The Legend of the Taken Ones: Gateskin Chronicles Book 1 – by Janice Spina

Book Blurb

This is Book 1 of a fantasy series that will have six books in all. In this book learn about the three children of King Gateskin and his wife, Queen Solinara. The children have had powers since they were quite young..

Serena was three years old when she learned of her power to move objects with her mind. Her brother, Simon, can fly and their sister, Catalina, can become invisible or blend into her surroundings. They live with their parents in Sovorotskina, the Land of Light.

With these powers comes responsibility. The children must try to use their powers for the common good and responsibly to help others. The three children befriend a Sprite named Spindle who accompanies them on their adventure. Along the way they meet up with their aunt and uncle, their mother’s brother and his wife, Wizard Hotenfaran and Fairy Procelina. The group must travel into the evil land of Parotovina, Land of Darkness, to save King Gateskin, who was kidnapped, and also rescue some of the descendants of their friends and fellow Sovorotskinans who were captured and taken by the Evil Ones. These descendants have been waiting a long time to be free to return to the villages of their ancestors.

The children have many trials and adventures along the way. Will they be able to rescue their father and fellow Sovorotskinans without endangering their own lives? Will the evil King Kaposkaran and his Queen Beregina stop Serena and her siblings from being successful or will they turn Serena and her siblings to their dark ways?

Book Blurb from Amazon

My Review

The Taken are the children of the Provence of Noella who have been missing from their homes for many, many years.  They were captured by the Parotovinans to be raised under the evil king wizard.  Now, King Gateskin of Sovorotskina, Land of Goodness and Light, through his wizardry learns that the Evil Ones are planning to capture the children of the Provence of Noella once again.  With the help of his children, a tree sprite named Spindle, wizards, and fairies, King Gateskin goes to Parotovina to gain release of the Taken Ones. Along the way they will encounter dangerous situations. 

Those who enjoy stories of wizards, fairies, sprites, and adventure will find this un-put-downable! This is not my normal genre, but I was mesmerized. The characters are beautifully detailed, and the plot is captivating.  The Legend of the Taken Ones: Gateskin Chronicles, Book 1 is a five-star book!

The author gifted me an ARC and I have given my honest review.

Meet the Author

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with 15 children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, (Louey and Rick both won Silver Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards), Jerry the Crabby Crayfish (won Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Lamby the Lonely Lamb (won the Silver Medal from MOM’S Choice Awards), and Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose (won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), and Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat (Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe (Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier, The First Star, Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1 – 3, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series (Book 1-6) is a middle-grade/preteen series and Abby & Holly Series Books 1-6 (Books 1, 2, 3, 4, won Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, Book 1 won a Bronze Medal from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards). Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone (won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and an Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite Awards). Book 2, The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and Book 3, The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant, also won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and a Silver Medal from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, and Book 5 won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and a Silver Medal from Authorsdb Cover Contest, Book 6 won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and a Finalist Award with Book Excellence Awards and A Finalist in Reader’s Favorite Book Awards. Janice’s other books have also been Finalists in Red City Review Book Awards and Authorsdb First Lines Contest and received 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.

Janice has published three novels under J. E. Spina, Hunting Mariah, a thriller/mystery, (Finalist in Authorsdb First Lines Contest), Mariah’s Revenge (Sequel to Hunting Mariah), also a Finalist in Authorsdb First Lines Contest), a paranormal/mystery/romance novel, How Far Is Heaven, and a short story collection, An Angel Among Us, all available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She is working on more dragon books, and Book 6 of Abby & Holly, a mystery series for MG/PT/YA girls to be published in 2020. She needs to edit a YA fantasy series which will be published in 2021 and beyond. Her husband is her illustrator and cover creator. He’s working on book 3 of six books of Drystan the Dragon series for children which be coming over the next few years.

She has written over a hundred poems and two other novels. The two novels need editing before publishing. Janice says, “There is always another story swimming around in my head. If I don’t write them down they are lost forever.”

