31.3.16

Nowhere To Run - C. J. Box


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You won’t be able to put it down!

Nowhere To Run, is the 10th book of the Joe Pickett series (16 in all), but it could easily be a one-off. It is a complete story in itself even though it is evident some of the characters have some history. But, that was only a passing observation, because I was so quickly caught up in the story, I had no time, or desire, to think any more of it. The story had me riveted.

Joe Pickett, is a vigilant Wyoming game warden. The locals have told him about some strange things happening in the surrounding mountains, reports of camps looted, tents slashed, an elk butchered. He rides into the forest, on horseback, to investigate, although the further he travels, the more he begins to feel spooked himself. And, he soon discovers, he has every reason to feel that way.

The author doesn’t need Michael Connelly to advocate for him, as he has on the front cover of this book. C. J. Box, is a master storyteller, and you only need to start reading one his novels to see the proof of it. Be prepared for the need to read it from the beginning to the end. It is a very suspenseful page-turner. You won’t be able to put it down!

Nowhere To Run (Amazon)

~ Jan

29.3.16

Nailed - Joseph Flynn


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Not a typical, who-done-it!

I was expecting this book to be another typical, who-done-it, detective story, although that wouldn’t have been an altogether bad thing, because I enjoy crime mysteries. Who doesn’t like to try to guess the guilty party and see justice prevail? However, by the time I was about a third of the way into the book, I realised there was nothing typical about this detective story at all. The author has taken an intriguing crime mystery, plus interwoven issues of racism and religious hypocrisy.

It would be difficult not to like the protagonist, Ron Ketchum, despite the skeleton in his closet, which surfaces and threatens his investigation into the murder of an African American male, gruesomely nailed to a tree. It would be equally difficult not to admire the way he contends with the additional challenge of protecting the community from a wild and hungry mountain lion that seems to have acquired the taste of human flesh. Then, despite it all, he even has time for a little romance!

The last part of the description sums it up very well – ‘Looking for a killer, hunting a lion, and defending his own integrity – makes being a (former) cop in L.A. seem like the good old days.’

The author rounds off this series with ‘Defiled’ and ‘Impaled’, and after reading, ‘Nailed’, I imagine the next two books in the series will be as equally entertaining.

Nailed (Amazon)

~ Jan

27.3.16

Wilderness Passion - Larry W. Fish


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No Finer Words!

Wilderness Passion is yet another captivating story I have had the privilege to read, by this great storyteller, Larry W Fish. Even if I had not been intrigued by the description of this novel, I knew it would be a story I would quickly become absorbed in, because the author has a way of gently conveying important messages in his heart touching stories, that stay with you well after you have finished reading his books. I know I will not spoil it for other readers (because there is so much more), when I end by quoting him in what I believe to be his most important message of all: “Love is a strange thing. It can happen at any time, to any one, and in any place,” and, “Love is what life is all about.” No finer words!


~ Jan

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26.3.16

Walk To Love - Larry W. Fish


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A Remarkable Journey

Walk to Love is the story of a man who experiences both sudden and expected, devastating loss, but at each turn makes the choice to trust God. Through his blind faith, he takes a remarkable journey, both physical and spiritual, which ultimately leads him to deep gratitude and contentment. Larry W. Fish transforms what may seem to be a simple story into one which speaks profoundly to the heart.

Walk To Love (Amazon)

~ Jan

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25.3.16

Golden Haze - Larry W. Fish


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A Surprise Package!

Golden Haze is certainly a surprise package. The first few chapters introduce the reader to what seems like an everyday family carrying on an everyday life, until a terrible tragedy strikes. And then things start to change, and what a change it is! From that moment, there is nothing at all ‘everyday’ about this family. Just when I thought there was nothing else that could possibly surprise me – there was much more! I couldn’t put the book down. All I can say is - be prepared to need to read Golden Haze from start to finish, and with an open mind. Everything is not as it seems. You’ll be transfixed!

