Tuesday

Review: Breath of Joy!: Ah, Autumn

Breath of Joy!: Ah, Autumn Breath of Joy!: Ah, Autumn by Kathy Joy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here are the best thoughts gathered in one enticing place that will bring back memories and spark new ones.

Quite an intriguing picture book. I am honored to have been chosen to review Kathy's book 2 in the series. What an amazing cache of beautiful Autumn moments. Perfect for your coffee table, to start conversations, or just to walk through and savor.

Highly recommend this book. It's a keeper!

5 of 5 stars

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Wednesday

Review: The Killing Tide

The Killing Tide The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Try as I might, I could not get into this story. I think it is because I really did not like Gabby at all. I've been a journalist and the things Gabby did are things that could have gotten me fired from my job. Recklessness as depicted here and in other things such as movies and TV is not admired in journalists and reporters. So be aware of that mindset when you see I gave this only two stars.

Please understand I really enjoy Dai Pettrey novels. She's a great writer and good researcher, but she fell down on this one. But then everyone has a right to fail at least once.

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Review: More Than Words Can Say

More Than Words Can Say More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite a good story with a great premise that is fairly believable. I know our frontier women had a lot of gumption, and this book shows it.

The characterizations are very good. You get a feel for each character and they act within character. However, there are some modernisms that distract. You can tell this is the 2nd in a series because what happens in the first book is mentioned quite a lot. I didn't read the first one so I thought I was being fed quite a bit of backstory. Then I caught on. It isn't distracting and what happened in the first book doesn't build in the 2nd book. It's a stand-alone.

I think the only thing that would make this book better is if the main characters would quit rehashing their feelings and move along. Certainly, the reader doesn't need reminding every chapter. Cut some of that out, or at least think it in different way sheesh.

Above all that, though, it is a very good story and worthy of reading. I gave it 4 of 5 stars.


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Review: King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court

King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court by Angela Elwell Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I adored Angela's book about Joseph in Egypt. This one I'm not too keen on. It switches points of view so often my head was spinning. I really hate that. However, Hunt is a good researcher and I plowed on.

There are a LOT of great reviews of this story so I won't tell you what it is about. Characterization was not up to Hunt's normal quality. It was often difficult to remember who was telling the story, and it is hard to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to see whose POV I was into. So I gave up. Keep that in mind when you see I gave it 3 stars.

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Tuesday

Review: An Officer's Vow

An Officer's Vow An Officer's Vow by Penny Hampson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book! Great writing, super character development. Reminded me a lot of Georgette Heyer's books. The premise is different enough that it holds your interest. I highly recommend it for content, situations, characters, and storyline.

This one is well worth the money and is a keeper.

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Review: The Persian Gamble

The Persian Gamble The Persian Gamble by Joel C. Rosenberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I see I'm one of the very, very few who took exception to a few things that bogged the intensity of suspense down to a slow crawl in this story. Of course, the front said that it was the unedited version.

It is not like a Robert Ludlum-Jason Bourne story. There is a lot of action, but there's too much backstory that cuts the tension building and dashes cold water all over the story that's heating up. There is a TON of backstory that really bogs the story down. It isn't necessary. It does not move the story along. There is no need whatsoever to try to instill pathos for someone that will be killed in the next few pages. Suspense thrillers are not that kind of read.

However, I found this book to be extremely engrossing. When the suspense and tension was allowed to build, it built to pressure cooker hot. When that happens you will read far into the night. But... There's also a lot of switching around from American, to Russian, to North Korean, to Iran.... YIKES! I didn't know what part of the world I'd be in when I finally turned the light out. Frankly, I skipped over a lot of that so I could get back to the story. And didn't miss a thing that I had to go back for.

Warning! A RANT: I got it from Netgally, and I'm tired of publishers throwing books on Netgalley without the first bit if editing. Come ON people, give reviewers something to rave about. Don't make us stumble around for something great to say about a story when taking a week to give the thing a first edit would make these books shine like a diamond.

Anyway..
Marcus Ryker is back with a bang! And what a bang! He takes enormous punishment to get the job done, and of course, he does. The suspense is really good -- especially the trip to North Korea. I really like books where the hero has to overcome impossible odds, and this book delivers that kind of ride (if you can wade through all the stuff going on that does not move the story along.

4 stars for storyline minus a star for too much back story.

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Saturday

Review: Life, Death and Cellos

Life, Death and Cellos Life, Death and Cellos by Isabel Rogers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually thought this was a murder mystery in the English style. Not.

However, it was enjoyable up to a point. I adore anything written across the pone. Well almost anything. This was a LOT like a soap opera, even though there was a stolen cello -- and what a cello!

The characters are very British, quite deliciously staid and a little stiff -- but not all of them. If you like character driven stories that are well written, you'll like this book.



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Review: Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction Chain Reaction by Rebecca York
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great book. Great story flow. Fast-paced suspense. As many twists and turns as your heart desires. Great character development.

There was a little drawback when Lily Darnell believed a person over the phone over her husband of years. That felt very contrived, but as the story unfolded I guess it was necessary. That said, the characters are believable and the premise is very believable.

If you like suspense/action/one-man-wars (actually it is man+woman-war against the mega corporate giant with top secret government contract, then you'll love this book.

Five of five stars.

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Review: The Night Window

The Night Window The Night Window by Dean Koontz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adore anything written by Dean Koontz. This is no exception.

The last in his series with Jane Hawk with all kinds of frightening and chilling little brain invaders. What a climax!!

Dean has a special way of writing that ignites the imagination. After reading this book I was ready to quit going out in public but join a self-defense class.

The book is packed with suspense, and quite terrifying because it really is plausible. Anyway. the plot winds up all the plot strings ties them up and fills in all the plot holes where Dean left you hanging. You really do need to read at least one of the previous book -- recommend at least the first one -- to completely understand everything going on. He brings back a few characters and gets rid of the bad guys in a very satisfying way. All the characters have tremendous development, and it seems like they like to come visit you in the dark of night. It's like you can't stop thinking of the story, even when it's over. Sigh.

Most excellent and satisfying read. Highly recommend.

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Review: The Heiress Comes to Town

The Heiress Comes to Town The Heiress Comes to Town by Janet Syas Nitsick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from the author, and I am happy to review it.

This is an excellent premise for a historical romance. The characters are distinct and believable, and I can feel Nina's desperation to get away from her controlling father.

The book is well-written, although as an editor there are lots of things I could suggest such as removing a couple of modernisms (which it has been a few weeks since I read it and now can't remember them). Modernisms are things the characters say that are from modern language. And there is some wordiness that seems to dam up the story flow at times.

However, that said, the story is a good one, and fairly fast-paced. You get a good feel for Victorian small town America, but there is a lack of nosy-ness of neighbors that always goes with small-town life.

The main characters are well-developed. The supporting cast could use a little fine tuning. Mrs. Green seems kindly at first, then rather dictatorial, then fiercely loyal...

I recommend this book, and give it 4 stars out of 5.

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Review: The Cleaner

The Cleaner The Cleaner by Paul Cleave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very good story, but some of the foul words detract from the story. They don't add anything to move the story along... and it's a lazy way of depicting character flaws/degeneration.

However, it reads believable at what an aging, wanting-to-get-out-of-the-business assassin might do/feel. Fast action, but there are some holes left in the story -- possibly to be filled in in the next in the series.

I'll have to think hard to see if I want to read the rest of the series, though.

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Wednesday

Review: Convergence

Convergence Convergence by Ginny L. Yttrup
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have tried and tried to read this book that is written in present tense. I wish I'd know it was present tense before I ordered it, because I wouldn't have. It takes a special type of author to write in present tense well so that you don't notice that it's present tense. This one shouts, "Hey, I'm present tense. Pay attention to me and not the story."

So here's the warning, if you have a problem with present tense--don't read. If you don't mind present tense then you might have a problem with this book because the editor did not understand that all the verbs should not be present tense because of the nuances of dialogue and narrative. It takes lots of practice writing in present tense to make it unnoticed and part of the story structure. Present tense in this story isn't a foundation but a red flag waving in the breeze of the story. Therefore it makes getting into the story hard, and concentrating on the story harder.

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