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Book Review~~the friendship list by Susan Mallery

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing            4 out of 5 quills  ~~  Book Review

Susan Mallery has done it once again!  She has woven a mundane story of a single mom, Ellen, and a young widow, Unity into a riveting journey that both women take, each in their own way.  I don’t believe it would be a spoiler to reveal that the friendship list is not a list of friends.  It is a bucket list that each woman (who are friends) has written out for themselves. They have decided that it will be a challenge, a contest if you will, with a reward at its end.  Sharing their victories, as they check off the list, and cheering each other on when a challenge seems unsurmountable. 

Susan Mallery writes wonderful stories and I know her fans agree with me when I say, Thank God she is so prolific as we all wait for the next new one.  This is a great summer read and I highly recommend it!

Release date August 4th. Pre-order now

Did you miss my Interview with Susan Mallery?
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY. July: Guest Blogger Desiree Villena, August: Carolyn Brown
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Book Review ~~ An Unfinished Story by Boo Walker

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing  reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing                5 out of 5 quills 

Die-hard fans of Boo Walker’s Red Mountain Chronicles really wondered what Boo would write about once he left the real red mountain wine country of Washington state. He transplanted himself to Florida, of all places. Boo knows so much about wine and growing grapes that it was hard to imagine what stories would be born out of the swampy, hot days in Florida. 

Oh ye of little faith (reviewer)!  An Unfinished Story is superb!  A bitter ‘has been’ writer and a grieving widow meet by chance and form an unlikely bond. The arc of the story is unexpected and fresh.  I loved the conflict,  the set-backs, the temporary truces, the tension, and the surprises.

Of course Boo couldn’t ignore the wine running through his veins totally so his protagonist, in this story, is a wine aficionado.  I loved the ‘nod’ to the Red Mountain Chronicles! Which is a series not to be missed. 

I highly recommend this wonderful story! 

Release date August 4th. Pre-order Now!

Did you miss my Interview with Boo Walker?

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY. July: Guest Blogger Desiree Villena, August: Carolyn Brown
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Book Review ~~ the Banty House by Carolyn Brown

reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing                 5 out of 5 quills                                   Book Review 

This is a newly discovered (for me) author .  And what a pleasant surprise.  If the Banty House is any indication, this prolific author gives readers hours of charming stories. 

the Banty House is a charming tale of three old ladies who take in strays, from bedraggled kittens, to damaged heroes, to homeless young women.  Betsy, Connie and Kate are real eccentric characters who you can’t help but fall in love within the first few pages. That’s all I’m going to say, as you all know I don’t write spoilers. The writing is superb and you’ll find that you can’t put the book down. I love Carolyn Brown’s style of writing and look forward to reading more….and more. 

Even though Banty House was just released there’s already another story in the pipeline, to be released in late July, Miss Janie’s Girls. Can’t wait!

Don’t miss my interview with Carolyn Brown coming in August.
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY. July: Guest Blogger Desiree Villena, August: Carolyn Brown
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Firing Point, by Mike Maden, writing for TOM CLANCY~~Book Review

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5 out of 5 quills             ~A Book Review~

 

From the first sentence, on the first page, begins a riveting new story for Jack Ryan, Jr.  Our readers would never know that Tom Clancy wasn’t writing this book. Mike Maden does his usual magic in creating another harrowing international intrigue. 

The story winds and weaves through Spain, with flash-backs to Washington D.C., and cruises the deep seas of the South Pacific.  Supreme intrigue, international terrorists, spies, and lots of techno stuff that I adore.  An extremely complex story plot made simple and clear in the deft hands (and pen) of Mike Maden. 

My new readers (Tom Clancy fans) may not know this about me: I don’t write spoilers. I don’t write cliff notes for the book. I review the WRITING! And it is a pleasure to report that the writing here is superb. 

I highly recommend this book to my readers. 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer, May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY
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The Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver ~~ Book Review

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quills   ~~  A Book Review reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing

Most people, who have not been seduced into a cult, are fascinated by them. For example, I find it hard to imagine subjugating myself totally to a ‘family’, a group, a commune of people with one belief. Coming under the spell of one person (usually a man) who preaches whatever just to lure you in. To give up all my worldly possessions, including money (first red flag) and surrendering my mind and soul. 

But death, grief, depression, tragedy, desperation can and does drive thousands of people to hundreds of cults across this country. The Goodbye Man takes the reader into a fictional cult who promises immortality.  Jeffery Deaver weaves a wonderful story with a plot that twists and turns with regularity. He writes with a flare that is slightly scary and causes a pit of fear in the bottom of the reader’s stomach. 

