Tag Archives: Novel

Book Review: “Legacy of the Highlands” by: Harriet Schultz

We all say the words “where did time go” at on time or another. I have been saying it a lot lately.  In 2012 I took a break from blogging. This is my first time back!  Five years!!

The first book I would like to review, as I begin again, is the book I was working on when life interrupted:  “Legacy of the Highlands” by Harriet Schultz.

Legacy - Schultz

This is a fabulous novel.  It is a jam packed plot, as to rival all good mystery writers.  I am inclined to say, including your favourite authors.  The beginning lulls the reader into a false sense of security in that the beginning is not what it appears – not all pleasure and romance.  The characters are multi-dimensional, soon to be among the reader’s favourite.

Goodreads summary of this novel is as follows:

Young, good-looking, successful and wealthy. Will and Alexandra Cameron had it all until the night he went out to buy ice cream after an evening of passionate sex and never returned. When his body is discovered in a nearby Boston alley, the only clue to his murder is a Scottish sgian dubh dagger left beside it. Will’s grieving widow finds refuge in the Miami villa of his best friend Diego Navarro, who has the means, power and temperament to solve the puzzle and to avenge his friend’s murder. The sinfully handsome and charming womanizer’s feelings for Alexandra run deep, and he becomes equally determined to win the devastated widow’s heart. The attraction between them grows as they follow leads from Miami to Buenos Aires and Scotland, unraveling the Cameron family’s centuries-old secrets.

Do yourself a favour, pick up a copy of Harriet Schultz’s “Legacy of the Highlands”, and you will find joy in the written word.

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“The Pineville Heist” by Lee Chambers

Seventeen year old Aaron stumbles into the aftermath of a five million dollar bank heist gone wrong. Hiding under a canoe, Aaron partially catches the murder of one of the robbers. In the chaos he sneaks away with the money and heads straight for the closest place of safety, his high school. Terrified, Aaron tells his shocking tale to Amanda Becker, his drama teacher, but it doesn’t take long for one of the psychotic robbers to show up. In the locked down school the pair are relentlessly pursued in a quest to get the money back and wipe out the evidence. (from amazon.com) 

Original Cover

Aaron Stevens is a typical high school student, who argues with his father, and likes to skip the occasional class.  Aaron’s father is very wealthy, and that wealth sometimes becomes a thorn in Aaron’s side, and gives other students a reason to raze him.   

On an ordinary day, Aaron and two of his friends get caught in the middle of a bank heist; a bank heist that now includes guns, murder, lost friendships, and death.  This kind of excitement is more than Aaron and his friends bargained for.  Aaron quickly becomes the key, the centre of an intricate plot that captures the reader’s attention, and keeps hold until the final paragraph. 

The story moves at a quick pace; sometimes taking wonderful gigantic leaps!  The reader will want to keep up – and quite possibly read the book in one sitting. The book is classed as “Middle Grade” reading, but I recommend that any adult who likes adventure and mystery, pick up “The Pineville Heist” soon!  It is definitely a good read! 

Middle Grade students will no doubt enjoy “The Pineville Heist”.  My only comment is a word of caution, with respect to the occasional injection of swearing into the conversation.  While it is likely that Middle Grade students will pass by this language without a thought, I found it unnecessary in a book of the calibre of “The Pineville Heist”. 

New Front Cover

The author, Lee Chambers, keeps situation and character description to a minimum.  Action and dialogue take centre stage, treating the reader to mind-spinning and mind-boggling twists and turns.  In Aaron Stevens, Chambers has created a very likeable hero, who remains through it all, an ordinary guy who exhibits extraordinary courage, someone the reader will care about and cheer on until the last page. 

This is a fabulous adventure and mystery novel, sent to me by Lee Chambers, in exchange for an impartial review.  A review I am very happy to post. 


“The Joy of the Written Word” was exemplified as I smiled and gasped my way through “The Pineville Heist”!  Definitely a wonderful read. 

Choose Joy! 





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Virtual Book Kick-off Party!! for “The Guardian’s Wildchild” by Feather Stone

Monday March 5, 2012 has been an AMAZING day!! 

Feather Stone’s first book, “The Guardian’s Wildchild”  has been launched  –  pun intended!  The setting of “The Guardian’s Wildchild” is on the Pacific Ocean.   

Today, around the blog world, there have been giveaways, eBooks, bookmarks, crystals, and one grand prize of a signed paperback copy of “The Guardian’s Wildchild”.  The theme of this Kick-off Party is nautical; the theme of the book contains elements of intrigue and romance. 

“Caught in a reckless attempt to stop Dark forces, Sidney Davenport, a young, rule breaking, spirited member of the secret paranormal community of Guardians, finds herself imprisoned on a naval ship and slated for execution. Her struggle with the unfamiliar emotions of fear and anger becomes even more complicated when she can no longer fight her attraction to the very man who has orders to perform her execution. Captain Sam Waterhouse, a meticulous naval captain who’s suspected of treason, teeters on a precipice between Darkness and Light. When he receives an unusual prisoner, a paranormal journey begins to unravel his disciplined life. All the while, humanity is unknowingly at great risk when two Dark forces team up to acquire control of an elusive power. Sidney and Sam attempt to quiet their powerful feelings for each other, only to discover they can save each other, and in doing so, they might even save the world. Through stunning imagery, an intricate and adventurous plot, and a strong cast of characters, Feather Stone gives readers a fascinating glimpse into the future—a future that is chilling, yet full of hope.”  (Amazon.com)

To purchase the book, paperback or eBook, check it out on these retail sites:

Omnific Publishing for Paperback or eBook

Amazon for Paperback or Kindle

Barnes and Noble for Nook

And just to further whet your appetite and curiosity, here’s a short excerpt from “The Guardian’s Wildchild”: 

Embraced, Almost 

(from Feather Stone's website blog)

Silence took command of the captain’s office. Sam went to his window and stared out into the night’s void while Sidney waited for the razor sharp tension to soften. Sam crashed into near despair, and even though his back was to Sidney, she sensed his intense regret. He stood motionless and spoke to her only through his aura. It was saturated with pain and hopelessness. It left Sidney confused. She’d never thought of him as anything but in control, unmoved by circumstances, always knowing his next move. 

Still gazing out his window, Sam finally spoke. “So, Sidney, do you still believe that man is cut from the same cloth as you?” 

She got up from her chair and stood beside him. “Yes, without any doubt. It’s not a belief. It’s a knowing. Like I know in every plain, hard seed, a beautiful flower lies sleeping, dormant until awakened under the right conditions. It’s just a matter of time.” 

Glancing in her direction, Sam almost smiled. “You sound like a poet.” 

Sidney felt uncomfortable. She had an impulse to offer more than encouraging words. He was so close and now seemed more human than ever. He needed comforting arms to embrace him. Her hands reached up toward his arms.  

He stepped away, and his rule book sprung up from out of nowhere. 


Feather Stone

And of course, before we sign off, where is the Joy in this blog post?  I think it is obvious to all here, that with the launch of her first book, Feather Stone, if I may say so, will be feeling immense Joy!  Possibly enough for all of us?! 

For more information please visit Feather Stone’s website and blog:  http://featherstoneauthor.blogspot.com/

Choose Joy!! 




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Book Review: “Splattered Blood” by Michael A. Draper

The Chief of Internal Security for New England’s professional basketball team, the Highlanders, is found dead in his office, with a suicide note and conflicting evidence of foul play. Refusing to believe he would have had reason to kill himself, and frustrated with the slowness of the police force’s progress on the case, Johnny’s widow, Roseanne, and best friend, Randy, launch a renegade investigation of their own. Aided by Roseanne’s brother Graham, a fiercely protective loose cannon, they dig up evidence that Johnny, just previous to the date of his death, was running his own undercover investigation into the drug overdose of a star player for the Highlanders. The amateur detectives find themselves mixed up with a ruthless gang of mobsters, many of whom are responsible for the drug trade-and a string of violent murders – from Washington, D.C. to Boston. When their quest takes a gruesome and deadly turn, the three wonder if they’re in over their heads. A gritty tale in the vein of Dennis Lehane and Robert B. Parker, Splattered Blood keeps readers guessing, with suspense and retribution on every page. (Amazon.com)


Splattered blood is not an image I would like to hold in my mind.  But then again, anything to do with blood makes me a little queasy – if I think about it too long!  So, why would I read a book entitled “Splattered Blood”?  Well, firstly, it is written by a familiar name in the Blog Book Review world – Michael A. Draper.  And secondly, I like mysteries.  It is as simple as that! 

