Tag Archives: Realms of Gold

Tammy’s Top Ten Indie Books of 2012

Top Ten Tuesday2

Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends who are celebrating this day! At this moment I am probably opening presents with my family, including two very excited children (ages 12 and 13), but I wanted to post a Top Ten for The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday Freebie today. I read so many indie books this year, and I wanted to highlight my favorites.  In trying to narrow down the list, I came up with eleven titles, and I just couldn’t eliminate one, so my Top Ten is actually a Top Eleven:)  Here they are, in alphabetical order:

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1. A Dark Time by Dennis E. Bradford.  This unconventional murder mystery stood out for its atmospheric quality and stellar writing, not to mention some very interesting characters. You can read my review here.

2. The Accordo by Roberta L. Smith. This ghostly tale is filled with complex characters and carefully researched details that make for a page-turning story of revenge and terror. You can read my review here.

3. Auraria by Tim Westover. Technically, Auraria is not an indie, but the small and quirky Q&W Publishers fits into my definition of indie, so I wanted to add it to my list.  Westover’s imagery is evocative and magical, and this is one tale that needs to find more readers. You can read my review here.

4. The Destroyed by Brett Battles. Brett is such a prolific writer, I’m amazed that he can keep the quality of his writing at top form, book after book. But he manages to do just that, improving with every book he writes. The Destroyed is a Jonathan Quinn thriller, and one of my favorites. You can read my review here.

5. The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry. I loved this coming-of-age story about a young girl whose less-than-perfect life causes her to run away from home, chasing after a man who plays a big part in her awakening sexuality. It is filled with characters that you will grow to love, and Lowry’s writing is exquisite and spare, a perfect style for this unique tale. You can read my review here.

6. The Gateway to Hell by Ray Mileur.  I loved this thriller with strong characters and lots of police action. Mileur has created one of my favorite fictional characters in PI Mike Shannon, and I hope to read another story about him soon. You can read my review here.

7. The Jesuit Papers by A. B. Fowler. This story surprised me. From the cover I expected something more scholarly and dry, but it had romance, action and mystery, as well as an exotic setting, all elements that made The Jesuit Papers a winning story. You can read my review here.

8. The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity. Carefully researched and full of dramatic action, this indie deals with a controversial subject matter, but Atchity keeps the action going and the reader will not be able to stop turning the pages. You can read my review here.

9. Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo. This page-turner police procedural is unique for the relationships among its characters. Giammatteo jumps back and forth from present to past to tell the story of how some friendships can stand the test of time, and what happens to them when promises are broken. You can read my review here.

10. Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance by Terry Stanfill. I love when authors go back to the past to add depth to a story that takes place in the present, and Stanfill does this wonderfully. This story is full of carefully researched details about archeology and was not only fascinating to read, but a delightful romance as well. You can read my review here.

11. Scars on the Face of God: The Devil’s Bible by C. G. Bauer. My first love is horror, and this book delivers it and then some. Bauer’s tale is well-paced and filled with creepiness, and its 1960s small town setting makes it even creepier. You can read my review here.

I’m looking forward to reading more indies in 2013!

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Stacking the Shelves (15)

Stacking the ShelvesStacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and is a great way to share the books you’ve acquired over the past week. It’s been two weeks since my last Stacking the Shelves, and I’m happy to report I haven’t purchased anything myself in those two weeks! Here’s what’s new on my shelves (click on images to go to Goodreads):

For Review:

Mad Scientist's DaughterPantomimeTalisman of El

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke. Release date: February 7 2013 (Angry Robot). Not to be confused with The Madman’s Daughter LOL! I love the atmospheric quality of the cover, but the tagline is what really drew me in: “A Tale of Love, Loss and Robots.”

Pantomime by Laura Lam. Release date: February 5 2013 (Strange Chemistry). A circus book! Yes! Ever since I read The Night Circus, I’ve been waiting for another circus story to come along.

Talisman of El by Alecia Stone. Now available (Centrinian Publishing). Although this book has been out since May, the author is doing a blog tour in February. I’m so excited to be a part of it, since I’ve heard great things about it!

Indie book for review:

Oxford front copy

Oxford Whispers by Marion Croslydon. Now available. I was just involved in a cover release event for this book, and I was so intrigued that I tweeted Marion to ask if I could review it. I love the tagline for Oxford Whispers: “Sookie Stackhouse goes Ivy League!”

