Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Review: The Spider and the Stone by Glen Craney

The Spider and the Stone is a quasi-fictional/historical account of Robert de Bruce's reign.  The book begins around early 1300 A.D. in Scotland.  William Wallace (think Mel Gibson/Braveheart) has died a most horrific hanging/disembowelment, leaving Scotland wide open for a new ruler.  The Scottish clans are feuding among themselves while England (King Edward/Longshanks) is vying for control.  The hero of this true tale is Black Douglas, or Jamie Douglas, who sides with Robert the Bruce to gain peace among the nation while driving back the English.  But the peace doesn't last long.
https://www.amazon.com/Spider-Stone-Novel-Scotlands-Douglas-ebook/dp/B00G8OOT7M/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=glen+craney&qid=1569362575&sr=8-2

The title is taken from a famous Scottish legend about Jamie Douglas who is losing.  His men are outnumbered, out-financed, and out-weaponed.  While sitting in a cave, he sees a spider who is unsuccessfully building a web.  The spider never gives up and creates a beautiful masterpiece.  In Scottish lore it is Robert the Bruce who was inspired by the spider, and not Jamie Douglas, but all the same, it changed Scotland's future.  In the end, if you know your history, Robert's son David becomes Scotland's king at the age of five.

My Review:
This book had everything-tons of history and research, great writing, romance, and a few additional characters Mister Craney threw into the story to make things even more interesting.  I especially found the Culdees fascinating.  This sect of Druids are said to be the original Christians within Europe-not the Catholics.  As a KT buff, I loved the role the Templars played after they were excommunicated from France.  Craney gave the Black Douglas a love interest that worked well throughout the story.  Other real characters I enjoyed learning about were Isabella from France and the Comyn clan.  This is a MUST read for history lovers.  I've read Craney's books before and they are all great, but this one is my favorite to date.  5/5 Stars.


VBT Presents: 13 Steps to the Cellar by Teresa Mathews


Mystery
Date Published: September 4, 2019
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

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Thirteen Steps to the Cellar. They were steep; they were narrow—but was a fall down them enough to have caused the twenty-seven deep lacerations to her aunt’s head? 

Callie Harris travels from her home in Alabama to her aunt’s former mansion in Maine to unravel the haunting forty-year-old mystery of Dr. Laverne Harris Doss’ brutal death.

Why wasn’t a murder weapon found? Was her uncle justly convicted of the killing? Was his mistress involved? Or was the murderer the bearded stranger rumored to have arrived by train that night?

In the charming town of Richmond, located on the banks of Maine’s historic Kennebec River, Callie uncovers the community’s darkest secrets—a botched police investigation, a betrayed widow’s lie, a dead woman’s blackmail, and a wealthy philanthropist’s shame. The web of intrigue extends far beyond her suspicions and its connection to her personal story pierces Callie to her core.


About the Author

TERESA MATHEWS is a graduate of The University of South Alabama.  She’s a member of the Mobile Writers Guild and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association.

An avid gardener and artist, she has multiple book covers to her credit. Several years ago after visiting the site of her real-life aunt’s murder, Teresa discovered a third passion–storytelling. Although inspired by an actual tragedy, Thirteen Steps to the Cellar is fiction.

Raised on the Gulf Coast, Teresa, her husband, and son now live on a farm with a second home on the sparkling white sands of Fort Morgan, Alabama. This is her first novel.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

VBT Book Tours Presents: A Beginner's Guide to Skepticism


Popolar science
Publisher:  Simple Story
Date Published: January 14, 2019

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Never in history have we known more than we know today. In the age of knowledge, science has enveloped our lives and influences humanity in almost every aspect. At any given moment, dozens of studies are published in countless areas of knowledge – studies that bring us closer to understanding the laws of nature, as well as advance human thinking towards the future. Nevertheless, faith, religion, spirituality and divinity still play a central role in the lives of many people. With the gap between what we know and what we believe is constantly growing, the authors of this book has found it necessary to offer tools for critical thinking about the relationship between science and faith.


