Month: July 2019

Book Review: While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle & Elsie Hancy Eaton

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While the Bombs FellWhile the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While the Bombs Fell is a collection of memoirs written jointly by Robbie Cheadle and her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton. While some of the tales might be fictionalized, everything is based on memories and history experienced by Elsie during the 1940s WWII bombing of England by the Germans. What a wonderful way to conclude my July month of [mostly] autobiographical and non-fiction works.

Elsie was born shortly before the war began but knew only a life about rations, ducking for cover, and living without… at least in her first few years. While I know a lot about the war and life in the last century, I learned more through these stories. Elsie and her siblings struggled immensely. Imagine daily life without showers, toilets, heat, prepared meals, or other modern conveniences? We think we know what it’s like when we catch a 30-second glimpse on a television spot or hear someone mention it, but to read twenty or thirty pages in each major tale–reliving the experience through Elsie’s words–it’s a whole lot different. I wonder if people today (born in the last 30 years) could survive such a life. I’d definitely struggle, and I’m somewhere between these two generations.

This memoir isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive look at life during the war. It’s more like the authors have shined a spotlight on 8 to 10 specific experiences that as a larger collection offer a taste of the past. It’s also an opportunity to understand where Elsie came from and for her to remember both the good and the bad. What I liked most about the book was Elsie’s focus on turning negative events into something positive or a lesson for the future. The book could’ve easily just told a sad story and let readers wallow in the pain of the past. Instead, it’s an inspirational outlook on how our past sometimes denotes who we are capable of becoming. Elsie seems like a wonderful woman, particularly seeing the way she was raised and how special her mother was.

I’m really glad I had the opportunity to read this one. Not only did I feel several heartwarming emotions, but I also saw the wonderful relationship between the two authors. Having read other books by Robbie before, I can see where she gets her talent at weaving together descriptions, characters, and personal experiences. This is the kind of story to share with your older relatives who might remember going through some of these moments in their own lives. It’s also good to show those who are so far removed from it what the past was really like. Kudos to both authors. Seeing the “Nethergate” reference in this book makes me even more excited for Robbie’s upcoming fall YA release – I wonder how they will connect?

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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 book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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.

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Book Review: Claws for Concern by Miranda James

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Claws for Concern (Cat in the Stacks #9)Claws for Concern by Miranda James
Claws for Concern is the ninth book in the ‘Cat in the Stacks’ cozy mystery series written by Miranda James. The books take place in a small town in Mississippi where a librarian, Charlie Harris, solves crimes in his spare time. In this caper, the story is a little too close to him. After chatting with a strange gentleman in the library, Charlie finds the guy following him around. That’s when Charlie learns the guy was related by marriage to his deceased aunt. Is the house Charlie’s called home for six years possibly in jeopardy? Does this cousin-of-sorts have a claim?

Meanwhile, Charlie is hoping to shine light on his girlfriend’s addiction to work. Helen Louise was supposed to go into semi-retirement to spend more relaxing moments with Charlie, but she’s struggling. Then, Charlie’s daughter has her baby and Charlie’s learning to be a grandfather. Luckily, his son’s baby isn’t due for 2 more months, or he’d have a houseful. Especially when Charlie decides to be friendly with the cousin and consider offering him a place to crash. That’s when Charlie learns the guy might’ve killed his employer and family twenty years ago. Could Charlie be related to a killer?

Let’s not forget an author who wants to write a book about Charlie’s involvement in true crimes. Just when Charlie decides against it, he sees the value in partnering with the author to solve the 20-year-old case involving his cousin. What will Deputy Kanesha do now? Nothing, as the crime happened in a different county. But she might not be pleased about Charlie’s new friendship with the author who wants to interview Kanesha too. So much going on! Great story…

Overall, this was a solid book. It’s written slightly differently in terms of solving the case. The murder happened a long time ago, and a new murder doesn’t actually occur to help find new clues. Charlie and the writer must work together, along with various friends and family who know the victims, to decide what’s going on. I liked the style but missed Kanesha. Seeing the Ducote sisters as wonderful… I can tell the real-life author misses writing for them, and I hope he can bring that series back soon. It’s my favorite of the two, although I do adore this one. Onward to #10 this week, and then I’m ready to read the one Miranda James just released earlier this month. I hope these never end…

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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 Dickens of a Crime by Phyllis H. Moore

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A Dickens of a Crime, A Meg Miller Cozy Mystery (#1)A Dickens of a Crime, A Meg Miller Cozy Mystery by Phyllis H. Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I saw the title, I knew I had to give this one a chance. I enjoy reading about Dickens, and if there is a mystery involved, all the better. ‘A Dickens of a Crime’ is the first book in the ‘A Meg Miller Cozy Mystery’ series by author Phyllis H. Moore. In this tale, Meg Miller, a ~60ish widow with a grown daughter, volunteers/works at a local house on a tour where she dresses up in a costume to meet visitors. When she arrives one day, another woman has been strangled. Meg looks guilty, but quickly clears herself in the eyes of a detective. The two women build a friendship and solve the crime together; along the path, readers are treated lots of interesting action.

Meg is a good protagonist. She is curious and witty, not necessarily in an obvious way. While she borders on being a busybody, it’s never rude nor overly painful. She’s smart and knows what questions to ask, even is she’s a little nervous about being so close to her first real murder. Though warned by her daughter to be careful, Meg puts herself at risk a few times to solve the case. There’s a huge religious institution, a gaudy and peculiar group of people who are definitely up to no good. What do the victim’s husband and step-daughters have to do with it? Or that seemingly mean and lascivious preacher running the place? Add in a few family secrets, a flock of sheep who see only the positive in the church, and a bestie named Jean, then Meg’s in for quite a ride.

I enjoyed this book. It’s a great start to the series. I like the supporting cast of characters, and there is a lot of potential to move forward with the series. I struggled to connect a few times when there was a lot of narrative / thought by the main character, but eventually, I learned to like Meg’s style of questioning her own ideas. It’s a good example of why these types of books can be so much fun. I look forward to seeing more to come from the author in this series.

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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: Every Love by Jann Doe

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Every LoveEvery Love by Jann Doe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Poetry is a fine art that comes in many forms. Although I haven’t read a huge amount over the years, I’m definitely familiar with many of the famous poets, particularly from over ~150 years ago. This month, I picked up a newer artist and joined a blog tour to experience something different than I do with my usual reading habits. The title of this collection, Every Love, is a clear expression of the emotions one woman feels throughout a lifetime of pain, regret, happiness, tough decisions, happiness, and confusion. Artist Jann Doe is new to me, but her voice feels familiar because she’s nailed the style and tone that many poets often struggle with achieving. Kudos to her for showing me an old soul’s point of view.

Poetry is not all rhymes and stanzas. It our digital age, authors like Doe can take advantage of modern publishing advances to add photos, fonts, formatting, and interactive collections. That’s what you’ll find with Every Love, including things like forbidden love, healthy love, self love, and more. I enjoyed how the author breaks down the collections into smaller and smaller groupings, some related, others not so much on the outskirts. But when you put yourself in the narrator’s or protagonist’s shoes, it becomes more obvious.

There is a strong voice here. From rage to reverence, the words evoke passion more than anything else. Passion to be heard. Passion to share the truth. Passion to apologize. Passion to convince someone to change his or her mind. In forms of literature like poetry, there is a freedom to express those emotions in a multitude of ways. I found these collections easy to read but also complex and dynamic in terms of syntax and structure. I switched the iPad into landscape and portrait mode to see if all the poems laid out differently. Whether intended or not, that aspect of a poem is often where you’ll find hidden layers. Everything is important from vocabulary to punctuation to relationships inside the words. Doe has done a wonderful job conveying all of it through her technique.

For me, Simple Love stood out the most. Based more on ‘questions’ rather than ‘statements,’ it offers a powerful repetition and back-and-forth within the messages. I’m glad I took the time to re-engage with this medium, and Jann Doe, whoever she is, has lots of talent. Thanks for helping some of us open our minds a little more to the beauty in the world… some of which might not seem so beautiful all the time.

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Original Book Blitz Post

About the Author

Jann Doe is a poet who recognizes and accepts her authenticity as a woman, and encourages other women to do the same. Everyone has their burdens to cary, their flaws to accept, and their strengths to pride themselves on. Jann’s goal as a poet is to speak out on behalf of other women across the globe to love themselves for who they truly are. No one is perfect, nor should we be. It’s imperative that we as women accept ourselves, and live for tomorrow… not by ignoring our past but by learning from it, and growing because of it.

Key Links:

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45682047-every-love?from_search=true

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/EVERY-LOVE-Poetically-Journey-Through-ebook/dp/B07QWPWX74/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Every+Love+Jann+Doe&qid=1560619140&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Author Blog:

https://iamjanndoe.wordpress.com/

Twitter Handle:

@JannDoe1

Book Overview

Love can be wholesome,

Healthy and pure.

It can also be deadly,

Of this I am sure.

I’ve experienced many,

I’ve opened my door.

Of all the love that I’ve held

There’s one thing I know,

Ain’t no one has loved

Quite like me… Jann Doe.

EVERY LOVE is a collection of poetry covering my own experiences in love. From abuse, to affair, to healthy commitment, I’ve experienced the dynamics of love… even suicide has played a part. The name ‘Jann Doe’ is to protect myself and my family from my own mistakes and history, given the parts of me that love has touched.

SAMPLE POEM FROM EVERY LOVE

*See You*

What is this burn,

This terrible stab,

My heart stuck,

It steps back,

Too shocked to beat,

I shrink when I see you,

My first heavy blow,

Of life, and of men,

But how could I know,

Should’ve listened,

Could’ve ran,

But for you I stood ground,

To see you and her, hand in hand?

FOLLOW THE BLOGGERS ON THIS TOUR

And for what,

22nd JULY

Justine www.bookishwisps.wordpress.com

Jolie www.readwithme.wordpress.com

Amy www.zanybibliophile.wordpress.com

23rd JULY

Nicole www.thebookwormdrinketh.com

Lili www.lilisblissfulpages.wordpress.com

Mary www.sophrilreads.com

24th JULY

Anne www.chrisycat.blogspot.in

Bibliogyan http://bibliogyan.com

Crystal www.crystalsbookworld.com

Nina  www.thecozypages.wordpress.com

25th JULY

Stephanie Jane www.litflits.blogspot.co.uk

India www.belleslettresbookreviews.wordpress.com

Amanda www.writewhereiread.wordpress.com

Mani www.manisbookcornerblog.wordpress.com

Jessica www.jessicabelmont.wordpress.com

26th JULY

Misty www.mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Jay www.thisismytruthnow.com

Jody www.imallaboutbooks.com

Authors / Readers: Check out Digital Reads for more books!

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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: Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James

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Twelve Angry Librarians (Cat in the Stacks, #8)Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Twelve Angry Librarians is the 8th book in the ‘Cat in the Stacks’ mystery series written by Miranda James. In this caper, ~55ish Charlie Harris, a librarian at Athena College in Mississippi, is working as the interim head of the library when a conference comes to town. Charlie meets a few old friends, some not so friendly anymore, and an enemy from his college days. When the enemy ends up dead, Charlie must solve the case before someone he knows is wrongfully accused of murder… like himself!

I enjoy the relationships in these books. Charlie has two grown children who are both married and expecting babies soon. His wife has passed, but there is a new woman in his life. We have a few good friends at the library, and then there is his tepid alliance with the local deputy who handles murder investigations in the small town. Let’s not forget Diesel the ~30 lb. Maine Coon cat who knows exactly when to trust and not to trust. The evolution throughout the books is strong, and I find myself coming back quickly to all the series this author has written. I’m hopeful to finish the next two in this series so that I’m current by the fall to read the newest one when there is an ARC.

In this case, the suspects are aplenty. The deceased was loathsome. He had to be punished, and I love when Charlie decked him… even if violence doesn’t solve problems. This was the only way the bad guy would learn his lesson. Go Charlie! Go Miranda James! Thanks for making me laugh and cry all at the same time. I would love to see a TV series with Charlie and Kanesha, the deputy, butting heads. Plus, I’m a fan of cozy college campus mysteries. 4.5 stars and a definite recommendation from me!

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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 Alert: Haunted House Ghost (Braxton Campus Mysteries #5) – Cover Reveal, Beta Reading, ARCs, Blog Tour & Release Dates

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I can’t believe I’m almost done editing the fifth book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series. I wrote the initial chapter of the first book exactly one year ago today. An entire year later, I’m five books into the series and collaborating with foreign language translators and audio narrators to deliver new formats in 2020. Who could’ve imagined it would go this far? I’m beyond grateful for everyone’s support. Thank you from my entire heart!

Today, I want to share the plans for the upcoming 5th book, Haunted House Ghost. The theme will focus on Halloween and autumn, my favorite season. To stir up a little excitement, below is the overview of the spooky tale…

Book Overview

It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival. Despite a former occupant’s fervent warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic known for her explosive predictions, to communicate with the apparition. Construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing. Could it be Prudence, Judge Hiram Grey’s first wife, who disappeared during a fiery Vietnam War protest that destroyed parts of the campus? While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident at the Fall Festival leaves Hiram in a coma and another dead body to investigate. Kellan’s research digs up a tale of horror and pain about the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family, forcing April to accelerate her plan to capture the elusive killer and placate the revenge-seeking ghost.

