Saturday, January 31, 2015

Shadows In The Fog Book Review

Title: Shadows in the Fog
Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 353
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Format: Paperback/Kindle

The story begins on a stormy morning in February of 1959. The front page of the morning paper is dominated by news of the plane crash which killed rock ’n roll stars Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens. 
Private Eye Sam Slater is hired to perform what he thinks is a routine two-day job as a favor for a friend. However, it all goes terribly wrong when a young San Francisco policeman is gunned down while sitting in a parked car with Sam. 
The murder sets off a chain of events which will pull Sam and his wife and partner, Amelia, into a dangerous web of intrigue in the dark, shadowy alleys and back rooms of San Francisco’s Chinatown. 
In the winter of 1959, Amelia resigns as a TWA stewardess and is now Sam’s full time partner in the private eye business. 
Sam and Amelia inadvertently come in conflict with the San Francisco mob boss after helping a crusading newspaper reporter who is working to expose corruption in Chinatown. Now a mysterious dark car follows the Slaters every where they go. Sam and Amelia discover a hidden world of corrupt cops, gambling parlors, brothels and human trafficking exists right under their noses. 
At the same time, a rising California politician hires Sam and Amelia to find his daughter who disappeared without a trace three years earlier. The search is prompted by the sudden appearance of a letter from the woman, who was presumed dead. 
As Sam and Amelia pursue these cases, they discover that all the clues lead them back to Chinatown. The Slaters want to avoid taking on the San Francisco crime lords head-on. However, when Amelia is kidnapped in an alley during the Chinese New Year’s celebration, Sam plunges himself into danger desperately searching Chinatown to find her before it’s too late. 
The reader will be drawn into fast moving events which culminate in a harrowing conclusion as Sam Slater races against the clock on a foggy night in Chinatown.
“Shadows In The Fog” is the fifth book in the the award winning Sam Slater Mysteries Series but is a stand-alone thriller in the tradition of great whodunits. 
My thoughts:
I believe I have read all of the Sam Slater books and I really enjoyed this one much better than the first couple of ones because by now Sam and Amelia are getting into the swing of things and have become partners in the Private Eye business that Sam runs.
Amelia was an airline stewardess and he was a relief pitcher for the Seals in San Francisco back in the 1950's until he hurt his throwing arm pretty bad and had to give up his dream.
These are what I consider soft core murder mysteries as they don't go into too much detail about the murders and there isn't very much cussing in them also which I think makes the stories much easier to read and enjoy. I know some like it as rough and nasty as possible but for me, I think my own imagination is good enough and I don't need all those gory details.
I also appreciate that Greg Messel throws in romantic scenes for Sam and Amelia and that they end up getting married. I also appreciate the bits and pieces of some of the historical places and people that are in the stories also, so if you have never been to San Francisco, these will give you good starting points as to what is going on. I have been once and would love to go back but since I have gotten sick, not much travelling is being done, so these stories bring the city to me, right here in my own living room!
You will become attached to all of the main characters and how close a bond that they all share, which is definitely rare in most books these days. The story is easy to understand and Greg Messel is very good at giving you great backgrounds into each character who happens to run across Sam or Amelia and why it happens.
The Sam Slater series of books will become one of your favorites to collect and share with friends, especially those who grew up in that time period. Shadows in The Fog will not disappoint!
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg retired from the corporate world and now lives in South Jordan, Utah with his wife of over 40 years, Carol Madsen Messel. They have three adult children who are married and have 11 grandchildren.
Greg has written eight novels. His latest is “Shadows In The Fog” which is the fifth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Fog City Strangler,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Deadly Plunge” are sequels to the first book in the series “Last of the Seals.” His other three novels are “Sunbreaks,” “Expiation” and “The Illusion of Certainty.”
Greg is currently working on his ninth novel–the sixth in the mystery series–”Cable Car Mystery”–which will be published in late 2015. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Woodland Miracle Book Review

I have a really good book to share with you today called A Woodland Miracle written by Ruth Reid that I think you will enjoy reading!

Grace feels like she can't measure up to those around her, and Ben could use a good dose of humility.

In their small northern Michigan district, where women outnumber men three to one, Grace doesn't believe she will ever attract a husband, especially with her limp. Tired of struggling both emotionally and physically, Grace is ready to see the specialist in Ohio, even if it means going against everything she's heard about God's grace being sufficient.

Ben Eicher is a young man from Pinecraft, Florida, whose carefree ways have caused him to lose his father's respect-again. According to Ben, though, life shouldn't be so serious that it suffocates all the fun. When he is sent to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to get his life back on track, he never thought it would mean working alongside a woman-especially a hardworking one like Grace. The last thing Grace wants is another friendship with a man who pities her.

