Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Eye of the North by Sinead O’Hart



I liked the book but initially, I was surprised a the sudden change in life for Emmeline.  That could be intense for the very young reader.  The book is very easy to read so it may garner a younger audience.  It has lots of adventure and excitement with Emmeline showing courage and ingenuity. Thinking more about the story, it is a good adventure and Thing is an interesting sidekick. There is steam punkish hardware and fantasy overtones.  This hopefully will be a series as I can certainly see giving it to my grand kids.

I recommend it.

Web: https://www.greenhouseliterary.com/authors/sinead-ohart/
 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Mirror Image by Tom Clancy

This is one of the Op-Center books.  You expect Clancy style and polish and you get something different than you expected.  My wife quit after 50 pages.  I stuck it out and finished it.  It is a détente type of book with electronic surveillance the center of the technology.   It’s set after the collapse of the Soviet Union and diehards are trying to resurrect it.

The plot wasn’t bad but the writing felt disjointed.  There was decent action and some good characters but they did not feel properly fleshed out.

Web: http://www.tomclancy.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Spotlight on ROYALLY ROMANOV by Teri Wilson

In this charming modern day retelling of the 1956 classic Anastasia, a museum curator falls for a mysterious man who may or may not be a long lost heir to Russia’s imperial Romanov dynasty.



Volume 2 in The Royals Series ROYALLY ROMANOV by Teri Wilson introduces Finley Abbot, who is organizing the most prestigious art exhibit of her career at the Louvre museum—a retrospective of art from the House of Romanov. But the sudden appearance of Maxim Romanov threatens to turn her into the biggest laughingstock of the art world. When she finds herself falling in love, she realizes there’s even more at stake than her career. How can she trust a man with her whole world when he can’t remember a thing about his past?

After suffering a violent blow to the head, Maxim’s only clue to his identity is a notebook containing carefully researched documentation in his own handwriting indicating that he is the sole surviving descendant of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, previously thought dead in the murder of her family during Russia’s Bolshevik revolution. His struggle to put the mysterious pieces of his past back together leads him to Finley. At first, she’s convinced Maxim is nothing but a con artist. But there’s something undeniably captivating about the beautiful, brooding man who claims to be searching for his identity—something Finley can’t quite bring herself to resist. When he reveals a secret about one of the imperial Fabergé eggs in the collection, she accepts he may actually be telling the truth. But as soon as Finley and Maxim act on their feelings for one another, Maxim is confronted with evidence that calls into question everything he’s begun to believe about himself.

Praise for Royally Roma, Volume 1 in The Royals Series:
“An all-work, no-play PhD student is moonlighting as a tour guide in Rome. She's almost too busy keeping it profesh to notice her client is bona fide royalty in this zippy e-book.”
—Cosmopolitan, April 2017

“Verdict Wilson’s (The Art of Us) series opener [Royally Roma] is a delightful romp that incorporates the culture of the Eternal city—a ripe environment for love—into this temperate romance. Readers will be just as enthralled with Rome as Nico and Julia are with each other.”
—Library Journal Starred Review

“A charmingly modern twist on a classic love story—loads of fun and all the feels.”
—Julia London, New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly in Love
About the author:
Teri Wilson’s novel Unleashing Mr. Darcy is now a Hallmark Channel Original Movie, and she currently has two other films in development with Hallmark. She’s also at HelloGiggles.com, a lifestyle and entertainment website founded by Zooey Deschanel. Teri loves books, travel, animals and dancing every day. Visit her at TeriWilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonAuthr.


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, June 2, 2017


On this National Donuts Day I wish to pay tribute to one of my favorite things.

My own donut machine!

Ode to Donuts   

Never did I see

A more perfect food for me!

So round, so firm so fully packed,

I must admit my brain is racked,

To come up with a better snack.

So well rounded as a treat,

The zero calorie center that can’t be beat.

Life’s paths are leaved so well,

With May’s donuts that were simply swell,

With First Street Bakery’s kind souls

Who filled our bags with glazes so gold,

With Ronnie’s Hilton Head knarly treat,

With Hornburger’s cream filled oh so sweet,

With Publix’s maple glaze dream,

Only beat by YumYum’s cruller of sour cream.

My life defined by donut’s sweet road.

Three exercise bikes worn to a nub,

In an effort to keep donut’s sweet love,

from making me a happy but lardy tub.

