Archive for the ‘5 Star Books’ Category

Dragon’s Trail


Dragon’s Trail

By Joseph Malik

Genre: Fantasy-Thriller

“I didn’t come here to sell my soul. I came here to buy it back.”

Once dubbed “The Deadliest Man Alive,” Jarrod Torrealday is a former Olympic saber hopeful and medieval weapons expert banned from competition for killing another fencer in a duel. He now scrapes by as a stuntman and technical consultant for low-budget fantasy films.

A young sorcerer from another world offers Jarrod the gig of a lifetime: adviser to the war council of a magical realm teetering on the edge of collapse, with a foreign army massing just beyond its borders.

Swept into a treacherous and deadly world of intrigue and conspiracy, Jarrod soon learns that the enemy mastermind is also from Earth, and has laid the foundations for a new kind of war.

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Author Bio

Joseph Malik writes and lectures on advanced intelligence theory and asymmetric warfare for the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has worked as a stuntman, a high-rise window washer, a freelance writer, a computational linguist, a touring rock musician, and a soldier in the United States Special Operations Command. A veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he lives in the Pacific Northwest along with his wife and their American Bulldog, and currently serves in the Army Reserve.

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My Review

5 stars

 Jarrod Torrealday is a former Olympic saber fencer. He is banned from competition after an accident that killed another fencer. He has been working as a stuntman and consultant. Then a sorcerer gives him an offer that he can’t refuse. He is taken to Gateskeep and works as a knight. But he is supposed to be the key to defeating the other kingdoms sorcerer, one that has spent time on Earth and has similar advantages to Jarrod.

This book has great story development and amazing action scenes. You can tell Joseph Malik has experience with swords because that knowledge rings throughout the story. But that is not the only thing going for this story. It is full of colorful descriptions that make you feel right there next to Jarrod. It was so easy to get into this wonderful story that I didn’t realize I had been up most of the night reading.

If you like fantasy stories with a realistic twist this is the book for you. This is a great story that will leave you wanting more from Joseph Malik.


I received Dragon’s Trail from Sage’s Blog Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.


The author is giving away 10 ebook copies of Dragon’s Trail!

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Spirit Magnet in Texas


Spirit Magnet in Texas: 20 Ghostly Encounters by Ann Bridges

From the clouds with ghostly faces in the Chisos Mountains to the spirits of the Alamo, follow in the footsteps of a “spirit magnet” as she takes a wild Western romp across haunted Texas and beyond. Meet Joshua’s ghost in his creepy room in Mineral Wells and Sara, who is one of the most active spirits at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio. Did phantom soldiers holding swords of fire really save the Alamo from destruction by the Mexicans? Is it really Teddy Roosevelt’s ghost that haunts the bar at the Menger? Be amazed at the phenomenal results from the Spirit Scanner. Find out in this factual and spine-tingling adventure across the Lone Star State.

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My Review

5 stars

Ann Bridges is a self-professed spirit magnet. She tells her story of how it seems spirits have been trying to get her attention for a while. That whenever she is at a site there seems to be more activity from the ghosts. Ann has gathered her experiences with twenty different sites in Texas that she has visited along with the different things she has experienced while on site.

Follow along as Ann explores houses, cabins, stores and haunted houses across Texas. She tells her experiences at each location. I loved the color photos of locations, object and orbs. And at the end of most sections is a note about the visitor information so you can visit these locations.

I love all the stories and different experiences. There is so much history at all of the locations and I absolutely love all the encounters, scary and harmless. If you like the paranormal and ghost hunting this is one book that you need to add to your collection. There are plenty of wonderful places you can haunt on your next trip to Texas.


I received Spirit Magnet in Texas from Schiffer Publishing free of charge. This has not influenced my opinion of this book.

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This Way to the End Times: Classic Tales of the Apocalypse edited by Robert Silverberg

THIS WAY TO THE END TIMES: Classic Tales of the Apocalypse, gathers 21 compelling, gripping stories of the not-too-distant demise of the earth as we know it. And what a collection. From little-known, brilliant tales by sci-fi legends Jules Vernes and Olaf Stapledon, to intense short works by sci-fi masters Ursula K. Le Guin, Connie Willis, Jack Vance, and Brian W. Aldiss, to haunting works by contemporary authors Dale Bailey, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Karen Haber and Megan Arkenberg, THIS WAY TO THE END TIMES paves the road to the fantastical future, alternating humor with grit, and hope with ghastly post apocalyptic visions.

