book review

Book Review: Thirsty for Water by N. N. Light

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Thirsty for WaterThirsty for Water by N.N. Light
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thirsty for Water is a short story by N. N. Light that was published in 2014. I’ve read other non-fiction books by the author, but this was my first fiction piece. It will not be my last. From the beginning, the story captivates your heart. Juliet is in class, disinterested in hearing about a village in Africa, yet her teacher groans on about it. While trying to ignore everything, Juliet is stunned when a 7-year-old boy appears on her desk. He’s tiny, almost magical, and wants to know why she doesn’t care about his village. It’s time for the heartstrings to be pulled… as in this tale, Juliet learns why it’s so important to help others who are in trouble and need your support.

N. N. Light achieves a lot in this quick read. Without being pushy or direct, the author shows readers how they can help when so many people around us are in need. Juliet is your stereotypical teenager (not everyone is like her, but we definitely know the type) yet she grows on you with each line. Learning a valuable lesson is an important part of life, and I’m glad there are stories like this one to help make it even easier. I do enjoy Light’s writing style — simple, effective, descriptive, personal. Kudos for a well-written and memorable story.

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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 four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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: Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

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Tempted by Mr. WrongTempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar
Tempted by Mr. Wrong, a novel published in 2017 by Jacquie Biggar, is the first romantic suspense book I’ve read in a very long time. I previously read another novel in a different genre by this author but wanted to sample something at opposite end of the spectrum [of a normal read for me] this week. I love suspense but the romance stuff is fairly new to me. In the end, it was quite a winner. Let’s dive into the review…

Tammy-Jo, better known as TJ, has a bad track record with men. She had a bit of an illicit affair with a stepbrother, Jason, in her late teens (parents had only just married) but her father chased him away, causing a family drama that wouldn’t end for years. TJ married another guy to help out her father, as they went into business together… but what type of business was it exactly? We don’t know in the beginning, yet something seems foul as the husband ends up dead. We know it’s bad when TJ looks guilty and someone attacks her to collect missing evidence. As Jason helps protect his stepsister, almost ruin his own career, and stops her father from interfering again, he realizes he still loves her. But how does she feel about the man who hurt her all those years ago?

From the get go, readers know this isn’t just a sappy love story; no offense intended to readers who want that… I only mean… this has a whole lot more going on. Murder. Stalking. Revenge. Power struggles. All the typical suspense and mystery elements which kept me highly intrigued. TJ is a complex woman. At first, she seemed spoiled, but as you got to know her, she was heartbroken. Her father is controlling. Her stepmother is developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Her husband was a jerk. Jason is all she has left, and it’s been a decade since she saw him. Right there… the hook to want her to win. I fell, and I think most readers will too. She’s multifaceted and grows on you quickly.

Biggar developed the suspense quite well. I was all set to cast the villain, and in the end, it’s more open-ended until a final decision is made. Who exactly started all the trouble years ago? It may not be what you think it is… and that’s why I really enjoyed this book. It had so much of what I usually love to see in my reads, plus some extra. There’s one lengthy and detailed romance scene between two characters, which of course is super sexy and physical and all that fun stuff. Sometimes I closed one eye and skimmed (to kinda get the picture) and others I invested in the details. I think I feel like a voyeur when I read those scenes, so I revert back to a 15-year-old boy and giggle. But that’s just me, as I can definitely say they are written very well. There was heat, lust, attraction, and intimacy — all in a good way!

The dramatic opening scene really sets the tone, and from there, it keeps you glued to the pages. I think I devoured it in about 2 hours one afternoon. Having finished two novels by this author, I can safely say she crafts a superb story, writes with easy yet intelligent fluidity, and knows how to capture her audience. I’ll definitely be reading more from her, and perhaps I’ll learn to love the love scenes one day too! 🙂

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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 four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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: Winter’s Mourning by Janice J. Richardson

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Winter’s Mourning  (Spencer Funeral Home Niagara Cozy Mystery, #2)Winter’s Mourning by Janice J. Richardson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Spencer Funeral Home Niagara Cozy Mystery series is a warm, comforting, and multi-dimensional set of books. Although I’ve only read two of the four, I know it’s one of those that will remain in your head for a long time. Janice Richardson’s second book, Winter’s Mourning, is the latest read in my queue, and I highly recommend it for a variety of fans. Whether you like a light mystery, a cozy set of consistent characters, or the ability to learn about a job you’ll probably never have… this is something to take a chance on.

