Monday, April 15, 2024

Book Review: Peace Tigers by Dave Martelon

I enjoy science fiction / fantasy novels and especially love them when they are easy to read and feel realistic and relatable. Today, I have a novel from author Dave Martelon that blends science fiction and spirituality with a humor and reality in a unique way. Check out Peace Tigers, learn about author Dave Martelon, read my thoughts on the and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


​Book Title:  Peace Tigers by Dave Martelon
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  436 pages
Genre: Coming-of-Age Fantasy
PublisherPeace Tigers, LLC
Release date:  October 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 for one f-word, mild romance, and battle scenes.

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About the Book


Reality, as we understand it, is about to be redefined. Malcolm Tilden, a former DC native and reluctant initiate in a Tibetan monastery, embarks on a journey to meet his fate. In the wake of a global catastrophe, Malcolm and his best friend, Aimi Ueshiba, must face of against the sinister Music Man and his reptilian army to fulfill a prophecy as old as civilization. It isn't as glamorous as it sounds, and the conflict isn't over.

Fortunately, they have some quirky but powerful mentors. To succeed and live to train the next generation of initiates, they have to embrace a blend of ancient and modern mysteries, joining their heads and their hearts in a shared destiny to bring peace back to their neighborhood--and the world beyond.

Peace Tigers is an engaging blend of science fiction and spiritual exploration, challenging us to the true nature of our purpose. Come discover these enigmatic secrets one lesson at a time.
My Review

Expect a unique coming-of-age story. The author creates a science fiction fantasy world that is both interesting and entertaining and feels honest and thought-provoking. As the characters grow and learn the lessons of the past (and present) and discover and understand elements of self-love and compassion, readers will find many thought-provoking opportunities for reflection as well. While the science fiction style "save the world from evil-doers" premise exists in the novel, there is a lot of real-world value to the lessons learned along the way. 


Every character plays a part. Books with long casts of characters are sometimes daunting for me to keep them all organized in my mind. While this book has many characters, the author does another beautiful job in keeping the storylines well drawn and easy to follow--and ensuring that every character has significance to the overall storyline. You will definitely find characters to love (like Grandmother), but most will entertain, educate and add something unique to the novel.  


Would I recommend Peace Tigers? Absolutely. I was captivated by the novel's flow and the way it presents coming-of-age lessons. It seamlessly blends science fiction and spirituality, making both themes accessible and enjoyable. The book offers a mix of humor, life lessons, fantasy elements, and a science fiction backdrop that will keep you engrossed even after you've turned the last page. If you're a fan of science fiction, supernatural novels, and unique coming-of-age stories, this book is a must-read.

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Meet the Author

Dave Martelon is the author of Peace Tigers. A technology executive by trade, Dave never aspired to write a novel. Nevertheless, in witnessing the trend of separation in society, he was compelled to the pen. Inspired by three lifelong interests--the Japanese martial art form Aikido, quantum physics, and world peace--Peace Tigers is a call to action to solve what ails us, a call for more Peace Tigers.

Connect with the author:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook Instagram ~ Goodreads 

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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Historical Fiction Spotlight: The Promise of Unbroken Straw by Ken Steele

Today, I have a historical fiction novel to share! Check out The Promise of Unbroken Straw and learn about author Ken Steele!

Book Title:  The Promise of Unbroken Straw by Ken Steele
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 379 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Yorkshire Publishing
Release date:   Mar 2024
Content Rating:  PG
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About the Book

Paul's teachers say he's distracted, and they're not wrong. With the demands of a struggling farm, Allied boots in Europe, and secrets surrounding his mother's death, who can blame him? And the expectations of his father are seemingly unachievable.

​When a financial windfall sparks a rags-to-riches transformation, it also sets in motion events that will test young Paul to his core. This coming-of-age story connects Paul's tumultuous adolescence to his unfulfilled adulthood. Across those decades, he searches for redemption and reconciliation with the ghosts of his past.
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Meet the Author

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ken Steele holds degrees in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University and MIT.

