Welcome to our website. This site is here to provide a community for all you book lovers. I've set up a discussion area for you to discuss your favorite books. We'll have reviews of old and new books in the Reviews section. Upcoming titles and information from major publishers will be listed in the news/home page section, as well as updates on when new reviews have been posted, community information, etc.

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Review: Gold Digger – Frances Fyfield

Posted on: October 28th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Witness (July 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062305476
ISBN-13: 978-0062305473
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Characters:

Diana Quiqley – Young wife, heiress and former thief.
Gayle – Daughter of Thomas Porteus
Beatrice – Another daughter of Thomas Porteus.
Edward – Gayle’s Husband.
Patrick – Gayle & Edward’s son.

Synopsis:

A man named Thomas Porteus dies leaving his young wife a fortune in paintings. His two daughters, along with a conniving son-in-law are convinced that the man’s wife, Diana, a former thief, murdered him and that the paintings rightfully belong to them.

Review

This was a very difficult story for me. Each chapter began with descriptions of a painting. That description was a short synopsis of what would occur in that chapter. However, in the beginning stages of the book, I found myself confused, and usure of what exactly was going on. The writing style just made it very hard to get into.

As I progressed, since I’m not the type to give up on a book, I noticed it was less about the plot and more about the characters. As a character driven story, I found the characters to be very richly created. I just felt like they were dropped into a storyline that tended to go nowhere at times.

In the end, I liked the story, but it took a while to get to that point. I’d definitely recommend it only to the hard core mystery/psychological thriller readers out there. Ms. Fyfield is indeed a great writer, and I may check out her other novels, it just turns out that this one wasn’t quite my cup of tea. If you grab a copy of it, and read it, drop back by to let us know what you thought.

About the Author

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to at for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: The Hydra Protocol – David Wellington

Posted on: October 23rd, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062248804
ISBN-13: 978-0062248800
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Characters:

Jim Chapel – American Spy
Nadia Asimova – KGB Spy

Synopsis:

Jim Chapel is pulled into a secret mission with a Russian counterpart. They must infiltrate and destroy a Russian built computer program that if left to run, may set off all of Russia’s nuclear missiles.

Review

This was a great story. It was the second Jim Chapel story I’d read, and he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite spies. This story takes us around the world, through the desert, and pits him against all sorts of enemies. Some of these enemies are human, and some are the local animals. There’s plenty of twists, turns, and romance. Just what you’d expect out of a good spy novel.

If I had one complaint, it’s that Jim seemed to recover just a little too quickly from his broken relationship, and dive into the arms of another woman. I’d expect someone to be a little more shaken up, and not ready to just jump into another person’s bed, but of course this is the spy world.

Overall, a great spy story that keeps me looking forward to the next entry. Grab a copy, give it a read, and drop back by to let us know what you thought.

About the Author

David Wellington was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The acclaimed author is most famous for his online serialized zombie novel, the Monster Island trilogy, later published by Thunder’s Mouth Press. In 2006, he began serializing Thirteen Bullets, a vampire novel. He lives in New York City. His previous Jim Chapel missions include Chimera and Minotaur.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Ashley at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: The High Druid’s Blade – Terry Brooks

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (July 8, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345540700
ISBN-13: 978-0345540706
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Characters:

Paxon Leah – Descendent of the prince’s of Leah and holder of the Sword of Leah.
Chrysallin Leah – Paxon’s Sister.
Arcannen – Dark Magician with ambitions to take over the Druid Order.

Synopsis:

A young man is drawn into adventure when his sister is kidnapped by a dark wizard. Unknown to him, he is about to awaken some long dormant powers that are a legacy of his family.

Review

I’m a huge fan of Terry Brooks and with each book release I look forward to it with eager anticipation. This book was no exception. It varied slightly from the normal formula. No Wizard convincing the average person to take up an adventure. This time the hero takes on the adventure of his own accord, in order to rescue his sister. Along the way, the story follows the classic mythological/fantasy pattern. The young man discovers his own dormant powers. Along the way he also forms his own little group of adventurers.

This was a fun fantasy novel,that once again took me to a world I love to visit. While a lot of the plots have been revisited, the characters still feel fresh and appeal to me. I look forward to Mr. Brooks next release.

