Sunday, December 5, 2021

Review: Perilous Gambit by Kevin Chapman


Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

“A murder can sure put a damper on a wedding party.

An unexpectedly hurried marriage in Las Vegas was not what Jason and Rachel planned, but circumstances made it their best option. At least Rachel would have her brother, Jackie, there for the happy occasion. Jason had to find out eventually that Jackie is a drag performer. That surprise turns out to be the least of Rachel’s worries.

When the star of the drag show is murdered and Jackie is accused of the crime, Jason and his partner, Mike Stoneman, find themselves out of their jurisdiction and all-in on a complex case that stretches from Nevada to New York to South Dakota and back again. When somebody tries to kill Jackie, being arrested and having to miss the show take a backseat to staying alive.

All this excitement could scuttle the wedding – and could get them all killed – unless Mike and Jason figure a way to take the heat off of Jackie and convince the killers they’ve made a terrible mistake. But they are not taking no for an answer, and Mike has to risk everything on a gamble that could save the day – or end in tragedy.”

Author:

A lawyer specializing in labor and employment law by day, Kevin Chapman describes his real passions as playing tournament poker, rooting for the New York Mets, and writing fiction. For more, visit Mr Chapman’s website.

Appraisal:

In a lot of ways this is a typical detective mystery with all the things you’d expect to find in such a story. But this book goes a step further. Almost from the beginning we know who is responsible for the murder that attracts the interest of our vacationing detectives, Mike Stoneman and his partner, Jason, whose primary reason for being in Las Vegas is to get married. We even know why and the reason turns up the heat for the characters the reader will (or at least should) see as the good guys, which draws us in deeper. Multiple tangled story threads that with events unfolding in ways I sure didn’t see coming did the trick to keep me reading. Basically, what you should expect from a mystery, but with plenty of unique twists.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Although this is the 5th book in the Mike Stoneman thriller series the books stand alone well enough that not having read the prior books shouldn’t be an issue with reading this one.

Format/Typo Issues:

Review is based on an ARC (advanced reader copy) and I’m not in a position to judge the final product in this area.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words



Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Reprise Review: Battle Rattle by Brandon Davis


 Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Description:

“For Derrick 'Vez' Vezcheck, dwell time – the period at home between deployments – is a different kind of battle. Swap enemies for civilian expectations and you get a sense of what Vez is up against: a patient and loving wife who’ll stick by him no matter what, a young daughter who’s a little too OK with seeing dad every six months, and a community that’s quick to thank him for his service, even if he himself has long forgotten what he’s fighting for.”

Author:

A veteran who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom, originally from West Virginia, Brandon Davis Jennings now lives in South Bend, Indiana with his family. For more, visit his website.

Appraisal:

Battle Rattle is a story that explores the cost of war off the battle field. Even if we've never been, the price paid by soldiers who do battle in injuries and lives is obvious. But what about the difficulties in making the transition back and forth from war zone to home? The price the soldiers pay as well as those around them and the struggles to work through for all concerned is explored in this short novel. If you're looking for a breezy read to escape the world for a few hours, this isn't the book for you, but if you're willing to bite off something more weighty and intense, this is a great choice.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Original review posted August 10, 2016

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Review: Bibliomancer by Frances Evelyn


Genre: Speculative fiction

Description:

The book is set in Oakham, principal town of Rutland (the smallest county), about 20 miles from Leicester, in the Midlands in Britain. It begins with a sensitively handled death, and consequent grief. Thereafter it settles on Emily’s volunteer work, reading to patients at a local hospice, and her best friend Lauren’s struggle with baby blues and losing her mum, who was also a sort-of mum to Emily. We watch the two young women gradually rally. When they do, they find their lives have quite changed. Of course. A threshold has been crossed. They are women now in a way neither was before. Thereafter other thresholds are crossed, experimentally and then more boldly. The book gets darker. The two women get more self-reliant. But is the darkness unstoppable now?

Author: 

Frances Evelyn is a British author living now in Rutland. She spent 20 rewarding years as an English teacher, then several interesting years in management. 