About the Authors


Maor Kohn
Ph.D. in Geography, with specialization in Environment and public health from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. M.a. in Geopolitics and B.A in Political Science. A Society and Environment lecturer.



Mati Cohen
Ph.D. in Biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science, specializing in structural biology, cancer research, gene therapy and pharmacology



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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

VBT Presents: 50 Dinosaur Tales by Sabrina Ricci

Short Stories, Non-fiction
Date Published: October 8, 2019

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“Gualicho takes a bite out of the ornithopod’s back as it runs away from her, causing it to stumble and fall. She jumps on top of the body and rips open its neck with her teeth. The ornithopod becomes still and limp.

Satisfied, Gualicho begins to feast. But, after only two bites, she senses something is wrong. She lifts her head and sees a Mapusaurus making its way toward her.”

Blending fiction with fact, 50 Dinosaur Tales imagines the way 50 newly described dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous lived in their natural habitats.

Also included is a list of fun facts for each dinosaur story, and facts about 108 additional dinosaurs.

If you want to hear more about new dinosaurs as soon as they are discovered, listen to the weekly podcast I Know Dino.




About the Author



Sabrina is a writer and podcaster. She loves nerdy things, like technical specs and dinosaurs, especially sauropods. Sabrina and her husband Garret produce the weekly dinosaur podcast, I Know Dino (iknowdino.com).



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Monday, September 16, 2019

VBT Presents: Eve 2.0 by Winter Lawrence


YA Action Adventure Fantasy | Science Fiction | LitRPG
Publisher: Fire & Ice Young Adult Books
Date Published: August 27, 2019

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Gwen Nielson is a gamer and she’s damn proud of it. Her mother may be a former beauty queen and her kid sister may participate in every pageant the state of Colorado has to offer, but Gwen is content to stay at home and play on her Xbox. To her, life isn’t about fashion and make-up; it’s about making a difference and keeping a low profile. And while most of the girls at her high school hang out at the local country club vying for the popular boys’ attention, Gwen is cool with having a boyfriend she’s never met. Pete is a fellow online gamer who lives in California. He’s funny and sweet, and his father owns a gaming company, which is an added bonus because Gwen gets to test out new games before they’re released to the public.

When Pete mails a new game for her to beta test, Gwen patiently awaits its arrival, but the package is never delivered. To make matters worse, when she calls to let Pete know, she discovers that he’s at the hospital after succumbing to a mysterious illness. Hours later, an ambulance arrives next door because her neighbor’s youngest son, Ben, suddenly becomes ill too. His parents and doctors aren’t sure why he has slipped into a coma, but when Gwen finds her opened package in Ben’s bedroom, she begins to suspect that the game is responsible for both of the boys’ eerily similar conditions.

Even to Gwen, the idea of a game making people sick sounds absurd, so she decides to test her theory before going to her parents. Unfortunately, her neighbor’s older brother, Ryan, insists on checking out the game with her. That’s when they discover that the disc isn’t a game at all—it’s actually a portal to a high-tech government simulator named Eve 2.0 who’s programmed to trap players until they can complete all of the timed objectives.

With her top-notched gaming skills, Gwen is a formidable opponent, but she quickly begins to realize that playing a game versus living it is a lot harder than she ever imagined. And as the objectives become more difficult and the four kids are forced to work as a team, Gwen concedes that she may not be as good as she needs to be, which just might end up costing her not only her own life, but Pete, Ryan, and Ben’s too.


About the Author 

Winter lives in the moment and loves nothing more than being surrounded by her family, her fur-babies, and a ton of great reads! When she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she's usually thinking up far away, fantastical worlds or she's cooking up a storm in the kitchen!

Because of her love for all things literary, Winter pursued a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Professionally, she is a manuscript editor and, in her spare time, she enjoys hosting author spotlights, posting book reviews, and teaching creative writing workshops.

