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
I have begun a new chapter in my life. I graduated my youngest son from our homeschool in June, 2022, after eighteen years of homeschooling, I have finished that journey. Does that mean I’m dropping out of the homeschooling world? No. I am still meeting monthly with a group of ladies in different phases of homeschooling: one, like me, who has graduated her only child, some who have just begun, and some who are somewhere along the journey. This allows me to share all I have learned in my homeschooling experiences to help and encourage those who are on the journey.
In addition, I still really enjoy teaching creative writing to all age groups, so I am looking into the possibility of teaching creative writing classes in local homeschool co-ops.
As a writer, I will still be attending the field trips, the field trip coordinator plans, that interest me because they could provide information for something I choose to write about: a character’s career, an animal/animals my character(s) may have to deal with, or any of many other possibilities.
However, homeschooling is no longer my primary focus nor will it take up nearly as much of my time as it has for the past eighteen years.
So, what will take up most of my time? Well, I am now working as a Book Reviewer for Clean Fiction Magazine (see the badge on my sidebar and click it to find out about this magazine). Therefore, I am now reading books and writing reviews to submit to Clean Fiction Magazine by a deadline for each quarterly issue, in addition to continuing to read and write reviews of books that some authors contact me, personally, to request. These will have to be squeezed in between the ones I write for Clean Fiction Magazine. And, then, there will still be, hopefully, some time for an occasional book for me to read and review for BookSirens, where my book reviews became sought after. There is also a BookSirens badge on my sidebar.
In addition to all this wonderful reading and Book Review writing, I am devoting a large portion of my time to my passion and the thing I have always dreamed of doing — writing fiction novels. I am currently working on the final round of edits for my first novel and hope to have it published in the first six months of 2023, but it all depends on how it gets published. I have been planning to indie publish, but I have found one small publishing company that I am quite impressed with, to which I am seriously considering first submitting my novel. So, we will see which way this novel ends up getting published. After this book, I have lots more story ideas in my head that need to be written. As a matter of fact, this book will be the first of a series of three or four books, and then there will still be more stories to follow.
I am also active on MeWe, where I post on my personal page and hope to start an author page sometime next year. I also have a group page for Christian Writers, as well as a group page for people who love Labrador Retrievers. I am also a member of a few other MeWe groups, some in which I participate in their chat conversations and some I just look at their page posts. Some I occasionally post or share a post on their pages. I have found MeWe to be my social media of choice and the only one I truly enjoy, so that is the only social media site I plan to be an active part of — because I enjoy it, and because social media requires a time commitment, and as you can see by reading the things I’ve already mentioned in this blog, it is not my only time commitment.
In addition to all I have previously mentioned, I will continue to post here on my blog as often as I am able. I also faithfully attend Sunday school and church and have church commitments and I have family and friends who require some of my time, as well as a Labrador Retriever/Boxer mix puppy I was given after my previous male Labrador Retriever passed away. These have required my time during my homeschooling years as well, as have some of the writing things I have mentioned. However, now that homeschooling will require much less time, most of the time homeschooling used to require, I will now devote to my writing endeavors.
I hope you will continue to find things of interest to you here on my blog and will continue to read and follow me here, and by all means, please feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I respond to every legitimate question and comment. In other words, I respond to every question and comment that isn’t spam, and I enjoy interacting with those of you who read here.
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.
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.
Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums is a novella by Tomi Tabb. It ties in with her “Unexpected Royals” series. As a Book Reviewer I received a free ebook copy of this novella and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums gives us a little more of Jenna’s story. Jenna is mentioned in Ms. Tabb’s first book in her “Unexpected Royals” series – Dancing with a Royal. It is near Christmas and Jenna hopes to be chosen as one of the five dancers who will be chosen, from her school, to dance in The Nutcracker ballet.
Tomi Tabb does an excellent job of explaining the life of a ballerina or a dedicated ballet student. She is obviously very knowledgeable on the subject. Ms. Tabb also includes some of the male dancers who are the partners of these ballerinas, and Jeremy is Jenna’s counterpart and has been for quite a few years.
Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums is a wonderful story that gives the reader an inside look into the ballet. It is also the story of a dancer coming of age and a blossoming romance.
I enjoyed Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums and hope that Ms. Tabb will write more about Jenna and Jeremy in an upcoming story as I feel as though, in this novella, there story has just begun.
I give Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums by Tomi Tabb 5 stars.
As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of this book. Designing for a Royal is the third book in the “Unexpected Royals” series by Tomi Tabb. It is the story of Clarissa Lee, an up and coming fashion designer in London and Patrick Nelson, the Lord of Renbrook. Both Clarissa and Patrick have been greatly hurt by people they have loved, and both struggle to trust again, but when they meet, there’s definitely an attraction.
Tomi Tabb has done it again. Just as in the first two books in her Unexpected Royals series, she has created characters the reader will love and be happy to invest their time in their story. In addition to Clarissa and Patrick, there are other characters that add to the story—some you will like and some you may dislike. Tomi Tabb’s characters always endear themselves to readers.
In Designing for a Royal, Ms. Tabb has included an unexpected twist that adds suspense and a bit of mystery to the story. However, I did feel this particular subplot in the story could have been wrapped up better. I had my suspicions and kept waiting to find out if my suspicions were correct. It wouldn’t have mattered to me if I were correct or not, I was just looking for full closure on this subplot. Ms. Tabb did wrap it up, but it didn’t have that “finished” feeling.
Even with that one piece seemingly missing full closure, I must admit, I again greatly enjoyed the story of Designing a Royal and, once again, Ms. Tabb’s mains characters will live on in my memory. I highly recommend Designing a Royal to anyone who enjoys a good, clean romance story with some humor mixed in. I also highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories about modern day royalty, although all of Ms. Tabb’s characters are fictitious. As a matter of fact, I recommend all three books in the “Unexpected Royals” series. Each can be read as a stand alone. However, there are character ties that connect each book.