Tag Archives: middle grade mystery

Carrie K’s Book Reviews gives “The Ravenstone” 5 stars!

Raventsone coverCarrie K’s Book Reviews

Many thanks to Carrie Kurtz of Carrie K’s Book Reviews for her wonderful review! So glad she loved it.


“There were honestly so many interesting things in this book!  It kept me wanting to read and I found myself trying to sneak in extra times to read a chapter or two.  As a matter of fact, I “went to bed” early so that I could finish it last night!

I will certainly be recommending this book!  Not just to children or middle graders, but to anyone who enjoys reading science fiction, fantasy, action, magical type genres.”  

READ ON!Carrie K's Book Reviews

Fun Author Interview with Sally of Quills and Roses!

Thanks Sally, for the wonderful author interview you posted on your blog! 

Diane and Mark Author Interview excerpt:

“Hey all! Recently I’ve had the good fortune of being given an awesome MG time travel adventure to read (check out my review of The Ravenstone here) and now the talented authors Mark & Diane are doing an interview for me. (Seriously guys, y’all should become book reviewers. The perks are so cool.) In any case, less rambling from me and more from the lovely authors themselves!”

What were you like as a kid?

MARK: When I was in elementary school I was practically invisible. Average height, average weight, average looking and quiet as a mouse… when I was at school, at least.  In Junior High I grew so fast people didn’t recognize me in the fall after summer vacation. My newfound size brought with it confidence. By the ninth grade my English teacher told me I had found the power of words but not the wisdom to wield them. Fortunately, she liked me in spite of myself and did her best to give my verbal skills direction. I hope I have lived up to her expectations. Thank you Mrs. Campbell, wherever you are.


Author Interview: Diane Solomon & Mark Carey


A wonderful review from Caroline of “Bits About Books”!


Oh, such a great review! Many thanks to Caroline of Bits About Books

Review of The Ravenstone, excerpts:

Homeschooling The Ravenstone Book cover“What an adventurous book and enthralling story this is!”

“I loved reading this adventurous and magical tale about the twins and their powers. Here is one book you won’t be putting down easily, whether you are an adult (young at heart) or a teen…”

“Diane Solomon and Mark Carey have woven an extraordinary story around the twins and the mirror-theme.”

“I loved reading it! To be recommended for everyone of whatever age, who enjoys an adventurous fantasy novel!”

Read the whole review for The Ravenstone from Bits About Books

Caroline writes about the book:

“I love reading about the 13-year-old twins Nadia and Aidan who live in Cold Spring, New York. They stumble upon a mysterious dark stone, hidden underneath a mirror in the attic. There is something magical about the mirror that only the twins can see. There is an old wizard in the mirror who beckons them. With him is a black raven. When the wizard disappears a single black feather is lying on the floor. How is that possible? Follow me and find out!”

Great new review! “This book really gave me goose bumps..An awesome read!”

Raventsone cover


Many thanks to Susan Hampson of “Books From Dawn Till Dusk” for her great review!



“Diane Solomon and Mark Carey have made a formidable team creating a very original story line that links together very well. The use of a mirror and twins is very clever but also do check out the twins names and see if you can find anything unusual about them.  It is this attention, the going that extra mile, that makes this book very special. The detail of what life would be like in the past is super, with  writing that is very appropriate for middle grade readers. There are times in the book that will give an adrenaline rush but won’t leave the young readers frightened. This book really gave me goose bumps  which I have got again just writing about it. An awesome read!”


Wonderful intelligent book review from Quills and Roses!

quills-roses-twitterMark and I received a Christmas present today: a wonderful review from Quills and Roses.

Please forgive me if I toot a horn or two:

“…for the middle-grade category, this novel is up there with the greats.”

“The world is really interesting and well thought-out, and every leaf and branch is there, on the page.”

“The world is described so well that the magic practically jumps off the page and feels real. It’s absolutely wonderful.”

Thank you Sally of Quills and Roses!


Book Review Excerpt

“This novel kind of reminds me of those Magic Tree House books I used to love (anyone remember those? Or am I too old?). Except, with more sophisticated plotting and writing.

“There was a lot of suspense and mystery. The bad guys were terrifyingly bad and the good guys were cute and smart and good. Older readers may find that a bit too simple, but for the middle-grade category, this novel is up there with the greats.

“Conclusion: If you’ve ever wanted to go on a magical time travelling adventure with a pair of smart, inquisitive twins (or are doing some Christmas shopping for young, avid readers) be sure to check The Ravenstone out!”

