Thursday, March 31, 2022

Maxine Justice: Galactic Attorney by Daniel Schwabauer Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: Maxine Justice: Galactic Attorney

Author: Daniel Schwabauer

Genre: Science Fiction

Release date: March 29, 2022

Can Justice Save the Earth from Extinction?

Maxine Justice is an ambulance-chasing lawyer desperate for relevance and cash when aliens hire her to represent them before the United Nations. An off-planet consortium wants to heal humanity of every natural disease in exchange for 30% of Earth’s gold reserves.

The deal launches Max to legal stardom and makes her an international target for assassins. New Pharma, Sky Cross, MediCorp—the big medical companies all have good reasons to want Max out of the way. Worse, she discovers her alien clients may be planning something more sinister than anyone has imagined.

Can a lawyer who failed the bar exam three times find some way to save the world from global and interstellar conspiracies? Or will humankind’s future end in a galactic courtroom?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is an interesting novel exploring the flaws in humanity, from individuals to corporations to the legal system. I like the basic plot idea. Rather than aliens taking over the earth by force, they want to do it through trickery using the intergalactic legal system. Schwabauer has an entertaining writing style, easy to read except for the legalese, and with some humor.

There was a great deal of legalese and I did not understand much of it. Actually, I could not follow some of the legal process, negotiating sessions and court appearances either. I did appreciate Max's flawed character. We can certainly understand her temptation to wealth and influence. The character I really liked the best was the TheraPod, Singh. A robot programmed as a religious therapist, he had actually embraced biblical teaching. I appreciated the Christian comments he made.

Although I had difficulty following the legal process in the plot, I did like the plot concept, the  characters and the general actions of Max. This is a book for lovers of science fiction, exploring a different way aliens might attempt to conquer earth.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

Daniel Schwabauer, M.A., is a lifelong reader of speculative fiction. He studied the genre under science fiction great James Gunn before graduating with honors from Kansas University’s Masters program in Creative Writing. Winner of the Eric Hoffer and Ben Franklin awards for his middle grade fantasy series, The Legends of Tira-Nor, Daniel enjoys riding his motorcycle on country roads and pondering other worlds. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and dog.

More from Daniel

What in the World is a Galactic Attorney?

Maxine Justice: Galactic Attorney started as a short story concept I began twenty-five years ago but never finished. Back then I thought it would be interesting to write about a hostile takeover of the planet by aliens. But instead of using advanced weaponry and space ships, my aliens would conquer Earth the way modern corporations subsume smaller competitors—through the law.

The main problem with my original story idea was the lack of a suitable hero. It wasn’t until 2018 that an off-handed remark from my daughter provided the inspiration I needed to rethink the entire storyline, and an irrepressible, snarky young lawyer named Maxine strode into my imagination and began a hostile takeover of her own.

Yes, this story was going to have aliens in it, but the aliens were not humanity’s real problem. Our real problem was the medical industry. And the insurance industry. And the Department of Justice. And the whole legal profession. Our real problem was ourselves. (Maxine’s problem was that she had no money and no clients, though she did have an axe to grind and a very good reason to give it a fine edge.)

What if Maxine’s search for real solutions to our most corrupt systems led her to realize that Earth’s  doom may not come through the cleverness of intergalactic adversaries, but via the corruption of its apex predator?

Could Justice save Earth from extinction then?

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 31

Through the Fire Blogs, April 1

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, April 1

Texas Book-aholic, April 2

Inklings and notions, April 3

For Him and My Family, April 4

deb's Book Review, April 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 6

Wishful Endings, April 7

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 8

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, April 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 10

Christina's Corner, April 10

Artistic Nobody, April 11 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, April 12

Inside the Wong Mind, April 13

I received a complimentary digital copy 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, March 30, 2022

Secret Angel Meetings by Megan Fitzgerald

This is a beautifully illustrated book aimed at helping young children deal with the loss of a loved one. The idea is that loved ones who have died visit children in their dreams. Fitzgerald wrote the book to help children feel connected to and loved by family members who have died.

