Spoo-ooky!

The latest Braxton Campus Mystery Haunted House Ghost by James J. Cudney IV—Jay—is the best yet.  Okay, I’m [particularly] partial to haunted houses—not those with grotesque demons or hideous monsters, but ones with ghosts (real or otherwise).  It’s fun to follow a detective, professional or non, as he or she solves mysterious ghastly goings-on.  And all the better if a creepy cemetery, bumps [or howls] in the night, and a skeleton or two enter the picture, uh, plot.

Jay has always proven to be a solid writer with interesting tales to tell.  There’s also a definite evolution in talent/skill.  Intense depth and details twine through Haunted House Ghost, painting superbly vivid pictures and characters.  You see and experience all that Kellan, the protagonist, does: shivers upon sensing “something” in an old house, pride and protectiveness as only a father can possess, and frustration that uncooperative (if not downright loopy) people may encourage.

What a great time to release the book—a few weeks from Hallowe’en.  If this book doesn’t get you into the mood for ghouls and goblins, pumpkin pie and candy corn, nothing will.

This isn’t an official review, but two thumb’s up to Jay—he’s penned a tight, fun, and entertaining mystery.  If you relish stories featuring amateur sleuths, Haunted House Ghost is a must for you.

Have a spookingly enjoyable read!

And please check out Jay at these sites . . .

https://jamesjcudney.com      https://thisismytruthnow.com

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Thank You, Jay!

I had an editing-related post . . . and Jay (James J. Cudney IV) caught me off guard.  I knew there was a review coming, but time got the better of me . . . and I forgot.  <LOL>

I want to give a great big thank-you to Jay, not just for the awesome review, but for all that he’s done for me and other writers/bloggers.  He’s supportive and helpful, and a wonderful person (the world could do with more Jays).

♦ ♦

Coco’s Nuts by Tyler Colins
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Coco’s Nuts is the third book in the ‘Triple Threat Mysteries’ series written by Tyler Colins. I previously read the first two books in the series and noticed the author has signed on with a new publisher, updated the covers, and launched two more books in the series. It’s time to catch up before I fall behind, as these are full of witty characters, memorable stories, and tons of wonderful descriptions. Let’s chat about Coco’s Nuts and the random body parts we find with tattoos on them…

First off, the title and the cover. Can you get any more eye-catching? Are they bombs? Is the author playing with the word coconut? Is it about eating fruits and nuts, being crazy nuts, or leaning toward that all-too-familiar and funny euphemism? Before reading the book, I didn’t know… after reading it, I can say with hilarity, it’s all three! I love when an author can be both serious and amusing in his/her books. Tyler Colins has a great balance of delivering snappy dialog and natural conversation. At times, there are breaks in conversation and questions being ignored (to be later responded to), matching how people really engage with one another. I like the reality of this world.

It takes place in Hawaii, and let me tell you… Colins knows how to visually create a scene. Between the descriptions in the narrative and the add-ons when someone is speaking or physically doing something in a scene, you kinda feel transported to this fictional place. I like that immersive feeling, and it’s not always included in these genres of books. Often a mystery is entirely about the mystery, but Colins ensures there is just as much ambiance and background to make you feel part of the story.

Of the three private eyes, we tend to follow JJ the most. In this caper, she’s much stronger and more pushy than the last two. The girl knows how to solve a crime, even if the client only hired the agency to prove she wasn’t guilty of murder. The ladies know that in order to do that, they need to find the guilty party. And it isn’t easy! There are a few victims and a couple of different killers / lawbreakers in this edition. Buddy, the beautiful female truck driver who’s accused of murder, isn’t all we think she is, which makes the plot even murkier and layered. I like those types of stories, as you never know what you’re getting yourself into. In this one, each chapter unfolds like a clue… we think we have a lead only to find out it opens up another murder or subplot. Then, they all come back together. You have to really keep yourself focused to know who stole Coco’s Nuts!

Kudos to Colins for another splendid entry in the Triple Threat investigations. I look forward to getting to know our main characters even more, as Colins continues to drop details left and right, but we always wonder what they’re doing when they’re not present in the chapter. I suspect there is something big coming in the next book, which I’ll be reading next month. Thanks for the opportunity to get lost in another good book, Ms. Colins… 4.5 stars for this caper.

♦ ♦

Please check out Jay’s awesome site (he’s got some pretty amazing books himself): https://thisismytruthnow.com.

BlogJay for WP

Jumping on the Blog Tour Bandwagon

The Writer’s Grab-Bag isn’t a stop on the book tour, and the original plan was to wait until the end  . . .  but what the heck?  Let’s aim for sooner than later.

James J. Cudney IV—Jay—has a fourth book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries called Mistaken Identity Crisis.  I had an opportunity to read it a wee while back and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I did the others.  It has all the elements of a cozy— an affable protagonist [with adorable young daughter], likable regulars, a host of suspects, and the putting-together-the-pieces-of-the-puzzle mystery. WPJay3

Kellan is a Braxton professor and amateur sleuth.  He has a supportive family, love interest, and eccentric in-your-face grandmother you gotta love. The case officially begins when a missing ruby is found near an electrified dead body during the campus cable-car redesign project.  Not only must Kellan must locate the real killer to protect his brother, he has a delicate if not dangerous personal family matter to resolve.  Add a sundry of jewel thefts to the murder, feuding mobsters, and you have a thrilling, fun whodunit.

