2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards-Did You See the Book Trailers?

Book Trailers!

I’ve written about them before, including those trailers I published for my grandfather’s books, as well as one I created for Jean Grainger, an Irish author. Ms. Grainger published “So Much Owed – An Irish World War 2 Story” on December 1, 2013. I enjoyed the book so much that I felt compelled to create a short book trailer, which I uploaded to YouTube on March 6, 2017.

Given that I’m a member of the Book Trailer Group on Goodreads, I keep bumping up against book trailers; fascinated with most. Some amateur trailers are amazing good, some professionally produced piss-poor. But everyone sees a trailer, whether movie or book, in their own eyes. So I got to wondering about the 2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards. How many winners had book trailers? Continue reading “2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards-Did You See the Book Trailers?”

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#ThrowbackThursday – “Broken Things” a Dystopian Thriller

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

Broken Things by G. S. WrightOriginally posted May 25, 2013.

Book Blurb: “The world has changed. People live forever, but children are a thing of the past. To meet the demands of want-to-be parents, children have been replaced with androids… very life-like androids.

Josh, a twelve-year old boy, is hit by a truck, leaving him badly damaged. Instead of paying the outrageous cost to fix him, they dump him in the wilderness…His only salvation may rest in finding a single person that cares.”
Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – “Broken Things” a Dystopian Thriller”

Hunting Hour – a Book Review

Hunting Hour by Margaret MizushimaTitle: Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima

Genre: Currently # 701 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Animals

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released August 8, 2017

Source: Submitted by NetGalley

Title and Cover: Hunting Hour – Cover suggests a canine companion

Okay, I think I’ve just found my new favorite mystery series! Author Margaret Mizushima does a heck of a job with her Timber Creek K-9 Mystery, Hunting Hour, which is actually #3 in the series. (The author is new to me; I have not read either of the previous two in the series.) The Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series involves Deputy Mattie Cobb who handles K-9 drug sniffing German shepherd, Robo. Mattie assists the Colorado small town Sheriff’s office in any investigations in which a canine would be of help. This book being #3 in the series generally has sufficient back story information that it could be a stand-alone, but does not bog the story down with history. (If you need more, consult #’s 1 and 2.)

Continue reading “Hunting Hour – a Book Review”

Author Interview: Michael Reisig-Action Thriller Adventures

Today I am absolutely thrilled to launch a new series of Author Interviews that will embark with Michael Reisig, who recently released A Far Road to Key West (my review here), which as of July 13, 2017 is listed in the top one (1) percent of the books on Amazon.com. (And that is one uncommon feat!)Sample Michael Reisig action adventure Road to Key West series.

The man is nothing if not prolific! He has written sixteen books to date, most in an Action/Adventure genre, though he has been known to touch on sci-fi (which I’ve also enjoyed) and non-fiction. A Far Road to Key West is the seventh in the Road to Key West series. Will Bell, one of the two main characters in the Road series, is a composite of one of his buddies, while the self-deprecating Kansas Stamps is the other. The thriller series carries a strong message of friendship, loyalty, and good-natured often humorous rivalries. The books are clean, well-written, well edited, and non-stop, fire-breathing action. Reisig also has three in the Caribbean Gold series, which also carries his friendship theme. He consistently runs between 4 and 5 star ratings and his latest release has garnered an impressive 4.9 of 5 star rating. His covers are riveting and compelling and without further ado, I invite you to meet the modest, but talented Michael Reisig. Continue reading “Author Interview: Michael Reisig-Action Thriller Adventures”

The Atlantis Stone – a Book Review

The Atlantis Stone by Nick ThackerTitle: The Atlantis Stone by Nick Thacker

Genre: Currently # 7 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Travel and #12 in Books, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Men’s Adventure

Publisher: Turtleshell Press, Third Edition

Publication Date: June 30, 2013

Source: Free offering on BookBub

Title and Cover: The Atlantis Stone Cover illustrates subject

Yike! What did I sign up for? Was this a sci-fi, action-adventure, mystery, or suspense thriller? Perhaps it was an early attempt at borrowing from one too many plots from men’s movie adventures…ah la Indiana Jones. Not that I’m against Indiana Jones, I’m not…but in this I don’t get to see Harrison Ford or that crooked smile of his when he’s really being devious or devilishly clever. Continue reading “The Atlantis Stone – a Book Review”

