Book Reviews

The Perfect Storm


Sebastian Junger

“Recreating the last days of six men who disappeared at sea presented some obvious problems for me. On the one hand, I wanted to write a completely factual book that would stand on its own as a piece of journalism. On the other hand, I didn’t want the narrative to asphyxiate under a mass of technical detail and conjecture. I toyed with the idea minor parts of the story…”  Sebastian Junger, author.

I’m glad I read the forward because I would have loved to look closer into the hearts and minds of those who died in The Perfect Storm. Mr. Junger interviewed those who’d been in similar situations and survived. That satisfied my curiosity.

This is the story of a fleet of fishing boats that fought the “perfect storm” of Hurricane Gloria, a massive storm blowing in from the Mid West and another low-front heading down from Canada. A “Perfect Storm” situation. The worst since the 1800’s this was a terrible trio of weather events that collided on top of the Andrea Gail.  In the days where livelihood came from the sea, fisherman earned their living from their catch, Normally, storms were a minor issue, so fishermen still went out. They dealt with them. In this storm, they had to deal with hurricane force winds, gales and waves  constantly leaping up to 100 feet or more. To know these storms would slam into you was to be forewarned. Not in this case. They didn’t know the extent or ferocity of the weather. And so the tragedy of the Andrea Gail. 1991, RIP and many other fishing boats and crew.

Except for many weighty technical descriptions, the story was exciting and easy to follow.  As interesting as some of the fisherman’s jargon was, I admit to getting bogged down in some of the details. However, their journey at sea won’t be something I’ll get out of my head anytime soon.

This is the first book I’ve read by Sebastian Junger and won’t be my last. This rated a five-star review



Suzanna Burke

From missing cast members to murders to love and romance, this story can’t be beaten. Oscar-winner, producer, and director James Kincaid is worried.  His wife has just died. Now, his star performer for his new movie is found dead in his trailer. Others come up missing or dead.

James hires ex-detective Andi O’Connor to sort out the many crimes against James and his friends and co-workers. There are many. What starts out as one develops into many for Andi and what starts as a purely professional relationship turns into something much more profound. What starts out as an LA problem soon turns national to New York and serial killings.

Andi must sort out who the key players are and how they fit into the scheme of multiple murders.

This is a story that takes you from light and funny to dark and horrid. The characters are realistic and develop as the story develops. They’re compelling.

For me, I couldn’t put this book down. It took me a day.

I’ve read other works by Suzanna Burke and had the same reaction to her other books.

I recommend this highly. Five stars for me.

Patricia A. Guthrie


COMES THIS TIME TO FLOAT: Nineteen Short Stories


Stephen Geez


Stephen Geez writes about the human condition.

This collection of nineteen short stories are gems about human frailties, loves, laughs, and poignant memories of richly crafted characters. From a woman so afraid of strangers, she refuses help to escape a hurricane. In another story, a woman is terrified of life. Still, she won’t accept death. And a fantasy about a being who eats the age from others but grows old in the process.

The stories within this collection are original treasures, beautifully written and full of imagination, sadness, and fun—mood, color, and rich tone roll into one enjoyable read—a storytelling masterpiece.

I give Mr. Geez five stars.

Patricia Guthrie, Reviewer



Suzanne Leist

I just read a dandy supernatural thriller/romance/suspense–all of the above.
This is a different kind of supernatural thriller. It’s charm lies in a bed and breakfast in Blue Harbor, Maine.
Two young women venture there to buy a bed and breakfast. What they find is dreamy boyfriends and dead bodies. In fact, the bodies just keep on coming. Come join in the adventure and discover what kind of curse plagues this quaint and gorgeous coastal town and its inhabitants.

A Fun Way to Sell More Books


Lizzie Chantree

This is a book that will appeal to authors, writers, and other entrepreneurs.  This book was meant for me, and you, and you.

Most marketing books are written textbook style, dull and perhaps boring. It’s written with a nice flow, witty and relevant for today’s market.

Ms. Chantree delves into how and where to network; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. She discusses author branding and “marketing plans made simple.”

A quote from Ms. Chantree:  “How to create your own bestseller support system.”  Very appropriate for this book.

I have the print and electronic versions by my desk.  I know I will make use of it.

This book rated five stars from me.