In her ‘The Changeling Tree’ series (currently four books), Evelyn combines tangled time-lines, family saga, and Faerie. There is also what I believe is a novella called Sarah Ward and the Lyddington Djinn. Bibliomancer is a standalone book, and her most recent. 

Appraisal: 

This is a clever book. The tagline to the title is “time to choose your last book”. For people who love to read (and we are those people, right?) that is chilling. This is also a book which celebrates the power of books and reading. In this book – OK, I’m actually going to use these words in the same sentence – ‘contemporary British fantasy’ is going to appeal to the same people who enjoy Jane Austen and George Eliot. And no, this is not some sort of zombie mashup. So, what is going on?

The premise is new to me. A fresh plot does not, frankly, come along very often. Half a dozen a year, if that. This is one of those half dozen. So I am going to tread very carefully, so as not to drop any spoilers.

It conceals its freshness under a Red Riding Hood opening which skips along like women’s fiction, giving no hint of the wolf to come. Then it has a short flirtation with police procedural. Thereafter, the wolf lifts its lip to show its teeth and the story hurls itself towards a most satisfying climax in a quite unlooked-for direction.

The blurb on Kindle calls this book ‘contemporary British fantasy’, I’ve deemed it speculative fiction above. It could also quite legitimately strut its stuff as science fiction. Suffice it to say that there is plenty of weirdness, which is thought-provoking. If you enjoy being provoked in that way, I believe you will enjoy this book.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

There are a few typos and some odd stylistic decisions which occasionally disturb the reader.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: Judi Moore

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Reprise Review: The Second-Best Ranger in Texas by Kathleen Rice Adams

 


Genre: Western/Romance/Historical/Short Story

Description:

“His partner’s grisly death destroyed Texas Ranger Quinn Barclay. Cashiered for drunkenness and refusal to follow orders, he sets out to fulfill his partner’s dying request, armed only with a saloon girl’s name.

Sister María Tomás thought she wanted to become a nun, but five years as a postulant have convinced her childhood dreams aren’t always meant to be. At last ready to relinquish the temporary vows she never should have made, she begs the only man she trusts to collect her from a mission in the middle of nowhere.

When the ex-Ranger’s quest collides with the ex-nun’s plea in a burned-out border town, unexpected love blooms among shared memories of the dead man who was a brother to them both.

Too bad he was also the only man who could have warned them about the carnage to come.”

Author:

Kathleen Rice Adams: “Descended from a long line of Texas ranchers, preachers, and teachers on one side and Kentucky horse thieves and moonshiners on the other, award-winning author Kathleen Rice Adams had no choice but to become an outlaw. Maybe that's why in her stories, even the good guys wear black hats.

For the past thirty years, she's stayed two steps ahead of a lynch mob as an award-winning journalist. She also has ghost-written or edited several nonfiction books.

A Texan to the bone, when Kathleen's not being a nuisance she bows to the whims of the Hole in the Web Gang -- a herd of tiny but enthusiastic outlaws with four legs.”

For more please visit Ms. Adams’ website.

Appraisal:

I enjoy a little cowboy action occasionally. The Second-Best Ranger in Texas filled the bill nicely. The characters are well developed and realistic. Quinn is trying to deal with his best friend’s death through whisky. After losing his position as a Texas Ranger, Quinn is now on a mission to carry out the promise to his dying friend. The message is cryptic; all he has is the first name of a woman and the name of the town to find her.

Upon arriving in San Miguel all Quinn finds is a burned up town with only two buildings remaining: the saloon, thank God, and a mission at the edge of town. The mission houses a few nuns, orphans, and injured survivors. Quinn figures if Dulce had ever been in San Miguel it is likely she disappeared with everyone else when the town burned to the ground.

The story unfolds at a nice pace as Quinn does all he can to assist the nuns by burying their dead and helping them relocate to another mission. Ms. Adams does an excellent job capturing the flavor of the town and the essence of her characters with her excellent prose. The characters practically walk off the page and into your heart. This includes Quinn’s horse, Bulls-eye. I can highly recommend this novelette for a quick pick-me-up read.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

The Second-Best Ranger in Texas was the winner of the 2015 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker best short fiction award.

Original review posted August 31, 2016.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 9-10,000 words

Friday, November 19, 2021

Review: The Double Monetary Hourglass by Lou Vachon

 


Genre: Self-Help, Finance

Description:

“Do you find yourself worrying about what you’re going to do once you get out of college?

Even if you do manage to get a good job, how do you plan on paying off your student loans? And what about buying a house, getting a reliable car, and starting a family?

Entering the world of ‘adulthood’ certainly comes with a lot of extra requirements, most of which demand sizable financial investment, but it doesn’t have to be a big scary ordeal. In fact, pursuing all of these goals can even become the most liberating and freeing feeling of your life.

70% of college graduates enter the workforce with over $30,000 in debt. But this doesn't have to be you -- you don't have to become part of yet another statistic.

Proper money management is the byproduct of a mindset shift. Your relationship with money is the foundation of your financial success, and with the right tools, techniques, and practices, you can achieve the monetary abundance you’ve always dreamt of.”

Author:

Lou Vachon is a real estate entrepreneur and financial advisor. He teaches courses through some online educational platforms such as Udemy and Teachable on subjects related to real estate investment and finance. This is his sixth book.

Appraisal:

The subtitle of this book, “11 strategies for finding balance in money management for students, and eliminating student loan debt quickly during or after college for beginners,” means that I’m definitely not the target reader, missing by several decades. However, it also means that from my own experiences and observations I might be in a better place than the target reader to gauge the book’s potential usefulness for those the book is aimed at.

My take is that many of the ideas presented are excellent. The ideas proposed to figure out your finances, both where you stand and a budget, were good. How to approach goal setting and prioritization of those financial goals were also very good. He had some good ideas on how a person could identify and monetize their talents and various ways to build their income, in some cases establishing a passive income that once put in place wouldn’t be a time drain, but would continue to provide income.

However, there are places where I think he overstates things, for example I think he overestimates the financial benefit of a blog although I’ll concede that the specific niche the blog falls in will make a big difference. His attitude that comes through is that a person should care more about becoming as rich as possible, focusing all of their time on doing those things that maximize their odds of doing well financially, but doesn’t set you up for a very well balanced life. (Choosing or discarding friends based on how that help or hinder you finances even makes an appearance along with the thought that any decision should be based only on how and whether it benefits you. Other people don’t seem to matter in his mind.) Another example where I think he overstated things was implying that a person who started doing the things he proposed would see a significant improvement in their financial standing in a month. He’s delusional if he really believes that.

I also found myself in some cases unclear as to the point he was trying to make. For example, in the section on goals, specifically what are called SMART goals he was discussing that they should be specific. He then gave an example of getting a car as a goal that wouldn’t be specific enough, suggesting that a specific make and model would be a better goal. Then shortly after he lists “buying a house” as another potential goal and saw that as specific enough. I guess the difference in a falling down shack in the slums and a nice three bedroom in a ritzy suburb is about the same whereas the difference between a Ford and BMW is of major significance.

As I said in the beginning, some of the advice here is good. But there is enough that is questionable that I won’t be buying a copy for my 20 or 30 something friends and family or advising them to check it out.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant formatting issues although the number of instances of grammar issues or the use of a wrong word that I found were more than I like to see, but not quite enough to decrease the rating.

Rating: *** Three Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words


Monday, November 15, 2021

Review: Things Happen by Christopher Acker

 



Genre: Short Story Collection/Literary Fiction

Description:

“In these four stories, things happen.

A mother loses her son to a magic trick gone horribly wrong. Now a Google Maps car is trying to erase the last tangible memory she has of him.

Michelle lands her first big role in Hollywood as a prostitute in a Sam Cooke biopic. But her chance at stardom is jeopardized when riots break out after an innocent black man is murdered by the LAPD.

Everyone in St. Louis knows about the Salazar House of Horrors where a teenage girl was tortured and imprisoned. The prosecution asks Brandon—a model railroad enthusiast—to make a miniature replica of the infamous dungeon. The goal is to persuade the jury to put the monster behind bars forever. But constructing such degradation at 1/12th scale with his wife and two daughters lingering over his shoulder pushes Brandon and his family beyond their limit.

Disgraced journalist Alexander Reynolds is knee-deep in depression. Just about the only thing he can muster these days is slithering to his couch to watch The Maury Povich Show. In a sudden stroke of genius, a path out of his humiliation falls into his lap: he will fake his way to being a guest on Maury. There’s only one problem. He’ll need to convince his wife—the Oscar-winning filmmaker—to play a co-starring role.

The characters here are bruised, battered, and just plain exhausted. They’re like us. And like us, not everything works out for them. It’s this humanity that’s at the heart of this unforgettable collection.

Things Happen offers a poignant yet highly entertaining portrayal of people desperately looking for answers in a time when truth and facts are more elusive than ever. The themes of infidelity, unresolved grief, identity, redemption, and racial injustice are woven throughout, lending these short stories a degree of resonance every reader can connect with. And to keep things interesting, a celebrity or two might even make an appearance.

Above all else, Things Happen reflects what’s going on in this country right now:

A whole lot of something.”

Author:

A clinical social worker based in Bridgewater, NJ, Christopher Acker has had his fiction published in several publications. This is his first book.

Appraisal:

With four stories and pushing 80,000 words total each of the stories in this book are long enough to be considered novellas. At that length the author fully develops the characters and the plot. Each of them felt like much more than a short story, but also didn’t have the chance to drag, each one keeping my interest the entire way.

The stories were all great with a plot that was entertaining and thought provoking. Each tale made points, if the reader is open to them, while not over doing it. The characters were well developed and credible. I was especially amazed that an author from New Jersey got things so right in so many subtle ways for a character who grew up in Utah (living in Los Angeles during the story).

If it isn’t obvious yet, I highly recommend this book.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

Review is based on an ARC (advance reader copy) and I can’t judge the final product in this area.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Reprise Review: Postcards from Mr. Pish: South and West Edition by K.S. Brooks


 Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Description:

“The adventurous Jack Russell Terrier, Mr. Pish, is back - this time to guide readers through portions of the southern and western United States in Postcards from Mr. Pish Volume 4. Each postcard Mr. Pish sends is filled with engaging text and full-color photographs designed to inspire both young and old to read, explore, and learn. As with all his books, history, geography, and more become inviting and fun - because of the charismatic traveling terrier!”

Author:

K.S. Brooks has written numerous books in multiple genres including romantic suspense, satire, and educationally oriented children’s books. She is administrator of Indies Unlimited (a multi-author blog “celebrating independent authors”), where you can often catch her pontificating on matters of interest to both readers and authors. For more, visit Brooks’ website.

Appraisal:

Mr. Pish’s child-like enthusiasm is bound to capture any child’s imagination in this wonderful, educational series. What great fun it is to follow this bouncy terrier on his adventures as he teaches readers important and lesser-known facts about the places he visits. This book starts off in Georgia then heads west through Alabama, Mississippi, and north into Tennessee. As he heads into Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, he visits state parks and wildlife refuges while traveling on historic Route 66. There are fabulous pictures of rock formations and national parks through Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. Finally, he winds up back home in the state of Washington.

Each page has several color pictures taken by Mr. Pish’s mom, K.S. Brooks. I should offer a warning that Mr. Pish’s joyful narration of his adventures will likely infect any reader with a travel bug.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Postcards from Mr. Pish: South and West Edition is the fourth book in the Postcards from Mr. Pish Series, and the fifth book in the Mr. Pish Educational Series. Best viewed on a color e-reader.

Original review posted August 26, 2016.

Format/Typo Issues:

None.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithnkin

Approximate word count: 26 pages



Saturday, November 6, 2021

Reprise Review: Havoc Rising by Brian S. Leon

 


Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mythology/Contemporary

Description:

“Steve—Diomedes Tydides to his Trojan War buddies—just had a bad day on his charter fishing boat in San Diego, but when the goddess Athena calls on her faithful warrior for another secret mission, he’s ready. The bomb that exploded inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art isn’t the crime American authorities’ think it is. Someone also stole the Cup of Jamshid, and Diomedes knows its fortune-telling abilities won’t be used for anything benign.

Though Diomedes recovers the Cup from a determined shaman holed up beneath Central Park, when he finds his allies slain and the Cup taken once more, he knows he’s up against a truly powerful enemy. Over a millennium has passed since Diomedes last contended with Medea of Colchis, deranged wife of Jason the Argonaut, but neither her madness nor her devotion to Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, has waned, and she intends to use the Cup of Jamshid to release across the world a dark brand of chaos unseen in human history.

Immortal since the Trojan War, Diomedes must once again fight for mortals he understands less and less, against a divine evil he may never truly defeat.”

Author:

“Brian S. Leon is truly a jack of all trades and a master of none. He writes just to do something with all the useless degrees and skills he’s accumulated over the years. Most of them have no practical application in civilized society, anyway. His interests include mythology and fishing, in pursuit of which he has explored jungles and museums, oceans and seas all over the world.

His credentials include an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a master’s degree from San Diego State University, plus extensive postgraduate work in evolutionary biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied animals most people aren’t even aware exist and theories no one really cares about anyway… Brian currently resides in San Diego, California.”

Learn more at Brian's website.

Appraisal:

Havoc Rising isn’t the type of Urban Fantasy I generally enjoy reading. The Mythology, Gods, and Goddesses sucked me in. Diomedes Tydides is a Guardian, who was recruited thousands of years ago by the Goddess Athena to protect humankind. The story starts with a suicide bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we are introduced to the bomber and his mind ramblings, which explains his motive to the reader.

As authorities are scrambling at the scene, Athena, as head of the Metis Foundation, employs Diomedes, who goes by Steve Dore, to join the investigation and recover a stolen item. The foundation’s primary focus is finding peaceful solutions to human conflict. It is known as one of the most respected think tanks in the world. Athena is sure the bombing served as a distraction for a theft of an ancient bronze cup on exhibit in an upper level of the museum. The novel is told through Diomedes point-of-view, and he readily tells us he excels at clandestine operations, intelligence gathering, and combat. He also admits he does not play well with others. But he's forced to overcome this and build a small team to help him.

The plot is fast moving and has many surprising twists as the drama unfolds. The battles are vivid, tense, and grisly as magic is thrown around against seemingly impossible odds while battling unearthly monstrosities. Humor is interspersed throughout to lighten the severity of the story. Diomedes is the perfect tragic hero; he is engaging, courageous, and intelligent, with just the right amount of biting wit.

I found it easy to get totally swept away in this thoroughly engrossing tale. The relationship develops between Diomedes and Sarah is cautious and endearing. The story comes to a satisfying close with some promise of Sarah being included in future missions, which left a smile on my face, especially after she decked Diomedes. I would highly recommend Havoc Rising to any reader who enjoys mythology brought forward in a contemporary setting that includes epic battles between good and evil.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Havoc Rising contains graphic violence and gore. Colorful obscene adult language with plenty of F-bombs.

Original review posted July 18, 2016.

Format/Typo Issues:

I found no proofing or formatting issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 120-125,000 words


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Review: Boychik by Laurie Boris

 


Genre: Historical Fiction/Coming of Age

Description:

He's a deli-man's son. She's a mobster's daughter. One chance encounter changes both their lives.

Brooklyn, 1932

Eli Abramowitz works in his parents’ deli in Williamsburg. Not a bad job during the Depression. His family is his whole world—almost. He spends every Sunday at the movies and hopes to hit it big as a Hollywood screenwriter. But how can he tell his parents that one day he’ll be leaving?

Across town, Evelyn Rosenstein’s father works for the mob—undoubtedly the reason they’re doing so well. Definitely the reason she’s not allowed any farther than their mailbox unescorted. Even though her parents have chosen a husband for her, a family tradition, she fantasizes about a life in service to the unfortunate. But for the moment, she dreams of escape, if only for a few hours.

Opportunity strikes, and she ends up at the deli. Evelyn and Eli meet only briefly, but their instant connection tempts an unlikely, forbidden romance. When a charity dinner has them again crossing paths, danger follows. But will it shadow them into their futures?”

Author:

“Laurie Boris has been writing fiction for thirty years and is the award-winning author of nine novels. When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, reading, and avoiding housework. She lives in New York's lovely Hudson Valley.”

For more visit Ms Boris’ website.

Appraisal:

I loved this book. Although I don’t read historical fiction very often, I found the time this story took place, in the middle of The Great Depression, made the story more intense because of the difficulties that came at that point in history. Imagining what it was like to grow up in Brooklyn at this time was interesting and added a lot to the story, but we’ve also got some romance, a bit of a thriller plot, and an excellent coming-of-age storyline all in one compelling story. The last few books I’ve read didn’t grab me. I was ready for a change and Boychik filled the bill, with a story that kept pulling me back, wondering what was going to happen next and how the various conflicts would resolve in the end.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Although the preliminary edition of the book I received for review didn’t have it, my understanding is that a glossary of Yiddish words has been added to the book. The characters slip a lot of Yiddish words into their dialogue. I found that most of the time I had either picked up the meaning of the word (or thought I had) over the years or, since I was reading on my Kindle, was able to find any word I wasn’t sure of in the built-in dictionary or Wikipedia, which Kindle searches if it can’t find the word in the dictionary. But I can see how a glossary could be useful to many.

Format/Typo Issues:

No issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words




Thursday, October 28, 2021

Reprise Review: Sparrow by Grace Jelsnick

 


Genre: Romantic Suspense

Description:

“Five years ago, Nell’s parents fled in the middle of the night, leaving her and her younger siblings with their grandfather. Now, with her grandfather crippled, Nell is responsible for caring for her family and running the Penniwick Hunting Lodge. Caregiver, housekeeper, mother, hunting guide, hunter—the last thing Nell needs is another burden, but when she finds a dying man lying on the riverbank, she can’t walk away.

 

She soon learns it’s no coincidence that FBI agent Connor Woodridge chose to die on her turf, and once she gets him home, his presence serves as a catalyst to revelations regarding the hijacking of an Army munitions convoy two decades before. Everyone seeks the munitions hidden somewhere in the forest, and deadly secrets are exposed when Nell finds herself sucked into a vortex of deception, corruption, and treason. The past becomes enmeshed in the present, and when her loved ones are threatened, Nell’s act of humanity may well culminate in her loss of humanity.

 

Her boast that no one can shoot a bow or a rifle as well as she is put to the test in a confrontation with a band of pseudo-patriot militiamen and their malevolent leader, and Nell finally learns the reason her parents walked away, all those years ago.”

Author:

“Grace Jelsnik earned her M.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing at the University of South Dakota. She lives in North Dakota with her husband of fifteen years, their three children, two dogs, and three cats. Her novels emphasize plot, characterization, and setting, but each possesses an element of romance that takes a down-to-earth approach to the natural give-and-take emotional interaction between two characters, addressing the sparks that lead to heat, not the heat itself. Her targeted audience is late teen and older, readers who enjoy suspense and mystery.”

Learn more about Ms. Jelsnik on her Amazon Author page.

Appraisal:

First, I need to thank the author for producing a well-written novel that kept my interest throughout (I’ve just gone through a tough patch of reading 30+ Amazon samples from Al’s list without finding a book that ‘worked’ for me).

Nell, the main character, nicknamed Sparrow, was one tough cookie. I enjoyed being inside her head and watching her make smart but dangerous decisions by relying on her knowledge of the forest. The considerable intrigue surrounding her family was gradually peeled back one layer at a time, which added to the story tension.

The FBI agent was also well drawn, and their obvious attraction to each other was believable and welcome.

The author pulled together all the threads nicely at the end and then tied them in a pretty bow. I think this story would appeal to those readers who enjoy a suspenseful romance without any gore or gratuitous sex—a great holiday read IMO.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Original review posted July 13, 2016.

Format/Typo Issues:

Very few.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words