The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey – a #BookReview

Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

the-beantown-girls--cellTitle: The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Historical, War, Military

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Print Length: 366 pages

  • ASIN:B07FTBNVGK
  • ISBN-10: 1542044529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1542044523

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Beantown Girls – Photo representative of the era

Book Blurb:

A novel of love, courage, and danger unfolds as World War II’s brightest heroines—the best of friends—take on the front lines.

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives. Continue reading “The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey – a #BookReview”

Advertisements

Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview

Freedom Road by William LashnerTitle: Freedom Road by William Lashner

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Thriller and Suspense, Action and Adventure

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Print Length: 377 pages

ASIN:B07F6CLX1H

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Freedom RoadDepicts lonely flight

Book Blurb:

He’s taking a dangerous path in search of his missing granddaughter—the only part of his life worth saving.

Oliver Cross is fresh out of jail. His plans for the future are to live out his days in regret, back pain, and a bottle of Lone Star. But when he finds out his granddaughter, a wild child who reminds him of his late wife, has vanished—bless her hell-raising heart—Oliver jumps parole. With a sketchy teen and an abandoned dog, he hits the blacktop to find her.

On the road and on the run from a vengeful Russian drug dealer, Oliver finds himself on a trip across America and into his own past, fueled by fumes from a Ford F-250 and a reason to live. But from an exclusive club in Chicago to a seedy commune in the Rockies, a series of disastrous choices sends Oliver spiraling further from his goal and deeper into danger. It’s a journey that could all end in redemption or a hail of bullets. And either’s okay by him. 

My Review:

Perhaps Clint Eastwood is now too old to play the part of 72-year-old Oliver Cross, but he could have played the brooding, caustic, cantankerous man so believably that these pages would have quivered with the excitement. There were sooo many times I pictured him in this part, seeing Oliver as Clint has always been, the quintessential masculine hero who would triumph even at his own expense.

Oliver is a remnant of the ’68 Chicago Viet Nam anti-war demonstrations that have come to blows which actually introduces him to Helen, who will become the love of his life. Oliver is the product of a wealthy family, first-year law student, destined to become one of the good ole boys following in his father’s footsteps where the name Cross means wealth and power. But two things happen that will totally change the course of his life: He meets Helen and his brother, a soldier in ‘Nam dies a hero. Continue reading “Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview”

A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview

A Life for a Life by Lynda McDanielTitle: A Life for a Life: A Mystery Novel (Appalachian Mountain Mystery Book 1)

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Mystery, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Lynda McDaniel Books

Print Length: 341 pages

Publication Date: August 15, 2016

ISBN: 0997780800

ASIN: B01KGVUREG

Source: Direct Author Request

Title and Cover: A Life for a LifeSimple cover–subtle subject suggestion

Book Blurb:

One mysterious death. One lazy sheriff. Two seekers of truth.

Della Kincaid escaped to the mountains of N.C. to get away from it all. Didn’t work. She discovers a dead woman in the wilderness and gets embroiled in the investigation. The sheriff says suicide; Kincaid says murder. As a former reporter in Washington, D.C., she knows how to chase the truth. Without her usual sources, she turns to an offbeat cast of characters—friends, forger, former husband, and new neighbor Abit Bradshaw, a challenged boy who’s spent the first 16 years of his life plagued by small-town bullies and family lies. They team up to search for answers to the possible murder—and to make peace with their own lives. 

A Life for a Life is the first book in Lynda McDaniel’s internationally acclaimed Appalachian Mountain Mysteries series. Reviewers have compared her work to To Kill a Mockingbird and her storytelling style to that of Fannie Flagg. If you like page-turning dramas without over-the-top violence—but packed with suspense and character-driven stories—you’ll love this series. Continue reading “A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview”

The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview

The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary by Jean GraingerTitle: The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary (The Tour Series Book 4) by Jean Grainger

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Irish, Sagas

Publication Date: December 24, 2018

  • ISBN-10:1792633327
  • ISBN-13:978-1792633324
  • ASIN: B07MD964MJ

Print Length: 332

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: The Homecoming of Bubbles O’LearyPerfect Old World depiction

Book Blurb:

