The Sword Chronicles: Child of the Empire

About the book by Michaelbrent Collings
Science Fiction & Fantasy, 610 Pages,
Age Level 12 to 18

Cover ArtShe is a Dog – one of the many children and teens across the empire of Ansborn who have been sentenced to fight in the arenas. There they fight in battle after battle until they die for the sport of the people of Ansborn – an empire built atop the peaks of five mountains.

But one day she picks up a knife… and everything changes.

She discovers she is a Greater Gift – one of a handful of magic users with powers so great they have only two choices: to join the Empire as one of its premier assassins, or die as a threat to the Empire itself.

She is no longer a Dog. Now, she is Sword. And she will soon realize that in this Empire, not all is what it seems. Good and evil collide, and she can never be sure whom to trust – not even herself.

She holds life in her hands for some. Brings death by her blade to others.

She is a killer.
She is a savior.

She is Sword.

Child of Sorrows, the second in this series has just come out! If you love this one, the next is already waiting for you.

Amazon   |  Author Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Reviewed by Guest Reviewer, the Twisted Book Carmudgeon

I was asked to read this book for The Twisted Book Curmudgeon.  All I can say is this is a five star book.  If you are looking for a great fantasy book to read this is it.  The author takes you on a journey of the rebirth of the main character, who has no name in the beginning.  She is a strong, young girl who lives in a world where “kill or be killed” is the norm.   From her lowly beginnings as a “dog”, which is a sort of gladiator who must fight to the death as entertainment for the masses, she becomes a talented warrior and is given the name ” Sword.”  All the while she dreams of a man and woman who once loved her.

The twists and turns and action in this plot made it impossible to put down. The lines between good and evil are blurred with each character Sword encounters.  Who are the good guys and who are the bad is really questionable.  There is no real evil in the story. It seems the characters believe their motives are pure.  The  plot moves quickly and flows seamlessly – a pure joy to read.

Written for young adult reads I would say about sixth grade and up based on the sophisticated plot twists and inference used in this story. I really think adults would enjoy this book as well.

Throughout the book, I found myself intrigued by Sword and her adventures.  Unlike many series, the story ends with so much explained.  Yet, there is so much more I really want to know.  I love when a book stays on your mind and you can’t wait to read more.

♦   ♦   ♦

With thanks to Lilac Reviews for the opportunity.  Twisted Book Carmudgeon’s Facebook Page

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Interview with Tim Hemlin

What book do you have on your shelf that you go to over and over for help on writing technique/ craft. Why do you find this one so helpful? 

I reread passages of the masters when I feel I need help kick starting my own writing.  My favorites include Hemingway’s short stories, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and almost anything by Henry James.  I like the balance of Hemingway’s tight style with Tolstoy and James’s eye for detail and description.

Author Photo Tim HemlinWhat book have you loved/ kept from your youth?  What made you fall in love with it?

When I was in 7th grade my English teacher, Mr. Perry Onion, handed out this thick paperback to the class and at first I groaned.  The Hobbit?  What in the world was a hobbit?  It sounded dumb.  The only books I’d read at that point had been about sports, and they had pictures, too.  Mr. Onion introduced the book and read the beginning to us. He then told us to take it home and read the next couple of chapters.  I read that and more.  I couldn’t put it down.  I decided right then and there I wanted to be Gandalf when I grew up.  When I told Mr. Onion how much I liked The Hobbit, he mentioned there were three other books like it.  My parents were shocked when I told them I wanted to read The Lord of the Rings, and they went right out and bought me the series.  I read every word.  Finding myself in Middle Earth surrounded by all these fantastical creatures not only made me want to read more, it made me want to become a writer.

What is the latest book you are reading?  What drew you to purchase/order it (the subject, a friend recommended it, a gift, you met the author somewhere…. etc)

I often read more than one book at a time.  Usually they’re very different in order to fit the mood I might be in.  Currently I’m reading Krista Tippett’s Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.  Tippett hosts the radio program On BeingBecoming Wise is an extension of the show’s spiritual and philosophical reflection.  Intelligent writing and thought provoking.  On the lighter side, I’m also reading The Archer Files by Ross Macdonald.  Macdonald is a classic in the mystery field–as is his private investigator Lew Archer–and one of my favorites.  I was given this collection of short stories for my birthday.

What cookbook is your favorite and why?

Any of Julia Child’s cookbooks.  She was so passionate about food and cooking and never cheated a recipe.  When asked during one of the many diet fads which diet she subscribed to, she quipped, “Red meat and gin.”  You’ve got to love a woman like that.

