Fiction Review: Patrick W. Carr’s “The Shattered Vigil”

Everyone has those authors – when someone asks you for a recommendation – they’re the top names to spill out of your mouth. When asked why you like them, you can try to name things like excellent style, plot, or characters, but it’s really all of those things, and yet none of them at once. It’s that otherness, that quality you can’t pin down, but that resonates so strongly with you. Most simply put, the way you read, they write. 

“The Shattered Vigil” has more of everything from the previous Darkwater Saga book – more world building, more character history, more twists. There is never a moment where the reader knows what is coming next, as nothing is ever revealed as you would think. This is edge-of-your-seat storytelling at it’s finest.

The story has so much going on, so many plot threads weaving and looping back on themselves, with each character getting their chance to carry the narrative. I really enjoyed that aspect, that through the individual adventures of each character, we begin to see just how vast the fight really is, and how it will impact their entire world, not just one kingdom, not just one story.

There is well-timed humor, deeply poignant moments, and pulse-racing-page-flipping action, all led by characters I don’t want to leave at the end of the work. In short, I crave the next installment!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

 

Fiction Review: Rita Stradling’s “Ensnared”

There are many, many re-tellings of the classic Beauty and the Beast plot. Few, that I have read, decide to do so in a futuristic setting with robots. Enter Mrs. Stradling’s novel “Ensnared”.

This work was not what I expected, and I mean that as high praise. Trying to describe this book as “Beauty and the Beast with Robots” is so inadequate to convey the layered and well-told story within. Leave your assumptions aside, for you will be surprised!

I have gone back and already re-read the book several times since I first received it. It’s easy to finish in a single afternoon, yet compelling enough to pick up again, especially when it comes to catching everything that happens toward the end. And boy, what an ending! It’s fantastic.

Additionally, I really enjoyed the three distinct settings we get throughout the book, and how each brings out Alainn’s past and personality in a different way, until we get a fully rounded character leading us through this great story.

In all, a fun read, and re-read, and re-read!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

 

Fiction Review: Le French Book – “Red-Handed in Romanée-Conti”

  

This is Cooker and Co. at their finest, matching those around them wit for wit, glass for glass.

As much as I enjoy following Benjamin and Virgile throughout this series, Elizabeth has grown to be my favorite character. Her interactions with “Beau-Papa”, as she calls Benjamin’s father, are some of the best scenes in this book. Readers really get to see the different facets to her in this work, and it is quite the treat.

This doesn’t mean that Cooker and Virgile’s adventures are taking it easy in the meantime, far from it! They’re embroiled in a case, a vineyard’s race against time, and simmering family intrigues. Readers must take a deep breath and try to keep up!

This particular book goes more into the wine process than the previous in the series, and really brings that side to life. From Virgile reminiscing about his grandmother and childhood memories – to Benjamin advising local winemakers using both old and new techniques – the authors’ love for this craft really shines through. It allows the reader to enjoy the story on a deeper level, something the authors find a new way to achieve every time.

Yet another stellar read!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review – Kate Parker’s “The Detecting Duchess”

This review is a stop on the Great Escapes Blog Tour for The Detecting Duchess.

 

I had the pleasure of reviewing a book by Ms. Parker last year, and was very excited to read another by this talented author. This is the final book in the Victorian Bookshop Mystery series, and while it stands alone very well, I look forward to going back and diving into the world of Georgia Fenchurch from the beginning!

Sleuths, get ready – there are dozens of suspects and clues to comb through – and each answer brings more questions. It’s quite the twisted tale to unravel, and we’re not even the one eight days from our wedding, as Georgia is!

Georgia and the group around her are incredibly fun characters to read. They are a solid, and capable team, with plenty of time for fun and laughter. Ms. Parker introduces a new member to the team, which allows new readers to get to know everyone, without dragging down the pace for older followers of the series. I enjoyed seeing how she worked that in.

Those looking for an exciting caper, that doesn’t let up until the last page, will greatly enjoy this book!

