NOTE: This is a double book review, two books being reviewed at the same time.
Debut children’s author, Sarah Linx, introduces us to her two new books written for young children:
Counting Kitties: Emerging young readers can count their way up from numbers 1-10, while rhyming their way through situations that our beloved furry family members could get themselves into throughout the day!
Kitty’s First Day of School: Kitty the Calico is a young and energetic kitten, who is going to school for the very first time. While at first, she was scared to be away from home for so long, Kitty quickly learns that school is nothing to be afraid of.
You can tell from the covers just how cute these books are! I love these books! My granddaughters did too! The five-year-old knows her numbers quite well, as she demonstrated for me when we read the books together. Her three-year-old sister enjoyed copying her older sister as we counted the kitties in the first book.
These 6” X 9” paperback books are written and illustrated with love by Sarah Linx. The pictures are gorgeous and are on every page opposite the words. You can open the book almost anywhere and find a beautiful illustration that matches the words on the facing page. The print is large, the pictures are large also. Everyone will enjoy these books.
These books get 5 stars!
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Tags: Early education, early learning, pre-school, story time, parenting
Poetess and non-fiction author, Balroop Singh, introduces us to her latest volume of poetry, Timeless Echoes:
Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill onto the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired by the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.
Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.
While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone… it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.
I really enjoyed the poetry in Singh’s latest collection of poems. The imagery was easily drawn out, the words and phrasing flowed with an unmistakable grace.
This book of poetry is a hybrid of rhyming and non-rhyming verses. I found this to be quite refreshing. I particularly enjoyed the occasional alliteration.
The themes of love, wonder, and family were flowing throughout many of the poems, as well as numerous other thoughts.
I give Timeless Echoes a score of 4.7 stars. The score would have been higher except for the spelling error I found.
Multi-volume author, Veronica Cline Barton, introduces us to the first book in her cozy murder series, The Crown for Castlewood Manor:
The English ancestral manor of Cherrywood Hall is ready to compete for selection in an upcoming British TV period drama series: the grounds are manicured, the mansion is polished, and the servants are poised. American heiress Gemma Lancaster Phillips has crossed the pond to help her cousin defeat the three other stately homes vying for the prize.
What Gemma doesn’t realize is that this competition is life or death, and someone is taking that challenge literally. The occupants of one home are killed in an automobile accident, and murder becomes a frequent occurrence at the other locations. Who is behind the mayhem? Selection would be a major coup for both the estate and the community. At first the other contestants seem to be likely suspects, but no one is quite certain as the tragedies continue. Could it even be Emma’s beloved cousin Evan, the surviving heir to the Lancaster fortune, or Kyle, his best friend and estate manager? With the Royal family in attendance at each event, the puzzle becomes a crucial one for Scotland Yard, and they enlist Gemma’s help to solve the mystery.
When the competition’s winner is announced on New Year’s Eve, will Gemma’s future be forever tied to her ancestral past?
It has been quite a while since I have had the pleasure of reading a well-written cozy murder. I confess to being a little squeamish in the presence of a lot of blood and gore. I enjoyed this story so much, there was nothing to make me uncomfortable in this wonderful story about the behind the scenes selection process for an estate to be showcased in a British period drama, similar to Downton Abbey.
I can’t say much more without giving a spoiler, so let me say this about Barton’s writing. Her writing is marvelous! She handles the intricacies of first person POV so well. The story is told from the point of view of Dr. Gemma Phillips. This thoroughly American woman has studied the family history for her PhD. and has an eye for so much of the many decades of culture of British manors and estates. The scene-setting leaves little to be desired, the dialogue, action, and characterizations are simply wonderful in the small village and the stately manor, known as Cherrywood Hall. The clothing and foods of the past get some interesting exposure in this story. I was in suspense most of the time, and quite shocked at some of the plot twists! I have never been very good at guessing who the perp is, in a well-written story. You are going to get a great deal of reading pleasure from this book.
I award The Crown for Castlewood Manor a score of 4.9 stars; the score would have been higher, except for the small handful of spelling errors, I stumbled upon.
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Here is the review of the second book: www.wordrefiner.com/book-reviews/cast-crew-and-carnage-the-filming-of-castlewood-manor-my-american-almost-royal-cousin-series-by-veronica-cline-barton
Here is the review of the third book: www.wordrefiner.com/book-reviews/deadly-receptions-the-debut-of-castlewood-manor-by-veronica-cline-barton
Tags: mystery, suspense, traditional detective, cozy, castle
Copyright 2018 Mark Schultz
Debut author, Cassie Greutman, introduces us to her first book REGEN:
Life is finally shaping up for Trisha. For the first time, she’s with a foster family she doesn’t hate. Her new school is decent, and she even has a boyfriend. Until the night she finds herself waking up in the woods covered in blood, a bullet hole in her dress.
Without her fae abilities, she’d be dead, but now the Faerie Council has given her an ultimatum. She has to help find an escaped fugitive, or be taken to Faerie, a place her missing mother told her horror stories about.
Now, Trish has to keep her day job a secret from her foster parents, join forces with the ex-boyfriend who killed her, and hunt down a dangerous criminal before he comes into his powers. Should be a piece of cake.
This urban fantasy story really surpassed my expectations! It was so much fun and kept me on the edge of my seat.
I was especially pleased that the story is told from the first person POV of Trisha. She seems to be a human-Fae hybrid and knows very little of her ancestry or her nascent Fae abilities.
Cassie’s plotting left me breathless at times, her scene-setting and action sequences are quite good. When first person POV is done correctly, it’s wonderful, in my opinion. Cassie avoids so many of the problems that trip up authors, she kept the POV clean of extraneous thoughts, there was no head-hopping.
This is a great story, I highly recommend it! I hope there is a sequel. There is a lot more story to tell.
I award 4.8 stars to REGEN, the score would have been higher except for the small handful of spelling issues.
Multi-volume, multi-genre author, Theresa Snyder, introduces us to the first book in her science fiction series The Helavite War:
Jake is a human mercenary looking for a quiet place to rest, when his Protect Dar-dolf attacks the last living Henu, Arr. Feeling responsible, Jake stays on to care for Arr, as the alien with deep blue cat eyes and unusual abilities recovers.
Jake takes on the role of teacher, mentor, father, and lost brother for his new alien friend. He and Arr share adventures dealing with the Hydra, a race of lizard-like creatures who kidnap members of other species to sell on the black market as slaves; battle the Narnon on Gligula where Tuldavian Swamp Lizards lay their traps just below the surface of the slime; and engage in numerous other missions while learning to appreciate each other’s rare abilities.
Ultimately, they must face their toughest foe, the Helavites, a species which has been preying on the weaker beings in the universe for generations. In the underground catacombs of these beetle-like creatures a mystery is solved and the foundation for the resurrection of an old world are laid.
I am so glad I read this story! It took me back to my early-teen years when I first discovered sci-fi. I devoured book after book, reading Asimov, Pohl, Heinlein, and too many others to name here.
Snyder’s style of writing is very enjoyable, she moves the story along at a good pace. The plot, scene-setting, and dialogue all work together to create a wonderful read. Her characterizations are quite good, perhaps the best bit of her books. Jake and Arr come across as very real, even the dar-dolf brings a lot of color and humor into the story.
Written in the classic style of space operas, I loved this book. I award 4.6 stars to The Helavite War, the score would have been higher except for the handful of spelling errors I found.
There are actually seven volumes in The Star Traveler series!
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Tags: Science fiction, space, rockets, aliens, adventure, action
Multi-volume, multi-genre author Stanley C. Straub introduces us to his latest book, The Trail in the Woods:
Something or someone has encapsulated an entire valley on Earth. The valley is called "The Valley of the Gods" and is given a perfect environment for people to live in. The valley is like a Garden of Eden and designed as an ideal place for an experiment. People hiking on a trail towards the valley have disappeared over the years and never been heard from again. Even searchers have disappeared that looked for the missing people. Something evil lives on the trail and controls the valley. Two childhood friends set out on a courageous adventure to hike the abandoned overgrown trail to see if they can find out what has happened to the people. The two hikers have to use machetes to get through the thick brush on the trail. While on the trail, they are captured and are taken to the valley to live. In the valley, they meet people with gills and come face to face with the one who runs the valley, The Tribulator, a Charles Manson type who thinks he is God. It's a fight for survival for the two hikers as they fight the evil forces controlling the valley. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance as the hikers battle for their lives.
I have to say I enjoyed this story quite a bit! Stanley takes us on another wild ride, where so many things are not what they seem. I will not provide any spoilers here, you will have to read the story for yourself. I will say that Stanley is good at his scene setting; action and POV are pretty well done also. Even with a large supporting cast the protagonists are nicely defined. There are lots of changes in store for the hikers, and their world view will be shaken, just like yours.
I award The Trail in the Woods a score of 4.3 stars, the score would have been higher except I found quite a few spelling errors.
I understand that the author has since corrected the book and your reading will be smoother. Thank you, Mr. Straub.
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Tags: sci-fi, military, aliens, god, colonization,
Who am I?
An avid reader, typobuster, and the Hyper-Speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
"I'm very pleased with all your efforts. Twitter promotion and proofreading were beyond what I expected with a book review. Your suggestions throughout the process of refining both books helped me immensely. I look forward to working with you again." A.E.H Veenman “Dial QR for Murder” and “Prepped for the Kill”