Sally Cronin’s Book Reviews 2017 Part Two – My recommendations for Christmas – D.G. Kaye, John W. Howell, Tony Riches and Terry Tyler

As part of promoting books for Christmas, I thought that I would share some of my book reviews from 2017 that I published on the blog. These are books that I can recommend personally and I hope that if you have not read the work of these authors you will head over and check them out.

I have a TBR that is groaning under the weight of some wonderful books that are as yet unread. My intention in 2018 is to maintain book and author promotions but also ring fence some time for my own writing and reading. I will be featuring one review a week which is my target of 52 books reviewed for next year.

Anyway I do hope you enjoy my personal selection of books that would make wonderful gifts.

The first of my reviews that I would like to share today is for The Words We Carry by D.G. Kaye.

About Words We Carry

“I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”

What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?

D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.
Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.

My review for Words We Carry.

Words We Carry is packed with the accumulated knowledge, wisdom, survival tips and strategies from someone who went through difficult and unhappy childhood and teen years.

I think it is fair to say that most of us are less than confident about our body shape, and that is particularly tough when you can no longer use the excuse of puppy fat, and your friends are heading out in slinky black dresses and high-heeled shoes.

Unfortunately, not all mothers are born with the nurturing gene and as soon as you become competition, there is an opportunity to reinforce your lack of self-esteem with carefully chosen and cutting words.  I would like to think that the experiences that D.G. Kaye describes were rare, but I am afraid that after counselling women on their health and weight for twenty years, the story is very familiar.

Those harmful words from those who are supposed to love us, are the ones we carry throughout our lifetime, unless we can find a way to dilute their power and replace them with affirmations of a much more positive nature.

D.G. Kaye describes her strategies to claim her own identity, build her self-esteem and evolve from the ugly duckling that she had been made to feel she was, into a swan. This involved a makeover in a number of departments, including wearing high heels at all times and over every terrain, and standing out from the crowd with her now signature titian hair colour. She also developed a healthy, outgoing personality and independence that led her to discover groups of people who accepted and embraced her as a friend.

In the second section of the book Kaye looks at the impact this early negative conditioning had on her relationships, including romances with older men whose different approach to dating and expectations provided a more secure environment. Unfortunately, having entered one serious and long-term relationship, echoes of the verbal abuse that she received as a child and teenager, threatened to undo all the hard work that she had accomplished. Thankfully she went on to find happiness and empowerment with someone who appreciates all that she has become.

Kaye looks at issues such as the difference between Alone vs. Lonely, Negativity and Self-Worth, Forming Healthier Relationships, and importantly Exposing our Personality Through the Internet. All the chapters provide commonsense strategies to overcome a lack of self-confidence, and I do think that women and men in their 50s and 60s, will definitely be able to draw parallels to Kaye’s own experiences.

Whilst I recommend this memoir/self-help book to men and women of my age, I also think that it should be read by all mothers whose daughters are heading into their teens and beyond. It might just remind them of how fragile their child is when about to face the outside world, and that there are enough external challenges to be overcome, without encountering them in the place they should feel safe.

It is also a book for young women who are struggling with weight issues and those who feel that they are not as attractive as their friends, or who feel that they are somehow going through something never experienced before.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. By reading this they might take strength in knowing that this is an age old problem, and that they can change the narrative and write their own story.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

D.G. Kaye’s latest book which I am looking forward to reading and reviewing in the New Year.

Also by D.G. Kaye

Read the reviews and buy all of D.G. Kaye’s Books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads:

Connect to D.G. Kaye through her website.

The next book that I would like to recommend is Our Justice by John W. Howell. I have reviewed the previous two books individually but this time apart from giving my views on Our Justice… I will be looking at the series as a whole.

About Our Justice

The terrorist leader and financier Matt Jacobs figured out a plan to eliminate the President.

He is relying on John Cannon’s stature as a hero to help him carry it off. John finds himself walking the fine line of pretending to help Matt while trying to figure out a countermeasure to the plan. The third book in the John J. Cannon Trilogy brings together two strong wills for a showdown. The question to be answered is who will feel the satisfaction that the achievement of justice delivers? John, Matt or neither?

My review for Our Justice and the John Cannon Series.

John Cannon as a character is everything that a hero should be. Handsome, fearless and patriotic. As the final chapter of this series unfolds it would seem that there is little time to take a breath following his last encounter with the secretive and driven Matt Jacobs.  From the start of this third book bullets fly, bombs go off and escape routes are compromised.

John Cannon is a marked man and his nemesis is going to literally move heaven and earth to bring him to heel. It is almost a love hate relationship. Matt Jacobs has buried his roots and his beliefs beneath a veneer of civilisation that is enabled by his vast wealth and his army of followers, who are not all that they seem!  The relationship that these two very committed and determined men have is about to come to a head. If John does not get his act together it will not only he his neck on the line but people he loves and admires.

