The third book in Diane Rapp's cruise ship mystery series is every bit as good as the first two; if you enjoyed them, grab this one today. If you have...moreThe third book in Diane Rapp's cruise ship mystery series is every bit as good as the first two; if you enjoyed them, grab this one today. If you haven't read them, get started now. "Murder for Glacier Blue" finds her familiar characters in new surroundings - they're providing security for valuable paintings on an Alaskan cruise. The cruise features auctions of authorized copies of important original works that depict scenes from the locale of the cruise. The originals are aboard to help promote the sales, and so are some crooks with their own agenda for the paintings. Besides Ms. Rapp's consistently good storytelling, "Murder for Glacier Blue" gives the reader a look at the natural beauty of the Alaskan wilderness through her vivid descriptions of the scenery, augmented by a few stunning photographs. Read it today and enjoy your own vicarious Alaskan cruise while you feel the thrills as the criminals get what's coming to them.(less)
When I finished The Devil of Light, I was ready for more. I’ve been waiting for Avengers of Blood ever since, and it was well worth waiting for. Once...moreWhen I finished The Devil of Light, I was ready for more. I’ve been waiting for Avengers of Blood ever since, and it was well worth waiting for. Once past the gripping prologue, I was right back in good old Forney County, catching up with familiar characters. I felt right at home, and when somebody new showed up, I almost said, “Ye ain’t from around here, are ye?”
Ms. Woods has another winner here, with a spellbinding tale told in her own easygoing style. This book is every bit as engaging as her first one. Read it; you’ll enjoy it. (less)
Dream On is the second of Terry Tyler’s books that I’ve read, and I already have her other two loaded in my Kindle. She’s a competent writer with an e...moreDream On is the second of Terry Tyler’s books that I’ve read, and I already have her other two loaded in my Kindle. She’s a competent writer with an easy, engaging style. Her characters remind you of people that you know; you wouldn’t be surprised to find any of them living down the street. Ms. Tyler has a gift for weaving the dreams and everyday frustrations of regular people into spellbinding tales, and that’s exactly what she does in Dream On.
Dave Bentley is a has-been local rock musician who sees an opportunity to make the big-time, but he’s torn between chasing his dream and behaving like a responsible adult. His situation is exacerbated by his attachment to his young son, Harley, whose mother has kicked Dave out in hopes of getting him to deal with reality as she perceives it. Ms. Tyler tells the story with pathos leavened with just the right amount of irony. Although the premise of the story is serious, some of the characters’ antics had me laughing out loud. Read it; you won’t regret it. (less)
This is a well-written thriller that presents a plausible and frightening outcome for the recent global financial upheaval. The story has some interes...moreThis is a well-written thriller that presents a plausible and frightening outcome for the recent global financial upheaval. The story has some interesting and amusing twists, like pitting former IRA thugs against a CIA gone bad. There's just a touch of the paranormal for added stimulation, but the story is quite believable.
As a lifelong ocean-going sailor and avid reader of thrillers, I'm a sucker for any book that claims to combine both of those things. Stuart Haddon does a great job of mixing the two, unlike many writers who try it. I've often been disappointed by lame attempts to include seagoing drama in otherwise sound stories, but not this time. Mr. Haddon has clearly been there; he's writing from first-hand knowledge when he recounts the parts of the story that took place at sea. Even if you've never set foot on a small boat in open water, you'll feel the excitement and satisfaction of making an ocean passage under less than ideal conditions.
Thanks, Mr. Haddon, and finish that sequel quickly. I'm ready to read it.(less)
Many couples share the dream of running away to sea, spending endless days together sailing peacefully through soothing waters under perfect blue skie...more Many couples share the dream of running away to sea, spending endless days together sailing peacefully through soothing waters under perfect blue skies that fill with stars after each day ends in a spectacular sunset. Sailing Down the Moonbeam should be required reading for all of them. It’s a well-written recollection of the experiences that one couple had when they went to sea in pursuit of their dream.
