5 Stars for IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN CHINA by Carole P. Roman – BOOK REVIEW

  

Title: IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN … CHINA

Series: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around The World

Author: Carole P. Roman

Illustrator: Kelsea Wierenga

Type of Book: eBook 

Length: 30 pages

ISBN: 9781511440844

Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction

Release Date: June 7, 2015

Publisher: CreateSpace

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I really love the idea of having children’s books that introduce kids to other cultures. In today’s global economy, it is will be very important that children grow up knowing about other races, religions and cultures. 

This book won the NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award 2015 – for Children’s Interest 

I believe these types of books are also essential to eliminating racism and prejudice from our world. Everyone knows that today’s children are our future leaders and instilling a sense of global community in them at a young age can only be a good thing. 

I love the fact that the author has included the information of how to pronounce the words that may be unfamiliar to the reader, such as showing that China is pronounced as Chai-Na. What a great idea!

The only negative I could come up with regarding this book would be that I would have liked the font to be larger and that I would have preferred to see an extra empty line between sentences just to make reading the book easier. 

This series has books about many different countries and I hope to get a chance to read all of them. I am also looking forward to sharing these books with my three year old granddaughter and introducing her to other cultures. 

According to Amazon, these books are targeted at readers ages 3 to 10, but even adults may find themselves learning things they had not known before. 

The illustrations are clean and relevant. They are the perfect compliment to the story. 

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born.”Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life” has not only been named to Kirkus Best of 2012, it received the Star of Exceptional Merit, and won the Pinnacle Award for 2012. “Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience” Book 2 in the series, received 5 Stars from The ForeWord Review The Clarion Review. Strangers on the High Seas has won second place in the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards 2013. It has followed with six more books to the series.

Her new non fiction series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…” combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. The debut book in the series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico” has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children’s Non Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, and Norway. Rebecca’s Reads has given If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway an honorable mention in the 2013 Choice Awards. If You Were Me and lived in …France won second place. ForeWord Review has nominated If You Were Me and Lived in…France for best in children’s non fiction literature 2013. They will be followed with Kenya, Turkey, India, and Australia. She plans to do Portugal, Greece, and Argentina next year.

Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.

http://caroleproman.livesitehost.com/

http://caroleproman.blogspot.ca 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

  
Kelsea Parks Wierenga graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2006. She has worked seven years as a professional illustrator and designer for CreateSpace.com, a Print On Demand book publisher in Charleston, South Carolina. Sometimes I’m a Fire-Breathing Dragon is an original story that Kelsea wrote, illustrated and published in 2010.

Kelsea is currently illustrating author Carole P. Roman’s cultural children’s book series available on Amazon.com. These informative and entertaining books detail every day life for kids living in countries around the world including: Mexico, France, South Korea, Norway and many more.

To learn more visit https://kelsea.carbonmade.com/about 

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4 Stars for A ZOMBIE NEW YEAR’S EVE by Anthony Renfro – BOOK REVIEW

   
 

Title: A ZOMBIE NEW YEAR’S EVE 

Author: Anthony Renfro 

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 74 pages

Genre: Zombie Fiction

Release Date: November 2015 

Publisher: Press Books http://www.pressbooks.com 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
~ This eBook is currently free on Amazon 

I enjoyed this story, but once again, there are editing and proof-reading errors that force me to drop my rating on this book. For example, one line states: “The men fell back into their quite search mode…”

It should be “quiet” not “quite”. 

Becky has so-far survived the Zombie Apocalypse but when three men spot her walking alone, they decide to capture and take advantage of her.

Since Becky is no match for the three men in a physical altercation, Becky must use her intelligence and cunning to escape with her innocence intact. 

Becky was separated from her husband Joe and they made plans to meet in a certain place on New Year’s Eve. But is he still alive? Or will Becky have to survive the Zombie Apocalypse all alone? 

The story is well written, but there are multiple editing/prof-reading errors throughout. For that reason I have deducted a star from my final rating. I rate this story as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Anthony Renfro lives in Apex, North Carolina. He is a reader, writer, runner, husband, father, and stay at home dad – one of the toughest jobs anyone could ever do. He was born in Bristol, Tennessee, and is a graduate of UNC-Greensboro.  

To learn more about Anthony Renfro visit his website at http://www.awrenfro.com

To contact Anthony, send an email to: atothewr@gmail.com

To find more twisted tales by this author, visit http://www.amazon.com/author/anthonyrenfro 

4 Stars for YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE by Roberta Kagan – BOOK REVIEW

  

Title: YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE: A HOLOCAUST NOVEL 

Author: Roberta Kagan

Series: Book Two of the ALL MY LOVE, DETRICK Series

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 436 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction 

Release Date: March 2014

Publisher: CreateSpace 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
This novel is an amazing work of historical fiction. I have read many fiction and non-fiction books about Nazi Germany and most of them focus on Jewish people being hidden and trying to stay alive long enough for the war to come to an end. This book is not that at all. In fact, this book actually takes into account how ordinary German citizens also suffered under Hitler’s Third Reich. 

I liked the fact that this book actually tells the story from several different perspectives. It also illustrates how people of different ethnicities, different backgrounds, different religions and even from varying socioeconomic backgrounds all became inextricably linked to one another during the Holocaust. 

This story is based on actual events and it is a heart-breaking and gripping read. I was drawn into the story and read it in its entirety in only 24 hours. 

This is the second book in a series and I am definitely interested in reading the next novel. 

