Thursday, January 9, 2020

Book Review: Spent Identity


SPENT IDENTITY
Annalisse Series, Book 2
by
Marlene M. Bell
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Light Romance Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing Date of Publication: December 11, 2019
Number of Pages: 378
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A body, a disappearance, just another hot summer in upstate New York. It’s July when antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury reaches her family’s small-town farm to consult with the trusted aunt who raised her. She learns that her beloved homestead—the one she expects to inherit—is for sale. While Annalisse reels at the betrayal and her shattered dreams, the Walker Farm ranch manager discovers a corpse in the barn. Officials close the suspected murder scene, and Annalisse seeks refuge with her aunt at Alec Zavos’s rural estate in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Then Aunt Kate vanishes. Annalisse solicits the help of Greek tycoon, Alec Zavos, even though their rocky romance has dissolved into routine separation. What began as hope on Crete nine months ago has eaten away at Annalisse’s hope for a future with him. In Spent Identity, Annalisse and Alec come together for the second time and find themselves in the center of not one mystery, but several. Where is Kate, and why sell her farm now? Is the dead man a coincidence or a clue to the aunt’s disappearance? John Doe’s identity may hold needed answers to solve the puzzle before Kate’s unstable health issues make her rescue impossible. The clock ticks, and a vengeful murderer is in charge…

WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER FOR SPENT IDENTITY:
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It's my first review of the year, everyone! So excited for another year of reading and writing. Two things I love in the world! Anyways, I started the year off reading the second book of a series, something I haven't done in forever. Starting this series off with the second book was probably not the best idea and I only say this because there were quite a few shocking references back to the first book. Hearing those past references made me sad that I didn't read the first book. I also felt that maybe reading the first book would help readers understand the dynamics of everyone's relationship a little better, but overall, the author does a great job at letting us into what happened in the first book.

This book is right up my alley! Spent Identity is a great mystery novel that makes you second guess everything every other chapter. The story itself starts off a bit slow, but if you pick up this book I encourage you to keep reading as you'll find that after the first few pages, it will keep your attention until the end. 

"I'm not taking your gun, Alec. When you come back, bring my purse, then we'll both have a weapon."

What also might keep you intrigued with the story is the romance. It's not a super heavy topic, but it's prevalent throughout the book. As someone who doesn't read too many romance novels, this was a great medium. The romance, the mystery the wonder is what makes this book very suspenseful and keeps you flipping through the pages until the very end.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book. I would recommend picking up both books in this series as I will be doing this year. It's got a lot of elements going for it and the slow start is worth reading the rest. Make sure to put Spent Identity in your book list for 2020! Until next time, Happy Reading!

★★★★☆




Marlene M. Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested on her website or www.texassheep.com. Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in beautiful East Texas with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large and lovable Maremma guard dog named Tia, and Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats who believe they rule the household -- and do.
 ║ Website║ Facebook Twitter  ║ LinkedIn ║ Goodreads  ║ Amazon Author Page  BookBub   Blog  -------------------------------------
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$350 PRIZE PACK / ONE WINNER
Autographed copy of Spent Identity & companion notebook, Mary Poppins-style bag (18x13” tapestry carpet bag with leather trim, handmade in Israel), $100 Amazon gift card, and 18” freshwater pearl necklace. 
JANUARY 7-17, 2019

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Rainy Thoughts: 2019 Year in Review

By the time this blog post comes out, it'll be 2020. It's crazy to think I am 24 years old living in my 4th decade. It's also crazy to think that another year has come and gone. Well here's my short and sweet year in review!


First Thoughts

My first thoughts of the year, I'm not going to lie, 2018 was pretty much my year. 2019 wasn't that bad though. A lot of fun and exciting things happened this year. I traveled to Chicago with my love for the first time, went to Las Vegas again with family, started a pretty great job that I love, adopted our dog Ollie, and purchased our first house on Valentine's day. Not to mention that we now have two new nephews, and we saw my favorite band Vampire weekend for the first time with their brand new album after 6ish years!

Stepping on Up

This was a great year and I stayed true to my word of the year, which was fearless. I felt that this year was a big stepping stone for me career-wise. I'm so glad to have found the job that I did, it's really helped me grow and progress out of the box that I felt that I was in with my last two jobs. I'm also happy that I participated in NaNoWriMo again. I didn't finish, but I started my new book project and I hope to go further with my book this time around.

BTW, you can pick up my first book on Amazon by click right here. 

Take Away

This was a great year and I'm excited to live by my word of the year for 2020: Wanderlust. There's so much in store for my future and I'm ready to take on the world! I pray all of you have a wonderful 2020 and that we all see the positive no matter how much negative there may be.


Happy New Year!



Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Review: Santa Claus Bank Robbery


SANTA CLAUS BANK ROBBERY A True-Crime Saga in Texas
by
TUI SNIDER
  Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / Texas History
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: December 8, 2019
Number of Pages: 146 pages + black & white photos
Scroll down for Giveaway!