If you’re a fan of Fantasy, or of Mr. Brooks writing, then you definitely want to check this book out. Be sure to drop in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Dark Legacy of Shannara adventure Wards of Faerie; the Legends of Shannara novels Bearers of the Black Staff and The Measure of the Magic; the Genesis of Shannara trilogy: Armageddon’s Children, The Elves of Cintra, and The Gypsy Morph; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars:® Episode I The Phantom Menace.™

His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Classic Corner Review: The Big Four – Agatha Christie

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062364618
ISBN-13: 978-0062364616
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Characters:

Hercule Poirot – Famous Belgian Detective.
Arthur Hastings – Companion to Poirot and narrator.

Synopsis:

Poirot faces a challenge in four powerful foes bent on controlling the world.

Review

This was an interesting tale of Poirot. I’m used to the more typical mysteries, and this felt more like a thriller than a mystery. The majority of the story has Poirot and Hasting trying to uncover the identity of a mysterious master of disguises.

The story is fast paced, the plot is convincing, and the characters are entertaining. Poirot manages to always pull himself out of danger with some masterful trick.

While it was a departure from what I normally read from Christie, I found myself enjoying it very much. It may not suit the taste of all readers, as some of the language is old fashioned and modern readers may have a bit of trouble. I’ve found though, that if you stick with it, soon enough it all falls into place and the language differences disappear.

This would definitely fall on my recommend list for all you mystery fans out there, particularly fans of the classic authors such as Ms. Christie. Grab a copy, give it a read, and drop by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920).

She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: Clam Wake – Mary Daheim

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (August 12, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062317725
ISBN-13: 978-0062317728
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Characters:

Judith McMonigle Flynn – Amateur Sleuth and owner of a small bed & Breakfst.
Renie – Judith’s cousin and sidekick. She has a strong apetite.

Synopsis:

A woman Judith, who is an amateur sleuth, and her cousin Renie, are housesitting for relatives when a body is found on the beach. The two sleuths are determined to find out who killed the man and why.

Review

I’m normally a big fan of cozy mysteries. I’ve read everything from Agatha Christie to more modern writers. I wanted to like this one as well, it seemed right up my alley. From the start though, the character of Judith just seemed to rub me the wrong way. She seemed rather harsh and abusive to her husband. She also seemed very caustic with her mother, who also came across as rather mean spirited.

Her cousin Renie however I found to be very likeable and a good comic foil for the more serious Judith. Renie reminded me of the character Chet from the Hardy Boys books of my childhood. She had a great passion for food, and was often found stuffing her mouth with some delicacy or other.

However, I worked my way past these issues I had, and began to like the character of Judith. I also began to like the story, and the mystery kept me deeply involved in trying to figure out who done it. All the minor characters, suspects, etc. were interesting. The plot made sense, but then that’s where my biggest issue with the novel came into place.

In the field of mystery writing, particularly in cozies, there are certain rules about fair play, in that you give the reader all the clues they need to solve the mystery. In this case, that didn’t seem to occur, and the killer just popped up and confessed, without even the two sleuths discovering the identity until the confession. That to me took me out of the story, and just made me feel like I’d wasted my time.

Now do I think it was a terrible book. No, I think other Cozie mystery readers would probably enjoy it. There were parts I enjoyed, the ending just left me a little deflated. I myself might enjoy the other entries in the series. I mean this is the 29th book in the Bed & Breakfast Mystery Series, so the author has to know what she’s doing. So I’ll be willing to give her novels a second chance. Perhaps this one was a fluke occurrence.

The author does include some recipes in the back for some of the food items mentioned in the story, which is a nice touch in this type of series. In this case it’s Auntie Vance’s Beef Noodle Bake.

Regardless, of my opinion though, you the reader may enjoy this story. So grab a copy of Clam Wake, settle back, and when you are done, drop back in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Seattle native Mary Richardson Daheim lives three miles from the house where she was raised. From her dining nook she can see the maple tree in front of her childhood home. Mary isn’t one for change when it comes to geography. Upon getting her journalism degree from the University of Washington (she can see the campus from the dining nook, too), she went to work for a newspaper in Anacortes WA. Then, after her marriage to David Daheim, his first college teaching post was in Port Angeles where she became a reporter for the local daily. Both tours of small-town duty gave her the background for the Alpine/Emma Lord series.

Mary spent much of her non-fiction career in public relations (some would say PR is fiction, too). But ever since she learned how to read and write, Mary wanted to tell stories that could be put between book covers (e-readers were far into the future and if she hadn’t seen her daughter’s iPad, she might not know they exist). Thus, she began her publishing career with the first of seven historical romances before switching to mysteries in 1991. If Mary could do the math, she’d know how many books she’s published. Since she can’t, she estimates the total is at least 55. Or something. See below—count ‘em if you can.

