Month: August 2019

Review of ‘The Joy of Recovery’

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When people think of addiction, they most often think of drugs or alcohol. But, there other addictions, such as low-self-esteem, anger, bullying, that can be just as devastating to the individual and his or her relationships as drugs or alcohol, and depending upon the position of the addict, even more so.

Dr. Michael McGee, in his book The Joy of Recovery, offers a 12-step self-help program to help people break free of addiction, and what is more, helps them journey into a life that is more joyful and fulfilling.

Though this book contains some medical terms, and, despite its shortness is chocked full of information, readers who pay attention and apply the author’s 12 steps will experience a seismic change in personality and interpersonal relationships.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book and recommend it without hesitation. I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Crime: A Small Town With Big Secrets’

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Crime: A Small Town With Big Secrets by Michael Ace Smith starts with a fascinating premise: an English family, the Kings, with deadly secrets they wish to conceal, relocate from the UK to a small town in the US. Soon after they arrive, there is a strange murder, and somehow, they are linked to it, and their lives begin to unravel.

Like I said, a fascinating premise. Unfortunately, there was entirely too much telling and not enough action and showing to really hold my interest. I found it difficult to keep reading, but kept hoping things would perk up somewhere, anywhere, in the book. Alas, they never did. And, even though there was a good surprise ending, it would’ve been so much better if I hadn’t had to wade through the heather to get to it.

I give this one three stars, with a prediction that this author will improve with experience and one day will surprise us.

Review of ‘Forbidden Cure’

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Chris Ravello, an ex-NYPD cop, has a supposedly incurable and debilitating disease, and nothing the doctors have tried seems to work. He learns of a radical new treatment being developed by an eccentric researcher, and decides to give it a try, even though it could kill him if it fails. Against the advice of his friends, he signs up, and after receiving the treatment finds himself changing. He’s not sure who—or what—he’s changing into.  To complicate matters, his former partner is assigned a medical crimes case that is way beyond his capability to deal with, and he calls on Chris for help. Coincidentally, it seems that there have been several unexplained deaths of patients who underwent the same treatment as Chris.

Forbidden Cure by William Rubio is a medical thriller that explores the ethical dimensions of unlicensed medical research, but there are also elements of pure thriller with the introduction of a jailed serial killer who is obsessed with Chris and who claims to have information that Chris’s wife did not die as he thought, but is still alive.

This book has the makings of a hit, but the author never seems to be sure which story he’s telling. Worse, the book ends without resolution of any of the issues raised, leaving me frustrated and feeling a bit cheated. We don’t know the outcome, or even the potential outcome of the questionable procedure performed on Chris, we don’t know what happened to his wife, and the crime is not solved.

The author writes well insofar as his grasp of the language is concerned, but needs to understand that thriller fans want resolution. When a book ends and you’re left scratching your head and wondering what just happened, it’s unlikely you’ll be interested in reading a sequel.

I give this one three stars for the quality of writing only. Story structure, though, is unfortunately sub-par.

Review of ‘El Pombero’

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El Pombero by Jackie Goldman is hard to categorize; it’s kind of a romance novel, kind of a come-to-terms with life story, and kind of an adventure. Heather, the narrator, is talked into going to Venezuela by her friend, Jay, whose brother died there in a freak accident. In addition to visiting the site, Jay wants to meet the Venezuelan woman who alleges that his brother fathered her child. As Heather tells the reader all this, we learn that she, too, has a brother she’s never met.

The story moves at a measured pace as Heather discovers more and more about herself and comes to terms with her life.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I give it four stars.