Mary Gottschalk paints vivid images of the glorious days and starry nights, interspersed with the stark reality of what it’s like for a couple to go to sea in a small boat for an extended voyage. She brings the experience to life, and not just the wonderful parts. Keeping a yacht going is hard work; experienced sailors like Mary and Tom knew that before they took off, but they still had their share of surprises. Dealing with the unexpected is inevitably taxing, not just for the individuals, but for their relationship, as well. Contrary to the commonly held notion, the yachting life isn't idyllic and stress free, but it’s filled with opportunities for personal growth.
If you share the dream, you should read the book; it will prepare you well for life afloat. I know; my wife and I have lived our own version of Mary Gottschalk’s dream for many years. If you've never imagined such an adventure, you’ll still find the story inspiring. Climb aboard today and enjoy the insights shared in this wonderful book. (less)
Murder on a Ghost Ship – Five stars for the 2nd book in the High Seas Mystery Series
By Diane Rapp
Crime, suspense, and shipboard romance, with a venge...moreMurder on a Ghost Ship – Five stars for the 2nd book in the High Seas Mystery Series
By Diane Rapp
Crime, suspense, and shipboard romance, with a vengeful ghost to keep it exciting - this book has it all. Movie star Vance Bollard killed his wife, Celeste, so that he could marry Paula. Or did he? Celeste's ghost tries to clear that up, with frightful consequences for the cruise ship's new owner and her friends.
Well drawn characters with several plot twists and a cleverly integrated sub-plot hooked me from the beginning and held me right though the last page. Good old-fashioned mystery and suspense with a little romance to keep it light.
"Summer with Fidel" is the tale of a boy's entry into manhood, but it has some intriguing twists that set it quite apart from many other stories that...more"Summer with Fidel" is the tale of a boy's entry into manhood, but it has some intriguing twists that set it quite apart from many other stories that share that basic premise.
Danny Lester is the only son of an abusive father and a deceased mother. His memories of her are vague and not particularly comforting to him as he struggles to cope with the insecurity and disappointments that plague us all during adolescence. He has a rougher situation than most, being constantly uprooted at that critical age as he is dragged from place to place.
His father, a soil scientist, is always on the move, always changing jobs, and has no time or sympathy for Danny's plight; in fact, we discover that he harbors a great deal of resentment toward Danny. Watching Danny overcome the obstacles impeding his transition to manhood will bring tears at several points and laughter at others. Mr. Lawrence's skill enables us to feel the pain and the joy that Danny felt as he made his successful journey to adulthood.
Too much detail as to the unique aspects of the story itself might spoil it for future readers, but knowing that R. G. Lawrence is a master storyteller whose pacing and character development are extraordinary should be sufficient reason for anyone to read this book. A writer myself, I mostly read fellow Independent authors, and I put R. G. Lawrence in the front rank. He's a skilled journeyman, and the opportunity to read his work should not be missed. (less)
It's good to be the king -- or is it? The leader of a group of intergalactic escapees from the realm of the omin...moreThe Havenshire Resistance By Diane Rapp
It's good to be the king -- or is it? The leader of a group of intergalactic escapees from the realm of the ominous sounding "Institute" finds himself drafted unwillingly into the role of monarch in a feudal society. He is forced to accept the crown of the dying king to ensure the survival of his loyal group of fellow refugees, one of whom, Jarrack, is an agent for the Institute, tasked initially with bringing the rebels back into the fold.
Stranded on the planet Drako, King Donovan and his band find themselves fighting not just for their own survival, but for the oppressed majority of their new home. Reliant on advanced technology to which they no longer have access, Donovan and company learn to live by their wits, aided in their conflict with the forces of evil by a noble race of sentient wolves.
Early in his reign, Donovan is captured by Jarrack, who sets himself up as ruler of Drako. Cut off from the support of the Institute as well as its constraints, Jarrack becomes even more evil. Donovan's Queen, Krystal, emerges as a strong leader in her own right, organizing and leading the citizens in subtly undermining the would-be dictator. She disrupts his plans until her three daughters mature sufficiently to join forces with her in restoring Donovan to the throne. Separated from their mother and from one another early in life to ensure their safety in the hostile environment, they elude capture and develop their individual strengths with the aid of carefully chosen mentors. One daughter loses her mentor early and finds companionship with wild creatures, learning to communicate with them telepathically.
