A Woman's Voice

Book Reviews ~ Vengeance Is Mine

Harry James KrebVengeance Is Mine ~ A Benjamin Tucker Mystery by Author Harry James Krebs

I very much enjoy reading a good mystery and this fictional murder novel certainly did not disappoint. I’m a big fan of well-known authors John Grisham, Robert Ludlum, and Ken Follett. I would have to say that talented Author Harry James Krebs is about to give them a run for their money if he keeps on writing mystery murders like “Vengeance Is Mine”. I sincerely hope that this book is the first in a long list of future Benjamin Tucker Mystery novels and that a series will ensue.

The main character, Benjamin Tucker, is an author haunted by a past tragic event that sets the pace for this mind tingling thriller. Seventeen years earlier on his eighteenth birthday, his girlfriend Christina Morgan doesn’t show up for their planned date. Although, Ben is half an hour late, he figures it’s no big deal until…three days later her raped and murdered body is discovered. Ben blames himself and becomes a vigilante of sorts in his pursuit to educate himself about criminal behavior. He eventually becomes an investigative reporter and then a “bestselling true crime author”.

Presently residing in Holly Springs, North Carolina with his second wife… successful business tycoon Maggie Marshak…Ben gets caught up in a police investigation when a series of decapitated female murder victims are discovered in the area. With his police connections, he is quickly drawn into the macabre activities of the psychopathic killer.

When Ben’s ex-wife Jennifer is brutally murdered, his pursuit of this maniacal serial killer becomes extremely personal. His daughter, his new wife, his step daughter and a few others that have deeply touched his life…are all at incredible risk. Why is Benjamin Tucker chosen to be so personally and helplessly drawn into this killer’s brutal desire for vengeance? How far will this mad man go to obtain the vengeance he so desperately seeks? A multitude of questions…so few clues! As the murder mystery unfolds with its bizarre and unpredictable twists and turns, Benjamin Tucker becomes both the hunted and the hunter seeking justice for the murder of these innocent women. Armed to the teeth, he is definitely driven to solve the mystery of these unprecedented murders and soon discovers some unknown and bewildering secrets about his own past.

The acerbic wit of Ben and his crusty, cigar smoking cohort Netter…his main contact on the Cary Police Force, are sure to entertain and amuse most readers. If you enjoy murder mysteries, you’ll be hard pressed to put this book down. It grabbed me right from the first page to the last.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte
Vengeance is Mine
Amazon Link

Book Reviews ~ Tell the Enemy to Scat

Christine HornbackTell the Enemy to Scat! by Author Christine Hornback (Kindle Edition)

“Tell the Enemy to Scat” by Author Christine Hornback is a short, true story that packs a powerful punch! Christine and her husband have remained childless for almost twenty years when she hears “the still small voice” that tells her she is expecting a baby. They are overjoyed to say the least, but then, she is plagued for the first five months of her pregnacy with the possibility of losing this long awaited child. She hears the words from within and is inspired to “tell the enemy to scat” so she can carry out her pregnancy to full term. The glorious birth of her first son ensues. Christine’s faith and prayers have been rewarded but…she believes she is meant to have children…not only one child. Therefore, at 40 years old, she trusts in the Lord for the miracle of a second child . After more trials and tribulations, once again, “the still small voice” is there for her and she gives birth to a second son!

In her book, Christine Hornback openly shares her struggles and disappointments. She eventually takes off her mask and shows her despair to those around her as they reach out in prayer to help her during this difficult time. In the end, her belief and faith in God and the fact that He is true to His Word…wins out! Christine’s book is an inspiration to others as she coaches them to not give up their dreams, no matter the obstacles, so that they, too, can be triumphant!
Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ 12 Steps 12 Stories Spiritual Messages of Recovery for Children and the Child in You

Debra Alessandra12 Steps12 Stories
Spiritual Messages of Recovery for Children and the Child in You by Author Debra Alessandra

Motivational/Inspirational Author Debra Alessandra has a special gift. She is making every effort to reach out to children to help them understand and overcome the struggles of having a family member/loved one who is dealing with the negative consequences of alcoholism.

12 Steps 12 Stories consists of just that…12 delightful and easy to understand tales that coincide with the 12 steps to the recovery program offered to those with an addiction to alcohol. At the beginning of the book, Author Debra Alessandra adeptly explains the disease of alcoholism and its three dimensional parts of mind, body, and spirit. She states that “the alcoholic has lost their connection to a Power Greater than themselves.” She further extrapolates on the 12 step recovery program.

