An Exemplary Title for a Novel

The Meaning of Us by Carol Ervin is Book Eight of the Mountain Woman Series. It is not necessary to read the books in order but it would make life easier. First, there is a cast of characters with such a great number of characters spread over at least three generations. This will challenge even those with a hobby of genealogical tracing. Carol Ervin precedes her books with a helpful list of characters who appear in the book readers are currently reading and, after Book One, a list of character names which appear in the book only as a reference to characters in previous novels. If readers are reading on Kindle with X-ray enabled, it is easy to keep track of the complex relationships that come about due to multiple marriages, common law marriages, adoptions, placing of children with more competent relatives, and death. This is one of the reasons the series is very entertaining. It feels like my family. Your family may be different.

Glass is Fragile

The first thing that struck me about Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney was the writing style. In one word, it is elegant. Cudney tells a story with a style that I used to read (and like) several decades ago. The style is not populated with a lot of action words that speed to an objective. There is nuance and layers as Cudney tells several stories at the same time about a family that ultimately might define dysfunctional. This is a style I rarely find today.

We Are the Past

I don’t know what prompted me to download The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay, but I am very happy I did. This reading discovery was like winning a lottery prize for reading addicts. This is a five-star, highly recommended, 340-page historical fiction account of socially horrible conditions in 1870s New York. There is extreme life-threatening hunger and poverty, incurable disease, human trafficking of children, youthful crime, adult crime, political corruption, and drug addiction. The story is primarily told through the first-person narrative of Moth (she will have other names) as she relates her life experiences from the age of twelve to nineteen. Other characters will present different, clearly delineated points of view also using the first person. The novel is fast-paced and a page-turner. I impressed myself with my reading speed by finishing the novel in four and a half hours, unusually fast for me. Then I sat back to think about it for one hour before starting to write this review.

Greed Is Good?

The cover of my Kindle edition of Game of Greed by Charlotte Larsen describes this novel as a Francis Scott-Wren Crime Thriller. True, Francis Scott-Wren is the main character, the head of one powerful business organization with a mission to at least attenuate the greed and corruption of predatory business entities with a disregard for humanitarian concerns. True, he is unbelievably wealthy due to inheritance and he is willing to spend unbelievable amounts on his self-declared mission. And he has built up an intelligence organization that rivals those of many governments through the time-tested strategy of hiring disaffected employees from those same government agencies. As a leader of such an organization, it seems to follow that Francis will assume the façade of a dilettante playboy and womanizer while still maintaining a heart that is pure. Some might think this could lead to a split personality resembling schizophrenia but there is the controlling element of a pure heart. Then there are ninjas, but we may come back to that.

Wake Up. Vote!

As one of the aging baby boomers referred to in this article, I felt compelled to share this through the…

Just Don’t Say T …

Almost hate to do this because, by the example reblogged here, I’m doing what I promised myself not to do.…

Moral Panic is Real

Panic by Harold Schechter is listed on an Amazon page as Best Sellers in Fiction. On the Amazon page for the book itself, we have this paragraph: “Panic is part of Bloodlands, a chilling collection of short page-turning historical narratives from bestselling true-crime master Harold Schechter. Spanning a century in our nation’s murderous past, Schechter resurrects nearly forgotten tales of madmen and thrill-killers that dominated the most sensational headlines of their day.” Is this meant to be another mystery for me to solve? Are the Schechter works fiction or non-fiction?

Social Media and Politics

It is very easy to get caught up in Open Primary by A. C. Fuller because there are so many types of stories in one well-crafted package. Subtitled as Ameritocracy, Book 1, there is a story of relationships; one of daughter and father, and one of Mia and possible romantic interest. There is a woman-makes-good story, as Mia develops a groundbreaking social media application. This is a technology thriller as clever computer geeks subvert the intention of Mia’s efforts … and Mia fights back. Readers will find a political thriller as a third party attempts to challenge the Democratic and Republican establishments. Remember Ross Perot? Finally, this is a collection of character studies as several candidates are vying for first place in a hypothetical run to replace the current POTUS.

Restrained Independence

I knew Kat Myrman would come up with something highly appropriate for the 4th of July. I am posting this late but the ideas are, unfortunately, of continuing relevance.

Looking first at Kat’s commentary following the poem, I have a slightly different feeling of pride in the USA. The more I read from many commentators makes me fear that I might be proud of a country I once knew. I have lived outside the US for the past twenty-five years. But then I take heart.

Russian meddling in elections or not, the US voting electorate made a mistake. Non-voters made a mistake by not voting (I am in this group). I have faith in a belief that states we can make mistakes but can also survive and correct. We (the US) are a nation that elected Nixon despite warnings from Eisenhower. I served in the US Army in Europe during the Carter years. That was a time of derisive comments about US policy ineffectiveness and peanuts. Not a good time.

Leah’s Secret


When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is classified in genres by Amazon as psychological, mystery, and thriller. There is something missing. All the labels are true but there is more. The on-again, off-again romantic relationship between Leah and Talmadge introduces a new element. The character of Leah is central to everything in this novel It is therefore not surprising that her character provides the strongest and weakest points of the novel. Worthy is strong, interesting, and exciting up to the 90% point on my Kindle. From that point, up to the 98% point, I was bored with the feelings displayed by almost all characters. I am happy that I continued to read because the last 2% of the novel, while not quite a surprise, was well done and worth the wait. I gave Worthy four plus Amazon stars and would recommend it for YA reading.