Monday, January 22, 2018

Red Sky - Sailors Take Warning! A Fantastic Adventure at Sea by Carl Brookins

Red sky at night, sailors' delight.
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning

“Wow. Look at that sky, will you!” Michael Tanner raised a hand in the soft morning sea haze to shade his eyes against the warm brightening light. Great streaming expanses of pink-tinged clouds poured toward him in long ragged tails. They extended from the horizon in white and flaming yellow streaks as though flung against the sky by an angry God. Bronze and orange flames flared and dropped from the thin cloud bank that lay against the edge of the horizon where sky and ocean met. It was as if the whole eastern sky was ablaze. The streamers shifted and the distant light flickered. 
A nearly naked Mary Whitney scampered to the cockpit to see what her companion was exclaiming over. Tanner was standing on the cabin roof beside the mast above her, one hand lightly resting on the boom of the sailboat. He shifted his gaze to admire the way the morning light lent a fiery glow to the outlines of her body. She stretched and smiled as the sun rose above the cloud line and molded more of its warming light to her curves. She turned and smiled again, this time directly at her husband. “Nice morning, don’t you think? I slept the sleep of the just, which is unusual for the first night out.” She stretched again and yawned. “Unfamiliar boat and all.” 
“Nice morning indeed, and do you remember that old sailor’s rhyme?” 
“Which one is that? Oh yes, ‘Red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.’ Is that the one?” “That’s it. What’s your pleasure? Shall we breakfast before getting under way?” 
“I’m in favor of that, I think,” Mary said. “It’s calm, I can have a swim while you make us Bloody Marys and then we’ll get under way.” She unhooked the gate in the safety lines at the side of the cockpit and winked at Tanner. Then in a single lithe motion she dropped her silk panties, the only garment she was wearing at the moment, and dove cleanly over the side of their sailboat into the warm Caribbean Sea. She made hardly a splash slicing into the water. 
Tanner grinned, breathed deeply and considered again how fortunate a man he was. He watched her progress as Mary gracefully swam a full circle around their chartered Beneteau. He had no intention of going below while she was alone in the water, even if they were securely anchored in this calm and protected cove on the southeast side of Ginger Island. 
“This is great, she shouted. “You better come in here.” She treaded water, one hand resting on the gunwale of the dinghy floating at the stern of the sloop. Then she started another circuit, slower, this time, backstroking rhythmically along.
Tanner grinned, admiring the way the clear water caressed Mary’s naked body. He dropped below, grabbed a big soft beach towel from the counter beside the companionway and shed his shorts. Without a pause he stepped out of his shoes and stormed back up the ladder topside. He dropped the towel and cannonballed into the water a few feet from Mary with a great holler and an even greater splash. “Whoee! You are so right.” Tanner surfaced with a rush. 
“This is really a paradise. How come we’ve never done this before?” 
Mary laughed and swam closer. She treaded water again and slid her arms around his neck. His hands touched her slick sides and slid to her waist, drawing her closer into an intimate embrace. She kissed him, three quick pecks on cheek and chin, feeling his body sliding along the length of her. Then she hooked her heels around his calves and pressed her body completely against him, trapping his legs. 
When they both stopped treading water they slid, smiling, beneath the serene surface. Tanner barely had time to grab a breath before the water rose over his head. A moment later he opened his eyes to see Mary smirking at him through bubbles rising from her mouth as she pursed her lips. Her auburn hair floated around and above her head as together they sank deeper. 
She flexed her hips against him, freed his legs and shoved away toward the surface.

A Tanner/Whitney sailing mystery

By Carl Brookins

If you began to read this book, say, just the first chapter, you'd probably stop quickly, head out to make a cup of tea and think you are starting a wonderful lovers' vacation, on a yacht, no less! In the Caribbean! Wow! I've toured in the Caribbean area, but quickly realized, as the couple could stop and visit small towns along the way, that I could say I've been there. But having Brookins take us to being able to sail to various places, stop and stay were you wanted...well... it's not even close to on a cruise ship and schedule... So I decided to tour a little while sharing my thoughts on the book and setting...

Except for the sound of small waves sloshing against the hull, it was quiet. They had chosen an anchorage closest to the huge rock cliff just past the entrance to the cove. Outside the cove, the almost ceaseless trades sent big rollers across the mouth. The crashing surf could be heard as a pulsing, rhythmic roar that could stir one’s passion.  
The path through the coral reef had been the trickiest of all the Virgins, according to their charts, and it gave them the advantage of privacy. Only the most experienced would choose to join them, preferring the group of anchoring positions in the larger cove of Ginger Island where boats had a straight-in approach. There were already four boats at anchor there and Tanner and Mary could hear the faint sound of music from deck-level speakers and shouts of participants on the boats who appeared to be well-acquainted.  
“I’m ready for a gin and tonic, how about you?” asked Tanner. 
“Umm, not just yet. I’m going to slather on some more sun screen and take my ease on the foredeck for a while. I’ll make due with a bottle of water, if you don’t mind.” Mary took her little mesh bag of tubes and the water Tanner handed her through the forward hatch. She put down the small futon and looked over the quiet anchorage. Her tee-shirt came off quickly and she stripped to her ruby thong, then laid back, totally relaxed. She slathered on sun screen, stretched out and her eyes soon closed as her pulse flattened. 
In the aft cockpit, Tanner sipped a drink and likewise drowsed in the afternoon heat. The trade winds blew ceaselessly around the cliff, and rocked them gently in nature’s embrace. It was a perfect afternoon end to an exhilarating sail that day.

And...the fun, relaxing sexy interlude they'd planned was soon over! For readers too!

Tanner’s head appeared beside the
 anchor chain where it clove the surface. 
He was holding on with his left hand
 and slowly treading water. He stared
 at something in his other hand. 
Mary swam nearer.
 “What have you got there?” she asked.
 “Money. Currency, bills.” 
“A windfall perhaps?”
 Intrigued, she swam to her husband and
 grasped the anchor chain beside him. 
He handed her a damp bill. She looked
 at it and her eyes widened. “Wow, this
 would buy a few drinks at the Soggy
 Dollar Bar, wouldn’t it?”
 “I’ll say. Hundred dollar bills don’t
 turn up very often anywhere, I’ll wager.” 
Mary said, “You would, huh? 
Wager, I mean. 
Where did this come from?”
But this reader was quite pleased because the mystery began quickly, continued on and on, and kept me totally involved. The main characters, Tanner and Whitney, may be "amateur detectives" from a police standpoint, but, these two were among the best of the best I've seen for knowledge and expertise. Of course, it didn't hurt that both of the characters are independently wealthy, intelligent, professionally capable...and have gained a reputation based upon their background skills, and to some extent, their financial status. I was marveling at the brilliance of Whitney and her skills with sailing, while the protective actions of Tanner and his laid-back attitude and humor were engaging. Even after they were targeted...

By then Tanner had found the money...

While in a cove, Tanner had done a survey of the boat and surroundings, only to arise from the water with three one-hundred dollar bills...

They knew they would have to report it, thinking it could even be counterfeit, but that didn't mean it had to be right away, so they decided to stop at The Bitter End Yacht Club at Virgin Gorda to begin inquiring about local officials. That was the first time Tanner thought he saw a boat that seemed to be following or watching them...

Heading into the Club, they found a dinner table and Tanner stepped out to seek information of how to gain directions to the police. He also asked about the British Consulate... and before very long, having been overheard, a man came to their table to offer assistance. Ian McGwean introduced himself and said he was with the British government, offering to help... Was it just a little coincidental, they wondered, but nevertheless talked with Ian for some time...

Only to learn later that he had been found dead...

And the three $100 bills had been stolen from their yacht's cabin...

Tanner and Whitney are married, although Whitney retained her own name, given her business and foundation involvement.
I enjoyed them as a couple, obviously very much in love and happy to be together, while at the same time, other than losing their vacation enjoyment, they make a formidable couple in investigating and helping to solve mysteries... 

But, this time, they were being tracked, watched...and more. They finally realized that somebody might think they had access to the rest of the money or knew where it was. They were the ones being hunted! And getting local officials involved may or may not be a good thing since, as they moved forward, it became apparent that they could not be sure who could be trusted!

Readers continue to learn more about the various nearby islands and enjoy the leisure activities of the vacationing lovers but, the story and danger continues to increase and soon Tanner is taken--gone without a trace!

But with help, Mary had instinctively found her way to a location on Tortola Beach...

“Nice to see you again, babe,” he whispered. “Wondered if I ever would.” Then he passed 

But that wasn't the end... 

As the book continues, the leisurely pace of sailing on the yacht is thrown next into danger, requiring high sailing skills to make the way through tight areas into the open sea. Whew! Soon, it is a page-turner, with readers wanting nothing more for those being chased to see dry land safely. A thoroughly enjoyable mix of romantic pleasure interludes with thrilling, exciting edge-of-your-seat  water racing maneuvers from danger. No doubt that I would recommend this one!

Do check out my review of another novel by this author, Grand Lac and a fun article, THE BIRTH OF SEAN NMI SEAN, PI, AND THE MINNESOTA CRIME WAVE... before you leave.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Babel Conspiracy by Sylvia Bambola - First Personal Favorite for 2018!