A luxury stay in an Irish castle, a handsome, experienced tour guide, and a secret that has never been revealed. Life as manager of the magnificent resort of Castle Dysert on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast is never dull, and Conor O’Shea’s life to date has taught him to be prepared for the unexpected. Even he however, is not ready for the gang from Bubbles O’Leary’s bar in New York. A motley crew, from spinster sisters of a certain age, to exhausted social workers, they are all in Ireland for one reason. The fact that this bunch of unusual people arrive during Ireland’s biggest matchmaking festival just adds to the intrigue. But is everyone who they say they are? Are all their motives pure? Conor is ready to do his best to show the visitors his beloved Ireland, but his personal life takes a devastating turn and he finds himself torn, unsure how to proceed. Is the past best left there, or is there redemption to be found in opening old wounds? Wise and witty, heart-warming and deeply satisfying, Jean Grainger takes us once more on an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle.

My Review:

The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary by Jean GraingerThe author must have kissed that Blarney Stone more than once!  She can spin such a fable as to keep you glued to the pages, peeking inside the personalities of each of the characters and their stories. Of course, Conor is back, the protagonist who began as a tour guide and now operates Castle Dysert. He married Ana and they had twin boys, now eight years old. The tale is told of Bubbles O’Leary and his bar and immense humanity in New York; how he loved, respected, and regaled his patrons of accounts of his childhood in Ireland. And when he passes away unexpectedly, his closest friends vow to take him home to Dingle. He has cemented a special place in the hearts of each person.

The well-plotted saga begins to lay out a deeply entwined narrative of the individuals who undertake to return him home to Ireland, just when Conor is dealing with crushing family drama, but it is he who they must have to lead their memorial group. Each support character has his/her own story which contributes to the tours they take from the Castle, enjoying the sights. The characters are well developed and engaging.

There is an underlying sinister current that manifests later into the book that adds a mystery to what is an accounting of confronting serious illness, estrangements, lost and new love, and forgiveness. There is humor, the yarn flows easily, the prose so beautiful, the action realistic. You can picture the group in a loving circle with Bubbles’ ashes–an emotional farewell set with the awesome backdrop of the sun setting into the North Atlantic, soft strains of “Danny Boy” in the salty breeze.

I’ve read most of the books Ms. Grainger has published and I must say each has been totally engrossing, engaging, and enlightening. I believe my first book was gleaned through BookBub and noting she lived in Cork, wrote her immediately to ask a couple questions regarding one of the few hints dropped in my grandfather’s books regarding his origins. I’ve been a fan of hers since and loved each new book.

As Ms. Grainger notes, “if she had any Irish in her; she must have to explain the connection she felt with Ireland.” What is the draw? I don’t know, but the author delights the reader whether or not with remote Irish origins in her generous descriptions of the land, the origins, food, ancient artifacts, and sayings. Easy explanations and helpful pronunciations eliminate any off-putting of local colloquialisms and customs and adds to the enjoyment of the story.

I was allowed early ebook download of this novel by the author and greatly appreciated (as always!) the opportunity to read and review. Recommended to any who enjoy a thoroughly entertaining and emotional literary fiction.

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author:

JEAN GRAINGER – SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

Jean Grainger's Author Circle Novel of ExcellenceWINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

‘Warm and wise, reading a Jean Grainger novel is like sitting in the kitchen of a friend. Her authentic writing welcomes you into the heart of Ireland.’ Kate Kerrigan, NYT Bestselling Author.

‘In the same magical tradition as classic Irish storytellers, Maeve Binchy and Frank McCourt, Jean Grainger transports the reader into a world where the characters not only come alive, but become friends, who stay with you long after you’ve closed the last page. I have no doubt that Jean Grainger will be considered one of the finest historical novelists of our time.’ Roberta Kagan, Bestselling author of ‘All My Love, Detrick’ series.

[See her full author bio on Amazon.] I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dog, a chi-chon called Scrappy-Do.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Welcome to My Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2018

My Favorite Reads of 2018

So many wonderful books this year it was near to impossible to narrow down this list to my Top Ten Favorite Reads. Obviously, a heroic effort, as I can list many more than ten at 4.5 stars or better and judging from your likes and comments, were books you recognized and appreciated too! They appear in no particular order below. I am combining the two Dean Koontz’s books as they are part of the same series and came in within several months of each other. (I’m a sucker for the Jane Hawk series.)