To spice up the action there of course needs to be some beautiful women and I like the way that John Howell does not go down the traditional route of blonde bombshells who are purely decorative. Both Stephanie and Sarah are bright intelligent women who find themselves embroiled in the lives of these two adversaries and their characters are well portrayed. They are women who are prepared to fight for their survival and the ones they love.

This is a fast-paced action thriller and finishes the series well. Which brings me to my overall view of the life and times of John Cannon.

The other books in the series.

I suggest you read the three books back to back as I have, because the time span the series covers is only six months and there is barely time to catch your breath.  With so much action it is easy to miss some of the quieter moments that reveal more about the characters and plot, and these are well worth lingering over. The characters are well developed, and if I was to comment on this element, it would be to say that I felt that Ned, who takes John under his wing, not only deserved a medal, but could have perhaps been fleshed out a little more.

Overall I have rated the series a definite 4+ stars and would recommend the series as one to download and read in a ‘John Cannon Fest‘… I do recommend that you buckle up before getting into the action!

Read all the reviews for Our Justice and buy:

And on Amazon UK:

The latest book by John. W. Howell that I will be reviewing in the New Year.

Buy all of the John Cannon Series and John’s latest book:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads:

Connect to John via his website:

The next review is for the first in the Tudor Trilogy – Owen by Tony Riches. I have actually  finished all three books in the trilogy and will review the other two books in the New Year. I can however recommend all three books and enjoyed reading them back to back.

About Owen – Book One of the Tudor Trilogy.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, OWEN is the epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience as he changes the course of English history.

England 1422: Owen Tudor, a Welsh servant, waits in Windsor Castle to meet his new mistress, the beautiful and lonely Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of the warrior king, Henry V. Her infant son is crowned King of England and France, and while the country simmers on the brink of civil war, Owen becomes her protector.

They fall in love, risking Owen’s life and Queen Catherine’s reputation—but how do they found the dynasty which changes British history – the Tudors?

This is the first historical novel to fully explore the amazing life of Owen Tudor, grandfather of King Henry VII and the great-grandfather of King Henry VIII. Set against a background of the conflict between the Houses of Lancaster and York, which develops into what have become known as the Wars of the Roses, Owen’s story deserves to be told.

My review for the book.

I loved history at school but it was never taught in depth. Central figures such as Elizabeth I, Queen Mary of Scotland and of course Henry VIII were mentioned, as were major battles or events in their lives. But you never got to know the person behind the crown or those around them in great detail.

I discovered Bernard Cornwell at an early age and have read all his books. And that is why I am delighted to have discovered Tony Riches, who writes his books with the people as the focus, with the events being incorporated into their story, rather than the other way around. This accomplished with not just superb story-telling but by giving Owen Tudor his own voice.

It is 1422 a few years after the Welsh rebellion led by Owen Glendower against Henry IV fails, and his supporters, including his cousins the Tudor family, have also lost lands and titles.

Owen Tudor has been a soldier serving in France, but is now a servant in a privileged position at Windsor castle when the young widow of Henry V, Queen Catherine of Valois arrives with her baby son, Prince Henry later to be King Henry VI. Their first meeting was to be fateful, and during the following years of civil war in England, would lead to the founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Tony Riches takes us through the next 40 years in this first book in the trilogy. It begins as a love story that would change the course of history, but it also provides a clear and engrossing background to the beginning of the hostilities between the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Alliances change rapidly with the English throne as the ultimate prize.  What might be dismissed as minor engagements are given the respect they deserve, as integral moves in a chess game that spans decades, and is played adjacent to, and part of the 100 years war between the English monarchy and the French House of Valois.

The characters, even those with a less regal role, are richly drawn and deliver a much enjoyed respite from the destructive and violent events of the time. Sympathy grows for the young royal brides barely in their teens who are traded for land, alliances and truces. The cost of disloyalty is harsh and usually brutally extracted, unless there might be more to gain from clemency.

I would recommend the book as one that brings the cast members of this long drawn out struggle for power into the spotlight. History is a wonderful subject; but can be very dry and indigestible in the wrong hands. That is not the case with the Tudor Trilogy and whilst Tony Riches has created additional fictitious characters and events within the story, they serve to bring the lead cast members to life.

I highly recommend the following two books in the trilogy as well.

Read some of the 300 reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon US:

A selection of other books by Tony Riches

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Tony Riches on Goodreads:

Connect to Tony Riches via his website:

And the last of my reviews this year is for Project Renova – Tipping Point by Terry Tyler based on some excellent reviews for the books. I am looking forward to reading Lindisfarne which is Book Two of the series soon.

About the book

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

This is the first book in the Project Renova series; the second, Lindisfarne, is now available, with the follow-up, UK2, due around late spring/early summer, 2018. Patient Zero, a collection of stand-alone short stories featuring minor characters from the series, is also available.

My review for Tipping Point: Project Renova Book One by Terry Tyler

When I first read books by Nevil Shute in 1964, I was aged eleven and pinching library books from the bottom of my father’s stack on his bedside cabinet. The first, “What Ever Happened to the Corbetts” was fascinating because it was set in the Solent and Southampton, the next city over to our home in Portsmouth. “On the Beach” and “A Town Like Alice” followed and all three books were clearly not intended for someone of my tender years. But I loved them.

In fact I went on to read all of Nevil Shute’s books more than once. Most of them were set in a time of war or the breakdown of world order, and their protagonists had to find a way to survive. I believe Nevil Shute would have enjoyed Terry Tyler’s writing style and her book Tipping Point very much.

I believe that novels such as this are essential reading; to shake us out of institutionalised complacency.

You do not need to be in a prison or under some form of confinement to be hide-bound by rules and expected behaviour. Not many of us today live under the radar; usually the banks have all our money, our pensions are managed by the government or private investment firms and we pay for everything by debit or credit card, and at some point in the near future, we are expected to go cash free. Our phones can be tracked and our calls listened to, and for many of us, our lives are open books, laid out for all to read on social media.

We also believe that we live in a democracy and that our freedom to vote means that those in office, chosen by us, have our best interests at heart. Very few of us have a ‘Plan B’ in place should the worst happen. We wouldn’t want to be thought of being one of those crazy ‘Preppers’ who live in the woods in bunkers with canned food would we!

Vicki and her daughter Lottie, Dex and his conspiracy theorist colleagues, their friends and neighbours, and even those working on the fringes of government, are about to find out what happens when the institution begins to implode.

It starts with a little known virus that is reported in the news. It causes some concern, but it is in Africa and it has happened before, hasn’t it? It won’t happen in England, despite its current woes of unemployment, over-population and trade deficit will it? And anyway, the government moves quickly to put an effective vaccination programme in place. What could possibly go wrong?

Tipping Point illustrates extremely well what happens when the thin veneer of civilisation is threatened and it is every man and woman for themselves.

You might think to yourself that with all the depressing stories in the press every day, you might not enjoy reading a book that takes that doom and gloom to the next level. But you will because Tipping Point is well written by Tyler with a great plot that keeps you riveted from the first page. The novel has some characters that are so believable, you think you might actually know them personally. You will experience the loss of all they take for granted through their eyes and their relationships, despising those who have set this catastrophic event in motion. You will cheer them on as they take risks, overcome their fears and scrabble to regain some form of a future. It might even encourage you to start putting a ‘Plan B’ in place.

I am really looking forward “Lindisfarne”, book two of Project Renova, waiting for me on my reader. My go bag is almost packed, my larder is stocked with dried goods and my camping stove is at the ready. I am prepared to travel to this Holy Island and see what is to come next.

I have no hesitation in giving five stars to Tipping Point and I am only sorry that Nevil did not have the chance to read it.

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

and on Amazon US:

A selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Terry Tyler on Goodreads:

Connect to Terry Tyler via her website:

I hope that you have enjoyed this selection of books that I have recommended this year. Merry Christmas and thanks for dropping in. Sally



32 thoughts on “Sally Cronin’s Book Reviews 2017 Part Two – My recommendations for Christmas – D.G. Kaye, John W. Howell, Tony Riches and Terry Tyler

  1. Pingback: Sally Cronin’s Book Reviews 2017 Part Two – The Militant Negro™

  2. Oh Wow Sal, what a lovely surprise! Firstly, I forgot you said you were reading my book, lol. Second, what terrific company I am in here today. And third, your review surely captured the essence of all the issues encompassed in this book and as usual, brought a tear to my eye!!!!! Thank you so much for reading and sharing your beautiful review here! What a beautiful Christmas gift to me!!!!! (I’ll be back later, but couldn’t leave without taking a peek. ❤ ❤ xxxxxxx

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Pingback: Sally Cronin’s Book Reviews 2017 Part Two – My recommendations for Christmas – D.G. Kaye, John W. Howell, Tony Riches and Terry Tyler | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Fantastic book recommendations Sally, covering all genres: Adventure, History, Dystopian Sci Fi, and of course Debby’s moving and inspirational works that take readers on a journey of understanding and reconciliation: teaching them how to shake free from the shackles of the past and embrace the future.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Sally, you write wonderful reviews and I say that as a professional book reviewer. I believe a book review should be a work of art and yours certainly are. I have all three of John’s suspense stories–just need to be able to get to them and read them all in order.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Christmas Round Up – Songs, Stories, Poems, Books Galore and pets doing festive thangs………. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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