Guest editor Robert Silverberg—winner of numerous Hugo and Nebula awards, Grand Master of Science Fiction Writers of America, and a Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductee—hand-picked each story, and offers an introduction to each, as well as an introduction to the anthology as a whole.

A unique collection for longtime and new fans of speculative fiction, THIS WAY TO THE END TIMES roars into the future wide-eyed and full speed ahead.

Complete list of authors:

Jules Verne, James Elroy Flecker, Frank Lillie Pollock, G. Peyton Wertenbaker, Philip Latham, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, Brian W. Aldiss, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Silverberg, James Tiptree, Jr., Malcolm Edwards, Connie Willis, Karen Haber, by Dale Bailey, Megan Artenberg, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Olaf Stapledon

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My Review

5 stars

The question many authors have explored is how the world will end. This is a collection of 21 stories from classic science fiction authors and present day authors and how they think the world would end. I loved how each story came up with different endings. You will read about the world ending my ice, fire, flood, aliens and so much more. It was great reading from some of my favorite authors and discovering new ones.

I have to say I loved Robert Silverberg’s introductions to each story. They helped me to figure out when the author wrote the book and who they were so I could find other stories by them. I enjoyed following along as humans try to figure out their history and how one many decides to live forever but fails to grow along with the rest of humankind.

If you like apocalyptic stories this is one book that you need to add to you collection. You can’t go wrong with a collection of so many classic authors.

I received This Way to the End Time from Over the River PR free of charge. This has not influenced my opinion of this book.

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Blood of the Sixth


Blood of the Sixth by K.R. Rowe

Genre: Horror

In the quaint Southern town of Port Bella Rosa, something sinister lurks beneath the cobblestones. When hunger stirs a centuries-old evil, a demon awakens, releasing its hunters in search of prey. Jackals swarm from the mist, seeking out quarry, sating their master with offerings of human flesh.

Allie Kent catches a glimpse of the first victim: a corpse with its organs, muscle and bone all consumed, leaving nothing more than skin behind. While police work to solve the unexplained murder, more bodies are found mutilated. Finally convinced the killer isn’t human, Detective Phillip Chambers is desperate to shield Allie from harm.

But something haunts Allie: shadows spill through her darkened window; nightmares invade her sleep while visions confuse her waking thoughts. With Phillip her only protection, Allie struggles to keep her independence in check while treading a thin line between reality and insanity. But is the evil dwelling beneath the stones her only true threat—or will the demons in Allie’s head have the strength to destroy them both?

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Author Bio

K. R. Rowe is a multi-genred author who spent her childhood in the scenic city of Chattanooga, TN and still resides there today. Her father was born and raised near Tellico Plains, in the heart of Tennessee’s tract of the Appalachian Mountains. With her mother’s South Carolina heritage, her southern roots run deep. From a very young age, her overpowering love of the mountains continues to draw her to them. When not tied to her desk, her free time with her family is often spent enjoying any activity that can take her far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and into the peace of the mountains.

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My Review

5 stars

An ancient demon has awakened and is starting to kill humans. Allie Kent has her own demons to deal with but stumbles upon the first body. Detective Phillip Chambers is investigating the deaths but soon realizes that the killer is not human. Phillip is trying to protect Allie but she is going to have to go to battle herself to stop the demon.

This is a great story filled with lots of action and a great bad guy. Allie is kind of off from most people but that is what makes her special, I could help but cheer her on. I love how Phillip is trying to protect her. It’s such a change from the hard-nosed detective you usually read.

This is a quick read with lots of description. I easy fell into this story and didn’t want it to end. I will be adding K.R. Rowe to my watch list for her other books.


I received Blood of the Sixth from Sage’s Blog Tours free of charge. This does not influence my review in any way.

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The Rootlets: Trouble at Plantasy Land (Book 2) by Vicki Marquez

In the second book of The Rootlets series, fans of the award-winning, Super Rootabilities, will rejoin Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley on their first superhero adventure!

