April Book Reviews

Last month I said I was going to split this post and share half the middle of the month and half the end of the month. Naturally, things didn’t work out as planned. 🙂

Since I only read five books this month, I thought I’d share the entire post today. There were two that were rough for me—you’ll be able to tell when you hit the reviews—and for the first time in my life I gave a book a 2.5 rating on Goodreads (although I didn’t share it on Amazon). This was my April collection. As always, because the post in lengthy, click the Amazon link to read the blurbs or learn more about each book.

The Dinner
By Herman Koch

This book has been on my radar for a long time and I finally decided I needed to satisfy my curiosity. This was made into a movie in 2017 (no, I haven’t seen it, but I’m considering). The story is kind of like a train wreck. A distasteful mess, but hard to ignore.

Set in the Netherlands, the basic premise involves two well-to-do couples, (brothers and their wives) who get together for dinner at an exclusive restaurant.

The book cleverly spans the course of the dinner—appetizer, entrée, dessert. A few hours in which an ugly crime is prodded and examined like a specimen in a petri dish. Both couples have fifteen-year-old boys who have been involved in a heinous act (there is nothing remotely sexual for those of you who, like me, shy away from such ugliness).

The reader gets to know each character up close and personal, with insight into previous history and the actions of the boys. This is one of those books where I didn’t find redeeming value in any of the characters though the women are surprisingly worse than the men. These are not witchy, stuck up b*tches. They come across as genuine, protective of those they love and utterly self-sacrificing while being loathsome. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I disliked every character.

That aside, this is a well written, disturbing story that delves into the complex nuances of human nature. Don’t expect to like any of the characters, but this is definitely one for discussion in book clubs and with other readers. I waffled between 3 and 4 stars, so I’m going with 3.5.

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Literary Fiction > Psychological Fiction


Bigfoot: The Non-Fiction, Factual arguments in favor of the existence of Sasquatch
By Joachim Dale

As someone who has long been fascinated by cryptozoology, I was intrigued by this work which addresses arguments in favor of the existence of Bigfoot. The author clearly did his research, drawing on centuries-old sightings, testimonials, physical evidence, and most interesting for me–the famed Patterson-Gimlin film, which is examined in detail.

Throughout, facts are presented in a concise and understandable manner and the book is ordered in such a way that by the time you reach the final chapter (Conclusions) the reader has been presented with a strong argument for the existence of these ape-like creatures that have long eluded man. The writing is polished and case arguments presented vividly. Whether you are a believer in Sasquatch or someone fascinated by the legend, you will find Mr. Dale’s work compelling. This is a short novella-length quick read.

Amazon Link
Genre:  Biological Science of Apes and Monkeys > Biological Science of Wildlife


Book cover for Silent Mayhem by Sue ColettaSilent Mayhem: The Mayhem Series #3
By Sue Coletta

In the third and latest book in the Mayhem series, author Sue Coletta pushes the action to a fever pitch. Someone is leaving a bloody trail of murder behind by beheading victims and leaving cryptic clues. Former cat burglar and legit hacker, Shawnee Daniels, who works for the police department, follows the clues while being caught up in her own twisted web of problems. Notorious serial killer “Mr. Mayhem” has been leaving her messages, delivered by his ominous murder of crows, or posted a secret website.

All three books in this series are exceptional but this one is elevated to a new level of intrigue by the relationship Coletta weaves between Mayhem and Shawnee, threads that hint of joint family history. Brilliant! Mayhem is cultured, precise, and meticulous. Shawnee is a whirlwind of in-your-face action, tough as nails on the outside, with a vulnerable underbelly. The contrast makes for mesmerizing encounters with an odd give-and-take between these two dynamic personalities.

As someone who has read a great deal of books on Native American history and folklore, I found those tie-ins especially riveting. Skinwalkers, serial killers, vendettas—it’s all here. Mayhem’s relationship with his wife is tenderly portrayed. Crows, Poe, Edgar and Allan are given multiple spotlights to shine, and the ending leaves a deadly open thread for the next book in this fantastic series.