Frosty's toyThe books wend their way over a broad range of genre’s and once again, I’ve found some amazing books in a genre that stretched the reading chops. Among my favorites are psychological thrillers, literary fiction, humorous novels, cozy mysteries, and (what you say??) doggie stories! (Well, I guess no surprise there.) These are books that feed your soul, provide food for thought or chuckles that are share-worthy. I found so many delightful little passages, I began to share them in my Quick Quotes.

Once again, I leaned heavily on NetGalley for new reads as well as accepted a number of author requests and beta reads. I signed up for the NetGalley Challenge on a platinum level (75 books) and according to my count (and my Reading Challenge page) nailed that one. I fell short on the Alphabet Challenge, however, failing to find an “X”.  Found some great new authors that I’ll want to follow as well as continue with a few of my favs which I’d rabidly follow any time they present a new offering.

Follow the link in the title to explore my full review as well as additional links from the books and the link on the cover to the purchase link at Amazon. You’ve probably read your share of these same books and I’d love to hear which ones you also loved that are included in your favorite reads list of the year.

Five Stars of Five Rating 5 starsA Dog's Way Home by W Bruce Cameron

A Dog’s Way HomeLiterature & Fiction, Family Life It’s a dog story–I’ll love it. And written by acclaimed and sympathetic author of canine narratives, W Bruce Cameron, you know it will be excellent.

The Crooked StaircaseLiterature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense The Dean Koontz Jane Hawk series has it all and is very popular. I’m dialed in and looking forward to the next (and final?) installment.

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzThe Forbidden Door – See comments above for the Jane Hawk series. If you haven’t checked it out, may want to begin with book 1, but in any case, these can work as standalone gripping thrillers.

Ray vs The Meaning of Life Literature and fiction Ray vs the Meaning of life by Michael F. StewartThis is one of those annoyingly great narratives, full of laughs and outrageous situations, but one that packs quite the moral punch. A new author for me but one I’ll continue to follow!

A Pirate’s Road to Key WestA Pirate's Road to Key West by Michael ReisigAction/adventure, historical fiction The Hole in the Coral Wall Gang always does the right thing. Fast-paced non-stop action. One of my favorite authors and apparently yours too!

4.5 of five stars 4.5 stars

The Last Homecoming The Last Homecoming by Dan ChabotLiterature & Fiction, Contemporary Fiction Christmas-time story of a poignant look at a house that stayed in the hearts of the last four generations of its occupants.

Lethal in Old LaceLethal in Old Lace by Duffy BrownCozy mystery Written by one of my new favorite authors, quirky characters and Old Southern charm and locale.

Dirty Who?Mystery, thriller and suspense Dirty Who? by Jerry KennealyStep back into the crime noir genre and enjoy this Dirty Harry kind of guy as he goes about solving the crime.

The Colonel and the BeeThe Colonel and the Bee by Patrick CanningLiterature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Action & Adventure with more than a little fantasy. What a wild and wonderful ride this was! Fun, fast-paced, amazing characters. (Think Around the World in 80 Days.)

Burning Ridge Burning Ridge by Margaret MizushimaMystery, Thriller & Suspense Written by Margaret Mizushima spotlights our K-9 partners and this one is a solid, riveting tale in this successful canine series.

The Long Paw of the LawThe Long Paw of the Law by Diane KellyThriller & Suspense, Cozy, Animals, Police Procedural How can you go wrong with a canine crime-solving companion in a topical well-plotted narrative.

Which of the above did you read? Did I miss something fantastic this year that you’d love to tell me about? Do you have a suggestion (book or author) for my 2019 reads?

Happy New Year!

Have a safe and Happy New Year’s Eve and a healthy, successful 2019!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi, Jr – a #BookReview

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi JrTitle: Justice Gone by N Lombardi, Jr

Genre: #Literature & Fiction, #Crime, #Thriller

Publisher: Roundfire Books

Publication Date: To be released February 22, 2019

  • ISBN-10:1785358766
  • ISBN-13:978-1785358760

Source: Author, Publisher, and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Justice GoneJustice is Blind

Book Blurb:

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. N Lombardi Jr. is the author of compelling and heartfelt novel The Plain of Jars. Continue reading “Justice Gone by N. Lombardi, Jr – a #BookReview”

The Water Tower Club by B K Mayo – a #BookReview

Title: The Water Tower Club by B K MayoThe Water Tower Club by B K Mayo

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Family Life

Publisher: Fir Valley Press

Publication Date: To be released January 15, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

274 pages

  • ISBN-10:0981588441
  • ISBN-13:978-0981588445

Title and Cover: The Water Tower Club – Cover conveys plot focus

Book Blurb:

The day after graduating from high school, Darryl Coombs fled his hometown of Grotin, Kansas, hoping to put the memories of his nightmarish childhood behind him forever. His only regret–he’d had to leave his beloved little sister, Libby, behind. Now, ten years later, Libby’s arrest on a charge of attempted murder has Darryl reluctantly returning to his childhood home. He is desperate to save his sister from prison, but first he must survive the descent into the rabbit hole of his past.

