Archive for the Category » Reviews «

I Guess It’s All In the Writing…

What makes us, as readers, care about the characters in a book?  What is it about one book over another? I recently took a chance on a couple of new authors (to me) and was pretty disappointed. The books were like eating a slice of Wonder White Bread, with nothing on it; not even butter. Bland, tasteless and of little interest. 

Sophie was listless, I’m sorry to say with long run-on sentences. Beachcomber Motel was not interesting for a different and ‘deadly’ reason; the characters were not well drawn. They could have been more interesting; instead all three had been ‘done wrong’ by life. And quite frankly, I didn’t care about them. The love story of Jules didn’t develop until the last few pages and was more like: ‘Oh! I forgot to finish up Jules and Nick’s story.’  But, I misspoke, it wasn’t finished up but left the reader dangling mid-relationship with those two. Probably in the author’s hope that readers would be enticed to read a sequel.  Both of these are going to be a series, which I cannot recommend.  
  1 out of 5 stars 

This is beginning to sound more like a book review but hang in there….I will get to my point about writing. 

4 out of 5 stars

So I gave up on those two and cracked another new one; The Stationmaster’s Daughter.  I was instantly engaged and worried about Tilly and her dad, Ken, Ted and Annie. Of course, the setting didn’t hurt; a discarded railway station out in the wilds of Dorset. (UK)  Through no fault of her own, Tilly’s been kicked pretty hard by life. We find that out (artfully written) pretty soon after page one but with no feeling of being rushed.  Then there are flashbacks to 1935 when the trains were running in rural counties.

So no surprise, the difference is simple. It’s all about the writing. That something that a writer has in their storytelling that weaves a charming, enticing, well-drawn and interesting tale. This one’s about trains; I don’t care about trains except if they are on time and relatively clean. But the writer based the back story on trains in their heyday; the steam locomotion. And it was just enough that a reader like me didn’t grow weary with the history of trains.  It was well balanced with beautifully drawn characters. And the dialogue was excellent; I could hear their voices.             
It’s all in the writing. Full stop!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Matthews 
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

A New Author, A Fine Book, A Season for Second Chances

 

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quills       Book Review

A few weeks ago Jenny Bayliss’ publisher requested a book review from me.  I tend to shy away from unknown (to me) authors out of fear of having to write a bad review since my mission is to support and uplift all other writers. But the synopsis intrigued me so I accepted the invitation. And…

…might have missed enjoying a really good book. The writing is superb, the story line rich with detail, the characters charming and engaging. The little surprises of humor had me chuckling and spurting an outright laugh (once in awhile) at the clever writing.  The humor is honest and handled with a light hand. 

The story speaks to most women who have faced at least a couple of forks in the road of life.  I could really relate to Annie’s long marriage fizzling out. The abrupt loss of husband and children. What do we do with ourselves? Is this our ‘chance’ to live a life we’ve only dreamed of?  Try some things that we were discouraged to try in our previous (and safe) life? 

I love it when a place becomes a character in the book.  And Saltwater Nook certainly did that! 

Half way through the book I hurried to order Bayliss’ debut novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas. Which, by the way, has received rave reviews.  This is a very talented writer and I hope she continues to crank out the wonderful stories.

Available for sale October 19th. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

A Book Review and a Writing Lesson

   1 out of 5 quills reviews, authors, writing

                                 

Second Chance Grill could have been an engaging, charming and entertaining read but….the writing was clunky and author, Christine Nolfi, did a lot of ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’.  Where she could have put a character’s challenge into the hands of the characters in her book to solve, she elected to get out a small soap box and preach about the issue (real time).  It was very distracting.  

I will digress from this review and begin a writing lesson. One of the first tenants of writing well is wherever possible, to ‘show don’t tell’.   (Example) The employees of the Second Chance Grill need health insurance.  This writer tells all about the challenges of a small business owner trying to find an affordable plan for employees. She almost crosses the line and leaves fiction for non-fiction.  The author could have easily ‘shown’ the challenge of procuring health insurance by creating a chapter/scene where she meets with some insurance agents. Or she reports back to her employees, Finny and Delia, about her failure to find insurance. But that she isn’t giving up and will continue to pursue it. Maybe Finny reacts with cynicism and disbelief. Maybe Delia has special pre-existing conditions that she’s worried about. 

Same for Blossom’s leukemia. Nolfi writes a couple of pages about leukemia in teens, percentages of poor diagnoses, bone marrow transplants. That’s ‘telling’. It would have been a better story if she’d let her characters show the grim percentages of death, tell of Blossom’s struggle with the side effects of chemotherapy.

