book reviews

3 Multi-genre Books I Loved

Here are three more great books I read over the holidays (November through December). I can’t believe how many great books are out there!

  1. Sam A Shaggy Dog Story — through the eyes of this amazing collie
  2. Tough Girl — Alex Anderson is a tough girl until she falls for a tough boy in the form of Ryder Cane, MMA Heavyweight Champ for three years. The sparks do fly!
  3. Not Before Midnight — In this 5th in the series, Sheriff Bud Blair fights terrorists as only this small-town, hard-nosed sheriff can

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

by Sally Cronin


Since reading Barca’s Rufus and Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain (click to see the reviews)–both told through a dog’s voice–I am always on the hunt for stories told from the dog’s perspective. I’ve read many and found most without the empathy and confidence that makes we humans so love our dogs as companions, not as mastered creatures. Sally Cronin’s Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story (Moyhill Publishing 2013) is one of those books. Sam is a collie, considered one of the smartest of the dog breeds, and Sam doesn’t let us down. I’m honored that through Sally, Sam shares his life with me, takes the time to tell me his dreams, his mistakes and victories. Sam is wise, loving, understanding, and most important, as good a friend as any human could ever have. In this book, readers see how Sam separates from his pack and adapts to his two-legged replacements. We see how he trains his humans and models a life filled with companionship, respect, trust, and loyalty. In the end, all I wanted (besides a sequel) was to be more like Sam.

I love all of the pictures Sally included. Sam is gorgeous! See if you don’t agree:

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You can find Sally at her blog, Smorgasbord–Variety is the Spice of Life

Tough GirlTough Girl

by Bonita Van Gerve
5 of 5 stars

Bonita Van Gerve’s Tough Girl (Inkitt 2017) is about families, crushed love, MMA fighting, new careers, and new loves. Alex Anderson is the tough girl. She’s physical, strong, tenacious, and self-reliant. She retired as the First Place MMA fighter at the age of 18, excelled at her college studies, and opened her own bakery business. She rides a bike instead of driving a car, works out constantly because it makes her feel good, and loves her family. She’s sworn off men, that part of her life destroyed when an ex-fiancée slept with someone else just before their wedding day. But she does have one guilty secret: She’s head over heels for Ryder Cane, an MMA fighter who has been the Heavyweight Champion for three years.

“…jet-black hair, not too long not too short, blue-green eyes—and a body to die for…”

She sees herself as ordinary while he is super-human–so is sure it will never happen. Well, fate brings them together and he appears to be as normal as she, despite being world-famous, gorgeous, with the pick of any woman he wants. Everything seems to fall into place for them until something happens that she can’t forgive or forget.

This is a great ride. If you haven’t read any romantic fight stories this is a great start.

–received an ARC in return for my honest review

Not Before Midnight (Sheriff Bud Blair Oregon Mystery Series Book 5)Not Before Midnight

by Rod Collins
5 of 5 stars

In Rod Collins’ Not Before Midnight (Bright Works Press 2017), Bud Blair, Sheriff of Lake County Oregon, is again embroiled in a high stakes crime, this time fighting Muslim terrorists intent on revenge against a priest and a college student who snitched on them to the FBI. What the terrorists don’t know is that both of their intended victims have law-enforcement friends, one of which is Sheriff Bud Blair. Bud has a reputation as hard-nosed, down-to-earth, get-the-job-done, make-no-excuses, and take-no-prisoners which we devout readers of this series know first-hand. Here’s a bit of Bud’s back-to-business wisdom that had me high-fiving with my ebook:

“There was a certain amount of freedom in just not giving a damn.”
“… no man is entirely safe in this life. Life is full of landmines. The trick is to not step on one.”
“…they’re outnumbered thirteen to fifty.” (In Bud’s case, he has thirteen; the bad guys have 50. Yeah, he’s that sort of guy)

When Bud’s ex-partner, BB, wants to hide the priest in his mountain home (that just happens to be next door to Bud’s home), well let’s just say it doesn’t work out as planned. To complicate matters, Buds ex-fiancée returns and his coworkers have bets on how long it’ll take Bud and her to get married.

Sheriff Bud Blair’s ability to mete out justice that protects the innocent, even against undeniable odds, makes this a fun, energizing read. While this is a sequel to the previous story in the series, it easily stands alone with enough backstory to explain what was relevant from the prior books. My question for Rod Collins: Do I have to wait four-and-a-half years for the next Bud Blair book? Please say no.

View all my reviews

More book reviews:

2 Thrillers from NetGalley

2 Paleo-historic Fiction I loved

4 Great Western Reads from NetGalley

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, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She 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.


88 thoughts on “3 Multi-genre Books I Loved

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  3. Pingback: Tales From the Irish Garden: Light-hearted Whimsical Fun | WordDreams...

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Thank you so much again Jacqui for appreciating Sam’s side of the story. He would have loved you and his usual advances involved asking female guests to dinner to accompany him into the garden where he would guide them around his favourite spots in the moonlight. We had to send search parties out at times. Your review is delightful and much appreciated. Sally

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Jaqui for sharing your book reading with us. I just bought some yesterday so I can feel comfort of not running out of reading material.😊 . Sam by Sally Cronin sounds so endearing and is now on the list and I wonder also about Tough Girl.
    All three sound good.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jacqui, I’m so happy you reviewed Sally’s book! I’ve seen it about and meant to read about it more. Oh yes, Sam is gorgeous, most adorable and you can see the wisdom and care in his eyes. I love your description of the book and this is going straight on my list of books I want to read!! Thank you for sharing your recent reads and happy Weekend! 😀🌺

    Liked by 2 people

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