Her logo is JEMSBOOKS for all ages on which is her motto:
“Reading Gives You Wings To Fly! Soar with Jemsbooks!”

Janice’s and John’s joint goal is: To encourage children of all ages to read and to instill this love of reading in them to carry them throughout their lives and thus giving them ‘wings to fly!’

She loves to hear from readers and appreciates reviews. She says, “It’s like Christmas each time I receive a review!”

Author Biography from Goodreads

Connect with the Author








Purchase Book


A Parting in the Sky

(The Forgotten Child Trilogy Book 3)

By Mark W. Sasse

Coming March 20, 2019


Photo from Blurb

In part three of The Forgotten Child Trilogy, Bee takes her biggest gamble yet with Francis Frick, whisking him to the beginning of it all on the forlorn battlefield of waning World War I. When her plan puts Frick in grave danger, she decides to do whatever is necessary to bring Ash back to earth.

In the explosive conclusion to The Forgotten Child Trilogy, loyalties are tested, and secrets are revealed. From Scotland to Africa to Manhattan to the edge of the earth, the enigmatic beings from beyond have a decision to make. Will they continue to influence the world in surprising ways, or will they be released through the parting in the sky.

Book Blurb FROM from

My Review

The Forgotten Child Trilogy is an exciting and intriguing story and it thrilled me when the author announced the third book in the series, A Parting in the Sky.  If you’ve read the other two books in this series (if you haven’t, I highly recommend that you do – see my reviews for A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far – Book 1 here and The African Connection – Book 2 here), Book 3 will bring a satisfying end to the story.  It is here that everything is brought together and the secrets of Ash and Bee and of Francis Frick and his family are finally exposed.

With colorful characters and vivid scenes, the story has a bit of everything–riveting suspense, sensational action, plausible crime, and mystifying fantasy. I was genuinely sorry to finish reading A Parting in the Sky.

I have read nearly all Sasse’s books and have never been disappointed.  He was born to write. His works show his enthusiasm for writing and his gifted understanding of the written word. His work flows smoothly, and the carefully crafted characters and engaging plot jump off the page. He is gifted with the ability to introduce many characters and subplots to a story without bewildering or discouraging the reader.

I absolutely recommend A Parting in the Sky and all books by Mark W. Sasse.

The author gave me A Parting in the Sky (The Forgotten Child Trilogy) Book 3 in exchange for an honest review.  I received no compensation for this review.

About the Author

Photo from Goodreads

Mark is a proud Western PA native but has lived most of the last twenty years in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia. His overseas experiences have redefined everything including his palate, his outlook on life, and naturally his writing.

He has published eight novels, including his brand new Forgotten Child Trilogy.

His interests cast a wide net – from politics to literature – to culture and language – to history and religion – making his writing infused with the unexpected as he seeks to tell authentic and engaging stories about people from all walks of life. His writing is straightforward and accessible to all, especially those who enjoy writing injected with doses of culture, history, adventure, and delightful humor. You never know what you might get when you pick up a Sasse novel.

Besides novel-writing, Sasse is a prolific dramatist, having written and produced more than a dozen full-length dramatic productions. He especially is fond of the short play format and has twice won the Best Script award at the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival Penang. His plays and short musicals have also been produced in New York City, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney. His play “The Last Bastion” was awarded the Greywood Arts Winter Residency 2018 in Ireland. Performances of his scripts also won Gold and Bronze medals at the Southeast Asian Forensics Competition 2014.

His professional background is as diverse as his writing. He holds Master’s degrees from California State University Dominquez Hills and Azusa Pacific University in Humanities and TESOL, respectively. His undergraduate degree was in English, which helped him develop his passion for creative writing. He has extensive experience in teaching English, history, and drama.

On top of all of this, he loves to cook everything from gourmet pizzas, to Mexican, to various Asian dishes. Flavor is the key of both his cooking and his writing. He very much hopes you enjoy the taste.

