J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “book review”

New Review for A Beckoning Hellfire

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A new review was recently posted on Amazon for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire. The author of the review, An Ordinary Mom, apparently didn’t see the fine print, check out the book on Amazon, or see on the cover that A Beckoning Hellfire is the second book in the Renegade Series. She posted in her review that she didn’t like the ending. But the story doesn’t end there! (Spoiler alert: the protagonist does survive and is a prominent character in the third book.) Here is the review:

December 14, 2018

I really liked the book and I did some fact checking on a couple of things. I was pleased to see that everything I looked up was accurate. However I did not like the end. You spend the entire book getting to know a young man and his struggles and then he just dies at the end? That kind of ruined things for me. Such is war I suppose.

Full Disclosure- I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you, An Ordinary Mom, for your review!

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Horses in Gray Receives Another Five-Star Review

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My nonfiction book, Horses in Gray, received another five-star review! This is so exciting and such a great honor. Thank you “Jerry G!” Here is the review:

August 6, 2018

This book is a must read for equine scholars as well as those who want to learn more about the Civil War era. I was a skeptic that this book would hold my interest but am now a believer. Hawkins details the relationships of Civil War Soldiers to their beloved horses which she describes so aptly as, “…his horses are the second self of the active soldier.” I particularly found it educational and entertaining as she explains the color of the horse signified their ” rank or role” in the war such as the “grays” because they were easily identified by the officers who wanted to issue a call to battle.

Another Five-Star Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

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I was recently interviewed by Linda Thompson of the Author’s Show on her podcast. After the interview, Linda expressed interest in reading my book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. I’m very flattered with her five-star review. Thank you so much, Linda!

Here is the review:

August 2, 2018
When it comes to war (no matter the era), men tend to gravitate toward the bloody bodies and the weaponry, and while some women think the idea of war as romantic, others are horrified at the cruelty. I’ve never seen war as romantic, anything to be proud of, or even remotely good, and parts of JDR Hawkins book was difficult for me to read. That being said, A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a very good story, well written with extremely engaging characters. The historical aspect is excellent and once I could get my head wrapped around the war and violence, I found this Southern family very engaging. I’m very interested in learning where the next book in Hawkins’ series will take us.

~ Linda Thompson, Host of www.TheAuthorsShow.com

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Renagade/dp/1544842481/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

 

New Review for Horses in Gray

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I received a very flattering review for my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray. Thank you so much, Mr. Greg Seeley, for your wonderful five-star review!

Horses in Gray – A Gem Not to be Missed

J.D.R. Hawkins’ latest work is like a rare gem – something that doesn’t come along often but to be prized when discovered. The work’s rarity derives from its unique subject matter, its detailed research, and its reader-friendly storytelling.

Notable throughout the entire book is Hawkins’ reverence and passion for horses. She covers in this book a subject I have never before seen in my readings of the American Civil War. Many stories have been told, some true and some not-so-much, of the exploits of Civil War generals. Largely forgotten, except in a few obscure cases, have been the exploits of the horses who made their heroics possible.

Horses in Gray is so well documented that it could easily pass as a Master’s Degree thesis. However, the author never lets the documentation get in the way of providing a fascinating read. One becomes keenly aware of the strong bond between horse and rider that is never weakened by long marches, harsh weather, or the noise of battle. She presents the horses as loyal servants with personalities as unique and varied as those of the men who rode them, and the masters as caring owners who treat them as faithful companions, not mere tools of battle.

Interwoven into the stories of the Confederate war horses and their riders are insightful vignettes of the actions they shared. Some of the actions were major ones such as the battles of Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Pittsburgh Landing, others largely forgotten except among military scholars and Civil War buffs – notably raids by John Mosby and Turner Ashby. As a student of the war, I was never before aware of the extent to which horses “changed sides” as the result of being captured or that General Grant, himself, rode a captured horse named Jeff Davis.

The author of Civil War novels such as A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us does not disappoint with her foray into non-fiction. If you consider yourself even a casual student of the Civil War, or if you are a more serious scholar, Horses in Gray is a must read.  I rate it five stars and look forward to more of Hawkins’ work.

Greg Seeley – Goodreads author, Henry’s Pride.

Book Blitz – Curse of Dragon’s Claim

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About the Book

The flame within a dragon warrior’s heart awakens Arianna’s passion as she begins a journey in which she will discover she’s something more than she ever imagined possible.