Received from the Author:

The Blood Remembers

The Blood Remembers by Terry Stanfill. I reviewed Terry’s book Realms of Gold not too long ago, and she was kind enough to send me this older book of hers. It’s a gorgeous hardcover, and this small photo doesn’t do the cover justice. It’s beautiful! It also sounds like a wonderful story, and I hope to be able to read it soon.

I hope you received lots of goodies too! Please let me know.

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Winners of The Messiah Matrix & Realms of Gold Giveaways

Oops, sorry everyone…I thought I had made this announcement, but I guess I forgot. In any case, the winners of a pot o’ gold, errr, I mean copies of The Messiah Matrix & Realms of Gold are:

The Messiah Matrix:

Heather Homberg

Irene Menge

Donna King

Realms of Gold:

Marjorie Roy

Kat Sparrow

Jennifer Kelly

Many thanks to the authors Kenneth John Atchity & Terry Stanfill, Story Merchant Books, and Chi-Li Wong for making this giveaway possible. The winners have been notified and hopefully have their winnings in hand already! Stay tuned for more giveaways, coming soon!

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Two Giveaways End Tomorrow! Don’t Miss Out

The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity is a breathless adventure set in Rome that has carefully researched historical details, romance and at its core, one man’s search for the truth. The author is kindly giving away THREE SIGNED COPIES of The Messiah MatrixOpen to all residents of the US, Canada, and the UK. Click the book cover above or here to enter.

Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance by Terry Stanfill is another wonderful story about a writer and an archeologist who join forces to discover the true origins of an ancient artifact. If you love adventure and romance with old-fashioned charm, you’ll love this book! The author is kindly giving away THREE SIGNED COPIES of Realms of Gold! Open to all residents of the US and Canada. Click the book cover above or here to enter.

Both giveaways end on Monday September 10, midnight PST. Good luck!

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Giveaway! REALMS OF GOLD: RITUAL TO ROMANCE by Terry Stanfill

Yesterday I reviewed this beautifully written story that combines adventure, history and romance with irresistible characters, and today the author is kind enough to offer up a signed paperback of Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance to three lucky winners! Click here to read my review.

This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, and ends Monday, September 10 at midnight, PST. Please fill out the form below to enter! You can receive extra entries for “Liking” Realms of Gold and Books, Bones & Buffy on Facebook, following me on Twitter, or leaving a comment on this post or the review post of Realms of Gold. Many thanks to the author for this fantastic giveaway!

Click the button below to go to the Realms of Gold Facebook page and “like” it. Don’t forget to come back here and fill out the entry form!

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REALMS OF GOLD: RITUAL TO ROMANCE by Terry Stanfill – Review

An Italian archeologist and a dreamy scholar from New York cross paths and go on a journey through time in this riveting novel by Terry Stanfill. Trying to describe Realms of Gold is hard because this intricate tale is filled with not only detailed descriptions of Greek and Italian artifacts and the people who created them, but layer upon layer of complex characters, both past and present. Add to that Stanfill’s gorgeous writing style and you have a winning combination.

Bianca Caldwell writes articles for an art magazine, and gets her inspiration from dreams and visions. Giovanni Di Serlo is an Italian archeologist working on a secret dig in Puglia, Italy. They meet at a wedding in Venice, strike up a conversation, and realize how much they have in common. Bianca is taken with Giovanni and his erudite personality, but he is initially turned off by Bianca’s dour wardrobe and plain facial features. Nonetheless, they spend some time together in Venice and become friends over their common love of the past. It is the story of the Vix Krater, an immense bronze vessel on display in a French museum, that captivates both their imaginations and compels Bianca and Giovanni to delve deeper into its history.

Bianca returns to New York shortly after the wedding, but intense dreams and visions of a woman named Zatoria shake her so much that she arranges to meet Giovanni in Italy, hoping he can help her make sense of the disturbing images. The two begin a journey that follows the path of the Vix Krater from Southern Italy to Vix, France. With the help of Bianca’s startling intuition and the occasional trances that reveal more details about the Krater, Bianca and Giovanni uncover a connection between the Krater and the legend of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. And somewhere along the way, Giovanni begins to see Bianca in a different light and realizes that she is not only intelligent and creative, but beautiful as well.