In her noble effort to help children cope with this debilitating disease, Author Debra Alessandra utilizes colorful characters and illustrations to reinforce each step that a recovering alcoholic is actually facing. In doing so, she creatively and effectively takes the child through the program along with the recovering alcoholic so that they can better understand the experiences of the parent or loved one. This process is a “valuable resource” for the parent as it may “help the children you love feel comforted, included, and valued”.

This children’s book is definitely an enjoyable and easy-to-read little gem. It deals with a very difficult subject in a positive way in order to openly and honestly discuss alcoholism and the effects it has on the whole family as a unit. In other words, it offers the opportunity to deal with this disease as a family rather than the go-it-alone approach. There is a strong “spiritual emphasis” incorporated into the book which stresses the need for a Higher Power to help cope with the devastating disease of alcoholism. In my opinion, this emphasise can be beneficial when dealing with other illnesses as well. As the author states…”these 12 stories will assist parents, grandparents, relatives, counselors, therapists, and members of the clergy to begin to discuss the spiritual principles behind the steps.” I wholeheartedly agree!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ The Colors of Blue

The Colors of Blue by Author Lance McCulloch

Are you a romantic? Do you believe in second chances at true love? Talented Author Lance McCulloch does a wonderful job in his debut novel “The Colors of Blue” by tapping into the possibilities of love at first sight and the intriguing consequences of taking a second chance with love.

The protagonist in this well-written fictional novel is Sarah Field. She has been endowed with a very unique and powerful gift…she sees the world in colors. This gift is very evident in her younger years but as time and life progresses, she is no longer as tuned in to this once enjoyable and inexplicable ability. As an adult…surrounded by the stresses of life…it seems that she is unable to tap into this powerful sixth sense. Sarah has so adeptly used it in the past, not only to assess her personal situation, but also to get a better understanding of the people who cross her path. As a gifted teacher, she now manages to see colors once again in her daily dealings with the young children she loves so dearly in her class. However, her joy is soon to be shattered on more than one front. Due to budget cuts and shortly after her break up with fiancĂ© Greg Watkins, she no longer has the bright future that was once a part of her dreams. Much to Sarah’s dismay…shortly before her job loss, she catches Greg in a clandestine tryst with another woman and cancels their upcoming marriage which further adds to her financial worries and concerns for the future…

Sarah is the younger sibling of Rachael who is about to be married. After an unfortunate automobile accident that took the lives of both parents, these two sisters enjoy a deep love for each other and an understandable protective bond. While on a pre-marriage getaway at a lovely remote ranch by the name of Tres Piedras situated in the mountains near Durango, Colorado, Sarah has the opportunity to meet Rick Wheeler. She mistakenly takes him for a tour guide and he makes no effort to correct this assumption. Rick has an incredibly sad story of his own. Sarah and Rick connect on an almost ethereal level which is beyond both of their understanding. Ex-fiancĂ© Greg, who is also attending this prenuptial gathering because he is a friend of the groom’s family, makes every effort to destroy what he sees developing between Rick and Sarah. Will he succeed?

Now the colors are back in full force as Sarah deals with this new attraction to Rick and the mixed emotions that ensue…true love is definitely the color of blue. As so eloquently stated in this captivating love story…”if you’re going to love, be sure to love with every ounce of your heart.”

In “Colors of Blue” it is as if a banquet was prepared before me and I had the good fortunate to feast upon every word. The vivid descriptions of Tres Piedras and the surrounding area….the true love story…the concept of the gift of colors…and the hope of life’s perfect gift of hope and love…what more can a reader ask for when reading a book? Delightful debut novel by Author Lance McCulloch! I look forward for more to come.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Up The “Down” Ladder

I’ve read two other books by this author, “I’m Not Perfect and It’s Okay”, and, “Growing Up and Liking It”. They didn’t disappoint and neither did this one. If you’re depressed, come on in. Sit a spell. Talk with an author who has been there and knows what she’s talking about. She backs up what she has to say with quotes. Her humor is anything but depressing. Her books aren’t your usual jargon. You might even want to jot down a few notes as you read. One thing is for sure, you won’t leave the books feeling the same before you started reading. She’s practical, down-to-earth, fun, and funny.