The Mystery of Her – a Book Review

The Mystery of Her by Patricia CatacalosTitle: The Mystery of Her by Patricia Catacalos

Genre: Currently #2164 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Historical

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC

Publication Date: May 2016

Source: Submitted by author for review

Title and Cover: The Mystery of Her – Cover hints at era

Lady Kiera Everett is pretty darned sure her father was murdered and how it could have been viewed as anything else, even in London in 1888, is beyond me given the nature of the manner in the first of the Zane Brothers Detective Series, “The Mystery of Her” by Patricia Catacalos. I’m a fan of historical fiction, particularly mysteries, and this was not my first rodeo, so perhaps my expectations were a bit high. Continue reading “The Mystery of Her – a Book Review”

Tackle These Five Items of Maintenance to Clean Up Your WordPress Site

Yes, it’s summer, spring just flew by. Perhaps you’ve bumped up against your media allowance and need some room, or your archives run longer than Interstate 80 and is always under construction–somewhere. So isn’t it time to clean house?

A clean house is a sign of a broken computer!As I’ve mentioned before, I have the free version of WordPress (that’s a dot com, not dot org) and while it presents some limitations (for instance, most plug-ins), my free blog is still a whale of a program for the money. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. I’m not terribly technical, but I keep reading advice posts that say it’s time to clean up the ole website. Is it? Is this something you’ve tackled lately?

Here are five easy site maintenance procedures you can do on your own–just a bit of clean up: Continue reading “Tackle These Five Items of Maintenance to Clean Up Your WordPress Site”

Citizen Kill – a Book Review

Citizen KillTitle: Citizen Kill by Stephen Clark

Genre: Currently #4852 in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Spies & Politics, Political

Publisher: WiDo Publishing

Publication Date: May 2017

Source: Submitted by author for review

Title and Cover: Eye-catching cover, but the title needs work

The debut novel by Stephen Clark, “Citizen Kill” is a start, though I’m still working through some disbelief–but okay–it’s fiction–a suspenseful political thriller and we don’t have to do any fact-checking here. Continue reading “Citizen Kill – a Book Review”

A Far Road To Key West – a Book Review

A Far Road to Key West by Michael ReisigTitle: A Far Road To Key West – The Road To Key West Book 7

Genre: Currently #1 in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Caribbean & Latin American AND

#3 in Books, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Men’s Adventure

Publisher: Clear Creek Press

Publication Date: June 18, 2017

Source: ARC from author

A Far Road to Key West – Cover continues the series brand

I became a solid and enthusiastic fan of Michael Reisig after reading “Brothers of the Sword/Children of Time.” The swashbuckler reaches back into time and secures and hides the treasure that following the split of the book into the Caribbean Gold series became “The Treasure of Tortuga” and “The Treasure of Time.” (Additionally, there is a third in the Caribbean Gold series.) The way this author reaches back into time and places you square in the middle of the action is riveting.

In the meantime, I’ve been privileged to become one of his pre-readers, a beta reader of the Key West series of novels, and with this, the 7th in the Road to Key West series, his characters remain those steadfast, but true, robust men brought forward with the same kind of spirit as the former. Continue reading “A Far Road To Key West – a Book Review”

Wayne and Ford – a Book Review

Wayne and Ford by Nancy SchoenbergerTitle: Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero by Nancy Schoenberger

Publisher: Nan A. Talese

Publication Date: TBR October 24, 2017

Source: NetGalley

Wayne and Ford – Cover reflects the two titans

John Wayne, a beloved actor, director, and American icon, and the film director, John Ford together created the classic western movies that continue to cement the image of a tough fighting, but triumphant masculine legacy.

Continue reading “Wayne and Ford – a Book Review”

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams–A Book Review

Charbonneau-Man of Two DreamsTitle: Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams

Genre: Currently #3 in Best Seller’s Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoor, and Adventurers & Explorers

Publisher: Wordworx

Publication Date: September 2012

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams – Dreamcatcher on Cover is a Nice Touch!

