#BookReview “SIDESHOW” Brian Kindall

Now for the review. "SideShow" takes place before "Delivering Virtue" and "Fortuna and the Scapegrace". As I have read the latter two it was really fun to get a picture of who Didier was before those two great adventures take place. "SideShow" is both a great introductory and companion to flesh out the world of Didier Rain. If you start with "SideShow" you'll be hooked. For so little pages, it does a great job of showing the complexities of the world through the eyes of my favorite swashbuckling dandy.

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“Hillbilly Elegy” J. D. Vance #BookReview

Vance identifies as a Conservative. I identify as a Democratic Socialist. Politically, it would look like we are opposites..... yet, there is a lot of common ground on our theories of how the issues of poverty can be solved.  The reason, in my mind, for that common ground is our shared experiences. Those of us who have lived it understand it in a way that those who haven't never will. This is why we need elected officials from every corner of every class of people we can find. The lenses they are currently looking through are much too narrow.

The Sunset Lands Beyond Series #BookSpotlight

Hello my fellow bookworms. In this spotlight we are featuring an amazing series! "The Sunset Lands Beyond" series is one we reviewed and absolutely fell in love with! If Fantasy is your genre and you've previously devoured the worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien this series will hook you in just the same way. Aerisia is a land of prophecy and magic. The Sunset Lands Beyond series is a tale of an unlikely heroine finding her way and becoming more than she ever could of imagined being.  Are you ready to begin your adventure in Aerisia?

“An Authentic Experience” Kelly Wittmann #BookReview

"An Authentic Experience" is one of those books that I call a builder. At the beginning I didn't like Silver. Not even a little. She seems hollow, selfish and shallow. BUT....(and here is why I call this book a builder) by about the middle of the book I realized that her initial shallowness was part of her evolution as a character. This is one of those books about growing up. It's about gaining wisdom through experience. "An Authentic Experience" is really about how lifes challenges (whether they be our own challenges or those closest to us) morph us into someone different. Someone deeper. Someone wiser. Someone who is actually authentic.  

Our Reading List

Our TBR pile is mountainous but we thought we would give you a sneak peek on what reviews to expect in the next week or so. We're always adding to the pile and are currently accepting review requests so don't forget to head on over to our Review Policy if you have a book you want us to consider. 

“Red Sparrow” Jason Matthews #bookreview

"Red Sparrow" is definitely action packed. From beginning to end it's a whirlwind of intrigue, misdirection and the complexities of humanity. Matthews spy jargon gives the story authenticity where he lacks in character depth. He definitely tried to bring depth to his characters but fell short with the two main characters, Nathaniel Nash and Dominika Egorova. 

#BookReview “A River In Darkness” Masaji Ishikawa

Something readers should take away from this part of Ishikawa's story is how a persons environment has a direct affect on their character. Some will argue that one must rise above such things but the reality is that most do not and in all honesty shouldn't be expected to. The existence of such oppression is what matters. Life shouldn't be a series of trial by fire. Are we not evolved past this? Are we all still primal beasts unable to transmogrify our society?

“Artemis” Andy Weir #BookReview

In "Artemis", we are also introduced to some judicial ethics that, if not carefully considered and worked out now, will plague us as we've already experienced with the explosion of tech and our judicial systems sluggish pace in keeping up. Is it ethical to deport someone to a planet they haven't been on since they were a young child knowing that it will cause them severe health issues? Is it ethical to deport someone to a country they know nothing of since they didn't grow up there? What constitutes a persons citizenship? As humanity becomes ever more connected is it ethical to continue to divide us into countries? How we move forward with these issues now and later will have a huge effect on our momentum technologically. 

Celebrating John James Audubon’s Birthday

John James Audubon identified 25 new species during his studies and his quotes have a particular relevance today. With the appointment of Scott Pruitt and the rise of Climate Change deniers in positions of power, Audubon's words reverberate through history. As the Trump administration tirelessly works to roll back environmental protections and sells off National Parks I'd like to take the time to remind everyone that the damage (some irreversible) done to this nation will fall on our children. In America's never ending quest for profit we are leaving a desolate future for those who follow us. Let us remember John James Audubon and his message. 

