Search

Category

Authors

Oh My Goodness, Frank Renzi, Are You getting soft? Featuring my favorite criminal, Natalie! Book Seven in the Frank Renzi series, Natalie’s Dilemma, by Susan Fleet

All I can say at this point is that Natalie’s Dilemma is no 5 Star Book… Nope, I need to give it 6, 7, 8 or maybe 10 stars! I absolutely love this series! Natalie is a criminal who puts you on the edge of your seat, all the time. But is she really a criminal? Does your heart go out to her?

Bullets flying everywhere, Mafia, (now these guys are criminals, no doubt about it!), Murder, Kidnapping, CIA, FBI, NOPD, and of course, Natalie in the middle of it all!

I have been reading this series for years now, and it just keeps getting better. I actually featured Susan back in November 2015.. see the article at Frank Renzi Post from November 2015.

So what does Natalie do? Does she run? Does she protect the child? There are bullets everywhere, does she turn to Detective Renzi for help? I guess you will need to pick up a copy of this book to find out. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, any of the Detective Renzi mysteries can be read as stand alone books… but if you really want to get to know the characters, I would suggest you start from the beginning. See my link above for a review of the Series.

Susan does an awesome job of building the characters from book to book and makes her reader feel like they are on scene wherever they are… Italy, NY, New Orleans… Susan does a tremendous amount of research into the characters, places, events and police work. It absolutely shows in this series. And just in case you haven’t figured it out already, I Highly Recommend The Frank Renzi Series.

Enjoy your week, and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh and by All Means, Read!

Sharon

 

 

 

 

 

Review Time: Featuring Coal River by Ellen MarieWiseman

Do you love Historical Fiction? This is one of the genres that I started reading after I retired. And, I love it. I guess what I really like most about it is that it usually contains some truth. Either the topic being discussed or the setting, and sometimes real people. Not to mention that reading about history is fun especially with added fiction.

I will let Amazon tell you  a little about Ellen and a little about the book. Then I will add my review because… well just because…. it is my blog after all. 🙂

About the Author:

img_0963

Ellen Marie Wiseman was born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in Northern New York. Ellen lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband, two spoiled Shih-tzus, and a rescued yellow lab. She loves to cook, travel, garden, watch movies and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

For more information about Ellen, please visit http://www.ellenmariewiseman.com.

And I will add that this area of upstate New York is absolutely gorgeous. I am not particularly fond of the winters up there, but the Spring, Summer and Fall can’t be beat. (says the somewhat partial New York Army Mom.)

 

Amazon Synopsis:

In this vibrant new historical novel, the acclaimed author of The Plum Tree and What She Left Behind explores one young woman’s determination to put an end to child labor in a Pennsylvania mining town. . .

As a child, Emma Malloy left isolated Coal River, Pennsylvania, vowing never to return. Now, orphaned and penniless at nineteen, she accepts a train ticket from her aunt and uncle and travels back to the rough-hewn community. Treated like a servant by her relatives, Emma works for free in the company store. There, miners and their impoverished families must pay inflated prices for food, clothing, and tools, while those who owe money are turned away to starve.

Most heartrending of all are the breaker boys Emma sees around the village–young children who toil all day sorting coal amid treacherous machinery. Their soot-stained faces remind Emma of the little brother she lost long ago, and she begins leaving stolen food on families’ doorsteps, and marking the miners’ bills as paid.

Though Emma’s actions draw ire from the mine owner and police captain, they lead to an alliance with a charismatic miner who offers to help her expose the truth. And as the lines blur between what is legal and what is just, Emma must risk everything to follow her conscience.

An emotional, compelling novel that rings with authenticity–Coal River is a deft and honest portrait of resilience in the face of hardship, and of the simple acts of courage that can change everything.

My Review:

One of the things I look for in a novel is description; I want to feel the characters, feel the setting, and most of all feel the story. In doing so, I feel like I know the author. No matter what the topic, a good author shows themselves in what they write! Coal River is one of those beautifully written stories.

As Ellen describes the area and the characters, I could actually feel the dirt on their feet and the black coal on their faces, not to mention the cuts and bruises on their bodies.

I can’t even imagine the lives that the miners and their families lived. With little food, clothing and coal to heat their homes, they got up every morning and went to work. The women stayed home as their husbands and children, as young as 5/6, went off to the very unsafe mines to work 10 hours every day! The stress of  whether or not they would return each night had to have been unbearable.

Once I got to the midpoint of the book, there was no putting it down. Page after page, I just wanted to see what happened next.

I noticed a few reviewers didn’t like the romance in the story! Well Gosh;  Emma is 19 years old, of course there needs to be some romance! It was written well and certainly wasn’t overdone.

