Thursday, June 8, 2023

What's Happening at Book Readers Heaven! Some Good News! And Some Great News! Time to Celebrate God's Blessings! And Try For Amazon Gift Cards!

Good Morning! First the Great News!!! Yesterday, I had eye surgery on my right eye, and almost immediately, I was able to open my eyes and see, even through the patch I am now wearing!

Let me tell you about what happened... I admit that I was more concerned about this surgery, even though I've had both brain surgery and hip surgery over the past few years, and each of the surgeries went well as many of you already know. First, Rachel, who is helping me during these health issues, shared about her eye surgery. She promised it wouldn't hurt. I felt better having talked to somebody I love and who loves me--she's my great great-niece! I immediately felt better having somebody share about going through eye surgery. Eyes are so important to me, as you surely realize, since I'm reading all the time--and talking about books!

When I got into pre-op, a beautiful young woman came to help me. She had a tattoo on her arm and I immediately noticed and asked about it. It was a stack of books!!! Immediately we were sympatico, talking about our love for books and my concern for the surgery. Others joined her and told me about their reading, and then how many similar operations were routinely done... So, I changed clothes and got on the bed which would be used to take me to the operating room, (I had been told there was only one ahead of me). All of a sudden, I heard...

"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy,"

Immediately, I had to respond, "Down in My Heart!"

And I heard, "Where?!

And I sang, "Down in My Heart!" 

And by that time, the lady had taken the first patient out of the room, on her way.

I turned to Rachel who was now with me for pre-op. I know I was grinning and she laughed back. I said, That was a God Incident! And then I called over the young woman and they shared admiration for their respective tats, and after she moved away. I said, "Rachel, that's what I call another God Incident--as soon as I saw her stack of books... And that's how I know that I know that I know God is Here! And I'm now ready for the surgery!"

And, here I am now typing and sharing and I'll go back to my surgeon, Dr. Moore later today. As you know, I tend to get excited when I've felt the presence of Our Lord!

I have to share, though, that I was not prepared for what happened. When I think of anesthesia, I think of going to sleep, well, this was "twilight," so if you ever hear that, ask for an explanation!

You see, I was awake during the entire surgery. I had a patch over my entire right facial area and then the lights started coming on and I was told to look directly at the light... Hmmm, so soon the light started moving (the Doctor had started) and I could actually see the Doctor working on my eye and, yes, each movement he made! Think going to the dentist if you have had a bad time, or even a good time), but you know that he's right there in your face and you can watch him... Well, now imagine not being able to see his face, but just the tips of his fingers and that light moving, moving, moving... I get chills just thinking about it! I frankly was afraid to move, I guess, because I could actually watch, rather than sleep through it... It was intense! And I was glad it was over. On the other hand, I already know what to expect on the left eye, so that's a good thing...I guess...but, I'll admit that I might be just as tense... But, believe me, it was worth it and I'm now looking forward to the operation on my left eye.

In post-op, those helping there said that some people think nothing of it, and others have a reaction like mine. I kept thinking about the very first time I started going to a dentist. He was my next-door neighbor so I was comfortable with him, until I got in that chair... I remember I grabbed hold of those arms and my fingers clutched the end of them and I didn't move one inch! Yeah, new experiences like that sometimes brings a "scared" reaction... You?

On the other hand, like I said, I'm sitting her writing about the whole experience...And overjoyed with actually being able to see through the patch on my eye and type to tell you about it! God is GOOD!

Kudos to all of the staff, and especially, my surgeon, Dr. Moore, who helped me through the trauma of another surgery!

Stopping now to get ready to go back for checkup! May have to continue tomorrow...for the good news!

God's gift of sight has allowed me to read, review, and talk about the hundreds and hundreds of books that have come into my life. I have personally gotten to know many of those writers who I can meet only online. Oops, I now remember that one of those authors came to visit me, Ruby Moon-Houldson, when she was on her way to Egypt... All of you have become an important part of my life! 

Words are so important. They can share love, they can hurt, or they can show, really, almost every emotion that we can experience during our lifetimes... I have been blessed in reading YOUR Words! Especially those of you who have chosen to use your books to talk about issues they've experienced in the past and/or in the present. Strong memories of pain and suffering. Loving words with others--or from God. Each of your lives are reflected in the words you write and share. How beautiful to have the opportunity to enter the lives of so many different people! And to see the faces of those characters you've created. Sometimes, we come to love them, as an integral part of you, the writer, whose imagination has been so fully engaged as to introduce us to, perhaps, fictional people, but still, people who reflect a part of yourself and those people around you. And, yes, that includes the villains! LOL

Which leads me to the Good News that I wanted to share with all who visit Book Readers Heaven!

It was 2005 when I moved my blog to here at Blogger. That's so long ago that I can't remember where I was posting earlier, but I do remember that Blogger was willing to allow a transfer into this new adventure for Google. I have never been sorry I've switched. The site is easy to use, easy to find, and, with an upgraded program format, even easier and better in fully sharing what each of you have written and which have then appeared on Book Readers Heaven!

