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 ~ The Reach of the Banyan Tree

Mark Sasse

The Reach of the Banyan Tree by Author Mark W. Sasse

I am fast becoming a huge fan of talented Author Mark W. Sasse. “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” is the third fictional novel that I’ve read by him and I have thoroughly enjoyed all three. I can certainly see his love and fascination for Vietnam because as in Beauty Rising the setting for this novel takes place there as well. As usual the description of the landscape and surroundings are phenomenal and easy to picture in one’s own mind.

The protagonist is Charles Regal Carson III, better known as Chip to his friends. His father is the owner of the Carson Oil Company in Texas which Chip wants no part of, therefore, he decides to work in Thai Nguyen, northern Vietnam for a more noble cause. While there, he meets the love of his life, Thuy. After two years of getting to know each other and eventually falling in love, Chip asks Thuy to marry him. She is more than willing but not without the approval/consent of her father whom she knows will not look favorably upon this union. He fought against the Americans during the Vietnam War and feels this marriage would bring nothing but grief to his little family. Thuy is very loyal to her family with only one younger brother by the name of Quat who is very taken with Chip. He sees him as his big American brother and has every desire to be just like him. His love and admiration for Chip is returned by Chip as he takes Quat under his wing and treats him much the same. After a celebration for Thuy’s twenty second birthday when much revelry and rice wine are enjoyed, most of the celebrants jump on their motorcycles and head home regardless of their drunken state. Although he has some misgivings in doing so, Chip is one of them. Then, the unthinkable occurs and the storyline unfolds in a mesmerizing way…

This well-written and captivating romantic novel with a large dose of history thrown in is both captivating and unpredictable. Once I got started I could hardly put it down. The wide cast of characters masterfully added to the story line by Author Mark W. Sasse only serves to prove what a great writer he is. If this makes sense, I had the mixed feelings of wanting to get to the end of this novel and also not wanting it to end. It would be most enjoyable if there was a sequel to this novel as this one adeptly demonstrates the combination of both heart-wrenching and heart-warming events at the same time. “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” certainly left me wanting more!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ The Recluse Storyteller

Mark SasseThis talented author has done it again. In my opinion, Author Mark Sasse has penned another thought-provoking fictional novel which is sure to grab the attention and stimulate the imagination of many discerning readers with the desire to get to the bottom of complex and oftentimes, perplexing situations.

Margaret Pritcher is the reclusive raconteur. She is obviously very intelligent as she writes programs for company manuals and manages to support herself in the simple life she is accustomed to. She lives by herself in an apartment and talks to absolutely no one….with the exception of Aunt Janice and twin girls, Pam and Sam, who live down the hall…and at times, out loud to herself. She slips out very late, at the same time every Tuesday night, to buy groceries for the week. She does so to ensure that she will not run into anyone she might know at the local grocery store which is open 24 hours a day. Margaret has an extremely over active imagination and since the death of her mother five years earlier…she is pretty well a total recluse.

However, Margaret has either a vivid imagination…or a sick mind…as she slips in and out of the stories in her mind. These are detailed activities and reports about the people who live in the other apartments on her floor…such as Cheevers with the Red Hat or Mrs. Johnson the mother of the twins, or other people such as Reverend Davies that she has been exposed to over the years. These are the tales that the reclusive storyteller is sharing as she explains and vividly describes their lives…using different names that are somehow inexplicitly connected to them and to her. In her mind, they are real…Margaret feels an indescribable presence which surrounds her and then she loses herself into a trance like state. The stories then take on a new life form within the recesses of her mind. It is one of these stories that she openly relates to Pam and Sam as they sit mesmerized before her eating their ice cream. These two young girls are her only genuinely captive audience until…each one of her tales touches a nerve with the people she knows.

No pen…no paper….no computer record the stories of this reclusive raconteur. Yet…each thought appears to be a story that is so realistic that it could actually occur in life to any number of people. The characters are real…at least to Margaret. The scenes leave off from one experience or series of events to another. Each time she returns to this ongoing saga in her mind…she knows exactly where she left off right up to the last minute detail. She never forgets an imagined event or the emotion these characters feel. She is totally captivated by each of them as she systematically and expertly tells their stories.

Who is Margaret…and why does she live this way? Has she been blessed or cursed with her uncanny knack for storytelling? You be the judge. It is well worth reading this fictional novel to find out. The reader gets expertly drawn into the presence she senses…her gift of retelling the imagined events of her dreamed up cast of characters…or better yet, ask yourself how Margaret knows what has gone on in these people’s lives that so evoke these incredible stories and forces them to face their past fears?

I have a feeling the gift of “The Recluse Storyteller” by talented Author Mark Sasse will be as mesmerizing to its reading audience as Margaret’s gift of storytelling is to Pam and Sam.


Book Reviews ~ Unwilling Wife

ReneeUnwilling Wife by Author Renee Roszel

My book review of “Unwilling Wife” is going to be short and sweet just like the content of this fictional romance novel. Married couple, Gina and David Baron are headed for a divorce after ten years of marriage. Gina is soon turning thirty and is questioning her submissive role in her marriage to Physics Professor and would-be Dean at the Einstein University…that’s if David fulfills his ambitious dream. She can no longer live in the shadows of her husband as she decides to move away and pursue her own dream of writing a book. Gina leaves to take up residence in a lighthouse home she has inherited from her uncle just outside the town of Maryvale. David has agreed to a month separation so she can sort things out but he is totally dismayed when he receives divorce papers from her lawyer. David unexpectedly appears at her doorstep and then the fun begins…

Seasoned Author Renee Roszel spins a captivating tale as these two star-crossed lovers figure things out. She tastefully shows the steamy side of their relationship without going into excessive detail. I consider this romance novel to be both captivating and refreshing. It turned out to be a “feel good” book because that’s exactly the way I felt after reading the Epilogue at the end of it.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte


Up The “Down” Ladder by Author Dolores Ayotte

Up The “Down” Ladder special promotion…now 99 cents for one week only!
May 9-16th.

…I’ve noticed something else in my travels. At times, the recollection of what happened to us to cause our depression can be skewed. It can build up in our minds as being much worse than what really occurred. It is only human to want to “pay back” others for what we think they did and for the grief that they caused.

If someone was really mean-spirited toward you and caused you nothing but grief, I repeat, the best way to “get even” is to “get better”. Remove your invisible “kick me” sign and don’t allow anyone to get the better of you. Stop… and I do mean stop allowing people to put you down. It seems to be a human flaw that if someone feels lousy, someone else will capitalize on it. I hope that you read me loud and clear on this matter because I can’t stress it enough. Work everyday at building up your self-esteem and your self-confidence. Make this the basis of your “new you” structure.


Book Reviews ~ Princess Natoree and the Tree Climber

From the first page to the last, I was captivated by this great little book. I don’t think I have ever seen such a bright and colorful children’s book. The story of Princess Natoree, only child of King Oska and Queen Emma, is both heart-warming and educational as it contains a moral lesson that is beneficial for all to learn.

King Oska is very protective of his only child and very much wants what’s best for her. He is not as generous in spirit as his lovely wife Queen Emma, who has every desire for Princess Natoree to be happy. Princess Natoree loves all the children in the kingdom and enjoys playing with them on a regular basis. King Oska does not like this arrangement and is selective in choosing whom she may play with…this restriction brings some sadness to Princess Natoree because she misses being with her friends. One of her very dear friends is a fragile boy by the name of Matura who walks with the help of a wooden crutch.

In order to ensure that Princess Natoree marries an ideal man, King Oska decides to set up an endurance test. The winner of this test will then become the future Prince to ten year old Princess Natoree. Queen Emma is not enthusiastic about this arrangement as she prefers Princess Natoree to marry for love. The challenge set up for all the young boys to try and qualify to be the Prince is that they must scale the tallest tree in the Kingdom. No one is able to manage this tough physical feat except…

Talented J.B. Babo has done a fine job of teaching a lifelong lesson “about overcoming all odds to do extraordinary things”. I can’t wait to read this gem of a book to my grandchildren!

I received a free copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Cruising Panama’s Canal

Cruising Panama’s Canal by Authors Al & Sunny Lockwood

Turning tragedy into travel is the motivation behind “Cruising Panama’s Canal”. Married authors, Sunny and Al Lockwood were hit by a car at a red light. This unfortunate automobile accident served as an eye-opener to them. It was the impetus to live life to the fullest as it could suddenly end tragically with many desired adventures yet to be fulfilled. Al’s dream of sailing through the Panama Canal soon moved up on the “bucket list” and plans to take this wonderful trip were in the works. What better time than now?

As with most trips, a little research is required and then the fun begins…

“Cruising Panama”s Canal” reads like a daily journal or diary. It is an ideal handbook for those contemplating taking a cruise. Sunny Lockwood takes the time to explain in step by step detail exactly what it takes to plan such an exciting excursion. The pre-planning, the lay-out of the ship, what to expect as far as food and accommodations are concerned, the activities offered, etc. are found in this easy to read and well-written book based on their own traveling experiences.

Al Lockwood, on the other hand, has a sweet tooth. With that in mind, he has taken on the arduous task of eating a variety of delicious desserts and explaining in full mouth-watering detail such delectable delicacies as the chocolate eclair and Sacher torte. He also does a great job of elaborating on “transiting the Panama Canal”.

The protocol, the required attire, the ports visited, along with some great pictures really add to the pleasurable “vacation” the readers receive when they vicariously travel along with Al and Sunny while cruising through the Panama Canal. This is the perfect guidebook for baby boomers or anyone else…whether young or not so young…who plan on taking a cruise. The information provided will help any novice get an in-depth grasp of exactly what to expect should they follow the same course as these two enjoyable authors.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Tadeo Turtle

Author Jan Cox
One of my favorite genres to read and review is children’s books and “Tadeo Turtle” lives up to my expectations of a well-written and enjoyable book for the young child. Author Jan Cox is a former elementary school teacher who has tapped into her area of expertise to pen a great children’s book. It is filled with her own handpainted illustrations and a story with a simple life lesson that is bound to benefit its young reading audience.

Tadeo Turtle is a typical fun-loving turtle who thinks that his pleasure is being hampered by his heavy shell. In a dream, Tadeo’s shell accidentally falls into a stream. In his travels he meets up with a CAT who mistakes him for a rat. Tadeo desperately seeks the shelter and safety of his shell. It is difficult to find as it looks very much like the rocks at the edge of the stream. He finds it just in the knick of time before the CAT is able to pounce on him. Tadeo soon realizes the benefit of being content with just the way God intended him to be….shell and all!

I especially enjoy children’s book that are written in rhyme and with a moral lesson as well. Author Jan Cox has done a fine job of including both of these techniques in “Tadeo Turtle”. I also like the idea of the additional fun activity ideas at the end of the book. They will definitely stimulate young children to use their imaginations as they creatively engage in these suggestions…i.e. paper turtle plate, dough turtle, rock turtle, etc. I am also a former teacher and grandmother so I fully realize the pleasure these suggestions will bring.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ The Visitor

The Visitor by Bree Abbington

As so often in life, some of the best gifts come in the smallest of packages. “The Visitor” is one such gift. It is based on a true story and is bound to tug at a few heartstrings. The author of this non-fiction tale has been through a rather difficult year. After fifteen years of marriage, she is divorced from her first husband Matt and remarries Brad on the rebound. After experiencing a series of health issues and stressful business dealings…Brad, after a short eighteen months decides he no longer wants to be in the marriage.

Stressed to the hilt, Author Bree Abbington is spending Christmas with her first husband’s parents along with their two young daughters. This has been a warm family tradition that has stayed the course despite their divorce. It is especially welcomed after the turmoil of the previous year. After a fun-filled, yet exhausting morning, this author decides to escape to her home for a few hours rest before returning for Christmas Day supper. This is when she has the encounter…a personal realization, a spiritual enlightenment with a very “deer” gift!

“The Visitor” is a lovely debut novel by first time Author Bree Abbington. It left me wanting more. Easy to read and very captivating!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Cape Maybe

Author Carol Fragale Brill Cape Maybe

I came upon this fictional novel strictly by chance. The author did not approach me for a book review which is so often the case, therefore, it is refreshing to write this review just because…

I was immediately captivated by the realistic plot and the protagonist, Katie, in this well-written novel that is both heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time. The story is related in the first person by Katie, an eleven year girl with an alcoholic mother. Katie is in dire need of love and emotional support during these critical and formative pre-teen years. Her mother fails her miserably but her loving and kind grandfather affectionately called Poppi, rescues Katie from her unbearable home life and emotionally taxing situation. Poppi lives with his widowed brother Nack. Together, they readily embrace Katie into their family life and try to create as stable a home environment for her as possible.

Katie grieves the loss of her mother’s presence but fairs quite well with the guidance of Poppi, Great Uncle Nack, his female friend Ursula, as well as her young son, Dennis. Along with her best girlfriend Cam and Dennis…Katie manages to enjoy many aspects of her life. She secretly craves Dennis’ attention but he appears to be smitten with Cam. Unfortunately Poppi suffers a debilitating stroke which takes its toll on not only him, but on Katie and Uncle Nack as well. In order to deal with her grief, Katie succumbs to the temptation of the liquor bottle to deal with her sorrow.

As Katie becomes a teenager, she is put in a very compromising situation with Jake…her sexually demanding boyfriend. Alcohol becomes a factor in many of Katie’s poor decisions and lack of good judgment. The captivating twists and turns in this young love/romance novel along with the daily challenges faced by Katie are a real page turner. I enjoyed every word of “Cape Maybe” by talented Author Carol Fragale Brill

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

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