“Pete the Cat – Sir Pete the Brave” Kids Book Review

I recently noticed that the book can also determine how many he remembers. Realizing this, I started to make a note of the books he seemed to put more interest (which seems to equal memory) into and have been adding books similar into our routine. So far, the "Pete the Cat" series has been doing wonders for his reading. He absolutely LOVES these books!

Indie Author Spotlight – Interview With John Day

I picked the German side in Espionage London because the plot was everything a thriller could be. The reader knew the outcome of the conflict yet at the time of the story, there was this absolute certainty that provided the secret device worked, Hitler would win. It was probably the first thought the reader had that the team would all be caught or the device failed. How else could History be reconciled. As the story advances, the reader has to face the fact they are wrong and this just cannot be. The thoughtful reader will understand, from the clear explanation in the story, how the simplest thing can turn things around. I promise readers a clear logical story and no smoke and mirrors. That is what makes this story so compelling.

Indie Author Spotlight – Jack Geurts “The Fire And The Forge”

I find him to be the most sympathetic and empathetic character in the book, a man who has done terrible things and who is trying desperately to forget, or redeem himself if he can. I know this probably isn’t how a lot of other writers do it, but when I envision a character, I’ll usually think of the actor I imagine playing them in the movie. It might be a hold-over from when I was studying screenplays before I turned to writing novels, but I always imagined Andre Braugher in the role. He has this careful deliberation and gravitas about him, a quiet power. Very eloquent, enunciating every syllable.

“Espionage London” John Day #BookReview

In "Espionage London", John Day delivers a fast paced thriller that may as well be glued to your hands as you read. Prepare yourself for a wild ride accompanied by German spy's with steel resolve. As the four spy's face trial after trial, their plight will capture your imagination, your heart and get your adrenaline pumping. It's not every day that you find yourself cheering on the bad guys.

WW2 Thriller “Espionage London” John Day

By late 1943, Hitler desperately needed a secret weapon to win WW2. Engineer & master spy Karl Strom devised a simple device that would bring Britain to its knees over night.    This character driven story of intrigue and guile, love and revenge, tells of the suicide mission undertaken by 4 German spies. It will transport you back in time to the Channel Island of Alderney where they prepared and to the back streets of London, where they struggle to survive.  Timing is everything in war, and a cruel twist of fate changes history.  A super-intense John Day Thriller.

“Starry Messenger” Ethan Howard #BookReview

In "Starry Messenger", our world among many others is but a puppet on the strings of the 'Collective', the Degans and the God of all God's, Yar. Quentin awakens and is directed by the Synod to observe Earth's status. Why haven't the humans conquered the stars? For centuries humans have been given a leg up and it seems to all be for naught. Quentin's meetings with others like him leave him reeling in his convictions. What exactly is the end game for the Synod and is the way of Yar all Quentin had believed it to be? Will the chance meeting of a human woman and her son change everything for Quentin?  

“Starry Messenger” Ethan Howard – Book Spotlight

Good vs. evil. Two sides of the same coin deadlocked for centuries. A victor in this ultimate struggle has finally emerged on Earth. Or so it seems. In 2018, mankind has been seduced by the promise of paradise. For most, life is good and even better days remain ahead. Unknown to the population at large, the third and final great evil has absolute authority over the world’s economy, politics, religion and media.

“The Fire And The Forge” Jack Geurts – Book Review

Geurts delivers a compelling tale of the reluctant orphan who finds himself to be more than he could ever have imagined. Imharak's place in the world is so much more than the sum of his bloodline. Finding himself in the midst of invasion, Imharak must discover which side of himself to align with. Will he be the conqueror or the conquered? 

“The Fire And The Forge” Jack Geurts – Book Spotlight

Would you rather be the conquered or the conqueror?         In a world where gods pull the strings of mortals and people wield the power of the elements, the nation of Libera is attacked by its age-old enemy, the Kem, who lay waste to the land and its armies with their demonic powers of fire and steel.