The Promise of Unbroken Straw is Ken's debut novel, a work of historical fiction. He resides in Colorado with his wife of 41 years where his days are filled with pickleball, golf, hiking, and all that the mountains can offer.

connect with author: website facebook instagram 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Crimer Thriller Review: Wet, Warm and Noisy By David A. Willson

This morning I have a crime thriller in our book review spotlight. Check out Wet, Warm and Noisy, learn about author David A. Willson, read my thoughts on the book and enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Wet, Warm and Noisy by David A. Willson Banner

Genre: Speculative Crime Thriller
Published by: Seeker Press
Publication Date: March 2024
Number of Pages: 236
Series: A Jake Ward Novel, 1
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Wet, Warm and Noisy

by David A. Willson

March 4-29, 2024 Virtual Book Tour

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About the Book

Wet, Warm and Noisy by David A. Willson

A supernatural crime thriller set in Alaska, the Last Frontier...

Surrounded by the unforgiving climate of the frozen north, Jake Ward, a tenacious Alaska State Trooper Investigator and cancer survivor, is on a relentless quest to regain his health and return to full-duty status.

But Ward's world takes a bone-chilling turn during a routine polygraph examination when a woman escapes custody, leaving an officer critically injured. What started as an ordinary investigation transforms into a complex web of intrigue, where medical experimentation and consciousness collide.

In "Wet, Warm, and Noisy," Willson masterfully blurs the boundaries between law enforcement and the supernatural, leading readers on a heart-pounding journey through a realm where the tangible and the mysterious intersect. With time slipping away, can Ward decipher the enigmas that defy reason, or will forces that transcend human experience overwhelm him?

Author David A. Willson, with over two decades of experience as an Alaska State Trooper, brings a rare authenticity to crime fiction that will both enlighten and captivate you. Prepare yourself for an electrifying thriller that challenges the very foundations of our reality.


Read an Excerpt

Palmer, Alaska - Today

Cool springtime winds kicked up across the shooting range just outside the Palmer city limits. Behind the long mound of dirty ice and gravel that served as a backstop, the majestic Chugach mountains, half-covered in snow, stood proudly in the distance as two men faced a target stand. The target was cardboard, the outline of a human torso stapled to two upright posts. The men were real, however. One was an Alaska State Trooper firearms instructor serving as range master. The other was Trooper Investigator Jacob Ward.

The shot timer sounded and Ward’s right hand went to his hip. In a fluid motion, his thumb defeated the retention mechanism and his fingers clasped the handgrip to free the .40 caliber Glock pistol from his belt, then pointed it toward the target. At least he hadn’t gotten hung up on the holster this time.

Grip. Clear. Rock-and-lock.

Almost a second had already passed when his left hand moved from its place on his solar plexus to the pistol, completing his grip on the gun. The smack step.

He pushed it forward to the target, closing one eye as he focused on the front sight. The look step.

He imagined his index finger pulling the slack off the trigger as he prepared to deliver two shots, center mass, but couldn’t be sure, because he couldn’t feel it. Not even a bit.

Pop. Pop.

Two shots. One had gone early, and hit wide of the target because his presentation was terrible. It’d been too long since he’d been to the range and the results were showing. Then, of course, there was the other issue.

He aimed the gun higher, focusing on the head of the paper target.


His finger started to pull back again when the shot timer beeped again.


Too late.

“Overtime,” the range master said, as if Jake didn’t know. It was his third penalty in as many rounds. “First shot went off early, which wouldn’t be a problem if you had a better presentation, but it’s wide. And slow.”


“Fingers still numb?”

“Nah,” Ward lied, then turned back and forth, doing his safety scans before inserting a full magazine and replacing the pistol into the holster at his hip. Frustrated and nervous, he needlessly adjusted his hearing protection. A breeze swept across the range, startling him as it brought a chill to his shaved head. Maybe he should have worn something warmer than his State Trooper ball cap, but the blue BDUs and cap were as close to a uniform as he could get until he got approval for full duty. He wanted to feel like a Trooper today. In a bad way.

“Are you pushing this too soon? The Captain is happy to keep you on light duty for a while yet.”

“If I don’t get out here and just do it, I’ll never qualify. Neuropathy or not.”

“True. But with three overtimes already, I’m not sure you’re gonna make any progress with a qual course today.” The burly range master took a step closer, a concerned look on his face. Ward had rarely seen the man show any feeling - he was all business. “Everyone knows you shoot well, but you’ve had a rough go lately. You’ll get there, but not all at once. Let’s ditch the course and do some slow presentations. Dry practice, maybe. Fundamentals.”

But Ward didn’t move, instead squaring up to the target. It wasn’t just the neuropathy and numb fingers. He had weak toes and shaky hands. And shaky confidence. But he wouldn’t get his mojo back by sitting at a desk. And pity didn't help one bit.

“Suit yourself,” the range master said, then let out a huff and took a step back. He paused a moment, then raised his voice back to range levels. “Again, fail to stop drill at seven yards. Five seconds from the holster.”

Ward focused, his eyes drilling a hole in the target where he wanted the shots to hit.

“Shooter ready!”

The timer sounded.

* * *

The drive to work along the Glenn Highway was uneventful, other than a speeder that insisted on doing eighty-five, tailgating everyone who dared occupy their lane. If he’d been driving his assigned vehicle, Ward would have activated his emergency lights and pulled the punk over for a friendly conversation. But light duty status means no Trooper rig unless you have special permission, not even an unmarked one. And no gun, at least until he could qualify.

The occasional wind gust caused Ward’s blue Chevy pickup to sway within the lanes, distracting him from the sound of the political commentary streaming through the truck’s speakers. The talk radio host paused for a news report announcing a shooting at a gas station in Anchorage last night, municipal budget cuts, and something about a missing college kid. There would always be crime, and therefore, plenty of job security.

The traffic got thicker as Ward traveled through Eagle River, Anchorage’s closest suburb, then even worse as he exited off the highway onto Muldoon Road. Muldoon became Tudor Road, and he turned into the parking lot of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.

He parked the truck and came through the side entrance, stopping at the break room to see if the coffee was rolling yet, hoping that a fellow caffeine addict had beaten him to work today. The empty pot announced no such luck. A few minutes later, he welcomed a steady stream of black goodness into the pot and he was on his way down the hall to the office.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation’s Technical Crimes Unit was a modest space in a boring, rectangular building in east Anchorage. What happened between those walls, however, was anything but boring. One sergeant, two civilian techs and three investigators were involved in some of the biggest criminal investigations in Alaska. Even when they didn’t have primary case responsibility, they provided critical support to other officers. It was the variety that had attracted Ward to this kind of work. Sure, he had a talent for technology, which helped get the job, but that wasn’t why he was here. What attracted him was the fact that no two days were ever the same. He could write a search warrant for a child exploitation case in the morning, then do a forensic computer exam for a homicide case before lunch. He might kick a door on a building search, only to be called away to sit shotgun in a helicopter, acting as a spotter for a search and rescue. The variety of work duties assigned to an Alaska State Trooper Investigator was unparalleled.

Unless you were on light duty.


It was Sergeant Ballack down the hall, shouting from his office. Ward got to his feet, snagging his notebook and a pen on the way out of his cubicle. That shout always came with some ‘other duty as assigned,’ or so the trooper saying goes.

As always, the sergeant’s office smelled old, musty maybe. He didn't know if it was Ballack’s bad cologne or his shampoo, but then his sense of smell kinda sucked. Chemotherapy will do that to ya.

The Sergeant turned to face Ward as he entered, grabbing a few papers off his desk as he did so. The man had quite the glorious head of hair and it probably took some pretty fancy conditioner to keep its form, adding a good three inches to his already impressive height.

“Whatcha got for me, boss?”

“Have a seat,” Ballack said. He was impeccably dressed, as always, with a sharp red tie and blue tailored suit. “How ya feeling?”

“I’m fine.”

“Ward, you’re not fine. Cut the crap. Nobody who’s battling pancreatic cancer is fine. Serious. How are you?”

“Surgery went well enough. Chemo is over and my oncologist thinks I’ve got a shot. Neuropathy is getting better every day. I’m ready for full duty, sir.”

“My wife has a friend that works at a cancer clinic. She said you’re not out of the woods till you hit five years. Is that right?”

Heck, I’d love to make it five years. A few months ago, I thought I was toast.

“With pancreatic, it comes back fast, or it doesn’t come back at all. If I make it two years, I’m probably ok.” He didn’t tell him about the other problems, though. Digestive issues causing low energy, the numb fingers and toes, memory lapses, concentration, yada yada. Ya can’t kill cancer cells without killing a lot of other stuff, apparently.

“Don’t rush it, ok?” Ballack put down the papers. “I can keep you busy on light duty for a long time.”

Not the words he wanted to hear, and standing in the Sarge’s office discussing death and light duty, which was almost as bad, tested Ward’s patience.

“What do you have there, Sarge?”

“Polygraph. You game?”

“Absolutely. What’s the case?”

“Palmer patrol picked up some crazy chick on grave shift. Ahem. I mean, ‘a person in crisis.’ She tried to break into a warehouse a couple of nights ago. Then she babbled about being kidnapped, something about a kid, all kinds of nutty stuff.” Ballack rolled his eyes. “I’m thinking poly her, see if she’s cracked. If her claims are legit, we’ll follow up. What do you think?”

“I’ve been looking for some actual police work to do.” He reached for the paper.

“Find out about the kidnapping. If it happened at all. If you get admissions about why she was trying to get into the warehouse, well, that’s really the target.”

“We rarely run polygraphs on victims.”

“She’s full of crap. She’s a doper who tried to rob a building and we want to know why. Poly is a pretext for interrogation on the burg.”

“That’s fine. I haven’t run a poly in months and I’m going blind on all those public information requests you keep handing me. It’ll give me something real to do.”

Ward moved to walk out of the office.


He turned back.

“Take it easy, son.”

“It’s a polygraph, boss.” Ward furrowed his brow. “I’ll survive.”

“Sergeant Vance told me about the range.”


“Don’t push it, Ward. I’m not talking about the polygraph, or the range. Just in general. Bodies take time to heal and you’ve been through hell.”

He has no idea. “Got it, boss.”

“I mean it. We’ll wait for you to be strong.”

Ward bit his lip, trying to hold back, but the pity was too much for his pride. “I got it, ok? Got it. You care. Everyone cares. Don’t rush it. Loud and clear. I’m good.”

Then he walked out of the room.


Excerpt from Wet, Warm and Noisy by David A. Willson. Copyright 2024 by David A. Willson. Reproduced with permission from David A. Willson. All rights reserved.


My Review


Readers Should Expect a Unique Story. This book combines a police crime thriller with a science fiction twist that keeps readers engaged and interested from beginning to end. The author does a wonderful job merging the details of a police procedural novel with a science fiction/physics-entwined plot that never leaves readers bored or confused. Some details are a bit over-explained at times while others are, perhaps, a little too simplified--but they all seem believable and possible as the story plays out. It wasn't the book I was expecting to read when I first picked it up--but it was one that I couldn't put down. 


Jake Ward is a Character You Will Want to Follow. Expect to immediately fall into sync with the author's writing style and his main character. It is impossible to dislike Ward from the start--and to not enjoy watching him grow and develop through the pages. There was a slight self-absorbed edge to him--but, that also made him human and interesting. It was easy to become attached to the character and be invested in the outcomes--and interested enough to follow him into future books of the series.


Would I Recommend Wet, Warm and Noisy? Aside from the title, which didn't seem to welcome readers to the novel, I enjoyed the book. It was an interesting blend of psychological thriller, neuroscience/physics-charged science fiction, and police drama. The author has an easy-to-read, engaging writing style that creates a well-paced, well-written storyline. I would recommend it to light science fiction thriller fans and those who like mysteries/thrillers with unique twists. I will definitely read future books from this series and author.


Meet the Author

David A. Willson

David A. Willson, a retired Alaska State Trooper with more than two decades of service, brings unmatched authenticity to his crime fiction. During his career, he served as a certified police instructor, polygraph program coordinator, court-certified computer forensics expert and supervisor of both Major Crimes and Technical Crimes units. With over a decade in an investigative capacity, he supervised thousands of felony cases, chasing Alaska’s most dangerous criminals.

Catch Up With Our Author:
BookBub - @DavidAWillson
Facebook - @DWillsonAuthor



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Thursday, March 14, 2024

Book Review: The Secrets of the Hidden Workforce by Lisa Toth

This morning, I have a rather unique business "memoir" style book to share! Check out The Secret of the Hidden Workforce, learn about author Lisa Toth, read my thoughts on the book and be sure to enter the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


​Book Title:  The Secrets of the Hidden Workforce by Lisa Toth
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  142 pages
GenreNonfiction Occupational
Publisher:  Yorkshire Publishing
Release date:  March, 2024
Content Rating:  PG. Suitable for all adults 17+
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About the Book

Radio show host, Lisa Toth shares how she created a staffing agency for the developmentally disabled population. Over the years, Toth has helped thousands of individuals with disabilities find work that Is not only a good fit for their strengths, but also work they find fulfilling. Readers will enjoy this collection of inspiring stories, as well as the honest candor with which Lisa shares the lessons she learned along the way. She and her clients have faced daunting obstacles and challenges that would make many give up. It's the challenges that make the successes extra sweet for all of them.
My Review

Readers Should Expect to Be Inspired. I love reading stories of people following their passions, finding their paths in life and creating a career that is fulfilling to them and serves others. Lisa Toth has found her calling and her passion for working with differently-abled individual shines through in this book as she details her experiences and endeavors in tapping into the "hidden workforce." Readers will be inspired by both the author's passion for her work and by the individual stories that she highlights.


