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Timeless Travels

Timeless Travels: Tales of Mystery, Intrigue, Humor, and Enchantment by Joseph Rotenberg

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Mock My Words

Mock My Words by Chandra Shekhar

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Softbelly: A Memoir of a Young Adult Coming of Age Bipolar by Robert Epperson

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Opry: A Semi-Musical Tale of Honky Tonk Lifestyle by Simon Plaster

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Rogue Wolf

Rogue Wolf (The Oldenglen Chronicles) (Volume 3) by Robin Mason

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A Burning in the Darkness

A Burning in the Darkness by A P McGrath

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The Amarant

The Amarant by Tricia Barr

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http://www.bestsellersworld.com/2017/04/19/legacy-book-three-of-the-fire-chronicles-by-susi-wright/

Legacy: Book Three of the Fire Chronicles by Susi Wright

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Guardian of Deceit

Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles

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Mock My Words by Chandra Shekhar

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Mock My WordsMock My Words is comprised of three storylines. Each one of them is interconnected with a plot that involves a renowned author by the name of David Tan, who left China to live in the United States. The main storyline not only revolves around David’s struggles and challenges as a new teacher at John Steinbeck University in Northern California, but also portrays the stress and anxiety that David experiences while trying to survive a rough patch in his marriage. The secondary storylines involve David’s wife, Laura, and Melissa, a student at the university.

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David is worried and nervous about whether or not the students in his writing course will accept and respect him. This dilemma is due to the disconnect between his writing and his speaking. Although David writes beautiful prose, he speaks English very poorly, which makes it difficult to communicate with people. Even though he wants to share his love of classical literature with his students, they are ill-mannered and rude towards him. It does not get any easier for him when some of his colleagues rebuff him. In addition to work issues, whenever David is at home, he always feels that he has to tread carefully around his wife’s feelings in order not to upset her and possibly ruin any chances at intimacy.

Timeless Travels: Tales of Mystery, Intrigue, Humor, and Enchantment by Joseph Rotenberg


Timeless TravelsWho is today’s American Jew? Joseph Rotenberg styles himself as a modern-day maggid (traditional Jewish storyteller), weaving tales from the everyday to the fantastic, each one bringing the reader a slice of the American Jewish experience. Just as Sholem Aleichem did more than a hundred years ago in his famous stories describing Russian Jewish life, these tales inform and entertain by uncovering little-known events and personalities that have impacted the American Jewish world. In the 1950s, the late Harry Golden, in his popular collections Only in America and For Two Cents Plain, introduced Jewish culture to many non-Jewish Americans. Joseph Rotenberg’s work updates that vision to depict the contemporary, modern American Jew who is today increasingly as much at home in the halls of the Ivy League, the corridors of power in Washington, the corporate boardroom, and the theater as he is in the beit midrash and the synagogue. You’ll laugh, cry, and wonder as you travel through Joseph Rotenberg’s incisive and at times laugh-outloud funny collection of tales.

Timeless Travels is a fascinating and thought-provoking account of the experiences and travels of Jewish people throughout history, by the talented author, Joseph Rotenberg. Timeless Travels will appeal to readers of all ages. I highly recommend this page-turning collection of short stories.”

Douglas R. Cobb – Reviewer for Bestsellersworld.com

Softbelly: A Memoir of a Young Adult Coming of Age Bipolar by Robert Epperson

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

SoftbellyRobert Epperson’s book is an enlightening journey into a young man’s mental disorder. The book begins with Robert reflecting on his college years and the times that he became antisocial and unable to communicate with others. He had difficulty making human connections and people thought him strange.

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While in college he meets Jennifer Stewart, a young woman with whom he falls in love. They begin their romance with phone calls, eventually moving to more serious activities. After college, they both find jobs in Dallas, Texas, although Robert’s employer eventually moves him farther from Jennifer’s job and they don’t see each other as often.

Robert stays at the job for nine months, eventually becoming disillusioned and quitting. Being away from college causes both physical and mental stress for him and he has a difficult time adjusting to the “real world”. After quitting his job, he picks up Jennifer for a weekend trip to visit his sister, Holly. Robert’s bizarre behavior and the act of hitting his brother-in-law cause them to be asked to leave. They go to his mother’s house where his behavior becomes even more bizarre, enough to scare Jennifer. His family intervenes and his Uncle Tom, also a police chief, take him to a hospital for evaluation.

Opry: A Semi-Musical Tale of Honky Tonk Lifestyle by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Ray Palen

OpryA raucous Oklahoma City Honky Tonk; a relentless bulldog reporter; a City Councilperson on a mission; a couple on the outs competing against each other in a winner take all Karaoke Contest.

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These are just some of a handful of characters in the wild, over-the-top, country music fueled novel OPRY. Did I forget to mention there are also a string of missing women including a prospective competitor in the Karaoke Contest?

Author Simon Plaster prides himself on his satirical novels featuring characters that resemble — or closely resemble — real life characters. OPRY is a big undertaking in which Plaster, from a literary standpoint, has many balls in the air to juggle all at the same time.

V.D. “Moon” Mullins is the sleazy owner of Honky Tonk, a self-proclaimed Texas style beer joint in the heart of Oklahoma City. His place is about to host their nearly famous KaraOkie Opry singing contest. Many have entered this extremely competitive competition and a handful of these ‘talents’ are featured in the narrative of OPRY.

A Burning in the Darkness by A P McGrath

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

A Burning in the DarknessA P McGrath successfully unites the most important elements of civilization between the covers of A Burning in the Darkness. The pages of the book offer a tasteful blend of crime and romance under the seal of Catholic faith.

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At a large international airport, a small confessional room is filled with secrets. Father Michael Kieh, who is responsible with hearing these burdens and offering forgiveness when it is due, finds himself lured into an intricate web of conspiracy. The spiders forming the web are important men of the society and their victims are whoever endangers their status or brilliant future. Ruthless predators, they hunt under the cover of law and bureaucracy, using the system to their own advantage.

Basically, two institutions – the church and the justice system – test their influence over one another and people. Each offers a certain set of tools which can serve the purpose given by the one who wealds these. Father Kieh becomes the keeper of some critical information, but due to the fact that it was obtained via confession, he is forced to test the limits of church regulation and his own morality.

Rogue Wolf (The Oldenglen Chronicles) (Volume 3) by Robin Mason

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Rogue WolfTeenagers who enjoy nature rather than social media or video games might seem unusual. Jax and Sarah have a rare relationship with their environment. They understand the relationships with people and nature are immensely important for the future of our planet.

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Oldenglen is a special place near Jax’s home in southern Oregon. Having his life uprooted from life in England was difficult for him. However, school wasn’t his salvation, but the magical relationship he discovered with this unique forest and the creatures who live within as well as the trust and friendship with each other.

Keeping the area protected is always a constant challenge. With the ever-expanding new housing developments for humans threatening the natural habitats of the wild creatures while keeping the balance of nature between the expanding population of people and nature.

Balances within Oldenglen are also difficult to maintain. Providing food for all creatures requires just the correct proportion between predators and prey. Too many prey demands massive amounts of plants and small creatures, while predators must depend on an abundance of prey, otherwise they starve.

The Amarant by Tricia Barr

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The AmarantTricia Barr’s The Amarant, beckons readers into a fantastical vampire-filled world, where a young woman’s crush on a fictional character leads her into an incredible reality where romance, the paranormal and an untapped legacy of fantastic supernatural power merge to change her world, forever.

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The heroine of the story, Crimson Wilkinson, portrays a complex and strong-willed young woman, who refuses to let the darkness of a hurt-filled past take over her life. Being only seventeen, she lives with her mother in Tuscon, Arizona, a locale which is wanting when it comes to excitement. As with any high schooler, Crimson undergoes some common experiences; an angry teacher, a bullying nemesis, ditching classes, an attraction to a hunky football player, and boredom. Her only real escape from the doldrums of her life concerns either hanging with her best friends Robert, Reina and Amber or getting lost in her favorite series of paranormal fiction novels which centers on a reclusive, handsome vampire named Nicholae Albaric who she crushes on and obsesses over.

The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

The Surgeon's WifeThe Surgeon’s Wife is split into three parts. Vivid illustrations on the book cover and also preceding the text for each part perfectly complement this engaging story. The book is told from multiple viewpoints which provides valuable insight into the feelings, perceptions, and motives of each of the pertinent characters in the story, and how they are affected by the circumstances in which they find themselves.

