Review of One by One by Robert Germaux

The Check Mark killer is on the loose in Pittsburgh and Detective Daniel Hayes and his SAS team members are struggling to crack the case. The victims don’t appear to have anything in common other than the mysterious check mark messages left near the bodies, but the SAS team’s investigation is determined to find the killer before his next Friday killing day rolls around.

This is the second Daniel Hayes book I’ve read by Robert Germaux, having read Small Talk, which I loved. I was certainly not disappointed with One by One. This is another suspenseful, tasteful detective novel – no gratuitous sex or swearing here – just the way I like my detective novels.

I loved that the SAS team works so well together to solve the Check Mark killings. There’s none of that one-upmanship or friction among team members, which I find often bogs down other detective novels. The SAS members all have jobs to do and they do it well by working together.

As in Germaux’s other novels, his protagonist is quite the romantic. Daniel Hayes is an all around nice guy who treats everyone with respect and compassion – in other words, he’s an extremely likeable guy. I did find his love interest, Lauren, to be ever so slightly conceited, but it certainly didn’t ruin the story for me.

I’m happy that Robert Germaux is continuing to write his Daniel Hayes detective novels. I’m looking forward to the third book in the series. I highly recommend One by One!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of Never Ever by Gita V. Reddy

Never Ever opens with one simple line: “‘Maybe we should get a divorce,’” Raj said, as Divya looked away.” The sentence is so shocking and unexpected and even Raj himself is surprised by it. After a marriage filled with seething, yet restrained anger and resentment, Raj finally has the courage to say aloud what he’s been thinking for some time.

After reading and loving several of Gita Reddy’s children’s books, I decided to download and try one of her “adult” books. I was not disappointed. Ms. Getty proves that she can certainly stretch herself as an author. Expressing herself in this new genre proves to be successful for her, which is the sign of a wonderful writer!

Never Ever is a short story filled with heartfelt emotion and likable characters. It’s written sensitively and thoughtfully. I would definitely read more of Gita’s books for adults, since I enjoyed this one so much!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

 

Review of The Little Yarnmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton

Evan Peregrine lives with his Uncle Cedric on tiny Little Yarnmouth island, population thirty-something, and takes his boat to school in Middle Langton each school day. Bully and over privileged Barry Potts is a constant thorn in Evan’s side and, when he and Evan are forced to spend an afternoon in detention together, Evan suddenly finds himself a murder suspect.

When I began reading this book I had no idea what was to come. The Little Yarnmouth begins like a somewhat typical story of an outcast, trying to get through life and unfolds into a truly imaginative tale that includes a host of interesting characters and tons of adventure.

The author’s writing is intelligent and engaging. I certainly don’t think this book is just for kids. Adults will enjoy it as well. Although the main character is only twelve, the book isn’t written in an immature voice. This is a wonderful, original dystopian adventure!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of Low Carb: 100 International Recipes by Craig Miller

I decided to put myself on a low carb diet several months ago after experiencing a variety of health issues. The results have been drastic. This book hits the nail on the head right from the start, in the intro. A low carb diet will definitely:

  • Increase Your Energy
  • Kickstart Your Weight Loss
  • Lower Blood Sugar Levels
  • Curb Your Appetite
  • Lower Bad Cholesterol

I can state that these claims are 100% true. I’ve seen a significant improvement in my overall health.

There’s also a nice mix of additional information at the beginning of the book.

As the intro states, the book is divided into four parts:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks

The recipes are incredibly detailed and specific, with prep time, cook time and nutritional value listed for each recipe. I found this extremely valuable when preparing the recipes.

This is a wonderful book to use as an introductory guide to eating a low carb diet, but it’s also beneficial for anyone who has been on a low carb diet for a while. Recommended!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of Alyssa and Dalton by Laurel Veil

High school senior Alyssa hasn’t had an easy life. Her dad died in a car accident, her sister ran away and now her mom has lost her battle with breast cancer. All Alyssa wants now is to avoid a persistent child service’s caseworker so she can graduate high school and go to college. When she meets Dalton, Alyssa realizes just how lonely her solitary life has become.

Meanwhile, Dalton is dealing with problems of his own. His mother is an abusive and raging drunk who kicks Dalton out on the street. Despite this, Dalton remains a sweet and kind young man. He quickly becomes smitten with Alyssa and the two begin a sweet, yet cautious relationship.

This was truly a beautiful read. It’s not often that I’m quickly pulled into a story plot, but Alyssa and Dalton had me hooked from the start.

The writing is sweet, yet absolutely genuine and I couldn’t help not falling in love with these characters. Both Alyssa’s and Dalton’s backstories tugged at my heartstrings. I was invested immediately in the well-being of them both. Again…this doesn’t often happen to me.

Not only is there CLEAN teen romance in this book, there’s a bit of suspense and intrigue woven in as well. I found the subplot thoroughly engaging.

