Audiobook Reviews: The Natural Order by R.J. Vickers

 

Introduction:

A troubled teen goes off to magic school and finds trouble of a different sort.

Summary:

Tristan Fairholm gets a second chance at an extraordinary school where not everything is as it seems.

Additional Comments:

Neutral:

– There are a lot of plot threads being juggled here. Overall, this is done well, but a few seem to have petered off. (ie. Evie and the twins)

– There are 15 students gathered from all over the US (presumably), but the story focuses only on 5-6 of them. (I believe that’s for the best, but the number of overall students seems small. If the others don’t matter, then why bring them up at all?)

– Content warnings: rampant casual cursing

– There’s not much explanation for the vast wealth of the school.

– Tristan makes some gains in many aspects but not the driving force presented at the beginning.

– Passage of time was sporadic. It was almost like a survey of the holidays.

What I didn’t like:

*disclaimer – I am a teacher, so my perspectives on how schools are run might be different than the average reader.*

– The idea of rewarding students by letting them out of an assigned homework is terrible. Homework’s not supposed to be busy work. Either it has value or it doesn’t. If nobody “needs” to do it, then why assign it? If it’s vital, then letting some students skip it is kind of counter productive.

– There’s a strong emphasis on hours of punishments and students working them off. The dolling out of such seemed a mite capricious. Keeping discipline and order is important in school settings, and I imagine that’s magnified in a boarding school setting. However, when handing out discipline, it’s important not to punish oneself at the same time. Are the teachers working 90+ hrs a week?

– Some of the cardinal rules of the school seemed to matter one minute and not so much the next. (ie. can the students leave or not? Can anybody leave or not?)

– The vandal’s methods and logic are fundamentally flawed.

– The first practical exam was a terrible idea. The teachers admit this later, but it’s not really an exam if nothing’s taught first.

– Tristan’s acceptance of the end twists seemed way too easy. The mystery built up some good momentum then sort of fizzled.

What I liked:

– There’s a unique premise here and some nice twists in the end.

– The character development is pretty decent at least in the main character.

– I liked Amber and wish her role were expanded. She was left as the “little miss perfect student” instead of becoming a foil for the hero.

– Side characters were decent, although the Zeke/ Leila thing got old very quickly. The relationship has an interesting turn at the end, but nothing’s settled. They seem very antagonistic for no good reason.

– The book as a whole has a summer camp bonding experience vibe to it.

– The narrator’s performance was good.

– End twist is built on a very intriguing premise.

Conclusion:

I don’t think the things that bothered me about the running of the school will affect the general public. Overall, this is a decent coming-of-age fantasy with its own brand of magic.

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge. The ebook is $0.99, and if you miss out on getting a free code, then you can always buy the book for a discounted price once you have the ebook. (This holds true for most titles anyway.)

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

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For Authors/Narrators: Audiobook Paperback Giveaway – Sept 2017

What’s an “Audiobook Paperback Giveaway”?

It’s a giveaway of paperback books that have been made-or soon will be made-into audiobooks. The original intent was to be just books featured on Audiobook Edge, but I’m not sure I’ll have enough that way. So, I’m opening it up to any audiobook with a tasteful cover.

Fine Print: It also can’t be hard core horror or erotica. Audiobook Edge is aimed at clean mystery, thriller, scifi, and fantasy, but I’m willing to expand to most genres. (Tasteful romance, historical fiction, YA, children’s, etc. are all welcome. When in doubt, ask first.)

What I intend to do:

I’ll make up prize boxes containing 5-10 books in a similar genre. I.e. mystery/thriller/adventure; scifi/fantasy/paranormal; YA; MG/children’s; romance; clean romance

I’ll set up a Kingsumo giveaway for all the featured boxes. The number of boxes there are will determine the # of winners.

Purpose: To celebrate paperbacks that are also audiobooks.

To advertise Audiobook Edge.

Great, but how do I get in on this?

Details/Rules:

– Mail 1-3 paperback books (can be 1 title or multiple) per author. Books must be received by August 7, 2017. (P.O. Box is in New Jersey, USA.)

– You may include a personal note to the winner.

– Each book can have a bookmark or postcard.

– You may include up to 10 bookmarks or business cards for inclusion in other boxes/prize packs.

– Fill out Google form. (I must know genre and weight to make up the prize boxes properly. It’s to your benefit to be in a box that goes to a person who wants that genre.) https://goo.gl/forms/2vgEwey51ExnlNEK2

– Send suggested entry fee $3-5 (as a friend! Paypal info in Google form) to cover mailing costs and prizes.

– You’ll need to give me your email address and promise to help promote the giveaway.

Movie Review: 4/5 Stars Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales – Surprisingly Good

Introduction:

The fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Men Tell No Tales, follows in same footsteps as the first few. It’s weird. It’s loud. It’s got a gorgeous soundtrack. They were never the “serious” tales. Overall, I enjoyed this one much more than 2-4. It suffers from being a sequel, but that’s to be expected. As a story, it has quite a few “convenient” moments, but it’s pretty standard fare action/adventure/humor with quite a bit of Disney’s touch upon the tale.

I’ll try to keep this relatively spoiler free. No promises though.

Additional Comments:

  • Casting worked out very well. I thought the guy who played Captain Sullivan would annoy me because his voice is super annoying in the trailer. It’s the same voice in the movie but thankfully, his speaking parts are limited and most of the time he’s just stomping about shouting. The young man they got to play Henry Turner and the young woman they got to play, Carina (sorry, dunno if it’s supposed to be K or C), did nice jobs with their roles. Depp is his usual oddball self as Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • The opening scene in St. Martin sets the tone for what you’re going to get. It’s pretty funny among other things.
  • There’s no real sense of danger for our heroes and heroine during any of the times they’re on the land. You know they’re going to escape. It’s just a matter of how.
  • The banter between Henry and Carina is not always funny, but they do innocent charm decently well.
  • Although I think this movie’s world’s better than 2-4, it also makes more sense if you’ve seen them, especially the 2nd movie.

Conclusion:

I don’t think it’s a see-8-times in theaters movie, but it’s certainly well-worth watching. I was entertained. I’ll probably end up buying the soundtrack. As usual, it’s a beautiful score that mixes the old and the new. Not bad for something inspired by a ride at Disney World.

 


Awesome Audiobooks: Ghosts of Tsavo (Society of Paranormals Book 1) by Vered Ehsani

 

Introduction:

If you like Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, then you’ll probably enjoy the brand of weird presented here in Ghosts of Tsavo.

Summary:

Due to a change in financial fortunes, Beatrice Knight travels with her uncle and his family to Nairobi and becomes embroiled in a paranormal mystery. She’s an investigator for a society that seeks to study paranormals while at the same time keeping their existence a secret. As fate would have it, she’s also got the ghost of her dead husband Gideon following her.

Additional Comments:

Neutral:

– I’m guessing the way Bee speaks as a story narrator will evoke strong emotions. She’s hilarious, yet she comments on everything.

– There are some plot threads that aren’t resolved. This didn’t bother me as much as it does in some books. It’s balanced by the overarching fact that this episode of sorts wraps up nicely. There’s definite lead into a new story but I got enough of a sense of closure to satisfy my need for it here.

– Fact vs fiction thing at the end. This one was good, but those bother me in general.

What I didn’t like:

– Breaking the fourth wall – There’s no reason to address the readers! It busts that nice little bubble of fantasy the author’s weaving and yanks you out of the story.

What I liked:

– The narrator fit the story perfectly. This is definitely one of those stories where I believe the audiobook version is vastly superior to the written word. That’s akin to book blasphemy I know.

– It’s actually a rather simple story. What makes it funny is Bee’s commentary. The story’s the same brand of ridiculous as Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies. It’s probably less gory than that book, but it’s got the same obsession with old school British society and manners. (She points out things like how rude it is for ghosts to come through walls instead of using doors. Just because you’re dead doesn’t excuse one from having bad manners.)

Conclusion:

If you can handle weird, then you will likely enjoy this book.

 

 

Bonus:

This title is permanently free. Go grab a copy.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

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Introducing Indie Authors Monthly

What is Indie Authors Monthly?

Here’s the answer according to one of the editors:
Indie Authors Monthly is a new magazine geared with a focus on exceptional Indie Authors and readers. We aim to connect readers with new authors, while being the go-to source for indie author news, events and processes. Readers get a unique perspective into authors and have opportunities to sound off on their likes and recommendations. Readers can find author events for the ultimate fan experiences and lively ads to showcase new books that may interest them.
What do they offer readers?
Get inside the minds of some of your favorite authors or find some new writers to love. The indie author community in general is highly active. If people don’t hear about our works, they languish in obscurity. Networking and interacting with the fan base is one of the most exciting parts of being indie.

What do they offer authors?
Check out their site for a few great opportunities to advertise. But there’s much more than just ad space.

If you’re in indie, find your time to shine.

