Review of The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood

William Brook is an ambitious, young clergyman seeking an adventurous life of helping people The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwoodfind their way around the world. Unfortunately, he is assigned a living in a small village where everyone knows everyone’s business, and the mothers are hungry to marry off their eligible daughters. William plans to keep his head down, do his job, and remain a bachelor until his miserable residency is up.

Cecilia Grant is an independent, free-spirited girl who is no hurry to be married off. Her mother, on the other hand, has other plans. She is adamant about finding Cecelia a suitor, and goes to great lengths in an attempt to secure a proposal for her. She knows her mother would view the new vicar as an unsuitable match, but there is something intoxicating about him. He is so brooding, and mysterious, and he begins to haunt her thoughts.

William Brook tries hard to not fall for Cecilia. He isn’t going to be sticking around for long, after all. He doesn’t have time to get involved with someone, even if he is being encouraged to marry someone from the village. However, he soon finds himself drawn into the lives of Cecilia and her best friend.

Dark secrets are revealed in the small village, including an event in William’s life that threatens to end his career for good. Will he be able to clear his name? Can he help Cecilia’s friend? Most of all, what is to be done about his feelings for her?

Reactions:

I absolutely adored this novel. It’s a beautiful, historical version of boy-meets-girl that manages to never fall into the dreaded classification of “cliché and predictable.” The narrative is wonderfully written, with exquisite attention to detail. Brentwood has a definite talent for showing, without telling too much.

I loved that Cecilia, while she is the heroine of the story, doesn’t lose her strong self-identity just because of romantic possibilities. She stays true to her personality, and even grows along the way. William does the same thing, possibly even to a larger extent. He was whiny and bitter at the beginning, but soon falls into his role with gusto. He definitely matures during his residency in the small village, and we clearly see that as the reader.

I’ve never been one to “fall” for a religious man, but William Brook is likely to get fans fluttering and cheeks flushing. Dare I say he’s a strong contender against the famous (and my literary love) Mr. Rochester?

Verdict:

There is no doubt about it, this is a 5 out of 5 star read. I’m greatly looking forward to the sequels, and highly recommend potential readers to grab a copy. It’s affordable, and completely worth the money.

Charlotte Brentwood writes beautiful historical romances of love everlasting.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Alexia Bullard

 

Review of Simon’s Splinter by James Fant

A lot of women want to meet and marry the man of their dreams. Aisha Elian is not one of those women – the man she wants to marry is far from the man of her dreams.Simon's Splinter by James Fant

Aisha met Graham five years ago, when he was a customer in the bookstore she owns. Unwaveringly spiritual, active-in-her-church, Aisha spent the entirety of the five years of their relationship telling herself that she did not mind that Graham wasn’t spiritual and did not want to go to church. She also spent the entirety telling herself that she didn’t mind that Graham never wanted to get married – until she realized she had been lying to herself.

Aisha’s family tells her and Graham about their family history, including the fact that they are descendants of Simon of Cyrene. They are in possession of a small piece of wood in a vial – what they believe to be a splinter pulled from Simon’s hand after he carried the cross for Jesus.

This splinter, when in possession of a descendant of Simon, is said to make the possessor’s dreams come true. Should she use it to influence Graham into marrying her, or is it wrong to do so? Aisha fights through her internal struggle, growing as both a person and a partner.

I am the opposite of a fan of religious fiction, but even I found this to be well written. At the beginning, that is. The first half of the story is engaging, and the writing had a great, steady pace. I was interested in the characters, and wanted to know how their relationship would play out. Shortly after the first half, it lost the narrative voice that I had so thoroughly enjoyed at the beginning. I found this to be disappointing, as the idea behind it has a lot of potential. I was looking at it as a “With great power comes great responsibility”, or “Be careful what you wish for” type of underlying message. It was intriguing, essentially amounting to an internal dilemma of whether or not to use a magical object for personal gain. It was far from horrible, but it was not as great as it had the potential to be.