It’s opening day at Mr. Fungo Fungi’s magnificent amusement park, Plantasy Land…and The Rootlets couldn’t be more excited! With special surprises and newly sprouted rides, this is sure to be the greatest day ever! But when The Rootlets arrive at the park, they realize that something is terribly wrong…Plantasy Land is in trouble! Someone – or something – is destroying the park. Could it be The Great Zucchini – Mr. Fungi’s new magician? Or could there be an even greater danger lurking beyond the park? Most of all, can The Rootlets trust their new super rootabilities to help them save their favorite place on the planet?

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Vicki Marquez


Vicki Marquez is a certified health coach, plant-based chef, author and TV personality whose passion for living a healthy, vibrant life has become her mission to help others do the same.

After earning her degree in nutrition and health science, Vicki continued her wellness education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she studied over 100 dietary theories with the world’s leading nutrition and holistic health experts. Vicki went on to receive her culinary education and training at Rouxbe Cooking School where she earned her plant-based chef certification.

In 2013, Vicki launched Inner Figure – her health coaching practice that offers one-on-one lifestyle coaching, robust corporate wellness programs and a monthly plant-based cooking club all built around her philosophy to “live healthy from the inside out.”

As Inner Figure’s client base grew, so did Vicki’s desire to help inspire and empower children to make healthier choices. From this inspiration, The Rootlets were born: four veggie-haired, cartoon superheroes on a quest to promote good nutrition by making veggies fun and exciting. Vicki launched The Rootlets, LLC, and authored the first book in her series, The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities, in October 2014.

In 2016, Vicki branched into television as the creator and host of the healthy living cable show, Nourished. The program blends wellness how-to tips and delicious veggie-centric recipes into a series that’s structured much like her one-on-one coaching sessions.

Through her private health coaching practice, children’s brand and TV show, Vicki aims to make healthy eating and living easy, accessible and entertaining for everyone.

Vicki is a founding member of The New Self-Health Movement; a member of the International Association for Health Coaches and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators; and is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

Vicki lives in Chicago with her husband, stepdaughter and two Yorkies. When she’s not writing, coaching or cooking, you can find her on the yoga mat, traveling the world or snuggled on the sofa with her pups and a great book.

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My Review

5 stars

Everyone is excited for opening day of Mr. Fungo Fungi’s amusement park, Plantasy Land. Every year there are new rides and attractions and this year has a new magic show – The Great Zucchini. But when the kids get to the park there is no one there and the rides are rotting. Something is seriously wrong so the kids go to the Twisted Teapot to see if Yammy Grammy has some advice for them. Instead they find Yammy’s legend book. The Rootlets are going to have to use their super rootabilites to stop what is happening to the amusement park.

This is a wonderful story. Planet Planted is a world of vegetables. The Rootlets are children that have colorful vegetable hair but the Rootlets have Super Rootabilities. They are just learning about their Rootabilities with the help of Yammy Grammy. This story shows how they all work together to help clean up the amusement park along with using their Rootabilities. And don’t forget the wonderful illustrations. They are a sure kid pleaser.

This is a great chapter book and a wonderful addition to any child’s bookshelf. I strongly recommend getting this book for any child in your life.

I received The Rootlets from PR by the Book free of charge.


Interview of Vicki Marquez

  1. What inspired you to create this series?

A: The idea of The Rootlets popped into my head one day as I was thinking about how I could help inspire kids to want to — and to be excited to — eat their veggies and make good, healthy choices. That thought lit a fire inside of me and I immediately knew that these characters were something special – that’s what inspired me to take action, create this series, build this brand and bring these characters to life.

  1. How would you describe the dynamic between the Rootlets—Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley?

A: The Rootlets are best friends, with a special bond and a lot of trust between them. They count on (and value) each others’ unique set of talents and strengths, and they operate like a little team…always rooting for and looking out for one another, no matter what kind of trouble their next adventure brings!

  1. How did you decide what traits the Rootlets would possess?

A: It wasn’t actually a conscious decision – they each began taking on certain characteristics with that initial vision I had of them. Right away it was clear who they were and what was important to each one of them. Brocc was smart and into studying, Cornelius was the jokester who loved to have fun. Kaley was a fancy girly-girl and Carrotina was a brave adventure-seeker. It felt like I knew them.

A few months after I wrote the first book (Super Rootabilities), my husband said to me that each Rootlet reminded him of me, like they were me — at the core — divided into four. And in retrospect, I can totally see that…everything that The Rootlets love, I love. So, I guess that maybe I subconsciously selected their traits based on those things…and that each one actually represents a little part of me.