Jennifer is your typical girl next door, except she runs a funeral home. Well… now two of them because her competition is retiring and has extended an offer Jennifer can’t refuse. Thankfully, she’s made a few good hires (inherited a couple of bad ones too), and together, they can get both places ready to operate smoothly. Both fell into her lap unexpectedly, but the fun and pain that ensue have been a wonderful focal point for us readers. The story continues from the first book, so you probably should read them in order to get the most benefit. In this one, there are multiple ties to everything we learned in the previous tale, so be prepared for some suspense, shock, and good old-fashioned heartwarming and heartbreaking emotions.

While not a classic whodunit or major suspense series, this is the kind of book that should appeal to a wide audience. Readers get to know how a funeral home operates, share their emotions with characters who grieve and laugh during services (mistakes sometimes do happen!), and worry when a villain tries to remove Jennifer from the picture. Seeing how Jennifer reacts, along with her newfound friendships with the cops and local businesses, brings a smile to my face. It’s the kind of book where you just lose yourself, uncaring in which direction it goes, because you love the characters so much.

I find myself rooting for Jennifer no matter the situation but I also want to throttle her a few times when she pushes herself too much to help others. Few people are like her in real life, but I happen to know some generous, caring souls. We all need someone like Jennifer in our lives… and part of me wonder how much she’s based on the real life author, Janice Richardson. Although I don’t know her personally, we’ve shared a comment or two when reviewing similar books, and I get the impression she’s just as great. You won’t know until you check the books out, so give them a chance. It’s a perfect afternoon to relax and read, knowing all along, you’ll end up even happier… now I need to get my hands on book number three!

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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 four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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: No More Mulberries by Mary Smith

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No More MulberriesNo More Mulberries by Mary Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No More Mulberries is an international contemporary drama written by Mary Smith and published in 2009. The story focuses on Miriam, a Scottish midwife, who has married two men from Afghanistan during her lifetime. The tale unfolds by jumping time frames across different chapters to share the reasons why Miriam’s life has become what it is today. At times, her days have been heartbreaking, and at others, they have been an admirable source of strength. I chose this book because I’d seen many positive reviews and it fit the parameters for my month of international and/or autobiographical reads. Let’s chat more about this complex and wonderful story…

Miriam had a wonderful husband and life, but he passed away. She had a young son to raise in Afghanistan during a difficult period in the country’s history, especially for a red-haired Scottish woman with strong beliefs about how things should be. Knowledgeable in medicine, she won over some of the village, yet she always knew she was viewed differently. Then, she remarried and had another child with the second husband. At first, they had a strong love. Although she’d converted to Muslim, her husband, Iqbal was careful to find a balance between his beliefs and her beliefs. While he could be strict, he was by no means radical or excessively controlling of his wife. As tension rises between them, Miriam revisits her past to understand why her first husband died. Through the process, her eyes are opened about her own blame in the new marriage as well as as what truly happened to her first beloved.

The story is rich with a supporting cast who provide laughter, love, fear, and pain. Smith eloquently shares a culture and a lifestyle with her audience, some who may know little about the Muslim faith or Afghani culture. While I’ve read a few other books focusing on this part of the world, they tended to stick to the religious aspects of the Middle East rather than the social aspects. I was glad to experience a different side of the life through this story and the author’s wonderful ability to showcase both the good and the bad.

Questions of parenting, forgiveness, pain, tolerance, and curiosity quickly enter a reader’s mind. What will become of someone who defies her husband? Who will stand by you when you have no one else to trust? How do you ensure the village listens to your advice on bearing a child when the culture dictates the complete opposite solution? This novel helped me understand a different mindset, and while it wasn’t necessarily one I agree with or support, I found a balance of alternative ideas and options to push me to think more critically. It’s a great experience, and one we should all have when reading a book about something different than our own knowledge.

A great find, and something that would be a benefit for all readers with an open mind, a curiosity about life outside their own culture, and a small glimpse into the world that many know from the outside but little know from the inside.

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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 four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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: Trip to Birmingham by Lisa Reynolds

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Trip To Birmingham (Rory Murphy Mysteries #2)Trip To Birmingham by Lisa Reynolds
Trip to Birmingham is the second novella in the Rory Murphy Mysteries series by Lisa Reynolds. I read the first book in the series last year and an entirely different series by the author earlier this year. Some of the key elements I enjoy about her books are that they’re quick and easy reads, offer a non-American point of view, and focus on atypical characters (in terms of what you traditionally see in mainstream fiction).

In the opening scene, a gay couple are enjoying the day when one basically says to the other ‘hey, did you hear about the murder in Birmingham?’ Rory’s boyfriend knows what that means, and the next day he’s rolling Rory onto a train (Rory is in a wheelchair) to investigate it… all because of an agreement about sex! From there, the guys and two friends get cozy with the family of the deceased woman in order to determine their suspects. Rory and his boyfriend’s relationship changes in this book, and the ending while not entirely a surprise to me, presents a different kind of justice.

Another fun entry in this cute series… refreshingly honest and quirky, it’s a simple but dynamic tale to show you why you love to read.

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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 four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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: P.S. I Forgive You (A Broken Legacy) by D.G. Kaye

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P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken LegacyP.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy by D.G. Kaye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My month of memoirs continues with an autobiography by D. G. Kaye — ‘P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy.’ Although not quite a series, this is the second book by the author as she explores the impact of a narcissistic mother on her daily life. I read this before bed last night, and all I can say is that some people are dealt a very unfair hand in life. That said, it’s amazing to see how wonderful Kaye is handling all that she went through in the last ~50 years. What a great (but painful) read!

Imagine growing up with a mother who seems to intentionally cause pain for her children. The oldest of four, Kaye spent years letting the woman treat her horribly. In this introspective and emotional autobiography, we learn how and why she tolerated it. The memoir kicks off by letting readers know that the author’s mother has passed away, and this is the story of how she handled the decision whether to be there when the woman crossed over. Sick for many years, touch and go at times, it seems like every possible painful opportunity was taken to cause trouble for this family. It was heartbreaking not just because of what they went through but because you really want this to turn out to be a positive story.

In some ways, it does turn out that way… in death, you are often released from the troubles of the past. Not quickly. Not immediately. Not entirely. Kaye suffers to this day because of the trauma she went through. Emotional pain can be far worse and impacting that physical pain. Seeing how the author connects with her siblings and her aunt helps provide a sense of love and hope for her future. Kaye has a phenomenal way of sharing her past with readers… we feel as if we are there, but one thing is for sure — we were not. That… is fantastic writing.

There is a cathartic honesty in her writing style as well as how she processes the events of her life. On the outskirts, it might seem simple: (A) She’s your mother, you should stay and respect her, or (B) She’s been evil and nasty, you need to run away and forget her. Nope… Kaye fully provides the wide spectrum of all the scenarios that ran through her head, some positive and some not-so-positive. How do you make such a decision? Only a strong person can thoroughly see through the minutia to determine what’s best for both the victim and the victimizer (I might’ve made that work up).

If I could reach through a book to hug someone, this would be the prime one for it to happen. I’ve felt these emotions tons of times before when an author creates a character who suffers… but when a real-life woman shares the truth and the pain she’s gone through, it’s a whole different ball game. If you have a high threshold for reading about someone’s emotional suffering, I suggest you take this book on… it might give you the perspective you need to help others.

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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 four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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: Through the Mind’s Eye by J.P. Willson

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Through the Mind's Eye: A Journey of Self-DiscoveryThrough the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery by J.P. Willson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This July, I opted to focus a majority of my reads on non-fiction books, mostly on the autobiographical end of the spectrum. The first was a memoir by J. P. Willson who wrote ‘Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery.’ I stumbled upon the author via his Goodreads profile and liked the cover and synopsis, so I added it to my TBR a couple of years ago. I finished it in a short time, but it’s also written in a way where you can easily stop and start at your leisure.

J.P. is in his fifties and tells us from the beginning that he’s always been an alcoholic. From the get-go, you feel the honesty and raw pain he’s gone through. Rather than blame others, he’s taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, to focus on his recovery and ensure his future is a happy one. By the end of his memoir, readers clearly understand the key things he went through, what he believes changed him, and how the AA program helped him get to where he is today.

Is one drink per night too much? Two? Five? Drinking before noon? It’s not that simple, as Willson generously shares with his readers. The AA program worked for him on many levels, but not necessarily on all. One by one, he discusses each of the twelve steps, the original religious aspects, and the concept of having a sponsor. In his introspective and personal analytics, readers find common sense and new ideas to consider. It’s not as simple as ‘stop drinking’ or ‘follow the plan.’ It’s a disease, he reminds us, and sometimes, it can be sneaky and vengeful.

Willson is brave to share this with others. Then again, after what he went through in reality, perhaps sharing this truth is cathartic. Whatever you believe, it’s clear that the man has truly learned how to live without the dependency. He wasn’t satisfied to understand why he drank on a surface level; it was necessary to dive deep and explore everything that led to his decisions. And now that he’s a recovering alcoholic, he can even poke fun at himself on the things he can’t believe once occurred. Or point out how hard it is for a chef who loves to pair wines to suddenly not be able to do it anymore.

It’s wonderful to see a success story, and while he will always remember the pain of the past, the new attitude and attentiveness to his words in this book clearly show the success he deserves to have in the future. I’d recommend this book for anyone who has an issue with alcohol (or other addictions) or is watching someone they care for go through it themselves.

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 four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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.