Friday, April 29, 2016

Big New Changes

As of Friday, April 22nd 2016, I got a new author website for all of my book related news and promotions:

This blog will still be active and will now be known as Connie's Bookmark. Here you will find reviews of all of the books I read as well as author interviews and fun, book themed posts. It's just much easier to keep my professional work and my opinions separate. Links to each blog will be on website so you can easily go back and forth.

Check out

My new website 

for info about my books,

giveaways, as well as the new

'Sigil in Shadow' Teaser Trailer

For more news and giveaways from other fantasy authors, visit Sword and Shield

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Win 5 YA books!!

Here's your chance to win a digital copy of Onyx Moon, along with 4 other interesting YA titles. (One of these has a review coming soon!)

This giveaway is brought to you by the Sword and Shield facebook group. To enter follow the link below:

And don't forget to join our group on Facebook

Good Luck! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Review: The Buckskin Trail by Joann Arnold

The Buckskin Trail






“This is what my parents died for?” Kelzi whispered, looking at the battered buckskin.
Ahyoka nodded. “And now you must take it with you and protect it.”

A miracle saved Kelzi’s life when she was younger, now it’s her turn to save others. When Kelzi discovers the truth about her parents' deaths, she steps onto a dangerous path, one where she must avenge those who have died and protect the land of her Cherokee people—at any cost.



I signed up for the blog tour for The Buckskin Trail because the cover and blurb made it sound like a wilderness adventure. I hadn't read anything like that for a while and it seemed fun.

Unfortunately, I was mistaken. Although there are a few beautiful scenes with nature as the backdrop, most of this drama takes place in a courtroom and lawyer's offices. While that's not at all my cup of cocoa, The Buckskin Trail did have it's merits. Right from the beginning I could tell this story was written by an educated, seasoned writer. The opening scene was gripping and kept me going for quite a while. The plot was slow at times, but right as I would be getting bored, something tragic or shocking would happen. One of the best characters was a Scottish spirit that guides our heroine through some rough patches. His dialogue is written to be true to the accent, so unless you've read Outlander, you may have a hard time understanding him at times. But he's cute, and I really enjoyed reading about him. 

I also loved the message of this book. The author brought across a certain spirituality without being to preachy, which I find is hard to do. I just wish this book had more adventure of the nature variety. I wanted to see more of the Cherokee culture incorporated into the story. And for that reason, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, but, it's still a good book - especially if you love courtroom dramas and Hallmark movies. :)

3 stars
* * * 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Book Review: Flying Away by Caroline A. Gill

Flying Away


Caroline A. Gill


When Iolani Bearse was five years old, she lost her father to war. When she was nine, her mother died in a freak car accident. When Lani was fourteen, eerie green lights invaded, tearing her from the only home she had left.

Living as a runaway, dragging a horse and her cousin Eleanor across the countryside, Lani must learn to survive. Now Lani is the only person between the horrible, greedy lights and the last bit of family she has left. Her own heart is barely beating, but powerful memories pull her to Malcolm St. John. She fights what she feels, buried deep within her shattered soul.

Malcolm St. John always held his feelings in, especially about Iolani. So when she shows up on his doorstep, desperate and determined, Mal must decide if the wild tales she spins are the fragments of insanity or the last hope for a dying nation. This Lani is different from the child he knew. Something is coming for her, for him, and will not be stopped

If the cousins and Malcolm can’t escape the grasping hunters who hound them, the future of a broken America will be destroyed. Everything Lani has ever loved will burn with them. Somehow, she must find a path through friendship and loyalty to save them all.



Can we talk about this gorgeous cover for a minute? Very alluring and original. The author did this herself! Apparently she's a talented artist as well!

I had heard about this book before it was published and the story piqued my interest so I bought the ebook. Then, I happened to win a paperback copy through a give away! Woohoo!

I was a little disappointed in the beginning. The whole opening scene is very abstract. I wasn't sure why Lani was doing the things she was doing. One minute she's lying in bed taking to flies, then she sees her cousin sneaking out into the woods so she decides to follow her. (Okay, intriguing) Then Lani suddenly starts having a panic attack. What brought this on is kind of a mystery and I was bored as she was describing it.Since I didn't know what had caused her to freak out, I couldn't be scared with her. Then suddenly Lani swallows a fly and gets "Fly Girl" super powers. Pretty cool.  - Except that we never get any insight to how she feels about suddenly turning into "Fly Girl". Is she scared? Is she excited? Is she angry because she just ate one of her fly friends? Absolutley no emotions. Just a descriptive narrative of what is happening. Also, once the phenomenon disappears, it is never mentioned again or happens again for another 100 pages!

The story definitely picks up once she hits the road with her cousin and horse, traveling across the country. The scenario didn't seem very realistic, but it did have a great dystopian vibe that I have been craving lately. I believe Caroline A. Gill is a talented writer. She's great with metaphors and has a very descriptive narrative. The ending pretty much left me satisfied, but I was a little let down when there was no set up or hook for the sequel that comes out later this year.

What this story is lacking is a good content editor to fill in the gaps and plot holes. I feel like with a little more development Flying Away could have been great. It's definitely worth a read if you like stories that blur the lines of the imagination and show you concepts you've never seen before. Like magical flies!

2.5 stars
* * * 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Quick Update

I've gotten a lot of the same questions lately, mostly about Bloodstones and Sigil in Shadow . I decided to write up a bunch of answers so I can direct everyone here. If you're reading this, I hope you find this update interesting and informative!

"I can't take the suspense any longer! When is Bloodstones coming out?"


If you've followed Onyx Moon since it's Kickstarter campaign, you'll probably remember that I estimated that the sequel, Bloodstones would be out this month. *awkward silence* First off, I greatly apologize for this failure. When I started writing Bloodstones, I never expected to get distracted and possessed by an idea I just had to get on paper. I never dreamed that idea would actually become complete and that a publisher would actually take it on. (Okay, maybe I did dream of it a little. That's the first step in making things happen.) But I still stand by the fact that the delay in Bloodstones is not my fault...not entirely...maybe about half.

Anyway, to answer the question, according to my writing plan for this year, a plan that I've added a lot of flexibility to, Bloodstones will be in your hands around the New Year. I hope you'll forgive me and be patient as I write and perfect the story that Ora and Doeryan deserve. Remember, The Onyx Moon Trilogy is a one woman show. I am in charge of writing, editing, layout, cover design, distribution, and marketing. I'm thrilled that so many people are waiting for the sequel, but I want to do it all the right way. And that may take some time. In the future, I promise not to leave you in suspense for so long.

"What are you working on right now?" 

I have a few things in the works right now. None of them is official, except Bloodstones, obviously. At the moment, most of my brain power is going to promoting the release of my next book, Sigil in Shadow, which will hit shelves July 12th. The paperback is now available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I am currently setting up book signings and a blog tour. If you are a blogger and would like to participate in the tour (probably July/August) please email me at diffjonespress (at) gmail (dot) com. Or contact my publisher, Cedar Fort, Inc.  They should have electronic and print copies available for reviewers.     

Between spurts of living my happy little life, I am alternating between writing Bloodstones and the sequel to Sigil in Shadow. In addition, shortly before the release of Bloodstones, I plan on re-releasing the ebook for Onyx Moon. This special edition will have a beautiful new cover, deleted scenes, character Q&A, as well as original artwork and the first chapter of Bloodstones. But best of all, this new version will be absolutely free! What? Yes! Free! More details on that to come.

"Are you going to have giveaways for Sigil in Shadow?"


Yes! One of the ways I will do this is through Goodreads. Entering a giveaway on Goodreads is very simple. You just click the giveaway and you're entered! To make sure you're notified of the giveaway, go ahead and add Sigil in Shadow to your Goodreads "Want to Read" list now.

"How do you balance writing and real life?"

I think "balance" is a very generous word. I actually plan on doing a blog post about this but, judging from the way I've "balanced" things lately, it could be awhile. Truthfully, this post you're reading now is one I started TWO WEEKS ago and had to keep putting aside because other things came up.

And it's not just writing that I have to work into my schedule. If you're an author, you're probably also a marketer, networker, reader, and book reviewer - in addition to your day job. Somehow, I make it work. Eventually, when I find the time, I'll sit down and type out a few tips in a post probably not called "How to Balance Writing and Real Life" but more appropriately named "How to Eventually Get Stuff Done."

"What are you going to review next?"

In no particular order, these are books I plan to get done and reviewed on the blog by summer.

   As well as other books and ARCs

Friday, April 1, 2016

Book Review: Prince of Fire by Megan Linski

Prince Of Fire

(Kingdom Saga #4)


Megan Linski





Thief lord. Wanted criminal. College student.

Zayde Amirmoez is in his last year of college at Ashana University, and he couldn’t be more eager to leave. A talented thief, Zayde makes a living by robbing jewelry stores in order to care for his ailing mother, who grows sicker each passing day.

Then the dreams begin. Zayde’s nightmares echo memories of a land from another time, visions of a mysterious princess who lived two thousand years ago. At the insistence of his annoying history professor, Zayde becomes friends with the beautiful freshman who loves to dance…the girl who looks exactly like the princess in his dreams.

As a dangerous new Dean and his spiteful son take the helm at Ashana University, Zayde learns of the legends of Queen Bennua, which are eerily similar to his nightmares. Could Zayde’s dreams be a coincidence? Or is it possible that Bennua and Zahid have returned, to save Sahrahn once more?


I was under the assumption that Redemption From Ashes would be the last in the Kingdom Saga, so I was thrilled to find out there would be another book centering around sword wielding hottie, Zahid. Things are a bit different this time around. Prince of Fire takes place thousands of years in the future where the reader finds themselves in a modern day version of Ashana. Zahid (Zayde) and Bennua (Badhira) find each other again in a college history class. Most of your favorite characters from the series (mine being Shadi and Sajjaad ;) reunite for a new quest to save Sahrahan. The only problem is, Zayde and Bashira can't remember their past lives or even get along well enough to finish a history project together.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. There wasn't anything in particular that I disliked about it, I just felt like it lacked a lot of the unique enchantment that pulled me so deep into the other books. Maybe it was the modern day setting or re-hash of old rivals that just didn't really interest me. The quest plot is more linear and lacks those crazy twists from the other books that would come out and punch me in the face.

I've never been a fan of "let's retell the story in the love interest's point of view", but I was pleasantly surprised during some of the dream flashbacks. The scene where Zahid wanders into the after life is incredibly beautiful. Definitely worth the ticket price! Zayde and Bashira have the same dynamic you've come to expect and it was a pleasure to watch them fall in love all over again. And I won't say too much, but I think this was one of my favorite endings in the series.

Overall, Prince of Fire just made me want to go back and read the whole series; which I definitely plan on doing. This book is built off the reader's nostalgia with some more mythical creatures, laughs, and warm fuzzy feelings added in. If you're a fan of this series at all, you don't want to miss it.

4 stars
* * * *