  1. We have to ask about one of the most distinct aspects of The Rootlets—their vegetable hair. What inspired that idea?

A: When I first transitioned to a plant-based diet, my best friend kept calling me her “veggie head.” That nickname was running through my brain when I first had the idea of The Rootlets. I envisioned these adorable kids with big, veggie hairdos: a broccoli afro, carrot pigtails, blonde kernels, leafy green locks…it was how I saw them, and it was absolutely perfect.

  1. The Rootlets features bright and brilliant illustrations. Did the characters look the way you envisioned while writing the book?

A: My illustrator, Jeremy, and I actually developed the characters long before I wrote the first story, so I was lucky to have a very clear visual reference of these kids as I was developing the series. But I will say that when Jeremy sent me those very first sketches of The Rootlets, he 1000% captured on paper what these characters looked like in my head.

  1. Since you are an expert in health and nutrition with years of experience, what types of research did you do to write The Rootlets?

A: The Rootlets series is all about the evolution of these four young kids who learn that they’re superheroes and who now have to navigate the huge responsibilities that come along with that, so all of my research was focused around character and story development, as well as general writing tips and guidelines for kids literature.

The health and nutrition aspects of this series are indirect and expressed creatively, so that requires a lot less research, and a lot more imagination.

  1. In The Rootlets, adventurous kids who love to play and a healthy lifestyle go hand-in-hand. Was that connection intentional?

Yes, it was intentional, but also very obvious. The Rootlets are relatable role models who love to play, explore and go on little adventures, just like most kids – and those are all really great health-promoting activities to encourage.

  1. What is the key to inspiring kids to make healthier choices?

A: There are two keys: fun and familiarity! Fun is the easy one…kids seek it, love it, have to have it…and they’re motivated by it! So, when veggies and fruits are presented in a fun, exciting way, kids are much more interested in them.

Familiarity is the other key. Most kids (and adults) prefer to try (and buy) things that they’re familiar with. The Rootlets series introduces and popularizes healthy, plant-based foods, so that when kids see them in the grocery store or at the farmers market, they’re much more curious and excited to try them.

  1. Why is reaching and educating kids about healthy choices in elementary school important to their lifelong health?

A: Because so many of the habits that we have as adults stem from the habits that we developed when we were little. Good habits, like brushing our teeth, are gems that’ll serve us well our whole lives, but bad habits — especially unhealthy eating habits — are really hard to break and can lead to serious chronic disease and illness. Teaching kids, from an early age, about the superpowers of veggies and the importance of making good nutritional choices, establishes the foundation for them to build strong, healthy habits that will stay with them as they grow up.

  1. What would you consider to be the biggest challenge to raising healthy kids today?

A: Time…for sure! Parents are SO busy these days that finding the time to meal plan, shop and cook can be a real challenge. That’s why I’m really excited that our Rootlets blog now features quick and healthy kid-friendly recipes that parents can easily whip up and feel really good about sharing with their little ones.

  1. You are a certified plant-based chef. What are some of your most popular dishes among kids?

A: Ooh, there are so many good ones, but I’d have to say that the most popular dishes are the ones that kids can customize on their own or help make. For example: power bowls (where you start with a grain and then add your favorite toppings and sauces) tacos, wraps, homemade pizzas, smoothies…all of those are always kid-pleasers! And anything with cacao or chocolate, of course!

  1. You also host a healthy living cable TV show, “Nourished.” How does the process of preparing for the show compare to writing The Rootlets?

A: The process is somewhat similar, actually. Each individual episode of “Nourished” and each Rootlets story is part of a larger overarching series, so while each one has to independently stand alone, they also have to be able to work well within that series.

As for the actual prep process, it’s basically the same. I begin with an outline, then I put on my creativity cap and continue to write and expand on the story or episode. I edit, get my team involved, consider visuals, edit some more until I have a concrete finished product…then it’s production time!

  1. When did your interest in nutrition and healthy food begin? Which authors inspired you as a child?

A: In my mid-20s, I started paying close attention to what I was eating and how it was affecting me. I cut back on the highly processed junk food that I had been accustomed to eating my entire life, and I began eating real, whole, natural foods. Becoming aware of that food/body connection, and how my diet had been directly impacting my overall health, was a huge a-ha moment for me! Once I saw (and felt) the correlation between eating well and feeling good, my interest in health and nutrition grew naturally.