On this day celebrate the wonder

Of this wonderful, awesome treat

This ode’s to you oh donut delight,

Your ability to turn darkness to light,

To defeat depression and stifle blight,

There is no mental state so dire

That a donut can’t un-mire.

There is no treat so sweet

That the wonderful donut cannot beat.


 

recommendations.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles

Greg Iles is a master of tension.   I think I start all his book reviews with that compliment.   This book matches Dead Sleep and Third Degree tense moment for a tense moment but adds the disturbing note that much of the depicted violence actually took place.   Natchez Burning began this trilogy.  The story continues in this, the second book.   Be warned, it is hazardous to develop any attachment to a character as they may not survive.  

Although repetitious,  I'm old enough to recall civil rights violence.  This book deals with the KKK, a splinter group of the KKK, the Double Eagles; a crazed bootstrap

millionaire; a crusading journalist and a family with a troubled past.   If that is not enough to pique your interest then you apparently have little or no imagination.
This too was a hard book to read.  History is sometimes very painful.  As troubled as our current climate is regarding race, it has been worse.   That was hard to read and to realize the depravity that was novelized was reality based.

There are some shattering discoveries in this volume.  As an aside, Iles certainly has great respect for the violence that can be perpetrated by elderly folks, male, female and good and bad.

Iles writes a powerful story.

I strongly recommend.
web site: http://www.gregiles.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, May 19, 2017

French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain


       


The story starts with a classical music definition of a rhapsody.  The is translated from French.  Each chapter has a character as it’s main focus.   The central theme is that a group of diverse young people get together in the eighties and form a band called Hologram.  The current lives of those people are explored with each looking back at their earlier personas. 

My initial reaction was not overly positive but I stuck with it and found that it was an enjoyable book.  Your roots often determine your eventual outcome but this book shows that is not always the case.  

There were a few surprises and the book was well written.   It is for those who like character studies there are no car chases and very little violence.

I recommend it.

Web:  not his site but gives good information on him.
http://belgraviabooks.com/writer/antoine-laurain

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Spotlight on The Darkest Corner, The Gravediggers Series,Book 1

THE DARKEST CORNER
The Gravediggers Series, Book One



Liliana Hart
Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
ISBN: 9781501150036
Price: $7.99 Paperback

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Liliana Hart’s first book in her sexy, suspenseful Gravediggers seriesTHE DARKEST CORNER, features an elite group of mysterious men who might be dead to the world, but are also tasked with saving it—and no one can ever know.

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise…

Deacon Tucker is a dead man walking. A former black ops agent, he was disavowed and stripped of all honor before being recruited as a Gravedigger. But his honor and good name no longer matter, because no one knows he’s alive, and he’ll never get the recognition he deserves. His mission is simple: save the world or die trying. And for God’s sake, don’t ever fall in love. That’s a rule punishable by death. The kind of death a man can’t be brought back from.

Tess Sherman is the only mortician in Last Stop, Texas. She has no idea how Deacon Tucker ended up in her funeral home, but she’ll eat her hat if he’s only a funeral home assistant. Deacon is dangerous, deadly, and drop-dead gorgeous. And she knows her attraction to him can only end in heartache.

Deacon is on a mission to stop the most deadly terror attack the world has ever known—what’s known as The Day of Destiny—a terrorist’s perfect day. But when he discovers Tess has skills he can use to stop them, he has to decide if he can trust her with secrets worth dying for. And most important, he has to decide if he can trust her with his heart.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Liliana Hart is a New York TimesUSA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than forty titles, including the Addison Holmes Whiskey and J.J. Graves Mystery series. Since self-publishing in June 2011, Liliana has sold more than four million ebooks. She’s hit the #1 spot on lists all over the world, and all three of her series have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Liliana is a sought-after speaker who’s given keynote speeches and self-publishing workshops to standing-room-only crowds from California to New York to London. Please visit her at lilianahart.comfacebook.com/lilianahart, and twitter.com/liliana_hart.

Look for Gone to Dust (Book 2) June 20th!


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

American Gods by Neil Gaiman


This book has an interesting premise regarding godhood.    Forbidden Planet was the earliest science fiction movie I can recall.  I  saved Quaker Oats coupons to get a free ticket.  Succinctly the villain in the movie is the physical manifestations of the thoughts and fears of the characters in the movie.  In other  words, what they thought or feared became real.  American Gods are gods who have been created by their believers.   The old gods came from the old country.  The new gods are those created by what is currently worshipped such as technology or beauty.   The premise of the book is the conflict between the old gods and the new gods.