Read book review here:  Quills and Roses Review of The Ravenstone 

Creativity is its Own Reward!  Guest post for Linda’s Book Bag

lindas-book-bag-icon         Diane Solomon’s guest post for Linda’s Book Bag


Here’s an excerpt:

Being creative is often a calling. Are you compelled to create, be it art, music, poetry, fiction? Then you must do it. You must do it to fulfill your passion in life.  Without it you may feel dead, unfulfilled, trudging through the three-foot mudslog of life, day by day, without experiencing the joy of your own heart.

But, I hear you ask:“Will someone else like my artistic endeavor?” My answer: Who cares? Seriously. WHO CARES?

A few tips for artists and writers everywhere:

1) Dare to Suck (or Dare to Fail, for those of you appalled by the vulgarity.) As a singer/songwriter, I learned early (after an ego struggle) to trust the creative process and dive deeply into it. You have to dare to be criticized, dare to be silly, dare to be crazy, to be wild. You have to Dare to Suck.

READ The entire guest blog at Linda’s Book Bag


Check out our middle-grade fantasy/mystery entitled, The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain.
   Raventsone Homeschooling Book Cover

About Diane Solomon


Book Links for The Ravenstone

AMAZON:  Kindle or paperback

BARNES AND NOBLE Nook & Paperback

About the book: Imagine a raven appearing out of thin air and guiding you to an exquisitely carved icon that glows with ancient light and pulses with shamanic power.  This is how the adventure begins for Nadia and Aidan Shaw, 13-year-old twins, who live in idyllic Cold Spring, New York. Armed with the power of the Ravenstone and their own special gifts, they embark on a harrowing quest across centuries, at the bidding of a mysterious old shaman. They must depend on their courage, their faith in their friends, and luck… or is it destiny?

If they succeed, what they bring back could change the course of human existence.


Many thanks to Dii Bylo, a Top 1% Goodreads Reviewer for her 5-Star review



The Ravenstone


Author Interview on Chat About Books!

Chat About Books:
Author Interview with Diane Solomon and Mark Carey
Diane Solomon Chat About Books interview


Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

Diane & Mark: For the pure logistics, we are outliners. We use a large board, into which we stick pushpins to hold up postcard-sized cards with scenes, sections, or individual pieces of the story (or sections if non-fiction). Then we can physically see the jigsaw puzzle and move things around until they feel right.

Character is vital: We spend a long time on character development, and each day before either of us writes, at least at the beginning, we tend to read through all the notes and reacquaint ourselves with the character.

Diane: Yes, if I am beginning to live and breathe the character – if I am in the protagonist’s head, and she is in mine – she will write her own actions and words.

But, I want to bring up something else, something required for the writing process for me. It’s hard to define, but essential. My writing seems to stem from what my husband calls my “extreme heart.” My writing process only works well if heart is involved….


Raventsone Homeschooling Book Cover

Check out Diane and Mark’s new middle grade novel  


Are you a homeschooler looking for quality middle-grade books?

cover-front-kindle-aug-9-larger-textThe Ravenstone:
The Secret of Ninham Mountain

Buy The Ravenstone The Secret of Ninham Mountain at Amazon
Only $2.99 Also in paperback 

Many of the books, written for kids, feature main characters whose behavior is… well, appalling.  Diane and I set out to create characters with heart and honor.  We put the twins, Nadia and Aidan, in situations where they have to decide for themselves to do the right thing. They take risks for their family and they succeed in spite of their fears and flaws.  Our kids don’t have to be snarky to be cool.  As your kids read they accompany Aidan and Nadia on their adventure and are intrigued by the mystery they try to unravel. Plus, they learn, along with the twins, about; history, Native Americans, Celts, folk-lore, extinct plants and other environmental science, and more than just a little about morality. 

The action is fast-paced. Our younger beta readers couldn’t put the book down. One Skyped us from Oregon to tell us how much he loved it. He even honored us with the comment, “This book is better than Harry Potter!”  

We understand why you, as a parent, choose to teach your children at home. You may feel a level of concern about the academic quality of local public schools, quite justifiably! And you may feel that teaching them at home provide a higher level of moral instruction. Teaching them academic facts alone does not make them good people and we all want our kids to grow into people we can be proud of.  Those kinds of lessons are difficult to get across to kids without seeming preachy. Here is where a book like The Ravenstone can entertain and teach at the same time.

