Sunday, May 26, 2024

MIA by John Lansing Blog Tour Book Review

 

MIA

by John Lansing

May 20 - June 14, 2024 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Mia, is the origin story of retired inspector Jack Bertolino as a young undercover, NYPD narco-busting detective and his relationship with Mia, his confidential informant.

Mia, a former Miss Colombia, has the kind of beauty that can make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. She’s a complex character, with a painful backstory, who signs on with Jack to help him infiltrate, and take down, a heavy hitter in the Colombian drug trade. Mia has ice water in her veins and is already responsible for delivering large amounts of cocaine, and millions of the cartels cash into the government’s coffers.

This is Jack and Mia’s story. How Mia became a confidential informant, her evolving relationship with Jack, and how the life and death case they break wide open becomes the prequel to The Devil’s Necktie.

My Review:

 Bertolino has been a popular hard hitting hero. In reading a series, one wonders how he came to be that hero. I like how Lansing has gone back and set the stage for developing the intense and relentless man Bertolino has become.

This novel takes us into the world of law enforcement working to take down a powerful drug cartel. I was amazed at the risks a confidential informant would take to bring down one of the heads. But the later revelation of her past experiences really explains her intensity. And then there are two twists that certainly amp up the action and suspense.

This is a good novel for readers who have read Bertolino's later adventures and want to know about his earlier exploits. Lansing's writing style is good and makes for an entertaining read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller
Published by: White Street Press/ Karen Hunter Publishing
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Number of Pages: 252
ISBN: 979-8-89456-000-7 (Print) | 979-8-89456-899-7 (Digital)
Series: The Jack Bertolino Series, Prequel
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Jack Bertolino’s early morning shower gave up the ghost long before he swiped his long-term pass to gain entry to the Staten Island Ferry. Once he landed in the City, he headed for Tango 23’s base of operations. There he picked up his NYPD plain-wrap sedan. The ninety-degree temperature, wetted by ninety-five degree humidity, made a mockery of the air conditioner in the Ford Crown Vic as it crawled through commuter traffic headed for LaGuardia. The air was thick, the stench of exhaust on the Grand Central Parkway overwhelmed as Jack dodged a pothole, rattled into the airport parking lot and came to an engine-clicking stop next to DEA agent Kenny Ortega’s government issue.

The joint narcotics task force case was in its sixth month. Jack had agreed to meet a few old friends and a new confidential informant who had arrived from Miami via Colombia. This CI claimed to be able to provide entry into the inner workings of Manuel Alvarez’s illicit drug operation.

Alvarez, a notorious Colombian trafficker, had been on Jack’s radar for more than a year. Alvarez was responsible for importing a thousand keys of cocaine into Miami on a monthly basis, and the poison

was dripping into New York City. Jack wanted Alvarez’s head on a pike.

At thirty-eight, Jack was already a lieutenant, the boss of the narco-rangers called Tango 23. His crew had great success shutting down drug and money-laundering cells in the five boroughs, piling millions of dollars of the cartel’s money into the city’s coffers.

Jack was a handsome, unpretentious man with thick dark hair he wore brushed back. Creases on his striking face were a roadmap of years exposed to the elements doing undercover narcotics work on the streets of New York City.

As he stepped out of the car, a hot gust of wind blew grit into Jack’s eyes and mouth. It also blasted the long hair of a young woman exiting the passenger side of Ortega’s vehicle, obscuring her face. The deafening sound of a wide-body jet thundered overhead as Jack spit and wiped his stinging eyes.

The woman hand-combed strands of blonde away from her face. When Jack’s vision cleared, he was momentarily stopped in his tracks. The woman was drop-dead gorgeous.

He nodded to Sal Traina, a member of the Tango group, and shook the hand of Mia Ferrero as Ortega made the introductions. Mia, an ex-Miss Colombia, was the confidential informant. Kenny Ortega, the Miami-based DEA agent, was Jack’s partner on the drug task force.