Meanwhile, the Amish community becomes entangled with two potentially dangerous men on the run. When Ben discovers Grace has been kidnapped, he sets out to find the woman who has captured his heart and risks his own life when he attempts to lure the captors away.

Grace must learn that God's love is sufficient, and Ben is left to ponder whether he belongs back in Florida, or in the northern woods-with Grace. 
My thoughts:
This story is a real tear jerker, so you better have your hanky near you while reading this tragic story. Grace actually believes that a doctor in Ohio can fix her but when she finally gets up the courage to go see him, he doesn't have very good news to share with her.
It's a wonderful setting in an Amish community where Grace lives and Ben comes from Florida to prove to his father he can settle down and get a job done.
He has never met anyone like Grace and he begins to see her as a beautiful woman and not the girl with the bad leg and has to limp. If only Grace could accept that fact, she might be a lot happier.
Will their love for each other override their fears?
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children.
Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you.

The Schwarschild Radius Book Review

Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared. After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony.  
As she closes in on the killer who has taken Olivia, Rachel becomes his next target.
My thoughts:

I have to say this is a really intense book! I am not sure why either girl chose to go the route that they did because it sounds like their parents were really good people and would have helped them with the money situation if they had just asked.

But, as usual, teens think that they know everything and that their way is the best way. So, because they both made dumb choices, they are exposed to all kinds of scumbags and really awful people who end up making their lives a living hell.

This story is about 2 young girls who do the unthinkable to rescue another unknown sister that they have back in China who is being used as a sex slave.

This story is a little bit too graphic for teens and it almost made me a little sick in several places but it tells it like it is and I am sure the real life stories of some of these young girls is portrayed just about right. So, take caution in letting young teens read this story.

Happy Reading!

About the Author:

Gustavo Florentin was born in Queens, New York and received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic University of New York. He spent a decade in the defense industry working on the F-14 fighter jet and classified electronics projects.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, many thought America wouldn't need weapons anymore, so while others waited for the peace dividend, he moved on to the financial sector in New York where he is currently a network engineer. His passions include violin, travel to exotic places and exploring worldwide conspiracies. He lives in New Jersey where he is working on his third novel.

His thriller, In the Talons of the Condor, won the following awards:

WUACADEMIA--Prix d'Or Best Novel
The Verb First Chapter Contest--First Prize
Mount Arrowsmith Best Novel 4th place
The Writing Show--Second Prize best first chapter of a novel.
Second Prize--16th Annual International Latino Book Awards

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dreaming of Books 2015 Giveaway Hop**Closed**

Hosted by: I am A Reader
Welcome to Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop!
I have three wonderful part history, part romance books to share with you that I think you will all love. If you are a romantic at heart, these book will be perfect on those days when it's too cold or wet to go outside. All three books are print copy books and can only be mailed in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!
Each book listed is a link back to my original review if you need to check up on the synopsis of the book. Don't forget to follow the Linky List so you can enter to win even more awesome books!
1.)  A Promise Kept written by Robin Lee Hatcher
2.)  The Heart's Pursuit written by Robin Lee Hatcher
3.)  A Sensible Arrangement written by Tracie Peterson

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Not Without My Father Book Review

I have  a really great book that I thought you might be interested in reading called Not Without My Father written by Andra Watkins.

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?  
Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.  
After striking-out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.  
As Watkins trudged America's forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late.  
In Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn 'I wish I had' into 'I'm glad I did. 
My thoughts:
This is a really good story about a woman who isn't sure if she can be with her father for the length of time it will take to this hike but in the end decides to let him come and that is what starts this amazing journey!
She gets to re-acquaint herself with her 80 year old father and with him beside her, she finally understands him and can get along with him.
You will cheer her on along with her father who has a knack for helping her sell her books. People really take a shine to him and she starts to see her father in a new and totally different light. She ends up coming out of this hike with a lot more than she went into it and realizes just how lucky she was to have him as her father.
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. a non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. she’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films.
In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. she is the first living person to walk the 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. her acclaimed first novel to live forever: an afterlife journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by word hermit press in 2014.

Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall Book Review

I have a new book to share with you filled with mystery and romance called A Lady at Willowgrove Hall written by Sarah E. Ladd.

Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness. His secret traps him in a life that is not his own. 
Darbury, England, 1819 
Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could expose her disgrace. But soon after becoming a lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she’s desperately hidden for years. 
Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own—one that has haunted him for years and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove Hall. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breathe a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he’ll never be free to find his own way in the world. He’ll never be free to fall in love. 
When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and fight for a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long kept. 
My thoughts:
You will this romantic story if you are into romance with a side of mystery thrown in for good measure.
It's a good thing I didn't live back in those days because I think all of these secrets that people keep are so funny! Gosh, what they considered a scandal is nothing these days! But, to them, especially women, any hint of bad behavior and they are ruined for life.
It's a good, strong and solid story about how things were back in those days and you will feel transported back to a time that is very different from the times we live in now.
Hopefully, Cecily and Nathaniel let go of their parent's stuffy rules and strike out on their own and see what is meant to be!
Happy Reading!
I thought this was such a great story, I wanted to share it with one reader. I am giving away my print copy to one winner. Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

The Faithful Book Review

I have another really great book I wanted to share with all of you called The Faithful written by S. M. Freedman.
For Agent Josh Metcalf, memories are ghosts. They are blood-soaked backpacks and the smell of strawberry Chap Stick. Josh is haunted by a little girl who went missing his first summer on the force. Decades later his search has become an obsession, and he's pinned the photos of hundreds of missing children to his wall of tears. All the children had psychic abilities. All the cases went cold -- with no witnesses, no useful tips, and no children ever recovered. Until a woman gets injured trying to stop an abduction, and Josh comes face to face with his personal ghost. 
For Rowan Wilson, a meteorite hunter for NASA's Spaceguard program, memories are lies. The childhood she thought she knew has been erased, leaving a black hole in its place. New recollections are flaring to life: men dressed like priests, a ranch in the mountains, mind control, and rape. Each new memory draws her closer to one of the other missing children, Sumner Macey; and to I Fidele, the underground organization for whom kidnapping is just the beginning. 
For Sumner, memories have become weapons. He's sharpened each of his with surgical precision: the ranch, the doctrine, the mind-wash, and the murders. He's eager to slice at the black sludge pumping through I Fidele's heart, desperate to cripple those who stole his childhood. 
To I Fidele, non-psychics are cockroaches in need of extermination, an inferior species destroying the earth. They're ready to enforce eugenics on a global scale. If they succeed, only those faithful to their doctrine will survive. 
My thoughts:
I will admit that it took me a few chapters to really get into this book but once I did, I couldn't put it down!
This is story that unfortunately, we are hearing a lot about these days, which is how the world is going to end and by whom and by what. This is a unique twist on a group of highly intelligent people decided to take matters into their own hands and started gathering up all the children who had any kind of ESP or other special gifts.
They were going to bring about the end of the world and try to start all over again with just these kids and their powers. Of course, the elders of this crazy cult would be there, too and as the story unfolds, they aren't as innocent as they make themselves out to be. Some are downright perverts in my book!
But, by the end of this first book, I was definitely hooked and can't wait to read the next one!
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
S.M. Freedman is a top-ranked Amazon author in the Mystery, Thriller and Suspense categories, and a member of the WorldWiseWriters group. She lives in Vancouver with her husband, two children and a giant orange cat.
She studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and spent years as a private investigator and business owner.
Inspired by authors of many different genres (favorites include Sue Grafton, Diana Gabaldon, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, Justin Cronin, Suzanne Collins and Lawrence Hill, to name a few) she eventually turned back to her first love: writing.
The Faithful, a paperback and kindle Amazon Bestseller in both the US and the UK, and a Quarter Finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, is her debut novel. She's currently working on the sequel.
Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

I, James Book Review

Title: I, James
Author: Mike Hartner
Publisher: Eternity4Popsicle Publishing
Pages: 293
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Format: Kindle

James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11. 
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land. 
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires?  
My thoughts: 
This is actually a story that spans several generations and starts with a young boy and girl who don't know each other in the beginning but were born on the same day and same year.
The book is about both of their lives starting out in one place and ending up in another. It's actually a really sad story about how 2 children are taken from their comfortable families, especially James, who had rich parents, and was kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave.
Rosalind's story is pretty much the same except her father is in the navy off somewhere when his wife dies and Rosalind is taken away to become a slave also. Thankfully, she is taken to someone who in the end befriends her and decides to help her escape.
Both of their journeys are exciting to read because they both share the same qualities: they are survivors who make the best of their circumstances and do not cry and beg their captors, but learn to adapt and make the most of their situation.
This was the 2nd book in a series and their journey continues on in future books. Can't wait to see where they end up as they grow older!
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years.
He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.
Mike won first place blue ribbon for the 2013 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction and first place blue ribbon for the 2013 Dante Rosetti Award in the YA category for I, Walter.