Book Review Tuesday: The Body in the Beauty Parlor by Judi Lynn #cozymystery, Vampire on the Orient Express by Shane Carrow #vampirehorror

It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for more book reviews. I’ve followed the Jazzi Zanders series from book one, and have loved seeing the growth of the characters plus the creative plots Judi Lynn weaves for her heroine. There’s always a murder to solve when Jazzi and her hunky husband Ansel (her “norseman” or “viking”) are around. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, I highly recommend this series.

BLURB:
In their hair salon, Jazzi’s sister Olivia and mother are savvy businesswomen whose creativity brings fashion and flair to the folks of Rivers Bluff, Indiana. So when their newest hairstylist Misty is caught scamming clients’ debit cards and selling beauty products during off hours to pocket the profits, Olivia fires her. But Misty retaliates by hitting back with a defamation lawsuit—which she is more than happy to drop if Olivia pays her ten grand.
 
But neither blackmail nor courtroom fees are accrued after Misty’s body is discovered in the salon with Olivia’s scissors stuck in her chest. Olivia may be the number one suspect, but her murdered employee had a reputation for making enemies.
 
Then Jazzi’s ex Chad appears, asking for help with his marital strife. This already awkward situation worsens when Chad’s wife vanishes and the police investigate him. Now, it’s up to Jazzi to clear both her sister’s and ex’s names while the killer—or killers—could be a mere hair breadth’s away . . .

MY REVIEW:
I thoroughly enjoyed this sixth outing for Jazzi, her husband, Ansel, their extended family, and group of friends. As always, Jazzi and Ansel are at the heart of the book with Jazzi playing amateur sleuth. In this case, there are two mysteries, both which hit close to home. Her sister, Olivia’s, newest employee is found dead in Olivia’s hair salon, and Jazzi’s ex-fiancé’s wife disappears under highly questionable circumstances. Of course, Jazzi, Ansel, and Jazzi’s cousin, Jerod, also have a house to remodel and flip. Add in a large family, a looming Easter celebration, and Jazzi has her hands full.

As with all the Jazzi mysteries, this is a pleasurable read. The action is split behind sleuthing and Jazzi’s family life. Lynn’s writing style is breezy and easy to read. Characters feel like old friends and the two mysteries are deftly handled. Even Jazzi and Ansel’s pets—Geroge the pug, and cats, Inky and Marmalade—get moments to shine. If you enjoy cozies, this is one series and group of characters who will win your heart. Satisfying from start to finish!

5 STARS

________________________________________________________________________________

And, now in a completely different vein:

BLURB:
Paris, 1914. American adventurer Sam Carter boards the Orient Express, departing France in style after an impulsive decision to desert the Foreign Legion. British diplomat Lucas Avery is already nursing a drink in the smoking car, resenting his assignment to the distant Ottoman Empire. Neither man expects anything more from the next three days and three thousand miles than rich food, expensive champagne and fine cigars.

But something dangerous is lurking aboard the train, hiding in plain sight among French aristocrats and German businessmen. Through fire and darkness, through blood and ice, the Orient Express is bearing an ancient evil across the continent – and not all its passengers will live to see Constantinople…

MY REVIEW:
The cover and the setting of this book sucked me in as soon as I saw it. Murder mystery, the Orient Express, and vampires all couched in the year 1914. What a combination! The author didn’t disappoint and delivered an intriguing plot. The main characters—Sam Carter, an American ex-Foreign Legion soldier, and Lucas Avery, a British diplomat—are set up to be polar opposites. Descriptions are good and the secondary characters provide excellent support for the two MCs. My only quibble is that I would have liked more character development for the leads. I couldn’t really connect with them, but I seem to be in the minority on that.

Given this the first book of a series, I expect the author will provide additional character growth over time. In many ways the tale reminded me of an early horror film, offering an old-fashioned vampire story wrapped in superstition, folklore, and slowly creeping chills.

