Book Reviews

Blame the Cat!

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Happy Monday!  Last week, I shared how Murphy (the dog) kidnapped my precious copy of Father Figure.  It was returned, in perfect condition! Serious points to the dog! Yet, once again, it turned up missing.  As I started my book hunt, I stumbled upon this scene…

 

 

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Merlin Enjoying Father Figure

 

She promised that there will be no drool on the book!  Time will tell!

As for our amazing author man, Jay…he has arrived safely in Italy!  It sounds like he is having a fabulous time!  My secret agents are working on snapping a few photos…  I will share as soon as possible.

Have a magical Monday!

♥Roda

 

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Mine, mine, mine…

 

 

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Horsing Around…

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If you missed yesterday’s post, you are probably wondering why someone by the name of “Roda” has invaded Jay’s blog.  Here is the link, if you need to catch up! When the Cat’s Away

Most of you have figured out by now that my little Bro Jay is a city mouse.  I, on the other hand, am a country mouse.  Although I do enjoy visiting the city, I am most content being one with Mother Nature.  Four years ago, I left my career in education to pursue my dream of starting a hobby farm.  I have never looked back!  I spend my days hanging out with 130+ animals and growing organic fruits and veggies.  I also enjoy painting and nature photography.  Let’s just say, these are my favorite ways to “horse around”.

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Well, knowing my Little Bro might get himself in a pickle, while in London, I thought I would call on a few “secret agents” to keep an extra special eye on him.  We all know how much Jay enjoys “horsing around”.   He sent me this photo of two horses. He found it funny that they seemed to be following him throughout the streets of London. Ha!  If he only knew…

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It is a good thing that I have a few friends watching over him.  He shared that his hotel room card had not been working, when he tried to enter his room.  Sounds like Little Bro might need to back off the extra strong grape juice and actually try entering the room that was assigned to him!  (Insert eye roll)

He also is whining about the heat…in London!  Seriously?  Next, my secret agents are going to be reporting that he is streaking down by Buckingham Palace!  Let’s hope he behaves himself tomorrow.    The good news is that he has not checked his blog!  I am safe…for now.  Sleep well…more updates tomorrow!

♥ Roda

 Growing Self

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Book Review: Fruit, Flower & Flames by Carolyn Dean

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Fruit, Flower & Flames, the 8th book in the Ravenwood Cozy Mystery series written by Carolyn L. Dean, was published just last year. I had purchased all the remaining books in her series around Christmas but just got around to finishing them this week. Now she’s published books 9 and 10… which I’ll be reading at some point. Kudos to her for growing a fine series of short, light and easy-to-digest mystery and small-town-happenings books where it’s more about the characters than the plots.

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In this caper, Lisa announces she’s dating the son of a wealthy family who’s returned to Ravenwood Cove after abandoning the town years ago when their business went bust. It all seems to fast and shady for most of the friendly inhabitants, but Amanda wants to support her bestie. With more free time on her hands, as James, her new husband, is out of town, Amanda befriends the family only to watch a tragic fire impact them. But when someone turns up dead and it’s definitely arson, what’s the real scoop? Throw in some friendly flower competition, renovations from a new contractor, and some lingering doubts about who to trust, and you’ve got a fun little read.

I’m enjoying the development in the series. I wish they were about 20% longer just to give us a bit more meat to pull apart when trying to decide the culprit, but I always enjoy the banter and camaraderie of the various families and friends. While not the best in the series, it’s got a good story and brings new people to the town. Dean is successful in moving the plot along while continuing to build a town we’d all like to visit — minus the rather large amount of murders that happen in a single place, of course.

 

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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 Ka by Mary Deal

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5 stars! After reading one of Mary Deal‘s novels last year, I knew I wanted to read a few more. Upon checking out the list, The Ka, seemed like the most appropriate given my interest in Egyptian history, pyramids, mummies, and curses. I was definitely not disappointed; in fact, I was rather quite intrigued to learn a whole lot more about some of the pharisees and queens during this historical period after reading the book. Kudos to Deal for making the story so interesting that I didn’t want to stop learning once I put it down.

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Not a frequent paranormal reader, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about that part of the story. Deal puts those concerns to bed rather quickly, as though there are elements of the past coming back in full force to the future in mystical ways, it’s not at all like the movie The Mummy (which I loved) where ancient creatures are chasing the archaeologists and inhabitants of Cairo. There’s something fantastical and lyrical about the way the past is connected to the current… a romance re-ignited by a common love for discovering what lurks beneath the Egyptian pyramids and a quest to survive though you’ve been hunted by your rivals.

Deal’s approach to telling the story is a slow build at first, keenly pulling in readers who become invested in a vast array of team members on this search. At the center, Chione, who has been having peculiar and vivid dreams, leads the group to discover several opportunities for finding tombs and burial chambers that no one believed existed. Is she losing her mind? Is she actually having a connection with the queen who mysteriously died in the past? Is she just playing along to try and win someone’s affection? All these thoughts and more will cross your mind as you read a well weaved story with tons of roller coast moments.

Tut is a very popular former pharaoh, but what’s the full story behind his demise, the war occurring in the lands, and his potential suitor queens. Add in the quest to become famous, find love, become a mother despite medical complications, and a need to believe in something beyond what is tangible, this book covers a great range of emotional needs and reactions to what’s happening over the course of a 4-month period. We invest in the characters as people who need to reach various goals, but we also learn all about the haunting ways of a few core Egyptian families near 4 millennia ago. It’s a fascinating story and keeps your attention in every angle or arc.

Deal has a fantastic grasp on build-up, ensuring readers’ appetites might be satiated every few chapters knowing full well the twists and surprises will come at unexpected times. The intimate knowledge revealed in this story must have been researched extensively. I’m quite impressed by the educational experience I had while reading the book — all in a good way where I enjoyed learning about the culture, interpersonal dynamics, and life experiences of several prominent Egyptians in the past. Between the descriptions of the settings and demeanor / moods of the characters, you feel like you’re in Egypt nearly two decades ago (when story takes place).

Another fine example of Deal’s work… and it’s just pushed me to pick up a third later this year. Just need to decide which one it should be… thanks for a fantastic read! I’ve done an author spotlight in the past on Mary Deal. Check out more about her books, life as an artist, and fun interview we had last year.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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: Rocks, Roses & Riptides by Carolyn Dean

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After reading a few books in the Ravenwood Cozy Mystery series last year, I purchased the rest from Amazon last fall. I’m closing out all books on my TBR that I currently own so on July 1st, I have nothing in my owned queue and can begin picking out new reads for the second half of the year. Don’t worry, I have plenty in line… 1200+ on my TBR and about 20 I’ve agreed to read at some point this year! This week I’m focusing on Carolyn L. Dean and the 7th book in her series, Rocks, Roses, & Riptides.

rocks.jpgI find Dean’s style charming and easy-to-read — usually in less than 90 minutes. Her books are light and fluffy with a bit of fun sentiment, romance, and small-town investigation. While I thought the last book I read in the series was a little too simple, this one stepped it back up… I was very happy with the mystery, investigation and outsiders coming to town for a TV reporting segment. Add in a few TV on-air reporters, camera guys, assistants and other staff, you’ve got tons of suspects when the not-so-nice female reporter suddenly falls face first into a cake she’s sampling as part of the segment. Poor Ruby, Amanda’s friend, who’s trying to win the competition — did she suddenly turn bad? Was it someone in town with connections to the TV reporting crew? Or was it someone in the crew backstabbing their leader?

Amanda tries to stay out of it, but she’s smack in the middle, especially when she’s almost kidnapped to help cover up the crime. She’s too good for that, but she has to find a way to escape. Her wedding is about to happen in the next few days… she can’t be a corpse bride, right? Of course she makes it, but the story keeps you guessing until the end. Kudos to Dean for making this one of the shiners in the series so far. Although it covers more outsiders than insiders of Ravenwood, there are lots of other side stories to keep our favorite townies in the mix. I can’t wait to start the the next one and see if married life will agree with Amanda.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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: Sun, Sand & Secrets by Carolyn Dean

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In the 6th book, Sun, Sand, & Secrets, of the Ravenwood Cozy Mystery series published in 2017 by Carolyn L. Dean, Amanda ponders the question of what it will mean to marry her sweetheart, James, a local police detective. In the course of her analysis, Madeline Wu, a local shopkeeper we’ve met before, goes missing, then someone turns up dead. Along the path, a neighboring town’s mayor gets involved, and some new romances might be brewing around the lovely little Oregon town.

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I enjoy reading about the comings and goings of Amanda’s renovated bed and breakfast / inn. This book felt more like a mini-edition, prepping us for Amanda’s upcoming nuptials, rather than a full-on mystery. While it was fun, cute, and cozy, the mystery was very light – much more than usual. I enjoy light mysteries, but the crime didn’t happen until about 50% into the book, and there wasn’t a lot of investigating in the second half. It was a good read, but not a standout in the series. Still worth taking on, as it’s under 2 hours… and I really do love the interactions Meg, Truman, Gram, and all the other wonderful characters.

I like inserting these types of books into bigger thrillers so I get a break from major analytical thinking, but I still have some puzzles to solve and the comfort of a fun, warm and interesting setting. It’s not a complete week unless I’ve sneaked in a cozy of some sort. Two more reviews to write, then I officially shut down and begin vacation mode!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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: Full Moons, Dunes & Macaroons by Erin Johnson

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All I can say is wow. The fifth book, Full Moons, Dunes & Macaroons: A Cozy Witch Mystery, in the Cozy With Spells & Caramels Mystery series, by Erin Johnson, is my favorite one so far. In this fun tale, Imogen spends a lot of time with her newly found brother learning all about what happened to her as a child… including facts about her birth parents, why she and her brother grew up separately, and how she fits into the world of Monsters Rise. When the concept of the ‘mirror’ came into play, I totally found myself enamored again with the series. What intense and wicked imagination Johnson has!Full
But it doesn’t stop there. MAJOR changes in the relationships among all the bakers and royal family members suddenly blast through the pages of this adorable story. Imogen is at the center of everything, including the murder of someone from the Fire Kingdom followed by a re-visit from the great fire monster of the past. The plot is truly immersive and cohesive in this latest edition in the series. I feel like we’re done with the initial world-building of this gem and finally figuring out what all the rules are in terms of how Imogen became a witch. There’s still a ton of room for more background to unfold, but we’ve got the basics now and I look forward to seeing how this one will continue.

For those new to the series, you’ve got magic, fantasy, family drama, mystery, royalty, baking, and quirky humor that has a few cute double entendres. The mysteries have been on the lighter side as the full world and cast is dazzled before us, but they’re growing stronger. Books are on the shorter side, easy to devour in one afternoon for a couple of hours. You should start from the beginning to catch up, maybe even read 2 in a row to get the full picture. Happy reading!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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.