January #BookReviews! @howellwave @RZanetti_Author @JoanHallWrites @wendy_dalrymple @PamSCanepa1

I started the new year out with some entertaining books that I want to share. I only post 4 and 5-star reviews.



In this follow-up novel to The Eternal Road, we find Samantha being given a mission by Archangel Michael to help find two souls who have gone missing on their journey to find the eternal resting place. Air Force pilot Ryan Sanders, and his escort, the infamous Eddie Rickenbacker, are missing. With the angel’s permission, Sam chooses to take James with her on the mission. Of course, that leads them to the magical 1956 Oldsmobile.
The journey brings Sam and James face-to-face with their arch-enemy, Lucifer. No doubt the devil is behind the missing souls. He lives up to his evil reputation when he insists on claiming the soul of Ryan Sanders.
When Sam and James finally catch up to Sanders and Rickenbacker, the four are sent on a horrifying soiree through history, each stop growing more intensely painful than the one before. From the battle of Gettysburg to the sinking of the Titanic and Auschwitz prison camps, their faith and fortitude are tested over and over. They cannot let Lucifer win.
This is truly a story of good vs. evil. I love how Sam and James stayed focused and steadfast throughout each trial. Their relationship strengthened as they went, while Lucifer became more evil and degenerative. If you are looking for a historical fantasy adventure of epic proportions and the ultimate test of faith, you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it! It was a great way to start off a new year of reading!


I will preface this review by saying I am not a big fan of vampire stories. That being said, this story is not your typical vampire trope.
The book opens with Cara’s four-year-old daughter, Janie, waking her mother up to tell her they are coming. Great opener! Immediate tension and worry. Janie is psychic, and Cara is a strong empath. I loved that aspect of the story.
Talen is a super-human warrior. And he’s a vampire, but not a stereotypical one. His family, the Kayrs, have been around for hundreds of years and, for many years, have had a peaceful truce with another group of vampires, the Kurjans. But things have changed, and treaties are being broken.

And Cara and Janie are in the dead center of it all. The Kurjans intend to capture Cara and Janie to help procreate their species, even though they would have to wait many years for Janie to grow up. The Kayrs will not let them be taken, so Talen Kayr gets to them first. This book is filled with lots of heart-stopping action, including fight scenes where heads are being decapitated, and shapeshifters join in the melee.
Talen Kayr claims Cara as his mate, and the sex scenes are rough and sometimes brutal. And there are many. That part of the story became redundant. Talen has the power to immobilize Cara with unearthly desire and raw lust. I have nothing against graphic sex scenes, but there were a bit too many in this book for my taste. Half the amount would have been more enjoyable. While I won’t be reading more in this series, I am still a died-in-the-wool Rebecca Zanetti fan. She is a talented writing force!



Menagerie is a collection of unforgettable short stories. From the first dual-timeline story to the last heartfelt family drama, I was sucked in.
It is hard to pick out a few favorites, but I’ll give it a try.
“Ghost Bridge” is a chilling account of a doctor in the 1800s who could not get to his patient in time and himself dies in a horrible accident on a bridge. Rumors have it that he still roams the bridge trying to reach his patient. The story comes forward to modern times, and Kate is severely injured and trapped. Is it the ghost of the good doctor who comes to rescue her?
“Seven Days” could be a lesson for us all. We are so tied to our electronic devices. What would it be like to go without them for a whole week?
“Lone Wolf” was another that really stood out to me. The close-up encounters are realistic and believable.
But out of the thirteen stories in this book, only left me with physical goosebumps on my arms. “Storm Rider” is a tale that I will not ever forget.
If you enjoy stories set in small towns, tales that include ghosts and folklore, you will devour this book, as I did. I highly recommend it. This author did a superb job of creating these tales!



This is a enemies to lovers romance set in the midst of a category-five hurricane on the Florida coast. Melody Orlean, a meteorologist, and her cameraman, Ty, have been sent to a beachside resort to cover the storm for her local station. They arrive to find another meteorologist, Mark Fox, and his camera crew, Jade, already stationed at the resort and filming. Melody is fit to be tied. First of all, they’ve been promised exclusive access to the resort, and secondly, Mark Fox is a sworn enemy. I struggled to understand Melody’s intense dislike for Mark, and even when the reason was revealed, it seemed a little flimsy. But the story was good, and the setting intense. The author did a great job of putting the reader in the middle of this gigantic storm while the hotel is being battered and crumbling around the characters.
When I picked up the book, I thought I was getting a romantic comedy, but instead, it is an intense struggle for survival while dealing with past issues. I loved the characters’ determination to survive and how they put aside differences to band together. The story is well-written, has a happy ending, and carries a great message to anyone in the path of one of these deadly storms.


