Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cole Shoot by Michael Maxwell

Here is a copy of my Amazon review of Michael Maxwell's 5th book in the Cole Sage series.

Yet another terrific book by Michael Maxwell. The worst thing about this book is the fact that now I have to wait until his next book, Cole Fire is finished and published before I get to read another of Michael Maxwell’s books. I hope it won’t be long. Mr. Maxwell’s, main character is Cole Sage. He is in many ways a ‘mild mannered newspaper reporter‘, but when necessary for the sake of friends and family will don his super-hero cape to bring help to them. Each of his books deals with the different evils that permeate our society today. This book deals first with gang violence and the second the care and respect our special needs mentally handicapped citizens should have. We see again some characters from an earlier book as well as they help Cole’s newspaper intern out of a very tough spot.

I love seeing that a writer can have a character function in a book without all the trappings that most seem to feel are so necessary, such as Cole not drinking, or jumping into bed with his girlfriend. Cole has a moral compass so lacking in many these days. While he doesn't follow rules blindly, he does feel deeply the ethics of the choices he makes and his decisions. This book especially shows it so very well.

There are scenes showing genuine love for people, especially Marco and Cole the first time they see each other which was a delightful scene in the book. For those that would be bothered by it, there are some scenes of gang violence in graphic detail. There are however, no scenes of gratuitous sex to skip over.

Mr. Maxwell writes from a Christian perspective yet without constant Biblical references. This book has two verses brought up by Cole’s friend Kelly. And they were appropriate and in context. One of the things that over the years that has turned me off of the regular so called “Christian novels” is the almost constant quoting of the Bible. No one seems to have a voice unless they are quoting Bible passages and that sure isn't the norm for most Christians that I have met. So even if you don’t live your life with the same religious philosophy as the author and Cole, you can still read the book and enjoy it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cole Dust by Michael Maxwell

One of the nice things that have happened since I starting reviewing books and things is being asked by independent authors and manufacturers to review their items. One day I got an email from Michael Maxwell asking if I would read and review his book Diamonds and Cole which I thoroughly enjoyed so he sent me more of his books. At this point I think I have read and reviewed 6 of his books, 4 of which are in the Cole Sage series. Cole is a newspaper journalist. Rather than being a hard drinking, chain smoking guy that many journalist are portrayed, he is different. It is hard to put your finger on it, but he is different as he defends and helps the helpless, finds the truth behind lies and is always willing to lend a hand as he keeps his positive viewpoint through out. Even though he gets a 'girlfriend' in the third book, he hates calling her his girlfriend at their age, that is what she is. Even after 8 months of dating, they are still not falling into bed at a moments notice (some novels seem to have a couple having sex before they have even changed name or phone numbers which I hate) as matter of fact, they aren't having sex at all, just appreciating each others company. As I said Cole is a different character and if you would prefer to a read books with minimal swearing, smoking, drinking and sex, yet still have a gripping tale, this books might just be for you. Below is the Amazon review I just did for the latest book I read: Cole Dust.


I was gifted this Kindle book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the fourth book in the Cole Sage series; it leads us more into Cole’s life and some of the things that made him who he is today. Right before leaving on a planned vacation he receives an envelope that had been forwarded many times due to his having moved from Chicago to San Francisco. In the letter and subsequent phone call to the attorney that sent it, Cole finds out that he has inherited property in Oklahoma and must reside in the house for at least 30 days to avoid horrendous inheritance taxes. So he changes vacation plans and heads to Oklahoma.  He comes to find a house in need of a lot of TLC and a yard piled high with tumbleweeds. H also finds a neighbor that is the neighbor we all want, who immediately jumped in to help him bring back the house to the point he should be able to sell it.

In the house Cole finds a trunk in the attic which turns out to be full of notebooks his grandfather had written over the course of his life. His grandfather had died when Cole was around 5 years old so he never had a chance to meet him nor had his father told him much about him. Cole being an only child, with his parents gone had felt alone in the world but in a prior book had meet his daughter that he had never known he had as well as his granddaughter. Just having those two in his life felt like riches, so finding even one notebook from his grandfather felt like a treasure discovered, but he found many more than more than one. So between fixing up his house, Cole learned about the family that he had never known about.

This in many ways was a touching book in that we learned from one family what the depression, the dust bowl the Spanish flu did to the family and the small town they lived in. We see what alcoholism, bigotry and poverty can do to a family. This was an interesting book that brings insight into the life of a family. It made me wish that somehow I could find something along the order of a stack of notebooks or diaries from my grandparents as I never have really heard their background and they are now no longer with us. Sometimes just knowing what past generations went through helps us to understand why we become who we do.
I hope you will take the chance to read one of his books and enjoy them as well as I do.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

I'm not quite sure where this year has gone. My blog hasn't been neglected due to not reading any books, but my Kindle sucks me in and makes it so easy to read the next book as soon as you finish one. I've had many occasions this past year to review non-book items as well, and I plan to start posting those here as well. The Amazon Vine program brings many great things into my life to try and review. My favorite item that I received last year was my  Black and Decker Convection Toaster Oven . I had never even been close to a toaster oven up to this point and so I was a complete novice upon using one. We learned fast though that it makes the best baked potatoes in the world! No more turning on our big electric oven to bake a couple of potatoes for hubby and me and no more too damp microwave potatoes. This come out perfect inside with crispy skin on the outside. Toasting my bagels is super easy as well and no getting a bagel half stuck in a regular toaster.

My latest book that I finished around midnight last night was Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight. To be published by Harper in April 2015. This was a very well written book that centered around the death of a newborn baby that was found in a creek. Written somewhat in the style of Up The Down Staircase, in that there were psychiatrist notes, newspaper articles, journal entries, blog articles and regular text it gives a rest from straight dialogue. Here is my review that I posted to Amazon.


This is the kind of book that makes me happy to be an Amazon Vine member with a chance to read and comment on books before they go out to the general public. While at times I have had to read some strangely awful books, in other cases such as this, it is a very well written book and hard to believe it comes from a beginning author with only one other book to their name. This was an enjoyable book to read, even with the main focus being the death of a newborn, since it was a well-crafted story that keeps you guessing throughout the book.

This book not only delves into the mystery of a dead newborn found in a creek but also the relationships between people in a small university town. Rather than getting a series of perfect mom’s, dads as well as children, these people seem real. You find a mother still grieving her stillborn baby, another is grieving a divorce, while another is trying to be the world’s perfect mother and wife and alienating everyone around her including her husband and children in the process. All are subjects that most of us can relate to in some way. In the end we see the truth of the saying ‘be sure your sins will find you out’. This was a very interesting book to read and keeps you guessing throughout the whole book. A well told tale and I look forward to reading more books by this author.
One of the difficulties of reviewing books on Amazon is the buzzards that want to swoop down and chastise you if in any way shape or form you write a spoiler, ie. telling crucial parts of the book before they have a chance to read it. In one review I mentioned that the woman had breast cancer which since it was mentioned on the very first page of the book it wasn't something that could be construed as a spoiler yet sure enough it was. So forgive me is my reviews seem a bit lackluster at times. The internet has given people a voice and they are determined to use it!