Review “Matt Jackson, Catcher” Jean Joachim

Matt Jackson, clutch hitter, fielder extraordinaire, and team captain, is dynamite on the baseball field, but a loser with women. Or is he? He makes a show of coming on to chicks in bars, but always strikes out. Convinced being dateless is safer, Matt keeps his distance from women. Is he simply an insensitive chauvinist, or a crafty man hiding a secret?
Everything he believes in is challenged the day he walks in on a beautiful woman in the locker room. Dusty, the sharp-tongued spitfire, cuts the all-star pro down to size. Unwilling to accept second-class status, she challenges everything he knows about women.
Does a solo life make living with emotional pain easier? Drawn to the stunning, talented woman, Matt has a long way to go to win her trust. Getting close to Dusty is dangerous. Can he risk his well-protected heart? Matt faces a difficult choice — will he make the right decision?

Matt Jackson Catcher Cover

Amazon Buy Button

“Matt Jackson, Catcher” is the second in the “Bottom of the Ninth” series. I recently reviewed “Dan Alexander, Pitcher” and was elated to continue the series. I actually included the first book in my list of favorite romances so I guess you could say I went into reading this one with some pretty high expectations. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. If anything, I was blown off my feet.

This book delves deeper into who the characters are than I felt the first book in the series did. The romance, while present, is more a component of the story than the whole story. Matt Jackson is a man whose life has been fraught with disaster and heartache. He’s well guarded and for good reason. I found myself increasingly intrigued the more I read. The mystery of Matt Jackson is it’s own seduction. He’s so real in my mind I have to continually remind myself he’s just a character from a really good book.

Normally, as a reader I have a bit of a disconnect from the story. With Matt, cracking open each new layer of his life broke that disconnect further and further until emotionally, I was fully vested in this story. 

While Dusty is an interesting character, it’s Matt who really steals the show. The summary leads one to think the story is more about Dusty than I felt it really was. After reading, I don’t feel like I know her as well as I should. I feel like this story is more a focus on Matt than her and would like to see her character fleshed out a bit more. I also felt like their relationship could use to be fleshed out a bit more too. I love that she was there for him but there were a few moments that I felt should of been more emotionally charged and didn’t come across that way. If there is anywhere in this story I would advise needs work, that would be it. I felt it for Matt but not so much for Dusty. It left a bad taste in my mouth for her.

I loved seeing this side of Joachim’s writing. I truly feel like Matt’s character is one I will not soon forget. There is a scene in the book where his worst fear is almost completely realized. I was there with him as the rain pelted his skin and the lights from the emergency vehicles painted his skin with red and blue. I felt his fear. I felt his dread.  I could feel the fear ball up in my chest as each word flew past my eyes and painted pictures in my mind. My heart raced with anticipation of what he would find. It was captivating. 

This is really two love stories in one. It’s Matt and Dusty, but it’s also Matt’s story of redemption and forgiveness. I would love to see more of Matt and Dusty. This series has caught me in it’s web and I will definitely be continuing with the next book!

What a ride!

5 stars!

5 stars

Amazon Buy Button

The Technical Data:

Title: Matt Jackson, Catcher | Series: Bottom of the Ninth  |  Author(s): Jean C. Joachim  |Publisher: Moonlight Books  / Publication Date: 12-22-2016 |Pages: 232 (Print) | ISBN:  B01NBL34Q5 |Genre(s): Romance / Sports |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 2-28-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

Matt Jackson Catcher Cover

Book Spotlight “The Lord of Salamander” T. H. Alexander

After living his entire life in a world short on magic at the hands of his two misanthropic aunts in a tedious and forever dusty town called Buckwood, thirteen-year-old Elijah Pendleton’s life begins to unravel when he rescues a sleek black cat from a tree that just so happens to mysteriously appear and then disappear in his yard one day. After convincing himself that he must have imagined it, the black cat inexplicably returns, and eventually, Elijah decides to investigate the address printed on the cat’s collar. 

      The cat’s owner is a kind, self-proclaimed psychic named Aura Dearborn, who seems to know far more about Elijah than Elijah does about himself. Over lunch, she quickly spins a tale for him about his lost parents, a legendary prophecy of the Enchanters, and a land called Salamander: a land, she says, “for people like us”. This information leads Elijah to embark on a journey to the Mythic Realms: a place of wonder and fear, good and evil, magic and mystery. But the revelation that he is both the heir to extraordinary powers and the hope of a generation is his greatest surprise–one Elijah may not be prepared to face. As he crosses dangerous lands, encounters ferocious beasts, and entangles himself in mythical hazards along the way, Elijah will accumulate allies, hone his skills, and race against the clock to end the land’s decade-long reign of darkness and fulfill his destiny: to inherit his throne and become the succeeding ruler of Salamander–the Lord of Salamander.
The Lord of Salamander Cover
Amazon Buy Button
birds banner

Keep an eye out for our review of “The Lord of Salamander”!

