Missing Isaac

Missing Isaac Book Cover Missing Isaac
Valerie Fraser Luesse
Historical Fiction
Fleming H. Revell Company
January 2, 2018
Paperback
352
December 28, 2017

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse's stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople's reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it's all over, Pete--and the people he loves most--will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

Clueless Gent’s Review

Missing Isaac swallowed me whole!  I was so taken with the story that it was hard to put down.  The last two nights, I was up until 4:00 a.m. turning pages because I didn’t want to stop.  That’s how much I enjoyed it!

What Makes Missing Isaac So Good?

I’ve struggled with putting my finger on what made this book so enjoyable to me.

Think of reading a story like driving a car.  Most times, when I get behind the wheel, I’m only interested in getting from point A to point B.  With Missing Isaac, I find myself driving down a country road, with so much contrasting beauty and disaster around me that I want to slow down, open the windows, and just savor the ride! Continue reading Missing Isaac

Leaving Annalise

Leaving Annalise Book Cover Leaving Annalise
What Doesn't Kill You #2
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Mystery
SkipJack Publishing
July 1, 2013
Kindle Edition
314
December 24, 2017

Multi-awardwinning, Bestselling Romantic Mystery Series
Leaving Annalise picks up the What Doesn't Kill You series with more romance, hilarity, and thrills.

One unexpected and hotly fought-over little boy, two dead bodies, and a series of home vandalisms throw Texas attorney turned island chanteuse Katie Connell into a tizzy. Juggling all of this, Bloody Mary cravings, baggage, and the bad guys too, she waffles between the jumbie house that brought her back from the brink and the man she believes is the love of her life.

See why this series won contest after contest.
2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, Romance, Quarter-finalist (Winner TBA 7-21-14)
2011 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Mainstream Novel Contest
2010 Winner of the Writers League of Texas Romance Contest
2012 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Ghost Story Contest

Clueless Gent’s Review

Leaving Annalise pretty much picked up where its predecessor, Saving Grace, left off.  I happen to enjoy that in a series.  But yet, this story can completely stand on its own.  It is not necessary to read its predecessor to enjoy this story.  But reading it is sort of like a bonus! Continue reading Leaving Annalise

Bluster’s Last Stand

Bluster's Last Stand Book Cover Bluster's Last Stand
Memoirs of H.H. Lomax #4
Preston Lewis
Historical Fiction
Wild Horse Press
October 9, 2017
Paperback

Events on the Little Bighorn might have turned out better for George Armstrong Custer had he listened to H.H. Lomax rather than trying to kill him. To save his own skin--and scalp, Lomax must outwit Custer and his troopers as well as face the horde of Sioux warriors swarming Last Stand Hill.

At least that is how Lomax tells the story in his inimitable and humorous romp across Old West history. Lomax's latest misadventures take him from the Battle of Adobe Walls to Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. In between, he's a bouncer in a Waco whorehouse, a prospector in the Black Hills, a bartender in a Dakota Territory saloon and a combatant in the worst defeat in the history of the frontier Army.

Told with Lomax's characteristic wit, Bluster's Last Stand puts a new spin on the Little Bighorn and its aftermath. Whether you believe him or not, you've got to admire Lomax's luck and pluck in both surviving one of the darkest days in Old West history and writing about the disaster in the latest volume of The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax.

Clueless Gent’s Review

Do you have to be an historical fiction aficionado to enjoy Bluster’s Last Stand?  NOPE.  Do you have to enjoy tall tales of the “Old West” to find this story engaging?  NOPE.  Did I find this book particularly fun to read?  Hell yeah!!!!  Why?  CHARACTERS!!!! Continue reading Bluster’s Last Stand

Death at Thorburn Hall

Death at Thorburn Hall Book Cover Death at Thorburn Hall
Drew Farthering Mystery #6
Julianna Deering
Mystery
Bethany House Publishers
November 7, 2017
Kindle Edition
336
November 21, 2017

The Fartherings' Scottish Holiday Takes a Dark Turn
Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive to put Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

Clueless Gent’s Review

The “ambiance” of Death at Thorburn Hall – if a story can have ambiance – is important, but hard to explain.  So, I’ll give an example.  Have you ever heard a song (think It’s a Small, Small World), and then could not get the song out of your head?  What does it say about a book when a reader starts talking to family and friends using the same accent as the dialogue in the story?  Well, it’s like that! Continue reading Death at Thorburn Hall

Saving Grace

Saving Grace Book Cover Saving Grace
What Doesn't Kill You #1
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Mystery
SkipJack Publishing
2012
Kindle Edition
278
December 1, 2017

Multi-awardwinning, Bestselling Romantic Mystery Series
Saving Grace kicks off the What Doesn't Kill You series off with voodoo, laughs, and suspense.

Katie Connell is a high-strung attorney whose sloppy drinking habits and stunted love life collide hilariously during a doomed celebrity case in Dallas. She flees Texas for the Caribbean and escapes professional humiliation, a broken heart, and a wicked Bloody Mary habit, but ends up trading one set of problems for another when she begins to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. She’s bewitched by the voodoo spirit of an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are.