What I loved most about this book was its atmospheric quality. Stanfill’s lyrical writing is perfectly suited to the historical information she is writing about. The story shifts back and forth from past to present with ease, as she gives the reader a solid picture of how the Vix Krater may have been created and the journey to its final resting place in France. Throughout the book is a strong sense of how stories transpose themselves over time and become legend. I was fascinated by the way Stanfill tied in the legends of King Arthur, Camelot and the Grail with the story of the Vix Krater (and you will just have to read the book for yourself to see what I’m talking about!) By interspersing photos and drawings of the objects and places mentioned in the book, the reader has a more visual sense of the history behind the words. And you may be surprised to discover the origins of the Starbucks logo, which Stanfill includes in her detailed story.

The characters of Bianca and Giovanni were vividly drawn and different from the usual characters I run across in my reading. I loved Bianca in particular. She is clearly an intelligent woman, but her extremely developed ability to intuit the past gives her character a magical quality. She is driven to discover the truth about the Krater and is genuinely excited by each discovery she makes. I also liked Giovanni, although I was a bit disturbed by his negative reaction to Bianca when they first meet. He is clearly not attracted to her, although you can tell he really wants to be. His disappointment in her appearance struck me as shallow, but perhaps the fact that he’s Italian had something to do with it. Still, I have to applaud the author for writing characters that don’t follow the norm of being instantly attracted to each other.

Stanfill chose to write her book in present tense, which I usually don’t like in novels. This time it works, however, and gives the narrative a sense of urgency. Although just about every element of the story was beautifully done, I did have an issue with some of the dialog, which seemed old-fashioned and stilted. I often felt like I was watching an old movie from the 40’s or 50’s, and while the banter between Bianca and Giovanni was charming, it didn’t always feel authentic. The author is obviously passionate about her subject matter and has done extensive research in order to write this book, but long passages about the history of the Krater bogged down the dialog after a while.

But these are only small complaints about a book that is intelligently written and not only takes the reader on an adventure of discovery, but poses interesting questions about the importance of intuition and the origin and transformation of myths and stories.  You will need to read carefully to catch all of the minute details of the story, but it’s worth the effort. Realms of Gold delivers on so many levels and its dreamlike quality is bound to enchant even the most pragmatic of readers.

Many thanks to the author for supplying a review copy.

You can purchase Realms of Gold here and learn more about the book here.

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What’s On My Plate – September

In an attempt to really organize my reading and reviewing schedule, I put before you the books I have lined up for September. The review list is a bit longer than I want it to be. I was hoping to squeeze in some “me” books, but that might have to wait for October.

For review:

Brett’s book has been bumped a few times. Sorry Brett! This time for reals it’s next in line!

Something Red, Incarnation and Boyfriend From Hell are all from Edelweiss, and all being released in September, so expect reviews on all three this month.

Breed came from Library Thing, and in order to keep winning books from them I must make sure I get a review up this month.

Reviews coming soon:

Realms of Gold review will be up later today. Thanks for waiting Chi-Li! And I’m finishing up Zach’s book today as well, and hope to have the review up tomorrow.

If I have time:

Three books that I’m dying to read, but just can’t seem to find time for.

Overall, it looks like a great month for reading! I hope you all have deliciously full plates as well:)

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Promises, Promises

We’re already six days into August, and I have a full plate of books to consume. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve agreed to read and review a number of books this month, and I need to get cracking. Here’s what my brain feels like right now:

That’s right, overcrowded and confused! But what a great photo, right? Here are the books I’m promising to read and review this month, provided the stars align:

The Jesuit Papers by A. B. Fowler. I’m reading it right now and love it! Should be a quick read.

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle. It comes out 8/21, so I want to read and review it before then.

Stealing Breath by Joanne Brothwell. Now available. This book from small publisher Crescent Moon Press looks fantastic!

Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance by Terry Stanfill. Now available. My buddy Chi-Li, who has sent me some pretty awesome books to review, recently sent me this one.

Breed by Chase Novak. I just won this from Library Thing, and although I don’t actually have it yet, I hope to squeeze it into this month’s reviews.

CurbChek Reload by Zach Fortier. Sorry Zach! I’ve had this one a while and just keep putting it off. It’s not my usual genre, but I want to read it this month.

Pale Horse by Brett Battles. Now available. I’ve had this for a while too, and really want to check it off my list. It’s the final book in a very exciting series, so I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t know if I can read all these or not, but I’m certainly going to try. In addition to reading, I have my “other” life to attend to: two kids going back to school next week, my duties as PTA president at their middle school, trying to find a job, and keeping the dogs and hubby happy as much as possible! Let’s all take a deep breath…

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