Author’s Biography taken from Goodreads

The Twelfth Child

By Bette Lee Crosby


Book Synopsis

An uplifting tale of trust, love, and friendship from a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction…

Papa wasn’t someone who’d flat out kill a person, but he sure knew how to destroy a woman from the inside…a slice of spirit, a piece of pride, a chunk of heart, until one day there’s nothing left but a walking around shell to do the cooking and laundry…thus begins the story of Abigail Anne Lannigan, a willful daughter determined to overcome the past.

Leaving the Shenandoah Valley of the early 1900’s behind, Abigail finds a way to survive in a world of joblessness and speakeasies. Now, at the tail end of her years, her best friend is accused of embezzling one million dollars and Abigail is helpless to save her. She knows the truth of what happened, but will never have the chance to tell.

Reminiscent of Fannie Flagg’s “Fried Green Tomatoes” the May-December friendship of these two unforgettable women is sure to settle in the soft spot of your heart.

The Twelfth Child, told in the timeless tradition of Southern Fiction, is a novel rich with emotion, humor, and tenderness. A Historical Mystery set in the 20th Century, this is a story of love, friendship and one woman’s struggle to survive America’s Great Depression.

Winner of: FPA President’s Book Award Silver Medal, the Royal Palm Literary Award for Women’s Fiction, and the National Association of American Pen Women Fiction Award.

My Review

Growing up with a father who preferred her twin brother, Will, Abigail Anne Lannigan was continuously trying to win her father’s love, but he had a heart of stone.  After Abigail’s mother passed away, life became increasingly hard for Abigail.  Her father wanted her to quit school and take care of the household chores, and marry someone of his choosing at a young age.  Abigail Anne had bigger plans and, with the help of her teacher, found her way to Richmond, Virginia.  The woman she lived with and worked for passed away and she was expelled from the woman’s home by the probate court.  Life grew tougher as she tried to eek out a living as a dancer at a speakeasy during the Depression years.  A tough, courageous, and determined woman, Abigail Anne faced many trials and tribulations during her lifetime and became successful in her own right.

When Destiny Fairchild, with her heart of gold, moved in across the street the two formed an unlikely friendship, given their age differences. It is their friendship that gives heart to this story.

The ups and downs of Abigail Ann’s and Destiny’s story will keep you turning the pages.  Their saga is well fleshed out with real-to-life situations.  Their characters are undeniably plausible and equally loveable.  Another character is Elliott Emerson who is nothing but bad news.  I disliked him from the moment he appeared.  He personifies greed, dishonesty, and all else on the ugly side of human nature.

As with all the books by Crosby, I thoroughly enjoyed THE TWELFTH CHILD.  Her style of weaving warmth, a bit of cozy mystery, and a touch of fantasy into everything she writes makes Bette Lee Crosby one of my favorite authors.  As I say after reading each of her books, this is my favorite. But the truth is, they are all so good it is impossible to choose one book over another.  Reading Crosby’s books, one gets the sense that you are sitting in the room while the author tells the story.  She writes with a soothing Southern voice that brings a sense of realism to her fiction.

About Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby’s books are “Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby’s writing is, “A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures.”

Samantha from Reader’s Favorite raves, “Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down.”

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery, and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal, Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Crosby’s published works to date are Beyond the Carousel: A Southern Saga (2017), Silver Threads (2016), The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd (2016), Baby Girl (2016), What the Heart Remembers (2015), The Loft (2015), Memory House (2015), Passing through Perfect (2015), Wishing for Wonderful (2014), Blueberry Hill (2014), Previously Loved Treasures (2014), Jubilee’s Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Life in the Land of IS (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), and Spare Change (2011).