Come visit Wharton County.  Get to know the townspeople.  Learn how Nana D does as the new mayor.  Follow Kellan as he sorts through the suspect list . . . and solves the case.

A worthwhile read, my friends.  Enjoy!

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Learn more about Jay’s books at https://jamesjcudney.com.

Review: The Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins

The Crimson Deathbringer is the first novel from Sean Robins—and a great debut it is.  It’s chockablock full of action.  You have dramatic alien-versus-human-versus alien encounters, exciting space battles, an insane race to save the world, some warm-hearted romance, and a lot of waggish humor (reminiscent of Douglas Adams).  If you can get this granite face to break a smile, you’ve accomplished something major and Sean has done just that—by infusing campy fun at the right times, in the right places.

I was a Trekkie—and once a Trekkie, always a Trekkie, because I could still [effortlessly, happily] watch episode after episode after episode.  That said, though, I’m not a fan of science fiction.  I’d agreed to review the book, but not checked the genre, so when it arrived, it was a woe-is-me, “Tyler, what’d you get yourself into?”  Then, I read the first chapter and the characters and storyline yanked me in!

Not only do you have protagonist Major Jim Harrison, an Air Force fighter pilot, relaying action through his eyes, you view it through others.  It’s not simple to balance—juggle—different POVs, or stories within stories, but Sean makes it work exceptionally well.

His characters are carefully crafted and his descriptions of future Earth and alternative planets and life forms are well detailed.  It’s easy to visualize all that is transpiring—from perilous shootouts and intense combat, to silly pranks and friendly banter.  There is an emotional level, too—sadness when someone dies, dismay when all seems futile, and encouragement when something heartening happens.

Without giving too much away, the storyline is this: Jim Harrison and his lovely partner, Liz Lopez, are part of a troupe that intend to save United Earth from the dastardly clutches of the egocentric, win-at-all-costs General Maada.  Hailing from a far-off galaxy, his goal is to make the Xortaags’ kingdom the most powerful, most feared entity in the universe.  Fortunately for Jim et al, they have Tarq, who also hails from a distant star system.  His objective is to save his entire species, the Akakies, via Operation KGAFUP (which we’ll leave as an acronym for the sake of a “wholesome” review).  Throw in a corrupt world leader, determined Resistance members and tough Russian mafia sorts, and Bob’s your uncle (always wanted to say that).  The Crimson Deathbringer will take you on an enthralling ride as it swoops through Sean Robins’ cosmos.

And just who is our budding author?  A big fan of Marvel, Game of Thrones, Star Trek and Star Wars . . . and author Jim Butcher.  He’s also an English teacher who has resided in various countries, including Canada; hence those Canadian references, eh.

This novel would be a five out of five, but the editor in me has to give it a 4.5 for those items that need, hmm, a wee bit of editing.  Still, a stellar story.  Looking [most] forward to the sequel.

Rating:  savesavesavesavesave

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Please check Sean Robins out at:

https://thecrimsondeathbringer.home.blog

https://seanrobins73.wixsite.com/website

Amazon:  Mybook.to/crimsondeath

 

 

 

Grace & Gratitude

This past Sunday, James J Cudney IV (Jay) reviewed Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie, the second in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery series.

As writers/bloggers, there are times when we wonder whether we should continue writing; it can prove a thankless (sale-less) profession, one gratifying only to ourselves.  So when someone writes a wonderful review of your book, the feeling is amaz-zing.  Yes, indeedy-do, it is all worth it.

I’ve been a follower of Jay’s for over a year now.  He’s a prolific and gifted blogger, author, and reviewer, and . . . I’ll state this again (and again) . . . a kind and encouraging person.

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Please visit his awesome site to see what he’s up to.  You may also be interested in reading his entertaining Braxton Campus mystery series or other fiction works.

https://thisismytruthnow.com/

Thanks again Jay!

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Book Review: Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie by Tyler Colins

POSTED ON FEBRUARY 23, 2019

Can you Hula Like Hilo Hattie? by Tyler Colins

Last year, I read the first book, The Connecticut Corpse Caper, in the Triple Threat Mystery series by Tyler Colins. Her second book, Can You Hula Luke Hilo Hattie?, is even better. Colins is one talented author who can weave a complex plot and help readers fully visualize a setting.

In this caper, our three heroines have formed a private eye agency in Hawaii. They’d solved the murders in the first book as regular citizens, so why not make it a full-time job? It was too much work in California or Connecticut to get their licenses, so Hawaii became the new home. Great idea! Fun backdrop. Hilarious characters. First, they need to bring home a runaway, hooked-on-ice teen. Second, they need to prove a man’s wife is cheating. Unfortunately, it isn’t your typical case, and when the wife turns up dead, the mystery is gonna be way more complex than our heroines thought.

