It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read a book called “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup.

71BGwovWcaLIf you missed the movie a few years ago, this is the true story of a free black man, kidnapped in New York in 1841 and sold into slavery in Louisiana for twelve years. The movie was stunning and won many awards. The book is the same breathtaking story.

From a storytelling standpoint, it is told in narrative form, and as an author, I find it very fascinating. From a story standpoint, it is so absorbing, you can’t put the thing down. What happens to this poor man is beyond horrifying, but his strength of spirit throughout his struggle is a lesson for us all. His humanity toward his friends is beautiful, his intelligence toward his situation is inspiring. I imagine his descendants are very proud of him, and I for one, and awed by his bravery and his unyielding hope for his future.

As usual, true stories are the best stories.

It’s available HERE on Amazon.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read “Cades Cove: The Curse of Allie Mae” by Aiden James.

One of my favorite places on Earth is the Smoky Mountains, and sitting in a hollow in the mountains is Cades Cove. I’ve been there many times and was excited by the sheer name of this book.

51P1FVNRxPLCades Cove: The Curse of Allie Mae is a ghost story written in current times with bits of history, tradition, and ancestry thrown in.

David and Miriam Hobbs venture to a secret place in Cades Cove that is reportedly the 1800’s version of Lover’s Lane. They see hearts and names carved on the old trees, and one of the names is Allie. Later they find an old treasure bag with Allie’s name embroidered on it. David takes the bag home to Denver and the ghost story begins. Allie turns out to be a hateful poltergeist that terrorizes David’s family. Of course you’ll keep reading to find out how they get rid of her and who she is. The family connection at the end between Allie and David is intriguing.

When the family can’t take any more of Allie’s deadly mischief, David takes Allie’s bag back to Cades Cove and enlists the help of a Cherokee Indian guide and his shaman daughter to get rid of Allie. After intense spells and a flashback to Allie’s gruesome death, the story ends, and all is well.

At that point, I would have given the book lots of stars for the good plot, but it doesn’t end there. Once David returns to Denver, he receives a letter from the Indian stating they have exhumed Allie’s remains and given her a proper burial. I wish the book would have ended there, but at that point Allie reappears in the family home, making the dog bark and making me feel like I just wasted two days of my life reading a book about how they got rid of her. The story apparently segues into a sequel.

If you like ghost stories, this one is for you!

Check it out on Amazon HERE and take a peak at Aiden James’s website HERE.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


It’s Monday! What are you reading?



I just finished “Roanoke: The Lost Colony” by Angela Hunt.




910gx90keKL._SL1500_Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this book. As you can see, the cover is absolutely stunning, but it has nothing to do with the story, not even a little bit. As the title indicates, the story is about the missing colonists of Roanoke, and I always enjoy seeing personalities put to historical figures. While I sincerely appreciate the time and energy that went into researching the documents and the history, the characters in this story weren’t very likeable. Reverend Thomas Colman was pretty much a jerk, and his wife Jocelyn starts as a sassy woman who speaks her mind but becomes weak and spineless as the story progresses. The book is touted as a romance, and the two finally get together in the last pages of the book, but it was too little too late and completely out of character for him, seeing as he had been a jerk for the first 98% of the book. The other characters were hit or miss, most disappearing before you even got a chance to know them. The one thing that kept me reading was to find out the author’s impression of what happened to the colonists, but nope, we didn’t. Not even a theory. Nothing. The book just ended.

There were a couple things that drove me to drink. There were no upholstered chairs in the 1500s and certainly no tea in the colonies. Historical inaccuracies like that make me wonder how true the rest of the history-part of the story was. Also, I understand the characters speaking with ‘twas and ‘tis, but it really didn’t need to be ongoing ad nauseum throughout the narrative. ‘Twould be better if it ‘twas written without all the ‘tis and ‘twas. ‘Twouldn’t it?

In general, I wanted to like it, but I really, really wanted an ending.

Amazon link

Ms. Hunt’s website


It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2I admit it. I went left. I took a turn off some road in downtown Lollypop Land and got lost in some weird place, and I hated every minute of it. This week, I read the original “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum.

I’ll say up front that you can get lots and lots of these classic tales for free on Amazon. Well, that’s where it all started.

I’ll also say that I don’t understand how the hell this was ever transformed into such an amazing classic film. The book is atrocious. I’m not going to say anything more. If you haven’t read it, pick it for yourself, and let me know what you think.

Here’s the Amazon link – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz



It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2This week, I jumped out of my usual historical novels straight into a contemporary romance.

I read “Lovers at Heart” by Melissa Foster.

I’m familiar with Ms. Foster’s work as we travel in the same writing circles. I don’t know how she has time to do all she does, but she owns World Literary Press, runs a website, FB page, and Twitter for World Literary Cafe, mentors new writers at Fostering Success, and she releases a new book, I swear, every month. She specializes in contemporary romance. Honestly, contemporary anything is not really my favorite, so I’ve never paid much attention to the titles, but last week she had a sale at Amazon and I picked up one of her books.

915wyNuK-iL._SL1500_OMG! This was the most fun I’ve had reading in a long time. I understand why Ms. Foster is the top of her game in this genre.

Max (female) and Treat (male)…so fun and silly already!…have a love/hate relationship, and their attraction and sexual tension grabs you from the first page. It’s a romance story, so you know they’ll get together at the end, but what a fun ride watching them get there.

There were back-stories for Max and Treat, hers being abuse from an old boyfriend, his being the after-effects of the death of his mother, which needed to be faced before they could allow themselves to fall in love. Awww. Two broken people healing each other through love is sweet, but truthfully, the back-stories were a little confusing as Max and Treat do not come across as broken in the least.

On the whole, Ms. Foster is a fabulous writer, and this book is a fun ride with great characters and a satisfying ending. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a romance novel, and I couldn’t put the thing down until Max and Treat finally got together.

On a side note: Treat is one of five or six totally hot Braden brothers who each have their own book. Guess who’s going to go read Rex Braden’s story next!

Ms. Foster’s Amazon Page

Fostering Success

World Literary Cafe

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I read “The Black Thread” by Margaret Muir a couple weeks ago and enjoyed it, so I moved on to another of her books –

“Sea Dust” by Margaret Muir.



61vYKE2ksDL._SL1200_The story of Sea Dust is an adventure and a voyage. Set in the mid-1800s in England, Emma is stuck in a life she can no longer tolerate. Her son is now a teenager and setting out on his own. Her husband is an abuser. She wants a new life. Her journey takes her aboard an Australia-bound ship where she is often treated as poorly by members of the crew as she was by her husband. Be warned – there is some grit in this book that may shock the faint of heart.

I’m always amazed when an author can write a whole book that takes place in one tiny venue, and Ms. Muir nailed it. There are some surprises at the end that shake up the story line, but they felt rushed. I think the ending could have been its own book, and perhaps, became a series about Emma Quinlan. She is certainly interesting enough to warrant her own set of books.

Ms. Muirs website

Amazon link


It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?


This week I read “The Horror Challenge Volume 1” by JH Glaze.

51EeThL0gXLWhat a fun idea this is!! Through The Horror Challenge page on Facebook, anyone may suggest a topic for a flash fiction story. Author JH Glaze has taken these random topics and turned them into short stories of less than 1500 words that will give you goosebumps. As a writer, it’s a very creative way to keep your juices flowing. As a reader, ordinary subjects and objects can give you chills you never imagined. If you like short reads while on the train or waiting for an appointment, pick this up and keep it with you. You won’t be bored, that’s for sure!

Mr. Glaze’s website – click here

Mr. Glaze’s Facebook page – click here

Amazon link – click here

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I just finished “The Black Thread” by Margaret Muir. I enjoyed it so much, I’m now reading another of Ms. Muir’s books, “Sea Dust.”


61AXSnGugNL._SL1025_Honestly, I got this book for free through one of her promotions quite a while back, and it’s been sitting in my Kindle collecting dust. Now, I feel bad that it took me so long to get to it.

