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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Raspberry Danish Murder Reviewed

A Culinary Cozy Mystery

Raspberry Danish Anyone?
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
I recently read Raspberry Danish Murder and wanted to review it for you today. This book happens to be number 22 in the Hannah Swenson Mystery series. Written by Joanne Fluke and published by Kensington Books this is a mystery that could almost pass as a cookbook.

I am a little confused by the title. Certainly, raspberry danish is mentioned early in the book and there is a recipe for the danish but beyond that it wasn't mentioned again and I don't see the relevance to the mystery or the murder. Just an observation on my part. Although, I guess after 21 other books in the series it might have gotten tough to come up with new titles.



A Short Synopsis of Raspberry Danish Murder

Hannah Swenson lives in the small Minnesota town of Lake Eden. She co-owns a cookie and coffee shop called The Cookie Jar. The story opens in November when people are getting ready for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. We find out early in the book that Hannah is a newlywed but the problem is her new husband Ross has disappeared. Ross works or worked for a local television station and just left one day without his belongings or even his car. Hannah and her family keep hoping that he will return with a logical explanation any day now. In the meantime, Hannah has a cookie business to run and a whole lot of cookies to bake for the upcoming holiday season.

Hannah has some help in searching for her missing husband from the local law enforcement and her husband's assistant P.K. There is something about P.K. He is covering for his missing boss and trying to find clues as to where he can be but he has also taken over Ross's office and ends up driving his car when his has to go into the shop for repairs. No one seems to be able to discover where Ross has gone and then P.K. ends up dead after eating some candy that was sent to the office for Ross. Was the candy meant for the missing Ross or did someone plan to kill P.K?


My Review of this Cozy Mystery


I enjoyed the book, the mystery part. I mentioned earlier that it could almost pass as a cookbook. At first I enjoyed having recipes for cookies, pastries and savory dishes after the chapters they were mentioned in. After a while, I almost found it annoying. Don't get me wrong, the recipes sounded pretty good and the formatting of the pages was clever but goodness gracious they started to get in the way of finding out what was happening in the actual story. Personally, I feel that the recipes could have been included but perhaps a little note that states the recipe can be found at the back of the book instead of after every chapter. They would be easy to reference in a paperback but in an ebook they would be difficult to go back to after reading the book.

The mystery, itself, was well written and intriguing. I loved the characters and the different events that transpired, the solution to the murder and the explanation about Ross. Although, the Ross situation needs a whole lot more words. My guess is it will be addressed in the next book. This book stands alone quite well but I think I might enjoy reading the earlier books for the backstories on many of the characters. 

All in all it is a very good mystery and I think you will enjoy it. You might not have a problem with all of those recipes. Frankly, I like to put a recipe or two in my own books but they are always at the back and hopefully non-intrusive. I also enjoy seeing recipes in books but I prefer them at the back and as a little bonus but I don't need tons of them. If I want a cookie cookbook, I'll buy one. When I buy a Cozy Mystery...well, I want a mystery. I got one and it was a good one, I just didn't appreciate all those extra pages of cooking tips. 



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Monday, August 19, 2019

Here to Stay by Mark Edwards - Book Review

Reviewing Here to Stay by Mark Edwards
On a sunny spring day in West Dulwich, an area in south London, Elliot opens his garden to the public during the Open Gardens event; self-guided tours showcasing the private gardens of residents. He had no way of knowing that he'd meet his future bride surrounded by his wisteria and tulips. And he had no way of knowing that beautiful Emma's family were the stuff nightmares are made of. Sometimes chance meetings and whirlwind romances are planned events with ulterior motives. By the time Elliot realizes this, the evil has moved in and is Here to Stay.

Warning: This psychological thriller describes the behaviors of cruel and/or dysfunctional people. This story involves threats, intimidation, and murders. 

Elliot - a 38 year old bachelor who lives alone with his cat, Charlie, at number twenty-six Cuckoo Lane. Socially clumsy, his dating life was nearly non-existent. He kept busy with remodeling his historic Victorian home and his career. Elliott is a good, albeit somewhat anal, guy. He is a science teacher who earned a significant amount of money selling an educational website. This income allowed him to start a non-profit that ran science workshops for underprivileged kids. 

Emma - The beautiful Emma. When she arrives at Elliot's open house (garden), he is immediately smitten. She reminds him of an American movie star. Little does he know that she carries a lifetime of scars, both outwardly and inwardly. She and Elliott very quickly fall in love.

The In-Laws - Emma's family consists of her brother, Stuart, and his family who live in a nearby neighborhood. Emma's Mom (Lizzy), Dad (Jeff), and sister (Chloe) are currently living in France but returning to the UK and need a place to stay.

Jeff and Lizzy are rude, intimidating, and dirty house guests. They immediately begin to foul up Elliot's immaculate home. Jeff and Lizzy are very quickly and easily disliked. Chloe is visibly ill. There is something very wrong with Chloe but Jeff and Lizzy keep her isolated rather than seek help. Anytime that soft-spoken Elliot attempts to make a stand, Jeff postures and physically intimidates. 

Fairly soon, innocent people are victimized. Dead bodies begin to turn up and when it is too late Elliot thinks he knows what the scheme is. Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Or is it only part of a plan created by a parasitic family who is trying to meet their own needs?




This author, Mark Edwards, has an increasing fan base and many online reviewers are raving about this story in particular. Some of the negative reviews state that the story line is unbelievable; that there aren't people like this (both naive Elliot and his evil in-laws) in the world. But there are. There are many, many people just like them. Naive people who are used as pawns and those who stop just short of leaving a trail of dead bodies in order to obtain what they want. This is the part of the story that kept me up and reading late into the night. This book may be for you if you like stories where the girl-next-door may really be something nightmares of made of.

Other Psychological Thrillers:

Stephen King's Misery is probably the best example of a plain, everyday neighbor who is someone you never want to meet. Someone who uses people to meet her own needs in a very sick way. While it is a bit hard to believe that good ol' Annie Wilkes is able to rescue a full grown man from a terrible car wreck and keep him alive despite his horrendous injuries, it is a gripping and frightening tale. Annie was able to get him "out of the cockadoodee car" and kept him alive in order to torture him until he completed a task for her. 

For more psychological thriller selections on Amazon click here.


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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Stellar Resume Writing by Gregory Austin – Book Review

Source: Pixabay Image enhanced by Fotojet
Secrets from a Corporate Recruiter on How to Land Interviews

Have you been sending out your resume in search of a job and never hear anything back? Have you wondered why, even though you feel you are qualified for the position, you seldom get a call for an interview or even that initial phone interview? Perhaps it is not your skill set or your experience, but your resume giving off the wrong impression. 

You may have all the  'right stuff' a recruiter is looking for in a particular job, but your resume does not impress them. Why is that? If it is not your qualifications that are lacking, then what about your resume doesn't say what hiring managers are really looking for and what they really want to see?

If you are a beginner at writing a resume, getting back into the job market after a long career, or a seasoned resume writer looking for some higher-level tips, you can find value in this book. 


Stellar Resume Writing


Available on Amazon

In Stellar Resume Writing, Secrets from a Corporate Recruiter: How to Land Interviews, Gregory Austin covers some very good 'best practices' and some things you absolutely must do. He explains what a personal brand is and how your resume can represent this and who you are. Even if you are applying for an entry-level position, making a good impression immediately with an outstanding resume can mark the beginning of what could become a wonderful career. 


Shotgun vs. Targeted Job Search



Source: Pixabay

Gregory explains the two ways to go about a job search. Each has its pros and cons and the author explains the differences. 

  1. The Shotgun Method is quicker and may be fine for just “any” job. 
  2. The Targeted Job Search Method is the best approach if you are seeking a job in a more specialized field that will utilize your skills and experience and give you job satisfaction in the long run. 

Each of these methods requires a particular type of resume, and this book will go into the details you need to write a resume that gets the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager.

Recruiters and hiring managers read hundreds of resumes looking for quality candidates for their companies. They 'key in' on particular points. For instance, some resumes may be from a well qualified candidate, but lack any contact information. This may seem unbelievable, but it happens more often than you would think. There is a circular file near the desk of these recruiters for such resumes, as you can imagine.  A recruiter spends hours upon hours reading resumes. Therefore, when writing your resume you need to be aware of a few “Must Do” points to include.


Author Gregory Austin


Gregory Austin
Gregory has been a recruiter for over 10 years, starting as an agency recruiter finding candidates who would be an excellent fit for a variety of organizations. 

Today he is a corporate recruiter finding quality candidates for the company he works for. After reading thousands of resumes over the years, he has nailed it down to the essential elements you need in your resume to really get noticed. 

During his career he has always found the most pleasure in helping candidates. Even if he cannot hire them at a particular time, he recognizes their potential and is passionate about helping them gain more confidence in their own job search and in giving them more tools to be successful. Thus, he wrote this book for that purpose, and is in the process of writing other helpful books aimed toward how to handle yourself in an interview and on counseling the job seeker.  


Summary


If you are looking for some excellent tips on how to create a resume from scratch or a needed tune-up to sharpen your resume, Stellar Resume Writing is for you. It is a short book that reads more like a workbook or a how-to document to give you some tangible and tactical knowledge to include in your resume and help you get noticed by a desirable employer. This edition also contains two valuable bonuses ~ a complimentary resume template and a social platform networking boost!


Discover How To Write Your Resume 
So Recruiters And Hiring Managers Will Call You!

Available in Paperback and on Kindle



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(c) Wednesday Elf. 8/17/2019





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Friday, August 16, 2019

Behind the Light of Golowduyn (A Cornish Romance Book 1) Reviewed

A Romantic Historical Fiction that I Could Not Put Down! 


Behind the Light of Golowduyn - Book Reviewed
Behind the Light of Golowduyn certainly kept me spellbound. I do love to find a book that I simply cannot put down until I reach the end. This is the first book I have read by Deborah M. Hathaway, but it definitely will not be the last.

To start, I loved the setting of this beloved lighthouse that signaled danger of the cliffs to passing ships.  To a captain, the lighthouse is a light of salvation and survival.  A ship being tossed in a storm could end up being a pile of timber with a crew of dead men, surrounded by their worldly possessions. 

It is the duty of the historical lighthouse keeper to tend the lights, keep the oil full and the wicks trimmed for the next lighting, and to keep the tower's glass clean inside and out.  It is the cleaning of the outside glass that presents the greatest danger for the lighthouse keeper since falling could be as fatal to him as the cliffs are to sailors.   

For the lighthouse keeper, it can mean a lonely existence.  While his efforts are often greatly appreciated, he rarely hears the praise from the men on the passing ships, unless he has failed at his job and meets them face to face. 


Behind the Light of Golowduyn Book Synopsis


Available on Amazon in Print or Kindle Version
When Abigail Moore was a child, she was taken in by her uncle, the keeper of a lighthouse.  He taught her to be his assistant and to help him tend the lighthouse.  Abigail loves Golowduyn, the lighthouse.  She prefers it to being in the city surrounded by people of society who are often cruel and harsh.  For Abigail, Golowduyn offers a safe haven of acceptance and peace.  She has been very happy growing up in her sheltered and protected world.

When her Uncle Ellis is hurt while cleaning the exterior windows, Abigail assumes the entire responsibility of tending the lighthouse, as well as caring for her uncle and their home.  Although she is overextended and often exhausted, she is more than happy to continue as the exclusive Golowduyn caretaker.  Then one stormy night, the very thing she has spent her life trying to prevent, happens when a ship wrecks.  Abigail races out into the storm in hopes of aiding any survivors.



On the Ship, Valour


Captain Gavin Kendricks is fighting to at least save the lives of his crew as it becomes clear that his ship is going to wreck into the cliffs of Cornwall, if it doesn't burn first.  

As the captain, Gavin will be the last to leave the ship.  However, as he and his friend, Lieutenant Harris, are waiting for the lifeboat to return for them, they are hit by a wave and Harris is knocked into the water.  Certain that his friend will drown, Gavin quickly ties a rope around his waist and jumps.  

On shore, Abigail sees the man fall from the ship through her telescope.  She can also see that the lifeboats are headed to shore, away from the ship and the man in the water.  Realizing they have no way of knowing anyone has fallen, she jumps into her own small boat, grabs the oars and heads directly for the man in the water, praying she will get there on time.  She is already distressed by the belief that she has failed this ship and it's crew.  Abigail has no way of knowing it was not her fault as the lighthouse keeper, that the ship has wrecked.   



Time for You to Read the Book


I hope this book review has piqued your interest and you are ready to grab your copy of the book today.  Just one warning, pick it up on a night when you don't mind staying awake.  I was so intrigued by the story, it was 4 am before I closed my eyes to sleep.  Even then, I did so, reluctantly.
 



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Thursday, August 15, 2019

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body - Book Review

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Every once in a while you come across a book that reawakens the intentional use of a power you had forgotten you possessed.  Anyone dealing with chronic illness, pain, a life-threatening disease, or another condition seriously impacting quality of life could benefit from reading How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.  This is a book I would also recommend to those who support others who are experiencing critical health challenges.

Anyone interested in the mind-body connection is likely to find something of value in Dr. David Hamilton's examination of the enormous healing capacity we hold within.  My hope is that today's book review will encourage the one reading this who is searching for a way to positively deal with an issue that is making life difficult or less satisfying than it could be.

The mind: Do we even have the slightest inkling of what it is doing for us at this very moment?  I hadn't gotten very far into this book before I was completely captivated.  As I write this review, and as you read my words, we are changing the very structure of our brains.  Every thought we are having is reshaping the most marvelous instrument ever created.  We are becoming something new even as we share this experience.

Starting with a review of applicable medical research, Hamilton provides the fuel to launch us into a place of wonder.  The studies he shares took me well beyond my earlier Psychology 101 introduction to the Placebo Effect.  I was especially intrigued by those control group participants who knew they were taking a placebo (a substance that has no intended therapeutic effect) and yet did nearly as well physiologically as the group getting the real medication.  This was something entirely different from the psychological effect of believing in a new treatment.  This was the mind actually healing the body without the assistance of any external chemicals.

You won't be surprised when I say this is not a beach read.  I found that I needed a change of pace after wading through the introductory chapters.  There was much of interest, but it was a lot of information.  Right when I was about to skip ahead, the author shifted gears and moved on to what it looks like to heal the body with the mind.  The profiles of individuals who used the mind to help shrink cancer tumors, to gain strength and mobility after a stroke, and to activate the immune system are the types of stories I find interesting.

It's all about visualization.  The brain doesn't discriminate between what is real and what is imagined.  In other words, what becomes real to the brain is what we imagine, and what we think becomes the basis for regenerating cells within our mind and body.  The good news is that we can experience regeneration every day of our lives.  This isn't a process that shuts down when we reach a certain age.

As an athlete, I was taught the importance of visualization.  Most of us have watched Olympic athletes, during their competition warm-ups, go through a visualization exercise (imagining the race, or gymnastics routine, and every move they will make).  I never really knew exactly why that worked or how the benefit came about.  Reading this book provided me with a better grasp of the why.  It really was astonishing to learn how imagery can elevate performance and strengthen muscles before they are even used.

For those of us who have worried at times about the health inheritance from our parents, there is encouragement about how we can use the power of the mind to impact whether or not certain DNA switches turn on or off.  We don't have to accept that it is inevitable that we will suffer from the same poor disease outcomes.  Where once we felt doomed by our DNA, we can now experience a greater sense of hope, knowing that we are not powerless.

There are many mind-body connection books from which to choose.  I felt this was a worthwhile read.  It set the stage for taking my learning even farther.  Anything that keeps us on the path to healthier living is worth the investment of time and energy.  I'm glad I read How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.  It reminded me that there is more I can do to be an active participant in my own healing.  It also caused me to celebrate the wonder of the mind and to feel a sense of gratitude for what I have been given.  What more can you ask from a book?









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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

PTO Murder Club Mystery Series Reviewed

Not Your Normal PTO

pto murder club
A Murder Club with humor?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I stumbled upon another Cozy Mystery series this week. Let me review the PTO Murder Club Mystery series for you today. Having been very active in the Parent Teacher Organizations when my girls were in school, I can assure you none of the meetings I attended were anything like the Bee Creek Elementary School ones. I once served as the President and I was never as funny as Mustang Ridges nor did I have officers quite like hers.

Katie Graykowski has written a three book series that will entertain you as you look for the clues to solve the mysteries and make you laugh hysterically while you do. In Rest In Pieces, the first book in the series, we meet Mustang Ridges the President of the PTO and her two best friends and officers in the organization, Monica and Haley. The three women live in a sleepy little town known as Lakeside. It is a town of "the haves" and the "have nots". Mustang and Monica belong to the "have not" portion of the population while Haley is one of the "haves". The town is mostly very rich Senior Citizens with trophy wives and more money than they know what to do with. Mustang and Monica are single moms with more attitude than money who want to find out what happened to their friend the kindergarten teacher, Molly Miars. They don't believe for one second she died from a heroin overdose.

Feisty Sleuths

I found the banter between the three women hysterically funny and the situations they got themselves into were comical most of the times, too. As the women look into the death of their friend they begin to see a darker side to their community than they ever knew existed. There are so many quirky characters in each book, you won't believe it. Ms. Graykowski has nailed quirky and she comes up with some one-liners that will have you in stitches. I liked that Haley was sort of the 'nice one' of the three but every once in a while was able to get her 'snark' on to impress the other two. I think I enjoyed the camaraderie of the women even more than the figuring out the mystery part of the books. 

So, if you love a mystery and appreciate eccentric characters who might be more than a little off-center; I think you will enjoy this short little series. The setting is unique and the plot a little bizarre but I found the books a nice escape from the standard Cozy Mystery. You might enjoy them, too.

camphor-tree-pto-club
What is this tree? They found one in Molly's yard.
image courtesy of Pixabay.com

The women find a tree that looks much like the one above in Molly's backyard. You will have to read the books to find out what it is and why she was growing it. It will surprise you, at least it did me.




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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Numerology Bible Reviewed

The Meaning of Numbers (Numerology)

numbers in numerology
Do you know your numbers?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I've been reviewing the meaning of numbers quite a bit lately. Numerology plays a minor role in my newest book Campground Corpse. Aunt Flossie has been known to tell her niece Taylor more than once that 'it's in the numbers, dear'. Even the name of the series (Cabin 9 Mysteries) that my book belongs to was chosen consulting the numbers. I didn't just pull the number 9 out of a hat. Nope, there is a reason Aunt Flossie can be found most of the time in or around that cabin in particular.


Lucky Numbers or more?


We often hear people say they picked a number because it was their lucky one. Maybe it was for a lottery or to open a door on a game show but their reasons can often be that they feel that number or numbers were lucky ones for them. Thirteen is often considered an unlucky number. Tall buildings can be found around the world without a 13th floor because the builder felt it might bring bad luck. Do numbers bring luck, good or bad? Do the letters that make up your name (when changed to their numerical value) tell something about your personality? Since the time of Pythagoras in the B.C. 500's many people believe that they do. In mathematics numbers never lie, could it be so in the study of numerology? Just as in astrology when we look up the traits of our "sign" we see similarities in the descriptions; our Life Path Number, Soul Number, Dream Number often show an uncanny resemblance to ourselves. 

In a scene in the book Campground Corpse, I have Taylor question whether numerology was something she should avoid due to her faith. Aunt Flossie reminds her that God has often been called The Great Mathematician and that numbers were important to Him and can be found repeatedly holding significance in the Bible.  The number 3 stands for the Trinity and is suggested for different practices. The number 7 is looked at as a most sacred number in the Jewish Faith. The seventh day, the seventh year and seven cycles all hold importance. Revelations mentions seven a lot; seven seals, seven bowls, seven trumpets, etc. 

It was with this idea of the role numbers play in the Bible that I decided to intertwine numerology into the books that will be in the Cabin 9 Mysteries. It won't play a major role in the solving of mysteries but every once in a while...a number will come up. (See what I did there?)


To Find Out More About Numbers


You can dabble a little about numerology by reading my newest book, if you like. I would love that! I think you might enjoy meeting Taylor and Aunt Flossie and the rest of the characters. Did I mention that Aunt Flossie is also the resident spirit at the campgrounds? I didn't? Well, she is and she is pretty funny for a person who isn't on our side of the veil anymore. 

If you would like to delve more into the actual meaning of numbers and how they add up in your life, I recommend this book.



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Monday, August 5, 2019

Book Review: A Curve in the Road by Julianne MacLean

Abbie is a woman with a great life. She has a successful career as a surgeon. She has been married to Alan, a cardiologist, for 27 years. Zach is their son. Zach is a good kid who will soon be on his way to college. Winston is the aging family dog. They have everything a happy family could have. Until it literally comes crashing down. Will Abbie survive? Will she be able to put the pieces back together? This novel written by Julianne MacLean kept me interested and kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime.

Abbie's family lives in a city in Nova Scotia while her mother lives in a small historic town nearby. Abbie and family typically spend Sunday evenings with her mother. However, on this particular evening, Abbie and Winston have gone alone. 

While they are headed back to the city, Abbie anxious to catch Zach's hockey game, an oncoming car crosses the center line. A drunk driver nearly kills her and her dog in a horrific wreck. Abbie is trapped and Winston has been thrown from the car and is missing.

With the tragedy of the wreck, devastating family secrets are revealed. Between the discovery that her life was not as she had believed and the resulting physical problems from the wreck, she finds she has to reinvent herself. The decisions she has to make from the crash forward are not easy ones. And many of the dilemmas have no "right" answers. These are not things that anyone can plan for in advance.




There was one point in the story that I thought, "hmm, I'm not a doctor but I really don't think that would have happened that way."  But for me, the rest of the story kept me engaged. There were a couple of times that I thought I could guess what was happening next. Happily, I was wrong. And while this is a love story, about life and adult relationships, there were no sex scenes. I am not against gratuitous sex scenes but I know that some readers prefer not to read them. So I thought I would mention that there are none in this book.

After I read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens I had a really hard time starting another book. The characters and scenes of Barkley Cove were so vivid in my mind that subsequent
books just didn't seem interesting. I started several books but wasn't able to get past the first chapter or two before laying them down. But A Curve in the Road was easy reading and interesting enough to get me going again. Some reviews refer to A Curve in the Road as "stunningly emotional" and "gripping".  I would not refer to the story as that intense for me. However, I did want to know what would happen next. It says a lot when a book keeps me up long enough to read a few chapters each night before bed.


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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Seven Sisters Book Review

Historical Fiction of the Roman Empire

roman legion
Could this Roman legion be marching to the Seven Sisters?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I would like to share a review of the book Seven Sisters by David Bowman with you today. Most of the time when I pick a book to share with you, it is one that is typically written with the female reader in mind. Oh, a few would be appealing to both genders but generally my reading tastes lean toward my own gender. Today's review will be about a book that I think will appeal to most men.

Mr. Bowman has written a fine piece of historical fiction that takes place in the Roman Empire during the Ninth Century. The story falls into what is often termed as alternative history where actual history takes on a speculative nature allowing for people, places, and events to be in the plot that either didn't exist or didn't happen.



Short Synopsis of Seven Sisters

Crastus is the Commander of the Fifth Legion for the Emperor of Rome. He is a veteran of the Roman military and has earned a great deal of respect from the men he leads and fellow commanders of other legions in the vast military of the empire. He is affectionately referred to as "The Silver Fox" and is known for his superb strategies in battle and for his element of surprise when fighting the enemy. As the story begins, Crastus has been commanded by the Emperor to oversee a campaign involving his own legion along with the Seventh and the Seventeenth. Their mission? To take back the fortified city called Seven Sisters from The Pretender who has kept the empire in a civil war for the last 5 years. This city is the best fortified area in the entire empire, even better than Rome. It has seven fortresses and an ingenuous water defense system. It will be up to Crastus to direct all three legions as they besiege the fortified city and defeat what is left of the rebel army. The task before him will not be easy and if he fails, the Emperor will surely have his head. Will he be able to use the new weapons and his cunning to win the city back? At what cost?

My recommendation:


As I mentioned above this is a book that will appeal to many male readers. I'm not saying woman can't enjoy it; I actually did find it fascinating. There is no romance involved in the plot. It is strictly preparing for battles, strategy planning  and the battles themselves. Political schemes and corruption in the government are also revealed. The battle scenes aren't too horribly graphic but it doesn't take much to see in your mind's eye what is going on during the attacks. I thought the use of their "new weapons" was a fun piece to the story. A kind of using the latest technology of war only it is taking place in the Ninth Century. 

I can see where this wouldn't necessarily be a book that female readers would enjoy but I do think that it would be a very nice gift for your spouse or son to have to read. They are going to enjoy the regimen of the soldiers, the preparing for attacks and the way the men interact with each other. Actually, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It was refreshing to read something that I normally wouldn't choose to read. 

So, why did I pick this book in the first place you might ask? Well, you know me; I am always looking for authors who haven't received much recognition from the reading public. David Bowman actually came to my attention in an unexpected way. I was looking for a designer to do book covers for me and found his website, Brightling Spur. David worked with me to come up with new covers for my Roni Rainer Mysteries and he has also helped me with the covers for my newest (soon to be released) series Cabin 9 Mysteries. When I discovered that he was not only a clever designer of book covers but also an author, I wanted to read his work. I wasn't disappointed in his covers or his writing.

In fact, Seven Sisters is the first book in a trilogy. He has also written Two Brothers which continues the story of Crastus and Rome and the final book is Imperator that concludes the story. I have read the first two completely and am about to finish the third book. If you are looking for a good gift to a male reader on your list, these books will not disappoint.




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Saturday, July 27, 2019

The President is Missing Book Review


I am not an American nor am I particularly political. However, I do love some James Patterson novels and this book, The President is Missing, which is co-authored by Patterson and former President Bill Clinton, came to the top of my reading list for my book club recently. It is a fictional work, billed as a thriller and, as the tagline says, is one that only a president could write. Here's a short, engaging trailer for the book:


According to a USA Today interview on the video that follows, Patterson and Clinton sat down to create the best book about the presidency that has ever been written. I do not think they achieved that goal. They did write a sometimes entertaining fictional story in which the President of the United States struggles to deal with a potential cyber attack and the possible destruction of the American way of life when a terrorist sets out to destroy the internet, its servers and all the computers in the United States. The President attempts to do so with the help of a small handful of trusted staff members.

I found the book a bit hard to get into and at times drawn out. In particular, I found the last section, where the President’s address goes on for far too long, unnecessary.  However, the book does give us a look into the inner workings, though obviously no secrets, of the U.S. government and it includes some humorous moments and a very likable though not perfect President.

The Guardian calls Clinton’s involvement one of the great things about this book and says that it is almost a “guarantee of political authenticity.” They go on to say that it feels like the “outcome of a conversation between one writer with an unusual skill at thriller plotting and another with an exceptional grasp of global politics.” I agree and I believe that there is value to the reader who is interested in that authenticity.

On a more serious note, The President is Missing deals with our dependence on the internet. Take a moment and think about what we could or could not do without the internet and computers. You will come up with a long, long list that includes banking, healthcare, transportation and so much more. After reading this book, you may decide to keep some cash under your mattress.

Despite having a hard time starting the book and the sometimes drawn out parts, I did enjoy it. It was not a favorite though and I cannot give it my ‘Highly Recommended’ rating but I would recommend it if you are interested in a peek into the government, you enjoy reading thrillers and are willing to tolerate the slow parts.

What Did Others Think?


For starters, the book was a Number 1 New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestseller though that is I am sure in great part due to the two names on the cover.

You will find that Amazon customer reviews are all over the place with 77 percent of them being 5 or 4 star. I do not think that is great but nor is it really that bad.

The Washington Post calls the book an awkward duet and writer Ron Charles calls it our for the being the obvious marketing ploy that it is. Two big names, one book. True, I suppose.

To the detriment of the book, The Guardian says, "This novel is indeed missing several things, including a believable plot and even the remotest sense of narrative tension." I would counter with it is a fictional thriller.

The Independent calls it “absurdly boring.”  I think that is an extreme position though the book had its moments.

Despite the comments and reviews from those parties, I believe that the following interview from Today with both of the authors may help you decide you want to read the book despite the shortcomings.


Once again, I can and do recommend this book if you are interested in the inner workings of the government, you enjoy a thriller and James Patterson and you can tolerate the slow parts. You can find your copy of The President is Missing on Amazon by clicking right here. Of note, The President is Missing may soon become a movie or television mini-series.

If you do read this book, be sure to come back and let us know what you thought. Was it a good read? Was it interesting despite the issues mentioned above? Would you recommend it to a friend?

See you
at the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Selective Spells Book Review

Witches, Spells, Dogs & A Mystery

french-bulldog
Is this Beezley the man turned into a dog?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I'll be reviewing another Cozy Mystery for you today: Selective Spells by Willow Mason. It is Book 1 in the series Beezley and the Witch. It is also the debut novel of this fellow Indie Author.

The story is told in the first person by the main character. She is a witch living in a small town who has been excommunicated from her coven. Up until she got into trouble with the white witches in the area she was a librarian of sorts guarding boxes of spells that shouldn't be tampered with. Now, she has lost her job and her powers are diminished to a certain degree but not completely gone.

Losing her job and the support of the coven is bad enough but then the leader informs her that she is being evicted from her home, too. A witch has to eat and work in order to pay rent no matter where she lives. Searching for employment, she finds a notice for a job that requires the employee be a witch. She decides to look into the opportunity because she is still a witch she just isn't a part of the coven.

This is when she meets Beezley for the first time. He is in the form of a French Bulldog and will be her boss if he gives her the job. Humans wouldn't be able to understand Beezley's canine ramblings; it would just sound like barking, yipping and yapping. But since our narrator is a witch she understands everything he says. It turns out that he was once a Detective on the police force but has been turned into a dog. He is working on the same case that he had when he was in his human form but has trouble with little things like communicating with non-witches, texting on his phone, and using the computer. 

The two don't exactly hit it off in the first interview and our Witch is not interested in the job until she finds out about her eviction. She goes back to take the job and ask to live with the dog detective. They begin to work on the mystery of deaths that are marked as accidents but Beezley's instincts think there is something more to the whole sorted mess. We travel through the pages of spells, deception, betrayal and surprises as the readers.


Recommendation of Selective Spells

I highly recommend this cozy mystery to anyone who loves the genre. It was unique in the concept of the plot. The characters were both humorous and believable. Well, as believable as one can be if they are a witch and a man turned into a dog. That is the wonderful thing about fiction! The characters can be anything and anywhere. 

I enjoyed the story being told in the first person instead of the more standard third person. Being an author, myself, I know that is a little more difficult to write. Our little witch is allowed to have her snarky thoughts and we see her vulnerability better from her perspective. 

This book was extremely fun to read and to work through the clues of the mystery. Well, done Ms. Mason! I look forward to your future books. I think many of you will enjoy Selective Spells, also. The plot flows nicely, the premise is original and the reading is light and cozy just like it is supposed to be.



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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
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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.

 


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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




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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.




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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




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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.  



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




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