The only negative comments I have about YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE: A HOLOCAUST NOVEL would be the fact that there are a multitude of editing and proof-reading errors. These errors take away from the enjoyment of the story and I find them very distracting. 

Error Example Number One: 

“Unlike his small stature, Hitler’s voices rang through the halls like an entire marching band.”

– Since Hitler is only one person, it should say “voice” rather than “voices”. 

– Also, in my opinion to say “…like an entire marching band” comes across sounding awkward. If I were the editor of this novel I would have changed the above sentence to say: “Despite his small stature, Hitler’s voice was anything but small. In fact, it was so loud that it rang throughout the hall with a power that could not be rivalled, even by an entire marching band.”

Example Two: “He took the ring out of his pocket and pulled the top back to reveal the ring. It was diamond, over a carat. So much more than a poor boy like Manfred would ever have been able to afford. Before, before he became a part of the New Germany…”

– Obviously there are multiple errors in the above paragraph, including one sentence that repeats the word “before” twice. 
Example 3:

– “Before the war, ended British had promised the land of Palestine to be awarded to the Jews.”

– There are several errors in this single sentence. Firstly, the comma is in the wrong place. Secondly, it should say “Britain” or “the British” not “British”. Thirdly, the wording is wrong. This sentence should read: “Before the war ended, Britain had promised that the land of Palestine would be awarded to the Jewish people.”

– There are so many other errors that it is impossible for me to list even a portion of them. There are misspelled words. Words with letters missing (such as “llies” where it should say “Allies”) and many instances where words are written twice. 

Because of the editing errors I feel that I have to reduce my overall rating for this book by one star which means that rather than a five star rating, I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

  
Roberta Kagan’s ancestors experienced Nazi cruelty first hand and both of her grandparents lost their entire extended families to the Third Reich. She has written many historical fiction novels.

To learn more about her and her books visit her website at www.RobertaKagan.com 

4 Stars for A ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS by Anthony Renfro – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: A ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS

Author: Anthony Renfro 

Type of Book: eBook 

Length: 54 pages

Genre: Zombie Fiction

Release Date: December 2010

Publisher: Press Books 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

This book is was being offered free of charge on Amazon just before Christmas. 

It’s four days before Christmas, and Mike Beem has put up a Christmas display in honour of the upcoming holiday. When a zombie picks up Rudolph, Mike is annoyed. 

“You see, the biggest problem was this. When you messed with Rudolph, you screwed up the whole display.” When the zombie walks away carrying (and trying to eat) Rudolph, Mike has no choice but to shoot it in the head to save his holiday display. 

“Now, most people would ask, why? Why worry about lawn decorations when the rest of the world was suffering through a Zombie Apocalypse?”

Well, you will need to read A ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS to find out the answer. 

MY REVIEW: 

The fact that this book is only 54 pages in length and is currently being offered free on Amazon makes downloading and reading A ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS a complete “no-brainer” (pun intended). This book also contains a bonus short story entitled “A Vampire at Christmas”. 

I enjoyed this short tale and the only flaw I saw was that there were a few editing and/or proof-reading errors. 

It just goes to show that even in extreme circumstances, such as a Zombie Apocalypse, people’s desires to help others and Christmas spirit will still prevail.

I rate A ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

FAVOURITE QUOTE: 

“Sometimes a little bit of luck is all we need…”

Currently Anthony Renfro’s story A ZOMBIE NEW YEAR’S EVE is being offered free on Amazon. Com and on Amazon.ca 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Anthony Renfro lives in Apex, North Carolina. He is a reader, writer, runner, husband, father, and stay at home dad – one of the toughest jobs anyone could ever do. He was born in Bristol, Tennessee, and is a graduate of UNC-Greensboro.  

To learn more about Anthony Renfro visit his website at http://www.awrenfro.com

To contact Anthony, send an email to: atothewr@gmail.com

Click here to discover more twisted tales by this author. 

5 Stars for THE BLACKTHORN KEY by Kevin Sands – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: THE BLACKTHORN KEY

Author: Kevin Sands

Type of Book: Hardcover

Length: 371 pages

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction 

Release Date: September 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4651-8

Price: $17.99 U.S. / $21.99 Canada 

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 



~ I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. A review was not required, but it is appreciated. 

Wow! According to the publisher, this book is aimed at Middle Grade readers (ages 10-14) but I can easily see older young adult and adult readers absolutely loving this book, much as I did. 

I feel compelled to compare “The Blackthorn Key” to the Harry Potter series for a couple reasons. First, this book does not cater to kids of a lesser intelligence, nor does it patronize its readers. This book is aimed at articulate and intelligent readers who want a complex story with multiple plot twists and a smart but still likeable protagonist. Secondly, the lead character (Christopher Rowe) is extremely loyal and has a highly developed sense of right and wrong. Christopher has to make many choices throughout the book and he rarely jumps and makes rash decisions. When he needs to make a choice his sense of morality and loyalty to his master are factored into his decisions.

I love the choice of time and location, as well as the choice of apothecaries as central to the plot. Kids reading this book may not realize it, but they are being educated at the same time as they are being entertained. 

There is a King, a cult, baker’s and their sons with hidden talents (especially with rolling pins). There are orphans, beggars, noblemen and women. There are crazy people who talk to ghosts, corrupt officials, true friends, bitter enemies and even assassins. This book has it all. 

If you want a book that will both challenge and delight you, look no further than THE BLACKTHORN KEY. 