It is a story of a young girl named Amy Dodd living in England in the late 1800s. Amy had disillusion of grandeur about who and what her absentee father was, and when she found out the truth about the man, it nearly destroyed her. Luckily, she had the strength to change her situation and by the end of the story, you feel quite happy that her reality wasn’t exactly her reality. On the negative side, I found the descriptions of the landscapes and scenes a bit wordy for my taste, and I caught myself skipping over a large amount of paragraphs just to get back to the story. I tend to be on the impatient side, so that’s not a criticism of her writing in the least, only of my personality. On the positive side, it was a really, really good story with a great plot twist. I read the book in one sitting and would recommend it to anyone as a rainy-day read. You’ll find yourself rooting for poor Amy and cheering at the end.

Ms. Muir’s website – click here

Amazon link – click here


It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This book is part of my New Year’s resolution. I don’t know if it will happen, for I’ve retired from the music business on two occasions thus far and always get sucked back in, but I’m looking to retire again within the next few years. Even if I don’t end up retiring, I still want to be in a good financial place so it’s my choice. I need to get caught up from moving out of state back in May, which consisted of using my credit card to purchase new appliances for my new house. Somehow, I figured it would be cheaper to buy new stuff than to pay movers to ship old stuff. When I say old, I mean ancient. I could have sold them as antiques. On top of that bill, I still carry some debt from my son’s college education. I’d also like to get my car paid off. For 2015, my resolution is to make this happen. Like most people, I always have the best of intentions to save, invest, pay off bills, etc., but as with most things in life, if you don’t stay motivated, you won’t get things done. So, during 2015, I vowed to keep myself motivated by purchasing a financial/investment book on the first of each month. I spent the first six days of January browsing Amazon and searching for something I found interesting. On the seventh day, I found it! I’ve listened to his radio show on occasion and was always interested in his financial process, but I’ve never taken the next step to engage myself in his philosophies. Well, I jumped aboard his ship and I am intrigued. The book is “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.

51g2DdD31VLI’m going to say two things about this book. 1) I wish I had read it when I was younger. 2) I’m buying the book for my kids.

The process is logical, it’s genius, it’s how our grandparents lived before culture brainwashed us to live beyond our means and on credit. If we hear long enough and loud enough that living on credit is a good thing, eventually we start to believe it. It’s a lie! I’ve always had a good credit score, but my goal now is to have a ZERO credit score. You’ll have to read the book to understand that. 🙂  You don’t need to be “credit worthy” if you have CASH!

This is not an easy financial program. In fact, it’s a bitch. It requires sacrifice and focus and motivation, but, in Dave’s words, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

Dave Ramsey’s website – click here.


It’s Monday! What are you reading? – A Time of Traitors

2a2I just finished A Time of Traitors by David Lawlor.

The benefit of being a writer is having writer friends, and I’m proud to say, David is one of my friends.

He just released the third story about Liam Mannion, but each are stand-alone stories and do not need to be read in order. Liam is a 1920s Irish Republican Army fighter who has a host of spy/traitor/hero friends and enemies. If you love old spy movies, you will love this book. It is vividly narrated in scene, character, and dialog. I could picture Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall all the way through it. 🙂


81c3BFc+RTL._SL1500_Blurb from Amazon

It’s 1921, and LIAM MANNION is embroiled in the murky world of informers and spies; the IRA has announced a truce, and the British and Irish leaderships are taking their first tentative steps toward signing a treaty.

Liam and his fiancee, KATE, are tasked with finding republican rotten apples, some of whom are intent on foiling the fledgling peace talks. For Kate, the Brigade Intelligence Officer, that means asking awkward questions of trusted allies – questions that reveal a traitor. For Liam, it means travelling to London and collaborating with the British police to find a killer.

As the search unfolds, a devastating revelation from Liam’s past will make the hunt more personal–and deadly–than even he could imagine.


Amazon link click here

Authors web page “History with a Twist” click here