Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Review: Heart of Winter by James Hartley

Heart of Winter is a short story that is also the prequel to a new series called  Shakespeare's Moon. This takes place during World War II outside of London. A young girl, Enid, has been found wandering down a bombed street and taken in by an elderly couple. They decide to enroll her in boarding school where she'll be safer. St. Francis de Sales School is also being used as a hospital as Enid arrives.
Almost immediately odd happenings occur and Enid is at the center of them. This is a dark story with a Gothic feel. The headmaster, Mr. Dedalus, is eccentric but appealing. Enid is a bit of a brat at the beginning of the story, but I found that she grew on me as the story progressed.
The next book in the series is based on Macbeth. Each book will be based on a different Shakespeare play and takes place at St. Francis which is an excellent premise. I'll look forward to reading it.

Link to Amazon

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Grey Eyed Storm: The Occuli, Book One (The Occuli Book Series 1) by Christie Stenzel


A captivating, supernatural fantasy novel about a race of people with magical powers depending on the color of their eyes, who are fighting for their very survival against evil forces that want to extinguish them and take their powers and their land for themselves!


Imagine the shock of being eighteen year old Remy Verbetta and finding out that you are not only not "human", but also are not from this “world”.  Remy’s life is turned upside down when she suddenly finds out her entire life has been a lie.  Another “world” is living and breathing along-side our own, a kind of alternate dimension.  On her eighteenth birthday, Remy finds out that she is not “human”, but rather a member of an ancient and almost extinct race called the Occuli.  Each Occuli has different magical powers based solely their eye color. 

A multiple award-winning supernatural, fantasy novel, The Grey Eyed Storm: The Occuli, Book One, follows Remy on a journey of self-discovery, magic, mystery, romance and betrayal, as she tries to figure out a way to not only survive, but also find a way back to her true home and save the Occuli from extinction!

BIO for Christie M. Stenzel:

Writing and reading are my passions!  My dream to be a writer began, when as a five year old child I would ask my mother to write down the stories I would make up about talking dogs.

Since growing up and becoming further educated with a Bachelor's Degree in English (I have an affinity for classic literature), a Master's Degree in Leadership, and a degree in ultrasound, I have begun to pursue that dream in hopes of one day making it my career.  I have many interests and ideas so my ultimate goal is to release works of fiction in multiple genres.  Fantasy will always be my first love however, as I have always had an intense imagination that threatens to inundate me if not expelled onto paper. 

I currently have five published books: an ongoing fantasy series with three installments so far (the fourth book is coming in December 2016), a fantasy short story, and a suspense/thriller short story.  The first book in my fantasy series, The Grey Eyed Storm: The Occuli, Book One, has now won multiple awards which is very exciting.  Aside from writing, I enjoy physical activities like running and yoga.  I am blessed to have an amazing family, close friends and two beloved canine companions.

Contact info:
Series website:
Author website:
Facebook Fan Page:   Christie Stenzel:  Author,    
Facebook Page:   Christie M. Stenzel
Twitter Handle:    @CStenzelWriter

New Author App: Upland United

Productivity: Self-Publishing; Directory

  Looking for an editor or content creator near you? With Upland United it is really easy to find book professionals who are ready to work on your publishing needs. You have an option to browse among a large number of profiles of publishing professionals and know their past user reviews. With this, it becomes really easy to find the best suited talent for your job. Whether you are looking specifically for an Editor, Illustrator or tradeshow events, you can find it all within the categories on our app. Bookmark professionals whom you like so you can easily access them later.

As a professional, you can subscribe and create a profile on “Upland United” to showcase your services, connect with new and existing clients, and build your business for the better. Additionally, professionals get user reviews. You get a chance to improve your skills based on user feedback and reviews.

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I am a serial entrepreneur, author, creative visionary for young entrepreneurs and owner of Upland Avenue Productions – a diverse portfolio of publishing, media, and technology properties. I have made strides in the realms of economic and social responsibility by launching a literary networking platform to bridge the relationship between the film, literary and journalism industries. This platform fostered new relationships with leaders in the state of Louisiana, as well as, placed indie writers in front of industry insiders and fellow peers.