WHY God?!!!

Another Riot. 
Trisha Callahan knew something had happened when she woke up to the smell of smoke drifting over her apartment complex. And between gobbling down a piece of buttered toast, and showering and dressing, she gleaned the details of last night’s siege from KFOM. Now, she stood brushing her long, black hair that fell in waves over her slender shoulders and wondered how this could happen. 
Impatiently, she tossed the brush onto the rattan tray holding an assortment of toiletries then fastened her blue blazer, leaving the top buttons open to reveal a stylish silk blouse. Riots had been popping out all over the country like pox, but she never thought it could happen here. Not in Everman—a city known for its low crime and friendly inhabitants. 
Where are you God? 
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray . . . . 
Hadn’t her pastor predicted this? That America would fall unless believers prayed? She couldn’t get it out of her mind. It was the reason she rose an hour early every morning before work. So she could pray. 
Well, she had been praying for months now and where was God? Everyday another car bomb; another random killing by a terrorist. This was not the America she knew. The America she had grown up in. It broke her heart to see what was happening to the country she loved. 
She fingered the buffalo-horn cross by her throat. What more could she do? She grabbed her purse and keys. She had to stop thinking about it and get her mind on work. The boss’s secretary had called even before her alarm went off and told her to come in for an early meeting. And Michael Patterson was not a man to be kept waiting. 
Even so, she’d try getting more news in the car. She snatched the remote to click off the TV, but not before hearing the anchor rattle off the riot’s toll: three confirmed dead, more than twenty injured, eighteen arrests, ten cars torched, two entire buildings destroyed, with five others partially fire damaged. She took a deep breath as she fingered the cross one last time then bolted out the door.

The Babel Conspiracy

By Sylvia Bambola

The first chapter of this book sets the tone for many of us these days... We see the violence on the streets of America and raise our hands, asking, Why? Does this violence in some way have a part of God's plan? Which is very hard to believe given God's great Love... Or do we continue living in today's world, trusting and praying that we can find our way to His plan for each of us... This book is extremely intriguing. It hits us deep in the stomach with a punch that points our the seeming futility of today's political world. At the same time, readers enter into the lives of main characters as they face both their personal and professional desires, while trying to know God's plan. I both hated it and loved it... It's my first favorite for 2018...

Reader Alert: This is a rewrite of a novel previously published under the title A Vessel of Honor. The author tells us that there is enough changed that earlier readers should still enjoy this version.

I was intrigued by the title of this novel. At first I didn't understand and am still unsure that I am correct...

“Let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name.” Genesis 11:4

My thought, was whether the tower could perhaps represent another building--maybe even the White House... as some may use... Maybe the author will explain her thoughts for us...

Yes, this is definitely a political thriller, but one that both scares you with similar activities as is going on now and/or scares you for the "possibility" of it happening... Nevertheless, the overall story is quite fascinating and wonderfully written and told. The religious aspect is perfectly inserted at appropriate times and reflects the reason for the actions by the various characters. The author notes that she had wanted to have both of the female characters responds to God's calling, but the story itself could only allow for free will of even her characters. Not everybody chooses to accept God's love, through Jesus... This reveals to me a depth of experience in both writing as well as today's world by the author. I was impressed with this first reading of Sylvia Bambola's skill in telling her stories...

There are two concurrent themes running through the story. That of a company working to create a new aircraft, the first that would use nuclear fusion. The second is the criminal desire to either stop the project or steal the plans to be sold for profit... Having the two of the three main designers as women was pleasantly surprising. Indeed, the level of expertise about project design was outstandingly done, although I would admit to not knowing the meaning of technical words...but the way it is written does not require that, given the way it is presented to readers.

Especially impressive for me was Bambola's placing the main character, Trisha, the main creator and designer, into the position of, first, being attracted to her boss, and slowly falling in love with him as they worked on their new project. While, Mike, her boss, is married, he is in an "open marriage" arrangement, so does not shy away from his attraction to Trisha...

Trisha’s stiletto heels clicked against the concrete pavement of the underground garage. In the distance, the shriek of an ambulance broke the morning silence. 
Oh God, where are you? 
Millions of Christians were praying. Why have things gotten worse? 
If my people will . . . turn from their wicked ways . . . then will I forgive their sin, and heal their land. 
As she walked toward her car she thought of Michael Patterson and felt her stomach knot. Michael Patterson, her boss. Her married boss. Humbling oneself and praying was only part of it. It was that other part, that part of turning from our wicked ways that was so difficult. But what did she have to feel guilty about? She had crossed no line. 
Except in her heart, and didn’t God see the heart?