Kids Book Review “The Nest” Kenneth Oppel

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

Great Kids Books For Cheap!

As a single income family with two children, it's sometimes hard to find the money to get my kids the books I'd like them to have. We have blown through the better part of our local library and really need some new material. I know I'm not the only one trying to raise readers out there so here's a list of affordable books just for kids.

Age Appropriate Censoring Is Not The Same As Banning.

When you ban a book or a movie or a song, what you're really doing is taking away your kids ability to have empathy for another. You're taking away the chance that they will see another person as another person and not buy into some nonsensical stereotype. You're taking away the chance to build self esteem in your kid and you're taking away a chance for them to find who they are in the safety of a parent relationship.  So, think about it before you swing that ban hammer. The consequences could be more than you bargained for.

#BookSpotlight “When Wolf Comes” John Pappas

“When Wolf Comes” is well researched. Time and again I found myself lost in time and imagining the beauty of the northwest. The wonder of it’s people and their means of survival. I haven’t read much into this time period or the tribes that inhabited the northwest but Pappas leads the reader expertly through the complexities of both it’s cultural and natural wonders.

“The Liar” Nora Roberts

The book opens with Shelby's abrupt drop into widowhood and the realization that her now dead husband deceived her in almost everything.  Crushed by millions of dollars worth of debt Shelby gets clever. She takes stock of the fancy home with it's ugly expensive furniture and begins to sell it all off. This brings further realizations of her late husbands lying which is a reoccurring theme throughout the book. The guy really was a total douchebag.

Book Review “Seduced By Moonlight” Laurell K. Hamilton

I guess you could say that Hamilton is one of my guilty pleasure authors. She's the exception to my no erotica rule and it's solely based on the fact that the characters and the worlds she creates are unlike any other in their uniqueness and creativity. She's a master at what she writes and every single book I've read from her captures my imagination completely and holds me long after I've read the last page and closed the book. She's one of the few authors whose books invade even my dreams.

Remembering 9-11

I sat in the midst of all that hate and thought of the people in those buildings. I thought of the people that were in those planes. I thought of how each person must feel while faced with their death. I thought of the horror of choosing to burn or jump. I watched as people did jump and I imagined the feel of their last seconds. The sight of the ground as they fell closer to it.  About the time people were jumping from the buildings my teacher turned off the TV. When she turned around I was the only one not yelling. I was the only one not balling my eyes out. I had silent tears down my face as she looked at me. She and I locked eyes. I could see the anger in hers. I could see that she agreed with the others that war was needed. I stared at her until she looked away. 

Streaming Services – I’m not paying for 20 of them!

I know you're thinking that people will want to see your movies so bad that they will just give in and pay for it. Nope. That's assuming that the money is there to do that with. Which it isn't. I'm not the only broke lady either. There's millions of us and none of us have the time or money for this nonsense.  I'll keep my Netflix. I'll sign up for your stupid free subscription and then I'll cancel the heck out of every single one of your stupid services before you can get a dime out of me. Seems the only power the little people like me have is with our dollar. You won't be getting mine. 

“When Wolf Comes” John Pappas

Historical adventure, 1801. A survivor from an attack on a trade ship is sold as a slave to the Makah tribe of the Northwest Washington Coast. In a beautiful hostile land of people with strange spiritual ways he will become teacher and student, find friendship and even love, and realize escape comes in many guises, and survival is not always as simple as saving your own life.

“Emotive” Kevin Laymon

Sam will boggle your mind. He's a total psycho, of that I have no doubt, but he also has one glimpse of remorse for poor Linus. I had a bit of hope for our little K9 hero but that hope was quickly dashed when Sam fell deeper into his obsession and paranoia. It was hard to see Sam discard Linus from his affection. It was hard to see Linus' basic needs not be met and realize how animals must feel when us humans don't make them a priority. When we forget to feed them on time or their water bowl doesn't get refilled or we make them wait hours and hours on end before we let them out to potty. It was eye opening to see how emotionally devastating it is to animal kind to be at the absolute mercy of someone else's compassion......or lack there of.

