Thursday 23 June 2016

Neil Marshall Mystery Series Book 1 and 2 Review

Book 1
If Wishes Were Horses...
" Neil Marshall is a graduate student in the University of Houston’s creative writing program and a promising young poet. However, facing a financially and emotionally draining divorce has him worried about more than paying tuition. So to make ends meet, Neil moonlights as a chef for a high society caterer.  Just when Neil’s life seems bleakest, his oldest friend, racehorse breeder Jason Keys, is murdered. And Neil becomes the prime suspect.  To avenge his friend, clear his name, and rescue a missing championship thoroughbred, Neil infiltrates the dark underworld of horse theft and illegal breeding. Neil’s friends—his attractive writing teacher, his cooking colleagues, and a freckle-faced teenage horsewoman—offer their support. But their cheers quickly turn to gasps when Neil becomes the hunted."

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Book 2
A Whisper Of Rage
"Graduate student and part-time chef Neil Marshall only wants to go for an early morning run.  Instead he witnesses the near-fatal shooting of legendary Houston private eye C.J. McDaniels, and he fears the gunmen can identify them. Before long, Neil finds himself in the eye of a hurricane, his quiet academic life ripped apart as he rides a swath of violence that cuts across a mansion in River Oaks to an eerily silent suburban home, from a secret hospital room to the bed of a fascinating woman.  In Houston's sultry summer heat a deep-rooted rage is building from a whisper to a roar."

Tim Hemlin is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, having studied with poets Charles Simic and Mekeel McBride.  He has published in poetry journals, anthologies, and magazines--most notably in Ellery Queen.  Currently he has six published novels, two short stories and is included in an anthology.

By day he is an educator; however after teaching ELA for 22 years he decided to put his master's degree to work and is now a high school counselor.  In addition, he is an avid marathoner, fly-fisherman, and outdoorsman.  He lives just outside Houston, Texas with his wife Valerie, two dogs and a cantankerous cat.

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Find all of Jim Hemlin's Books Here

4.5  Out of 5 Stars
If wishes were horses… starts as Neil Marshal walked out of his disastrous marriage and goes to a friend’s looking for a place to stay until he can get a place of his own. The beginning, while well written, is a bit slow. However, it puts everything into place to flesh out the whole story. Like any good mystery this book has a slew of characters/ suspects. It took a bit of sorting out on who was who, but Tim Hemlin gives them their own characteristics and personality that helps you get a full picture of who each person is relatively quickly. 
While reading I noticed that all of my favourite mystery writers are women. So it was quite different and refreshing to reading a man’s perspective actually written by a man. I also found a new appreciation for all our modern technology!
Overall I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading his next book.

5 out of 5 Stars
The Whisper of Rage starts off with a bang, literally. It gets you hooked immediately then starts filling in with new characters and necessary background information. I liked the new characters and think it would be totally possible to have a whole series using the PI as the main character. Maybe there already is, I will have to look into this.
Tim Hemlin’s writing is smoother in this book. He also does well keeping the characters who continued on from the last book with their same personalities.  However, Neil feels less broken in this book. In the last book he felt like he was almost being acted upon whereas this book it feels like he is making his own choices. It works really well to develop his character and show his growth as a person. I enjoy when a character can develop throughout a series and this is done very subtly.
There is mild language and a bit of sex behind the sceans but on a whole it is quite clean. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good Murder Mystery.

If wishes were horses… 
Nothing in my twenty-eight years could’ve prepared me for the scream that awaited me inside. Bloodcurdling, the howl lifted every hair on my neck to attention, siphoned ten years off my life, and threatened to claim my first child before I’d even found someone to conceive him with. Fajitas hit the floor, fists shot up, and instinctively I crouched, looking for the source of Satan’s cry. ~ Neil Marshall

The Whisper of Rage 
I did the only thing I could think of: I ran after him myself. Questions came to me. Why weren’t there any uniformed cops here as backup? Did those two old men leaden with fat and iron think the capture was going to be this easy? 
I knew the area and took off down Service Street, hooked a right at the cash-and-carry place. Linda had taken the direct path, but for a big guy Ramirez was fast, too fast for her to come close.
I expected to hear gunshots. There were none. All of them were out of sight. I was running parallel to Airline Drive, thinking that old José would duck into one of the neighborhoods, when I asked myself what I was going to do if I did catch up to him. I was fast, had great stamina, and was totally unarmed. Great, I thought, and slowed. I pictured the headlines: IDIOT JOGGER SLAIN WHILE CHASING EX-CON—OUTRAN COPS AND INVESTIGATORS TO BE THERE FIRST—NEVER SUSPECTED PROTECTION WAS AN ISSUE. The son of a bitch tried to kill me once. What better to do than give him a second chance? –Neil Marshall

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Wednesday 15 June 2016

A Living Hope Cover Reveal

E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years, she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years led naturally to her current endeavor, writing inspirational romance novels. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.

Connect with the Author here: 

It was a match made in heaven. Or so everyone thought. Sadie Mae Cummings is all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, Kyle, when she is assigned to tutor Lincoln, the new college football running back. This sophomore phenomenon has all the girls on campus knocking on his door. But Sadie isn't interested in his advances.

Lincoln’s overblown ego doesn't take well to being shunned, and he resolves to make Sadie his own. He pursues her relentlessly, until finally Kyle finds himself shut out of Sadie's life, with their shared future crumbling around him.

After two years, Sadie’s relationship with Lincoln ends, and she is left having to put the pieces of her life back together. She desires nothing more than to recapture her relationship with Kyle. He has stayed true to the dreams they had planned together, living the vision even without Sadie by his side.

When she moves back to her hometown, she labors to rekindle their love. But things have changed, and Kyle has moved on. Sadie quickly discovers how hard it is to rebuild burned bridges.

Follow Sadie’s story as she fights for a chance to restore broken dreams. Will love endure?

This inspirational romance by E. C. Jackson is book two of the Hope series and is a standalone book.

Here is the moment you have been waiting for!

The Cover


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Friday 10 June 2016

The Journal Of Rabbi Levy Wang Review

Three Friends, Two Countries, One Priceless jewel

1937 China; the Japanese Imperial Army is chewing up China. Three middle-aged friends, Westerners, who have lived in China for decades, are about to lose everything to the onslaught. Leave China or die. As their world collapses around them, a fur trader from New York, a Russian, and a Rabbi from Germany, learn that a race of Chinese Jews is about to become victims of a German and Japanese alliance to acquire a valuable ruby, supposedly hidden in their village of Kaifeng.
The three friends embark on one last adventure before leaving China, to save the Jews of Kaifeng and the jewel. Can they reach Kaifeng before the alliance bent on the destruction of the village gets to them? It’s a deadly pursuit across 1937 China, through Japanese controlled territory, Chinese bandits, and countless dangers and obstacles. The only clues to its location are written in a cryptic, twenty-year-old diary of a disillusioned Chinese Rabbi; the Journal of Rabbi Levy Wang. The three friends are tested to the extreme in a desperate attempt to warn their friends and find the jewel.

David Harris Lang, a current resident of Hong Kong, has lived and worked in Asia much of his life. Besides being a prolific author of Asian-based thrillers, he is an international architect who brings an indelible sense of place’ to his writing as well as a deep understanding of Asian cultures, locales, and customs. His vivid fight scenes come from a life-long practice of the martial arts. 

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4.5 out of 5 Stars
This book tells the story of three friends trying to find a lost treasure, all while evading capture of many different groups out for their blood and the treasure. I jumped on the chance to review this book because I had previously read A Devil In Hong Kong and really enjoyed it. ( read review here) This book is very enjoyable but I think Author David Harris Lang’s writing style has come into its own on his later books. The flow of this book is not quite as smooth, but it is still engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable.
The narrative jumps; not only between different people, but also between different time periods. However it is done so well that instead of feeling lost you are able to remember each character vividly, many of which meet a sticky end. This style of narration also gives you a full story rounding out all the missing pieces. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or action/adventure. As a warning this book does contain strong language, drug use, and many people are killed off, but it isn’t grotesque (see snippet below).


Within fifteen minutes of friendly questioning, Hattori knew all about Rabbi Wang, Rabbi Wang’s journal, Wudang Mountain, and the Five Dragons Monastery. When he was satisfied that he had gotten all the information possible from Yingfei, Hattori stood up, severed Yingfei’s head, and replaced the sword back in its scabbard.

“To the trucks! We leave for Kaifeng immediately!” Hattori shouted.

Hattori’s plan was to capture the three Westerners at Kaifeng. He not only wanted to stop them from finding the jewel first, but he also now knew that he needed the rabbi to read the Hebrew journal of Levi Wang. These Westerners were getting to be more annoying every day.

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