What thing do you do (other than reading/writing) for enjoyment?

I’m a runner and it’s often while running that my stories sort themselves out.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck or come to a fork in the road then gone for a run and come back hot, sweaty and excited because I’ve had a breakthrough.  Running also gets me up out of the chair and away from the computer screen.  I usually try to have a race scheduled, a goal in mind to help with training.  This year I plan to run the Houston Half-Marathon for the fifth time.  I’ve also run six marathons and a number of 25 and 30Ks.  When I really want to get away from literature I watch sports, baseball and football being my guilty pleasures

What is your next book about?

Currently I’m balancing two projects.  One is the sequel to my dystopian CliFi, The Wastelanders.  The other relates to my mysteries.  I’ve always wanted to write a prequel from the private investigator’s point of view.  The story is set in Houston, 1964, which was a huge time of change for the city.  C. J. McDaniels, my main character, is young, restless, and trying to find his place it the world.  In many ways he is like his city.  The times they are a changing, and so is he.

Check out information about his Neil Marshall Mysteries below, follow the tour and enter the giveaway!

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Faith, Family, Film: A Teacher’s Trek

Faith-Family-Film - Banner


TITLE – Faith, Family, Film: A Teacher’s Trek
AUTHOR – Fred Eichelman, EdD
GENRE – Nonfiction Memoir
PUBLICATION DATE – E-book: March 2016; Paperback: May 2016
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 170 pages/42K words
PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press
COVER ARTIST – Natasha Brown

Faith-Family-Film-Fred-Eichelman-FINALBOOK SYNOPSIS

Discover a hidden, heartwarming side of Hollywood and politics you never knew existed.

Faith, Family, Film: A Teacher’s Trek describes the worlds of entertainment, literature, and politics as experienced by the author during his lifetime. Dr. Eichelman reveals how films and television programs influenced his growing up, his teaching career, and his Christian ministry by reflecting upon the beautiful souls who throughout their storied careers have touched numerous lives, not just his own. His anecdotes feature such personalities as John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor, Jimmy Stewart, Rhonda Fleming, Ronald Reagan, Andy Griffith, several Star Trek cast members, and many more celebrities well into the twenty-first century. The introduction by actress, producer, and motivational speaker Nancy Stafford promises that Dr. Eichelman will take you “where no man has gone before,” a promise that he delivers upon in charming, “come in and set a spell” Southern storyteller fashion.




The Kindle Edition Will Be Free Worldwide During This Tour

Enter the contest below to win a copy!

OUR REVIEW – by Felita Daniels

I will share with you that the first section of this memoir was tad slow. But your patience through this segment will be rewarded. It begins with short biographies about his ancestors. How husbands and wives met and what they did for a living is certainly a part of Mr. Eichelman’s heritage. However, it was reminiscent of the Bible passages, where you are told who begat whom. There wasn’t enough emotional connection to get ‘attached’ to them.

When I got to the portion of the memoir of Fred’s life, ah, now I was in!  I was hooked when he shared that he used Star Trek episodes to teach Biblical principles.  He shares about his parents love of animals, entrepreneurial adventures and brushes with Hollywood celebrities.  In all of this, the tone is very realistic and not boastful.

Just like a parable is used in the Bible to reach and teach people, Film and TV are storytelling vehicles also.  This educator saw that and used the medium and relationships with like-minded celebrities to promote good values.  It was a charming and interesting read.

 The Kindle Edition Will Be Free Worldwide During This Tour


One night there was a late phone call from Doc Jones. “Al, Ann, I need a favor. I am taking care of too many sick animals right now, and I have a man here with a pair of dogs he brought from Germany. Rex and Regina. Never seen anything like them. Regina is about to deliver; could you two come over here?”

Of course my parents agreed.

To their surprise they found the dog owner to be Pulitzer Prize–winning author Louis Bromfield. His home was originally in Mansfield, Ohio, but he also had a home in Hollywood, California, and until recently one in Paris, where he had lived a few years. My parents were very familiar with Bromfield, as his books were widely read, and two were made into successful films, The Rains Came and Mrs. Parkington. Bromfield had recently been in Germany and had seen a new breed, Boxers. Boxers were the result of the interbreeding of Bullmastiffs and English Bulldogs and were considered perfect working dogs.

At that time Adolph Hitler was taking control of the German government, and Bromfield knew that if he didn’t bring these dogs to America quickly, he might not get another opportunity.

Al and Ann were happy to help out, and Louis Bromfield was especially pleased that my mother had read several of his books and was a fan. It was a perfect delivery of puppies and he thanked them profusely. Then Bromfield said, “Take your pick of the puppies.” Surprised as they were, they did not hesitate, and four weeks later a female puppy was delivered to their home.