Janie is exhausted, running the Crossroads Diner almost single-handedly. At first glance, the diner seems like any normal restaurant, but as this short story unfolds, the reader becomes aware that it is a very special place in between worlds. Everyone is going somewhere. Some come for a short time, and some stay. It is a jumping-off place of sorts for those who need help moving on. There is an incessant blizzard, and folks seek shelter inside. When Cowboy shows up, Janie isn’t sure she can trust him, as trust doesn’t come easy. While it appears he is there to help, he has to prove himself.
This is the perfect mix of realistic fantasy. I immediately related to Janie and her exhaustion. Yet, there was no way to stop and rest as the place stayed filled to capacity. Her work was never done. I wasn’t sure about Cowboy at first, but he proved himself pretty quickly. An imaginative story of a place that is no place and a time that is no time. I highly recommend it!

That’s it from me this month. I hope you saw something that grabbed you!

Parris Afton Bonds – #NewRelease – Reluctant Rebel #Historical Fiction @MotinaBooks

Parris Afton Bonds has published more than fifty novels in her writing career and has garnered numerous accolades along the way. But she is more than an author to me. She is also a friend and I felt it the first time I met her.

Parris and Jan 7-17-21

But enough about that. Today I am thrilled to let her tell you about a new Historical Fiction book she has published. In case you missed it, I posted my review of Reluctant Rebel HERE.


I’m going to back out and turn it over to Parris to let her tell you about the story that inspired the story.

First, Jan, thank you for taking the risk to feature Reluctant Rebel on your blog. My latest novel is not the usual historical romance in that its story also applies to world events ongoing right now. But then, Jan, you are that kind of individual, the hero who answers to call to adventure.

I was halfway through writing the first draft for a novel set in El Paso in the mid-1800s when researching I chanced across an incident in El Paso that set my mind’s wheels spinning. I knew here was a story I had to write – now! I set aside my other story. This is something I have rarely done. Out of fifty novels, if I count rightly, I have only put one on the backburner. It is still there.  Maybe, one day . . .

*** And now the story that stopped me in my tracks: In 1917, a seventeen-year-old redheaded Mexican housemaid, Carmelita Torres, started a riot on the El Paso-Juarez bridge to protest being stripped naked, every bodily orifice probed, and forcibly sprayed with chemicals for typhus by the Public Health Department. Look her up and the accompanying, horrifying photos.  The riot made international news.

It eventually involved over a thousand protestors and for three days shut down traffic both ways on the bridge. Dubbed the Redhaired Amazon by newspapers, Carmelita was arrested that day – and then abruptly disappeared from history and time.  Most likely, authorities worried that to keep her incarcerated would martyr her, and to set her free would risk her creating even greater havoc. Their solution, most likely, was to remove her from the El Paso City Jail and dump her in the desert. Who is alive today to know what really happened? But disappear overnight, she did.

I knew I wanted to write a happy ending for this intrepid young woman, whom I fictionalized as Pia Arellano. I fell in love with the young man I created who comes to her aid most reluctantly. Walter Stevenson is an agent with the newly formed Bureau of Investigation, on a mission to identify the “master spy” being handled by the precursor of the Nazi party there in the Pass. No two lovers were ever more mismatched.

Unfortunately, the disinfecting of Mexicans at El Paso continued for another 40 years until 1958.  Ironically, the Spanish Influenza pandemic that spread across the world a year later, in the fall of 1918, taking its toll also on soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss, proved far more deadly to border residents than the perceived fears of typhus.

**And now for “The Rest of the Story”: As the title of the renowned Paul Harvey radio program, the rest of the Bath Riot’s story is far, far more mind-blowing.

A 1937 German scientific journal specifically praised the El Paso method of fumigating Mexican workers with Zyklon B. Then, at the start of WWII, the Nazis began practicing this Zyklon B fumigation formula at its concentration camps. Later, when Hitler put the Final Solution into effect, the Nazis used Zyklon B in their gas chambers not only to exterminate lice but also millions of human beings.

As our globe faces the assault of yet another unhinged despot in Vladimir Putin, I firmly have faith that there will be enough individuals like Carmelita Torres/Pia Arellano to topple the tyrant.

Jan, thank you for allowing me to share my version of “The Rest of Carmen Torres’s Story,” via my Reluctant Rebel, published by Motina Books.

Courtesy Motina Books

Book Blurb:

In January of 1917, young Piedad Arellano is riding the streetcar across the Santa Fe Bridge that connects Juarez, Mexico to El Paso where she works as a housemaid. When she learns El Paso is using kerosene and toxic chemicals to “treat” workers for suspected lice, she takes a stand and says, No! Thousands join her in the protest, shutting down bridge traffic and making international news.

Walter Stevenson is an agent with the newly formed Bureau of Investigation, on a mission to identify the “master spy” being handled by the precursor of the Nazi party there in El Paso.

Their two worlds collide when Piedad is arrested for inciting the Bath Riots and Walt reluctantly comes to her aid. No two lovers were ever more mismatched.

Spies are pursued, dark family secrets are revealed, and romance may be possible in this historical novel based on the true events of the Bath Riots.

Parris Afton Bonds – Far-right

A few months ago, Parris moved to Queretaro, Mexico. This is a photo of Parris, her friend of 50 years, Isabella, and Isabella’s daughter, Luz, taken recently in Mexico.

I hope you are intrigued enough to pick up this new book from Parris Afton Bonds. I highly recommend it!


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