Showing posts from January, 2017

Review--The Drifter

The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intriguing new thriller, likely to please fans of Lee Child Jack Reacher novels.

Peter Ash is a war vet, still dealing with the demons in his head and the "white static" that envelopes him when his claustrophobia takes hold. Yet he perseveres, looking for clues into his war buddy's suicide while helping his widow. What he uncovers is a mystery involving a great deal of money, bricks of explosives, and a large, noxiously fragrant and dangerous dog.

I enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to more from Mr. Petrie.

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Happy #BurnsDay!

“I find that singing makes the time pass, Doctor. Not gloomy songs, but cheerful ones. Don’t you know any songs? Isn’t there some Scotsman named Brown, or Bowen who wrote some songs?”
He stopped cleaning the fish and looked at her with an expression of deep pain.
“Might you be referring to Rabbie Burns, the bard of Scotland?”
Daphne thought about it for a moment.
“That sounds right. He wrote a song about a red rose, and one about a hag.” Her brow scrunched. “Though why someone would want to write a song about a hag is beyond me.”
He closed his eyes, then opened them and looked at her.
“Not a hag, Miss Farnham, a haggis. A haggis is a dish enjoyed by the people of Scotland.”
“Really? What is it?”
Dr. Murray described, with loving detail, the inner workings of the mysterious haggis. Daphne looked at him, speechless for a long moment.
“I would think raw fish a treat after that!” --Castaway Dreams

Today is the birthday of Robert Burns, the bard of Scotland.  I will forgo the haggis but raise a dram…

CASTAWAY DREAMS is back in print!

My Aspen Gold winning historical romance, Castaway Dreams, is back in print and available from your favorite bookseller. Check out the romp that All About Romance rated a "'Desert Island Keeper'...Castaway Dreams is remarkable."

Need more?  "Alexander Murray knows one cannot exist without a brain, yet Daphne Farnham may be the exception. Her head contains nothing but rainbows, shoes, bonnets, pink frills and butterflies. Even her fluffy dog is useless. But the war with Napoleon is finally over and the surgeon is certain he can put up with cloth-headed Miss Farnham until their ship reaches England.
Did that naval officer have his sense of humor surgically removed? It is bad enough Murray has no fashion sensibilities at all, never smiles at her like other men do, and doesn’t adore her darling pup Pompom. He had the gall to proclaim her “useless” when everyone knows it’s Daphne Farnham who’s the best at picking out just the right ensemble for any social occasion. F…

Review--Night School (Jack Reacher, #21)

Night School by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is vintage Reacher, sure to please his legion of fans. The '90s setting with Reacher still a major in the US Army makes the story more intriguing, as we get glimpses of the kind of action that made him into the man whose adventures continued in the first book, the Killing Floor.

As always, a very satisfying tale of action and suspense.

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Review--Market Day

Market Day by James Sturm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a gift from my son, and it's a wise son who knows his mother so well. I found this little tale of a man's journey on market day to be deeply connected to ideals of art vs. commerce, pragmatism vs. creativity, and what it means to be a husband, a father, a creator.

Mendleman is trying to make a living in his Eastern Europe shtetel, never an easy task. He weaves magnificent, one of a kind rugs, each one a story, each one hand-crafted to stand the test of time.

But who would buy such rugs? Merchants want to make quick sales and high profits and are less concerned with craftsmanship than costs.

I look forward to discussing this little tale with the gift-giver, also an artist trying to eke out a living in a harsh environment. When your livelihood is connected to your creativity (something novelists share with artists) reading Market Day gives one much to think about.

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Review--When Falcons Fall (Sebastian St. Cyr, #11)

When Falcons Fall by C.S. Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another excellent entry in a series that continues to enthrall. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has come to Shropshire to investigate clues as to his own origins and fulfill a deathbed promise to a friend. Of course, a dead body pops up and Devlin's called in by a young and inexperienced country magistrate for some expert help.

The peaceful village seethes with secrets, some related to Devlin's past, some connected to the work being done by his wife, some possibly linked to world affairs. It's a rousing good read, and I was kept guessing right up to the end "whodunnit?"

I highly recommend this series to readers who like solid historical research along with their murder mystery, and I eagerly await the next volume.

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Review--The Scent of Winter (The Original Sinners, #6.5)

The Scent of Winter by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another charming and erotic holiday story from the Original Sinners world. Soren and Kingsley are mature men now and their relationship is a far different one from what it was when they were teenagers. Family, career, life have all taken their toll, but the love remains constant.

This is probably best enjoyed by fans of the series, but Reisz's quality writing makes it work as a stand-alone novella as well.

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Review--The Old Man

The Old Man by Thomas Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Back in '94, Gov. "Walkin' Lawton" Chiles became part of Florida Cracker lore when he said to his opponent, "... let me tell you one other thing about the old liberal. The old He-Coon walks just before the light of day.”

The opponent was befuddled, but the old Floridians watching the debate nodded their heads at this sage observation. In Florida folklore, the He-Coon is the wisest member of the pack of raccoons, the oldster who lets the young ones run around and get trapped. The He-Coon waits, biding his time, then saunters off to his den.

This book's about a He-Coon, a man with a "special skill set" who's been living below the radar but his enemies just won't leave him alone. It's book candy for fans of Thomas Perry, especially fans of a certain age who like to see a guy in his sunset years kick butt and take names.

This is one of Perry's stand-along novels, not connected to the f…

Review--Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is liable to be the most important book I'll read this year. The author pulls no punches in laying out an indictment of racism in America and skillfully uses language to force the reader to re-evaluate her/his own attitudes toward race.

I liked the concept of taking various individuals and writing about them in the context of the events of their times, from Cotton Mather to Angela Davis. I would recommend Stamped from the Beginning to anyone wishing to understand more about why we've not achieved the post-racial society some had hoped for 50 years ago during the Civil Rights movement. Whether we ever reach that point will remain for future generations to examine.

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A Resolution or Two for 2017

Appreciate that when the puppy wants to play, it's not because she's trying to sabotage my writing. These moments won't last forever. Get outside more.  Write. Write some more. Don't give up, keep writing! To facilitate writing, stay away from social media. Later, gators!