Nick Aprea, a detective from the LAPD narcotics division, had flown in from Los Angeles, where a large quantity of the illicit drugs ended up. He ducked low as he slid out of the back seat, wearing a black leather jacket in the New York heat, and led with a wolfish grin as he proffered a hand the size of a baseball glove. “Jack, good to be back in business.” Aprea was tall, hard, and took life as it came. He had arrived with serious skin in the game. A few years back, his partner had been gut-shot in an Alvarez–Delgado operation. Nick had put fifteen hundred keys of coke on the table, and his partner had been put in an early grave. When Jack invited him to the party, Nick jumped at the chance to deliver some retribution.

Mia signed on to the joint operation between the NYPD, Miami DEA, and LAPD to infiltrate Manuel Alvarez’s operation and help put away a

heavy hitter for the Colombian cartel. She was a proven commodity, already wealthy from delivering large quantities of cocaine and cash to the United States government’s coffers in their ongoing war on drugs. The Feds had a formula in place for paying informants. The bigger the bust, the larger the payoff. A nice way to fatten your wallet, an easy way to die.

Mia started playing Jack—who had a reputation of being a straight arrow—from the moment she touched down at LaGuardia Airport. She’d been summoned for a meeting downtown, organized to get a feel for the principals, define the case, and plan a strategy.

It was time to roll. Sal was sitting in the passenger seat of Jack’s car when Mia rapped on the window. Sal slid out, and Mia stepped in seconds before Jack pulled out of the lot.

“I hope you don’t mind. It was so crowded in the other car,” she said.

Jack wasn’t thrilled. “It’s okay,” he said, always careful when spending time with a CI. First of all, rules and parameters of the relationship had to be set in place, until the informant was proven trustworthy. Too many things could go wrong. Jack was career building and didn’t need any bullshit slowing him down. He had a line in the sand when dealing with informants, and although he always treated them with respect, sharing his personal life was a nonstarter.

Mia started talking rapid fire. Her English was lightly accented but flawless, and Jack chalked her excited banter to nerves.

“I wasn’t supposed to fly first class, but I used my frequent-flyer miles, and thank God because the plane was full, and I was in the air for so many hours. Should I call you Jack or Mr. Bertolino?”

“Lieutenant works.”

“Oh, very formal. It’s so hot in here,” Mia play-whined, and undid the second button on her blouse as she turned to face Jack. “Are you a by-the-numbers kind of guy?”

“Something like that.”

“I know a lot of Italians in Medellín. Not a formal one in the mix. Very sexy though, Italians in general, don’t you think?”

---

Jack kept his eyes trained on the traffic. “Never given it much thought.”

“Oh, I have. Very much so.”

Jack wasn’t going there. He hoped Mia would lose herself in the approaching view of the New York skyline and stop talking. Instead, she seemed content to stare at Jack who was growing increasingly uncomfortable, but didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot with a woman who could break his case wide open.

“And the police in general, what do they call it? Mucho testosterone. You can’t hide it, Jack—I mean, Lieutenant.” Mia’s smile was sly, and Jack kept his eyes on the road, not wanting the conversation to get out of hand.

“Your nose,” she said knowingly, “that must have hurt.”

Jack had a bump on his otherwise straight Roman nose. It was a gift from a crack dealer named Trey, who he traded punches with outside the Red Hook projects in Brooklyn. Trey went to jail, and Jack had a reminder every morning when he shaved to keep his right fist higher and jab with his left.

“Do you like sex on the beach?” Jack hoped she was talking about the cocktail and didn’t respond. “What about sex in the car?” Mia said and ran a manicured nail down his thigh. “I love giving blow jobs, I mean, giving oral sex.”

Jack shot a look in the rearview mirror, tried to remain stoic, but he was getting hot under the collar. He was doing sixty and Kenny Ortega’s car was tight on his bumper. Jack glanced in the rearview again, and saw the men in the trailing car laughing.

He’d had enough. He signaled and pulled the wheel hard to the right, sending Mia sliding against the passenger door. As horns around him started blaring, he skidded to a tire-screeching stop on the shoulder of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. He was followed by Ortega, Nick, and a few other smirking detectives in the second car.

Jack knew he’d been set up. He picked up the radio and raised Ortega. “Get this woman out of my car.”

Mia feigned being hurt. “Is it something I said?” Over the intercom, Ortega and his crew were howling. Mia jumped out of Jack’s car, her

face split into a sultry grin, and she winked. “Just having some fun, Lieutenant.”

