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Book Review: Thorns of a Reformation Rose by Jeanne Messick Loidolt

Cover

About the Book:

Five years old, frightened, lonely and confused, Jeanne faces a bleak future. Childhood is abruptly snatched away and she is robbed of any sense of security. When exploring her new ‘home’ she discovers an appalling Great Hall full of implements of torture and torment. Desolate, the vulnerable little Princess is seized with a spirit of despair. Overwhelmed with loss and abandonment, she has awakened in a horrible place, cold, bare and immense; permeated with a dark, heavy, mood. How can she face the coming days in this abysmal castle?

A historical novel about the realities of The French Reformation on the lives of the people during the 16th Century, the story traces the political maneuverings, and intrigues surrounding a five-year-old innocent child snatched from the security of her parents. She is ordered to an abandoned castle to be isolated and hidden away for grooming and education in preparation to become a future queen for the use and benefit of political greed for the mighty King of France, Françoise I.

At such a tender age, Jeanne d’Albret is an uncommon child. God blesses her with an incredible intellect, a royal bloodline strong in wisdom, discernment and queenly qualities. Embedded in her deep subconscious is an imperial intuition gleaned during her short time at the castle of her regal parents. Jeanne is a strong-willed child, stubborn and consumed with discerning truth at the foundation of every decision she makes. Given opportunities to search broad educational horizons and to explore the pros and cons of her own experiences, her growing-up years result in molding a strong-willed, compassionate woman scarred by mistreatment from others; nevertheless, independent and unflinching in her concern for her family, her kingdom and her stand for truth and moral authority amid the chaos of one of the most singularly terrible times of history. She emerges as a leader and defender of the French Huguenots during a pivotal movement of the 1500’s toward true worship.

After Jeanne’s death, France collapses in a morass of evil acts, persecutions and appalling inhumanity. Wave after wave of French nobles and leading producers of all kinds of goods denied an opportunity to worship as they deem right are forced to leave their lush estates, abundant wealth, and lifetime friends to flee for their lives among sheltering countries of Europe and eventually to a new land of promise across the oceans to America.

THIS POWERFUL QUEEN SURVIVES A HORRIBLE CHILDHOOD TO BECOME ONE OF THE LEADING DEFENDERS STANDING AGAINST PERSECUTION AND EVIL SWEEPING ACROSS FRANCE WITH VICIOUS INTENT TO DESTORY PROTESTANT HUGUENOTS OF THE REFORMATION MOVEMENT. KINGS OF SPAIN AND FRANCE ARE IMPELLED BY THEIR HATRED AND GREED TO JOIN FORCES WITH THE POPE AND HIS HEIRACHY IN A PLOT TO SCHEME A PLAN FOR THE DEATH OF THE QUEEN OF NAVARRE. THEIR MOST EVIL INTENTIONS ARE THWARTED AGAIN AND AGAIN BY THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD.

My Review:

Princess Jeanne of Navarre isn’t a Disney princess who rides off into the sunset with her prince to live happily ever after. Jeanne d’Albret was born and bred to rule, and she ruled well, but at great cost. History is not my favorite subject, but Thorns of a Reformation Rose kept me turning pages from beginning to end. The author took the two-dimensional history from her extensive research and used her imagination to create a colorful, enthralling world where her characters lived, loved, cried, laughed, fought, won, and died. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves an epic tale of the drama of 16th century royalty that reveals all the flaws behind the pageantry.

About the Author:

Jean Loidolt Head ShotJeanne Loidolt lives in East Texas on a quiet, peaceful farm with her husband, Dick.  She is retired from a career as a legal administrative assistant in Dallas. Jeanne is a mother of three sons and a daughter. She enjoys staying in touch with ten grandchildren. She keeps busy in her church and her artistic passion is water color and oil painting, although her attention has been dedicated to writing “THORNS OF A REFORMATION ROSE.”  Of course, Jeanne has other ideas for more historical fiction stories.

Find the author at her website.