 

 

Can Reading Make You More Empathetic?

According to Neuroscience….yes it can. I recently came across an article on “Psychology Today” that explored this very subject. I’ve often said that reading has incredible benefits to society and science backs me up on that assessment.

When I read, I’m transported to the mind of the character. I’m in the story. I’m wielding a battle axe or sipping from a chalice while surveying my kingdom. I’m running from a hit-man or twirling in my ballgown at the coronation. I am the character and the character is me. My brain learns from these characters trials and triumphs. I gain from their experiences and each life I live adds to the mix that is me.

From the article:

“Neuroscientists mapping the brain have discovered that reading fiction taps into the same brain networks as real life experience. When you are engaged in reading a fictional story your brain is literally living vicariously through the characters at a neurobiological level.”

The article also touches on the “Theory of Mind” and how even fiction improves it. If you’re not familiar with this term it’s “the ability to attribute mental states — beliefs, intents, desires, pretending,knowledge, etc. — to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own.”

In my own experiences, I have found that those who have came into my life as readers were typically more understanding and had a global view of the world and it’s problems while those who were not readers were more isolationist. 

In my own life, I read often to my children and will continue to do so. I hope that you will consider reading more too.

Quote credit goes to “Psychology Today”. The article I’ve referenced is below.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201412/can-reading-fictional-story-make-you-more-empathetic

Book Quote 1

 

Spotlight On Romance!

Sparking Heart

Hello fellow book junkies! Today I would like to spotlight one of my favorite genres. Romance is a popular genre all around but I think people seek it out for different reasons. Some are a sucker for a good love story. Some, like me, probably love it for its reliably good endings and some of us….well, some of us are probably in it for the steamy sections. 

Romance, for me, is another way that I can live vicariously through another. That’s why I read anything. Even non-fic. I want to open my eyes as another. See worlds and people in a different light. Literature, in all its forms, helps people build a world view of events or cultures. 

The following list is a small selection of stories that I find myself re-reading for different reasons that I will highlight under each selection. Some of these books are not straight romance and that’s okay because life doesn’t fit neatly into one genre. 

The shadow Of The Lynx Cover

Amazon Buy Button

 I found this book for 5 cents at a garage sale when I was only 18. The complexity of the characters is what has me going back again and again. I love how well researched this book is and the quality of the writing is amazing. Holt explores love and it’s intricacies while drawing the reader into multiple different viewpoints of the same events. When I want to get lost in another time, this is one of my favorite worlds to live in.

dan-alexander-pitcher-cover

Amazon Buy Button

This is a new addition to my repertoire. I love how the characters come together and the story is multi-faceted. Dan is one of my all time favorite good ol’ boys and I found that Holly complemented him very well. 

 The Host Cover

Amazon Buy Button

“The Host” is a perfect blend of sci-fi, survival and romance. I find myself going back to this story again and again due to it’s ability to squirm right into my imagination and transport me almost immediately to another life…or lives I should say. It’s authenticity is striking and it’s characters unforgettable. 

Emma Cover

Amazon Buy Button

Jane Austen’s stories will now and forever hold a place in my heart but Emma, Emma will forever and always be my all time most favorite book. I first read this book when I was a younger teen and the transformation of Austen’s characters was the catalyst that changed my perception of people in all walks of life.

The Mine Cover

Amazon Buy Button

This book is a bit of everything but it’s love story is special to my heart. Who doesn’t love a story where the bond between lovers transcends through time and nothing will stop the power of their love. 

I hope that you enjoyed my selections. If you’ve read any of the books I’ve listed I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Book Review “Ribbonworld” Richard Dee

Miles Goram has a problem. All the down-on-his-luck journalist planned on doing was writing a hotel review and now there’s a body in his bathroom. Far from home on a strange planet, Miles must deal with the fact that somebody wants him dead.
Welcome to Reevis, a planet without days or nights where life is only possible under a vast pressure dome. It is on this airless wasteland that Miles finds himself caught up in a mystery involving a huge interplanetary corporation, a powerful man and his ambitious PA, and a beautiful young heiress who has been missing for years.

Crossing the galaxy in search of answers, Miles begins to uncover a web of deceit that stretches further than anyone could have imagined. With his life becoming at greater and greater risk, he realizes that there is no one he can trust. Will he discover the truth and finally come to terms with his past? And, if he does, will it be enough to save his future…?

ribbonworld-cover

Amazon Buy Button

“Ribbonworld” is one of those books that is easy to relate to. You wouldn’t initially think so since it’s based on a fictional settlement but it’s themes are comparable to current day.

The pace is fast and Miles finds himself right in the middle of a conflict that goes far deeper than a hotel review. At first, Reevis’ dome and people feel claustrophobic and Miles is ping ponged between different factions without having a clear view of who has motives, what they are and what his role is in them. What a convoluted mess! 

After some time the picture is less blurry and the allure of this planet of extremes starts to wiggle its way into Miles’ psyche.  The planet descriptions are one of my most favorite aspects of this book. I was transfixed with the beauty of it all. Mr Dee enraptures the reader with his poetic descriptions and the pictures he painted swirled in my mind deepening the stories impact as I read. 

This is a story of intrigue and the relationship between a powerful company with little oversight and the people who built it. This is a look into what can happen when money is more important than people and integrity is an afterthought for the greedy. This is a story that transcends these pages and is eerily similar to the past, present and probably the future. 

Solid 5 stars.

5 stars

Amazon Buy Button

The Technical Data:

Title: Ribbonworld | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): Richard Dee  |Publisher: SilverWood Books  / Publication Date: 11-2-2015 |Pages: 201 (Print) | ISBN:B016N4YAI4 |Genre(s): Science Fiction / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense  |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 2-8-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

Book Review “The Junkyard Capital”Jak Locke

Senator Aphid only wanted to improve his country, though after four years in the District of Laws he really should have known better. He’s removed from office and soon grudgingly finds himself paired with Frog Dell, the reckless and self-indulgent hermit of the junkyard. As the two evade the wrath of a government run amok with corruption, dissension spreads through the public, and conspiracy reigns. What role does psychiatrist and part-time inventor Weasel McKenzie play in the upcoming Archministry election? How does front-runner candidate and acclaimed playwright J. Thomas Capra plan to fix the broken nation? Who’s being stalked by merciless bounty hunter Jack Dingo? Why is Dead Fish wandering an empty version of the world? The pressure escalates quickly in this twisting, zany, fast-paced and subversive satire that, like real politics, requires (and prefers) absolutely no prior political knowledge. NOTE: This book is the heavily revised second edition of the now out-of-print book Frog Dell’s Junkyard.

the-junkyard-capital-cover

Amazon Buy Button

I’d like to start this review with sharing some of my favorite passages of this book. “The Junkyard Capital” is one of those books that you could basically highlight from cover to cover. It’s probably the most quotable fiction novel I’ve read in awhile. I hope you enjoy the few I’ve selected for you.

“Well that’s a bit rude, but then again, genius is never understood by the layman, so why the lawman?” 

“I’d be interested in your package that includes just leaving me be, that was nice. How much is that? Is that a thing we can do?”

“Ahh Good, more like Ahh Stop. Have you considered working in corrections?”

“What kind of person thinks to run to be Archminister? The idealistic fool, the strict careerist, and the sinister. In short, the only sorts the job description’s not revolted, are unqualified to do it or the type that shouldn’t hold it.”

“All must awaken eventually; for even the sweetest dream is just that”

“The Junkyard Capital” begins by dropping the reader right into the mind of a few characters that really appear to be way off their rocker. Have you ever heard the saying “He/she has the attention span of a nat”? There’s a couple characters in here that definitely fit the bill. 

Just as I was about 40% into the book, a lot of things started to come together in really unexpected and very clever ways. Once you get passed the  assumed madness of their minds and the full picture comes into view, I promise it will all make sense and will blow your mind. I especially enjoyed the “News Debate” sections. There’s a lot going on and the updates help to keep events in order without boring the reader by rehashing the whole ordeal. Very clever strategy from Locke.

While “The Junkyard Capital” is definitely a fictional story, it was also eerily similar to current events. I’ll admit there was more than once that I looked up from the pages and pondered the similarity.

The ending completely blew my mind. Like, total head explosion. I did a double take and yelled WHHHAAATT???? at my Kindle. My whole family whipped their heads around and eyed me like I had lost my mind. Which I did because it’s rare I don’t catch onto the climax before it happens. Well done Locke, well done.

I even reread a good portion of the book to see if I could catch it and even knowing whats to come, I still couldn’t see it. It amazes me that this is Locke’s first novel. It’s incredibly well staged and boy has he set the bar high! 

One thing Locke has excelled at with this story is his complex character building. Locke also impressed me with his writing ability to “show” the reader instead of “tell” the reader. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and I was duly impressed with Locke’s skill. This book is cleverly crafted and masterfully written. I am absolutely blown away! For lovers of politics and all it’s intricacies, this is definitely the book for you.

Solid 5 stars!

5 stars

Amazon Buy Button

The Technical Data:

Title: The Junkyard Capital | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): Jak Locke  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services  / Publication Date: 2-1-2017 |Pages: 200 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1542836135  |Genre(s): Political Satire / Fiction  |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 2-25-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

jak-locke-author-pic

Jak Locke is an entertainer, filmmaker, and programmer obsessed with exploring every form of expression. The Junkyard Capital is his first book and gives his degree in political science some relevance to his life for once. He is a lifelong New Orleans area resident.