The story does have a complete wrap at the end but sets the stage for Carter and Avery to continue working together.

4 STARS

______________________________________________________________________________

From cozy mystery to vampire horror, I had several days of diverse reading. I love how books can transport us anywhere–from house renovation and murder in a small town, to a lavish train barreling through Europe in the early days of the twentieth century. As always, I wish you happy reading!

Book Review Tuesday: The Vampire Connoisseur, Wings and Fire #horroranthologies #horrorfiction #shortstories

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 image

It’s Book Review Tuesday time, and today I have two collections of short stories for you. Both of these anthologies are in a similar vein, with the focus on horror and dark fantasy. Anthologies are a great way to discover new authors, plus glean treats from authors you already enjoy. If you enjoy fiction with elements of the supernatural, dark fantasy, or horror, you’re sure to like these.
________________________________________________________________________________

Todd Sullivan Presents: The Vampire Connoisseur
Various Authors

Every now and then I love to disappear between the pages of an anthology, especially when it’s delivered with a central theme. I don’t read a lot of horror, but I do enjoy it now and then, and I liked the idea of The Vampire Connoisseur being themed around, well…vampires. Don’t expect stakes, crosses, and garlic.

What made this collection so intriguing is the diversity in the plots the authors delivered–all so unique with distinctive voices. Some stories deliver subtle goosebumps and chills while others carry more than a slant of gore. As in any anthology, readers are bound to savor a few stories over others. For me, I especially enjoyed The Red Angel by Lisa Hario, The Sun Sets Nonetheless by Priscilla Bettis, Splinters by Keawe Melina Patrick, Parasites: A tale of Route 66 by B.J. Thrower and Take Me Home Tonight by Troy Diffenderfer. Of special note, I loved the mentions of Woody Guthrie in the Route 66 tale.

Read a few stories at a time or read them all at once. However you choose, this is an enjoyable collection for vampire lovers and lovers of horror.

4 STARS
AMAZON LINK
Genre: Vampire Horror . Dark Fantasy Horror

________________________________________________________________________________

Wings and Fire
Various Authors

Normally, in an anthology, there are a few stories that don’t quite deliver the punch of the others. Not so with Wings and Fire. This is one of the best collections of stories I’ve read, all of the tales polished with slick writing and clever delivery. I was riveted from start to finish.

A few of the many gems that stood out for me are the stories by Roberta Eaton Cheadle and Jessica Bakkers, especially An Unsolvable Problem or Not by Cheadle and Tasmanian Devil by Bakkers. Other stories (among many) that struck a chord were Wings of Prosperity by Heather Kindt, Dark Obsession by Susan Lamb, Mary by Adele Marie Park, and The Great Potto by M.J. Mallon. Creepy, eerie, and mesmerizing!

Tales vary between spooky, sinister, and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, but all are brilliant,
delivering the gut punch stories of this nature should. There is one story I skimmed, the content darker than the others, but overall, highly recommended! I thoroughly enjoyed this gem.

5 STARS
AMAZON LINK
Genre: Horror Anthology

________________________________________________________________________________

Are you a fan of anthologies? As an author, I’ve contributed to several in the past and have always enjoyed the experience. As a reader, collections like these make for nice “snacks” between longer works. Whatever title is currently on your eReader or keeping you enthralled in paperback form, I wish you happy reading! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: The Prince’s Man, The Prince’s Son #epicfantasy #fantasyromance @DeborahJay2

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 image

Happy Book Review Tuesday. I hope the weather is tolerable in your part of the world. February has been most unkind to the northeast, bringing non-stop snow, snow squalls, and freezing rain and sleet. Needless to say I’ve hunkered down indoors whenever possible–a great time for reading. Today I have two novels in a wonderful fantasy series to share. As the log line for these books say . . . “Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings.”

________________________________________________________________________________

Book cover for The Prince's Man shows image of long-haired handsome young man in cloak on horseback

The Prince’s Man
Five Kingdom’s Book 1
by Deborah Jay

One of the best fantasy novels I have read in ages, The Prince’s Man combines court intrigue, nefarious plots, and dazzling realms. Rustam (Rusty) Chalice is a debonair dance master who lives a double life as a spy in the service of his prince, while also frequenting the beds of highborn ladies.

His life takes a turn when he is forced to team with Dart, the court’s royal assassin—a woman—with the goal of transporting a sickly elf across hostile, mountainous territory. Through the arduous journey, all three characters undergo brutal transformations and evolve as they are tested time and again, forced to rely on one another. At the same time, threats to the throne involve a traitorous noble, an illegitimate heir, and a diabolical torturer. There are layers upon layers of plot, all woven neatly together for a satisfying conclusion in this first book of what promises to be a stellar series.

I was smitten with all three of the lead characters, especially Rustam who undergoes the most compelling transformation of all. You can’t read this book and not be caught up in the lives of Jay’s rakish spy, Risada, Elwaes, and so many others. Even the secondary characters are fleshed out and vibrantly written. We meet so many along the journey, yet each leaves a distinctive mark.

The writing is exquisite, layered with beautifully detailed descriptions of enthralling realms, fantastical creatures, and breathless adventure. Every bit as riveting are the cloak-and-dagger machinations of several royal houses and the cruel manipulations of power-hungry men who seek the throne. From the moment I opened the first pages, I was sucked into the author’s expertly crafted world of intrigue and danger. A truly engaging story. Although book one delivers a wrap to the story as presented, I look forward to continuing for the full scope in books two and three. Highly recommended!

5 Stars

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Epic Fantasy > Fantasy Adventure > Fantasy Romance

________________________________________________________________________________

The Prince’s Son
Five Kingdoms Book 2
by Deborah Jay

Book cover for The Prince's Son shows image of long-haired handsome young man in cloak on horseback

The second book in a series, The Prince’s Son picks up where the first book left off. Rustam Chalice is once again in the thick of things as he leads a bridal caravan delivering the older of twins to her intended. Nessa, the younger twin, joins her sister for the journey, along with their maid and friend, Enya. What starts off as a simple journey soon twists into nightmarish proportions, especially for the girls when they are abducted by a vile clan chief.

As in the first novel, I was enthralled by the deftness of the author’s writing, her ability to weave scenes that kept me on pins and needles, and a plot that leaves the reader eagerly flipping the pages.

Whether Jay is writing a beautiful descriptive passage or one rife with danger and raw brutality, her talent places the reader in the heart of the scene. She did an excellent job of wringing emotion from me. I alternately cheered, recoiled, wept, and felt the same broken, joyous, or determined fortitude of the characters. Some are truly abhorrent, and the author didn’t shy from showing that side of them. Others, heroic, complex, resilient.

The relationship between Rustam and Lady Risada will always be the heart of the story for me, but there are layers upon layers of plot threads in this deftly built world. There are several surprises in store, plus a wonderful “comeuppance” for one of the more loathsome characters. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey in book three!

5 Stars

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Epic Fantasy > Fantasy Adventure > Fantasy Romance

________________________________________________________________________________

Aren’t the covers for these novels positively gorgeous? I’m thoroughly smitten with Rustam and Lady Risada and look forward to reading more of their story in book three. Rumor has it Deborah has a fourth (and final?) novel in the works for this series. I’ll be grabbing it on pre-order as soon as it’s available. Book three, The Prince’s Protege is already waiting on my Kindle.

Thanks for joining me for another Book Review Tuesday. Wherever you are, stay warm, and happy reading!

Book Review Tuesday: The Forgotten by D.L. Cross, The Culmination by Gwen Plano @stacitroilo @gmplano

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 image

Thank you for joining me for another Book Review Tuesday. Today, I am featuring titles from two of my Story Empire colleagues–Staci Troilo (D.L.Cross) and Gwen Plano.

From aliens to military coverups and political intrigue, these novels will keep you flipping the pages and scrambling to reach their exciting conclusions!

________________________________________________________________________________

The Forgotten
by D. L. Cross

Book cover for The Forgotten shows large space ship on angry sky hovering over Grecian-inspired building

If you’re unfamiliar with the Astral Conspiracy series, The Forgotten is a great introduction. If you’re already a fan of Astral, this story is a treat—icing on the cake, so to speak. As with the series itself, the action is fast paced, an adrenaline rush of danger and intrigue. Cross delivers excellent characters in Colonel Jack Morley and CORE director Victor Cannon.

A clever prequel, The Forgotten delivers all the elements that makes Astral so mind-blowing—Titans, Reptars, Reclaimants and Separated to name a few. Whether you’re new to the series or not, there are several surprises in store. Of special note, I have to mention the plot thread involving Cannon and Tiny. It kept me glued to the pages! The Forgotten is another great entry in a spectacular series, but it reads as either introduction or standalone. I positively loved the ending!

5 Stars

AMAZON LINK NOTE: This novel is FREE, so scarf it up!
Genre: Alien Invasion Science Fiction > Colonization Science Fiction

________________________________________________________________________________

Book cover of The Culmination shows silhouette of couple holding hands with young girl in pigtails, war tanks in background

The Culmination
by Gwen Plano


Book three in a series, The Culmination reads easily as a standalone novel. A political thriller, that addresses denuclearization, tensions in the Middle East, and the fate of refugees, much of the story echoes current headlines. The plot is complex involving multiple heads of state, along with the strategical give and take of political maneuvering on a global level. The author clearly put an extensive amount of research into this book, and it shows. Adrenalin-fueled scenes alter with more cerebral moments, and even a few romantic interludes.

I especially loved the evolution of the relationship between the two central characters, Margaret Adler, VP of the United States and Ivan Smirnov, acting President of Russia. During the course of the novel those titles change, and we learn more about each, including richly developed backgrounds. I was thoroughly invested in the difficulties Margaret and Ivan faced, both on personal and political levels. Their scenes together were among my favorites of the book. There’s also a young refugee child who factors into the story and who stole my heart.

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Military Thriller > War Fiction

________________________________________________________________________________

I want to send a huge round of applause to Staci and Gwen for keeping me entertained with such adrenaline and emotion filled reads. These are definitely two books you want to add to your TBR!

Book Review Tuesday: Liars and Thieves, Allies and Spies, Lord of Chaos #UnravelingtheVeil @Dwallacepeach

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 imageToday, I have the pleasure of reviewing an entire series, written by a stellar author.
D. Wallace Peach is a gifted story-teller. She not only delivers riveting fiction time after time, but does so using beautiful prose, vivid imagery, and complex world-building. It’s my pleasure to share my five star reviews for all three novels in her Unraveling the Veil series.


Book cover for Liars and Thieves gives appearance of old medieval tome Liars and Thieves
by D. Wallace Peach

In any D. Wallace Peach novel, you can count on a diverse cast of characters and an exceptionally detailed fantasy world. With Liars and Thieves, Peach delivers both, mesmerizing the reader from the first chapter. Goblins, elves, and changelings maintain tenuous relationships, one step away from erupting into war. At the center are Savan crystals, mined by the goblins, but necessary for the survival of all three races.

The trio of main characters—a temperamental elfin solider, a sly and cunning changeling, and a half-breed goblin—are inexplicably thrown together among a backdrop of political machinations and festering hostilities. All three have reasons to distrust, even loathe the others. As a reader, it takes a while to warm up to Alue, Talin and Naj, as none come off as the typically crafted fantasy characters, but all are equally compelling. Glimpses into their backstories are doled out morsels at a time, deftly reeling in the reader.

