Month: December 2018

Broken Heart Attack: FREE Kindle Download 12/28 thru 1/1

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Broken Heart Attack, book 2 of the Braxton Campus Mysteries, is available for FREE from 12/28 thru 1/1. It is a cross between a cozy mystery and a family drama mystery centering around murders and small-town shenanigans on a secluded and charming Pennsylvania college campus. In this caper, a missing will might explain why a prominent member of the Paddington family dies during a King Lear performance at Braxton. Whodunit? What’s going on in Kellan’s personal life with Francesca, Nana D, Sheriff Montague, and his boss Myriam? Someone’s keeping him on his toes again…
 
I’d love to share the news over the next few days so everyone can get the copy now. It’s available @ http://mybook.to/BrokenHA and then it’s going on a blog tour in January. See details below on where to catch all the fun!
Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour - BrokenHeartAttack
 
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Book Review: Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

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Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum, #23)Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am almost current with the Stephanie Plum series written by Janet Evanovich. I just finished Turbo Twenty-Three and there are two left to be fully caught up. I should get to them both next month… it’s been an exciting and fun ride. While always humorous and page-turning treats, this one left me a little bored by the mystery hence the 3 rating. It has all the normal adventures and comical moments, but I felt like half the mystery was missing, and the parts kept in the book were disconnected and way too simple.

For the most part, the culprit was known from the beginning. Although there was an extra level added, it didn’t happen until about 90% thru, and it wasn’t someone we’d even gotten to know well. I felt a bit cheated by this story, but that said, I couldn’t sit still from the laughter at all the normal antics. Between the ice cream, geese, and change in the Ranger / Morelli dynamic, it was wonderful. No one does crazy-try-to-kick-ass-but-fail-epically better than Evanovich. I would love to have someone like Lula or Stephanie in my life. When Lula and Briggs do a demo tape for ‘Naked and Afraid,’ I wasn’t sure whether to get sick or be the first to sign up to watch their nutty adventures.

Here’s the thing about these books… they’re meant to just make us laugh. It’s not about solving a mystery. It’s not about choosing between two guys. It’s not about learning anything. It’s all about throwing people together in crazy scenes and seeing what happens. I’m good with it. I know what it’s for. I just wish there was a little better balance in this one to keep the interest on all levels with a common theme throughout the book. Onward I go to get #24 to read next.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: All Saints – Murder on the Mersey by Brian L. Porter

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All Saints: Murder on the Mersey (Mersey Murder Mysteries, #2)All Saints: Murder on the Mersey by Brian L. Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Murder is always an awful way to go, but when your killer is bent on revenge and has a taste for the thoroughly vicious and insane, it won’t be pretty. Such was the case for several men (who deserved it) in the second installment of the ‘Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series by Brian L. Porter. All Saints: Murder on the Mersey is a graphic tale where violent deaths are brilliantly depicted and religious hypocrisy is exposed. Kudos to Porter for making his characters come alive and his story stand out in the series.

In this book, Ross, Izzie and the rest of the gang are called to a cemetery when the naked, mutilated body of an unknown man is found. Certain parts have been cut off and stuffed in his mouth. Obviously, the crime is going to be of a sexual nature, but this is only the beginning. More bodies surface and none have a connection to one another — at first. Then the chapters begin to alternate with the murderer(s) discussing the crime, events from ~40 years ago coming to light, and hidden dreams of a priest who’s suddenly appeared back in town after a very long time. What do they have in common and how will they eventually lead to discovering the true intentions of a killer with a taste for the macabre and gory endings?

Porter’s imagination is explosive. He balances horrific crimes with poignant steps in the main characters’ lives (marriage, love, children). Each book handles a gruesome social issue vividly and with a punch to leave you thirsting for the next one. The way in which the victims die reminds you of thrilling and suspenseful horror films where a serial killer goes mental / berserk. Watching it unfold, realizing the relationships, and experiencing the connections to various gospels and names is entertaining and page-turning. I finished this one in just a few hours over a quiet afternoon. It’s gotten me very psyched for his upcoming release in which a haunting image is on the cover – can’t wait til he shares it. Bring it on soon, Porter! For now, I’ll be content to finish the one remaining in the series I haven’t gotten to… six in total so far — you’ll enjoy them all.

View all my reviews
About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

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Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum, #22)Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can you imagine writing dozens of books in a series about the same core characters? If you find the right combination of setting, characters, and tone, it can be amazing. Janet Evanovich has been successful with the Stephanie Plum series creating clever and humorous plots that always bring something fun to the table. Occasionally they get repetitive, but as a stand-alone book, each is always great. Number 22, Tricky Twenty-Two, continues the trend with Stephanie visiting a college campus to collect a bond escapee — only this time, she’s found herself dealing with flees that might have the Bubonic plague.