The Secrets of the Hidden Workforce is Easy to Read From the Very Beginning. The author has a very easy to read writing style, blending stories and experiences with educational tidbits about the differently-abled and the challenges and triumphs they face in the workforce. The author does a wonderful job creating a well-written, well-organized book that is informative and inspiring while also being personal, real, and heartwarming. 


Would I Recommend The Secrets of the Hidden Workforce by Lisa Toth? I enjoyed reading this book, learning about the author and her work, and reading the stories of a "hidden" group that I hadn't read or really learned about before. For those sharing Toth's interests, her insights and business development experiences are educational. For those interested in supporting and understanding the obstacles and challenges face by differently-abled individuals in the workplace, this book is an interesting read from beginning to end. 


Buy the Book 
Meet the Author
Lisa Toth, CEO Owner at Rise Staffing is passionate about employment. Her favorite thing is matching people with great employers! In addition to this workToth is the host of the successful radio show "The Hidden Workforce," a show about the positive impact people with different abilities bring to the workforce. 

connect with the author: website facebook 

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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Memoir Spotlight: To Be Loved: Ain't Gonna Be Denied by Ronald D. Steele

This morning, I have an autobiographical novel in our book spotlight! Check out To Be Loved: Ain't Gonna Be Denied and learn about author Ronald D. Steele.


Book Title:  To Be Loved: Ain't Gonna Be Denied by Ronald D. Steele
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 463 pages
Genre:  Memoir / Autobiography
Publisher:  Ronald D. Steele
Release date:   July 31st, 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 + M

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About the Book

Born in poverty and violence, without love, the author goes to the streets to find love, becoming successful at everything he applies, even crime.

Convicted for a crime the victim said he did not commit, at 19, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years for robbery. Determined to correct the injustice, the author turns to writing. Over 18 months and on the brink of suicide, the author's letters led the sentencing judge to reduce the sentence by 10 years.

So begins the journey of a self-made man.

The author seeks counseling, which was a social taboo and a Godsend. The author confronts the past, determines his future, adopts positive thinking discipline, and uses the ex-con stigma to qualify for a college program. He graduates with a B.A. degree, pursues a career in public affairs in the federal government, serving seven cabinet secretaries, and serving as president of a writers guild, travels the world, sues the agency and local police, and retires at the top of the salary pyramid, a husband, father, and grandfather.

​The author illustrates the many life lessons he learns to steer readers from the pitfalls he faced.

Additionally, the author inspires readers to think positive, be true to their beliefs, and believe in themselves, even when family and friends may not, and, regardless of their past mistakes, have the attitude that you "ain't gonna be denied."

Buy the Book
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Meet the Author

Ronald D. Steele is a versatile talent, renowned as a writer, photographer, world traveler, and ardent tennis player. With a career spanning over two decades in federal government public affairs and information technology, Steele’s remarkable journey is a testament to his adaptability and dedication. As a freelance journalist, his work graced media outlets nationwide, and he made appearances on various television and radio stations.

Steele’s leadership as the president of the African American Writers Guild from 1989 to 1992 underscores his impact in the literary world. Born in Manhattan, he now calls Prince George’s County, Maryland home.

connect with author: website X ~ facebook instagram 

Friday, March 1, 2024

Poetry Spotlight: Gratitude by A.H. Morris

This morning, I have a book of poetry to share with our readers! Check out Gratitude, learn about author A.H. Morris and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


Book Title:  Gratitude: Two Hundred Short Poems by A. H. Morris
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 214 pages
Genre:  Poetry
Publisher:  BluePen
Release date:   Nov 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 +M
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About the Book

Travel through the human condition with succinctly worded verses that linger long in your mind even after you've closed the book. These poems offer a different perspective and a lovely way to view the world.
Buy the Book

Meet the Author

A.H. Morris was born in NYC in December of 1949. He lived there until he married for the first time in 2006. He and his wife, Melissa, moved to New Canaan, Ct where they continue to live. His first book of poetry, Secrets of the Universe, was published in the fall of 2000. His daily meditations are the source of inspiration for these poems.

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