Clueless Gent’s Review

Saving Grace was a wonderful read.  I love a good mystery!  And if there happens to be some romance between the covers (of the book!) – well, that’s okay with me.  I read some very good reviews of a later installment in the What Doesn’t Kill You series by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, so I thought the first book in the series would be a good place to start. Continue reading Saving Grace

The Mistletoe Inn

The Mistletoe Inn Book Cover The Mistletoe Inn
Mistletoe Collection
Richard Paul Evans
Christmas
Simon & Schuster
November 17, 2015
Kindle Edition
300
November 22, 2017

The second holiday love story in New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans’s Mistletoe Collection.

At thirty-two Kimberly Rossi, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Burlington, VT. Deep inside Kimberly knows she’s at a junction in her life and it’s time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.

In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he’s really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he’s unwilling to talk about.

The theme of The Mistletoe Inn is that like literature, relationships must be lived with passion and vulnerability to succeed.

Clueless Gent’s Review

I’ll start this review of The Mistletoe Inn with a little disclaimer.  The only reason I purchased this book – and paid full price, I might add – was because the Hallmark movie of the same name was going to premiere on Thanksgiving Day.  It stars one of my favorite actresses – Alicia Witt.  I was a little concerned because, even though I made the purchase several weeks before Thanksgiving, I didn’t actually start reading it until two days before Thanksgiving.  However, that turned out not to be a problem.  I eagerly tore through it in two days! Continue reading The Mistletoe Inn

The Einstein Prophecy

The Einstein Prophecy Book Cover The Einstein Prophecy
Robert Masello
Fiction
47North
August 1, 2015
Kindle Edition
338
November 15, 2017

As war rages in 1944, young army lieutenant Lucas Athan recovers a sarcophagus excavated from an Egyptian tomb. Shipped to Princeton University for study, the box contains mysteries that only Lucas, aided by brilliant archaeologist Simone Rashid, can unlock.

These mysteries may, in fact, defy—or fulfill—the dire prophecies of Albert Einstein himself.

Struggling to decipher the sarcophagus’s strange contents, Lucas and Simone unwittingly release forces for both good and unmitigated evil. The fate of the world hangs not only on Professor Einstein’s secret research but also on Lucas’s ability to defeat an unholy adversary more powerful than anything he ever imagined.

From the mind of bestselling author and award-winning journalist Robert Masello comes a thrilling, page-turning adventure where modern science and primordial supernatural powers collide.

Clueless Gent’s Review

I love stories that blend historical fact with fiction. Although there was ample opportunity for Masello to dig into the science aspect, I think it was a good choice not to. There was plenty of excitement without it!

Continue reading The Einstein Prophecy

The Unremembered Girl

The Unremembered Girl Book Cover The Unremembered Girl
Eliza Maxwell
Fiction
Lake Union Publishing
2017-11
October 25, 2017

In the deep woods of East Texas, Henry supports his family by selling bootleg liquor. It's all he can do to keep his compassionate but ailing mother and his stepfather--a fanatical grassroots minister with a bruising rhetoric--from ruin. But they have no idea they've become the obsession of the girl in the woods. Abandoned and nearly feral, Eve has been watching them, seduced by the notion of family--something she's known only in the most brutal sense. Soon she can't resist the temptation to get close. Where Henry's mother sees a poor girl in need, his father sees only wickedness. When Henry forges an unexpected bond with Eve, he believes he might be able to save her. He doesn't know how wrong he is. Eve is about to take charge of her own destiny--and that of Henry's family. As both their worlds spin violently out of control, Henry must make an impossible choice: protect the broken young woman who's claimed a piece of his soul, or put everyone he loves at risk in order to do the right thing.

Clueless Gent’s Review

I thought The Unremembered Girl to be a very well written dark story. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story quite like this, but I can certainly understand that some folks live the same way as the characters. If you like dark stories and dark subject matter, I highly recommend this book!

Abandon

Abandon Book Cover Abandon
Blake Crouch
Horror
Thomas & Mercer
September 1, 2015
Kindle Edition
521
October 3, 2017

A history professor, a journalist, a psychic, and a paranormal photographer venture deep into the Colorado wilderness to explore the fate of an entire town that mysteriously vanished in 1893.

Clueless Gent’s Review

Wow! This story seemed to have it all!! Blake Crouch seemed to cover a handful of genres in one tale, and a very well written one, at that. The story bounces from 1893 to present (2009-2010), but I liked the way it was done. Several chapters were presented in one time, and then several chapters in the other, etc.

One of the things that impressed me most is the way the author tied everything together at the end.  I sure didn’t see it coming until I was already there!

The only negative I have with this book is that it kept me up much too late at night turning pages!

Stillhouse Lake

Stillhouse Lake Book Cover Stillhouse Lake
Stillhouse Lake
Rachel Caine
Fiction
Thomas & Mercer
2017-07
300
September 21, 2017

An Amazon Charts most-read book. Gina Royal is the definition of average--a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband's secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor--the ultimate warrior mom. With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband's crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace. But just when she's starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake--and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed--or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she's learned how to fight evil. And she'll never stop.

Clueless Gent’s Review

This was a very good read, in my opinion. The story was unusual – but I mean that in a good way. The characters were well portrayed, the action was well documented, and the twists were unexpected.

This book was headed for a five-star review, until I got to the end. I was a bit disappointed with the way Caine brought the story to a close. But well done, overall!