Patricia A. Guthrie






S Jackson, A. Raymond

Sarah is wracked with every possible adverse events a mother could face. She grew up with the mother from “hell,” a woman who dragged her around the house by her hair. To get away, she married a man who was an alcoholic and a wife beater, mentally and physically. Sarah finally found the happiness she sought in the baby, Joshua, who passed away early on. Then came two other healthy boys, Noah and Eli. Things were looking up for Sarah. Until the unthinkable happened. Eli came down with Cancer, a rare and aggressive form that zapped the life out of Eli.

This is the story of Sarah’s struggle to care for and keep Eli alive with the help of some supurb medical professionals and despite some inept and incompetent doctors and nurses. To add fuel to this fire, mother Ethel and husband Henry do their best to sabotage everything Sarah tries to do for her son.

There are the court hearings, the constant verbal abuse, recording conversations, and stealing Sarah’s documentaries about her son’s care. The divorce that takes way-to-long to finalize.

But, along with that, there are the good times. The moments when Eli sets up squirt water game at the medical professionals with a needleless syringe—and other games that make Eli and his mother laugh. There’s Eli’s little red tricycle that he races down he hallways. There’s Matt, a true and increasingly deep friend who surrounds Sarah with love, something she’s needed for a long time.

“What ever was attacking his thin little body was simply eating up all the platelets as soon as they were transfused.” Sarah

“Just when I thought I couldn’t cry anymore, out poured more tears. I cried silvently around Eli as my heart broke into a million pieces.” Sarah. 

“When Angels Fly”  is a cross between memoir and journal. I can’t imagine the story being written any other way.

There are some problems: Misspellings, typos, formatting issues and othe technicalities, but after I noticed them, I barely saw them anymore. The book engrossed me so that I fell into the lives and surroundings of Sarah, Eli, Noah, Ardy, Matt—Henry, Ethel and Gavin and all the medical staff. They were a fascinating study of humanity (and non-humanity.)

I gave this story five stars. It was well-worth the read and embraced my entire emotional center.

Patricia A. Guthrie





Three cousins, Aaron, Millie, and Josh, are in their pre-teens. They do everything together until one day Josh is killed in an accident. Aaron and Millie are devastated, but Millie takes it harder. Her friends in school seem to shun her, and she doesn’t know why. Also, her mother is beyond strict with her and won’t let Millie visit Josh’s grave. 

In the midst of all this turmoil, Millie makes new friends, one with the “fast” crowd leader, Renee and the other from the cheer-leading crowd, Claire. Each has an effect on her life. When Renee invites Millie to a party, Millie finds out just how fast the crowd is. She calls Claire’s mother to pick her up. She’s learning who she is and what side of the line she wants to associate with.

This is a good YA story about coming of age. Learning to make the right decisions and what happens when you make the wrong ones. Good for teenagers and adults. We can identify with Millie and her growing pains, and the parents who go a little too far to keep their children safe.

I gave this 4 stars.

Patricia A. Guthrie



by D.L Fin

The Reality of a Girl who wasn’t a Princess and her Poetr

No Fairy Tales is a journal (or memoir) of an abused child turned teenager who is forced to make difficult choices throughout her young life because there’s no one around to care—just to abuse.

           This book is unique in that the first part tells us her story and when she’s done we get a glimpse into her inner heart and soul, and we swim in her beautiful poetry, bask in the sunlight of her words and rests in the vast fields of heartfelt knowledge.

           The pictures (although I have a black and white kindle) are lovely. I chose the roses for my favorite.

          I gave this four stars because I loved the poetry, exquisitely written, and artwork, but had some problems with the journal. But, I got it. Yes, I got the theme. Abuse should never be condoned, and if it is, someone needs to write about it. This poor child had no one to talk to. No one.

Patricia A. Guthrie Reviewer



By Laurie Finkelstein

A journey through life, therapists and potential husbands

 One of the few books I’ve read about journeys through mental illness that actually made me laugh. (cry and a few other fuzzy moments of remembrance)

           This is a journey, written in first person, but also written in present tense, a tense we normally don’t see in fiction. Here, it worked.

           Janie leads a charmed life. Charmed with the love of a husband she adored and two children. One, Drew, had Tourette Syndrome and we suffer along with Janie to discover his illness and remedies. We were so into Drew that we might not have been prepared for the crane that fell on top of their car, and the men in her life were killed.

           Janie suffers from depression, anxiety attacks and OCD conditions she’s had all her life. We follow along in her journal as she takes us through her life as a successful artist living in a cottage on Balboa Island. We meet her friends and she challenges us to pick her next husband, including her last therapist Rob.

