Review: Downward Dog: Very Serious Haiku from a Very Serious Dog by Samm Hodges and Phinheas Hodges


Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 16 May 2017

Publisher: Animal Media Group LLC

Category: Poetry/Animals/Young Adult

A book of haiku and illustrations from the mind of Martin, the talking, angst-ridden, introspective dog from the ABC TV series, Downward Dog.

Sam Hodges is part of the writing and creative team of the ABC TV sitcom Downward Dog and he provides the distinct voice for Martin on the show. Hodges is also an accomplished director, having won numerous awards for his commercial work for Animal Inc.

Phinheas Hodges is part of the writing staff on the ABC TV sitcom Downward Dog. He is also a freelance writer, director, and editor.

Rating: 2 Stars

I requested this book because I remember seeing the trailer for the television show and subsequently hearing it had been cancelled. That was a bit sad because as much of a cat person as I am, dogs are amazing. I’d love to see more shows about them in a comedic setting rather than as set dressing for human actors.

When I started reading this, I felt like there were brief glimpses into deeper meaning, but that overall the style of poetry chosen (haiku) was perhaps not the best choice. A format that was even a little bit longer might have made more of an impact. A couple of the pieces I got the underlying emotion, but a majority were so brief and understated that I felt nothing in them.

I wish the book overall had been longer because it took less than five minutes to finish it cover to cover. What did I get out of it in the end? Did I enjoy it? The overwhelming answer is “meh”. I didn’t find humor, I didn’t find engagement, I just…didn’t. If the show is based on this book alone, on the authors’ humor alone, than I can see why it was cancelled. A lack of substance makes me glad this was a review rather than a purchase.






I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: The Fed-Up Cow by Peta Lemon (Writer) and Maria Todoric (Illustrator)


Amazon  –  Goodreads

Published: 30 January 2018

Publisher: Quirky Picture Press

Category: Childrens

Hilda is FED-UP with being a cow. Spending all day doing not much but moo. There has to be something more she can do.

So she decides to be a sheep…
… then a pig
… and even a chicken.

Is the grass any greener on the other side?

Join Hilda, the fed-up cow, on her voyage of self-discovery in this daft but timeless story, written in rhyme.

Rating: 3 Stars

Hilda isn’t happy with being a cow, so she embarks on an adventure around the barnyard, looking for something to be that is more true to herself.

The story is funny and cute enough for a children’s book. The animals we see, from sheep to chickens, are all familiar and the young audience will enjoy the sounds they make. I think a lot of participation will complement the book nicely. My own child like mimicking the barnyard sounds.

There were some moments when I thought the rhyme structure was a little clumsy, others where there was some force evident in trying to find the correct words to continue the pattern. The art style wasn’t to my taste, but the colors are bright and the style simplistic enough that the target audience should find few faults with it.

Overall, this is a sweet book that would be good for bedtime or maybe story time in a class or library.






I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.


The Dark Divide Street Team: A Review & Soundtrack for The Dark Divide by D.K. Stone

It’s been two years since I featured Danika “D.K” Stone’s novel Edge of Wild on The Hermit Librarian’s first platform. Today I am so pleased to bring you content on the second book in the series, The Dark Divide.

Nothing is simple in this book, carrying over themes set up in the first book. Rich is in a lot of trouble and there’s only one person that can clear his name, but will that work?

The atmosphere in the book is rich and to represent it, both Danika and I created playlists full of music that we thought would hit the mood of the book perfectly.


AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

Published: 15 April 2018

Publisher: Stonehouse

Category: Speculative Fiction/Mystery/Romance

Waterton is a town with dark secrets, and after a summer of murder and mayhem, American ex-pat, Rich Evans, knows exactly how far people will go to hide them. Jobless after the fiery destruction of the hotel he once managed, Rich is charged with arson. Only one person, local mechanic Louise “Lou” Newman, believes in his innocence. But even Lou’s love and support can’t dispel the darkness that’s spreading through the community. Dead animals appear on porches, strangers threaten the safety of the locals, and a fingerprint from the fire is linked to a decades-old murder.

The lonely border town has a new danger: a murderer willing to do anything to protect a web of secrets that links them to the arson.

As the risk of jail or death increases, Rich turns to Lou for guidance and she finds herself in an impossible position. Lou has her own secrets! Does she protect the border town where she grew up, or side with the man she loves… even if it means she can never tell him the truth about herself?

Rating: 4 Stars

The Dark Divide picks up shortly after the end of Edge of Wild. The ramifications of the destruction of the hotel, the Whitewater, are rippling through town. Evidence is mounting against Rich, Lou is struggling to defend him against the charge as well as the townsfolk, and the town itself is facing trouble from more than one front. Will it be possible for anyone to find a satisfactory, if not happy, ending?

Danika drops a bombshell early on: there’s evidence of an accomplice to Colton, the villain of Edge of Wild. What won’t this person to protect their secret, not only in connection with the arson that killed a local girl, but of a decades old cold case murder that crosses the border of the U.S.?

The first third of the book reintroduces the reader to the main cast, Rich and Lou, as well as the other residents of Waterton and a few law enforcement related people, such as Rich’s friend Stu, now his lawyer.

There’s also Alistair, a documentarian looking into draft evaders that may have crossed the border into Waterton during the Vietnam War. The sheer annoyance I felt toward his character reminded me of Rich in the first book before things turned around. Alistair is pushy and nosy, bordering on mean to the residents and these are not people that take well to outsiders, much less inquisitive Hollywood filmmaker types. His presence, in addition to the legal proceedings against Rich, made for a tense, creepy atmosphere. Some of the creepiness stemmed from his overall despicable, forceful personality, but also from the fact that he has a connection with Lou that was completely unexpected.

Rich started out a bit of an ass in the last book and gained in personal standing by the end. In The Dark Divide, I feel like his personality was reset a bit. He was asking things of Lou that he knew she wasn’t comfortable with, such as divulging a lot of her past or abandoning her job (which a lot of the locals depend on – gas/mechanic/supply runs) to accompany him to the nearby town for his arson trial. While I understand how that must have felt for him, he was not supportive of Lou and how important her life and routine were. There was some growth between them, but overall, I ended up caring less for Rich than when we left off the previous story and I don’t think he really deserved Lou.

Lou had more than anyone to deal with since the conclusion of the first book. There’s her mysterious, supernatural ability with future telling components as well as past life memories that she can barely explain to herself much less anyone else. There’s the relationship she formed with Rich, one that developed quickly over the summer. Add to this what her role in Rich’s trial might be and you’ll realize how much pressure everything put into her life. How she is able to deal with even a tiny bit is a miracle.

The townsfolk were just as closeted as in Edge of Wild, keeping their secrets close to the vest and making it impossible to figure out who was on what side, who was hiding something potentially explosive, and so forth. It was a little annoying, but considering what they were protecting, I can’t say that I blame them for being wary not only of Alistair and his “documentary”, but of the consequences of the fire in the previous book that Rich is facing charges for.

Danika crafted another great mystery that may not have had as much of an excitement factor as it’s predecessor, but was an enjoyable read nonetheless.


Danika’s Playlist

The Dark Divide is one of those books that I wrote with a steady stream of music blasting in the background. Whenever I needed to center myself while writing a scene, I went to this soundtrack. Here are the ten main themes of the finished book (in chronological order). As you read The Dark Divide, take a listen. Can you tell what events and characters these songs emote?

“Ends of the Earth”, Lord Huron. “Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever / I’m gonna see where it leads / Oh, there’s a mountain that no man has mounted / I’m gonna stand on the peak.”

“In a Manner of Speaking”, Nouvelle Vague. “So in a manner of speaking / I just want to say / That like you I should find a way / To tell you everything / By saying nothing.”

“Just”, Radiohead. “He’s been hanging around for days / Comes like a comet / Suckered you but not your friends / One day he’ll get to you / And teach you how to be a holy cow.”

“Time to Run”, Lord Huron. “It’s time to run, they’ll string me up for all that I’ve done / I’m going soon, gonna leave tonight, gotta / I did it all for you.”

“Departure and Farewell”, Hem. “The sunlight films my waving hands. / The final scene has just begun / And pulling back the world expands / And I am gone.”

“The Rip”, Portishead. “Wild, white horses / They will take me away / And the tenderness I feel / Will send the dark underneath / Will I follow?”