No, this isn’t a sci-fi series. Actually, the plague isn’t a big part of the mystery until the end, but it delivers some comic relief along with Morelli’s digestion issues (he’s as bad as Bob now!) and Stephanie’s car issues (never trust a flock of geese!). The best part of this book is when Stephanie’s mom finally gets involved in a fugitive take-down. The characters we see in this one are typical of all the past but bring us a few steps closer to crazy. I really enjoy these books, and even though they’re mostly fluff, they make me laugh, so I must finish the series.

I sense a possible turning point coming based on how this one ends. There is only so much further Evanovich can take us given Stephanie is unwilling to push forward dating Ranger and unwilling to commit to marriage with Morelli. She has to choose 1 of them or neither of them soon. Personally I’m a Ranger fan. Morelli’s become boring. Yet I’m open to someone entirely new, too. I’ll pick up the 23rd installment right around New Year’s… and I’ll be current in January when I read 24 and 25. Looking forward to it…

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

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Red Mist (Kay Scarpetta, #19)Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading dozens of cozy mysteries, I had a craving to get back to the hardcore suspense thrillers I used to enjoy. I flipped through my To Be Read (TBR) pile and was reminded of the fantastic ‘Kay Scarpetta’ series by Patricia Cornwell. I read 18 of the books in the earlier part of this decade but stopped when they were getting a bit repetitious. Nearly 5 years later, I ordered the next in the series, Red Mist, and eagerly dove into it. I’m so glad I picked now to start up the series again as it was a fantastic book and supercharged my desire to read the last 5 so I’m fully caught up in the series.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is a renowned medical examiner, doctor, professor, special investigator, government contractor, et al. The list could go on forever. Everyone wants her to be on their unique and puzzling cases, but there are also many who want to see her ridden from the world. She’s tough. She’s stubborn. She’s been nearly killed a few times. And she loves tracking down serial killers. In this latest edition, Kay is determined to find out what happened to her former right-hand man in the ME’s office. Fielding worked for her, disappeared, worked for her again, disappeared, then was killed in a previous book. The killer came after Kay, too, but failed. We know it was Fielding’s secret daughter (begotten while he was sexually abused by a psychologist when he was 12 years old). What we don’t know is all the things that happened since that point. Kay visits the psychologist in a Georgia prison. She’s been jailed for other crimes in recent years but has hopes for early release. Kay chats with her, learns some secrets, and is then shocked to discover connections with other national cases where people have been murdered in the last few years. How does it all connect?

Ten pages into this book, I knew I’d waited too long to pick up the series again. I missed Kay despite how ornery she can be. It’s almost the reason I love her so much. Cornwell is a great writer. Strip away the medical jargon, frequent technology drops to seem current, or the science terminology, and you’re left with brilliant writing. She strings along phrases and images that pop and draw you in tightly. That said, sometimes the other parts are so over the top, I find myself skimming some paragraphs if it’s a topic I’m not interested in. For example, when there are a few pages about how all the security cameras work, I’m like… ‘hmmm… three sentences, yeah, cool… three hundred, no, I’ll push forward a few pages.’ But then she’ll go into details about DNA and I’m all aboard for the minutia. It’s a matter of taste. I’m willing to ignore some of the jargon because no author can appeal 100% with this stuff to 100% of their audience. It doesn’t affect my rating either, as it’s surface stuff.

I’ve given this one a 4 for a few reasons. Apart from the stellar story and gifted writing, there are a few niggles (to borrow a friend, Shalini’s favorite word). I feel like the plot twist / culprit connection has been partially done before, possibly by Cornwell in previous books. It’s a good one, but it could have used a slightly different arc to make it even more vivid. I also thought the book didn’t explore her relationships with the supporting characters as much as it should have. She connected with Lucy in a big way, which was fantastic. Yet her time with Benton and Marino was lackluster compared to previous installments. On the flip side, Cornwell’s choice to kill off a semi-major character was shocking and saddening for me. All in all, I’m glad she did it, as I think it moves the story forward.

Based on this one, I’m psyched to push thru the rest of the series and am ordering the next one tonight so that I can read it right after the new year. Anyone else a fan?

View all my reviews
About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Freezer I’ll Shoot by Victoria Hamilton

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Freezer I'll Shoot (Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #3)Freezer I’ll Shoot by Victoria Hamilton

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I read the first two books in the ‘Vintage Kitchen Mystery’ series by Victoria Hamilton a few years ago when I began focusing on the cozy sub-genre. I thought it was a good series, but I was more interested in sampling from multiple authors to figure out which ones appealed to me the most. I never got back to reading this one yet when the opportunity to get the latest on NetGalley became available, I decided to go back and read the rest so I could be current on the series. Today I’m reviewing the third in the series, Freezer I’ll Shoot.

The books take place on an island between Michigan and Canada focusing on Jaymie Leighton, a ~30ish single woman who enjoys cooking, writing, and collecting vintage kitchen items. After a few disastrous relationships, she finds herself dating a nice guy, Daniel, but she is reluctant to commit. When book three opens, Jaymie and Daniel are planning a dinner with their parents so they can meet each another. It’s not going well as both mothers are interfering and stubborn. Adding to the chaos are yard repairs that need to be completed ASAP on the nearby island cottage due to plumbing issues. Unfortunately, Jaymie finds her third dead body in the series one night when she’s awoken by a cry for help. It’s a local who’s been fighting with her neighbor over a few business transactions. Who killed him? Who are these mysterious neighbors? What will happen at the big family dinner? And will Jaymie get that new job writing about cooking and kitchen tools at the local newspaper?

The books are written well and have a wonderful setting. Hamilton is strong at describing the setting and characters. The mystery in this book has some depth, but it isn’t very complicated. Overall, I like the book, but I feel like it needs a bit more ‘oomph’ packed in… Jaymie is a great lead with lots of fun aspects to her personality, but her relationship with Daniel is a bit boring and I’m not seeing her connection with the rest of the town quite yet. It’s developing, and I hope with a few more books, it becomes more solid and intriguing. For now, I enjoy the series and look forward to the next book as there are lots of appealing elements. Reading about all the kitchen gadgets and gizmos is cool. Learning about a place based on reality in the waterways between the US and Canada is fun. And seeing the different seasons in this culture / atmosphere is definitely of interest.

I’ll pick up the next book in between the holidays but want to be ready to read the current and 8th book by February, so it’ll be one every other week to get there. I’d give the series a chance but you need to love the side stories (vintage kitchens, Michigan, small-town squabbles) just as much as the mystery points. Hope you enjoy it!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: A World Without Color by Bernard Jan

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A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My CatA World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat by Bernard Jan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you lose a cherished pet, sometimes the loss is so inexplicable, all you can do is cry. When I had to let go of my ten-year-old shiba inu just about a year ago, it was a painful 2-week process. It is nearly impossible to put into words for most people how you go about making the decision to end an animal’s pain, begin your own, and suffer the consequences. Not impossible tho, as proven by Bernard Jan in the second book of his I’ve read this year. Jan lost his beloved cat, Marcel, and shares the emotional turmoil he encountered throughout the process.

This book is ~100 pages covering the three days when Jan and his family know they have to say goodbye. His words and imagery are stellar… honestly… he captures all those emotions pet-parents go through trying to rationalize our decisions, understand the whys, convince ourselves we will be okay, and determine how or if we can lean on anyone around us. By showcasing Marcel’s movements and struggles, we see the pain Jan’s family has gone through. It is visceral and constant. It is harsh and definitive. It is widespread and menacing.

I had to put the book down several times as it brought me to tears thinking of my own pet loss this year. Jan is brave. He shares everything from the moment he adopted the cat to the treasures of their ~15 year life together. As a younger guy suffering through this, he’s developing all his emotions and reactions to something he’s truly not ready to handle. I say this not because Jan’s not strong enough (he is), but because this is one of his earliest life experiences dealing with death. It is never easy. But to write about it and share those feelings, notions, worries, and sighs of relief when it’s all over (even tho it really isn’t) is remarkable.

Translated into English, the creators of this version are masterful in their descriptions. The comparisons… similes… references… moments… all bring readers to experience as closely as possible what the author experienced. If you’ve never gone thru it, it’s probably not fully apparent. Human loss is different… agreeably more harsh in most circumstances, but when your pet cannot talk to tell you what kind of pain they have, you are the sole person responsible for deciding how to help them.

I felt the intensity from Jan’s writing, and I recommend this for anyone who has a pet and/or is coping with [or the potential] loss. It might not be a good idea to read it as you’re going thru it depending on what kind of person you are and how you handle grief, but it’s something you should read when you are starting to recover. Thank you for sharing this truly humbling work, Bernard Jan.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.