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.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

No Game For a Dame by M. Ruth Myers

Maggie Sullivan pistol whips a breath of fresh air into the moldy corpse of the hard boiled dick.  (No Snicker, come on, we are all adults here!)  It is about time that the stalwarts like Travis Magee and Mike Hammer moved over for a broad with an attitude, a dame, a gat carrying, nylon wearing DAME!

Maggie's client is in over his head and Maggie finds her own head in jeopardy when she goes up against a psychotic rat of a mob boss.   The vernacular is like sipping a bit of VO, neat,  and recalling those first Mike Hammer books that enflamed my imagination.   The bulk of the references were old school prior to my birth. (I ain't dead yet but I ain't a spring chicken.)

I found the book entertaining, fast paced and well plotted.   It made me what to dig out a double breasted suit, dust off a fedora, slip a 38 in a shoulder holster and go out and combat evil.   The street wise newsie was probably more to my own personal experiences but I made much more money than he did, carrying papers in the 1950s.  

I recommend the book and look forward to seeing more of Maggie Sullivan.

 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, November 24, 2013

Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra

A lush novel set in Florence, Italy in 1914 and then 1929.  Rosa, a young woman of musical talents has to deal with the onset of Fascism.

The author does deep and colorful characterizations.   She makes the story quite personal and draws the reader into the story for their love of the characters.  Rosa, raised in an orphanage by Nuns, she spends the book trying to discover her roots.

The story is beset with intrigue, mystery and betrayal.   My wife was glued to this book for several days and devoured all 582 pages avidly.   This isn't just a romantic novel but more of a historic treatise or coming of age of a young lady in a tumultuous period of Italy's history.

My wife highly recommends this book.

Web site:

Tuscan Rose YouTube

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, November 20, 2013

The last Clinic by Gary Gusick

Darla Cavannah is a displaced Philadelphia Police Officer in the wilds of Mississippi. She is also the wife of the deceased NFL football hero, Hugh the Glue. These two facts combine to provide the necessary chemistry that turns a run of the mill mystery into an entertaining story.

Darla is a likeable character. Gusick crafted her well, giving her self deprecating humor while allowing her to be real. She shows her feelings and her competence.

The outlook on Mississippi is interesting. I don’t know Mississippi so I don’t know how accurate the characterization is of the environment. I do know small towns and the characterizations of small town characters and politics were spot on.

A good mystery with some incorporated levity. Thank you, Thank you very much!

I recommend the book.

Web site: none found

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, November 15, 2013

Death Overdue by Mary Lou Kirwin

This is the second in a series of books featuring a librarian as the main protagonist.   This story is centered in a B&B in London where a mysterious death results in an Agatha Christie/game of Clue situation.

Karen Nash is well portrayed as a middle age, Midwest  librarian.   She exhibits a stereotypical love of books and a somewhat distracted personality.   Having spent several semesters working in the college library, the portrayal seemed spot on to me.  

The mystery plot works well with the situation.   The characters are classical English boarding house residents.   Every scene doesn't have a "cuppa" but a lot of tea is consumed in the course of the investigation.

This book had the flavor of a 1950s Alfred Hitchcock type of story.   It had a very quaint but nevertheless entertaining feel.

I enjoyed the book.

I recommend the book.

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, November 10, 2013

The Affair by Lee Child

I know a head butt would be better. 

Parts of Reacher's past are explained in this book.  I recommend it as a first read as opposed to the order in which they were published.    As usual, when Reacher’s sense of justice is violated, mayhem ensues.

Reacher finds himself embroiled in political intrigue and a possible well connected serial killer.  Once again there is a startlingly beautiful woman involved.   Although he prides himself on being a loaner, Reacher's impact on others provides him with loyal allies.  

The murder of an innocent provides he impetus for Reacher's unique style of Old Testament retribution/justice.

As in all the Jack Reacher books I have read so far, there is non-stop action and lots of violence.  

I enjoyed the book and I recommend the book.

