Book Review & Giveaway: Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr

Book Title: Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 4)
Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 301 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  January 2, 2013
Content Rating: PG-13 – Lauren Carr’s mysteries are murder mysteries. Sometimes, the murder does happen on-stage. There is no graphic violence or explicit sex.There is some very mild language (hell or damn, very few and far between) No F-Bombs!

A woman is killed when she falls down the stairs. Men die writhing in a little coffee shop.  Death may not be that unusual these days in Deep Creek Lake, but then someone tries to kill Archie, the woman Mac Faraday loves.

When she tells Mac the reason behind it and her secret is exposed, Mac and the entire police department will go to extremes to keep Archie safe.

That raises rather a lot of questions:

Who exactly are they protecting her from?
Could it be warring crime lords? Hit men?
Why does one particular couple keep showing up around town?
Just how many killers are there, anyway?
Is anyone who they say they are?

Gnarly plays a much bigger—and more effective–role this time round, and he is showing off his training whether he means to or not.  From taking down bad guys—he seriously knows how to do that– to protecting a little girl staying at Mac’s.  Not to mention that for a dog, he is a surprisingly good confidante when the right little person needs to talk.

Buy the Book:   
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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read quite a few of Lauren Carr’s books and Mac Faraday is the first character of hers that I read about. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to read all of the books in order, so now I’m catching up. This is the fourth book in the series.

Talk about intrigue and murder! It seems that Deep Creek Lake has become a hotbed of murders. And Archie is one person on the hit list. Luckily, she’s smart and capable and is able to defend herself. But what about next time? And why is she on a hit list? She has some explaining to do.

There are quite a few characters as is usual for Lauren Carr’s books. She always has a list of characters at the front of the book in case it’s needed, which is nice. Gnarly remains my favorite character especially since he’s capable of making a little girl feel safe and loved. He always makes things interesting!

I definitely recommend Blast from the Past. It’s my favorite Lauren Carr book so far! If you like mystery and intrigue, it’s one you don’t want to miss. Along with the murder mysteries there is a touch of romance and humor. It’s a stand-alone, but of course you’d get more out of it if you read the previous books in the series.

Blast from the Past is a well-developed story full of intrigue that moves at a brisk pace. The characters are interesting, the villains varied, and the action is as quick as the humor. I have a feeling any of Lauren Carr’s mysteries would be pleasurable distractions, as well as entertaining.  Very Highly Recommended.” – Review by Lori L., Softly She Treads

“I must say, I truly enjoyed reading this book! I found myself waking up slightly early for work just to finish a couple chapters! Not only was this book captivating, I found myself laughing at Gnarly, the ever so lovable and rambunctious German Shephard! I look forward to reading the next book by Lauren Carr!”– Review by Debbie Hill, Miss Book Lovers

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor. 

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.  

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. 

She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

connect with the author: 

website  ~  facebook  ~  instagram ~ pinterest ~ bookbub ~ goodreads


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Book Review & Giveaway: What Makes Me…Me by Anne Baldwin and Levi Baldwin

Book Title: What Makes Me…Me by Anne Baldwin
Category: Children’s Fictions (ages 3-7), 34 pages
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Publisher: Anne Baldwin
Release date: June 2021
Content Rating: G -Suitable for everyone.

Book Description:

What Makes Me…Me is a story about harnessing your super powered brain. We are all special and unique and our differences are what make us all special. What Makes Me…Me was written especially for those kids with neurological differences, their families, and their friends.

Amazon~ indiebound
add to goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This story about a little boy starts out with him talking about himself and the things he likes to do, and he’s just like any other child. But as the story continues, it’s obvious that he is different from other kids. The thing I like about this book is that he doesn’t care that he’s different. His parents have made sure that he knows that he is special, so he doesn’t mind when teachers yell at him or other kids stare at him. I love it!

The illustrations are bright and colorful, and the text is easy to read. Both of these things will keep the attention of children. Children’s books like this one are my favorite: they’re fun to read but they also have a lesson for kids to learn. The one thing I noticed is that it rhymes sometimes but not all the time. It would be just as good if it didn’t rhyme.