Amazon Link
Genre:  Women Sleuths > Suspense


Book cover for Silent Mayhem by Sue ColettaThey All Fall Down
By Rachel Howzell Hall

If I have an all-time favorite story trope it has to be an eclectic cast of characters in a remote location with individuals being picked off one by one. I think it goes back to my childhood when I was in love with the game Clue and when I first saw Agatha Christie’s book And Then There Were None made into the movie Ten Little Indians.  So naturally when I saw the premise for They All Fall Down—mansion in a Mexican paradise where a group of strangers gather only to be picked off one by one—I couldn’t wait to boot up my Kindle and dive in.

Sadly, I almost DNF’d this book. At the 40ish mark I had met all of the characters, but nothing was happening (yawn). Then finally around 46% the book took off with a bang. I was riveted and had high hopes—until it quickly nosedived again. One of the most interesting characters is killed too early, I knew the killer’s identity from the first death, and guessed the reveal at the end. What I will say for the positive is that the author had a great descriptive voice and her MC was unique. There is some highly entertaining banter between several of the characters and the book reads easily. I did stick it out to the end, but none of the characters have any redeeming qualities which made it rough to finish. Loved the premise but didn’t care for the outcome. 2.5 stars rounded to 3 for Goodreads.

Amazon Link
Genre: Thriller and Suspense 


Book cover for The Body in the Wetlands by Judi LynnThe Body in the Wetlands
By Judi Lynn

In book two of the Jazzi Zanders murder mysteries, home remodelers Jazzi, her hunky boyfriend, Ansel, and her cousin Jerrod are once again in this thick of rehabbing property and getting caught up in murder. Jazzi gets to know neighbor, Leo, during his regular walks with his dog Cocoa. When Leo disappears and two bodies are discovered in shallow graves behind the neighborhood subdivision, Jazzi once again becomes embroiled in unmasking the killer. On the personal front, her relationship with Ansel is put to the test when he returns home for a brief time to help his dysfunctional family with property repairs. A young college student takes an interest in Jazzi. Friendly and outgoing, his charm may just be the mask for a killer, but he’s only one of numerous suspects.

The author treats us to an eclectic cast of characters, then weaves a bubble of suspicion around each. Jazzi’s large family, plus her detective friend, Gaff, are all back again, as is Ansel’s dog, George the pug. You’ve got to love these people, who feel like friends. While this is a cozy mystery there is still plenty of guessing, and intricate plotting that leads to unmasking the killer. The writing is polished and breezy, the mystery elements set up like neat dominoes that all fall into place at the end. Another great entry in an enjoyable series!

Amazon Link
Genre: Cozy Mystery > Amateur sleuths


I hope you’ve discovered something among these titles that may interest you. If you came across a great novel during your recent reading, be sure to share in the comments. In addition to writing, I love chatting books. I just wish I had more hours to devote to my gargantuan TBR!

Visiting for #ShareAReview

I’m traveling in the blogosphere today. If you get a moment, pop over to Marcia Meara’s blog where I’m sharing one of my all time favorite reviews from a past title—which is currently on sale for .99c.

Marcia has kindly designated Tuesdays as #ShareAReviewDay on her blog and has opened the doors to everyone. While you’re there be sure to check out the info on how you can share your own review with Marcia’s many followers.

In the meantime, aren’t you curious which book I’ve chosen to highlight? Which review? I know the suspense is monumental, but there’s no need to gnaw your fingernails trying to figure it out. Just click here to be whisked away for answers. 😉

I’ve closed comments at this end.

Welcome Guest Blogger, Kevin Cooper

I’m happy to welcome Kevin Cooper to my blog today. Kev is an old friend who took a hiatus from blogging, but is back and going strong. He’s an avid reader, book reviewer, writer, and musician (not necessarily in that order, LOL). I’ll let Kev explain what’s been going on below. Please make him feel welcome with some comment luv and be sure to check out his website and blog!


Back to the Blogosphere

Hi Gals & guys! Well, it’s been over a year since I last blogged… A year and three months to be exact. and have just recently come back. I started my new site on March 5ththis year. Those of you who are familiar with me will know I had several blogs at one time. One for home life, one for music, and a couple or more for books and stuff. I got blogged out, to be honest, and life, as it generally does, got in the way. I ended up deleting all my blogs, social media, and even a couple of email accounts. Anyway, I’m not going to go into all that, but suffice it to say, I’m back now and am here to stay. This is why I decided to invest in my own domain: https://authorkevincooper.com/and this is the only website I have now. There will be no other.

So, what is my new website all about?

I’m glad you asked! First and foremost, for obvious reasons, it is to promote my own books, although it may not seem to be the case as I review every book I read and post my reviews here as well and these posts far outnumber any I have about my own books.

I have also decided to bring author interviews back. I had huge success with my author interviews in the past and hope that my new tailored interviews demand the same success. However, I will not be interviewing authors I am not familiar with, but those whom I have written a book review for. This way I can tailor each interview around the book I have reviewed and the author’s next work in progress.

As for my own work. I am not an avid writer but do have a project in process. It is a collection of short stories I am currently writing called, Dreamscapes.The subject of each story is written around the backdrop of dreams, daydreams, and related fantasies. Some are very sinister, even frightening, others relate very closely to real life subjects. My favourite so far is called The Girl Who Waves. It is about a young boy who is losing his battle with cancer and keeps dreaming about a young girl who keeps waving to him from an island and beckoning him to join her. Meanwhile, his mother is struggling to come to terms with his terminal condition while trying to stay strong for him. I will reveal more about this work on my website when it is nearer completion. I am very much looking forward to having Dreamscapes finished and ready for publishing later in the year.

In addition to my new website, I have created new social media accounts but have limited them to just the following three:

Twitter I Facebook | Tumblr

Links are also available on my website. You can read all about my published works on my website here: My Books

Thanks for having me on your website, Mae. Your endearing support is greatly appreciated.


It’s always a pleasure to have you visit my blog, Kev. I’m thrilled you’re active once again in the blogosphere. As someone who has read most of your work, appreciates your reviews and musical skills, I’m happy to provide an introduction so others may get to know you as well. Gang, I’ve included a gallery of Kevin’s book covers below. You can find the details of each on Kev’s website. Oh—and did I mention he likes cats? 🙂

New Pen Name and New Cover

I hope you are seeing this cover all over the blogosphere today, because this is the first glimpse of what is surely going to be an exceptional series by a highly talented author. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. Check it out, go forth, and one-click!

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Life’s been busy, and it just got CRAZY. My publisher moved the release date of my new book from October to May 7. May 7! That’s less than a month away! I’ve got so much pre-release work to do. Starting with a cover release. So… ta-da!

It’s it stunning? I’m so excited about it.

Let me back up a step. First, you’ll notice it does NOT say “Staci Troilo” on the cover. We’ve talked about this before, here and there or in passing. I’m writing under a pen name (D. L. Cross) for this series. We can talk more about that later, though.

Second, you’ll note an alien ship on the cover. Aliens, as in sci-fi. It’s not a genre people associate with the name Staci Troilo, which is one of the reasons I’m writing under a pen name. If you’re interested in science fiction and aliens, this…

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Cover Reveal: Whatever it Takes by S. Burke #Pre-Order #PsychologicalThriller #Suspense

I’m delighted to be able to take part in the cover reveal blog splash for Whatever it Takes by my good friend Suzanne Burke. I was a beta reader on this book and am thrilled others will soon be able to enjoy it. Once you read this post, I recommend hopping over to Amazon for a one-click pre-order.

But first, here’s Suzanne to tell you about the latest dark and twisty psychological suspense novel she’s crafted…
Whatever It Takes cover reveal banner with curtain

Whatever It Takes

by S.Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW. At the special Pre-order price of $0.99c
Release Date: May 8th, 2019
>Psychological > Thriller & Suspense >.