4 out of 5 stars, Review by Alexia Bullard

Review of Workman’s Complication by Rich Leder


Workman’s Complication is a must read murder mystery! From the first word to the last I was truly entertained! I immediately fell in love with the main character, Kate McCall. Kate dedicated herself to acting when she was just in the seventh grade. Her acting was put on temporary hold when she became a teen mom. But through determination and hard work, Kate raised her son on her own. Between acting gigs she would do private investigator Workmans Complication by Rich Leder Book Cover Photowork, including surveillance, as well as odd jobs for her father’s private investigator business.

The fast-paced action takes off with the news of Kate’s father’s murder. Upon inheriting the private investigator’s business, Kate was willing to bury the past and the business along with her father. After all, she was an off-off-off-off Broadway actress.

Her plans were to dedicate her time acting, but once again, it didn’t quite work out as planned. Besides the investigation of her murdered father, Kate became involved in a case where a construction worker fell from scaffolding. She also jumped into an investigation of a multi-million dollar life insurance scam her father was investigating at the time of his murder. Kate was so overwhelmed with investigating and acting, she decided she needed help. After hiring her quirky friends from her apartment building and her zany actor friends, the story really took off.

I admired Kate. She kept me in suspense with her hilarious laugh-out-loud antics. Worker’s Complication is an entertaining fast-paced comical read! With so many scenarios going on, it was difficult to figure out who done it! I can’t wait to read author Rich Leder’s sequel! Kate is definitely my hero.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Monica McDaniel

Review of Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Acheron  is the fourteenth  book in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s exciting  paranormal Dark-Hunter World Series. 

Eleven thousand years ago, Greek Goddess Apollymi, took a knife to her body in an effortAcheron Cover Photo to save her son. The Fates had declared that her unborn child, Acheron, would become a powerful God and destroy the world.  After this proclamation was made, her husband demanded that their son be killed. To save Acheron, the Goddess cut him from her womb and secretly placed him within the womb of a human pregnant Queen.

Being the firstborn of a Queen, Acheron should have been a Prince, but because he had swirling silver eyes of a God, he was rejected. His twin brother Styxx became the Prince instead. The Goddess of desire, Epithymia, was present at Acheron’s birth and purposely touched him to doom him to a life of sexual servitude, instead of the fated greatness that was once proclaimed. At the age of seven, Acheron was sent to Atlantis and trained to be a male prostitute.

Acheron suffered brutal and unthinkable torture in Atlantis. He even gouged out his own eyes to disguise his uniqueness. But it was all in vain because his eyes only grew back again. When he met the Goddess Artemis, he kissed her, hoping that she would kill him. But his escape from pain and suffering was not to be. Artemis befriended him instead. Although, her friendship came with a high price. She would manipulate Acheron, tearing at his heart with cruel lies and betrayals. She didn’t know that one day he would become a powerful God and confront her. He didn’t know that either.

Acheron has always been my favorite character all throughout the entire Dark-Hunter series. He’s wise and gentle and tremendously powerful. The first half of this book is the story of his childhood. I must warn you though, it’s heartbreaking, and you’ll  probably need a tissue or two. It gives the reader an idea of how just much strength and high moral fiber it took to make up the God character, Acheron. Acheron used the torture that had been done to him as a child and developed compassion and empathy for those people and non-human entities that weren’t able to defend themselves against evil. It just makes me love him all the more.

Acheron does meet his match though, Dr. Tory Kafieri. She’s an archaeologist and human, and every bit as powerful as he is. Tory did what no one else in three thousand years could do.  She broke down all of Acheron’s nasty self-depreciating layers  and showed him love and acceptance; but not before she threw a hammer at his head for discrediting her in front of a room full of people.

This is not a book for the faint-hearted, but for Dark-Hunter fans it’s a must read. I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5 stars, Review by Peg Glover

 

Review of Otto Black by Alexandru Parvu

Otto Black: Through Old Lies and New Intrigue introduces readers to the heroic Otto Black,Otto Black by Alexandru Parvu the illegitimate son of the Duke of Roux who resides in the fantasy land of Latikon. This epic story outlines Otto’s trials and tribulations as he escapes from his kingdom, only to return in an attempt to take back the throne that he believes is rightfully his.

