Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Historical Fiction Book Reviewed

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love by Chloe Carley


The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Christian Historical Fiction Book Reviewed
My favorite book genre is historical fiction romance.  I've read a few books in that genre written by Chloe Carley and love them all. I previously reviewed one of her other books here on Review This, "The Stubborn Sweet Bride". Therefore, I was recently thrilled to discover  "The Cowboy's Redeeming Love" while searching for a new book.  

I expected The Cowboy's Redeeming Love to be a good book with a somewhat typical "all's well that ends well" story-line.  However, it turned out to be a unique and excellent historical romance.  

Chloe Carley has once again written a fiction book that tells the story of a young woman who meets evil face to face here on earth and goes to extremes to get away from it.


The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Synopsis 


Brianna Tompkins' previously wealthy father decided to move his family to California so he could quickly restore his families worth via a gold mine.  Apparently, he believes the gold is just lying around waiting to be claimed and would be an easy way to get rich again quick.  Without fully knowing, or considering, the environment he would be taking his privileged wife and daughter into, he loaded a wagon and headed west to stake his claim.

 The Cowboy's Redeeming Love:
An Inspirational Historical Romance Novel
Check Price
Having been raised in affluence, with servants attending to her every whelm and need, Brianna is scarcely prepared for the changes she would be required to endure.  Her lifestyle had previously protected her from the harsher elements, work, and vices of the world.  She had only known abundance, silks, refinement, ladies and gentlemen.  


Neither Brianna nor her mother wanted to go, but Brianna's father assured them all would be well.  They would make their fortune quickly and return home, back to the lap of luxury. 

Since readers have the benefit of historical knowledge, we already know, the Tompkins family is in for a rude awakening.  However, even we wouldn't expect both parents to die, leaving Brianna in the hands of a mercilessly evil man who stakes his claim on her.  With her refusal to readily accept Percy Smythe, he has her brutally beaten and held captive, allowing her time to embrace her new reality as his wife. 


The Cowboy


The Sutter family is leaving their home in Kentucky and moving to California to help Mr. Sutter's aging brother, Otis, on his ranch.  Along with his wife, Cora, Mason Sutter and their 3 grown sons, Morgan, Spenser & Riley, packed up their wagons and headed west.  The family stopped along the way to visit Cora's sister and found her sister recently widowed.  Cora and Mason decide to stay on in Missouri to help Cora's sister, but send the boys on ahead.  After all, Otis Sutter is expecting them to help him through the upcoming winter.

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Historical Fiction Book Reviewed
Since it was just the 3 young men now, they were able to move much faster, stopping in small towns along the way for rest and supplies.  However, they found some small towns were not "friendly" or "inviting" to outsiders.  That was the case in Percy's Crossing.  Even though it was only 20 miles from their uncles ranch, they needed to stop for the night, but Percy's Crossing was not an option for them.  They rode another mile before they settled in for the night with a warm fire, to sleep under the stars.

When a small figure entered their camp and set down in front of their fire, only one of the sleeping brothers was awakened by this nearly silent intruder.  Morgan expected a child when he slipped up on the little intruder.  Instead, he discovered a badly beaten woman and she had either fallen asleep or passed out when he reached her.  He decided to let her rest and covered her with a blanket.  The following morning, as the sun started to rise, the little intruder was terrified when she awoke and found herself surrounded by 3 big men.  She had no way of knowing the three brothers would not harm her.  All she knew was that she had to get away, and stay away, from Percy Smythe.

Morgan offered to let her travel with them to their uncle's ranch, where she would be offered a safe haven.  She reluctantly accepted.  After all, Brianna didn't have anyone else to help her and she had no where else to go.


Are You Ready to Read the Book Yet?


I have only given you the set-up for the story.  I'm sure you already suspect that Percy Smythe is not going to just let Brianna disappear into the night.   The title and book genre will likely also tell you that one of the brothers will fall in love with Brianna.  What is not obvious is that they are not allowed to just live happily ever after.  Evil continues to dog them in the hopes of possessing it's prey.

 


Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com





Other Chloe Carley Books Reviewed on Review This!


The Stubborn Sweet Bride Book ReviewThe Stubborn Sweet Bride: A Christian Historical Romance Novel Reviewed

An excellent Christian historical romance that transfixes readers with Molly's story of loss, betrayal, survival & desperate decisions. Highly Recommended!





House of Sylvestermouse




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Murder in Helvetica Bold Book Review

Thistlewood Star Cozy Mystery Series

newspaper printing machine

Helvetica Bold might be found in these print blocks
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Late last week, I finished A Murder in Helvetica Bold. Today, I'll be offering you a review of the first book in this Cozy Mystery Series written by Jessa Archer another Indie Author.

The series is called Thistlewood Star Mysteries and currently has three books published. Each title includes a different typeface from the old fashioned way of printing a newspaper. Of course with the advent of computers those old machines aren't used any longer and we don't refer to them as typeface but fonts. Still, the typeface or font titles intrigued my curiosity. 

They mystery in book one takes place in a small town in Tennessee. Ruth Townsend has moved back to her hometown after her marriage ended abruptly. As a young girl she worked for the local newspaper and learned the art of producing a newspaper with an old printing press. Her former boss and the owner of the Thistlewood Star passed away several years ago and the newspaper office sat neglected. Ruth buys the building and the paper in hopes of reviving the little paper. Currently it has about 12 subscribers but Ruth wants to change that.

While visiting her best friend, Wren, for lunch one day they hear a scream from outside. A elderly neighbor has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in her home. Ruth and Wren can tell by the position of the body and the look of surprise on Edith Morton's face that it most likely was not an accidental fall. 

Ruth had been a reporter for a newspaper in Nashville before returning home to Thistlewood and Wren is the town's only mortician. Both women have experience with dead bodies and this one doesn't look right to either of them. How will they be able to convince the local sheriff that it wasn't an accident? He does seem inclined to just brush it aside and close the case.


My Recommendation for A Murder in Helvetica Bold


I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan to read the other books in the series. The characters were interesting and diverse. The plot flowed nicely and there were a few twists along the way. I'll give a little spoiler that won't tell you anything about the solving of the mystery. The use of the typeface names is really kind of clever on the author's part. The tradition of the newspaper's former owner was to do each obituary in a different lettering. He kept records of each one used in the past. Ruth uses Helvetica Bold for Edith Morton's to keep up the tradition. 

There were some funny scenes in the book and a little suspense. Overall, I loved the book and think you will, too. I did see a review that I found interesting. The reviewer had taken offense in the author's descriptions of some of the older characters. The reviewer called it a case of ageism. Being a not so very young chicken myself, I wasn't insulted. I thought her observations of senior citizens was sometimes amusing and also realistic but not insulting. Anyway, I loved the premise and the book. It is well written and kept my interest until the end. The author also surprised me as to who "did it". If you love Cozy Mysteries, I think you will enjoy this book.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, July 8, 2019

A Dog's Life By Peter Mayle


Are you ready to smile? Smiling, laughing and nodding are the side effects from reading this delightful book, A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle. This book is actually two books in one with the engaging illustrations by Edward Koren. So onward with a two books in one review!

A Dogs Life Book Review


The Point Of View

This is a story of a rescue dog in Provence named Boy by his new parents. What is different about this narrative is the tale is told by Boy ... in his own words.

Boy is thoughtful, introspective, funny, witty, dry and very on point with his observations of the household, his city, his new furry sisters, his parents and how life rolls in Provence.

I'm still laughing over his description of rolling in the grass, why it is a good idea, why he likes to roll over smelly 'things' in the grass and then the consequences of the behavior. Which leads us to ...


The Other Point Of View

Boy is also a philosopher and keen observer. As he says one of his best strengths is his keen ability to observe then adapt; definitely a strength when being adopted into an established household.

I very much enjoyed Boy's take on his new humans, siblings and household. In A Dog's Life he tells his story enhanced by his view of what others are thinking, the why behind their actions and how he will fit in his new home.


The Furry Topics 

Boy runs the gamut of topics he finds interesting but are also of interest to dog parents. He answers those human questions of "Why would...?" "How could ..." "Did you really do that...?" of:

  • Picking The Dog's Name (and lifelong implications)
  • Dog Birthday Parties
  • Rolling In Stuff!
  • Baths
  • Cats
  • New Siblings
  • Food Bowl Etiquette
  • Tasting Parties
  • The Art Of Communication

and much more!

The Illustrations

I love hand drawn illustrations and the illustrations by Edward Koren are fabulous. The illustrations are an integral component of A Dog's Life and can be enjoyed on their own merit. I liken the illustrations to editorial cartoons drawn from a dog's point of view.

Recommendation Of A Dog's Life

I highly recommend this book for all dog owners or dog fans. It is a perfect gift for all occasions including a fun gift for the new dog parent. Smiles and are guaranteed throughout the book along with frequent nods of agreement as to why dogs are so special, so beloved and so part of the family.

More Dog Reviews

Favorite Dog Harness - The Puppia

Kong Cloud Collar




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Book Review of The 9th Girl and the sequel, Cold Cold Heart


Author Tami Hoag has written over 40 books. first in the Romance genre and then in the crime/mystery/suspense/thriller genres. She has written several series, my favorite being the Kovac & Liska series. 

I have been currently re-reading my collection of Tami Hoag mysteries, beginning with my favorite series with characters Sam Kovac and his partner, the wisecracking Nikki Liska whom Sam calls 'Tink' (for Tinkerbell) because she's petite, though tough and determined. They are homicide detectives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

After finishing the fourth book in the series (The 9th Girl), I happened to pick up one of Tami Hoag's standalone books to read next (Cold Cold Heart) and realized it was a sequel to The 9th Girl. Therefore, I will review both of these books for you today. 