Fiction Review – TJ O’Connor’s “New Sins for Old Scores”

This review is a stop on the Great Escapes Blog Tour for New Sins for Old Scores.
You can also enter a raffle for the chance to win a kindle with Mr. O’Connor’s stories!

NEW SINS FOR OLD SCORES  TJ OConner

The art of misdirection.
This work is one of the finest I have read in pulling this off!

This book is jam-packed. You have two parallel stories, with their own sets of players, and then you have the third portion where they overlap. There is so much going on, so many things to keep track of – while this is definitely a page-turner, my advice is to take your time reading!

I would recommend any authors who are working with their own ensemble casts to learn from Mr. O’Connor’s example. I wasn’t quite at the point where I was diagramming character connections on a white board to keep up, but it came close. I would have loved to have watched Mr. O’Connor’s creation process – so many characters talking at once! – as in the final product all of them are well-rounded, with none lost in the background. And I admit, I hope to see hope to see more of Trick, Jax, Christie, and Finch (especially Finch) to come, perhaps. 

The story itself is a wonderfully crafted tale. The plots slowly weave into each other throughout the work, like puzzle pieces handed to you at the right time. You never feel something has been shoe-horned in to make everything work – there is solid methodical planning and delivery upon which everything else is built.

This is my first O’Connor book, and I’m definitely looking forward to more!

During the blog tour you can enter a raffle to win a Kindle loaded with books by TJ O’Connor at THIS LINK!

Tj O’CONNOR IS THE GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF THE 2015 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS (IPPY) FOR MYSTERIES. He is the author of New Sins for Old Scoreshttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=dollycsthoug-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=508448a07e6419d8e043bb9dc9691f8c&_cb=1499535411013, from Black Opal Books, and Dying to Knowhttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=dollycsthoug-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=f11dfed1644d4fa131648c3adc144c17&_cb=1499535434285Dying for the Pasthttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=dollycsthoug-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=2cd5073149ec3eb27dd794f930fffb31&_cb=1499535447248, and Dying to Tellhttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=dollycsthoug-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=58a8ee28798d2184b3e2e2afe8ea4d97&_cb=1499535471423His new thriller, The Consultant, will be out in May 2018 from Oceanview Publishing. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York’s Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying to Know is also the2015 Bronze Medal winner of the Reader’s Favorite Book Review Awards, a finalist for the Silver Falchion Best Books of 2014, and a finalist for the Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.

Learn about Tj’s world at:

Web Site    Facebook     Blog     Goodreads

Fiction Review: Roseanna M. White’s “A Lady Unrivaled”

Lady Unrivaled

Each book in the “Ladies of the Manor” series builds so well on the last, creating an engaging overarching tale. Yet, a reader can pick up any of the titles to start with and completely understand and enjoy the story within. I appreciate writing, and series, that allow for this.

Hope. The core of this work is how to hold to hope. Ella embodies this fully, and I love how the author completely captures how hope is not simply naivete, but indeed, requires deep strength and understanding. It is masterfully written.

The reader also gets to walk with the characters through my personal favorite, their stories of redemption. Catherine and Cayton are not yet the reformed paragons with troubled pasts that many stories contain, but are actively struggling and learning how to choose better paths. We get to see the gritty and rough edges, and it makes these characters real.

On top of all of that, we have a quick and twisting plot, full of back and forth subterfuge, counter-moves, and misdirects, until the final showdown. A fun read that will keep you turning the pages – this work is one I highly recommend!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher

Non-Fiction Review: Megan Hill’s “Praying Together”

praying-together praying-together-author

If you’re looking for a book that will move and convict you deeply, yet teach you with great skill – “Praying Together” is one of my highest recommendations, as Ms. Hill writes with passion, eloquence, and truth.

The overarching theme is that of praying in community, but the chapter lengths and study questions are great for personal study as well as group. There are many layers to unpack in each section, and working through it with others will allow you to unfold them all.

I really enjoyed all the historical and Biblical context Ms. Hill pulls in as she lays out each point for her reader. It gives the work greater depth, helping to stick with the reader throughout the day. I definitely can’t wait to go over these lessons with my children.

In short, your prayer lives will be changed.

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley