From Fame to Ruin by Jina S. Bazzar

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.

Against Blood by Jack King

Against Blood (A Detective Cliff Husto Thriller Book 2) by [Jack King]

About the Book:

Against Blood by Jack King is the second of his mystery series that has Detective Cliff Husto on the case. This time, Detective Husto is faced with a web of conspiracies and vendettas entangling Desert Storm veterans suffering from PTSD, a group of Islamic college students on the path to radicalization, and hard-line racist American nationalists.

My Review:

Just like Beyond Blood, Jack King’s first Detective Cliff Husto novel, Against Blood’s first few chapters introduce a lot of characters in a lot of settings, so Detective Husto readers need to be alert. However, after the first few chapters, it becomes clear that all of these characters in all of these settings are connected, and in this case, are all set in Houston, Texas.

As much as I enjoyed Jack’s first book, Beyond Blood, I was delighted to see improvements in Jack’s writing in Against Blood. Where I struggled to care about the characters in his first novel, there were certain characters in this story that I understood, cared for and rooted for right from the start. Of course, there were also a couple characters that I wanted to see get what was coming to them.

Just as in Jack King’s first Detective Husto novel, Against Blood kept me turning pages and held me in suspense as I tried to determine who the murderer was before reaching the end of the book.

One of my favorite things about Jack’s Detective Husto novels is that they have short chapters that are fast paced, and each one leaves the reader wanting more. Each lures the reader to keep reading. I’d reach the end of a chapter and think, “aw, the chapters are short. I have time for one more,” which then became one more and one more and one more.

I have to admit, there were times where I caught myself holding my breath as I read and waited to see what was going to happen in the suspenseful scene I was fully engaged in. Jack kept me guessing as to who the killer was almost to the very end. I changed my mind a couple times as new evidence seemed to point to someone else – exactly the kind of mystery I enjoy most.

I will caution readers that there is some profanity sprinkled in parts of the book, and of course, there is violence. However, the violence isn’t graphic or overdone. It is tastefully done.

If you enjoy a good, fast-paced, suspenseful mystery and a likeable, intelligent detective on the case, you will enjoy Jack King’s Detective Husto stories. Either story can be read alone and it doesn’t really matter which one you read first.

I give Against Blood 5 stars, and I look forward to more Detective Husto mysteries from Jack King.

Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing

I’ve been very busy trying to finish the revisions on my upcoming novel and working my way through finishing a Flash Fiction writing course and Ted Dekker’s Creative Way novel writing course. I’m also helping writers by reading and reviewing their books. Reviews are so important in helping writers to sell their books.

That’s why when Bea Stevens let me know she’s offering her book for Free for the next four days (ebook only), I decided to put this here for all of you to see. My Thursday posts are all about writing and helping other writers. I hope some of you will take advantage of Bea’s Free book, read it, and write a review for her.

Here’s the link for it on Amazon:

Perpetual Check by F. Nelson Smith

Perpetual Check by [F.  Nelson Smith]

I received a free ebook copy of Perpetual Check and was asked to read and review it. I was not obligated to write a review. However, this review is my honest opinion of this book.

Perpetual Check by F. Nelson Smith is a mystery that takes place between the decline of the Soviet Union and the dawn of the computer age.

Dani Morden is a young woman who loves and teaches history. To escape her controlling mother, she agrees to take a trip to England with her Aunt Lucy. Dani fully expected to be bored.

However, it isn’t long before a murder victim falls at their hotel room door and they become the prey of unknown hunters who believe Dani has something they want. Dani and Lucy don’t know who to trust and who not to trust.

Dani and Lucy also decide to try to solve the murder mystery on their own.

In addition, Dani is filled with bitterness she needs to deal with, as well as a problem she is not even yet aware that she needs to resolve.

F. Nelson Smith created a cast of unusual characters and a story plot that has more twists, turns, ups and downs than a roller coaster ride.

I must admit the story kept me turning pages until the last third of the book. In the last third of the book I felt the pace slowed a little too much and I believed the mystery could have been solved sooner.

However, near the end, there were more twists and surprises that kept me turning pages, yet again, until the end. I enjoyed how F. Nelson Smith wrapped up the mystery, as well as decisions Dani needed to make at the end of the story.

I give this story a 4-star rating.


Midnight is My Time by Mike Dellosso

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a Mike Dellosso fan. I’ve written a review of his book, Centralia, and some of his books have been listed in my old Top Ten Tuesday posts. I have also done an author interview with him here on my blog.

So I was excited to be able to read his latest release, Midnight is My Time. I read it in two evenings because it grabbed my attention right at the start and held my attention until the very end. Midnight is My Time is filled with action and suspense, and yes, some violence. There is a mystery that also runs through the book in regards to the two main characters, Andy and Missy — are they freaks or something special?