When his efforts to exonerate Libby expose a devil’s bargain so hideous as to be unthinkable, Darryl unwittingly takes action that leads to deadly consequences.

Beautifully written, artfully conceived, charged with moral complexity, this book will leave you wanting more from BK Mayo! Continue reading “The Water Tower Club by B K Mayo – a #BookReview”

The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates #BlogTour #BookReview

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates on the Digital Reads Blog Tours.

Digital Reads Blog Tours presents The Kooky Kids' Club by Robbie Yates

Book Details

The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates

86 pages

Published: November 10, 2018

ASIN: B07KDVSNKG

ISBN-10: 173080604X

ISBN-13: 978-1730806049

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Children’s Books, Young at Heart

Book Blurb

Maxine is smart, quirky, and a bit of a misfit. One day, she receives a mysterious invitation to a meeting of the “Kooky Kids’ Club.”

Things are looking bright. It’s nice to finally have a real group of friends. Then Maxine’s teacher disappears.

Maxine doesn’t know what happened to her beloved teacher, or how she can help. But if anybody has the smarts to help Miss Thompson, it’s Maxine and the Kooky Kids’ Club…

My Review

The Kooky Kids' Club by Robbie YatesI just love it when I discover that the real story lies behind the lines of the narrative printed and that’s what happens when you read The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates. It’s the lesson to be learned, the moral of the story that is sneaked in, and the nod of the head that, yes, this was good.

Little protagonist Maxine is struggling with school. She just doesn’t fit in and it doesn’t help when she tries to fit in as those always seem to lead to “Maxine Moments.” Her bright light is her teacher, Miss Thompson, and her aunt Izzie. And then Maxine receives a mysterious invitation. Afraid to check it out, but too curious not to, she discovers a club with other members just like her. They are sweet and thoughtful, smart and talented. And she fits in just fine. Blossoms. Finds her own power and with her new friends…

Strength.

But then suddenly, Miss Thompson is gone and Maxine enlists the help of her new friends and The Kooky Kids’ Club to discover what happened and bring her back.

I’d wager many of us see ourselves in Maxine and fervently wish we’d had our own quirky club. What a difference it might have made in those school years! Here we can revel in the discoveries Maxine makes and the kids that drive success and contentment. Maxine can enjoy her uniqueness with confidence.

I received my invitation to participate in The Kooky Kids’ Club from Shalini and Robbie Yates and jumped in with both feet. This has such a sweet premise and delivers with that feel-good conclusion. So appreciated the ebook download and the opportunity to read and review. Definitely a book for those tough middle-school years and recommended for parent/tween involvement. You can both use it!

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

About the Author

Robbie Yates - author(From Amazon) Robbie Yates is a children’s author who also dabbles in terrible and ridiculous poetry. Robbie has been a fan of fiction since he was a young child himself (in the days of cassette tapes and dial-up internet).

Robbie is based in the vibrant city of Melbourne, Australia. He enjoys drawing, the crunch of autumn leaves, and eating tasty snacks from his childhood.

In his free time, Robbie likes to read the stories of Roald Dahl, Paul Jennings and J.K. Rowling. Robbie also likes to go geocaching, play board games, and have water-balloon fights.

Author Links Robbie Yates - author

Amazon Author Central page 

Author’s Website 

√  Facebook  √ Twitter √ Goodreads √ Instagram

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

December 3
Miss Honeybug’s Reads & Crafts
Macsbooks
The Book Decoder
The Spoonie Mummy

December 4
The Bookworm Drinketh
Ashi responding to life
Zany Bibliophile
The Avid Inspri

December 5
Write Where I Read
The Cozy Pages
Audio Killed the Bookmark
Bibliogyan

December 6
Bookgraphy
DeepAsThoughts
Bookish rantings
Untie Readers

December 7
Lily’s Blissful Pages
Rosepoint Publishing
Sophril Reads
Ambivert Words

December 8
Jessica Rachow
Bookish Wisps
Swift Coffee
Belles-Lettres

Digital Reads Blog ToursThanks to Shalini at Digital Reads Blog Tours for the opportunity to read and review this intermediate literary novel!