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Mike Boudreaux is the chief of surgery at a prominent hospital in New Orleans, and he is called upon to make tough decisions about his partner, Clayton Otherson, who is making life-threatening mistakes in surgery. Mike owes the success of his career to Clayton and wants to help his colleague and friend, a distinguished and influential bariatric surgeon, avoid suspension by the hospital operating room committee. Mike can impact decisions made by the committee since he is the chair, and Clayton believes that Mike should make any complaints about his competency as a surgeon go away. However, the safety of patients is Mike’s top priority. When the committee puts some restrictions in place that affect Clayton in his surgeries of obese patients, this action puts up barriers in Mike and Clayton’s friendship.

Legacy: Book Three of the Fire Chronicles by Susi Wright

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

LegacyThis Young Adult fiction is the 3rd in the Fire Chronicle series. It is very good and thoughtful uplifting even when presenting unsurmountable evil and odds.

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In a fantasy world where races of creatures, usually humanoid, are often fighting each other, order has come to much of civilization. The Alliance was formed in fire with a great battle where Lord Luminor was injured deeply. He leads this group of people beneficently with powers that have been unmatched until now.

There is danger now, a new and fearful evil has begun to invade the Morvians. These people live beyond the Impossible Mountains. Although, this does not affect his domain, Luminor must defend these people from the encroaching menace. He forms his army, the greatest so far, combining many groups into a single fighting force. He heads North leaving hearth and home behind protected by a regent and wise Elders to protect his domain and his family.

This leaves Espira, Essie familiarly, and Ardientor sitting at home and worrying about their father. As hybrids, combining human and Gaian ancestry, they are the first and possibly the only salvation of the domain, but they must overcome sibling rivalry and a confining spell placed by their father. When all seems lost, they find the way, Espira especially, to reconcile the personalities and the powers, first to summon assistance from the Ancient Realm and then to lend its use to the army across the Impossible Mountains.

The Spirit of Want by William H. Coles

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Spirit of WantThe year is 1984. Widower, Dr. Luke Osborn works as an eye doctor specializing in retinal surgery for the new Eye Institute. For a new doctor it is a privilege to be apart of mingling with the ultra-rich whose generous donations created this new facility, but Luke feels that he does not belong. He has never possessed that much money or lived twitch extravagance.

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This new institute is A. J. MacNeil’s dream project as the institute’s leader. Naturally at this event, his wife, Agnes as well as his grown daughters, Lucy and Elizabeth astute do. Strangely the two daughters are very different. Lucy is a lawyer who is dark, slim, drunk, and angry. Contrastly, Elizabeth, a teacher, is fair colored, a little overweight, sober, and pleasant.

One of his first conversations with Lucy had her complaining about eye surgery, “It’s not just mistakes that piss me off, it’s the coverups.” Would you want to converse with her if you operated on eyes?

McDowell by William H. Coles

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

McDowellWilliam H. Coles’ McDowell doses readers with literate medicine for the mind and soul, with a distinctive and engrossing work of dramatic fiction that craftily embeds a story of self-discovery within the world of the modern medical profession. It delves into the life and psyche of surgeon Hiram McDowell, a medical professional at the pinnacle of his success who dwells at the lowest points of morality.

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From the story’s outset, readers will find they are immediately engrossed in the life of protagonist Dr. Hiram McDowell. He lives a dual existence in his world which teems, with wealth, opportunity and privilege. To the outside world he wears the facade of an ambitious humanitarian and expert in his field, but to those who know him more intimately he is morally flawed with only his own interests and needs at heart. Altogether, McDowell severely lacks in common human decency; he is crude to his family, ignores and openly cheats on his wife, looks only to serve his goals within his profession, revels in deceptiveness, steps on the toes of colleagues and misappropriated charitable funds. Moreover, the focus of the story is not just mainly on McDowell; it also brings into focus his family dynamic and the effects that his behavior therefore has on his family, particularly his two closest children.

Ultimately, he makes enemies out of those that once trusted him and perpetuates conflicts of self- esteem within those that attempt to love him. An almost seemingly hopeless cause, it piques the curiosity to see where things go for him. Eventually McDowell’s moral deficiencies become his complete downfall and he is consequently forced to live a life of poverty and solitude with his wealth, fame and power far removed from his life. Forced to live as an itinerant fugitive, and meanwhile, surviving by his wits, he gradually learns, to humble himself and become a more humane human for his survival among everyday folk.

