Category Archives: Reviews

Book Review: Reluctant Medium

Author Willow Croft Reviews Reluctant Medium

My thanks to Willow for her fun and unique take on reviewing. Due to a lengthy winter storm, this is making a late appearance. And yes, I too know the carousel at Santa Fe Place is long gone, but it was still circling when I wrote the book.

Read the rest of the review at Willow Croft’s Bringer of Nightmares and Storms: https://willowcroft.blog/2021/02/17/riding-the-carousel-round-and-round-and-round-again/

 

Supernatural Finale: A Sad Adieu

The End of the Road

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Book Review: Quantum Singularity by Willow Croft

A Journey Through Time, Space and Emotions

By G G Collins                                           Copyright 2020

Quantum Singularity: A Poetic Voyage Through Time and Space is unlike any book of poetry I’ve read. Each section or phase is summed up with a physics term. From accretion to event horizon, there are nuggets of truth, disappointment, everywoman knowledge and a sprinkling of felines.

In “Treasure Hunt,” Croft talks about “the luxury of sorrow” using colors that “cast no shadows.” Appropriate for the season is “A Letter to My Something More.” In it, she discusses how the media models our expected behavior, “’Tis the season to be thankful even if it’s artificial.” But, is that what the verse is really about? You decide.

Much as in life, there is pain and revulsion. “Evolution” is a powerful piece: “… the thousand hands/grabbing my ass/a pretty dress worn why?” Most women have experienced this trauma and wondered why they even bothered to be pretty. What was the point? “Wish List” expands on disappointment, “Draw me a map to a better life … Because dreams and hopes are not enough.”

Public Domain

See if you recognize your life in these pages. Like all good writers, Croft takes us places we haven’t been and brings meaning where we didn’t expect it.

To purchase, click on the book cover or: https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Singularity-Poetic-Voyage-Through-ebook/dp/B073S8PXN5/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Quantum+Singularity+Willow+Croft&qid=1605300148&s=books&sr=1-1

Supernatural Retrospective

Because I’ve always mentioned Sam and Dean in my Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries, I’m publishing this piece on both blogs.

 

The End of the Road

By G G Collins          Copyright 2020

From the beginning, Supernatural has been about more than two brothers slaying monsters. The series has been researched; a satisfying recipe of biblical, lore and fabrication. Drawn by good storytelling, humor and a bit—okay more than a bit—of stage blood thrown around, it caught the attention of several generations. The two stars (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) were barely known when the series began 15 years ago, but soon the characters of Sam and Dean became household words. Supernatural took us places we’ve never been before.

The boys have been thoroughly tested. They’ve had visits to the “cage” and been resurrected. They gone black and white and they’ve been on almost every night of the week. And still fans followed. Dean with his testosterone-laden personality and Sam who—except when he lost his soul—was the more sensitive of the two have created a good hunter/maniacal hunter amalgamation. And through all the ups and downs of their relationship and their passion for their work, they have remained family despite a few dissonant separations.

It is the humor and the asides of this horror series that has kept audiences tuning in for more than a decade. Remember Dean on the airplane in Season One? Screaming like a girl! Ackles recreated that scream again in “Yellow Fever” when he was infected with ghost sickness. It’s a classic; the rugged character showing unreasonable fear. And fun.

In their more poignant moments they have showed compassion. Even Dean has that ability on occasion. In “Roadkill” Molly (Tricia Helfer) doesn’t know she is dead and every year she endures her death once again. When they finally convince her, and she walks into the light they become reflective.

Dean says: “…you think she’s really going to a better place?”

Sam replies: “I hope so.”

Dean adds: “I guess we’ll never know. Not until we take the plunge ourselves, huh?”

Sam says: “Doesn’t really matter, Dean. Hope’s kind of the whole point.” (This is my favorite line of the show.)

As the storyline evolved, other characters were introduced. Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer not to be confused with the producer/director of the series, or maybe?) became a father figure for the boys and their go-to guy for lore. “Weekend at Bobby’s” was Beaver’s moment to shine and we weren’t disappointed.

Misha Collins’ Castiel could make a righteous entrance and became the boys’ “wing man.” Collins played both giggling social media addict (“The French Mistake”) and vengeful angel with equal aplomb. Who knows how many tan trench coats he went through. But bloody or not, Collins is always good.

Then came along Mark A. Sheppard as the king of hell. Sheppard milked every scene and we loved it. He’s bad and that ain’t good. He’s that friend you can never trust. Sheppard played him with a sly absurdity that was a pleasure to watch.

In a bit of inspiration, Kim Rhodes was cast as Sheriff Jody Mills. Usually women played reapers, demons and angels, with the exception of their mother (Samantha Smith). But Rhodes was given a meatier role. She had to carefully enforce the law while becoming one of the guys. In the “Time After Time” episode where Dean traveled backward and met Eliot Ness, she was trying to get Sam to rest and said, “Do I have to use my mom voice.” It was the perfect combination of authority figure and mother.

Early on, it was reported that Eric Kripke (creator) wanted to use a classic Mustang as “Baby,” but was informed there wasn’t enough room in the trunk for a body. So chosen instead was the 1967 Chevy Impala. They did get that Mustang in there during the apocalypse Season 5 when the red horseman drove into town in a red classic pony car. Baby is such an inherent part of the show it had its own episode appropriately titled “Baby.”

Throughout the series, we’ve been treated to a plethora of rock ‘n roll music that the boys’ father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) introduced to Dean. It has made for a rousing soundtrack. And don’t forget all those gaudy motel rooms; absolutely inspired! The person in charge of the wallpaper needs an Emmy please.

And so we find ourselves near the end of the road. It’s been a great ride and while we don’t want it to end, that was always implied; they are hunters after all.

How do I want it to end?

Sam looks up from laptop.

Sam: “There’s a report of an Ōkami in Kansas City.”

Dean: “Hey, aren’t they’re mostly found in Japan?”

Sam: “What do you want to do?”

Dean: “What we always do.”

Boys leave the bunker.

(“Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas plays)

Fade to black.

As we say goodbye to old friends I can’t help but think of what Chuck/God (Rob Benedict) said about writing the books to be known as the Winchester Gospel.

Endings are hard.

 

Watch on The CW, TNT and Netflix

Book Review: “Shadow King” by Susan K. Hamilton

There’s More Than One Underworld in Boston

By G G Collins     ( copyright 2019) 

More than 600 years after the Desolation, a spell that destroyed the Faerie realm, the faerie race has established an uneasy coexistence with humans in contemporary Boston.

Although not all humans have acclimated to the new normal, Aohdan Collins has adjusted quite well and has built a criminal underground empire. He’s likely a one-percenter, but tells the local detective snooping at his heels that he owns the Asmodeus Ink tattoo shop. He also owns a club, Underworld, that’s good for both business and for flirtations when he’s in the mood.

Seireadan Moore, a Fae with Sight, can sometimes portend the future. She works part-time at the metaphysical shop Sacred Circle. While she doesn’t need the money because her web business is quite successful, she enjoys meeting customers as her own business can be lonely. She is also on a mission to find the Fae who killed her parents when she was a child. His words “kill them all” still reverberates in her memory.

Of course, these two are destined to meet and they do at Underworld, but Seireadan is reluctant to begin a relationship with Aohdan. But she does so with passion and great peril. He is a powerful Fae and takes no prisoners. Aohdan doesn’t know that Seireadan can give as well as she gets or that her Sight might save him.

Hamilton does a cohesive job of writing about the integration of the two cultures. Her characters are believable and inhabit their roles fully. The reader is drawn into this double underworld of crime and Fae because Hamilton allows you to dwell in this dark fantasy until you stop turning pages.

She’s an exciting new writer to watch—and read.

Note: Adult Content

 

Book Review: Without Notice by G G Collins

New Review of YA novel “Without Notice”

“G.G. Collins grabbed that young voice and ran with it for an impressive, winning read, perfect for any age!”

Click on the pic for more reviews

To buy, click on the cover.

Review by Dianne of Tome Tender.

***** At thirteen, Courtney has faced the death of her mother, moving across the country with her father and sisters and now a true reality kick in the heart, her father has a girlfriend, who may be more than just a friend. Out of sorts, out of her element and wanting to be able to talk to her mother, she is caught up in a tsunami of guilt, fear, insecurity and betrayal. How could her father find someone to replace her mother so soon, if ever? Determined NOT to like Silky, Courtney will discover that when she needs a mother figure the most, an unlikely ally comes to her rescue like a mama bear protecting her cubs.

WITHOUT NOTICE by G.G. Collins was a most fabulous surprise! She takes us into the heart and mind of a teen in pain and clearly not equipped to deal with everything life has been throwing at her. The emotional maturity of a young teen is so fragile, caught between being declared an adult and not quite allowed to be a child, and G.G. Collins grabbed that young voice and ran with it for an impressive, winning read, perfect for any age!

Highly recommended for teens, who will understand and adults who forget what it was like to be so young and vulnerable!

Publisher: Chamisa Canyon Publishing (April 15, 2018)
Publication Date: April 15, 2018
Genre: YA Fiction | Coming of Age
Print Length: 87 pages
Available from: Amazon
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com

My thanks to Dianne for her review.

Book Review: “Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure” by Shirley MacLaine

Not What We’ve Come to Expect

By G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

Book Above the LineIf you’re expecting a real spiritual journey like MacLaine’s exceptional books Out on a Limb or The Camino; Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure will be a disappointment. But if you’re interested in the behind the scenes on a film set, it might be appealing. Sadly, the back-biting, broken promises and how special actors are wasn’t what I was interested in.

I bought it with the promise of insight into Atlantis and an exploration of the Canary Islands. Neither really happened. In fairness, MacLaine is in her 80s and probably isn’t the fearless explorer she once was. No shame in that. We’re all lucky if we make it to the Third Age. Had this book been represented honestly by the publisher as a memoir from a movie set—I would have passed.

What I really wanted was more connection to Atlantis on the Canary Islands. Some believe that Atlantis existed where the Greek island of Santorini is now, so perhaps it was just the wrong location for the wisdom I was looking for.

If only the last portion about her injury and subsequent treatment had been left out: Thud! What did it have to do with the movie shoot? It’s a whole other story. And memories of life on Atlantis are suddenly pouring forth? I would have enjoyed reading these intermixed with revelations on the Canary Islands.

MacLaine has a lot to offer and I hope her next book is more astute and less aggrandizing.

Atria Books, 2016

Copyscape Do Not Copy

 

Book Review: Heat by Stuart Woods

It Ain’t the Heat, it’s the Humidity

Reviewed by G G Collins     (Copyright 2015)

***** Stuart Woods, bestselling author of Santa Fe Rules and Foreign Affairs, proves once again he’s a great storyteller in Heat. Definitely a one-sitting read.

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

Jesse Warden is a convicted criminal biding his days in solitary confinement in the Atlanta Federal Prison. He is recruited by his former employer (DEA) to ferret out information in a small Idaho town. Two agents have already been killed in an attempt to infiltrate a dangerous cult called Aryan Universe. In exchange for this good deed—if he lives through it—he will receive a presidential pardon for a crime he didn’t commit.

With a new identity, Jesse drives to Idaho in a pickup truck equipped with hidden cellular phone and some hard cash. St. Clair, appears to be the perfect Disneyesque idea of small-town America. Every house is new paint clean with meticulous lawns and flower beds permanently held in a much earlier era. All is not right in this flawless community. Mysterious disappearances have occurred, but crime is rare due to swift and deadly punishment. The local police station is a high-tech marvel with all the bells and whistles money can buy.

The community’s children are taught at the First Church School where they are indoctrinated to hate people of other ethic groups. There are no excuses for absences and children are encouraged to tell on their parents if they speak against the teachings of the First Church.

Jesse is sent to the widow Jenny Weatherby who rents out one of her bedrooms. Jenny is far from the elderly widow-woman Jesse expected. He falls for her fast.

Another referral results in Jesse’s employment at Wood Products—the only business in town not owned by the cult. His ascent is swift at the plant and soon the sect invites him into their midst persuading him to give them financial information about the business so they can take control.

As Jesse passes one test after another he makes his way into the hierarchy of the treacherous Aryan Universe. On once such occasion he is brought into a vast underground armament. The bunker is extensive and fully stocked with food and water, huge amounts of ammunition and explosives, infirmaries and the latest equipment.

Jack Gene Coldwater, the Aryan Universe cult leader, fought until he ran out of wars and then proceeded to stockpile arms at a staggering rate preparing for his own hostilities which he teaches is inevitable. He dispenses death to his followers without blinking, tightening the ever shorter rope on those who remain.

Jesse doesn’t trust the DEA—a fellow agent set him up resulting in his incarceration. He fears for Jenny, her daughter, and his own daughter who was adopted after his conviction. In an interesting subplot Jesse obtains fraudulent passports as plan B, but the First Church foils his attempt at flight.

The climatic scene has all the explosive features of an action movie providing for a fun read. Woods reaches out and grabs one by the throat hauling the reader into a riveting adventure with an all too familiar and frightening theme.

Copyscape Do Not Copy

New Book Release: Free June 20, 2015

Atomic Medium Free One Day Only

“We’re three women from two different centuries, trying to save the world from oblivion. I don’t know about you, but that’s way above my pay grade.”