And then there was the ending! I never saw it coming, but I loved it! If you want to read a good Historical Fiction with a few twists and an unexpected ending, then this is a book for you.  I highly recommend Coal River, and I am looking forward to reading more from Ellen Marie Wiseman. My rating, definitely 5 Stars… 

p.s. Along the way Emma does a few things that aren’t legal… I couldn’t help but to think about Robin Hood as I was reading. 🙂

I received this book while attending an online facebook party… Thank you Ellen for sending it to me, I really enjoyed reading and reviewing it.

 

As Always, don’t forget to:

LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH and by All Means, READ!

Sharon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Been Awhile, so Yes It’s Time for a Book Review!

I’m Back

I have to say that I have been quite busy reading in the last week or so. I downed 3 books and started a 4th. I am so happy to be reading again. 🙂

So Today, I will stop and do a book review for one of my favorite authors. I know that you already know this author because I rave about her all the time. She has a talent for making the words fly through her books. I just love them!

Some of you have probably guessed that I am reviewing, Amy M Reade’s House of the Hanging Jade! 

Let me start by saying that I now have a new favorite Amy M. Reade Book. This is her third novel, and I loved all of them, but up until now, her first novel, The Hallstead House, was my favorite. That’s probably because the setting was the beautiful Thousand Islands of Upstate New York. By far, one of my favorite places in this glorious country of ours. The fact that my two beautiful little granddaughters live up there, well, that is just icing on the cake! Life is good.

Let’s get to the book

House of the Hanging Jade takes place in none other than Hawaii!!!! I know, I know, just hearing Hawaii makes you want to read it, right? I personally have never been to Hawaii, but while I was reading I felt as though I was right there. Amy has a way of drawing her readers right into the setting. She does this by describing the intricate details of the area. Every time she mentioned the hanging Jade, I could almost smell it. Of course, when I lived in Florida, I had some Jade around my house, so I know that glorious smell. Let’s talk about the food. Anybody who knows Amy already knows that she loves Hawaiian food. Me, well, I am not a lover of seafood, however, the descriptions of the foods and the use  of these words throughout the meal preparation and shopping for ingredients made me think. Hmmm, all kinds of delightful spices, fresh seafood daily, and fresh fruits and vegetables. And not to mention, the Jorgensons have their own Personal Chef! Who wouldn’t want a part of this world?

Oh, but it’s not all glorious, Kailani (I nicknamed her “K” to keep it at one syllable) has to deal with an ex-boyfriend who decides he must have her and follows her to Hawaii. Geoffrey turns out to be a formidable character. No, I don’t like him! My friend “K”and a certain someone will deal with him! Barbie, huh, perfect name for the lady of the house. 🙂 She is quite the Barbie Doll for sure. I tried to dislike her, but there was something about her, that just made me feel sorry for her. I feel as though, she will never find happiness. I guess that is because she is looking in all the wrong places. Cliche, I know! Lars, well, he is easy to like. A very kind man who does his best to hold his family together. You have to love a man like that. Liko, Shame on you! I expected more from you! You should have listened to your friend “K”. Good Grief! Then there were the kids, Marcus, and Justine. They were typical rich kids who learned to fend for themselves since the parents were never around. Kind of sad, but at the same time intriguing. They learn to both love and hate “K” throughout the story. Oh, I almost forgot Akela, (her nickname is “AK”). Every story needs a family gossip. That is “AKs” role, and she does a really good job.As, if that wasn’t enough of a character list, Amy throws in K’s family, who just happen to own an amazing bakery. Yes, you heard right, a bakery! WOW!

Amy does a wonderful job of building all of these characters throughout the book. It is filled with page-turning events including all of the above and adding mystery, suspense and yes, murder! As I tried to figure out the killer, I was torn between two of the characters. I ended up leaning in the right direction and figured it out before the reveal. There are tons of twists and turns throughout the story, some surprises and some expected, but undoubtedly,  this novel is definitely an attention grabber!  In case you are wondering, I must give this novel a 5 Star! No doubt about it!  I love a good mystery! And Amy does it well!

Before I end my review, I want to take a minute to discuss the cover. Imagine this, sitting on a lanai of a glorious beautiful home facing the Pacific Ocean and this is what you see! Wow, from pictures that I have seen of Hawaii, I would say that this cover does it all extremely well. It’s gorgeous.

House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today (2)

AMy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Amy M. Reade writes women’s contemporary and gothic fiction. Her books have been compared to authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. Amy’s novels feature vivid descriptions of exotic and fascinating locations, such as the Thousand Islands region of New York State, Charleston, South Carolina, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

A former attorney, Amy found that writing was her true calling, and is currently working on a new project, a series set in Edinburgh, Scotland. She loves cooking, reading, and travel. You can visit her website, Click here for website, where, in addition to information about her books and appearances, you will find a contact form, suggested playlists to go along with her novels, and notes and recommendations on wines.

