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Miguel Traveler

Miguel Traveler: The Man from Texas by Daniel McFatter

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The Journey from Poor Procrastinator to Invested Millennial by Jeremy Kho

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Flicks

Flicks: A Tale of Cinematic Docudrama, Half-Truths and Half-Fictions by Simon Plaster

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The Streets of Nottingham by Auckly Simwinga

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The Trinity Knot: Releasing the Knot of Silence by DonnaLee Overly

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Bound by My Choices: How a Death Nearly Broke Me But the Navy Saved Me by Keshawn A. Spence

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Campanile: A Novel by Peter Melaragno

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Broken Chord: A Music Row Mystery by Alice A. Jackson

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Miguel Traveler: The Man from Texas by Daniel McFatter

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Miguel TravelerMiguel wakes up floating in a solution and being cuddled and cared for by “Mama.” There is a lot going on around him and suddenly he is washed out of a large tank of fluid in to the arms of Alice, the Woman in Black. This is the surprise beginning.

The story is told from Miguel’s perspective, throughout. It is unusual for a 1st person book to hold the interest of most readers, but this is one of the few that is very well written. There are 3 sections, each proceeded by a poem that nonetheless becomes important to the story. Almost from the beginning there is action, excitement and so many seemingly mundane encounters, but prove to be truly not.

“Man is unto himself the Great Work-a puzzle to be opened, explored and ultimately solved.” This quote is almost integral to a good in-depth analysis of the book. This is one book requiring some thought after reading it because of the depth presented.

The Journey from Poor Procrastinator to Invested Millennial by Jeremy Kho

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The Journey From Poor Procrastinator to Invested MillenIf you are looking to learn how to achieve financial independence, Jeremy Kho has prepared a book just for you. The Journey from Poor Procrastinator to Invested Millennial will teach you the basics regarding how you should manage your finances and make you curious to learn more. However, the book is not limited to this topic, it can also just help motivate you to overcome your general state of procrastination.

Don’t be scared that the information presented will be too technical for you, it is far from that. With a friendly tone, Jeremy Kho takes you on a journey of self-discovery. He uses a lot of colorful examples to make the economics part more accessible. There are plenty of stories with realistic characters throughout the book containing noteworthy morals. You might even recognize yourself in one or more of these.

Flicks: A Tale of Cinematic Docudrama, Half-Truths and Half-Fictions by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Ray Palen

FlicksThe death, or in some people’s minds, murder of the late Hollywood star and Blonde Bombshell Marilyn Monroe is at the heart of this novel…sort of. This work by author Simon Plaster is entitled FLICKS: A Tale of Cinematic Docudrama, Half-Truths and Half-Fictions. The title isn’t the only thing ambiguous about this novel. I also found it hard to nail down as far as genre for it has bits and pieces of several: Expose, Satire, Crime, Filmography… I could go on. I settled with just calling it Fiction and allowing readers to decide where they thought it best fit.

FLICKS also features many parallel narratives, most of which cross paths with each other at times throughout the novel. There is no true protagonist or antagonist, just a myriad of colorful characters. We have Hollywood filmmaker Deano DeBoffo, who is making what he refers to as a docuflick about the late Marilyn Monroe entitled The Deadly Pepper Shaker. More importantly, DeBoffo claims to have in his possession a loop of film that purportedly details the how, who and why Miss Monroe was murdered rather than being the victim of an overdose. It also allegedly depicts Monroe caught in what is essentially a porn tape with one of the characters depicted in DeBoffo’s film.

There is Henrietta — the closest thing this novel has to a moral center — who is a writer for the hometown Oklahoma City series of newspapers referred to as the OKC. She is always in search of a good story and thinks she has one that combines some of the crazier local characters with Deano DeBoffo who is temporarily stranded in Oklahoma City and not letting that slow down the research process or creation of his film.

Deep Freeze (A Virgil Flowers Novel) by John Sandford

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Deep FreezeJohn Sandford takes one of his favorite characters, Virgil Flowers, back to Trippton, Minnesota where Flowers has worked in his capacity as an agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation in previous books. His last visit was when Virgil busted up a crime ring that somehow was created and run by a crooked school board. Virgil hadn’t made a lot of friends at that time but he did have a few who believed he did the right thing.

This time however it involves a female president of the local bank who was found floating in the Mississippi which was actually pretty much frozen over. The woman was pretty much clothed except for having on only one shoe and it was actually twisted on the wrong foot!

Broken Chord: A Music Row Mystery by Alice A. Jackson

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Broken ChordAlice A. Jackson’s Broken Chord: A Music Row Mystery, offers a compelling collaboration of love betrayal, passion, intrigue, and murder set in Nashville’s famous Music Row.

Captivating from the outset, we meet relatable protagonist, the beautiful but middle aged-beleaguered, Sarah Ann Boswell. She finds herself beset by the throes of a middle of her life crisis, when not only does she turn fifty years old, loses her husband to unfaithfulness and divorce, and feels largely ignored by her children, as well as finding herself unceremoniously fired from her job. At a loss for direction or self-esteem, Sarah Ann does the unthinkable and tries to take her own life; nevertheless she survives with the staunch love and support of her long time friends, her prayer group.

While hospitalized Sarah Ann meets godsend, the savvy, smart and talented, Jill Edgerton, who offers her the promise of a renewed life with an offer to join Edgerton Group, her Nashville based talent management firm. Accepting the offer, Sarah Ann embarks on a new and happier journey through life and into the alluringly lucrative world of the country music business. They strike country music gold with the advent of newly discovered artist Jared Parson. Although he’s handsome, talented, and virile he also seems to harbor a secretive side. Besides turning out to be a cash cow for Edgerton group, Jared also starts to cause a divide between partners Sarah Ann and Jill, as an illicit relationship forms between him and Jill. Moreover, events take a turn for the twisted and mysterious when Jill Edgerton is found murdered, leading to an investigation focusing on multiple, possible suspects including Sarah Ann.

The Gate Keeper: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) by Charles Todd

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Gate KeeperThe Gate Keeper opens with Inspector Rutledge’s controlled life about to be upset as his sister has married and is off on her honeymoon. Following the ceremony, Rutledge starts home but decides to go for a short drive to sort out his feelings on his life with his sister now married. The drive turns out to take him quite a distance from London and ends with him coming across a woman standing over a body lying in the middle of the road. Rutledge stops to help and doesn’t quite know what to make of her story that a man stepped out in front of their car. Her companion got out to ask what the fellow needed and was shot. The man in the road then vanished. Although the woman is visibly upset, he sends her in his car into town to get the constable while he stays with the body and their car. The constable comes and takes over the crime scene and sends Rutledge and the woman on their way. Rutledge books a room at the inn in town. The next morning he goes to see how the woman is and after hearing from her and speaking with the constable, urges him to request Scotland Yard be called in. He then calls his boss and arranges to be assigned to the case.

Need to Know: A Novel by Karen Cleveland

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Need to KnowThis book was very highly rated by some of today’s top writers, such as Grisham, Child, and Cornwell. I would recommend that you read it and see if you can discover what they saw in it that I surely missed. If you enjoy spy stories it does fit that genre without a doubt. But overall I didn’t find the tenseness or excitement usually found in spy novels.

Vivian Miller works for the CIA and has been tabbed to be quite a worker with a brilliant future already being touted by some of the higher-ups in her section. Her forte is finding and tracking Russian secret agents who have come to the United States to get as deep into the U.S. intelligence network as possible. Vivian’s abilities allow her to ferret out and identify these agents primarily through intercepting messages from people who have been identified to have some Russian connection. Many of these folks are just normal every day type individuals who are in the U.S. for many varied reasons but the vast majority of them are not spies.

Being able to sort and then really investigate the potential spies is a tough job but Vivian does it while raising a family. She has been married for over 10 years and has four young children. She met her husband, Matt, quite by accident while they both happened to be shopping. He and she collided in an easy manner but then the circumstances provided the opportunity to become friends. This they did and then over the years along came the children.

The Bengal Identity (A Cat Groomer Mystery) by Eileen Watkins

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Bengal IdentityAs book two of the Cat Groomer series opens readers find Cassie McGlone hard at work planning her booth for the upcoming Chadwick town festival. Business at Cassie’s Comfy Cats Grooming and Boarding has picked up significantly since the events in book one. So when a nervous acting man brings in a cat desperate to board it for a few days saying he had suffered a house fire, Cassie was lucky to have a kennel available for the Ayesha. The man paid for a week’s boarding in advance then left. Cassie became suspicious of the young man’s story when upon bathing Ayesha a few times a beautiful coat with rosettes began to appear. After Mark her veterinarian boyfriend, examined Ayesha he told Cassie that this was not just another domestic cat,, but that Ayesha was most probably a Bengal and worth quite a lot of money.

There are a couple of side stories going on including the local festival, “funny” crops being raised at the organic farm and the developing relationship between Mark and Cassie. But the main plot is the cat. Who owns the cat? Why did the young man who brought the cat in have her, and what happened to him? And who is after the cat and why?

