Book Reviews

Book Review: Gingerbread Cookies & Gunshots by Leslie Meier

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This novella was included in a three-story book focused on gingerbread that I received as a holiday present. I read Joanne Fluke’s books, which was the reason I got this one, but I’m getting interested in Leslie Meier‘s Lucy Stone series as a result of this book, Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots. I read the ~100 page story in a paperback before bed last night in about 45 minutes. It’s a very quick read, a teaser to get fans interested in the larger series. Lucy Stone is a fun character and this was a nice break away from a cozy about murder. Instead, it focused on a kidnapping that ended with a murder. What a twist! Apart from the mystery, the really fun aspect is the interaction between Lucy and her family. She has a few older kids, middle/high school age kids and at least one grandchild from what I can tell so far. It takes place in Maine, but they spent time in Louisiana, too, I believe. I’ve so much to learn… It hits the spot as a fun read when you just need to escape from reality.

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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 debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.
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Book Review: What Happened in Vienna, Jack? by Daniel Kemp

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Why This Book

I’m beginning to read more from a few publishers that publish other books I’ve enjoyed, and this author is under contract with one of those companies, Creativia. What Happened in Vienna, Jack? by Daniel Kemp fell into my lap while it was on sale via Amazon last month, so I allotted it to February and made it a current read this week. I always look forward to clever and complex thriller and suspense fiction, and this one hit the spot. Kudos to the author!

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Approach & Style

I read this ~350 page book via Kindle Reader on my iPad over four days and six hours. It is a British period piece focusing on a few decades in the mid-twentieth century involving a spy, military, police, murder, intrigue and war. And that’s just the beginning! The language is very intricate and detailed. The story hops through the past and the present. It focuses on a few different critical characters you get to know little by little — or all at once! But my favorite part is how it offers up a true British nostalgia and ambiance.

Key Thoughts

Espionage and murder… could it get any better when it comes to solving a mystery? Author Kemp provides all the suspense and thrills in this very descriptive story. Main detective Patrick is very charismatic in an offbeat way, but he will also stand out as a highly intelligent and trustworthy confidante you enjoy sharing the read with. He’s not quite the narrator, but you get that feel from how the book is written.

I appreciate the skills necessary to weave together this type of tale. When you have multiple decades and secrets to track, it could be easily confusing. But it’s not. There are many twists and turns, surprising reveals, and eye-squinting characters who make you wonder… ‘what’s going on here?’ — but soon enough you start pulling the past together. Then the ending portion kicks in… and you’re back to guessing all over again!

I enjoyed this read. It’s partially in my typical reading choices, but it’s more of a spy novel that I’m used to… think a bit James Bond like. I am more a horror thrillers chasing serial killers or historical fiction type of reader. But this bring some elements from both and offers a good tale with a what feels like a realistic setting. I’m sure the author’s career helped played a big role in developing this story. Add in the various facts / stories we all know about World War II and how the ‘underground network’ works, then you’ve got a strong read.

Summary

I’m impressed with the author’s ability to weave a highly complex plot over multiple time periods and characters, in particular how well written the language in the story is. I recently learned it’s part of a book series, where two are already written and a third is on the way in the future. Very exciting for any true British crime fan!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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: Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

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I received Gingerbread Cookie Murder, a short novella in the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery series by Joanne Fluke, as one of my Christmas presents last year. I’ve a big fan of the series and always look forward to the read. It took me 1 hour to read this story, part of a larger paperback focused on murders involving gingerbread cookies. It’s ~150 pages, but 1/3 is filled with recipes, so it’s just under a hundred pages of true text. In this issue, Hannah is having trouble with her new neighbor who plays loud Christmas music all the time. But she soon finds him dead in the refrigerator after trying to store her recent baked goods for a future dessert. Add in an $8M winning lottery ticket, someone’s divorce, a new dentist in town, and a suitor for Hannah’s mother, then you’ve got lots going on in this one. It was a fun afternoon read and I look forward to the next book in the series.

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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 debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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: Sea, Sky and Skeleton by Carolyn L. Dean

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I started reading Carolyn L. Dean‘s cozy mystery series over two years ago, but I hadn’t been able to get back to it for a long time. After the holidays, I bought the next five books and committed to read one per month in 2018 until I caught up. I’m finally back to reading them and picked up with Sea, Sky & Skeleton, the fourth book, this week. It was like a nice welcome home reminding me what I’d missed. I enjoy Dean’s easy writing style, colorful characters, and clever settings.

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I read the Kindle version in my iPad in about 90 minutes, as it’s only ~150 pages. Amanda runs a B&B, but it’s in need of repairs. She finds cash on the beach, then a dead body. Given she still hasn’t gotten the friendliest of welcomes from all the townspeople, she keeps trying to win them over. She’s almost there. I look forward to the day they name her mayor.

I enjoyed the plot of the story and the development of the characters. It comes together nicely in the end with a cute little bow, too. My only concern is that two scenes were rushed relatively quickly, and while they helped draw out the killer, I would have loved another 30 pages of background and setting to help round it out to a perfect read. Minor item tho… as I still enjoy the dialogue and rapport between Mrs. Granger, Jennifer, and Amanda. I’m also very intrigued by her boyfriend’s family… so many siblings, something has to happen in the future.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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: His Name is Joe by Mimi Lou Martin and Chloe Mathis

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I was introduced to this adorable children’s book in early 2018 and liked the premise enough to add it to my TBR. A young boy befriends another kid who happens to be wheelchair-bound. Knowing how awkward life can be for a third grader, especially while playing dodge ball in gym class, I was curious to give this one a shot. His Name Is Joe by Mimi Lou Martin explores the impacts of a school children learning how to put themselves out there, find friends, develop confidence and teach others small life lessons. While the book is relatively short at 24 pages, it’s filled with wonderful drawings and a great moral lesson. To top it off, the book is co-written by the author’s young children… even including multiple sketches (really fantastic for their age and contribution to the book) and artwork by the whole family. It’s a very cute story, and I think it would be a great addition to all libraries and a family’s reading shelves. I’d recommend it for being fun, inspirational, rewarding and confidence-building. Kudos to this wonderful family and the adorable book they’ve built together. The world needs more people like this!

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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 debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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: Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

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I’m a committed Joanne Fluke & Hannah Swensen fan. I love the cozy mystery and these novels just have such a calming and positive effect on me. I’m giving 3.5 stars to Apple Turnover Murder, the 13th in this series. It was good and hit all the right spots, but left room for growth and more complexity. With 20+ books in the series, I can’t give them all a 5, and even a 4 is sometimes too high. It doesn’t mean I don’t adore them. I just think it wasn’t one of the top ones in the series. I like re-visiting all the characters and seeing the wonderful relationships between Hannah, her sisters, and her mothers. And I was even excited that there’s quite an interesting turn-of-events in Hannah’s relationships with her two suitors, Mike and Norman. Perhaps it’s finally moving in the right direction. That said… not enough time was spent exploring the possible culprits or the depth of the victim who was murdered. I think there was more history to be told… I’ve already got books 14 and 15 from the series in my queue, and I was awarded the most current (22?) on NetGalley, so I have to catch up soon!

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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 debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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: The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

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Today you’re in for an extra treat as not only do I have a book review, but I’m part of a fantastic blog tour to support this wonderful writer. To top it off, Misty Mount is also today’s featured Author Alert! To see the companion post to this one, check out her Author Alert or continue below to learn more about the various stops on the blog tour and read my 5-star review of The Shadow Girl.

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*** BOOK REVIEW ***

Why This Book

The concept of a shadow has always been a fascinating subject, and when I saw it in the title of a book, I wanted to learn more. I chatted with the author on Goodreads a few times about her life as a writer, quickly finding myself even more intrigued. I got a copy of the book and then saw she was having a blog tour – by the virtue of luck, I got myself included as part of the team (which I’m incredibly grateful for) and dove head first into reading the book. And I’m so glad I did… what a strong and solid young adult, mystery, and coming-of-age novel to spend a few days with!

Approach & Style

I read this ~300-page novel in early January via Kindle Reader on my iPad. It contains twenty-eight chapters and took about six hours to read over three days. The story is told with a first-person point-of-view and a perspective focusing on the main character, Zylia, a 13-year-old girl who feels like no one can see her. There’s a fine line in the story that will make you wonder if there are any magical elements going on in the background, but it truly makes for a breathtaking transformation as you live through everything Zylia experiences.

Key Thoughts

The story is simple, but it is captivating. It’s a psychological character study, and Mount has done a tremendously wonderful job to keep us interested with only small, simple, and ordinary events happening to her family. Kudos for making something truly introspective feel so warm and other worldly as the same time.

Mount completely captured the life of a 13-year-old girl (not that I would truly know what that is, but that it’s definitely what I imagined it to be). Readers see everything from her point of view in a way that makes you feel like part of the action. Whenever I wanted to be angry with Zylia’s siblings or parents, they do something to re-balance the equation, so I adore them again. The family dynamics in this book are extraordinary.

The tone is perfectly set. It is somewhat ominous, but not in a dark way. It’s written with a light touch that makes you keep thinking… what’s gonna happen here? I need to know, and I hope she’s gonna be okay. Don’t hurt my Zylia! Since this is spoiler-free, I will not tell you what happens… you have to go read it for yourself. Just trust me!

One of the strongest areas is Mount’s use of language, narrative, and dialogue to tell the story. The words she’s chosen make you think deeply. The book gives you an understanding of the questions we all ask ourselves at different ages, and what we choose to see or not see when we interpret other people’s actions.

I definitely see Zylia as becoming a beloved character by readers: 95% adored and maybe 5% frustrated when she slinks too far into the “no one sees me” depths which is completely the way a young teenager would feel — it’s absolutely necessary to draw the emotions out us, so it belonged. Zylia reminds me a lot of Leisl from The Book Thief! All the different things she encounters really show a day in the life of a young girl learning how to find her voice, which will absolutely pull readers in, and allow them to compare situations to their own lives or worry whether they’ve done the same things to others… exactly what a great book is supposed to do!

Summary

This is a book you want to take a chance on, especially if you’re a young adult reader or love when books take you on a psychological journey.

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SG Digital CoverGenre: YA/ Fantasy/ Coming of Age

Publication Date: December 28, 2017

Synopsis:

Blackness. Nothingness. It was in the shape of a giant, hazy shadow, enveloping me, swallowing me, and digesting me into the unknown. It was my biggest fear and my ultimate fate.

Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.

You know you want too… click here to add this amazing book to Goodreads

Now Available for Sale

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How about reading a brief excerpt to get you even more interested?

I did my best to fight and claw my way back to the life I once knew, but panic had taken over and colors were swirling and fading all around me. It was all turning into a great cloud of blackness, just like the one I had seen in my dream. The looming cloud of nothingness I had feared for so long was finally grabbing me, wiping my world dark and blank.

The darkness was thick and intense, an inky void that stretched to eternity in every direction. Eventually my panic burnt itself out and I simply stayed there in the dark, feeling as if someone had drained my adrenal glands. I was no longer responding to the dark with fear, but acceptance. In fact, curiosity was beginning to take over.

The longer I let myself stare into it, the less dark it appeared. After some time, I realized that it was all different shades of murky black and foggy gray overlapping and undulating, just out of focus. I blinked mentally and suddenly she was there, standing above me with concern etched in sooty-colored lines on her monochromatic face.”

About the Author

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Misty Mount has written since age five and was first published at fourteen. By day she’s a caregiver, wife, and mother to a young son but during the quiet hours of night she becomes a novelist. She resides in Wichita, Kansas.

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If you want to take a chance on winning a copy, there’s an amazing giveaway where 1 print* and 2 digital copies of The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount are available:

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*Print copy is available to North American residents only.

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This amazing Blog Tour was organized by:

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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 debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.