When Marshall Ratliff dressed like Santa Claus to pull a Christmas-time heist, he thought it would be easy. Unfortunately for him, when the citizens of Cisco heard Santa was robbing a bank, they came running - with loaded guns in hand! But can you blame them? In 1927, the only way to earn the $5000 Dead Bank Robber Reward was to kill a bandit while the crime was in progress.
This bungled bank robbery led to a wild shootout and a getaway with two little girls as hostages. And that is only the beginning! Tui Snider’s true-crime tale reads like a comedy of errors as the consequences of the Santa Claus Bank Robber’s actions escalate to include a botched car-jacking, one of the biggest manhunts in Texas history, and a jailbreak leading to a deadly conclusion. Meanwhile, it’s up to readers to decide whether or not a mysterious blonde helped these gangsters escape. And if so, did she get away with murder?


I don't know about you, but I am a big Forensic Files, Sword and Scale, and all types of murder mystery, documentary fan. While reading this story, it felt like I was reading one of the shows, learning, discovering and finding out what really happened with the Santa Claus Bank Robbery as our author was discovering as well.

This was definitley a fun way to read about a historical event, one not many people know about. I sure did not learn this in my Texas public school. I enjoyed the way the author was writing how she felt. It was real and it felt like someone was reacting to their emotions in real time. I was hooked to the book from the first page to the very last.

We can all also appreciate all the actual evidence the author uses to help us paint a picture of this crazy story with pictures, written documents, and quotes from another book that was written about this event. One will really admire all the heart and sole Snider goes through to get us all the truth that she can find. There is a book that Snider often refers too, but doesn't really like that the book doesn't give the real names of the real life people and goes into a more fictional tale. She really wants to be as authentic as she can be and I love and appreciate that in an author.

Overall, the author does a great job in telling a story that has already been told in several different ways. It really feels like you are going on a journey with her finding out the truth behind this bizarre happening. I would defintiley recommend for anyone who enjoys a good non-fiction murder mystery.


Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!” Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences, and bookstores.This fall, she will speak about the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 at this year’s UFO Congress and teach a course on Understanding Cemetery Symbols at Texas Christian University. She also shares weekly info-videos based on her research at her YouTube channel. Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including WFAA TV, Coast to Coast AM, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman Waking, Shades of Angels and many more. She has several more books in progress.

◆  WEBSITE  ◆  FACEBOOK  ◆  TWITTER  
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  December 12-22, 2019

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book Review: Why Stuff Matters by Jen Waldo

WHY STUFF MATTERS
by
JEN WALDO
  Sub-genre: Literary Fiction / Humor
Publisher: Arcadia Books
Date of Publication: June 4, 2019 (US)
Number of Pages: 212


When Jessica, a grieving widow, inherits an antique mall from her mother she also inherits the stallholders, an elderly, amoral, acquisitive, and paranoid collection. 
When one of the vendors, a wily ex-con named Roxy, shoots her ex-husband, she calls on Jessica to help bury the body and soon Jessica is embroiled in cover-ups, lies, and misdirection. Into this mix comes Lizzie, Jessica’s late husband’s twelve-year-old daughter by his first marriage, who’s been dumped on Jessica’s doorstep by the child’s self-absorbed mother and it soon becomes apparent that Lizzie is as obsessed with material possessions as Jessica’s elderly tenants. 
Why Stuff Matters is a compelling ode to possession, why people like things and the curious lengths they will go to keep them. Returning to her fictional Caprock, Waldo turns her wry wit on the lives of those afraid to let go.
CLICK TO PURCHASE!


Where do I start with this review? How about I start with this: The main character angers me. She was a horrible person with a back story that makes you sort of feel bad for her, but then she does things that just irk you. Sure, she could have been worse, but still, she's up there. I think that was what kept me interested in reading the book. A couple of chapters in and we see this seemingly heartless person in the beginning take care of her stepchild that was dumped on her by her terrible mother. Their relationship is not the best, but it grows slowly throughout the book. By the end of the story, their relationship is still not where it should be, but it's better. 

Anyways, this book takes place mainly inside a vintage thrift store and I love going through vintage, antique type of stores. I rarely buy anything except jewelry but I like going to see what people have. There are a few I go to that always seem to have the same vendors, have the same things and that's exactly how it is in this book. I never even thought about what people do with other people's stuff when they leave it at a thrift store and how the people act and now I feel like I have gotten way better insight becuase of this book. Why Stuff Matters takes a look at the people you don't think about every day and makes you think twice about crossing a bitter old woman.

The author does a great job at giving each character their own personlity. There are an array of characters to be met in this book and each one as bitter as the next, but they still had their own quirks and their own baggage to hold. With each character, the majority of them have their own booths in the vintage store. The booths, I feel, really represent each person's characteristics and I was happy to read that everyone had their own specialty sale. This particularly so with the urn sales lady. I never thought people sold used urns, but according to this book, there is a market out there. 

Overall, I would recommend this book, no matter how frustrating the characters are. I think it's a great story that looks into a group of people that you never even think about and that is part of why I enjoy reading, you're always learning something new. 





Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind. 
◆  WEBSITE  ◆  TWITTER  
◆  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  ◆   ◆  GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE   

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