The 9th Girl



Available on Amazon
It is a frigid New Year's Eve in Minneapolis when a body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Detectives Kovak & Liska are called to the scene. Unidentified, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year. The detectives need to find out not only who she is, but who wanted her dead. 

Not only is she the ninth Jane Doe of the year, but she may be the ninth victim of a vicious, transient serial killer the police call Doc Holiday. Doc Holiday chooses his victims at random, snatching them in one city and leaving them in another, always on a holiday.

When another young woman disappears, the case heats up while the detectives try to find the promising young TV reporter, Dana Nolan before she becomes another victim.




Cold Cold Heart



Available on Amazon
The 9th Girl novel ends with Dana Nolan becoming the only one of Doc Holiday's victims to survive. Cold Cold Heart is her struggle to recover from the physical, emotional and psychological trauma she endured.  After months in the hospital and a rehab center, Dana returns to the small Indiana town she left to work in Minneapolis.  

Cold Cold Heart begins with Dana still in the hospital and Kovak & Liska making a brief appearance in the first 2 chapters (a continuation from The 9th Girl) where they try to learn the details of what happened. The problem is, Dana doesn't remember much due to suffering a brain injury at the hands of the killer. 

As Dana continues to recover and returns to her family home, media interest brings up the unsolved case of Dana's childhood best friend who disappeared without a trace 7 years ago, the summer after their high school graduation. Viewing life differently because of her injuries and needing something to focus on other than the flashbacks and nightmares and the torment of post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers, Dana begins to look into her past. But the truth of her friend's disappearance may prove to be too terrible to be believed. 



Notes from the Author:



Author Tami Hoag
Tami Hoag suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as a child which went undiagnosed for many years. Luckily, her only side effects are occasional severe headaches. She also has a friend whose husband suffered a TBI in the military. Combine the consequences with PTSD and the problems worsen.  PTSD is not a condition exclusive to the war-injured military, but also experienced by victims of crimes and other tragedies.

Ms. Hoag believes that many people are not aware of how these injuries affect the people suffering from them and their loved ones. The post-brain injury person is often not ever again the pre-brain injury person remembered by friends and family and this becomes difficult to deal with and understand. 

Tami thought perhaps having her character in Cold Cold Heart suffering from TBI and PTSD would help readers understand both people who are afflicted and those who live with them.

A well-written story ~ with a message.  



For more book reviews on ReviewThisReviews, check out


(c) Written by Wednesday Elf 7/6/2019




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, July 5, 2019

Missing in Beaver Falls Book Reviewed

Missing in Beaver Falls Mystery Reviewed
Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 4 

Missing in Beaver Falls Book Reviewed
The Roni Rainer Mystery Series written by Beverly Owens is my favorite cozy mystery series ever.  I find the characters easy to love and fun to know.  There have been times when I wished they were real life people so I could interact with them. I would really like to sit down and have a long chat with Kitchi, the old Mide.

Roni Rainer, the main character and owner of the Revived up-cycling shop, is always trying to help everyone around her.  That is a character I can easily respect.  I have no doubt we would be immediate friends.  Her employees, Charlotte and Clay are just quirky enough to adore, yet also wish to protect.

Charlotte's ability to take something useless and make it into a work of art, fascinates me. While I enjoy recreating the item described in my minds eye, I would love to see them in reality.  


Missing In Beaver Falls


When a local girl goes missing, the town is divided on what they believed happened to her. Some believe she ran off, while others believe she was abducted. 

Most of us already know, new residents in a small town are not always immediately embraced, especially if they arrive with an arrogant attitude.  Being attractive and young doesn't help either.  The local girls often feel an immediate dislike due to jealousy.  After all, single men are limited and the new competition is not appreciated.

Tiffany Abbott was not well liked by most of the residents in Beaver Falls. While they appreciate her ability to cut and style hair that best flatters every face, that is the extent of their praise for her.  However, the men seem to find her very appealing.  Her admirers include Zack Maxwell, a young, local deputy. 

Several of the Beaver Falls residents are empaths, which literally means they are "a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual."  Because they have visions of where Tiffany is, Roni believes Tiffany is alive and she starts searching and watching for the things that have been "seen" by the empaths.




To find out what really happened to Tiffany Abbott, you will need to read "Missing in Beaver Falls".  This book could be read and enjoyed alone.  However, if you wish to really get to know the characters, you might prefer to start with Book 1, Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery.




Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com



Roni Rainer Series Books Previously Reviewed on ReviewThisReviews.com


Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling MysteryDeath Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery
(Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 1)

A truly fabulous story with several very endearing characters. Each character was more like a real person with real lives, real concerns and even real fears and danger.



The small town of Beaver Falls is shocked when the body of Mateo Hernandez is discovered. Why was this innocent young man murdered? What had he witnessed? A spellbinding mystery that you will definitely want to read.


