I love to read, and I love to write book reviews and share them with others.
I love to read and write book reviews in my free time. I review advance review copies of books on Netgalley for various publishers. I am also a reviewer for Historical Novels Review Magazine. I review books from publishers of all size, large to small. I have a special place in my heart for self-published authors. I will sometimes post a little writing that I might dabble in occasionally. I also am lucky enough to live in the Smoky Mountains, so I'll be sharing photos of the beauty around me from time to time.
Well, I got the booster shot on Friday and the last two days have been a bit miserable. I felt too weak to post anything until tonight. Now I’m back to my regularly scheduled programming! My wonderful husband made me some chicken soup and went out and got me some pudding, so I had all the ultimate sick food.
Here’s the recipe for the soup. It’s amazing. It’s called Flu Fighter Chicken Soup. Click on the photo to go to the recipe.
On a positive note, I have been a longtime fan of the Cincinnati Bengals since I was a kid growing up in said city. And they won a playoff game yesterday! Any football fans on here will know it’s been a long time coming! So that was something pleasant during my weekend of misery.
This is a new feature I’m starting which was inspired by a post on another blog, Feed The Crime (One Book At A Time. The post here lists books the blogger has loved that have less than 200 reviews on Goodreads. With a tip of the hat to them, I take a look at Amazing Books by Indie/Self-Published Authors With Less Than 100 Reviews on Amazon. This is aimed at telling the world about great books they may not have seen. Indie authors do not have the marketing machine enjoyed by the traditionally published, so it is up to us to share, read, and review these great books. A couple of these books are from small, independent presses, but most are self-published. Please share this post with all of your social media followers, because some of them may find a book they love, and would have otherwise missed.
If you click on the covers, you can go straight to the Amazon link.
I plan to do this feature at least once a month, so please share these great books with others. Let’s get these books the attention they deserve.
Agustina De Aragón by Gail Meath. This is the amazing story of the “Spanish Joan of Arc.” My review is here.
No Ordinary Thing: GZ Schmidt: This is amazing Middle Grade/Young Adult historical fiction–with a time-traveling snow globe! My review is here.
The Robin Hood Trilogy: Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer: This is the best Robin Hood retelling I have ever read. My review is here.
TELLING SONNY: Elizabeth Gauffreau: This gorgeously written book will take you back to Vaudeville in the 1920s. My review is here.
Your Words Your World: Amazing poetry book about God and His Creation. My review is here
This amazing Middle Grade/Young Adult fantasy series, The Hamelin Stoop series, is reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia. My review is here.
These are all great books that received 5 stars from me. They just need readers to know about them. If you decide to read any of them, please leave a review on Amazon. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.
Germany, 1939:Annaliese is trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband Hans has become cold and secretive since starting a new job as a doctor at Dachau. Every morning she watches from her kitchen window as he leaves in his car. The sight of him in the dark uniform of the SS sends shivers of fear down her spine and she longs to escape…
When a tall, handsome Russian prisoner named Alexander is sent from Dachau to work in their garden, lonely Annaliese finds herself drawn to him as they tend to the plants together. In snatched moments and broken whispers, Alexander tells her the shocking truth about the camp. Horrified, Annaliese vows to do everything she can to save him.
But as they grow closer, their feelings for each other put their lives at risk. And Annaliese finds herself in grave danger when she dares to fight for love and freedom…
America, 1989: Turning the pages of the newspaper, Annaliese gasps when she recognizes the face of a man she thought she’d never see again. It makes her heart skip a beat as a rush of wartime memories come flooding back to her. As she reads on, she realizes the past is catching up with her. And she must confront a decades-old secret – or risk losing her only son…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Debbie Rix has written seven novels, the latest of which is The German Wife. As an ex-journalist, historical accuracy is key, and she strives to weave her stories around real life events. ‘The research process is vital,’ she says. ‘I work on the principle that if I find something fascinating, then so too will my readers.’
Her novels have been published in several languages – including Italian and Czech and her 5th novel ‘The Secret Letter’ will soon come out in Russia.
Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and that country is the setting for 5 of her 7 novels. When not traveling she lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, chickens and four cats. She began her career with the BBC – initially as the newsreader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt and has also written about gardens and gardening – one of her private passions.
This is an interesting but disturbing German perspective on World War II, both before, during, and after the war. Annaliese goes from a young woman in love with her husband, Hans, to someone married to a monster, a doctor at Dachau concentration camp. When she meets Alexander, a prisoner sent to work in her garden, she learns the horrific truth about Dachau and her husband’s role there.