Wholly, enjoyable McDowell was a richly realized and realistically detailed read that was character driven and moved at a balanced pace. Hiram McDowell turned out to be a strongly posed, despisable and simultaneously engrossing character whose ethical flaws catalyzed his journey to his self discovery. Overall, author William H. Coles writes with a literate aplomb that is both evocative and entertaining especially when it comes to detailing aspects of the medical profession and facets of human nature. My only contention about this read is the presence of some minor editing issues. But, issues aside, this was a worthy read and I do recommend it.

Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016The Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016 is a collection of 33 short stories, a novella and two graphic novels. Illustrations enhance each story, supplementing the readers experience and understanding. Peter Healy wonderfully illustrated the two graphic novels, which are the retelling of previous short stories in the collection.

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The characters and themes throughout this book are unique. While they share the connectedness of human struggles and moral issues, they do not intertwine. There are many messages taught through these stories which include unconditional love, acceptance, stereotyping, anguish, faith, death, birth, family values and narcissistic behaviors. Most of the stories are dark and have a miserable ending. Some offer a glimpse of hope, while others are down right horrifying.

I felt I could connect to many of the stories because they accurately portray the world we live in. I was left wanting more information and personality from some of the stories; characters that had a little more feeling. My two favorites were The Gift and SISTER CARRIE, the novella. I would highly recommend reading this contemporary collection of stories.

Author William H. Coles, has won many awards, including The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition to name a few.

Brooklyn Graves: An Erica Donato Mystery by Triss Stein

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Brooklyn GravesWho would steal a window from a family mausoleum?
Even more perplexing, why would the management attempt to cover it up and not report the problem to law enforcement?

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Erica Donato has a busy life. She is completing her doctoral project, a single parent of a teenaged daughter, and working part time at the Brooklyn Historical Museum at a job that is one-step above an intern. Erica is to complete any task assigned to her at the museum. Her newest project is to assist in an assessment of old letters and sketches long-ago forgotten in an attic. These appear to be related to the company, Tiffany.

Dr. Thomas Flint is a Tiffany expert. She is to assist on escorting him to a mausoleum. As the rainstorm is subsiding, the two enter the cemetery only to be told of its closure. Through the sloppiness of recent rain, the two arrive at the neglected Konick Mausoleum. Although the damage seems to be more damaged by humans than nature, Erica is in awe at the inside of the museum in viewing a window made by Tiffany. Even knowing of the Tiffany reputation, actually seeing the beauty of the glass reaches beyond her wildest expectation.
Now Erica has another challenge, her daughter’s long-time friend, Dima is shot with his body left in front of his home. The family has been close to Erica for years. Why was he killed?

Brooklyn Graves is the second book in the Erica Donato series but can easily be read and understood without having read the first book. Book One is entitled, Brooklyn Bones, book three is Brooklyn Secrets and the fourth books, Brooklyn Wars will be released in August.

Brooklyn Graves is a fascinating and engaging novel as the reader accompanies Erica with her entire investigation and attempting to discover who killed Dima while still learning about the phenomenal Tiffany art, especially in windows.

Brooklyn Graves perfectly balances history of the Tiffany windows into a fictional and engaging story interwoven masterfully.

Death at Breakfast: A Novel by Beth Gutcheon

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Death at BreakfastDeath at Breakfast is a delightful first book in a very promising new mystery series. Many people dream of traveling when they retire. Maggie Detweiler is not just dreaming of travel, she is ready to go. Freshly retired from her head mistress job, she recruits a long time friend Hope Babbin to accompany her on her first journey. As the two women are as polar opposites, this quick trip to Maine for a cooking class is more or less a trial run to see if different as they may be, these two friends can become ongoing travel buddies. What could possibly go wrong?

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Yes, the two women ate going to a resort in Maine for a week long cooking class, but this is not exactly a completely random selection for their first outing. The local deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, is the long estranged son of Hope. What does Hope expect from this reunion of sorts? Whatever her motives, Buster is having none of it until, as fate would have it, there is a fire at the Inn and the charred body of a guest is found in the ruins. Now Buster has a job to do right under the noses of his mother and her busybody friend.

