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Tom McGee "Tom" RSS Feed (Springfield, IL USA)

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Far From True: A Promise Falls Novel (Promise Falls Trilogy)
Far From True: A Promise Falls Novel (Promise Falls Trilogy)
by Linwood Barclay
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my Cuppa. There was too Many Unsavory Characters in a Story Line that was too Seedy and Insipid for my Taste!, November 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While I am a big fan of suspense thrillers, Linwood Barclay’s “Far From True: A Promise Falls Novel” was a bit too seedy for my taste. In my opinion, a trashy novel written by a good writer is still insipid and just not my cuppa.

The wife swapping and group sex was not graphic; however, I just do not care to read about it.

Perhaps the fact that this is the second book in a trilogy is the reason I felt like something was missing in the story line and why I did not care for the loose ends at the conclusion.

This was not a terrible book. The 447 pages were quick and easy to follow and the author did provide an introduction to the third book in this series, “The Twenty-Three” that will be available in November of 2016.

Barclay knows how to keep the reader involved with his twists and turns, descriptive writing and clever suspense, but if I had it to do over, I would have read the first in the series before reading this one.

At this point however, I am not interested in investing any more time reading about characters and a storyline that I find distasteful.

I am sure that for many people, the language, characters and story line will not detract from their entertainment; however, 3 stars is the best I can honestly offer.

I have read many Barclay novels and this is the first that I did not enjoy.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2015 10:28 AM PST

Princess Rosie's Rainbows
Princess Rosie's Rainbows
by Bette Killion
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
49 used & new from $9.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mesmerizing Fairytale with an Awesome Message, Beautifully Illustrated and Well-Made--a Real Gem! Enjoy!, November 8, 2015
Princess Rosie’s Rainbows is a 30-page book written for children that are 4 or older. Some years ago a representative from Wisdom Tales Press offered me the opportunity to periodically receive children’s books to read, review and post on this site with no strings attached. This is one of those books.

Author, Betty Killion has nine grandchildren, is a children’s librarian, a substitute teacher and a prolific writer who has been published over 800 times. She did a magnificent job telling this memorable tale while Illustrator, Kim Jacobs added a colorful dimension as she has done so many times for more than thirty years as a professional artist and book illustrator.

In addition to the story and illustrations, Wisdom Tales has put together another quality made gem protected with a beautiful and durable book jacket. The glue and binding are first rate while the hard back and acid-free pages are made to last.

This is a fairytale from a faraway magical kingdom in a land adorned with frequent rainbows. In fact, when Rosie was born, the first thing this little princess saw was a beautiful rainbow. It was an event that brought her great joy and happiness that followed her each time she looked upon a rainbow.

Sadly, as the rainbows disappeared her smile and joy went with it. Accordingly, the King and Queen offered a bag of gold to anyone in the kingdom who could make Rosie’s rainbows permanent. Try as they may nobody was successful.

One day Becca, a wise old teacher from a faraway village taught the princess a life changing secret. She taught her to picture the rainbow in her memory and carry it in her heart. It worked and she lived happily ever after.

As an added bonus, the author provides a simple science lesson in the back of the book explaining how to create your own rainbow.

As usual, I enjoyed this quality children’s tale and can picture myself reading it to a future grandchild who listens with great interest while enthralled and pointing at the amazing illustrations.

Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2015 9:49 AM PST

Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta)
Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta)
by Patricia Cornwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.73
104 used & new from $12.60

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not My Cuppa! Clearly Not the Author's Best Effort and Not a Standalone Book. I Cannot Recommend it. Sorry!, November 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is my first exposure to bestselling author Patricia Cornwell and it seems that my timing could not have been worst.

When I selected this Advance Reader’s Edition, Depraved Heart, I had no idea that the author had already published more than twenty Scarpetta novels. Undoubtedly through many episodes she developed a storyline and major characters; however, Depraved Heart seems to have been poor choice for me to jump into an ongoing series. I kind of felt like I walked in at the end of a movie before I had time to grasp a plot or have an affinity for any of the characters.

In spite of the vividly descriptive scenes and a plethora of referrals to past episodes, this novel had a thin plot with way too many disconnected elements and poor transitions.

Often the author successfully built suspense while developing seemingly key events; however, she habitually switched directions with unrelated elements deflating both her pace and my interest.