As a kid, I loved Valerie Tripp, Shel Silverstein, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Peggy Parish and of course, Dr. Seuss.

  1. The Rootlets are superheroes with special powers, which contribute to their big adventures. Which superpower would you choose to possess?

A: Ooh, good question! I’d LOVE some sort of healing touch power. To be able to free people and animals from pain, sickness and illness…that would be the greatest!

  1. What other projects are you currently working on?

A: Right now I’m devoting the majority of my time to The Rootlets, writing book three, developing our app, attending school events and marketing the brand — and when I’m not working on that, I’m writing, creating content and testing recipes for “Nourished” and coaching my private and corporate clients.

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Meet Me in Atlantis: Across Three Continents in Search of the Legendary Sunken City

by Mark Adams

A few years ago, Mark Adams made a strange discovery: Far from alien conspiracy theories and other pop culture myths, everything we know about the legendary lost city of Atlantis comes from the work of one man, the Greek philosopher Plato. Stranger still: Adams learned there is an entire global sub-culture of amateur explorers who are still actively and obsessively searching for this sunken city, based entirely on Plato’s detailed clues.  What Adams didn’t realize was that Atlantis is kind of like a virus—and he’d been exposed.

In Meet Me in Atlantis, Adams racks up frequent-flier miles tracking down these Atlantis obsessives, trying to determine why they believe it’s possible to find the world’s most famous lost city—and whether any of their theories could prove or disprove its existence. The result is a classic quest that takes readers to fascinating locations to meet irresistible characters; and a deep, often humorous look at the human longing to rediscover a lost world.

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My Review

5 stars

Atlantis is one of those great myths in time that seem to draw people in and leave them hunting for more. Mark Adams was curious about Atlantis and caught the bug to know more. But the story of Atlantis is told solely by Plato which means this could be about a real city or a philosophical view of people. Mark looks into different stories that people have come up with to explain Atlantis. You will range from those based off of Plato’s story to some that are way out there.

I loved this story. Of course there is not going to be an ending but it was a great read to follow along with Mark as he discovered a lot more about Atlantis than I even knew about. And in the end the question is if we are seeking a real ruined city or if we are trying to find that perfect civilization that ends in ruin.

If you like the story of Atlantis and want more information I recommend checking out this book. It definitely opened my eyes to those that chase the Atlantis myth.

I received Meet me in Atlantis from the publisher free of charge. This does not influence my opinion of this book.

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Escape Clause


Escape Clause (Virgil Flowers – 9) by John Sandford

Whenever you hear the sky rumble, that usually means a storm. In Virgil Flowers’ case, make that two. The exceptional new thriller from the writer whose books are “pure reading pleasure” (Booklist)

The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others — as Virgil is about to find out.

Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another…she thinks Virgil’s kind of cute.

“You mess around with Sparkle,” Frankie told Virgil, “you could get yourself stabbed.”
“She carries a knife?”
“No, but I do.”

Forget a storm – this one’s a tornado.

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My Review

5 stars

Virgil Flowers is called in to investigate the theft of two Amour tigers from the Minnesota zoo. It is feared that they are going to be used in Chinese medicine. The kidnappers are not the brightest but it is still a race against time for Virgil to find the tigers.

But that is not the only things happening. Sparkle, Frankie’s sister has stopped by Virgil’s place. She is investigating local migrant workers and how they are abused and taken advantage of in a local factory. Virgil has to run home to Mankato to help protect Sparkle against the factory owner that don’t want any of this information to get out to the public. Virgil is also playing with fire since Sparkle seems interested in him and Frankie has put her foot down about any funny business.

I really enjoyed this story. We do know who kidnapped the tigers and their plans but we follow along as Virgil is trying to stop them. This is great cat and mouse action since the kidnappers are not top of the line, professionals. The other story of the migrant works was done well. He has to step in and keep Sparkle. But he has to dance on a razor’s edge because too much contact and Frankie is going to put him in his place.

I really enjoyed this story. Although the story did have a serious side with animals being killed for their parts, it was handled well. It is my first book with Virgil Flowers in it but it won’t be my last.

I received Escape Clause from the publisher free of charge.

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