Saturday, June 24, 2017

Book Review - The First Ten Pages - Suicide Kings by Christopher J. Ferguson

As a reader, if my interest isn't stirred in the first ten pages of a book, it's most likely I won't take the time to read the rest of the story. First impressions do matter...

So, what exactly is the point of a ten page review? Obviously, it's not the story itself, the effectiveness of the plot development, the quality of character development, or the overall talent of the author. What I'm reviewing is the author's ability to draw me into their story in just a few pages. Can they give me a sense of place and time, set the tone of the story, make me care about their protagonist, and give me an impelling reason to keep reading. In today's competitive market, an author only gets a few pages to make all that happen for a reader. The rating reflects my view on those elements. It doesn't reflect on the whole book, since I haven't read the entire story. So I encourage those who read these reviews to keep that in mind and to peruse other whole-book reviews to help make your buying decisions.


Title: Suicide Kings
Author: Christopher J. Ferguson
Genre: Historical Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Review Rating: 

Review Comments: 
I loved how this author stole my interest in the first sentence of his story with well crafted wordology, at least, wordology, is what I call it since it can refer to a branch of knowledge. Using word pictures to set mood, tone, and raise expectations is an enviable skill; and one this writer uses wonderfully. The sun's angry rays, lethargic flakes of snow, bank of dark clouds--doesn't that scream ominous, warning, mystery? 

In the opening pages, in what should have been for Diana a simple walk to the church to meet her mother, was not what it seemed at first. And to be late for such an occasions--is that even forgivable? Next comes the morbid and shocking words whispered in her ear by a stranger who disappeared before she could gather her wits enough to follow. Altogether, a very nice first ten pages that would, I think, make any reader take this home.

Quote from Book:
~ Only the dimmest light seeped in from the open doorway below. If she lost her footing, if she fell, she’d go down twenty feet of the steepest stairs she’d ever climbed, hitting stone after stone. ~




Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review - The First Ten Pages - Return To Me by Carolyn Menke

As a reader, if my interest isn't stirred in the first ten pages of a book, it's most likely I won't take the time to read the rest of the story. First impressions do matter...

So, what exactly is the point of a ten page review? Obviously, it's not the story itself, the effectiveness of the plot development, the quality of character development, or the overall talent of the author. What I'm reviewing is the author's ability to draw me into their story in just a few pages. Can they give me a sense of place and time, set the tone of the story, make me care about their protagonist, and give me an impelling reason to keep reading. In today's competitive market, an author only gets a few pages to make all that happen for a reader. The rating reflects my view on those elements. It doesn't reflect on the whole book, since I haven't read the entire story. So I encourage those who read these reviews to keep that in mind and to peruse other whole-book reviews to help make your buying decisions.


Title: Return To Me
Author: Carolyn Menke
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Review Rating: **** Intrigued - Taking This Home

Review Comments: 
Writers of historical fiction often start with a long, drawn-out description of place and time that reads more like an encyclopedia than a story. As a reader, I get very antsy if this goes too long without an interesting event or character that gives me reason to stay in the past and meander through the setting. In Return To Me, the author mixes the setting with characters who have different goals, motivations, and roadblocks. The protagonists, who are strangers at this point, make strong, compelling eye contact, but are prevented from meeting. Author Carolyn Menke managed to make that scene a cliffhanger for me. Characters were well defined in just a few pages. So much so, I really wanted to follow these people as time and circumstance tore them apart and sent them in different directions. Conflict, motivation, characterization, and action were all skillfully presented in the first ten pages!

Quote from Book:

~ The woman’s voice was steady and strong. “This lighter belonged to—” 

“Yes. I know,” Sadie said. 

“You remember?” 

Sadie dipped her head and covered her mouth with quivering fingers. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of it…” ~


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review - The First Ten Pages - Deception Island by Judith A. Boss

As a reader, if my interest isn't stirred in the first ten pages of a book, it's most likely I won't take the time to read the rest of the story. First impressions do matter...

So, what exactly is the point of a ten page review? Obviously, it's not the story itself, the effectiveness of the plot development, the quality of character development, or the overall talent of the author. What I'm reviewing is the author's ability to draw me into their story in just a few pages. Can they give me a sense of place and time, set the tone of the story, make me care about their protagonist, and give me an impelling reason to keep reading. In today's competitive market, an author only gets a few pages to make all that happen for a reader. The rating reflects my view on those elements. It doesn't reflect on the whole book, since I haven't read the entire story. So I encourage those who read these reviews to keep that in mind and to peruse other whole-book reviews to help make your buying decisions.


Title: Deception Island
Author: Judith A. Boss
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Review Rating: ***** Totally Hooked - Can't Put It Down

Review Comments: 
The first page of this book had the feel of a Sci-Fi thriller, the kind that jerks you up from your lounging position into full action mode. I wanted to jump into this story and head to Antarctica with Rachel St. Claire to analyze a frozen body with strange anomalies. But wait, what's going on with her right now as she's about to explore a cave in Afghanistan is way not normal. What's going on with the gold pendant that gives her strange vibes? And what about her boyfriend who is acting edgy and asking her probing questions that seem to be very suspicious.

As you can tell, this author has grabbed my full attention in the first ten pages of her story. So much is going on, so many curious things happening at once, people acting out of character, all these elements nailed me in place. I didn't want to move an inch until I could find out what was going to happen next.