I cannot give this book anything other than a perfect 5 out of 5 Star rating. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

This book (if it isn’t already) is sure to make the bestseller lists. Christopher Rowe’s name may even come to be known on the same level as that of “Harry Potter” and Christopher’s friend Tom is the “Ron Weasley” of this historical world. 

I am hoping that the author plans to continue this series with many more tales of mystery, alchemy and adventure. I know I will be keeping my eye out for absolutely anything else that writer Kevin Sands publishes. 

It is hard for me to believe that this book is Kevin Sand’s debut novel. I am proud of the fact that this Canadian author has burst onto the literary scene with such a polished and professional work of fiction. 

This book needs to be on everyone’s MUST READ list. If you fail to buy this book you will definitely be missing out on an exquisitely crafted book. 

Watch a video preview of The Blackthorn Key
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Since escaping from university with a pair of degrees in theoretical physics, Kevin Sands has worked as a researcher, a business consultant, and a teacher. He lives in Toronto, Canada. The Blackthorn Key is his first novel. – See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Kevin-Sands/501383023#sthash.HXZ5oPcg.dpuf 



READ AN EXCERPT: 

The Blackthorn Key  

CHAPTER 1  

“LET’S BUILD A CANNON,” I said.

Tom wasn’t listening. He was deep in concentration, tongue pinched between his teeth, as he steeled himself for combat with the stuffed black bear that ruled the front corner of my master’s shop. Tom stripped off his linen shirt and flung it heroically across the antimony cups gleaming on the display table near the fire. From the oak shelf nearest to him, he snatched the glazed lid of an apothecary jar—Blackthorn’s Wart-Be-Gone, according to the scrawl on the label—and held it on guard, a miniature ceramic shield. In his right hand, the rolling pin wobbled threateningly.

Tom Bailey, son of William the Baker, was the finest fake soldier I’d ever seen. Though only two months older than me, he was already a foot taller, and built like a blacksmith, albeit a slightly pudgy one, due to a steady pilfering of his father’s pies. And in the safety of my master’s shop, away from the horrors of battle like death, pain, or even a mild scolding, Tom’s courage held no equal.

He glared at the inanimate bear. The floorboards creaked as he stepped within range of its wickedly curved claws. Tom shoved the curio cabinet aside, making the brass balances jingle. Then he hoisted his flour-dusted club in salute. The frozen beast roared back silently, inch-long teeth promising death. Or several minutes of tedious polishing, at least.

I sat on the counter at the back, legs dangling, and clicked leather heels against the carved cedar. I could be patient. You had to be, sometimes, with Tom, whose mind worked as it pleased.

“Think you can steal my sheep, Mr. Bear?” he said. “I’ll give you no quarter this day.” Suddenly, he stopped, rolling pin held outward in midlunge. I could almost see the clockwork cranking between his ears. “Wait. What?” He looked back at me, puzzled. “What did you say?”

“Let’s build a cannon,” I said.

“What does that mean?”

“Just what you think it means. You and me. Build a cannon. You know.” I spread my hands. “Boom?”

Tom frowned. “We can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because people can’t just build cannons, Christopher.” He said it like he was explaining why you shouldn’t eat fire to a small, dull child.

“But that’s where cannons come from,” I said. “People build them. You think God sends cannons down from heaven for Lent?”

“You know what I mean.”

I folded my arms. “I don’t understand why you’re not more excited about this.”

“Maybe that’s because you’re never the one on the pointy end of your schemes.”

“What schemes? I don’t have any schemes.”

“I spent all night throwing up that ‘strength potion’ you invented,” he said.

He did look a little dark under the eyes today. “Ah. Yes. Sorry.” I winced. “I think I put in too much black snail. It needed less snail.”

“What it needed was less Tom.”

“Don’t be such a baby,” I said. “Vomiting is good for you, anyway. It balances the humors.”

“I like my humors the way they are,” he said.

“But I have a recipe this time.” I grabbed the parchment I’d leaned against the coin scales on the countertop and waved it at him. “A real one. From Master Benedict.” 

“How can a cannon have a recipe?”

“Not the whole cannon. Just the gunpowder.”

Tom got very still. He scanned the jars around him, as if among the hundreds of potions, herbs, and powders that ringed the shop was a remedy that would somehow get him out of this. “That’s illegal.”

“Knowing a recipe isn’t illegal,” I said.

“Making it is.”

That was true. Only masters, and only those with a royal charter, were allowed to mix gunpowder. I was a long way from either.

“And Lord Ashcombe is on the streets today,” Tom said.

Now that made me pause. “You saw him?”

Tom nodded. “On Cheapside, after church. He had two of the King’s Men with him.”

“What’d he look like?”

“Mean.” 

“Mean” was exactly what I’d imagined. Lord Richard Ashcombe, Baron of Chillingham, was King Charles’s loyal general, and His Majesty’s Warden here in London. He was in the city hunting for a pack of killers. In the past four months, five men had been butchered in their homes. Each of them had been tied up, tortured, then slit open at the stomach and left to bleed to death. 

Three of the victims had been apothecaries, a fact that had me seeing assassins in the shadows every night. No one was sure what the killers wanted, but sending in Lord Ashcombe meant the king was serious about stopping them. Lord Ashcombe had a reputation for getting rid of men hostile to the Crown—usually by sticking their heads on pikes in the public square.

Still, we didn’t need to be that cautious. “Lord Ashcombe’s not coming here,” I said, as much to myself as to Tom. “We haven’t killed anyone. And the King’s Warden isn’t likely to stop by for a suppository, is he?”