Colins has created a bevy of intense and charming characters. I love ‘Cash’ who seems like a very cool dreamboat. Each time I got to know a new character, they end up getting killed off! Maybe it won’t happen this time…. but like in her first book, the body count keeps rising. It’s a fun way to keep readers on our toes. My favorite aspect of the author’s writing style is her descriptions, whether of people or settings. It’s way more than you’d normally see in a book, but it fits very well. I have a beautifully clear picture of who’s talking or moving about the book. I find myself drawn to the action, too, but it’s a very complex plot to keep focused on.

I also see strength in transitions between scenes. It’s rarely over-simplified or brash. It ends in the right place, and I roll into the next scene without worrying what happened in between. I also find the dialog to be rather strong… quick puns, not wordy, direct but full of imagery and thought. I can’t wait to see what third adventure the ladies find themselves embroiled in… no matter what the plot is, I’m sure it will create loads of fun and memories. Great job, Ms. Colins!

 

Day 16 (Dec 16): https://swiftcoffee.blog

Yesterday, Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? (the second Triple Threat Investigation Agency series featuring private eyes JJ, Rey and Linda) was featured on Dora’s comfy-cozy blog, https://swiftcoffee.blog.

This fairly new-to-the-scenes doctor (as in recently graduated) loves books—and often reviews them with a hot drink in hand.  “A coffee always gives an excuse to make myself a little time to write a quick review about the book I’ve recently read.  I like the idea that my readers could have the same experience reading them!”

A self- professed literary omnivore, Dora reads [reviews] all types of books as long as the quality is there; the only ones she doesn’t touch are children’s books and audiobooks.  There’s also a neat rating system; you’ll have to visit her blog, though, to find out more.

(. . . Another wholehearted thank-you to Dora for the wonderful review and upfront feedback.)

Day 15 (Dec 15): www.edenisebillups.com

Yesterday, Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? (the second Triple Threat Investigation Agency series featuring private eyes JJ, Rey and Linda) was showcased on E. Denise Billups’ awesome blog, www.edenisebillups.com.

Denise is a dancer, writer, and blogger (among other things), who believes: “Knowledge is a powerful thing, and I’ve always believed sharing might improve someone else’s life”.  I really like that.  We need more sharing in the world—teaching, guiding, supporting one another.

She’s into vegan living (hurrah!) and reviewing books, as well as writing her own.  I had the pleasure of reviewing Kalorama Road not that long ago.  This contemporary, paranormal suspense novel it will keep you riveted.

I urge you to check out her awesome blog at www.edenisebillups.com.

Day 14 (Dec 14): www.misshoneybug.wordpress.com

Yesterday, Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? (the second Triple Threat Investigation Agency series featuring private eyes JJ, Rey and Linda) was highlighted on Alicia’s cute blog, www.misshoneybug.wordpress.com.  How can you not smile when you’re told: “So far, my posts are freshly baked with love on the same day they go out”.

She readily admits that, being new to blogging, she finds it bit intimidating.  I get that—I still do.  Alicia also advises that while she reads for entertainment purposes, she also does so to expand her mind.  I like that, just as I like the fact that she’s “open to new ideas and new writers and most definitely not wedded to any particular genre or range of authors”.  You have to admire that candor, just as you do this: “I believe books are like people, you wouldn’t like someone calling you a 1-star person right? unless it is on your forehead and the teacher gave it to you.”   <LOL>

One last thing—because you really should visit her blog—is that Alicia’s into handcrafts and making art, as well.  Drop by soon!

 

Dec 12 (Dec 12): www.booksanddachshunds.wordpress.com

Yesterday, Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? (the second Triple Threat Investigation Agency series featuring private eyes JJ, Rey and Linda) was highlighted on Kristina’s lovely blog, www.booksanddachshunds.wordpress.com.

Kristina, who [also] hails from Canada, used to blog solely about “bookish stuff”, but has expanded now that she has beau Alex in her life.  She’s expanded to include blogging and video games, and whatever else tickles her fancy.  Alex, as an FYI, has joined in the fun and posts twice a week.

Our blogger is “owned” by two dachshunds—smooth dapples—Kafei and Sheik.  As an FYI, these cute little poochies are my favorite breed!  (God willing, one day I’ll be able to cease drooling and fawning over those I meet on the street because I’ll have a dachshund of my own.)

I love that she’s so dedicated that she provides days and time for postings.  <LOL>  Please check out her winning blog featuring books, blogging and more!

 

Day 11 (Dec 11): www.sophrilreads.com

Yesterday, Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? (the second Triple Threat Investigation Agency series featuring private eyes JJ, Rey and Linda) was showcased on Mary’s cozy blog, www.sophrilreads.com.

Mary escapes into books (primarily Young Adult and Fantasy) with tea in hand.  A reviewer, she advises that “I am new to this so please be patient”.  Honesty is a refreshing thing.

If you enjoy reading book reviews, do visit her nicely, neatly-arranged blog (I feel a need to do some serious “spring cleaning” with mine when I view hers): they’re well-written, clear-cut, and wonderfully candid.

Thank you Mary!