Category: Author

Review “Fairy May” by Jo Linsdell

FAIRY MAY by Jo Linsdell
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: Feb. 1, 2013
ISBN-10: 1481951424
ISBN-13: 978-1481951425
Pages: 32
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: ARC PDF
My Rating: 5

Crunch Time (A Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery #16)


Synopsis:
Fairy May dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy but she struggles at school and always seems to get things wrong. With hard work and determination she prepares for her test. Will she realize her dream and become a tooth fairy?
 
My Thoughts and Opinion:
When my sons were young I would read to them every day, being it for pleasure and/or a learning tool.  Books were an important element in their development and growth. We had fun books and then there were the “teaching” books on a particular subject for their appropriate age group.  Some examples were books on sharing, being a big brother, starting school, potty training and even where do babies come from.  And because it has been many years since I have had the opportunity to read such a book, I was delighted when the author asked me to read and review her book.
 
Fairy May is a story of a little fairy who’s dream is to become a tooth fairy.   However, she is too young and inexperienced, but learns if she works hard, she could attain her goals.
 
This is a book that definitely would have been on our shelves when my boys were young.  The message is of working hard to make dreams become reality.  The illustrations, also by the author, were phenomenal and the colors appealing.  I know that when the day comes, and I start a library for my grandchildren, this book will be on the shelf.  I highly recommend this to all that have a little one in their lives. 
5
(2013 Challenges: Count The Ways, A-Z, FreeReads, 52 in 52, Outdo Yourself, Read-A-Latte)
 

REVIEW DISCLAIMER
This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the
best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book
was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

Review A Bullet For Carlos by Giacomo Giammatteo

A Bullet For Carlos
by Giacomo Giammatteo

Published by Inferno Publishing Company
Publication Date: October 18, 2012
ISBN-10: 0985030240
ISBN-13: 978-0985030247
Pages: 420
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

Synopsis:
Detective Connie Giannelli’s life has been torn apart several times. First when her mother died and then years later when she found out her Uncle Dominic was in the mob. Her life is about to be shredded again, and this time it could destroy her.

Connie’s love of family and her badge are both threatened when an undercover drug bust leaves two cops dead and the drugs missing. Internal Affairs is looking for any excuse to take her badge, but she’s not worried about them finding the missing drugs—her secrets could prove to be far worse.

Now Connie’s racing against the clock to figure out who killed her partners and took the drugs—dirty cops or Uncle Dominic’s friends. And she has to do it before IA pins the whole damn thing on her.

My Thoughts and Opinion:
First I feel that I need to add a caveat. I started this blog as a personal journal of books read. When I went public with it, I vowed to write honest and credible reviews, no matter how I obtained the books. I still do and will continue to do, even if it is a book being toured with my VT companies, Partners In Crime Tours and Providence Book Promotions. With that said, my review for A Bullet For Carlos.

I am always a bit skeptical and anxious when reading a second novel by an author who’s debut novel blew me away like I was with Murder Takes Time. Is the second book going to as good or better or was the first book a “one hit wonder”? Can this male author pull off writing a novel with a female first person narrative? I only had to read a few pages to get my answers. Yes and Yes!

A Bullet For Carlos, the first book in the Blood Flows South Series, introduces us to Connie Giannelli, a gutsy “clean” cop who has some familial ties to the “mob”. Trying to clear her name, with a drug bust gone wrong, finds herself in another situation in trying to solve a cold case that involves a serial killer.

Within the first few pages, the story grabs hold of the reader and never lets go, including the ending, since this is the first book in the series. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment. The chapters alternate between characters with mini cliff hangers, which means it’s a “one more chapter read”, and then realizing one has read many chapters. The action is non stop! There are a several subplots, which the author masterfully interweaves and pulls together in a climaxing manner. Heart pounding suspense!!
There are quite a few characters, but I feel all are needed, to make the story realistic, along with some of the strong language and graphic violence.

Giacomo Giammatteo, has once again, proven that he is a gifted and accomplished story teller and author, unsurpassed!! Put him on your radar, I believe, he is headed to the top of the Best Sellers’ charts!!!!

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or
Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affliate.
I am providing link(s) solely for visitors
that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Review “Leaving The Hall Light On” by Madeline Sharples

Leaving The Hall Light On by Madeline Sharples
Published by Dream of Things
Publication Date: July 13, 2012
ISBN-10: 0982579489
ISBN-13: 978-0982579480
Pages: 338
Review Copy from: Dream Of Things
Edition: TPB
My Rating: 4 

Synopsis:
Leaving the Hall Light On is about living after loss: first and foremost how author Madeline Sharples chose to live and go on with life and take care of herself as a woman, wife, mother, writer. It is about the steps Sharples took in living with the loss of her son, including making use of diversions to help ease her grief and the milestones she met toward living a full life without him. She says, “to let ourselves grieve is to feel the depth of our love. For those whose children have died, that may take the rest of our lives, but we will discover the gifts of our loss in the process.”