This is a heartbreaking story of a woman thrust into a situation she never would have chosen and how she responds to it. The character development of Anna and Alex is good, and disconcerting at times, as Anna cannot seem to completely grasp what Alex has been through. There is also a shocking situation between them that Anna doesn’t fully seem to understand. The often cold and calculating, but sometimes conflicted Hans is well written. He is the epitome of someone who gave up humanity for personal gain. Some other German characters in the novel, including Anna at times, seem to want to ignore the past and forget their roles in it. Although this seems cold, it is possibly close to a true portrayal of how Germans were feeling at the time. This is a heartrending novel about an evil regime, the people they used and slaughtered, and the country they tore apart. It is also a look at that time in history through the eyes of a German woman who was left to rebuild her life in the aftermath.
I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
Last year, I challenged myself to write twelve short stories – one story each month – around a central theme. A few other wonderful writers joined me, and it became a really fun and interesting creative project. So, of course, I’m doing it again.
The rules are the same: Write and post one story each month of 2022. Posted whenever you/I want to (for me, that’s usually the end of the month), and written around one theme. And the theme this year is:
I thought about several options, but this one wouldn’t let me go. How does a story become folklore? What are the necessary elements of a folk tale? What drives us to share folklore? How long does it last? Why does it last, and why, sometimes, does it fade away? Folk tales and folk traditions tie us to our ancestors. They connect us to our cultures…
I have been a football fan since I was a kid, and right now I’m watching the College National Championship, thinking about risk, and writing a sonnet. I’ve always been a fan of the sonnet, although it doesn’t really seem to be in fashion these days. For those who don’t know, a sonnet generally has 14 lines, 10 syllables each line. There are three stanzas of four lines, and one of two lines. The stanzas of four lines have alternate rhyming and the last two lines also rhyme. The last two lines solve a problem or come to a conclusion. Below is my football sonnet, called Fourth and One.
FOURTH AND ONE–A FOOTBALL SONNET
The Bears and Rockets struggle on the field Five minutes left, the star receiver’s out The Rockets try to pass; the Bears won’t yield It’s fourth and one; defenders range about
Should they punt or should they try to go? The safest bet is punt and try again To go for one’s a risk, as they all know But safe won’t always win it in the end.
The Rockets walk determined to the line Their jaws are set, their hands upon the ground They lunge ahead; the measurement is fine But in the end they garner four more downs.
The Rockets put six points up on the board The greatest joy of risk is the reward.
North Carolina, 1795. Over a year ago, Ian Cameron sent Seona and their son Gabriel to live with his family in Boston. Seona was formerly enslaved to Ian’s uncle but has now been freed. Ian is wed to Judith due to cruel manipulation, but has vowed to make their marriage work. Then tragedy strikes, and Ian finds himself alone with their daughter Mandy. He decides to head north and has a chance to obtain land in Shiloh, New York. Seona is in Boston, trying to decide whether to stay with Ian’s family or go out on her own with her mother. Then Ian arrives, promising a future in Shiloh. But is that what Seona wants? When evil creeps into their midst, will their faith see them through? This is the second book in the Kindred series.
Benton has taken on the daunting task of creating a sequel to two of her books at once. Shiloh is the sequel to Mountain Laurel but also brings in characters from her first published novel, Burning Sky. The characters are interwoven seamlessly, and the story is filled with historical details, adventure, love, doubt, and fear. As Ian embarks on a journey back to Seona, he is also on a spiritual journey of learning to trust God and become a better man. Seona and her mother, Lily, are each experiencing the ranging emotions of an enslaved person who has been freed, and both think of choosing a different path. The Christian themes of trusting God and each other abound in this book, but the results of greed are also explored through the character of Aram Crane. Shiloh, above all, is a journey of faith and a lesson that as faith grows, love grows along with it.
I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.
Lori’s debut novel, Burning Sky, earned the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.
Here it is 4 a.m. on Sunday and I’m writing up my Self-Published Saturday post. I am watching grandchildren all weekend, so I had no time on Saturday to get this done. But, as always, SPS will get posted, even if it’s not Saturday.
Self-Published Saturday (SPS) is my effort to help Independent Authors with the huge task of marketing their books. Indie authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing, and if I can help even a little with the marketing, I’m happy to do it. Below is my review of a Young Adult Coming of Age Space Opera by K.T. Munson called Unfathomable Chance.
Buckle up for a wild ride through the galaxy after Diana finds a bracelet which, once put on, she cannot get off. She soon realizes this is no ordinary piece of jewelry as she’s swept away to other galaxies and told she’s to be the Empress of the Universe, chosen by said bracelet. On top of all that, she is supposed to get married and potential suitors are already vying for her hand. This is a lot for a 23-year-old to handle, but backed up by friends along the way, she sets out to discover how to get out of this particular honor. This is the first book in the Cosmic Gem series by K.T. Munson.
I found the characters very likable, especially Diana and Kal Zed, an extremely honorable cat. The world-building is fantastic and imaginative. I struggled to put this into a category, as it appeared to be written as a Young Adult novel, although the protagonist is 23. It does fit well into the space opera genre, since it includes space warfare, romance, melodrama, and interesting alien species. The storyline is wild and fun, but also contains some dangerous and serious moments. I found it very easy to connect to the cast of characters. It is a very enjoyable coming-of-age adventure that fans of science fiction and space operas will enjoy.
You can follow Diana’s continuing adventures in Book 2, Unfathomable Plan.
I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
K.T. Munson is an independent author. First published at 5 years old in the young writer’s conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog, creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com, which is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.
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This is a dual timeline novel, set in Round Hill, North Carolina, in both 1965 and 2010. In 1965, Ellie has decided to volunteer for SCOPE (Summer Community Organization and Political Education), which organized students in an effort to help African Americans in the South register to vote. She expected her family to object, but was not prepared for the level of anger aimed her way. In 2010, Kayla has just lost her husband to a tragic accident and is in unbelievable pain, continuing their plans to move into their new house in Round Hill. Then strange things begin happening, and it appears that someone does not want her there.
I enjoyed the description of and research into events in 1965. I was impressed with the character development of Ellie and Win. However, the events occurring in the 2010 timeline were not fully realized. Although there was a surprise at the end, the plot wasn’t completely developed or resolved. So much could have been added to make this a complete novel, such as more representation of the African American community in the 2010 timeline. Also while I loved the 1965 Ellie for the most part, the 2010 version of Ellie was a real letdown.
I was surprised, as I have loved all of Diane Chamberlain’s books prior to this one.
I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed doctor’s appointment with nothing more than a pad, a pen, and an idea. She was instantly hooked.
Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.
More than two decades ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She wrote two novels using voice recognition software before new medication allowed her to get back to typing. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she’s able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.
Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their odd but lovable Shetland Sheepdog, Cole
Kara returns to her hometown after her father’s unexpected death from a heart attack. She is there to get his affairs in order and sell the house. She has not been back since she was raped at a party ten years ago. She believes the rapist is Dalton Rolenfeld, who is from a prominent family and is now running for political office. Haunted by traumatic memories, she leans on her best friend Brent for support. Detective Kim Ellis has transferred to the town of Paige and has to work with an old boys’ club in the Police Department that is heavily influenced by the wealthy local family, the Rolenfelds. Despite objections from other detectives who don’t want to rock the boat and upset the prominent family, Kim begins to try and find out who assaulted Kara that night ten years ago.
This is a compelling and captivating psychological thriller. The villain of this story is well written and the mind games that they perpetrate and will keep you turning the page. The foreshadowing and subtle hints woven into the story are excellent. The mystery is well thought out, and we follow Detective Ellis as she tries to piece it together. This story is told from multiple viewpoints, and each chapter is titled with the name of the person who is speaking. One of the viewpoints is that of the villain, and I found this a valuable and fascinating addition to the book. The typical prejudices, favoritisms, and rumors of a small town are very much existent in the town of Paige. The reader is kept in suspense throughout the book, and the ending is surprising and satisfying. This combination of trauma, deception, manipulation, and the quest for justice is a compelling read and will keep the reader in suspense.
I received a free copy of this book from Bleau Press. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lee Chappel enjoys writing suspense and psychological mysteries but still can’t handle the surprises in Scooby Doo.
Lee’s writing patterns are dependent on the whims of a rare green scream chicken, pictured here.
Here is the mountain view from my future retirement house in Bryson City, NC. My grandfather bought this land in the 1930s and passed it to his children. I bought my Mom’s house in 2009 and will get to retire here in a couple years. I got to thinking about families who have been on their land for a long time and how you can just feel their presence. So that inspired the story poem below. At the bottom of the page are more shots of our property. All photos by Doug DeMoss.
Welcome Home, Rosalie
I was born here In a rough cabin knocked together Cold wind screeching through
But my mother kept me warm and safe In these mountains all her days
My children ran through these hills We sweated the fields and hunted the ridges. We struggled but we thrived
When my end came they gathered round to say goodbye And my soul rushed away, content.
I came back to visit often Watching over them as they laughed and cried Until they joined me, one by one Now there are no tears.
The cabins are fancy now The mules gave way to “cars” The way of life changed as I watched And before long my great-grandchildren met me.
Now another Rosalie has arrived Named after me, my daughter, and many other kin She walks through these hills, not exactly knowing But feeling all of us as we walk beside her
She can sense but not see Our hands on her shoulders as we welcome her home