Monday, December 7, 2020

On Hiatus


In case you hadn't noticed (ha, ha) this blog is taking a bit of a break. You can still catch my book reviews and other special features at The Book Connection. I also blog at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Short Story Review: A Whiskered Perspective by M. G. Spear

Life through the eyes of a loyal black cat is what the reader will find in this short story titled "A Whiskered Perspective" by M. G. Spear.

This furry warrior has come close to using up his nine lives when he is rescued by a woman who he calls Miller.

Glad to leave his warrior ways behind, Miller and Pumpkin create a special and loving bond. When Miller starts dating a man named Rob, Pumpkin is glad to see her happy. Then Rob changes, and Pumpkin is determined to stick by Miller's side no matter what.

This is a much darker story than I expected. If you read the description for the Kindle version, you'll have an idea of what I mean.

Told entirely from Pumpkin's perspective, this short story is about the special bond between a woman and her cat; but it is also about how one woman's desire to be loved by another person goes terribly wrong. It is a story of how someone can hide their true colors until it's too late.

A story of this length doesn't leave a lot of room for character development, so Miller's friends' dislike for Rob didn't make sense. It isn't until the reader witnesses Rob's behavior that it all comes together. If the length of the story had been closer to novella or novel length, that problem may have solved itself. The author switches between past and present tense regularly, which interrupts the flow of the story. It also ends on a cliffhanger, so the reader must wait for the sequel to learn how things turn out for Miller and Pumpkin. I admit cliffhanger endings like that never sit well with me.

What I like about "A Whiskered Perspective" is Pumpkin's personality and his loyalty toward the woman who rescued him. The author, through Pumpkin's eyes, explored how a woman like Miller could be attracted to a person like Rob. She created a plausible explanation in a short period of time.

If you enjoy reading about human and pet relationships or dark stories, you might consider "A Whiskered Perspective."

File Size: 1259 KB
Print Length: 37 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: June 4, 2020
Sold by: Services LLC
Language: English

I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Book Review: Strong from the Heart by Jon Land

You better get ready, because Caitlin Strong is back!

Strong from the Heart is Jon Land's latest addition to his Caitlin Strong series, and this time it's personal.

The opioid crisis hits home when the son of Caitlin's lover Cort Wesley Masters nearly dies of an overdose. She is also investigating how the residents of a small Texas town all died in one night.

When this fifth generation Texas Ranger realizes both instances are related, she finds herself following a trail to uncover the truth behind a crisis that claimed 75,000 lives in the last year. She doesn't yet know, however, that the same forces have taken over the opiate trade and have even more nefarious goals in mind.

Pitted against a cabal nestled within the highest corridors of power that’s determined to destroy all threats posed to them, Caitlin's latest adventure draws the current crisis, the deaths in a small Texas town, and an amazing story from Texas in the late 1800's into one powerful and exciting conclusion.

I've been reading Land's Caitlin Strong novels for years. This hard-as-nails Texas Ranger gets the job done every time... but it's not usually easy. As with other novels in the series, the current story is woven alongside a story from the past. In this instance, her great-grandfather, Texas Ranger William Ray Strong, is sent to the border town of Camino Pass to transport Pancho Villa to stand trial, but his plans are waylaid when he learns all the town's children have been kidnapped.

Strong from the Heart floats between present and past, drawing the reader deeper into the story with each step. Caitlin is battling some of her own demons in this story and learning to deal with her half-sister Nola on top of everything else going on. She is so profoundly human in Strong from the Heart that you connect with Caitlin in a different way than you might have in the past. Seeing her bring down the bad guys in this one is a great reward.

My favorite series regular remains Colonel Paz. He's this strange blend of gentleness and violence, has a strong sense of reason and repentance, and is truly not a force to be reckoned with. He starts off the story in an unusual role--one which I wish would have turned out differently.

Land's masterful storytelling never ceases to amaze me. As long as he keeps writing Caitlin Strong novels, I will keep reading. Simply put, this is one of the best thrillers you'll ever read.

Number of Pages: 368

ISBN: 0765384701 (ISBN13: 9780765384706)

Series: A Caitlin Strong Novel, #11

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



San Antonio, Texas

Caitlin Strong pushed her way through the gaggle of reporters and bystanders clustered before the barricade set up just inside the lobby of the Canyon Ridge Elementary School building.

“Look,” she heard somebody say, “the Texas Rangers are here!”

She’d focused her attention on the six men wearing black camo pants and windbreakers labeled I-C-E in big letters on the back, glaring at her from the entrance to the school to which they’d clearly been prevented from entering. She pictured several more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stationed at additional exits in case their quarries tried to make a run for it.

“We didn’t call the Rangers,” snarled a bald man, the name tag he was required to wear reading ORLEANS.

“No, sir,” Caitlin told him, “that would’ve been the school principal. She told Dispatch you’d come here to collect some of her students.”

She let her gaze drift to a windowless black truck that looked like a reconfigured SWAT transport vehicle.

“Just following orders, Ranger. Doing our job just like you.”

“My job is to keep the peace, sir.”

“Ours too, so I’m going to assume you’re going to assist our efforts, given that we’re on the same side here.”

“What side would that be?”

Orleans snarled again, seeming to pump air into a head Caitlin figure might’ve been confused for a basketball. “United States government, ma’am.”

“I work for Texas, sir, and the principal told me all the kids you came for were born on Lone Star soil.”

“That’s for a court to decide.”

“Maybe. And, you’re right, the both of us are here because we’ve got a job to do and I respect that, sir, I truly do. My problem is it’s never right in my mind for adults to involve children in somebody else’s mess.”

Jon Land
Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of fifty-two books, including eleven featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. The critically acclaimed series has won more than a dozen awards, including the 2019 International Book Award for Best Thriller for Strong as Steel. He also writes the CAPITAL CRIMES series and received the 2019 Rhode Island Authors Legacy Award for his lifetime of literary achievements. A graduate of Brown University, Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island., Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

New Release: The Perfect Father by John Glatt

In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family’s safe return.

But Chris Watts already knew that he would never see his family again. Less than 24 hours after his desperate plea, Watts made a shocking confession to police: he had strangled his pregnant wife to death and smothered their daughters, dumping their bodies at a nearby oil site. Heartbroken friends and neighbors watched in shock as the movie-star handsome, devoted family man they knew was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The mask Chris had presented to the world in his TV interviews and the family’s Facebook accounts was slipping―and what lay beneath was a horrifying image of instability, infidelity, and boiling rage.

In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 21, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250231612
ISBN-13: 978-1250231611

Purchase from:

Barnes & Noble

Thursday, July 23, 2020

On My Kindle: By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates

Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery!

For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite.

Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.

Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending....

File Size: 1086 KB
Print Length: 341 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 3, 2015)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Language: English

Purchase here!