New release, Atomic Medium, will be a free Kindle download Saturday June 20, 2015. One day only! It is Book 3 in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery series. You don’t need to read them in order. The stories are all separate adventures for new psychic, reporter Rachel Blackstone. But reading them in order does show Rachel’s growth as a Reluctant Medium and how she became one.

Book Cover Atomic Medium 6-2015http://amzn.to/1SWkjde

Rachel and friend Chloe are drawn into a paranormal mystery that leads them straight into a historic year, 1945, WWII and the Trinity Test.  It is a world of subterfuge, secrets and danger. If they can’t stop the men intent on sabotage, history will be changed. For Rachel and Chloe, it’s no small task: just save the world.

In Atomic Medium we learn how Kiyiya became Rachel’s spirit animal and there is a surprise about Chloe–one I didn’t see coming either. Mari-Lynn is back as the pot dispensing crystal expert, a boy helps out much to Rachel’s chagrin and the two friends may move on from misdemeanors to higher crimes.

It’s all adventure with a few laughs along the way. Thank you for trying Atomic Medium.

— G G Collins

 

Book Review: “Liberty Falling” by Nevada Barr

Yearning to Breathe Free

Reviewed by G G Collins     (Copyright 2015)

***** Reports of ghostly sounds by the night Park Ranger on Ellis Island has Anna searching the historic landmark’s creepy abandoned buildings. But what has brought her to New York City is her sister’s illness. It’s a heart-wrenching time for Anna in what is one of Barr’s best stories.

Liberty Falling by Nevada Barr Berkley, Penguin Group

Liberty Falling
by Nevada Barr
Berkley, Penguin Group

In Liberty Falling Barr reached a comfortable place writing Anna, the park ranger who grapples with murder in every park she works. The nice thing about this series is that Anna is such an authentic person, er, character. We like her because she screws up. She battles alcoholism, she struggles to express her feelings and she knows who we are because she is us. It’s the perfect combination of human weakness quelled by the strength we all somehow muster in challenging times.

In this remarkable chapter in Anna’s life, she has come to New York because her sister, Molly, is gravely ill. Molly is a very important person in Anna’s life: part sister, part mother. The problem is that Molly, too, needs a confidant. While she is a successful therapist, she does everything wrong as far as her own health is concerned: smokes, drinks, no exercise. It has finally caught up with her and she lies in ICU at Columbia-Presbyterian where she underwent bypass surgery complicated by pneumonia.

Anna’s former lover Frederick Stanton is also standing vigil and as steadfast readers know, he is now smitten with Anna’s sister. His obvious love for her sister as he reads to the unconscious woman causes conflicted emotions for Anna, and the romantically inclined attentions of Molly’s doctor further confuse her. No longer on the wagon, Anna sips the deadly brew to fortify her sagging soul.

To be close to Molly, Anna’s staying at a friend’s house on Liberty Island. When a fourteen-year-old girl takes the express route down the Statue of Liberty—usually 354 claustrophobic steps and a hot two-hour climb—Anna’s attention is diverted from her sister. A visitor to the statue claims that a park employee pushed the dead girl. Anna likes the accused, in spite of knowing Hatch for only a short while, and can’t help doing a little investigating on her own even though she has no legal authority. When Hatch is found dead at the base of Lady Liberty some herald it as a guilt-induced suicide but Anna thinks it may be murder.

Missing the open spaces in her home park of Mesa Verde, Colorado, Anna goes exploring Ellis Island, part of Liberty State Park. One building has been painstakingly restored to its lavish 1920s design but the others remain sad ruins of another era. During its day, 10,000 of the masses passed through Ellis Island each day hoping for a new beginning. The building consisted of a huge immigration center and state-of-the-art (at the time) hospital including operating theaters and autopsy facility. Today, the same numbers visit the compound and wonder what it must have been like. You will too because Barr describes it well and you almost feel lost in time.

What she finds leads to a conspiracy of death and destruction if Anna can’t uncover who is behind it. In the final spellbinding pages Anna attempts to thwart a pernicious plot at Liberty’s feet in Barr’s shining homage to the best and worst of humankind.

Liberty Falling does not fall short of expectations and instills in the reader a new appreciation for those who came before—yearning to breathe free.

Copyscape Do Not Copy

Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon Mysteries Book 7)
Berkley, Penguin Group ● 352 pp ● March 1999 ● Now available on Kindle

To read the full poem written by Emma Lazarus and learn about Liberty State Park go to http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm. Lazarus died four years after writing the poem at age 38. It is unclear if she ever saw Liberty standing.

 

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