Bambola allows readers to both see Trisha's angst about the world, as well as her own relationship to God as she struggles with her own will versus striving to follow God's guidance. And if readers are currently concerned about the world, we may find that Trisha's faith will help us learn...

Of course, the criminal/political aspect of the book adds the intrigue, the danger and suspense for us. Basically, there are two presidential candidates now campaigning for the next election. One is clearly ahead--and must be dealt with... The brilliant twist in the book to allow the somewhat disheartening conclusion still created the tension, the emotional outrage that many are now experiencing in today's Capitol. 

Provocative yet highly fascinating in the scope and unusual detail revealed, I found this book a page-turner, wondering and hoping that the good guys win... Some do, but sometimes the convoluted world continues...and many continue praying... You'll know if you want to read this book...but I'll add my high recommendation and possibly even a must-read for many of you!
By the way, the book includes final reader questions for further study...


Sylvia Bambola is the award winning author of eight novels. Her novel, Rebekah’s Treasure, won the 2014 Readers Favorite Bronze Award for Christian Historical Fiction and the 2015 Book of the Year Award, Christian Small Press Association, for Historical Fiction. The Salt Covenants was the 2015 Readers Favorite Bronze Award winner for Christina Historical Fiction. She has two grown children, and teaches women’s Bible studies.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Robert John Estko Presents Evil, Be Gone, a Fascinating Political Thriller

Comfortable that the house was secure and Susan would keep close tabs on Josh, John popped a John Mellenkamp cassette in the tape player, put on the earphones, and climbed on the treadmill. Five miles of walking and running were a lot easier to the beat of Mellenkamp's heartland ballads. Having finished her favorite talk show, Susan had moved on to the kitchen to prepare dinner. She quickly discovered that her boys, John and Josh, had already polished off the gallon of milk she had just picked up yesterday. A quick car ride around the corner to the market would only have her out of the house for a couple of minutes, so without going to the door of the gym, she shouted down the hall to Lilly that she'd be right back. He never heard her.
He also never heard the carpet cleaner's van pull into the driveway the moment Susan's car was out of sight. This particular carpet cleaner was more adept at picking locks than he was at steamcleaning. And as Lilly broke into a run of the treadmill, packing himself to the tempo of the "Coug's" guitar 

in "Hurt So Good," the man made his way down the hall to Josh's room. As he walked, he poured a small amount of liquid into a heavy handkerchief. Josh had no opportunity to protest this time as the handkerchief was placed over his mouth and nose. The carpet cleaner turned kidnapper then rolled the unconscious child up in the five-foot by eight-foot rug that covered the middle of the hardwood floor in Josh's room, threw the rolled run on his shoulder and walked out of the house. The van was a block down the street before Susan drove up the driveway with a fresh gallon of milk.
About forty minutes later a sweat-drenched John Lelankevitch walked into the kitchen where Susan was busy preparing dinner. "What's cookin', good lookin'?"
"How's roast beef and mashed potatoes sound, handsome? You better grab a shower quick or Josh will eat all the mashed potatoes and gravy."
"Where is the little guy anyway?"
"Well, when I ran out, he was in his room zapping bad guys or monsters or whatever it is he zaps on that electronic game he plays."
Surprised, Lilly barked, "When you ran out! Where'd you go?"
"I told you...I ran to the store to get some milk for the mashed potatoes...I told you when I left," Susan snapped back.
Lilly was already running down the hall towards Josh's room and didn't hear her finish her remark. "Josh!" he yelled as he ran. Grabbing the doorjamb, with a hand on each side, he leaned into the room. "Josh!" he yelled again.
"Oh My God!" came the cry from Susan who had quickly been on Lilly's heels when he took off and now stood behind him at the doorway to their young son's room. "John...John...where is he?"
Noticing that the rug was gone, Lelankevitch said, "They came back. They got him this time."
Susan just crumpled to the floor.
Lilly didn't even move to console her. Still staring into Josh's room, he simple said with resolve in his voice. "They won't hurt him. They want me. And I'm going to give them what they spades."

Evil, Be Gone
By Robert Estko

"Evil, Be Gone"

The small intruder, without thinking, lunged into the darkness toward what he believed to be the attacker, only to find his feet lifted from the deck, by a hand clutching his throat just beneath the jaw-line. Assisted by his captive's momentum, John "Lilly" Lelankevitch, carried the man through an arc in the air to a crashing collision with the living room's hardwood floor, still gripping the throat of what was now more rag doll than man. Clenching the hand that encircled the little man's larynx into a fist, Lelankevitch began his mental journey back to an earlier time, and between the popping sound and the gurgling of blood in his enemy's throat, he said, "Evil, be gone," under his breath.