One aspect of this little book is that those who have died visit children in their dreams as angels. Christians who believe the Bible indicates angels are a created order of beings very different from humans may find this concept troubling.

This is a beautiful book with a touching message. I do encourage parents to clarify the difference between humans who have died and angels.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Megan Fitzgerald is a first-time author, loving wife and mother to three wonderful girls. Secret Angel Meetings is her debut children's book. Megan's main passions in life are her family and faith. She has been involved in children's ministry for more than ten years and chose to pursue writing as another way to share her faith with families.

Aliana Luise is an illustrator of children's books. You can see her portfolio here.

Mascot Books, 38 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. 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.)

The Lightening Rod by Brad Meltzer

About the Book:

What’s the one secret no one knows about you?

Archie Mint has a secret. He’s led a charmed life—he’s got a beautiful wife, two impressive kids, and a successful military career. But when he’s killed while trying to stop a robbery in his own home, his family is shattered—and then shocked when the other shoe drops. Mint’s been hiding criminal secrets none of them could have imagined.

While working on Mint’s body before his funeral, mortician “Zig” Zigarowski discovers something he was never meant to see. That telling detail leads him to Mint’s former top secret military unit and his connection to artist Nola Brown. Two years ago, Nola saved Zig’s life—so he knows better than most that she’s as volatile and dangerous as a bolt of lightning.

Following Nola’s trail, he uncovers one of the U.S. government’s most intensely guarded secrets—an undisclosed military facility that dates back to the Cold War and holds the key to something far more sinister: a hidden group willing to compromise the very safety and security of America itself.

Trouble always finds her...

She’s the lightning rod.

You can read a sample here.

My Review:

This is the second in a series but the first one I have read. There is quite a backstory to the main characters so I would recommend reading the previous novel first. Nola is certainly a bold and over achieving character, though flawed. Zig seemed a bit of a puzzle to me. He was gentle at times yet very capable of forceful action. We find the connection between the two as much of the backstory is revealed throughout the novel. I did not like the trips back to the childhoods of Nola and her brother. I would have preferred the information woven into the plot through remembering thoughts.

The plot was complex. What seemed connected wasn't. What seemed one way came out in the second half of the book as another way altogether. The motive, or cause, of the first murder was part of a twist near the end. The denouement was long as there was much to figure out and explain. There was some interesting information in the book about government stockpiles. In the edition I read there was no note indicating what was factual so I have no idea how much information presented represented reality.

This is a novel with lots of action that moved along generally well. I do feel some of the action and plot structure are unrealistic.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twelve thrillers including The Escape Artist, and nonfiction books such as The Lincoln Conspiracy and the Ordinary People Change the World series. He is also the host of the TV show Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel. He lives in Florida with his wife and three children. Photo by Donna Newman

William Morrow, 432 pages.

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

(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.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Life's Messy, Live Happy by Cy Wakeman

About the Book:

A simple shift in thinking can change everything you believe about your own happiness.

By the time we become adults, most of us have joined the religion of suffering, which preaches that unless circumstances are controlled, life will be a mess. We compare ourselves to others and speculate about an impossible-to-know future, holding out hope for an improved life through getting ahead, fulfilling passion, or finding true love. But the idea that happiness comes from putting effort toward altering one’s circumstances is harmful and backward. What if we instead learned to understand that circumstances can rarely be controlled, and that life is, and always will be, messy?

From that starting point, we could learn to use our minds to create happiness despite life’s ever-changing circumstances and events. Life’s Messy, Live Happy by Cy Wakeman is about dramatically changing the level of happiness you feel in your daily life, by learning to disconnect happiness from external forces, stop worrying about the future, and realize that most of your negative feelings are about things that never even happened.

Wakeman is a credible, relatable teacher—a business owner, mother, and community member who has lived her philosophy and achieved profound happiness and success in a crazy, messy life. Filled with concrete daily practices and true stories that are hilarious, painful, and poignant, this book will change everything: your perspective, your focus, and your energy level for everyday life.

You can read an excerpt here.

