Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Final Descendants and the Well of Wishes Lost by Karina Gioertz

Standard

Karina Gioertz book coverWho are you?
I am Bryze Brooks, the final descendant of Catrain DeLiz.

What is your story?
Well, up until recently, I really had no idea about my extraordinary ancestors. After my father’s death, I had grown up far away from the family manor on Ratclif Circle and the secrets it held within its walls. But then everything changed when we got a surprise phone call and it led my family back to the house where I came face to face with my crazy past. Once there, I begin to discover that all is not what it seems.
Fantastic tales start to intertwine with reality when a magic arbor leads me to Kimerical, a world I never even dreamed existed. From mesmerizing visits at enchanted Oak Cottage, to terrifying encounters with villainous beasts of the dark, I find myself on the adventure of a lifetime as I try to begin and understand my royal responsibilities and what it means to be among the final descendants.

Are you the hero of your own story?
I don’t know about being the hero…but I definitely stir the pot. I mean, I have the best of intentions, but things don’t go exactly as planned…

What is your problem in the story?
Kimerical has been deeply wounded by the past doings of an evil Jester. While he is no longer a threat as such, the world remains in a state of limbo as a result of his actions. My friends and I set out to seek justice and restore Kimerical to its former glory. To do this, we must somehow find the Well of Wishes Lost – a magical wishing well that hasn’t been seen in hundreds of years…so yeah, that’s where our problems start.

Was there ever a defining moment of your life?
The night I first saw myself in Catrain’s portrait. I didn’t have any idea what it meant at the time, but looking back, it was in that moment that I knew…something significant was happening.

Do you have any special strengths?
Apparently, I do. I mean, I never knew it before, but as it turns out many of the ancient families of Kimerical are gifted, much like mine, with a birthright; a special skill, a talent of sorts. Mine is the gift of connection…which basically means I can talk to animals. They don’t talk back or anything…well, not usually anyway, but they always understand me and use their own forms of communication to respond. It’s all pretty new to me, so I’m still working out the kinks…

Do you have any distinguishing marks?
My hair’s kinda my trademark. It’s this deep shade of red and it grows wild on the top of my head. There isn’t much that can be done to tame it, so I basically just let it do it’s own thing.

What is your most closely guarded secret?
Seems I have a few of those these days. I feel like I’ve been living a double life ever since I discovered the arbor and found Kimerical, but telling people simply isn’t an option. Not that anyone would believe me anyway…

How do you envision your future?
I haven’t really allowed myself to think about the future lately. I mean, I’m only fourteen, but as a descendant that makes me old enough to compete in the tournament…although, I’m not in possession of my heirloom, so technically I’m not eligible. But I imagine it will turn up eventually, and then what? Do I compete for the crown? Do I step up to the plate and welcome the responsibility of being royal and possibly rule over all of Kimerical? I don’t have clue! Right now, I just want to make through my freshmen year of high school.

To Purchase Karina’s Book

1883 Karina

Chapter 1

1883

Celestine was running faster than she had ever run in her life. Jumping over fallen tree trunks and skillfully evading ditches as she raced through the woods. Twice she tripped over the trim of her dress, but she didn’t waste but a second scrambling back to her feet and moving forward. The palms of her hands stung with the pain of having badly scraped them in the last fall and her left knee felt as though it might give out at any second after a nasty twist. She ignored them both. Closing her eyes tightly she mentally discarded the gown and dress shoes for something more suitable for a high speed hike through rough terrain. When she opened them again, she was wearing a pair of trousers with high leather boots that reached up to her thighs, supporting the bum knee as she ran on.

Too terrified to turn around, Celestine forced herself to face forward at all times. Her mind frantically replaying the events that had led to this moment. Every time she did so she found herself growing more furious. She felt abandoned and betrayed by those she had least expected it from. Suddenly, a shadow cast overhead and she became aware that she was not alone. Already knowing what she would find, she turned her eyes to the sky. A golden eagle was soaring directly above her, mimicking her every move and trailing her to wherever she was going. One friend had remained. She allowed herself a brief moment of relief knowing he at least, would stand beside her whether he approved or not. And she knew he did not. Nevertheless, his love unlike the love of some others, was unconditional and the gratitude she felt for him in that moment was immeasurable.