The realm of the dragons is a world of magic, danger, and mystery. For centuries they’ve been at war with the vampires, but now the two enemies must work together to save all immortals, and the mortals they co-exist with, from an ancient evil. In order to do so, they need the help of the Forsaken, descendants of immortals who were cast out into the human realm, their memories wiped clean of their true heritage.

Clayne MacDagon is a powerful dragon warrior who is sent on a mission to find one of the Forsaken. Although he’s told that this woman is his fated mate, he can’t believe it could possibly be true. Arianna Mergliano possesses both dragon and vampire blood, and Clayne has an intense hatred for anything even remotely related to vampires, the evil beings who were responsible for his beloved twin’s death.

When Arianna meets Clayne, she’s convinced that the man is insane, or maybe he’s a warlock or even the devil himself, but whichever it is, she wants nothing to do with him.

Clayne knows he can’t fail at his mission. And once he meets Arianna he also knows that what he’s been told is true—she is, ironically, his intended mate.

Convincing her to accept him is only the beginning. He has to protect her from those who might want her dead. Together, they must face the shadows and evil that have long plagued the immortal realms and find a way to survive the coming war.

Curse of a Dragon's Claim Cover

Excerpt

Curse of the Dragon Claim Book Two

Curse of the Dragon Claim

“Arianna, please come and sit down so I can fix your hair.” Alba waved Arianna over to the chair in front of a long mirror.

“Sorry, I’m excited. Can’t sit down.” Nevertheless, Arianna obeyed Alba’s direction and sat down.

“We must be ready to leave within an hour. It’s quite a drive to the Allegretti summer home. I’m eager to spend time there. It’s beautiful.” Alba flitted around as she brushed then braided Arianna’s long tresses. “I’ve laid your emerald dress out. If you approve, I’ll pack it. I’ve another for you to travel in.” She pointed to the yellow traveling dress.

Arianna looked toward the bed where her garments were laid out in preparation. “Oh, a lovely choice.”

“Yes, it is. I thought it would make a wonderful impression for this afternoon’s luncheon. In the evening, you can wear your scarlet dress. You’ll be breathtaking.”

“Thank you, Alba. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“No thanks is necessary. I’m doing what your mama asked me to do.” Alba smiled. Arianna watched Alba in the mirror as she fussed with her hair, arranging it on top of her head.

“My hair looks wonderful.” Arianna appraised Alba’s handiwork.

“You should think more of things like hairstyles, dresses, and shopping. It’s what wealthy young women are supposed to do. You spend too much time thinking about other people. This event is important. Your papa and Signor Allegretti are depending on it to impress their new associates. Your papa is counting on you to charm them as you always do.” Alba set the carved jewelry box on the dressing table. “Perhaps you should pick some jewels out now so as not to risk taking all with you.”

“Perhaps.” Arianna frowned, her gaze locking on the older woman’s reflection in the mirror. “I feel particularly nervous about this garden party. For some reason I have this uneasiness…no, not really uneasy, I’m not sure what it is, but I’m worried.” Arianna placed her hand over her stomach. It pained her. “I feel something life changing is about to occur.”

“Hush now, Arianna.” Alba patted her arm. “Such talk makes people very nervous, including me. Change can be good.”

“I can’t help it, I feel something momentous will soon happen. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. I need to be able to speak of things to someone, and the only one I can reveal myself to is you.” Arianna pouted.

“Put these thoughts from your mind and relax. You’re merely nervous about meeting the eligible gentlemen your father invited. I overheard your father say there will be several eligible, well-respected businessmen there. A widower and one who has never been wed are said to be present.”

“Father doesn’t know what an excellent catch is.” Arianna rolled her eyes. “He’s only looking at their wealth.”

“Of course he is, Arianna. It would do you well to understand the way of it. You’d never wed a pauper. You are meant for greater things. Hold still, your hair’s almost done,” Alba instructed.

Arianna handed Alba another pin. The words swirled in her head, a familiar mantra she’d long since gotten tired of.

“There, you’re absolutely exquisite. I want you to look wonderful as soon as you step off the carriage. We’ll refresh you once you’re there. But first impressions, you know.”

“I can’t believe you think wealth’s the only important thing. Not you, Alba. Love’s important. Don’t you think? Isn’t love with physical attraction most important? I know most girls don’t think of this. But I do.”

“I know you think differently in many things, but don’t speak of this to any other. Just remember, love doesn’t pay your bills or buy your lovely silks. Love doesn’t do much, and it may not last.” She motioned for Arianna to stand, then helped her into her dress.

“Papa and Mama loved each other, theirs lasted.”

“Yes, a rarity in itself. If you can tolerate him and he’s wealthy, you’ve the makings of a good husband. Love may come.” Alba stood back, inspected Arianna, and smiled. “You look gorgeous. Let’s get downstairs. The carriage is already parked out front.”

“There will be other females there to charm the gentlemen. They’re much better at being amusing. Sarah’s always so charming and delightful.”

“Yes, but these men are eligible suitors. You’re in need of a husband.”

“I don’t need a husband, at least not yet.”

“Hush, you speak silliness,” Alba scolded as only a beloved servant could do. “You’re a young woman, you need a husband.”

“The other girls need husbands too.”

“Don’t be foolish, you know as well as I, Rafaela’s engaged, Jenna’s being courted by a very appropriate suitor, and Sarah…well, she’s Sarah. You most certainly need a husband. You’re nineteen years old, and getting older every day.”

“You make me sound ancient.” Arianna giggled.

“Someone must take care of you. It won’t be your father forever, he grows older too.”

“Truly, I can take care of myself.”

* * * *

Clayne relaxed against the ornate couch, a drink in his hand. He appraised the home with a quick eye, the luxury of the human’s dwelling spartan compared to the spacious townhouse he’d recently purchased in the heart of Florence. The invitation to the Allegretti home was most advantageous. It allowed him to continue his search without breaking his cover of a rich merchant who recently relocated from Rome to enjoy the art and culture of Florence, the jewel of the Renaissance.

It amused him to interact with these uncomplicated people. Signor Antonio Mergliano had been insistent that Clayne accept the invitation to the garden party, assuring him an entertaining visit. For some reason, Clayne was compelled to accept, he liked the old man.

Clayne shifted. While fortuitous, the invite was a hindrance. He should be searching for a godforsaken female with the mark of the dragon. No doubt the Forsaken bitch was an ugly, cold-hearted, half-breed bloodsucker. His blood boiled at the very notion of a vampire’s offspring.

There’s no fucking way she’ll be my mate. Mother’s prediction is wrong.

Clayne stood up, stretching his legs. Taking a sip of his drink, it cooled his inner heat. He burned with annoyance at having to do the Goddess Amuliana Synvera’s bidding.

His hatred for anything remotely related to vampires ate at him. They were only good for killing, as far as he was concerned. As loyal as he was to his king, this quest made his temper burn. He’d much rather be back in Ejdeha Dragoni having his teeth pulled than searching for this abomination in human form.

Mother’s wrong. How could the fates be so cruel to me?

He sighed into his drink. It had been years since he’d spent so much time among mortals. Only his trips for his king drew him from his seclusion, and the grief still stung at the loss of his beloved sister.

Perhaps he’d find a simple-minded human female to dally with, relieve his frustrations. Dragon females could be so complicated and greedy of his time. Often, human girls pretended to be virtuous, yet he knew better, seeing through their facade immediately. Allegretti’s daughter was one such female, she smelled of many men. Perhaps she’d be willing and eager to sneak off to a secluded place where he could get lost for a bit between her thighs. The thought brought a smile to his face.

 

Ciara

About the Author

Welcome to Ciara Lake’s World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.

Website * Twitter * Goodreads

Book Review – Mama Graciela’s Secret

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Mamá Graciela’s Secret

Publication date: October 10, 2017

Written by Mayra Calvani

Illustrated by Sheila Fein

MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing

http://www.maclaren-cochranepublishing.com

36 pages, 3-7 year olds

Reading guide at: www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com

I thought this children’s book was sweet and wonderful. Mama Graciela not only has an amazing talent with her cooking, but she has a big heart as well. When her compassion grows into something she can’t control, she finds a way to turn lemons into lemonade and make the best of a bad situation. The illustrations are whimsical and happy. I found myself looking for reoccurring cats in the pictures, just like searching for “Where’s Waldo.” This book will delight and enchant young children with its positive message and beautiful artwork.