At the time of her husband and mentor’s death in February 2010, David and Mary had been married for over 43 years. They have three daughters, Barbara, Katherine and Magdalen, and two granddaughters, Maisy and Clara. They all live in Seattle, too. Those apples don’t move far from the tree…literally.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to at for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within – Jon Derek Croteau

Posted on: September 25th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Hazelden (September 9, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161649509X
ISBN-13: 978-1616495091
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Synopsis:

A memoir of Jon Derek Croteau, about coming to terms with his sexuality, and how trying to live with it caused him to have an eating disorder.

Review

This was a very powerful story. The reader is given the opportunity to look through the eyes of a young gay man as he grows up being different. This story is a no holds barred, warts and all tale of parental rejection.

The tale covers his life beginning when he was a child in pre-school. While all the other boys played with trucks and cars, he wanted to play with the girls and the dresser full of clothes. When he was caught, his father removed him from the school, placed him in another, and spent the next years trying to force him to be a man through various sports.

All though was not bleak. He had a supportive mother, siblings, and friends. Something that sadly a lot of those in the LGBT community lack. One darker aspect of dealing with his sexuality was he developed an eating disorder. Partly over his sexuality, and partly over a father who constantly reminded him that he was fat, or that he’d get fat.

Overall, it’s a memorable story of life, and one that all those who support the LGBT community should read, and those who don’t support the community should read it, just to see the damage they can do to a person’s psyche. I’d recommend it to any older teen and adult readers due to subject matter, but it’s a definite recommendation.

About the Author

Jon Derek Croteau is on a mission to make a difference, a mission he has pursued since his childhood. He uses every moment to learn more about the world in order to contribute to those who are in need, disenfranchised, or impacted by discrimination. He is a champion of equal rights and effective leadership. This has led him to advocate, teach, write, advise and support people, places, and ideas that enhance the lives of others. As a husband, brother, uncle, and friend, he shares his love, life and mission with his family and friends from whom he draws support and inspiration.

Jon is a senior partner at Witt/Kieffer, an expert in leadership solutions for major institutions, and a respected author of books, essays, poetry, and short stories. He has written numerous academic articles and has contributed to many other publications.

Volunteering and philanthropy have been at the core of Jon’s mission. Along with his husband, he is the co-founder of the Jayne A. Iarrobino Scholarship for Leadership and Promise at Emerson College, The Alan K. Gaynor Prize Fund at Boston University, and is an advocate for The Trevor Project’s, Friends of Trevor. He has volunteered for Camp Hope in Quito, Ecuador, has served as a Big Brother and a mentor for Point Foundation, and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Boston University School of Education.

Jon is Executive Producer of Singer/Songwriter Will Dailey’s New Album National Throat. Get it today!

His memoir, My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within, will be published by Hazelden Publishing September 9, 2014.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lisa at TLC Book tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Giveaway – Remains of Innocence – J.A. Jance

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime Tours I”m able to offer my readers 1 paperback copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 9/17/2014.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US only. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

1 people like this post.

Giveaway – Murder Strikes a Pose – Tracy Weber

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime Tours I’m able to offer my readers 1 printed copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 9/10/2014.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US only. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

2 people like this post.

Review: Murder Strikes a Pose – Tracy weber

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (January 8, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0738739685
ISBN-13: 978-0738739687
Order book here:

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Order E-book here:
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Characters:

Kate Davidson – Yoga instructor and amateur detective.
George – Homeless man.
Bella – Georges’ Dog.

Synopsis:

A woman who owns a yoga studio is pulled into a murder investigation when a homeless man is murdered.

Review

I found this to be a very entertaining mystery. The characters were interesting, the plot was just intricate enough to keep the pace going, and for a debut mystery I thought the author did a really good job. There was the twists and turns in the main plot, as well as a secondary plot involving Kate’s friend and her friends husband.

This is an author whose next work I would be glad to look at. If this debut is any indication, I think she’ll do well in the mystery field. I would rate it about PG-13 due to language, situations, etc.

Overall though, I found the story enjoyable and for a lighthearted, cozy style mystery, and a good weekend read, pick up a copy of Murder Strikes a Pose and be sure to drop by and let us know what you thought.

Enter a giveaway here:

Giveaway: Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber

About the Author

Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she currently lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha.

She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Tracy is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Dog Writers Association of America, and Sisters in Crime.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Murder Strikes a Pose is her debut novel.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Gina at Partners in Crime for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Interview: Tracy Weber – Murder Strikes a Pose

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes

Rhodes Review: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Tracy Weber: The idea came to me on a rainy evening about three years ago, while in the middle of a brutal workout at my favorite health club. I was pedaling away, reading a Susan Conant novel to distract myself from the evil exercise bike, when a quote from Black Ribbon about crazy dog people made me burst out loud laughing. I knew I’d found my author soul mate. Someone who truly got me.