Skeptical at first as to the intelligence of the telepathically mute, socially backward humans, the wolves eventually realize that Donovan's "pack" is fighting for the cause of righteousness. When they encounter the telepathic daughter, their alliance with Donovan's cause is sealed. As the wolves and humans learn to work together, there are valuable lessons learned on both sides. Mutual respect, tolerance for cultural differences, and a shared commitment to make their world a better place bring the wolves and the humans together and enable them to triumph over Jarrack.
Ms. Rapp weaves an exciting tale with plenty of suspense and intrigue, keeping us on edge until the very last pages. Her characters are believable -- even the sentient wolves -- and her technique as a writer is solid. Krystal, reunited with her newly empowered daughters and aided by the wolves, frees Donovan and reestablishes his monarchy. Good does finally triumph over evil -- or does it? There's some unfinished business that must be dealt with in the third book of the series. Who will carry fight forward? Donovan? Krystal? Their daughters? Write faster, Ms. Rapp. We're waiting.
I was a bit dubious as I began reading Howl of the Wolf. I don't read a lot of recent science fiction or fantasy, and I was having trouble seeing the...moreI was a bit dubious as I began reading Howl of the Wolf. I don't read a lot of recent science fiction or fantasy, and I was having trouble seeing the 25th century world through the eyes of a sentient wolf-like creature living in a different solar system. I was completely hooked by the time I read the second paragraph, and I didn't even bat an eye when I found myself another thousand years farther into the future. Immersed in the story, I forgot all about the unreality of its situation.
Diane Rapp spins a good tale with a fascinating cast of well-developed characters. Her use of the wolf pack as an external vantage point was clever, as was the occasional intervention of the wolves in the timeless struggle between the protagonist and the antagonist.
The conflicts that arise when a small group of technologically advanced people are integrated into a much larger, well-established feudal society provides an interesting stage upon which to play out the conflicts between good and evil. Skillfully interweaving the sentient wolves in a role supporting the triumph of right adds spice to an already tangy story.
The differences in the way the wolves and the humans passed on their cultural heritage to succeeding generations was engaging, as well. Seeing two radically different but apparently successful approaches to accruing and dispersing lessons learned from the past made the interactions between the wolves and the humans over a thousand years or so (and, for that matter, between the humans and the humans) all the more interesting.
The pacing of the story is excellent; I read it straight through without wanting to stop, and was disappointed when I came to the end. Fortunately for me, the story resumes in The Havenshire Resistance. I'm ready to read it, but first, I wanted to say, "Nice work, Ms. Rapp." (less)
This is the true story of one woman's determination to see justice done. Jeannie Walker was appalled by the poisoning death of her ex-husband, and she...moreThis is the true story of one woman's determination to see justice done. Jeannie Walker was appalled by the poisoning death of her ex-husband, and she was frustrated by the slow pace of the official investigation, so she committed herself to the struggle to see right prevail.
Ms. Walker takes us through the intricacies and shortcomings of due process in a criminal investigation, with the addition of a healthy dose of local color, and a few flashes of spiritualism. Of necessity, a true-crime story requires the presentation of a fair amount of dry, factual information, but she keeps it interesting by sketching the personalities involved, along with their individual biases and motivations. Further, she shares the devastation visited upon the survivors, who were victims themselves.
She tells her story in a spare, well-written style. Her unassuming approach is engaging, and her command of grammar and punctuation, flawless. She presents herself and her faith that good will prevail over evil in a forthright manner that can't be denied, no matter whether you share her spiritual beliefs; when she touches on religion, she's leading by example, not asking you to follow, but showing you how it works for her.
Fighting the Devil is well worth reading, and, in spite of the grim subject, an upbeat book. It's a refreshing change from a diet of fiction and self-improvement. Read it. You won't regret it.
Interesting piece of historical fiction with solid character development. Innovative treatment of the science versus religion conflict, with a surpris...moreInteresting piece of historical fiction with solid character development. Innovative treatment of the science versus religion conflict, with a surprise ending. Easy and entertaining to read, and well worth the time.(less)