“What about your master?” Tom said. 

“He doesn’t need a suppository.”

Tom made a face. “I mean, isn’t he coming back? It’s getting close to dinnertime.” He said “dinnertime” with a certain wistfulness.

“Master Benedict just bought the new edition of Culpeper’s herbal,” I said. “He’s at the coffeehouse with Hugh. They’ll be gone for ages.”

Tom pressed his ceramic shield to his chest. “This is a bad idea.”

I hopped down from the counter and grinned.

•  •  •

To be an apothecary, you must understand this: The recipe is everything.

It isn’t like baking a cake. The potions, creams, jellies, and powders Master Benedict made—with my help—required an incredibly delicate touch. A spoonful too little niter, a pinch too much aniseed, and your brilliant new remedy for dropsy would congeal instead into worthless green goo.

But new recipes didn’t fall from the sky. You had to discover them. This took weeks, months, even years of hard work. It cost a fortune, too: ingredients, apparatus, coal to stoke the fire, ice to chill the bath. Most of all, it was dangerous. Blazing fires. Molten metals. Elixirs that smelled sweet but ate away your insides. Tinctures that looked as harmless as water but threw off deadly, invisible fumes. With each new experiment, you gambled with your life. So a working formula was better than gold.

If you could read it.

↓M08→

02160911101825261310092611221315240322132410220710092611221315141607011613010417261122131514142207151126152613021304092514261122132215260720080419 

Tom scratched his cheek. “I thought there’d be more words and things.”

“It’s in code,” I said.

He sighed. “Why is it always in code?”

“Because other apothecaries will do anything to steal your secrets. When I have my own shop,” I said proudly, “I’m putting everything in code. No one’s going to swipe my recipes.”

“No one will want your recipes. Except poisoners, I suppose.”

“I said I was sorry.”

“Maybe this is in code,” Tom said, “because Master Benedict doesn’t want anyone to read it. And by ‘anyone,’ I mean you.” 

“He teaches me new ciphers every week.” 

“Did he teach you this one?”

“I’m sure he’d planned to.” 

“Christopher.”

“But I figured it out. Look.” I pointed at the notation ↓M08→. “It’s a substitution cipher. Every two numbers stand for one letter. This tells you how to swap them. Start with ‘08,’ and replace it with M. Then count forward. So 08 is M, 09 is N, and so on. Like this.” 

I showed him the table I’d worked out.

A=20, B=21, C=22, D=23, E=01, F=02, G=03, H=04, I=05, K=06, L=07, M=08, N=09, O=10, P=11, Q=12, R=13, S=14, T=15, V=16, X=17, Y=18, Z=19 

Tom looked between the cipher and the block of numbers at the top of the page. “So if you replace the numbers with the right letters . . .” 

“. . . You get your message.” I flipped the parchment over to show the translation I’d inked on the back.

Gunpowder

One part charcoal. One part sulfur. Five parts saltpeter.

Grind separately. Mix.

Which is what we did. We set up on the larger display table, farther from the fireplace, based on Tom’s reasonable suggestion that gunpowder and flames weren’t friends. Tom moved the bleeding spoons from the table and got the mortars and pestles from the window near the bear while I pulled the ingredient jars from the shelves.

I ground the charcoal. Sooty clouds puffed into the air, mixing with the earthy scent of the dried roots and herbs hanging from the rafters. Tom, glancing uneasily at the front door for any sign of my master, took care of the saltpeter, crushing the crystals that looked just like ordinary table salt. The sulfur was already a fine yellow powder, so while Tom swirled the ingredients together, I got a length of brass pipe sealed at one end from the workshop in the back. I used a nail to widen a hole near the sealed end. Into that, I slipped a loop of woven, ash-colored cord.

Tom raised his eyebrows. “Master Benedict keeps cannon fuse?”

“We use it to light things from far away,” I said.

“You know,” Tom said, “things you have to light from far away probably shouldn’t be lit at all.”

The mixture we ended up with looked harmless, just a fine black powder. Tom poured it into the open end while I propped up the pipe. A narrow stream spilled over the side, scattering charcoal grains onto the floor. I stamped the powder in the tube down with cotton wadding. 

“What are we going to use for a cannonball?” Tom said.

Master Benedict didn’t keep anything in the store that would fit snugly in the pipe. The best I could come up with was a handful of lead shot we used for shavings to put in our remedies. They scraped down the brass and landed with a hollow thump on the cotton at the bottom.

Now we needed a target, and soon. It had taken a lot longer to put everything together than I thought it would, and though I’d assured Tom that my master wouldn’t return, his comings and goings weren’t exactly predictable.

“We’re not firing this thing outside,” Tom said.

He was right about that. The neighbors would not look kindly on lead shot flying through their parlors. And as tempting a target as the stuffed beaver on the mantel was, Master Benedict was even less likely to appreciate us going to war with the animals that decorated his shop.

“What about that?” I said. Hanging from the ceiling near the fireplace was a small iron cauldron. “We can shoot at the bottom of it.” 

Tom pushed aside the antimony cups on the other table, leaving enough space to put down the cauldron. I picked up our cannon and pressed it against my abdomen to hold it steady. Tom tore a scrap of parchment from our deciphered recipe and held it in the fire until it caught. Then he lit the cannon’s wick. Sparks fizzed, racing toward the pipe like a flaming hornet. Tom dived behind the counter and peeked over the top.

“Watch this,” I said.