©2018 V Williams

V Williams

The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates

Title: The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates

Publication Date: November 10, 2018

Source: @Shalini_G26 at Digital Reads Blog Tours

What a delightful invitation!

My Invitation - The Kooky Kids' Club by Robbie Yates

I am now an honorary member of The Kooky Kids’ Club and as such, it is suggested, or requested, that I divulge any kooky quirks I might have. As a book blogger, however, you know that I wouldn’t have any of those–quirks? Nah. But there are just a couple idiosyncrasies (among the others) that I might disclose.

First, years ago I began a collection of frogs. Yes, frogs. There is a long story behind that, one that included “live” frogs. Needless to say, I won’t go into detail, but it soon got around (you know how those things happen!) and soon I was getting frogs for my birthdays, Christmases, and for any little celebration between. Big ones (giant sized, concrete garden frogs), little ones, collectibles, and even one from both our French exchange students and our Croatian exchange student who soon became our Croatian “son.” Here are just a few that are left.

Froggies from collection

Then if you’ve followed my blog for any period of time know that I took up riding a motorcycle at 55 years of age. Not the brightest thing I’ve ever done, but certainly one of the most fun. It so happened at the time that I had an ever-growing Victorian Christmas Village. You’ve seen those? Beautiful little snowy miniatures of old-time snowy Christmas village scenes. My daughter found a Harley-Davidson building. Didn’t exactly fit the Victorian time frame but of all the churches, libraries, homes, and theatres, quickly became my favorite piece and the one building I still have after winters in an RV and several moves. (And no, I didn’t ride a Harley. I rode a BMW. You know what they say about BMW motorcycles? “I didn’t know they also made cars until I passed one!”)

HD Christmas

But are those actually quirks? Maybe, but we all have collections. What are some of your most treasured collections? Is there a quirky story tied to that collection? I know they probably have a heart connection, right?

The Kooky Kids' Club by Robbie Yates

The Kooky Kids’ Club. A children’s book. Really? Isn’t there a lesson in there for all of us?

Coming Friday, my review of The Kooky Kids’ Club and as you may have guessed, this has been a fun one!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

See You Soon, Afton – a #BookReview

See You Soon, Afton by Brent JonesTitle: See You Soon, Afton (Afton Morrison Book 2) by Brent Jones

Genre: Currently #3787 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: See You Soon, AftonAfton Morrison, Book 2 (The Afton Morrison Series) by Brent Jones

Holy smokes! Book 2 literally sets the plot on fire with the dark and desperate attempt by Afton to find and save little Kim. The despot in Afton takes a back seat as she must act on that soft spot for the sweet and innocent volunteer library assistant who looks on her as a mentor. After all, she has yet to prove her psychopathic vigilante assassin status! If Afton ravaged your senses in Book 1 with her first-person account of her twisted, deep vigilante desires and her comprehensive search for the perfect victim to stem the Animus within her, Book 2 slams what you thought you knew about where this was going against a very hot, blackened wall. Continue reading “See You Soon, Afton – a #BookReview”

The Colonel and the Bee – a #BookReview

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick CanningTitle: The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

Genre: Currently #4792 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Action & Adventure

Publisher: Evolved Publishing LLC

Publication Date: June 1, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: The Colonel and the Bee-Love that cover

Hoo-boy is this one a douzy! This novel was so much fun I couldn’t keep it to myself and shared with the C.E., whose review will follow mine. The novel hit all my buttons: unique, intriguing, adventurous, historical, surprisingly sharp (and young) female protagonist coupled with the swash-buckling theatrics of a male co-protagonist and absolute non-stop action. First, wrap your head around a  four-story house-sized balloon, and if that doesn’t set your imagination reeling, nothing will. (Think steampunk!)

Beatrix is a barely teenaged female acrobat in a 19th-century European traveling circus held captive owing her age by an abusive ringleader. The dashing and mysterious English Colonel James Bacchus attends the same private showing where she performs and she contrives to join him in a getaway following his ellicit treatise with the wife of their exclusive estate’s host. With the Oxford Starladder (the Ox) the colonel is in pursuit of a heinous criminal as he drifts across the continent in search of a precious jewel, the Blue Star Sphinx, which value in turn has attracted the warring factions of two families. (Think Hatfields and McCoys)

With every additional description of the Ox, I badly wanted to climb aboard and explore each and every crevice, descend the spiral stars, partake of the gourmet meals presented by the colonel, and peak into the horticultural room where the fresh vegetables were grown. What a delightful imaginative fantasy–but one that seemed within grasp it was made so real. The rich nineteenth-century dialogue, $50 words, and formal English prose was a delight but I was many times grateful for the built-in dictionary of my Kindle. Continue reading “The Colonel and the Bee – a #BookReview”

Ray vs the Meaning of Life – a #BookReview

Ray vs the Meaning of LifeTitle: Ray vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart

Genre: Currently # 147 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Metaphysical

Publisher: The Publishing House

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Ray vs the Meaning of Life – Fantastic cover–totally gets the subject

When I read the review by Nicole over at The BookWorm Drinketh for Ray vs the Meaning of Life, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. (TY, Nicole, you nailed it!) Fortunately, it was still available (now archived) on NetGalley, though it was termed Humor, Teens, and YA. What?! Heaven knows I’ve violated several of my rules recently, why not this one? Well, I’m so glad, once again, that I stepped beyond my own comfortable genres to sample this “YA” novel. But really, YA? Amazon classifies the genre as Metaphysical and Visionary (oh, and Coming of Age).

Too bad.

It should have just stopped at Brilliant Literature. Continue reading “Ray vs the Meaning of Life – a #BookReview”

Charlie Mac – a #BookReview

Charlie Mac by Maria McDonaldTitle: Charlie Mac: A Story of Ordinary People Who Lived in Extraordinary Times by Maria McDonald

Genre: Currently #37389 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: March 30, 2018

Source: Direct request by author

Title and Cover: Charlie MacThe chair holds significance but doesn’t wholly convey the tragedy that it included.

This is the fictional account of the life and death of Charlie McMullen, great-grandfather of the author which follows three generations through one of the most tumultuous times in the history of Ireland–specifically in Belfast.

Charlie was born in 1873 and died just after the Irish Home Rule Campaign ended with the establishment of the border dividing Ireland. A city fella, he married a country girl, Mary Jane from County Down. Her life experience was totally opposite his, as was her religion; hers being Catholic. We can’t help who we fall in love with and sometimes that will forever shape our destiny. But neither his Belfast neighbors nor their respective families were happy with the marriage. The couple thought, however, that the strength of their union would overcome objections. It couldn’t and didn’t, resulting in tragedy. Continue reading “Charlie Mac – a #BookReview”

Area 51: Redemption – a #BookReview

Area 51 - Redemption by Bob MayerTitle: Area 51: Redemption (Book 10 of 11) by NY Times Bestseller Bob Mayer

Genre: Currently #174 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, War & Military

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Source: Won a copy on a Goodreads Giveaway!

Title and Cover: Area 51: Redemption – Cover continues the dynamite series covers

Area 51: Redemption is a continuation of the series regarding alien direction and population on earth and how their presence affected the human race through the millennia, leaving only the most subtle of reminders of their possible existence on the planet. In this, the tenth of the series, Mike Turcotte, is back as the ex-Special Forces officer who helped free the earth of the Airlia while winning WWIII. But Turcotte kept a secret–far worse than that of the Airlia domination.

(From the Amazon book blurb: “The continuation of the series that has sold over 2 million copies, screenplay written by the man who penned Alien, Total Recall and produced Minority Report and is Cool Gus approved. This book will be followed by Area 51: Invasion on 14 July 2018.”)

You would be correct in that if this is a sci-fi, I probably had my associate reviewer read and contribute his review to mine. Also, as always, I’ll post his review here first. Continue reading “Area 51: Redemption – a #BookReview”

Go Home, Afton – a #BookReview

Go Home, Afton by Brent JonesTitle: Go Home, Afton: Afton Morrison, Book 1 (The Afton Morrison Series) by Brent Jones

Genre: Currently #3470 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense

Publication Date: To be released June 25, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: Go Home, AftonGorgeous cover totally reflecting tension-filled thriller

Animus: basic attitude or governing spirit: disposition, intention. 3: an inner masculine part of the female personality in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/animus (including an outrageous motivation to do…something).

