The Undertaker – a Book Review

The Undertaker by William F BrownTitle: The Undertaker by William F Brown (A Pete and Sandy Mystery Thriller)

Genre: Currently #710 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers & Suspense, Crime, Vigilante Justice

Publisher: William F Brown

Publication Date: January 2014

Source: Sent by author for review

The Undertaker – Cover catches the eye and more than hints at a scalpel

Not the first William F Brown thriller I’ve read and won’t be the last! The Undertaker starts a new series featuring Peter Talbot and Sandy, the latter of whom manages to overcome Peter’s year long grieving process for his late wife, Terri. Terri died of cancer and it has all but killed Peter as well, turning him into a robot, going through life mechanically–unemotionally. Continue reading “The Undertaker – a Book Review”

Cat Fanciers Get the Spotlight

Frosty-Bichon FriseOkay, I’ll admit it…

I’m more a dog person than cat. (Not that I haven’t had a cat in residence before, and if you own one, you know that she/he is not your pet–you are hers/his.) Continue reading “Cat Fanciers Get the Spotlight”

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!

There is a Difference Between 5 Stars on Amazon vs Goodreads

Goodreads vs Amazon StarsI don’t understand it. And, I don’t know if there is anything afoot to change it, but as I’m sure you’ve no doubt noticed if you’ve ever moused over the stars on Amazon and Goodreads–there is a difference in the star ratings between the two. Are you one who thinks the star rating is equivalent to personal perception? Or have you read and understood the star definitions of both? I’ve run up against this before, debating what to do; set my star ratings the same on both websites–or change to more closely indicate my objective opinion on each. Continue reading “There is a Difference Between 5 Stars on Amazon vs Goodreads”

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”

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!