The blast nearly blew my ears off. I saw a burst of flame, and a mound of smoke, then the pipe kicked back like an angry ox and nailed me right between the legs.” 

By Kevin Sands 

4 Stars for BENEATH THE BAMBOO by Jonathan Jones – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

  
Title: BENEATH THE BAMBOO: A Vietnam War Story

Author: Jonathan Jones

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged 

Narrator: Michael Driggs 

Length: 4 hours and 22 minutes 

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Militaria 

Release Date: January 15, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. 

“This is the story, from point A to B, of my life and times in the midst of hell on Earth.”

This audiobook was written by the author late in life and published by his son, Jonathan. When Stan returned from Vietnam, he chose to not speak of or even think of, his experiences during the Vietnam War. In fact, he was so adamant in his avoidance of the topic that he even avoided all movies and books on the subject. 

Because of this, BENEATH THE BAMBOO may have some flaws. The author is not a historian nor is he a professional writer. He is just an average guy who survived some not-so-average experiences after fighting in the Vietnam War. 

  
I actually found this audiobook fascinating. I liked the fact that it was not the story of some famous battle or told by a famous soldier. Because it was told by a regular guy and not a career soldier, I found that I could more easily relate to the story.

The narrator, Michael Driggs has the perfect voice for this story. In fact, his narration is so convincing that I had to check to see if he was also the author. His pacing is terrific and he is a master of inflection. He seems to instinctively know when to speed up and when to slow down as well as which words need to be emphasized. I give the narration 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

This audiobook conveyed the horror and dangerousness of the vast network of Vietcong tunnels that the infantry had to contend with.

  
I read some of the other reviews of this book and saw that some negative comments were made regarding inconsistencies with what other Vietnam War veterans experienced. I have to point out that this book was written by Stan Jones’ son and not by Stan himself. It is for that reason that I am fully willing to forgive and forget about these errors. Any memoir, especially one written by a non-professional writer will contain “errors”. We must also take into account that people’s memories are fallible at the best of times and it is to be expected that a memoir written about events that took place around 50 years ago will not be completely accurate. 

 

Stan Jones is the soldier on the far right

 
The story is about how the Vietnam War turned a boy into a man in a very short amount of time. 

 

Stan is the shirtless soldier in the front row on the left

 
I think this is an important story and one that needs to be told and retold so that no one ever forgets about the Vietnam War and the soldiers who fought and died during it. 

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Purchase this audiobook on Audible 

   

 Check out a preview of BENEATH THE BAMBOO at 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=7_OwQlaz0Kw 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  

For more information visit: 

Check out the official webpage of BENEATH THE BAMBOO and also visit the Facebook page. 

*** All photos were obtained from the author’s Facebook page ** 

5 Stars for the Children’s Book – DRESSING BASIL UP AND DOWN by Diana Duncan – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: DRESSING BASIL UP and DOWN

Author: Diana Duncan

Type of Book: Large Softcover

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Illustrator: Lyle Jakosalem

Release Date: September 8, 2015

Length: 26 pages

Publisher: Partridge Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-4828-5305-6 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

* I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. A review is not a requirement to receive a book, but an honest review is always appreciated. 

Basil is a dog. 

Matilda loves to dress Basil up. 

Basil is a Labrador and looks ridiculous dressed up in clothes and costumes. 

When Matilda’s Mom takes the kids to the zoo, she attempts to relate to the children how ridiculous the animals would look if they wore costumes. 

But, will Matilda take the lesson to heart? Or will she continue to use Basil as her own personal dress-up doll?

This book is terrific for ages 3-5. The large size of the pages and the bright coloured illustrations will capture any child’s attention. The rhyming writing makes the story flow very well and lends itself perfectly to reading it out-loud to children. In my opinion, this would be a perfect bedtime story. 

Parents will love the book for its perfect length as well as the message it contains about respecting animals.

I rate this children’s book as 5 out of 5. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Check out the book’s page on the Publisher’s website: 

Purchase online at Amazon.com

Or on Amazon.ca 

5 Enthusiastic Stars for TURNING THE DARKNESS by Tony Bowman – BOOK REVIEW 

  
Title: TURNING THE DARKNESS: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Horror

Author: Tony Bowman

Type of Book: Softcover

Length: 537 pages

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Horror

Release Date: May 12, 2014

Publisher: Tony Bowman 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
~ I received a free paperback copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

A science experiment to teleport an item from one city to another has unexpected consequences. 

A portal to Hell has been opened and demons and other creatures of darkness pour through the opening and into the world of mankind. 

The fate of humanity rests in the hands of an unlikely trio: a witch, a priest who has lost his faith and a reluctant psychic who drinks to drown out the voices in his head. 

There are a multitude of things I love about Tony Bowman’s books. First & foremost is the fact that they are literally impossible to put down once you start reading. If you did not know, this book is over 500 pages long. To keep the reader of such a huge story engaged (in fact, entranced) during such a massive story is an amazing feat.  

There are only a few days left until New Year’s Eve and I have a ton of things I need to do. So, on my only day off what did I do? Did I get any of my tasks completed? Or even started? NOPE! I picked up TURNING THE DARKNESS and spent the entire day immersed in Tony Bowman’s imagination. And I do not regret a single minute!

Tony Bowman may not yet be a household name, but his stories deserve any and all attention they can get. I have little doubt that if Tony’s work gets discovered by the right person, he will become a bestselling author. So, now is the time to get your hands on a copy of his books, before they sell out everywhere. You will not regret it! 

I am 100% convinced that Tony Bowman’s book need to be added to everyone’s TBR (To Be Read) list. 

Have I gotten through to those of you reading this review? I hope so.

Where else can you read a story filled with demons, witches, vampires, werewolves, priests, militia, ghouls and God and actually feel that the story is completely plausible? That is no easy task, yet this book is exactly that.

I rate this book as high as possible which is 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Search Tony Bowman on my blog to read reviews of his other books. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Tony Bowman is the author of four full-length novels as well as many short stories. His short story collection entitled “Morgue Dreams and Curiouser Things” is an amazingly well written collection of seventeen short horror stories. 

Tony currently lives in North Carolina with his wife, Laurie, his daughter, Sara and a hundred pound Catahoula Leopard dog. 

To learn more about Tony Bowman and his books, visit https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8080065.Tony_Bowman

Check out his blog at:
http://thattonybowman.blogspot.ca 

Buy this book online at: 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KBB5EFY

5 Stars for A PIECE OF YOU by D.M. Annechino – BOOK REVIEW, BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY

  

 

Title: A PIECE OF YOU 

Series: DETECTIVE SAMI RIZZO SERIES: Book Three

Author: D.M. ANNECHINO

Type of Book: Softcover

Length: 308 pages

Genre: Thriller

ISBN: 9781514874660 

Release Date: September 7, 2015 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ I received a free copy of this book from iRead Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. 

“It’s hard for me to believe that just a short time ago, I lived a peaceful, content life. I was a proud father, devoted husband, good neighbor, and friend to many. But all of that has changed. She has stolen my neat and orderly life and has sentenced me to live in misery.” 

Above is the first paragraph of the book. D.M. Annechino has done it again. He has immediately grabbed my attention and piqued my curiosity. 

Who is she and what did she do to this man? And, knowing what type of book this is, I instantly started to speculate as to what horrendous crime this once respectable and well-liked man would commit. 

Detective Sami Rizzo is now married to Al and they have a three year old son. Sami’s daughter, Angelina, is now eight years old. 

One aspect of the Sami and Al romance storyline that drives me crazy is that in RESUSCITATION Al slept with a nurse while visiting his comatose sister in Brazil. Sami and Al were living together at the time, but were not yet married. Sami obviously forgives Al, but I don’t know how anyone could ever forgive a cheater. The circumstances were extraordinary, but to my mind that does not matter at all. I have a hard time believing that Sami would be able to ever trust him again and no marriage can survive without trust. However, all of that is obviously my own opinions on the subject and some women are able to be much more forgiving than I could ever be.

Author D.M. Annechino has a knack for getting inside the heads of seemingly “normal” people who through extraordinary circumstances have been pushed into ‘snapping’ and A PIECE OF YOU proves this.

The story begins quickly and the pace never lets up. Once again D.M. Annechino has created a taut thrill ride that will sweep readers along and keep them enthralled from the first page to the last. 

I rate A PIECE OF YOU as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have quickly become a fan of The Detective Sami Rizzo series and of author D.M. Annechino.

FAVOURITE QUOTES FROM THE SERIES:

Book Two: RESUSCITATION

“It seemed to Al that society had become so super sensitive about everything from religion to ethnicity you had to walk on eggshells every time you opened your mouth for fear you would offend someone. Years ago if you lived on the streets, you were a bum, plain and simple, then some do-gooder decided that bums should be called ‘homeless people’. Most recently the term had become ‘financially disadvantaged’. 

“A detective without balls might as well work at Walmart as a greeter.” 

BOOK THREE: A PIECE OF YOU

“Revenge can be a soothing ointment.”

Author’s Bio:

  
Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor specializing in full-length fiction, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, in 1992 while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly.

His second book, Resuscitation (Thomas & Mercer 2011), a follow-up to his first novel, hit #1 in Kindle sales in the UK and reached #26 in the USA. He is also the author of I Do Solemnly Swear (Thomas & Mercer 2012) and Hypocrisy. A Piece of You is his fifth novel, the third in the Detective Sami Rizzo series. A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter Facebook

Prizes: ​

Win 1 of 20 print (or gifted Kindle) copies of A Piece of You: A Sami Rizzo Thriller (open to USA & Canada) – CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO ENTER:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 Blog Tour Schedule:

Dec 1 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway

Dec 1 – T’s Stuff – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway

Dec 1 – The World As I See It – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway

Dec 2 – T’s Stuff – audiobook review of Resuscitation – giveaway

Dec 3 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight / giveaway

Dec 3 – T’s Stuff – review of A Piece of You / author interview / giveaway

Dec 4 – Dab of Darkness – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway 

Dec 7 – Olio by Marilyn – review of They Never Die Quietly / author interview / giveaway

Dec 8 – 3 Partners in Shopping – review of A Piece of You / giveaway

Dec 9 – Deal Sharing Aunt – audiobook review of Resuscitation / giveaway

Dec 10 – Dab of Darkness – audiobook review of Resuscitation / interview / giveaway

Dec 11 – Readers’ Muse – review of They Never Die Quietly 

Dec 14 – Vic’s Media Room – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly 

Dec 15 – The World As I See It – audiobook review of Resuscitation / giveaway

Dec 16 – A Blue Million Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Dec 16 – Life as Leels – review of They Never Die Quietly

Dec 17 – Vic’s Media Room – audiobook review of Resuscitation

Dec 17 – Book Fanatic – review of a Piece of You / giveaway

Dec 18 – Vic’s Media Room – review of A Piece of You

Dec 18 – My So-Called Book Reviews – review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway

Dec 21 – Olio by Marilyn – review of Resuscitation / giveaway

Dec 22 – Deal Sharing Aunt – review of A Piece of You / author interview / giveaway

Dec 22 – Amie’s Book Reviews – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway

Dec 23 – Readers’ Muse – review of Resuscitation

Dec 23 – Amie’s Book Reviews – audiobook review of Resuscitation / giveaway

Dec 24 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review of A Piece of You / giveaway

Dec 28 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway

Dec 29 – Life as Leels – review of Resuscitation

Dec 30 – The World As I See It – review of A Piece of You / giveaway

Jan 4 – The Autistic Gamer – review of They Never Die Quietly

Jan 5 – Worth Getting in Bed For – review of They Never Die Quietly

Jan 6 – Olio by Marilyn – review of A Piece of You / giveaway

Jan 7 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review of A Piece of You

Jan 7 – My So-Called Book Reviews – review of Resuscitation / giveaway

Jan 8 – Italophilia – review of A Piece of You

Jan 8 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway

Jan 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – review of A Piece of You

Jan 12 – Worth Getting in Bed For – review of Resuscitation

Jan 12 – Everything Distils Into Reading – review of A Piece of You

Jan 13 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – author interview

Jan 14 – The Autistic Gamer – review of Resuscitation

Jan 15 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of Resuscitation / giveaway

Jan 18 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / guest post

Jan 18 – My So-Called Book Reviews – review of A Piece of You / interview / giveaway

Jan 19 – Worth Getting in Bed For – review of A Piece of You

Jan 20 – fuonlyknew – review of A Piece of You / giveaway

Jan 21 – Readers’ Muse – review of A Piece of You / guest post

Jan 22 – Bound 4 Escape – review of A Piece of You / giveaway

Jan 25 – The Autistic Gamer – review of A Piece of You 

Jan 26 – Life as Leels – review of A Piece of You

Jan 27 – misty103 @ HubPages – review of A Piece of You

Jan 28 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review of A Piece of You / giveaway

Jan 28 – Ali- The Dragon Slayer – review of A Piece of You / guest post / giveaway

Jan 29 – Jessica Cassidy – review of A Piece of You / guest post / giveaway

 

A PIECE OF YOU BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW OF RESUSCITATION 5 Stars

They Never Die Quietly

Book # 1 – Book Description for They Never Die Quietly:

They Never Die Quietly tells the story of homicide Detective Sami Rizzo, who is assigned to head a task force investigating serial killings in San Diego. Simon, the highly intelligent, cunning, and deceptively charming villain, redefines the depths of human evil. He believes God has given him absolute authority to purify his unholy victims through a ritual that ends in a grisly crucifixion. Driven by warped religious beliefs and guided by his dead mother, very much alive in his subconscious, Simon abducts “chosen ones” and holds them captive in a Room of Redemption. There, the victims helplessly await their crucifixion. Detective Rizzo urgently yearns to solve the case and gain the respect of her male colleagues, but her obsession to apprehend the killer on her own clouds her thinking. When Simon outsmarts Rizzo and captures her, determined to make her his next victim, she must employ all her resources—both physical and intellectual—to outwit the villain at his own game.

Buy the book: Amazon

Resuscitation

Book # 2 – Book description for Resuscitation:

Two years ago, Detective Sami Rizzo narrowly escaped a brush with death at the hands of a serial killer. After apprehending the killer and bringing him to justice, this life-changing event compels her to resign from the police force. In her heart of hearts, however, she struggles with the decision. But a second serial killer—a well- respected doctor gone astray—uses his charm to seduce his victims and then performs horrific surgical experiments on them. In a final act of depravity, he scatters their mutilated bodies throughout San Diego County. Feeling a sense of duty and obligation, Sami Rizzo appeals to the police chief and mayor, and they reinstate her as a homicide investigator. As the body count grows and the killer’s experiments become more and more brutal, Sami follows one dead-end lead after another, while trying to deal with a sickly mother and a turbulent relationship with her lover. But then the killer makes a crucial mistake: one of his victims survives. Sami does everything to protect the barely alive victim, but the killer has a different plan.

Buy the book: Amazon

A Piece of You

Book #3 – Book Description for A Piece of You:

 

Homicide Detective Sami Rizzo is at it again! She never dreamed “America’s Finest City,” would be tormented by yet another serial killer, but for the third time in the last five years a depraved maniac is stalking the streets of San Diego. Based on her qualifications and prior successes dealing with multiple murders, who else would Captain Davison assign to head the investigation?

 

Different from Sami’s past experiences, this fanatic is like no other. His methods of killing defy everything profilers think they know about serial killers. As an intense investigation begins and bits and pieces of evidence emerge, no one can understand his motivation. He’s merciful, yet brutal. And just to make things even more confusing, all of his victims are blood-related. Is he settling a vendetta? Did he randomly pick a name out of the phone book and begin a rampage? Or is there a deeper story?

 

Based on very little evidence and a lot of gut instincts, Detective Rizzo pieces together a complex puzzle and narrows the field of possible suspects. She learns that the killings may connect in some way to powerful people within the judicial system and doesn’t know who to trust. Ultimately, she comes face to face with the killer for a battle of brain and brawn. Can she outwit the shrewd killer, or will she be his next victim?

Buy the book: Amazon

D.M. Annechino

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Author’s Bio:

Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor specializing in full-length fiction, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, in 1992 while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly.

​His second book, Resuscitation (Thomas & Mercer 2011), a follow-up to his first novel, hit #1 in Kindle sales in the UK and reached #26 in the USA. He is also the author of I Do Solemnly Swear (Thomas & Mercer 2012) and Hypocrisy. A Piece of You is his fifth novel, the third in the Detective Sami Rizzo series. A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter Facebook

Prizes:

Win 1 of 20 print (or gifted Kindle) copies of A Piece of You: A Sami Rizzo Thriller (open to USA & Canada) – CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO ENTER:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

MY REVIEW OF: RESUSCITATION – BOOK TWO of the SAMI RIZZO DETECTIVE SERIES

This is the second book in the Detective Sami Rizzo series and it is just as good as the first book.

I received a free copy of the audiobook on CD in exchange for an honest review.

RESUSCITATION takes place two years after THEY NEVER DIE QUIETLY. Sami Rizzo and Al are now a couple. Sami is going to school for Social Work and is working towards her dream. Why then does she feel so unsatisfied?

I think most people will be able to relate to Sami’s plight. She misses detective work and isn’t sure if she made the right decision when she quit the police force. Everyone has doubts about their career path. When a huge decision is reached it is natural to second guess yourself. In my opinion, this makes Sami more relatable to the reader.

When bodies start appearing Sami is intrigued. Maybe she should return to detective work. But, that would be much easier said than done.

Also during this story which is another psychological thriller, Sami experiences family emergencies. Anyone who has aging parents will be able to relate to this part of the story line and it is extremely believable.

I absolutely loved this book. I was hooked right from the first disk. The narrator once again does an amazing job. Pacing is perfect. Her voice will now always be the voice of Sami Rizzo in my mind.

This book goes from zero to sixty very quickly and just keeps accelerating right to the very end. It is tense and the characters are believable. This story is particularly frightening because it could so easily be reality.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Dec 1 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Dec 1 – T’s Stuff – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway
Dec 1 – The World As I See It – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway
Dec 2 – T’s Stuff – audiobook review of Resuscitation – giveaway
Dec 3 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight / giveaway
Dec 3 – T’s Stuff – review of A Piece of You / author interview / giveaway
Dec 4 – Dab of Darkness – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway 
Dec 7 – Olio by Marilyn – review of They Never Die Quietly / author interview / giveaway
Dec 8 – 3 Partners in Shopping – review of A Piece of You / giveaway
Dec 9 – Deal Sharing Aunt – audiobook review of Resuscitation / giveaway
Dec 10 – Dab of Darkness – audiobook review of Resuscitation / interview / giveaway
Dec 11 – Readers’ Muse – review of They Never Die Quietly 
Dec 14 – Vic’s Media Room – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly 
Dec 15 – The World As I See It – audiobook review of Resuscitation / giveaway
Dec 16 – A Blue Million Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Dec 16 – Life as Leels – review of They Never Die Quietly
Dec 17 – Vic’s Media Room – audiobook review of Resuscitation
Dec 17 – Book Fanatic – review of a Piece of You / giveaway
Dec 18 – Vic’s Media Room – review of A Piece of You
Dec 18 – My So-Called Book Reviews – review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway
Dec 21 – Olio by Marilyn – review of Resuscitation / giveaway
Dec 22 – Deal Sharing Aunt – review of A Piece of You / author interview / giveaway
Dec 22 – Amie’s Book Reviews – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway
Dec 23 – Readers’ Muse – review of Resuscitation
Dec 23 – Amie’s Book Reviews – audiobook review of Resuscitation / giveaway
Dec 24 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review of A Piece of You / giveaway
Dec 28 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway
Dec 29 – Life as Leels – review of Resuscitation
Dec 30 – The World As I See It – review of A Piece of You / giveaway
Jan 4 –   The Autistic Gamer – review of They Never Die Quietly
Jan 5 –   Worth Getting in Bed For – review of They Never Die Quietly
Jan 6 –   Olio by Marilyn – review of A Piece of You / giveaway
Jan 7 –   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review of A Piece of You
Jan 7 –   My So-Called Book Reviews – review of Resuscitation / giveaway
Jan 8 –   Italophilia – review of A Piece of You
Jan 8 –   Cheryl’s Book Nook – audiobook review of They Never Die Quietly / giveaway
Jan 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – review of A Piece of You
Jan 12 – Worth Getting in Bed For – review of Resuscitation
Jan 12 – Everything Distils Into Reading – review of A Piece of You
Jan 13 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – author interview
Jan 14 – The Autistic Gamer – review of Resuscitation
Jan 15 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of Resuscitation / giveaway
Jan 18 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / guest post
Jan 18 – My So-Called Book Reviews – review of A Piece of You / interview / giveaway
Jan 19 – Worth Getting in Bed For – review of A Piece of You
Jan 20 – fuonlyknew – review of A Piece of You / giveaway
Jan 21 – Readers’ Muse – review of A Piece of You / guest post
Jan 22 – Bound 4 Escape – review of A Piece of You / giveaway
Jan 25 – The Autistic Gamer – review of A Piece of You 
Jan 26 – Life as Leels – review of A Piece of You
Jan 27 – misty103 @ HubPages – review of A Piece of You
Jan 28 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review of A Piece of You / giveaway
Jan 28 – Ali- The Dragon Slayer – review of A Piece of You / guest post / giveaway
Jan 29 – Jessica Cassidy – review of A Piece of You / guest post / giveaway