This captivating novel is set in an alternate universe, and though Otto’s planet shares similarities with Earth during the Middle Ages, Parvu’s fantasy world allows readers to escape into a new, intriguing realm, where characters speak with an otherworldly dialect and follow the governmental laws of the Wes Lands.

Readers will enjoy the book’s suspense as they eagerly turn from one page to the next. The dialogue is expressive and compelling, and the imagery is pleasantly descriptive; Parvu unfolds a gripping story, full of mystery and spellbinding intrigue. The plot is detailed, yet easy to follow, and the heroic Otto is a relatable, admirable character.

This book is a great choice for fantasy enthusiasts. Otto Black: Through Old Lies and New Intrigue is the first book in its series, and I am definitely looking forward to reading Alexandru Parvu’s sequel.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Hal Marshall

 

Review of Open Season by Linda Howard


Open Season by Linda Howard is a funny, romantic mystery about a librarian who, on her thirty-fourth birthday, decided that her life needed a drastic change. She was no longer content living a sheltered and lonely existence. Daisy Minor knew that to achieve the type of change she wanted, she’d have to revamp her entire image and move out of her mother’s house. Shock and gossip was going to rumble throughout her town. How could it not? It wasn’t everyday that a small southern-town, plain librarian transformed herself into to a bar-hopping sexy party-girl. Oh well, she’d just have to let the tongues Open Season by Linda Howardwag.

Daisy Minor was surprised to discover that after her makeover, men were not only finding her attractive, but also desirable. For the first time in Daisy’s life she wasn’t the wallflower, but the center of attention. Daisy found though, that wherever she went, trouble and the chief of police, Jack Russo, seemed to follow. Although Daisy was unrealistically naive for a thirty-four year old woman, she was very opinionated, stubborn and able to stand her ground against alpha-male, chief of police, Jack Russo, which made each scene with the two of them hysterically funny.

On one of Daisy’s bar hopping expeditions she unintentionally witnessed a crime being committed. The boss of that crime operation didn’t know exactly how much Daisy had witnessed, but he wasn’t taking any chances. His men had botched the crime operation and left him with a lot of loose ends to clean up. He would eliminate them one by one – including Daisy Minor.

Open Season is an unrealistic and somewhat predictable story, but the budding romance and witty dialogue between Daisy and Jack Russo more than make up for it. The book does carry a serious sub-plot, but touches upon it so lightly that it doesn’t damper the story’s humor.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light humorous mystery. I found the book enjoyable and very funny.

4 out of 5 stars, Review by Peg Glover

Review of Dance with the Enemy by Rob Sinclair

Dance with the Enemy, by Rob Sinclair, piqued my interest just by the title alone. This is a smashing thriller! I could not put it down from the first word until the last. This book is an unpredictable story with true-to-life characters. It took me on a thrilling journey with many twists and turns that kept me begging for more. I found myself cheering on the main Dance with the Enemy by Rob Sinclaircharacter, Carl Logan (Logan).

Carl Logan is the best intelligence agent on the staff at JIA (Joint Intelligence Agency). This agency is unique because it is run by government officials from the US and the UK. Carl Logan is a loner. He works alone and feels he can accomplish more this way.

Logan was on medical leave from the beating and torture he suffered by well-known terrorist, Youssef Salim, when he was assigned on a mission to find US Attorney General, Frank Modena. Modena was abducted while in Paris on negotiations. The JIA was against Logan taking this case because they felt he had not fully recovered. Charles McCabe (Mackie), Logan’s boss, was hesitant but assured the board he was indeed ready. Mackie had no doubt Logan was the right agent for this case, but he too was concerned it may be too soon and Logan wasn’t ready. So against their wishes and using his intuition, Mackie assigned Logan to the case. And so began Logan’s mission to search for US Attorney General Modena.

This book is jam-packed with detailed action and adventure. I could understand the characters feelings and found myself on edge as the story unfolded with revenge and betrayal. I was tricked and fooled just as the characters were with all the lies and deceit. Just when I let my guard down to start believing and trusting I suddenly found myself dancing with the enemy. This is a must read for all action and thriller enthusiasts. I am anxiously waiting for a sequel.

 

5 out of 5 Stars, Review by Monica McDaniel

 

 

 

Review of Evidence of Insanity by Carol Piner


Derrick Jensen once said, “Writing is really very easy. Tap a vein and bleed onto the page.” Carol Piner has taken this concept and run with it in her memoir, “Evidence of Insanity”.Evidence of Insanity by Carol Piner

Right from the beginning of the book, where fetus Carol describes her low-down, philandering father and her spunky, no holds barred, pregnant mama duking it out at a local gas station I was hooked and ready for a wild ride. And what a ride it was! I was able to immerse myself completely in the lives of Carol, and her hardworking, struggling working-class Southern friends and family. I found myself reading long into the night while rooting for Carol to find herself some peace and happiness.

As a woman who has made some less than ideal choices in my own life, I could easily identify with some of the issues Carol faced over the decades. It takes guts to open your heart and expose your life so candidly for the entire world to see. Raised in a chaotic household, it seemed as though Ms. Piner was destined to continue living in chaos, particularly when it came to her intimate relationships – I truly got this and never once questioned her choices. Far be it for me to judge the decisions of anyone else. We all do the best we can with what we are handed.

Carol Piner’s spunkiness bordered on snarky, but not quite. She’s clearly a no-nonsense kinda gal. I would liked to have seen her come to her senses sooner with regards to some of the deadbeat men she seemed to attract, but again, I understood it. I found myself thinking, “I could definitely be friends with this woman!”

I’d like to see a re-edit and re-format done, as the typos and a few formatting issues were a tad jarring at times. However, I can truthfully say this did not get in the way of the true message of “Evidence of Insanity”. Carol’s writing is open, honest, touching, funny, warm and wonderful. Her heart wrenching descriptions of the losses she suffered over the years goes to show the depths of her feelings – there’s much more than a pint-sized dynamo here. I was brought to tears more than once. The ending is truly awe-inspiring and uplifting.

I would definitely recommend “Evidence of Insanity” for anyone who enjoys memoirs. It certainly proves what I’ve been saying for a very long time – EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL. Carol Piner’s story is one that’s not to be missed!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

 

Review of The Yankee Club by Michael Murphy


It’s 1933 and a national catastrophe is about to go down in Queens, NY.  A famous mystery writer, Jake Donovan, who was traveling from Florida to seek inspiration for his new novel, suddenly found himself in the midst of a real-time murder mystery. Within 24 hours of his arrival in Queens, Jake had taken a bullet in the leg, witnessed the murder of his ex-detective partner, Mickey O’Brien and learned that the love of his life, Laura Wilson, was engaged to be married to another man.

Jake’s detective instincts told him that Mickey was on the verge of exposing someone or something of great importance. His ex-partner fought with his dying breath to whisper the words “The key” to him. What key? And why did he find Laura Wilson snooping around Mickey’s office when he opened the door? She wasn’t exactly forthcoming with information or small talk when she saw him. But for Laura to pull a gun on him? Well, that was just plain bizarre. Okay, he got it, she was still mad at him. He had taken off two years ago when she refused his marriage proposal. He had to. He needed to distance himself from her to gain perspective and start a new life. She’d hurt him badly. So he threw his heart and soul into a new career and became a well-known writer. The Yankee Club by Michael Murphy

When did Laura start carrying a gun? And what kind of danger could she possibly have gotten herself into? Jake decided though, ex-girlfriend or not, he was going to make it his business to find out. And while he was investigating who was after Laura, he would avenge Mickey’s murder at the same time. His gut was telling him that whatever the two of them were mixed up in, they were tangled in it together. If Laura needed saving, then Jake wanted to be the one to do it; especially if it meant saving her from her damn rich fiancée’.

The Yankee Club is a compelling mystery, meticulously crafted, and filled with humor and witty dialogue. I found the characters realistic and the plot intriguing. Although The Yankee Club does not leave its readers dangling with a cliffhanger, it does leave them anxiously waiting for the next book.

Michael Murphy is a talented writer, who became one of my favorite authors after I read his magnificent debut book, Goodbye Emily. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Yankee Club and I’m looking forward for book two in the Jake and Laura Mystery Series.

5 out of 5 stars, Review by Peg Glover