Book Timeline

  • AUGUST
    • Cover Reveal
    • Beta Reading / Final Editing
  • SEPTEMBER
    • Pre-Order
    • ARC Copies Available
  • OCTOBER
    • Official Release
    • Blog Tour

Note from the Author

As you’ve come to know, the titles in my books are usually 2 or 3 words with multiple meanings. In this one, I wavered between Haunted House GHOST and Haunted House GUEST… as Kellan’s cousin, Ulan, is visiting from Africa. What’s he got to do with the mysterious ghost appearances in the old Grey estate? Or is it really the late Prudence Grey who’s cursed all the inhabitants? I loved playing with this title but ultimately settled on Haunted House Ghost because it gives the ideal Halloween theme.

Autumn is my favorite season. I’ve spent extra time trying to create the perfect mood within the story… from trick-or-treating experiences to bonfires. I hope everyone enjoys reading the book when the crisp weather begins to arrive and we’re all excited about Halloween. Look for more to come on the specific dates and options in the near future. Now’s the time to catch up if you haven’t finished the first four books in the series.

Braxton Campus Mysteries Series

A new mystery series debuting in October 2018 focusing on amateur sleuth, Kellan Ayrwick, an early-thirties single father who solves crimes in his Pennsylvania hometown while attending to his day job as a professor at Braxton University. Oh yeah, he’s a Hollywood director too…

  1. Academic Curveball: Death at the Sports Complex (Oct 2018)
  2. Broken Heart Attack: Death at the Theater (Dec 2018)
  3. Flower Power Trip: Death at the Masquerade Ball (Mar 2019)
  4. Mistaken Identity Crisis: Death on the Cable Car (Jun 2019)

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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 Matter of Latitude by Isobel Blackthorn

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A Matter of LatitudeA Matter of Latitude by Isobel Blackthorn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Matter of Latitude is the second book I’ve read by author Isobel Blackthorn. In this tale of corruption and psychological fear, readers get to know Celestino and Paula, a married couple with a young daughter who live in the Canary Islands. From the gripping opening when Celestino is nearly killed in a car accident, attacked by a dog, and almost swallowed by the sea, we know we’re in for a traumatic ride…

The novel alternates between Celestino and Paula as they attempt to find their way back to one another. Celestino is wounded and knows someone is trying to kill him. He’s an artist who was trying to work on a painting with a client, but there seems to be something going on with his role in the widespread corruption occurring throughout Lanzarote, the island where they live. Paula is waiting for him to return for their daughter’s birthday party, but he never shows. She relies on her parents, who’ve moved to the island during retirement, but they aren’t as helpful as they could be. Throw in a few neighbors and friends, and Paula spends most of the book tracking down Celestino’s whereabouts on the day of the storm when he went missing. What she learns about her husband is not something she’s prepared to understand. Is he dead? Has he crossed to the evil side? Is he purposely leaving her in suspense? Is he protecting her from someone? Celestino finally finds some help, but it might be too late for him to return home further unharmed. Add in a couple more deaths, and this thriller will have you nonstop guessing what’s going on with this captivating couple.

Blackthorn’s writing prowess can easily be seen in her descriptions. She always leaves a clear visual of the landscape, expressions, and action happening on each of the pages. I particularly enjoy how her novels are set outside of an area where I have any familiarity. Despite not having been to the islands, I feel like I know them well now. I also like the details she provides about each character’s background and personality, enabling readers to feel connected to the tale as if they’re involved in the action themselves. Another strength is the layers involved in the corruption on the island. While we’re fairly certain how to feel about the primary couple, beyond them, I couldn’t tell who was innocent and who was guilty. From the kind / not-so-kind neighbor, to the best friends, to the guy following Paula around begging for help… one of them had to be involved. But who!?! Blackthorn kept me guessing until the very end. A good pay-off too…

If you enjoy international stories full of drama and culture, this is definitely one to put on your list. There’s a fine balance of intrigue and serene comfort between all the action that leaves you thirsty for more of the author’s work. Beyond a few books on the Canary Islands, there are others in her canon, too. I’m excited to check them out in the coming months.

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If you missed my Author Alert & Spotlight on Isobel Blackthorn last week, check it out here.

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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.