This book reminded me a little of the "Taken" series so I
immediately thought of Liam Neeson as the perfect star to play John Lelankevitch. A Vietnam vet who learned how to kill for his country, first had to deal with the issue of murder. He realized that if he could actually see evil intent, he was able to move decisively to take the enemy down... And he became a master, but always, always, he said the mantra, "Evil, Be Gone..." to ensure he could actually kill the individual.

He had continued somewhat in the same business when he was hired into a firm where he had been working, in retirement for ten years... But there were people who remembered his expertise and were now calling upon him to do jobs that were not exactly clear in the evil versus good decision.

This time they wanted him to kill an innocent... And to ensure he did it, they kidnapped his son. Fortunately their first attempt failed, but on their second try, they were successful. In dealing with the safety of his family, John was forced to share his background activities with his wife, who had known him only as a beloved husband and father. Now he had to introduce her to danger, by moving her into a safe house while he dealt with the kidnappers...

The startling plot of who is to be murdered was a new twist to the presidential election process and proved to be an excellent look at both the personal life of potential candidates, as well as what it means to be part of a "political family" where the power of the office overrides anything else.

The portrayal of Lilly Lelankevitch was both as a hero in his
decisions to fight evil, but most telling was that, once he had left that life and was asked to go back, he had to work himself into the mind-frame of once again being a killer... Still, could he kill an innocent?

At a time when turmoil in Washington is in the daily news, Robert John Estko has written a plausible and exciting thriller. His character is "hero-stuff" with his love of family and country overriding commands given, when they are "evil" orders... It is a thoughtful, intriguing concept while at the same time an exciting "good fighting evil" page-turner... It is highly recommended for your consideration...


Robert Estko grew up on Chicago's south side before winning a Marine Corps scholarship. Later in Chicago, he became a social worker. A three-month odyssey ended when he ran out of gas and money in Northern California in 1978. Today, he is a lawyer and corporate executive in Silicon Valley.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Soldier and The Author - A Spoiler Alert Review Revealing Why Not Recommended...

Immediately upon graduation from college, with a degree in nursing, I joined the Air Force as a registered nurse. My stint in the Air Force surpassed my original goal of fulfilling only the minimum requirement of time. My passion while there grew each day for a job which I loved more than I dreamed possible. Upon joining, my thought was that I would use my time invested in military service as a means of developing discipline and resolve, nothing more.
My parents were both driven and focused. I, however, was lazy and spacey. It surprised me when I found it impossible to walk away from the mandatory two years. Instead, I retired from the service after twenty-two years. Most likely, I would not have left then, but my mother died at the same time that I was up for re-enlistment. Demands of settling her estate became my focus, so I retired from my job as Lieutenant Colonel in service to my great country.
It was a sad day when I left. The surprise party, which my friends threw for me, did not erase the feelings of moroseness and a little fear of what I would do now with my life. At the young age of forty-two, having obtained the status of Lt. Colonel, my life had revolved around the demands of caring for my patients as well as serving in a noble field. Nothing else in the world seemed appealing after years of feeling essential and respected while service my country. Still I owed it to my mother to make sure that all of her affairs were in order. Clarissa's estate was vast and involved. As an only child, there was no one else to make critical decisions over her several properties and a significant amount of funds held in a sizable trust.
My plane landed on a beautiful, bright blue spring day in Mobile, Alabama. It was impossible for me not to wear my uniform despite the unseasonably warm afternoon. When I served, I bemoaned wearing the dark blue each morning. Now, I refused to wear anything else. I had become "married to my job." Purposefully, I left my home on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama very early on that bright morning, for my new home in Fairhope, Alabama. My Mother, Clarissa, had purchased this massive estate upon the death of my Father, Clarence Barker, years earlier.
"Bailey, I may we well live like a queen. Your Father was miserly for all of my life. Better I enjoy the money than leaving it to you to squander."
I guess she had forgotten that I was a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, not the immature child of yesteryear. Clarence had built a large factory which manufactured table linens from a tiny cottage industry into a sprawling compound. He was famous in our town of Charleston, SC.
As a child, I dreamed of breaking away from the demands of being Bailey Barker, child of wealth and privilege, to Officer Bailey Barker, the world traveler. It seems that I had always dreamed of being an officer in the Air Force. The nursing degree was merely a way of establishing myself and gaining entrance into a world of measured decorum. Dreams of becoming an officer drove me to excel in school and later in college. Working as a nurse was not my dream but provided me the means of quickly obtaining status as an officer in the Air Force. As time passed, I discovered that taking care of the wounded veterans in my charge was an honorable and sincere career. Suddenly, the status of officer diminished in my mind, and my job as Registered Nurse provided the catalyst of joy and purpose for each day.
As I now walked across the field in Mobile, I wondered if I had made a mistake.
Well, Colonel Barker, what will you do now?