           Therapists: The book is divided into three parts: Part one is her everyday life, part two is her sessions with six therapists, so many she needs to give them numbers. We find out why she culls them from her life.

           Potential husbands: We can related to her means of dating, which includes online dating sites. We can add to that a handyman and her ex-therapist.

           Next Therapist Please is a delightful journey with Janie, a journey we might not want to end. There’s laughter, a few tears and, as mentioned above a few fuzzy moments of remembrance.

          I gave this four stars: four because the story skips over so many of the mental illness moments we could learn more about and four because well, maybe there were just a few too many changes of clothes. The story was light when it could have been light and so much more. Still, it was a delight to read. Looking forward to reading more by Laurie Finkelstein.

Patricia A. Guthrie Reviewer 



By Lisa Kirazian

“You are the music while the music lasts.”

T.S. Eliot

Taken from Part Six of Bravura

The decade is the 60’s into the 70’s. The years of Kennedy and Nixon, Viet Nam and The Beatles. The Metropolitan Opera has just moved into Lincoln Center, Van Claiburn has exploded onto the classical music scene and Grace Bumbry, Maria Callas, Renata Tabaldi are gracing the operatic stages. Rudolph Bing is the Director of the Metropolitan Opera House.  Life is a struggle for young musicians as it is and has been for all ages.

Kate and Neil Driscoll, a violinist and pianist have joined the throngs of students at the Royal Academy in London and meet up with lifetime friends and colleagues, Anne, Colin, Jeremy and Maggie who will take this epic journey with them. This is the story of their lives from conservatory students to accomplished musicians, their day-to-day struggles to reach the top of the music world and how that intermingles with love, loss, disgrace and redemption.

A beautifully woven tale takes you into the inner sanctum of the music world. For the musician it is sublime. Ms Kazian strokes her words like a conductor might pen a manuscript with highs lows, crescendos and decrescendos. In describing her opera singer she writes the arias in the original language then gives us the translations so we can comprehend her emotions, personally and professionally while singing to ever more glowing audiences.

The book contains the joys and sorrows of each character so you might want to keep a box of tissues nearby.

Well done. It will be interesting to see what she does with the next two books of her three part series.

Patricia A. Guthrie Reviewer


Sugar Coatin’ is for Candy; Pacifyin’ is for Little Kids

By Nonnie Jules 

Ever feel so down, you don’t think you can pull yourself up by the boot straps? Or get so angry at someone, but back down from confrontation, because that person might be A. hurt you or B. have so strong a personality, you’re humiliated and can’t defend yourself?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” A quote from Dr. Suess.

And so begins Nonnie Jules’ gem of a book; a collection of inspirational blog posts intended to education, inspire, persuade and entertain us on how to stand up for ourselves and others.

Nonnie Jules has taken these jewels to a new level and instructs us to be strong in our beliefs and not be afraid to say what we mean and mean what we say.” That’s a hard achievement for any of us.

This simple but elegant collection gives us insight into the world of Jules writings, meanderings and thoughts as she instructs, but more than that, never belittles, but encourages and entertains.

This book is well-written and keeps you interested and engrossed from the beginning to the end. We can float back into our own lives and discover the times we were beaten down, humiliated, lost and didn’t know where to go. 

The Table of Contents breaks down to:









Maybe Nonnie Jules does, because her book shows us she believes in us.

This is a book you might want to keep by your bed stand. I gave this book five stars, because I loved it, and it was well written.


 Heaven’s Waiting Room


Clare Wilson

What if heaven didn’t have room for the general public, but only “top drawer” candidates who’d made something of their lives (not necessarily public officials, politicians and CEOs.) What if these spirits who leave the living realm are forced to lead a non-life existence on earth floundering to find a sense of belonging, learning who’s a good ghost and who’s evil.

           Portia is a young deceased teenager who must pick her own way throughout her new life.

            We learn about how she finds her way, meets a new family and engages in battles of good vs evil helping her new and old family along the way.

            This is a different kind of ghost story, told from the ghosts point-of-view, delightfully funny in some spots, but engaging throughout. Yes, there are some uh-oh moments where she and her friends must find a way out of situations.

            This is a delightful YA fantasy that can be enjoyed by all ages. (well, maybe not toddlers). The scene where Portia goes to heaven by mistake (grabbing hold of a dying person who’s bound for heaven) and where she tells God’s first Lieutenants what she thinks of their system is great fun to read. She comes to learn why she’s earth bound, who’s she’s destine for, and what her life might be like for the rest of eternity.