My Thoughts and Opinion:
Over the past year or so, I have stepped out of my comfort zone, and started reading memoirs. And honestly, the ones that I have read have had a lasting impact on me.

The author shares, very candidly, her journey as, a wife and mother, coping with a son who was diagnosed with a Bipolar Disorder and then his suicide. Her pain and recovery. This book was a bit of a hard read for me because of some of the parallels in the story. A thought provoking read on many levels and for varied reasons.

One of the similarities was I am a parent of 2 sons, 2 1/2 years apart and the oldest named Paul, the same as the author. While reading of her struggle with her son Paul, I found myself asking, “what if it was my Paul? Another thing I could relate to was the Bipolar Disorder, because of my background in nursing, I am familiar with the struggles of those diagnosed with the disease, the patterns they have and the signs and symptoms.

Ms. Sharples shares her painful experience of living through her son’s periods of mania and depression. Her raw emotions are palpable. Then the worst nightmare that every parent fears, burying one’s child. And even worse, not knowing the whys. Does any parent have closure? No such thing. How does one go on? I can’t even imagine, having to go through something like this. She frankly and honestly describes her emotions of love, anger, worry, depression, hope, guilt, and even at times, selfishness. How she used writing poetry, which are also in the book, as a coping mechanism. And the decision to write this, which had to be very painful, memoir. As a parent, it was a heart wrenching read. But it was also a read of survival and recovery. It’s then that the hall light goes off.

A powerful and poignant read!! 

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or
Barnes & Noble.  I am an IndieBound affliate.
I am providing link(s) solely for visitors
that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Review “The Disappearance Of Grace” by Vincent Zandri

The Disappearance of Grace by Vincent Zandri
Published by: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
ASIN: B0099C5UFU
Pages: 271
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

Synopsis:
Now you see her. Now you don’t…

Captain Nick Angel has finally made a separate peace with the war in Afghanistan. Since having been ordered to bomb a Tajik village which resulted in the death of a little boy of no more than two, he’s been suffering from temporary bouts of blindness. Knowing the he needs time to rest and recover from his post traumatic stress, the US Army decides to send him to Venice along with his fiancee, the artist, Grace Blunt. Together they try and recapture their former life together. But when Grace suddenly goes missing, Nick not only finds himself suddenly alone and sightless in the ancient city of water, but also the number one suspect in her disappearance.

A novel that projects Hitchcockian suspense onto a backdrop of love and war, The Disappearance of Grace is a rich, literary thriller of fear, loss, love, and revenge. From the war in the Afghan mountains to the canals of romantic Venice, this is a story that proves 20/20 eyesight might not always be so perfect and seeing is not always believing.

My Thoughts and Opinion:
Caveat:  If you visit often, then you know Vincent Zandri has been a favorite author of mine, since I read his first book Moonlight Falls back in May of 2010.  Since then I have read most of his books and enjoyed each and every one.  One thing I want to stress is, that just because it is a Vincent Zandri novel, I will always write an honest review as to what my thoughts are on any particular book.

This book wasn’t just a romance.  This book wasn’t just a psychological thriller.  This book wasn’t just a suspenseful mystery.  It was all those and more!  Riveting!!!  As in all of Vincent Zandri’s books, he grabs the reader within the first few paragraphs and literally does not let go until the final word.  The chapters short with little cliff hangers whereas you HAVE to read a couple more chapters, and then find yourself with half the book read.  The suspense mounted and the pages just kept turning.

Because I have read most of his books, other than the Moonlight series, I can see slight differences in his stand alone novels.  His writing is just a bit difference, which makes for a new reading experience with every story.  For me, that is a talent and gift of master story telling.  The difference in this book was the subplot of a romance.  I feel I also experienced one other change.  Even though I was reading a psychological thriller, I felt that the author was also “playing the reader”.  I found myself wondering, if the story that I was reading, was at “face value” or something different, which led to reading this book in 2 sittings. Heart pounding!!!

The plot was intense!!  Nick and Grace sitting in an outside cafe in Venice, trying to accept Nick’s blindness after being affected by PTSD during the war.  And the love of your life disappears right in front of you.  But you don’t see a thing.  Neither do those also sitting at the cafe.  How does Nick, with his blindness, begin to look for her?  The police nor the Embassy seem to believe him.  Did she just leave?  Or was she kidnapped?  A white knuckle read!!

