Monday, November 23, 2020

What You Said to Me by Olivia Newport

I enjoyed this latest novel in the Tree of Life series featuring genealogy investigations. The story takes place in what was previously a mining town in Colorado. The narrative has two time periods, today and the early 1890s. The historical story is of closing silver mines and thousands of men losing their jobs. The experiences of one family then has ramifications for people today.

Newport's writing style is a pleasant one, almost old fashioned in that it is gentle. I like it as it makes for an easy and comfortable reading experience. I liked the banter between Jillian, the genealogy researcher, and her dad, one skilled in mediation. I liked learning about the Colorado silver mines and the devastation the ensued when the U.S. ceased to buy so much silver, moving toward more gold coinage.

Newport explores a number of relationship issues in the novel. Jillian is looking to historical adoptions, some of which were not through normal legal channels. A troubled teen, Tisha, is helping her, working off community hours. Tisha finds out that some people do not want to know their family origins, even though she wants to find out who her father is. The whole issue makes one think about how important family heritage is and if it influences current behavior.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


Olivia Newport
lives in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies.

Shiloh run Press, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Eye for Eye Trilogy by J K Franko Blog Tour and Giveaway

Eye for Eye Trilogy

by JK Franko

October 19 - December 31, 2020 Tour

 


If you like smart, fast-paced thrillers with unexpected twists, then you’ll love J.K. Franko's Eye for Eye Trilogy!

“REALISTIC & CHILLING!” - Mystery Thriller Week

 

 


 

Eye for Eye

"NEW TWIST ON STRANGERS ON A TRAIN"
~ THE SUNDAY TIMES

Roy and Susie are on a skiing holiday, trying to take a break from the constant reminders of their daughter, tragically killed by a careless driver. Out of the blue they meet Deb and Tom, another couple with a tragic past and a shocking proposal to put things right.

As the bodies accumulate, secrets are revealed and alliances crumble. Ultimate survival depends on following the rules for a perfect murder. And the first rule is… leave no singing bones.

Amazon | Goodreads

 My Review

I found this to be an engaging novel but in a methodical way, not in the normal suspense driven way. The plot is one of psychological drama and character revelation that was fascinating. To think that one could plan and execute the perfect, evidence free murder. And then to wonder if there was just one mistake, one detail that might set the police on an unrelenting investigation.

I like how Franko developed the characters, such an essential aspect of this novel. Hidden relationships are revealed as associated facts become known. Underlying layers of motives and related actions are revealed bit by bit. It is definitely an engaging way to develop a murder mystery. I like the narrator point of view, causing me to wonder who this person was, knowing all the facts and personalities involved. And when the narrator is revealed at the end, we are perfectly set up for a sequel.

I was unhappy with a rather graphic sex scene that was unrelated to the plot and certainly did not add to it. There was also quite a bit of vulgar language that, while appropriate for the character, was not something I appreciated.

This is a good novel for readers who enjoy one of psychological suspense. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.

 


The Trial of Joe Harlan Junior

A college Halloween party. A night of fun, dress-up, and laughter. But for Kristy Wise, it quickly became a night of horror.

Now, Joe Harlan Junior, entrepreneur and son of a prominent senator, is at risk of losing everything as he stands accused of a crime he insists he did not commit.

Yet the facts are undisputed: Kristy was drugged, and she did have sex with Joe.

But was it consensual?

Read the story. Listen to the testimony. Is everything that happens next justified?

YOU decide.

Amazon | Goodreads

My Review:

 I read this prequel after reading the first novel in this collection. While the trial record was interesting, a scene Deb related about her childhood was much more informative. As Franko tends to do, that little story revealed the roots of action in Eye for Eye. It is worth the read. 



Tooth for Tooth

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

Amazon | Goodreads

My Review 

Franko knows how to weave many threads into a compelling story. Each of the threads represents a different character and each having a different piece of the overall puzzle.

As with the first novel in this series, the theme is revenge, a terrible task master. The personal dispensing of justice takes on a life of its own. Franko has created a situation where people cannot go to the police. There are people manipulating others with lies and deceit. There are secrets that turn deadly.

Franko is a master at misdirecting. He is also good at revealing the layers of deceit and secrets from the past as the plot progresses. He deftly brings in new characters. Previously unknown, they become essential to the plot.

I am hooked on this series. Franko has done a good job of exploring the psyche of one who craves revenge and those who are willing to deliver it.



Life for Life

What would YOU do if someone threatened your family?

Roy Cruise and his pregnant wife Susie barely survived an assassination attempt in their own home. The police now have them under surveillance. Meanwhile, Kristy Wise is a loose cannon—she knows too much and is trying to “set things right.”

What goes around comes around. And in this case, Roy and Susie may have pushed things too far. There are too many dead bodies. Too many foes plotting against them.

Roy and Susie must outwit the police and neutralize their enemies once and for all. If not, their days of retribution may end behind bars... or six feet under.

Amazon | Goodreads

 My Review:

Franko maintains an engaging story in this third novel of the series. I like how he introduces new characters into the plot and how they shed light on actions in previous novels. I like how he explores yet again the concept of planning the perfect murder and the possible ramifications that follow. Even though this theme has been central to the prior novels, Franko adds situations and insights to maintain the engaging nature of his narrative. This novel is certainly a study of lives ruined because of choices made.

And that is another theme of this novel, choices we make in life. Can we continually make choices determining the course of our life, changing the trajectory as life unfolds? Or are there particular choices we make that set us on an unchangeable path, that causes character change that cannot be undone?

Franko includes a shocking twist in this novel I did not see coming at all. And he sets us up yet again to be waiting for a sequel. This series has been so interesting and Franko has been so skilled at creating an engaging narrative, I will be looking for the next novel with anticipation. 


My Review of the Trilogy:

I am impressed with this series. Franko has managed to maintain the development of characters throughout, as new situations occurred. He introduced new characters well, weaving them into the narrative with skill. He explores the theme of choices and how they determine the course of life. He looks at the results of those choices on the characters themselves and others involved. That Franko was able to keep me reading with interest through over a thousand pages is an amazing accomplishment. Other than the unnecessary graphic sex scene in the first novel, I highly recommend this series.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars.


Eye for Eye Trilogy Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal
Published by: Talion Publishing
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 1050
ASIN: B08KSCHTRX
Series: Talion Trilogy #1
Find out more or get your copy:

Amazon & Goodreads

    

Read an excerpt from Eye for Eye:

When I try to piece together how this whole mess began, a part of me thinks it may have started over thirty years ago. At least the seeds were planted that far back, in the early 1980s. What happened then, at that summer camp in Texas, set the stage for everything that was to come.

Odd, how something so remote in time and geography continues to impact me here, today.

Sometimes I try to imagine her, how she felt—that eleven year-old girl—as she ran, stumbling and tripping through the woods that night. I try to put myself in her shoes. When I do, I wonder if she was frightened.

Did she understand the consequences of what she’d gotten herself into? I imagine it felt otherworldly to her, like a dream. But not a good dream. No, one of the bad ones—the ones that make your heart machine-gun as you try to outrun some dark thing that’s chasing you. But the faster you try to run, the slower you go, your legs feeling leaden, clumsy, useless.

Panic sets in. Tears of frustration form. Fear takes hold and won’t let go. You open your mouth to scream but realize, to your horror, that you’re paralyzed. It’s not that you can’t scream; you can’t even breathe. Not a dream—a nightmare.

Then again, all that may simply be my imagination. It could just be me projecting what I might have felt onto Joan. Maybe she wasn’t scared at all.

True, it was dark out. The night smelled of rain, but there was no lightning, only the far-off rumble of thunder hinting at a distant storm. There were no trail lights, no visibility but for the moon peeking out intermittently from behind a patchwork of clouds. But, Joan had been down this trail before. She was running toward the main cabin.

She had been at Camp Willow for almost two full weeks. She had been up and down that trail at least ten times a day, every day. Of course, that was during the day, and always with her buddy, or a camp counselor (the children called them troop leaders). Joan had never been on the trail at night. And never alone.

Maybe I imagine Joan was scared because, as an adult, I believe that she should have been. I would have been terrified.

***

Excerpt from Eye For Eye by JK Franko. Copyright © 2019 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On:
jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews and giveaways!


Click here to view the Eye for Eye Trilogy by JK Franko Participants.

 

Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be Six (6) winners for this tour. Two (2) winners will each receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card; Two (2) winners will each receive 1 print edition of Eye for Eye, book 1 of the Talion series, by JK Franko (US and Canada Only); and Two (2) winners will each receive 1 ebook edition of Eye for Eye, book 1 of the Talion series, by JK Franko. The giveaway begins on October 19, 2020 and runs through December 21, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 
 I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Life for Life by J K Franko

About the Book:

 

What would YOU do if someone threatened your family?

Roy Cruise and his pregnant wife Susie barely survived an assassination attempt in their own home. The police now have them under surveillance. Meanwhile, Kristy Wise is a loose cannon—she knows too much and is trying to “set things right.”

What goes around comes around. And in this case, Roy and Susie may have pushed things too far. There are too many dead bodies. Too many foes plotting against them.

Roy and Susie must outwit the police and neutralize their enemies once and for all. If not, their days of retribution may end behind bars... or six feet under.

My Review:

Franko maintains an engaging story in this third novel of the series. I like how he introduces new characters into the plot and how they shed light on actions in previous novels. I like how he explores yet again the concept of planning the perfect murder and the possible ramifications that follow. Even though this theme has been central to the prior novels, Franko adds situations and insights to maintain the engaging nature of his narrative. This novel is certainly a study of lives ruined because of choices made.

And that is another theme of this novel, choices we make in life. Can we continually make choices determining the course of our life, changing the trajectory as life unfolds? Or are there particular choices we make that set us on an unchangeable path, that causes character change that cannot be undone?

Franko includes a shocking twist in this novel I did not see coming at all. And he sets us up yet again to be waiting for a sequel. This series has been so interesting and Franko has been so skilled at creating an engaging narrative, I will be looking for the next novel with anticipation.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

 

About the Author:

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Talion Publishing, 416 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Do Life Differently by Jeff D Reeter

Reeter wants you to live the best life possible. He wants you to live life intentionally according to your unique abilities, getting the most out of your life. His book is full of encouragement and illustrative stories and examples. He encourages you to have a greater purpose, to have a life of significance, to be extraordinary. He encourages you to evaluate where you are, look at where you've been, and to determine what you really want. He helps you describe your goal and identify obstacles that try to trip you up.

Reeter does a good job of informing readers what should be done but lacks in the practical suggestions of how it is to be done. In his chapter on habits, for example, he writes we are to have the priority, “Choose to become the best you possible.” His strategy? “Ask yourself: When am I at my best? How can I replicate that in my everyday life?” (329/434) The next priority, “Choose habits that will give you your best life.” (329/434) But there is no practical strategy, no suggested steps to creating and sustaining those habits. Because of that, I think this book would be of best use by being read and discussed within a trusted group. An accountability relationship would help to get the most out of this book.

Reeter's leadership style seems to be one of example rather than practical instruction. He gives many illustrations of what works in his own life. If that works for you, than this is a good book. If you are looking for practical suggestions or detail strategy on how to develop your own Master Action Plan, you may need some outside help. The book is best suited for men, I think, as many of the life examples Reeter gives deals with hunting, football and similar outdoor activities.

You can find out more about the book and enter your email to read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5.

Jeff D. Reeter is an author and speaker, entrepreneur, servant leader, and strategist. He is a leader at his financial firm, Northwestern Mutual. He and his wife enjoy outdoor activities and spending time at the Reeter Ranch with their family and friends.

Worthy Publishers, 240 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tooth for Tooth by J K Franko

About the Book:

  

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

My Review:

Franko knows how to weave many threads into a compelling story. Each of the threads represents a different character and each having a different piece of the overall puzzle.

As with the first novel in this series, the theme is revenge, a terrible task master. The personal dispensing of justice takes on a life of its own. Franko has created a situation where people cannot go to the police. There are people manipulating others with lies and deceit. There are secrets that turn deadly.

Franko is a master at misdirecting. He is also good at revealing the layers of deceit and secrets from the past as the plot progresses. He deftly brings in new characters. Previously unknown, they become essential to the plot.

I am hooked on this series. Franko has done a good job of exploring the psyche of one who craves revenge and those who are willing to deliver it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Talion Publishing, 418 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Right Motive by Christina Dodd

About the Novella:

It’s just another Tuesday in Rockin, Alaska: one bear cub, two Bigfoot sightings, three corrupt law officers and a sting operation that will test new police officer Gabriella Donatti to the limits.

My Review: 

I enjoyed this short novella, an introduction to Dodd's full length novel arriving late December, 2020. It's a quick read but has good character development and a full plot. I like the new characters. The new police chief is from Louisiana, preferring the coolness of Alaska. The new deputy, Gabriella, is introduced with a bit of a mystery.  Her character comes into better focus quickly as her quirky family members are revealed. And the setting in Alaska is well crafted.

I've read most of Dodd's mystery novels and like her writing style. There is always some humor and a bit of something strange. I look forward to reading the full length novel featuring the characters I was introduced to in this novella.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Christina Dodd began writing when her first daughter was born but it took ten years, two children and three completed manuscripts before her first novel was published. In the twenty-six years since, her 58+ novels have been translated into 25 languages, won Romance Writers of America's prestigious Golden Heart and RITA Awards and has been called the year's best by Library Journal and Booklist. She and her husband spend part of their year living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

HQN Books, 53 pages.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Ottoman Dominion by Terry Brennan Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book:

Diplomatic Security Service agent Brian Mullaney wants out. He's been drawn against his will into a dangerous international mission with world-ending implications – and his final assignment is going to pit him directly against the terrifying, evil entity known only as the Turk.

But when the Turk's minions breach the US embassy in Israel and the American ambassador disappears, Mullaney has no choice. He must accept his role as the final guardian of a mysterious box, his only weapon against the powers of darkness bent on preventing the second coming of the Messiah, no matter who or what they annihilate to accomplish their goal. Can this man who's already lost so much find the strength and faith to save the world – and fulfill the prophecy of peace?

The final volume of the Empires of Armageddon trilogy will have fans of Joel Rosenberg, Ronie Kendig, and Frank Peretti on the edge of their seats up to the final page.

You can read an excerpt here.

You can read my reviews of the earlier books in the series: Ishmael Covenant, Persian Betrayal.

My Review:

The is the third novel in Brennan's end times series. There is quite a bit of back story and other explanations included so it could be read on its own. The plot is quite complex as there are many major threads to it. There is the spiritual aspect. There are some who desire to revive the Ottoman empire. Others want to establish an Islamic Caliphate. And then there is a U.S. politician who is working toward political power and vast wealth.

The plot is so complex, in the denouement, Mullaney wonders if the whole thing would ever be figured out with a reply of probably not. (Loc 4819/5138) That helped me feel better because I am not sure I figured it all out either.

There is plenty of action in this novel with many gun fights. The narrative frequently jumps from location to location, from conflict to conflict, as the action progresses. The action is interspersed with background story and informative details about the location or facts of history. Every time a new character is introduced, Brennan gives several paragraphs of information about him or her. At times the revelation of information seems forced, such as through dialogue.

The novel contains good insights on spiritual warfare and actions the enemy might attempt to prevent prophecy from being fulfilled, ushering in Christ's return. There are appearances by angelic beings so there is a definite spiritual aspect to the conflict involved. You'll learn about the Diplomatic Security Service and the Aaronic blessing. You'll experience lots of international action too.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest series is Empires of Armageddon, which includes Ishmael Covenant, Persian Betrayal, and Ottoman Dominion.

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Brennan accumulated during his 22-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA) Mercury won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series published while he led the team as the newspaper's Editor.

Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and later moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

In 1996, Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending 12 years as VP Operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless, both in New York City.

Terry and his wife, Andrea, now live in Danbury, CT.

You can find out more at www.terrybrennanauthor.com. He is also on Facebook (Terry Brennan) and Twitter (@terrybrennan1).

Kregel Publications, 312 pp.


a Rafflecopter giveaway 

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Read With Audra. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Read With Audra.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Eye For Eye by J K Franko

About the Book: 

Roy and Susie are on a skiing holiday, trying to take a break from the constant reminders of their daughter, tragically killed by a careless driver. Out of the blue they meet Deb and Tom, another couple with a tragic past and a shocking proposal to put things right.

As the bodies accumulate, secrets are revealed and alliances crumble. Ultimate survival depends on following the rules for a perfect murder. And the first rule is… leave no singing bones.

My Review:

I found this to be an engaging novel but in a methodical way, not in the normal suspense driven way. The plot is one of psychological drama and character revelation that was fascinating. To think that one could plan and execute the perfect, evidence free murder. And then to wonder if there was just one mistake, one detail that might set the police on an unrelenting investigation.

I like how Franko developed the characters, such an essential aspect of this novel. Hidden relationships are revealed as associated facts become known. Underlying layers of motives and related actions are revealed bit by bit. It is definitely an engaging way to develop a murder mystery. I like the narrator point of view, causing me to wonder who this person was, knowing all the facts and personalities involved. And when the narrator is revealed at the end, we are perfectly set up for a sequel.

I was unhappy with a rather graphic sex scene that was unrelated to the plot and certainly did not add to it. There was also quite a bit of vulgar language that, while appropriate for the character, was not something I appreciated.

This is a good novel for readers who enjoy one of psychological suspense. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Talion Publishing, 432 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)