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Spots: A Tale of Star-Struck Misfame and Misfortune by Simon Plaster

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Exhumation: An Epic of Existentia (Acts of the Sojourner Book 1) by S. A. Chapman

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The Way of the Dhin

The Way of the Dhin by John L. Clemmer

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Walk Shepherdess, Walk

Walk Shepherdess, Walk by Barrett Cobb

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The Day Momma Made Me Dance

The Day Momma Made Me Dance by Patrice Brown

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The River and the Ravages

The River and the Ravages by J.M. Lawler

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Blood Memory Society

Blood Memory Society by D.A. Field

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Corn, Cotton and Chocolate: How the Maya Changed the World

Corn, Cotton and Chocolate: How the Maya Changed the World by James O’Kon PE

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The River and the Ravages by J. M. Lawler

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The River and the RavagesThe River and the Ravages by J.M. Lawler touches on universal themes from a predominantly female perspective. This fiction-romance tells the story of a girl coming to terms with her true self, while being pulled in opposite directions by competing forces.

The core relationship explored by J.M. Lawler seems to be that between mother and daughter. Aaliya only felt truly understood by her mother, of whom’s recent passing threw the world off-balance. Freeing burning emotions is not something that comes naturally to her; instead she keeps the pain to fester inside. In her desperate desire to find a way to cope with a seemingly unbearable loss she recklessly throws herself in different directions, into the arms of a lover or into the hard labor of saddle making. The way to redemption and acceptance is crookedly paved, but this makes the journey all the more interesting and relatable.

Trial by Fire: A Novel of Suspense by J.A. Jance

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Trial by FireAli Reynolds is approached by Sheriff of the Yavapai County Police Department to become his media relations consultant. She had just recently moved back to Sedona, Arizona after losing her job as an anchor in Los Angeles. She not only lost her job but decided to lose her husband who she had found to be cheating on her. She was in good enough financial shape to do whatever she wanted and decided to do it in her hometown. She was startled by the sheriff’s offer but she decided to take it because it sounded like a challenge and something that fit her background well.

She didn’t know that one of the problems she was going to face was a battle going on in the department between two rival unions. However that really is just a small part of this entire story. Within the first week she is able to get news out about an old farmer who busted two guys for rustling Cacti! Yes it is actually against the law to take certain cacti from the desert. Her boss was extremely happy with the way she handled the story and the next step up for her was even bigger.

Cat Shining Bright: A Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Cat Shining BrightHaving never read one of Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s bestselling Joe Grey mysteries before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It turns out I was pleasantly surprised by her 20th book in the series. Joe Grey is one of several talking cats in this series of books. That’s right, talking cats! What an interesting concept for a book series. Joe Grey and his feline friends help the local police solve crimes, and only a handful of humans know that they have the ability of speech.

In this book, Joe Grey and his mate Dulcie have become parents to three active and curious kittens, named Striker, Buffin, and Courtney. Will the kittens be able to talk too? Only time will tell if they have this special gift.

Afterlife by Marcus Sakey

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

AfterlifeDo you ever read a book and immediately think this would make a great movie? That is exactly what I thought while reading Afterlife, Marcus Sakey’s latest work. Well, it appears I was not the only one to think that as it is going to be a movie directed by Ron Howard. Afterlife’s premise isn’t exactly new ground covered. There have been many other books and movies done along the same basic story line, but Sakey turns it up a notch in both emotional tugs and suspense.

Will Brody is an FBI agent assigned to a task force in Chicago. He reports to Claire McCoy. The two have both a personal and a professional relationship which they manage to keep separate most of the time. This changes with an explosion leaving Chicago, Claire and Brody forever changed.

Vicious Circle (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

vicious circleAs usual the action in Joe Pickett stories kicks in pretty quickly. In this one Joe, the Wyoming Game Warden, is in a plane trying to find Dave Farkus who has turned up missing in the mountains. Farkus who is always in and out of Joe’s life somehow appears to be lost and Joe’s boss sends Joe with the other searchers. The pilot is using FLIR which is a forward looking infrared device that picks up heat or light. Just as the pilot is turning to return to base Joe spots not only a figure down in the woods but then three flashes right near the figure.