This book was so disjointed and the storyline so thin that it felt like the author did not plan the structure, direction or elements to this story. It felt like a first draft with a flight of ideas that never came together for me.

Although she identifies major characters and their interrelationships from past novels, I had a hard time separating the good guys from the bad guys and eventually did not even care.

After reading this book and writing the review, I talked to my wife it. Although she has not read this novel and I was not aware that she was familiar with Cornwell, she told me that she read and enjoyed the first in this series and many others in sequence for some time, but lost interest after waiting too long between episodes and found them too convoluted to follow and enjoy.

I do not recommend this novel as a first exposure to this author or a place to enter into the Scapetta series. This is clearly not a standalone novel nor one of the author’s best efforts.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2015 4:49 AM PST

Whispers of the Wolf
Whispers of the Wolf
by Pauline Ts'o
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
48 used & new from $5.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pauline Ts'o has Created a Wonderful Children's Book that is Beautifully Illustrated Pueblo Indian Folklore--a Real Gem! Enjoy!, October 31, 2015
This review is from: Whispers of the Wolf (Hardcover)
Some years ago, a representative from Wisdom Books invited me to accept free children’s books to read in exchange for my honest review on this site. Whispers of the Wolf is one of the books that they sent me recently for that purpose.

This 38-page heartwarming tale written for ages 5 and up was written by Pauline Ts’o based on oral American Indian folktales originating some 500 years ago about the Pueblo Indians of the desert southwest and beautifully illustrated by the author.

It is a quality book in both life lessons and respect for living things and fine paper, binding and illustrations.

It is the story of a young brave named Two Birds and his rescue of an abandoned wolf pup that he feeds, raises and is best friends with for the pups 6 months of life before setting it free to be adopted by a pack of wolves.

Their mutual friendship helps Two Wolves gain confidence and make friends with his fellow braves and while teaching life lessons.

The last 3 pages are informative notes that explain the illustrations in detail. The author also lists 7 books and authors for those interested in learning more about the Pueblo people.

This book is a gem that I am proud to display in my home and read to my future grandchildren.

I recommend this book to friends, family and those who enjoy reading meaningful and beautifully illustrated Indian folktales to their youngsters.

Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2015 3:22 PM PST

Where It Hurts (A Gus Murphy Novel)
Where It Hurts (A Gus Murphy Novel)
by Reed Farrel Coleman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Superbly Written, Exciting and Intriguing Crime Thriller by an Author Who Keeps you Engaged and Entertained! Enjoy!, October 31, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have read and listened to many CD’s from novels written by Reed Farrel Coleman that I have really enjoyed and “Where it Hurts” is another that makes him one of my favorite authors.

This 353-paged, riveting Gus Murphy thriller had me twisting and turning in my chair like I was on an exciting roller coaster ride while wondering whether this retired Long Island cop turned private eye, Paragon Hotel driver and bouncer had a death wish and if he would find his bad guys and survive this crime fiction.

When John Augustus “Gus” Murphy’s 20 year old son, John Jr. died suddenly of a defect in his heart while playing basketball, his family life went into an accelerated downspin. Gus and his wife, Annie divorced and their daughter Kristen moved out of their home while Gus took a job at the less than stellar Paragon Hotel in exchange for a low paging job and living quarters in the hotel.

Gus was angry and vented on ex-con, Thomas “Tommy D” Delcamino who had traced him to his hotel and offered his several thousand dollars to find out who savagely murdered his son “TJ.” Gus incorrectly figured that Tommy D was using John Jr.’s dead to get Gus to empathize with him and take the case.

Feeling bad that he took his anger out on Tommy D, he sought him out to apologize, but instead found himself wounded from gun fire from gangsters escaping Tommy D’s own murder scene.

Mad at God for taking his son for reasons unknown, Gus envied Tommy D because at least his death and that of his son had a tangible reason and a perpetrator behind the crime to reckon with.

Although his is discouraged from pursuing the cases by his former police buddies and attacked by those who sought to scare him away or kill him, Gus is doggedly determined to find and bring the killers to justice at any cost.

Sparks fly, guns blaze, bodies mount and excitement builds as Gus methodically makes progress and barely escapes numerous attempts on his life from many directions for reasons he does not understand yet plods forward uncovering many surprises along the way.

Reed Farrel Coleman did a splendid job developing this tale and characters while keeping readers engaged and guessing through the end of another well-paced and exciting crime thriller.

I recommend this novel to friends, family and others who enjoy entertaining and captivating action packed novels by an author who know how to keep the reader engaged.

Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2015 6:47 AM PST

Orphan X
Orphan X
by Gregg Hurwitz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining and Mesmerizing Thriller! A Joy to Read! Move Over Superman, Batman, et. al. Evan Smoak has Arrived! Enjoy!, October 31, 2015
This review is from: Orphan X (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
“Orphan X” was a quick, easy and entertaining 355-page Gregg Hurwitz Thriller that I found hard to put down!

While reading the first few pages I thought that this might be a creepy novel about a clandestine monster who preys on children, but thankfully it was not!

This is a bigger than life story beginning with 12-year old, Evan, an orphan boy who really knows what it is like to need a rescuer in order to survive being the prey of powerful and overwhelming monsters.

That experience makes Evan the perfect selection to be drafted and molded for years by a surreptitious handler, Jack Johns, for a secret government agency to become an elite assassin.

That orphan boy transforms into a man with enormous hidden wealth and assets and the most elite and talented martial artist, weapons expert and stealth assassin following his own agenda blending in with everyday people while conducting secret super hero missions for helpless beneficiaries of his choice.

Evan Smoak, is among the top two elite of dozens of like governmental assassins unknown to all but their own unique handler. While his knowledge, strength, skills and powers are phenomenal his code of rules and his ethics are stringent. His average body type and demeanor make him blend like a chameleon. Like Clark Kent, one would not expect that this meek and mild mannered man is a superman.

What happens when the agency disbands and these uniquely trained clandestine assassins are left to their own agendas or hired as underworld agents?

What happens when the most skilled are pitted against each other in life or death operations?

This was a very entertaining book that I would not hesitate recommending it to friends, family and anyone else who enjoys the James Bond type pace of an exciting thriller.

Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2015 7:14 AM PST

Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel
Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel
by Lee Child
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.39
188 used & new from $8.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Stench of the Pig Farm was the Most Endearing Quality in this Disgusting Story Line. Lee Child? Really? Yuck!, October 31, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Lee Child is one of my favorite author’s. I enjoy listening to his books on my drive to and from work.

After reading a positive review from one of my trusted cyber friends, I quickly purchased Lee’s “Make Me” performed by Dick Hill. While waiting for it to arrive, I read another trusted cyber friend’s not so positive review.

Having learned some time ago that they make cars in different colors because people have different tastes I hoped that I would enjoy the CD as much as my first friend did when he read and reviewed the book. Sadly, my opinions align closer to my second friend's perspective.

My biggest disappointment with this Jack Reacher mystery involves both the pace and the change in Reacher’s personality.

The tale progressed so slowly that I became more interested in my drive than the storyline. Lee spent way too much time with detailed descriptive minutia that quickly became annoying and for the first time ever, I did not enjoy the Reacher character.

The storyline was bizarre and the evil inhabitants of the town of “Mother’s Rest” required a major stretch of the imagination to be the slightest bit believable.

While the bad guys were really evil and the victims were really weird, Reacher and his new found girlfriend with benefits, ex-FBI turned private investigator, Michelle Chang both murdered bad guys in cold blood.

Folks, if this is Child’s new trend for the Jack Reacher novels, my best guess is that many of you will join me, going elsewhere for our murder mysteries.

Obviously, even for Halloween entertainment, I cannot recommend this storyline and character behavior to Lee Child and Jack Reacher fans or for those who may be reading or listening to this author’s work for the first time.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2015 6:48 AM PST

Black Crow White Lie
Black Crow White Lie
Price: $3.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Poignant Gut-Wrenching Tale of Flawed Parenting of a Gifted Boy!, October 12, 2015
Based on Top Fifty Grady Harp's outstanding review on March 1, 2013 of Black Crow White Lie I ordered it immediately and could not put it down, read it in one sitting and have since read it again.

This is a fictional story about a gifted child, Carson Calley who turns 14 by the end of the story while developing his ability to heal others with his hands. He grows up in Hollywood, California, a latch keyed lad living in various low cost hotel rooms with his alcoholic fortune telling mother, Maggie who has changed her name to Juliet Bravo.

Carson has no memory of his father and only knows what Juliet has told him--that his father was a war hero buried in Washington, D. C.

Juliet often leaves Carson to fend for himself while she stays out late with her married boyfriend, Jackson, relying on her son's memory to piece together when she came home and what she said in her drunken state after she sobered up the next day. Carson has developed a special friendship with Benjamin Dampleson, a tall lanky albino with lavender eyes known as Casper, the proprietor of a nearby head shop.

Likewise, Farris, the owner of a tattoo shop named The House of Freaks and Carson develop a father and son type of relationship.

On the darker side and much to his dismay, Carson is losing his ability to control his pent up anger and has resorted to late night vandalism and associating with juvenile delinquents.

On the brighter side, Carson's accomplishments and reputation as a healer builds and seems to verify his mother's stories that he is destined to be a great healer.

Candi Sari has written an astonishing, griping, believable and haunting tale that will weigh heavily to the readers mind long after turning the last page.

I recommend this engaging 158-page tale without reservation.

Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2015 7:23 AM PST

Nutribullet Replacement Parts - Two Stay Fresh Resealable Cup Lids
Nutribullet Replacement Parts - Two Stay Fresh Resealable Cup Lids
Offered by shoppers hut
Price: $8.50
10 used & new from $3.51

5.0 out of 5 stars "There is Never Time to do it Right, but Always Time to do it Over." Enjoy These Quality Product Appropriate Nutribullet Lids!, October 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not long after I bought Nutribullet blender, I misplaced one of the lids. Only two come with the product and my wife and I both take a healthy blended meal replacement to work each morning.

This is my first Bullet and I did not realize that the containers and lids on the original product are smaller than the Nutribullet blender. Yep, you guessed it, I not only bought the wrong size lids, but I inadvertently bought two wrong sized containers. I did not send them back because I find them useful too.

After asking questions on line carefully selecting these product appropriate lids, I am happy to report that they work perfectly with my Nutribullet blender.

If you need replacement parts, I hope you learn by my mistake and order the right one the first time.

This brings to mind a saying one of my wise former bosses in the Marines frequently used. "There is never time to do it right, but always time to do it over."


The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel (An Elvis Cole Novel)
The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel (An Elvis Cole Novel)
by Robert Crais
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.37
68 used & new from $10.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying & Entertaining Action-Packed Crime Thriller with Just Enough Humor Staring Tough Guys Cole & Pike & More! Enjoy!, October 12, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have read or listened to most of Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series novels and always find them entertaining. I enjoyed Free Fall and The Promise most recently, while waiting impatiently to dive into Suspect in my growing stack of books on deck.

Private Detective Cole’s facetious lightheartedness and his no-nonsense friend and silent partner, Pike of the Elvis Cole Detective Agency and are joined in this engaging episode--The Promise--by intriguing new character, LAPD K-9 officer Scott James and his incredible German shepherd, patrol dog, Maggie, the stars of another fast-paced, satisfying and thrilling crime novel.

At the onset, two storylines quickly converge. Elvis is hired by the secretive and annoyingly impatient Meryl Lawrence, a senior executive for a company called Woodson Energy Solutions to find her purported embezzling fourteen year chemical production engineer co-worker, Amy Breslyn. Meryl gave Cole three things, an old Echo Park address, plus $2,000 in cash and Amy’s detailed corporate personnel file.

Amy’s only child, Jacob, a journalist was killed in a terrorist blast in Nigeria some sixteen months earlier. The Echo Park address belonged to Thomas Lerner, Jacob’s closest friend.

On another front, clandestine killer, Mr. Rollins is in that very Echo Park address conducting business with criminals of the worst kind when an unexpected wounded cohort being chased by police on the ground with a K-9 unit and the Air Support helicopter search lights overhead roaming the area.

Elvis quickly becomes a suspect at the crime scene as he is confused with the escaping Mr. Rollins and high quality chemical explosives and the murdered fugitive are discovered at the Echo Park address. The only witness who can collaborate Cole’s alibi is Scott James and his 85-pound black and tan German shepherd both of which are targeted for elimination by Mr. Rollins.

Investigations continue and the puzzle begins to take shape while bodies and tensions mount, deceit and lies unveil and another exciting meandering roller-coaster adventure comes to its satisfying closure.

For me, the addition of Scott James and Maggie provided another entertaining perspective to this episode in the never aging Elvis Cole and Joe Pike adventures.

As usual, I was entertained by this Robert Crais creation and look forward to the next. I bet you will too.

Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2015 7:39 AM PST

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