So I'm celebrating! What? Well, I've gained (as well as all those who have guest blogged here), a threshold of articles that are now available here at Book Readers Heaven! I'm boasting that over 3000 (3015) have been published! They share my reviews, but also poetry, music, and other activities related to reading, including author interviews. 

Lately I've even been sharing "opinion pieces" which I or others have written, often including excerpts from books related to those opinions. Also, recently, although I've not been accepting requests for reviews, but I actually am buying books written by many of the authors I know or whose book has come to my attention for some reason. Many of them have been banned books, which in my mind is theft--for the author, the publishers, and for the potential readers who would want to read a book that has been banned, arbitrarily, in my opinion!

Within Book Readers Heaven, I've also started writing two memoirs (at first I wavered) but I'm now committed to, which will be open and written on an ongoing basis, free to read with no copyright issues.

If all goes well with the second cataract removal surgery, I hope to begin receiving requests for reviews--on a limited basis, with the awareness that my health cannot do the daily reading and blogging that I was previously providing. I'll keep you posted on that possibility.

In the meantime, please help me celebrate by trying for one of the Three $30.00 Amazon gift cards. With just a few simple rules... Sign up to follow Book Readers Heaven (check right-hand column of the blog).

Leave a comment to share whether you are an author, reader, or someone working in publishing, along with your name... and how to reach you. 

And start sharing posts that have been those you enjoyed! It can be on Twitter or Facebook, or other sites on which you are a member. I won't be checking, LOL. But I wanted to point out to authors that have been reviewed here at Book Readers Heaven. you are permitted to often share your own reviews routinely so that your book(s) are in the news more often... You can also post the link to your review on your own site to send your viewers to see a review that you appreciated! 

I receive no monetary payment for reviewing at Book Readers Heaven. I am now reading only e-books due to my eyes. That policy will continue...

What am I celebrating?! YOU, You writers who have created a book that you wanted to share with others... It may not even be published (yet) and you want to talk about or share a first chapter or two... Hey, I'll be happy to read and create the post here at Book Readers Heaven... And, as you know, if you use music in any of your book, I'll be using it to complement your book(s) I love Book Trailers...Let me know if you have one! Poets! Send me authority to use selections from your book(s). I'll post on a routine basis, which is an ongoing celebration of your words! 

All I want to do it share your Words! Those Words you have written and which you want to share... Let me know how you'd like to participate here! Nearly 1.8M have visited...Reading Your Words... Come back often, share your book to renew the celebration of your book(s) through excerpts, illustrations if you own the copyright or they are available for free use, and let me know if you'd like to be interviewed. Note that I do not use a standard format. I must actually read your book and will develop the questions based upon content. And the writer will approve that discussion prior to my ever posting!

And please remember that, I review based upon the belief that all are created equal...If I question the quality of a book, I will consult with the writer about it. No negative reviews are ever posted without specific issues being defined and explained. That includes any significant editorial errors that I find. Fair enough? I think so, but feel free to ask questions.

God Bless!


A very special shoutout of THANKS! to Blogger staff for maintaining and publishing the actual blog and Google for the free use of their staff's time and computer platforms! Freedom to Share our words is an important right, especially these days. Thank you! Sooooo Much!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Rogue Justice by Stacey Abrams Presents Main Character with Eidetic Memory - Fun to Watch a Brilliant Mind Solve Political Intrigue!


"Avery had spent too much time in D.C. to be surprised, but the clay feet of America’s political leaders still hurt. ''

“Come on in,” came the familiar voice with its golden baritone. The agent escorted Avery and Agent Morales inside. President Stokes, phone to his ear, sat behind a smaller version of the Resolute desk, complete with the whorls and scrolls of the original. Two chairs flanked the guest side, and he motioned to them to sit. He continued his conversation, unconcerned about being overheard. “Mick, you know where I’ll be tomorrow?” He tipped back, hand stroking his chin thoughtfully, his tone even and polite. “In the White House, Mick. And you’ll be in the s***house for f***ing me. Keep that in mind when you say your prayers tonight. And when you come hat in hand asking for a favor for those gas-guzzling monstrosities that California will find a way to ban, keep it in mind. For every day you have left running that failing company of yours, remember where you chose to stand when a friend called on you. Because I will remember, Mick. I absolutely will.” Brandon Stokes fervently missed the satisfying crack of a slammed phone, or even the tepid click that signaled the end of a discussion. Cellular phones removed the grandiosity and drama, leaving only dead air. Disappointed, he lightly tapped the button to end the call and lowered the phone to the desk. His call had two audiences—and both messages had been delivered. “Ms. Keene, so kind of you to join us.” He motioned again to the chairs. 

Avery remained stock still. The president shifted his attention to the agent waiting by her side. “Agent Morales, can you give us a minute, please?” “Yes, sir.” Avery continued to watch President Stokes. “I didn’t realize the Secret Service had become your personal goon squad.” “I simply asked them to escort you to see your president.” He cocked his head at her, softened his smile to implore trust. “I believe you and I got off on the wrong foot early on.” 