Buy the Book on Amazon

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Trouble in Tampa by Louise Titchener

Cover Trouble in Tampa

About the book:

 Currently a semifinalist for the Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Award for Best Historical Mystery of 2018, Trouble in Tampa is a thrilling look at the Wild South of Florida in 1885. An easy assignment for sharpshooter and ex-Pinkerton investigator, Oliver Redcastle, turns deadly. A wealthy Baltimore art collector sends an employee to Florida. When that man goes missing, the rich man hires Oliver to find him. Reluctantly, Oliver boards Henry Plant’s newly constructed train to Florida. At the end of the line he gets off in Tampa to find a swamp load of trouble. He’s betrayed by an old acquaintance, and by not one, but two passionate women. Oliver is railroaded into one of old Florida’s infamous turpentine camps. There he must use his sharpshooting skill to escape certain death. But that means a harrowing trek through miles of dangerous animals, dangerous people, and shocking intrigues. In Key West he meets female Pinkerton operative, Hannah Kinchman. She got him into trouble in Tampa. But Oliver has a soft spot for Hannah. Together they fight their way through kidnapping, treasure hunts, intrigue, and the beautiful but treacherous Florida Everglades. Will Oliver overcome the many hurdles blocking his way home? It won’t be easy!

Buy the book at Amazon 

 My review:

The title, Trouble in Tampa, is definitely an understatement in this historical novel about life – and death – in southern Florida during the late 1800s. Private detective Oliver Redcastle reluctantly leaves his ailing daughter with a trusted caregiver to undertake what he hopes will be a simple missing person inquiry. He eventually solves the case, but not before witnessing an assassination attempt, being falsely imprisoned in a hidden turpentine camp, barely escaping a shotgun wedding, being adopted by a parrot with an extremely broad vocabulary, undertaking a forced treasure hunt in the Everglades, and much more. In the beginning of the book, I was a little distracted by a style that seemed a little terse and colorless, but as Redcastle stepped off the train into the barely civilized south of Florida, the story burst into a colorful collage of unusual characters and intriguing plot twists that made it hard to put down. This was my first novel by Louise Tichener, but it won’t be my last.

About the author:

Louise Titchener Head ShotLouise Titchener is the author of over forty traditionally published novels in a variety of genres including romance, science-fiction-fantasy, and mystery. She has two published mystery series. The first is set in Baltimore and features Toni Credella, a dyslexic young woman determined to defend her sex against evildoers. The Oliver Redcastle historical series is set in the 1880’s and features a sharp shooter and ex-Pinkerton protagonist. The first two Redcastle mysteries take place in Baltimore where Louise spent many years. Trouble in Tampa is set in the area where Louise now lives with her philosophy professor husband. In addition to writing and reading she likes to kayak, admire the beautiful tropical birds in her neighborhood, and take long walks.

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Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Mildred in Disguise: With Diamonds (Mildred Unchained Book 1) by Toni Kief

Mildred Cover

About the book:

Toni Kief, author of Old Baggage, is excited to introduce a new work of fiction – and another feisty older woman, Mildred Petrie.

Mildred Petrie expected a comfortable retirement.

Except her husband died and his secrets changed everything.

Desperate, she takes the only job available at the local gambling palace – undercover cop. Drug deals, armed robbery and a mole catapult her into excitement, danger and disguise.

Only Mildred can find the truth!

A breathless, page turner, in sensible shoes.

My review:

I love Mildred. Instead of a young, sexy main character, Toni Kief writes about a spirited septuagenarian who loves life, rock and roll, and desserts and is curious enough to get herself into all sorts of trouble. Walmart greeter? Not this lady! She gets a job as an undercover detective at a Las Vegas casino. She adopts several disguises to protect her identity, and her alter-egos are so believable that she finds herself in some very interesting situations and a few dangerous ones. Her life gets really complicated, and the story gets very entertaining. Toward the end, in order to tie up all the loose ends, the author does a bit too much telling instead of showing; however, I still look forward to reading another Mildred story in the near future.

About the author:

Toni Kief Head ShotToni Kief, a child of the 60s, Midwestern by birth, Northwestern by choice, Toni challenges the boundaries for women of a certain age. After a long career as an insurance adjuster, she fell into writing through a challenge from a friend. She has released her first book, Old Baggage, and recently followed with Mildred in Disguise: With Diamonds. There are three more in the grinder. Toni never dated Mick Jagger, but marched for civil rights, shared bread with icons of politics and art. She is spending her retirement, gathering stories prime for embellishment. Writing has taught her inspiration without perspiration is just a good idea.

Find the author at:

Amazon Author Page

Website

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Twitter

Buy it at Amazon

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Divine Intervention by Ica Iova

Cover Divine Intervention

About the book:

LUKE MARSHAL, a brilliant doctor and whole-hearted atheist, clings to the last dredges of a life shattered by grief when he meets EMMA COOPER, a gorgeous novelist, proud mother of 13-year-old SKYLER, and a true believer that no man – besides God – deserves her trust.

My review – 4 out of 5 stars:

Divine Intervention was a compelling book that was sometimes difficult to put down – at least in the beginning. Later on it began to slow a bit, but it ended well. The characters were well developed, evoking the proper emotional response for their situations, but the who’s who became a little confusing toward the end. The story was well-told, although it contained more romance and less mystery than I expected, and some of the New Age-ish theological was a little disconcerting to my conservative background. Still, I enjoyed Ms. Iova’s work and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining read.

About the author:

Ica Iova Head ShotIca Iova is the author of several books–two of which are award winners. She Never Got To Say Goodbye, was one of the three winners at World’s Best Story, 2015, and Boundaries, was a finalist at WBS, 2014.

Member of Federation of B.C. Writers, Ica writes what she enjoys reading. In her novels, she brings to life powerful, gripping relationships and fascinating characters to whom readers can relate. Every one of Ica’s books reminds readers that life is precious, and that no one should waste it on insignificant things.

When Ica is not writing, editing, or marketing, she’s a proud wife, mother, and grandmother, with a substantial sense of humor. She loves spending time with her family and pets, shopping for shoes, or just lazing around with a good book.

Buy the book HERE

Where the find Ica Iova:
Website
Amazon Author Page
Facebook 

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Factor Man by Matt Ginsberg

Cover Factor Man

5 Stars

About the book:

Ginsberg takes readers on a digital thrill ride where the protagonist holds the key to the most revolutionary and powerful technology since the atomic bomb. This mysterious character, who calls himself Factor Man, is set to change the world with a single algorithm, making him (or her) one of the smartest, richest and perhaps one of the most wanted person on the planet. By factoring larger numbers, Factor Man claims to be able to break the public key encryption that could shut down the internet. The press wants to interview him. The Chinese Government wants to kill him. And the FBI wants to protect him. But first they have to find him!

My review:

Several weeks ago I received an email from a publicist offering me a complimentary digital copy of Factor Man because I make no secret of the fact that I love a good thriller. There were no strings attached to the gift, but I am happy to recommend this unique novel to anyone who enjoys a puzzling mystery that will give your brain a good workout.

The story begins when a mysterious character who identifies himself/herself only as Factor Man contacts a reporter named William Burkett. Through a series of emails, he lays out his four-year plan to turn the worlds of higher mathematics, Cyberspace, and high finance upside down, and he offers Burkett exclusive rights to the story. Through these emails, the author cleverly educates those of us whose math education stopped at plane geometry and whose knowledge of the Internet is informed mostly by Abby and McGee of NCIS fame so we can understand the rest of the story.

Once the groundwork is laid, the story moves into the real world as more people are introduced into Factor Man’s scheme. What was at first believed to be a hoax by a crazy mathematician looking for his fifteen minutes of fame becomes an international happening that can either usher in a new era of peace and prosperity or send the world economic and political systems crashing back into the dark ages. The final segment of the story is full of FBI, CIA, and other agencies as well as spies, contract killers, and suspense that kept me up until the wee hours to find out what happened.

Matt Ginsber is a highly intelligent man with a wide variety of interests. I’m very glad that one of his interests was writing an amazingly entertaining story, and I’m hopeful that he’s interested in writing another one soon.

About the author:

GinsbergMattAuthorMatt Ginsberg got a doctorate in astrophysics from Oxford when he was 24. He quickly came to his senses, however, switching to artificial intelligence and teaching at Stanford for a decade. He’s been on the front page of the New York Times and, surprisingly, was happy about it. He’s been a political columnist and published playwright, and constructs crosswords for the Times. He has written about a hundred technical papers. And one novel.

Find Matt Ginsberg on his website.

Buy Factor Man on Amazon.

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Wild Revelations (Cold Springs Mystery Book 1) by Sara Caudell

Wild Revelations Cover

About the book:

After ten years of being away from her hometown, Cary returns to find a paralyzed father, dead cattle, legal problems, mustangs and guns.

My review:

Wild Revelations is the story of Cary, a young urban professional, who returns to her roots on a Colorado ranch to check on her father who has suffered a paralyzing stroke under somewhat mysterious circumstances. The author weaves an entertaining web of stolen breeding records, property disputes, unexplained cattle deaths, unbroken horses, and one too many suitors.

The book is well written for the most part, although the editing is a little careless toward the end. The characters are fully drawn so that the reader roots for the good guys and boos the bad ones. The romance is a small but enjoyable part of the story, but the few intimate scenes are a little awkward. Regardless of a few shortcomings, I would recommend Wild Revelations, and I look forward to reading more of Sara Caudell’s work.

About the author:

Sara Caudell Head ShotI grew up in a small ranching community in Colorado where I learned to judge beef on the hoof and under wrap. After moving around the country for my husband’s career and catching college courses as I could, I finally found myself in one place long enough to finish my degree. I was an artist (acrylic), raised three children, managed offices, and started my own genealogy resource business before weaving my stories and experiences into novels. I now live in central Texas with my patient husband and four cats. In my spare time I do genealogy and historical research and nurse orphan kittens back to health for the local animal shelter.

Find Sara on her website and on Twitter 

Buy the book on Amazon 

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: A Kink in the Road (A Deadline Cozy Mystery Book 7) by Sonia Parin

Cover

About the book:

Humorous Cozy Mystery. Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language but lots of fun characters and quirky dialogue.

Eve’s new inn is about to open, with or without a name. As a new local business owner, Eve thinks it would be a splendid idea to attend a local town meeting. Little does she know she’s been excluded from them for a good reason. She’s been labeled a troublemaker. Now there is a new resident in Rock-Maine Island and she’s been warned to stay away from him.

One look at William Hunter the Third is enough to convince Eve she wants nothing to do with the man. Despite everyone’s efforts to keep Eve away from him, the inevitable happens and he lands on her doorstep.

To make matters worse, the billionaire brings along an entourage which includes his ex-wives, his friends and… a killer.

There have already been two deaths at the house she’s turned into an inn. Another death makes it three. Thinking disasters come in threes, she hopes this will complete the cycle. But what if she’s on a treadmill and doomed to play host to murder and mayhem? The town will surely rise up against her…

My review:

A Kink in the Road is a fun read about a young woman named Eve who finds herself in a small town with a large, possibly haunted, house on her hands. She decides to convert it into an inn where she can entertain guests and show off her culinary talents. Since there wouldn’t be much of a plot if things went smoothly, several days before she’s ready to open, an inconvenient storm strands a group of weekend visitors. Their wealthy host has a home of his own in town, but he isn’t prepared for overnight guests, so he and his friends end up in Eve’s inn. The situation turns out to be the perfect recipe for murder and mayhem that kept me guessing and laughing at the same time. This is the 7th in the Deadline Cozy Mystery Series. I look forward to going back and catching up on what I’ve missed.

About the author:

Head ShotI write humorous Contemporary and Paranormal Cozy Mysteries with fun dialogue and quirky characters. When I’m not reading or writing or consuming vast amounts of chocolate and caffeine, I tend to watch favorite movies or reruns of favorite TV shows. I love creating engaging promotional blurbs for my books. You can find these posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Buy the book on Amazon

 

 

Blessings,

Linda

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