And then Nolfi barrels into a fund drive to raise money for the transplant. This is where the writing gets particularly clunky and chopped up, and frankly, unbelievable.  The rhythm of the writing goes off the rails so, sadly, I can’t give it a good review. 

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

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

Glowing Review Bestowed on Emma and the Lady Aardvarks

‘ Trisha Sugarek’s Emma and the Lady Aardvarks is both whimsical and thought-provoking and will delight and attract fiction and nonfiction young readers alike, as a new mandate to save the planet emerges.  A time travel adventure about climate change and a mystical forest that features sister Aardvarks, who arrive in the mystical forest quite by accident when their time travel adventure goes awry.

Emma and the Lady Aardvarks adds another book to Trisha Sugarek’s Fabled Forest series for advanced elementary to early middle grade readers. The aardvarks meet friendly elves, fairies, farm girl Emma, and a host of creatures who inhabit a rare habitat, indeed. Annie is the shy one. Her braver sister Agnes has always protected her young sister, but even she quakes at the strange creatures and dialogues that emerge at the beginning of their new adventure.

Trisha Sugarek’s dialogue and setting is anything but predictable, from a Spanish-speaking spider to a host of characters who greet the skittish sisters Aardvarks: “Patsy, where are your manners?” Donald strolled over to Patsy. “Everyone is welcome in the fabled forest, as long as they come in peace.” “Dios mio, how do we know they come in peace, pequeño? Se ven como bandidos!” Donald laughed, “No they are not bandits, Patsy. Don’t be silly.”

Colorful drawings bring the forest and its creatures to life as Sugarek spins a colorful yarn, from a magical portal that discharges a posse of puppies to the injection of facts about extinction, global warming, and threats to wildlife. While Sugarek’s Fabled Forest milieu has been explored previously in five prior adventures, it should be noted that newcomers need have no prior familiarity with its creatures or history in order to appreciate this warm fantasy of a magical place and a mandate to try to stop climate change’s impact.

Young readers just past the picture book stage will find the peppering of colorful drawings a fine embellishment to a tale that weaves elements of fantasy and reality into a thought-provoking adventure.’  D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREKfairy tales, fables, elves, fairies, running away, audio books

 

test

 

Book Review ~ Mike Lupica’s Stone’s Throw

 

reviews, authors, writing

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

 

 

5 out of 5 quills

Mike Lupica writes so well  in Robert B. Parker’s voice that you immediately feel you’re driving your rental car up the main street of Paradise Massachusetts. You drive towards the beach, park, and walk up the path to a piece of land that’s called The Throw. It reveals some of the most beautiful views of the Atlantic ocean on the East Coast . After you get your fix from the ocean views you drive over to the local police station to say hello to your friend and deputy chief, Molly Crane. Chief Jesse Stone and Molly are  working a case. The beloved (by everyone) mayor of this small town has….. (Opps! Almost gave it away). 

One of my favorite characters, Crow, returns in this story. If you’re a fan of Robert B. Parker’s (and Mike Lupica’s) I don’t need to elaborate. If you’re not, well….you should be.  The plot twists and turns and surprises the reader with a page turning cop/murder mystery. 

Right up to, literally, the last page. SURPRISE!  Thanks, Mike!  

The writing is just as excellent as the rest of Mike Lupica’s work. Mike writes all of the Jesse stone and Sunny Randall murder mysteries for the Parker estate so we can look forward to more from this fine writer. 

Did you catch my Interview with Mike Lupica

Release date: September 6th
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry and October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monohan.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

The Singing Trees by Boo Walker ~ Review

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing4 out of 5 quills 

I’ll admit I thought the prologue to Boo Walker’s new book (The Singing Trees) was a bit of a slow start. But I was so happy I stuck it out because it was the prologue to a wonderful story.  Walker takes us on a journey with an artist (painter), seeking her ‘voice and passion’. But that means leaving everything she has ever known and striking out on her own without an education, a job, or family to support her. Literally giving up everything for her art.  It’s difficult to write much about the story Boo tells because anything I said would very quickly turn into a spoiler alert.  And this reviewer avoids that at all costs. 

Placed in the seventies’ the story is well drawn around Viet Nam, Nixon’s corruption, the Kent State shooting and a nation in an uproar. Walker’s characters are beautifully portrayed, and, for the reader, easy to love.  