About the Author

Anne Baldwin is a wife, mom, and fierce advocate for neurodiverse kids. Anne wrote her first book What Makes Me…Me after her son Levi was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. Passionate about stopping the stigma around Tourette-Syndrome, Anne hopes that her books about embracing your differences as what makes you unique will help kids with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, and other neurological disorders to feel included and accepted by everyone. Anne lives in metro-Detroit with her husband Nick, their sons Levi and Gus, 3 cats, a dog, and a leopard gecko. 

connect with the author:  website ~ instagram


Enter to win a signed copy of WHAT MAKES ME … ME
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May 2 – Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
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May 5 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
May 6 – Splashes of Joy – book review / giveaway
May 9 – Triquetra Reviews – book review / author interview / giveaway
May 10 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
May 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 11 – @twilight_reader – book review
May 12 – Reading is My Passion – book review
May 12 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
May 13 – Lisa’s Reading – book review / giveaway
May 16 – Kam’s Place – book review
May 17 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book review / giveaway
May 17 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – book review / giveaway
May 18 – Pause for Tales – book review / giveaway
May 18 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
May 19 – Westveil Publishing – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 19 – The Phantom Paragrapher – book review
May 20 – Books for Books – book review
May 20 – Ravenz Reviewz – book review / giveaway

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: The Bones of Amoret by Arthur Herbert

​Book Title: The Bones of Amoret – A Novel by Arthur Herbert
Category: Adult Fiction 18+, 320 pages
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Stitched Smile Publications
Release Date: April 2022
Length: 10 hours, 59 minutes.
Content Rating: PG-13 – no sex, explicit or otherwise; almost all violence is off-screen; mild profanity

Book Description:

In this enigmatic follow up to his critically acclaimed debut novel The Cuts that Cure, Arthur Herbert returns to the Texas-Mexico border with this saga of a small town’s bloody loss of innocence.

Amoret, Texas, 1982. Life along the border is harsh, but in a world where cultures work together to carve a living from the desert landscape, Blaine Beckett lives a life of isolation. A transplanted Boston intellectual, for twenty years locals have viewed him as a snob, a misanthrope, an outsider. He seems content to stand apart until one night when he vanishes into thin air amid signs of foul play.

Noah Grady, the town doctor, is a charming and popular good ol’ boy. He’s also a keeper of secrets, both the town’s and his own. He watches from afar as the mystery of Blaine’s disappearance unravels and rumors fly. Were the incipient cartels responsible? Was it a local with a grudge? Or did Blaine himself orchestrate his own disappearance? Then the unthinkable happens, and Noah begins to realize he’s considered a suspect.

Paced like a lit fuse and full of dizzying plot twists, The Bones of Amoret is a riveting whodunit that will keep you guessing all the way to its shocking conclusion. ​

Amazon ~ Audible

add to goodreads

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I like the way this book is presented with Noah Grady recounting the story of crimes committed 40 years ago. He’s a doctor in a small Texas town and does his best to help everyone he can. As good of man as he is, he still has his secrets. I like how he is portrayed as a good man with flaws. His telling of the mysteries that occurred back then is engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn’t a book I couldn’t put down, but it was a book I had to finish.

There are quite a few characters and even more plot twists! I didn’t even try to figure out how the story was going to end because I knew I’d be wrong. I was surprised at how everything worked out, which is what I expected.

The narrator does a fantastic job with the voice of Noah Grady. He sounds like an old-timer telling a story. He’s got great timing and a good pace. I’m sure the book is just as good, but I’m glad that I listened to the audiobook.

I definitely recommend The Bones of Amoret which is the first book I’ve read by Arthur Herbert but hopefully not the last.

About the Author

Arthur Herbert was born and raised in small town Texas. He worked on offshore oil rigs, as a bartender, a landscaper at a trailer park, and as a social worker before going to medical school. He chose to do a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery. For the last eighteen years, he’s worked as a trauma and burn surgeon, operating on all ages of injured patients. He continues to run a thriving practice.

He’s won multiple awards for his scientific writing, and his first novel, The Cuts that Cure, spent ten days as an Amazon #1 Best Seller. His second novel, The Bones of Amoret, will be released on April 1, 2022 through Stitched Smile Publishers. Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs.

connect with the author: website twitter facebook ~ goodreads


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a signed copy of THE BONES OF AMORET
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May 2 – Mystery Review Crew – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 3 –Kam’s Place – book spotlight
May 3 –Cover Lover Book Review – audiobook review / giveaway
May 4 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 5 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 5 – Deborah-Zenha Adams – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 6 – Books for Books – audiobook review 
May 9 –Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews – audiobook review
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May 9 – Novels Alive – audiobook blast / giveaway 
May 10 – Splashes of Joy – audiobook review / giveaway
May 11 – Booking With Janelle – audiobook review / author interview / giveaway
May 11 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review / giveaway
May 12 – @twilight_reader – audiobook review / giveaway
May 13 – Bigreadersite – audiobook review / giveaway
May 13 – Faith and Books – audiobook review / giveaway
TBD –Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review / author interview / giveaway
TBD – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway

Book Review: An Advent Carols Countdown: Stories Behind the Most Beloved Music of Christmas by Michael D. Young

Release date: September 6, 2022

Get in the Christmas spirit with this unique collection of the most beloved Christmas carols, from the warmly nostalgic to the majestically solemn and uplifting. The book features one carol for each day from December first to Christmas Eve, and presents both the lyrics and the fascinating stories and interesting facts behind the creation of the songs. Each entry deepens our understanding of the music and enhances our appreciation of why these songs are culturally important and dearly treasured.

From popular, familiar carols to lesser known but cherished hymns, author Michael D. Young combines his musical expertise with information specific to each song.

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” was written by an American preacher, Philip Brooks, after traveling to Bethlehem in 1868 to find peace after the horrors of the Civil War and assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Brooks’s original poem, with one largely unknown final verse, is included along with the lyrics of the beloved carol.

“In the Bleak Midwinter” was voted the best Christmas carol by a BBC survey of experts, but the song was actually created from a poem by Christina Rosetti and did not become a carol until decades after her death when it was paired with music by Gustav Holst. Today, Rosetti is considered one of the most important poets of the nineteenth century, and the carol she unintentionally penned is one of the most haunting and beloved of all time.

An Advent Carols Countdown is a beautiful gift book for the whole family to enjoy along with the music of the holidays. Each entry also features a QR code that will link to an audio or video performance of the carol performed by the choir most associated with Christmas, the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. From the celebration of Christ’s birth to being with family to singing Christmas carols, I enjoy every moment. So, I was happy to read this book. It contains the lyrics to 24 carols and the stories of their origins. A few of the carols are ones I haven’t heard of, but it contains many favorites such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Silent Night.”

The book is set up to be read during Advent from December 1 to December 24. I plan on reading it again during that time and listening to each song as well. Each song has a QR code that takes you to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s audio or visual performance. I love it!

About the Author

Michael is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Western Governors University with degrees in German Teaching, Music, Educational Leadership and Instructional Design. Though he grew up traveling the world with his military father, he now lives in Utah with his wife, Jen, and their three children, where he teaches in a German dual language immersion program. He enjoys acting in community theater, playing and writing music and spending time with his family. He played for several years with the handbell choir Bells on Temple Square and is now a member of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

He is the author of the novels in The Canticle Kingdom Series, The Last Archangel Series, the Chess Quest Series and the Penultimate Dawn Cycle (The Hunger, The Thirst, and The Longing), as well as the non-fiction work, The Song of the Righteous. He has also had work featured in various online and print magazines such as Bards and Sages Quarterly, Mindflights, Meridian, Nugent Magazine, The New Era, Keeping Tab, Allegory, Liahona, and Ensign. He has also won honorable mention three times in the Writers of the Future contest.

He runs several podcasts, including “Chapter and Verse” and “Songs for All Seasons”.

Book Review & Giveaway: They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

Publisher: Silver Star (September 21, 2021
Category: Historical Romance, WW2, Family Saga, Based on a True Story
ISBN: 978-0578855288
320 pages

They Called Him Marvin

They were just kids, barely not teenagers, madly in love and wanting to be a family, but WW2 and a B29 got in their way.