Zandri delivers another knock out novel.  And in the first round!!!  Thrilling and chilling!!!
(2012 Challenges:  JFF, FR, Where are you, A-Z, 52 in 52, Outdo Yourself, 100+)
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or
Barnes & Noble.  I am an IndieBound affliate.
I am providing link(s) solely for visitors
that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Review “Murder Takes Time” by Giacomo Giammatteo

Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo
Published by: Inferno Publishing Company
Publication Date: April 12, 2012
ISBN-10: 0985030208
ISBN-13: 978-0985030209
Pages: 438
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (from author):
A string of brutal murders has bodies piling up in Brooklyn, and Detective Frankie Donovan knows what is going on. Clues left at the crime scenes point to someone from the old neighborhood, and that isn’t good.

Frankie has taken two oaths in his life–the one he took to uphold the law when he became a cop, and the one he took with his two best friends when they were eight years old and inseparable. Those relationships have forced Frankie to make many tough decisions, but now he faces the toughest one of his life; he has five murders to solve and one of those two friends is responsible. If Frankie lets him go, he breaks the oath he took as a cop and risks losing his job. But if he tries to bring him in, he breaks the oath he kept for twenty-five years–and risks losing his life.

In the neighborhood where Frankie Donovan grew up, you never broke an oath.

My Thoughts and Opinion:
I hope you will indulge me as I feel that I need to add a caveat to this review. Prior to three (3) years ago I was an avid reader and consumer. Since that time I have added a few more titles, such as blogger, reviewer and tour coordinator. Since finding this book blogging community, I have had the opportunity to read and review many titles that I wouldn’t have read, due to other bloggers’ reviews, review requests, and through my new venture, Partners In Crime Tours. When I first started reviewing, because I valued and relied on other bloggers’ thoughts as a meter to read a certain book or not, I have always, no matter who, how and/or where a certain book was obtained from, written a review based on my honest opinion for those that relied on my POV. And as I have stated in many of my reviews, I am always a bit skeptical when I first pick up a book knowing that it is a debut novel. With all that being said, I will now give you my honest impression of Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo, a debut author and book that, starting today, is kicking off his virtual tour with Partners In Crime Tours.

An author once told me, that a reader should be hooked by a book, within the first 15 pages. This book pulled me in within the first few paragraphs and never gave me the chance to get away. I had to keep turning the pages. The story alternates between the past and the present day with two (2) of the main protagonists’ narratives. The writing flowed and was descriptive. The characters came alive. The plot believable. The suspense and action non stop. This novel had all the elements whereas I was able to create vivid imagery as if I was watching a movie in my mind, engrossing to the point that time got away from me, compelling and thrilling to the point I had a hard time putting it down. It is a debut novel that was written as if it was penned by a seasoned author. A writer, that can make the reader question, why at times you would root for the “bad guy”.

There are some explicit scenes that contain graphic descriptions of violence and strong language, however, and this is my opinion only, that it made the story more realistic. I would not recommend it to those who find those factors offensive. But as an overall mafia-like, calculating, suspenseful, dynamic and dramatic story, it was a knock out entertaining reading experience by a debut author. A debut writer that I am sure you will be hearing more about. If you enjoyed The Godfather and Goodfellas, you will definitely want to read Murder Takes Time. It was tense and intense!! I am looking forward to the next book in this series!!

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

Review “Tea With Death” by Joel Andre

Tea With Death by Joel M. Andre
Published by: Darkcountry Publications
Publication Date: March 7, 2012
ASIN: B007IIHXUW
Pages: 15
Review Copy from:  Author/Partners In Crime Tours
Edition:  Kindle
My Rating: 4

Synopsis:
In this dark, philosophical tale of horror, a man has the opportunity to sit down with Death. What he discovers is that the dying process is a little more complex than he imagined and that making a deal with the Grim Reaper comes with a price.

My Thoughts and Opinion: This was my first introduction to Joel Andre’s books and I was quite impressed. It is a very quick read, being only a 15 page story, however within those pages, was an intricate concise plot filled with a macabre topic, overwhelming suspense and even a bit of dry humor. What astonished me was that the author was able to deliver all of the above in those 15 pages. The writing flowed and was gripping. The subject eerie. Recommend for those times when you just want a quick, but exciting read. This story, in my opinion, would be the perfect book to read, when you find yourself in a reading slump. It will definitely rectify the problem.