Author Photo - Fred EichelmanAUTHOR BIO

Dr. Fred Eichelman is a retired Virginia public school teacher whose career spanned four decades. He is a graduate of Bridgewater College, with a Master of Education degree from the University of Virginia and a Doctor of Social Studies Education degree awarded by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Dr. Eichelman is the author of three history and government textbooks and a science fiction novel, Valerie in Giantland. He has written for several print magazines and has served as a book and film reviewer. He is on the board of directors for Point North † Outreach Ministries and editor of its publication, Point North † Tidings.

Author Photo – His wife, Carolyn Eichelman, is the photographer (copyright 2015)




US ONLY: 1 autographed copy of Faith, Family, Film
INTERNATIONAL: 5 digital autographed photographs of 1 or more celebrities (5 winners)

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Flawed Characters

Michell Grey PhotoWe asked Michelle Grey to share with us her views on flawed Characters…

Hello, and thanks for letting me join you today. My name is Michelle Grey, and I write contemporary romantic suspense. I enjoyed reading several of your reviews and appreciate your honesty and insights. I was asked to talk about turning character flaws into something that adds to the story line.

Good fiction, in general, MUST incorporate character flaws into the story line. Part of the reason we read is to experience the evolution of a character, and the journey that forces his or her growth.

In Convergence, my most recent novel in the Long Shot Series, Tori Whitlock carries a lot of baggage and uses alcohol to cope. Her inability to resolve her past drives her need to chase tornadoes for a living, and her most consistent and trusted relationship is with a bottle of Wild Turkey.

The story, set around the premise of a serial killer targeting her, is primarily about Tori (and Jack Mathis, her hero) finding a way forward, beyond the things of their pasts that hold them both captive.

Every character has flaws. Using them in the story line is critical for emotional connection between the reader and the characters. Tori was one of my most flawed characters, but man, does that make her redemption all the sweeter. Hope you enjoy her story!

Enter the contest below and follow the tour for excerpts & other guest posts and interviews 

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Deja Revu


Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.



Science Fiction






Woman’s Fiction




General Fiction





Woman’s Fiction




Woman’s Fiction

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Lyrical Press Cozies

About the Book Murder at the Mansion by Janet Finsilver

MediaKit_BookCover_MurderAtTheMansionFortunes, fineries, and foul play . . .

It’s whale-watching season in Redwood Cove, and B&B manager Kelly Jackson’s battening down the hatches for the tourist rush at Redwood Heights—a Victorian-style estate owned by her boss. And due to recent jewelry thefts, her duties include keeping track of the many dust-covered artifacts spread throughout the property. But when Kelly finds Sylvia Porter’s lifeless body, menial tasks don’t seem so terrible.

Enlisting the help of a ragtag group of brainy retirees, aka the “Silver Sentinels,” Kelly’s on the hunt for clues hidden behind the mansion’s glamorous façade and for a killer who may want to make history of her next!


About the Book Tea Cups and Carnage by Lynn Cahoon

Cover Tea Cups & CarnageThe quaint coastal town of South Cove, California, is all abuzz about the opening of a new specialty shop, Tea Hee. But as Coffee, Books, and More owner Jill Gardner is about to find out, there’s nothing cozy about murder . . .

Shop owner Kathi Corbin says she came to South Cove to get away from her estranged family. But is she telling the truth? And did a sinister someone from her past follow her to South Cove? When a woman claiming to be Kathi’s sister starts making waves and a dead body is found in a local motel, Jill must step in to clear Kathi’s name–without getting herself in hot water.

Enter the contest below and follow the tour for excerpts from the book

Buy links:

Tea Cups and Carnage: amazonkindleAppleGoogle, KoboNook
Murder at the Mansion: amazonkindleAppleGoogle, KoboNook

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A Seal’s Vow

About the Book by Cora Seton

cover A Seal's VowAfter fifteen long, dangerous years in the service, Navy SEAL Clay Pickett is ready for his new mission: build a model sustainable community and show the world an exciting alternative to a consumption-based life. If that means he’s got a deadline to find a wife in order to win the reality TV show that’s filming his sustainable adventure, so be it. He’s got just the woman for the job in mind: beautiful, dedicated Nora Ridgeway.