Three hundred ten days before Pearl Harbor, buck private Dean Sherman innocently went to church with a new friend in Salt Lake City. From that moment, the unsuspecting soldier travelled a remarkable, heroic path, falling in love, graduating from demanding training to become a B29 pilot, conceiving a son and entering the China, Burma and India theater of the WW2.

He chronicled his story with letters home to his bride Connie that he met on that fateful Sunday, blind to the fact that fifteen hundred seventy five days after their meeting, a Japanese swordsman would end his life.

His crew, a gaggle of Corporals that dubbed themselves the Corporealizes, four officers and a tech Sargent, adventured their way across the globe. Flying the “Aluminum Trail” also called the Hump through the Himalayas, site of the most dangerous flying in the world. Landing in China to refuel and then fly on to places like Manchuria, Rangoon or even the most southern parts of Japan to drop 500 pounders.

Each mission had its challenges, minus fifty degree weather in Mukden, or Japanese fighters firing away at them, a close encounter of the wrong kind, nearly missing a collision with another B29 while flying in clouds, seeing friends downed and lost because of “mechanicals,” the constant threat of running out of fuel and their greatest fear, engine fire.

Transferred to the Mariana Islands, he and his crew were shot down over Nagoya, Japan as part of Mission 174, captured and declared war criminals.

Connie’s letters reveal life for a brand new mother whose husband is declared MIA. The agony for both of them, he in a Japanese prison, declared a war criminal, and she just not knowing why his letters stopped coming.


Guest Review by Sal

“These American boys were rowdy, reckless, full of wonder and curiosity. They sought adventure with bravado, patriotism, and testosterone. They were volunteers to a man. They came to the army in the years before World War II. They didn’t need to wait. Some would become men of oversized destiny, charter members of the “Greatest Generation.”

Over the course of World War II, countless soldiers were taken as prisoners of war by the axis powers and were never able to return home to their families. This is the story of one such soldier, Lt. Dean Sherman– a pilot, a father and a husband.

Sherman married the love of his life Constance ‘Connie’ Baldwin when the two were just teenagers, only a small handful of months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. What, at any other time in history, might have been a simple love story between two young people was complicated by the war.

Soon after the two were married, and Connie realized that she was pregnant, Dean was sent overseas to pilot a B-29 aircraft in and around China and Japan. The two communicated through letters during that time, many of which are reprinted in the book.

Reading the simple, loving letters between this couple provides a very human perspective on a terrible war and gives a look into the lives of the normal men and woman living in this unprecedented time. Readers will appreciate the tender nature of the love between Dean and Connie, as well as the factual information about the war and the perspective of the Japanese soldiers of that time.

Roger Stark’s writing is not only captivating but imparts a lot of research without bogging down the narrative. ‘They Called Him Marvin,’ is a genre-defying, heartfelt story of family and love in the theater of war.

About the Author

Roger Stark, by his own admission, is a reluctant writer. But there are stories that demand to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories be lost. Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with his friend, Marvin, he learned the tragic story of his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan, just months before the end of the war.

The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled Roger to ask if he could write the story. The result being “They Called Him Marvin.”

Roger Stark’s life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. He prays that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf.



This giveaway is for 3 print copies, one for each of 3 winners. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on June 24, 2022, midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus April 25 Kickoff & Interview

Am Goodreads April 27 Review

Lynelle Inspire to Read April 29 Review & Excerpt

Suzie M. My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews May 3 Review & Excerpt

Raymond Amazon Goodreads May 4 Review

Carole Amazon May 4 Review

Sal Bound 4 Escape May 5 Guest Review

Sage N. Goodreads May 6 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews May 10 Review &Guest Post

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews May 13 Guest Review & Guest Post

Karen Amazon May 16 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads May 17 Review

Mike. Goodreads May 18 Review

Jas International Book Promotion May 19 Review

Linda Lu Goodreads May 23 Review

Dee Amazon May 26 Review

Nora S. Storeybook Reviews June 1 Guest Review & Excerpt

Liam Goodreads June 3 Review

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books June 9 Re-Post Review & Excerpt

Smitty Goodreads June 10 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 13 Review

Bee Book Pleasures June 14 Review & Interview

Gracie Goodreads June 15 Review

Bookgirl Goodreads June 16 Review

Betty Goodreads June 21 Review

DTChantel Amazon June 22 Review

Amber M. Amazon June 23 Review

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Book Review & Giveaways: Mimi the Mynah: It’s All Mine! by Mother Melania


Book Title: Mimi the Mynah: It’s All Mine! – Teaching Values to Children in a Fun Way by Mother Melania Salem
Category:  Children’s Fictions (ages 3-7), 36 pages
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  Holy Assumption Monastery
Release date:   November 2021

Content Rating:  G – This is a wholesome children’s book.

Book Description:

​Mimi knows two words – “me” and “mine.” When disaster strikes the Duck Pond, will she finally learn a new word?

add to goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Everyone at the Duck Pond pitches in when something needs to be done. Everyone except Mimi the Mynah. The only two words she knows are “me” and “mine.” When disaster strikes, though, after she is saved by some of the other animals, she realizes the importance of helping.

This is an adorable book with great illustrations, which are bright and colorful. Even better, it teaches children about helping and sharing with others rather than being selfish like Mimi.

About the Author

Mother Melania is the Abbess of Holy Assumption Monastery in Calistoga, CA. She grew up in a house that always had tons of children around, her poor parents had to read to her till they were hoarse, and from the moment she learned to read, she always had her nose in a book. So, it was only natural for her to grow up to write children’s books. In her books, she strives to teach virtue in a fun, non-preachy way.

connect with the author: Amazon 

Click above to Download Capers and Harry: High Climbing and other great children’s books


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Follow the Tour

May 2 – Working Mommy Journal – books spotlight / giveaway
May 2 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review of BLUSTER BLUE JAY: NOT MY FAULT! / giveaway
May 3 – Splashes of Joy – book review of CAPERS AND HARRY: HIGH CLIMBING / giveaway
May 4 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review of GREEDY THE CROW: FINDERS KEEPERS / giveaway
May 4 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of MIMI THE MYNAH: IT’S ALL MINE! / giveaway
May 5 – Fur Everywhere – book review of CAPERS AND HARRY: HIGH CLIMBING / giveaway
May 6 – Bigreadersite – book review of BLUSTER BLUE JAY: NOT MY FAULT! / giveaway
May 6 – Literary Flits – books spotlight / giveaway
May 10 – Baroness’ Book Trove – books spotlights / giveaway
May 10 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book review of BLUSTER BLUE JAY: NOT MY FAULT! / giveaway
May 10 – Reading is My Passion – book review of GREEDY THE CROW: FINDERS KEEPERS
May 10 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review of CAPERS AND HARRY: HIGH CLIMBING / guest post / giveaway
May 11 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review of MIMI THE MYNAH: IT’S ALL MINE! / giveaway
May 11 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of BLUSTER BLUE JAY: NOT MY FAULT! / guest post / giveaway
May 11 – Kam’s Place – book review of GREEDY THE CROW: FINDERS KEEPERS
May 12 – Bookworm for Kid – book review of GREEDY THE CROW: FINDERS KEEPERS
May 12 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review of BLUSTER BLUE JAY: NOT MY FAULT! / author interview / giveaway
May 12 – @twilight_reader – book review of MIMI THE MYNAH: IT’S ALL MINE! / giveaway
May 13 – Lisa’s Reading – book review of MIMI THE MYNAH: IT’S ALL MINE! / giveaway
May 13 – The Phantom Paragrapher – book review of GREEDY THE CROW: FINDERS KEEPERS
May 16 – fundinmental – books spotlight / giveaway
May 16 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – book review of CAPERS AND HARRY: HIGH CLIMBING / guest post / giveaway
May 17 – Older & Smarter? – book review of CAPERS AND HARRY: HIGH CLIMBING / giveaway
May 17 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of GREEDY THE CROW: FINDERS KEEPERS / giveaway
May 17 – Books for Books – book review of BLUSTER BLUE JAY: NOT MY FAULT!
May 18 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review of CAPERS AND HARRY: HIGH CLIMBING / giveaway
May 18 – Sandra’s Book Club – book review of MIMI THE MYNAH: IT’S ALL MINE! / giveaway
May 19 – Triquetra Reviews – book review of MIMI THE MYNAH: IT’S ALL MINE! / guest post / giveaway
May 19 – Ravenz Reviewz – book review of BLUSTER BLUE JAY: NOT MY FAULT! / giveaway
May 20 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – book review of BLUSTER BLUE JAY: NOT MY FAULT! / giveaway
May 20 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book review of CAPERS AND HARRY: HIGH CLIMBING