Shadow is the main protagonist who is ignorant of his conceptional roots.   He is taciturn, large and strong.  He faces many changes and makes many strange friends.   Shadow finds himself being manipulated not only  by those he loves but some he doesn't even realize exists.

The book questions the underpinnings of faith and what leads to worship.  The plot is intricate and occasionally confusing.  You often find yourself wondering where am I and what is Gaiman trying to say. 

The book is worth reading and if you are not a fan, I suggest continuing to read anyway as you may become a fan.  The book is a re-release possibly because it is now being produced as a TV series. 

I recommend the book.

Web: http://www.neilgaiman.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Time for Kids: 50 States



Ready for a road trip?
Get the scoop on the nifty fifty from North to South and
coast to coast with no need for batteries or a charger!

Through the pages of this book you can travel to all 50 states, from Alabama to Wyoming, to discover the history, geography, and culture that make each one great. With more than 100 kid-friendly maps by illustrator Aaron Meshon, full-color photographs, and fun facts galore, this state-by-state guide is perfect for exploring your own state, uncovering new places, and digging into the history of the United States of America.

A great resource for school reports and general curiosity, kids will learn the story of the people who lived on the land before European settlement; how each state joined the Union; the natural resources and people that make it unique; and the industry and agriculture that drive it today. 50 States supports cross-discipline learning in U.S. history, geography, natural history, and cultural studies.

This is a very condensed book about the United States.  It is a thumb nail sketch of each state.  Early elementary age kids should enjoy it.  I discovered several things I either knew and forgot or never knew in the section on territories and commonwealths.  There is also a regional section which looks at groups of states and their regional similarities.


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The God Peak by Patrick Hemstreet

The God Wave  novel seems like it was authentic peek into the future.   Consider the brain operated drones for a moment and how experiments are progressing with the brain operating prosthesis hands.   That book went a large but not inconceivable step forward in the direction of  the main character in the movie Lucy.   The thesis is the mind can be trained into using more of its potential.   The God Peak carries that further with the same cast of characters we met in The God Wave.

Hemstreet'a main characters Matt and Chuck from the first book are almost ancillary to this book, at least Matt is marginalized.   The military industrial complex (there is a phrase that dates me) has been thwarted by the Zetas, Sarah, Mike and Timmy.   Thrown out of their mountain retreat, the military refuses to see that force can not dislodge the mental skills the Zetas command.

Meanwhile Chuck and the rest of the crew have been "rescued" by a secret society of near Zetas   They are pressured to teach their unique skills and eventually to confront their former friends at the god peak formerly headquarters of Deep Shield.

This book is more action and less cerebral than the last.  It still forces one to ponder what unknown skills lie in the unplowed fields of the human brain



I recommend it.

Web site: https://www.facebook.com/Patrick-Hemstreet-991494760945021/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Librarians and The Mother Goose Chase by Greg Cox


This is a young adult book based on a young adult TV series on TNT.  It chronicles the adventures of the Librarians.  These are not your stereotypical schoolmarm type librarians.  This group of adventures are charged with gathering magical and mythical books, artifacts and treasures that may be too dangerous to be in the public purvey.

This specific adventure focuses on Mother Goose tales and the dangers inherent in rhyming.   There is very mild violence and lots of references to magical and mythical things. 

The story line and plot are clearly meant for the younger reader.

It seems suitable for 4th or 5th graders.

Web Site: http://www.gregcox-author.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Price of Duty by Dale Brown


Dale Brown plucks his plots out of newspaper headlines.   This thriller continues with the Skymaster characters and focuses on cbyer warfare with Russian origins.  Obviously that is not much of a fictional stretch.  

The McLanahans are back as is ex-President Martindale.  The Iron Wolves are Martindale's Scion warriors.   As most of Brown's books, there is a focus on high tech weapons and cutting edge gadgets.  

The plot sadly depicts an ethically challenged American president and a group of patriotic Americans defying their own government by allying with former eastern bloc countries.

There is plenty of action and mayhem.   The potential for cyber warfare is entirely too probable and the results all together too devastating.  One can only hope that this near future remains fictional.

I recommend the book.


Web site: http://dalebrown.info/index02.htm


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles




Greg Iles is a master of tension.   I think I start all his books with that compliment.   This book matches Dead Sleep and Third Degree tense moment for tense moment but adds the disturbing note that much of the depicted violence actually took place.