My Review:

This is a bit different self-help book and I like it. Rather than trying to make life less messy, Wakeman offers strategies to help us walk through the messiness of life more skillfully. She shares ideas and strategies she has developed through her own deeply personal work and her work with clients. She says the most important life lesson she has discovered is that you can be happy even when your life is a mess. (119/2702)

Some of Wakeman's ideas will be familiar to those who have read other self-help books. Keeping a gratitude journal, for example, is a well known beneficial habit. But Wakeman adds her unconventional wisdom to the practice. She writes about transcending duality, refusing to label experiences good or bad. She suggests rejoicing in all of each day and she provides thought provoking questions to go deep into reflection on daily events and actions.

I like her teaching on the philosophy of “and” rather than “or.” I really appreciate her teaching on fear (false events appear real) and reality. Her distinction between self-soothing and self-care is insightful. She gives us questions to ask about our motives for forgiveness, taking us through her own process. And that is just some of the wisdom she shares.

The second half of the book is more personal reflection, exploring thoughts and sharing her experiences on forgiveness, apology, making amends, death, self advocacy, wading into a mess deeply enough to get answers, and more.

This is a good self-help book, born out of Wakeman's experiences. She provides good teaching and practical suggestions for carrying out that teaching. This is a good book to read when life is a mess. You won't be given any promises that this book will cure the mess. Rather, you'll receive teaching born from experience on how to live best in that mess. 

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

CY WAKEMAN is a drama researcher, international leadership speaker, and consultant. In 2001 she founded Reality-Based Leadership. She is the author of Reality-Based Leadership, No Ego, and the New York Times bestseller The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace. In 2017, she was named as one of the Top 30 Global Leadership Gurus by Global Gurus, a Top 100 Leadership Expert to Follow on Twitter, and was deemed "the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace." She lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

St. Martin's, 256 pages.

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

(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.)

Death Valley Double Cross by Dana Mentink Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: Death Valley Double Cross

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational Suspense

Release date: February 22, 2022

A killer seeking revenge

will stop at nothing to get it…

Pilar Jefferson is shocked to learn that her supposedly deceased father is alive and has been in prison—and now his ruthless former partner is after her. Fleeing on her wedding day was the best way to protect her loved ones. But now with her mother held for ransom and her ex-fiancé, Austin Duke, stumbling back into her life, can she keep everyone safe—and escape an assassin?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Desert Justice

Book 1: Framed in Death Valley
Book 2: Missing in the Desert
Book 3: Death Valley Double Cross
Book 4: Death Valley Hideout

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

God is in the business of rescuing us and giving us second chances. Mentink does a good job of exploring that theme in this novel. The main ones who get second chances are Pilar and Austin. But the God given opportunity is plagued with danger and missteps. Both have to work through obstacles before romance can be rekindled.

There is a good dose of mystery, suspense and danger in the plot too. I did feel the plot progression a bit convoluted. The camping and flare gun episode was a little strange. That scene and some of Cyrus' actions were odd. I felt the villain was no surprise as many clues were offered. I really liked Austin's devotion to rescuing dogs. He's a good man who just had to work out some issues, which Mentink had him accomplish.

This is the third novel in a series. While it reads rather well on its own, characters from the earlier novels do play a part in this one. The earlier novels are good too so I suggest reading them before this one. Mentink's writing style is clear and the novel was generally an engaging read.

You can read my reviews of the earlier novels: Framed in Death Valley and Missing in the Desert.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

Dana Mentink is a USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author as well as a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over fifty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I remember standing on the edge of the lookout and gazing into the wonder that is Artist’s Palette in Death Valley. Artist’s Drive, which takes you to this breathtaking view, rises above Badwater Basin (the lowest spot in North America) and then meanders along twisting canyons and hills until it brings you to this popular tourist stop. The premier view is a place called Artist’s palette. It’s a sprawling pocket of color, hues of rose, ochre, green and gold tucked in the rippling landscape and teased to life by the desert sun. Isn’t that just like God? To lead us to surprises and wonders that await us in a sometimes hostile world? Every day we spent in Death Valley held a surprise, from the rocks that move mysteriously across the sands to the towering twists and turns of 20 Mule Team Canyon. There are only two things to do with a wonderous place like that…enjoy the divine bounty, and write a novel set there so others can come along!

I hope you will enjoy this third installment in the Desert Justice series. The first is Beckett’s story and then we had quiet cowboy Levi’s adventure. Now it’s brash pilot Austin’s turn. Will he get his happy ending after being dumped at the altar and wrecking his shoulder in an accident? Turn those pages and come with me to Death Valley to find out!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 29

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, March 29

Daysong Reflections, March 30

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

Lighthouse academy, March 31

Inklings and notions, March 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 1

Betti Mace, April 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Pause for Tales, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 3 (Author Interview)

deb's Book Review, April 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 6

Life, Love, Writing, April 6

Bigreadersite, April 7

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, April 7

Bizwings Blog, April 8

For the Love of Literature, April 8

Blogging With Carol, April 9

HookMeInABook, April 9

Simple Harvest Reads, April 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Paula's Persuasion, April 10

Blossoms and Blessings, April 11

Sodbuster Living, April 11

Labor Not in Vain, April 12

Through the fire blogs, April 12


I received a complimentary digital copy 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.)

Monday, March 28, 2022

Distorted Perception by Trish Arrowsmith Blog Tour

Distorted Perception

by Trish Arrowsmith

March 28 - April 29, 2022 Virtual Book Tour


At twenty-six years of age, Kathleen has almost everything she needs: a fulfilling teaching career, a new car, and a recently purchased home. She dedicates her free time to her students, supporting them in a manner she never had growing up. Her days are filled with love and hope, but her nights are empty without a family to call her own. While spectating the first home baseball game of the season, she meets a man that she believes will change her evenings in the best possible way. With no children of his own, he committed his free time to bringing his young nephew to watch the game, hoping to encourage him to play. Kathleen is immediately drawn to him and sees him as a true family man.

Maxwell is handsome, successful, and charming. When he proposes marriage shortly after they begin dating, Kathleen is eager to accept as the desire to start her own family consumes her. Within months of their marriage, Maxwell’s sweet, doting personality gives way to a more sinister, controlling side. Kathleen quickly realizes that while she was looking for a partner, Maxwell was looking for someone who existed solely to fulfill his needs.

When he suggests a move to the country, Kathleen is hesitant to leave her job but believes the change of atmosphere will be an opportunity to bring them closer together. She soon realizes the isolation of the countryside only serves to enhance his power over her. It doesn’t take long for her to learn the devastating truth of who her husband really is, and she finds herself left with two choices: She can try to escape and hope he doesn’t find her, or she can stay and fight the battle in which all odds are against her.

My Review:

This is a novel packed with emotional depth and bursting with trigger situations. It explores the character changes often described as the Stockholm Syndrome. It is when individuals develop positive feelings toward their captors or abusers over time and that is what happens here.

This book may be difficult for some to read, as it was for me. It explores many abusive and controlling actions in depth, something hard to read without being affected. The novel also has infant death, marital infidelity, physical abuse, betrayal, and much more. And the end. Well, just be prepared to be jolted.

This book is a well written exploration of how a person may be captivated by sweet words yet end up in a situation of physical and emotional terror.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Domestic Suspense, Drama
Published by: Trish Arrowsmith Author
Publication Date: February 24, 2022
Number of Pages: 276
ISBN: 9781736755952
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

He reached out and grabbed her hand like he used to when they were dating. “We’re moving. Next week.”

“What?” Kathleen cried. “What do you mean we’re moving?” She pulled her hand from his.

“We’re moving to the country. I bought us a house out there.”

Kathleen went from being the happiest she had been in a long time to livid in a matter of seconds. Her whole body begin to shake. “We can’t move next week, Maxwell. I own this house. I’ll need to clean it and put it up for sale. It could take months.”

“Already taken care of, beautiful. You don’t need to worry about a thing.”

She cringed at his choice of the word ‘beautiful.’ “It’s going to take me weeks just to pack everything.” She sounded like she was whining but she didn’t care, this was a huge decision he made for both of them without consulting her. He had never even mentioned a desire to move, and certainly not to the country. She had never been outside the suburbs of the city. She was already feeling lonely and now she would really be by herself.

“No need to worry. I hired movers. They’ll be here Tuesday.”

“Tuesday? Like five days from now?”

Maxwell laughed. “Well, yes. What did you think I meant when I said next week?” He continued eating his dinner like this was a normal conversation they would have on any given day.

Kathleen had lost her appetite. She slid her plate away from her and shook her head. She was upset that she hadn’t gotten to tell Maxwell her news. She wanted to make it a joyous occasion for them both and it had completely lost its appeal. At least for now. She got up and left the table without eating any more. She needed some time away to process what he told her.

She stood in the bathroom for five minutes fighting back tears before she went to stand in the doorway of the kitchen. She leaned against the frame with her arms crossed. “What do you mean it’s already taken care of? Did you sell my house? How is that even possible?”

Maxwell’s eyes rolled toward the ceiling. After all this time she still didn’t seem to get it. Her naivety both humored and annoyed him. “You seem to forget rather easily that I’m a lawyer. There are so many things that I can do, so many things that I have access to, it would make your head spin. And yes, to answer your question, I did sell it. Got a pretty penny for it, too.” He smirked at her. “Did you make any dessert?”

Kathleen was furious that he had managed to sell her house without her knowing about it. She was sure his job gave him access to information like that, but it didn’t mean he had to abuse the privilege. How did he even know she bought the house outright, maybe she had inherited it from her grandmother or bought it from someone else in her family? She didn’t, of course, and she guessed he had access to that information as well, but this was the first house she had ever owned. She was proud of her little house. And considering it was hers, she would have liked to have some say in selling it. She decided now was not the time to ask him for specific details, but eventually she wanted to know why he sold it and how much he got for it.

She dropped a plate with a slice of Boston crème cake in front of him. The fork rattled and bounced from the plate to the table. Kathleen crossed her arms over her chest again and stared at him. “I know you have access to a lot of information but how did you manage to sell my house without my consent?”

Maxwell straightened his posture, he pulled back his shoulders, puffed up his chest, and smiled so wide it made Kathleen want to slap it off his face. “As a lawyer, I should advise you to read all forms and documents thoroughly before you sign them.”

Kathleen squinted and shook her head. “But I never…”

Maxwell howled with laughter as he watched the realization hit her.

Her mouth hung open and she sighed with shame. “Our wedding day.” Her arms dropped to her sides; her head fell forward.

He nodded his head and shoved a fork full of cake into his mouth. “What’s yours’ is mine.”


Excerpt from Distorted Perception by Trish Arrowsmith. Copyright 2022 by Trish Arrowsmith. Reproduced with permission from Trish Arrowsmith. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Trish recently moved across the country where she found her forever home, enjoying the desert sunshine and wildlife all year long. She was born and raised in a small town in northern Connecticut. Growing up, she was always fascinated by unsolved mysteries and true crime as well as the psychological elements behind them. As an avid reader, her go to books are thrillers, suspense, and true crime.

Catch Up With Trish Arrowsmith:
BookBub - @trisharrowsmith
Instagram - @trisharrowsmithauthor
Twitter - @author_trish
Facebook - @TrishArrowsmithAuthor


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Click here to view Distorted Perception by Trish Arrowsmith Tour Hosts.


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime 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.)

Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Element of Love by Mary Connealy

About the Book:

She mixed danger, desperation, and deception together. Love was not the expected outcome.

With their sharp engineering minds, Laura Stiles and her two sisters have been able to deal with their mother's unfortunate choice in husband until they discovered his plans to marry each of them off to his lecherous friends. Now they must run away--far and fast--to find better matches to legally claim their portion of their father's lumber dynasty and seize control from their stepfather.

During their escape, Laura befriends a mission group heading to serve the poor in California. She quickly volunteers herself and her sisters to join their efforts. Despite the settlement being in miserable condition, the sisters are excited by the opportunity to put their skills to good use. Laura also sees potential in Caleb, the mission's parson, to help with gaining her inheritance. But when secrets buried in Caleb's past and in the land around them come to light, it'll take all the smarts the sisters have to keep trouble at bay.

You can read an excerpt here.

My Review:

This new series is off to a good start. Connealy sets the foundation for the three sisters needing to go out on their own. And she has created three very different women. Each has a particular expertise, such as designing things or building them or blowing them up. I liked how each of the sisters has a particular personality too. The sisters are smart, having been privately educated in areas they desired. They self describe themselves as well-educated, entitled snobs. (70) That's because, having been raised in wealth, they have no idea how to cook over a fire or wash and mend clothing. It was interesting to see how they responded to the new challenges to their survival.

Connealy explores many issues in this novel. One, of course, is the difference between academic and practical smarts and abilities. There is also the issue of living as a Christian in a rough era and area. We read about what can happen when one marries another without really knowing much about them or their true character. There is the issue of the ramifications of one's past, actions before being changed by Christ. And the issue of God's calling and what one does when it seems that calling crashes to disaster.

I enjoyed this engaging novel centering on one of the sisters. Connealy left me wanting to know what will happen to the other two sisters so I will be looking for the remaining novels in the series.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

Mary Connealy 
( writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than half a million books. She is the author of the popular series Brothers in Arms, Brides of Hope Mountain, High Sierra Sweethearts, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie's Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

Bethany House Publishers, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary copy 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, March 26, 2022

The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest by Bill Fentress Blog Tour


The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest

by Bill Fentress

March 14 - April 8, 2022 Virtual Book Tour


is a salute by the author to a lifetime of outdoor experiences in eastern North Carolina and beyond. It encompasses 14 true short stories about family, friendships, and the emotions involved in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor-related topics. It is not a how-to book, nor just a compilation of hunting and fishing stories; it describes how simple family and personal interactions, with the outdoor sports and unmatched natural beauty as a backdrop, can result in treasured memories like perhaps no other pursuits. If you hunt and fish, or grew up enjoying histories of family traditions and friendships revolving around the outdoors - whether it be in North Carolina, or elsewhere - THE YELLOW HONEYSUCKLE IS THE SWEETEST is for you.

My Review:

This is definitely a book for those who enjoy hunting and fishing. The stories Fentress shares are usually blow by blow accounts of hunting fowl, sitting in a blind, or trapping a bobcat, or fishing. There is a great deal of in depth descriptions of hunting adventures, such as the Cabela clothing worn and the Remington bolt-action 0.22 used in hunting squirrels. Fentress loves hunting and fishing. He's a man who, at fifty-one years old, became “hooked, infatuated, and smitten” with trapping. (2633/3194) This is a memoir for readers who have the same kinds of feelings for the hunting sport.

While most of the text is detailed hunting and fishing adventures, Fentress does include some country style philosophy and examples of the comradery experienced in group hunting. He includes many wonderful descriptions of the landscape and the graceful actions of animals. He also has a very poetic way of describing the killing of animals.

If you like reading about the thrill of hunting wild creatures and the trips involved, you'll like this book. If you know what a buck tail is (I think it's a fishing lure), you'll like this book.


Book Details

Genre: Sports, (as in Hunting and Fishing), Nature, Family, Memoir 
Published by: Indie 
Publication Date: February 3, 2022 
Number of Pages: 257 
ISBN: 979-8-9855598-1-1 
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Here's a word from our author:


Read an excerpt:

There is something special about hunting, that sears in place our memories with others. Maybe it’s the vivid nature where our grand experiences take place or the team efforts we go through to make it all happen? Maybe it’s the getting up early, the black coffee, the smell of eggs and bacon in a cabin, the swoosh of ducks over decoys or the violent uprising of a big covey followed by the delirium of released bird dogs? Maybe it’s the sunrises, the sunsets, the gobbles at dawn, the split oak fires or the oysters? Maybe it’s the bonds we have over lifetimes? I’m not really sure. But I do know we’re blessed when these partners come into our lives. Like many boys, my first hunting partner was a dog, Pepper. I wish I could say Pepper was the granddaughter of King Rothschild’s Sire of Pepper Creek, but I cannot. Pepper was a fittingly, albeit not uniquely, named black and white pointer-mix stray who took up at Miss Jo’s house in Bayboro. Somehow, through either constant brow beating with her pathetic brown eyes or via her constant hanging around the back door looking for food, Pepper convinced Miss Jo to call me—not my mother, her friend—but me. “Billy,” she commanded, “I have a beautiful dog you would just love!” Of course, I immediately got off the phone and begged Mom to take me to Bayboro. “Miss Jo’s got a dog she says I need!” I always thought Miss Jo should have led many of the sales classes I attended in my banking career. Let me tell you, she talked directly to the buyer, and went right around the secretary. While I’m not sure how long it took for Mom to talk to her again, we came home with Pepper in the Chevy wagon and me with a smile as broad as the cuff on my dungarees. Pepper was one of the smartest dogs I ever owned. She followed me everywhere—from our store to Grandmamma’s house to the woods behind our house to the tractor shelter woods across the road, down Swan Point Road, and of course behind our neighbor’s house. Pepper was smart enough to look both ways before she crossed the road. Don’t smirk; I saw her do it a hundred times. She also knew how to be quiet as I planned a sneak-up strategy on the local robins and wrens. But her mind absolutely took the day off when it came to our neighbor’s chickens. --- Excerpt from The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest by Bill Fentress. Copyright © 2021 by William C. Fentress. Reproduced with permission from Bill Fentress. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Bill Fentress is a retired banker and current Finance Officer in eastern North Carolina. A current resident of New Bern, NC, Bill grew up in Pamlico County, North Carolina, where many of his hunting and fishing experiences in The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest take place. He has enjoyed nature's beauty and God's gifts of family and the outdoors throughout his lifetime, in North Carolina and elsewhere.
Learn More About Bill Online:    Goodreads    Facebook - @billfentressauthor

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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Providence Book Promotions. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Providence Book Promotions.

Friday, March 25, 2022

The Ash Lake Murders by Helen H Durrant

About the Book:

A female serial killer with a deadly agenda. The detective who must stop her. Luxury holiday lodges in the stunning Peak District. The game begins . . .

Callum is lured to an isolated boathouse by an attractive older woman. When she gets him alone, she knocks him out with a single blow. As he wakes up, her voice comes out of the darkness, “You’re a sprat to catch a mackerel.”

Surrounded by hills and lakes, Still Waters is home to a close-knit community of wealthy retirees. It’s an unlikely setting for violence. The police don’t take Callum’s disappearance seriously: he’s 24-years-old, after all. But Callum’s mother, a Still Waters resident, knows that something is very wrong.

Then a body is discovered floating in the lake. Head bashed in. But it’s not Callum.

And someone tweets: Come out to play one last time, Alice. Still Waters run deep. #MadHatter.

That’s when DCI Alice Rossi is called in. She’s back.

My Review:

I generally enjoyed this police procedure featuring a new character. Alice, the DCI on the case, is a likable but flawed character. She is being taunted by a murderer and we know it has something to do with Alice's past. The backstory is eventually revealed and we can somewhat understand the passion behind the villain.

The plot is generally straight forward. Alice must find the murderer before the murderer makes good on the threat that Alice will be the last victim. I liked the way the plot developed until near the end. The identity of the villain was not a surprise as the character was clearly developed as such. The final confrontation between Alice and the villain was a disappointment and very anticlimactic. Then there was a twist I did not see coming at all, perhaps because it was quite unrealistic. And I am not so sure the tweet thing at the end worked.

I like Durrant's writing style and police procedure in the plot structure. This is the first mystery I have read by her and despite some flaws, I liked it well enough to look for more from her, especially ones featuring DCI Alice Rossi.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

Helen H Durrant is a British author who sets her books where she has lived, the towns and villages near the Pennine hills. Born in Edinburgh to an English father and a Scottish mother, the family settled in a Pennine village between the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. She began writing crime novels after a career in advanced education. Her children are grown and she has five grandchildren.

Joffe Books, 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.)