learn of their new guardian, an eccentric old man named Professor Clandestine and the rest of the mansion's caretakers. Tossed into their bedroom, and locked away under the pretense of “safety concerns” it does not take long for the children to hatch an escape plan.

Follow the children as they slowly unravel the secrets of their parent’s true identities, the origin of the strange Mansion, and their inheritance into an ancient secret society of monster hunters known as Seekers.

Even though I'm 23 years old, I am still a sucker for a good book about kids.  Add in some freaky creatures, mystery, adventure, and maybe even a little magic?  I am sold.  Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro is about two siblings, Elly and Hunter who, after the death of their parents, are sent to live with a godfather whom they have never met, let alone heard of.

Obviously, the kids are scared and intimidated by meeting the stranger, especially since, get this, he has them delivered to an abandoned looking insane asylum.  I don't want to give away too much, but as cool as an abandoned insane asylum would be to explore, the truth is far more incredible. 

Admittedly, I fell in love with Hunter and Elly pretty early on.  They're dealing with a lot of loss and change all at the same time.  Even through the sadness and pain they are feeling, they both have a lot of spunk and are the epitome of kids being kids.  Albeit, kids thrown into a crazy world of monsters and adventure with no prior knowledge.

Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro is a great start to a series and I cannot wait to read more.  There is so much world to learn about and explore in J. L. Hickey's story.  He only touched the surface in this book, and I anticipate many great stories from him.

(Guest review by Lauren Pesci)