So, it’s time for you to head on over to Amazon to pick up your copy of House of the Hanging Jade. You don’t want to miss this wonderful Novel!

House of the Hanging Jade on Amazon Books

 

 

Back to the 70s with Julie Mulhern

It’s Thanksgiving, and I would like to give thanks for all of the authors out there! Thank you, for your hard work and determination. All you do does not go unnoticed!

Introducing Julie Mulhern:

In October, I added another new (to me that is) author to my list of recommended authors. Julie Mulhern is the author of The Deep End and Guaranteed to Bleed (The Country Club Murders Book 1 and Book 2).And Book 3, Clouds in My Coffee will be out in the Spring. Who doesn’t like to read about socialites and country clubs? Did anybody say anger, murder and infidelities? And then add the fact that it is set in the 70s!

The Deep End:

Synopsis:

It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties, and blackmail.

What others had to say: 

Intriguing Plot, Fascinating Characters…

“Part mystery, part women’s fiction, part poetry, Mulhern’s debut, The Deep End, will draw you in with the first sentence and entrance you until the last. An engaging whodunit that kept me guessing until the end!” Tracy Weber, Author of the Downward Dog Mysteries.

My Thoughts:

I really loved this book and the fact that it was set in the 70s. The characters were well developed giving the reader the opportunity to get to know them, their friends, and their families. The plot was well defined with lots of twists, including anger, murder, and infidelity. And of course, it was suspenseful, the whodunit wasn’t really apparent until Julie wanted you to know. I loved the fact that there were secrets and they remained secrets. This makes it more realistic because everyone has a secret or two that they want to take to the grave with them. hmm!


Guaranteed to Bleed:

Synopsis:

With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”

Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way.

Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased.

Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby and elude the killer—all before her next charity gala committee meeting.

What others had to say: 

“In this excellent follow-up to her debut The Deep End, author Mulhern continues to depict the trappings of a privileged community… Readers who enjoy the novels of Susan Isaacs will love this series that blends a strong mystery with the demands of living in an exclusive society. Watching Ellison develop the strength of character to break through both her own and her society’s expectations is a sheer delight.” – Kings River Life Magazine

My Thoughts:

I believe I started my review of the Deep End the same way, but I have to say it again;  I absolutely loved this book! Julie did a great job of building the characters. There was a lot going on throughout the story, giving the reader a chance to make assumptions as to who was guilty, and it wasn’t until near the end that I guessed the outcome! Again, I love the setting in the early 70s…. no cell phones or computers… 🙂 As true for The Deep End, Guaranteed to Bleed was extremely entertaining and was very difficult to put down. Job well done, Julie!

 

About Julie:

1daffa_1d2cdeff04a74d5ea655b8c280f29e98

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders.

She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Julie always wanted to be a writer. She spent her childhood creating pen names and dreaming of exotic, mysterious, romantic places. To that end, she went to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia (because, when you’re from the Midwest, the South is both exotic and romantic). There she earned degrees in politics and French. She even spent a year living in Paris. But the Midwest beckoned and she returned home. Now she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a dastardly dog. It might not be exotic or mysterious, but it is romantic.

In addition to mysteries, Julie writes historical, romantic suspense. Her first romance, A Haunting Desire, was a finalist in the 2014 Golden Heart® contest and is available now.
Look for A Haunting Need in the early spring of 2016.

In Closing, I will say that I Definitely loved both books, and will IMpatiently wait for the third (Clouds in My Coffee) And, hopefully, more after that!

I highly recommend this series, and Julie has graciously offered a copy of the Deep End to a randomly chosen commenter! Thank you, Julie!

Please leave a comment; Have you read this series already and would like to share your comments? Is Julie Mulhern a new author to you and you would like to add this series to your TBR? Or you can leave a comment and just say hello! Even though you are prompted to leave your name and email, I promise I will not send you tons of email! Unless of course you want some! 🙂

You can connect with Julie Mulhern via her website: Julie’s Website or Amazon for Julie Mulhern

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh, and by all means, READ!

Sharon

 

 

 

Three of my Favorite Authors

Good Morning All!

As I begin posting on my blog, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I have chosen to write about authors, books, and reading.

I am starting with three of my favorite authors, in alphabetical order: Mollie Cox Bryan, Amy Metz, and Amy Reade.

Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of the Cumberland Creek Mystery Series set in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. There are five books and two novellas in the series. Hopefully, I am getting these in order: Scrapbook of Secrets, Scrapped, Death of an Irish Diva, A Crafty Christmas and Scrapbook of the Dead… The Novellas: Scrappy Summer and Scrappily Ever After.  I would be lying if I said I have read all of them because Scrapbook of the Dead has not been released yet. I am impatiently waiting for September 29th. In addition to this series, Mollie has also penned two cookbooks: Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies and Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook.