Connect with Bette Lee Crosby







Dark Fey: Standing in Shadows

By Cynthia A. Morgan


Dark Fey Standing in ShadowsBook Blurb

Gairynzvl escaped captivity among the DemonFey, who had abducted him as a child through a daring act of treason and was rescued by Light Loving Fey.   Now, he wants to return to the dark realm of The Reviled to attempt a rescue of the innocent Childfey trapped there.

It will take more than one Fey to breach the borders of The Uunglarda and to slip past the legions of Dark Fey who abide there.  It will take magic and strength, courage and military strategy, and it will shake the foundations of everything The Fey of The Light have accepted as truth for thousands of years. But Gairynzvl knows the secret ways in and out of the dark realm; he is able to open portals and through his gifts of telepathic empathy he can find the Childfey standing, waiting, in the shadows.

Slipping into the darkness through darkness is easy.  Escaping out again with terrified Childfey is another matter.  If they are captured his band of liberators will pray for death long before it comes and their success could spark a full-scale war, unleashing the barbaric hatred and viciousness of The Reviled upon the peace-loving Fey of The Light.

Can Gairynzvl convince the Fey of the Light to allow him to return to the Uunglarda, the realm of The Reviled?  Who will join him to aid the Innocent Childfey trapped in the realm of shadows and fear? And Will the Fey of the Light risk a savage war to rescue them?

My Review

Dark Fey: Standing in Shadows is book number two in the Dark Fey trilogy.  Because Standing in Shadows gives light to the characters and the plot, I would recommend that Dark Fey: The Reviled be read first.

The story opens with an introduction to The Uunglarda and the torment found there inflicted upon Childfey by the Reviled, a grotesque, loveless, and evil population that lives in the realm of dark shadows.

On the other side, in the mystical realm of Jyndari, where the Fey of Light live, we learn of a former Dark One, who has undergone the Integration, the process to renounce the Reviled and join the Fey of Light. Gairynzvl enlists the help of the confidence of the Temple Elders and Ayla, a Guardian of Childfey, to rescue those kidnapped, neglected, and tortured Childfey living in The Uunglarda against their will.

What I loved about this second book is that the characters have developed greater maturity.  Yes, we see some jealousy between Marden and Gairynzvl, but they are able to rise above that and work together. Ayla has found an inner strength she didn’t previously possess for the sake of the Childfey.  The descriptions are rich and detailed though not to the point that the reader becomes bored. On the contrary, they give depth to the story so the reader can visualize Jyndari and The Uunglarda and those who live there.  I loved the easy flow of words in this and the previous book, which is so characteristic of the author, whether writing fiction or poetry or, just telling about her day.

What I didn’t like about Dark Fey: Standing in Shadows is the manner in which the Child Malefey and Shefey were treated, even though a lot was through intimation, such treatment was difficult reading, but this is my personal view and it does not impact my review. There are a lot of movies that I don’t watch for the same reason.  I won’t go into more detail to avoid giving away spoilers.

I recommend Dark Fey: Standing in Shadows to anyone who enjoys fantasy or young adult fantasy.  On a scale of 1-5 stars, I would award this book 4 ½ stars.  I am looking forward to reading book three in the Dark Fey Trilogy.

This is my honest review.

About the AuthorCynthia Morgan 2015

Cynthia A. Morgan is the creator of the mythical realm of Jyndari and author of the epic fantasy, Dark Fey: The Reviled, Book One of the Dark Fey Trilogy.  “The Reviled” draws the reader into a mystical realm of primordial forests, magic and the lives of Light-loving and Darkness-revering Feykind.  Not to be confused with pixies or “Tinkerbell” type fairies, the Feyfolk of Jyndari are winged beings the size of any human who live in a realm where tradition, magic, and spirituality are fundamentals of everyday life.  Reviews of Dark Fey continue to earn 5 stars by lovers of fantasy as well as readers who do not typically enjoy that genre.  Compared to a fantasy version of a play by Shakespeare, Dark Fey The Reviled is a brutally beautiful story of Love, Hope, and finding Peace in the Darkness.