“You kidnapped my mother,” she reminded him baldly. “Threatened to kill her. Tried to kill me.” The smile tightened, then vanished. In its place was a perfect imitation of righteous indignation. “Major Vance kidnapped your mother. He hired thugs to kill you and your friends.” He laid his hands flat against the desk. “I swear to God, I knew nothing of his treason. I fought for our nation, for our ideals. Why would I cast aside all the good I have done, could still do, for such a grotesque purpose?” Avery knew she was hearing the opening arguments of the Stokes impeachment trial. Trouble was, although she intimately understood the utter bollocks he spewed, she easily believed others would take him at his word. Especially his colleagues in the U.S. Senate, a body where he distinguished himself as a warrior for accountability and integrity. Giving herself an internal shake, she let out a short chuckle. “You’ve had weeks to practice, sir. That’s the best you can do?” For a nanosecond, rage flashed, then subsided. “I reached out to you, Avery, because we have a common mission here. To move forward and put the past behind us.” He gestured to one of the two chairs again. “Won’t you please have a seat?” “No, I will not.” She pointedly looked around the elegant study, its high ceilings and shelves of books with a librarian’s ladder to reach the highest tomes. “Do you read, Mr. President?” He swept his arms wide. “These aren’t for decoration.” She wandered over to a section and plucked a random volume. Opening to the middle of the book, she skimmed random pages. Avery quickly returned to the president, who watched her actions with clear confusion. “Take it,” she instructed, and he warily accepted the open hardback. Avery clasped her hands behind her and began to recite. “ ‘They are good husbands, or faithful wives, or something tedious. You know what I mean—middle-class virtue and all that kind of thing. How different Sibyl was! She lived her finest tragedy. She was always a heroine. The last night she played—the night you saw her—she acted badly because she had known the reality of love. When she knew its unreality, she died, as Juliet might have died. She passed again into the sphere of art.’ ” 

She gripped the chair she refused. “I remember everything I see, everything I read. I know the truth.” “Quite the circus feat,” President Stokes offered in low tones, as he turned the spine toward him. “Did you choose The Picture of Dorian Gray on purpose? To teach me a deeper lesson about not underestimating you?” She managed not to roll her eyes. Playing along, she replied, “Pure coincidence. Like the passage I picked.” “If you thought to impress me with your prodigious memory, Ms. Keene, I am not that taken by the interesting pattern of neurons that let you do what confidence men have done for generations.” “I’m the con artist?” she replied incredulously. “You managed to convince a nation that you had their best interests at heart.” “I did,” he said haughtily. “I do. And your routine here or some performance on Capitol Hill will not divert me from my purpose.” 

“What? Genocide?” His grip on the book tightened. “Protection. Opportunity. Defense. Freedom. All things that I have pursued on behalf of my fellow citizens for longer than you’ve been alive.” “So you admit you authorized the Tigris Project?” President Stokes gave her a thin smile. He stroked the book, and without looking down, he continued Avery’s passage from memory. “ ‘There is something of the martyr about her. Her death has all the pathetic uselessness of martyrdom, all its wasted beauty.’ ” He flipped the cover over, tapped the embossed name of the author from the priceless first edition. “Oscar Wilde reveled in the excesses of passion, didn’t he? His Dorian Gray resolved to make his life count, to do what he could to wring out the last dregs of joy.” His smile widened. “Perhaps, somewhere in the recesses of your astonishing memory, you learned that I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Mr. Wilde. He was quite the chameleon.” Avery held her silence, and he continued. “Writer. Philosopher. Classicist. A man ahead of his time but committed to his ideals. One whose moral turpitude was later placed into appropriate context. I committed my services to my nation, to each citizen having the ability to thrive.” 

“At whose expense?” Avery whispered. “You murdered people.” “Accusations like that will not end well for you, Avery. Our investigations have already uncovered your unsavory relationship with Karriem Shabazz.” “I had no such relationship,” she ground out. “These lies won’t stick.” “Information need not be permanent to be useful.” He flashed his famous grin again, the one that charmed heads of state and diplomats. “Recant while you can, and I will not forget your bravery.” Pissed that she allowed them to keep her phone, Avery reminded herself of why she’d come. For the truth. And if she’d had the smallest glimmer of doubt, he’d quashed it. “I have nothing more to say to you, sir. I’d like to leave.” “Certainly. Once you finish the passage, Ms. Keene.” “What?” “Your parlor trick has been helpful in setting the parameters of our engagement. So use that remarkable memory and tell me what Dorian says to Basil about suffering. I’ll get you started. ‘You must not think I have not suffered.’ ” 

Fear washed through Avery, as cold as the blast from the SUV. Brandon Stokes was no cartoonish buffoon, no clumsy swindler who stumbled into power using invective and fool’s gold. His patina of honor distracted attention, but a careful watcher would see what he showed her now. A rare, deadly combination of zealot and genius. A warning she’d do well to heed. Chilled, she murmured Dorian’s complaint. “ ‘I suffered immensely. Then it passed away. I cannot repeat an emotion. No one can, except sentimentalists.’ ” He tapped a button on his phone. “Ms. Keene is ready to go.” Like a wraith, Agent Morales appeared in the doorway. Avery hurried out, ready to be as far away from Stokes as she could. Heading back the way they’d entered, she kept her head low, her mind racing. 

“What the hell are you doing here?” The exclamation brought her head up. Congressman Luke Boylen stood in the foyer, outfitted in a chambray shirt, jeans, and scuffed riding boots with a riding crop under his arm. “Leaving,” Avery replied shortly. “I’d ask the same of you, but why insult either of us?” She poked Agent Morales. “Please.” The agent shifted to allow her to precede him, and she gave the congressman a wide berth. Confidentiality of the deposition be damned. Although Avery had never been naïve enough to think secrecy applied, she hadn’t expected the Republicans to be quite so brazen. Gravel crunched beneath her feet as she made a beeline for the truck. Once inside, she stuck out her hand, the command wordless. The silent agent driving the vehicle returned her satchel and phone. Avery powered the device on and watched the cascade of text messages and voicemails with growing dismay. In the chaos of today’s revelations, she’d forgotten her other appointment. “Shit.” Agent Morales slammed the heavy front-passenger door, and Avery scooted forward. “This puppy have lights and sirens? I’m late for a meeting on Capitol Hill, and it’s all your fault.” The agent gave his colleague a brief nod. “Buckle up.”


"Something about his brand of patriotism had always rubbed her the wrong way. Patriots who also had a mild case of messianic fervor usually came to an end, holed up in a remote cabin with adherents and jugs of kerosene or crates of automatic weapons."

When the brilliant mind of the writer creates a main character who actually is brilliant and able to use her eidetic memory--a person who has an almost faithful mental image snapshot or photograph of an event in her memory--to engage in the legal realm and within the political environment, you can bet that you will be able to sit back and watch how "easy" criminals can be caught and punished for their actions. I loved this book, mainly because, while using many issues directly from today's headlines, the author purposely changed key points of her characters so that readers will not easily be able to...anticipate!

For instance, many will immediately visualize the president in the novel as one of the former men who served in the office, while immediately pointing out, to her amazement, that he was  no cartoonish buffoon, no clumsy swindler who stumbled into power using invective and fool’s gold.

Using this type of maneuvering within the overall story of ensuring that justice is achieved, will lead readers to certainly pay attention to the details in order to keep up with the plot--as it thickens! And just watching the news these days ensures us that, indeed, the plot will thicken, sometimes through discovering the truth--but also through lies used indiscriminately by those in power who have no real desire to be truthful in all things. Especially when it improves their own power and wealth.

Abrams takes us into an area which many Americans are beginning to, or already are, concerned about--the court system. But it is a specialized court, which sets out the procedures for electronic surveillance and collection of foreign information (FISA).

Avery Keene, the main character, was placed in a very unusual situation when the judge for whom she clerked gave her his power of attorney.Supreme Court Associate Justice Howard Wynn, was now in a coma in the hospital and Avery Keene was caught in the middle as she reviews Wynn's allegations of genocide, treason, and murder by the President of the United States. President Stokes had been removed from office and was in the middle of impeachment proceedings. And, quickly, Avery had become a pawn by any and all who were involved. The key point, however, is that Ms. Keene had done an extensive investigation to confirm what Justice Wynn had been about to announce. Immediately, the vice-president had acted to take hold as Acting President, while supporters of the President began to "create" lies to discredit and, yes, harm Avery, her family, and her friends. Avery also happens to be involved with Judge Wynn's estranged son, Jared. As the novel opens, Avery is the main witness as the Impeachment inquiry begins.

Ms. Keene had been given minimal duties, attending seminars,, to keep her an active part of the office. At the end of one session, she was approached by a clerk of another judge from Idaho, who hoped to have her help in some way. He explained that he had watched while his judge committed suicide, and wanted to have an investigation to prove that she had not been responsible for her actions. That they had killed her and he sought her help in taking them down. He passed her information and quickly left, with Avery quickly gathering her things to follow. By the time she got on the street, he had found a taxi and was rolling away. As she watched, Avery saw a female jogger move forward and running alongside, killed Preston, the clerk, first and then the driver. And immediately disappeared...

One of the items Preston had given her was a tape that proved what was going on. And a list of all FISA judges, one of the most powerful set court in America. And the woman who had just died was on that list.

Soon, it was discovered that a mass shooting had taken place, and the man who had gunned down most of the people in his former working place had been set free by the same judge from Idaho.