“Wintersong”, Sarah McLachlan. “The lake is frozen over / The trees are white with snow / And all around / Reminders of you / Are everywhere I go.”

“Song for a Winter’s Night”, Gordon Lightfoot. “The lamp is burnin’ low upon my table top / The snow is softly fallin’ / The air is still within the silence of my room / I hear your voice softly callin’.”

“Half Acre”, Hem. “So we carry every sadness with us / Every hour our heart were broken / Every night the fear and darkness / Lay down with us.”

“Suzanne”, Leonard Cohen. “And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind / And you know that you can trust her / For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind.”



About the Author


Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) adults (Edge of Wild and The Dark Divide). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.



The Hermit Librarian’s Playlist


Some of the songs I chose are instrumental, which I thought fit with the general feel of Waterton and the isolation one might experience there as well as feelings of unease if they aren’t used to it.

Others, such as “Welcome to the Jungle”, were inspired by specific characters. That song I imagined Alistair blasting from his car radio as he drives into Wateron: loud, almost obnoxious rock music that would unsettle the person at the gates. “This Kiss” represented the good times that Rich and Lou had, especially when they first see each other in this book.

My personal favorite was “White Rabbit”: it had the eerie sound I was looking for and has long been a song I’ve associated with stories that are topsy turvy. The feelings that Lou had, whether about herself, Rich, or the other people she comes into contact with during her story, might fit very well with this Jefferson Airplane tune.



Giveaway: The Dark Divide Gift Package

Open to US entrants only.

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Tour Schedule


Danika’s Official Book Launch


Paige @ Books and Belle

Review & “Finding the Characters”


Harker @ The Hermit Librarian

Review & Soundtracks


Emily @ Emily Reads Everything

Review & Aesthetic


Lauren @ Shooting Stars Mag



Kathleen @ KCCmp13



Ana @ Fangirls Since 1988

Review & “The Tools of Writing Suspense”


Bea @ Beatrice Learns to Read

Character Look Book


Fatima @ Fafa’s Book Corner

“The Challenges of Writing a Mystery”


Lana @ The Wyrdd and the Bazaar

Review & Giveaway






I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Sunday Street Team: An Excerpt of Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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Adrienne Young’s new book, Sky in the Deep, debuts soon. Featuring a strong Viking inspired story, family betrayal, and what it means to be on opposing sides of war, it’s sure to be an intense book filled with battles, emotions, and hard questions.

Today on The Hermit Librarian, courtesy of the Sunday Street Team, I am sharing an excerpt from the new novel.


Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 24 April 2018

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Category: Fantasy/Young Adult


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.




I broke through the fog and ran toward the river as fast as my feet would carry me with Mýra on my heels, her sword swinging. My eyes were on the trees, in the direction Iri had gone. They jumped from shadow to shadow, looking for a streak of flaxen hair in the darkened forest.

A woman leapt from the tree line, but her shriek was cut off as Mýra came from the side, plowing into her with a knife. She dragged it across the woman’s throat and dropped her where she stood, falling into step with me again as I ran.

The retreat whistle for the Riki sounded and the bodies, still tangled n battle, parted to reveal the green field now painted red with the death of clansmen. I took off, weaving through the retreating Riki and grabbing hold of the fair-haired men one by one, searching their faces.

“What are you doing?” Mýra wrenched me backward, her sharp face pulled in confusion.




The last of them disappeared into the trees behind her and I turned, looking for the blue wool tunic my father was wearing beneath his armor. “Aghi!”

The heads of the Aska in the field turned toward me. Mýra took hold of my arm, pressing the heel of her hand into the wound to stop the bleeding. “Eelyn.” She pulled me to her. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

I found my father’s face across the field, where the fog was still pulling up from the land like a lifting cloud.

“Aghi!” His name was raw in my throat.

His chin lifted at the strangled sound and his eyes searched the body-littered expanse. When they found me, they transfigured from worry into fear. He dropped his shield and ran to me.

I sank to my knees, my head swimming. He fell beside me, hands running over my body and fingers sliding over blood and sweat-soaked skin. He looked me over carefully, dread pushing its way onto his face.