Ten years after an Apocalyptic event, Andy and Missy meet and decide to travel together. They travel from the southeastern United States to the northeastern United States. But why are they being pursued and threatened? What is their purpose? Will they reach their destination in one piece?

Mike Dellosso’s descriptions paint a vivid picture of people and places. The action scenes are intense and keep the pace of the story moving, just as you catch your breath, another crisis wrenches your breath away again.

This book was an easy read, and as I mentioned above, it was a real page-turner that kept me on the edge of my seat. Mike Dellosso has produced another great read and I highly recommend it.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by [Sloan, Robin]


The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

My Thoughts

This is Robin Sloan’s first full length novel, and if you are a book lover, or you love to hang out in bookstores and/or libraries, this book is for you. Also, if you are a techie and/or Google lover, you will love this book.

The story is full of mystery and intrigue and fascinating characters. I found myself having a hard time putting the book down. This is a very unique story and it connects libraries and bookstores with current technology, as well as revealing some interesting historical facts about publishing.

Mr. Sloan wrote great descriptions that brought the places and the characters to life. I never felt the story dragging nor did I ever feel lost.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story because I liked the characters and wanted to see them solve the mystery. I also love history and enjoyed learning the history of a typing font. The story was filled with fascinating things both history as well as some futuristic ideas. I look forward to reading more from Robin Sloan.

Breaker’s Reef by Terri Blackstock

I have been a Terri Blackstock fan for some time.  Her books always keep me turning pages and Breaker’s Reef was no exception.  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program, and I must admit that when I received the book and saw that it is book four of the “Cape Refuge Series”, I thought I might be lost because I hadn’t read the first three books in the series.  However, that was not the case.  I’m sure that many of the characters are part of the first three books as Cape Refuge is a town, but Ms. Blackstock wrote this book in such a way that I could read it and not feel like I was reading a book from a series where I had missed a lot of important information.  She gave enough information on the characters that I understood them and the connections between them, and the plot line seemed independent.

Breaker’s Reef is the story of Sadie, a young lady who has lived a difficult life, whose mother has recently straightened out her own life though she has a secret that is soon revealed — she had another daughter before Sadie, one she gave up for adoption. When a murder takes place, Sadie’s mom thinks she may have information as to who may have done it.  Then, another young girl turns up dead and another missing.  Danger seems to lurk around every corner as Sadie decides to try to find the missing girl.  In between all of the murders and abductions, the Police Chief is trying to propose to the woman he has loved for a long time, but the case seems to grow more tangled and time consuming every day.

Breaker’s Reef is suspenseful and gripping with a touch of humor and romance.  It definitely kept me turning pages.  The young ladies in this book were impressive characters in the way they showed compassion and wanted to help other young girls in trouble.  They encouraged others to take a step to change their lives.  The story and its characters were inspiring.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery with an inspirational message.  If you love a story that grabs your attention and holds it until the very end, Breaker’s Reef is a book you’ll want to read.  I can’t wait to read the first three that came before Breaker’s Reef in the “Cape Refuge Series”.

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 1)

Bright lightning lit a jagged streak in the sky and the thunder rumbled long and loud.  Lexie was grateful for Bo, her big, black Labrador Retriever sleeping at the foot of her bed.  Lexie knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep during the storm, so she climbed out of bed, put on her robe and slippers and went to the kitchen and made herself a cup of coffee.

Lexie sat at one end of the sofa and Bo climbed up and lay with his head in her lap.  Every time the lightning flashed and the thunder cracked Lexie trembled, and Bo pressed his nose into her hand in an attempt to calm her.  Lexie was terrified of thunderstorms.

After a couple of hours, the storm finally passed and Lexie returned to bed to try to get a few more hours of sleep.

Lexie awoke just as the sun was climbing over the horizon.  She took a shower and got dressed for work.  She went to the kitchen, scrambled an egg, made a slice of toast and a cup of coffee.  She just sat down to eat, and the telephone rang.


“Good morning, Sis.  You okay?”

“Hi Brad.  Yes, I’m fine.”

“But the storm woke you and you didn’t go back to sleep until it was over, right?”

“Brad, it’s no big deal.  The storm wasn’t that bad, and it didn’t last that long.  Besides, Bo was right by my side the whole time.”

“Lexie, you can’t keep living like this, and you need a man, not just that pathetic dog.”

“Bo is not pathetic.  He’s smart and he provides me with comfort and companionship, and he would protect me if he needed to.”

“Right.  He’d knock the culprit down and lick’em to death.”

“Brad, unless you called to do more than make fun of my dog, I need to go.  My breakfast is getting cold and I have to leave for work in fifteen minutes.”

“Okay, okay.  Yeah, I did call for a reason.  Patty and I would like you to come over for dinner on Friday night.”

Lexie groaned and said, “Let me guess, you’ll also have a nice, respectable man present as well.”

“Lexie, I’m only looking out for your best interests.  You know I want you to be happy.”

“I know.  What time is dinner?”

“Six.  See you then.”


Lexie warmed her eggs in the microwave, ate quickly and left for work.  She worked at Paulette’s Bakery and Pastry Shop.  She baked breads, rolls, cupcakes, and cookies, iced the cupcakes and some of the cookies, and helped customers at the counter, when needed.  It wasn’t her dream job, but she didn’t really know what her dream job was, and working at Paulette’s suited her.


As Friday approached, the other girls that worked at Paulette’s were busy talking about dates they would have Friday night, and those that didn’t have dates planned to go to a local night club together.  They had given up asking Lexie to join them a long time ago because she had always refused.

“You got any plans for Friday night, Lexie?” Erica asked.

“Actually, I’m going to have dinner with my brother and his wife.”

“Not much chance of meeting a hot hunk of man there, huh?”

Lexie’s cheeks burned as she said, “No, not much chance.”  She was certain that whatever man Brad would invite would have no interest in someone like her.

“You do like men, don’t you, Lexie?” Erica persisted.

Lexie’s face burned hotter and she said, “Sure, I do.”

Erica and the other girls laughed and walked away.


Friday after work, Lexie took Bo for a walk, took a shower, and decided on a pair of jeans and a sky blue sweater from her closet.  She was nervous as she drove to Brad and Patty’s.

Lexie rang the doorbell.  Brad opened the door and greeted her warmly with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“You look great, Lexie.  You know that sky blue sweater reflects your blue eyes, making them look bluer.  Don’t worry.  Everything will be fine.  He’s not here yet, and Patty’s in the kitchen.”

Lexie was happy to join Patty to escape Brad and his conniving.

“Lexie, it’s so good to see you.”  Patty hugged her in greeting.  “How are you?  I hope Brad’s not pushing you too hard.”

“Brad’s always pushing me too hard.  He won’t stop until he has me married off to someone.”

“He worries about you, Lexie.  We both do.”

“I know, but I just don’t think I’m marrying material.”

“Don’t say that, Lexie.  I know that the traditional counseling didn’t help you much, but I wish you’d come to church with Brad and I.  I wish you’d give Jesus a chance.”

“Patty, we’ve had this conversation before.  There is nothing and no one who can help me.”

“Lexie, that’s not true.  You have to see how different Brad is since Jesus found him.”

“Yeah, and I’d love to be able to have the happiness Brad has, but Brad wasn’t in a pit as deep as the one I was in for such a long time.”

Brad walked into the kitchen at that moment.  He took one look at the misery on his sister’s face and the tears in his wife’s eyes and said, “Things are a bit tense in here, huh?  I thought we’re supposed to be having a pleasant dinner.  David is here.  He’s waiting for us in the living room.”

“Well, why don’t you introduce Lexie while I get everything on the table in the dining room?”

“Lexie, shall we?”

Lexie followed Brad, but he knew she had her fortress built around her heart and David didn’t stand a chance.  He whispered a prayer as he led the way to the living room.

A Mystery (Day 2)

Tara didn’t get much sleep despite Katie’s best efforts to make her comfortable.  She still couldn’t accept the fact that Jaime was gone and that the last words she spoke to him were in anger.

In the morning, Katie managed to get Tara to eat a slice of wheat toast and drink a glass of orange juice.

“I think I need to go to Jacobson Mergers and let them know what happened,”  said Tara.

“Don’t you think the police are already there?  I’m sure they were planning on questioning some of the people Jaime worked with to see if he had any enemies there.”

Tara began to cry.

“I’m sorry, Tara.  I can’t imagine how you feel.  Is there anything I can do that will help?”

“Thank you, Katie, but, no, there really isn’t.  I just can’t stop thinking about the angry words that I said to him before he was …”

She couldn’t say the word.

“That is quite upsetting, I am sure, but you can’t go through the rest of your life beating yourself up about that.  It will take time, I know, but you’ll have to find a way to forgive yourself for that.”

“Why would someone do such an awful thing?  Who could’ve wanted Jaime dead?”

“Maybe, the person didn’t plan to kill Jaime when he or she stopped by.  Maybe they argued and it happened in the heat of the moment.”

“I suppose that could be true, but wouldn’t that make it a crime of passion?  There would have had to be extremely strong feelings that played into a scene like that.”

“Oh, my, I think we may have seen too many mystery t.v. shows or read too many mystery novels.  We just need to let the police do their job.”

“But, what am I supposed to do now?”     Tara looked despondent.