Archive for the Category » Reviews «

Book Review ~~ Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie

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

 

 

Delicious from the first page to the last. Anne Gracie is one of my favorite authors and it’s always a pleasure to read and review her latest offering. Marry in Scandal was no exception. It’s always a hit for me when Gracie adds old people or young kids as characters in her stories. Lord Galbraith, grandfather to the hero,  is painted with subtlety and quiet humor. Edward has dark secrets from the war, that block him from enjoying his family. Lily has secrets of her own that she must divulge if she is to find and keep love.

The writing is superb as always. The ‘Marry in...’ is an entertaining series and should not be missed. 

Did you miss my Interview with Anne Gracie?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss.  February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning and April: Poet, Joe Albanese
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

Winter of Murder Receives Stunning Review!

Winter of Murder is the tenth book in the World of Murder series, and like its predecessors, it both stands alone as a remarkable read for newcomers and as an excellent addition to the series as a whole. In this story, Detective Stella Garcia journeys to Alaska to visit her son, who is interning with a field biology group in the Alaskan wilderness. He’s only been away from home for six months, but it seems an impossible distance away from her urban world.  Unfortunately, the one thing that consumes her professional life is as active in Alaska as in New York, as Stella soon discovers.

Predictably, murder enters the picture and the dead bodies begin to pile up, prompting her to set aside family time in favor of consulting with the local authorities, given her experience and background with solving homicides. Meanwhile, Detectives O’Roarke and Sneed are on their own without their third investigator Stella, which means not only a challenge to their crime-solving abilities, but new opportunities for their evolving relationship. While prior familiarity with these characters and their experiences will enhance appreciation for how much Stella and her comrades have grown since their first appearances in the series, newcomers will find the story completely accessible and thoroughly engrossing.

Personal and professional dilemmas abound, encounters between all are realistically portrayed, and the contrast between Stella’s urban world and the rural wilds of Alaska are well done, creating a compelling environment in which Stella finds herself far from familiar scenarios or approaches to solving problems. The background and atmosphere of Native Alaskans are particularly well done and lend to a story which is vivid on more than one level: as a detective piece, as a story of character growth and personal advancement, and as a cultural inspection of Alaskan peoples and places.

As Stella navigates uncertain territory and affairs, she gains new perspective not only about murder investigations, but her own relationship with her son.Steeped in personal growth and revelation as well as a satisfyingly complex murder mystery that ventures into cross-cultural perceptions, Winter of Murder is a gripping and strong addition to a powerful series. ’ ~~ D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

To Purchase

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss.  February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning and April: Poet, Joe Albanese
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

 

 

 

Review ~~ A Gentleman’s Bidding by Jean Wilde

     reviews, authors, writing                           1 out of 5 quills ~~ A Review

 

The issue I had with this book was the sloppy writing. The author slipped from Regency London language to modern day expressions  frequently. With the first sentence I knew we were in trouble. “I shall check to see if my mistress….” No butler/houseman of that period would use that phrasing. Rather he would say something like: “I shall inquire as to whether or not Madame is at home….”  The hero’s name is James Hughes. NEVER in this period of time would he be called ‘Jim‘ which he is in this book.  Another example: Emily says, “What’s with you….?”  Lady Hughes says: “you certainly are something else.” Another slip into the idioms of the twentieth century.

The sex scenes were SALACIOUS and were used to prop up a weak story plot. No subtlety whatsoever. And Emily performing fe***io was implausible. It was considered a sin up until the 1950’s and against the law in many states. It’s something that men specifically went to prostitutes for. For the author to have a whore demonstrate on a stable hand in front of the heroine was just plain icky. The author seemed to think that sticking in lots of sex scenes of all types (bondage, role playing, etc.) in the same chapter was the path to a best seller. It’s not.  It’s what you don’t say that titillates the reader. 

The plot was predictable. No surprises. The grammatical errors and punctuation (She capitalized the word Pound for no apparent reason) were atrocious and very distracting to this reader.

Blogger’s Note: It pains me to write a bad review. I try to avoid it at all costs. My whole mission here is to uplift and encourage other writers. But this one was so poorly written that I couldn’t let it pass. I returned the book and asked for a refund. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss. February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning and April: Poet, Joe Albanese
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

Book Review ~~ A Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing

5 out of 5 quills   ~~  A Review

Everything you want when you sit down and open the cover of a new book. Friendship, hardship, love, heartbreak, history and finally…hope.  Rhys Bowen’s writing never disappoints whether I am reading her Royal Spyness series or her Molly Murphy series or her stand alone fiction (all excellent). 

Just a hint of the story as I do not write spoilers. Emily Bryce  is a debutante who never had a ‘come out’ as World War I rages in Europe. She is stuck in time, in place, with nothing worthwhile to do except follow her society-ladder-climbing mother around.  The opportunity to join the Women’s Land Army  and become a ‘land girl’ frees her from her stifling existence and her mother.  And this is where her adventures begin. 

I was a little put off by the title of this book as I read along. There isn’t one victory garden (in the traditional sense of the term) in the entire book.  But then I realized Bowen’s ‘victory garden’ were all the gardens in the story combined making it ultimately The Victory Garden. Sneaky Devil!   I highly recommend this book. 

Available: February 12th
Did you miss my Interview with this author?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss.  February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning and April: Poet, Joe Albanese
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

What the Critics are Saying…

 ~~  A Review ~~

Book #9 in the World of Murder series is, as its predecessors, inspired by real life events which add an extra dimension of authenticity to the story line. It opens with the dilemma of Penny, who is experiencing an independent life after being buried in childcare and being a wife for eighteen years. A special arrangement has been made with husband Tony that preserves the semblance of their twenty-year relationship while allowing her more freedom; but when she meets Lyle at a bar, things change not because he loves her, but because he, too, plans to entrap her.

Investigators O’Roarke, Garcia and Sneed, come to investigate a murder where Penny is the victim. Could Penny’s husband, who loves her, be the perp? As the homicide detective team uncovers a myriad of perps, mishaps, and convoluted triads of circumstance, readers receive a vivid and fast-paced investigative story that offers more suspects than answers and keeps the action taut with a guessing game that holds no obvious answers and many possibilities.

As a love relationship and a special arrangement morphs into shootings, a cunning perp, and boys who inadvertently become part of a bigger picture they’d never planned, Triad of Murder excels in a romp through juvenile involvements and adult activities that challenges investigators and a community alike.

Stella, Jack, Phoebe, and friendships gone awry intersect over a murder that will keep readers involved in police procedurals and family relationships right to the end.

While mystery fans and prior readers of the series will find this a compelling addition, true crime enthusiasts should also place Triad of Murder (and the entire series, for that matter) on their reading radars: the reality-based events and action are exquisitely detailed and the story is hard to put down.
~~ Donovan’s Bookshelf

To purchase Triad of Murder
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss.  February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning and April: Poet, Joe Albanese
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

 

Review: Cocktails with a Dead Man by Joe Albanese

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingFive out of five quills ~~~  A Review reviews, authors, writing

 

 

Cocktails with a Dead Man  (a book of poetry) is honest, hard hitting,  marvelous and humorously clever.

With other poems in this book, the laughs are nonexistent. Albanese’s writing reflects situations (Anniversary Dinner) too painful to face head on. Love torn asunder. (We Need To Talk) Loss and heartbreak we mortals think we cannot survive. A nice mix of  despair and irony; my perfect cup of tea.  Later in the book is a poem about our dreams of fame as writers. What writers will ‘settle for’ so we can continue to write. (Moonlight Serenade)

If Albanese keeps writing poetry, we just might have another Charles Bukowski on our hands.  This reviewer certainly hopes so. 

Writers will smile and groan as I did, when reading Sensory Adaptation. When the writing  stalls (‘writer’s block’ are words not allowed in this household) and the page remains blank this excerpt of poetry rings with all the frustration and truth we writers feel at times.

Sensory Adaptation ©

Tick-tock, tick-tock
The page is still blank
Writing at the dining room
table
I hear the clock in the family
room to my left
Tick-tock, tick-tock
I hear the clock in the living
room to my right
I hear the clock in the family
room to my left, ticking
at opposing half-seconds
Tick-tick, tock-tock
Tick-tick, tock-tock
120 per minute
30 minutes
3,600 ticks
All I see is white
The cursor blinks
Tick-blink-tick
Tock-blink-tock…

Joe told me, “I allow myself to write shit, then come back and rewrite slightly less shit. Repeat until not shit.” In my opinion, he doesn’t publish work that still contains shit, only distilled…wonderful…poetry.
 
I am looking forward to interviewing Joe soon.
To Purchase 
Release date, January 15th
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss  February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning and April: Poet, Joe Albanese
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

 

 

Book Review ~ The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

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

 

Robyn Carr writes with a casual flaire that makes the reader feel like they’re sitting in a comfy chair, by a crackling fire, wearing warm socks.

I am a huge fan of the Sullivan’s Crossing series and this latest contribution is a winner. At least three love stories are woven together like a fine tapestry in The Best of Us. Catching up to what’s been happening to the recurring characters in her stories is like running into some good friends  you haven’t seen in a while. While a new character drives the whole story when she meets and falls for Rob Shandon, the pub owner.

And the writing is without a misstep. A perfect blend of encounters, conflicts, reunions and  happy endings. Bubbling along like a happy creek, you hardly know you’ve finished the book and are left wanting the next in the series….right now!

Released January 8th so get your copy now!

Did you miss my Interview with Robyn? Click here
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss. February:  Patrick Canning and March: Poet, Joe Albanese
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review ~ Schugara by Joe English

 

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing

5 out of 5 quills.  Book Review  

 

If you like words as much as I do (and you know how much I do) you will love this book. Words chosen and arranged so masterfully. English’s use of language is superb. No surprise, maybe, as the author took thirty years to complete the book. And he was still editing when he sent me the advanced reader’s copy. That’s dedication…but it also shows in the final product. 

I don’t writer spoilers…that is, I don’t include the whole story (as so many reviewers do) in any of my book reviews. I review the writing and the story. Is the writing good? Is the story entertaining and complex? Are the characters believable and do I care about them?  In the case of Schugara the answers are a resounding ‘YES’!

We’ve all wanted to run away and reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. I certainly have…upon reflection I have actually done it! And that’s what this story is about. Several characters run away and they end up on the same remote island in the Caribbean. This book will require your full attention. It is not ‘light reading’ as the multiple characters are rich and the story complex. 

My only negative critique is with the publisher. The back cover of the book does not give a synopsis of the story to lure a reader into buying it. Reviews are fine but they should be taglines on the back cover and full reviews saved for inside the book.   The format is very distracting. (Maybe the issues were only in my advanced copy. Let’s hope so.) Unjustified spaces. Indents too deep. All these issues, including line spacing, contribute to the final number of pages, 500+, and may be a negative when a reader considers buying the book. Believe it or not, buyers check to see how many pages there are. No effort was made to create an author’s page on Amazon.com and other outlets, which is basic marketing. The readers want to know more about the book and its author. 

Having said my piece about the production of the book, it’s a fine piece of writing and I congratulate the author. Waiting anxiously for his next book. I think there’s a book in Joe Rogers, Zero and the bookstore, The Yellow Harp. 

Did you catch my interview with this author?

To purchase Schugara
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  other AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and in early 2019  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To PurchaseTo Purchase

 

Book Review ~~ The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

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

 

A Review ~~ The Colonel and the Bee

There is one thing that delights me above all else and that is to discover a writer who can write. One who weaves words with charm and skill. Patrick Canning does this in spades! I have been reading for 55+ years and I have never come across  a Fantasy/Adventure such as this. It really doesn’t fall into any particular genre. You could read it with your kids (with a tiny bit redacted) or adults can read it. Like Spearmint gum, Double your pleasure, Double your fun!

My favorite character in The Colonel and the Bee is the ‘Ox’.  The Oxford Starladder (so aptly named) is a kind of hot air balloon.  But where we picture a simple woven basket large enough to hold two or three people, the ‘Ox’ is a four story wicker house that has a kitchen, staircases, bedrooms, library, and nursery (plants). In fact the Colonel grows rattan bamboo that ends up growing into the structure of the house as a constant form of repair. Genius! 

There is a well known epigram: ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” For me this book is ALL about the journey. The Colonel and his new-found friend, Beatrix flying above the earth in the ‘Ox’ picking up and dropping off people, having adventures along the way. I don’t know if spending all that time up there is why the  Colonel has such a lovely perspective on life and people but I wish I were one of his friends. 

My readers know me well. I don’t write spoilers or story synopses in my reviews. In my case, it’s always a review of the writing. The writing in this case is superb.  “The tick of the clock still speaks our pace.”  Word magic abounds in this book. 

I loved  the characters, the locations, and the story. Whimsical, captivating, and bewitching. The story could happen. It could be true and if it isn’t the reader so wants it to be possible. I read the end of this story twice when Bee arrives at the Hearth. It was a surprise and left the door cracked for a sequel. From my lips to God’s ear. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

Book Review ~~ Colorblind by Reed Coleman Farr (Robert B. Parker)

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

I have been wandering the streets of Paradise, Massachusetts with Jesse Stone for over 15 years and {over two decades with Spenser in Boston}. Following Jesse as he tries to make his little town a little safer. We all loved the creator of these wonderful mysteries, Robert B. Parker. After his death, Reed Farrel Coleman and Ace Atkins took over these series, helping the Parker estate to keep them alive. 

The latest offering is Colorblind. Whether by intent or coincidence, it’s a timely story of racism, bigotry and tribalism. The plot is complex while remaining very entertaining and keeps readers on their toes.  And if you’re a series fan of any writer, as I am, it’s always fun to meet back up with recurring characters, such as Molly Crane, Luther ‘Suitcase’ Simpson, and Healy. 

I am constantly amazed at the writer who can speak in another writer’s voice. Reed Farrel Coleman does this flawlessly. Giving the fans of Robert B. Parker years more of his stories, even though he is gone. I’ve never been one to write spoilers in my reviews. It’s all about the writing for me. The story. The Characters.  But I will tell you, there is a huge surprise in Jesse Stone’s story line. I mean HUGE! 

Another winner and I highly recommend it. 

Did you miss my Interview with Reed Farrel Coleman?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase