Friday, March 17, 2017

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE AIRPORT





Melly Woodruff has the worst luck with men. Every time another relationship fails, she jumps on a flight to visit a friend and take her mind off her lack of love. On another broken-hearted trip, a fellow passenger gets out of hand and Wes Truitt, the on-board air marshal steps in. It doesn’t take Melly long to remember they’d met before. Because what happens in the airport doesn’t always stay at the airport…


Amazon





My thoughts
3.5 Stars
Is a sweet “was that first encounter really that special” romance. Wes and Melly met on a flight and connected. Melly waited for a call from Wes, one that never came. Two years and another failed relationship for Melly later their paths cross again on, you guessed it, an airplane.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE AIRPORT is a quick romantic read incorporating several aspects of modern culture from air marshals on flights to social media and viral videos. Wes, Melly, and their romance are believable and sweet without being twee.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

ELEMENTARY, SHE READ by Vicki Delany Review


Core characters are Gemma Doyle, distant relative of the esteemed author, co-owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, and partner in the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room.  Gemma, like Holmes, has almost freakish powers of observation and deduction, but unlike Holmes, often is too clever for her own good. Though she has an eye for detail and what appears to be a photographic memory, she’s oblivious in many ways.  There were times I found Gemma to be grating.
Gemma’s Great Uncle Arthur, world traveler and bookstore Co-owner and tearoom partner. I look forward to more of Uncle Arthur, his character sound fascinating.
Mrs. Hudson Tea Room partner, Jayne, Gemma’s best friend.
Ryan Ashburton, West London (Cape Cod) police detective and Gemma’s former lover.
Det. Estrada, Ryan’s partner.  Det. Estrada’s immediate dislike of Gemma and her single-minded determination to focus on her was irritating. She wanted so badly for Gemma to be guilty. There doesn’t appear to be a reason other than her disbelief of Gemma’s “ability”.
Moriarty, the bookstore cat. He’s not a fan of Gemma.
Violet, the loving cocker spaniel who waits patiently at home. What a sweetie…
When Gemma finds what appears to be a rare, therefore expensive, magazine hidden in her bookstore, tracking down the author leads to a body; leading to Gemma and Jayne as prime suspects in a murder. For habitual, astute mystery readers the difficulty level will be low, but the writing combined with the appeal of the setting and characters should make up for that.  ELEMENTARY, SHE READ shows real promise. There are a few things that would make the series a definite go to for me.
1.      Less contradiction and a trifle more humility in Gemma.
2.      An explanation for Det. Estrada’s hostility. She had it out for Gemma from the get go. Difficulty believing in Gemma’s “ability” doesn’t cut it by the end of the book.
3.      More Uncle Arthur.
Speaking personally, these changes would certainly make Gemma and crew my newest gotta read cozy series.
3.5 Stars

Friday, March 3, 2017

Harold Hardscrabble is a sympathetic novel filled with philosophical musings on the state of society and our place within it. It captures the feelings of frustration and helplessness that many of us experience in our daily lives. These sentiments are embodied in the story’s contemplative, quietly charming protagonist, Harold, who, like Walter Mitty, lives largely in his own world of thoughts and dreams. We follow Harold’s transformation from a dreamer to a man of action as he struggles to discover how to live a meaningful life in a materialistic world.

A contemporary novel that recounts the journey of its ordinary, quietly charming protagonist Harold, whose search for self-realization goes extraordinarily wrong. It is today’s American tragedy.

Harold remains resilient in the face of the many disasters and injustices that assail him along the way; but, finally overcome by despondency, he feels forced to take matters into his own hands to attain justice for all the misfortunes he has been made to suffer. The story of his quest for self-realization unfolds slowly as it builds to its ineluctable, explosive climax.




"Harold Hardscrabble is a thoughtful and well-written observation of the human condition. Dess pushes members of the modern world to question many things and consider that maybe even something unlikely could come to be true." Red City Review

“Harold Hardscrabble is smartly written, informed by the philosophies and ideas of various documents and writers, including Karl Marx, David Foster Wallace and Noam Chomsky.”Blue Ink Review  

Amazon     Goodreads

G.D. Dess is the author of the novel His Vision of Her (Harper & Row). His critical reviews and essays appear in the Los Angeles Review of Books and Goodreads. Mr. Dess was born in Michigan and has lived in six states and ten cities throughout the country. For several years, he lived in Paris, France, where he taught English and worked as a translator. Currently he lives on the east coast with his Wheaton Terrier, Beckett.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bridesmaids Revisited Review

Have you ever read Dorothy Cannell? If not,  you should really add her to your list of must reads. She's never failed to entertain me and make me laugh.

