Required Reading

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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.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Lethal Agent by Kyle Mills

The book is billed as Lethal Agent by Vince Flynn but since he is deceased it is merely put on the cover to get Flynn’s readers to try Kyle Mills writing about Mitch Rapp.  Rapp, Flynn’s most popular protagonist, appears to be a bit more violent in Mills’ version.  This book is about a long time terrorist enemy of Mitch Rapp, trying to attack the U.S. with a biological weapon.

The book is action packed and adrenaline fueled.   I have not read any Flynn in awhile so my impressions may be erroneous.   The book seemed more violent and the characters seemed less detailed than I recall.  Again, note that I have not read any Vince Flynn’s books recently.

I enjoyed the book but I felt it was strong on action and weak on character development.   I guess I remember more depth to Flynn’s characters, this time they seemed more two dimensional and not as relatable.   With that said, if I wasn’t comparing it to Vince Flynn, I would have enjoyed it more.

I liked the book, it is different than Flynn though. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Friday, October 23, 2020

Preview of Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger

Read an excerpt from the

New Fall Historical Romance
Prospects of a Woman
by Wendy Voorsanger
“The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”



lisabeth counted the stitches holding together their dingy canvas tent. Twice. She got 946 both times. Cooped up in the midday heat, she seethed at Nate for leaving her alone. They’d lost too much time already. Refusing to wait another goddamn minute on his frittering and scheming, she untied the tent flaps and crawled out, stretching her arms long overhead. A soft air of relief touched her cheeks. Aching with hunger, she stumbled downriver, in the direction of Culoma Town. She hadn’t eaten since a bite of beans for breakfast the day before.
Nate had left early that morning, again. Gone digging for gold in the river, refusing to let her join. Telling her to stay put. Warning about unsavory men roaming around, men with a mind to take what they will. Elisabeth was done waiting on him to bring her something decent to eat. She grabbed her satchel and headed for the river trail, thinking on how she’d get food in her belly with no money left. 

 She wasn’t thinking about the roaming men but about the blisters on her feet still burning something awful from that long journey getting to the river. Elisabeth walked all afternoon alongside the American River roiling loud, cutting through the valley, tempting her. Tempting Nate. Her eyes burned with the honest light shining lush and vibrant through the narrow valley. The grass glowed golden along the river trail, and the rich green pines marched up the steep sides of the canyon, swaying alive and standing taller and fuller than the scraggly pitch pines at home in Concord. Warm air whooshed through the branches, spreading a sweet smell around.

Arriving in Culoma Town, Elisabeth picked her way through a mess of empty tents strewn haphazard. Plopping down on a log in the center of town, she unlaced her boots to let her stockinged feet breathe and witnessed new beginnings. Industrious fellas buzzed around, hammering up buildings with fresh-hewn boards and siding and plank floors and shingle roofs. Jabbering and rushing. Heaving pails and shovels and pans and timber. Haggling for food and supplies. No women milled about, and she wondered if they were all hiding away too.

Some of the fellas in town noticed her sitting alone on the log. One man dropped his hammer and walked over, stammering and stuttering as if he hadn’t seen a woman in years. She smiled polite, introducing herself as Mrs. Nathaniel Parker. More men came. And more. Until over a dozen stood around gawking at the only woman in Culoma Town. She pulled at her dress collar. Shifted her bottom on the log. Cleared her throat. When a few of the men sat down in the crisped-up grass like they had all the time to waste, she wondered why but didn’t dare ask. A fella with a long curly beard dripping down his chin offered her a cup of cool river water. She took it, gulping. Wiping her cheek with the back of her hand, she reddened with shame. When one man tossed two bits into her empty cup she looked at him coolly, thinking him daft. When another coin clinked into the cup, then another, she didn’t give them back. Didn’t look at the coins either. She simply stared up at the clear sky, fanning herself with her shabby straw hat, acting like she couldn’t care less if those foolish men wanted to waste good money just to sit near a woman looking not exactly pretty.

 “I’m not out here to beg,” she said.
“Of course not,” said the long-beard fella.
She shuffled her unlaced boots, tamping down the dry grass.
“I’m simply out getting some air,” she said.
“We all see that,” he said.

An older man, wrinkled up like a prune, scooted up to her left knee. She caught him looking her up and down, leering, and she wanted to slap him for the lack of manners but held back. Letting men stare for money was unseemly, no matter the circumstances, but she knew each clink of a coin meant she and Nate would eat tonight. Oh, he’d be furious, of course. He’d probably even accuse her of flirting. Maybe she was. Flirting. Encouraging. She didn’t care. She needed a proper supper and a hot bath. Besides, the men seemed harmless.