Roni Rainiers peace and tranquility is shattered when she discovers a dead body in her favorite place for solitude. Why would anyone wish to kill this gentle giant of a man.



Missing in Beaver Falls Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Reviews of My Favorite Graphoanalysis Books

Image created on Fotojet.com

What Sold Me on Graphoanalysis 

I had my first experience with graphoanalysis in the 1990s. At the time I had an IBM clone  computer in the days before Windows and before I had the internet. I don't quite remember how I acquired the floppy disks I got my shareware programs on or how I even found out about them back then. But one of those disks had a program for analyzing people's signatures for their hidden meanings.

My friends and family weren't safe. I immediately used the program to find out all about them. Of course, I shared  my results and most people thought the results were correct assessments of their personality traits.

In 1990 the IRS decided to audit us. They asked for a ridiculous amount of paperwork and receipts over the course of several weeks. We'd go to an appointment and then the agent would ask for more. By mail. With her signature. Hubby said, "Why don't you analyze her signature?" So I did. That analysis gave us enough information to plan a strategy that worked and helped us win our case. After that handwriting analysis became a sort of hobby.

Later I Turned to Handwriting Analysis Books


As technology progressed, I had to upgrade my computer. I could no longer use a floppy disk. But I wanted to learn more about graphoanalysis. So I started buying books. My collection now includes six books on the subject. I will review my two favorites here.

My foundational book was Handwriting Analysis: The Science of Determining Personality by Graphoanalysis by Milton Bunker, founder of the International Graphoanalysis Society. He was a shorthand teacher who had learned and taught seventeen different shorthand systems. He began to research handwriting in 1910 and through his observations developed his techniques for analyzing it. He explains how he developed and tested his system. He believes it's as valid a science as psychology is. Not everyone agrees. My own experience leads me to believe there's something to it.

After the first chapter, every chapter teaches you a rule to use when evaluating handwriting. Each of these chapters is followed by an short exam so you can test yourself. All the answers are at the back of the book. There is a "Dictionary of Grapho Analysis" at the very end of the book.

The book itself was first published in 1959. I have the 1975 printing and its cover design shows it. The type style  and layout of the book are not as easy to read as more modern styles, but it's still worth what I paid for it and I'd buy it again because it's so interesting. The covers below give you an idea of the style. That back cover will get big enough to read if you click it.

My Scans of Front and Back Covers of Bunker's 1975 Printing, © B. Radisavljevic


See the signatures of the rich, famous, and infamous, as well as their analyses. Learn how the ability of someone to analyze another's handwriting prevented suicides.  Between the covers of this book are numerous stories I simply enjoyed reading. People have used graphology to settle court cases, help law enforcement, and protect loved ones from unhappy marriages and even murder.

Milton Bunker introduced me to the way graphoanalysis developed and its basic principles and techniques. He showed me how useful it is to learn it. Andrea McNichol provides a more modern book that makes handwriting analysis easy to learn -- Handwriting Analysis: Putting It to Work for You. Both books are entertaining and held my interest with anecdotes, case histories, and instruction.

Nuggets from Milton Bunker


Bunker calls the ability to analyze handwriting "an insurance policy." He says it can protect your wallet and even your life. He tells several stories where this turned out to be the case. Appearances are often deceiving. Some scoundrels are very good actors and convincing liars. But their handwriting doesn't lie. You can learn a lot about someone from their signature alone. I certainly found that was true as I dealt with the IRS agent during our audit. Graphoanalysis helps one look behind a person's facade.

Here is Bunker's advice for applying what you learn from his books:

  1. Study the rules
  2. Use them to study actual samples
  3. Test and prove your result
He says if you do these things, what you learn will stay in your mind even if lose your books. 

Bunker says analyzing your handwriting will help you get to know yourself better. It can also help you help your child. Sometimes it can uncover unrecognized family dynamics so families can deal with unhealthy situations. 

Bunker tells the story of a family that was about to "lose" their son. The parents knew he was headed for trouble and they didn't know what they were doing wrong. After an analysis of a sample from the parents and the child, they discovered the boy felt his parents didn't love him. They had both been so active outside the home they didn't give the son the attention he craved. The boy agreed that was the problem and the family was able to make changes and turn the situation around.
*
*

What to Do with Your Discoveries


Milton Bunker cautions us to be ethical in the way we use what we find when we analyze someone's handwriting. He reminds us that we should not use it to judge people or as a basis for gossip. He offers this example. As you analyze someone's signature, you may discover its owner has a tendency to steal. But because a person has that tendency doesn't mean he has ever actually stolen anything or ever will. You should simply recognize that the tendency is there and not let him handle your money. Watch him carefully if he handles money or other things of value. Use the information to protect yourself and those you love. 

