Tag Archives: book reviews

Book Review: Pennies From Burger Heaven by Mary McKay

I love this review of a favorite book of mine!!!


Available at Amazon .com

Title: Pennies from Burger Heaven

Author: Marcy McKay

Genre :  Literary Suspense

Publication Date: December 18, 2015

Rating: 4 Stars= Great Page Turner

Marcy McKay takes readers on an incredible journey with a little girl trying to survive.  Copper Daniels is a homeless young girl searching for her mother. She learns to maneuver her way through the streets of Texas, dodging danger and staying hidden from authorities.

Copper is continuously running for her life while barely being able to feed herself. I loved her strength and faith that she and her mother would be able to get out of Texas. Copper finds out many unhealthy things about her mother’s activities, but she never turns her back away, continuing her search. This little one was very determined and her love for her mother will not let her give up, which pulled at my…

View original post 64 more words

Amazon Bullies Again

picture credit. MGM by way of Wikipedia
I go forward with this blog post with trepidation. First, because I’m talking about the behemoth that is Amazon, and second, because I don’t want to scare away my new blog readers. To my new blog readers, welcome gentle people. Please know I remain positive and I do not complain often.

So why is this tiny gnat lodging a buzzy complaint about the giant? I’ve done all I can to try to make the situation right but I’ve gotten nowhere, so I’m blogging about it.

I write reviews. I don’t always blog my reviews so you don’t see them all the time. You would certainly get sick and tired of seeing reviews of books every week as if I have nothing else to talk about. Or maybe you’d rather…umm…err. Anyways. Amazon is picky about their reviews these days. Bless them. I’m all for their little selective hearts. I wouldn’t want to read a mother’s review of her son’s wondrous attempt at literature, and you would not have wanted to read my mother’s not unreasonable, but not very kind reviews of some of my past work. So I’m all for Amazon rejecting reviews written by relatives and close personal friends of the author. However, and here’s where what happened to me has to be revealed,  I wrote a review of a woman’s novel.  The novel had been given to me to pass on to someone else. The other person didn’t like it because of the subject matter, and so, curious, I thought I would read it. I found the book sad, but the ending was powerful. The book was a memoir. I wrote a decent review and posted it. Amazon rejected it. I emailed their review department to ask why. They stated that I was a close personal friend of the author and therefore my review was not acceptable.

I’m not a close personal friend of the author. I hardly know the lady. I see her at book events. I like her. She seems sweet and gracious. But we’ve never spoken on the phone. We’ve never had coffee together. So why would Amazon say I was her close personal friend? That’s nuts. And creepy.  So why does this bother me so much, besides the creepiness factor? Because if they can say that about me, what are they telling people (who may or may not know me) and are trying to post a review on Amazon about one of my books? Yikes! I need all the reviews I get!

It isn’t as if I didn’t email back and forth about this issue with Amazon’s review department. They would not reveal HOW they KNOW about my close personal friendship with this poor author. Apparently their methods of detection are top-secret and must never be revealed. And another beef I have with this razz-a-ma-tazz Mr. Amazon review board is this – how is it reviews that are tragically unkind toward an author and aren’t even about the book are not taken down? What about reviews that reveal all the story’s plots and subplots thus spoiling everything for future readers, why are these not hidden?

I am friends with a lot of authors. I’ve had lunch with Jane Yolen. Bless her. I hope she doesn’t mind I said that. I doubt that she’ll ever know I did. (Shh. She’s famous!) Ha! I could go on and on about the many author’s I’ve met over the last thirty years. (Name dropper? Moi?) I’ve reviewed a majority of their books. Oh my! Will they take down my other reviews now? I’d hate that. I feel like the lion on the Wizard of Oz movie when talking about this. “Put ’em up, put ’em up! Which one of you first? I’ll fight you both together if you want. I’ll fight you with one paw tied behind my back. I’ll fight you standing on one foot. I’ll fight you with my eyes closed… ohh, pullin’ an axe on me, eh? Sneaking up on me, eh? Why, I’ll… Ruff!