In this “entertaining gothic tale” (Chicago Sun-Times) that “reads like Wuthering Heights on steroids” (Publishers Weekly), amateur sleuth Ellie Haskell gets caught up in the drama of a trio of ancient spinsters—and the ghosts of murder past.

 
“Rosemary, Thora, and Jane lived at the end of the lane, one was thin, one was fat, and one was very plain.” This is how Ellie Haskell remembers her grandmother’s three childhood friends, known collectively as “the bridesmaids.” Ellie once asked her mother where the nickname came from and her mother replied, “It’s a long story, best forgotten.” After all, every family has its secrets.

Now, thirty years later, a letter from the bridesmaids arrives informing Ellie that her grandmother, Sophia, wishes to make contact. This might have been heartwarming news but for one small detail: Sophia is dead. Ellie sets out to visit the bridesmaids, expecting to set the record straight. What she gets is a life-changing journey into the unknown, from a séance and a hidden diary to a mysterious death that took place more than fifty years ago. (Synopsis from Amazon)


I discovered Dorothy Cannell and her creation, Ellie Haskell, years ago with The Thin Woman and was immediately hooked. Quirky characters, a touch of Ellie’s favorite gothic novels, humor, wit, and splendid puzzles rank them right at the top of my list beside Amelia Peabody. Simply reading the titles makes me smile.
In BRIDESMAIDS REVISITED (ha J), Ellie and Ms. Malloy are on their lonesome at Merlin’s Court. Ben has thoughtfully taken the children to a new type of family vacation resort, Memory Lane. They’re springing up all over and this was the brainchild of their vicar’s wife. Ellie, during her time alone, is meant to be decorating little Rose’s room.  She doesn’t even get into the room before she receives a letter from the past. Friends of her long gone grandmother, Sophia, have written to Ellie asking her to come visit the Old Rectory. Ellie remembers these older ladies from a childhood visit with her mother, Mina, who referred to them as The Bridesmaids. Despite her misgivings, Ellie heads off with Ms. Malloy aka Roxy, who’s on the run from Leonard, a husband who went out for stew beef and never returned. He’s turned up all these years later like a bad penny, and Ms. Malloy fears she’ll be too weak to resist his charms should she be left alone.

What a hoot. In these days of dark leaning reads, regardless of genre, Ellie and crew are just the ticket to lighten up your day, and reading. With nods to past gothic classics Ellie and Ms. Malloy are off and running in their new adventure. While readers may figure out who, there’re always many layers to Ellie’s mysteries that often defy the reader to identify each and every one. That’s part of the charm of Ellie, Ben, Ms. Malloy, and Freddy. While it may seem simple on the surface, it never really is. BRIDESMAIDS REVISITED is no exception. Long on clues, misdirection’s, idiosyncratic characters, and the icy fingers of a past mystery that reaches into the future, I wasn’t disappointed. I laughed and puzzled my way along with Ellie to try and prevent more death and havoc. With a devilish twist at the end, BRIDESMAIDS REVISITED was all I’d hoped and then some.
Full of hijinks, eccentric characters, and inventive plots that dovetail sweetly at the end, the Ellie Haskell books are bound to become favorites you’ll turn to time and again.

4.5 stars


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Parker Sinclair featuring EVE OF THE EXCEPTIONALS

As promised, EVE OF THE EXCEPTIONALS, a stand-alone YA Epic Fantasy novel.

When fate brings the young Prince Ryzyn and the rover girl Gem together, not only do their lives become forever entwined, their meeting also ignites the power within an ancient object—the Heart of Cyan.

With the mystical Heart discovered, the wielder must prepare for an epic battle against a vicious, pervasive darkness that threatens all of Parlethis. Magical forces unite for the good of the land, but will that be enough to stop the Shadowland creatures from destroying them all?

Join the incredible journey full of magical beings, terrifying and majestic creatures, and the two young hearts destined to save a kingdom.

One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of EVE OF THE EXCEPTIONALS.  Just tell me why you think most fantasy has a medieval feel/look. Good luck!