The story of Alyssa and Dalton is clearly not yet over. There are plenty of possibilities for a book series here, but this particular book is definitely NOT a cliffhanger. Kudos to Laurel Veil…she’s done an excellent job creating two wonderfully multi-layered characters and I’ll be looking for more from them in the future.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of Sand-Witch on Rye by Molly Dox

 

Katamara Wilson, aka Katy, is a not-so-typical wife living on the border of Not-So-Normal Town. Katy is a witch who is married to a “Normal”. Katy’s husband Chip is Not-So-Normal’s Police Chief and, together, they have a pretty ordinary married life…that is until the snooty Miss Priss is murdered in the ladies room at the local bowling alley and Katy becomes a suspect.

Sand-Witch on Rye is a super quick, entertaining read. The subtitle is accurate – this is most definitely a cozy mystery. No swearing, no gore and no sex. Just good, clean fun.

The author’s writing is engaging…she leaves out all the fluff that some writers add just to pad what could have been a shorter book. Sand-Witch on Rye contains a clear beginning, interesting middle and a satisfactory ending – all in just 123 pages, which is what makes this such a great read.

Although this is Book 1, there are NO cliffhangers! Thank you, Molly Dox. You’ve given readers an excellent start to what will become a favorite book series and I don’t have to purchase the next book to see how Book 1 ends. Excellent!

I’ll be reading more from Ms. Dox. I’ve already put her on my list of favorite authors!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of The Mystery of Garabandal by LR Walker

In 1961, the Virgin Mary reportedly appeared to four young Spanish girls in the remote village of Garabandal. The visitations went on for four years, during which the Virgin Mary and the Archangel Michael were said to give the girls specific information to pass on to the world. The message was clear. Turn back to God (more specifically, that Russia should turn to God) or the world as we know it will be doomed.

Having grown up Catholic, I was familiar with the events in Fatima and again in Medjugorje in, but I was unfamiliar with the stories of the young girls in Garabandal. As I understand it, this is because Fatima and Medjugorje were church sanctioned, but the Catholic Church has chosen not to publicly approve Garabandal events as having been unequivocally divine in origin.

Regardless of whether the Catholic Church approves or disapproves, the author has compiled a great deal of compelling (and often terrifying) information for readers to contemplate in this book. The author ties all three events – Fatima, Medjugorje and Garabandal together by pointing to the numerous similarities in the messages received.

I appreciated that the author maintained a neutral view of Garabandal by presenting information journalistically so readers could make up their own minds. This was a wise choice, since I’ve always found that when it comes to “religious” views either you believe or you don’t. I believe that The Mystery of Garabandal is compelling enough to give true believers hope and strengthen their faith.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of Much to Do Before a Dog by Danny and Sheridan Blitz

The unique and adorable illustrations in this book caught my attention. Then, when I read that it’s based on a true story, I knew I had to grab it.

Koda is a little girl, who tells readers that, by the time she was five, she knew she was a dog whisperer. Koda wanted a dog and in order to convince her mom she learns how to relate to just about every dog she meets. When Koda finally gets the courage to ask her mom if she can have a dog, mother and daughter sit down to have a heart-to-heart talk about the responsibilities of owning pets.

Wow! I LOVED this book! There are so many wonderful things going on in this book – fantastic and eye-catching illustrations, a lovable main character, a patient and kind parent, the importance of adopting shelter animals and a truly valuable lesson for children.

As a mom, grandmother and early childhood educator, I can say that Much to Do Before a Dog is an excellent, educational book for children. In my opinion, this book will appeal to both boys and girls, as well as a wide variety of age groups. A wonderful read!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne

Boy, did I have a difficult time with this book. I tried, but I just couldn’t finish. I got about 1/3 of the way thru and finally gave up.

I didn’t like any of the book’s characters enough to care about them or care what happened to them. They just seemed like a couple of self-absorbed, rich, over-indulged girls. I definitely could not relate. In my opinion and in my reading experience, it’s difficult for a male author to write genuine dialogue for a teen/early twenties female character. This author just ended up reinforcing my opinion.

I found the author’s writing irritating and annoyingly flowery. Paragraphs and paragraphs of boring description certainly did not hold my attention. In fact, it nearly put me to sleep a few times.

I hate giving poor reviews. I really do. I actually bumped it up from my original one star, up to two stars. This might just be one of those books that readers either love or hate. It just wasn’t for me.

2 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of Mediterranean Diet by Matthew A. Bryant

This book begins by explaining what a Mediterranean diet is and then goes on to list the many benefits. The author dispels some of the myths associated with the Mediterranean diet too, while presenting information found in various studies.

I liked that the author has created a comprehensive list of essential items followers of a Mediterranean diet should keep on hand. This makes it super simple to add to grocery lists.

There are also plenty of additional tips and advice included in this book. The weekly diet plan includes plenty of simple recipes that use easy to find ingredients, which to me is extremely important. I dislike having to hunt down hard-to-find ingredients in order to follow a recipe!

This book is well worth the download and is currently FREE on Amazon!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton