Armadillo Antics by Bill Martin Jr., Michael Sampson, Nathalie Beauvois (Illustrations)

Publication Date: April 26th, 2022

Rating: 5 Stars

When the moon comes out the nocturnal Armadillo ventures out.  From food, to terrain, and predators, readers of all ages will learn more about the Armadillo through the creatively illustrated pages of Armadillo Antics.

This short read, blessed with lots of blues, and artfully illustrated, calms readers (or listeners) just before bedtime.  As young children wind down for the night, the Armadillo’s adventures just begin.  Wrapping up on the final page with the Armadillo facts that grace us throughout the read. 

As a mother, located outside of the Armadillo’s typical climates, I loved experiencing a book about creatures not often gracing the pages, or zoos in my area.  This book sparks excitement and provokes added learning opportunities about animals foreign to the natural climate in which we reside. Bringing vivid pictures, artistically crafted, to the eyes of young children the Armadillo is sure to be an ongoing topic of discussion in the household after reading this one.

*Disclaimer: a review copy was provided.  All opinions are my own.

Pigeon-Blood Red by Ed Duncan

Published Date: February 25th, 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

A ruby necklace.  The catalyst kicking off this series debut housing a badass, but conscious driven Rico, is a ruby necklace.

Rico isn’t what you’d call an upstanding citizen, but his work is rewarding to him and he’s good at it.  He doesn’t kill women though, unless they really deserve it.  But, when he lets his showboating ways with a girl cause mistakes, he knows it’s up to him to fix it and get the necklace back, it did fall out of his pocket after all. 

With scenes from my two favorite American cities, Honolulu and Chicago, I was instantly drawn to this read.  I not only connected with the backdrops, but the high-flying action of this book was easy to escape into.  Pigeon-Blood Red sets the stage for a ravenous series following Rico and I cannot wait to read more of what Ed Duncan brings to the pages.

*Disclaimer: a review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

The Shape of Crete by Philip T. Nemec

Published Date: September 26th, 2021

Rating: 3 Stars

Jim is an American historian.  Having lost his wife long before the cancer took her, he is looking forward to reuniting with his translator, turned lover, Steffi as they travel to the Greek island of Crete to finish working on his history book.  Steffi, a Bulgarian artist, has already had one failed relationship so her mother disapproves of her new romance.  Shortly after arriving they encounter Mr. Robinson, an older Englishman looking for the cave his brother may have died in fighting the Nazis in WWII.  As their romance ignites and Mr. Robinson gets ever closer to finding his cave, danger seems to be nipping at their heels.

Author, Philip Nemec has a hand for poetry and scenery.  Despite never having been to Greece, I felt at times I was sitting on the mountainside with the characters or eating breakfast next to Steffi as she stared out her window at the captivating Plane Tree.  His poetic touches also served to kindle the romance budding within Steffi and Jim after a long absence apart, unsure of whether they should dive in or tread lightly given their individual pasts. 

As a lover of WWII novels, The Shape of Crete was more Greek mythology and less WWII focused.  Specifically, the battle between Theseus and the Minotaur as the danger stalking Jim, Steffi and Mr. Robinson’s lives began to catch up to them.  Nemec understandably played with ribbons of Greek mythology throughout the book as he so lyrically weaved it into the storyline, which was overall fitting given the scenery and location.  From the gorgeous cover to the elegant storytelling, Nemic’s talents are on full display.

*Disclaimer: a review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

Blog Tour: Only My Dog Knows I Pick My Nose by Lauren Tarshis, Illustrated by Lisa Bronson Mezoff

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the ONLY MY DOG KNOWS I PICK MY NOSE by Lauren Tarshis Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About The Book:


Author: Lauren Tarshis & Lisa Bronson Mezoff (Illustrations)

Pub. Date:  October 19, 2021

Publisher: Orchard Books

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 48

Find it:  GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo,

A hilarious and tender picture book perfect for fans of No, David that insightfully explores the inner world of a child. The picture book debut from the New York Times bestselling author of I Survived, Lauren Tarshis!

To the outside world, it might look like you do everything right: eat your broccoli, share your toys, and behave in the bath. But what about the moments when no one is looking, and your messier, mushier, scared-ier self is revealed? The only one who knows is… the loyal dog friend who sees it all and still loves you just the way you are.

This celebration of friendship, loyalty, and unconditional love with man’s — and child’s — best friend is sure to delight and entertain readers of all ages. Laugh along with recognition and delight in this ode to being true to yourself. With tender, humorous text from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Tarshis, and joyful, expressive watercolors from artist Lisa Mezoff, this sweet book presents a validating message of confidence, empowerment, and unconditional love.

Only My Dog Knows I Pick My Nose is a quick read.  While marketed as being for ages 3 to 5 our infant loved following along with the story alongside her own doggy.

The main character of this short picture book is a young boy that always does the right thing.  He eats his broccoli, gets along with his sister, shares his toys and even goes right to bed.  Or does he…?  His dog is always nearby and sees the truth when no one is watching. 

Illustrated with beautiful paint strokes and detailed coloring, our young child was able to clearly follow the mischievous acts on the page through the unique artistry while I read along. 

Despite wishing the title activity of picking one’s nose was more frequently used, parents would be hard pressed to find a 3 to 5-year-old that didn’t immediately grab for the book about nose picking for story time, so it is sure to be a hit in any household.   

About Lauren Tarshis: 

Lauren Tarshis’s New York Times bestselling I Survived series tells stories of young people and their resilience and strength in the midst of unimaginable disasters and times of turmoil. Lauren has brought her signature warmth and exhaustive research to topics such as the battle of D-Day, the American Revolution, Hurricane Katrina, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and other world events. She lives in Connecticut with her family, and can be found online at

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will win a finished copy of ONLY MY DOG KNOWS I PICK MY NOSE, US Only.

Blog Tour: LALA’S WORDS: A Story of Planting Kindness by Gracey Zhang

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the LALA’S WORDS by Gracey Zhang Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About the Book:

Title: LALA’S WORDS: A Story of Planting Kindness

Author: Gracey Zhang

Pub. Date: July 6, 2021

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.

Pages: 48

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Goodreads,Amazon, Kindle, B&NiBooks, KoboTBD,

From debut author-illustrator Gracey Zhang comes a timeless and timely picture book that celebrates the unassuming power of kind words.

Oh, there goes Lala! She carries a pot of water around the corner, down the block, and over the fence, to a patch of dirt and concrete where tiny weeds sprout. “Hello, hello, friends!” she whispers. Lala waters the plants every day, but it is her kind words that make them sway and nod.

Lala’s wild nature and quiet compassion enchant in this evergreen story about the power of kind words and the magic of being loved for who you are.

A Junior Library Guild selection

Praise for Lala’s Words:

★ “Zhang’s powerful debut lifts up the power words have to heal and feed.” ― Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Zhang’s style, blending warmhearted mltiethnic urban caricature with a bold-lined rough-and-tumble zeal, is wholly original. And like the compliment Lala pays her soon science-fiction-size plants, this debut picture book (which also depcits a burgeoning mother-daughter relationship) is ‘magnificient.'” ― New York TimesBook Review

“This is the enchanting story about the power of words.” ― Booklist

Lala’s enthusiasm blossoms on the page.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“A verdant tale of leaves, language, and most importantly, love.” ― Molly Idle (author-illustrator of Pearl; Flora and the Flamingo)

“Much like an encouraging word, Gracey’s vibrant pictures will lift you up.” ― Christian Robinson (author of Another; illustrator of Last Stop on Market Street)

“A touching fantasy rooted in reality. Gracey’s art recalls children’s books masters . . . Ludwig Bemelmans, Roger Duvoisin, David Small. Yet it is fresh and lovely and hasn’t been seen before.” ― LeUyen Pham (illustrator of Bear Came Along; Grace for President)

Lala’s Words is really about magic; a special kind of magic called kindness. Like the sunlight and falling rain, kindness nourishes the world around us. This book, with its lovely art and whimsical story, will also nourish the reader.” ― The Fan Brothers (author-illustrators of Ocean Meets Sky; The Night Gardener)

About Gracey Zhang:

Gracey Zhang is an illustrator and animator with a love of storytelling and verse. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and received her degree in Illustration from RISD. She is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she can be found window watching from the train when she’s not scribbling away at her desk. Lala’s Words is her first picture book. You can visit her at

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LALA’S WORDS, US Only.

First Love, Take Two (The Trouble with Hating You) by Sajni Patel

Publication Date: September 21st, 2021

Rating: 4 Stars

Preeti’s dreams are all coming true, she is finishing up residency and has had several interviews for a full-time position, she even has all the cases necessary to finish her research.  But, when her roommate returns home from her honeymoon, she realizes she needs to find a new place like yesterday.  While trying to avoid moving back in with her parents, she takes her friend up on her offer to share an apartment with another mystery roommate until she decides where her full-time job will take her.  However, it turns out the mystery roommate is none other than her ex, Daniel Thompson, the one she suddenly left and never really got over. 

There is no better rom com than the throwing together of two former lovers, with unfinished business and unresolved feelings, into a small space.  Of course, sparks will fly, the feelings will get resolved (usually in the bedroom), and it will all play out in swoon worthy fashion.  But where First Love, Take Two differs from your stereotypical rom com is that it dives right into all the hard things.  From differing cultures, Indian and Black, to wealth struggles, to racism, familial drama and more, it all plays out across the pages of this far from average romance read.

This is the second book in The Trouble with Hating You series, and while I have not read the first book I followed and enjoyed this book entirely as a standalone.  Although after all the issues and themes encountered in this read it is not a stretch to say book one, The Trouble with Hating You, has certainly moved up the to-be-read list!

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Constance (Constance #1) by Matthew FitzSimmons

Publication Date: September 1st, 2021

Rating: 5 Stars

The year is 2040 and Constance is uploading her consciousness to her clone, as she does every month, when something goes terribly wrong. 

As a huge fan of author Blake Crouch (think Recursion and Dark Matter), I was immediately drawn to this book.  It’s elements of realistic science fiction taking place in the not too near future quickly draws readers into its embrace. Scary real and yet unconscionably unrealistic this tops one of my 2020 favorites as author Matthew FitzSimmons stuns with a plot too good to put down for unnecessary activities like sleep!

However, Constance also happens to be the kickoff of a new series by the same name and I am intrigued to see where FitzSimmons will take this story to next.  Constance wrapped up in what I anticipated to be a neat bow I am sure to swept away with some twisted turn for book two.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

Moe Fields: The Special Bond Between Fathers and Sons by Stuart Z. Goldstein

Publication Date: April 21st, 2021

Rating: 4 Stars

“If this sounds like a simple rags to riches story, it is not. His path was never easy.” – p. 328.

Moe Fields is the story of Murray “Moe Fields” Goldman, a man who didn’t live a long time by today’s standards but survived a well lived life.  From running away to join the circus, becoming a boxer under the alias of Moe Fields to marrying the girl of his dreams and fighting in WWII.  Murray’s life was inspirational, not just to his three sons, but to those reading this story. In fact, driven by a son’s love, it inspired him to put his story to the page. 

Moe Fields captures three generations, successfully making an unknown man known to many through this lovely penning of resilience, love, family, and hard work.  Detailed and yet enchanting enough to encourage readers to lead a life Murray would be proud of.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

The Three Princes of Serendip: New Tellings of Old Tales for Everyone by Rodaan Al Galidi, Geertje Aalders (Illustrations), Laura Watkinson (Translator)

Publication Date: November 9th, 2021

Rating: 4 Stars

Having grown up, and lived, in North America my whole life it has been important for me to expose my child to cultures and stories outside of our own.  So, when I saw this book of children’s tales from the Middle East and around the world it was the perfect catalyst to begin planting the seeds of diversity, breadth of culture, and other views of life outside of our own. 

The lessons, like those we read about in North American children’s tales, are important and just as easy to understand, but the context and scenery in which they occur open our minds to beyond one’s own everyday environment. For instance, we have no oceans or deserts nearby, we don’t know any sheiks, and we certainly don’t have scorpions or donkeys lingering around. Experiencing these elements and phenomena within our bedtime stories exposes us to a world outside our four walls.  The vivid illustrations and colorful explanations combine for a beautiful foray into old tales with new twists, characters, and settings.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

Picturing a Nation: The Great Depression’s Finest Photographers Introduce America to Itself by Martin W. Sandler

Publication Date: October 12th, 2021

Rating: 5 Stars

Picturing a Nation is an outstanding pictorial history of the great depression.  Sandler does a great job of setting up the background on the accumulation of this book.  For instance, he informs readers about the Resettlement Administration, created in 1935, which made the monumental decision to create a historical section, staffed with photographers, to capture ways in which the administration was directly helping the farmers and citizens in an effort to provide the government evidence of its use of funds.  However, what they didn’t anticipate was the fame, accolades, and emotions these pictures would encapsulate all these years later. 

Traversing the country, this book is split into regions such as South, Midwest and East with pictures and brief text setting the scene for the visual art on the page.  Ultimately, profiling eleven key figures involved in this project, this book documents the nation at a crucial time in history. 

Nothing like this had ever been done before, nor has anything like it been done since, as a mirror on the nation is held up for all to see.  This is a powerful and insightful reminder to where we’ve been and the history of our nation.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

Sex/Life: 44 Chapters About 4 Men by B.B. Easton

Publication Date: May 21st, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

I am still laughing about the absolute absurdity that is B.B. Easton’s sex life.   Not afraid to make fun of herself, and never one to shy away from, well anything, Sex/Life: 44 Chapters About 4 Men is an absolutely hilarious read.  Peppered with text conversations, real relationships and very, very steamy, open-door romance.

Easton’s Sex/Life memoir is the catalyst behind Netflix’s new series, aptly titled Sex/Life, and while there are some similarities and snippets of word-for-word phrasing from Easton’s book, the outright tears in the eye humor is missing from Netflix’s serious take on this read.  And that’s okay, because the book is ALWAYS better anyway! But seriously, I haven’t read something this funny, yet steamy, in well…forever. 

Just in case this read isn’t enough, Easton has written each of her four men a book of their own with her 44 Chapters series.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

Chasing The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo “High”

Since reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid I find myself perpetually chasing after that “high” from this read.  It embodied everything I love in a book, from the powerful themes, to the tabloid-esque writing, this book was instantly one of my top five favorite reads.  So, as I forever chase after another read like this, I drifted towards The View Was Exhausting and The Siren.  Both reads have strong Hollywood female protagonists, both have tabloid-esque writing peppered throughout and both house the pitfalls of fame that was so prevalent in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

And, while each was certainly a fantastic read, perhaps my comparison of them to The Seven Husbands was unfair, as I suspect nothing will ever topple its firm grasp within my favorite reads. 

The View Was Exhausting by Mikaella Clements & Onjuli Datta

Publication Date: July 6th, 2021

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Each of these two reads takes snips, themes and intrigue found in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and adds them to their own story.  Where The Siren lacked that fully engrossing, true romance story Evelyn Hugo had for me, The View Was Exhausting wholly captured and ran with it.

Whitman “Win” Tagore and Leo Milanowski are Hollywood’s favorite on-again, off-again couple.  But behind the tabloid perfect pictures, and persona, is the truth, that Leo is her hired arm candy when she finds herself in “trouble” with her image.  How long can their relationship, and the secrets they keep, hold up?  Can Win’s career survive if this “relationship” truly crumbles?  More importantly, can Win’s heart?

The View Was Exhausting is a curated, behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood and the lengths stars will go to please the press, the public and those that hire them.  Clements and Datta bring a magnifying glass to the differences between males and females in relationships and professional spheres, both within the public’s eye and within their own heads.  Readers will ignite as the sparks fly and the publicists supervise.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

The Siren by Katherine St. John

Publication Date: May 4th, 2021

Rating: 4 Stars

This book will sit well with lovers of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.  It brings it’s own triggering storyline events though, so readers beware.   Author Katherine St. John commands her history in acting, screenwriting, directing and producing to the pages of her newest, The Siren

The Siren follows three distinct women, Taylor a flailing producer fresh off a scandal on her last film, Stella a failing actress quickly running out of money, and Felicity, Stella’s mysterious assistant.  These three women find themselves thrown together as they jet off to a Caribbean island to film a new movie with Stella’s ex-husband.  But, as a hurricane comes barreling toward them, these women are forced to come together in ways unimaginable. 

St. John truly brings depth and detail into this read that few other authors would be able to achieve.  With her experience and behind the scenes knowledge of filmmaking, The Siren is perfectly detailed so you feel like one of the set members as you read along, but with the benefit of the internal dialog of each of our three leading ladies.  Taylor, Stella and Felicity combine to make great characters, each giving us a unique view on the underlying story housed within, one that will rip you apart in this slow burning thriller.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

The Apology Project by Jeanette Escudero

Publication Date: August 1st, 2021

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

The Apology Project is a lightening quick read.  Amelia Montgomery is a nearly 40-year-old partner at a prestigious Chicago law firm when her life suddenly comes tumbling down.  After giving decades of her life to her career at JJF she is unwilling to compromise her values in a high-profile sexual assault case.  In standing up for herself she loses her job and throws some elbows (literally) in the process.  With nothing to fill her days anymore she lets her sister talk her into a 40th birthday party, inviting old friends and colleagues, but when no one shows up she begins reflecting on her decisions, starting with a drunken endeavor to apologize to the people she has wronged. 

I know what you are thinking “OMG a book where a female stands up for herself and now feels the need to apologize, a man would NEVER do that,” and yes I agree with you, but Amelia’s character was created to also be aware of this and addresses these feelings as she works through her list of apologies, crossing off a few she deems unworthy of a sorry in the process.

After recently reading another romance similarly including a strong female lawyer, I was hesitant going into this one.  Missing from my last read, I wanted a romance that had more “meat” to the story.  I wanted brains and brawn to be featured throughout rather than hidden behind steamy sex scenes, and I wanted the lead to have a life outside of the next “when will I see my man.” And, OMG did Escudero ever deliver!  The Apology Project had it all, from learning to not be defined by your career to never being too old to start over, the message throughout this book was empowering.  Escudero was not afraid to use a common female stereotype and address it head on while wrapping her lessons into a romance featuring middle-aged leads. 

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided; all opinions are my own.

Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters

Publication Date: June 1st, 2021

Rating: 3 Stars

Pride doesn’t end in June, celebrate all year long by picking up this read!  Satisfaction Guaranteed is about two VERY different women.  Cade is an accountant for her very eccentric parents’ art gallery.  Selena is a Portland nomad working to get her life together.  So, when these strangers each inherit 50% of an imploding sex toy shop, their differences are forced to come together to revive their dead aunt/friend’s legacy.  What could go wrong?  Or more importantly, what could go right?

Author Karelia Stetz-Waters has crafted a vivid portrait of Portland, from the vibrant art scene to the Midwestern raised transplants, and the fun culture.  No detail is left untouched in this not at all shy look at running a sex toy shop. This hilariously, out in the open read will have you laughing, blushing and rooting for opposites to attract.   

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda

Publication Date: May 1st 2021

Rating: 3 ½ Stars

The Next Wife is a twisted tale of lust gone wrong.  A story of consequences for trading up for a newer model wife and the costs that can accompany it. 

Kate, Ashlyn and Tish are characters every reader can hate, each with their own unique blend of anger and greed.  Perfectly crafted by author Kaira Rouda, readers are given a firsthand look at the inner dialog of these three women as we become immersed in each of their heads.  Flipping between women, chapter by chapter, The Next Wife wraps up all too smoothly with twists you’ll never see coming, hidden behind some large and expensive sunglass shades 😉

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Blackout by Marco Carocari

Publication Date: March 30th, 2021

Rating: 3 Stars

Franco has a rag tag band of loyal friends and thank goodness for it as he stumbles onto a murder, minus the body and the crime scene.  As a high, and therefore unreliable witness, the police quickly write him off, but Franco refuses to let it go and as he continues to push and push, his familial past begins to catch up with him.  After witnessing the murder of his police officer father at a young age, and the secrets uncovered during the investigation of his death, Franco is determined to remember the killer this time and bring justice to the victim. 

Author Marco Carocari twists an intriguing murder mystery.  The “investigation” and unraveling that ensues after Franco’s fateful 911 call will keep readers at the edge of their seats as they tour NY through the lens of Franco and his many jobs to make ends meet, as well as the explosive cops that work to undermine his “eyewitness” account.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher; all opinions are my own.

Evade and Capture: A Callahan Security Novel (Callahan Security Series Book 4) by Lori Matthews

Publication Date: April 20th, 2021

Rating: 5 Stars

After every book, I fall more and more in love with the Callahan Security Series.  While I am admittedly biased as this most recent addition to the series takes place in my favorite destination, the characters, scenery and suspense continue to sweep me off my feet. 

In books one through three, author Lori Matthews deliberately kept Jameson Drake in the shadows as we were first introduced to the team protecting Drake, each of the first three books highlighted one of the Callahan brothers.  However, in this newest penning, Drake is propelled to the forefront.  His facial recognition software is now up and running, readers dive into Evade and Capture just as the software has pinged a match for his long-lost sister off one of his hotel’s cameras.  Readers are quickly immersed in the brain of Jameson Drake, providing us a glance at what makes him tick and how he has come to create his global empire, including a brief look at his upbringing and family dynamics. 

Despite easily being read as a standalone, this fourth novel ties the pieces together as the software becomes functional, finally providing us a look at Drake’s motivations and raison d’etre.  Matthews continues to remain a powerhouse writer, and one of my favorite suspenseful romance authors, as she constructs hot, badass men and allows the incredible, independent women to take center stage.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the author.  All opinions are my own.

The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious #4) by Maureen Johnson

Publication Date: June 15th, 2021

Rating: 5 Stars

A YA murder mystery, set in the woods, with a strong female protagonist and her band of high school friends, The Box in the Woods reminded me of one of my favorite YA series, Charlotte Holmes.  Thus, it was unsurprising how much I enjoyed this book!  I was left with some serious FOMO (fear of missing out), for not having read books 1-3 of the Truly Devious series, but this read exceptionally well as a standalone, and provided enough history to feel like I wasn’t missing too much of Stevie’s back story. 

The Box in the Woods is set in a small town on the east coast, recognizable only for its unsolved murder of four teenagers, found dead at a sleepaway camp after being stabbed and shoved into a box in the woods (hints the name).  After her previous success in solving decades old murders, Stevie is propositioned to join the new owner of the summer camp in working to solve the infamous murders that still surround the town.  With a less than inviting welcome by the townspeople, Stevie sets off to do what so many others before her were unsuccessful at, finding a murderer. 

Author, Maureen Johnson, crafts a haunting tale, brilliantly woven and expertly laid out as Stevie delivers a mesmerizing finale.  With loveably unique characters, you can consider me the newest member of the Truly Devious fan club! 

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Blink of an Eye (Kendra Michaels #8) by Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen

Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021

Rating: 3 Stars

Kendra Michaels is a legend.  Her skills at deduction are unrivaled and uniquely honed from her miraculously regained sight, after a childhood in darkness.  Michaels, known for her teamwork with local authorities to solve high-profile cases, joins forces once again upon the disappearance of friend, and superstar, Delilah Winters.

Written by mother and son duo, Iris & Roy Johansen, Blink of an Eye delivers non-stop action.  Transporting readers to famous spots around L.A., those that glimpse its pages will immediately feel immersed in the action.  Despite being the eighth book in the series, Blink of an Eye successfully reads as a standalone and while there was certainly some background and character history that was unfamiliar, it wasn’t enough to detract from the conflict or storyline within this read.   

The Johansen pair do not shy away from highlighting the extraordinary talents of handicapped individuals as they weave a thrilling story full of badass females, dirty villains and the law enforcement that team up to foil them. 

*Disclaimer: a review copy was provided by the publisher; all opinions are my own.

Too Small Tola by Atinuke, Onyinye Iwu (Illustrator)

Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021

Rating: 4 Stars

“Tola lives in a run-down block of apartments in the megacity of Lagos, in the country of Nigeria.  She lives with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmommy, who is very-very bossy.  Tola is the youngest in her family.  And the smallest.  And everyone calls her Too Small Tola, which makes her feel too-too small.”

Too Small Tola consists of three wholly separate stories about Tola’s life, all of which begin similar to the opening statement above.  Tola’s stories range from her trip with Grandmommy to the market, collecting fresh water for her apartment and finally concluding with Easter and Eid celebrations.  A vibrant look into Tola’s culture, this heartwarming, exciting and informative book is perfect for little ones to learn about cultures that may differ from their own and take place in countries far, far away. Kids will enjoy the illustrations that accompany the pages of Tola’s story, giving them an animated look at Tola, her style and her city.

*Disclaimer: a review copy was provided by the publisher; all opinions are my own.

The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal

Publication Date: May 4th, 2021

Rating: 3 ½ Stars

Author James R. Hannibal is no stranger to the fiction novels surrounding spies and espionage. After reading his Talia Inger series I was quickly drawn into this, his latest. The Paris Betrayal releases into the world on the heels of an actual pandemic making it easier to feel the urgency as Ben Calix works to stop a bioweapon from starting a global pandemic of its own. On the outs from “the company” Ben is on his own to stop the looming attack as readers following him through Europe in his quest to save the world.

Hannibal successfully uses his own history as an Air Force pilot and contacts with real-world spies to craft another thrilling and realistically terrifying read.  This Jason Bourne-esque read treads just a little to close to the actual Jason Bourne stories to feel wholly original, but nonetheless offers the action readers have come to love from Hannibal’s writing.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

“Eating Secrets” by Megan Harris and Karyn de Mol

Reader Views Book Reviews

Eating Secrets

Megan Harris, Karyn de Mol
Mind Potential Publishing (2021)
ISBN 9781922380180
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (01/2022)

Written from the perspective of two experienced binge eaters, Karyn and Megan use their own experiences through shared excerpts to help readers understand and identify underlying causes. Tapping into activities and real-world examples, they use active reader participation to help bring insight to others either suffering from binge eating or with a loved one that suffers from bingeing.

“Eating Secrets: The Ultimate Guide to Take Control and Overcome Bingeing and Self Sabotage” offers a slow build to help readers understand bingeing. Authors Megan Harris and Karyn de Mol build reader confidence as they seek to break the diet and bingeing roller coaster ultimately guiding readers to obtaining a positive self-view and everlasting solution.

Broken into ten chapters with activities, client and personal stories, this book is a quick and…

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“The Drift” by Bert Entwistle

Reader Views Book Reviews

The Drift

Bert Entwistle
Black Mule Press (2021)
ISBN 9780989676106
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (01/2022)

Past and present collide in this history of Colorado’s mining industry. Led by Jack Bannister, this series kick-off promises to offer a rich, action packed, and thrilling ride. Presenting a rag-tag team of professionals, Jack Bannister seeks to uncover the mysteries of the drifts in this aptly named first novel, “The Drift.”

As a child, I was obsessed with rocks. Rocks at museums, in the yard, sold at stores, it didn’t matter, I loved them all. I also love Colorado, the skiing, hiking, being outdoors, the views, there is so much to enjoy in Colorado. “The Drift” seamlessly combines these two adorations into a treasure hunting, mine exploring, water polluting, thrilling and suspenseful read.

The acknowledgements pages of “The Drift” indicates this is the author’s first novel. This surprised me, as the…

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“Butterfly Awakens” by Meg Nocero

Reader Views Book Reviews

Butterfly Awakens

Meg Nocero
She Writes Press (2021)
ISBN 9781647421755
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (12/2021)

“Butterfly Awakens” by Meg Nocero is a beautiful story of the metamorphosis of grief and the journey to spread one’s wings after suffering great loss.

Grief takes on different forms for everyone. Some people bury themselves in work, others may avoid leaving their home or close themselves off to socialization, and others yet may lean into their support systems and emerge with a drive to make a difference in the wake of astounding loss. Wherever you may fall along the grief and loss continuum, there is no right or wrong way to process, act, or feel. Each person is unique, and every loss is different. In the case of “Butterfly Awakens,” readers are introduced to the author’s mechanism for coping and her journey toward awakening.

Author Meg Nocero lives a life of…

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“People Power” by Karen J. Hewitt

Reader Views Book Reviews

People Power: Transform your business in the era of safety and wellbeing

Karen J. Hewitt
Panoma Press Ltd (2021)
ISBN 9781784529529
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (11/2021)

“Health and safety is the ultimate team sport. It’s a contact sport where we all have to be up close and personal. This takes honesty, introspection and therefore courage at every level.” – p. 10.

“People Power” by Karen J. Hewitt targets senior managers, health and safety professionals, and human resources, marketing and communication teams. In an unprecedented time of a global pandemic, I cannot think of a more aptly timed book. Aimed at providing a step-by-step roadmap for organizations to build trust, engagement, and transformation in their workplaces as it pertains to health and safety measures. The goal of this transformation is to build psychological safety, innovative teams, and trust.

Build, buzz, and bake. These are the key ingredients in…

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“Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail Volume 1” by Ghlee E. Woodworth

Reader Views Book Reviews

Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail Volume 1: A series of self-guided history tours

Ghlee E. Woodworth
Independently Published (2020)
ISBN 978-1792332074
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (11/2021)

Readers of “Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail Volume 1” may never have heard of Newburyport, Massachusetts, but after reading this thorough volume of nine self-guided tours through history, they will quickly add it to their next travel destination. Nestled along the eastern coast of the United States, just 35 miles from Boston along the Merrimack River, this comprehensive walk through history is captivating, engrossing, and educational.

Having grown up with a history obsessed father, this book fit right in with my childhood. Despite many road trips and hours spent sightseeing the world, I had never read about such a quaint and historic town like Newburyport. I’ve spent many days traversing old battlefields, walking through various tours of dams, and watching countless hours of…

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“Shared Sorrows” by Vincent Panettiere

Reader Views Book Reviews

Shared Sorrows

Vincent Panettiere
BookBaby (2021)
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (12/2021)

“My act was quick and impulsive. A visceral reaction. Just compare it to people who cope with abject poverty every day. Or risk their lives to overcome oppression.”—p. 52.

Frank’s life changes one day while participating in a Columbus Day parade for the Knights of Columbus in New York. With his sword sheathed at his side, like the rest of his brothermen, he instinctively draws upon it to stop a would-be assassination of the church’s Cardinal as they pass by. Frank is pronounced a hero and immediately becomes newsworthy and something of a local icon. But, while this split-second decision is the catalyst sparking “Shared Sorrows,” the true turning point is later that night in the emergency room when he meets a doctor that shares in his grief of a mid-October night decades…

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“Cassia” by DC Mallery

Reader Views Book Reviews


DC Mallery
Tesselesset Books (2021)
ISBN 9781735338606
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (10/2021)

The prologue is enough to know “Cassia” by DC Mallery is going to keep you up at night, both for its haunting writing and its salacious plot! Sometimes it’s not just the patients in the mental hospitals that have gone insane, the doctors and staff may be just as predisposed given the individuals they surround themselves with in their workplace…

Dr. Temple was once thought to be an up-and-coming Psychologist but having moved outside the city with his energetic and spunky wife Wendy to attend to the large mental institution he’s committed to seeing these experimental drug trials through as he believes to have a breakthrough on his hands. Tasked with trying out a new, blue, shimmering drug on patients in his care, Dr. Temple has been running side experiments on the drug as…

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