I partnered with Barnes & Noble for children reading initiatives, assisted youth in developing and launching their businesses through the Young Entrepreneurship Initiative and launched the first on rail reading book club in New Mexico through a collaborative partnership with NM Rail Runner Express.

My most recent endeavor involved bridging the gap between authors and the professionals they need to publish literary works. This resulted in the creation of Upland United – an app that allows writers to collaborate with publishing professionals on their terms.

I speak at conferences on subjects such as literary distribution, book marketing and analytics. If you would like to reach me about speaking engagements you can email me at

Contact Information

Purchase Link

2 Die Cut stickers + 5 bookmarks

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Book Review: Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker

When I first read the blurb for this book, I really wondered how the author was going to pull this off. I'll recap the blurb here so you can see what I mean:

Tzipporah Berger is thirty-seven and single, which is practically unheard of in the Orthodox Jewish community she now calls home. Her increasing religiosity and need for kink may have broken up her first marriage, but she’s decided it’s time to try again. And the rabbi’s wife has just the man in mind.
Elan Klein is the neighborhood butcher whose intimidating size and gruff manner hint at a deliciously forceful personality. But BDSM isn’t exactly something you discuss during an Orthodox courtship. Will a marriage to Elan solidify her place in the community that she loves and provide the domination and pain Tzipporah craves or will she forever have to rely on flights of fancy to satisfy her needs?

So Orthodox Judaism and BDSM? Yet this is a terrific story, beautifully written and extremely well researched.  Tzipporah's neighborhood and neighbors are described realistically. I know only a little about this religion, but I learned a lot. That also goes for the BDSM lifestyle; I thought the two would be incompatible, but found that the author managed to intertwine both concepts into a wonderful book.
This is a quick read, but I feel that I will be thinking about it for some time. I definitely want to read other books by this author. I was given the book and choose to give an honest review.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: My Wild Irish Dragon by Ashlyn Chase

Ryan Fierro and Chloe Arish are both competing for the same slot in the Boston Fire Department. Each is uniquely suited to the job of a firefighter as he is a phoenix shifter and she is a dragon shifter. Fortunately, the budget is expanded so they both get jobs. Now they just have to figure out how to not let their attraction to each other get in the way of their work.
I read paranormal, but usually with vampires or wolf shifters. This was a first and while I was a little disappointed that the shifter parts weren't emphasized, I still found this an interesting and well-written story. In some ways, it could just be a romance about an Irish girl and Italian boy from Boston. The secondary characters are fun and the romance is cute and a bit steamy. All in all, a fun read.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Virtual FantasyCon 2016- 3rd Place Favorite Fantasy Blogger

Virtual FantasyCon 2016 has just concluded and I'm thrilled to announce that the Antrim Cycle blog was selected for 3rd Place. This has been a wonderful event, and I truly appreciate all who voted for my blog. So please continue to read and see you at Virtual FantasyCon 2017!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Book Review: The Saxon Bride by Ashley York

John is a Norman who is given a young Saxon bride by William the Conqueror. Rowena's family has been destroyed by the Norman invasion of England and she is unprepared to marry the Norman knight, no matter how handsome he is. John leaves right after the ceremony to fight for his king for the next three years, leaving his virgin bride behind.
John finally shows back up to do his duty, but Rowena is unhappy. Meanwhile, John must win over the conquered Saxons and appease his bride. There are a lot of misunderstandings before all is resolved.
The story is well-written and I enjoy books set in this period. And while it is true that knights were often away for long periods of time in this era, I found it made me wonder just how in love John and Rowena could actually be. They spent very little time together to actually get to know each other. It made the lust understandable, but I would have liked to have seen more actual dialogue between the two main characters.
I would rate this 3 1/2 stars because of that, but this is still a good story and I'll read more in the series.