Book Review: Jokes for Retirees and Seniors (That You May Not Want to Tell the Boss) by Bohdan D. Shandor

Retirement is very much a “good news-bad news” event in one’s life. The “good news” is that you’re retiring – the “bad news” is that you’re retiring.​

How the story of retirement unfolds depends on how each individual person looks at retirement. We at DOWNSIDE UP™ think retirement is a positive event because it is the beginning of a new chapter in one’s life that has yet to be written and YOU are the one writing the book, screenplay or narrative – whichever metaphor you prefer.​

At DOWNSIDE UP ™ we believe that no matter what the lifetime event is, the glass is always full– frankly, we don’t even know what an empty glass looks like! One reason for this view is the overwhelming importance of laughter. How one views life is very much a question of perception; and, humor and laughter can and do affect perception in a very positive way. This is in fact the reason why DOWNSIDE UP™ was formed as a publishing firm specializing in Joke Books.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I’m closing in on retirement and to being labeled a senior, so I had a feeling I would enjoy these jokes. Not only was I right, but I was pleasantly surprised. Some of these jokes are laugh out loud funny. I’m sure anyone will like this book, senior and retired or not.

This author has written several joke books. I like this one so much, I may have to check out more of them. If you like to laugh, you can’t go wrong with this book.

Book Review: Mindfulness Makes me Stronger by Elizabeth Cole

If you are a parent of an absent-minded and anxious child, this book is a great way to introduce your little one to the concept of mindfulness. The story will suggest the ways to get rid of the distracting thoughts and will teach your child to stay focused and present.

Parents often struggle to explain their children how to deal with distraction, sorrow, and angry feelings. This mindfulness book for children is your best assistant to calm your children and to show kids’ exercises, which will help them to feel happy, focused, and calm.

When little Nick starts to miss everything that happens around him, his dad teaches him to deal with worries in a fun and playful way. By using kids’ breathing techniques and other helpful tips, Nick learns to control his big feelings and becomes mindful.

This picture book is suitable for preschool kids as well as children ages 6-10, it contains lovely hand-drawn illustrations and charming rhymes. With an extra coloring page inside, this book will help your children:

  • to enjoy every moment and all the things surrounding them;
  • to use their senses and meditation in order to get rid of anxiety;
  • to share kindness and empathy towards others;
  • not to worry about things that haven’t happened yet;
  • to use mindful kids’ activities in their daily life.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read a few of Elizabeth Cole’s books, so I was pretty sure that this would be another great children’s book.

Nick is quiet and brooding. When his dad asks him what’s wrong, he says he didn’t do well on his history test, and he’s worried about a couple of things taking place soon. His dad tells him that there’s nothing you can do about the past and that you should deal with the future when it happens. It’s important to live in the here and now.

This story is told in rhymes and the illustrations are cute and colorful. It encourages children to use their imaginations as well as teaching them ways to stop worrying such as deep breathing and exercise. I liked the exercise Nick’s dad chose because it made exercising fun.

About the Author

Being a mother of two kids Elizabeth Cole very well understands that childhood is a great period of life filled with a tremendous amount of different and often changing emotions. Since the time Elizabeth received her master’s degree in psychology from University of New Orleans in 2008, she fully devoted herself to the research of kids, understanding their needs as well as their true emotions. Her five years period of working as the school teacher very much improved Elizabeth’s knowledge and motivated her even stronger. Finally, all of her experience inspired Elizabeth to write a series of children’s books.