Celestine had nearly reached the edge of the woods when she thought she heard someone moving through the brush behind her. Had Lucan changed his mind after all? Or had her plans been discovered and all of Kimerical was on now her heels in an attempt to stop her? Well, she would never give them the chance. Defying her own physical body, she reached deep and pushed herself harder, boosting herself forward with each powerful stomp to the ground. She knew full well it was fear and not courage that was urging her onward and denying her the chance to look back. Fear that she would see the palace guards on Lucan’s orders storming in on her to stop her…and perhaps an even greater fear, that she would turn around to find herself alone, being hunted only by her own memories.

She had come too far to stop now. The decision had already been made for her and she had but one choice to live with it…and she would live with it. Just not here.

Giving one last glance to the sky and her feathered friend, she closed her eyes and at the height of momentum crashed through the barrier in an explosion of purple colored lights.

It was done. She would never go back.

karina Gioertz photo

Although Karina Gioertz has been writing for most of her life, it never quite registered with her as something out of the ordinary or worth pursuing, because it was so closely connected to who she was. It wasn’t until she became a stay at home mom and finally took the time to write an entire book from beginning to end, that she understood what all of those ideas she had been jotting down all those years were really for. Since then, she has written several books, including Country Girls, Lucky In Love and Blood Bound.

While writing and motherhood have become her main focus over the years, she also enjoys many other creative activities such as painting and photography. Most sunny days she can be found in her courtyard working feverishly at painting and refurbishing old furniture…that is, of course, only if it wasn’t a suitable day to spend at the beach.

Karina resides in sunny Florida with her family and two dogs and can be contacted via Facebook or Twitter
To learn more about her work and upcoming projects visit her blog at http://www.friedgatortail.wordpress.com and website at http://www.friedgatortail.wix.com/karinagioertz.

To Purchase Karina’s Books

Vengeance in Blood – Lee Kelly

Standard

vengeance in bloodSocialite Shelly Farnsworth Stevens shocks all of Atlanta when she shoots her husband. Her motive? She’s certain Todd had an affair and gave her AIDS. Imagine her horror when she finds out that he couldn’t have given her HIV—his blood was negative.

Because she’s rich and connected, Detective Lacy Fuller and her partner Chet Avery, the best Atlanta P.D. has to offer, are put on the case. What they find out rocks the nation. With the help of Dr. Sharon West and FBI Agent Margie Olsen, Detectives Fuller & Avery are able to crack the case.

“Vengeance in Blood” is a well paced, compelling medical mystery. The characters are interesting and well rounded. The killer’s motivation is clear. The story draws readers in, keeping their interest throughout.

Detective Lacy Fuller is focused, sarcastic, a brilliant officer and not too good at personal relationships. Though some would consider her chilly and withdrawn, she has a warmth and depth to her personality that finds an outlet in peculiar ways—fondness for a homeless man who gives most of his money to an animal shelter, a little girl whose brother is involved with a drug dealer, and a supercilious feline.

Her personal life not withstanding, she’s a hell of a police officer who manages to uncover more from home, using only her laptop and a phone, than some of her colleagues can with the full resources of the police department.

Dr. Sharon West has the unfortunate duty of pronouncing Todd Stevens dead on arrival at the hospital. As there is some fear that he is HIV positive, she runs a blood test to confirm so that the EMT’s who responded can be treated for exposure. She’s also the contact person for Detectives Fuller and Avery when they arrive. Her knowledge of the disease, paired with experience in a blood bank, make her an invaluable compatriot for Lacy.

During the investigation, the two women become close friends, working in sync with one another.

Sharon, whose family is close knit and loving, feels drawn to the lonely, isolated Lacy. Sharon is as warm and outgoing as Lacy is chilly and withdrawn. Her warmth and support help Lacy on a deep personal level.

Chet Avery is the opposite of Lacy in many ways but one, he’s also a hell of a police officer. He’s sloppy where she is meticulous. He’s paunchy and overeats where she is athletic and trim. He’s a family man while she has no one. However, they make the Dream Team of the Atlanta Homicide detectives, solving more cases than the other partners combined. Although he finds himself annoyed with his partner on more than one occasion, he still believes in her abilities.

FBI Agent Margie Olsen is a puzzler for both Lacy and Chet. She comes across as a space cadet, but shocks them both with her skills and focus when called upon to perform.

Homer Files is homeless. After the death of his wife, he lost their home and started living on the streets. Lacy met him while he was panhandling on the street. When she found out that he was giving his money to an animal shelter, she decided not to turn him in for begging. The two became fast friends and they look out for one another. Homer is a kind, loving man who treats Lacy like a daughter and she considers him like the gentle father she never had.

Throughout the book, the reader is surprised by the breadth of Lacy’s character. She appears hard as nails on the surface, but when she reveals aspects of her childhood to Sharon, her hard exterior is explained. She takes people she meets under her wing, building her own family unit around herself without even realizing she’s doing it.

I greatly enjoyed this book. It was well paced, easy to read and had an interesting and compelling plot that made me want to keep reading. The characters are well rounded, the dialogue adds to the novel and keeps it moving. I never felt that there was a point where the flow of the story bogged down. Everything drove the story forward. I can honestly say that this is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

I highly recommend “Vengeance in Blood” to anyone who loves a good mystery.

Five Golden Acorns
© Dellani Oakes

TO BUY

Books by Beck

Standard

William Beck has become one of my favorite authors. His books are interesting and fast paced. His characters are engaging and well rounded. I have reviewed this three books below.

H.A.R.R.P.’S FURY

haarpe beckTen years ago, they all disappeared without a trace. No one knew how or why, but every living soul on the base in Alaska was gone. It was a secret the military didn’t talk about and couldn’t admit—until the past came back to haunt them.

Bryson McGann, no longer in the military, follows the clues that lead him to discover yet another secret base—one the US military doesn’t control—and the H.A.R.R.P. What is the H.A.R.R.P.? A mighty weather machine, originally designed for the betterment of man, it’s use has been corrupted to blackmail world governments. It’s up to McGann and his friend, Joe Canton, to find the base and destroy the H.A.R.R.P.

Beck’s style is engaging. He draws readers in, leading them through the story, giving us plenty of action along the way. His characters, though heroic, have flaws and fallibility, making them human and ultimately believable. Beck also gives us an exceptional villain—always a plus—with clear motivation.

In the company of such authors as Clive Cussler, Dan Brown and Tom Clancy, William Beck stands out. H.A.R.R.P.’S FURY is a must read for anyone who lies intricate novels of political intrigue. I greatly enjoyed H.A.R.R.P.’S FURY. It was an action packed roller coaster ride.

Five Golden Acorns

© 2011 Dellani Oakes

Red 7red 7 beck

Bryson McGann’s in a pickle again, but that’s the way he likes it. McGann, hero of William Beck’s novel H.A.R.R.P.’S FURY, returns in Beck’s second book, Red 7.

As I perused Red 7, I found myself wondering what do Vikings, a disappearance at sea, a plastic surgeon and the theft of rare objects have in common? Beck skillfully answers all these questions for his readers, gradually picking up the pace to a wonderfully climactic moment.

Intrigue’s the thing in Red 7, a government conspiracy unlike any other, on a level as yet unseen—or is it? To speculate much would give spoilers to an intricate, detailed plot, and I have no intention of doing that. Simply keep in mind that the events, and people, in Red 7 may not be exactly what you think.

One thing I love in an action novel is a clear cut bad guy. Once again, Beck’s villains, yes, more than one this time, are ruthless and exceedingly nasty. As in H.A.R.R.P.’S FURY , (Beck’s debut novel), the motive is clear. I dislike a muddled master mind, don’t you? I want a villain with a well defined agenda, and Beck does that in spades. He also gives each villain a proper dressing down before eliminating them with extreme prejudice.

H.A.R.R.P.’S FURY and Red 7 are wonderfully fast paced novels of political intrigue. A must read for any Cussler or Clancy fans. I highly recommend both novels and look forward to reading Caribbean Agenda, Beck’s third book.

Five Golden Acorns

© 2011 Dellani Oakes

caribbean beckCaribbean Agenda
Sun, Sand & Slavery?

Bryson McGann is at it again in William Beck’s third novel, “Caribbean Agenda”. The NESSA Assistant Projects Director can’t seem to stay out of trouble. But as always, McGann finds a way to defeat it.

A routine dive for an NESSA project in the Caribbean reveals a grisly secret—a dead woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Roni Canton, younger sister of Bryson’s best friend, Joe. When Roni suddenly disappears from her Trinidad hotel, Bryson knows something is terribly wrong. He and Joe travel to the island to find Roni and bring her home, little knowing where fate will lead them.

Argan Vance is a businessman, a very successful one. Rich and powerful, he maintains a patina of respectability. His real business is as vile as they come—human flesh—slavery. Vance traffics in the misfortunes of some to feed the perversions of others.

One of his best customers is Asian magnate, Liam Chen. Pock marked by acne, Chen is not a handsome man. He also has a medical condition which causes him to sweat profusely. In other words, not the kind of man girls fall for. Vance provides him with entertainment at a price, a profitable arrangement for both men.

Roni’s trail leads them from Trinidad to Honduras, into Nicaragua and eventually to Singapore. Will their worldwide search prove successful? Or is Roni Canton another casualty of Vance’s flesh mongering empire?

Bryson McGann and Joe Canton follow Roni’s trail, leading then to Vance and Chen. What follows is mayhem as only the two NESSA men can serve it—hot and heavy with a side order of bullets. “Caribbean Agenda” is truly Beck at his best. I am, and remain, a Bryson McGann fan.

© 2011 Dellani Oakes

I haven’t read William Beck’s newest offering, Crosscurrents, yet but you can be sure I will! When I do, I’ll add the review here.

The Tangled Web – JP Lane

Standard

the tangled web joan lane

There’s trouble in paradise and it’s up to a handful of the hierarchy to contain the problems. How they plan to accomplish this task is a matter of extreme sensitivity.

Lauren Anderson is a nosy reporter. She’s also the niece of an important government official. Her Aunt Maggie is Minister of Finance of the exotic island they call home. As a favor to her aunt, she gets involved in a tangled web of conspiracy.

Logan Armstrong is among the rich and elite of the island’s upper class. There’s an air of mystery around him that attracts Lauren when she goes out to interview him. What is it about the handsome, sexy, playboy that makes Lauren want to pull him close as well as push him away?

The Tangled Web is a wonderfully crafted novel of love, romance, assassins and intrigue. The characters are well rounded and the plot compelling. In fact, I think I fell a little bit in love (lust) with Logan myself as he pursued and charmed Lauren.

I highly recommend The Tangled Web by JP Lane for anyone who likes their romance spiced up with political intrigue that will keep them on the edge of their seats.

5 golden acorns

© 2013 Dellani Oakes

To Buy

Wee Three: A Mother’s Love in Verse by Marta Moran-Bishop with Helen Springer Moran Illustrations by Hazel Mitchell

Standard

wee three“Wee Three” is a charming and delightful collection of poems for children. Marta Moran-Bishop truly captures the voice and curiosity of a little child.

 The detailed pen and ink illustrations by Hazel Mitchell, bring the text alive. Her lovely, delicate artwork puts me in mind of my favorite A.A. Milne books as a child. The watercolor on the front is colorful and full of sunshine.

“Wee Three” is the “Now We Are Six” of the 21st Century. I loved the poems and illustrations in this beautiful little book. My granddaughter, who is three, particularly loved “Upside Down Land”. My favorites are “Lonely” and “When I’m A Lady”.

This is a wonderful book to share with children and awaken their love of poetry. I highly recommend “Wee Three” for children of all ages—and adults who are children at heart.

© 2012 Dellani Oakes

Five Golden Acorns

To Buy

Waffles and Pancakes – Cindy Springsteen

Standard

waffles and pancakesNo, it’s not time for breakfast. Waffles and Pancakes are two hamsters. They’re friends in the pet shop and are sold to two different boys on the same day. One goes home to a life of luxury, the other to an old box. When the boys, who are friends too, get together to play, the hamsters are reunited. It’s then that both hamsters and boys learn valuable life lessons.

Waffles and Pancakes is a delightful way to teach children about love and relationships. This colorful, beautifully illustrated book, speaks about the importance of love over possessions. It’s not what you have in your life, it’s who you have.

Five Golden Acorns

© Dellani Oakes

TO BUY