Now for the denouement: I forgot to mention that I left something off the review that is of utmost importance and would have prevented this sorry state of affairs. I failed to add to the review these words “The author gave me a copy of the book for a fair and honest review”. It was a “slip of the pen”  – I pressed send before thinking it though, aauurgh! Those words would have saved the day. Unfortunately I am not allowed to go back and fix it. Amazon, the bully, is completely unforgiving of such things. But not to worry. I have given my good review of Mary Perez’s “Running in Heels: a memoir of grit and grace” on Barnes & Noble’s site and on Goodreads. And in those places my review remains.

If you bought a book from me at a Kroger, you may wish to leave a review of the book on Amazon (I hope. I hope. I hope.) but be sure to include the fact that you purchased the book at a book signing. I’m afraid that if these words are not used in some form or fashion you may be accused of being a close personal friend and…and…oh my… how horrible would that be??

Not horrible at all gentle readers. I continue to make many wonderful friends as I sell my books. I hope we continue to be such. Thank you so much.


Good Books Outweigh the Bad

I wanted to give you a few good book suggestions and then two that I didn’t like so much. Here are some of this week’s reviews.

This review is from: Flypaper: Dark Psychological Thriller – Book 1 (Kindle Edition)

51MUhPe7DXL__SL110_This was a story within a story about a writer who writes horror with a sense of humor. He has some crazed fans. Some break through the security measures he’s set up. One in particular is a girl he falls for. She’s written a story called “Flypaper”. The author finds it terrible. I want tell more but this was a good story that kept me turning pages till the end. I really couldn’t put it down. It’s short at 199 pages but that’s all that’s needed. The author knows how to write a series. This book had a great ending. It wasn’t a trick ending that isn’t an ending like a lot of “series” writers are doing these days. It was an ending that made me want to purchase the next book, not because I have to, but because it’s such a good premise I know the next in the series will be good, too.
Any of this next author’s short stories will getcha!
51K3uLX24jL__SL110_This review is from: Silent Baby Screams (Kindle Edition) ReginaPuckett

This was a short fun read. I was surprised about midway through when I figured it out but could not stop reading until the end. At the end I decided it was brilliant. Awesome!
51uoynizuML__SL110_This review is from: SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN (Kindle Edition)

Tony Burnett is a master of the short story. Southern Gentlemen is the perfect title for this collection of stories about – southern gentlemen. Some are great people, others are a bit shady, while some are scary. This book has a story for everyone. My favorite is the story of the man who watches the woman emerge from her hotel at exactly eight minutes past the hour for several hours. It has a surprise ending.
Here are the ones I didn’t like. Sometimes I feel like Marvin Zindler when he would yell “slime in the ice machine”. I want to ask why do you think I didn’t like these? Because of the seriously vile habit new writers have gotten into of leaving you hanging in hopes you will then buy the next 18 books to get the original problem solved. Foul! Foul! Foul! You’re out!
51oh7cs0crL__SL110_This review is from: All the Blue-Eyed Angels (Erin Solomon Pentalogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

I really loved the book until the end. It didn’t have an end. I’m to buy the other books to find out what happens. The writer is good in story build up and her cliff-hangers are good. The girl protagonist could be better developed. The confusion over the two guys is confusing for the reader, too. Her story of the girl who inherits a sinister island and the man in the hood who seems to be in cahoots with someone else to kill everyone the girl loves is done well until the end that isn’t an end. Disappointed about that. Well-done series can be read as stand alones. I don’t know who has got the cart before the horse and pushed for this new trend of not ending books. It makes me livid.
Now I know you will be surprised at my assessment of the next one but the reason is clear.
51EWt6q24cL__SL110_This review is from: Dorothy Must Die (Kindle Edition)

I can’t improve on some of the great reviews. I thought the book was imaginative and fun to read. HOWEVER, I was disappointed that the book did not deliver on it’s promise. It ends too abruptly. We must purchase all the other books to find a complete story. I don’t like that. In fact, it’s a terrible thing. So I say, don’t buy this one.

