Required Reading

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. I do not collect information on my readers. If cookies or other tracking stuff is used on my blogs it is due to BLOGGER not ME. Apparently the European Union's new rules state I need to inform you if cookies are being use. If they are it isn't byu me, consider yourself INFORMED.
Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't, whether I got it free or NOT!

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.

Friday, December 27, 2019

A Hundred Million Years And A Day by Jean-Baptiste Andrea


This is a soul-searching book.  The protagonist is looking at his life.  He is a career frustrated paleontologist searching for a holy grail, any holy grail.

Stan, the paleontologist, draws his friend Umberto into his obsession.   Stan has a clue to a huge discovery in the mountains.   He accompanies Stan into the mountains to look for an unlikely fossil. 
The Alps are erratic and unforgiving.  Stan is no longer young and is the hold back for the trek.   Peter is an ancillary character that seems to have little to add to the plot except for his puppet.  

Stan spend some flashback time looking at his troubled childhood.

The details on the glacier are well done, you feel a chill as you read. 

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, December 21, 2019

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Hannah has successfully portrayed the horrific occupation of France by Germany in WWII.   She does this through the use of a dysfunctional family and their experiences in the war.  

Isabelle was a self-centered teen who would fit right in with the Valley Girls.   She through herself into situations with little or no fore thought.   She was constantly striving to be loved by her father.
Vianne was Isabelle’s older sister.  The difference in age of several years when young seems unbridgeable and inconsequential later in life.  Vianne, too, sought her father’s love.

The book primarily shows the growth and depredation the two girls experience through the war.  
The overview of history and how France was self-deluded into ignoring the Germans is often seen but Hannah makes you live if through the experiences of her characters.

The depths of soul that Isabelle and Vianne plumb are awe inspiring.


This was a thought-provoking 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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Enigma by Catherine Coulter

Two mysteries intertwined with no connection.   The title is based on a mysterious stranger who claims he is an enigma who attempts to kidnap a pregnant woman.   The other mystery is the escape of a manipulatively charming rogue who murders his way to freedom.

This is a Savich and Sherlock mystery.   The two are a married duo of FBI agents who are supported by a rudimentary AI laptop named Max.  They are somewhat ambivalent about the rule of law and tend to utilize whatever method will solve the crime or save the victim.

This had plenty of action, some violence, Russians, genetic manipulations, psychological aberrations and heroism.  


I enjoyed it 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.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter


Violence, mayhem, more violence, this book is just over flowing with violence.   The interaction between Bud, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper, and Lamar, an escaped psychopathic convict, is the main plot of the book.

Lamar has equally depraved sidekicks.   Bud is a very flawed lawman.   The author does a great job in showing how someone can be stellar in one area of their life and spectacularly flawed in the personal life.  

There is never ending action and lots of violence.

It was entertaining but sometimes difficult to read due to amoral aspects of the characters. 

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, December 7, 2019

The Secret of the King’s Tomb by Garrett Drake



Richard Haliburton was a true adventurer.   I have a moth eaten, dog eared copy of a book from the 1940’s chronicling his adventures.  Drake turned him into a fictional character for this book.   He included Dr. Howard Carter another real person who really discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun.  This is a fictionalized account of Haliburton, as an American agent,  assisting Carter in finding the tomb while preventing Germans from seizing the treasure found within.
Haliburton was portrayed as having little common sense and open for every experience.  Oddly enough that is no too far from the real Haliburton.   Haliburton did swim in the Taj Mahal reflection pool and he even swam the Panama Canal.   The story had plenty of action but I was not enthralled with the presentation.  The book felt more like one of the serialized thrillers on the radio in the early fifties. 

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, December 2, 2019

No Past Tense by D.Z. Stone


This is not a Holocaust book as much as a historic perspective of two remarkable people who lived through the Holocaust.  

Kati and Willi Salcer experience things no human being should have to experience.  As a history teacher I was sadly well versed in the horrors of the Holocaust but that was an in general kind of knowledge.  The lives of Kati and Willi brought home a more personal knowledge and perhaps due to the more personal nature the knowledge was all the more horrific.

These two people underwent things beyond our imagination and came out the other side both strong and hopeful.   Their accomplishments to go from penniless to successful while dealing with the trauma of their lives is remarkable.


The book is neither easy to read or a comfortable read but it is worth reading. 

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 28, 2019

Persuader by Lee Child



Jack Reacher finds himself caught up in trying to write a decade old wrong.   He goes undercover and discovers nothing is as it seems.

This was a little more graphic than Child normally.  The detailed atrocities are motivation for Reacher.   Oddly I don’t recall a single head butt in the book but as they are normally ubiquitous, I may have just glossed over it.

This was a high intensity, graphically violent book that generates sympathy for old testament judgement. 

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, November 23, 2019

Where The Crawdads Sing By Delia Owen

I didn’t plan on liking this book.    I tend to avoid “best” sellers as I seldom agree with them being best in anything but sales.   This book, however, surprised me.  This brings new meaning to human interest.   The life of Kya is illustrative of prejudice and redemption.

The story is slow but the characterization of Kya is just amazing.  You feel as if you have made a connection to an entirely imaginary friend.   A definition of loneliness, she finds attributes that neither she nor the world could have anticipated.   Her reflection of nature and applying it to human behavior was interesting.   I am quite fond of anthropomorphism and it was interesting to see applied in reverse.  

Don’t anticipate lots of action, due expect a story you will remember.

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.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Two Dads, Two Moms, Two Kids by William G. Bentrim


My latest book needs reviews.  If you are willing to review the book go to www.bentrim.info  and click on contact form and send me a message with your email address.   I will be putting the Kindle version of the book up for free on Amazon for reviews in the near term. 

The number of kids harming themselves due to confusion over their gender or their family situation regarding gender is increasing.   It breaks my heart to read the obituary of a kid who was just confused.   My hope is this book will at least help one kid feel more comfortable in their life and less likely to engage in often fatal behavior.

The family of today may not be the same as the family of yesterday.  Regardless of structure, if love and nurturing are present, if children are valued and protected it is a family. This book hopes to show that differing family structures need not be confusing.  


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

Shamus Dust by Janet Roger


These are old style fedora detective stories.  An American detective in London not long after World War II is a traditional gumshoe.   Looking for a murderer becomes looking for murderers.  

Newman seems to get hit on the head with great frequency.   The book is written in the style of the days when a private detective pulled his hat low and had a cigarette hanging from his lip.   The prose is florid and expansive.   The author is so detailed I got a chill from sitting in a winter alley with a hooker.  

I think fans of Raymond Chandler will love 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.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Firewall by Eugenia Lovett West


This was a mystery that was loosely focused on cybercrime.   The plot moved from location to location while leaving a body each time.   It read like a series of somewhat disjointed short stories.
I have mixed feelings about this book.   I anticipated more technology and a clearer focus on cybercrime.   Cybercrime is alluded to but the focus was really on Emma Streat and her foibles.
Emma appears to be conflicted in her emotions.   She also seems to connect to men who have one foot on a banana peel and the other in a grave.

I liked the strength shown by Emma, that was one of the more redeeming characteristics of 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.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Educated by Tara Westover



Once again, I am unimpressed by the overwhelming praise for a best-selling book.  The memoir of an abused woman who achieved success through intellectual achievement in spite of never attending school should be inspiring.   Instead this book left me angry and depressed that anyone had to suffer to the extent the author suffered.

It is clear that our society suffers the existence of pockets of oppression and insular behavior that has no recognition of mental depravity.

It is dismaying, in my opinion, that it took as long as it did for the author to recognize she was abused by a browbeaten subservient mother and a father and brother who obviously labored under undiagnosed mental illness.

I didn’t like the book and I can’t 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, November 3, 2019

Spotlight on Lost Tomorrows by Matt Coyle


Latest installment of award-winning Rick Cahill series explores revenge and tragedy in electrifying thriller

SAN DIEGO – Weaving the tragedies of the past into the realities of the present, Anthony-award winning author Matt Coyle’s gripping new mystery “Lost Tomorrows” (Dec. 3, 2019, Oceanview) — the latest installment of the beloved Rick Cahill series — carries revenge, redemption, and the hopes of new love in all one action-packed thriller.
When Rick Cahill receives an unexpected call that his former police partner, Krista Landingham, has been found dead, he realizes he can’t avoid his past any longer. Hired by her sister to investigate Krista’s death, Rick follows clues toward the terrible truth that his former partner’s death wasn’t an accident but rather a murder. Along the way, Rick unearths secrets long-hidden about the tragic death of his wife.

With his past colliding with his present, Rick must make a decision: Will he embrace the terrible actions necessary for revenge and redemption, or is he a different kind of man?