Jack was the only one on the crew not laughing. He pulled back into traffic, riding solo, and dialed his home number.

Jeanine answered on the second ring. “Are you all right, Jack?”

“Huh?”

“An afternoon call. It’s usually bad news.”

“Oh, no, not today. Just wanted to hear your voice.”

“Hmmm, okay... Good.” Jeannine could read Jack’s mood and wasn’t buying it.

Jack started to relax, the earth rotating back on its axis. “Actually, I just made a pickup at LaGuardia, had a moment.”

“Okay. Are you going to make it home for dinner?”

“Don’t wait on me. We have a TAC meeting, breaking in a new informant. You know how that goes.”

Jeannine knew all too well what that meant. And Jack was hit with the familiar chill on the other end of the line. “Okay, Jack. Your son’s asking what happened to his father.”

“Tell him I miss him.”

“Tell him yourself, Jack,” Jeannine said quietly before hanging up the phone.

Jack stifled his growing anger, fully aware that he was an absentee father. From his point of view, he was building a secure life for his family, and they all had to make sacrifices. It was a team effort. He knew he was being defensive, but he also knew what it took to rise through the ranks of the NYPD.

Jack snapped out of it when Kenny beeped his horn and rocketed past in the fast lane. He rolled his eyes, slightly amused as Mia, sitting in the back seat, nailed him with a look that was purely X-rated.

***

Excerpt from MIA by John Lansing. Copyright 2024 by John Lansing. Reproduced with permission from John Lansing. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

John Lansing is the author of six thrillers featuring Jack Bertolino—The Devil’s Necktie, Blond Cargo, Dead Is Dead, The Fourth Gunman, 25 to Life, and MIA—as well as the true-crime non-fiction book Good Cop Bad Money, written with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. He has been a writer and supervising producer on Walker, Texas Ranger, the co-executive producer of the ABC series Scoundrels, and co-wrote two MOWs for CBS. The Devil’s Necktie is in development at Andria Litto’s Amuse Entertainment, with Barbara DeFina attached as a producer.

A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

Find out more on:
JohnLansing.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @JohnLansing
Instagram - @johnlansingauthor
Twitter - @jelansing
Facebook - @devilsnecktie

 

Tour Participants:

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

Friday, May 24, 2024

Mabel and the Little Green Men by Susan Kimmel Wright Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Book: Mabel and the Little Green Men

Author: Susan Kimmel Wright

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: October 5, 2023

The last thing Mabel needed was a flying saucer, not to mention a rash of similar sightings all over town. Her life’s already been upended by getting fired and moving to Grandma’s old house in Medicine Spring. So far, the deceptively sleepy village has delivered several murders—and romance with a handsome private investigator. Are little green men next?

While Mabel tries to get to the bottom of the apparent space invasion, she also gets herself caught between competing candidates for township supervisor. Small-town politics call for more diplomacy than she has—not to mention the ability to duck, run, and hide.

And unfortunately, her UFO investigation only raises more questions. Long-buried secrets surface, all tied to one night in 1958 and another seeming alien attack. But something more troublesome than any Martian invasion is on its way. A film crew descends, bent on producing a documentary on the historic UFO crash. Hordes of tourists follow, all infected with flying saucer fever. When an all-too-human body turns up at the alleged alien gravesite in a local cemetery, Mabel realizes murder is bound to follow her, whether of this world or not.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I was fascinated by the idea of UFOs when younger so I enjoyed reading this cozy mystery. It starts off well with Mabel seeing mysterious lights in the sky. A murder does not happen until well over half way through so most of the book consists of people with various views on UFOs bickering. But there is a good dose of humor here and there so reading the book is enjoyable. Mabel is a fun amateur sleuth and makes a fine older heroine.

This is part of a series yet read really well on its own. It is a good cozy mystery for those who would like one centered around an interesting topic. Whether you have ever seen a UFO or not, this is an entertaining cozy mystery.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

Susan Kimmel Wright began her life of mystery as a child, with reading. That led to writing kids’ mysteries and eventually to Medicine Spring with Mabel. A longtime member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, Susan’s also a prolific writer of personal experience stories, many for Chicken Soup for the Soul. She shares an 1875 farmhouse in southwestern PA with her husband, several dogs and cats, and an allegedly excessive stockpile of coffee and tea mugs. 

More from Susan

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a…UFO?

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and seen something you couldn’t explain? What did you—or would you—do? Call a friend? The police department? Post a picture on social media? Or maybe you’d keep it quiet, trying to convince yourself it was a figment of your imagination.

In Mabel & the Little Green Men, I had so much fun giving Mabel a UFO encounter and then seeing where it led her, while more sightings and the arrival of a TV documentary crew turned the small town of Medicine Spring topsy-turvy. Wacky characters and situations kept surprising me too!

My best friend has had UFO encounters—twice. Once, while sitting at her desk studying, she looked out to see a strange light hovering beyond her window. Another time, she spotted a large object in the sky ahead of her while driving home alone from a movie. Alas, though I’ve scanned the skies for years, this has never happened to me!

My friend is far from the only sane person to report seeing a UFO. Every year, hundreds of sightings are reported in the US, including many from police, ministers, military pilots, and others not known for fabrication or flights of fantasy. The term UFO (unidentified flying object), as well as the now-preferred term UAP (unidentified aerial phenomenon), both simply refer to an airborne object that can’t be readily identified. Neither term has anything whatsoever to do with flying saucers or “little green men.”

Most UFOs are eventually explained—some as atmospheric events, deflated balloons, or experimental aircraft. But the mystery fascinates me—especially for the handful that have never been satisfactorily explained.

While I’ve never personally seen a UFO, many people in my area reported the 1965 crash of the Kecksburg “space acorn,” an event now celebrated with an annual festival benefiting the fire department. Do you have a UFO story in your town?

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 17

Stories By Gina, May 18 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, May 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 19

Texas Book-aholic, May 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 21 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 22

Blogging With Carol, May 23

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 24

Vicky Sluiter, May 25 (Author Interview)

Pause for Tales, May 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 27

Lily’s Corner, May 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 29 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize package of $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2b7cd/mabel-and-the-little-green-men-celebration-tour-giveaway


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

(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, May 23, 2024

Every Time I Go on Vacation Someone Dies by Catherine Mack Book Review

About the Book:


All that bestselling author Eleanor Dash wants is to get through her book tour in Italy and kill off her main character, Connor Smith, in the next in her Vacation Mysteries series—is that too much to ask?

Clearly, because when an attempt is made on the real Connor’s life—the handsome but infuriating con man she got mixed up with ten years ago and now can't get out of her life—Eleanor’s enlisted to help solve the case.

Contending with literary competitors, rabid fans, a stalker—and even her ex, Oliver, who turns up unexpectedly—theories are bandied about, and rivalries, rifts, and broken hearts are revealed. But who’s really trying to get away with murder?

Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies is the irresistible and hilarious series debut from Catherine Mack, introducing bestselling fictional author Eleanor Dash on her Italian book tour that turns into a real-life murder mystery, as her life starts to imitate the world in her books.

My Review:

This is a novel written in a unique and entertaining way. Footnotes, for example. Who ever heard of copious footnotes in a novel. (For the record, I skipped most of them.) But Mack says she always wanted to add them so did. And there are a few other interesting features like boxed text and the narrator talking to readers.

The characters are developed well. Eleanor is a kick, going on a trip but not reading the itinerary. That gets her into all kinds of situations she does not enjoy. Harper, her sister and efficient assistant to the rescue. Connor is well portrayed as a troublesome past love and current irritant.

I like the plot where a famous author wants to get rid of one of the characters in her novels (who also happens to be a real person) but other people die. There are a number of suspects from jealous authors to stalking fans but Eleanor is on the case.

This is an enjoyable and clever mystery with fun locations and a good dose of humor from time to time.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:


Catherine Mack
(she/her) is the pseudonym for the 
USA Today and Globe & Mail bestselling author of over a dozen novels. Her books are approaching two million copies sold worldwide and have been translated into multiple languages including French, German, Portuguese, and Polish. Television rights to Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies and its forthcoming sequels sold in a major auction to Fox TV for development into a series, with Mack writing the pilot script. A dual Canadian and US citizen, she splits her time between Canada and various warmer locations in the US. Photo credit: Fany Ducharme

Minotaur Books, 344 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.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Knowing Obadiah by April W Gardner Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Book: Knowing Obadiah

Author: April W Gardner

Genre: Bible Commentary for Women

Release Date: November, 2023

A Christian Women’s Bible Commentary

Experience the excitement of Biblical prophecy with this down-to-earth and captivating exploration of Obadiah.

Walk with author April W Gardner as she steps into the past and brings to life the often-overlooked prophecy of Obadiah. With her typical attention to historical detail, April journeys through Scripture in a down-to-earth and engaging manner. From Jacob and Esau to the terrifying Babylonian siege of Jerusalem and the blazing destruction of Edom, she learns alongside her readers how these 21 verses affirm God’s sovereignty while pointing to a steadfast hope in Zion.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This commentary by Gardner is unlike any I have ever read before, in a good way. She has no theological degree so her book is more like friends discussing the Scripture over a cup of tea. There is some great humor included, again making this commentary so unusual but a pleasure to read.

Gardner starts out by explaining what is not known about Obadiah, like who is is or when he wrote. She then digs deep to reveal the possible history and culture behind the book. We get a good dose of the story of Jacob and Esau, setting the stage for the judgment on Edom. She includes relevant material from Jeremiah too.

I like that the KJV text of Obadiah is included so this commentary can be studied without a companion Bible needed. Gardner provides a link to additional resources that can be downloaded too. I recommend this conversational style commentary. It's a great resource for anyone wanting to understand the meaning and impact of this minor prophet.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

APRIL W GARDNER is an indie author whose great passion is historical romance with themes of Native American and Southeastern U.S. culture. Copyeditor, mother of two grown children, and non-trad college student, April lives in South Texas with her husband and two German Shepherds. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

More from April

–Hello, friend! So, I’ve written this Bible commentary for women on the book of Obadiah. You know the one, right? The little one? Like, really little. So little if you blink while flipping pages, you’ll miss it. But don’t let its size fool you. It packs a serious punch. Interested? It covers—

–Wait. April, did you say commentary?

–Sure did.

–For women?

–Yep.

–Oh, uh… Thanks. Sounds great, but I’m not in ministry.

-Hey, me neither! I grew up in church and on the mission field. There was Bible college in there before I got my Mrs. degree, but as you see, I’m just the next girl on the church pew. One who has a curious mind, a love of learning, and a long-standing devotion to Christ.

Because of that, I approached writing Knowing Obadiah from the seat beside yours at home, as if we had our Bibles open on our laps, coffee mugs in hand, and were chatting about the things we’re discovering while we read.

Before we’re done reading, you’ll understand how and why Edom is the object of God’s wrath. You’ll see how Obadiah, like every other biblical prophecy, contains a message of warning, judgment, and hope, and how (unlike the rest of the prophets) the first two (warning and judgment) are for a pagan nation while the last (hope) is for Judah.

The most minor of minor prophets is absolutely packed with treasure waiting to be unburied. Toss in its background and its implications for the future, and you’ve got yourself a fascinating study.

Speaking of study, Knowing Obadiah doesn’t have any set topic related to theology or spiritual growth. Instead, I take an approach that digs for original meaning, versus applying modern interpretation. This commentary will force you out of your comfy chair and into Obadiah’s history and culture. As best we can, we’ll be taking on the author’s perspective of the world, looking at the text’s setting and purpose (and so much more!) through his lens.

What say you? Are you in? Let’s do this, girl.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 22

Inspired by Fiction, May 23

Godly Book Reviews, May 24

Mary Hake, May 24

Vicky Sluiter, May 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 26

Texas Book-aholic, May 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 28

Girls in White Dresses, May 29

Lots of Helpers, May 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30

Cover Lover Book Review, May 31

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, June 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 2

Lights in a Dark World, June 3

Lily’s Corner, June 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, April is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 Amazon gift card and a paperback set of the A Fire and a Flame series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2b9d3/knowing-obadiah-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

(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, May 19, 2024

Pay Dirt by Sara Paretsky Book Review

About the Book:


V. I. Warshawski is famous for her cool under fire, her intelligence, her humor, her unflinching courage, and her love of good coffee. But even the strongest people sometimes need a break to recharge, so her friends send her to Kansas for a weekend of college basketball where Angela, one of her protégées, is playing. And that’s where trouble finds V.I.

Sabrina, one of Angela’s roommates, disappears and V.I. agrees to try to find her. Finding a missing person in a city where she knows few people and doesn’t have her trusted contacts is hard, but not as hard as the brutally negative reaction to the detective from some of the locals. When V.I. finds Sabrina close to death in a remote house, she lands herself in the FBI’s crosshairs and faces a violent online backlash. The men running the county’s opioid distribution are also not happy.

Discovering a dead body in the same house a few days later, V.I. is pitched headlong into a local land-use battle with roots going back to the Civil War. She finds that today’s combatants are just as willing as opponents in the 1860s to kill to settle their differences.

V.I.’s survival depends on keeping one step ahead of players in a game she never intended to play, before the clock runs down.


My Review:

It's been a while since I have read a Warshawski novel so I missed the traumatic event that has had such a huge impact on her. It was a little strange to read of her so unsure of herself. I missed the woman from previous novels.

I had an issue with the plot. I just could not believe a woman nearly dead from a drug overdose was found in a home with lots of drug paraphernalia around as well as a bloody blanket and the police did not search the house. That just did not ring true to me. I have to admit I skimmed a bit here and there to get to the next action scene.

I don't think this is the best effort from Paretsky. I have liked the Warshawski novels in the past and will keep looking for them.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:


Called a "genius" by Lee Child and "one of the all time greats" by Karin Slaughter, Sara Paretsky transformed the role of women in the mystery world with her detective, V.I. Warshawski. V.I. is tough, feminine and vulnerable, but above all loyal to her friends and clients. Paretsky and Warshawski share a love of singing, Golden Retrievers and Italian reds. V.I. has escaped many near-death experiences, including drowning in Chicago's swamps (Blood Shot), falling down an elevator shaft (Burn Marks), and multiple attempts to shoot her down (Dead Land). Paretsky would have retired to the Umbrian Hills after one such event, but V.I. keeps coming back for more.

Paretsky's passion for social justice is reflected in her novels but also in her support for reproductive health and the welfare of women and children. She founded Sisters in Crime, an international organization that advocates for women in the mystery/thriller field. She is one of four living writers to earn both the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers and Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America. Find out more at www.saraparetsky.com

William Morrow, 400 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.)

Saturday, May 18, 2024

N0 Tomorrows by Deb Gorman Blog Tour Book Review


About the Book

Book: No Tomorrows-A Novel for Today

Author: Deb Gorman

Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: September 23, 2023

Tour Dates: May 18 – May 31

By the time Thursday is over, Annie Lee is convinced God is telling her it’s her last day on earth.

Annie and her husband live in a small rural town in central Washington state—a place where almost nothing scary happens . . . until today. Hang on to her coattails as she navigates her tragic past, her frightening present, and her unknown future all in the space of twenty-four hours.

And ask yourself the same question posed to Annie: “What would I do today if I knew I’d die tomorrow?” Will your answer be the same one Annie discovers?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Gorman writes fiction that represents life realistically. This novel opens with family members arguing and contains lots of family drama and emotional turmoil. Those of us who grew up with an unsettled home life may have difficulty reading it. There are a number of potential trigger situations included in the novel too, such as the abduction of a child and a past rape.

There are many great lessons in this novel. For me, the best one was the transformation of Annie. I started out not liking her. I could not imagine having her for a friend, she was so agitated and demanding. But Gorman created Annie that way for a reason and I really like Annie's character transformation in the end.

This is an entertaining novel that deals with a short period of time in one woman's life. Annie deals with fears, present influence from past events, and even experiences spiritual warfare. Some say experience is the best teacher. It was certainly the way Annie learned to be the person God designed her to be.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Deb Gorman, owner of Debo Publishing, was born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She still lives in her hometown of Yakima, Washington, with her husband, Alan, and their very smart German Shepherd, Hoka. Deb is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, cleverly disguised as a wife, mom, grandmom, and author. Her purpose is to connect with God’s most beautiful and clever creation, the human family, using the literary talent and imagination God gave her. Her prayer is that as she journeys with you, together you will discover encouragement and redemption in your most important relationships.

More from Deb

No Tomorrows-A Novel for Today came about because of a question I heard.

“What would you do today if you knew without a doubt you would die tomorrow?”

It’s an old question that’s been kicked around for decades, but when I seriously put my shoes into its footprints, I found I could not answer it with anything other than cliches. Those cliches, like “Eat chocolate all day”, or “Do that last thing on your bucket list” didn’t sit well with me. I wanted a real answer, one I could hang my hat on—as one character in the book says. I suspected that my readers want a real answer for themselves, too.

Annie Lee, a typical suburban mother of four, is confronted with that question, and spends a harrowing twenty-four hours navigating the answer for herself. In the uncertainty of our times, this question is particularly important for us to consider. Perhaps we’ll agree with Annie Lee’s answer.

Along with a book and a $50.00 Amazon card, the lucky winner will receive a custom-made No Tomorrows pen, created by my author friend, Steve Hooley, at https://SteveHooleyWriter.com, from Big Leaf Maple wood grown and harvested in the Pacific Northwest.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 18

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, May 19 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 20

Artistic Nobody, May 21 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, May 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 22

Texas Book-aholic, May 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, May 26 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 27

Divine Perspective, May 28

For the Love of Literature, May 29 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 29

Pause for Tales, May 30

JESUS in the EVERYDAY, May 31

Giveaway

 To celebrate her tour, Deb is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of No Tomorrows, a $50 Amazon gift card, and a custom-made No Tomorrows pen!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2b7ce/no-tomorrows-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

(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.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Lotus Girl by Helen Tworkov Book Review

About the Book:


From one of the central figures in Buddhism's introduction to the West and the founder of Tricycle magazine comes a brilliant memoir of forging one’s own path that Pico Iyer calls "unflinching" and "indispensable."

The daughter of an artist, Helen Tworkov grew up in the heady climate of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism; yet from an early age, she questioned the value of Western cultural norms. Her life was forever changed when she saw the iconic photo of Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese monk who, seated in meditation, set himself on fire to protest his government’s crackdown on the Buddhist clergy. Tworkov realized that radically different states of mind truly existed and were worth exploring. At the age of twenty-two, she set off for Japan, then traveled through Cambodia, India, and eventually to Tibetan refugee camps in Nepal.

Set against the arresting cultural backdrop of the sixties and their legacy, this intimate self-portrait depicts Tworkov's search for a true home as she interacts with renowned artists and spiritual luminaries including the Dalai Lama, Pema Chödrön, Joseph Goldstein, Bernie Glassman, Charles Mingus, Elizabeth Murray and Richard Serra.

Interweaving experience, research, and revelation, Helen Tworkov explores the relationship between Buddhist wisdom and American values, presenting a wholly unique look at the developing landscape of Buddhism in the West. Lotus Girl offers insight not only into Tworkov's own search for the truth, but into the ways each of us can better understand and transform ourselves.

My Review:

I appreciate this personal spiritual journey. Tworkov recounts growing up Jewish in Manhattan. Even at a young age she played mind games, exploring the mind in generating feelings and dictating experiences. At times she would disappear in the theater of her mind.

She made excursions into psychedelic drugs and made other attempts to manipulate the thoughts running through her head. She traveled to Japan, Cambodia, India and Nepal. She observed people's response to suffering in a Tibetan refugee camp.

Back in the United States, she experienced the unrest of the Vietnam War, marrying a draft dodger, living in Canada. After a miscarriage and depression, she was looking for a spiritual practice. She ultimately found a place in Buddhism as it helped reshape the experience of herself and the world, though her journey was rather rocky.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:


Helen Tworkov 
is founding editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, the first and only independent Buddhist magazine, and author of Zen in America: Profiles of Five Teachers (North Point Press; 1989). She first encountered Buddhism in Asia in the 1960s and has studied in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Since 2006 she has been a student of the Kagyu and Nyingma Tibetan master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and has assisted him in the writing of In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying (Spiegel and Grau; 2019) and Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism (Shambhala Publications; 2014). Photo credit: Jeri Coppola

St. Martin's Essentials, 336 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.)