So, let’s talk about this series and why I picked it up in the first place. I can sum it up in one quick statement: Scrapbooking, Murder, and a little Romance. Definitely cozy mysteries, the series gives the reader a look at a group of ladies who get together quite often to scrapbook, discuss life and eventually get involved in murder. Each book tells a new story with one or two characters moving to the forefront. In one of them, one of our scrappers actually becomes a suspect in the murder…. Hmmmm!  The characters are well-developed from the beginning, and the plots are fun and easy to read. You know the old saying, “you can never judge a book by its cover.” Well, I can honestly say that you most certainly can with this series. Lots of color and craftiness fills the covers. And to be honest, being a scrapbooker myself, it was the covers that drew me in. Once I began, I could not stop. I love the characters and the stories, and if that isn’t enough, Mollie offers scrapbooking tips at the end of each book.  If you are looking for a lighthearted fun read, then this series is for you. Pick up the first one, and you will be hooked!

On to Amy Metz who is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries. Currently there are three books in this series: Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction (Book 1), Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction (Book 2) and Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction (Book 3). The third book is actually five short stories, one novella, and three recipes. And, it develops the characters from book 1 beautifully, and probably should be read between Book 1 and Book 2. I have read and loved all three of them.

So, how did I find this series? I first learned of it on Amy Reade’s Blog (Reade and Write). I immediately headed over to Amazon and downloaded the first book. Why? Because in the interview Amy Reade asks Amy Metz to describe herself in three words… her answer “Crazy Old Lady”.  I know this is one crazy reason for wanting to read the books, but it’s true and I guess that makes me one crazy old lady too! (p.s. I have not met Amy in person, so I don’t know if she is crazy or not, but I can tell you if you look at her recent pictures, she is far from OLD!)

Once I started reading the first book, it was over.  I knew I would have to read them all. I am truly a GPJ fan; I actually looked it up to see if it was a real town… Yep, it is! This series is filled with southern phrases, (some I had to look up) that made me laugh out loud. The characters are fun, and the stories are unique. In book 1, Amy undertakes a real unsolved 75-year-old murder and fictionally solves it. Quite impressive, don’t you think?  Stealing some words from a review of the book, Amy has created a town with a personality of its own with lots of humor, romance, and southern charm. Oh, and I believe quirky was a word used to describe this series… I agree! It’s well written and lots of fun. Do pick it up, you will love it!

Last, but certainly not least, Amy M. Reade, is the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, set in the beautiful 1000 Islands, and The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, set Outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Amy’s writing style is absolutely beautiful, and she has been compared to Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. I am no writing expert, but I would venture to say this is quite flattering for an author!

How and why did I choose this author? Simply put, she was recommended by my step-daughter, Diane Aguanno Knox. Diane met Amy at one of her book-signings (for Secrets of Hallstead House) in Clayton, NY. Of course I would have read it just on Diane’s recommendation alone, but when she told me it was set in the 1000 Islands, I could not wait to read it. After reading it, for the first time ever, I contacted an author with a question I had about the book. Amy answered very quickly and I am happy to say a much-cherished friendship was formed.

From the minute I picked up Secrets of Hallstead House, I could not put it down. From the first chapter, the descriptions of the area and the house make the reader feel part of the scene. The characters are developed beautifully and the plot had me guessing right through till the end. If you have been to the 1000 Islands, or even if you haven’t, pick this book up it is well worth it.

Now it’s time for a confession. Between Amy’s first book and her second, she and I had lots of communication through facebook and her blog and we became friends. Although I was very excited about reading her second book, I was a little nervous too. What if I didn’t like it? How do you tell somebody you didn’t like their book! LOL… not to worry, the second book, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor was as good, if not better than Amy’s first book. I am pulling the next section directly from my review of the book. “I love to read a book that I can relate to personally. This is one of those books. I related to Carleigh’s experience as a divorced mom, cried with Evie over her loss, and got angry with Vivian for her actions toward Phyllis. As far as ghosts; we all have them in our closets. Maybe they don’t talk to us on a daily basis, but they are surely there, reminding us of the ups and downs of life.”  I am predicting that if you read either one of Amy’s books, you will definitely want more from her!

To sum it all up, I have lots of authors I love, but these three ladies, are right up there on the top of my list. It was harder to write this than I thought it would be and I probably should have done one at a time. However, I am hoping that some of my friends will take the time to read it, and perhaps pick up some of the books I have highlighted today!

Many thanks to Mollie, Amy M and Amy R for allowing me to write about them! In August, I actually met Amy Reade and enjoyed her company over lunch. This was a thrill for me, and meeting Mollie and Amy M. is on my bucket list.

You can find all of these books on. Amazon.com. Once you locate the authors, you can be directed to their websites/blogs. If you have any problems finding them, feel free to send me a message and I will send you a link. Thanks

Live, Love and Laugh… and by all means… READ!

Sharon

 

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