Dec 31 2017

Book Review-a-thon

Review-a-thon image

#FlightsOfFantasy #DiversityBingo2017 #SpecFic #DebutAuthor #NewToMe2017

Ghost Stories of the Lehigh Valley by Charles J. Adams III, David J. Seibold
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


A good book with several stories I’ve heard around before, and some I’ve encountered myself. I do wish my Lenni-Lenape people were portrayed better in this book though.

The Rusty Nail Bar in Palmerton with the face in the leather, I’ve seen that. And Hawk Mountain, I’ve been there many times. Good notes on the King George Inn, though it only lists some of the ghosts and stories of that place. (Which has sadly been unoccupied for a few years as of the writing of this review in 2017.)

Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh
5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

#SpecFic #NewToMe2017

“Doesn’t matter the ship, Son. It’s her captain and crew that make the vessel.”
I knew as soon as I read Fyall saying that line that this book was going to drop an unexpected twist. I was right! Excellent ending.

This is a classic sci-fi story. It reminded me of a cross between Star Trek (the characters, dialog, and setting) and the Stargate Atlantis Wraith ships (one of the technologies).

I won a copy of this book thanks to an IWSG contest.

The writing is exceptional. I’d like to get to know Aden’s mother’s dragons better. I’ve had friends who aimed for “the princess” rather than the alternative they didn’t see, so I found that relatable. But with what happens once he wises up… yikes! That’s one heck of a twist. I kept reading because I was very interested in the fate of the kargrandes.

I’m glad I read this and I look forward to reading more by this author.

Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me: How to use storytelling to connect with the hearts and wallets of a hungry audience
by Greg Koorhan
2 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

#DebutAuthor #NewToMe2017

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
(I’m not sure why I was contacted and asked to do this, other than having landed on an email list.)

The writing is fine. The grammar, punctuation and such are fine.
In fact…
“The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then the queen died of grief is a plot.”
That is written as well in this book as it was in E. M. Forster’s “Aspects of the Novel.”

I did not download the additional workbook offered at the opening of this book, so perhaps I missed the citation?

Either way, I’ve knocked two possible stars off the rating scale due to the very large amount of material in this book which I’ve read in other books. In fact, if you are like me (an author who has read many writing reference books before), you’ll soon get a sense of déjà vu. *SPOILER ALERT* Let me break it down: Use everything you know about how to write a story, aim it at some cookie-cutter ideal reader, and that’s how to market according to this book. Turn your About Me into a story with a full arc about the ideal reader reading your book. That’s it. *END SPOILER*

I did like the line about “A brand is the sum total of all the experiences a customer has with you or your product or company.” Though an article by Guy Smith from September 28, 2004 says much the same thing, so this wasn’t really new information to me, either. (

The book asked what I stand against, what angers me about my industry or business. Well, one BIG pet-peeve of mine is the way “diverse people” are excluded, especially by book marketers. Why can’t males read romance? I’m not a fan of the category label “chick lit,” as it feels exclusionary. I find it frustrating when I read facts about the low rate of books that American Adults read (, especially with lines like, “men are less likely than women to have read a book.”

So please consider that as my main reason for knocking off another possible star rating, as at the 68% percent mark in this book, it talks about the ideal reader. It doesn’t make sense to sell to anyone outside an ideal audience of one reader? Should customers be CLONES of one person?

Well, I’m a Lenni-Lenape. I’m not a clone. I’m not someone to whom people market. My values, my name, and my demographic aren’t likely to be on some list of an “ideal reader.” Even my fears are different from those of most Americans. So no, I’m not someone “ideally suited” to have read this book.

I nurture my value of diverse books, and of reference books that have more original ideas and far less of the same words as other publications. That’s the “theme” of this review– to strive higher, to aim for a better world. Something I feel this book does not encourage, support, or do.

Colorblind: A Novel By Leah Harper Bowron
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

#DiversityBingo2017 #DebutAuthor #NewToMe2017

I received a free ARC from the publisher.

More tell than show. Very simplified/ easy-to-read, like a grade school book. “Dick Jane” for a slightly older set. I can imagine an accompanying list of vocabulary words with terms and slang from the late sixties. I do still feel that the Earth, when written as a planet name, is a proper noun deserving of capitalization.

Lisa reminds me of the first friend I made at public school. Nervous, feeling like her clothing didn’t fit right, nice to me because people were mean to her for being different so she “knew how it was.”

The mental tennis with Mrs. Cook bothered me because upstaging or talking back to a teacher always, in my experience, results in punishments.

Ahh, Mrs. Duke… placing well-behaved students at the same lunch table as the delinquents, thinking that putting foxes in the hen house could cause mass vegetarianism. This is such an incredibly relatable memory for me. (I’d have starved if I didn’t have my “savage” knowledge and skills.)

Overall, the characters are well-written and the lessons are obvious. A worthwhile read.

Straight Up Tasty: Meals, Memories, and Mouthfuls from My Travels by Adam Richman
5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

#DebutAuthor (His first cookbook, according to the book) #NewToMe2017

More than just another cookbook, this is entertainment.

I don’t cook well (especially indoors), but I do occasionally enjoy reading about how to do it. This book has great visuals from Adam’s many food-travels. The stories are fun. I laughed out loud several times while reading this, something which never happens to me when reading a cookbook!

There are some easy recipes I’m looking forward to trying. And there are others I’m hoping to talk someone into making for us. (Ha ha.) I’m glad I read this book.

10 questions to ask a friend who has read your novel


  1. Excellent set of questions. Alas, I won’t make it to any list of ideal reader, either. Didn’t even know such a concept existed.

    A very happy New Year to you and yours!

    • Cecelia on January 1, 2018 at 9:39 AM

    Happy New Year! I have yet to read one of Alex’s books!!! I will definitely make one of his a priority in 2018. #IWSG! Also, super list of questions. I will be utilizing those! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Did I miss your Deja Vu? Not sure where I am…besides sitting at the kitchen table with a puzzle begun and a cat sprawled across it.
    Have a great new year! You have quite a “To-do List” for the coming year!
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