Burned Out Old Broads VII: Ten Little Puritans and Burned Out Old Broads VIII: Learning to Love Willie by Joy Johnson

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Boob Girls VIIThe Boob Girls VIIIBenjamin Franklin once stated, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” However, there is that says that at least you can have fun along the way. That is the thought behind Joy Johnson’s delightful Boob Girls series. For most retirees in a home, life is not uplifting.

Author, Joy Johnson has discovered that aging does not mean that life ends. With a few close friends, their lives now consist of humor, excitement, mystery, romance and making the most of each day.

Home is Meadow Lakes Retirement Community for Mary Rose McGill, Marge Aaron, Robinson Leary, and Hadley Joy Morris-Whitfield. These women seem at first to have little in common except for their love of life and learning to enjoy each day sharing their friendships and adventures.

The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense by John Houde

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The CriminalistThe Criminalist by John Houde, is an average mystery. The plot involves a forensic scientist, Paul Connert, teaming up with Vika Koslava, to try and find her half-sister. They had come to America for be models for an
adult-themed photo shoot but when one of the key people disappears, things begin to go awry. First, Vika’s half-sister comes up missing after a wild night of partying. Then, Vika crosses paths with Paul, who is involved in an investigation of a possible sex-trafficking ring. They ultimately end up working together to catch the renegade cop who is part of the ring.

Out of the Black by John Rector

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Out of the BlackMoney can make people desperate. For Matt Caine, the is exactly his life now, desperate.

Matt’s wife died in a car accident. His wife survived, but his daughter was permanently damaged requiring much rehabilitation and therapy. Unfortunately, providing for Anna’s special needs now requires this time and money. Another disadvantage is that now this single-parent has the challenge of also providing for his daughter and his night. Most businesses are not very understanding.
An old friend is now meeting with Matt, offering him a solution.

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Jay believes an acquaintance of his has money. So now he has developed a scheme. He just needs Matt’s help for it to be possible to solve both of their problems. Added to his problem, Matt borrowed money to pay for Beth’s funeral and his daughter’s hospitalization and care. However, the mobster that he borrowed the money from, now wants it paid back.

The Deceiver by Frederick Forsyth

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The DeceiverA very interesting read, although somewhat cumbersome because of naming all the top personnel in all spy ranks all over the world. Sam McCready is in fact The Deceiver. McCready has worked for many years for British intelligence all over the world. He knows all the good and bad guys that are in or have been in his profession. He has excelled in all his endeavors but to many who sit back and watch he is in fact a bit cocky and very unorthodox in his spy techniques.

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Because of changes at the top of the British Secret Intelligence Service there is an ongoing survey of their agents and their capabilities. Strangely enough one of the persons who has proposed a quick out or retirement for McCready is Timothy Heyward who broke in under McCready and has been very jealous of him over the years. However when the powers that be made known their plan to usher him out McCready requested a hearing to understand their plan and to hear his reasons for wanting to stay on.

A Ghostly Mortality: A Ghostly Southern Mystery (Ghostly Southern Mysteries) by Tonya Kappes

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

A Ghostly MortalityA Ghostly Mortality is the sixth entry into the Ghostly Southern Mystery series by Kappas with protagonist Emma Lee Raines. While Emma Lee is one of the town’s two undertakers, she also has a side gig that is far more interesting. An accidental conk on the head has left her with an unusual talent; she can see and communicate with the dead. And not just any old dead person either. The ones who seek Emma Lee out are the ones who can’t quite move on because the circumstances surrounding their deaths have not been resolved. And so Emma Lee has reluctantly become a “betweener,” a person who helps those stuck on earth move on by solving their cases. The ghosts pass Emma Lee’s name on to the next ghost in line leading the little town of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky to appear to be suffering from “Cabot Cove” syndrome.

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While all of the books in the series up until A Ghostly Mortality have been very close to slapstick funny, this one takes a more emotional tone. The ghost who needs help this time around is none other than Emma Lee’s own sister Charlotte Rae. Readers of the series will remember that Charlotte and Emma Rae haven’t exactly been filled with sisterly love of late. Charlotte refused to believe in Emma’s abilities. Plus, she recently left the family business to work for the competition. But now, she needs Emma’s help.

On the flip side, Emma is faced with the fact that if she helps Charlotte pass over, she will never see her sister again. While the previous books were basically laugh-a -minute, this one comes close to being more of a tear jerker at times. But as always, A Ghostly Mortality is a quick entertaining read with a really great ending.
Enjoy.