A fun, suspenseful, entertaining book helps to teach those lessons! And a classic quality book becomes part of your child’s heart and mind, something she will remember her entire life.

The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain

REVIEW: 5.0 out of 5 stars

EXCERPT: “It’s a magical, hopeful story full of loyalty, courage and heart.” “I appreciate this honor, this depth of character, in an age where so much of our media, books, TV, and movies are full of violence, darkness and a kind of “attitude” or “snarkiness.” I am tired of that! This is a family-oriented book, wholesome even, and very heartwarming.”

By Dr. David Baltimore on October 5, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition

What a fun, suspenseful adventure! I got it for my niece, but read it myself first. I got hooked in and couldn’t put it down… It’s a magical, hopeful story full of loyalty, courage and heart.

The characters are well-drawn; the protagonists, Aidan and Nadia, are 13-year-old twins who are sent on a mission to help save their dad’s life work. But, they are also driven by the desire to achieve something great for mankind. They must take great risk, overcome fear, and survive great danger from a magic stronger than theirs.

I appreciate this honor, this depth of character, in an age where so much of our media, books, TV, and movies are full of violence, darkness and a kind of “attitude” or “snarkiness.” I am tired of that! This is a family-oriented book, wholesome even, and very heartwarming.

AMAZON:  Kindle or paperback

Diane Solomon’s Author interview on BookGoodies

bookgoodies Diane Solomon interview


What inspires you to write?
The joy of creativity, of being creative, drives me. It always has! As a singer/songwriter, I learned to trust the creative process and dive deeply into it. You have to dare to be criticized, dare to be silly, to be crazy, to be wild. There are moments during writing where you forget yourself entirely. You lose track of time. The writing seems to have taken over. Sometimes you look down and are surprised by what you read, as if you didn’t, in fact, write it! I can only describe this experience as somehow verging on transcendent, in that it feels beyond the limits of experience, or independent of this world. It is exciting, inspiring, and rewarding.

As for ideas for books, they stem from my life (and I have had a very strange but interesting life), and from my imagination. And from the “What if?” game!


Our book is published! Great reviews for our middle-grade fantasy mystery!


       Fifteen 5-STAR reviews! amazon-buy-now-button-two

5 stars: “The Ravenstone is a beautiful, creative, well-written story that swept me away to another place in time. I fell in love with the characters and my mind lingered on their journies. I loved that this light read still has the power to bring tears to my eyes, all the while engrossing me in the story and enriching my life. Simply put i loved The Ravenstone. It will satisfy and entertain you.” ~ Amazon 

5 stars: “Simply put, I loved this book. Hated to put it down and didn’t want it to end. I loved the main characters—both of them. They were fully fleshed out and worthy of caring. I most definitely want another adventure. Please?”  ~ Laurie Seymour, Amazon review

5 stars: “I really, really enjoyed the book! Definitely one of the best fantasy/sci – fi books I’ve read by far. The authors have taken an amazing concept, and made it even better! I loved the characters, especially Conall, (his backstory and personality were great). It’s an amazing read, and I can see it being a massive hit in schools, and with children generally, particularly ages 9 – 12.

The descriptions and sketches throughout were very nice, and the amount of detail – not too much, not too little – make it a really enjoyable read.

I loved how I could relate to Nadia and Aidan, and I felt as though I connected with them, so I felt really engrossed in the book.”   ~ E Carroll Amazon review

 5 stars: “Solomon and Carey’s imaginative storytelling sweeps you into a fascinating tale of mystery and adventure. Young twins stumble upon an ancient power that could help their family in the future, or trap them in the past forever.” ~ Linda Zimmermann, successful author of thirty books about the paranormal and mysterious stone sites.

 5 stars: “I gave the book to my 12-year-old grandson. When he finished reading, he proclaimed, “This book is better than Harry Potter!” We both hope Nadia and Aidan have another adventure!”  ~ Cheryl P, Amazon review

 5 stars: “The main characters, 13-year-old twins, are honorable and courageous, and the reader really cares about them and roots for them. My grandson, who is 12, loved it, and asked it there will be another book with Nadia and Aidan.”  ~ W. Lovett,  Amazon review

 5 stars: ” I loved this book! Although it’s written for middle-school aged children, I read it as an adult and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s full of intrigue, mystery and fun. I will be reading this to my grandchildren and I know they’ll love it as much as I did. Can’t wait for the next volume.”   ~ ck, Amazon review

AMAZON:  eBook or paperback