If you haven’t read one of her books yet, I suggest selecting which one you want to start with and take that first step up the rung of the ladder. They’re a wonderful stress-free read to empower you to fight your own battle with depression and win. Check out her author page, her books, and her reviews. You’ll be glad you did. The author says she was at the bottom of the ladder herself when she decided to take a first step up the ladder, which is how she came up with the title for this book. Each chapter begins with a special quote. This isn’t just another self-help book, it’s one in which the author uses her own life experiences and writes in a conversational tone to help others who may be experiencing the same stress that taught her to take that first step up the ladder and keep climbing.

By Author B.J. Robinson

Book Reviews ~ Pebbles (different faces of life)

Pebbles by Author Madhu Kalyan and Gunjan Vyes

First of all, I love the cover of this book. It very much suits the contents of this lovely and thought-provoking book. “Pebbles” is a wonderful compilation of short stories which is sure to tug at the reader’s heartstrings. They certainly tugged at mine. Each one is a separate story sharing a personal experience, some true…some fictional, and how each affected the writer’s life. For example, The Imperfect Father”, is the story of a college student by the name of Moksha who has been raised by a deaf and dumb father, Das. When he goes with her for a parent teacher interview, he handles himself very well. However, a fellow female student of his daughter, decides to shame her while mocking him and his physical disabilities. The next day when Moksha returns to school she is ganged up on and humiliated by several other students. She cannot handle the pain and decides to commit suicide. You will not want to miss this heart wrenching story to discover for yourself if she succeeds in taking her own life or not and the devastating consequences of her actions. Moksha soon realizes “No one is perfect in this world and the one that accepts his weaknesses with grace and courage is a true hero.”

There are several more stories just wanting to reach out and grab at your heartstrings. I was very moved by the true love story between Fatima and Steve. I can vividly picture Fatima sitting on the bench in the park patiently waiting for Steve’s return…the love of her life…the one and only as there could never be another. And then, there is Ramu…a young boy of approximately ten years old and the conversation he has in the hospital with a perfect stranger. His sister has cancer and he has no idea what cancer is and the life threatening danger it poses. His innocence will bring tears to your eyes.

I could go on and on and tell the gist of each story but it would be pointless to describe each one in detail and the affect they had on me because that would steal from your own enjoyment of reading each of them for yourself. I can only recommend and strongly suggest that you read this little gem of a book with all its captivating short stories and find your own pleasure in their messages. I am sure they will touch your heart in much the same way they have touched mine.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ I Will Fly

“I Will Fly” is a colorful little book for the early reader. Its story revolves around the life of a little fish by the name of Joel who lives in a northern lake with his other fish friends. His closest friend is Hosea, who very much admires and respects Joel’s determination to experiment in trying new things.

Joel enjoys his life as a fish but he has the aspiration to fly like the birds he sees soaring in the blue sky above the lake where he resides. He is determined to sprout wings and take to air himself one day just like these lovely birds. The other fish find him somewhat unique in this quest but Hosea has faith in him. One day Joel manages to grow wings and soon shoots out of the water and soars high in the sky. Joel quickly discovers that he runs out of air and must return to his lake home which is better suited for a fish like him.

His friends are definitely impressed with his new skill but Joel is now content with his own life. He has shown his friends that dreams can come true. However, he also realizes the benefits of having wings as well as being satisfied with who he is…a fish who survives much better in water where he can freely breathe.

Talented children’s Author Elan Ezra has penned yet another book containing many learning opportunities for young children. It’s okay to be different…dreams can come true…and it is great to realize that we are best suited to be who we are rather than wishing to be someone else. The colorful illustrations in “I Will Fly” definitely add to this pleasurable reading experience. Good stuff!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Choose Yourself & Love You More

Choose Yourself & Love You More by Author Lucie Jones

If there is a genre of book that I can identify with…it is an inspirational one! The Introduction to “Choose Yourself & Love You More” is excellent as it quickly addresses the real issue and the difficulties we encounter in learning to love ourselves. It also stresses the need for internal positive self-talk. For many people, it is not so simple to look in the mirror and love what they see and who they are. As stated by Author Lucie Jones, it is very true that “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”. I’ll even go one step further…if you don’t love yourself you will never learn to truly love others. Charity really does begin at home. Therefore, I totally agree with her suggestion to have a better look at ourselves and learn to truly value who we are…