Samuel L. Catson & Making Friends

We took Mason to one of our local parks and he found some kids close to his age (almost 4) to run around with. I was thankful he found some buddies but was quickly reminded why we don't often go to the public parks. The kids he was playing with weren't there for 30 minutes when their mom rounded them up to leave thanks for that jerkhole.

“Emotive” Kevin Laymon – Book Spotlight

Emotive is a tale of life, love, compassion, and the pursuit of happiness as told through the eyes of the story's narrator, Linus. Linus is a puppy living in a small city located in the rolling hillsides of upstate New York. When the abnormalities of his owner Sam are all he knows since birth, he gains a perspective of unyielding acceptance and love towards the man who feeds him, takes him to the park, and murders women in his basement.

Nasty Comments & Crazy People

 I got one the other day on my post about Oklahoma Turnpikes from forever ago (way to creep my page weirdo) that called me a bitch and told me if I didn't like how things worked I should start 'slaughtering politicians'...... Uhm.... holy shit this guy has lost his fucking mind Wow that guy is unhinged. I do not now or ever suggest that anyone "slaughters" anyone else....ever. He went from 0 to ape shit immediately.  Calm the heck down bro! Take a chill pill ( do people still say that?).

Book Review “Fox In The City” Daniel Cabrera

Tom meets Nora and she changes his life. Nora is a beautiful character and I loved everything about her. She was wise beyond her years and incredibly kind for all she had been through. It takes a special person to rise above hardship and thrive. Nora thrives and lightens the path of all around her. Her brutal honesty keeps Tom on his toes and gives him a thread to hold when all starts falling apart.

Book Spotlight – “Fox In The City” Daniel Cabrera

This is the story of a fox–a fox named Tom. A fox who couldn’t in his wildest dreams imagine what it would be like to stand up on two. To behold and experience all the wonders of the world of man. The lights that light up the ground: The hum of the engines that roar and the fervor that engulfs everyone in the impassioned pursuit of happiness. Could he understand that the most amazing part is not in what we built?

“Naveed – Through My Eyes” John Heffernan

After a bomb took away his father and severely injured his sister, Naveed's family lives in a hovel and their situation is precarious. The land lord is a bad man who has even worse friends and cares for no one but himself. He sets his eyes on Naveed's mother and I held my breath with worry about Naveed's family and how or if they would find a way out of that nasty man's reach.

“The Betrayal of KA” – Book Spotlight

A girl in a temple in Thailand. A boy kidnapped in Mexico. Both can do the impossible. Both can move objects with their minds. These two Transprophetics pose grave risks to the Donovackia Corporation as it plans its invasion of Earth. With a blade in his hand, Ka’s decision to kill, or not, will reverberate across the galaxy.

“Double Dealing In Dubuque” Dean Klinkenberg

Writer Frank Dodge is feeling optimistic for a change. He just landed a plum assignment from a national magazine to write about the growth of boutique food in the Midwest. Dodge's mood quickly turns sour, though, when his scheming rival Helen shows up--is she trying to steal another story from him? When a fire erupts at the food convention Dodge is scouting out, two people die and Dodge can't shake the feeling that the fire was no accident.

Books That Matter

When I was growing up war was just the way things were. No one took the time to explain to me that there were other ways to handle attacks from other countries. I remember sitting in my classroom in middle school as the Twin Towers were hit by those planes. We watched the people jumping from the buildings on our tiny bulbous screen hung in the top corner of our classroom. About the time my teacher realized that people were jumping to their death in front of a class of children she turned the TV off. 

Dystopian Novel Societies & Their Impact

Dystopian novels are super popular and I know I'm not the only one who has given serious thought to how crappy existing in one of those societies would be. Dystopian novels burrow deep into our psych and give us way more than just entertainment. This genre has a power that most others just don't. Novels like "The Handmaid's Tale" influence politics and it's symbols have been used in many a protest in an effort to protect women's rights.

“That Book I Wrote About Me” Sarah Buchanan

My favorite thing about Fiona is her golden heart. Those she loves, she loves hard. Ex-husbands, ex-step daughters….everyone. She genuinely gives a crap about their lives. Even when, by all rights she could walk away completely. She’s that ex that becomes the friend that made you fall in love with her to begin with.

“Growth and Change are Highly Overrated” by Tom Starita

Starita's writing is introspective and thought provoking at times and others a bit long winded. I enjoyed the introspection but at times there was so much of it that I found myself annoyed and side tracked from the meat of the story. My advice is to cut down on some of Lucas James' rants and avoid drawing your reader so far from the core story.

“That Book I Wrote About Me” Sarah Buchanan

What Fiona doesn’t anticipate is long-buried family secrets revealing themselves and threatening to upend her newfound momentum. As she struggles to make sense of revelations about the life she thought she knew, Fiona will find that the past often shows up in the present in very unexpected ways, and that, try as she might, she’s not exempt from the 215-year-old Lakeview tradition of long-forgotten secrets coming to light in spectacular fashion.

“That Book I Wrote About Me” by Sarah Buchanan

After three ex-husbands, two successful novels, and one disastrous book she’d rather forget ever having written, Fiona Fields has hit a wall. Days once filled with critics gushing over her latest masterpiece have given way to endless hours spent lying on her living room floor in Lakeview Valley, the tiny North Carolina mountain town of her youth, and staring at her ceiling. 

Indie Author Spotlight – Tracey Brame

I hope every American regardless of political affiliation  reads the book to understand that the tactics of the modern Ku Klux Klan being carried out against modern citizens under the nose of society. I hope women read it twice since they are the greatest target.

Why should you read book reviews?

For most of us deep in the trenches of the book world this kind of question has a pretty obvious answer. Our books are our lives and we live and breath each part of every story. We well know that each person's reading experience is unique and having an intimate view of our favorite stories from all angles is what dreams are made of.

“The Breeders” Katie French

I think this theme is so popular in our society because for hundreds of years that's the meat of how women are seen. Take a long look at some of the fundamentalist cults America houses. Women are tightly controlled. Their lives rigidly regulated. Sex is merely pleasure for a man and something to endure for women. In this world, the breeders are there for just that. To breed women. Think puppy mill....only with humans and the cages are a bit fancier.....until they aren't.

Undeterred “KKK Witness, KKK Target” Tracey Brame

Brame does not hold back and thoroughly depicts each situation in detail. This is a memoir and her story is deeply troubling and upsetting. While I fully support her endeavor to bring these issues to the fore-front of society, I want those of you who aren't ready to face this kind of trigger to have the chance to back away. That said, I think Brame is an incredible woman. Her bravery knows no bounds and her steel determination is awe inspiring. I am in complete awe of this woman and all she has rose above. Brame's story is gruesome and disturbing. However, her story is one that should be told to everyone. We should all see humanity in all it's forms.

David Smith – Behind every great love is an epic story waiting to be told.

Letters to Strabo is therefore both a love story and a coming-of-age tale, set in the late 1970s that takes the form of a fictional odyssey recorded with disarming honesty by my protagonist, an innocent young American writer called Finn Black. His adventures, both funny and evocative, follow closely the itinerary taken by Twain on his own périplus around the Mediterranean a century earlier and are structured around the seventeen chapters of Strabo’s great work. The amazing places Finn visits, the art and cultures he comes across and most importantly the people he meets are faithfully described by him for Eve, the Olana archivist, now his long-distance pen-pal. Eve’s replies, her Letters to Strabo as she calls them, however, not only reveal to Finn her own hopes and dreams but increasingly disturbing glimpses of a tragic past; a past that echoes that of Twain’s two daughters.

Book Review “Lives of the Spirits” John Pappas

Pappas did amazing research for this book and it's clear he wove history and fiction as close to as real as he could get. When I read novels like this, it's important to me that the author stays close to what that time period was really like. I want to time travel to that time with your words. I want the people to look and act like they really would have. Pappas did an outstanding job. I came away feeling like I learned a lot and that's exactly what I wanted.