Web Site:

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, November 8, 2013

Excerpts From River of Bones by Angela J. Townsend

Excerpt # 1 from River of Bones by Angela J. Townsend:

I shuffled into the living room looking for Wolf. He sat in front of the hearth staring at the skull. He glanced at me when I came in, then leaped to his feet and took my elbow.
“I’m ready for bed,” I said. “Can you help me get up the stairs?”
“Sure,” he said.  “But why don’t you just sleep down here where I can keep an eye on you.”
“Because I have to have the skull under my bed, remember? Down here there’s no bed, only a couch, and I’m not taking any chances. My throat is killing me. I’m getting weaker. Wolf, I’m scared. My whole life, I’ve taken care of myself and Benny. What will happen to my brother if I die?”
Wolf grabbed my shoulders. “Don’t talk like that. We’re gonna beat this thing. Whatever it is.”  He snatched the skull, tucked it under his arm, and bent down. “Get on my back and I’ll give you a ride.”
I hesitated. “What if I'm too heavy?”
Wolf laughed. “You're far from heavy, Dharma. Look, you need to start trusting me. And you have to start trusting yourself. You are stronger than you think you are, and you’re braver than you know. Now hop on.”
I wrapped my arms around his neck, and collapsed against him. “Thanks,” I said, inhaling his woodsy scent.
Wolf labored up the steps, every muscle in his strong back flexing beneath me. At the landing, I slid off and hobbled down the hallway to the master bedroom.
“Good thing I made the bed last night,” Wolf said.
“You did? Wow, thanks.”
“I had to have something to do while you were sleeping.”
He pulled back the blankets and held them up so I could climb into the soft bed. Wolf got on his knees and slid the skull underneath the creaky springs.
“You sure you’re going to be okay up here?”
“I hope so,” I said. “At this point, nothing matters but sleep, even if I don’t wake up.”
“Are you sure about that?” Wolf said. He gazed into my eyes and leaned in close, his lips almost touching my forehead. My heart skipped. For a moment, I thought he was going to kiss me, but instead he placed a hand against my cheek.
“You still feel like you have a fever. No wonder, with everything you've been through.” He pulled away. “I’m going to camp right outside the door. Call me if you need anything.”
“Thanks,” I said. It felt good knowing he would be so close. I couldn’t blame him for not kissing me. My heart sank, I'm sure I looked totally gross. I closed my eyes, listening to his hollow footsteps as he walked away.
Every sound set my nerves on edge—the howling wind, the rattling shutters, the clatter of pipes, a weird scraping outside my window. Then I heard another noise. A different kind of noise. Low. Raspy. I strained to hear against the wind, and held my breath. The eerie sound stuttered in the darkness.
Heavy, mucus-filled breathing.
Coming from under the bed.

Excerpt # 2 from River of Bones by Angela J. Townsend:

The rain faded and fog swirled around the bog in the distance, creeping through rows of cypress trees, disguising the landscape in a blinding haze of white.  Through the choking fog, a dark figure crawled crablike from the water. I strained to see in the mist. Could a gator rise above the weeds like that? As I watched, it pushed itself upright—no, definitely not a gator.
I looked over to where Wolf had disappeared around the side of the house, my heart racing as a sick feeling settled into my gut. I cast a glance back to where I had seen the shape moving…
And it was closer! It had almost reached the house, shambling in an awkward way, as though it were not truly walking but moving in time with strings rather than muscles. And I could see it now much more clearly. Its head was bowed, with a matted rope hung around its neck, dripping with sludge. Muck and water dripped from the rotted garment hanging on its—no, her—body, as if her very insides were leaking the fluids dripping from her frame. A rag circled her head, dirty with muck, pulled slightly to the side, exposing a bare spot where her hair and ear should have been.   
Paralyzing terror sawed through my spine. Run! Move! I stood rooted to the spot. Head still down, the figure raised a boney finger pointing at me, hobbling grotesquely toward the house.
Fear scrambled my thoughts. I had to warn Wolf! Adrenaline surged. I sprang into action, raising my hand to beat on the window, when something slammed into the back of my knees.

Excerpt # 3 from River of Bones by Angela J. Townsend:

My cheeks blazed, I opened my mouth to speak, fighting for words that wouldn't make me sound like a fool, when something shuffled upstairs again.
Wolf stared at the ceiling, his brow creased. “What's that?”
“I don't know. I heard it just before you came in. I was going to ask you to come with me to check it out.”
He walked from the kitchen to the foot of the stairs and peered into the dark stairwell. I put Benny into the playpen with his sippy cup and toys before following Wolf up the stairs. Just as we reached the landing, the hollow footsteps sounded again. Wolf glanced over his shoulder and whispered, “It might be the pipes rattling. Old houses can make all kinds of random noises.  Stay close and let’s do some exploring.”
We checked out each room, finding nothing but dust and building materials from half-finished renovations. Then we came to the second staircase, which led to the third floor. Steep and narrow, it swept much higher than the one leading to the second floor. I held tight to the handrail, following Wolf to the third floor landing. Five doors, all closed, lined the narrow hallway, two on either side and one at the end.
“Let’s hurry. I have to get back to Benny,” I said, taking a giant step and tripping over my own feet. I landed hard, spraining my wrist.  
“Are you all right?” Wolf said, scooping me up. I started to dissolve in his strong arms. He stared into my eyes for several seconds, then grabbed my hand and placed it against his lips. His mouth parted under my hand and his breath danced across my fingertips. I could hardly breathe. Heat seared into my face.
“Yeah, I'm okay,” I said softly.  I pulled back my hand–my body tingling in places I didn't know I had.
The footsteps sounded again. Wolf helped me to my feet, his eyes wide and alert. “It’s coming from down the hall. Stay behind me.”
We tiptoed to the end of the hallway to the last door. Wolf gripped the glass doorknob. “Who’s in there?” He called. A faint flutter or shuffle could be heard on the other side of the door. Wolf turned the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. “It’s locked.”
Whispering voices traveled under the threshold. Footsteps sounded again.
“Open up, we’re coming in!” Wolf said. He glanced at me, his eyes hard. “I’m gonna break it down. Stand back.”
I took a step away and Wolf shoved hard on the door. It flew open and every ounce of me begged for it to be closed again.
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, November 7, 2013

River of Bones by Angela Townsend



Title:  River of Bones
Author:  Angela J. Townsend
Published:  October 30th, 2013 by Clean Teen Publishing
Word Count:  50,000
Genre:  YA Horror
Recommended Age:  14+
When 17-year-old Dharma Moore moves to Bayou country so her scam artist mother can work as a Paranormal Investigator, she discovers more than ghosts haunt the abandoned plantation they now call home. Centuries ago, a voodoo curse was placed on the swamp waters surrounding the old plantation by a murdered slave. A terrible curse that snares Dharma. To save herself, she must face the terror of the haunted waters, find the dead woman's skull and convince the slave's soul to release her from its torments. However, there is more to this curse for Dharma personally than anyone else knows as she discovers an ancient secret that links herself to the property—a secret kept from her by her own family. To survive, she must accept the help of locals and to learn to embrace the truth—that magic is not only real, but that it can be very, very deadly!

About the Author:
Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.

Angela's first novel, Amarok, was published through Spencer Hill Press in 2012. Her newest novel, Angus MacBain and The Island of Sleeping Kings, was signed for publication with Clean Teen Publishing and released in September 2013. Her most recent young adult horror novel, River of Bones, is scheduled to release late October 2013.

Angela resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant.

Clean Teen Publishing Links:

Giveaway Details:
There is an international tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
·         GRAND PRIZE: One eBook of the reader's choice from the Clean Teen Publishing catalog, bookmark prize pack, and $15 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come back tomorrow and read excerpts from River of Bones!

Visit these other fine blogs on this tour:

  • November 4th – Laurie @ Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews (Interview)
  • November 5th – Cristina B. @ Bibliophile Mystery (Spotlight)
  • November 5th – Armand @ Armand Rosamilia (Spotlight)
  • November 6th – Flora @ From the Bootheel Cotton Patch (Spotlight)
  • November 7th – Amber @ The Wonderings of One Person (Interview)
  • November 7th – William @ Pick of the Literate (Spotlight)
  • November 8th – Deborah @ Written by Deb (Interview)
  • November 8th – S.Cu’Anam @ Cu’s eBook Giveaways (Spotlight)
  • November 11th – Jude @ One More Chapter (Book Review)
  • November 12th – Jessica @ Jess’s Book Blog (Book Review)
  • November 13th – Marcy @ Marcy Rachel Designs (Spotlight)
  • November 14th – Jaidis @ Juniper Grove (Interview)
  • November 14th – Autumn @ Fallen Over Book Reviews (Spotlight)
  • November 15th – Anila @ A Writer’s Dark Corner (Book Review)
  • November 15th – Laurie @ Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews (Book Review)
  • Saturday, November 2, 2013

    Dirty Martini by J.A. Konrath

    Jack Daniels is a hot female detective as well as the obvious.   She finds herself stung by the wrath of a serial poisoner in this novel.

    I really enjoyed Konrath’s Cherry Bomb and Shot of Tequila.   This book  is classic Jack Daniels.  Jack is not a woman to trifle with in any situation.   I have made it clear that I enjoy strong female protagonists.   Strong, smart, good looking and sometimes mean just adds icing to the cake of a female police lieutenant in Chicago’s PD.

    The plot is intricate without being confusing.   The author successfully shows a depth to her characters.   They are not mere cut outs but real live and often quirky people.   

    There is plenty of action and adventure along with a lot of humor in this book.

    This is an excellent mystery and I I highly recommend it.

    Web Site:

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