The title reflects a mantra within this periodically socially unacceptable protagonist. Afton Morrison is an educated, competent small town children’s librarian, more than capable of presenting an intelligent and patient twenty-six-year-old woman within the pseudo-academic life of Wakefield. She has quashed the animus within her successfully (whom she has named, quite appropriately Animus)…until now…when the demand to kill meets reason and she’s found the perfect victim. Afton can both satisfy that persistently deranged alter-ego while ridding the public of a vicious sexual predator. Continue reading “Go Home, Afton – a #BookReview”

The Mirror Shop – a #BookReview

The Mirror Shop by Nicholas BundockTitle: The Mirror Shop by Nicholas Bundock

Genre: Currently #2205 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, British & Irish

Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers

Publication Date: To be released May 14, 2018

Source: Publisher request

Title and Cover: The Mirror Shop – Attractive cover hints at contents

Luke is a mirror shop owner who lives quietly in a small English countryside village. It would appear that although a bachelor, he leads a happy middle-age and tranquil life with a partner of almost 20 years, Eva, who is a psychotherapist. But Luke Brewer has hit that age and mid-life crisis slams into him with a poker-hot vengeance when an attractive young woman enters the shop and he falls teacup over kettle. Continue reading “The Mirror Shop – a #BookReview”

A Dog’s Way Home – a #BookReview

A Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce CameronTitle: A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Genre: Currently #1314 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Family Life

Publisher: Forge Books

Publication Date: May 9, 2017

Source: Forge Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: A Dog’s Way Home – See that sweet face? Can you resist that?

OMG, I loved this book. Absolutely LOVED it! You don’t have to be a dog person to enjoy–there are cats you will love too. But Bella…part pit? The cover doesn’t reflect a dog looking part pit-bull. It’s supposed to be a mixed breed–indeterminate–opinions vary, all different, except for the officer labeling her as such.

Continue reading “A Dog’s Way Home – a #BookReview”

The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview

The Tortilla Curtain by T C Boyle-eBook coverTitle: The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle

Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Satire, and #62 in Contemporary Fiction, Urban

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: September 1, 1996

Source: Free download BookBub

Title and Cover: The Tortilla CurtaineBook cover attracted my attention (prefer it to the paperback version below)–thought it would interest hubby–this is his review.

This book has been around more than twenty years and certainly long enough that there are more than sufficient synopses. So at this point, I must assume the literary crowd is familiar with the setting in the beautiful but fragile ecology of the Topanga Canyon of Southern California. This scenario situates two couples on a course designed to slap your senses into a new mindset. The classic style Greek pathos novel grasps the very soul of society and squeezes so tightly I came close to declaring a DNF more than once. No getting around it–this is a very difficult book. Continue reading “The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview”

The True Tales of the Road to Key West – a #BookReview

The True Tales of the Road to Key West by Michael ReisigTitle: The True Tales Of The Road To Key West by Michael Reisig

Genre: Currently #266 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Travel, and #272 Genre Fiction, Satire

Publisher: Clear Creek Press

Publication Date: March 10, 2018

Source: Beta request from author

Title and Cover: The True Tales of the Road to Key WestLove all his covers

I am among the privileged few to beta read for Michael Reisig. The author radiates compassionate humanity and this composite puts you squarely in his treasured guest category of close friends. You can’t read his books without nodding your head in knowing acceptance that these were deeply personal revelations about his amazing survival and how these books came to be written. Continue reading “The True Tales of the Road to Key West – a #BookReview”

For the Love of Ireland – #BookReview

For the Love of Ireland by Judy LeslieTitle: For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie

Genre: Currently #535 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Irish

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date: April 22, 2013

Source: BookBub

Title and Cover: For the Love of IrelandSubdued cover represents a Victorian female journalist

This is a mesmerizing fictional story of how these real historical figures affected society and the lives they touched in their efforts to help secure a free Ireland in the late nineteenth century. The story captures successful journalist Irish born Margaret Sullivan living in Chicago writing for a major newspaper under a nom de plume. This is a time when women would not have been allowed any career outside of the home. The book also examines the role of women in business–still a struggle as well. Continue reading “For the Love of Ireland – #BookReview”

If I Live – a #BookReview

If I live by Terri BlackstockTitle: If I Live (If I Run series) by Terri Blackstock

Genre: Currently #6 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Religious & Inspirational Fiction, Christian, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: To be released March 6, 2018 Happy Publication Day!!