(2012 Challenges: EBook, BFF, JFF, FR, A-Z, 53 in 52, Outdo Yourself, 100+)
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

Review “Darkroom” by Joshua Graham

Darkroom by Joshua Graham
Published by: Howard Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
ISBN-10: 1451654693
ISBN-13: 978-1451654691
Pages: 384
Review Copy from:  Author and Partners In Crime Tours
Edition:  ARC TPB
My Rating: 4

Synopsis (from Amazon): After scattering her mother’s ashes in Vietnam, photojournalist Xandra Carrick comes home to New York to rebuild her life and career. When she experiences supernatural visions that reveal atrocities perpetrated by American soldiers during the Vietnam War, she finds herself entangled in a forty-year-old conspiracy that could bring the nation into political turmoil. Launching headlong into a quest to learn the truth from her father, Peter Carrick, a Pulitzer Prize Laureate who served as an embedded photographer during the war, Xandra confronts him about a dark secret he has kept–one that has devastated their family.
Her investigations lead her to her departed mother’s journal, which tell of love, spiritual awakening, and surviving the fall of Saigon.
Pursued across the continent, Xandra comes face-to-face with powerful forces that will stop at nothing to prevent her from revealing the truth. But not before government agencies arrest her for murder, domestic terrorism and an assassination attempt on the newly elected president of the United States.

My Thoughts and Opinion: This book was my first introduction to this author, but I can tell you it won’t be my last. Let’s start at the beginning. The prologue was 1.5 pages and I was hooked. The author then takes the reader to Viet Nam and introduces us to the main character, Xandra, and her father. The descriptive narrative of the setting, as seen through the eyes of Xandra, was detailed and it was easy to vividly conjure up the location in my mind. His writing style flawless and format was the type of novel I have enjoyed for years. Short chapters that alternate between characters, time and place, which is the type of read where it’s a “few more chapters” book to find out what happens from the mini cliff hanger chapters and you find that you have read more than a few more chapters. A 366 page novel that was read in a couple of days due to the suspense and page turning events. A cast of characters that were realistic, even with a psychic like sub plot. The author has a flair to interweave the characters but not letting the reader know the connection until the very end. The book was captivating and engrossing, and held me hostage since it was hard to put down. Also included were questions for a book club read and something that I had never seen before but very much enjoyed, an eleven Q&A interview with the author. A great read!!

(2012 Challenges:  Mystery/Suspense, In A Name, Off The Shelf, Serial killers, Free Reads, Where Are You, A-Z, Merely Mystery, 52 in 52, Outdo Yourself, 100+)
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

Review RagDoll Redeemed by Dawn Novotny

RagDoll Redeemed: Growing Up In The Shadow Of Marilyn Monroe by Dawn Novotny
Published by Dog Ear Publishing, LLC
ISBN-10: 1457506173
ISBN-13: 978-1457506178
At the request of WOW and Author, an ARC EBook Edition was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

  Synopsis:   For 50 years, whether consciously or unconsciously, women have all been caught in the cultural clash between the almost immortal sexual mystique symbolized by Marilyn Monroe (in 1999 she was still voted “sexiest woman of the century” byPeople Magazine) and the retooling of the female soul by the women’s liberation movement. Each of us has been left to ask ourselves, “Who am I?” “Where do I fit?” “What does it mean to be a woman?” And most important of all: “What does it mean to me to be a woman?”

Dawn Novotny writes about her struggle with those questions, but for Dawn it was more difficult to answer those questions. After all, she was married to Joe DiMaggio Jr. a man who was fascinated with his stepmother, Marilyn Monroe, and wanted to transform Dawn into his own version of Marilyn. RagDoll Redeemed is the story of one woman’s balancing act between embracing her sexuality and creating a person that utilized all her abilities: mental, emotional and physical.

My Thoughts and Opinion: Captivating! I read this memoir in 2 days as I could not put it down.   The writing extraordinary especially when the author reveals her childhood cognitive scores with the reader.   A raw look into the life of a very physically, verbally and emotionally abused child and young adult who broke the cycle and clawed her way out to become a successful adult.   A heart wrenching and painful read of the life of this child but also inspirational as the author relates her ability to overcome the trauma she endured and the strength to forgive her abusers.

As the synopsis states, she was married to Joe DiMaggio, Jr., a very troubled man and his control to remake the author into his step mother, Marilyn Monroe.   What was ironic in this, was that the author and Marilyn Monroe’s life, paralleled each other’s life in an uncanny resemblance.   The abuse and family dynamics so alike.

As I was reading this extraordinary story, I kept thinking how painful it must have been to rewrite and face her tormented past.   But on the other hand how brave it was of her to share her story to help others.   I think that every woman who reads this book will be able to relate to some degree of her life, hopefully not as severe, but on some level, I know I did.   The book was riveting!!   Engrossing!!   A page turner!!! Poignant!!   A must read!!   This novel will stay with me for a long time, it was that touching.   This is one book that I will never forget.   Exceptional!!   I highly recommend this memoir!!   Outstanding!!

  My Rating: 5+

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
(2012 Challenges: EBooks, Off The Shelf, FreeReads, Where Are You, A-Z, 52 in 52, Outdo Yourself, 100+)