I can’t applaud the author enough for her brilliant use of description, gift for imagery, and—most especially—her complex worldbuilding, all of which held me spellbound. If you enjoy flawed characters, a plot that moves like a chess game with moves and countermoves, plus exquisite writing, don’t miss Liars and Thieves. I am ready and eager to dive into book two!

5 Stars

Amazon Link
Genre: Dark Fantasy Horror > Sword and Sorcery Fantasy


Book cover for Allies and Spies gives appearance of old medieval tomeAllies and Spies
by D. Wallace Peach

The danger ramps up in the second installment of this series. Alue, Naj, and Talin, tenuous allies forced to work together at the end of book one, now find themselves dependent on one another as the mysterious earthquakes and disappearances responsible for bringing them together increase in frequency. The richly detailed world Peach crafted in the first novel of this engaging trilogy is more closely examined as the reader learns more about the three races at its core—elves, goblins, and changelings. The power of shifting is key to how things play out. Peril is constant, scenes hurtling into each other as Alue, Naj, and Talin are thrust from one dangerous situation into the next.

But it isn’t just the constant menace that elevates this book in its genre. Character development is given equal attention. I loved seeing the roller coaster range of emotions in the three main characters as they shuffle through various degrees of skepticism, mistrust, forced reliance, and slowly-gained but often questionable loyalty. There are several surprises, including one mind-blowing revelation regarding one of the three leads that left me slack-jawed and stunned.

Descriptions are engrossing, immersing the reader in Peach’s vividly imagined world. The writing is polished and professional, making this middle book a pleasure to read, as it sets the stage for what I’m sure will be an exceptional conclusion. Now, thoroughly invested in the lives of the three leads, and the squabbling races that comprise this world, I’m poised to launch into book three. When you want epic fantasy at its best, you can always count on D. Wallace Peach to deliver!

5 Stars

Amazon Link
Genre: Dark Fantasy Horror > Sword and Sorcery Fantasy


Book cover for Lord of Chaos gives appearance of old medieval tomeLord of Chaos
by D. Wallace Peach

In the concluding novel of this outstanding trilogy, the alliance between the three lead characters¬—Alue, Talin, and Naj—fray, even as tenuous relationships between their respective races—elf, changeling, and goblin—completely break down. War looms and battles erupt. With changelings able to assume the guise of others, including those in positions of authority, deception abounds. The action is constant, barely giving the reader a moment to catch their breath. There are also multiple scenes, especially those that take place in the Authority, that had me squirming as I awaited the outcome.

As in the other books, the plot threads are tightly woven and complex, with surprises along the way. The writing is polished and professional, scenes intensively vivid. This is one writer who knows how to craft a riveting tale while delivering a subtle message. A superb conclusion to a phenomenal series. I will miss these characters.

5 Stars

Amazon Link
Genre: Dark Fantasy Horror > Sword and Sorcery Fantasy


I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys high fantasy or books with complex and exquisite world building. If fantasy is not your normal genre of reading, I expect you will be enthralled regardless, given this author’s superb talent. Happy reading!

Book Review Tuesday: The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger, Pretty Evil New England #truecrime @SueColetta, Magical Whispers #Poetry @BalroopShado

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 image

I missed doing a Book Review Tuesday last week. Hubby and I have started a new remodeling project so my reading time took a hit. Today, however, I’ve got some great books to share. Two are based on historic accounts and actual events, the third is a soothing and mesmerizing book of poetry. Take a look . . .


Book cover for The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger shoes girl in colonial dress standing on shore looking to clipper ship at seaThe Last Pilgrim
by Noelle Granger

The Last Pilgrim is an amazingly researched historical novel detailing the life of Mary Allerton Cushman, the last survivor from the Mayflower. Mary was four years old when she arrived at the Plymouth Colony. She lived to be 88, dying in 1699. During her lengthy life she experienced the hardships, upheaval, and struggle to survive in a new land. Her growth from curious, wayward child to strong, intelligent woman takes the reader on a remarkable journey populated by historical figures and events.

The author delves into multiple issues ranging from political disputes, relations with neighboring tribes, even religious disagreements. Everyday life is presented in such engrossing detail it’s easy to lose track of time as Granger immerses her readers in a world all but unfathomable today. Her passion for those she has undertaken to write about, along her meticulous research, shines through in every passage. I found myself reluctant to stop reading at night when sleep called.


Close up of a 19th century woman from nose to chest, with blood splatter over imagePretty Evil New England: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs
by Sue Coletta

In Pretty Evil New England, author Sue Coletta takes a look at five 19th century female serial killers and their victims, including how these women—all who moved within genteel society without arousing suspicion—perpetrated their crimes. In some cases, the killers were highly respected individuals and often times, the victims were members of their own family. Coletta’s meticulous research provides detailed backgrounds of each killer, along with glimpses into the disturbed workings of their mind and how each sought to justify their actions. There is insanity, narcissism, and heartless manipulation, among other twisted motivations. I found Coletta’s explanations of how female serial killers differ from their male counterparts surprisingly eye-opening.

The book is divided into sections, each devoted to a particular killer and her victims. But it isn’t just the actual crimes Coletta focuses on. She also shows us how each woman was apprehended, then places the reader in the courtroom for an in depth look at her trial, and the outcome. The subject matter, while grim in nature, is in no way gruesome to read, and Coletta’s manner of delivery is thoroughly engrossing, the writing flawless. I highly recommend Pretty Evil New England to fans of true crime, AND crime fiction and suspense novels. The author held me spellbound from cover to cover and I finished this book in two days.

I received an ARC of this book for an honest review.
I give Pretty Evil New England 5 Stars!

Pre-Order from Amazon (Releases November 1)
Genre: Biographies of Serial Killers > History of New England U.S.


Book cover for Magical Whispers shows waterfall tumbling over rocksMagical Whispers
by Balroop Singh

This beautiful collection of poems focuses mostly on elements of nature, offering stunning verses that speak to heart. The author uses words like a paintbrush, conjuring images that seep with tranquility, ebbing like a gentle tide into the spirit and mind. Spend time with each exquisite verse. These are poems to absorb and savor. Poetry is personal and touches each in a different manner. Verses resonate differently with each individual, but I have no doubt there is something mesmerizing for each in this collection that varies in tone from serene, to mystical, to thoroughly enchanting. Those that particularly resonated with me included Life is much More, Magic, A Concert, and A Moon Fairy (among others). I am frequently in awe of this poet’s skill with weaving words on a loom. If you love words…if you love deftly layered verse, this collection is not to be missed.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Poetry

I give Magical Whispers 5 Stars!


Thanks for joining me today. This will be my last Book Review Tuesday for quite some time, as I plan to go dark during the month of November to concentrate on NaNoWriMo. I’ll still pop in on Story Empire, as I have responsibilities there, but otherwise you won’t see me online much, if at all. I’ll miss everyone but hope you’ll understand my need to focus on my WIP—I really MUST get it done! Hopefully, when I resurface in December, I’ll be sharing the wonderful news that I met my 50K goal and finished the thing 🙂

I do have a guest scheduled this Thursday and hope you’ll return to chat and wish him well.

Book Review Tuesday: I Wouldn’t Be Surprised @dlfinnauthor

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 imageGood morning, friends! Happy last Tuesday of July. I only have one book review for you today, but it is a wonderful short read that I highly recommend. I give five fantastic stars to I Wouldn’t Be Surprised by D.L. Finn

Book cover for I Would Be Surprised by D. L. Finn shows title text over flames on black backgroundI Wouldn’t Be Surprised: A Short Story
by D. L. Finn

This is a short, quick read, that delivers creepiness and suspense. Janice and her husband Dale live in an isolated location, surrounded by woods. One night over dinner, Janice makes jokes about things that wouldn’t surprise her (Bigfoot, UFOs, etc. ) if they suddenly showed up. The next morning, her husband finds something unexpected outside–a possible “gift” from an unknown “someone.”