Campanile: A Novel by Peter Melaragno

Week of Day of the Dead, 2008; a café on the zócalo in Oaxaca. Ethan is working on a novel. His waitress claims she was with her grandfather in 1996 bidding Ethan farewell in the old bus station. Her name is Dina and he remembers her. As she must continue working, she asks if he might visit her the following day in nearby Mitla, where there is something he should see. And he surely agrees: as far as he understood, young Dina had disappeared in 1996, along with her grandfather, crossing illegally into Texas. But she is nowhere in Mitla and he will never see her again. He does learn in Mitla, however, that Dina’s real name was Ariádina. Thus begins a synaptic pas de deux through Ethan’s memory palace: Ariádina from Oaxaca and Ariadne from Prague, an art student he’d fallen in love with in Paris. It was 1968, August, and the Prague Spring of that year was about to be crushed by invading Soviet tanks. Fearing for her father and brother back in Prague, Ariadne had to go home. After a wrenching farewell high in the belfry of Venice’s Campanile di San Marco, she descended the tower alone. He would never see her again.

The Trinity Knot: Releasing the Knot of Silence by DonnaLee Overly

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The Trinity KnotBook one of an intended series of women’s contemporary fiction, DonnaLee Overly’s The Trinity Knot: Releasing the Knot of Silence, poses a journey into the core of one woman’s psyche, affected and conflicted by the trauma of sexual assault by someone that she trusted, taking place in a location where she should have felt safe. This story brings to focus this unpleasant scenario and questions, which bear distinct discussion, especially in regard to today’s ongoing headlines concerning sexual assault on women. The story raises the question; can you not only forgive your rapist, but fall in love with him as well?

The protagonist, Gabriella King, has a great life. She is the daughter of a wealthy Texas rancher, as well as being blessed with beauty, a talent and passion for painting and overall confidence but after experiencing the distress of a sexual assault she becomes a very different person experiencing a gamut of negative emotions. Ashamed, she keeps the attack to herself and chooses not to divulge anything to those closest to her. Hiding her pain, she lets time pass. She also thinks no one will believe her, and retreats from the world while maintaining a disposition of self-deprecation. However, she cannot remain cloistered in her shame and finds that she does have to confront what happened.

Bound by My Choices: How a Death Nearly Broke Me But the Navy Saved Me by Keshawn A. Spence

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Bound by My ChoicesThis illustrated memoir is a modern fairy tale of how a troubled young boy managed to overcome the many obstacles thrown his way and how he continues to do so as an adult. Keshawn A. Spence claims that he is bound by his choices, but as his story unfolds, the opposite message seems to emerge, one of freedom and possibilities.

Bound by My Choices is mostly rooted in the childhood of the author, focusing on the influence of the external factors over his life. The book debuts with a series of photos immortalizing some of the most important events throughout his life, but also some that are precious precisely because they mirror the nakedness of real life. So, ever since the beginning, the intention of the author to create an intimate bond with the reader on his journey of self-discovery is quite clear.

The Savior’s Game (The Daniel Byrne Trilogy) by Sean Chercover

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The Savior's GameDaniel Byrne has left both the Vatican and the Foundation to fight the Council for Peace on his own. The plague they have spread robbed him of his uncle and nearly killed the love of his life. Now he is showing symptoms himself. He now has visions of a world outside of, yet connected to, our own. The Foundation has plans to upend society and take it over, using the AIT plague they now possess. In order to stop them, Daniel must learn to harness the new powers this other-worldly place gives him.

The Savior’s Game by Sean Chercover, is the concluding volume of the Daniel Byrne trilogy. While Chercover did a great job with the first two books, the third book isn’t as good. I found the plot to be somewhat rambling and disconnected from the previous books. It was almost like the author tried to take the story in a completely new direction while forgetting he was writing a trilogy. There are large portions of the book that seem to have no connection to the primary story line of the trilogy. Honestly, this book was a disappointment, which is why I can only give it 2/5 stars.

*A copy of this book from BestsellersWorld was the only consideration given in exchange for this review.*

The Painted Queen: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series) by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Painted QueenThe Painted Queen finds Amelia and Emerson in Cairo on their way to another seasonal dig. While staying in Cairo before departing for the dig, a stranger intrudes upon Amelia while she is bathing, although he poses no threat given that he has a knife in his back. He is holding a piece of paper with Amelia’s name and room number as well as a card with “Judas” written on it. The beginning of this book is so typical of the series that I had great hopes. Alas, as the rest of the book unfolded, those hopes were dashed.

The Painted Queen is the final Amelia Peabody book. Joan Hess was contracted to finish this after Elizabeth Peters’s death. It was my understanding before I read the book, that Peters had left behind the book in an unfinished form and Ms Hess was to finish the book. That does not appear to be the case. I cannot imagine that anything other than a very rough outline was left behind, because, sadly, the characters in this, the last chapter in a long running and well written series hold on the shell of a resemblance to the Peters’ characters.