book reviews

3 (More) Books by Blogging Authors

My writing PLN (Professional Learning Network) pretty much revolves around blogs and the authors who share their insights and advice through the online blogs. When I have a question, I often go there first, before digging through my shelves of self-help writing books. Along the way, I’ve read many of their books. Here, I want to share those that I’ve particularly enjoy and think you might

  • Double Negative — a troubled teen with 2.5 strikes against him must come to terms with his life
  • Sahmara — hard work and a few prayers make this woman’s story
  • Dragon Hoard and Other Tales–a collection of mini-vacations from reality

 Double NegativeDouble Negative

by C. Lee McKenzie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When we meet Hutchinson “Hutch” McQueen in C. Lee McKenzie’s Double Negative (Evernight Teen 2014), he seems like a typical hopeless juvenile delinquent. He cares nothing about school, hangs out with the wrong people, and is always in trouble. Good riddance–right? Then we find out his mother hates him whether she’s drunk or not. She beats him, threatens him, and blames him for her problems. His truckdriver father is kind enough but never home. Besides two parents who barely have time for him, none of his teachers notice he has a severe reading disability. I suppose that his reputation as a slaggard overcomes any thoughts there might be a different reason. We also find out that despite his upbringing and his bad luck, he still cares.

We also find out that despite his upbringing and his bad luck, he still cares.

This is Hutch’s story of out-of-control events, perceptions that belie reality, and a life poorly lived. It is highly recommended for all teens and all teachers of teens as a reminder that a helping hand may get bitten most of the time, but not always. Sometimes, it’s worth it.


by Jean Davis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The female lead in Jean Davis’ Sahmara (Amazon Digital Services, 2017)  grew up in a life of leisure, her only concern being who she would wed and how she would spend her afternoons. That all ended when enemy troops take over her town–the entire country, in fact–and she is turned into a sex slave. When she escapes, she has few survival skills but an abiding goal to be reunited with her parents and the man she loves. She is barely making it when she meets an old woman who helps her with clothing, food, a bow (with a replenishing quiver), a never-empty water bottle, and a other magic that Sahmara must figure out how to use. She starts by teaching herself to use the bow and discovers that divine guidance has made her an excellent archer.  She links up with rebels trying to take the country back from the invaders, one city at a time, and demonstrates to them and herself what a driven, motivated female can accomplish, even in a man’s world.

This is a wonderful story. The characters are well developed, the plot fast moving and well-paced, and the world believable. I enjoyed being part of Sahmara’s journey from dependent female to self-sufficient leader. This is an excellent tale of growth, truth, and survival. It is highly recommended.

Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of FaerieDragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie

by Cathleen Townsend

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie (Flying Phoenix Press 2015), Cathleen Townsend has shared a clever collection of creative stories about faeries, pixies, trolls, dragons, and everything related. Each is short–just a few pages–but rich in thoughtful content and meaning. These are great to read in short bursts as a mini vacation from reality.


View all my reviews

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four DaysShe is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


46 thoughts on “3 (More) Books by Blogging Authors

  1. Pingback: 3 Excellent Books from Indie Authors | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: 3 (More) Books by Blogging Authors — WordDreams… | Flesh and Bone

  3. Hi Jacqui! Thanks for the great post and sharing my book. I never turn down recommendations for my TBR. Thanks for that.

    I had a major internet meltdown last week, so couldn’t make it here as planned! Never fails!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know how well Cathleen writes from following her blog, so it doesn’t surprise me to read your high review of her work. As for Double Negative and Sahmara, they both sound like great reads. You did a great job on these reviews, Jacqui, and supporting blogging friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. From juvenile delinquents to pixies…I’m glad I’m not the only with with wide and varied reading tastes. It is great that short stories are making a well-earned comeback and thank you for all three recommendations! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for featuring my book, Jacqui.

    Ha! I keep a book of short stories in my car too. They’re perfect for when I’m waiting for kids or between errands. Sometimes, they’re even perfect in the parking lot when you’re supposed to be getting groceries but need to get a way for twenty minutes. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Jacqui – I know Lee’s story, and Jean’s too … Cathleen is a new one – but short tales are good to read … glad you approve of them all – thanks for letting us know – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s