You may also discover things about yourself you don't like when you analyze your own writing. Bunker and many other graphologists believe you can actually change some traits you don't like by changing your handwriting. I have no personal experience trying to do this, but he does offer some guidance on the subject. 

A Fun Way to Learn Handwriting Analysis 


My Scan of My Book
Andrea McNichol wrote a workbook designed to help anyone learn to analyze handwriting for personal reasons. Handwriting Analysis: Putting It to Work for You is easy to use and makes learning enjoyable.

Ms. McNichol has sterling qualifications. She did her undergraduate work and got a teaching credential at UC Berkeley and studied graphology in Europe. She also participated in more specialized study and research related to substance abusers, mental patients, and criminals, some under the auspices of the University of California. She designed and taught the first graphoanalysis course at UCLA and went on to teach the course at seven other UC campuses. Her students have given her consistently high ratings in their reviews. As a professional consultant for law enforcement and businesses, she has used her skills in high profile cases such as the contesting of the will of Howard Hughes.

The book cover I scanned above gives you a good preview of the format and style of her book. My affiliate links above or below will take you to the book page where you can look at a few sample pages inside. They will give you a realistic idea of what it's like to use this book. You will see the introductory quiz that demonstrates how much just your common sense can discern.

McNichol defines graphology as the study of all graphic movement. She believes it applies not only to handwriting but also to doodles, sculpture, and painting. She says it gives insight into the writer or artist's physical, mental, and emotional state, but in this book she limits herself to handwriting analysis. She does devote a brief chapter at the end of the book to doodling.

When We Write We Leave "Brain Prints"


Image Created on Fotojet.com


Ms. McNichol points out that people's handwriting is as unique as their fingerprints. Our handwriting is like an x-ray that reveals what's in our minds. Scary? She says "Our brain prints reveal who we are and how we think, feel, and behave. The are an x-ray of our minds....No two people have the same brain prints."

The purpose of McNichol's book is to show us how to read these brain prints so  we can understand more about people than their spoken words and their actions may reveal. Her easily readable presentation is full of samples and illustrations that will engage you in actually testing what you learn as you go.

Two Approaches to Handwriting Analysis


McNichol offers two paths to interpreting handwriting.

  1. Look for the individual traits of a person's handwriting and determine what each reveals. 
  2. Start with an individual personality trait you want to check for and then see if the person's handwriting has signs of that trait being present. 

Suggestions to Increase Accuracy When Analyzing Handwriting



Don't jump to the wrong conclusion when you see one or two traits that point in the same direction. Look for several different traits that mean the same thing. If possible, use several samples of a person's writing that were taken at different times. 

Consider the conditions a person wrote under. In the introductory photo at the top of this post is a sample of my writing taken under abnormal conditions. I was writing with the "pen" that came with my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone. I wanted to use a handwriting sample as part of the image and the easiest way to do that was to use the pen to write on my phone screen and then make a screen shot to edit as part of the total image collage. I then used Fotojet to build the collage of cover scans and the handwriting sample. 

Writing on a phone screen is a bit like signing your credit card on one of those terminals that supplies the pen and allows you to scribble something that only faintly resembles your signature. On the phone screen I can at least see what I'm writing, but the surface is much different than paper and one needs to concentrate more. Handwriting samples are best taken when a person is not trying to concentrate on the writing process. The important part of an analysis is what a person is unaware of doing. Something written on paper at a table or desk is a better sample than something written on a computer train or while holding a phone in one hand and the pen in the other. You get the idea. 

Make sure the person who wrote the sample intended for others to read it. We are often careless when we are taking notes just for ourselves, especially if we are trying to hurry. A grocery list may not be the best thing to use. 

Other Considerations 


McNichol tells us that children's writing is often undeveloped. We need to analyze their writing differently than that of adults. They often display traits in their writing that is normal for their age but would horrify us if we saw it in an adult's writing. This book is intended for analyzing adult handwriting only. 

It can also be useful to know which system a person learned to write with. Many people learned to write with the Palmer method and some parts of the book applies mostly to people who learned that way.  If you know how a person learned, it's easier to spot deviations from that method of writing. 

Why Not Learn to Analyze Handwriting Yourself?


It's not only an enjoyable hobby, but it's a great way to get to know people -- really know them. Most of the friends I asked were happy to give me samples. Of course, they also wanted to see the results. Most were surprised their writing revealed so much they'd never told me. 

Write a letter to your younger self and sign it. Or write a letter to anyone you don't intend to send. Don't think about your handwriting -- just what you want to say.  Then use one of these books or a computer program to help you analyze your writing. I have used all of the books below and found them helpful. Many others have been written since I bought mine that I'm also tempted to try. Sometimes it's better to learn from more than one teacher.

You may surprise yourself with what you learn from your handwriting.  And you will also begin to notice the traits you see in the writing of others. Have fun.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Embers Book One Ascension Saga Reviewed

Ascension Saga Epic Fantasy

embers review


Enter a fantasy world in Embers Book 1 of a Saga
image courtesy of pixabay.com
If you are a fan of High and Epic Fantasies, I think you will be interested in my review of Embers the first book in the Ascension Saga by Brock Mays. Once you have read his book, I think you will be surprised that it is his debut novel. He writes like a master! Brock is also an Indie author like myself.

Labeled as an Epic Fantasy as far as genre goes it fits the definition quite nicely. The world that Mr. Mays has created is fantastic and the story he unravels is really one you can get lost in. I had a difficult time putting it down once I began to read it. 

His characters are well thought out and quite interesting. There are good people and bad people and some that you aren't always so sure about. Mr. Mays keeps you on your toes as you discover their abilities, their secrets and their agendas.

Summary of Embers:

Aleksander finds himself waking up in a world that is on fire and filled with chaotic fighting. His comprehension of the reason for the raging battle is not his problem. What he is confused about is Who he is. His past and where he is from is a blank. He assumes that his name must be Aleksander for one simple reason; the name has been freshly carved into his arm. He is also surprised to find out that he seems to have the ability to create fire from his hands. Is he the one who caused the world to be on fire? Which side of the war between Talohira and Thanatanos is he on?

He and a warrior named Shanthah are captured along with others by a race known as the Sangorans. These creatures appear to be human except that they are winged and are particularly adept at flying at night. Aleksander and the captives are quickly taken to a Talohiran slave camp to build a wall. The camp is full of different people from different parts of the region with many trying to figure out the best way to escape their captivity. 

The intricate plot takes the reader on a journey in a fight between good and evil. Sometimes you wonder which side is which on the good and evil scale. It is filled with action, a little romance, suspense, and a few interesting twists! Toward the end, I actually had an "I'll be darned" moment. Clever, Mr. Mays; very clever!

Gave it 5 stars

I rated this epic fantasy with 5 stars because I truly enjoyed reading Brock May's first novel Embers. I think you will, too if you enjoy Epic Fantasy that is well written. I know one thing, I can hardly wait for book two in the Ascension Saga!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Quintland Sisters Book Review

The Quintland Sisters Book Review
My father and I enjoyed an evening tradition in the small town where I grew up of bicycling to the local public library. On one night I did not  accompany him and he came home with a book that I would never forget. He handed me what was one of the first adult books that I ever read. Adult that is as in that it was a book written for adults and not for children or teenagers.

The year was 1978 and the book was Pierre Berton’s The Dionne Years: A Thirties Melodrama. I remember enjoying that book and it began a lifetime interest for me about the subjects of the book, Canada’s Dionne Quintuplets. The quintuplets or quints as they became known were five baby girls born during the Great Depression and, because of their novelty at that time, were isolated from the world in order to protect them. This separation meant that the government removed them from the care of their parents and, as we now know, eventually exploited them for profit.

Berton’s book, however, is not the subject of this review. Rather, it is the 2019 book, The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood that I am writing about. I did definitely pick this book up because of the Berton book and I have no idea how I found it but nevertheless I have read it and enjoyed what for me was an interesting version of the story as created by this author. If you have not heard of the quints or you have and you would like to learn a bit more or simply revisit that time, you will enjoy this book.

The Quintland Sisters is an easy to read book despite the not very nice subject matter. It has little that is offensive other than, of course, the fact that these babies were put on display before the world and taken away from their parents. There is childbirth in the book but not all of the details and there are sexual references. There is one very nasty and unexpected though not overly descriptive scene at the end of the book, which the author uses to fill in the blanks that had been skipped earlier in the book.

The book is a fictional story written diary or journal style from the perspective of a girl named Emma. Emma was present in the farmhouse as an extra set of hands to help the midwife who went to deliver a sixth Dionne child. Emma's introduction to midwifery was definitely an eye opener when not one but five two-month premature babies surprised everyone involved. The five babies weighed in at a total of 13.5 pounds. Take a moment and compare that to my first child who weighed 9 pounds and 5 ounces. Emma stayed on as a helper through the early years of the quints lives and as one of the primary caregivers in the farmhouse.  She stayed on when they were moved shortly after their birth to what was known as the Dafoe Hospital and Nursery in Callender, Northern Ontario. Emma, by the way, is a creation of the author and did not really exist in Quintland.

The story covers the birth of the girls, the immediate days afterward when they struggled to keep them alive without medical equipment and supplies for five babies. Amazingly, they kept those babies alive with among other things, corn syrup added to milk and rum. Dr. Dafoe pronounced, “The babies will not live. It’s too soon for them. They’re too weak.” At that time, quintuplets were unheard of and of course, these ones were very premature. They were the first in recorded history to survive birth and the author says, they remain the only naturally conceived quintuplets to all survive.

In the book, when Dr. Dafoe ushered the first news reporters into the home where a newly graduated nurse and Emma struggled to keep the babies alive, he  justified doing so by saying that they were it was  "unlikely that they would all be alive tomorrow and that it was important to have a record.” This was a fairly innocuous beginning of the exploitation of the girls who would spend years under the glaring attention of the media. During the first five years of their lives, the public visited Quintland to see the girls at play at a rate of up to 6,000 people per day.

The girls went on to become the faces of and earn endorsements from many products including Palmolive, Colgate, Lysol, Karo Syrup and Baby Ruth candy bars. They greeted celebrity and royal visitors. They appeared in three movies, in the newspapers, on the cover of magazines and in calendars. In an age of economic downturn, the Quints earned money for themselves, for their caregivers and in particular Dr. Dafoe, for their parents and for the Government of Ontario. It is estimated that, as a tourist attraction, they helped to bring $500 million dollars to the Northern Ontario economy.

The CBC calls The Quintland Sisters "a novel of love, heartache, resilience and enduring sisterhood", which sounds about right. I do think that this book is more about the lives of the people surrounding the girls and less about their relationships with each other. We do learn a bit about their relationships and temperaments. The real world saw them as a unit rather than as individual human beings but in this book, the character Emma identified differences between the identical girls for us.

They were actually so popular internationally that the Toronto Star employed a reporter full time to cover their lives. It is sad that the press embraced the adorable girls but did not challenge their unusual living situation. The government had taken them away from their parents and their parents had strict visitation rules. They apparently did not even get to hold their babies. The parents were not particularly likable in the book and in the end, the author portrays the mother as broken and the father as a profiteer.  In the long wrong many profited and it seems that no one considered the needs of the girls for real lives.

The author, who discovered the girls by accident, hopes that this book will introduce the story to a new generation. The two surviving quintuplets hope that their story will cause people to think twice before exploiting children but according to the  Toronto Globe and Mail,  they "question whether government authorities have truly learned from the past in living up to their responsibility to protect children from abuse."

Have you heard of the Dionne quintuplets? What do you think of their story?

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Link:

Order your copy of The Quintland Sisters on Amazon.













Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Finishing School Book Review

The Finishing School Book Review
I enjoyed Joanna Goodman's The Home for Unwanted Girls enough to seek out and read this book, The Finishing School. At first I did not really understand what Goodman meant by 'finishing school.' Of course, once I discovered that the book was about events in a boarding school I realized that I should have understood. Since then, some friends have told me that they understand the term finishing school while others have drawn a blank when I told them the title of this book.

Anyway, The Finishing School is the story of a group of children and the adventures and tragedies that befall them at school and of their lives afterward. It is the story of families that shipped their children off to school and sometimes left them to be mostly raised by strangers in a strange country. It is the story of how a private school sought to protect its reputation by failing to properly investigate a number of serious incidents.

The narrative of the story flips easily back and forth between the modern day and the late 1990s and is set both at a fictional boarding school called Lycée Internationale Suisse in Switzerland and in Canada. Haunted by them, one of the girls returns to Switzerland as a young woman to uncover the truth about the events that unfolded during her time there.

It turns out that the story is much more complicated than that of the single incident that brings the young woman back to Switzerland and as it unfolds you will find yourself hoping that this is a totally fictional story though, of course, you know that events like those that unfolded at this school have happened and do happen in real life.

The author says that the story is based on her own real life experiences at a boarding school when she was 17 years old. She says that, like the main character in this novel, she was a fish out of water. She was a middle class student surrounded by children of the wealthy, a group that included members of royal families and children of international superstars. She also says that the stories in the book came from real ‘secrets and scandals’ that happened in the year she was there. As a matter of fact, she says that her real life best friend at boarding school was in the same situation as the best friend of the main character in this novel. The author explains that she used the events of that year to create this story of “entitlement, of the power of beauty and status, and of the relentless pursuit of approval that afflicts even the wealthy.” She says that this “book is inspired by real people and events, but is (mostly) fiction.” If you want to learn more about the author’s life as relates to this story, you can find her interview here.

There are some plot twists in this story, one large one that had me wondering if I had missed something or misread something. I guess it jarred a bit and, to be honest, that twist almost put me off reading this book but I did not put it down and yes, I would recommend this book. It a mystery about relationships both of the family and friendship variety and about the life of the wealthy and the world of the boarding school. It deals with pregnancy, both unwanted and wanted.  It definitely has some unpleasantness in it but it is handled well, especially in how the victims come forward in a way that seems particularly timely.

If you read The Finishing School, be sure to come back and let us know what you think. You can find your copy on Amazon right here.

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Order your copy of The Finishing School from Amazon here.
Find a list of questions for your book club meeting here. 
Find my review of The Home for Unwanted Girls here.

Book Details:

Title: The Finishing School
Author: Joanna Goodman
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Page Count: 352
Format: Available in Kindle, audiobook, paperback and audio CD formats.
ISBN-10: 0062465589
ISBN-13: 978-0062465580





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Reviewing -Will That Be Regular or Ethyl?