However they do not have enough gas to circle around again so they head back to base. In the following days the sheriff decides that a posse needs to be sent out to where the body of Farkus is thought to be. Joe goes along with an undersheriff who appears to be acting somewhat strangely around the body when they find it. More later in the story on this.

Blood Memory Society by D.A. Field

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Blood Memory SocietyWho would have believed that Dr. Will Dunbar, would be involved in a national emergency of far reaching proportions.

While diving in the Bahamas, Dr. Dunbar, Will, is summoned to Washington by a friend’s desperate plea for assistance. When he sees his friend, Colonel Ross Chapman the years seem to disappear between now and then, when they were both at West Point.

Although Dr. Dunbar is about to become the head of reproductive medicine at the Mayo Clinic, his friend is able to sidetrack him into working on this issue.

For the first-time Dr. Dunbar hears of a secret organization, The Blood Memory Society, that the government has been running since the beginning of the government in the United States. In the current case, the society has been renamed the Inherited Memory Society.

The Force: A Novel by Don Winslow (Review #2)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The ForceThe Force,” by Don Winslow, introduces the reader to Denny Malone, a highly-decorated detective with the NYPD and lead detective of “The Force.” Winslow has created a vision of the world of law enforcement in the same way Puzo created a vision of the world of the Italian mob with “The Godfather.” “The Force” is the story of a detective who, while at the top of his game, made a few bad choices. Before long, Malone finds himself in a hole that he can’t get out of and he is forced to make a heart-wrenching choice. I have read hundreds of crime novels in my life and this one is by far one of the most realistic, keeping me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Don Winslow is an accomplished author, having been nominated for such awards as
the Barry and Dily’s and winning the 2000 Shamus Award for Best Novel and the 2016 Steel Dagger. In 2012, Winslow won the Raymond Chandler Award, Italy’s top
Lifetime Achievement Award. Few authors have such an outstanding resume and
Winslow really shines with “The Force.” This novel deserves 5/5 stars.

*A copy of this book was the only compensation received for this review.*

Brooklyn Wars (Erica Donato Mysteries) by Triss Stein

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair
Brooklyn Wars
Erica Donato is student a mother and has a full time job working as a historian. Often it is her job which leads her to research interesting places or things in her Brooklyn neighborhood, but in Brooklyn Wars, it is writing her thesis which has Erica prowling around the old Naval Yards. And once again, her research lands her smack in the middle of a crime.

After attending a public hearing on a redevelopment plan for the former shipbuilding site, Erica decides to walk over to the part in question and look around. It is dark, deserted and frankly a bit spooky. Readers may quibble with whether it was a smart move on her part to walk down that path, but she did and that is where the story begins. While she stands looking at one of the old row houses, she hears a noise, catches a glimpse of someone running and finds a man critically injured. Erica immediately recognizes the man from the meeting she just left. The man dies and the police understandably want to talk with Erica, but they are not the only ones. Before long, what started as research for a chapter in her dissertation has morphed into a murder investigation and Erica immersed in the past life of the victim.

Without Fear or Favor: A Novel (A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller Book 29) by Robert K. Tanenbaum

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Without Fear or FavorThe black community vs. the police is not a new idea in today’s social environment.

Tony Cippio is an ideal New York Police Officer who attempts to create positive relationships between the community and law enforcement. This white policeman enjoys playing basketball with neighborhood teens.

Tyrone Greene is a thirteen-year-old with basketball skills that surpass the officer’s successful high school and community college recognition. Tony sees the possibilities for this talented youngster with dreams of playing professional ball. Considering how well Tyrone could play with an old over-inflated ball, the teen was thrilled with the gift of a new ball.

The Quiet Child: A Novel by John Burley

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

The Quiet ChildThis is most likely the hardest review I’ve ever done. The story has elements of mystery yet a thriller like atmosphere to what appears to be a quiet town. The story starts out normal enough – a 1950’s family with Dad Michael, Mom Kate and their two sons Sean and Danny. You soon learn that Kate is ill and son Danny has never spoken a word. On a seemingly innocent trip to the store for ice cream (no spoilers) their happy (or not) family is torn apart.