As more judges die across the country, Avery Keene, joined by FBI Special Agents begin one of the most extraordinary set of criminal activities that could be divined by someone who is both intellectually knowledgeable and experienced with both the courts and the extensive structure of the Federal Government. Abrams' second novel has already surpassed her first, in the Avery Keene series. I can't image where she might go next, but I'm going to be right there waiting to read, and learn, as she weaves one of the most, if not the most, incredible intriguing and totally, exhausting, thrilling chase to keep up with what is turning out to be a major attack across the United States in multiple ways!

You've got to read it to believe it! Yet, Avery Keene, with her mind-picturing will guide you through all of the events that had occurred in years past right up to what was happening in the exact time period that was already too late to stop what was planned. Brilliant mind-blowing action, suspense, and nitty-gritty detail chasing pieces of a multi-faceted unbelievable puzzle!


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

When God Made You - by Matthew Paul Turner; Illustrated by David Catrow - Simply Beautiful Words and Pictures!


Children's Books are fun to read...and to give. I have a new great-great-nephew, Avery, for whom I'm
thinking about building a small library, so when he comes to visit me, we'll be able to share and read one of those books that I've added, based upon the storyline. So, it was an easy choice to select When God Made You!

For surely, God gave this little boy to our family! And if you feel that same way about your children or other children who have come into your life through family, neighbors, perhaps church, or some other way, and want to select a book as a gift, then I do want to call your attention to this story.

In the first book of Genesis, we learn that God created us in His image. What does that mean? Well, Matthew Paul Turner has written beautiful poetic words that will explain how and why God made each of us in a special image that only God could do!

Do you favor the words or the pictures when you look at a book. For a picture book, I look at both, but when it's a children's book, I think your eye just naturally turns to the pictures first, don't you?

The author talks about having been a reader when he was young and when he now had children, he knew he wanted to promote the same love of reading to his children...

First of all, the author could not have selected a more wonderful illustrator! Kudos to David Catrow for really amazing pictures that have so much for the child to explore that she won't be able to stop looking, trying to find the child who is pictured on the cover.

You, you, when God made YOU,
God made you all shiny and new.

An incredible you, a you all your own,
a you unlike anyone else ever known.

An exclusive design, one God refined,
you're a perfectly crafted one of a kind.

Cause when God made you.
somehow God knew
that the world needed someone
exactly like you.

You know, folks, one of the things that comes through in the words of Matthew Turner in this book and others, is that, indeed God designed each of us. He designed some to be one color and some another, but He surely knew what he was doing when he made me...and you... and you... and you, didn't He?

This is a happy book to share with your child, learning about God's part in creating him-- especially when you spend the time to read along. I remember when Avi was visiting and we looked through a book about cats that even had a button to press to hear a meow! It's a special time that we all can share, no matter what age your child might be. And, if you're smart, you'll keep adding books to that home library to ensure that the joy of reading--one of God's gifts to us-- will continue throughout their lives!

Watch for more children's books as I build Avi's library over the years. He's not yet talking much and certainly not reading, but if you have a book to recommend, let me know!

God Bless


Monday, May 29, 2023

2023 Memorial Day - Folks, Let Us Always Remember! - . Let Poetry, "Cats" by Regis Auffray Be Another Way to - Remember These Beloved Family Members Too!


May we Always Remember the Fallen 

Who Gave Their Lives for US!

Folks, My father was killed before I was born and none of my close family was taken during a war... Thankfully...

Cats have always been beside me since early in my life. I like to think that God sent that first kitten through a neighborhood boy to give me comfort and love. I hope you all take this joyful celebration of the lives of our cats in the way that many of our older citizens love their cats...and dogs... We, too, remember... God Bless Us All, Gabbie


There is much to say

About the feline species

Ad infinitum

One thing is for sure

Cats have personality

And a sense of self

Cats are capricious

They have a mind of their own

They do as they please

Some are pugnacious

Rather territorial

In a catty way

Some are finicky

But can be very cuddly

When they feel like it

 Kittens are so cute

Playful and energetic

Stars of any show

 Feline breeds abound

Colours and sizes vary


Persian or Maine Coon

Abyssinian or Manx

Just to name a few

It is my belief

All cats should be indoor cats

Unless on a leash 

Cats and birds don’t mix

Far too many feral cats

Lead to less birdsongs

Love them or hate them

Cats are not going away

At any time soon


© Regis Auffray

Regis Auffray is an ongoing contributor here at Book Readers Heaven

Thank you so much, Regis, for sharing your wonderful words!
Hope you all enjoy the Cats Musical 
Selections As Well!

Friday, May 26, 2023

J. D. Robb's Latest, Golden in Death - Great Twist on the Golden Egg Fable


Dr. Kent Abner began the day of his death comfortable and content. Following the habit of his day off, he kissed his husband of thirty-seven years off to work, then settled down in his robe with another cup of coffee, a crossword challenge on his PPC, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute on his entertainment unit. His plans for later included a run through Hudson River Park, as April 2061 proved balmy and blooming. After, he could hit the gym and some weights, grab a shower, have a bite in the café. On the way home, he thought he’d pick up fresh flowers, wander through the market, and get the olives Martin so enjoyed, maybe a nice selection of cheeses. Then he’d meander to the bakery for a baguette and whatever else appealed. When Martin came home, they’d open a bottle of wine, sit and talk and have some bread and cheese. He’d leave the choice of eat in or eat out to Martin, with, hopefully, a romantic ending to the day—if Martin wasn’t worn out. They often joked Kent as a pediatrician handled the adorable babies and charming kids, while Martin as headmaster for a K–12 private academy juggled charming kids with hormonal and broody teens. Still, it worked for them, Kent thought as he filled in 21-Down. Toxic. He spent an entertaining hour with the puzzle, tidied up the kitchen while music filled the air of their townhome in the West Village. Kent changed into his running clothes, added a light hoodie. He packed his gym bag, deciding he’d drop it off in his locker before his run. As he zipped it, the doorbell rang. Humming to himself, he carried his bag out to the living room, set it on the coral sofa he and Martin had chosen when they’d redecorated six months before. Out of habit, he checked the door monitor, saw the delivery girl he recognized with a small package. He disengaged the locks, opened the door. 

He collapsed, convulsing as Mozart’s Queen hit high F.

“Good morning!” “Morning, Dr. Abner. Got a package for you.” “So I see. You just caught me.” He took the package, offered her a smile as the Queen of the Night’s vengeful second-act aria poured out to Bedford Street. “Beautiful day!” “It sure is. You have a good one,” she added before she walked down the steps to the sidewalk. “You, too.” Kent closed the door, studying the package as he carried it back to the kitchen. Since it was addressed to him, he opened the drawer for the box cutter. The return label had a Midtown address and a shop name—All That Glitters—he didn’t recognize. A gift? he wondered as he cut the box. Inside the box, under the packing, another box. Small, simple, he thought, smooth, dark faux wood closed with a small lock, the key attached with a thin chain. Baffled, he set it down, unlocked the clasp. Inside the box, nestled in thick black padding, sat a small—undeniably cheap—golden egg, closed tight with a tiny hook. “All That Glitters,” he muttered, flipped the hook. The lid stuck a bit as he started to lift it. He gave it a harder tug. He didn’t see the vapor, didn’t taste it. But he felt the effects instantly as his throat seemed to snap shut, his lungs clog. His eyes burned, and his well-toned muscles began to tremble. The egg dropped from his fingers as he stumbled blindly toward the window. Air, he needed air. He tripped, fell, tried to crawl away. His system revolted, expelling the light breakfast he’d had with his husband. Fighting through the tearing pain, he tried to drag himself across the floor.


It's been years since I've read J.D.Robb, who is actually my very favorite author. So when I recently saw an email showing her latest was now out, I decided to take the opportunity to at least renew my interest, and, hopefully, try to catch up with the backlog of books by this prolific writer that I haven't yet read...

So it was a little surprising that, after learning of the first death as soon as I opened the book, that, as the investigation started, I felt the story begin to drag a little. Yes, I'm aware that this is normal in police cases, but I was also anxious to once again feel my own connection with the main character, Eve Dallas, and her spouse, Roarke...

It didn't take long to find the first very important clue, which exploded into lies, deceit, drugs, death and more. The only thing was that a second victim was found which moved the investigation back in time to a private school...

“We believe the package contained an as-yet-unidentified toxic substance.” Lydia’s blue eyes went momentarily blank, then filled with alarm. “You mean like poison or something? Like terrorism or something?”

“We’ll do it. He’s a lit professor at Columbia.” Eve sat back. “Maybe it’s a big stretch to connect that to the headmaster of a private academy, but it’s the only link we have. We’ll come back for the rest of the house,” she decided as she rose. “He’s in class now, according to his schedule. We’ll go to him.”

As soon as I entered the halls (metaphorically learning of the school through the book) of the Theresa A. Gold (TAG) Academy, my mind started to think about the state of our schools today and how children can be manipulated, bullied, assaulted, all under the supervision of those to whom we've placed trust. Teachers, or the Headmaster, as was found at TAG who were involved in allowing these things to occur. Specifically, it was the headmaster who was more concerned about bringing money into the school and cultivating relationships with the parents of the rich students, while those who were there by scholarships were often harassed, one even beaten badly...

And, of course, when some teachers started to complain, that headmaster quickly found another position in a similar school and started her routine activities there...

So that when a new headmaster was named and things began to greatly change, there were many students who soon, for one reason or another, gone from TAG... The atmosphere had been functioning satisfactorily for many years.

Following the money...following the headmaster and students was not easy after eight years. Yet, when a change occurs in the present, then earlier facts of bad behavior of all kinds come to the surface, it doesn't take long to discover the Truth! No matter how long and how deep the earlier transgressions had been hidden only to be found with sufficient evidence to prove the criminal laws that had been broken.

During the investigation, as many rich people became involved, there were, unfortunately, what we have come to expect in America. Those who checked the background of Dallas and Eve and saw no educational backgrounds that could possibly make them peers with those under investigation. As in all of Robb's books, she enjoys (and readers benefit) spotlighting the fact that their backgrounds have brought them both to the success where they are. 

