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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Review: WHEN ENEMIES OFFEND THEE by Sally Whitney

5 Stars

A painful,  angry, novel suffused in hope. This could have so easily been yet another account of #Metoo, but the author chose to really dig deeply into her characters and to examine the backdrop of their culture, economy, history.  Reading what happened to protagonist Clementine, the ugly crime and the ugly aftermath,  frightened and infuriated me. But the novel didn't drop us there. What ensues is a marvel of character evolution,  acknowledgment that joy can come eventually after grief. I would never say Clementine 's tribulations should be visited on anyone, but her ability to strengthen in the Crucible of Adversity made me proud for her.

Monday, April 13, 2020


3 Stars

This entry in Ig Publishing's BOOKMARKED Series,  in which writers discuss a life-changing book, is author Aaron Burch's nonfiction essay/memoir of his discovery of, and his life of admiring, Stephen King's novella "The Body," and its film version, "Stand By Me."
Actually this is an ode to both film and story, perhaps because the author seems to identify so strongly with the protagonist Gordy [also quite possibly a function or alter of "The Body"'s author,  Stephen King]. I found intriguing the lengths to which Aaron Burch "followed" the  film and novella.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Review: MUSIC FROM ANOTHER WORLD by Robin Talley

5 Stars


Sometimes I am so blessed by a book, when it moves me, moulds me, and changes or improves my perspective.  MUSIC FROM ANOTHER WORLD gave me all that, in addition to a long stroll down Memory Lane coupled with seeing those memories of history through others' perspective. Yet at the same time the characters' emotions so powerfully resonated with me, not just the YA protagonists (Sharon, Tammy, Peter) but of some of the adult characters as well such as Tammy and Peter's single mother. I just fell into this story immediately and never wanted to surface. I "lived it," I "was right there," thanks to a very gifted author,  Robin Talley.  It's an enormous pleasure to encounter a novel so touching and thought-provoking and eventually life-changing.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Review: WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens

5 Stars 

My immediate thought when I  first commenced WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING,  a selection of the Rising Stars Book Club at Writing. Com, was to remember BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA by Dorothy Allison, a novel also notable for the power of its Setting.  Indeed, in both novels Setting is a character in itself,  and this is overpoweringly true of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, which opens and closes and is rife throughout with the importance of Setting. Ar times, I felt as if character were unimportant,  as Setting carried the day in every instance.  I think this is a novel of which Thoreau would be proud.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Review: THE FIRE AND THE DARKNESS by Sinclair McKay

5 Stars

Reading about the Dresden Firebombing of February 1945 is a painful and horrific encounter,  as is reading about Hiroshima or Nagasaki,  September 11 2001, the Holocaust or the history of lynching.  Yet we as readers and thinking humans need to be aware of the evils of history as well as the glories. On the other hand,  Dresden 's history also testifies to the invincibility of the human spirit,  above and beyond the biological drive to survive.  For biology alone cannot account for the city 's reconstruction nor for the impetus to record for posterity its tragedy, nor for those outside Dresden who strive to repair and to improve it. There is something in humanity that is propelled to rise above its frequent inhumanity and destruction.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Review: GLISSANDO by Debbie Burke

5 Stars
Jazz is the background, backstory, and thematic soundtrack for this unusual and intriguing novel of a Catskills native, product of a non-practising Jewish household, who trains as a paralegal, happily marries a local correctional officer, then finds herself the wronged spouse and determines successfully to form her own life. Until--at age 55, she joins a university-community jazz band, a great artistic outlet and lots of fun. It's also the commencement of her own midlife crisis, as she finds herself stunningly enraptured by an accomplished trumpet player, her age. When it rains, it pours, and soon she is professionally and romantically involved with an attorney through her firm, while remaining starry-eyed over the jazz musician.

What impressed me the most in this character-driven novel is the protagonist's self-awareness, her acceptance of herself at various life stages, her willingness to grow. She is strong in the right sense: a strong, self-aware, independent woman (who loves dogs). 

