If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted many Book Reviews here on my blog for a while, it’s because I’ve been writing 11 of them for the Autumn Edition of Clean Fiction Magazine. So, if you read Clean Romance and like my reviews, I wrote 7 of them for this Edition and I wrote 4 reviews of books in the Mystery genre.
The Autumn Edition of Clean Fiction Magazine is AVAILABLE NOW in paperback on Amazon for $15.99. On September 20th, the price for the paperback will be $16.99, so save a dollar while you can. Also, the ebook version is available for preorder for $2.99 and will be available on September 20th. This issue is chock full of some great book reviews, winners of contests, including the winning Fantasy Allegory story of the Windows Into the Multiverse Contest and the Science Fiction winning story of the Windows Into the Multiverse Contest. The new Windows Into the Multiverse Contest is featured on a page. There are some poems featured, and the 2nd and 3rd place winning Clean Fiction Magazine covers are also pictured, and so much more!
You can also join the Patreon and get additional things like 2 “Sneak Peek” pages per months, Book Swag, access to the Patreon section of the Clean Fiction Community Discord, and more. Choose the level you want to join based on the extras you want to receive. Join the Patreon Section at this link: https://www.patreon.com/cleanfiction
First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts is an anthology of love stories put together by The Insecure Writer’s Support Group and published by Dancing Lemur Press, LLC. As a Book Reviewer, I received a free copy of First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts, and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor any review.
There are ten love stories by ten different writers in this anthology. The writers from this anthology range from this being their first published story to those who have one book published to some who have multiple books published. The contributing authors are: Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Katie Klein, Templeton Moss, Sammi Spizziri, Sylvia Ney, Michael Di Gesu, Kim Elliott, Denise Covey, and S. E. White.
The stories range from a variety of genres. They also range from characters in their twenties to their fifties to post-retirement. Each of these stories is unique and each is extremely well written. Each drew me into the story from the start and held my attention throughout. Each story and several characters made a strong impression upon me, from the man with the inability to clearly recall his first love to the young orphan who married a man an entire town hated.
I highly recommend First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts to anyone who truly enjoys and craves good romance stories with a unique plot, endearing characters, or both. I don’t reread novels, no matter how much I love them, because I don’t have time, as I’m always reading new books because there are so many great new books to explore and, of course, in my case, to review. However, because these are short stories—I can read one in half an hour—I look forward to reading the stories in First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts again and again. And don’t ask me which of the ten stories I liked best, because I honestly couldn’t pick just one favorite from the bunch. I truly enjoyed them all because of their high writing quality and unique story lines.
As a Book Reviewer, I received a free copy of Death on the Boardwalk by Caleb Wygal and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
Death on the Boardwalk is the first book in “The Myrtle Beach Mysteries” series by Caleb Wygal. It is set in the coastal town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The main character is Clark Thomas, a bookstore owner, ghost writer, and avid reader. His life is basically the same everyday, until one day when he arrives at his bookstore and finds a dead body wrapped in a rug, on the doorstep.
My Wygal does an excellent job of writing descriptions of Myrtle Beach and the scenes and characters in this story. When Natasha, who worked at OceanScapes with the murder victim, seeks Clark’s help in trying to solve the crime, he cannot resist, as he has a love of mysteries, instilled in him by his mother from a young age. Even Gomez, one of the investigative partners on the case, doesn’t seem overly concerned that Clark is poking around in the investigation.
Mr. Wygal includes quite a selection of characters who had motive to murder the victim, but the question is: did any of them also have the means and opportunity? This case is a tough one to crack, even for the investigative team. So, the reader is baffled right along with Clark, right up to the very end.
Death on the Boardwalk by Caleb Wygal is a well written murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing and wondering Whodunnit. Clark is a likeable character, and what avid reader hasn’t dreamed of owning, or at least spending a lot of time in, a bookstore? And the beach locations makes this a great summer read while you are sitting on the beach or a great winter read when you’re tired of the colder weather and wishing you were back on the beach.
If you like murder mysteries that are clean and do not include the graphic details, you’ll like Death on the Boardwalk. Also, if you like mysteries that include amateur sleuths sticking their noses into the investigation and trying their hand at solving the mystery because, maybe, you’ve dreamed of doing the same thing, you’ll like Death on the Boardwalk.
I look forward to reading the rest of the books in “The Myrtle Beach Mysteries” series by Caleb Wygal, and I give Death on the Boardwalk by Caleb Wygal 5 stars.
As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of ’Twas Just Before Bedtime by Jessie L. Best. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review. This is my honest review.
’Twas Just Before Bedtime is a collection of short stories and poems for children. There are fifteen stories and fourteen poems. Each poem tells a story and has a rhyme scheme. Every story and poem in this collection is short enough to be read to young children and to be read “just before bedtime”.
Every story includes some kind of magical happening or magical creature. There are a few witches, though not scary, and lots of fairies. The poems include characters that are animals. For parents who like reading fun, magical stories that are very rich in make believe, these stories are for you.
I found all of the poems well written and delightful and most of the stories are fun.
A few of the stories may be scary for younger or more sensitive children.
For my readers who prefer stories that include character building or biblical lessons, this is not the kind of book you’re looking for.
I give ’Twas Just Before Bedtime by Jessie L. Best 4 stars.
As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Deputy at Large by Judge & Alanna Rodriguez and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
Deputy at Large is the second book in the Legends of the Landrun series by Judge & Alanna Rodriguez. It definitely follows the first book in the series, The Marshal of Denver, and I highly recommend you read the first book prior to reading this one. You will need to read The Marshal of Denver in order to really know and understand the characters in Deputy at Large, and also to follow the story line.
Where The Marshal of Denver seemed to tell a story leading up to a story, Deputy at Large is the story. Deputy at Large includes more action and less graphic violence. Many of the same characters in the first book of the Legends of the Landrun series return in Deputy at Large and continue their journeys and relationships. A few new characters are introduced and lots of twists and surprises keep the reader turning pages.
Deputy at Large is well written and engages the reader more than the first book of the series did. It also begins with an unexpected shocking surprise and the twists and surprises continue throughout the book. If you enjoy reading books set in the old west, you’ll enjoy these books by Judge & Alanna Rodriguez. As you read, you are swept back in time to a United States that was wild and untamed – both the land and the people. You fall in love with several characters and love to hate others.
I found Deputy at Large much more enjoyable than the first book of the series, but I am glad to have read The Marshal of Denver to fully understand both the characters and plot of this novel. While reading this second installment, I came to care more deeply for the characters. I also became more involved in their lives.
I also found myself missing a character that was introduced in the first book that didn’t make an appearance in this one. However, the character was mentioned a couple times, and there where hints of the character’s return in the next book of the series, one of the reasons I will continue reading this series.
Deputy at Large definitely kept me engaged throughout the entirety of the novel and, though the ending was very satisfying, I was left wanting more. I look forward to reading the next book in the Legends of the Landrun series by Judge & Alanna Rodrigues.
As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of The Marshal of Denver by Judge & Alanna Rodriguez, and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
The Marshal of Denver is the first book in “The Legends of the Landrun” series by Judge & Alanna Rodriguez. It is a western story set in the late 1870s. The story deals with the fighting between American soldiers and Indians as well as small town lawmen trying to deal with outlaws.
The main character of the book is John Cardwell and the story follows John from his mid-teen years to his mid 40s. In the beginning of the book, I struggled to like John Cardwell. He seemed to be out-of-control and blood thirsty. The story jumps back and forth between John’s young adulthood to his mid 40s, and in his mid 40s he seems to have calmed down quite a bit and isn’t so violent and blood thirsty, but uses his head before acting. However, there is never any real explanation as to what caused the change in his personality and character. That was something I was looking for and was disappointed that it wasn’t ever really revealed.
John, in his mid 40s, is The Marshal of Denver, and in that position, he makes many good friends who have a strong influence upon his life. These characters are very interesting and add more depth to the story.
I struggled to read The Marshal of Denver as it is told in third person present tense, which never let me into John’s head. Instead I was told John’s story through quite a bit of narrative, like a narrator was telling me the story. There were long sections throughout the story that lacked action. These consisted of narrative and dialogue, and I must admit, there were times when I started to lack interest.
However, I was interested enough in John, as I was still looking for a reason for the change in his character, to keep reading. Near the end of the book, John does undergo something that changes his life, but this is a new change and so, the book never does explain the reason John in his mid 40s was different than the John in his teen years, so that still remains a disappointment to me.
I did find the final eight to ten chapters captivating enough that they kept me turning pages, and the ending made some clear resolutions but also left one or two things unresolved and a bit mysterious, leaving the reader wanting more. I do plan to read the next book as I believe much of this book was back story to set up the next books. The Marshal of Denver also included some unexpected twists and turns and so I look forward to more surprises in the future books.
I must warn sensitive readers that there is quite a bit of violence in The Marshal of Denver and some of it is quite graphic.
I give The Marshal of Denver by Judge and Alanna Rodriquez 3 stars.
As a Book Reviewer I received a free ebook copy of From Fame to Ruin by Jina S. Bazzar and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review. From Fame to Ruin is not Jina S. Bazzar’s first novel, but it is her first New Adult and College Romance novel.
From Fame to Ruin is a novel about two people who meet and fall in love, but Carol wasn’t counting on falling in love. This was just supposed to be a weekend fling – something to take her mind off the problems she had to face and deal with when the weekend was over.
Four years later, Carol is facing another crisis and believes the only person she can turn to is the man she walked away from after a weekend she never forgot.
This novel is written in two different time frames and two different settings. It is written in the two main characters’ Points of View, but there is one chapter written in another character’s Point of View.
From Fame to Ruin is a book about love, betrayal, misunderstanding, and crime. It has romance, danger, and suspense.
The main characters, Carol and Ricardo, are easy to like and care about. Though I found the pacing of the plot a bit slow sometimes and thought the story could have been shorter, I cared enough about the characters to keep reading. When the crime was committed and the criminal became part of the story line, I was definitely hooked and turning pages as I tried to figure out who the criminal was.
Ms. Bazzar writes deep, interesting characters and a very thorough storyline.
I do want to caution my more sensitive readers. This novel contains some profanity and some sexual scenes between unmarried people, though the sexuality is not explicit or detailed.
If you like a complicated storyline that includes suspense, mystery, and romance, you will like From Fame to Ruin by Jina S. Bazzar. Ms. Bazzar is a talented writer and I give From Fame to Ruin 4 stars.
Riders of Fire and Ice is the second book in Brett Salter’s “The Talisman Series” and as a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of this book. This is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review of this book.
Rome and Julian return in the second book in “The Talisman Series” with a new adventure. They travel to England to visit Julian’s sister in a very upscale boarding school. Julian’s sister is quite precocious and the boys hope their adventure will keep them too busy to spend too much time with her. While there, they do some research for Mr. Jones and are excited about a couple things they discover. In Riders of Fire and Ice, Rome and Julian also get a couple surprises, as well as face a stronger, darker enemy than they faced in Book One: The Search for Synergy.
Riders of Fire and Ice begins with the same characters, Rome and Julian, preparing for a new adventure. Their banter creates fun in the story and their eagerness for their adventure adds to the excitement of traveling to a new place.
Fun, adventure, surprises, and a dangerous battle fill the pages of Riders of Fire and Ice. In this novel, the talismans are introduced and explained, giving more credence to the boys’ adventures. Again, the end of this adventure is satisfyingly resolved, while promising another book with yet another adventure and more danger and battles for Rome, Julian, Mr. Jones, and a few other characters.
Brett Salter’s talented stories take readers on adventures filled with magic, knights, dragons, and dangerous enemies. Though there are dark creatures and dangerous battles, the darkness nor the battles are ever too intense or graphic for middle grade readers, and older readers will enjoy them as well. These fun, easy reads keep readers turning the pages and eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.
I give Riders of Fire and Ice by Brett Salter 5 stars.
Though Natalie Symons is a successful playwright, Lies in Bone is her first novel and as a Book Reviewer I received a free ebook copy. This is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
Lies in Bone is told through the eyes of a teenage girl who lives in a dysfunctional family. She also has a younger sister. The story is set in a small town in Pennsylvania in the mid to late 1980s. The characters are well developed and Ms. Symons seems to have knowledge of what it’s like to be a teenager in difficult circumstances, as Frank is very well written, very realistic, and believable.
Though well written, I found the story’s pacing slow. It held my attention enough to keep me reading because Ms. Symons did a good job of gaining my sympathy for the main characters. I continued reading because I hoped to see their lives change for the better.
However, I was disappointed that not a single character in Slippery Elm seemed to have any happiness in their life. They were all struggling or causing problems for other characters. I disliked all of the profanity in the story, especially when it came from the mouths of children. There were also characters in the novel that I felt were represented in the extreme or in a stereotypical or negative way, with no characters from those particular people groups being represented in a more favorable light.
Though the ending of the story had clear resolution, if you like happy endings, I’m afraid you won’t really find it here. Probably the most disappointing thing was that the biggest conflict that happened in the story didn’t bring about the redemption I had hoped to see.
So, all in all, though the story was very well written and had well-developed characters, I found the story disturbing and depressing. Therefore, I give Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons three stars.