The author moved his family from the vineyards of California to Florida after writing the ‘Red Mountain‘ series . I had assumed that his next book would be set in the Sunshine state. Imagine my surprise when I found myself in Davenport, Portland, and Bangor, Maine.  It took me a minute! 

I highly recommend this story to my readers. It’s a page turner for sure and a perfect beach read for the summer.  

Did you miss my Interview with Boo Walker?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

Book Review ~~ Miss Delectable by Grace Burrowes

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing 

   5 out of 5 quills    

When you pick up a book written by Grace Burrowes you are one hundred percent certain you are in store for a good story. Filled with interesting characters and an fascinating plot.  Full stop! 
 
Grace Burrowes has begun a new series, Mischief in Mayfair. Miss Delectable is Book One, and it’s delicious!  Rag-a-muffin rapscallions abound with a hero who rescues them and the damsel in distress.  Book Two, Miss Delightful, is to be released shortly.
Burrowes is very prolific in this genre and what is amazing is how FRESH her plot lines remain.  She is constantly thinking of new story lines that have not been done before. 

Miss Pearson has dedicated years to learning the exacting science of the culinary arts.  She will never hold the title of ‘chef’ as that is strictly reserved for men. She will always be a ‘cook’, no matter how talented and creative she is.  It is, after all, only the 19th century. 
Colonel Sir Orion Goddard is Miss Pearson’s employer’s brother by marriage. They are slightly acquainted and really have no reason to meet each other. Persistent, vague scandal and rumors have haunted Goddard and being a recluse solves many of his problems.  That is, until his young protégé needs placement and only his brother-in-law’s kitchens will do. 

Burrowes gives her readers a good tale, characters that are deeply drawn, a little intrigue and a sweet love story. Recurring individuals keep her fans very happy. 

Available Soon! Miss Delightful  (9/14/21)

Did you miss my Interview with Grace Burrowes?

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

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Book Review ~~ The Iron Earl by KJ Jackson

reviews, authors, writing

 

1 out of 5 quills          ~~    BOOK REVIEW

My biggest complaint with this book was how shallow the story plot was. Pages and pages of how the heroine needed to escape. She was pretty much ‘one note’. Then pages and pages of how rage-filled the hero was. Boring. Mixed in were graphic sex scenes with little romance. The first time for this virgin was just this side of a rape. 
A missed opportunity for the author was to include a sub-plot exploring the relationship between Karta and Dommnel. Their story was interesting and a thread that was, sadly, not pulled by Jackson.
The villain is predictably the step-father until (handily in the last 30 pages) Evalyn discloses that she knows who her real father is and, conveniently, he is of aristocratic blood and owns land and she is his heir. This is sprung on the readers with no backstory of how she discovered her biological father. Sloppy writing. Sigh

The contents did not live up to the beautiful cover. 

Did you miss my Interview with Grace Burrowes?

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

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Book Review ~~ Pay Back by Robert B. Parker (nes’ Mike Lupica)

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quills ~~  BOOK REVIEW

Flawless writing and plot. Sunny Randle, PI is like a horse fly.  No frills and tenacious.  Not unlike the fly, Sunny looks for a patch of unprotected skin and then she stings. It hurts like hell.

Mike Lupica is a maestro when writing in Robert B. Parker’s voice. In this new Sunny Randall murder mystery the whole gang has returned (I love when that happens.)   Jesse Stone, Richie Burke, Tony Marcus, Frank Bilson, Susan Silverman, Tie bop and all the rest. Sadly, Hawk was out of town. 
Robert B. Parker’s wonderful tales live on.   I highly recommend the book to the fans of Robert B. Parker, old and new. This collection of authors writing in Parker’s voice keeps his work alive and fresh. 

Did you miss my Interview with Mike? It’s great reading. He’s a fascinating guy. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

 

 

The Listening Path ~~ Book Review

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

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

Back in 2006, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron was published.  I had just begun my journey as a dabbler in watercolors and( since 1998), had been writing stage plays. In that same year, I still considered myself a dabbler in watercolors and a junior level playwright….learning as you go.  I certainly would never have called myself an ‘artist‘ in those early days. This was a workbook that I treasure to this day. 

Now Ms. Cameron has written another lovely, insightful, encouraging book, The Listening Path. A successful communicator’s first skill is LISTENING.  A successful artist and human being should be listening; not just to other people but listening to their surroundings, and even listening to silence. Much can be learned.

This book is not only instructional but filled with tasks to practice your listening and become a better communicator. 
I highly recommend this book to my readers who are interested in furthering their self-awareness and their world around them. 

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

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!