Website     Facebook   Instagram     Twitter      Amazon
Parker Sinclair gives credit to the development of her imagination and passion for writing to multiple childhood destinations lacking indoor plumbing. While attending college, Ms. Sinclair studied biological sciences and psychology, specifically animal behavior, but her love has forever been to write. Since 2007, Ms. Sinclair has called Virginia Beach home where she is a licensed professional school counselor and a full-time writer, and finds time to write late into the night after her kiddos and in many cases, her husband are fast asleep.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Introducing Parker Sinclair

I'm trying something new. At least once a month there will be a feature on a particular author's work. They'll come from different genres & will span over a period of at least 2 days. Some I'll have read, so those will have reviews, and others will be new to me, though perhaps not new to you. Let's explore together& please let me know what you think.
Kicking off this new series is Parker Sinclair. Below are the trailers of her first Urban Fantasy series, THE ALEX CONNER CHRONICLES:
TRUST, TRUTH, & the novella FORBIDDEN.
Tune in tomorrow for a look at her new YA Epic Fantasy, EVE OF THE EXCEPTIONALS. There may even be a surprise for you if you do.  :)

 

Website     Facebook   Instagram     Twitter      Amazon
Parker Sinclair gives credit to the development of her imagination and passion for writing to multiple childhood destinations lacking indoor plumbing. While attending college, Ms. Sinclair studied biological sciences and psychology, specifically animal behavior, but her love has forever been to write. Since 2007, Ms. Sinclair has called Virginia Beach home where she is a licensed professional school counselor and a full-time writer, and finds time to write late into the night after her kiddos and in many cases, her husband are fast asleep.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What's New? BUNYAN'S GUIDE to the GREAT AMERICAN WILDLIFE



 Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife by Quentin Canterel What happens when the Manhattan zoo empties its cages? John, part radicalized anarchist, part ticking time bomb, is haunted by a particular story, that of Willow, a 9-year old mute who flees to New York after her brutal rape. The only way his girlfriend, Felicity, can stop the clock counting down is by disentangling the riddle of their pasts, before their entwined futures are blown to pieces.
Quentin Canterel’s second novel presents a collage of voices, dead and alive, in a unique and unnerving novel that experiments with form, structure and language. Truly a mystery shrouded in an enigma.





Oh, muses, what shall we say about Felicity: Church of England, slender, little beanpole, waxy pallor of a holy relic, blush of a broken rose, cupid bow lips, preternatural and possibly, yes probably, possessed. And you, John, black raven-haired, androgynous locks, the faintest of crow’s feet, fashionably skinny and, for a man, certainly heteroclite. Thin voice and long fingers, slender lips always a snide remark away from disaster. “U ARE A SHITHEAD” In those days (really the cigarette butts of nights snuffed out at 2 or 3a.m), your daily toil up Hill Lucre began at six crossing paths in the Financial District with By-ends and that unrestful gaggle of carbon suited I-bankers. In the fogs and snows of February, the city was given over to grisaille. Always late, you hopped on the R line. Arriving, at Rector Street, only to be met by “that Basilisk”, your boss, the abdominous Mr Skill. For months, you toiled in that “slick glass dick”, temping for $14.50 an hour. What prosperity! “These shitheads are virtually throwing money out the windows. Bankers paying me for next to nothing.” It was then, while collecting rejection slips from small magazines, that you began The Guide. In between fits of all-nighters, you’d invite me round and we became a threesome, united by a common hatred of clubs, house music, and nouvelle French cafes. Building, by fits and starts, our own little mutual admiration society… I remember us once being stuck uptown at an illegal rave, the Russians and Israelites taking turns spinning their trance, the base tones detonating like little depth charges through the low hum of gas generators. We swayed in the summer heat and leaned against a tree stump as a police boat cast its fiery eye through the surrounding trees, setting each branch aflame. You somehow managed to share a bitter pill of ecstasy with that tenderest of Felicities so that the world nudged against you like purest organza silk.


About the author: Born in and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Quentin Canterel grew up never far away from stream, glade or wood. Quentin went on to study at Yale University, ultimately graduating with a Bachelor’s degree. Pursuing a career in New York, he wrote for journals such as Fortune magazine and also embarked on a career in quantitative research and programming. Moving to London in 2005, he continued his graduate studies at the University of London. He currently resides in London with his wife.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

THE RIVER AT NIGHT w/ Print giveaway


I'm not the type of woman who's inclined to go white water rafting or any such adventure type trip. In the past, yes, but not anymore.
However, thought y'all might be interested in THE RIVER AT NIGHT which tells the story of just such an adventure trip a group of friends go on......
Alexa is offering a print giveaway (Sorry, due to shipping, U.S. only) to one lucky commenter.
 