She considered how many coins those fools had given her, but was too afraid to count for fear they’d wise up to this absurd payment-for-gawking scheme and demand all those coins back. The men stared at her wide-eyed while a pecker pounded on a nearby trunk, knocking and knocking for grubs, matching the thud in her head.

“Any of you know a Henry Goodwin?” Elisabeth asked.
“That your husband?”
“My father. He settled a claim up the North Fork,” she said.
It’d been nearly a month since he’d run off with that Indian girl, and she still stung sore and angry at his leaving. She convinced herself he’d change his mind. Convinced he’d return to the claim eventually.

“Sing us a song?” A prune-face fella asked.
“Not hardly,” she said.
“Can’t? Or won’t?”

Not exactly delicate, Elisabeth lacked the finer qualities admired in most ladies. Her singing sounded more feeble frog than melodious finch, and she had no patience for sitting still for parlor conversations, finding the feminine topics of curtain colors and canning peaches dreadfully dull. Nate said she walked too heavy, but she knew he’d appreciated her strong back when they’d taken turns pushing their cart loaded down with his case of books through the foothills and into the river basin.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  

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

Author Wendy Voorsanger

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

This is a old fashion spy novel.  Tourist are CIA agents that roam the world doing nefarious activities or patriotic depending on your viewpoint.  Milo Weaver is introduced as an agent that seems to run afoul of both enemies and friends.

Translated books often fail to adjust to the venue for which they are translated.   This book appears to be written to be translated, in that I mean due to the subject matter, the protagonist and the CIA. 

There is a very involved plot and it sets up two future books.

I enjoyed the book and 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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Annihilation Protocol by Michael Laurence

This is the follow up to The Extinction Agenda.  Special Agent James Mason is back and he has a serious ax to grind base on the events in the previous book.   The Novichok agent is in play and the Thirteen (a global cabal) are feuding.  

There is action galore.  Mason is not sure who to trust besides his known cohorts, Ramses and Gunnar.  His newest partner may or may not be tasked with killing him.   The plot is complex with historic context.   The development of The Novichok agent is based on the historic precedents of the Nazi and Japanese war criminals of WWII.  That fact and the fact that a Russian dissent was recently poisoned and a Novichok agent was mentioned in some of the news articles provides a truly chilling reality to this work of fiction.

My own father was stationed at both Edgewood Arsenal and Camp Siebert for training on the retaliatory use of chemical agents if the Nazis had used it on our troops.  This is a thought-provoking book and although I enjoyed reading it, I can’t say I’m thrilled with some of the potential premises. 

 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, October 9, 2020

Thieves by Steven Max Russo

This may have been a morality play.   It seems like it may want you to question what would you do if you were scrambling to survive and an opportunity came up to dramatically improve your life without causing major damage to someone else.    Stir into that recipe a sociopath on the run from a cartel.   

Russo portrayed a truly despicable character in Skooley.  Skooley was a sociopath.   Weak impulse control, sly, prone to bursts of rage and occasionally able to feign sociability.   His fate could ignite little or no remorse. 
The inferences that Russo made to the Russel’s background were more than adequate to explain the cash caching impulses that were demonstrated.

Esmeralda demonstrates a flexible morality that may accompany abject working poverty.   Haves struggle to understand have nots and vice versa.

Lorretta exhibits the emotional devastation that can result in a close encounter with a perverse predator.  

I enjoyed the book and 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.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

How to Astronaut by Terry Virts

Terry Virts is an astronaut.  This book is about his life as an astronaut.   In spite of his accomplishments as a fighter pilot, he defines his life as an astronaut.

The book details the training and life of an astronaut.   Virts has a self-deprecating attitude about his accomplishments.  He clearly defines that the type of personality needed to be an astronaut is extraordinarily competitive.  This carries into tasks that are not competitive but made so by the participants.

Virts makes light of the dangers and indignities dealt with on a daily basis when orbiting the earth.   The people who become astronauts are the best of the best.  

An interesting book, I 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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Short Cut by J. Gregory Smith

I’ve enjoyed reading Smith’s books since he started writing.  I feel fortunate to have discovered him early as it has been a pleasure seeing him develop as a writer.   This book is the Reluctant Hustler Book 2.   Now I have to get book one as I really enjoyed this book.   Kyle is the reluctant hustler.   He finds himself then unwitting heir of Ryan’s favor business.  These aren’t party favors; these favors are both life threatening and life-saving. 

Smith has the ability to bring characters to life.   Kyle is now a real person.  I think I know VP.  This is just an indication of the skill Smith has used to make his fictional people gritty, flawed and real.   The story is believable as are the characters.

J. Gregory Smith writes a captivating and highly entertaining story. 

I heartily recommend the book.

BTW I did receive this book in exchange for an honest review.  An honest review is what I have given.  No favors, in spite of the book’s favor theme, were exchanged, no gifts received except the delight of reading a well crafted story. 

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