From the very first page right to the last, I can clearly see what this talented author’s goals are and why she decided to pen this little gem of a self-help booklet. To love ourselves is not a crime…it is a necessity in order to positively change our self-image and move forward. Yes…we all have flaws as mentioned, however, they should not decrease our self-worth and affect how we live our lives. As this motivational author stresses, the benefits of self-love will enhance our opportunities to have better relationships. If we stop beating ourselves up…we will attract people who add to our positive dynamic which will result in healthier relationships. Who could ask for anything more? Great suggestions are given to help us follow a new direction and turn our lives around. It is an excellent place to start!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ The End of the Line

The End of the Line by Author Jim Power

Latesha Thomas is one of the main characters in the well-written and interesting fictional/historical novel. Living with her wheel chair bound father, they are in dire straits. Latesha, a young university student with just over a year until graduation…and with the hope of becoming a teacher…finds pressing money problems plaguing this father and daughter duo. Much needed house repairs, high tuition, and the other necessary demands of everyday living take their toll on their dwindling back account. Latesha subsequently decides to start a matchmaking business in order to supplement their income. In doing so, she falsely presents herself as an expert in the field.

Her first client, Peter Elsworth, the other main character in this captivating romance novel, is a handsome electrician. Latesha inadvertently sets him up with three very ill-suited women. As she is about to return his money by mail…Peter unexpectedly shows up at her house in the “all-black village” of the Beechwood Community.

He is very surprised to discover who Latesha really is, as he has seen her before on campus. Her skin is the “color of rich, creamy chocolate” and she is beautiful beyond words. She is immediately attracted to his handsomeness with his fair skin and blond hair…but more importantly, the attraction goes far deeper. There is a special and inexplicable quality in their relationship that is impossible to ignore. Peter asks to join Latesha in a walk to the local Beachwood grocery store. He wants to take a chance on developing a more intimate relationship with her; however, she is dead set against it. She sees life as black and white but Peter tries his best to sway her by saying…”Life isn’t black and white, it’s gray. Black and white works well on a piano, or in the law, but not in human relationships.”

If fictional romance novels are your genre…you won’t want to skip a word of “The End of the Line”. It grabs at the heartstrings with its spellbinding love story. The magnetism of the storyline and the reality of the challenges these two young lovers face adeptly draw the reader into the intense attraction between these two love-struck people from very different worlds. Latesha’s father is outraged at Peter’s determination to make Latesha a part of his life. Peter’s mother, is equally distraught and has no desire to have Latesha in her son’s life. Both parents have one thing in common. They have every desire to keep Peter and Latesha apart for the very same reason. They even go so far as to threaten to disown each of them if their wishes are not obeyed. Will their hatred and bigotry succeed or…can the undying love that Peter and Latesha share survive the odds?

I just cannot express the pleasure I received in reading this enticing and heartwarming romance novel. Author Jim Power is one talented writer…who in my opinion has a very kind heart and a wonderfully creative imagination as he skillfully uses it to connect the dots in this very intriguing story. This talented author’s character and belief system clearly shine through with every word that he pens. Simply put…I loved this book!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ My Little Puppies

Nicola KlugeMy Little Puppies by Author Nicola Kluge

Oh my….what an incredible children’s book! The pictures are delightful and true to life. The educational opportunities in this book are almost too numerous to mention. It is very clear that talented Author Nicola Kluge is an experienced educator as clearly demonstrated in her introductory note to both parents and teachers.

There are several tools provided to encourage further opportunities to learn as well as tapping into the deductive capabilities of young children. After a description of what the lovable puppies are doing in each set of pictures, questions are asked in order to explore what it might be like for children if they were to engage in similar activities. These questions are asked in such a way as to stimulate the mind to predict outcomes and get the creative juices flowing. Counting spots on the puppies….looking for similarities and differences are just a couple of examples.

Author Nicola Kluge uses every occasion to incorporate the many facets of teaching young children by developing skills in Language Arts, Critical Thinking, Math & Science, and much more. There are many suggestions, puzzles, and a variety of different games included at the end of the book to further enhance this wonderful educational opportunity. As a former elementary school teacher, I can say with certainty…pre-school and early grade children will love this book. I have several grandchildren and I can’t wait to share it with them. The illustrations are adorable!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

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