Quote from Book:
~ Rachel closed her hand over the pendant.  A familiar melody, faint at first, drifted through her head, transporting her to a white land, pristine and sparkling in the sunlight. ~



Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Review - First Ten Pages - Be Mine by April Hollingworth

As a reader, if my interest isn't stirred in the first ten pages of a book, it's most likely I won't take the time to read the rest of the story. First impressions do matter...

So, what exactly is the point of a ten page review? Obviously, it's not the story itself, the effectiveness of the plot development, the quality of character development, or the overall talent of the author. What I'm reviewing is the author's ability to draw me into their story in just a few pages. Can they give me a sense of place and time, set the tone of the story, make me care about their protagonist, and give me an impelling reason to keep reading. In today's competitive market, an author only gets a few pages to make all that happen for a reader. The rating reflects my view on those elements. It doesn't reflect on the whole book, since I haven't read the entire story. So I encourage those who read these reviews to keep that in mind and to peruse other whole-book reviews to help make your buying decisions.


Title: Be Mine (A Candy Hearts Romance)
Author: April Hollingworth
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Review Rating: *** Hum... Has Possibilities - I'll read ten more pages

Review Comments: 
I'm somewhat struggling with this review. The reason being, is that I had two very different responses to the first ten pages. First, let me address the positive. I really liked the klutzy Beth and I could sense her troubled past was going to raise it's ugly head in the pages to follow. She seemed sincere and determined to make the best of her situation, but at the same time, a little wounded and apprehensive. I also liked Mark, and wondered if he could surround her with the haven of love and protection I felt she needed.

While the author's characterizations were effective and drew me toward these people, the overt sexual innuendos and overtones of these first pages gave the story a sharp edge that, for me, cooled my interest. It's a case of too much too soon...

Quote from Book:
~ The simplicity of the interaction astounds me. I can’t help compare him to my ex James. A shudder ripples through me at the thought of him. His temper and volatile nature still scares me, even though it’s been seven years since I left him. ~



Book Review - First Ten Pages - Not According to Flan by Karen C. Whalen

As a reader, if my interest isn't stirred in the first ten pages of a book, it's most likely I won't take the time to read the rest of the story. First impressions do matter...

So, what exactly is the point of a ten page review? Obviously, it's not the story itself, the effectiveness of the plot development, the quality of character development, or the overall talent of the author. What I'm reviewing is the author's ability to draw me into their story in just a few pages. Can they give me a sense of place and time, set the tone of the story, make me care about their protagonist, and give me an impelling reason to keep reading. In today's competitive market, an author only gets a few pages to make all that happen for a reader. The rating reflects my view on those elements. It doesn't reflect on the whole book, since I haven't read the entire story. So I encourage those who read these reviews to keep that in mind and to peruse other whole-book reviews to help make your buying decisions.


Title: Not According to Flan
Author: Karen C. Whalen
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Review Rating: **** Intrigued - Taking This Home

Review Comments: 
I have to be honest. By page six I was not getting drawn into this story. Sure, poor Jane Marsh had just discovered a dead body in the neighbor's yard next door to the new house she was moving into, but still, this is a mystery, so I expect a dead body to appear. But, hold everything...page seven completely changed the tone of this story and made my heart skip a beat. In just a few sentences, the author let me know that there was a lot more going on here than I currently knew.  With an effective twist of information, I now felt as though I had to follow Jane around a little more, see what was really going on in her life. I was left with a big question that needed answering, Why Jane?

The story's hook doesn't have to come on the first page, but it surely needs to happen in the first ten pages as this author certainly proved. 

Quote from Book:
~ Had she made a mistake leaving her comfortable home to move to this northern suburb of Denver where she didn't know anyone? And where a person was killed right next door... ~



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book Review - First Ten Pages - Ethan's Daughter by Rachel Brimble

As a reader, if my interest isn't stirred in the first ten pages of a book, it's most likely I won't take the time to read the rest of the story. First impressions do matter...

So, what exactly is the point of a ten page review? Obviously, it's not the story itself, the effectiveness of the plot development, the quality of character development, or the overall talent of the author. What I'm reviewing is the author's ability to draw me into their story in just a few pages. Can they give me a sense of place and time, set the tone of the story, make me care about their protagonist, and give me an impelling reason to keep reading. In today's competitive market, an author only gets a few pages to make all that happen for a reader. The rating reflects my view on those elements. It doesn't reflect on the whole book, since I haven't read the entire story. So I encourage those who read these reviews to keep that in mind and to peruse other whole-book reviews to help make your buying decisions.


Title: Ethan's Daughter
Author: Rachel Brimble
Genre: Contemporary Romance Suspense

Review Rating: **** Intrigued - Taking This Home

Review Comments: 
Leah Dixon is minding her own business when an icy deluge infringes on her walk along the beach promenade. If that isn't enough to worry about, she finds a lone child sitting in the rain dangerously close to the water's edge. On a mission of retribution against a neglectful father, she helps the little girl find her way home. What she finds doesn't ease her mind, a short-tempered man with a knife cut on his hand. He's ready for her to leave. She's not moving in that direction...

Nothing explodes in the first ten pages. But that doesn't need to happen if the writer can move me to the edge of my seat with information that unsettles my nerves. That's exactly what happened! Nothing in these first pages makes me comfortable. I've met three characters, all of which, are in their own pitiful circumstances. I'm in complete agreement with Leah Dixon, I'm not ready to leave...

Quote from Book:
~ “I was caught up with something. I really can’t thank you—”

“Caught up with something?” Her eyes narrowed. “As in work?”

Whether rightly or wrongly, he suddenly felt defensive. “Hey, I’m trying my best, okay?”

“No, not okay.” ~