Golden Haze (Amazon)

~ Jan

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Book / Reading Quote 5


24.3.16

Grace - Richard Paul Evans


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A Few Hours Of Grace…

When the quiet of the night descends upon the house and it is time to rest the body, but the mind is wide-awake – I like to read. I wasn’t to know when I recently picked up ‘Grace’, from the bookshelf that it would indeed grace not only the late hours, but the early hours as well.

‘Grace’, by Richard Paul Evans, may not be the most well known novel of this internationally acclaimed best author, but it is one that I believe is truly worthy of notice. It was first published in October 2008 by Simon & Schuster, and was awarded the German Audience Book Award (Mein Winter mit Grace).

In the author’s words - ‘In some ways this is the most autobiographical of all my novels.’

Grace is the story of a young runaway girl, and the boy who hides her from a frightening world too large and unfathomable for him to comprehend. It is also about two brothers and the love that binds them together through difficult times.

~~~

Excerpts from ‘Grace’:-

“She was my first kiss. My first love. She was a little match girl who could see the future in the flame of a candle. She was a runaway who taught me more about life than anyone has before, or since. And when she was gone, my innocence left with her.

As I begin to write, a part of me feels as if I am awakening something best left dead and buried, or at least buried. We can bury the past, but it never really dies. The experience of that winter has grown on my soul like ivy climbing the outside of a home, growing until it begins to tear and tug at the brick and mortar.

I pray I can still get the story right. My memory, like my eyesight, has waned with age. Still, there are things that become clearer to me as I grow older. This much I know: too many things were kept secret in those days. Things that never should have been hidden. And things that should have.”

~~~

‘Grace’ is a touching story, one based in part on the author’s personal experience, but also a story that reminds us that the ramifications of the choices we make in life can have a huge bearing in our own lives and the lives of others, forever.


~ Jan (Review – 22nd April, 2012)

Book / Reading Quote 4

23.3.16

Please Let Me Win The Lottery - Christine Ramsay


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A Teacher's Journey

This former teacher may have hung up her teaching hat, but it is evident she has far from finished teaching after I read this exceptional book of poems. Her poems are beautifully crafted and her topics both educational and thoroughly entertaining as you are taken on a journey of learning about life, nature and history. And I do indeed hope she wins the lottery!


~ Jan

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22.3.16

Did I Really Need Those Specs? - Christine Ramsay


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Be Prepared to Smile!

This is a collection of wonderful poems to brighten your day. The author takes everyday situations and personal struggles and reminds us not to take ourselves, or life, too seriously. Skilfully composed humourous verses and warm hearted memories and reflections. A treasure trove of fun and laughter!


~ Jan

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Book / Reading Quote 3


21.3.16

Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell


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My Grandmothers Copy…

I recently downloaded the book, ‘Gone With The Wind’ to my Kindle. It’s not because I haven’t read the book – far from it! Like millions of readers world-wide, I have already savoured every page of this best-selling listed book of all time in hardback, at least twice so far. I was 6 years old when my grandmother first noticed me looking intently at her copy of ‘Gone With The Wind’ in her bookcase. And a few years after my grandmother passed away, that the very same book was placed gently into my hands to keep (per her request).

There have been so many book reviews about ‘Gone With The Wind’, authored by Margaret Mitchell, that I was almost tempted not to write this review. It seems somewhat pointless in repeating what has already been written countless times about this masterpiece, and the only book ever published by this author in 1936, who received a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for it, in 1937. With over 30 million sales, a film, and sequel attempts by other authors in attempts to keep the ‘Gone With The Wind’ saga alive, it is a book well known, world-wide.

For those unfamiliar; set in the state of Georgia, southern United States in 1861, ‘Gone With The Wind’ is the story of the high spirited, un-conforming southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and her tumultuous struggles of the heart, with (southern gentleman) Ashley Wilkes and (charming rogue) Rhett Butler. But it is not just a romance novel; it is also a novel bathed in American history, and the story of a young woman’s determination and strength of will to save her beloved plantation home called Tara in any way possible, through times of the American Civil War and the early years of Reconstruction.

I cannot recall why I was so captivated by this book when I looked at it on my grandmother’s book shelf all those years ago (it did not have a colourful outside cover). I certainly wasn’t at an age to fully comprehend the contents of it, despite the fact that as a child growing up in the Australian bush in the 1960’s, reading was a huge part of my childhood, especially as my mother and grandmother were both teachers. However, once I read the book I realised that my grandmother would have known I would relate to Scarlett’s love of the land; her home, Tara, which she fought to protect at any cost.

~ ~ ~
My favourite excerpts:-

"Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara, that land, doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts."

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Somewhere, on the long road that wound through those four years, the girl with her sachet and dancing slippers, had slipped away, and there was left a woman with sharp green eyes, who counted pennies and turned her hands to many menial tasks, a woman to whom nothing was left from the wreckage, except the indestructible red earth on which she stood.

~ ~ ~

'Gone With The Wind', will appeal to readers for so many different reasons. I highly recommend it!


~ Jan  (Review – 4th Oct, 2014)

Book / Reading Quote 2


20.3.16

Inner Space Book Three: The All Seeing Eye by Merlin Fraser


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Times Three – Jackpot!

The author of this book has achieved what few authors do. Often felt let down by any books following a first or even second, this was in no way the case with Inner Space Book Three: The All Seeing Eye. In fact, in hindsight, I may have been setting my expectations too high when I found Inner Space Book Two: The Reluctant Nemesis, equally as good as, Inner Space Book One. I held high hopes though for the third in the trilogy, as I was left wanting – more! Jackpot - this author meets that challenge head on and with apparent ease.

As another reviewer has pointed out, this series of books could either be read as three separate stories or as a series of three. This is how expertly crafted and penned the Inner Space Trilogy is. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting those unforgettable characters again from the previous books, along with new ones, and with yet again another look at the paranormal world in a totally new adventure. If you’re looking for fascinating, thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking reading, the Inner Space Trilogy comes highly recommended!

Inner Space Book Three: The All Seeing Eye (Amazon)


~ Jan

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19.3.16

Inner Space Book Two: The Reluctant Nemesis – Merlin Fraser


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Another Crime Mystery With A Difference

I have often found that book sequels never quite measure up to the first of a series, although I knew this author would never fail to entertain after reading Inner Space Book One. However, I was thrilled to find that Inner Space Book Two, was not only as superbly crafted as Inner Space Book One, but also kept me riveted yet again, right up to the very end.

Inner Space Book Two: The Reluctant Nemesis, is not only a very skilfully written and complete crime mystery in itself, but as the second in a trilogy, it re-introduces the reader to some of those unforgettable characters from Inner Space Book One, along with another fascinating look into the mysterious, paranormal world.

I am now convinced, however well penned and entertaining Inner Space Book One, it was in fact only a taste of what was to come in the remaining books of this trilogy. The only thing that remains now is to see if the author can once again keep me glued with Inner Space Book Three: The All Seeing Eye. After reading the first two books of the series, I am confident – I will not be disappointed?


~ Jan

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18.3.16

Inner Space Book One - Merlin Fraser


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A Crime Mystery With A Difference

I wasn’t quite certain what I was going to find in Inner Space Book One, by the title, although after reading the description I was prepared for a crime mystery, with a difference. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how intriguing and thought provoking that difference would be, in this captivating story.

Inner Space would easily appeal to several genres. There is the crime mystery itself skilfully written and tailored with totally believable, true-to-life characters. There is the expertly crafted romantic element intertwined perfectly with the storyline. And there is the paranormal aspect, which also makes this book at the top of the list for must-read reading, especially if you like to explore possibilities which may take you out of your comfort zone.

It’s impossible to equate Inner Space to any other crime mystery style I have ever read. It is so deliciously, refreshingly, different, although authors Agatha Christie and Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch) came fleetingly to mind, from my reading experiences. I found it extremely difficult to put this book down, and it was made all that much more difficult because there were no unnecessary blocks of description, which served to sway me from continuing.

Inner Space Book One comes highly recommended, and I can’t wait to read the remaining two books in the trilogy.

~ Jan

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Book / Reading Quote 1


17.3.16

Sara Dane by Catherine Gaskin


Sara Dane - Catherine Gaskin
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The Queen Of Storytellers


I recently rediscovered an old friend. I hadn't seen her for over thirty years, but I recognised her instantly. Her name is Sara Dan, and with more than 2 million copies sold, she became the most acclaimed novel of 20, authored by Catherine Gaskin (1929 - 2009). Needless to say, our friendship had stood the test of time, and our meeting again resulted in another reading of this very memorable book.

The novel, Sara Dane is a romance (historical), published in 1954. It is the story about a young convict woman, sentenced to transportation to Port Jackson, in 1792, for nothing more than would be considered a child's prank in modern times. It centres on the hardships she endures in overcoming the stigma of her conviction, before rising to a position of wealth and prominence among the citizens of early New South Wales.

This book appealed to me for several reasons back in the 1980's. It was most likely the very first novel (fiction) I had ever read on British settlement in Australia, and as an Australian, I found it especially interesting. It also appealed to me because Sara Dane is an unforgettable character with a great deal of backbone, unlike many heroines in earlier romance novels.

However, the reason I consider this novel to be an old friend, is quite frankly because the author, Catherine Gaskin, is such a wonderful storyteller. Well-written stories are not easily forgotten, and the memory of them can often remain in both a readers mind, and heart, for many years. It wasn't at all surprising to learn, after reading Sara Dane, that many of Catherine Gaskin's novels became best sellers, and earned her such titles as, 'the girl with the golden pen' and 'the queen of storytellers.'

~ ~ ~
Sara Dane by Catherine Gaskin (excerpt):

A wild cacophony of screams and shrieks issued from the dark hold where a maniacal group of women rolled together in a frenzied struggle.

Lieutenant Andrew Maclay could see that one of them, almost hidden beneath the others, was fighting alone. 'Silence!' Andrew roared. The mob slowly quietened. 'Is there a woman here called Sara Dane?' he asked.

The lone fighter struggled to her feet. Slim and straight, the skin of her throat and face was unlined, but the dirt of the stinking hold covered whatever beauty she might have possessed. She wore a hacked and tattered gown many sizes too large; but she wore it with an air of cherished grandeur. She lifted her head proudly.

'I am Sara Dane,' she said.
~ ~ ~


~ Jan (Review – 18th Oct, 2012)

16.3.16

Giving-Back & Paying-It-Forward



Hello, and welcome to my new blog - Book Review Karma.

How often have you read a book and enjoyed it so much that it has stayed in your memory for quite some time afterwards? As an avid reader, that has often happened to me. However, without further thought, I have then reached for another book. Well, I received what I had hoped from buying the previous book, hadn’t I?

As a self-published author, it wasn’t until I received my very first book review, that I realised I had erred in thinking that way. At that time, I also came to understand the power of a review.

We all like to read the books of our favourite authors. It makes sense that we will most likely enjoy their future works. Why spend money on a book from an unknown author? However, when a reader begins to broaden their search, they will usually look to see what other readers are reading, or after a quick perusal of the cover and description of a book, check out the reviews.

As an avid reader, I have read hundreds of books over the last few years (in particular), not only from my favourite well-known authors, but also from other self-published authors. During those few years, I have written only four reviews of my favourite (well-known) books, and around ten for my self-published author friends. It has bothered me that I have not taken the time to write more reviews, especially when I have read so many wonderful books by self-published authors.

Thus, the reason for this blog. I make no claim to being a professional book reviewer. I am just sharing my thoughts and feelings about books I have read, and hope my words help other authors and readers. As mentioned above, I currently have several hundred books to read (or reread) & review, which I will submit at Amazon, Goodreads (if applicable), post here, and share on my social sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & LinkedIn), on a rotating basis.

Lastly, if you would like to know more about me, or my books, I have listed links to my other blogs, Amazon / Kindle book selling sites, and social sites, under my profile photo on this blog. However, I will not be posting (cherished) reviews I have received from readers of my books. The principle reason for this blog is to give-back and pay-it-forward, to you – the author &/or reader.


All the very best,
~ Jan