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver, a review


81+V136ZCzL._SL1500_This story is set during a period I seldom get a chance to read, the roaring twenties, when ladies wore gowns to fancy balls, alcohol is illegal in America but not England, and they enjoy the modern conveniences of telephones, elevators and cars. The author paid close attention to bring out these details in such a way so as to not draw attention. I also appreciated learning a few good words like quidnunc. What a wonderful way to describe a busybody.

The main character Amory is married to Milo, a strikingly handsome man (from all accounts). They have gone through some serious ups and downs in their short marriage, but things seem to be going very well. But this happy feeling is dampened all too soon.

Amory garnished some cred in the amateur sleuth department from her “Murder at Brightwell” adventure, so now she has one of her mother’s oldest friends asking her for help with finding a jewel thief. The clues multiply quickly. Amory has made it a goal to speak to each of the people who are suspected, but then things change with a terrible bang.

I found the characters believable. I love how she comes to some very mature conclusions about her relationship with her husband. I look forward to getting to know more about these fascinating characters in future novels.

My books are Running for Office

Hello and welcome to those new to Rebecca Nolen’s news team newsletter. The purpose of this broadcast is sometimes to promote my books shamelessly, and yes, that does include posting pictures of adorable baby miniature donkeys. In a land full of books, and authors selling and signing books, my job is much like trying to sell ice cubes in Antarctica. But someone’s got to do it and that would be me. And you!

tiny burroIf you’ve read one of my books and liked it – while I would love a review on Amazon and Goodreads – I would really love it if you passed on that enthusiasm for the story to your friends who love to read the same sort of novel. And also, if you’d go ahead and write that review:-)

A lady at church yesterday told me that she wanted to write a review for me but that when she read all the other reviews she was cowed. She said, “How can I compete with that?”

I told her that while I loved all reviews of any number of stars, a few words count as much as a lot of words. It’s the number of reviews that make the difference to the future of my novels. A review is like a vote . You think your vote doesn’t make a difference? If you watch city elections you would know that wasn’t true. Every vote counts. So my book is in a city election and here I am clapping my friends and acquaintances on the back and saying vote for me with twenty words because that’s all you need.

In other news, I’m going to be signing books at the Kroger on Sweetwater Blvd. Friday August 8 from 3 to 7, and Saturday August 9 from 10 to 5. And I’ll be at the Kroger on Hwy 6 #375 (Hwy 6 and I think Kirkwood) the following weekend August 15, & 16 the same hours.

My first experience signing books at a Kroger went very well. I watched people’s faces as they walked into the store and got a look at The Wasp. Horror. Puzzlement. I answered the look with “It’s a wasp.” Either that got a smile and a nod or they wanted to know more. The staff at that store were delightful and friendly. The managers were very helpful. And they want me back. Hooray!

Have a delight filled week.


Writing Reviews for NetGalley

NG Apple_NetGalley Health Rev 3I am excited to announce that I am now writing reviews for NETGALLEY. The publishers send their new, not-yet-released books to NetGalley. I apply for each book. So far I’ve been given the opportunity to review several books. Most of them you will likely not have heard of yet because they aren’t in stores. These are pre-release reviews. I hope you enjoy reading them and will look for the book once it is released.

My first book review is for a book entitled The Farm by Tom Rob Smith.



A Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

goldfinchIf you are a new writer please don’t think you could get away with 775 pages. Trust me, you can hardly get away with 458 pages.

A lot has been said about The Goldfinch. I don’t expect I will break any new ground here but I spend a lot of time with this book so I’m writing a review.

If I were to compare the style of this story I would say it falls between Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Although I was picturing “Rizo” from Urban Cowboy as I’m reading the book, which is told in first person by Theo Decker as an older man, relaying his childhood trauma of being in the Metropolitan museum when it was blown up, living with an odd, rich family, and his subsequent disturbing life.

Like with any Charles Dickens book I was hooked by page 75. After my initial shock wore off that the Metropolitan Museum of Art was bombed (This is not much of a spoiler since this has been much talked about since the book came out.) I was intrigued by the boy’s plight. His anguish and reaction in this section of the novel was truly well-written. Bravo.

However, by page 413 I did begin to wonder why the bombing wasn’t made more out of in the book. Even though we are in the viewpoint of a character wrapped up in his own worries, I think there should be more of a deal made of the Met’s bombing in the news (in the book). By page 500 we do see some news about the painting, so that helped in grounding this to reality a little better. The painting, The Goldfinch, seems to have been forgotten for large portions of the book. It’s hard to care about it when it isn’t mentioned for fifty pages at a time. It became more central to the story line towards the end of the book.

The author is a talented writer. I loved the sharp descriptions of each of the characters and even some of the very minor characters. I did have a difficult time liking Theo, the main character. The author may have been going for realistic but we don’t necessarily love watching the depressing twists and repetitive turns of real life. At the end of the book Theo says that he wrote what he did because he was trying to figure things out through writing them down, but came to the conclusion that life is what it is. It wasn’t a satisfactory ending. Would I recommend it? There are too many other fine stories available to spend so much time on this one.

A Girl’s Homeschool assignment: Book Reviews

Home school assignment: brutally honest reviews of books

Hannah Roberts was given a choice of assignments one of which was to choose books to write reviews for. Here is what she posted on the Internet:hannAH photo - Copy

YA Authors! If you want the brutally honest opinion of a 14-year-old girl of your new book, send me an ecopy and I will post a review, post a video of my review of your book and share it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. It’s a home school thing but this is an assignment I think I will really enjoy! Contact me at mobookreviews@gmail.com

So I asked her if she would do a review of my book. You all know that if you don’t ask you can’t expect anything. A rejection is a reflection of your courage.

Here is my review from Hannah.

The Dry

I love stories where the heroes are my age and are fighting for what is good. I love stories with magic and magical creatures, other worlds and mystery! So when I started reading The Dry, I was really excited because it has all of that!

Elliot is a 12-year-old who goes out into the world to search for his father. When he meets Lefty, Eliot discovers another world where dragons live, just under the surface of the world. But there is more to this new world than meets the eye. Water is disappearing and so are several children!

Elliot is determined to find out why it is happening. He learns of his own powers over animals of this world and must find a way to use it to help him solve the mystery of the disappearing water, the disappearing children and the mystery of the dry!

Will he be able to find his father? Or the kids? Nope, I’m not going to tell you! You have to read it yourself! I loved Lefty’s attitude because she was strong and wasn’t willing to give up when things got hard. It was very fun to read! Posted by Hannah Roberts at 3:05 PM


Thank you, Hannah!

Review of The Guardian’s Angel

Picture of the book pulled from Amazon.com
Picture of the book pulled from Amazon.com

I have nine years experience working with autistic children, most of whom were brilliant as is the little, blond Tommy in this story. The author did an exceptional job of writing an autistic child dealing with serious trauma – losing both parents when they were violently murdered.

The boy does not speak at the beginning of the story. Libby, a doctor who works with autistic children and who is the main character, knows Tommy can speak because she overhears him mimicking cartoon characters. This is very realistic and shows the author did her research. When Tommy repeats the words “tree-terty” he is telling the exact time that his parents died. I don’t know enough about this so I had questions here. 1. Did Tommy witness his parents’ deaths so that is the reason he knows the time? 2. How did his parents die. We know they were murdered but I don’t remember how, which makes talking about it awkward. The device of Tommy repeating the time whenever he missed his parents is well-written. This leads me to the end of the book where Tommy wakes JD with those words. Immediately JD announces that Tommy says it because the bad guys are here. That was a jolt. I would have assumed Tommy was having a bad dream and needed comfort.

I love the romance that was evident before even chapter two. It was well-written, subtle, not too on-the-nose. The sex scenes were well-done, not over done or too graphic. The psychic connection of the two characters was delicious. The author leaves the reader feeling very good about the future of these two. She actually didn’t need the last chapter. But it was sweet – so keep it!

I had a few pauses though, for instance in the scene where Libby and JD are up in the bunk above the cab. They left Tommy asleep on the pull-out bed/table. I was thinking the entire scene that they would look down and Tommy had opened the door and taken off across the campground. It would have added an entire scene of angst and fear for the reader. This seemed like a missed opportunity.

Because after all, there is suspense here as well. The suspense of escaping, being on the road, getting caught, escaping again, long road flight, who knows who the bad guys have “fixed” to help. The tiny scene where we discover who the bad guys have forced into helping them was well-done. However, I would have liked to have seen more of the bad guys making their evil plans throughout the novel. This would up the race against time more.

It was jarring to have JD’s family show up at the secluded cabin. I liked that it made for a touch of humor. But it seemed out of place. The solution is to take it more slowly perhaps have the reader witness the car driving up the mountain and having us believe it was the bad guys and – surprise! it is the hilarious Canadian brother-in-law and family. I loved him. He made an excellent foil to JD’s serious demeanor.

Action scenes: The two major fight scenes flash by too quickly. I barely had time to register that there was a fight scene. I never did figure out how JD got shot. The end fight scene is a blur. Being a visual learner, I couldn’t see it. I would suggest practicing the moves and rewriting it that way. We need to see each step every character takes and each shell casing land on the turf.

The author did an excellent job of creating characters that we really cared about from the beginning. I would recommend this to friends.

On Reviewing a book . . .

IMAG0668I’m wondering if you, my wonderful readers, would be interested in giving me a review on Amazon? You see, I’m fully aware that Amazon is the new “black” for the world of publishing. The “place to be” for any writer is getting to be top-rated on Amazon. Go Amazon!

Some people don’t like Amazon because they are the equivalent of the “big box store” and because they cut prices on books and often will cut the price lower than any other book outlet. But what I’ve found is that many people are willing to pay that extra two dollars or four dollars for a book they’ve discovered at their local book store, too. Amazon can mark down prices on my books, it doesn’t offend me at all.

About reviewing my books. I’m not asking for a thumbs up. Because my asking for such a thing isn’t right in the grand scale of RIGHT. I don’t want you to support my book if it isn’t good.

The Dry is a middle-grade(ages 8 to 12) historical fantasy. It is set in West Virginia in the 1895 drought.

Here is what one reader said of it – “Twelve-year-old Elliot Sweeney could walk off the page, he feels so real. He’s a collector, a tinkerer, a lost boy who is more interested in rescuing his lost father than in sitting around whining about being stuck alone with an uncaring uncle. Compassion comes naturally to him; it is neither effeminate nor overwrought, it simply is and it defines him. Lefty is an excellent companion for Elliot. Fierce and determined, Lefty’s deeply ingrained mistrust and tendency to avoid getting involved in other folks’ troubles are a valuable contrast to Elliot’s nature. The Wicked Prince of Every Place lives up to his name and reputation; smart and evil, he is motivated by an unquenchable thirst for power, ironically played out by taking control of the world’s water supply.

Reviews don’t have to be elaborate. And please don’t say *** spoiler alert and give away things. A good review is a sharing of enthusiasm for the story. You can even tell which character was most appealing to you. You can share favorite excerpts. I love it when a reader shares favorite excerpts. Chances are they are my favorites, too.

Buy a book and I’m thrilled, give me a review and I’m ecstatic, tell a friend and I’m indebted forever.