Learn more at or email Elizabeth at!

Book Review: Ashes in Venice by Gojan Nikolich

A psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution.

Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he’s asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen.

While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman gets reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son.

Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is also unaware that the quirky murderer might also be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma.

Add the brooding backdrop of Venice, Italy…and a vengeful killer who reads Shakespeare, and you have a teasing psychological thriller where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade.

Yes, there are spiders.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from Reedsy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Detective Savic is about to retire, and this is his last case. He’s looking for who he believes to be a vigilante killing murderers.

The two main characters are Savic and Colt, the murderer he is looking for. Both characters are well developed, and I was able to connect with both of them, even Colt.

Savic is dealing with a mountain of debt and a wife who is in a home because she is sick and losing her memory. His days are taken up with worry about his debt, his wife, and his case.

Colt is intelligent and methodical. He knows what he’s doing, and this is a mission for him. The way he kills his victims is quite different, and I had to cringe at what he did to his last victim, although he deserved it.

There are a lot of characters but they were easy to keep track of, especially since so many of them die along the way (that sounds horrible!). One character that I need to mention is Felicia Mendez, the mother of one of the murder victims, who is determined to find someone to kill her child’s murderer. She’s a bit “out there” and some of her antics were pretty bizarre. She wasn’t my favorite character, but I enjoyed reading about her.

This book needs proofreading. There were minor things throughout, but I have to recommend proofreading when something is distracting. In this case, mister in the lower case, such as “mister Jones” is used often rather than “Mr. Jones.”

Despite the need for proofreading, this was a good read. The description of The Venetian in Las Vegas was spot on, and the descriptions of Venice were great. Although I’ve never been there, I could picture it. There is a lot of suspense, and the murder descriptions are not for the faint of heart. The second half of the book was a page turner and difficult to put down.

About the Author

Gojan Nikolich is a former Chicago newspaper reporter, editor and public relations agency executive. He graduated with B.A. and M.A. degrees in English Literature from DePaul University, served as a U.S. Army sergeant and worked as a journalist in Korea and Japan. He lives in Colorado.

Book Review: Grandpa’s Tales 3: Vampires in the Backyard and A Fish Tale by Cheryl Carpinello

Title: Grandpa’s Tales Book 3
Author: Cheryl Carpinello
Publisher: Silver Quill Publishing
Genre: Children’s Picture Books (Ages 4 – 8)
Release Date: 2021
Soft cover 64 pages

Grandma and Grandpa’s Tales books 1-3 encourage early readers with fun stories incorporating difference aspects of nature. Book 3, Vampires in the Backyard and A Fish Tale, introduces readers to an extended metaphor and lets them decide if the fish story is real.

Amazon Pa 3:

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Two cute stories to read! I was a little concerned about the first one because it kept saying, “Beware – danger lurks in the backyard” and then it said, “Beware of Vampires!” I was thinking this is too scary for little kids. But as the story continued, it became obvious that the vampires were mosquitoes and I think it will tickle children. I’ll definitely read this to my grandson this weekend. He’ll get a kick out of it!

The second story is about George going fishing by himself. Like most fishing stories, when he relates to his dad later what happened, and how his fishing pole was broken, he didn’t believe him! But poor George was telling the truth! Part of this story was told in pictures which is fun.

Both of these stories are fun to read, and I’m looking forward to reading them with my grandson.

About the Author

Cheryl Carpinello taught high school English for 25 years. During that time, she worked with numerous students who didn’t like to read for a variety of reasons. However, she discovered that even the most reluctant readers became engaged in the classroom and in reading when she introduced units on King Arthur and the works of ancient world writers. Upon retiring, she set out to write fast-paced, action-filled stories in these setting to encourage young readers to read more. Her success with readers aged 8-16 led her to reach out to the youngest of readers and those readers just starting out. Revising stories she had written for her own children, she created Grandma/Grandpa’s Tales for ages 4-7.  Her four grandchildren’s conversations created the stories in Book 3 of this series. 

Visit her on Twitter and Facebook.