Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review: Shadow Shepherd by Chad Zunker (9781542045544)

51mWa70ntcL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_A random rookie attorney, an infamous German assassin, a political reporter, and the CIA.  What was the thread that tied the puzzle all together?  Sam Callahan is the only one that can solve the puzzle, but he has to get out of Mexico with no passport or money, go to New Orleans to find a man who may be tied to his past, and save his kidnapped girlfriend in D.C., all while trying to escape an assassin’s bullet.

Even though I did not read Mr. Zunker’s first book in the Sam Callahan Series, his second book stands on its own.  His plot descriptions are so vivid and engaging that I felt like I was watching a film.  In addition, the main characters to the supporting characters are very diverse and well-defined.  I relished this fast-paced and thrilling story and will definitely recommend it to friends.  I look forward to more books in this series.

Thank you to Mr. Zunker, NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer Publishing for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Please visit Mr. Zunker’s website at for more information about the author and his works.

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Book Review: Silver Hair: Say Goodbye to the Dye and Let Your Natural Light Shine: A Handbook by Lorraine Massey (Author), Michele Bender (Contributor) 9780761189299

61T+VUlg-ZL._SX410_BO1,204,203,200_Silver is the new black, blonde and brown… From the author of Curly Girl, Silver Hair,comes a guide to letting your hair go silver.  Massey, a hairstylist for three decades, includes testimonials and pictures from herself and from women of various ages who decided to bite the bullet and let their hair go natural.  Her message to those who want do it is to “embrace your natural hair and do it for you and no one else”.  One myth is that silver hair will age you or look unprofessional.  She says that as long as you take care of your hair and yourself you will look great.  In fact, she has many women who go silver who never go back to dying their hair again.  She also suggests some hair products and home remedies to make that transition easier from dyed to silver and to keep your hair in good condition.

As a convert myself at 54 years old (see below), I agree completely with the advice she provides in this great handbook.13718699_1747532852172825_8084721219978446168_n  I have received so many compliments on my silver hair and wish I had started sooner.  It is true that the texture of your hair will change so you will need to change the hair products you use.  I also found that I had to change my makeup and clothing colors as well because my hair color was so much lighter. Ms. Massey discusses this in the book also.  My advice to you is to take a chance.  Every person is different and every hair color is different, but I promise you will welcome not having to pay to dye your hair again and that you will love the results!

Thank you to Ms. Massey, Workman Publishing Company, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.


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Book Review: The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan (9781524701864)

51OtNpM9HeL._SY346_Bethan Jones lives alone with her grandmother, Gran, who is the drabarni (magical practitioner) of her clansmen.  To Romany people, the drabarni is the wise women of the clan and Bethan is next in line. To Bethan’s disappointment, Gran says she is not ready to learn spellcraft yet and insists she go to the local village every day to sell herbs to the villagers, but her world turns upside down.

Martyn Woodward is a local farmer, a diddicoy (of Romany blood), and a gadjo (an outsider), who is forbidden in Bethan’s life.  However, Bethan finds him handsome with a pleasant disposition and will ask her Gran if he could teach her to read.

Silas Roberts is the chieftain’s son and wants Bethan for himself at any price and will use force to do it.

One night Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and leave Martyn to die.  When Bethan asks her Gran to save Martyn’s life, Bethan is told that she must exact revenge on the boys that attacked her and Martyn.

This is a story of magic, betrayal, revenge and inner strength, and it contains quite a bit of violence so beware.  The story is unique from the Romany perspective, and it had a strong heroine who preserves her beliefs even through horrendous and mind-shattering situations.  However, I felt that the story dwelled on the revenge aspect too long and ended too abruptly.  I was expecting more about Bethan’s internal conflict, than the revenge plot itself.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but would probably not recommend it to a friend.

Thank you to Hillary Monahan, Random House and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.



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Book Review: The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg (9781477806104)

fifthdollFrom the author of the Paper Magician Series comes a tale about dairymaid, Matrona Vitsin, who lives a dull life in a small village that never changes.  She is betrothed to Feodor Popov, who is not attentive, nor as demonstrative as she feels a husband-to-be should be, and wants more.  In fact, the only person that she feels a kinship with is Jaska, youngest son of the Maysak family.  That kinship will help her through the next few weeks when she finds a strange room full of matryoshka dolls (Russian nesting dolls) in tradesman, Slava Barinov’s home that mysteriously look like each person in the village.  She finds that the dolls hold an evil magic which holds Matrona’s village in limbo and she is the only person who can take the spell away.

This book reads like a folk story and Ms. Holmberg draws you into a new world that intersects with the Russian revolution.  A very unique tale indeed.

Please visit Ms. Holmberg’s website at for more information about the author and her works.

Thank you to Ms. Holmberg, 47North Publishing, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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Book Review: The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson (0385541783)

61nOkyUV2HL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_June Stefanov, anthropologist, and Pyotr (Peter) Alexeyevich (aka avtomat/robot) are destined to meet and discover the secrets they have lived with for so many years. June will find the origin of an old brass key her grandfather left her and Peter will find out what it means to be avtomat.

This is a story about the past and the future, about secrets and truths, about loyalty and betrayal, and about happiness and despair. It is fast-paced and exhilarating to find out about Peter’s past and how the avtomats came to be. A wonderful science fiction read for my collection!

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Book Review: Stainer: A Novel of the “Me” Decade by Iolanthe Woulff (1546647120)

51FWJV6m-TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“It is a poignant truth of our heedless youthful years, that the events and encounters of a single night can so alter the course of a young person’s life that it will be changed forever”.

Benjamin Steiner, spoiled Columbia undergraduate, devout Orthodox Jew virgin meets two women who will change his life forever.

P.T. Deighland, snarky Princeton undergraduate, drug dealer, player and Benjamin’s means of rebellion.

Rebecca Glaser, new N.Y.U. transfer to Columbia, intelligent, Jewish and is leaving for Israel for a month to Benjamin’s surprise and frustration.

Anthea Montague, Ford model, Southern, beautiful and Benjamin’s yaitzer ha’ra (Hebrew for ‘evil inclination’).

Does he, or doesn’t he?  This is a coming of age story which seems predictable, but with Woulff’s gift of prose and character detail, it comes to life and putting it down is not an option.  As always, a great read!

Thank you to Ms. Woulff for giving me the opportunity to review her book.

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Book Review: The Dog Walker’s Diary by Kathryn Donahue (9781635839029)

cover116146-mediumI recently started a book challenge list that asked me to read a book with the word “dog” in the title and to my delight when searching the NetGalley list The Dog Walker’s Diary came up first.

Daniel Ashe is a literary agent who has never fell in love and is looking for an awesome story to get his career moving.  Oh, and unbeknownst to him, he is looking for a dog walker for his dog’s Sparks and Eddie.

Annie Doherty is a beguiling, red-headed, Irish dog walker/witty short story writer who is Daniel’s unexpected nemesis.

Daniel and Annie’s story is enjoyable with the lure of attraction and intrigue.  The witty repertoire between the two is refreshing and Annie’s stories written on behalf of the dogs are hilarious.  The mystery thrown into the story was a surprise, and I really thought the other characters worked well.  Overall, I read it in one session and thought the humor was energizing.  I actually laughed out loud several times!

Thank you to Ms. Donahue and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review the book.


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