When Nora left her job as a school teacher in Baltimore to live a simpler, Jane Austen style life in Montana with her friends, she was relieved to escape the escalating threats of violence from an unknown student stalker, but she can’t help feeling she’s abandoned the other high schoolers who put their faith in her. She’s torn about Clay’s advances, too. On the one hand she’s never met anyone like the strong, sexy SEAL. On the other hand, life’s taught her to take relationships slow—and Clay’s on a deadline.

When arson strikes and Nora disappears, Clay knows he’ll need every trick he learned in his time with the SEALs to track her down and save her life.

Can two people caught by their pasts have a chance at a future?

Enter the contest below and follow the tour for excerpts from the book

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Starbucks Giveaway

Who doesn’t want a lovely cup of something by their side while reading a great book? Enter to win and get yourself something delish!

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Prize: $100 Starbucks Gift Card

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email with any questions.)

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 6/30 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

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You Don’t Die- You Just Change Channels!

About the book by Author Chuck Swartwout 

Cover Changing ChannelsReligion & Spirituality

132 Pages Print Edition, 62 Pages Ebook

When Gretchen Swartwout died suddenly in 2006, Her husband of 54 years, Chuck, was not quite ready to call it quits. He combined his deep Christian faith with his decades of experience as an engineer and creative problem solver to produce this “common sense” analytical exploration of the idea of heaven and a life a er death. From interpreting scripture to testing the work of “mediums,” this book explores the afterlife in a way it’s never been done before.


Amazon   |  Author Website  |  Facebook

Check out his trailer for the book…

Reviewed by Guest Reviewer, the Twisted Book Carmudgeon

I don’t believe that I can do this book justice with my review but I’m sure going to try. Chuck Swartwout is someone I would love to sit down with a cup of coffee and chat for hours with. In fact this book made me feel more like I was having a conversation than reading a book. He gives the reader his background, resume and religious beliefs up front so you can see exactly who he is and where his views are coming from.


I’ve had a lot of loss in my life and am facing my own mortality now, so it took me a while to read this book. Part of me was scared to face loss and another was scared that this author would somehow change my views. I am extremely happy that I read his words. This book made me sit up and pay attention.


There’s so much out there that we don’t know about the afterlife and spirit world and probably never will. Chuck’s common sense approach to this is easy to follow and easy to understand. He’s a born storyteller.


I’d love to get into aspects of the book but I believe that I’d do a disservice to the reader. This is a quick and engaging read. To anyone who’s experienced loss or has questioned their mortality and the afterlife this is the book for you.

♦   ♦   ♦

With thanks to Lilac Reviews for the opportunity.  Twisted Book Carmudgeon’s Facebook Page

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Fallen Darkness

About the book by RB Austin
Paranormal, 337 Pages

Cover Fallen DarknessThe war between Apollyon and the Trihune has begun. 

Lucas scours the street in need of a fix. He captures his enemy instead of kills. Spins lies instead of truth. Seeks darkness instead of light. So close to the edge with no concern for the fall.

The map was foretold. Its key long lost.
Sent on a mission to find the key necessary to defeat Apollyon, Lucas meets Kate. Fiery, powerful, unable-to-touch-any-object Kate. As his feelings for her grow, the addiction inside him wanes.

Until he learns she is not meant for him.

Find the key. Find the way and triumph.
His future with Kate is bleak. The darkness, too hard to control. The key, still lost.

Can Lucas win the battle raging inside his body in order to win the war rising on the streets?


Amazon   |  Author Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Reviewed by Guest Reviewer, the Twisted Book Carmudgeon

I give 4.5 stars for this second book in the series.  While still containing the same good and bad guys, it was a look at one of the other members of this mysterious sect sworn to saving humans from evil called the Fallen.
It was a darker tale and in a way more believable than the first book. In this continuing story of good versus evil, we meet Kate, a Follower, a.k.a human and we do get a bit more about their secret world. The author moves from Lucus, a very well dressed Behnshma, who tries to battle his own demons, to Kate, a very strong yet troubled heroine, and then to the demons is well done.
The author makes the reader feel the emotional struggle all the characters in this story seem to have.  Again this is a romance novel and as such, has many romantic moments, which I personally tend to skim over.   The author seems to have a grasp of some Biblical concepts, which made the story twist even more intriguing.  The introduction of a quest and mysterious prophecy was a nice addition.
This reader hopes more action scenes and less bedroom scenes are in the next book.  It would help to see the origin story of the sect and why the Fallen are so powerful in the area.  I guess I will have to wait for the next book to discover where this book’s shocking ending will lead.  This is proving to be a very interesting series. Please let us know when you wish to publish them.

♦   ♦   ♦

With thanks to Lilac Reviews for the opportunity.  Twisted Book Carmudgeon’s Facebook Page

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