Roarke, of course, although probably known by the intellectuals involved, is soooo rich that he's often building off-planet... He's soooo rich that, often, when Eve has to enter a building on a case, the building is owned by Roarke and she has total access, which often upsets building occupants...

And, yet, Roarke is so in love with Eve, that he ensures her life style is indeed on the same level of class as those who she sometimes...jails! In this novel, knowing that Eve would be talking to those that consider themselves the rich and famous, he purposely pulled together an outfit, along with a long leather coat that would ensure that everybody would understand...

Eve Dallas is somebody you'd better treat right...or you may find yourself next facing Roarke. Not a man to have on the wrong side of your meeting, if you get my meaning!

For me, the characters make the story. So, if you enjoy police procedures, set in the future...don't forget to search for J. D. Robb, Aka Nora Roberts! I applaud her for effectively illustrating what a life of lying can lead to... 

Robb has taken a major issue direct from headlines and presented a wonderful novel, spotlighting the growth of lying as a routine part of daily life. Given the title, I felt led to share a little more directly from the book. If you recognize the words as what you've heard, then you may want to think hard about your family and friends and their communication with you.

Eve shifted when the elevator stopped to let more people on. “The lying’s autopilot with him, and not very skilled. He lies about the obvious and inconsequential, so by the time he gets to the big stuff it’s just red-faced blather.” A woman in a business suit and sunshades glanced at Eve. “Sounds like my ex-husband. Some people plan a lie. Others?” she continued as the doors opened to let yet more people on. “It’s involuntary instinct, like breathing.” “Tell me about it,” someone else piped up. “I dated this guy once who’d lie if you asked him his name. He just couldn’t help himself.” One of the new passengers let out a snort. “It’s worse when they believe the lie—convince themselves it’s true, keep beating you over the head with it until you start wondering if you’re the one who’s crazy.” “They all sound like my ex,” the first woman commented as the doors opened on the lobby level. “He gets around,” Eve said, and heard the woman laugh as she and Peabody strode to the doors. “That was interesting,” Peabody decided as they walked back to the car. “Lying liars unite strangers in elevator. Dateline New York.” “Everyone knows at least one lying sack.” “That’s really true. I’ll check his alibis to see if they were a crock, too. Being such a crappy liar, he’s never going to be even...halfway decent...  “Add deeply stupid. A lying sack who can’t lie worth crap, and a complete schmuck.” “His lies aren’t holding.” Mira glanced toward the interview room door. “So he’ll shift them. I suspect he’ll shift any blame.... “Yeah, I’m with you there.” “He feels entitled to lie, as he was entitled to punish those who offended or betrayed him—or who simply became inconvenient. He doesn’t fully recognize, certainly doesn’t respect, your authority over him. And it infuriates him. He has no feelings of guilt or remorse, even doubt, to trip him up. It’s his anger that will.”

Folks, I know from time to time we might purposely choose to tell a "white lie" so that we don't hurt somebody's feelings. But when it is being shown that politicians as well as judges within our government have cultivated a climate of lies, we need to act to call them out whenever possible! 

One question: Do you mind if your children and/or family members lie to you?

Think and Choose 

Hold Liars Accountable

God Bless


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Latest C. S. McDonald Cozy Mystery, Felonius Finale, Features The Operetta, The Merry Widow!


Felonious Finale 

The Carnegie Library and Music Hall, Carnegie, Pennsylvania 1965… 

Joy filled Katherine Starr’s heart when her small troop, Onstage Operetta Company, decided to produce The Merry Widow. She’d spent a lifetime dreaming of playing the role of Hanna Glawari, a beautiful, wealthy, young widow from the small and impoverished Balkan province of Pontevedro. 

Ambassador Baron Zeta is eager for Hanna to re-marry. Except, to keep her fortune in the country and save them all from ruin, he insists she marry a Pontevedrian and not a Frenchman. The clear choice is Count Danilo. However, there is a snag, Hanna and Danilo are old flames, and the Count is far too vain to marry her for her money. Mix-ups and humorous intrigue abound when it comes to light that the Baron’s wife, Valencienne, is having an affair with Frenchman Camille, Count de Rosillon! Hanna steps in to rescue the married woman’s reputation. Much to the Pontevedrains’ despair, Hanna declares it is she who plans to marry Camille, and that is when Danilo is forced to acknowledge his true feelings for Hanna.

Ah, Katherine never grew weary of the audience’s anticipation at the finale…will they, or won’t they? Now, Katherine sat in her dressing room at the music hall, before her lighted mirror, smoothing on red lipstick, while her dear, bright yellow canary, Zippy, swung two and fro on its perch in the gilded cage nearby, twittering and singing her sweet song. Katherine had no sooner set the lipstick aside when there was a knock at the door. 