The Soldier and The Author

By Linda Heavner Gerald

I had mixed feelings related to this book. It started with the cover that shows a male soldier, while the actual soldier, the main character, is female. But there were questions as I continued to read--questions about logic and plausibility. The basic storyline is interesting from a romantic and faith-based standpoint; it was not enough.

The lead chapter self-describes the main character, Bailey Barker, noting that she was "lazy and spacey" when younger, but shows that she moved on to become a dedicated registered nurse and military officer for 22 years. She rarely spent time with her mother and admitted she had some anger that she was not quite able to understand... yet she feels obligated to handle her mother's estate, now, that she is dead.

She comes home, discovering that her mother had a live-in lover, who was now living in the guest house, working as a writer... there is nothing included about his actual work, discussing genres or what his latest work is...he stays "mother's lover" to me... That is, until he and Bailey look into the other's eyes and falls in love... Then, Bailey starts wearing all of her mother's clothes, instead of buying her own or even a combination of some of the special clothes... They soon plan to marry...

In the meantime, readers are teased about a young woman who has psychological problems. We are presented with her ramblings and they are extreme enough to question why she is not committed, and later she is sent back... 

Oliver has told Bailey nothing about his background. Interestingly, he shares that his arrangement with Bailey's mother was that she owned the house and he paid the bills... Nothing further is said about that extensive estate that was mentioned in the first chapter... The soldier is apparently willing to accept anything Oliver says...

Then he decides the location of their honeymoon. He takes her back to where he lived with his first wife. Coincidentally, after many years, it is during that visit that the police suddenly discover the individual who had killed his first wife... Again, Bailey seems to think nothing about being whisked away to part of her new husband's problematic past...

Bailey begins to discover that her mother was very involved with local activities, including visiting the orphanage, where she had been hoping to adopt a beautiful young girl. We discover that she is the grandchild of a neighbor of the estate and that the grandfather had once tried to burn down the estate...

Bailey thinks she should be able to solve any differences or problems, so she visits the grandfather and becomes friends. Now there is no mention that there was any police involvement when this man set the  fire... This seems to be a pattern, because when the young lady gets involved in the story again, she talks about killing Bailey's mother... In fact, she says it three different times, but again nothing is discussed about any police investigation. Oliver says that she died from cancer that came on her quickly, but by this time there is enough to suspect that she may have been murdered... Who knows?

The attempts to engender suspense fails miserably since nothing is ever done to clarify exactly what happened. Oliver successfully keeps holding things back with Bailey blindly being in love. Then deciding they all need to start church and everything is placed in God's hands...

The whole book feels contrived, scripted. Loose ends appear constantly, leaving the reader wondering what is going on... To further complicate the matter, the woman in the hospital is allowed to see people without anybody else in attendance... She attacked both Bailey and her father, in addition to really wild accusations... Also, the grandfather neighbor had begun to visit her and again, there was no visible coverage of visitations where apparently another fire being set was planned...

The book itself appears to be self-published and reveals inexperience in formatting, questionable editing issues. The book ends by the author telling what is needed to catch the readers up to what time changes had occurred and what happened. There is a constant, I have to say, unreal emphasis on devotional love and faith, that it seems is the main thrust of the story.

If this had been a straight Christian romance, it would, in my opinion, be better received... Throwing in hints of insanity, post-traumatic concerns, criminal acts, including those that are life-threatening, show an inexperienced writer who is striving to expand into genres for which she is not prepared. She is playing with topics that are clearly beyond her knowledge and it shows. Medical and legal issues are not treated lightly in today's fiction. And claiming that all things are handled by God, in today's world, is almost condescending to the savvy reader. This author clearly needs to start reading outside of her own work and stop playing with medical issues that are treated much too lightly... 

No, I cannot recommend this book. However, this is the first time reading this author so do check out other reviews as you consider options...


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Poetry from Adolfo - Adolph Caso - Celebrating His Birthday with My Kisses Lived as The Rose!

My Kisses Lived as The Rose

My kisses lived as the rose!
In those ecstatic moments I felt
sweet caresses of the wind
and the vigor
of a thousand sparkling drops of dew.

Green diffused in vermilion,
and red dazzled the image within the eye;
Dark were they of olive deep purple
that entranced each kiss

Deeper still were the velvet twinings
wrapping their arms around the branches
and losing themselves in the suave twining
of purple hue. The quivering grass
from beneath secrete the ascending
perfume of vigor, and the descending
light bathes them with toxic excitement,

the sibilant winds go singing through embraces
with notes of the exotic and the erotic.
The rain excites the roots to the movements
and the streaks of lightning glitter,
thrusting its baton into sensuality.