Source: Zondervan and NetGalley

Title and Cover: If I LiveNot sure how the cover conveys subject but links the trilogy with the other two covers

Protagonist Casey Cox is on the run, still, and doing a darned good job at evading capture. She has been doing this for awhile and is quite good at it, but she does have a person she can trust–if she can just connect with him. She has been accused of a murder she didn’t commit.  Private Investigator Dylan Roberts, hired by Brent’s family to find the killer, has tried to connect with her. He has new information. POV switches first person from Casey to Dylan to antagonist dirty cop Keegan. Not just dirty–sociopathic scary icky.

Casey is in Memphis and desperate for money takes a job with slightly shady attorney Barbero. Dylan has investigated all the circumstances and comes to believe in her innocence and is working toward getting her to go safely back to Shreveport to clear her name. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know who they can trust. Together, she and Dylan decide to take the evidence gathered to the DA. Dylan arrives at his office to present the case but dumbs down a bit and things go south. Just how deep is the Keegan quagmire? Continue reading “If I Live – a #BookReview”

Deja Moo – a #BookReview

Deja Moo by Kirsten WeissTitle: Déjà Moo (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #3) by Kirsten Weiss

Genre: Currently #10266 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Publication Date: To be released March 8, 2018

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Deja Moo – Inventive title-compelling cover

San Benedetto, a small town near Sacramento in the wine country, erects a Christmas Cow every Christmas and every Christmas the town square cow goes up in flames. Protagonist Maddie Kosloski, owner of the Paranormal Museum, is not a fan–it draws crowds from her shop, which is a tourist draw, so this year she has added historic Christmas bells to her holiday display.

This year will be different. For one thing, her mother is on the Ladies Aid committee coordinating with the local Dairy Association, and they are determined to guard the 30′ flammable cow through the season, the schedule having been laid out. So it is that her mother is playing guard duty when the straw cow is set ablaze. Unfortunately, the other guard is also hit by an arrow and killed. Continue reading “Deja Moo – a #BookReview”

The Rock Child, a Book Review

The Rock Child by Win Blevins
Hardcover edition cover

Title: The Rock Child, A Novel of a Journey

Genre: Currently #173 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, United States

Publisher: Wordworx

Publication Date: March 27, 2013

Source: BookBub

Of Love and Demons by Win BlevinsTitle and Cover: The Rock Child – Title and covers have undergone changes

A wild skirmish between a Tibetan Buddhist nun’s family and kidnappers result in the death of an entire family and a nun (Sun Moon) shanghaied and brought to America. It is 1862 and one thousand in gold could buy almost anything. Mix that with Native-American/Anglo protagonist Asie Taylor who becomes entangled in a life of music and a famous English explorer, Sir Richard Francis Burton, and you have the beginnings of a gripping Win Blevins’ novel. Continue reading “The Rock Child, a Book Review”

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh – a Book Review

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh by Carolyn ArnoldTitle: The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh (Matthew Connor Adventure series-Book 2)

Genre: Currently #1342 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Men’s Adventure

Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.

Publication Date: To be released April 17, 2018

Source: Request from Senior Book Publicist, Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.

Title and Cover: The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh – Beautiful cover holds promise

“In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.”

This is the second in the new series with protagonist archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor. He’s very successful at finding legends long thought forgotten or lost. Flirting with a power from the Emerald Tablets that promises knowledge of the universe, he MUST accept a former colleague’s invitation in the search. She has stumbled upon an Egyptian hieroglyphic map that is sure to lead them to a pharaoh’s tomb and the Emerald Tablets. Matthew’s only demand for acceptance is that his best friends (romantic interest) Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers accompany the team. Of course, it isn’t long before they realize that recovering the tablets won’t be easy and they are no longer the only ones looking for the tablets. Continue reading “The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh – a Book Review”

#ThrowbackThursday – author Jodie Bailey – Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies posted on Goodreads awhile ago, 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. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic (see her website). Just provide the link back to her please).

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie BaileyThis week I am highlighting Jodie Bailey, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Quilted by Christmas, which was reviewed on Goodreads. She has actually written a number of books and participated in this series, Quilts of Love, this being the twenty-second in the series. This novel was published by Abingdon Press. She consistently runs approximately 4.5 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon. Quilts of Love

Originally posted September 5, 2014. Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – author Jodie Bailey – Book Review”