Dark Fey:  Standing In Shadows, Book Two of the Dark Fey Trilogy continues the story of Gairynzvl, who escaped captivity among the DemonFey, who had abducted him.  Now, he wants to return to the dark realm of The Reviled to attempt a rescue of the innocent Childfey trapped there, but it will take more than one Fey to breach the borders of The Uunglarda and to slip past the legions of Dark Fey who abide there.  It will take magic and strength, courage and military strategy and it will shake the foundations of everything The Fey of The Light have accepted as truth for thousands of years.  Can Gairynzvl convince the Fey of the Light to allow him to return to the Uunglarda, the realm of The Reviled?  Who will join him to aid the Innocent Childfey trapped in the realm of shadows and fear? And Will the Fey of the Light risk a savage war to rescue them?

Morgan is also the author of the popular blog “Booknvolume” where her over 15K following is regularly treated to Morgan’s own brand of poetry, English Sonnets, and musings about life.  She is a current member of the Poetry Society of America; is ranked among the top authors on the Independent Author Network; has had poetry published on numerous poetry websites and is rapidly becoming an Author to keep your eye on.

Some of her other interests include a deep love of animals and the environment. She loves music; is frequently heard laughing; finds the mysteries of ancient times, the paranormal and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the cosmos intriguing, and Believes in the power of Love, Hope, Peace and Joy, all of which is reflected in her lyrically elegant writing style.

You can purchase both books in the Dark Fey Trilogy in these locations:
Dark Fey: The Reviled is available on Amazon and B&N  
Barnes and Noble:

Dark Fey: Standing In Shadows is available in e-book and paperback on Amazon
US –
UK –

You can find Morgan through social media in the following places:
Twitter &

Publisher:  Kindle/ CreateSpace
Pub Date:  December 4, 2015
Page Count:  205 pages
Genre:  Fantasy / YA Fantasy

Links to the sample readings available on the author’s blog: &

Book Three:  Breaking Into The Light is currently underway.

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here:

Writing Prompt

In following the prompt given by my good friend Morgan of Booknvolume, I have written my very first ever Haiku.  The prompt Where Fantasy is More than What it Seems is taken from one of Morgan’s poems ( Given the prompt and two fantasy images, her followers were charged with writing a poem or short story.


Winter snow princess

Grasps all that is Earthly

In protective arms



Nymph of the blue depths

Whirling about, beauteous



Beautiful Original Artwork by: Sheila Wolk

DARK FEY Book 1: The Reviled by Cynthia Morgan

Dark Fey

DARK FEY will take you on a roller coaster ride into two separate worlds – the one of the Light Loving Fey (fairy) and the other of the Reviled Fey or the dark world.  Ayla of the Light Fey, who was prepped at the Temple to be a Guardian, is bestowed with a great gift of speaking and hearing with her mind and of taking others’ pain. She protects the childfey from the Dark Fey who steal them away from their families.  Marden, also of the Light Fey is a Celebrant with extraordinary powers, as well. Ayla and Marden become close, but Ayla’s powers sense a threat and she is unable to share it with Marden for fear he will think she’s strange.  Ayla feels the presence of another waiting in the shadows.  Who is this Dark One and what does he want of her?

DARK FEY is of the fantasy genre, which is not usually what I read, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. It is a quick read, but you will want to go slowly so as not to miss any of this amazing fantasy of light and dark, good and evil, the loved and unloved.  It is a story of courage in the face of formidable peril.

Cynthia Morgan, in this debut novel, writes with vivid descriptions, engaging characters, and an intense storyline.  It is the first of three novels, and I am looking forward to reading part two.

I first met Cynthia, known as Morgan, on her blog booknvolume where most of her posts showcase her beautiful poetry. Her prose is every bit as lovely as her verse. Please stop by her blog and read more about this amazing author.

To buy DARK FEY click here.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, romance, and great storytelling. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.