I took hold of his armor vest, pulling him to face me. “It’s Iri.” The words broke on a sob. I could still see him. His pale eyes. His fingers touching my face.

My father’s gaze went to Mýra before the breath that was caught in his chest let go of his panic. He took my face into his hands and looked at me. “What’s happened?” His eyes caught sight of the blood still seeping from my arm. He let me go, pulling his knife free to cut at the tunic of the Riki lying dead beside us.

“I saw him. I saw Iri.”

He wrapped the torn cloth around my arm, tying it tight. “What are you talking about?”

I pushed his hands from me, crying. “Listen to me! Iri was here! I saw him!”

His hands finally stilled, confusion lighting in his eyes.

“I was fighting a man. He was about to . . .” I shuddered, remembering how close to death I’d come—closer than I’d ever been. “Iri came out of the fog and saved me. He was with the Riki.” I stood, taking his hand and pulling him toward the tree line. “We have to find him!”

But my father stood like a stone tucked into the earth. His face turned up toward the sky, his eyes blinking against the sunlight.

“Do you hear me? Iri’s alive!” I shouted, holding my arm against my body to calm the violent throbbing around the gash. His eyes landed on me again, tears gathered at the corners like little white flames. “Sigr. He sent Iri’s soul to save you, Eelyn.”

“What? No.”

“Iri’s made it to Sólbjǫrg.” His words were frightening and delicate, betraying a tenderness my father never showed. He stepped forward, looking down into my eyes with a smile.

“Sigr has favored you, Eelyn.”

Mýra stood behind him, her green eyes wide beneath her unraveling auburn braids.

“But—” I choked. “I saw him.”


About the Author



Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

Website  –  Twitter  –  Goodreads

Instagram  –  Pinterest  –  Facebook


Tour Schedule

4/1 Tour Stops

Review – Here’s To Happy Endings

Review  – Flyleaf Chronicles

Interview – Emily Reads Everything

Guest Post – A Backwards Story


4/8  Tour Stops

Interview –OMG Books and More Books

Review – Life of a LIterary Nerd

Review – Boundless Bookaholic

Review – Avid Reader Diary


4/15  Tour Stops

Review – Hopeful Reads

Excerpt- The Hermit Librarian

Review  –Dani Reviews Things

Review – Aimee, Always


4/22 Tour Stops

Review – Library of a Book Witch

Review – Pretty Deadly Review

Interview – Bookstacks Amber

Review – A Gingerly Review


4/29 Tour Stops

Guest Post – Sarcasm and Lemons

Review – A Thousand Words and A Millions Books

Interview – Tween 2 Teen Books

Review – A Book and A Cup of Coffee






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Comic Mini-Reviews: Skyward #1 by Joe Henderson & Death or Glory #1 by Rick Remender

Skyward by Joe Henderson (Writer), Lee Garbett (Illustrator),

& Antonio Fabela (Illustrator)

Amazon  –  Goodreads

Published: 18 April 2018

Publisher: Image Comics

Category: Comic Books

“MY LOW-G LIFE,” Part One One day, gravity on earth suddenly became a fraction of what it is now. Twenty years later, humanity has adapted to its new low-gravity reality. And to Willa Fowler, a woman born just after G-day, it’s…well, it’s pretty awesome, actually. You can fly through the air! I mean, sure, you can also die if you jump too high. So you just don’t jump too high. And maybe don’t stumble into a dangerous plan to bring gravity back that could get you killed…. From writer JOE HENDERSON (showrunner of Fox’s Lucifer) and artist LEE GARBETT (Lucifer, Loki: Agent of Asgard), SKYWARD is an adventure-filled exploration of our world turned upside down and a young woman’s journey to find her place in it.

Rating: 4 Stars

The concept of gravity vanishing one day is both terrifying and really interesting. On the one hand, I’m pretty sure humanity at large would freak out. On the other hand, based on Skyward #1, there’s a lot of development that’s been made in the twenty years since, so humanity in this world isn’t doing as badly as I would’ve imagined.

This issue introduces us briefly to the main character, Willa, who’s never known gravity since she was born shortly before it disappeared. Her father knows something, though, and apparently has a way to bring it back. What would this mean, though, for Willa’s co-worker, a young man who is a double amputee that is able to maneuver in a way that would be impossible if gravity returned.

I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this series, not only for the information I’m curious about (how did knowledge of certain things vanish in 20 years? how did humans adapt so well?) but also for Willa. Is she going to be able to travel the world like she wants, or will her loyalty to her father keep her in the city?



Death or Glory #1 by Rick Remender (Writer), Bengal (Illustrator),

Duncan Fegredo (Illustrator), & James Harren (Illustrator)

Amazon  –  Goodreads

Published: 2 May 2018

Publisher: Image Comics

Category: Comic Books

Meet Glory, raised off the grid in a convoy amid truckers—the last men and women fighting for true freedom on the American open road. Now, in order to pay for her beloved dying Father’s surgery, Glory has three days to pull off four dangerous cross-country heists with mob killers, crooked cops, and a psycho ex-husband all out to bring her in or die trying.The new ongoing series by New York Times bestselling author RICK REMENDER and legendary French superstar BENGAL brings you a high-speed chase across the American West that examines our dwindling freedoms and the price paid by those who fight for an untethered life, in this special double-sized first issue with 40 pages of story!

Rating:  2 Stars

I wasn’t sure what this title was about when I selected it to review, but the description itself sounds jam packed with action: car chases, robberies, etc. The action in the book certainly lives up to the summary, complete with a specially modified car ramming a police vehicle off the road.

Illustration wise, things were clear and easily followed, something that can lack in action comics. The drawings aren’t particularly attractive, but neither are they painful to look at for the length of the book.

Story wise is where I had the biggest problem. It was kind of boring, even in a double length first issue. The basics were set up, but even those didn’t capture my interest. If it weren’t for what Glory found in the back of the truck, then I might not even want to continue reading. As it is, I might flip through, but as for a lasting series, I don’t feel any oomph in the story or connection to the characters that would make me actually want to read more.






I received copies of these books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.


Release Day Blitz: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadill


Today’s the day I get to share with you all the release day blitz for Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo. It’s out today and I’m sharing not only the highlights of the book, but also an excerpt AND a giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of the authors and Rockstar Book Tours!

If Bacon Pie is new on your radar, be sure to check out all the details below.

About the Book


Author: Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo
Pub. Date: April 13, 2018
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 314
Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksGoodreads
Lia Abbie has the easy life—kicking it back with old school video games, hanging out with her best friend Barnabas, and alternating her living schedule between the apartments of her two dads and her mom.

Kiev Jimenez is a theater geek who loves him some Shakespeare and taking care of his pet armadillo. He has one set goal in life: obtaining the role of Horatio for the Hamlet school play.

When a showdown between Lia and Kiev lands them in the principal’s office,
they’re forced into volunteer work at the cringe-worthy Piggy Palooza Festival,
or risk being suspended. Lia and Kiev aren’t thrilled about the situation,
especially when it interferes with Lia’s relaxed life and Kiev’s theater role.
But by working together, they may find more than just bacon—possibly a little
love in the air.


The door is already wide open. Mr. Walker is missing in action, but two guys are already
there—Tweedle Jerk and Tweedle Jerkier.


I’m not dealing with this crap today. I march up to Cole, who is sitting in my seat again, and watch as Kiev’s eyes seem to follow me all the way until I’m standing in between both of them.


“You need to get out of my seat,” I say to Cole. Does he have his usual basketball shirt
on today? He does.


He holds up both hands like he’s trying to tame a wild boar. “Calm down. Calm down, Miss Ophelia Abbie. The bell has not announced the start of this oh-so-wonderful


I give him a look of disdain. “Enough with the Ophelia stuff.”


“What’s wrong with the name Ophelia?” Kiev pipes in. “It’s like the name from Hamlet.”


“What?” I turn to Kiev, not sure what this idiot is talking about.


“You know, O-phe-li-a.” He draws the name out super slowly to get his point across.


“I don’t give a crap about Hamlet—that has nothing to do with my name,” I huff.


Tapping his fingers on the desk like he’s typing on a keyboard, Kiev stares at my face.
“Are you sure your parents didn’t name you after the character?”


“Who the hell names their kid after a stupid Shakespearian play?” I’ve read two, and I hated them both.


“Plenty of people. Juliet Weaver, in our grade, was named after Romeo and Juliet.”


“Quit being pretentious.”


“Quit being a—”


I narrow my eyes at him. “A what?”


“You know what you’re being.”


“Shut up, Kiev. Oh, my parents named me after the capital of Russia, because I’m such an
important person who has to answer questions for people when they don’t need
help answering!” I yell.


“Um, Kiev is actually the capital of Ukraine.” He bobs his head. “You know that, right?”
I hear Cole’s loud hooting to my right.


That’s it! Without thinking, I slam my fist directly into Kiev’s nose.


About Candace


My name is Candace Robinson. I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog, Literary Dust.

I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome daughter!
You can also follow me on my review blog Literary

About Gerardo

Gerardo’s amazing bio.

Yup. Even though I’m like one-hundred-and-fifty-nine years old, spelled all out, I love to write about contemporary teens in distress. So no magic, dragons, or unicorns.


About me


At the tender age of sixteen years old, when giant lizards ruled the world, I used to be a DJ–turntables and all.

I was born in the States, raised in Mexico, and now live in Big D.


Cloud computing is my area of expertise–just don’t ask me what cloud computing means.

I love football, the one played with the feet by footballers, La Liga from Spain being the best.


Chilaquiles is my favorite food. Yummy.


About my novels


Multi-cultural is my writing trade, in English and Español. My writing must be emotional or else…


I believe in the Oxford comma, but the Oxford comma doesn’t believe in me. Love first person present tense POV. In my novels, food tends to be another protagonist.



Giveaway Details: Open INT!

1 winner will receive an Amazon Gift Card, International.
Ends on April 24th at Midnight EST!

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All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

DNF Review: A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow


Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 20 March 2018

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Category: Fantasy/Fiction/Mystery

We all say there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?

Such is the unfathomable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder and missed opportunities is revealed to him.

Mystical, harrowing and ultimately tremendously moving, A Guide for Murdered Children is a genre-busting, mind-bending twist on the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Rating: 1.5 Stars

CW: language (particularly regarding an autistic side character and the R word, then potentially autistic children in general), fat-phobic terminology

A lot of time there’s no justice in the world. I think that’s at least part of what made me want to request this book, the idea that murdered children could get revenge on those that had wronged them. It’s a brilliant concept,  I thought, and while the cover is a bit bright for my tastes, it wasn’t too bad.

The contents, on the other hand…

From the very first page the writing seemed very crass. It was very uninteresting and I struggled with reading it. There was no connectivity to Willow, the ex-narcotics detective we’re seeing this story through, other than the author painting him as a physically abhorrent person. The language is used isn’t great, such as “fatty”, and a lot of time is spent on his health, whether it be potential cancer (liver or skin) or sexual performance ability (he praises Cialis).

He is a stereotypical has been cop, a self proclaimed American Mythic Washed-up Cop. This admission doesn’t make his story better, it makes it sadder. He knows it, the author obviously knows it, and yet the reader is still made to endure more tired descriptors. I kept waiting for trumpet music from a classic movie to play over this tripe.

It was hard to get a grasp on the story and get into it. The passages that were spent with Willow were especially bad because it felt like I was reading the inside of his brain. Willow’s a recovering (maybe?) alcoholic and the narrative felt like what would happen if you cracked his head open and poured the contents out through a word processor.

The parts that were flashbacks were no less clear. Introducing new characters only seemed to make things worse. They were convoluted, bringing new threads to tangle and make into a big mess with unclear relationships and motivations that were in turns nonsensical and insulting. I spent more time going back and forth trying to figure out who people were, who they were related to, and what they were supposed to be doing then actually enjoying the book.

There was some coolness with the “magic system” or whatever you’d call it that that had the ghosts/souls returned to the living world and into bodies, or tenants and landlords. It was a bit tricky because there were metaphors abound and you had to remember them or you’d be lost; not just the ones for the children and their hosts, either, but also for Annie, a “porter” who guides the children, for example. She was actually kind of an interesting character that I liked reading about.

Overall, the beginning of this book damaged any hope there was of finishing it because it was so poor. The writing was not to my liking, I did not care about the characters, and even reading further and finding one good one wasn’t enough for a narrative that turned out to be, quite frankly, dull.






I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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