MATT COYLE is the author of the Rick Cahill mysteries. His books have won the Anthony Award, Ben Franklin Silver Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Silver Award, and San Diego Book Award, and have been nominated for multiple Anthony Awards, Macavity Awards, Shamus Awards, Lefty Awards, and San Diego Book Awards. Matt has a degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Private Eye Writers of America, and the International Association of Crime Writers. Aside from writing novels, Matt hosts the Crime Corner podcast on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network and lives in San Diego with his yellow Lab, Angus.

Early praise for Lost Tomorrows:
“Sharp, suspenseful, and poignant, LOST TOMORROWS hits like a breaking wave and pulls readers into its relentless undertow. Matt Coyle is at the top of his game.”
— Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of the Unsub series

"Private investigator Rick Cahill returns in Matt Coyle's new book, LOST TOMORROWS.  Cahill has been run out of town, wrongly accused of killing his wife. He's depressed, drinking and emotionally wrung out. A new murder investigation draws him back to the town that hates him, and he's forced to partner up with his primary accuser. Like the entire Cahill series, the story is suspenseful, tightly written, full of curveballs and memorable characters and very, very smart.  Welcome back, Rick. We're really glad to see you."
— Joe Ide, author of the award-winning IQ series

“. . . For those who admire old-school PI style, there's plenty to savor here.”
— Booklist

  
An Interview with
Matt Coyle

 “Lost Tomorrows” is the sixth installment of the Rick Cahill mysteries. What compels you to continue to explore Rick’s story?
Since the death of his wife 14 years ago, Rick’s whole life has been a quest for redemption. Each case he takes, each story I write, is a chance for him to get closer to completing his quest. Sadly for Rick, he rarely feels close to achieving redemption.

Where did the idea for your protagonist, Rick Cahill, come from?
I knew I wanted a disgraced ex-cop with something dark and unresolved in his past. However, it wasn’t until a sentence came to me for the ether (my subconscious) while I was revising the first draft of the first book that I really began to get a sense of who Rick Cahill was. The sentence, which became the first sentence in “Yesterday’s Echo”: The first time I saw her she made me remember and she made me forget. With that line, I realized Rick’s past was much darker than I originally anticipated. Something truly awful had happened to him that changed his life irrevocably.

Last December, you quit your job to become a full-time writer. How has this decision shaped your life and work?
It’s given me much needed time to tackle all facets of a writer’s life. Not just the writing but the marketing necessary to build a career.

You have quite the resume when it comes to the genres of mystery and crime fiction. Why do you love mysteries so much?
I love mysteries/crime fiction because it allows you to explore character, solve a puzzle, and seek justice all in one story. Justice may not be achievable, or if it is, it may not be the criminal justice system’s version of it. I write P.I. fiction because I like the idea of one man or woman fighting powerful forces to find their own justice.

In “Lost Tomorrows,” you dive into some ways that the past interacts with the present. Why did you choose to explore this idea, and have you seen it play out in your own life?
I don’t think it started as a conscious decision, but the more I wrote Rick Cahill the more I realized that every action he took was an effort to get square him with the past. Beyond that, I realized that every bad decision he’s made in his past has to have repercussions that affect his present. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the title of the first book, “Yesterday’s Echo,” is really the arc of Rick’s life. The echos are always chasing him.
Sadly, an aspect of this played out in my own life. No details, but a knee jerk action I took in a dispute when I was young had lasting consequences for me and my family. Nothing violent, tragic or illegal, just something I wish I hadn’t done.

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, November 2, 2019

Beware of #FREE media on Sketchy Web Sites

WARNING!!
Be Skeptical! Google
notified me one of my books was being advertised on a free eBook site. Since the only place my eBooks are ever free is on Amazon or directly from me, I checked it out. The original link led to a 2nd URL that led to a third URL which Norton identified as a malware site. Looking at the headers, it appears to be in the UK but the link leads to Russia. The site offers "free" music, books and movies which you may get but along with the "free" media expect your computer to be corrupted. I am disturbed that one of my titles may entice someone to corrupt their computer. There is no recourse on my part. My advice is to be aware than many of the "free" offerings have destructive strings attached.

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, October 28, 2019

The Extinction Agenda by Michael Laurence

The Extinction Agenda by Michael Laurence
Another cabal novel that sadly has a plausibility factor.   Mason is an obsessed FBI agent whose determination to bring to justice the evil villain that killed his partner and a whole team of his peers.  Mason married well and has rejected his own silver spoon.   The man becomes manic to his obsession.

Mason has two extra-legal friends.  Gunnar and Ramses appear to dislike each other and their only common ground seems to be their friendship with Mason.

The novel postulates a overwhelming world population and steps needed to cure the problem.



This wasn’t as entertaining as thought provoking.

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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Spotlight on Shamus Dust by Janet Roger













Literary crime fiction melds Cold War, American film noir
Advanced praise compares ‘SHAMUS DUST’ to Chandler’s ‘The Big Sleep’


SHAMUS DUST (Troubador, October 28, 2019) features Newman, an American private investigator living and working as an expat in London – in the pulsing financial heart of the City to be exact, a single square mile, confined, claustrophobic, and hard on the outsider. Additionally, readers are met with a bold, diverse cast of women, including the temporary Forensic Medical Examiner. Kathryn Swinford is well-qualified, capable, and clear-eyed, a woman who knows her own mind. But even in the liberating aftermath of World War II, she’s a high-flying anomaly, treading warily in the men’s club of City money-making.

Two candles flaring at a Christmas crib. A nurse who steps inside a church to light them. A gunshot emptied in a man’s head in the creaking stillness before dawn, that the nurse says she didn’t hear. It’s 1947 in the snowbound, war-scarred City of London, where Pandora’s Box just got opened in the ruins; City Police has a vice killing on its hands, and a spooked councilor hires a shamus to help spare his blushes. Like the Buddha says, everything is connected. So it all can be explained. But that’s a little cryptic when you happen to be the shamus, and you’re standing over a corpse.

This is great – it’s elegant and spare but still cloaks itself in a terrific atmosphere. I liked the backstreet whores and the tipster barbers; the gold-leaf dining rooms and the tenement bedrooms. For me, it rang of Chandler – a grey-skied, British Big Sleep
– Atlantic Books


JANET ROGER: Janet is a writer and an avid fan of film noirs, those movies first crafted in Hollywood that span a golden decade from the mid-1940s. She calls film noir the “ground-breaking cinema of its time, peopled with an unforgettable cast of the era’s seen-it-all survivors, slick grifters, racketeers, the opulent and the corrupt.” She’s fascinated by the period, the generation that came through it, and the hardboiled detective fiction it inspired. SHAMUS DUST is her homage. Outside of writing, and life on a small island off the coast of Africa, she seeks out English-language bookstores wherever she goes. The audiobook for SHAMUS DUST proudly features the vocal talents of John Reilly (CBS Radio, The Disney Channel), whose reading captures the noir mood and rhythms beautifully. To learn more about SHAMUS DUST and Janet Roger, visit https://www.shamusdust.com/


An Interview with
JANET ROGER

For readers who are unfamiliar with SHAMUS DUST, how would you describe this book? 
London’s square mile of high finance – the City – at Christmastime 1947. An apparent vice killing spooks a City councilor into hiring Newman, an American private eye, who follows up two twisting trails. One takes him to the rackets, to a police murder investigation, and the City’s own grandees. The second takes him into the ruins left by wartime bombing, to make sense of what he’s finding out about his own client. Newman’s problem is that more killings cut off all avenues even as he joins up the dots, until he has choices to make: what to let go and who to let burn, in a square mile where the money always holds the aces.

SHAMUS DUST features Newman, an American PI, living and working in the City of London. What is important to know about his placement and displacement as an expat?
At the time of the story, Newman has been an American in London for nigh-on twenty years, having arrived there in the Depression era for the chance of a job in the City. He lands work as an insurance investigator, then spends his war attached to a British Army unit (tracking down military supply fraud, but that’s another story). War over, he's back in the City, going it alone as a gumshoe, one of very many Americans still around in postwar London, both in and out of uniform. In photos from those years you’ll see GIs everywhere on furlough, strolling Soho and Trafalgar Square, and while a civilian like Newman stands out less in a crowd, it’s not and never will be his town. There’s his accent obviously, his problem with tea-drinking and the everlasting island weather. But in the end, it’s the different manners and mores that keep any of us a little off-balance in a country that’s not our own. And for all Newman has known London half his lifetime, he’s no exception. He moves in a world that still feels slightly out of kilter, recognizable but always elusive. I think that vague sense of unease could be a key to the man.

Hard Winter. Cold War. Cool Murder. It’s the novel’s subtitle, and the mention of the Cold War gives the novel a contemporary feel, doesn’t it? What significance does the setting have for you?
You’re absolutely right, Cold War is in the air again. What’s more, the viciousness and brutalities of the original are revisited to marvelous effect in John Le CarrĂ©’s latest (A Heritage of Spies). I still have to remind myself that it’s almost three-quarters of a century since the chill first descended, so at one level, the way that the Cold War played out in ordinary lives will be new to a generation that – thankfully – didn’t have to experience it. Now it’s true that many of the characters winding through Shamus Dust (or through Le CarrĂ© for that matter) could hardly be called ordinary. Shamus Dust, after all, tells of a private investigation that cuts through official corruption, vice rackets, police protection and murder. Nonetheless it’s a story set against the regular pulse of a London recovering from war, in a period when dark and twisted is the new normal, and many of the conflicts and tensions we’re inured to now were already up and running. That said, let’s be absolutely clear: Shamus Dust is no superpower spy intrigue or licence-to-kill actioner. Its Cold War is simply the day-to-day backdrop for a hardboiled private-eye, who’s working a case that springs from events of his time. In fact, I think the story’s current relevance has just as much to do with its tale of well-heeled and influential people, willing and ready to cross any line that gets in their way. When things go awry, they spin a spider web of bald lies, cover-up and rat-run lawyering that turns ever more desperate and transgressive. Sounds familiar? Think of any one of the convictions recently brought in by Special Counsel Mueller. What could be more contemporary?

SHAMUS DUST revolves around the City, London’s financial heart, rather than in parts of the capital that readers are more likely to be familiar with. Why did you choose to set the story there?
Good question, and it’s true that the City does get overshadowed by the metropolis around it, both in books and in film, crime fiction included. Perhaps it’s because the City is geographically so small – a single square mile that corresponds roughly to the area inside London’s ancient Roman walls. Shamus Dust is mostly set in that square mile (Newman walks it constantly from end to end), and the intention is simply to let it be itself – confined, claustrophobic, secretive and resistant to the outsider. The City is and always has been run by its own corporation. Its politics and its policing follow different rules. And while Mayfair or Soho each has its take on more-or-less picturesque sleaze, the City is unquestionably where the money is. That alone made it an obvious location for Shamus Dust. A place, as Newman discovers, where a single high-risk fraud can propel a train of Christmas homicides.

What books have you been reading lately?
I live on a small island off the north Africa coast, so my first outing in any new city is to an English-language bookshop. I love the serendipity, and it can turn up some real gems. Recently it was Olivia Manning’s Balkan Trilogy. I came across it in a bookshop in Bucharest, which is where her story begins. Her heroine is newly arrived there when war is declared in 1939. Six books later – there’s a Levant Trilogy as well – her characters have taken you with them on a journey through Athens, Cairo and on into Palestine, always one step ahead of the war in southern Europe and north Africa. It’s special on many counts, particularly on the manners, mannerisms and casual prejudices of the times. And she’s an acute observer, trained as an artist, terrific on places, smells, sounds and color. A wonderful storyteller too (if you’re planning six volumes you’d better be). But there’s also another, more technical, reason. Olivia Manning lived through the period and the events. You can trust her on the vocabulary and idiom of those English expats marooned by war. The voices and gestures are of their time, and that’s most instructive when your own story is set in London in the same decade.

What are you writing next?
It’s a sequel to Shamus Dust called The Gumshoe’s Freestyle, set six months later in the City (of course), in the summer of ’48. Those immediate postwar years made interesting times. Freestyle ties up some loose ends, returns to some characters from the first story and develops with them. Actually, there’s a connection planted toward the close of Shamus Dust, though you do seriously have to know your Chandler to spot it. I liked the idea of some oblique, passing link between two cases that Newman and Marlowe will never know they once shared an interest in. As for the second story itself, Freestyle stands on its own and takes our American in London on an entirely new investigation. Which makes it interesting to decide which characters you might want to go back to, how fleeting or important they need to be, and of course, how to introduce them to a reader who doesn’t already know them from the earlier story. Those can be tough decisions, especially when you’re getting excited by so many new and unexpected faces.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hope to Die by James Patterson


Alex Cross is once again between a rock and a hard place.   Does Alex follow his heart or the law always seems to be a question in the Cross books.   In this case Alex is facing a psychopath with a grudge. 

Alex’s family has a strong role in the plot without actually having a lot of participation in the book.  

Marcus Sunday is a bestselling, Harvard educated author.   Alex has reviewed his book and not in a positive way.   Sunday isn’t really Sunday and his true character is quickly shown.   (BTW if you review any of my books, no matter how awful the review might be, I promise not to go postal.)

There is action galore and plenty of collateral damage.

I enjoyed 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.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Spotlight on If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood


The Search for A Place to Call Home
A new powerful work of fiction from a debut literary voice

This luminous debut novel, which has earned impressive early reviews from media including The New Yorker,
The Los Angeles Review of Books and Foreword Reviews, follows a young woman from her childhood in
Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States – and the necessary return to her homeland.

As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her distant mother, she turns
to a sympathetic soldier for affection and to the only other girl in the camp, forming two friendships that
will shape the rest of her life.

As a young adult in New York, cut off from her native country and haunted by the scars of her youth,
she is still in search of a home. She falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood
friend, and follows strangers because they remind her of her soldier. When tragedy arises, she must return
to Vietnam to confront the memories of her youth – and recover her identity.

An inspiring meditation on love, loss, and the presence of a past that never dies, the novel explores
the ancient question: Do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what
we need them to be?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abbigail N. Rosewood was born in Vietnam, where she lived until the age of twelve. She holds an MFA in
creative writing from Columbia University. An excerpt from her first novel won first place in the Writers
Workshop of Asheville Literary Fiction Contest. She lives in New York City.

PRAISE

“With precision and dexterity, Rosewood has woven together a tale of staggering artistry, devastation,
compassion, and social awareness...[If I Had Two Lives] is a powerful work of fiction.” ―Ryan Smernoff, 
The Los Angeles Review of Books

“The novel poignantly conjures the difficulties of reconciling the present with 'an ungraspable history'.”
The New Yorker

“Haunting and harrowing, If I Had Two Lives is told with beautiful perception and detail, offering a unique
view of late twentieth-century Vietnam and memories that continue to resonate, even in a new world.”
Foreword Reviews (Starred Review)

If I Had Two Lives is one of those rare novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the
book itself is finished and set back upon the shelf.”―Midwest Book Review

Book Details
Publisher: Europa Editions
Release Date: April 9, 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781609455217

Author’s Website: https://www.abbigailrosewood.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.

Monday, October 7, 2019

An Illiterate's Confession by Wiliam


Kindle version FREE at Amazon October 8th up to and including October 12, 2019

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Fix by David Baldacci


Every time I think Baldacci can’t get any better he surprises me with a better book.   This plot was byzantine in nature and absolutely delicious to read.    The plot is about spies and I defy you to figure it out before Baldacci lets you.

Amos Decker can’t forget what he sees.   It provides him with an uncanny ability in crime solving and yet haunts him with his personal terrors.  

Amos wasn’t always socially awkward but a hit in football changed him forever.

Decker’s abilities provide a wealth of information to solve this case.   Melvin Mars returns to add to the story.   Alex Jamison has obvious feelings for Decker but Decker is oblivious.   Harper Brown, a DIA agent, is striving to make her father as proud of her as he would have been for the son who was never been.  

Together the four solve the crime and that isn’t a spoiler, you have to figure the good guys would eventually win or do they?


Loved the book and 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.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Vanished by Whit Gentry


Once again, unpleasant but very real issues are tackled by Gentry.   A slightly different take on human trafficking leads Jake Littleton and friends to vigilante justice.

Jake Littleton is again a bit of an afterthought.  He really doesn’t fit prominently in the story except for his organizational skills.   Gentry has softened up a bit, the body count was kept to a minimum in this book.  There were more successful attempts at negotiation and thusly fewer bodies.

The author has a strong penchant for biblical justice.   The eventual justice meted out was particularly creative.   The only loose end I found was the Chinese detective.   Possibly I missed the connection but I’m not sure why he was included in the book.

I admit to a fondness for Gentry’s biblical justice, one only has to read the newspaper (a news format printed on paper and available for home delivery for you podcast people) to see how money and position lead to minimal or no punishment.

I had an audible chuckle when one surprise character was introduced, reminiscent of Stan Lee, Alfred Hitchcock and Clive Cussler.

I enjoyed the book and 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.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Oh, Henry by Morgen Bailey



A woman and a talking dog walked into a bar…   Nope but there is a talking dog and a woman.  The plot centers on Henry, a talking dog.  Gwynne his keeper and best friend and Dr. Moss are responsible for Henry and his talking.

The interplay between Henry and various humans is the main focus of the story.   The interplay and Henry’s thoughts and responses are quite humorous.   Bailey does a nice job presenting the world from a dog’s point of view.

Gwynne and Henry team up as detectives and that teaming appears to be the direction this series will take.

I enjoyed 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.