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The Absence of Guilt (A. Scott Fenney Book 3)
The Absence of Guilt (A. Scott Fenney Book 3)
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoy reading this author..., January 28, 2016
Well… after almost two years Mark Gimenez is back. And he jumps feet first into the controversy that is ISIS, islamic militants, and the Constitution. He starts off with his author’s note that is chilling because it is true. He posted it on his website and at the beginning of this book. Read it and see if you don’t get chills. If you haven’t read it I’ll save you the trouble of the search, click here.

In ‘The Absence of Guilt’ we are taken back to the world of Scott Fenney. This is Scott’s third go round and he’s attained a good position in life. He’s moved up in the world, being a Federal Judge in all and all the “perks” that come with that. Job security, working with people HE trusts, a very loving family, and the respect that comes with being a Federal Judge. The only thing he misses is sex. (I say “only” like missing sex isn’t a big deal.) Well sex and the fun he had being a highly paid lawyer with engaging cases.

Being a Federal Judge comes with a lifetime of job security, but it also could (at times) come with a lifetime of BLAND litigation. But little does Scott know that he’s about to be pimped slapped with two of the most highly charged political issues of the day. Illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism. Yeah… and at the same time. And Mark doesn’t tell this story behind the veil of political correctness either.


He’s all in your face with the hate, the slurs, the apologists, the supporters, Constitutional law, street law, and profiling. And it all winds in and out of this jigsaw of a political-thriller. No matter which side you’re on, you’ll have your moments wondering “what in the clear blue hell is wrong with these people!?!?!”

ISIS is in America and are plotting to destroy ‘The Superbowl’ on live TV. They have their cowardly jihadist planted and ready to go. Now the government has the so-called leader in jail along with his twenty-plus brain dead lemmings. But are they there legally, and if not, how long can our government keep? This is Judge Fenny’s charge. We all believe in the law of freedom of speech, but what about the practice of it? And what if the jihadist decide to go after you personally? That is also Judge Fenny’s charge.
The other issue in this story that parallels the terrorism, is illegal immigration. And wouldn’t you know that Scott might have found himself someone to help him with his sex drought… but fate has a cruel sense of humor and Scott’s vixen is also in the middle of the illegal immigration fight. And it wasn’t like Scott didn’t have chances… dude was being chased by a sexy yoga pants wearing mama, but he’s a boy scout. Good for him. Not.

Now… there were a few times where if felt like Mark was standing at a lectern at SMU and I was like “dude move on!” It wasn’t preachy, it was more like teacher-y. Not enough to stop the story, but enough to make you go “OK Professor Mark, you’re tenured so enough with the showing off.”

In any case… Mark stays true to form and gives us a incredible heart pounding thriller. The downside… now I have to wait about two years for his next one! #firstworldreaderproblems

OtterBox 77-52775 Defender Series Case for iPad Mini 4 - Frustration Free Packaging - Indigo Harbor (Royal Blue/Admiral Blue)
OtterBox 77-52775 Defender Series Case for iPad Mini 4 - Frustration Free Packaging - Indigo Harbor (Royal Blue/Admiral Blue)
Price: $62.96
31 used & new from $41.36

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Otterbox Defender for the iPad Mini 4, January 13, 2016
The Otterbox Defender case for the iPad Mini 4 is the latest in this company’s history of making super protective cases for smart devices. The usual protection of this case hasn’t changed from the previous model. The plastic body is snug and fits perfectly. The cutouts for the headphones, lightning cables, camera, microphones, and volume buttons are right where they should be. The rubber casing around it is snug and has very good grip. One would think that I would be 100% happy with this case right?


In my opinion this case has a very big design flaw. I’ve uploaded a picture to show you what I’m talking about. Just under the home button is a small piece of the case that gets loose because it is, unfortunately, just above the covering for the lightning port. Even minimal use will cause this part of the case to loosen up. How do I know? Because this is my second case. I called Otterbox for a replacement case (more on that later) because mine was getting very loose. Loose after six months I could sort of see, loose after two weeks is ridiculous.

Now, the reason I say this is a design flaw is because when I got my second/replacement case, guess what? Yep. The same thing. I charge my iPad Mini 4 once a day so it’s not like I’m deliberating snapping and unsnapping that flap. Under higher than normal use, and over time, I could possible see how this could happen. But not under normal use and certainly not on a brand new case. And if the case is already showing after a couple weeks, it will only get worse as time goes on.

I also fully recognize that most people won’t care about this, but there are some like me who will. I like having a snug protective case, not a loose (even a little bit) protective case. I would think that reinforcing that small part of the case or even make the grooves on the plastic a little deeper to grab the rubber casing better. Now please make no mistake, this is still a very protective case that has saved many of us from buying another iPad. I’ll continue to use it because it does it’s job, but for $70 a pop something like that shouldn’t be overlooked.

About my replacement case… The person who took the call at Otterbox was nice but didn’t have the first clue as to what he was doing. He told me that my credit card wasn’t good and was unable to run it. Otterbox offered to replace my case but I had to pay a $2.99 shipping charge, thus they needed my card. After two attempts he just said they would wave the charges. Good… sorta. The next morning I see on my online bank statement that there are two charges for $3.12 from Otterbox. Great. Once I got that straightened out, it took a total of fourteen days… FOURTEEN DAYS for my replacement case to go from Colorado to California. They used FedEx and the USPS to deliver my package and it was a failure. Priority Mail shipping with delivery confirmation would have been faster. Not sure if that was a one-time thing or S.O.P. for them.

So that’s my review and then some. I sincerely hope Otterbox takes a look at this to see if there is a problem or if I’m just being extremely picky. My guess is it’s a little of both.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2016 12:50 AM PST

Feast of Joy and Love: Relaxing, New Age Music, Beethoven Pathetique, Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring, Ode to Joy, Spa, Music to Sleep To, Bedtime Music, Greensleeves, Yoga, Soothing, Relaxation
Feast of Joy and Love: Relaxing, New Age Music, Beethoven Pathetique, Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring, Ode to Joy, Spa, Music to Sleep To, Bedtime Music, Greensleeves, Yoga, Soothing, Relaxation
Price: $12.26
24 used & new from $2.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful voice, elegant music..., January 12, 2016
Sometime before Christmas Laura Sullivan sent me an eMail asking me to listen and review her new CD, ‘Feast of Joy and Love’. Now I get eMails all the time from folks asking me to test this, try this, review this. But I rarely get one from a Grammy winning composer. Interestingly enough, Laura reaching out came at the perfect time because I had just, and I mean JUST, picked up a CD by an icon in the music industry within this same genre.

So I was in the perfect mood for this.

But the question was, “would this album keep me in the mood?” The answer… Yes. Absolutely. Without a doubt. No question. That was a stupid question. Here’s how good this album was/is… I had Apple Music shuffle her discography as my fall asleep music that night. Then I played her again at my bookstore the next day. ‘Jesu Joy’ starts this CD and that sets the musical ambiance. My absolute favorite-favorite tracks were ‘Waltzing with Beethoven’, ‘Morning in the Meadow’, ‘Ode to Joy’, and ‘Last Kiss.’ But this entire CD has been the soundtrack for my reading, driving, and writing because of how beautiful it is.

And Laura has a lot of music under her belt, so once you finish with this album you can rest assured that she has a lot more for you to savor. **Thinking**… now that I’ve written this review just before bed I might have to have Laura sing me to sleep tonight… again. Her voice is easy on the ears, she is most certainly easy on the eyes, and her music is easy on the soul. Most of her albums, including this one, are under an hour so you’ll definitely want to put them on repeat and/or string them together.

Either way you choose to listen you’re in for a treat. A melodic, exquisite treat.

UAG Folio iPad Mini 4 Retina Feather Lite Composite [COBALT] Military Drop Tested iPad Case
UAG Folio iPad Mini 4 Retina Feather Lite Composite [COBALT] Military Drop Tested iPad Case
Price: $38.43
20 used & new from $29.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Urban Armor Gear makes awesome cases!, January 12, 2016
UAG - iPad Mini 4

The Urban Armor Gear case for the iPad Mini 4 continues their wonder protection and stylish looks. This case gives the iPad Mini has a nice snug fit and all the ports are accessible. The outside of this case has a very nice grip that UAG calls ‘frogskin technology.’ Not sure if Kermit would be pleased but I am.

I only have a couple critiques. I’ve had this case for about two and a half months and the magnetic strip used to close the case is starting to get a little flappy. Also, the cover that’s used to prop up your iPad has grooves on the inside but they are very small. When I’m using my iPad to read and I go to swipe the pages, I have to be careful because too much pressure will make the iPad jump out the grooves.

Now… I will say this. This is not the only case I use with my iPad Mini 4, but it is the one that I use 80% of the time. One of my jobs is working for an indie bookstore, and time to time we have offsite author signing events where we use Square Register. When I’m doing that I use my other case because it offers a more rugged, all around protection for those clumsy customers. However, as soon as my book event is over and I’m home I put this case back on. If you’re a clumsy person or someone who lets other people use your iPad, this might not be the case for you 100% of the time.

What I would LOVE is for UAG to make is a Composite case (with a plain black back) for the iPad Mini 4. I’ve already made the permanent switch from (*ahem*) another iPhone case company to the UAG’s iPhone cases for my iPhone 5s, 6, and 6s. I would greatly appreciate the ability to use my iPad the same way I use my iPhone, with the flap getting in the way. It’s a creature comfort because I know most of us use our iPads differently than our iPhones. But man… that would be the cherry on top if I could get a composite case for my mini 4!

All in all this is my favorite iPad Mini 4 case. There are some creature comforts that I want, but nothing that I can’t live without and certainly nothing that would make me stop using this case. You’re gonna love it!

Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite genre, but I enjoyed the story, January 12, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Jettisoned (Kindle Edition)
It’s been quite a while since I’ve read anything from Sam Barone. I was a huge fan of his ‘Eskkar’ series since book #1 and I eagerly snatched up anything bearing the names Barone and Eskkar. I’ve seen ‘Jettisoned’ online for a while but I never read it because I’m not a big sci-fi fan. Even just a little bit of that stuff and I avoid it like ‘The Walking Dead’ cast does soap. However… I just finished one book and was in a weird place so I decided set aside my misgivings about space stories to give this one a shot.

I’m glad I did.

I will say that this book was definitely written with the lover of sci-fi genre in mind. Sam was very descriptive in the workings of ‘Lady Drake’, space walks, fuel, and gravities. I’m sure the folks that enjoy reading this sort of stuff would love it, I did not. What I DID love was the story. And oh how did I want to hear more about Captain Camenson! A barbaric, sadistic man who took what he wanted. Women, lives, it didn’t matter. And neither did consent.

The crew has a mission and they are at the end of that mission, but the caption and his band of ruthless merry-men have a side mission… one of their own. And anyone that gets in the way of that gets… well… dealt with. Thank you Sam by the way in describing what happens when a naked body is shoved into space. Not sure when I’ll get that vision out of my head!

Throughout ‘Jettisoned’ I was rooting for Peter, but I really wanted to see what Captain Mean-as-hell would do next. Rules were in place but… I mean they WERE about 365 million miles from Earth. The cat and mouse chase in space was very entertaining and had good pace for a short-story. I did shake my head a few times at Peter because he made some exceedingly stupid decisions. One in particular made me yell, “GET OFF THE SHIP STUPID!!”, at my eReader.

So yeah… even though this sort of read “wasn’t my thing”, I was able to set that aside and enjoy the writing and story telling of Mr. Barone. The fact that I want to read the sequel (whenever you want to put that out SAM!) proves that.

The First Hostage: A J. B. Collins Novel
The First Hostage: A J. B. Collins Novel
by Joel C. Rosenberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.67
123 used & new from $7.93

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a way for me to start off 2016!!, January 5, 2016
‘The First Hostage’ picks up precisely where ‘The Third Target’ leaves off. And when I say “precisely”, I mean right down to the sentence… ‘the President of the United States… is missing.’ That immediately took me back to ‘Target’ and made me remember the literary adrenaline that it was. I had no doubt ‘Hostage’ would be the same.

I was right.

The cowards of ISIS have done the impossible, they have captured the POTUS and are holding him hostage. Their operation to capture him was as brutal and blood-soaked as Rome vs. Boudica. Once the leaders of ISIS pull off their so called coup d’état, they immediately inform the world what they plan to do to the POTUS is their demands are not met. In spite of this being a (very good) heavy story, there were a few times that made me chuckle. Reading ISIS’s demands was one of them. Well done there Joel.

J.B. Collins, our foreign correspondent, is right in the middle of this chaos trying to decide how best to do what he does. He has been granted unprecedented access to the war room and the planned rescue operation. The question, however, is “who can anybody trust?” A coup of this magnitude takes someone on the inside, someone big. The answer, like every other uncovered secret in these pages, will floor you.