This story does include love, romance, lust, marriage. It's erotic but not Erotica. It's the story of a metaphorical "coming of age" and personal growth that lasts a lifetime.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Review: AND THROW THE SKINS AWAY by Scott Archer Jones

4 Stars
Literary Fiction

 A literary novel of Survivorship,  the protagonist Rebecca (Bec) survives an ugly childhood,  a perverted pastor, breast cancer, her pastor husband's faith crisis, depression,  and subsequent military overseas deployment. She also after moving to Northern New Mexico from Dallas,  survives his loss and an up-and-down involvement with a nearby disabled veteran.  Even when she doesn't know her own decisions,  Bec survives.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review of THE PUBLICIST (1-4) by Christina George

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="The Publicist Series - Book 1 - 4: Contemporary Romance Series PLUS a Bonus Book!" src="" /></a><a href="">The Publicist Series - Book 1 - 4: Contemporary Romance Series PLUS a Bonus Book!</a> by <a href="">Christina George</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
I started reading this series a couple of years ago, and even though I don't often select chick lit or women's fiction or anything with romance. However, I do admire a feckless hero or heroine and Kate Mitchell, the eponymous publicist of this heartwarming series, is Feckless with a Capital, but that's why she's lovable. And for those who do like chick-lit and romance, and those who like insights into the publishing kingdom, there's plenty here to love for those readers too. The author has paid her dues in the publishing world and clearly knows well whereof she speaks (or in this case, writes).
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Friday, November 2, 2018


<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="Oslo Spies" src="" /></a><a href="">Oslo Spies</a> by <a href="">S.J. Slagle</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
Review of OSLO SPIES<br /><br />One of the blessings of historical fiction is that when well-written and thoroughly researched, authors enlighten and vivify a given historical period, bringing it to life and simultaneously humanizing it. Such is true of OSLO SPIES, which from the very beginning captures the era, the culture, the history, while creating vivid and vibrant characters with whom readers will resonate. In addition, due to the author's fine grasp of the historical era and what it meant, not just for a nation, but for individuals living through it and after it (World War II, Norway), we are educated in a way that makes us visualize the setting and realize “what life was like” for those living in that era. The novel is also well-written and maintains readers' attention and intrigue.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

NOT HER DAUGHTER by Rea Frey_ Review

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="Not Her Daughter" src="" /></a><a href="">Not Her Daughter</a> by <a href="">Rea Frey</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
Review: NOT HER DAUGHTER by Rea Frey<br /><br />How far would any of us go to follow our conscience? I'm reminded of American conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War who emigrated to Canada, of Southeast Asian Buddhist monks during the same era who self-immolated, and of the "vigilante" who stalked the New York City subways to kill criminals. Ultimately, it's an individual choice: obey one's conscience, or follow the law. For Sarah Walker, Portland CEO of a digital company focused on the education of children, there is no choice. There is only despair and impetus. <br /><br />Witnessing a fairly obvious child abuse event in the airport, Sarah is shocked and distraught. Surely this was a one-time event, the consequence of stress and marital turmoil. But when fate puts her at Emma's Montessori School in Washington State, Sarah decides the girl is in need of immediate rescuing. Instead of calling in Child Protective Services, Sarah (who had a neglectful childhood with a bipolar mother and a father who could never focus beyond his own loss), abducts little Emma, and absconds with the child.
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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: BETRAYED ANGEL by Tom Haase

Release Date: July 15 2018

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="Betrayed Angel (Coastal Adventure Series Book 1)" src="" /></a><a href="">Betrayed Angel</a> by <a href="">Tom Haase</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
Review: BETRAYED ANGEL by Tom Haase<br /><br />Hard-charging Chuck McGregor, former Savannah police officer, former Army Airborne on special ops for the Defense Intelligence Agency, finds himself at a loss after finally leaving the military. Almost immediately, his father, a very wealthy hedge fund owner, dies and leaves Chuck majorly well-off. But that doesn't satisfy the void in Chuck 's spirit, and neither does heavy consumption of alcohol. <br /><br />But finding a purpose does, and in this, having friends on the Savannah Police force does. In an accidentally witnessed event on the Tybee Island beach, a purpose reveals itself. Suddenly Chuck discovers the bugaboo of contemporary society-human trafficking--and Chuck 's own moral compass unleashes a new Rambo, as he determines to take down all and sundry, while saving all the victims he can. Go, Chuck!!
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