I knew I was hooked by page 3!  The central character telling the story, Randy, immediately came across as very likeable.  The kind of character you root for when the fights break out.  There are two other main characters – Roseanne and her brother Graham.  Roseanne has just become a widow, which immediately draws on the reader’s emotional side.  The author succeeds in doing this, without turning the situation sappy.  Graham comes across as a pretty rough character, which means the author must somehow turn the reader to Graham’s side – at least allowing the reader to accept Graham as is.  Through Randy’s viewpoint, Graham kind of grows on us! 

Michael A. Draper

I admire Mike Draper’s writing style.  It is clear, crisp, and defined.  It moves the story along at a quick pace, without sacrificing character or plot development.  As I read, I was reminded of the mystery writers of the past:  Raymond Chandler, Georges Simenon, Mickey Spillane.  Also, Draper’s writing is not overloaded with excess scenery description or excess dialogue. 

In the first part of the book, I wondered if the plot was moving too fast, if it might make the storyline less believable.  After all, for all intents and purposes, our three driving characters were not professional crime solvers.  Yet, here they were trying to solve a crime that appeared to have links to some type of organized crime.  Fortunately, Draper’s writing made the roles of the characters believable.  Draper accomplished this by not being afraid of pushing the boundaries of our main characters’ drive and motivation. 

There were times when the descriptive writing got a little too descriptive for my liking, and I must admit reading a few pages through half closed eyes, blocking out the small amount of ‘gory stuff’ that the book included.  Other readers might not call these violent scenes ‘gory’, but to the faint of heart – like me – and although very limited in the novel – it pushed my boundaries!  I was also glad that the offensive language was very limited, as too much of it can ruin a book for me.  While I did skim over the language once or twice, most readers will not be at all troubled by a small amount of ‘strong’ language. 

There were a few times where the plot reminded me of a few tricks used by Agatha Christie – my most favourite author.  And I will admit to being caught by Draper’s twists and turns – which, of course, added to the mystery. 

This book was a steady read for me, without any evidence of a dragging storyline.  If you are looking for a new mystery novel that will engage you and hold your interest from beginning to end, “Splattered Blood” is the book for you. 

My delight in this novel included reading how the inclusion of my hometown – Kingston, Ontario, Canada – fit into the storyline!  Mike Draper even found a way to include the name of his town in the story – Guilford.  I always enjoy those small delights!

This is Michael Draper’s first novel, and I hope it will not be his last.

This is one of the books that I purchased for my own enjoyment, with the intention of adding a Book Review.

Mike Draper's Cover Inspiration

So, in keeping with the theme of my blog, where is the Joy in a mystery novel, that deals with organized crime and murder? 

I must go with Joy being found within the writing style of a new author.  A style which does not get entangled with a complicated plot, but rather, sits underneath the characters, moving them forward. 

Choose Joy!! 




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Book Review: “The Silent and the Lost” by Abu Zubair

Alex Salim McKensie, a war baby of the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence, is adopted by the McKensies, an American family that has lost their only son in Vietnam. Years later, Alex falls in love with Sangeeta Rai, but their happiness is threatened when the enigma of his birth casts a dark shadow over their relationship. The Silent and the Lost opens with the wedding of Alex and Sangeeta in Brentwood, California on a sunny Saturday in 1997, then travels back into the boiling cauldron of political clashes of East Pakistan in early 1971. Through the eyes of newlywed Nahar Sultana, her husband, student activist Rafique Chowdhury, and their friends we are immersed into the nine months of revolution that created Bangladesh. On March 25, 1971, Nahar, Rafique, Nazmul and the Rahmans find themselves in the center of Operation Searchlight at Dacca University. Miraculously surviving, they escape to Sheetalpur village. Longing for vengeance and freedom, Nazmul and Rafique leave for the Mukthi Bahini guerrilla camps in Agartala, India. In a twist of fate, in a brutal family betrayal, Nahar is captured by the Pakistani Army. Destitute and in utter despair, tortured and mad, Nahar grips desperately to her last scintilla of hope-Rafique’s return. Two generations spread across two continents, thousands of miles apart, are brought jarringly together when Alex begins his search for answers to his beginnings. He discovers that his own struggle for happiness is inextricable from the history that he finds himself part of: the genocide that in 1971 ultimately created out of East Pakistan the new nation of Bangladesh. Set in a pivotal point of time, The Silent and the Lost powerfully chronicles the history of a revolutionary change in the socio-political landscape of the sub-continent, and takes us on a sinuous journey into a passionate and breathtaking untold account of heroism and betrayal, family and friendship, love and anguish-of the lives of the characters and millions of others swept up in the unfolding unrest, mayhem and suppressed genocide.  (from Barnes and Noble)