“Katherine, may I come in?” Royce Hathaway, a talented baritone who played the role of Danilo, called from the hallway. His deep voice was on the edge of frantic. “Yes, come in.” Her expectant gaze clung to the mirror as Royce rushed through the door to stand behind her. Even through makeup, Katherine could see his handsome face was flushed. “What’s wrong?” “Bert Mateer won’t be coming. He’s very ill. Piers didn’t feel the need to cover him with an understudy. He has no solo or lines, but he serves all the drinks for the party scenes and for the toasts. He’s still quite important, and we’ve got no one to cover him. Everyone is on stage when he is, for the big scenes. Except…” Royce raised his eyebrows and cocked his chin to one side. “Except, who?” 

“Your husband.” “Bobby? But he just sets up the props. Makes sure the correct things are on stage at the correct time, fills the trays with drinks for Bert to serve. I’m not sure he knows what Bert actually does while he’s on stage.” “I think Bobby knows. He’s been to enough rehearsals. Sure, Bert hams it up as the waiter. It’s his way to make up for being such a weak tenor and to be included in the show.” Royce shrugged. “He does a good job. He gets laughs from the audience, but Bobby doesn’t have to do that. I’ve seen the two of them talking backstage. I’m sure Bert has told him all about it. All Bobby has to do is serve the drinks. He doesn’t even have to pretend to sing.” “Have you talked this over with Piers? He is the director,” Katherine put in. Royce’s face pinched with guilt. “No, I haven’t. He’s very busy with last minute sound and light checks. I don’t want to bother him with this.” He gently laid his hands on her shoulders. “Please, Katherine, come with me to convince Bobby to do it and get him into costume. He looks to be about Bert’s size. Don’t you think?” Katherine studied Royce’s reflection in the mirror. He was right. The part of the waiter was small, yet significant, and this was something they could solve without bothering Piers. Lifting her lips into a demure curl, she patted his right hand. “Okay, I’ll go with you, but no guarantees.” Considering the blue, wide-brimmed hat festooned with mounds of white ostrich feathers on the brushed gold hat stand, but deciding to leave it behind, Katherine pushed up from her bench. She swept the long, ivory, and blue, brocade gown away from her legs. Her rhinestone choker and dangling earrings glinted in the lights outlining the mirror, as she stepped toward the bird cage to check the door. The last thing she wanted was for her darling Zippy to escape and fly through the auditorium during the performance. “Hurry Katherine, we haven’t much time,” Royce agonized.


I really enjoyed the latest novel by C. S. McDonald. Yes, the setting within the activities of performing an operetta was fun, but, more, it was because there were two--yes, two--angels now working to earn their spots in St. Peter's Guardian Angel Squad. Detective Cliff Slater has joined PI Bobbie Starr... And, no, this Cliff Slater is not the present Cliff Slater who is our main character, Alexa Owl's lover, who, was, at that very moment, sleeping along with Alexa in her bedroom...

So Bobbie Starr and Detective Slater, popping in, was not the best time to start on the new angel's mission--to find out just who murdered Bobbie Starr!

And if that wasn't enough confusion, Bobbie Starr also has another problem to solve and it involves our lovely and fun assistant to Alexa in her tailor shop, formerly Winnie's home, now converted to the "The Owl’s Nest Couturier Shoppe."

And when St. Peter calls...

This time, Alexa and Detective Slater were the ones thrown back into time! And it was during that time when Bobbie Starr was murdered! During The Merry Widow's performance!

Entire operetta provided for those interested...

Bobby wasn't one of the performers, but when one of them did not show up, Bobby was called into taking the small part that merely was to cross the stage from one side to the other, serving drinks. And when he left the stage on the other wing, he was later found dead. And the original performer, Bert, was also found dead at this home! Murdered!

Don't bother asking why and how Alexa is being called as the human to help St. Peter! He's not talking and Alexa and the angels don't know. But in this case, Alexa's skills as a seamstress gets her into the middle of the set as Bert's wife didn't want to come back after Bert's death. And so, Alexa worked inside while Detective Slater worked outside.

And wouldn't you know it, this new angel, without too much experience, and with Alexa not being with him constantly, proved to be a fatal problem when the very much alive Detective Cliff Slater was assigned to the two murder cases! Can you think Keystone Cops?!

For surely the officers under the live Detective Slater (who had not yet been killed) are going crazy when the angel Detective Slater meets up with them and even solves the case... Hilarious scenes of perplexion are enjoyed by readers as those actually working the two murder cases try to figure out why their boss is acting so strange and weird! Not to mention the confusion of the real Cliff Slater... 

McDonald's sense of humor has certainly come to the front with this latest Alexa Owl Mystery. And I'm loving it... Special kudos for the humor in this one!

If you haven't started this series, but it sounds
interesting, I recommend you start at the beginning (this is the fourth novel)... Get to know the characters so that when this one is read, you are more prepared... Although I must also add that this and others can also be free-standing reads--but what's the fun in that when an entire time-travel series led by St. Peter himself awaits!

Cozy Mystery Lovers, especially - Enjoy!