Tuesday, August 11, 2020

 The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

Four-star review of The Emotion Thesaurus second edition by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi


An improvement over the last version of the book I used a few years ago. Expanded to 130 entries so you can find most emotions you can think of, and for each a long list of physical signals and behaviors as well as shorter ones of internal sensation and mental responses. Acute and long-term responses are also addressed. This is a good reference book for when you want to show a characters emotional response to something that occurred.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Tuesday Book Reviews on Wednesday

Four-star review of The Pythagorian Solution by Joseph Badal

This was an exciting story set on the Greek island of Samos. Lots of action and good descriptions of the beautiful island. The good guys are well developed but, though there are short chapters about what the bad ones are planning, their characters are all charicatures. I could have done without the rape scene too. The basis for the story, that a fisherman has such a good understanding of geometry that he can leave the clue to leads the good guys to find a treasure aboard a Turkish boat that sank at the end of WW II, is a leap. But the tension built throughout, so this book was a page-turner.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Tuesday book review on Wednesday


Short one this week for a shorter book

Trixie Finds Her People

Four-star review of Trixie Finds Her People by RJ the Story Guy


Cute book of dog stories for kids about how a dog adjusted to a new family and the real and imaginary adventures she had. Partly told through the eyes of the brown rescue dog. Good descriptions of the dogs behavior with emphasis on how much scent plays in a dog’s perceptions.


Tuesday book review on Wednesday

Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline


Although this was slow to build up to the event that shaped the lives of so many people, especially when we know one of the five teens will die, the second half of the book was full of action and suspense. Secrets kept for twenty years come out one by one. The method of writing each chapter from the POV of each of a few characters works here. A few of the deaths seemed unnecessary. I’ve always enjoyed Scottoline’s work, starting with the series and more recently a few of the thrillers, but this didn’t quite measure up to the rest.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Tuesday book reviews on Wednesday

CyberSpace (CyberStorm #2)



4-star review of Cyberspace by Matthew Mather

I was eager to read this near future novel since I’ve enjoyed all of Mr. Mather’s books I’ve read, including the first in this series, Cyberstorm. As I read it, I realized I didn’t remember the last parts of that novel. This one was full of the same kind of suspense and I do care for Mike and his family and friends and what happens to them, but I didn’t see much character development. Here he is going through yet another world-wide catastrophe and he doesn’t learn anything new about himself. But I learned a lot of neat stuff from the discussions about how many satellites are orbiting our world, ane what would happen if they were damaged, turned off or brought down by a physical or cyber attack. The most important for me was the explanations about how the time signals they send are used in diverse ways, since that relates to my own novels.

The Valcourt Heiress (Medieval Song, #7)

Three star review of The Valcourt Heiress by Catherine Coulter

I’ve read several of Coulter’s FBI thrillers, but this was the first historical romance. Set in King Edward’s regency, the story of Merry, the titular character, and Garron of Kersey included a few page-turning sections, wast mostly very wordy. That he didn’t realize at first that the Merry who joined him at court was not his Merry didn’t sit right with me. And a twin? How cliché. I almost didn’t care whether Arthur was dead or alive. Some sections were better written and developed than others, especially the beginning, but it sort of fell apart toward the end.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Tuesday Book Reviews

The Brotherhood of the Rose (Mortalis, #1)



5 star review of The Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell

This book taught me more about creating tension and writing action scenes than all the talks I’ve seen David Morrell give. Two orphans, Saul and Chris, were mentored by the mysterious Eliot and trained to be assassins, supposedly for the CIA. Years after Eliot gave the boys their first Baby Ruth candy bar, they are being hunted by every espionage group in the world. Loyalty is tested by betrayal leading to revenge. The story moves swiftly from the rockies in Colorado to Washington, D.C., Bangkok to London, Paris to the Canadian rockies and other places along the way. Most of the time a page-turner with a few sections of exposition.


ICE by Kevin Tinto


4 star review of Ice by Kevin Tinto
From the cliffs in the Gila Mountains of New Mexico to Antarctica, this novel was full of action and emotion. The Native American mystery starts with the discovery of an unknown dwelling at the bottom of a cliff and kept my interest through this story. The main characters of anthropologist Dr. Leah Andrews and her mountain-climbing husband Jack are only partly rounded, and I expect will continue to show what their made of in book 2. The geography and history of southwestern New Mexico are skewed somewhat. A cliff dwelling is known in the area, and the muddling of Navajo and Pueblo Indians is disturbing, but since the novel is part science fiction, I can accept that, as if it was alternate history. I’m interested enough to read on to find out what happens to the Native American girl.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tuesday Book Review

The Motive (The Curtis Chronicles,#1)


The Motive: Cycle of Violence by Joseph Badal


Good plot about an Albuquerque doctor who’s called to Hawaii upon the death of his sister. He doesn’t believe it’s a suicide, as the police claim, and sets out to prove it. Along the way, he meets a woman his sister worked with to help kids, and when they’re both threatened, enlists the aid of a former pal. My only gripe is the novel spends too much time on the bad guys’ stories and also drags out the ending – which segues to the next book in the series. Still, it was full of action and adventure, tension and plot development and several great characters.