In her private time, she is an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romances, and one day she hopes to inspire young readers in the same way her favorite authors continue to inspire her today.


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Thursday, September 12, 2019

VBT Presents: The Face of the Seal by Jennifer Cumiskey



Historical Suspense
Publisher: Windchime Press
Date Published: 8/8/2019
*FREE With Kindle Unlimited*

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An international high-society crime and mystery with elements of noir fiction, illuminates a part of the dark history seldom revealed. 

 When Gerel Garnier, Paris’ up-and-coming jewelry designer, is commissioned by Britain’s famous art patron William Blackwell IV to create a replica of the 19th Century Qing Dynasty Empress Seal, she believes that her artist’s dream is finally coming true. Blackwell’s name and fortune could catapult her to the status of crème de la crème in the world of couture art design. Little does she know that the dream job will lure her into a web of treachery, deceit and murder.

While attending the unveiling of the original Empress Seal at the Forbidden City, Gerel stumbles on a startling secret about her family roots, and she is a woman on a mission ever since. From the Forbidden City back to Paris, she careens from dark secrets to illuminating revelation as the truth of her lineage emerges. An enlightening epiphany hits her: She Gerel Garnier, is the heir of the face of the Empress Seal–a rare gemstone that has witnessed centuries of love, hatred, faith and bloodshed.

Now the face of the seal has fallen unexpectedly into her hands. What is she going to do with the gemstone that seems to be a curse to whoever possesses it yet still hunted by the dark forces of the world?


About the Author

Jennifer Cumiskey was born and grew up in Shanghai, China. She immigrated to the United States in 1986. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and an MBA in finance. After a career in corporate finance and management consulting, she now writes full-time as an indie author. Her writings often explores the theme of clash of civilizations and illuminates the tenderness of the human heart by shining a light on its darkest corners. She resides with her husband Paul in Vienna, Virginia. She can be reached at www.windchimepress.com


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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

VBT: Whiskey Everything by Ryan Ringbloom



The Whiskey Series
RomCom
Date Published: September 1st 2019

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Four books. Four whiskey-fueled romances.


Dick: Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It's a fluke. Too much whiskey. Believe me when I say, it will NEVER happen again.

I’m trying not to take it personally. Sh*t happens. It’s not a reflection on me. He claims it was too much whiskey. A one time occurrence. And I believe him.

But then why the hell does it happen a second time?



Chick: Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It's a fluke. Too much whiskey. Believe me when I say, it will NEVER happen again.

I’m trying not to take it personally. Sh*t happens. It was a blind date. She drank too much whiskey. I hope it wasn’t a reflection on me.

Okay, so the first date didn't work out. But what happens when the second one doesn’t either?



Trick: Everything usually goes my way. Life’s good. But after a bad breakup, a few problems emerge that I need help fixing.

He has problems all right. Sure, I’ll help. Just because I’m unlucky in love doesn’t mean the next girl should be too.

But maybe those problems aren’t so bad after all?



Flick: Everything usually goes my way. Life’s good. But after a bad breakup, a big secret unfolds that no one can ever know.

She has a secret all right. Sure, I’ll keep it. Just because we can’t tell anyone doesn’t mean we can't make it work.

But maybe some secrets do need to come out?

*F/F Romance



About the Author

Hi, I’m Ryan Ringbloom, a Jersey girl who doesn’t write Alphas. I couldn’t if I tried. Social Media stresses me the frick out, yet I can’t seem to walk away from it. I love to binge watch TV. I think cats are awesome. I’m obsessed with coffee and Fireball. But never together. I am counting down the days until self-driving cars are the norm. And if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, I won’t even try to run. I will let the first one I see eat my brain and get it over with.



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The Bifurcation of Dungsten Crease

    Science Fiction Date Published: March 15, 2021 Publisher: Del Sol Press In the course of a morning, Dungsten Crease resurrec...