            Four stars. Excellent simple story.

Patricia A. Guthrie Reviewer 


Jessica, the Autobiography of an Infant


Jeffrey Von Glahn, PHD

             This is the true psychological process of a troubled young woman who had no sense of “self” no sense of deserving of love, attention or anything good that came her way. Taken throughout over three years of psychotherapy, patient and therapist weave a true story that peels layer upon layer, until all she’s left with is her “me,” her inner self. The therapy sessions take us back throughout her life until we reach the core of her birth and a bit beyond.

             This is an incredible journey. Not frightening, but intense none the less. We see her progress and regressions: one step forward, two back as we’re privileged to peek into their sessions and discover a trip few ever see.

      I didn’t realize anyone could remember back so far. Few have. It makes me wonder, could I with the proper guidance? It also makes me wonder, do I want to?

    Excellently written, as some other reviews pointed out, it reads like a novel, and it does. It was hard to put down.

Patricia A. Guthrie Reviewer 


BOOK REVIEW Emily Anne (Baby) Teegarten and The Jazz Age

Nineteen-twenties–the Jazz Age. 

The deep south, New Orleans, speakeasies, prostitutes, gangsters, the people who make jazz what it is and the thirteen-year-old Emily Anne (Baby) Teegarten jazz singer wanna-be-no, gonna be.
Emily Anne knows all the jazz in the repertoire by heart and wants desperately to go to New York City to sing in its clubs and make a name for herself. Before she gets there, though, she has to pay her dues (as do all musicians). Some contributions are higher priced than others.
Follow Emily Anne with her deep southern dialect, the friends who helped her, who sacrificed for her, who took advantage of her and who saved her life when the time came.
Who exactly is Emily Anne? I do know she’s first and foremost a teenager and jazz singer with a voice that will throw church ladies into tears and speakeasy customers into doing things highly illegal. Fortunately, she has family and friends who do their best to keep her on the straight and narrow.

I highly recommend this book for it’s unique qualities, it’s depth of research during the jazz age and that lifestyle, and a little girl who grows up much too fast. I think Emily Anne creates a lot of trouble for herself, but I can’t judge her because I don’t come from the 1920’s or the jazz scene. As a musician, though, I can relate.

Patricia Guthrie, Reviewer 




Karen Ingalls

Karen Ingalls writes a touching, yet suspenseful memoir as a cancer victim,  then as a  survivor.

She takes us through her diagnosis and the fear she felt, the chemotherapy treatments and how they weren’t as bad as she thought, but she lost her hair, anyway. She talks about her friends who helped her pick out cute hats, wigs and turbans to hide her baldness, then decided to go bald, instead. At first, she was embarrassed, then came to adjust to it. 

Karen also takes us through her spiritual growth where she leaves everything in God’s hands. Well, God, spiritual guides and her doctors.

It was amazing how the trilogy of recovery (God, spiritual guides and doctors) all came together to wipe out Karen’s cancer. Except, I forgot one thing. Karen’s attitude herself. Built with regard for her own health and well-being, she refused to let Ovarian Cancer beat her. Instead, she fought and conquered it.

This memoir can and should be read by everyone, not only by cancer victims and cancer survivors but everyone.  It’s not clinical, but deeply human.

I gave this five stars, partly for the information and how well she wrote her story, and partly because I couldn’t put it down

on February 4, 2018
Vashti Quiroz-Vega
Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing ‘oer the plains.”
Really? We’ve read about them in the Bible, in Christmas Carols, in sermons. . . .
But, do we know the ‘rest of the story?’ Who are these angels? Who are the angels who
fell in disgrace, and why did they fall?
“In a galaxy far, far, away. . . ” In Floraisan, the lowest realm of Heaven, the angels resided. A lovely place (for the most part) it rivaled The Garden of Eden (which hadn’t been invented yet.)
Each angel was glorious—-filled with magical powers, created with individual divine powers and given free-will so they could choose their own path. Was God sorry he bestowed these powers? Maybe. . . when you read what the angels did with their powers. You think World War 11 was bad!
Led by a manipulative angel named Lilith, the angels divided. Some were on the side of God, others on the side of Lucifer (or Satan as he came to be called.) And why did this happen? Because, Lilith thought God’s rules were unfair. Lilith wanted the gift of becoming a sexual being—among other things.
The first part of the book shows us why the angels broke apart and the punishment God gave the ‘fallen’ angels when they were soundly defeated. In Part Two, God snatches the defeated angels and flings them down to Earth, and we follow the journey of Lilith, Samuel and Gadreel to find other angels who now reside on Earth and search for Adam and Eve, God’s ‘creatures.’
Ever wonder how Cain and Abel came about? Read The Fall of Lilith and find out.
This book is a lot of fun with enough mystical beasts, plants (who eat people) earthquakes and mischief to keep us satisfied.
Vashti Q has woven a suspenseful and funny tale with humor, wonderful characterizations and a look into a biblical legend that will be well worth an afternoon’s read.I gave this five stars because I had trouble putting it down. Good job.
Review by Patricia A. Guthrie


Murder on Tyneside
By Eileen Thornton

Agnes Lockwood goes to Tyneside, in Northeast England for a much-needed vacation. Much to her delight, she meets up with an old school buddy, Alan Johnson, who’s now a Chief Inspector for the Newcastle-Tyneside police force.
Their reunion is cut short when a diamond necklace in her hotel is stolen, followed by an expensive bracelet and then a priceless necklace. All parties swear they did not misplace or lose it.
Agnes, having a detective mindset, decides to involve herself in the investigation. Her friend Chief Inspector Alan Johnson tries to talk her out of it, but she’s determined. She’s going to get involved with or without the police, and since she’s developing feelings for her detective friend, she hopes it’s with the police.
Going out to dinner with Alan one evening, they literally bump into a body thrown from a museum window. As our dear friend Sherlock Holmes said, “The game is afoot.”
Solving this mystery is a lot of fun. Every chapter has a twist or turn, and as if theft of expensive jewelry isn’t enough, there are several bodies to sort out.
This is definitely a cozy mystery—an Agatha Christie type of plot. It was hard to put down, until I figured out who and more importantly why the villain(s) “dun it.”
Agatha is a feisty lady who reminds me a great deal of Mrs. Oliver in the Hercule Poirot series. Whenever she goes out on her own, I picture Zoe Wannamaker getting bumped on the head. (Third Girl) My gripe is her friend and chief detective Alan. He seems to be slow on the clue intake. His Sergeant seems to be more astute and so does Agatha. I found that more disturbing than I did the errors in the manuscript.
My main problem was the editing and grammatical errors. The mystery needs more active verbs instead of passives. The manuscript needs some proofreading–checked for misspellings, missed words and some inconsistencies that filtered throughout the book.
Still, I gave this story four stars. The author has a great flair for mystery, and I’d love to see her do a mystery series with Agnes Lockwood.

Patricia A. Guthrie


After reading this book, I went back to all my workshop writing notes and pitched them (maybe not all, but most) This book has so much reference material needed to perfect the craft of writing, I don’t have to plow through 10 year old notes and five and six books taken off my shelves to keep by my PC.

This can help you achieve a depth of character and create a visual description of place and action.

I intend to put this one to good use. I know this had to take a while to put this together. After several years, I still refer to it. 

Patricia Guthrie, reviewer 


MEGALODON  12/4/18

By Scott Skipper

Megalodon is simply Jaws on steroids.

And true, as one crewman took from the novel “Jaws,” the salvage crew will need a bigger boat. Maybe a 100 ft tanker. (fishing boat? I’m no fisherman) 

Let’s see: We have Jaws on steroids meets Jonah and his whale.  I would not like to run into the main character, a pregnant megalodon named Megan.

This is about a salvage expedition hunting a megalodon, finding it, getting all kinds of trouble with border and water patrols vs. another team who love megalodons and wants to preserve them in the wild. Two romantic pairs drink too much and pursue other activities while on board. Dangerous if a megalodon happens to surface and wants to feed on fishing boats.

There was one scene when one of the girls (knowledgeable scientist) gets swallowed whole and finds her knife comes in handy when trying to get out of a dark, scary place. (the inside of a huge shark.) 

This book is a cross between light fiction (not light situations) and a documentary on fishing and shark behaviors. I loved that part.

The book, I found it a bit shallow. The characters could have more depth and show us their innermost feelings, hurts, and desires. The editing was well-done. I think I found one editorial mistake. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where it was.

Good luck with this book. I gave it four stars.  Had trouble putting it down. 

Reviewer:  Patricia A. Guthrie