I'm old enough to recall civil rights violence.  This book deals with the KKK, a splinter group of the KKK, the Double Eagles; a crazed boot strap millionaire; a crusading journalist and a family with a troubled past.   If that is not enough to pique your interest then you apparently have little or no imagination.

The hard part of reading this book is remembering the disappearance of three civil rights workers and the ensuing discovery of their murder was true.  As troubled as our current climate is regarding race, it has been worse.   That was hard to read and to realize the depravity that was novelized was reality based.

Iles writes a powerful story.

I strongly recommend.

web site: http://www.gregiles.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sammy's Broken Leg and the Amazing Cast by Judith Wolf Mandell



I think because I write books for kids that I am more critical when I read other author's books for kids.  I don't know if that is true but I really liked this book.   An irrepressible child finds herself limited by a broken thigh bone.   This book details the accident and the recovery.

The author did a great job in showing the child and her frustration but also showed how the well wishes of family and friends can help alleviate a difficult situation.

Kisses whooshing in to help made me feel better and I'm not a kid or don't have a broken bone.   Well done book for kids, even better for kids that may have been injured.

I highly recommend. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Octavio's Journey by Miguel Bonnefoy




This is one of those can't win situations.  Looking at all the accolades this book got seems to indicate that I should love it.   I didn't!   It was a coming of age story of an illiterate city dweller in Venezuela who learned to read, traveled often in bad company and grew older with some sort of transition into immortality.

The prose is often beautiful in the book with vivid and emotional descriptions of people and places.  Although the book has won a lot of awards, I just found it a touch confusing.  Octavio was not heroic but I think he was meant to be a role model peasant, the down trodden, broad shouldered, stoic soul who persists and survives regardless of life's perils. 

It was interesting. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tenderloin by Court Haslett


This book was based in the Tenderloin of San Francisco.  It is set in the time of Jim Jones and the mass suicide/mass murder in Guyana, 1978.  The story is peripherally related to that event and the fixed election and ensuing murder of Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk.

Sleeper Hayes is an ex-hippie who dabbles deeply in drugs, drinks and gambling.  He also is an unrepentant fixer or perhaps do-gooder.  His efforts to do favors for friends who are in trouble leads him to getting shot, stabbed and beaten.

Sleeper helps enough people that he has people in the strangest places owing him favors.  The author's description of the life of the Tenderloin residents is colorful.

This was loosely historical fiction.

I enjoyed the book.

Web: http://www.280steps.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Topsy Turvy World by Atak


My first reaction to the book was not positive.  After reading it, or looking at the pictures, I reached the back cover and discovered that my supposition was correct.  The book wasn't nonsensical it was educational.  I suppose it was nonsensical as well.   The goal of the book is to spot all of the things that have been turned topsy turvy.  The pages are so detailed that the child should be able to go through the book multiple times and still discover things that are upside down.  In addition their is a mouse on each page that has a vague resemblance to a theme park mouse and finding it on each page is another task.

After I realized what the books goals were and screwed it into my frame of reference lens, I really liked it.

Atak is a pseudonym for Hans-Georg Barber .
Web: http://flyingeyebooks.com/creator/atak-2/


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry



This was an intriguing book.  Russia as we know it today but slightly skewed.  The Russian people have set up a commission to decide who will be brought back as Tsar.  The decades of Communist rule have failed and the hope is that a return to an autocratic monarch will inspire the people and save Russia.

The author makes liberal use of the prophecies of Rasputin.  In the afterword he notes that they may have been made or fabricated by his (Rasputin's) daughter.   An American attorney is identified as the Raven and a Russian circus performer is identified as the Eagle.  These two are prophesied to bring the Romanov's back to the throne.

The author puts a wealth of action and a fair number of history lessons in the book.   The plot is intricate but not confusing.   The book provides an answer to the mystery of the murder of the Romanov's at the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution, or at least the author's fictional answer.

I recommend the book.

Web:  http://steveberry.org/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

THE ENCHANTMENT OF EMMA FLETCHER

THE ENCHANTMENT OF EMMA FLETCHER
L.D. Crichton
Pocket Star EBooks
Publication Date: March 13, 2017
ISBN: 9781501152313
Romance
$1.99

“The character development will draw readers into the story and have them rushing to find out what happens…Verdict: Romance readers who prefer a love story with a thriller twist will enjoy this page-turner. It’s perfect for those jumping from YA contemporary romance to more adult fiction.”
Library Journal STARRED REVIEWstarred review star

“L.D. Crichton has written a compelling story of overcoming tragedy and moving forward. I truly experienced the wide range of emotions felt by all the characters, as all feelings are conveyed with genuineness. THE ENCHANTMENT OF EMMA FLETCHER is heartfelt and very realistic…THE ENCHANTMENT OF EMMA FLETCHER is emotionally rewarding…L.D. Crichton has created an interesting story about true-to-life people, and I look forward to more books from this author.”
—Always Reviewing

About the book:
After Emma Fletcher is viciously attacked and left for dead, she flees to her old childhood hometown where she’s confronted with bitter memories of her damaged past and alcoholic mother. Emma is determined to make her stay temporary and get out with minimal emotional damage. What she doesn’t count on is Tristan Banks: auto mechanic, coffee addict, and town hottie with dark secrets of his own.

Tristan’s track record of saving girls has historically led to failure. The last thing he needs is trouble in the form of a leggy brunette with an attitude, but when he starts to fall for Emma, Tristan realizes the only way he can save her is to help her save herself.

About the author:
L.D. Crichton is the author of the only official fan fictions for both One Direction and Emblem3, commissioned by Sony Music Entertainment and Faculty Management Group. Crichton has over 7.5 million combined reads on Wattpad and her work has been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, the Daily Dot, Marketing magazine, Just Jared, VentureBeat, and Contently. She lives in Alberta, Canada. Please visit ldcrichton.com   and L.D. Crichton on Facebook
 and Twitter
.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Devil Colony by James Rollins



This is a Sigma Force Novel.  The Sigma Force is a quasi-commando organization operating under the auspices of the DOD.  Regardless of whether you have read any of the series, this book is worth reading.  It stands alone very well.   This would be a great script for an Indiana Jones movie.   There are biblical references, strange phenomena and futuristic action.   The first few sentences are a repeat of my last Rollin’s review, The Seventh Plague.

This book starts with a Thomas Jefferson mystery and then moves to the present.   A lost tribe of Israel and American Indians provide the meat of the drama.   A secret society currently identified by the Sigma Force as the Guild is the ruthless adversary.

There are dark villains and naïve protagonists as well as some familiar faces from the previous book.

The action is tilt-a-whirl like with not so fun house surprises.   I enjoy the inclusion of historic characters and secret society myths.

Again the story line is excellent and I recommend the book.


Web: http://jamesrollins.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Select by F. Paul Wilson




This is a stand alone book and not related to the Repairman Jack series.  Quinn Cleary has wanted to be a physician for as long as she can remember.  Despite her awesome intellectual successes as a student, her family is unable to afford medical school tuition.  She and her life long pal, Matt, apply to The Ingraham, the most prestigious medical school in the country.  Matt’s buddy, Tim, applies as well with no real drive to being a physician.   Tim’s eidetic memory and substantial intellect supersede his uncaring playboy attitude.  The three take the notorious Ingraham entrance exam and the fun begins.

The Ingraham may not be what it seems in spite of it’s providing a full boat for all those admitted.  It also requires strict adherence to it’s philosophical underpinnings. 

Tim’s rebellious behavior and Quinn’s abiding compassion lead the two down a path of perfidy.   Matt, although a bit player, provides a lifeline that is instrumental to some major upheavals.

Wilson suggests a frightening method of medical care and provides sufficient arguments which compel serious thought.

I recommend the book.

Site:  http://repairmanjack.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

First Family by David Baldacci


Michelle Maxwell and Sean King are Baldacci’s characters of choice
in this novel.  An incident in Sean’s past has dramatically unanticipated results decades later.  Those results involve the President, First Lady and several children as well as a grieving, revenge and anger filled father.

Sam Quarry is a larger than life character who inspires admiration and despair over his state of mind.   The story offers conflicting feelings regarding the lengths a parent would go to protect a child.  Baldacci successfully crafts a likeable villain. 

Likeability which I will note has gotten me some sour response when I have suggested that likeability impacts my feelings on books. A likeable characters does not have to be the good guy.  If I can’t connect to the characters then the plot better be truly masterful because for me, the character connection is paramount. 

Baldacci can do it all, provide an exemplary plot and likeable characters, even the villains. 

I highly recommend it.




This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.