Book Review Tuesday: For the Love of Money @KimCoxAuthor

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHi, friends. Thanks for joining me for Book Review Tuesday. I’ve cut back on my blogging temporarily, trying to stay on top of things in the current environment of insanity related to Covid-19. If you don’t see me online as regularly as I normally am, rest assured I fully intend to get back to my regular schedule including posts of Wednesday Weirdness. For the immediate future, I intend to keep sharing Book Review Tuesday posts and other sporadic posts here and there. I’m hoping all of you stay healthy and well. We will get through this mess, together!

And now, enough of that! 🙂

I have a great book to share with you. If you like romantic suspense twined up with mystery, you’re sure to love this five-star read:


Book cover for Love of Money by Kim Cox shows young couple facing away with arms around each other, German shepherd in foregroundFor the Love of Money is a book that will appeal to both fans of mystery and romantic suspense. When his best friend, Daniel, dies in a car crash, Alan Pearce heads to the small town of Bears Hollow in North Carolina. Reports say Daniel’s car plummeted off the side of the mountain, but Alan refuses to believe his friend could make such a tragic mistake on roads he knew so well.

Once in Bears Hollow, Alan crosses paths with Police Chief Jessie Kendall, who suspects foul play. At the top of the list is Daniel’s superficial wife Leta, who had been begging her husband to relocate to California so she could pursue an acting career. But it isn’t long before other suspects crawl out of the woodwork. Jessie even briefly considers Alan a suspect, until the two start to work together to get to the bottom of the tragedy.

Cox creates enjoyable characters. Both Jessie and Alan are strong, but (for me) Alan really took center stage. His interactions with both Leta and Jessie are deftly handled. Leta comes across spoiled and shallow but with a few glimmers of humanity underneath. When the killer and motive are unmasked, both come as a surprise.

I liked the gradual growth in the relationship between Alan and Jessie as attraction builds between them. And Jessie’s German shepherd is a scene stealer! The writing is polished and the story flows at a steady pace as suspects and clues are addressed. If you like books that include both a murder mystery and a sweet romance, you’re sure to enjoy For the Love of Money. 5 Stars!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Romantic Suspense > Mystery Romance


Although I am working full days remotely from home, I know many people are stuck indoors. It’s the perfect time to catch up on your TBR and add new books like For the Love of Money. I wish you happy reading!

Book Review Tuesday: Grinders by C. S. Boyack

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHappy St. Patricks Day, everyone! Whether you’re Irish or not, ’tis a day for the wearing’ o’ the green, and a tip o’ the hat to the wee folk. Right now, we could all use a little luck given the state of the world in view of Covid-19. Whatever your corner of the planet, I hope you stay safe and well. If you’re stuck inside, it’s the perfect time to catch up on your reading.

With that in mind, let’s jump into this week’s book review!


Book cover for Grinders, a speculative fiction novel features neon lights and holographic images by C. S. BoyackJimi Cabot, and her partner Lou, are two cops assigned to the “Grinder Squad” in a futuristic San Francisco. Grinders are people who have their bodies altered through illegal surgeries which use computer chips to provide enhanced senses. Despite their department assignment, Jimi and Lou usually find their days eaten up by the drudgery of routine patrol and domestic disturbance calls—until they happen upon a trail that may lead to the most wanted grinder in police databanks.

There is strong parallel storyline involving the grinder they’re after, enabling the reader to see both sides of the situation. Beyond that, however, there is so much more that goes on in this book. I loved the friendship that developed between Jimi and Brandi (a grinder), and I loved Lou’s tie to Sailor, the horse he rode when he was on mounted patrol before the division was disbanded.

Most intriguing of all is the world Boyack has created. One that includes a “grid” for travelling, bots in all shapes and sizes, and a constant bombardment of advertising. “Holobarkers”­—floating globes broadcasting advertisements—roam the streets, swarming around people with their messages. Cars and buses flash moving advertisements and 3D holographic images are found everywhere. There is an “electric forest” (one of my favorite elements), in the process of being torn down because it is already considered old technology. Holographic spiders and jack-o-lanterns bob around on Halloween, and a 3D King Kong climbs a building to promote a movie. The creativity of this world is off the charts. Every page brings some new wonder or futuristic element that is vividly portrayed. Between the story and inventions, I was mesmerized. A highly original work!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Cypberpunk > Science Fiction


Grinders is quite the gritty and colorful world. I could so see this as a series on Netflix! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHappy Tuesday! I have an intriguing book to share, one that I can definitely see generating a lot of book club discussion.The Other Mrs. is also slated for Netflix, and I can’t wait! I have so many thoughts about this story, but I’ll restrict them to my review.