After that, the oddities multiply. It’s hard to say much without giving away the plot, but I found all the strange things that kept happening, and the sense of steadily mounting danger to be very well done.

When Janice finds herself alone in the house, circumstances go from eerie to outright menacing. Elements of the supernatural combine with an old mystery for a satisfying conclusion. I could also see this becoming a ongoing series. I read this over a lunch break and was sad when it ended. Well-written and suspenseful!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: 45-Minute Literature & Fiction Short Reads


As always, I wish you happy reading, and adding to your TBR! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: This Last Chance, Songs of Heartstrings, Fiona Finch and the Pink Valentine @dlfinnauthor @mhurdle112 @teagangeneviene

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. If you live in the U.S., I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday. We had relatives on hubby’s side visit from out of state. I’m still freaky about the social distancing thing, but I am venturing out more these days—visiting family, and going to stores. We even went to a restaurant for the first time. Not sure I’ll do that again, but we wanted to get together with a friend who is leaving for the summer. I have to say the restaurant did a good job with social distancing and sanitizing.

And now for the latest round of book reviews . . .


Book cover for This Last Chance by D. L. Finn has glowing red eyes looming above angel wingsThis Last Chance
by D. L. Finn

I really enjoyed the combination of mystery and supernatural elements in this book. On the mortal realm, the story revolves around Amber who is determined to discover who murdered her sister. In the spiritual realm, angels and evildwels battle for control of human souls. At the center of that conflict is Nester, an evidwel who suddenly finds himself questioning his beliefs. Toss in a remote location, plus a group of potential suspects trapped under one roof by a snowstorm, and you’ve got a tense and intriguing plot.

I loved the claustrophobic atmosphere created by the snowstorm, and the characters (both human and supernatural) present a varied and interesting group. Nester is a standout, as is Ed, an angel. The quips between them are priceless. This Last Chance fuses mystery, spiritual warfare, even a hint of potential romance. When the climatic scenes—on both planes—happen, there are more than a few surprises in store. An engaging read!

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Supernatural Thriller > Paranormal Suspense


Book cover for Songs of Heartstrings, a collection of poetry by Miriam HurdleSongs of Heartstrings
by Miriam Hurdle

The author of this collection of poetry and short snippets takes us on a journey through life—her life—as seen through the music of words and photographs. She shares experiences through marriage, parenthood, the loss of loved ones, even cancer treatments. Heartfelt and often spiritual, the book resonates with strength, love, and faith.

There are multiple poems and snippets that touched me, but a few that really stood out are Cocoon-Butterfly, A Tribute to My Dad, and Gratitude for Being. Each reader will no doubt find poems that speak to their heart. Although this collection is a reflection of the author’s life, the beauty and spirit of the work brings something for everyone.

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Religious and Inspirational Poetry > Personal Growth and Christianity


Book cover with cute illustration of woman in steampunk dress with pink umbrella and a duck by her skirtFiona Finch and the Pink Valentine
by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

This is a cute, whimsical novella that is sure to leave you with a smile. The characters are fun, the story highly imaginative, and the descriptions dazzle like a kaleidoscope of vibrant color. Fiona Finch is a young woman with a fondness for pink.

Her brother, Steele, is an inventor whose mentor carries a heart full of unrequited love for the woman he let get away thirty-five years ago. Toss in a scene-stealing duck, a masquerade party, and a pink valentine, and you have all the elements for a light-hearted romp with threads of romance. If that isn’t enough, the ending with Quellie the duck will have you grinning ear to ear. Simply delightful!

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Steampunk > Holiday Fiction > Fantasy


That’s it from me for today, but I hope you are enjoying plenty of summer reading!

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! 🙂