This is an extremely high level political thriller that is nothing short of sensational. Joel weaves this story and her players like he’s there. And the force of prophecy is strong with this one. ISIS is a clear and present danger to the world, and it’s nice to see one man unafraid of putting it out there. Remember those chuckles that I had that I mentioned earlier? There are some pretty good zingers leveled at ISIS.

However you read ‘The First Hostage’, as a fictional story, as a look into the not so near future fictional-text, or as a non-fiction text with a few imaginary characters, you will be taken. For me, this was an unbelievable way to start my reading for 2016.

Rogue Lawyer
Rogue Lawyer
by John Grisham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.97
571 used & new from $0.01

178 of 206 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sebastian Rudd, easy to like and easy to hate..., October 20, 2015
This review is from: Rogue Lawyer (Hardcover)
‘Rogue Lawyer’… well, they certainly nailed this title. I’ll not torture you with the usual jokes about lawyers that we love to hate, rather I’ll torture you with having you read this review instead of reading this wonderful book. John Grisham is a talent, but even I thought he was hard pressed to try and get me to like Sebastian.

A lawyer who doesn't play by the rules and who defends the scum of society… yeah, I need his address so I can send a Christmas card. And that is just the surface stuff. As you read this book you’ll find out more about this guy that would make a cat hanging out at a San Francisco wharf refuse spill turn up his nose.

But as I read more and more of this story, I found myself (kind of) liking this guy. But that may have something to do with his supporting cast: Judith… it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book where I wished for the death of a character as much as I did this (removed bad word because of Amazon’s rules) woman. I set aside a special type of hate for her. Then there’s Tadeo… this guy has the brain of Kendra Wilkinson and the arrogance of Trump. Had this book been longer I would have sued the Grisham estate for neck injury due to my head shaking.

Rounding out this cess pool circle of friends is Arch. If Dr. Frankenstein were to ever to experiment with sleezy ooze, Arch would be it’s ordure. That’s all I’m going to say because I feel the need to shower just typing his name. Now keep in mind, those are the headliners. There are a ton of extras who colorfully add their own crime spice to this broth of filth. Grisham truly shows us the bottom of the barrel with the clients AND the lawyer.

Now this book did have a different feel to it. To me, ‘Rogue Lawyer’ was a story of snippets of Sebastian’s life, and not one complete story. And even though it was told like that, it didn’t feel choppy. There were a couple times where it got a little preachy though. John tackles two hot button social topics, and in the narration of it, gets a bit Joel Osteen-ish. Nothing big, just… obvious.

I think is a solid piece of work by Grisham that falls somewhere between ‘The Confession’ and the ‘The Litigators.’ Not all drama and not all fun. While reading this story there’s really no good place to pause and take a break. So unless you are one of those readers who can go through a book in one sitting (I’m not by a long shot) then prepare to do a lot of sneak-reading. I enjoyed reading this book and I’m comfortable in saying you will as well. Good reading, fun reading, quick reading, thoughtful reading. It’s what we expect and what Grisham delivers. Once again.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2016 5:24 PM PDT

One Night
One Night
by Eric Jerome Dickey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.86
44 used & new from $0.01

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope you're ready..., April 21, 2015
This review is from: One Night (Hardcover)
About a year ago when I first heard about ‘One Night’, the recurring theme coming from everyone was “this is a different type of Eric Jerome Dickey book.” I had no idea what that meant or if that was a good or bad thing. So let me put your mind at ease by saying, “this is a different type of Eric Jerome Dickey book.” There. Feel better?

If you follow Eric on FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram you know he’s a man who thirsts for knowledge. It shows in his pictures, his posts, his humor, his rants, and his writing. Just when you think he can’t surpass his previous works, he hits you with a book like this. There were one thousand and one things going through my head while reading ‘One Night’, but the one thought, the ONE thought I had when I closed this book was, “this is fictional poetry.”

You read his books for the pleasure but you take away much more. He’s the best type of writer (literary entertainer) because he makes you experience the moment without you even knowing you’re in the moment. Until after. It’s like a cherry-vanilla aftertaste. Now… about ‘One Night’…

This story is a twelve hour adrenaline rush of drama and passion set in a theater of eroticism and violence. Eric could teach a class in misdirection. And pain.

The man writes pain in ‘One Night’ like Joshua Bell plays his violin. An elegantly complicated erotic tango of “I don’t know” between Jackie and the man from Orange County . And I think that might be the “different” people were talking about. Other EJD books have a cast of characters whom play off each other like the London Symphony. This go ‘round there were really only two. But two in Eric’s hands are like one-hundred on someone else’s.

Pay close attention to the beginning of this story, if not you’ll miss something. Once it finally clicked with me it was like someone opened the Autobahn. This was also the first time in a LONG time where I felt that the story wasn’t really the focal point of the story. I know that doesn’t make complete sense, but this was a very character driven book and the circumstances happened because of the people. Not the other way around.

Like Eric’s other leading ladies, Jackie is a tsunami of power, chaos, sexuality, and uncertainty. Her internal AND external battles is the yin that carries this book and it drags you salivating through each page. The mysticism and violence from the man from Orange County is the yang.

The sex in this book is the bang to the yin and yang.

It is impossible to read an Eric Jerome Dickey book and not talk about how seductively humid they are. And in a character driven story like ‘One Night’, you don’t walk away from the scenes… you crawl. Why? Because that’s all you can do. I’ve been sitting her trying to figure out the best way to describe the eroticism in this book.

(One day later...) OK, I've decided to stop trying. Anything I say won't do it justice, and an EJD story needs to be experienced. Just prepare yourself. The intellect written in this story is as sexually explicit as the sweat funk air drying on a nude body after a four hour hump session.

‘One Night’ is one of those books that will be devoured by pop-readers and literary readers alike. Reading Eric is like watching Jony Ive talk about design. Passion coupled with talent resulting in a product that changes the person using it. Yeah. That’s about right.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2016 3:09 AM PST

Stunt (The Ricky Stunt Series) (Volume 1)
Stunt (The Ricky Stunt Series) (Volume 1)
by Jet Black
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.95
18 used & new from $8.27

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A debut erotic-thriller..., February 12, 2015
This book was recommended by a friend in my favorite FaceBook book group. I was looking for a good erotic thriller, and since I had just finished a book, the timing was perfect. Unfortunately, from the first page I could tell this was the work of a very green first time author. Now… because I know some of you, you’re going to take every word from here on out as a diss. It’s not. It’s just honest.

To a number of readers (myself included) the experience of reading is just as important as the story. When I open a book and see one sentence paragraphs, bold writing, and italics all on the first page, it’s impossible not to cringe. But I kept on because I had already put my money down.

I will say that the story itself isn’t bad. How it was told, was. Ricky is a good looking man who owns his own business and is engaged to Denise, an equally good looking woman. Denise ends up murdered and in order to find the killer, Ricky must enter the seedy world of porn. Not a bad premise at all. But the more I read ‘Stunt’ the more I found out that this was a very superficial story with nothing deep. It was like going from point A to point B to point C without telling us how we got there.

There was even one glaring passage that the author used twice. This story also had a very strange tempo. Normally when you read a book you get into a certain flow with the words, with the characters, with the narrative, with the action. Not so with this one. It was like each chapter was racing to get done so the next one could start. And that’s really too bad because you can tell that Jet Black does have talent, it’s just very rough right now.

The parts that I did enjoy were the sexual parts (oh, shut up). Very explicit and descriptive. There were a couple scenes where I was laughing when the author let us in on the thoughts of Stunt. And I’ve never wanted to be a cable guy so bad in my life. Anyway, Stunt continues on his mission to find his lady’s killer and crosses paths with the true underbellies of crime. In the history of the world, porn has never once been a legitimate business, and this time is no different. Stunt tried to get me to believe that he hated having to hump his way to the culprits, but I wasn’t buying it. Especially when the road to redemption is between the thighs and cheeks of a stunning porn star! Come on now!

This story does read fast and there is potential, but work needs to be done. I don’t mind the violence, the sex, or the brutality. But give me something to chew on, and not just a “surface story.”

A Day of Fire: a novel of Pompeii
A Day of Fire: a novel of Pompeii
by Vicky Alvear Shecter
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.99
36 used & new from $5.97

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genuine gem of historical-fiction reading..., January 23, 2015
I remember when I first heard rumblings about this book online. Ben Kane, Kate Quinn, and Stephanie Dray were sharing pictures, talking about Pompeiian history, and trading quips about their stories on FaceBook. The general public, (IE: me) just had to sit back and take it. Like a nineteen year old at a juice club, I could look but not touch. I’m sure Sophie Perinot, Vicky Alvear Shecter, and E. Knight were just as bad in this “tickle me, tease me, never release me it’s coming soon book” game. But at that time we weren’t connected on FaceBook so I couldn’t curse them under my breath like I could the previously mentioned three musketeers.

Luckily my mother raised a Christian boy and I forgave all on release day. Except… there was a problem with initially finding it here in the U.S. So Christian boy loses part of his cool. Fine, I’ll get the eBook. Christian boy finds out that his iPad is no long accessible. Christian boy completely loses it and rains down enough curses to make Satan call Samuel Jackson and say “I think I found your apprentice.”


After patiently waiting a few weeks like a good Christian boy should, I was able to get the print book and all became well with the world again. (ISIS, Paris, Inflate-gate, and Kim Kardashian in a fur bikini not withstanding.)

I didn’t read the synopsis about this book because I knew I was going to read it regardless. So I was a little puzzled as to why I kept hearing about the same characters and some of the same events. I knew this collection was going to be set in Pompeii, but I thought the authors were just going to write their own stories that took place whenever. Nope. All of these stories are intertwined with one another and it took me to story #3 to figure that out. I was like, “didn’t I just read about Prima?” “Wasn’t that the Senator who…?” Once the dunce in me realized this, a light clicked on and I was “oooooohhhhhhh!”

Because of this I started reading slower, I knew if I sped along I would miss something. I also went back and skimmed some passages because I wanted to be clear on certain events. You probably won’t have this problem because you had the good sense God gave you to read the synopsis and realize this was the format from the start.

Vicky Alvear Shecter opens with ‘The Son’, a story that takes place in a brother. BONUS! If I wasn’t already sold on this book, I damn sure was now! Since the authors in this collection were working in tandem, Vicky sets the foundation perfectly. How do I know? Because by the time I got to the end of this book, the character that I absolutely HATED at the end of her story, I had the slightest bit of sympathy for. But only a little. Maybe it was because I knew how Caecilius felt all too well. (Calling Dr. Freud)
Sophie Perinot continues this short-story collection with ‘The Heiress’. Here I’m introduced to Aemilia, Lady Diana, and Sabinus, appealing characters added to this to this story-puzzle. I was quite taken with Lady Diana but oddly drawn to the somewhat tortured soul, Sabinus.

My friend Ben Kane (the only male contributor, lucky bastard) adds his flair with ‘The Soldier.’ Rufus adds a soldier/gladiatorial angle that I was looking for. If you’ve read any of Ben’s books you know why.

‘The Senator’ by Kate Quinn follows and… wow. Without throwing shade on any of the other authors, Kate’s story had me… had me… damn… it just had me. Witty and tragic with just the minimalist hint of hope. The scene with Marcus and Diana where he called her bizarre while she’s bandaging him up left me with my mouth gaped open! Her story is written beautifully. In other words, it matches her.

E. Knight follows with ‘The Mother’, easily the emotional apex of this collection. And I don’t say that lightly. Not at all. With how this collection of short-stories is written, slowly moving along the Pompeii destruction timeline, E. Knight’s story is that straw that will take you over the edge. If your eyes don’t get even the slightest bit damp, then your life force is as black and dark as a tar pit.

‘The Whore’ by Stephanie Dray is given the honor of being the coda. And she brings this book full circle with the character whom I hated… HATED in the first story. By this time in the series my heart was beating pretty fast. And even though I know (we all know) how Pompeii meets her end, I was hoping that even through all the death, ash, sulfur, and fear, there would be a different resolution. But the last page sealed that deal. All too well. I must have read the ending it a few dozen times… (I just read it again.)

I don’t know which Swiss chalet these author retreated to in order to create a book that flows and reads as well as ‘A Day of Fire’, but I only hope they are planning another. Each of the six stories had soul, fire, depth, sensuality, and despair. Each author was able to bring their style and meld it into the formula of the group.

The end of this book has each author giving us a brief background of their story. It’s pretty sobering to have confirmed (yet again) that Pompeii was a city of people. People who were going about their daily lives, feeling and hearing the tremors, but not thinking much about it. Peoples who’s lives were so quickly and efficiently snuffed out that we knew exactly what they were doing at their time of death! That is a bad ass macabre move by Mount V.

Setting aside all my bad jokes and tangents, I had a lot of fun reading this book. And it’s one that I will recommend to every one of my Roman reading buddies. Well done.

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