Padma Phool - Water Lilies - Bangladesh

When I think of a descriptive word that best describes “The Silent and the Lost” by Abu Zubair, the only word that applies is “beauty”.  Beauty in the pages and hardcover binding; beauty in the picture and artwork of the front cover; beauty in Abu Zubair’s words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters; beauty in the relationships described; beauty in the flow of this incredible novel.  Once opened, I did not want to let go.  When I read the last word – I wanted more.  And the unusual, undeniable juxtaposition is that the root topic is one of deep unrest, family betrayal, and world struggle and war. Genocide.  True life facts of history wound up in a story bound to reach the heart of readers, in a way that will change the reader forever. 

Before reading Abu Zubair’s novel, my own knowledge of what happened between West Pakistan – East Pakistan – Bangladesh – was sadly lacking, even though my friend circle includes individuals whose own heritage springs from these conflicts.  That humbles me, and at the same time, makes me a little embarrassed – now having read “The Silent and the Lost”.  How could I have been so unaware of something that happened in my lifetime, happened as my high school years were ending, and university loomed on the horizon?  I shake my head in wonder that, at no time since high school or university, did I learn of the tragic events and sacrificed lives that took place in 1971. 

Abu Zubair does not leave much out of his descriptions of war and its tragedies, but nor were his descriptions anywhere near gore or horror.  Yes, there was gore in the actual historical events – there was horror in the actual events – but as with any skilled craftsman, Abu Zubair acknowledges and speaks to the gore and horror of these real life events, but he does not glorify the gore and the horror.  Which I must say, I keenly appreciated.  It allows for the storyline to remain front and centre. 

The novel takes place in two time spans: one in 1997 and one in 1971.  Each era has its own cast of characters, and there is no challenging maze of events to follow.  The reader will easily recognize when the chapter is to be about the events of 1997, and when it will be about the events of 1971.  Also, the author’s calendar dates are shown for each section of the book – very helpful. 

As I write the year ‘1971’, I am still trying to wrap my head around ‘such events’ happening in ‘this day and age’; and I am also sadly aware that tragic events like this continue to plague our world.  And those of us living in North America have so much to be grateful for, with respect to political and religious freedom.  Yes, troubles exist in our world but are nowhere near the magnitude of such battles, as the battle for Pakistan. 

There are also scenes and chapters of “The Silent and the Lost” that are filled with such love, beauty, and grace – my eyes brimmed over with tears as I transitioned from one generation to another, one chapter to another, and at times even one sentence to another.  But not all dreary and sad, this novel includes some very happy and joyful happenings in the lives of the characters.  Moments that brought smiles, not tears, to my heart. 

I was attracted to the subtle experiences of spirituality expressed or implied by the author about the characters.  Admittedly, spirituality is a grace I subconsciously (or consciously) look for no matter which book sits before me.  Nevertheless, I believe it was a real element of the story line – spirituality and the lack of spirituality. 

Although not necessarily meant in any other way than to comment on Muslim and Hindu differences, I was affected quite deeply by the following short paragraph – affected on a spiritual level, as well as on a moral level.  Based on how we need to work toward true peace, in this frequently “peace-less” world. 

                    “Remember, the enemy has penetrated our ranks and will try     to create division among us, and through looting create derisions in our ranks.  Hindus or Muslims, Bengalis or non-Bengalis, all are our brothers.    It is our duty to ensure everyone’s safety.”  (page 52) 

“The Silent and the Lost” reached me on many levels – intellectually, psychologically, spiritually, and not the least of which, emotionally.  This is a book I will treasure and re-read again and again. Because the topics which are covered in the books I read and review are so very different, I do not use a numbered rating system.  Even if I stated that the ratings held only “in the genre the book was written for”, as humans we love to compare and number comparisons between works of fiction and of non-fiction would be inevitable.  So, I steer clear of a number scale.  However, if I was to rate “The Silent and the Lost” on a number scale – it would rate the highest number possible.  When I received this complimentary book from the author, and it arrived clearly packaged with care, I knew I was holding something very special.  I am happy to be able to freely supply my review, and know this book truly is something special.

I highly recommend “The Silent and the Lost” by Abu Zubair be added to everyone’s to-be-read list, and I would be interested to hear everyone’s reaction to, and thoughts of, this book.  I certainly welcome comments be added to this post. 

Read and bring this book into YOUR life.


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