Category Archives: Book Reviews

Author Maggie Thom's Split Seconds (Book 3)

What I Just Read: Split Seconds by Maggie Thom

I finished reading Split Seconds (book 3 in the Caspian Wine series) by Maggie Thom and here are my thoughts. I received an ARC from the author in exchange for a genuine review of it. Advance copies are available on Amazon, with the book launch slated for July 20.

I’ve read Captured Lies, which is the first book in the series, and when Maggie Thom offered me the opportunity to read book 3 I jumped at the chance, even though I still have to play catch-up with reading book 2. Let’s just say though that I was impressed with book 1 – you can read my Goodreads review here – and so I wanted to read more from her. That said, book 1 can be read as a standalone; you don’t have to delve into the rest of the series if you don’t want to, although it’s fun as some of the characters from book 1 appear in book 3.

Now, back to Split Seconds. It’s a great title for a fast-paced read that has both suspense and mystery, as well as a bit of romance. As with Captured Lies, there’s none of that cheesy love scene stuff; instead, they’re realistic moments. I liked how the book opened with a pivotal scene (as I later found out) and I had to keep reading to get answers to the many questions brought on by that initial scene.

The characters of Tijan and Tarin, who are twins, are well developed, and it’s obvious from a few chapters into the book that they’re very different from one another, even though they’re identical appearance-wise. I also liked the character August, who is a hard-working, kind man. I would have liked for James, the twins’ father, to be better developed as he is one of those ruthless businessmen who you almost love to hate. I felt there could be more sides explored for him (perhaps in the next book, if the series continues).

Oooooh and the ending! I was like wowa – and then wowa again – as there are several twists and turns. The puzzle pieces come together but not as I expected. I like it when books aren’t overly predictable and such was the case here. No spoilers in this review!

I give Split Seconds (The Caspian Wine Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Series Book 3) by Maggie Thom 5 out of 5 stars.

What are you reading? 🙂

Video Journalists in the Vietnam War. A Memoir.

Review of the Memoir ‘On the Frontlines of the Television War’

The book “On the Frontlines of the Television War: A Legendary War Cameraman in Vietnam” is so different than almost every other read of mine lately and has such an important subject matter that I feel I must review it here. True, I have read of war before, but not from this angle. I admit I did not realize the risks that video journalists, such as the author Yasutsune “Tony” Hirashiki, took in wartime. Now I know better.

The Vietnam War & The Journalists

Tony and so many other cameramen and camerawomen were capturing the events of the Vietnam War for ABC News and other news stations. Of course, I knew there were people doing so, but I certainly didn’t take into account the immense danger they put themselves in to film a story of the day’s “bang bang” events, as they were known.

Being close to gunfire while filming scenes of the war, putting their lives on the line, must have been excruciatingly hard. And I’m here to say thank you to these people who did so to bring the humanity of the situation, rather than the bloodshed alone, to televisions in countless living rooms.

A Heartfelt Read

When I began the book, I noted it was divided into the sections “Good Luck” and “Bad Luck.” I knew that this was going to be quite the read. And so it was. The forward by Ted Koppel provides an intense introduction to what is to come.

The sections on friendship and camaraderie between Tony, a leading ABC News video journalist, and other journalists, including correspondents and sound technicians, was beautiful to read.

And, on the other side of the luck coin, so heart-wrenching were the words Tony wrote about those he knew who had died in the Vietnam War while striving to show what was happening over in Vietnam. These brave people never left the war-torn country, but Tony does an amazing job of honoring them and bringing them back to us in spirit with his words.

The integral role of editor Terry Irving is evident. I received an advance copy of this book from Terry, who translated Tony’s Japanese book that released in 2008 into “On the Frontlines of the Television War.” Irving retained the heart of the original story, as well as including original war correspondence and photos from the Vietnam War years (1955-1975) in the book.

Final Review Thoughts

This memoir reminds me that we must not only honor the soldiers of war but also those men and women who are reporting the news story, both in front of and behind the video camera as they risk their lives right alongside the soldiers. This memoir is heartfelt and educational. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

You can get your copy on Amazon today:

On the Frontlines of the Television War: A Legendary War Cameraman in Vietnam

♥ Christy

Review of A Farewell to Arms Novel

So Then I Read This Book and That Book

It’s fair to say I like to read a lot. It’s fair also to say it might be an addiction. OK, there’s worse things, right? I recently met my 2016 Reading Challenge at Goodreads of 25 books (woohoo!) and wanted to share a few of the books I’ve delved into recently. Here are my reflections on three of these novels.

The Viking and the Courtesan

Historical Romance Book Review

The Viking and the Courtesan by Shehanne Moore

When I read The Viking and The Courtesan by Scottish author Shehanne Moore, I knew I was heading into new territory as I do not typically read historical romance books. Well this was quite the read to get my feet wet!

The main character Lady Malice Mallender was quite the character, a woman who felt she was not quite good enough to get the attention of her husband (who never had so much as kissed her before!).

Malice is in the business of breaking up marriages and doing quite well at it (depending what angle you take) until she finds herself traveling back in time to 898 AD in Viking, Norway, and meets Sin Gudrunsson, who is a Viking. Wowa and she may just be falling for him, only there are a few big questions, including how he feels about her and what is causing her to travel in time?

The book is fast-paced, and the characters are both witty and animated. I almost felt Malice blush a few times, and know I did, as I read it, given some of the steamy love scenes. While I wasn’t so in love with the phrase “bed slave,” I realize the author used it to create authenticity in language for the time back then in Norway. On a side note, if you adore shoes then you will enjoy Malice’s penchant for buying high heels.

A Farewell to Arms

Review of A Farewell to Arms Novel

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms,  I knew little about it aside from the fairly well-known attribute that the ending is sudden and seemingly unfair. I won’t write spoilers here, but it’s fair to say that’s correct! The book is set during World War I and focuses on the Italian campaign of one soldier, an American named Frederic Henry, who is a Lieutenant in the Italian army.

A large chunk of the book could be called a love story between Frederic and a nurse named Catherine Barkley. The story is told through Frederic’s eyes, and he certainly has the upper hand in the relationship. While that was the way back then (male dominance in a relationship), I can’t say I was happy when Catherine always wanted to do as Frederic wanted, rather than expressing her own opinions.

In reading the book, I learned more about what it might have been like to live during WWI, including the way many men turned to alcohol to get through Continue reading

Reflecting on the Self

Reflections on the Self: Book Reviews & More

It has been quite the week. Ups and downs, both of which we know accompany the gift of life. And it is a gift.

Let’s focus on the positive, shall we? This week I received not one but TWO new reviews of Versions of the Self. Wow. My latest book has been featured on two blogs this week and both are complementary.

Getting Personal with Poetry

The first one is from talented writer Freya Pickard, who wrote on her Drangonscale Clippings blog,

“What struck me about these poems was the personal nature and themes they explore. This is a poet being honest and unpretentious.”

And that is the line that stuck with me from her review. Why be anyone that you are not? Why put on airs or hide behind a facade? Be YOU, beautiful you.

And I’m so glad that this way of being comes through in my poetry collection.

Continue reading