And a bonus today—look for a special announcement at the end of this post! 🙂


Book cover for The Other Mrs. shows lighted window in gale of dark house, a woman's image in backgroundThe Other Mrs.
by Mary Kubica

The Other Mrs. is a psychological thriller with a murder mystery at the core. Dr. Sadie Faust and her husband Will, a professor, relocate to Maine when Will inherits his sister’s home.

Will’s sister Alice, has committed suicide, leaving her old home, and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Imogene, behind. Maine is a huge adjustment, especially given the home is located on an island, the mainland only reachable by ferry. It’s winter and storms are common. Queue claustrophobic atmosphere. I’m not a fan of winter, but I do love reading books set during the season.

And then there is Imogene—bitter and resentful—who does everything in her power to make Sadie feel threatened and unwelcome. Sadie and Will have two other children, Otto, fourteen and awkward, and Tate, grade school age and a bundle of energy. Shortly after the Faust family moves into their new home, a neighbor woman is murdered. Thus, begins the mystery of who killed her and why.

The story unfolds through the viewpoints of three different characters—Sadie, a woman named Camille, and a young girl called Mouse. Chapters alternate between them, some more engrossing than others. There were several chapters mid-point where the story dragged, and I grew weary of Camille and Mouse’s narration (mostly because it’s told rather than shown), but Sadie’s chapters kept me thoroughly engrossed. As suspicion regarding the killer mounts, she pulls a few stunts that had me doing palm/forehead, but they’re forgiven in the overall tension of the book. Once past the middle bubble, I couldn’t read fast enough.

Between the setting with the plague of winter snow, the oppressive weight of Alice’s questionable suicide, and Imogene’s rebellious behavior, there’s a lot going on in this book in addition to a murder mystery.

I did figure out the main plot point early on, but the author peppered the story with enough curve balls to make me second guess myself repeatedly. And I do mean repeatedly. Eventually, my suspicions were proven right, but the connection to the murder and the killer’s motive came as a complete surprise. If you enjoy psychological thrillers that blur lines with domestic thrillers and murder mysteries,The Other Mrs. is well worth the read. 4.5 Stars from me.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Domestic Thrillers > Murder Thrillers


Now, about that bonus I mentioned…

My Story Empire colleagues and I have big announcement taking place today. We don’t normally post on a Tuesday, but our news couldn’t wait. If you haven’t already visited, I invite you to hop over to the Empire, and see what the Story is all about. 😉

Book Review Tuesday: Tattoos and Portents by Judi Lynn @judypost

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Welcome to the last Tuesday of February. It’s amazing how quickly time passes—didn’t we just celebrate Christmas not that long ago?—although when it comes to winter, that speedy passage is appreciated. At least when it’s cold outside, I can snuggle up with a few good books indoors. You’ll find my latest review below, a well-deserved five stars!


Book cover for Tattoos and Portents by Judi Lynn shoes attractive blonde woman i with tattooed arm and mystical headdress holding an orbTattoos and Portents
by Judi Lynn

In the latest Muddy River novel, Hester—a powerful witch—and her sexy fire-demon mate, Raven, are up against an evil priest intent on killing mortals to create an army of zombies. In the process, he abducts three witches who use spelled tattoos to alert others of their captivity.

Muddy River is a series you can basically pick up and start reading anywhere because each book has a standalone plot, but if you’re a follower and fan like me, reconnecting with old friends is a plus. And this time, the supernatural citizens of Muddy River are the midst of Yule celebrations. All the characters I’ve come to love are back, plus several new ones are introduced. There are two fun flirtatious subplots, but the main battle of good magic vs. dark magic is at the core. Druids and voodoo practices also get a splash of attention, building to the ending confrontation. I love when Hester, Raven, and their friends engage in battle!

What makes this series so unique for me is the combination of supernaturals who inhabit Muddy River. Lynn populates her books with all manner of hybrids instead of the usual “stock” preternatural characters. There are pureblood vampires, shifters, etc., but there are also half-sirens/half vampires, half-shifters/half fae—the combinations she comes up with make for fascinating reading as Lynn deftly sucks us into the lives of each. Tattoos and Portents even introduces a Phoenix, who I hope becomes a regular of Muddy River. If you like cozy mysteries with plenty of paranormal and adventurous aspects, plus engaging characters who feel like friends, you’ll love this book and this series. I’m hoping there will be many more to come. A five star gem!

Amazon Link
Genre: Werewolf and Shifter Mysteries > Witch and Wizard Mysteries

 

Book Review Tuesday: Crooked River by Preston and Child

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Happy Tuesday! If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I’m a huge Preston and Child fan. I become giddy whenever they release a book and have waited a year for the newest Pendergast novel, Crooked River. My PenderPal, Marcia Meara, even convinced me to order an autographed copy of the hardcover, and I am so glad I did! Thank you, Marcia!

Of course, I also ordered the Kindle version to read. The other is for admiring. 🙂

And although I’m already in mourning that I’m going to have to wait another year for the next in the series, at least I can share my review of this fabulous book.


Preston and Child deliver another outstanding Pendergast tale, this time involving detached feet that wash up on a beach in Sanibel Island. Based on actual occurrences of this strange phenomenon happening in the Pacific Northwest, P&C have spun their own twisted explanation and moved the location to southern Florida. Pendergast, a special agent with the FBI, is unlike any other fictional detective I’ve encountered, which is why, nineteen books in, this series continues to deliver. He’s unbelievably brilliant, obscenely wealthy, and cool as ice, even in the worst of circumstances. The fact that he consistently ignores established procedure and can verbally vivisect someone without batting an eye only adds to his appeal. Watching him piece together and solve a crime is entertainment of the nth degree. Preston and Child have also given him an excellent cast of supporting characters, who filter in and out of the series through various books. Pendergast’s “ward,” Constance Greene gets to shine in Crooked River. Most of the time, Constance is prim and proper, but when needed, she becomes a skilled and lethal assailant as she proves in this book. I also love Agent Coldmoon, a Native American FBI agent Pendergast worked with in the last book. The contrasts between these two and how they interact is always fun. The book keeps you flipping pages with several divergent plot threads that converge for an explosive ending. Over the top, yes, but for sheer entertainment value, you can’t beat Preston and Child, and especially not Pendergast. Loved it!Crooked River
by Preston and Child

Preston and Child deliver another outstanding Pendergast tale, this time involving detached feet that wash up on a beach in Sanibel Island. Based on actual occurrences of this strange phenomenon happening in the Pacific Northwest, P&C have spun their own twisted explanation and moved the location to southern Florida.

Pendergast, a special agent with the FBI, is unlike any other fictional detective I’ve encountered, which is why, nineteen books in, this series continues to deliver. He’s unbelievably brilliant, obscenely wealthy, and cool as ice, even in the worst of circumstances. The fact that he consistently ignores established procedure and can verbally vivisect someone without batting an eye only adds to his appeal. Watching him piece together and solve a crime is entertainment of the nth degree. Preston and Child have also given him an excellent cast of supporting characters, who filter in and out of the series through various books. Pendergast’s “ward,” Constance Greene gets to shine in Crooked River. Most of the time, Constance is prim and proper, but when needed, she becomes a skilled and lethal assailant as she proves in this book.

I also love Agent Coldmoon, a Native American FBI agent Pendergast worked with in the last book. The contrasts between these two and how they interact is always fun. The book keeps you flipping pages with several divergent plot threads that converge for an explosive ending. Over the top, yes, but for sheer entertainment value, you can’t beat Preston and Child, and especially not Pendergast. 5 big, glittery stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Thriller > Suspense > Crime Fiction
(Once again Amazon has some bizarre tags listed that don’t apply, so I listed my own above)


 

Book Review Tuesday: Dark Hollows @stevefrech

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It’s Book Review Tuesday time! Thanks for joining me today with my latest reviews. I spent a good deal of time formatting In Search of McDoogal, (my upcoming short story) last week, so my reading was minimal.

I had hoped to release McDoogal in February but with my publisher doing a big splash for my Hode’s Hill Series (Cusp of Night FREE from 2/20 through 2/25 and End of Day and  Eventide at .99c all month), I felt it was better to devote time to promotion for the series.

That means McDoogal will be releasing in March.There may even be a cover reveal in store before the month is out 😉

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy today’s review!


Book cover for Dark Hollows by Steve Frech shows a cottage backed by trees on edge of lake at night, all windows in cottage lit with yellow glowDark Hollows
by Steve Frech

I’m not sure if I liked Jacob, the MC in this book. He made horrible decisions when he was younger, causing his past to catch up with him in an unexpected way. What I do know is that I disliked the person who turned on him a helluva lot more—and that made for interesting reading.

Jacob owns a quaint coffee shop called Groundworks in the small town of Dark Hollows. His workers, and the people who populate the town, are wonderful characters although their roles are relatively small (the Halloween costume contest is a fun extra).

In addition to Groundworks, Jacob also rents a cottage behind his home for weekend getaways. When a woman who bears an eerie resemblance to his dead girlfriend, Laura, books a stay, Jacob’s world is thrown into turmoil. It’s hard to say more without giving away spoilers.

What makes Jacob semi-likable and redeemable is his devotion to his dog, Murphy, a lovable golden retriever who likes to play fetch with a red tennis ball. Murphy is a scene stealer, and I adored Jacob’s loyalty to him. Despite the skeletons in his closet, you can’t help cheering for Jacob as he recklessly tracks down the person who upends his world. The extremes he goes to, and the ending confrontation, all make for entertaining reading. Although the ending is rather abrupt, I found it satisfying. 5 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Horror/Suspense > Noir Crime
Note: Although this is tagged on Amazon as horror/suspense, I viewed it as  mystery/suspense without horror elements. I’m not sure why that tag is on there!


 

Book Review Tuesday: The Sister Pact @JacqBiggar, The Good Neighbors @kmodglinauthor

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Welcome to another Tuesday Book Reviews! I have two books to share today, both of which kept me glued to the pages.


Book cover for The Sister Pact by Jacquie Biggar shows pretty blonde woman with sunglasses and headscarf sitting in profile in a convertible, hand on steering wheelThe Sister Pact: Home is Where the Heart is
by Jacquie Biggar

Holly Tremaine returns home when illness forces her to step back from her career as a concert violinist. The holidays are approaching, and home seems the place be—only there are several untidy messes in Holly’s past. Her sister, Susan, married Steven, the man Holly was once in love with, and Holly had a drunken one-night stand with Steven’s brother, Levi.

Sound a bit complicated? It is, in a wonderfully flawed and heart wrenching way. This is a blend of chick lit and romance with neither overshadowing the other. The story is not only about the buried feelings Holly and Levi have carried for each other, but also the emotional scars and bonds between sisters. When Susan’s marriage falters, it’s Holly who rushes in to try to hold it together, and when Holly’s illness gets the better of her, Susan’s eyes are opened to the distance they’ve allowed to grow between them.

This is a beautiful story about family, siblings, sisters, emotional healing, and true loves. Jacquie Biggar writes with perfection and infuses every story with warmth to touch a reader’s heart. The Sister Pact is another perfect gem. 5 Stars

Amazon Link
Genre:  Contemporary Romance > Family Life Fiction 


Book over for The Good Neighbors shows a rural home at night with oppressing cloudy skyThe Good Neighbors
by Kiersten Modglin

Harper and Bryant are a young couple who move from Chicago to a quaint southern town where Bryant has accepted a job as a teacher. Their next-door neighbors are slightly older, extremely wealthy, and model perfect.

The Good
I read this book in one day. I was home with a cold and got sucked in from page one. From the get-go, the reader can’t but help being pulled along in the twisted tale of neighbors Harper and Bryant and Tori and Jason. Like a soap opera, there are a plenty of juicy secrets and over the top encounters.

The Bad
Like a train wreck, it’s hard to look away even when the characters make horrendous decisions, and there were plenty of them in this story. Even so, the writing and story keeps you flipping pages wanting to know what’s going to happen next, despite mounting frustration over the actions of all involved. Harper and Bryant are average, everyday people, where Tori and Jason seem as though they stepped off the screen from a 1980’s prime time soap.

The Ugly
I had a hard time swallowing the ending. Far too many puzzle pieces don’t align­—or at the very least—make sense. I think the author wanted to deliver a bombshell, but rather than feeling shocked, I was left with a sense of incredulity. It’s hard to say more without giving away spoilers, but too many things didn’t add up or were too extreme to swallow.

The Takeaway
I waffled on what rating to give this book given the problems with the plot. But in the end, it kept me glued to the pages and rapidly reading to reach the finish. The entertainment value warrants 5 stars, the plot 3. Therefore, I give The Good Neighbors 4 stars, and note that I would read this author again with that hopes that plot and entertainment meet in a solid middle.

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Thrillers > Psychological Fiction


Until next Tuesday, I hope you enjoyed the reviews, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

Book Review Tuesday: Flower Power Trip @jamescudney4

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Welcome to another Book Review Tuesday! I have one book to share with you today, and although it’s part of a series, I believe it stands well on its own.This is the second Braxton Campus Mystery I’ve read, and I’m hooked. What a spectacular, delightful, eccentric, colorful assortment of characters. Five starts from me for Flower Power Trip by James J. Cudney!


Book cover for Flower Power Trip by James Cudney shows stately looking building in background, flower garden in foreground, with knife sticking up from flowersFlower Power Trip
by James J. Cudney

Once you visit Braxton Campus, you can’t help becoming immersed in the lives of the varied people who populate this quaint setting. Kellan Arywick is a professor with an uncanny knack for sleuthing out murderers—through no fault of his own, and much to the chagrin of the local sheriff. This time around, Kellan agrees to help Braxton College president, Ursula Power, discover who’s stalking her and sending threatening notes. Instead, Kellan ends up with a dead body on his hands, the prime suspect his ex-girlfriend’s sister. Kellan and Maggie have a maintained a strong friendship, so he’s soon up to his neck in trying to find out who did the deed. A stalker, a murder—and that’s only part of what’s going on in this multi-layered mystery.

Complex, but believably presented, the main threads tie up in a neat bow by the time the end arrives. Getting there, however, is quite the rollercoaster ride with suspects presenting themselves at every turn (there is also a few ongoing threads that carry over the series, but in no way leave the reader unsatisfied).

Highlights for me: Kellan’s grandmother “Nana D” is a scene stealer, though there are so many colorful characters in this series, each is given multiple moments to shine. The dialogue is witty and the writing crisp.

An absolute highlight is the masquerade party held to raise funds for renovations to the library. The theme is Heroes and Villains, with guests attending  dressed as their favorite hero or villain from literature. I want to go to that party!—minus the murder, of course. Also of note is Kellan’s frenemy relationship with Sheriff April Montague, who finds his meddling in police business annoying to say the least. It’s fun seeing the progression and changes to their relationship.

If you like cozies and whodunits, with vibrant characters and snappy dialogue, this is a series for you! I read this book without reading the first two in the series, but given how enthralled I am, I want to read them all! 5 Stars

Amazon Purchase Link
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Thanks for visiting today, and I hope you enjoyed the review. If you’re looking for a good cozy, check out Flower Power Trip and the entire Braxton Campus series. I know I’ll be reading more!

Book Review Tuesday: Tear Me Apart by J. T. Ellison, Vanished by @mbiermanauthor

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Happy Book Review Tuesday!  Thanks for dropping by to check out what I’ve been reading. As always, I love sharing books, and I have two to chat about today. Check ’em out below…

Book cover for Tear Me Apart by J. T. Ellison shows lighted window in dark house at nightTear Me Apart
by J. T. Ellison
I had expectations going into this book. After reading the blurb, I thought I had a good notion regarding how the bulk of the plot would play out. Um…yeah, that only went so far.
Mindy Wright is a teenage champion downhill skier with a shot at the U.S. Olympic team. She’s got the perfect home life, perfect mom and dad, the world is her oyster. Then a bad crash lands her in the hospital with a broken leg, and in the process, doctors discover she has leukemia and is in need of a stem cell transplant. When her parents are tested for a match, it’s discovered, she’s not their daughter.
You can see where this is headed, right?—wrong. I went into this book with a lot of expectations. But I didn’t plan on Mindy’s aunt working for a government agency, or two characters in the past sharing time and space in a mental hospital. And what about several far too coincidental murders, all of these things spiraling back to Mindy, her perfect parents and her perfect life?
I loved the author’s use of letters to address the past. The story is doled out in bits and pieces, past and present, slowly joining together for an explosive conclusion. The characters are wholly human and horribly flawed, several with agendas that develop as the book progresses. Favorites for me were Juliet, Vivian and Zac, along with Zac’s faithful dog, Kat.
Given the plot, this was a hard book to deliver a satisfying ending, but Elison exceeded expectations. A grand slam home run! If you like stories with complex characters and dark buried secrets with several twists along the way, don’t miss this engrossing book that takes a stark look at human nature. 5 Stars
Genre: Medical Thrillers > Kidnapping Crime Fiction

Book cover for Vanished by Mark Bierman shows a white hand print on a red backgroundVanished
by Mark Bierman

Although this is a work of fiction, it’s tragic to know the book is grounded in reality.  Tyler and John take a mission trip to Haiti. Tyler is grieving the loss of his wife to cancer—who was John’s daughter. Son-in-law and father-in-law have a strong relationship, readily apparent from the start. No sooner do we meet them, however, than a child goes missing, abducted by slave traders. Many of the locals are ready to write the little girl off as lost, as child abductions are commonplace. Tyler takes a different stance, and John is soon in all the way.

What follows is a riveting search to save a life, and a grim look at the ugliness of human trafficking. There were parts of the book that made me squirm, others that brought inspiration and hope. Bierman makes atrocities clear without being graphic, yet the scenes are raw and powerful, the delivery intense. All of the characters are well developed, including secondary roles. The reader becomes enmeshed in the lives of many, the threads that tie various plot points together, expertly handled. Well written and polished, the story moves at a breathless clip and delivers a satisfying ending. Undertaking such a difficult subject is not an easy feat, but Bierman delivered social commentary and an engrossing story in a seamless package.

Amazon Link
Genre: Literature and Fiction


Until next week, I wish you happy reading, and would love to hear your thoughts about the novels above. Let’s chat! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: The Light: Wake Robin Ridge #4 @MarciaMeara, Earth’s Earliest Ages, George H. Pember, The Whisper Man @writer_north

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageWow! It’s a New Year and I’m thoroughly jazzed to start off the week with my first review of 2020! Although I read these book in December, I didn’t want to share them during the hustle-bustle of Christmas for fear they would get overlooked in all the festive merriment.


Book cover for The Light by Marcia Meara shows young boy standing on a rock with hand extended toward a floating orb of lightThe Light: Wake Robin Ridge #4
by Marcia Meara

I have read and enjoyed all of Marcia Meara’s Wake Robin Ridge books, but The Light, is quite possibly my favorite. Rabbit­—a very special eleven-year-old boy who grew up in Appalachia, now the adopted son of Sarah and Mac—takes center stage yet again. Gifted with “the sight” which allows him to see future events as well as “read” others, he is wise beyond his years. An old soul who has a unique way of viewing the world, he has a folksy charm that resonates with every word he utters. Meara’s gift of writing him is exquisite, and despite numerous well-rounded and lovable characters, it’s Rabbit who steals the show.

I adore Mac and Sarah—mostly because of Rabbit’s pure-hearted love for them, and their utter devotion and fierce protective love for him. I’m enamored of several new characters who make their debut in this book—especially Austin—but once you meet Rabbit, you’re eternally smitten. No two ways about it. He’s a character who lingers long after you’ve read the last paragraph.

An added bonus is the inclusion of the Brown Mountain Lights, an unexplained phenomenon that has long fascinated me. Meara does an excellent job of weaving their appearance into a multi-layered plot which covers the gamut from high-brow society to misguided con artists.

If you like family stories with plenty of warmth, ­­­threads of the supernatural and folklore, plus a well-plotted mystery, don’t miss the latest in the Wake Robin Ridge Series. Five big glittery stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Paranormal & Urban Fantasy > Ghost Fiction


Earth’s Earliest Ages
by George H. Pember

Book cover for Earth's Earliest Ages shows alien-looking humanoid in profile, large head, ears and eyes, three pyramids and prehistoric looking bird flying above pyramidsSomeone recommended this book to me, and I found it to be an intriguing read. Originally published in 1884, it is somewhat dense—you won’t breeze through it—but also highly interesting. The author starts at the Beginning. And I do mean THE BEGINNING, as in prior to when God said, “Let there be light.”

Pember takes the reader through the creation of Earth, the Fall, life outside the gates of Eden, the sin of Cain and the rise of Watchers or b’nai ha Elohim (“sons of God”) who mingled with humans, resulting in the birth of the Nephilim, half celestial, half human beings. All from a Biblical perspective.

He offers the belief that Nephilim (as well as Principalities of the Air) were the ancient gods of Babylonia, Egypt and Persia, as well as the gods of Rome and Greece. But there’s much more, including a close look at life leading up to the Great Flood. Later, he addresses how the sorcerers of Ancient Egypt were able to duplicate several of the plagues Moses—through God—inflicted on Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

Earth’s Earliest Ages, was written in a time when Spiritualism was exploding. The first half of the book is devoted to studying Old Testament events and comparing Pember’s day to the days of Noah. The last half of the book takes an in-depth look at Spiritualism, Theosophy, and Buddhism. Although I found the section on Spiritualism interesting (due to the amount of research I did on sham aspects of the religion for a novel), I waded through the chapters on Theosophy and Buddhism. That aside, Pember offers up several interesting theories and backs them from a Biblical perspective. Despite being published over a century ago, the text has been updated through multiple editions, and still resonates with the state of our world today in many ways. 4 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Nonfiction > Biblical Studies


The Whisper Man
by Alex North

Book cover for The Whisper Man by Alex North shows ragged handprint with open butterfly wings serving as palm. Blackimage on white backgroundChalk this up to one of my favorite reads of the year! After his wife dies unexpectedly, Tom Kennedy moves with his young son, Jake, to the tiny village of Featherbank in an effort to start fresh. Jake is a sensitive child, prone to talking to an imaginary friend. At first things appear to be moving in the right direction, then Tom learns that he and his son have moved into the neighborhood “scary house.” Worse, Featherbank is also the site of several child abductions and murders decades in the past. The serial killer responsible was known as the Whisper Man due to a habit of whispering to his victims outside their bedroom windows. Just before Tom and Jake settle into their new house, a young boy goes missing. Then Tom overhears Jake reciting part of a rhyme: “If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…”

Where to begin? This is a highly suspenseful, creepy read with intricate layers. Not only do we have Tom and Jake—with Tom struggling on so many levels to be the father Jake needs—but two detective inspectors are also front and center. DI Pete Willis is the man responsible for bringing the Whisper Man to justice decades ago, and DI Amanda Beck is the lead on the current abduction case. A case that bears eerie similarities to the Whisper Man’s crimes.

Twists and turns? Oh, yes! I smugly thought I had part of the story figured out early on, only to have the proverbial rug wrenched from under me. Plus, there are HUGE surprises in store. WOW moments that induce goosebumps. I’m in awe by how expertly the author wove everything together.

Originally, I was a little cat-shy about reading a story that involved child victims, but there is nothing graphic here. The past is only touched on in a sinister, but distant way. What makes this book so unforgettable is the atmosphere North conjures in most every scene—like a storm waiting to break. The creep-factor is subtle, but deliciously wrought, and the ending delivers another jaw-dropper. If you like well-written, tightly plotted, suspenseful reads with a hint of eeriness, don’t pass up The Whisper Man. I highly recommend this one! Five whopping big stars!

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Genre: Horror Suspense > Ghost Mysteries > Ghost Thrillers