Description:

Mamá Graciela’s TENDER, CRUNCHY, SPICY bacalaítos fritos are the best in town…

Local customers (including stray cats!) come from all over the island to enjoy her secret recipe. But when the Inspector discovers that Mamá secretly caters to so many cats and he threatens to close her tiny restaurant, Mamá must come up with a plan to save it—and all of the animals she loves.

Mayra and Ramses

About the author:

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her children’s picture book, Frederico the Mouse Violinist was a finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards; her anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses was a First Place winner at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards; her nonfiction book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, was a Foreword Best Book of the Year winner. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications like The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, Bloomsbury Review, and others.

She lives in Belgium with her husband of 30+ years, two wonderful kids, and her three beloved pets. When she’s not writing, editing, reading or reviewing, she enjoys walking with her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family. www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com

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About the illustrator:

Born in Queens, New York and living in Los Angeles since 1987, Sheila Fein has always been inspired by the changing world around her. Earning her BA in Design from Buffalo State College of New York, her concentration was on drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. Sheila’s education as an artist has taken her everywhere from Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia to Bath University in England. Today, Sheila Fein runs two figurative workshops, Imaginings Sketch in LA and People Sketchers in Thousand Oaks. She has been featured in numerous collections, magazines, books, solo and group exhibitions. Her paintings and drawings reside in public and private collections. Sheila loves to make the imagination of others a reality and has done so through her commissioned Fein Fantasy Portraits and Interactive Paintings. In addition to being a fine artist Sheila works as an illustrator. She just completed the book “Mama Graciela’s Secret” for Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing.

Book info:

ISBN:HC 978-1-365-86153-6

SC 978-1-365-86155-0

ISBN Dyslexic Font Version:

DY HC 978-1-365-86154-3 DY SC 978-1-365-86156-7

**This book also has version printed in the Dyslexic font, the typeface for people with dyslexia. Go to http://www.dyslexiefont.com to find out more about the typeface.

Suggested Retail Price – 17.99 Hardcover & 13.99 Softcover 40 % Discounted Price – 10.80 Hardcover & 8.40 Softcover

Available through – Ingram – Discount 40% Returnable – Yes

MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing – Discount 40% – Orders@maclaren-cochranepublishing.com Returnable – Yes

Publishing company Contact Info: MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 1024 Iron Point Rd 100-1478 Folsom CA 95630

916-897-1670

Tannya@Maclaren-cochranepublishing.com http://www.maclaren-cochranepublishing.com

MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 620 Buchanan Way, Folsom, CA 95630 916-897-1670 http://www.maclaren-cochranepublishing.com

Book Review – Little Mocos by John Paul Jaramillo

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From the title, I thought Little Mocos would be a middle-grade or young adult novel, but it isn’t. Far from it. The profanity-laced text is proof of that. Little Mocos delves into a dark existence of what it was like to live as an Hispanic in the Southwest. The book is so dark at times that it (spoiler alert) discusses murder, alcoholism, drug use, sexual abuse, and nearly everything else that is dire. Even with all this, I had a hard time caring about what happened to the characters. The book is divided in many small excerpts, but I still found it difficult for the story to hold my attention. Being from the Southwest, I thought I could easily relate to the setting and the characters. On the contrary. I found the story to be quite depressing. There seemed to be no way out for the characters to find happiness or improve their dismal existence. The story was well-written, but it was definitely not my favorite story. They say authors write about what they know. I certainly hope Mr. Jaramillo had a happier upbringing than what is described in this book.

Another 5-Star Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

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My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, received another five-star review! I am so appreciative of readers taking the time to write a review. This is the first book in the Renegade Series, and was previously self-published. It was re-published in May by Foundations, LLC. The review is as follows:

Review – A Beautiful Glittering Lie

A warning to all who think war is some glamourous adventure filled with parades, flags, and stirring martial music – read J.D.R. Hawkins’ novel A Beautiful Glittering Lie. That lie is put to rest here in the book that begins Hawkins’ ‘Renegade’ series placed during the American Civil War and its aftermath. The book is perfect lead-in to the rest of the series that follows David Summers and his family through that horrendous conflict. My only regret about A Beautiful Glittering Lie is that I failed to read it before reading the follow-up books, A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us. Hawkins does an excellent job of presenting those books as stand-alone volumes but they are best read after reading A Beautiful Glittering Lie. That said, this book left me wanting more even though I had already read the other two. Of course, there isn’t more until the next one in the series is published and released.

Portions of Hawkins’ novel are graphic. Any war story will be if it is truly well done. I would not recommend this book for pre-teens and would actually recommend 15 years and up. The story, away from the battle front, however, is truly heartwarming and presents a very realistic picture of the burdens and sacrifices carried by those at home. Though the story is told from the perspective of a Southern family in a region physically devastated by the war, the homesickness, the worry, the suffering, and the grief are universal themes that tragically played out in homes both North and South.

It is no wonder that A Beautiful Glittering Lie is the recipient of numerous rave reviews and awards. I too rate the book a solid five-stars. Hawkins tells me that all three books are in the process of being released in a new format. I think they will be collectors’ items. I have the second two books only on Kindle and look forward to acquiring all three books as the re-released editions. I also eagerly await the fourth book in the series.

Book Review: Dominick and the Dragon

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I found Dominick and the Dragon, by Anne K. Edwards, to be an enthralling, adventurous read. Little Dominick gets left out of the fun when his older brothers exclude him from their game in the woods. They warn Dominick there are dragons who live in the woods that might chase and eat him if they have the chance. The brothers race off into the forest, leaving Dominick to ponder the situation.

It isn’t long before a real dragon shows up, and introduces himself as Elvis. The boy and Elvis make friends, and Elvis gives Dominick the ride of his life. It isn’t until Dominick meets another dragon, Lena, that things take a turn for the worse. But Dominick’s quick thinking gets him out of a sticky situation.

This story kept me intrigued and had a satisfying ending. I was a little disappointed Dominick never had the opportunity to meet the wizard in the woods, though. And although Lewie Francisco’s artwork is noteworthy, I didn’t feel it accentuated the story as well as it could have.

Dominick and the Dragon, by Anne K. Edwards

Age level: 4-8

Price: $1.99

Pages: 42

Find on Amazon

Dominick and the Dragon.  Dominick is a little boy fascinated by dragons. When he finally meets one named Elvis that wants to eat everything, including him, he has to find a way to outsmart him. His adventure proves a boy can be smarter than a dragon.

About the Author:  Anne K. Edwards enjoys writing tales for children when she’s not focusing on a mystery. Some stories are ideas taken from little misadventures of her cat who actually did fall off the porch and land on a large blacksnake as it was sunning itself. Both were more than a little surprised.

 

Eating Robots Review

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I’m typically not a reader of science fiction, but I recently read a short story collection titled Eating Robots, and found it to be very entertaining. The book, written by author Stephen Oram, is not only engaging, but contains so many interesting stories that I couldn’t put it down. I loved some of the references, such as the “antique” Apple watch, and the quote where one of the characters says “You junkies make me sick.” There were many humorous phrases sprinkled throughout the book, and some weird stories like the ones about sacred waters and attack moss. Some were also disturbing, like the story about a character who involuntarily commits murder through mind control, the one about cannibalism, and another about automated automobiles piloted by artificial celebrities that are out of control. All in all, I found Eating Robots to be an intriguing read.

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The future is bright…or is it?

Step into a high-tech vision of the future with the author of Quantum Confessions and Fluence, Stephen Oram.

Featuring health-monitoring mirrors, tele-empathic romances and limb-repossessing bailiffs, Eating Robots explores the collision of utopian dreams and twisted realities in a world where humanity and technology are becoming ever more intertwined.

Sometimes funny, often unsettling, and always with a word of warning, these thirty sci-fi shorts will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Goodreads  Amazon India  Amazon US

A universal booklinker link that detects which country you’re in and links to Eating Robots myBook.to/EatingRobots

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Stephen Oram writes thought provoking stories that mix science fiction with social comment, mainly in a recognisable near-future. He is the Author in Residence at Virtual Futures’, once described as the ‘Glastonbury of cyberculture’. He has collaborated with scientists and future-tech people to write short stories that create debate about potential futures, most recently with the Human Brain Project and Bristol Robotics Laboratory as part of the Bristol Literature Festival.

As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. In his early twenties he embraced the squatter scene and was part of a religious cult, briefly. He did some computer stuff in what became London’s silicon roundabout and is now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism.

He has two published novels – Quantum Confessions and Fluence – and several shorter pieces.

Find Stephen Oram on:

Website 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Goodreads

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