The irony, for me, was I kept seeing Donald Trump in the Deaver’s character, Master Eli (the Leader). The cadence of Eli’s speech, the repetition of certain words, (‘gorgeous’, ‘the best ever’, ‘the best in his class’, etc.) and the lies that no one could fact-check.  When a cult expert was consulted (in the story) they listed the narcissist traits in cult leaders and really!… Donald Trump was all over the page. The parallels were so starkly drawn for this reviewer, I couldn’t help but comment on it. 

Cult Leader                                            Donald Trump
all consuming ego                               all consuming ego
attacks his enemies                              attacks his enemies
lashes out in anger                                lashes out in anger
an absolute belief that he’s always    an absolute belief that he’s always right
right                 
won’t listen to advice or criticism      won’t listen to advice or criticism
paranoid                                                  paranoid
craves worship and adulation            craves worship and adulation

and…sorry, America but….43% of you are in the biggest cult existing in modern history.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and highly recommend it.  

 

Did you miss my Interview with Jeffery Deaver?
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer, May:  Joram Piatigorsky
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Book Review ~~ Brave Girl, Quiet Girl

5 out of  5 quills            ~~  A Book  Reviewreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing

 

No surprises here! The writing is …..(I’m running out of adjectives)…superb, luscious, heart rending, and inspired. The characters that Catherine Ryan Hyde has created and drawn are empathic, scary, motivating, and real. The reader falls in love with all of them, even the villains. 

Never one to write spoilers….I’ll let the back jacket of the book do that…I’d rather give my assessment of the writing, the characters and the story. 
The writing: flawless, (as usual) keeping the reader riveted to the story. The characters: Well drawn with depth and a back story for each character. The bonding between a run-away teen and a toddler is beautiful to witness.  The story: You’d think that it was unlikely and (slightly) unbelievable for a run away to keep a baby for that long but then the reader understands that Molly had very few, if any, options.  This is the story of three people who find each other…but the question is, will they keep each other?

I highly recommend this book to my readers. It’s a rich story about the humanity in all of us. 

Did you miss my Interview with Catherine Ryan Hyde?
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer, May:  Joram Piatigorsky
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Book Review ~~ A Woman of True Honor

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing             5 out of 5 quills    ~~ Book Review 

Delicious! For fans of this genre, that is historic romances, A Woman of True Honor is a must read. Book #8 in this series, Emily Pepper is a merchant’s daughter and an heiress. She has narrowly escaped several fortune hunters trying to woo not her, but her money. And try as her family might, she has not entirely escaped ‘the stench of the shop’. 

Enter Valerian Dorning (of the True Gentlemen series) penniless, but charming and industrious, a true gentleman. He doesn’t have many prospects as a younger son of an earl because titled families are not allowed in be involved in ‘commerce’.  His book is probably not going to be a commercial success, much less read by many. 

How can an heiress and a younger son with pockets to let find their way to happily ever after.  And this is exactly where ‘delicious’ comes in. I LOVE Grace Burrowes’ style of writing and her effortless storytelling. This one is not to be missed. 

Did you miss my interview with this author?
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   January: David Poyer, March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer 
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Book Review ~ Red Mountain Burning

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of  5 quills      ~~  A Review reviews, authors, writing

This trilogy (Red Mountain, Red Mountain Rising) is spectacular! Red Mountain Burning, while touted as the end of the series, really doesn’t tie it all up. Full Stop! End of story. (literally). So I hope this author realizes that and he finds the true ending in a fourth book. But that wish is only from a truly selfish reader and fan. I, like many other fans of Boo Walker, want more of Brooks, Otis, Joan, Jake, Margot, Emilia, , just to name some. 

The trilogy is so well written with deep characters fleshed out into real people that we know or have known.  The vines become a character in themselves in all the books. I as a reader, cared deeply about the vines doing well and the harvest being excellent. When Otis’ barrels are crushed, I was sick with regret for him and his wine. 

A word about the cover (which I rarely mention): I must take issue with it. While dynamic, it gives away too much of the story. After seeing the cover, the reader is distracted waiting for the story to get to the ‘burning’ of Red Mountain. But what a great story!

I highly recommend this book. The writing is superb, the characters well drawn; eccentric, entertaining, frustrating, and charming. Boo has relocated to Florida, in real life, and it will be fascinating to see what (if any) characters from Red Mountain follow him.
A new book is slated to be released in August this year.   

Did you miss my Interview with Boo?
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    December: Dervla McTiernan – January: David Poyer, March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer 
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Review of A Silent Death by Peter May

reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing                            4  out  of  5 quills        Book  Review    

 

Peter May weaves a wonderful tapestry of murder in his upcoming offering of The Silent Death.  Set in sunny Spain, the author takes the reader onto the narrow, dusty streets of small towns perched on the cliffs of the Mediterranean. His authentic descriptions are based on his personal experiences. (Did you see my interview with Peter?) The author ‘winters’ in Spain every year. 

This reviewer does not write spoilers. But I will say that May’s story and the spectacular subplots takes the reader into the world of darkness and silence of people afflicted with deafness and blindness. The reader comes to deeply care about the character, Ana and the danger she knows she’s in but cannot hear or see it. And learning about ‘touch sign language’. Something which I had never heard of

The author in Spain

but found extremely fascinating.  

May always delivers, bringing the reader into a complex story of true crime and law enforcement. 
I highly recommend this book to my readers.

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    December: Dervla McTiernan – January: David Poyer, March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer 
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Interview with Author, Olivia Hawker

TS. I always ask for a  brief biography by the author as a warm up to my interview. Operative word ‘brief‘. If what I get is too long or contains boring credentials, I can then edit/shorten it. Following is Olivia Hawker’s bio, untouched by me. It reads more like a friendly letter to her fans and her readers. I hope you, my readers, enjoy it as much as I did. 

OH. I live in the Pacific Northwest, in the San Juan Islands, but I grew up partly in the Seattle area and partly in eastern Idaho. After my parents divorced, I spent the school years in Seattle with my mom and the summers out in the middle of nowhere with my dad. Childhood ties to the Rocky Mountain region persist in me, and I often write about the West. It’s one of my favorite and most often-recurring subjects.
My dad’s side of the family is Mormon, and I was raised in the Mormon religion—another theme that comes up frequently in my writing, even though I am no longer Mormon (or religious at all.)
I knew from the time I was a tiny kid that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Both of my parents encouraged my enthusiasm for the arts, and I was never told I had to have a “backup plan” because a writing career was “impractical.” My dad and my grandpa were both professional artists (painters), so I got to see successful careers in creative fields modeled for me from the time I was a baby. I think I’m incredibly fortunate in that. So many people are told that writing (or any other creative profession) is too impractical to pursue, so they give up before they’ve even begun, or at least they start out with a lot of self-doubt and too much caution. It makes me shudder to think of all the great talents and brilliant voices we’ve missed out on because these creative people were told by their families to pursue something “practical” instead of the art forms that called to their spirits. How many CPAs and dentists out there should have been writers or painters or dancers or musicians instead? Of course, those not-so-creative jobs are critical and important, too, but our culture and our world are hurting right now for understanding and expression. We need more artists, not fewer—and I feel so much gratitude that I was never discouraged in my choice of career, and that I saw with my own eyes that creative fields can lead to stable careers. That empowered me to go for it and pursue my dream of becoming a full-time writer for as long as it took to make it happen… which, as it turned out, was a very long time!
I didn’t go to college for writing or for anything else. I wanted to go very badly, because I value education and knowledge so highly. But my family couldn’t afford to pay for it, and I didn’t think it was wise to take on a lot of student debt just for an MFA or an undergrad degree in creative writing or English lit. I suspected that those degrees wouldn’t get me closer to my goal in any practical sense. Again, I had the benefit of my father’s art career as an example. He was self-taught, so I reasoned that I could become a successful self-taught author, too. I think I made the right decision, given the economic and social options available to me at the time, but now I’m a big advocate for tuition-free college so that no young person will ever have to make the heartbreaking decision to forego that dream ever again.
I always like to make it clear to people that I didn’t go to college and I am self-taught, because I think the arts (writing included) are one of the few professional arenas where those who’ve had the privilege of higher education and those who have been denied that opportunity can truly stand on a level playing field and be real peers. I have built a strong, robust, resilient profession for myself, and I earn a good living from my writing. I think it’s important for young people (and older people!) who are struggling with these difficult financial and educational dilemmas to know that it really is possible to be successful and respected in your field, and to love your life wildly, even if you can’t manage college.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (shed, room, closet, barn, houseboat….) Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

OH. A. Nowadays I’m fortunate enough to own a lovely little house with a cool loft over the garage. My office is in that loft. It’s narrow as all heck, but I love working there! My writing desk is right in front of a window that looks out on an incredible view of local meadows with lots of wildlife, Griffin Bay, Lopez and Orcas Islands, and Mt. Baker. I’m really inspired and soothed by nature, so it’s such a benefit to my work, to be able to look up from a screen and see all that incredible natural beauty spread out in front of me. My view really has it all: water, islands, trees, fields, one of the most majestic mountains in North America, and critters passing by. I love to watch the light and weather change over that incredible landscape while I’m working. (More)

Don’t miss Part 2 on March 6th.
Did you see my review of One for the Blackbird…?
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    December: Dervla McTiernan – January: David Poyer, March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer 
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