The editor I talked to, RL Jackson, was very open and responsive. Their Facebook page has the “very responsive” tag. That’s not easy to earn! So, somebody must be at the controls.

Find out what they’re looking for in terms of an article or column. I wrote an article about audiobooks that should be out later in the year.

Conclusion:

Whether you want to talk about the triumphs or the struggles of being an indie author, this magazine looks to have an opportunity for you to join the community.

Links:
Main Website
P
lace to Download the May Edition
Facebook Page

Audiobook Reviews: Shadow Grove by Lacey Edward

 

Introduction:

This is a case where the book probably makes more sense in context of it being part of a series. It took quite a bit of time and didn’t have that much of a bang in the end, but there is still potential for the series.

Summary:

Around her 18th birthday, Ariel finds out she’s a witch. The rest of the story’s pretty much about her training to use those powers and avoiding the people trying to kill her because of those powers.

Additional Comments:

Content warning: a few mild curses

Neutral:

– The plots pretty slow moving. I get that there’s a lot of setup, but really, I could only think of 2 pts in the book that had any sort of action.

– Some of the bad guys’ motives seem weak.

– Ethan kind of seems along for the ride. He doesn’t add or detract much. Wish he’d done more as Ariel’s father.

– I wish Ariel had done more. She’s learning a lot, but it seems a lot of other things/people are protecting her. I want to see her become the in control witch ready to take on the forces of darkness.

What I didn’t like:

– A lot of the training scenes involved inane questions that seemed designed solely to move the conversation on so the other character could continue his/her lecture. For some reason, in the audio, that drove me nuts. (Really? I’m a witch? A book? Etc)

– Unresolved questions: – Why does Oren offer to help her if he’s just a collector? Who is the queen? What the heck happened to James? The queen shows up at the beginning and the end, but we’re specifically not told anything about her.

– Lack of closure in the end. There would have been better closure without the very last scene. We already know it’s book 1 and the story continues, but the last scene sort of stamps a “to be continued” sign on the story. I find those annoying.

What I liked:

– I enjoyed Ariel as a character. The tried and true girl-has-special-powers trope is always a fun one, and Ariel’s pretty likable.

– Oddly enough, I enjoyed the Vampire. He was a nice addition.

– I think the series as a whole has merit. There’s a lot of setup in this book.

– I loved the narrator’s voice for Dione. (British accents rock.)

Conclusion:

It’s a slow start, but there’s a ton of potential for the series.

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

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Audiobook Reviews: Unexpected Superhero by Kitty Bucholtz

Introduction:

Some superhero books try to be serious. This isn’t one of those times. There might be possible spoilers ahead in my discussion. I have some mixed feelings about the book as a whole. There’s a lot to love and some stuff that raises eyebrows.

Summary:

Tori Lewis discovers she has a superpower. Meanwhile, her new husband, Joe Clarke, also has a secret identity.

Additional Comments:

  • I love the pop culture references. The references include: Spiderman, The X-Files, Superman, and much more.
  • Comic books do not qualify as research.
  • Neutral:
  • Limited first person sometimes slips into stream of consciousness. In general, the amount of arghs and grrs should be kept to a bare minimum in books, especially audios.
  • The MC gets mugged twice.

What I couldn’t connect with … :

  • The genres flip quite regularly. It’s mostly a lighthearted romantic comedy set in a mildly urban fantasy setting. In addition, there are elements of Christian romance, Harlequin romance, mystery, and scifi. I happen to like most of those, but I’ll admit the blend is not always pretty. Odds are very good that either you’re going to be offended by the amount of intimate scenes described between the newlyweds or you’re going to be offended by the amount of times Tori prays or somebody brings up a Bible verse.
  • Content warning: contains curse words and “moderate spice adult scenes”
  • There’s a fair amount of very slow build. I clocked it. Tori took 7.5 hrs to tell Joe the truth, and he took about 9.2 hours to tell the truth. That’s weeks upon weeks in their time. I’ll tell him soon, I’ll tell him later, I’ll tell her soon, I’ll tell her later, well maybe … It got maddening.
  • Some plot threads get brushed off in a “that’s not really our focus as super heroes” vibe instead of wrapped up.

What I liked:

  • The narrator fit the character very well. She gave a solid performance.
  • The scifi and mystery aspects are great. I wish more of this existed.
  • I enjoyed Kane (sorry about spelling, I heard the audio) as a villain.
  • The last hr and a half was excellent. Once they leveled with each other and finally got to the exciting stuff including the showdown, it was awesome.

Conclusion:

If you can handle the “heat level” and don’t mind genres flipping all over the place, it’s an intriguing tale.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Music Unlimited

Home Services – Is there anything Amazon doesn’t dabble in?

The Talking Tales Series by Erica Graham

Introduction:

Please welcome Erica Graham as she tells us a little about her Talking Tales series of Children’s stories.

Children’s Stories with Purpose:

The Talking Tales series of books are not only fun stories, but they serve a unique purpose. Every story is also designed to help with speech development. When a child is learning to speak, he or she first learns how words sound by observing. Each book in the Talking Tales series is focused on a different core sound in its naturally occurring word positions, thus increasing a child’s awareness and helping him or her learn how to properly produce the targeted sound.

The author firmly believes that parents and caregivers are the most important people in a child’s life. For this reason, she has included some speech tips in the front of each book so that these books can be used in a home setting.

There are currently 4 books in the Talking Tales series. Graham’s most recent book is Talking Tales: Puppy’s Bubble. This engaging story is a fun way to read to little ones while promoting babbling, early words, and language skills. It provides over 90 examples of some of the earliest developing sounds in their most common word positions including “p”, “b”, “m”, “n”, “d” and “h”. In addition to helping with speech development, Puppy’s Bubble makes an excellent early reader book with its repetitive sounds and engaging story.

Author Bio:

Erica Graham graduated from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville with her Master of Arts Degree in Speech Language Pathology. She also holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. As a mother of two, Erica understands the difficulty parents have finding time and ways to work on speech with their children. In her pursuit to create a fun easy way for therapists, children, and their parents to enhance speech development while promoting literacy, she has written a series of exciting children’s books. Each book focuses on a core sound used in the English language. Outside of writing and working as a Speech Language Pathologist, Erica enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and daughters, volunteering with the youth group at church, and a good cup of tea.

Connect with the Author:

Facebook

Website

Amazon

What books are available?

Talking Tales: The Bright Red Tricycle

The bright red tricycle loves spending every day riding around with his boy Ryan. But when Ryan’s dad brings home a new bicycle, the little red tricycle quickly finds himself on an unknown journey. Will the little red tricycle ever be ridden by Ryan again, or is he destined to rust away in a scrap yard?

This story is a great tool for any parent or speech therapist. It explores the tale of the bright red tricycle while providing over 80 examples of the “r” sound in various word locations and blends to increase speech development. This book also includes tips for parents who are working with their child’s speech at home.

 

Talking Tales: Cricket’s Guitar

When Teri hears a small voice calling her, she never would have guessed who she would meet…a cricket! But not just any cricket. This cricket has a guitar. He is hoping that Teri can help him replace a broken string on his guitar. Will Teri’s creative thinking be able to help cricket, or will cricket never play his guitar again?

This engaging story is a great tool for any parent or speech therapist. It provides over 80 examples of the “t” sound in various word locations to increase speech development. This book also includes tips for parents who are working with their child’s speech at home.

 

 

Taking Tales: Sam’s Sticky Sucker

Sam has dreamed all night about his strawberry sucker. When morning arrives, he is unable to resist sneaking downstairs to eat his sucker before breakfast. But when mom comes toward the room and Sam is forced to run back to bed, he loses track of his sticky strawberry sucker. Now where could that sticky strawberry sucker have gone? Will Sam find the sucker before his mom?

This funny story is a great tool for any parent or speech therapist. It provides over 170 examples of the “s” sound in various word locations and blends to increase speech development. This book also includes tips for parents who are working with their child’s speech at home.

Where to purchase:

Talking Tales: Puppy’s Bubble

When Puppy wakes up from a nap, he sees a bubble. When it disappears, Puppy begins his long journey to find the missing bubble. Will Puppy find the bubble, or has it vanished forever?

This engaging story is a fun way to read to little ones while promoting babbling, early words and language skills. It provides over 90 examples of some of the earliest developing sounds in their most common word positions including “p”, “b”, “m”, “n”, “d” and “h”. This book also includes tips to encourage speech development.

 


Awesome Audiobook Reviews: 4.5/5 Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed by Spencer Hawke

Introduction:

I don’t read or experience historical fiction much these days, but this book provided a nice change of pace from the dragons, fairies, and Gifted teenagers. I love all those other things, but change can be good too.

Summary:

Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed is not really a mystery or a history, but it is decent historical fiction. This is the story of a Bedouin boy who grows up to be a scribe then a priest and guardian of Israel’s greatest treasures. It doesn’t present the Roman soldiers in the best light, but I think history in general agrees they could be brutal.

Additional Comments:

– The author narrated the story. The music in the beginning kind of threw me for a little, but I enjoyed the added touch.

– I love the camel. She gets the best side character award.

– The hero and his uncle are fleshed out quite well but most of the other characters weren’t. I’m not sure why Lazarus was in the story.

– I really enjoyed the set up with the boy, Hilal (sorry if I misspelled that, I heard the audio), but then it pulled one of those “thirty years later” things that make me cringe a little. I guess that’s a pacing issue. Same thing near the end, you get wrapped up in the thrill of the hunt then boom it’s late 1940’s. I understand why it’s done that way, but the transition was … abrupt.

– Content warning: There are descriptions of Roman atrocities and torture.

– The book was a refreshing change from the book fare I’ve been taking in lately.

Conclusion:

Interesting take on the battle to preserve history.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Carole P. Roman Speaks about Reviewing

Carole’s Comments on Reviews:

I started reviewing books on a whim. Books were an integral part life in our home. Both my mother and grandmother were avid readers. I read anything I could get my hands on and then would sit with them to discuss the book. My mother was my reading partner until she passed. After she had died, I found a certain loneliness in reading as I had no one to discuss the books. It was more of a personal experience. It never occurred to me to join a book club or even read reviews online.
I never noticed the reviews on Amazon when I bought a book. Book purchases were based on subject or genre. It wasn’t until I looked on Amazon to see the reaction of readers to my own books that I realized the value of a review.
The impact of reading other people’s reviews crystalized – they were a valuable tool in helping a consumer decide whether a book would interest them.
After a trip through my personal library, I tried to pick books I felt comfortable to review. There were so many old friends that kept me company or made the world’s worries disappear for the few hours. It was hard to pick which ones I wanted to share.
At first, I wondered if anyone would read what I had to say. Once that first review was posted, I noticed my rankings were somewhere in the millions. I realized my reviews would not have much impact. I posted as much as I could. They began to add up, as did the helpful votes.
I began reading other prolific reviewers, learning what worked and garnered the most helpful hits.

Writing a review is a big responsibility.

Some people enjoy trashing a book, pointing out all the things they didn’t enjoy. Liking a book is subjective, it is rooted in personal taste and preferences.
When reviewers write things like ‘this book was horrible- don’t buy it,’  it sounds judgmental. Just because one person may not like a book, doesn’t mean another might enjoy it.
A lot has to do with genre, style, and the mood the person is in at the time.
I have shifted genres throughout the years, loving it at one point and disliking it intensely the next year.

Knowing that author put their heart and soul into the book, it’s only right to leave a fair review.

The lowest score I will give a book is three stars, and if it can’t make even that grade, for me, I simply won’t review it. I wouldn’t want to be the cause that influences a buyer not to try it.
The result of these efforts has been astonishing. I have become a Top Reviewer on many of Amazon’s of the sites. The reviews have gained momentum, resulting in steady spots in two magazines featuring my reviews.
Publishers have written asking for reviews before books are published.
More importantly than that, reading books written by indies has helped the careers of people with slim budgets who can’t afford to advertise.
Reading and reviewing indies is like lending a helping hand to struggling writers who are trying to bring their work to the public, without much help or support.
There are some delightful books out there, many of them would be lost in the sea of all the other books being published.

Indie authors don’t have it easy.

They have trouble promoting and marketing their books. Partnering with my social media consultant, Julie Gerber, we decided to write about our experiences as authors. Navigating Indieworld has yielded a new blog radio show with the same name, as well as a new magazine called Indie Author’s Monthly.
Reviewing is fun. I think of writing reviews as practice. If you can please an audience with these small blurbs and develop a following, can a best-selling book be far behind?

A Little More about Carole P. Roman:

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard-An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis has been named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2015. Each book in the series has won numerous awards including the NABE Pinnacle Award, IAN Award, Moonbeam Award 2014, National Indie Excellence Award Finalist, Shelf Media Outstanding Series Award, ForeWord Review Five Star and Finalist in the Book of the Year, and Reader’s Views Children’s Book of the Year 2013. Roman is also the author of the award-winning non-fiction culture series If You Were Me and Lived in… that explores customs and cultures around the world. She has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. Carole is now circling the media stage as she has taken off with two radio shows on PodFire Radio (Let’s Say Hello To Our Neighbors and Navigating Indieworld) and is starting a new magazine called Indie Author’s Monthly on Magzter.com. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren.

Carole’s Links: