Category Archives: Reviews

Historic Fiction Review – The Frontiersmen

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Guest Post by Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Series

Allan W. Eckert’s The Frontiersmen is the best historical fiction book about early American frontier life I have ever read. The book is closely based on real events and Eckert researched the characters and story for seven years before he began writing. Even historians of this era, a notably difficult breed to impress, have few criticisms of Eckert’s works. A naturalist who wrote 225 Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom episodes and a dedicated amateur historian, Eckert’s narrative history style was before its time and much copied today.

The book centers on the life of Simon Kenton whose real name was Simon Girty. Kenton fled North Carolina after believing he had murdered his single mother’s oppressive landlord. Years later he learned the man had survived and Kenton felt free to again assume his true name. The story of Kenton focuses on the wild and unspoiled land to the west of the Appalachians when most of the European settlements were within twenty-five miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The timeline of the story begins just before the French and Indian War and proceeds through the American Revolutionary War and the chaotic period that followed. In this vast untamed wilderness, Kenton played a key role in opening the area to American settlers and was close personal friends with men such as Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, Anthony Wayne, and William Henry Harrison.

The other main character and storyline of the book revolves around Tecumseh, the leader of the Shawnee Indians in the Ohio Valley. Tecumseh and the Shawnee initially fight with the British against the French and then with the Americans against the British, but when it becomes apparent that the flow of settlers will not stop, Tecumseh forges an impressive Indian Confederation to counter the incursions. The final conflict between Tecumseh and the new American settlers sets the stage for the settlement of American to the Mississippi River.

The Frontiersmen is among the best historical fiction books I’ve ever read. It is certainly tops for covering the early American era and suitable for both adult and high school students. Very highly recommend.


Ryan King is a career army officer with multiple combat tours who continues to serve in the military. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, thriller, horror, and action short stories, short novels, and novels.


Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Author Guest Blogs, Book Reviews, Reviews


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Indie Author Laughs at One Star Book Reviews

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Flip back through their posts–I shook my head or grinned more and more.

For more laughs, head over to

The website is pretty much full of classics and excerpts from their undeserved one star reviews.

–Kristin 😀


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Historical Fiction Review – The Sunne in Splendor

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 9.55.35 PM(Guest Post by Ryan King, Author of the post-apocalyptic Land of Tomorrow Trilogy)

I’ve always been a huge fan of history and historical fiction. I’ve probably read hundreds of books in the genre, but my favorite is hands down Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendor. This is a story about the War of the Roses in Fifteenth Century England where the Houses of York and Lancaster fought for the throne.

The book is also about Richard III who has been vilified by history. Penman actually conducted a great deal of research on this period before writing the book and determined that Richard III was the victim of history being written by the victors. He is most famously portrayed as an evil hunchback by Shakespeare in the play that bears his name. Most of Shakespeare’s material was obtained from Lancaster writers after the war. Penman’s portrayal of the man as noble, wise and courageous is generally accepted by historians as the more accurate and actually spawned greater interest in the period. Fans of actor Richard Armitage (recently in The Hobbit) know he has long wanted to do a mini-series based on Penman’s history, and Armitage was actually born on the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field where Richard III was killed.

The background of the book itself is also interesting. Penman supposedly wrote the original manuscript for the book while researching Richard III as a student. When the 400 page original manuscript was stolen from her car (before the age of computers or backup copies), she was devastated and didn’t write for five years. She eventually returned to the story and wrote it again from scratch over the next twelve years while working as a lawyer. The 936 page The Sunne in Splendor was eventually completed and published in 1982 and birthed a wonderful and successful writing career in English historical fiction for Penman (her other works are also excellent).

The Sunne in Splendor is one of those rare historical fiction books that is based on accurate historical background and evidence, yet reads like a novel. Penman has a knack for fleshing out real-life historical characters so that they nearly leap off the page and make it difficult to stop reading.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is a must read and once you have read it, I believe, like me you will read it again and again.


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More about Armitage and the finding of Richard III in a parking lot! Click photo for link.

Ryan King is a career army officer with multiple combat tours who continues to serve in the military. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, thriller, horror, and action short stories, short novels, and novels.



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P is for Post-Apocalyptic

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 8.44.49 AMGuest Blog Post by Author, Ryan King (my DH) for A to Z Blog Challenge

First of all I want to thank my wife Kristin for allowing me to write a piece for her blog…even if she did ask me to do it while traveling half a world away. She gave me a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Are you a post-apocalyptic fan?

I just recently finished Paths of Righteousness, the third and final book in my post-apocalyptic Land of Tomorrow series and am waiting for edits. I’ve also written three post-apocalyptic short novels and envision that no matter what stories I write in the future, post-apoc will never be far from my thoughts.

Post-apocalyptic fiction is generally considered a sub-genre of science fiction and often lumped together and confused with dystopian or horror. Only recently did Amazon add genres for post-apocalyptic and dystopian years after they had established such obscure genres as Arthurian Legend Fantasy and Short Story – Cats.

Most of the online lists for post-apocalyptic and dystopian are identical, but I do believe there is a difference. Post-apocalyptic stories are about life directly after and/or during the destruction of society – think Book of Eli. Dystopian stories are about a future society or world that has changed drastically, possibly by an apocalyptic event, but not necessarily – think 1984, Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Wool, Planet of the Apes, or Eternity Road.

One of the key elements of post-apocalyptic fiction is the terrible aching loss that the characters feel when they gaze at the shadow of what was. Each hunger or pain or loss or act of cruelty is highlighted by the backdrop of an enlightened civilized society that is no more. In many ways post-apocalyptic fiction is two stories in one, and often difficult to construct well.

Modern post apocalyptic fiction is generally believed to have begun with Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (free herewritten in 1826. In many ways the book is amazing for its vision of a world beset by a pandemic that slowly destroys humanity. Nearly a hundred years later in 1912, Jack London wrote his version of a world destroyed by disease with The Scarlet Plague.

Even with these two classics, post-apocalyptic fiction really did not hit its stride until the post-WWII nuclear world. This is not surprising given the real threat of nuclear apocalypse that our parents and grand-parents worried about. A threat that oddly enough is no less real today, simply not as obsessed about as much.

The post-apocalyptic genre is often misunderstood and underappreciated. The lines that categorize this genre blur and warp with popularity and passing time and it has never been truly defined. With that said, there are a surprising number of rabid post-apoc fans who read everything they can on the subject and eagerly await more. I am one of those fans.

So why are post-apocalyptic stories interesting? Is it simply a ghoulish and morbid fascination of what could happen in a dying world? Do we like the heart-racing horror or the depressing destruction? I think not. I believe what draws us to post-apocalyptic is the story of ordinary people fighting to stay alive in a world without civilized society. Everything is destroyed or corrupted, yet everything is also new and different. Any good that is done in this world is entirely due to the pure of heart and not laws or societal pressure. People are who and what they are after the Apocalypse. All masks are pulled away and things in many ways are much simpler.

There is also a freedom in a post-apocalyptic world that does not exist in our civilized society. That ruffian giving your daughter an inappropriate look? Shoot him in the face. You’re unsure about the stranger in your midst. Is he a potential ally or is he just someone who will cut your throat in the night? Why risk it? Just shoot him in the face.

Brutal violence aside, this level of simplicity and straightforward life I think often calls to us. In a world with board meetings and suffocating traffic and overwhelming commercialism we often crave the simplicity of a world where to survive the day is the height of achievement.

Of course none of us would ever really want to live in a world like this. If you are ever convinced otherwise, read Cormac McCarthey’s The Road (much more brutal than the movie), a book which takes the romance right out of post-apocalyptic living.

But fiction is often about imagination and even character empathy. We can conceive of something and fully explore it in our mind without really wanting it. I am in many ways a worrier by nature. If my kids are late from school, I immediately start imagining dozens of horrendous and terrible outcomes. I tell myself all of these are unlikely and silly, but the ‘what ifs’ keep coming. ‘What ifs’ are the product of my very active imagination and the results can be seen in most of my stories. A post-apocalyptic world is the ultimate ‘what if.’

So, why do you like post-apocalyptic stories? What are your favorite post-apocalyptic books in the genre? I cannot resist listing mine which I know will differ from others. (See more of my bookshelf on Shelfari)

1. Alas, Babylon – Pat Frank

2. Earth Abides – George R. Stewart

3. The Road – Cormac McCarthey

4. The Stand – Stephen King

5. The Postman – David Brin

6. Madd Adam Trilogy – Margaret Atwood

7. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

8. Into the Forest – Jean Hegland

9. I Am Legend – Richard Matterson

10. A Gift Upon the Shore – M.K. Wren

11. Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven

12. Swan Song – Robert McCammon

13. Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

14. The Passage/The Twelve – Justin Cronin

15. The Last Ship – William Brinkley

I can hear the screams now. What about Canticle For Leibowitz or Blindness or even that classic On The Beach? Good books all, just not my favorites. That’s another wonderful fact about post-apocalyptic fiction, the works seem to resonate more personally in many ways than other works of fiction. We can identify with a scene and character more than someone else because we are thinking of our own ‘what ifs.’

Reading about, thinking about, and imagining a post-apocalyptic world is the ultimate ‘what if.’ Have you ever imagined yourself there? For better or worse, you aren’t alone.


Ryan King is a bestselling author and career army officer with multiple combat tours who continues to serve in the military. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. King is married to fellow author Kristin King and they have four young and energetic boys who keep them constantly busy. Ryan King writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, thriller, horror, and action short stories, short novels, and novels.

Ryan King also writes under the pen name of Charles R. King for historical non-fiction. He has published 22 works, primarily covering the Punic Wars and late Roman Republican Era which was the focus of his graduate degree. Five of these works are currently on seven different Amazon bestseller lists. King is also writing a historical fiction series about Hannibal and the Second Punic War.


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ISO: Novellas With Romantic Elements 2 Review

I started out with a teacher visit to my home in first grade b/c I didn’t know my alphabet and was behind from day one. Fast forward to becoming an avid reader, then a writer, now a reviewer as well.

Between bookclubs, writer groups, and hitting the recommended pile, I find myself longing for a quick romantic read. Maybe you’re looking for a reviewer?

My reviews are little bites of what struck me. No big plot outlines or character analyses. Examples here, Goodreads, and Amazon.

No Erotica

Indies and small press get priority
Prefer less than 50K WC

PM me on Facebook here 

Read on!


Kristin King is an author and publisher. Her top sellers are the romantic novella “Unsinkable Vampire” and the novel “Cain’s Coven.” Her latest novel in the Begotten Bloods Series is Death Taint. Her imprint Three Kings Publishing can be found here. Three Kings is a Mom & Pop publisher of Christian writers (not necessarily Christian books).


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Book Review: Under the Never Sky

Reblog of Under the Never Sky b/c I keep seeing this at the library and thinking I might read it. Here’s the URL link to the Review.

Also of interest is the cover art change. Check that out!


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Author: Veronica Rossi

Genre: YA



Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers.

Review: Loved it! I really liked the dual MC’s. It helped to show every side of this dystopian world. Dual MC’s has become a favorite of mine for this very reason and Veronica nailed it!

The character arc of Aria (the female…

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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Reviews


Blog to Highlight: Kitty Muse and Me

Kitty Muse & Me Blog

Kitty Muse & Me is a self-professed blog for book reviews, author interviews, and updates on author Kathy Ree’s own writing.

Kathy’s most recent reviews were of Children’s Books such as “Jacqueline the Great Runs for President,”  “Dig the Digger,” and an ABNA (i.e. Amazon Breakout Novel) Award 2013 Nominee “My Lady’s Favour.”  Kathy runs a tight blog sticking to doing exactly what she says it’s about, unlike my own blog where I tend to focus on writing & publishing in an easily distracted by life sort of way.

So I cheer,kudos for Kitty Muse & Me’s straight up, get to business, approach to giving you the information you’re looking for.

Right now she’s doing a run on Children’s Lit, and although romance is not usually for her, you can check back through her months online and find new books and authors in many genres based on Kathy’s reviews alone.

Check her blog today! You’ll find something of interest.


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What do you create?: A Blog to Highlight

Creative Scene Investigations Blog

Genevieve Scholl has an interesting blog for anyone creatively inclined: “CSI-Creative Scene Investigation.”

As an author, Genevieve’s focus is often book related with reviews of books, book covers, author interviews, blogs, and GiveAways. She doesn’t stop there, though. Recently she reviewed two restaurants and the TV show “Once Upon A Time.” 

The best part about Genevieve’s blog IMO is that she is constantly featuring artist news, blogs, and new material from other Creative Types. She is open to Cross-Promotions and is friendly and as approachable as all get out. What do you create? CSI would like to talk about it.

Here’s her description of her blog:

“Creative mind under the microscope.” I blog about anything creative; photographer, writing, movies, TV Shows, Art (new venture that hasn’t started yet), etc. After I became a published writer, it occurred to me that people don’t really know the person behind the writing and I wanted to “dissect” those people that work so hard on the things that we enjoy and get to the root of who they are: Their DNA so to speak.

About Genevieve personally she writes:

I am an author, photographer, editor, cover designer, beta-reader, reviewer (books, movies, and restaurants), avid reader of almost all genres, studying paralegal, Slowly becoming multilingual, and looooooooooove food! I love to experiment, create, paint, travel, etc. I love nature (except for bugs). I live in New York State (not the big city, but still), want to travel all over the world, wish to retire in Ireland, was born in Texas. I collect snowglobes, stuffed animals, and celebrity memorabilia. I have an obsession with the Titanic and anything have to do with it (can’t wait until Titanic 2 is finished being built), Abraham Lincoln, and Amelia Earhart.

It did not surprise me to discover Genevieve obsessed with all things Titanic. There are more of us out there than you might think. But now I find myself wondering if she’s read my book Unsinkable Vampire. In my world that’s a like yelling “Squirrel!”

Do you think she’s read it?

I’ll go ask.


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Well-paced, Page Turner

I didn’t realize this was paranormal when I picked it up from the library. I was expecting a murder-supsense and got that plus more. At first the romantic angles put me off, but I read on through and found I really enjoyed the twists & turns of both the mystery and the romance. I choose to skim over the steamier sections (self-edits). That’s par for the course with me.

The struggles of the main character as a witness to violence who then studies serial killers was well written–a lot good character development there. Most the other characters were introduced with just a hint at their deeper backgrounds, but that’s part of what makes me want to read more.

Right now I’m mostly into reading a different author every time I pick up a book, but I would read the next one in this series if nobody new caught my eye on the shelves.

Newbie to wordpress blogging, I’ll figure out how to make my Goodreads Reviews show up here. Meanwhile, I think you can check them out below, comment, and recommend a read to me. Thanks!

Book Review (Murder Suspense Paranormal)

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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Reviews


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