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “Whatever It Takes” A big thank you to my wonderful editor and friend Rich Bowden @Bowden_Writing

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “Whatever It Takes” my latest Psychological Thriller. “Whatever It Takes ” is due for release on May 8th, 2019.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order at the special Pre-Order price of $0:99

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to the marvelously generous hosts participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement. Here’s my new baby . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khalessi

And now the cover

Whatever it Takes Book Cover for all posts.

BOOK BLURB

James Kincaid had it all.

He’d made it the ‘A’ list in Hollywood, a town that prized and idolized its winners above all else.

Then life began exacting a price that no man could be expected to pay as the people he cared about began dying and dying badly.

He couldn’t move on with the dream without knowing why.

Andi O’Connor is the woman he’s hired to do ‘whatever it takes’ to find him the answers.

Could this disenchanted, street-hardened, ex-homicide cop uncover the truth without adding to the growing list of those already sacrificed on the altar of a serial killer’s insanity?

From New York to Los Angeles the body count continues to rise.

Time is not on their side.

***

Prologue.

James Kincaid had long held to the belief that the red carpet he’d walked so often was stained that color with the blood of all those that had bled on the journey to satisfy their heady and addictive dreams of fame.

He’d shed more than his own fair share to get there. He hated the dream destruction, as much as he understood it. This town drew dreamers from every place on the planet, all in need of completion, all hungry for fame and holding on for dear life to the belief that it was only a matter of time before their artistic genius was recognized. No other drug ever gave them that high pulsing adrenaline rush that you soon became reliant on and addicted to. Those first glimpses of recognition hit harder than heroin. Until even those with a strong moral compass became lost.

Lady Luck had become his constant companion only five years before. After twelve years struggling to make headway in the business he became the latest ‘overnight’ sensation, winning the coveted role in what was tipped strongly to be the next ‘big thing’. He knew he could do justice to the part and that knowledge became abundantly clear as the audition cameras rolled.

James Kincaid found himself launched into the stratosphere. This was the only game in town and he was now a lead player.

He was feted and celebrated, pimped out and postured until the day when everything in his world fell into an oxygen-deprived free fall as people he cared about started dying from anything but natural causes.

**

Pre-Order Whatever It Takes HERE on Amazon

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

Blog

Thank you so much for joining in my excitement. Your support is very much appreciated.

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Whatever It Takes PRE-ORDER Banner USE THIS ONE FROM Eeva

March Book Reviews, Part 2

I’m back with part two of my reviews for books I read in March. If you missed part one, you can find it here. To read the blurbs and learn about each title below, click the Amazon link after my review. I hope you discover something to add to your TBR!


Book cover for True Places by Sonja YoergTrue Places
By Sonja Yoerg
Iris grew up sheltered from modern society, living in a cabin in the woods with her parents and brother. When circumstances force her into the world, she stumbles into the life of Suzanne Blakemore and her family. Suzanne lives a picture-perfect life in a pristine house with a successful husband, a teenage daughter and college-age son. She spends her life running from one errand to the next, making certain everyone is taken care of, never slowing down to truly see or feel. And that’s what this book is about—becoming blind to routines and existing on surface emotions. For looking deeper would expose cracks in the foundation of a life and family existing on artifical gloss.

When Suzanne brings Iris into her home, the fragile balance the Blakemores have maintained is shattered. Iris, naïve and confounded by the world, struggles to fit in. Suzanne’s teenage daughter Brynn grow fangs the moment Iris is in the door, but the up-and-down, give-and-take between the two girls plays well throughout the book. There were times I despised Brynn, other times I felt sorry for her. The author handles teenage mistakes and angst well. But Brynn, Iris, and Suzanne’s son, Reid, aren’t the only ones who foul up. When Suzanne’s husband Walt chooses to overlook something of importance, that decision has far flung consequences for everyone in the book.

A little slow getting started, True Places really takes off around the 50% mark. The descriptions of the mountains and woods—down to the sights, sounds and smells—are captivating. There is a hint of When the Crawdads Sing in this book, and like Crawdads, the exquisitely detailed settings evoke such a strong sense of place, it’s easy to imagine yourself in Iris’s rustic cabin or slipping through dusky woods when the wind chases whispers through the trees. A beautiful read!

Amazon Link
Genre: Literary Fiction > Women’s Fiction


Book cover for Black Magic Can Backfire by Judi LynnMuddy River One: Black Magic Can Backfire
By Judi Lynn
This book has a vividly imagined premise. A small town (Muddy River) populated by supernatural citizens—witches, vampires, shifters, fae—is rocked when a new coven of witches are found dead and murder is suspected. Hester Wand, a powerful witch with a coven of her own, and Raven Black, a fire demon who is also the town’s “enforcer” team up to find the killer. As a fire demon, Raven is not someone to cross, and Hester is every bit as powerful.  Even so, unmasking the killer is not an easy task.

The head of the new coven was not well liked, making suspects and motives plentiful. There are feuding families, powerful families, buried prejudices, and simmering animosities. Hester and Raven question a multitude of suspects, a thread that adds an intriguing investigative vibe to the book. I kept trying to figure out who was responsible but the revelation came as a surprise. There is a romantic thread but it meshes well with the story and the romance is not drawn out which I liked. In closing, special mention has to go to Claws, Hester’s ocelot familiar. Not only does he have an awesome name, he gets into the action, too. As this is the first book in a new series, Muddy River is a town I look forward to visiting again.

Amazon Link
Genre: Mystery Romance > Urban Fantasy > Supernatural


Book cover for Murder in Plane Sight by Julie HolmesMurder in Plane Sight
By Julie Holmes
In this strong debut novel, Julie Holmes introduces us to Sierra Bauer, an airline mechanic who uncovers the body of the woman she blames for her brother’s death. The author is clearly knowledgeable of the airline industry, and also knows how to twist a good mystery into an intricately-layered plot.

There are multiple characters, multiple motives, a shady stalker, and a dedicated cop who finds himself falling for Sierra while protecting her. Both Quinn and Sierra are excellent characters and their romance serves to further enhance the mystery.
Sierra is particularly strong, having to overcome obstacles in a field dominated by men. She is focused and determined, but she also harbors shadows in her past, that resurface to haunt her. Holmes does a fabulous job of tying up all the loose ends when the conclusion rolls around, while weaving in several surprises along the way. An excellent start to a new series.

Amazon Link
Genre: Amateur sleuths > cozy mystery


Book cover for Just Her Poetry by D.L.FinnJust Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul
By D. L. Finn
This is a beautiful collection of poetry with vivid glimpses into the natural world and the many myriad nuances of emotion. The reader is even treated to “musings from the back of a Harley” as the author shares visions penned while riding with her husband on their bike. I was especially enthralled by the nature poetry which is broken into sections for Spring and Summer as well as Fall and Winter.

Sights, sounds and senses come alive in poems like A Day at the River, Thunk, Crisp, and Spring Gone. As a cat lover I also really enjoyed The Huntress which was rendered in such attention to detail it was equivalent to viewing a live-action video. The prose is beautiful and vivid. Some of my favorite lines include:

From Spring Day
The gentle tapping of the woodpecker
Reminding me of a blessing in Morse code.

From Mist
It is a time of in-between.
Between the sun baking the earth
Or the forest being covered in ice.

From The October Sun
The October sun bleeds through the trees
Clotting up before it reaches me.

There are so many gems in this book, you’re certain to find your own favorites. Escape  to a peaceful setting, and let this exquisite collection of poetry soothe your soul.

Amazon Link
Genre: Poetry > Nature Poetry > Contemporary Poetry


Book Cover for Girls on the Hill by Alison GreyThe Girls on the Hill
By Alison Clair Grey
I was so excited to get this book after reading the author’s first release, Can’t Let Go. Girls on the Hill was every bit as engrossing.

It’s reunion time for several college friends, but not everyone is looking forward to the event. Especially given the reunion is being held at a hotel where one classmate died on graduation night, plunging to her death from an upper balcony. What took place on that balcony and what led to the tragedy is the basis for this gripping mystery which incorporates plenty of twists and shocks along the way.

As usual, Grey does an excellent job of tapping into human emotions, examining the best and worst in people. There is a strong focus on friendships–both good and bad–and what some are willing to do to succeed regardless of who they hurt. As a reader Grey made me feel anger and frustration but also grudging sympathy for one of the key players. There is a diverse cast of characters and they all shine in their own way, but the standouts for me were Amanda and Hollis.

The writing is slick, and the chapters short, switching between POV characters, which makes this an easy read. The POV is done in first person which occasionally made me stop and flip back to the chapter title to see whose head I was in, but I didn’t find that overly distracting. Most definitely a hard to put down book!  I’m already looking forward to Grey’s next release. She’s now on my auto-buy list.

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction > Psychological Thriller


Thanks for checking out the reviews. March was another great reading month for me (probably because I was working on edits and not doing as much writing). I wish you all Happy Reading!

 

March Book Reviews, Part 1

I’m so excited it’s April. Spring has arrived and all of the nasty white stuff is gone. That’s reason for celebration!

Another reason is all the great books I read last month, reviews of which I’m sharing today. I’m splitting the post in two parts, since I managed to read nine books in March. Moving forward, I plan to break my reviews into a mid-month post and an end of the month post so there isn’t so much back-to-back (although It’s unlikely I’ll read this many books again in a single month!).

To read the blurbs and learn about each title, click the Amazon link after my review. I hope you discover something to add to your TBR. And remember to check back tomorrow for part two! 


Book cover for the Beast Within by Jacqui BiggarThe Beast Within
by Jacquie Biggar
A wonderful blend of multiple genres, The Beast Within, is the second book the Mended Souls trilogy, but it also reads as a stand-alone. I had no problem picking up the storyline involving Guardian Angels, Lucas Carmichael and Mike, both of whom died in the same car crash. While struggling to overcome their animosity for each other, they’re also charged with watching over Mike’s wife, Julie Crenshaw. A reporter, Julie, is still adjusting to life without Mike, as well as the loss of her unborn baby girl when she begins investigating a string of bizarre serial murders. Enter Conner O’Rourke, a homicide detective who is working the case.

Biggar does well in providing insight to her myriad cast of characters. Paths cross, lives become entwined, and puzzle pieces (you’ll find an interesting side line with them) slot into place while others veer in unexpected directions. The story provides suspense, mystery, and a touch of the supernatural along with a romantic sub-plot as Julie and Conner discover mutual attraction. The writing is polished with excellent scene setting, vivid descriptions, and a storyline that provides multiple twists with plenty of danger. The author is clearly a pro and knows how to deliver a tale that will keep you entertained from beginning to end.

Amazon Link
Genre: Mystery/Romantic Suspense


Book cover for When You're the Only Cop in TownWhen You’re the Only Cop in Town
A Writer’s Guide to Small Town Law Enforcement
by Jack Berry, Debra Dixon
This is an old book that’s been on my shelf for a while. I read the hardcover (which I believe is difficult to find now) but I’m including the link for the Kindle version. There is nothing like first hand information from a man who spent his entire career in law enforcement, seventeen years of which were as a police chief in a small town. This is quick and easy read, filled with anecdotes, straight-on facts, and plenty of humor. I read it with a highlighter in hand, and colored tabs to mark pages. An excellent resource for writers, I can see myself referring to it often as I unleash plot bunnies on my fictional small towns.
Informative and VERY entertaining!

Amazon Link
Genre: Reference > Writing Craft


book cover for No Easy Street by Julia DonnerNo Easy Street
By Julia Donner
Step back in time with this well-written and engaging tale set in the American west. The period detail is exceptional! When seamstress Elsbeth Soderberg inherits a cattle ranch in Wyoming, she’s thrust into a role she never expected. She’s a woman in a man’s world dealing with hardened cowhands, multiple prejudices, and a ruthless employee. Fortunately, she has neighbor Ezekiel (EZ) Street and his young daughter to help her adjust.

Elsbeth is a strong character, but she shines exceptionally bright when she’s standing up for herself and taking charge of a situation. She has a steely backbone, but at the same time she’s portrayed as a woman with doubts and fears. That combination of determination, conviction, and vulnerability makes her a likable and believable character. The romantic elements are well done and the supporting characters add vivid color. I especially liked EZ’s daughter Penelope and her friend Flora. Hitch a ride and travel west with this delightful book!

Amazon Link
Genre: Western Romance


Book cover for Sun Dance: Why Custer Really Lost The Battle of The Little Bighorn by Garry RodgersSun Dance
Why Custer Really Lost the Battle of The Little Bighorn
By Garry Rodgers
Of the non-fiction books I enjoy reading, I have a collection on George Armstrong Custer, Crazy Horse, Native American culture, the Plains Indian War, and the expansion west. When I saw that Garry Rodgers was offering an ARC of a book he’d written about the Battle of Little Bighorn, I jumped at the chance to read it. If you’re unfamiliar with Garry, he’s a retired homicide detective and forensic coroner. He also blogs for the Huff Post.

In Sun Dance…Why Custer Really Lost the Battle of The Little Bighorn, Rodgers examines not only Custer’s combat strategy and the reason why it failed but sets the playing field from Grant’s presidency down through army command. We get the mindset of the time, are witness to several conflicts leading up to LBH and understand the significance of the sacred Black Hills. Native American treaties are examined in detail (I was shocked by some I was unfamiliar with). Past military strategy is analyzed—remember that Custer was a Brevet Major General during the Civil War and no stranger to battle. As Rodgers points out, that may have been part of his undoing. He was unprepared for the mentality of the opposing force. Yes, mentality. In Sun Dance…Why Custer Really Lost the Battle of The Little Bighorn, Rodgers shows us why that state of mind—a collective state of mind—was key.

After reading this book, there is no question of the psychological impact of the Sun Dance ceremony and why that ritual was especially powerful when performed by Sitting Bull. The vision of the great Chief became a battle standard for the massive number of Native Americans ready to defend their way of life. Rodgers walks us through understanding how sheer numbers alone didn’t win LBH for the Native Americans. He backs up his theory with concise explanations and detailed research. Written in an easy to read style, with a staggering amount of resources included, this book is excellent for both dedicated students of history, and even armchair followers like me.

Although Sun Dance…Why Custer Really Lost the Battle of The Little Bighorn has yet to be released, you can follow Garry’s blog, dyingwords.net to keep current of news. You can also request and ARC and learn more about the research behind the book HERE.


I was kind of all over the place with my reading in March, which happens sometimes, but everything I read was awesome. I’ll be sharing five more books tomorrow and hope to see you then!

New Release: Murder in Plane Sight by Julie Holmes #Mystery #Suspense

I am über excited to be taking part in the book launch blog tour for my friend, Julie Holmes. Her debut release, Murder in Plane Sight, a mystery/suspense novel is now available. I have been looking forward to this release for a long time, and am thrilled to know Julie has more mysteries planned. If you’re not already following her blog, Facets of a Muse, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. This isn’t the first time Julie has appeared on my blog, but it IS the first time she’s been here to share a novel she’s written. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome!


Thank you, Mae, for hosting me! I’ve had the opportunity to watch fellow writers release their books. I’ve even hosted their announcements on my own blog, hoping that someday it would be my turn to announce my own book release.

That day is here. It’s both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because I have reached a goal I have been aiming for since elementary school. Terrifying because I can no longer stay home and quietly keep writing, not if I want to gather readers.

I’ve been paying attention to my fellow writers and what they do for their book releases. Some offer a bit of insight into their process, which seems to suggest there is some sort of order to the whole thing.

I suppose there is. First come the characters.

No, wait, first comes the story.

Hmm. It’s different for every writer, and for me it can be different for every book. Sometimes I come up with characters who need a story. Sometimes I get a great story idea, and the characters follow.

So which was it with this book, you ask? That’s a little tricky, because the very first draft wasn’t set at the airport at all. In fact, it was a whole different story, with a main character who was an aircraft mechanic, and a story set in rural Minnesota. What is the point of a character who works at the airport when the story isn’t set there?

I realized I had two separate stories: a character who needed a story, and a story that needed a character. So I pulled my aircraft mechanic out of rural Minnesota and gave her a story. And of course, as is usual in my creative process, her first story wasn’t even set on the airport grounds.

Which I realized after I wrote the first draft and started reading through it. And I heard the voice of my writing teacher, clear as day: Why isn’t she at the airport?

Um. Yeah. Duh!

And eventually the story matured into Murder in Plane Sight.What about the other story, you ask? That’s on my list to work on after I finish Book 2. Yes, there will be another Sierra Bauer mystery. 🙂

Book cover for Murder in Plane Sight by Julie Holmes shows plane on snowy taxi way with woman in foreground, back to camera

BLURB:
Sierra Bauer, aircraft mechanic, struggled against personal tragedy to reclaim control of her life and her aviation career, but when she discovers a frozen body in her inspection plane, she must prove her innocence and uncover the key to exposing a deadly aviation conspiracy before she becomes the next casualty.

Find at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold.

Short Excerpt:
Headlights glared in the rearview mirror. Sierra Bauer slowed, but not enough. Her car slid around the turn onto the service drive that ran past the Range Airlines maintenance hangar on the western side of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. She steered into the skid, regained control. Cursed the timing of the snow.

The idiot stuck to her backside like duct tape, too damn close even for Minneapolis drivers in these two inches of fresh January snow. Sierra considered hitting the brakes.

A deep rumble, and her tailgater passed her.

A pickup truck.

In the glow of her headlights, she identified the color.

Black.

Her breath caught.

An outline of a pale rectangle peeked from the layer of snow on the rear bumper.

Her heart stuttered. Raced.

It can’t be his truck. How would he know where I am?

bio box for author, Julie Holmes

Find Julie at the following haunts:
Web | Blog | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

New Release: Just Her Poetry by D. L. Finn #bookrelease #poetry

Hi, friends. I’ve been out of town at the beach for several days, so please excuse me for being absent from commenting on your blogs. I’m now back in the thick of things and delighted to be participating in the blog tour for D.L. Finn with her newest release, Just Her Poetry. Denise is a bright, sunny soul whose beautiful spirit always shines through. I’ve read several of her books, including her poetry, and always find her work vividly imagined and engaging. I had her current release on pre-order and look forward to wallowing around in the pages. The cover alone is enough to put me in a contemplative mood! Please welcome Denise….


Thank you, Mae, for having me on your blog to celebrate the release of my first poetry book, “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.”

Finn Facts:

  1. As a child, I used to catch lake fish with a bare hook off the boat dock. It always seemed to impress the adults who couldn’t do the same thing.
  2. I’m able to vent my frustrations through poetry. No one will ever see it, but it helps me work through my negative feelings.

Just Her Poetry Cover

Blurb:
Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.

~ooOOoo~

Excerpt from Some Readers’ Favorites from No Fairy Tale

ANOTHER WORLD

Deep under the sea

Is another place,

Not just for fish

Or humans to explore.

It’s their world,

Unseen by mortal eyes.

They know it isn’t safe

To show themselves just yet.

They welcome back

Another one

Who had been lost

From their fold.

They are safe,

And they wait

For their time

To come forth.

Until then they watch,

Wait, and swim

With the dolphins,

Hiding in plain sight.

Amazon Purchase Link

1

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

D.L. Finn Links:
TwitterFacebook InstagramPinterest | D.L. Finn blog

Friday Feature

Just a quick note to say Marcia Meara invited me to be her first Fabulous Friday Guest Blogger, a weekly series she is launching. If you get a chance, hop over for a visit. I’m talking about—you guessed it—folklore.

Marcia is a bubbly and friendly blogger with an unmatched sense of humor. She’s also uber supportive of other writers. Give her a blog a follow while you’re there, then give Marcia a shout about doing your own Fabulous Friday guest post.

See you at Marcia’s place!