Is this a twist of fate, or the family that's fated to be?
When Dr. John Martin is called to his daughter's school, he thinks he's seeing double. In his wildest dreams he never imagined that the child he adopted had a twin. But it's the other girl's mother—the outspoken, fiercely protective redhead Maggie Adair—who's keeping the widowed dad up at night. Burned by love, Maggie isn't ready to lower her guard. Yet the handsome pediatrician makes her believe in the future again. For two sisters separated at birth, it's an unexpected and dizzying reunion. For a man and woman who spark passion in each other, it's the chance to become the family they were meant to be. If only they can let go of the secrets in their pasts . . .
Today, after ten long and pretty difficult months, I'm back on this page and happy to be here. It became necessary for me to "fill the well", so I've been reading, and reading and reading, loving nearly every minute of it. I've also been reviewing other people's books, which is a great way to give the writing bug a necessary boot in the butt. I begin with a few of those reviews, with more to come in the near future. All have been, or will be, posted on Amazon and Goodreads.
Season of the Harvest
By Michael R. Hicks ****
Review by Judy Griffith Gill
Season of the Harvest starts out like any other diatribe against GMOs in food. FBI agent Sheldon Crane dies while trying to gain evidence of wrongdoing in a genetics research lab, but manages, just, to hide away some critical evidence. His best friend, FBI Agent Jack Dawson, suspects he has done so and in his attempts to prove this, gets into deep trouble with his superiors. Instead of carrying on with the action at this point, the author almost lost me in a long spiel about Jack’s background as a soldier wounded in Afghanistan, the death of his wife, and his reaction to both these events. However, since I’d gotten the book free, I felt I owed it and its author a fair chance. I’m glad I did.
Once we plow through the back-story and lead-ins, Hicks offers a well plotted and very well written science fiction action adventure about a world in peril with very few good guys willing to take on the bad guys—or even believing they can exist. Deemed “terrorists” by governments, law enforcement departments, and researchers, Dawson and those he connects up with, most notably geneticist Naomi Perrault, want to protect the viability of untainted, unmodified plant seeds. Hiding out in a decommissioned but still viable nuclear facility left over from the cold war they, along with a team of scientists and technicians struggle to prevent the world’s take-over by alien beings whose intent is to turn Earth into a feeding ground for their own kind, with no regard for the human race.
Hick’s characters are all well-developed. His protagonists have right on their side. His villains are understandably motivated. His dialogue is well done, with each character having her or his own distinct voice. I greatly admire his precise use of the language and excellent grasp of grammar, a rarity in these days. His innate humor shines through with the introduction his “alien detection devices.” Hicks shows himself to be well educated and knowledgeable in a variety of subjects, which keeps this book interesting and the action flowing in logical sweeps. Not many authors can so deftly switch into and out of multiple points of view and continue to hold the readers’ interest the way this man does.
I am a little disappointed, though, that he felt it necessary to make this book the first of a trilogy because there was really no need. The story works fine as a stand-alone because his wrap-up perfectly plausible. As well written as it is, I doubt I’ll go looking for the sequels. Other novels by this author, yes. Others in this series, no. That said, I do recommend Season of The Harvest.
Uprooting Ernie by Pamela Burford
Review by Judy Griffith Gill
When Jane Delaney, AKA “The Death Diva” goes to a cemetery after a storm to fulfill an obligation to a paying customer—that is, give the occupant of a particular grave a good dousing with wine—she and her seven pound dog, Sexy Beast, discover a skeleton hanging in the root ball of a blown-down tree. This introduces a whole cast of fascinating, sometimes zany characters, one of whom is her ex-husband, Dom, for whom she’s pined since their divorce seventeen years ago. Suddenly, Dom wants her back. But now Jane isn’t sure. There’s this really great looking bad-boy type, Martin, who she finds both mysterious and exciting and whom she knows is a thief of sorts, but, well… so what?
The primary detective—who is the ex-husband’s ex-fiancée—just wants everyone to quit messing up her crime scene. Yes, she’s sure it is that, though there’s no proof. Others speculate (as they wander all over the wet, muddy area) it might be the remains of a Native American, which means Trouble. Some think it could be a really ancient caveman, but the truth comes out when the mayor, Sophie, identifies the skeleton as that of her long-dead husband, whom everyone thought committed suicide by drowning. Whoa, Nellie! This puts the whole event on a totally different tack and brings out a lot of speculation as to who did what to whom and when. Not to mention why.
With Uprooting Ernie, Pamela Burford has given us an especially fun novel, filled with humor as well as thoughtful peeks into the human psyche. She populates the town of Crystal Cove with memorable characters from the old rich, the nouvous riche, to the wrong-side-of-the tracks sort-of normal people. I like her breezy style of writing, and her ability to blend scenes ranging from hilarious to serious. Uprooting Ernie is multi-layered with a cast of characters who keep the reader engaged from the beginning. Don’t miss this one. I rarely give Five Star reviews, but I’d happily give UPROOTING ERNIE ten if I could.
And now, a little good news of my own. Open Road Media, which manages many of my backlist romance titles is offering a subscription service to readers. Join and enjoy this service of five books delivered right to your inbox. Below is one of the books you might select.
Not all the books I read were to my liking, but I called them as I saw them. Other readers will likely have different opinions, and if you read the books I mention here, I'd love to hear your take on them.
Worldship Praxis by J.D. Lovel **
Disclaimer: I was asked to read this novel for the purpose of giving an honest and unbiased review.
I do not know the author, nor have I read any of his other works.
With Worldship Praxis, JD Lovil failed to live up to the hype. The first half of the book had some well-written scenes, but the editing/proofreading could have used considerable help. Despite that, I liked the plot and the characters until the story developed serious " middle-book sag". It was almost as if one writer had taken the theme as far as he could, then turned it over to someone far less experienced and in a hurry to get the whole thing done and rushed into publication. Greater attention to detail, such as spelling, grammar, and dialogue formation could have boosted the novel another notch, but lacking that, I have no choice but to award only 2 stars.