I went home, looked her up on the web, and stumbled across a site about cozy mysteries. As I read about hundreds of other wonderful cozy series, I began to wonder: What would happen if a yoga teacher with a crazy dog like mine got mixed up in murder? Kate Davidson and Bella popped into my head a few days later. The rest is history.

Rhodes Review: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Tracy Weber: I’m lucky. I own my own business, so I’m able to work any eighteen hours a day I want. Seriously, sometimes it feels that way. My writing ebbs and flows based on the other competing priorities of my life. Sometimes several weeks will go by without my having time to write a word. Other times I write nonstop. I’m most creative late at night, which drives my husband crazy. Most weeks I probably dedicate thirty hours or more to fiction writing. Blogs and other writing are on top of that.

Rhodes Review: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Tracy Weber: It varied over time. First, I wanted to be a horse rancher. Then a veterinarian. By the time I left for college, I was going to be a doctor. I ended up with a Chemical Engineering degree. Twenty years later, I owned a yoga studio. Now I write mysteries. No wonder my husband says I have career ADD!

Rhodes Review: Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?

Tracy Weber: On the surface, Kate and I are a lot alike. We both own yoga studios in Seattle, are vertically challenged, have body image issues, and are head-over-heals in love with a ginormous German shepherd. But personality-wise, I’m closer to Rene. A plotter, a trickster, a conniver, but completely loyal to my friends. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Rhodes Review: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Tracy Weber: Write what you love. You may not become famous. You may never even get published. But you’ll spend your days immersed in your passions. What could be better than that?

Rhodes Review: What inspired you to write Murder Strikes a Pose?

Tracy Weber: Wow. So many things. I’ve talked about Susan Conant, yoga, and my certifiably crazy dog obsession in other blogs. Those three things together definitely inspired me to write this series. My tag line says it perfectly: “Yoga, dogs, and murder. What could be more fun?”

My dog, Tasha, has some of the same issues as Bella. She’s huge, not always perfectly-well behaved, and she has a variety of expensive health conditions, yet I adore her to a fault. Living with Tasha has changed my life, in every way for the better. At the same time, she gets me into some pretty funny situations sometimes. My yoga students have been putting up with my “Tasha stories” for years now, so writing them down seemed like a no-brainer.

A human inspired the plot of Murder Strikes a Pose, however. A homeless lady used to hang out near the entrance to my neighborhood grocery store, and she always had a large Rottweiler mix in a crate next to her. Over time, I got to know them both, and I asked her about the crate. She told me that the Rottweiler would sometimes lunge at other dogs that walked by on the sidewalk. The crate—which she stored behind the building at night—allowed her to keep the dog with her, in spite of its reactivity.

The lady (I’m so sorry I never learned her name!) adored that dog and went to great lengths to take care of it, in spite of her own financial issues and living conditions. She was as dedicated to her pet as most people are to their children.

I started to wonder: What if her dog had Tasha’s illnesses as well as its behavior issues? What would she do? What could she do? That’s when Bella and George formed in my head. I want to be clear: George is not that woman—not even close. He has alcoholism and many other issues that she did not have. But like her, he knows the joy and heartache that come from deep love for an imperfect creature.

Unfortunately, she disappeared from the neighborhood long before I wrote the first draft of Murder Strikes a Pose. I haven’t seen her almost two years, so I’ll probably never know what she would have thought about being my muse. I hope she would have felt complimented.

Rhodes Review: What was your favorite part of the book?

Tracy Weber: It’s not one specific part or scene, but I loved seeing Kate grow and learn to love herself by learning to love Bella. I completely believe that love transforms us, when we are willing to allow it to. And no love is more pure than that of a human and an animal. We enter into a relationship with animals in which we know the ultimate outcome. Most animals’ lives are significantly shorter than ours. And yet, if we allow ourselves, we can find a beauty and self-sacrifice in that relationship that is at the same time deeper and more meaningful than almost any other. Kate fights that depth with every cell of her commitment-wary soul. And yet ultimately, that is what saves her. We should all be so lucky.

Rhodes Review: What are your favorite authors/books?

Tracy Weber: I adore light-hearted, dog-related mysteries, above all. Susan Conant, Laurien Berenson, Sheila Boneham, and Waverly Curtis are some of my favorites. I also love a good legal thriller, though I haven’t read one in awhile.