Book Review – Father Figure

Father Figure

Father Figure by James J. Cudney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 1984, naïve 17-year-old, Amalia Graeme, can’t wait for college to start to get away from her hometown Brant, Mississippi and her abusive mother. The only person she’ll miss is her father. It’s just too bad that over the years he did little to protect Amalia from her mother’s physical and emotional abuse.

20 years later, in 2004, another girl, Brianna Porter, is exploring a college campus with her best friend, Shanelle. Always feeling smothered by her over-protective mother, the only parent Brianna has ever known, she can’t wait to head off to school in the fall. Her mother wants her to choose a college close to home in New York City, but Brianna has other plans. It’s not that she doesn’t love her mother, but Brianna needs to get away so she can understand herself and figure out what she wants.

I loved this story with all of its surprises. Just when I thought I had it figured out, a new twist turned everything around. It has been a while since a story had me uttering my shock out loud.

Father figure is a well-woven tale of two young women decades apart. Their stories intertwine until you realize they have more in common then wanting to leave home and needing to find who they are. It is well-written with few errors either grammatically or technically. If you enjoy a well-thought out mystery, then you will enjoy this story.

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Book Review – When I Died

When I Died

When I Died by Elizabeth Eckert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

When I Died by Elizabeth Eckert is a unique story. I was intrigued from the start and for the most part, it held my attention. It is written in both first and third person POV. Despite the switching back and forth of voice, it was easy to follow. There were few grammatical errors or typos, and the characters were likeable. There are some great lines in this book, one of my favourites being: With help, time, and peace, he could heal, learn to forgive, and rise above the dirt he’d been buried in.

While I enjoyed the story, there were some aspects of the writing that pulled me away, and the story didn’t stay with me when I wasn’t reading. The main character, Adrianna, has a lot of inner thoughts, all written within brackets, I found that distracting. I also noted instances of redundancies that seemed more like filler and a creative edit would help with the flow of the story. Despite these issues I am interested in seeing what the next book holds.

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Book Review – Legacy of the Tropics

Legacy of the Tropics

Legacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Legacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal incorporates 3 stories that link together into one book. In the first story, Promises, Ciara Malloy, an American children’s author, falls in love with Rico and his young son, Pablo, while living in Puerto Rico. The second story, Adrift, is about Lilly, an ocean life photographer, who lives in Hawaii after having lived in Puerto Rico for a short time. Lilly, never seems to find the right man and wonders if he exists. In the final story, Reunion, a much older Ciara moves to Hawaii with her young grandson. She has reunited with Lilly, the woman with whom she always wanted to collaborate on a book with but didn’t get a chance to really know while living in Puerto Rico. Now that they are neighbours they plan on making this collaboration a reality.

I quite enjoyed this novel by Mary Deal and was hooked from the first chapter. Each story sees these women going through harrowing experiences that kept me turning the page. The stories stayed with me after I put the book down, and I couldn’t wait to pick it up again and find out what happened next.

If you like stories about strength, courage, and resilience, you will enjoy Legacy of the Tropics.

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Book Review – The Long Gray Goodbye by Bobby Underwood

The Long Gray Goodbye (Seth Halliday #2)

The Long Gray Goodbye by Bobby Underwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While honeymooning aboard their boat in Ecuador Private Detective, Seth Halliday witnesses someone falling from an airplane. He and his new wife, Caroline, pull the body of a young teenage girl from the water. They find an envelope taped to her body addressed to a well-known American TV actress. Curious about the envelope they cut it open to find a small cassette tape. Seth decides to hang on to the tape and not let the Ecuadorian authorities know about it until he has answers. Seth Halliday has a mystery to solve. The Long Gray Goodbye is the second book of the Seth Halliday Novels. It is a modern day mystery told in a 40s–50s PI style.

The prologue, A Rainy Farewell, quickly grabbed my attention. The story takes the reader on a journey to a number of locations and one murder suddenly becomes two as this complex mystery unfolds. The story is filled with action, romance, some funny moments, and some tender ones.