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams by Win Blevins is a beautifully written story woven in and around Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, (variously known as Baptiste or Paump) born of Sacajawea and his French-Canadian father, Toussaint, at the Lewis and Clark winter camp, Ft. Mandan, ND in 1805. A fur trapper, Toussaint was far less support for the westward expedition of Lewis and Clark to the Pacific than was the better-known Sacajawea (a Lemhi Shoshone), who provided excellent trail guidance as well as interpretive services in dealing with the other tribes of the northwest. Continue reading “Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams–A Book Review”

Aim True, My Brothers-An Eddie Barnett FBI Counter-Terror Book 1-Book Review

Aim True, My BrothersTitle: Aim True, My Brothers-An Eddie Barnett FBI Counter-Terror Book 1

Genre: Currently #9 in the Best Seller’s Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers, Assassinations

Publisher: William F. Brown

Publication Date: October 2013

Source: Presented by author for review

Aim True, My Brothers – Cover conveys subject

“Aim True, My Brothers” gets a little too close for comfort! The first in an electric and topical Political Action series by William F. Brown, he knows how to get your attention and keep it riveted to the page. This political slash espionage slash terrorist thriller moves the plot through at a frenetic pace. Continue reading “Aim True, My Brothers-An Eddie Barnett FBI Counter-Terror Book 1-Book Review”

Telemachus – a Book Review

Telemachus by Peter GrayTitle: Telemachus by Peter Gray

Genre: Currently #5269 in Best Seller’s Rank in Kindle Store for Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date:  February 2016

Telemachus – Cover – The Red Bird of Prey Becomes Obvious

Telemachus by Peter Gray presents a gripping and emotional tale using the POV from migrating birds. It quickly becomes powerful and profound in its simplicity. Continue reading “Telemachus – a Book Review”

Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1 – a Book Review

Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1Title: Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1

Genre: Currently #1947 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Humor & Entertainment, Humor

Publisher: Runamok Books

Publication Date: February 2017

Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1 – Cover–Where is the Jackass?

This little book is not a novel–no–it’s a collection of letters. (Bathroom reader?)

Is nothing sacred? Apparently not in Christopher L Jorgensen’s world and he’s quick to prove it in his “Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1.” The book is a collection of letters composed by the author to most everyone you can think of, from corporate heads, to heads of state, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury, London and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Italy. Continue reading “Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1 – a Book Review”

Jubilee-The Heist to Erase Debt – a Book Review

Jubilee-The Heist to Erase DebtTitle: Jubilee – The Heist to Erase Debt by Joseph Preacher

Genre: Currently #1922 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, Heist

Publisher: JKP

Publication Date:  July 2016

Jubilee-The Heist to Erase Debt – The cover doesn’t adequately convey the subject. However, the title is explained within the book.

This is a debut novel by Joseph Preacher who obviously has some background in code or spent some time in research to examine and explain the technical computer aspects of this book.

Aiming at the soft underbelly of the financial world built on societal debt, these five young friends each with their own tech expertise, score a direct hit. “‘How much debt do you have?’…’You are not a loan!'”

Four guys and the sister of one share their resources and the general lack of enthusiasm for the 9 to 5 routine to reap millions through exciting, well planned and executed cyber attacks. Most are childhood friends who have taken Reggie under their wing utilizing his amazing techno geek powers to hack into even the most sophisticated, multi-layered platform of security systems.

They’ve been having some fun, hitting some ATM’s as well as other financial sources, but matters turn decidedly serious when the protagonist, Roman Hawker, sophisticated braineac and leader of the group, loses his father to suicide in a medical financial fiasco due to the protracted illness of his mother.

The debt created was an insurmountable obstacle that his father deemed no longer worth the fight. Roman is devastated (as well he should be–spoiled brat), and accepts some of the responsibility, but vows to avenge his father and find some way of relieving the burdens of others with the same kind of intractable debt experienced by his father.

The group holds a noble discussion of the far-reaching ramifications of the relief of the world’s crushing debt problems. They collectively but reluctantly agree with Roman that it is a project worth the effort.

The female protagonist has a quiet thing for Roman, but feels he thinks of her as his buddy’s little sister–not a romantic interest–which is not true but smolders on the back burner.

Most of the characters are fleshed out very well, and it doesn’t take long before you hope these bad good guys can actually pull it off. Dialogue is intelligent and natural–the scenes are set very descriptively. It’s nice to be a fly on the wall.

So far, the group has been able to get in and get out, thinking they have left nothing traceable. They are practiced and coordinate like a well-oiled machine–each doing their job. They have, however, caught the attention of the FBI and behind them the quiet but corrupt secret and deadly governmental agency, who will stop at nothing to stop them. Stealing millions of dollars will get you noticed!

It is fascinating to sit on the shoulder of Reggie, studying the monitor, punching keys, and discussing computerese with Roman. It won’t make me capable of pulling any kind of caper very soon, but is fun to read whether or not you have to suspend some disbelief.

The action begins immediately and the thrilling crime, techno-cyber ride doesn’t slow. What a delightful concept to contemplate! I’d LOVE to wake up and discover I no longer had any medical bills! Wouldn’t you? And with all the cyber hacking going on around us–maybe not so unrealistic!

Bullseye!I was given a copy of this book for an honest review. There are a few edit errors. These should not alter your enjoyment of the book overall. I can recommend to anyone who has ever booted up a computer and considered the possibilities.

Joseph PreacherRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Joseph Preacher loves writing thought-provoking fiction. He presents a global perspective to his stories as well as a twist in every plot. He is a former Marine and corporate finance guy.  ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Of Ashes and Dust – a Book Review

Of Ashes and Dust by Marc GrahamTitle: Of Ashes and Dust by Marc Graham

Genre: Currently #54444 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Literary (Historical)

Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Publication Date:  March 2017

Of Ashes and Dust – Cover conveys roughly the subject of the second half of the book.

In this debut novel by Marc Graham, he has created a heart-rending, soul-searching story of a man reflecting on his life as it literally ebbs away.

Of Ashes and Dust follows James (JD, or Jade) Robbins as the son of a poor sharecropper, more comfortable with the Negro slaves in the fields of Arkansas in 1846 than that of his close, but upper class landowners.

Growing into his teen years, he falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the owner of the land on which his family works, and gives his heart and soul to her, pledging his undying devotion until they are split by the Civil War. He is forced to leave his family and his love, finally changing from a beautiful, passionate young man into a world weary, combat wounded veteran. The emotionally charged descriptions of the Civil War battles stab at the heart and cries with the protagonist, until he is finally mustered out to heal and rejoin his love. But things have tragically changed back home as well.

Graham poignantly paints a deeply ravaged person mourning the loss of his soul mate to another, reducing the reader to helpless tears.

Seeking to leave that grief behind, Jim Robbins finds work and leaves the state with his buddy Dave to join the railroad expansion effort toward the west. He and Dave continue their work toward the Pacific after they successfully join the rails at Promontory Point.

The author provides rich descriptive detail of the struggle laying the rail west with unerring historical accuracy, the interaction and tragedy of confronting native peoples, and the immigrant Chinese working the railroad; human lives deemed expendable. It is out west that Robbins eventually finds another love with whom he believes he can share a mutual passion and life philosophy, but it seems that Robbins is again to be denied an enduring love. Dave forces him to go on and together they sail for Australia to help complete railroad construction there.

The characters are fleshed out so well, you ache to have them somehow survive–where is my “happy ever after?” Jim Robbins is immensely empathetic. The dialogue is so natural; the author might have taken it from civil war reports or newspaper accounts along the way.

This story grabs you by the collar from the beginning, and inexorably builds upon itself until, while you know what is going to happen, don’t know exactly how until the end…and then it’s soul crushing. Sometimes you read a book that stays with you after “the End.” This is one of those.

Bullseye!I was given the book in exchange for an honest review. It is packed with intense sensitivity, love, power, loss, regret, and triumph. Recommended for anyone interested in a book that won’t let you go.

Marc Graham - authorRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Marc Graham is an “actor, singer, bard, engineer, Freemason, and whisky aficionado.” If he is not actively hiking the Colorado’s Front Range with his wife and dog, he is either on his computer or on the stage. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review

Gone on SundayTitle: Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe

Genre: Currently #10598 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Historical, Mysteries

Publisher: Create Space IPP

Publication Date:  January 2017

Gone on Sunday – A Cotton Lee Penn Historical Mystery – Cover conveys mood

Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe attempts to give us two distinct murder stories within the same book separated as has been previously noted by 40 years. Continue reading “Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review”

Premade Book Covers–Your Design on Tap

Sons of the Sea-A Tale of the Old Grimsby Fishermen

With so many authors looking for a change of their covers lately, I’ve looked at my own and wondered if they should be updated as well. For the most part, I was satisfied with them, and I know that a good cover helps sell. But are these book covers eye-catching; do they invite closer inspection of the book? Cocos Island Treasure Continue reading “Premade Book Covers–Your Design on Tap”

Silver Cascade Secrets – a Book Review

Silver Cascade SecretsTitle: Silver Cascade Secrets by Rachelle J Christensen

Genre: Currently #1810 in Kindle Store, Kindle Short Reads, Two hours or more, Romance

Publisher: Peachwood Press

Publication Date: September 2015

Silver Cascade SecretsColorful cover

Yah gotta give it for short, given the (romantic suspense) novella itself was only about 60 pages of an 85-page offering.

There wasn’t a lot of suspense here, only a young woman on the rebound chasing a possible next up romance; kind of a girl gets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets him back again story.

Jillian Warren is the landscape technician of the Silver Cascade Park set in Boise, Idaho (and you have to admit that’s different for a protagonist). I did enjoy the description of the gardens, themes, and seasonal colors.

It doesn’t take long for Jillian to develop the hots for Travis when she meets him in her park and notices how nice he fills out a pair of jeans. He is looking for his keys after his sister picks up his niece and she’s glad to help.

Travis soon shares that his brother-in-law was murdered months ago and Jillian is off and running on the mystery that doesn’t take as long to solve as getting Travis to shoot doe eyes back at her.

The novella is really too short for plot development, and the protagonist, swift as she is, doesn’t garner a whole lot of interest, as she seems a bit vacuous. (I mean, come on, she is just getting over her last love and supposed to be heartbroken.) The ex does make a short appearance creating turmoil for Jillian (remember I said girl loses [current] boy?).

We are barely introduced to the antagonist or the peripheral characters, and you don’t have to worry about adult language or situations as these characters and dialogue are too juvenile for either.

Following the short story portion of the book are recipes(!), introductory chapter of a succeeding book and prologue of an additional full novel, which I found to be a bit over-the-top promotion. This story is apparently included in an older anthology, but falls a bit short to be a stand-alone novella and perhaps was the reason for the marketing offers.

Four StarI was offered a free download for an honest review, and while I thought the premise was unique, the plot and characters fall just a little short of cozy. Recommended for those looking for a light-hearted, fast, and easy read.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars

Rachelle J ChristensenThe Author: Rachelle is an award-winning author of twelve books, including a Kindle Scout Selection and a mystery series. She is the mother of five who writes a variety of fiction as well as nonfiction. She and her family reside on a little farm in rural Idaho. Rachelle is a graduate of Utah State University. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Which Side of the Oxford Comma War Are You On?

Oxford CommaThe Oxford University Press sparked a war back in 1892 that continues to this day with as many on both sides of the line protesting their side as the right one.

The Oxford comma (also referred to as a serial comma, or even the Harvard comma) is that “comma before the conjunction at the end of a list.” The Oxford University Press style guidelines touched off the conflict back when Horace Hart, controller of the University Press, organized a set of rules for the Oxford Press employees.

While the anti-comma faction would eliminate the second comma, the pro-comma faction would add it, sure that it provides clarity. The “pro’s” are more commonly found in the U.S. (I wouldn’t be without mine!) Only journalists forced to use the AP style generally omit it, but that was originally a bid to save space! The anti-comma people hold sovereignty in the U.K., except, of course, for Oxford University–go figure.

Why all the fuss over bell, book, and candle? Aren’t we invoking the Oxford comma for purposes of clarity?  Click to Tweet

And doesn’t that really promote consistency of comma use? Apparently not in some scholars eyes. The article by Warren Clement to The Globe and Mail noted this example: “She invited her father, a tuba player and several ballerinas. It is clear that she invited her father, the musician and the ballerinas.(?Is it?) Now insert the Oxford comma: She invited her father, a tuba player, and several ballerinas. Suddenly the father has become a tuba player.(Really?)

Hmmm…You say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to…

And we’ve been at this 125 years? So I’ll submit to you one final argument illustrated in riveting detail that you may or may not have seen before: “We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.” I rest my case.

Illustration-Oxford comma
Illustration by AE Ferg-Offered by Stephen Tall

 

I’ll stick to my Oxfords, but I’d be interested to know if you do. Do we have a majority? ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!