Question: If you had the chance to go on such a trip, would you? Why or why not? Winner will be chosen at random Sunday, 1-22-17. Please leave your email in your comment so you can be contacted if you win. Good Luck y'all!

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

With intimately observed characters, visceral prose, and pacing as ruthless as the river itself, The River at Night is a dark exploration of creatures—both friend and foe—that you won’t soon forget.
Amazon     B&N       Simon & Schuster

Erica Ferencik is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Boston University. Her work has appeared in Salon and The Boston Globe, as well as on National Public Radio. Find out more on her website EricaFerencik.com and follow her on Twitter @EricaFerencik.

(Photograph by Kate Hannon)



Sunday, December 25, 2016

IQ Review

If you're looking for your next contemporary mystery/detective read, give IQ a go. Truly don't think you'll be sorry you did.


A resident of one of LA's toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores.

East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood's high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can't or won't touch.

They call him IQ. He's a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he's forced to take on clients that can pay.

This time, it's a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes. (Synopsis from Amazon)



IQ does exactly what good fiction is supposed to do; engages and takes you away, allowing you to experience, vicariously, a culture and events you likely never could otherwise. In the meantime, you’re meeting memorable characters who invoke an array of emotions.
A good portion of Isaiah’s appeal for me, apart from his formidable mental processes, are his choices and the reasoning behind them. Isaiah, after some missteps, is becoming a man his brother, Marcus, would be proud of.  He’s rising above and taking the high road, difficult though it is at times, and influencing those around him.
Isaiah reminds me of Edward Woodward from the ‘80s television show, The Equalizer. Isaiah is The Equalizer, but with his own unique weaponry. Eccentric, misunderstood by most around him and driven. Isaiah Quintabe aka IQ is one of the most engrossing characters I’ve encountered in quite a while, and I can barely wait to join him on his next case.

5 stars

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

THE *&#% IT LIST Review and giveaway

Face it, life is short and who has time to see 1000 places, read 1000 more "classics" or see 1000 movies somebody else deems essential, and all that nonsense? Here is a list of 101 things you should never bother with from the fiendishly clever mind of Kevin Pryslak. The F*ck It List is a hilarious middle-finger salute to all those absurd life goals that will ensure an anxiety-filled middle age will be followed by shame-filled golden years. It pokes a sorely needed pin into a bloated rite of passage that's ripe for deflation. Do you really need to firewalk or didn't Oprah and Tony Robbins take care of that for us? Swimming with sharks is a really dumb idea, so let's leave that with the gullible reality tv desperadoes, shall we? Kevin Pryslak has come up with a "to don't list" that will have you laughing out loud and leave you with lots more time to do the all the things YOU really want to do! (synopsis from Amazon)
  Chapters include:
  • I’m not going to a nudist colony
  • I’m not going to become a millionaire
  • I’m not getting a coffee enema
  • I’m not getting back in shape
  • I’m not going to start a band
  • I’m not walking the Great Wall of China
  • I’m not going to run for public office
  • I’m not going to quit work
Want a chance to win a copy of THE *&%@ IT LIST? Go here and tell us how you feel about Bucket Lists. Winner will be drawn at random sometime during Christmas Eve night.

My thoughts.........
Pithy and humorous were the first words that sprang to mind while reading this fun lil book.
Why do we do these things to ourselves? Bucket Lists are self-induced lil stress lists. I’m all for going for what you want, bettering yourself, being adventurous and what not, but often these lists are filled with things there’s not a snowball’s chance of achieving, doing, etc…Hang that.
While being laugh inducing THE *$%# LIST also makes a valid point: Live in today, the now. Take advantage of what’s in front of you, available to you. Don’t waste valuable time pining for the unattainable or some lofty future goal. The life best lived is one that’s lived for the day, making the most of the now.

THE %#$& IT LIST does what humor often does best, entertains and teaches (even if not always intentionally). The laughter makes the lesson palatable and the brevity makes it easy to carry along and read whenever you have two minutes to rub together.
Enjoy, and start your own $#&* List…J

3.5 stars


Kevin Pryslak maintains his existence in Brooklyn, NY. When he's not writing about things that suck, you can find him reviewing delivery dumplings, playing with his two rescue dogs, Stevey and Gilligan, organizing his socks by color and length.