The following excerpt was one of my favourite lines in the book: I reached over and took her hand in mine and held it. I said, “Sometimes I sit with beautiful French girls in Paris while they finish their second cigarette, and reflect wistfully on what might have been.” I felt her hand squeeze mine for a moment and then she leaned her head against my shoulder and kept it there for a while.

The only issue I had with the story was with Seth’s “roving eye”. While he adores his wife, Caroline, and I believe he would never hurt her; he spends a little too much time admiring other females around him.

I truly enjoyed reading this story and look forward to more of the Seth Halliday series.

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Book Review – Hurry Up Nurse!

Hurry Up Nurse!: Memoirs of nurse training in the 1970'Hurry Up Nurse!: Memoirs of nurse training in the 1970′ by Dawn Brookes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author, Dawn Brookes, leads the reader through her personal journey as she trains to become a nurse in England during the late 1970s to early 1980s.

I usually read fiction; however, I thought I would try something different. And since this book is about becoming a nurse and I am not a nurse nor ever trained to be one, I thought what could be more different than that?

This is a good read with some funny and some not-so-funny times. It was interesting to learn about a nurse trainee’s experiences and perspectives in various areas of nursing such as geriatrics, psychiatry, and paediatrics to name a few.

There were little, if any, grammatical errors or typos. I did think there was a need for an extra space between paragraphs when the story changed from the account of one patient to another. Much like in a fiction novel when there is a scene change within the same chapter.

While this story would probably not be of interest to many it certainly is to anyone who has trained as a nurse no matter what country they are from. And maybe to those who are curious and enjoy learning about new things.

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Murder on Tyneside – Book Review

Murder on TynesideMurder on Tyneside by Eileen Thornton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three and a Half Stars – Fun Read

Recently widowed, Agnes Lockwood, returns to her childhood hometown of Tyneside. It has been years since she last visited and she wants to spend time reacquainting herself with the town where she was born. While at the hotel, another guest next to her room has some jewellery stolen. When the police arrive Agnes meets the Chief Inspector, Allan Johnson, who turns out to have been a classmate of hers many years ago. Having a penchant for mysteries, Agnes involves herself in the investigation. But has she gone too far?

I have to say I struggled a bit with rating this story. While I don’t think it deserves three stars, there were also a couple of issues that prevented me from thinking it was a four-star read. I found the voice in the dialogue a miss. If it weren’t for tags, it would be difficult to know who spoke. One particular character was Achmed. It is said that he was a foreigner learning the language, yet his dialogue sounded the same as everyone else’s. The second issue I had was with the character Chief Inspector, Alan Johnson. For a detective, he certainly let Agnes tell him a lot about his case and he allowed her to interfere. I found him weak.

As for the story itself, this is a fun read. Author, Eileen Thornton, has a great way of keeping the reader interested in what will happen next and there are some surprising twists right up until the end. The character of Agnes reminded me of Jessica Fletcher from the TV show Murder, She Wrote.

If you like a nice mystery then you will enjoy this story.

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Caligula Reincarnate – Book Review

Caligula Reincarnate: Killer with a Thousand FacesCaligula Reincarnate: Killer with a Thousand Faces by Steve Peek

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gaius Caesar (Caligula) is the evil and sadistic emperor of Rome in 41 AD. With the aid of his magician, Okuni, his desire to become immortal will be a reality. And when Caligula dies, he will be reborn immediately; he will always be Caligula and he will always know who he is.

Author Steve Peek takes the reader on an interesting and sometimes harrowing journey in this unique multi-genre story where fact and fiction intertwine.

The characters are well developed and the story is well written. However, it is not a story for the faint of heart as there are some gory and disturbing sexually explicit bits. These scenes are not gratuitous but rather work to show the sadistic mind of Caligula.

I enjoyed this story though I found the ending a little rushed and it left me wondering if there was more to come.

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