And all then moves in awesome rhythm.

Trickling water ripples itself away.
Within the limpid air, the rays of the sun mix
and the spiritual atmosphere becomes king.
Smiles and sweet kisses get lost in shades.
Time passes; the water ripples itself away,
and those kisses live as my Rose.

Note: 8th Edition Now Out

Dear Adolfo! Happy Birthday!
I don't know how I missed this particular poem...
It must have been fate saving it for your day...
the day upon which you can look back proudly at
accomplishments and, most importantly,
family and friends...
and know that you are loved and respected...
May your memories sustain you today and always
As new ones are created each day!
And I thought you might enjoy sharing my
favorite Italian tenor's birthday with yours!
God Bless!

And, oh, yeah, just one more surprise...

Friday, January 5, 2018

Murder on the Brewster Flats, book 12 in the LeGarde Mystery series. Aaron Paul Lazar

Yippee! It was the holidays and I had a chance to be an early reader for prolific author, Aaron Lazar's latest Gus LeGarde Mystery! This is a favorite series for me, but, once again, you can't be sure what Aaron will be doing within any given book!

Because this time Gus and his wife are leaving for a vacation, so we don't have too much time with the rest of his family, which I missed... On the other hand, Camille, his second wife, exhibits great research and investigative skills, as well as considerable compassion... She makes a wonderful partner for our amateur detective, Gus, who always seems to find a mystery wherever he goes...

Wow, this a great book!

This photo of Paine's Creek is courtesy of TripAdvisor

“I feel guilty,” Camille said, taking in the azure horizon where the sea met the sky. “I mean, how can we leave them alone for a whole month?” 
I opened my door to let the sea breeze flow into the car. “They’ll be fine, honey.” I hated to admit it, but I had the same niggling fears about leaving my family at home in upstate New York, because in my life, if something could go wrong, it would. 
“How can you be so sure?” She lifted worried brown eyes to mine. 
“I’m sure, because Siegfried is there. He’s our rock. He knows the animals and the farm. Your mother’s there. She’ll watch Shelby like a hawk. And with Mrs. Pierce in charge of the house, it’ll be running like a clock.” 
Her shoulders relaxed—just a bit—and she opened her door. “Okay. I know you’re right. And besides, we really need this.” “For sure.” The sign on the Paines Creek Beach said a sticker was required between the hours of nine and four, but our dash clock had just clicked over to a minute past four, so we were

This photo of Paine's Creek is courtesy of TripAdvisor

safe. We’d been driving on the New York State thruway and the Mass Pike for eleven hours and all I wanted to do was kick off my boat shoes and feel the soft sand beneath my toes. Or maybe flop into the cool sea fully clothed. At this point, anything other than sitting in the car sounded good. I didn’t want to face why we needed to get away. Not yet. “Looks like the tide’s going out. See the creek running down there?” I pointed down to the wide, fast shining ribbon of water running ten feet below the parking lot. 
She reached down to unbuckle her sandals. “Let’s go.” I locked the car and pocketed my keys, feeling excited about the prospect of a whole month on Cape Cod. When I’d researched the Cape’s various regions, the little town of Brewster had appealed to me, with its quaint stores and seven beaches on the calm bay side of the peninsula. In the far distance, the sea glistened deep blue with cresting whitecaps. But for what seemed like miles, the low tide flats shone in the late afternoon sun, butterscotch sand mingled with streams of water and tide pools glistened. A fresh ocean breeze tasted tangy on my lips, and I inhaled the salt air with a sense of unparalleled delight, trying to ignore the heavy feeling in my heart. 
We walked barefoot toward the sea, following a stretch of sand flanking the curvy twists and turns of Paines Creek. The water seemed to flow with urgency toward the open ocean, as if late for a date with the setting sun. “Let’s walk out there,” Camille said, climbing on the big boulders of a jetty that stretched along the shore. 
I followed her lead, making my way over the rocks. I landed with a satisfying thump on the wet sand. Emerald green sea grass—still damp from its recent hours under water—waved in the breeze, undulating with a rhythm in concert with the clouds racing overhead. I laced fingers with my wife. “I can’t believe we’re here.” 
She smiled and began to run across a wet bar of sand that stretched like a rounded Milano cookie pointing toward the horizon. “Come on.” 
I ran with her, letting the physical pleasure wash through me. It would be a great month. I’d get my book on Ella Fitzgerald and her jazz-era contemporaries finished—which would satisfy my no-longer-patient publisher—and I’d be able to check that job off the list. 

Murder on the Brewster Flats
LeGarde Mystery Series

By Aaron Paul Lazar

Gus and Camille choose to visit Cape Cod, which happens to be the setting for his Paine's Creek series, a wonderful romantic series! I enjoyed those but I love Aaron's mysteries... especially, how he always seems to find some local mystery, or two, to solve! LOL This time on Brewster Flats!

And, of course, it takes Gus' involvement to solve those mysteries! Because the very first thing the couple wanted to do was get on the beach. They started looking for seashells--doesn't everybody? It was there that they came across a man roaming and poking through the garbage...His name was Albert and lived in a nearby home by the sea that had been built centuries ago... Learning that he was in fear of losing his home, Gus and Camille were immediately sympathetic. But they never would have guessed that they would be right in the middle of helping to save Albert's home...

And by the next day, as they once again were walking on the beach and saw Albert, who was this time carrying a metal detector, they learned that he was looking for lost treasure from the man who had built his home...

“Morning, Albert.” “Fine day for prospecting.” 
“I’ll say. What’re you looking for?”
“Treasure,” he said solemnly. 
“I see.” I wasn’t sure if he meant lost pocket change or pirate’s gold. “Any luck today?” 
In one hand he carried an empty bucket. “Nope. Been looking for forty years. Can’t give up.” 
“Are you searching for a particular treasure?” 
He narrowed his eyes. “Guess I can tell you, since you’re an outta towner.” He stopped for a moment and sighed. “I’m looking for the treasure that was stole from my great, great, great granddaddy.” 
“Wow. The one who built your house?” 
“Yes sir. Mr. Zebediah Cook himself.” A far off look glazed his eyes. 
“Cool.” I waited for a few seconds, but when he didn’t say more, I started to walk away. “Well, good luck today.” 
He glanced at his watch. “Almost time to head in. You don’t wanna get caught when the tide comes in. Folks get stuck out here all the time. Have to swim in with their fancy iPhones held high in the air.” 
I automatically patted my pocket where my iPhone six plus resided. “Er, thanks. I’ll turn back then.” 
“See you tomorrow.” He continued to play the device back and forth over the sand.

With a takeoff of the old theme of the Hatfield and McCoy long-time feud, Lazar has pitted Albert's ancestor, Zebediah Cook who was a minister who had brought all kinds of religious artifacts, along with his new bride, to start a new home and church...But before they were able to land, a ship full of pirates took over and destroyed the incoming ship...Zeb and his wife made it overboard, but the pirates weren't willing to let it go and punished Zebediah by raping and killing his wife... 

Against the murdering pirate's kin!

But nobody was sure whether the treasure had gone down with the ship or whether the pirates had succeeded in taking it as well... They were a well known group who had stolen from many ships traveling in the area of the Cape at that time...  Albert was still not willing to give up looking and hoping that they could find at least some of the treasure so that they could keep their home...

And the pirate's family, the McNabbs, still lived there, owning the largest home in the town... Albert was convinced they really had the treasure hidden, so that when a young couple from the two families fell in love, Albert's hate grew stronger, since his granddaughter had become pregnant... and then deserted... at least that's what everybody assumed...

Not only is the research and investigation a fun activity, as Camille, Gus and others within the family and community start pulling out old property records, papers and church records, there ultimately is a murder, which was part of what the investigation had led to...

There are intriguing, exciting times ahead for readers, surprising, suspenseful and, in the end, a climax that could not have been anticipated!
But there is also some scary stuff happening where lives were placed in danger as the villain continued to destroy and try to prevent what was happening.

You know, I don't get to read Lazar's books as often as I would like, but in my mind, intuitively going over all the ones I have read, this seemed to be the best of the best in my opinion... It's standalone and can easily be read even if you haven't been reading the LeGarde servies... If I were to recommend one book from this author, this one would be the first! You can pre-order now and grab another book free: (

One side story which I loved was that Gus met Jack, a fellow musician, who happened to have need to replace the pianist in time for an upcoming concert! The actual meeting was when Gus was badly hurt and needed help which Jack and his wife provided... Gus was up for the event, with some practice, if he could, recover from the injuries he kept receiving, and find the time between all the work he was doing to help find the treasure! 

Jack was a violinist, a teacher, and also made beautiful hand-make violins. He was celebrating the opening of his new shop, Sea Strings, and announced that he planned to have further concerts by the sea. I hope we get to attend some of those in future books!  Gus and Jack started with Danse Macabre! Sit back and sink into the music, just like you will when you read...Murder on the Brewster Flats!