My cousin's  husband grew up in a small town in mid Missouri.  He recently published a book he wrote about his growing up years.

Growing Up Along Route 66 in 1950's Missouri

This is a delightful book filled with anecdotes about life in a small town in the 1950's.  Remember when: 

  •  Kids rode their bikes all over town
  •  Members of the opposite sex had "Cooties"
  •  Students got their vaccinations at school
  • To research a subject you used the Encyclopedia
  • Some teachers resorted to paddling to keep kids in line
  • Gas for your vehicle was filled by the attendant who also would sell you needed repairs for the car

Lessons for Life

Small town living gave DeWayne many lessons that were to last throughout his life.  Some of these included a strong work ethic built while working in the family chicken hatchery, a church community that is a big part of every day life, and a large family that looked out for each other. 

DeWayne's father also gained some great insights from his father who was a rather quiet man, but taught through his examples.

A job at a gas station on Route 66 was also full of lots of humorous incidents and some good life lessons.


Humorous Incidents

There are many humorous incidents scattered throughout the book as DeWayne gives us a glimpse into his childhood.  Here are just few of the many you won't want to miss.

      •  Cow Patty Softball
      •  Mishap while fishing in frozen pond
      •  Church organist falling asleep when time to play
      •  Mishaps at the service station on Route 66


So, if you are looking for a walk down memory lane and you want to read a book that is sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, but always realistic be sure to pick up "Will that be Regular or Ethyl?".


Book Available on Amazon

   




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Option Ocean: Navigating the Sea of Possibility A Book Review

Devotional, spiritual, christian books
                                                           
Image by RENE RAUSCHENBERGER from Pixabay


Option Ocean: Navigating the Seas of Possibility is categorized in the Christian Devotional category on Amazon.com.  

 **Warning, Warning**  It is more than just a book to be read, it is a workbook!   Just published on May 28th 2019, it is the second book in a set of inspirational books written by Kristi Bridges.  Unlike other books (like a good novel), this book is so much better if you take the time to read it as a "guide"!  

How long or how quickly you go through this book, is entirely up to you.  But, if you are searching for meaning in your life, this book should be read slowly and very mindfully.  Each day will bring a new way of looking at your life.

Where most books are broken down into "chapters", Option Ocean: is broken down  into "days".  That is one reason I suggested that it's not a book to be read in a hurry.  It's best taken one day at a time.  There are lessons  for us as we grow in  devotion, understanding  and prayer.  We will take what we understood in the first day and build on that foundation as the month unfolds for us.  Each day there is a "theme" and then there are questions for us to ponder.  Personally I think this book is better when we are prepared to share, with ourselves, the insights and questions that will come to our minds. We will open up our physical, mental and spiritual understanding of God.  To that end I would encourage anyone to have a journal ready.  Use your own style of writing to make points to consider, passages to revisit, and questions that come to mind.

The world today has little time for us to ponder those things that are of a spiritual nature. We are constantly encouraged to live for today, live in the moment and not to think about anything beyond that. Navigating the Seas of Possibility encourages us to live in the moment of course, but to also listen and see the Hand of the Almighty at work in our daily lives. 

Christians are called to do much more than that.  We are called to have a personal relationship with our God.  To proclaim Him in our lives and our actions and be inspired by His Words to us in the Bible.  We are called to worship and adoration to the God who created all things and calls us each by our name.

As Christians we can find living life mindful of God,  hard to do sometimes.  Especially when things happen around us that are not nice, kind or loving.  We can lose our way so easily.  That's why it's nice to have some help and guidance for our individual journeys.  Everyone walks their own path to God through all the trials and tribulations of life.  Your way and my way might be completely different.  But our ultimate goal is the same.  To come to know the will of God in our lives and to give thanks for all we have.

Christian Devotional, Olivia Morris, Book Reviews
                                       
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Navigating the Seas of Possibility would be a great book for any Christian that is questioning their faith.  It's not a book just to be read, but rather, it is called to be "lived".  It is a workbook for  Christians, all Christians.  After reading the introduction you will already see that this book is more than words on a page or a story to keep our interest.  It is a call to action, a call to prayer, understanding, and a call to search for God in our lives.  It is also a call to remember Gratitude, Love, Peace and Joy!



Christian devotional, faith workbook, spiritual book, Olivia Morris
                                       
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay



My hope is that during the summer months, when you get a chance to sit back and relax, read one day of Option Ocean: Navigating the Seas of Possibility.  Use what you have learnt and keep a journal.  I bet there are lessons for everyone, but most importantly for you!  This is your life and He knows your name.  



** I was given a copy of this book to read prior to publication, by the author, in exchange for my review.  The opinions stated are my own and no coercion was involved.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
Woman2010
Lou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecorating
forEvents
Heather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner