Wednesday, October 5, 2022

IWSG Wednesday


The first Wednesday of every month is officially IWSG day. IWSG was formed by Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. Members post about their doubts and fears, discuss struggles and triumphs, and offer words of encouragement to others who are struggling.


The awesome co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and yours truly😉


This month's question:
What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

Remember, the question is optional!

In reference to my favorite writing genre, there are two main draws (no pun intended) for me in Westerns. The strong moral code that runs through all Westerns and the action/adventure aspect. 

One of my favorite reading genres is thrillers and the same applies. Take the Reacher series. Jack Reacher lives by a strong moral code that may or may not run in sync with the law, yet it's a code he follows AND there's always plenty of action and adventure in Lee Child's stories;)


 September/October reviews in no particular order.

Occasional typos do not figure into my reviews.


THE HAUNTING OF CHATHAM HOLLOW by Mae Clair and Staci Troilo

An intricate blend of past and present.
Mae Claire and Staci Troilo handle a seamless transition between past and present in this eerie, edge-of-your-seat story of revenge and hidden treasurer. And even though the story is written by two authors, they’ve managed to skillfully create one voice. The story ball is tossed back and forth between modern day reporter Aiden Hale and, a villain in the past, Benedict Fletcher. Unfortunately for the Chatham Hollow residents where the tale takes place, Benedict isn’t the only villain. Ward Chatham, founder of Chatham Hollow will appear at the drop of a séance.  One rogue is bad enough, but together both men create enough havoc to last a lifetime or two.
This is a must-read for Claire and Troilo fans or for folks that just enjoy a well-told tale. I hope these two talented women continue to blend their voices and turn out another great read.
Available at Amazon




The author’s best story yet.


Ms. Wallace Peach is an excellent fantasy author. Her world building is unparalleled and her stories are a rich tapestry of imagery and imagination. In Necromancer’s Daughter, she has outdone herself. The characters charmed me: A mishappen healer with a huge heart. His daughter who, he brought to life, is willing to sacrifice herself again and again to heal others. And the soldier who is conflicted between his religious beliefs and his heart.

I loved this story.  It kept me way up past my bedtime😊 Highly recommended.

 Available at Amazon





The author had me at Cuss Abbott.

Can you think of a more perfect name for a hotshot law enforcer? Or a more fun concept than an Interworld Marshal? The author has outdone himself at world building. The story is well written, the characters developed and fleshed out. You love the good guys and hate the bad. I found his relationship with his partner Ygo fascinating. Between the two of them they cover all bases when on the trail of murder and cyber theft. It’s obvious the author knows his way around sci fi.

This is a highly enjoyable space opera. Cooper fans are going to love Cuss and his hi-jinks.

Available at Amazon




DRUID’S MOON by Deniz Bevan


Lyne Vanlith is on an archeological dig when she discovers an ancient curse and a beast.  A grateful kiss on the snout of the beast after it rescues her from danger places a handsome stranger by her side. Tension mounts as the two find themselves in one dangerous scenario after another as evil adversaries do their best to keep Lyne and Frederick from breaking the curse.

A novel and intriguing take on the beauty and the beast theme, I found this to be a fascinating read. Once the action started it didn’t stop but kept me turning pages. Recommended for those who love a blend of romance, fantasy and action rolled together in an archeological setting.

Available at Amazon



THE INK BLACK HEART by Robert Galbraith


First let me say that I consider Robert Galbraith to be one of the premiere trad authors today and that up until this book, Cormoran Strike was my favorite series. That said, I found this read to be a disappointment.

I’m a big believer in closure. I don’t mind a dangle at the end of the book, if the ending weaves all the threads together satisfactorily. Galbraith has successfully drawn out the relationship or lack thereof between Strike and Robin for six books. In the first five, you were left with the feeling that maybe they’d get together in the next one. Especially with book five. It ended on a hopeful note, leaving me eager to read book six. Book six ends on a very unsettling note. I’m sure they’re going to be continuing the same dance steps they’ve been doing through the previous books, if she writes anymore. I realize relationship tension is a tried-and-true formula for romances, but I’m not sure it’s necessary in a detective thriller. A small amount yes, but not to stretch it to the breaking point. This was a twenty-five-hour read and it was definitely stretched out. And, personally, I don’t think getting these two together would hurt this series at all. J.K. Robb’s Death series is a prime example of bringing a couple together without sacrificing story.

Besides the unsatisfactory finish, large chunks of the book take place in gamers chats which I didn’t feel moved the story forward.

Lastly, there were formatting issues. As an Indie/Hybrid author, I can relate to this, but it surprised me from a large, established press.

For me, this book was a disappointment and probably the last in the series I’ll read.

This said, over nine thousand reviews gave her an average of 4.2, which says the majority liked it.  




Elephant's Child said...

How can it possibly be ISWG day again. And thanks for the warning about the latest Robert Galbraith. I will probably still read it but...
And even more thanks for the heads up on other books by talented authors.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sandra - good luck to all the authors you mention, particularly Deniz with her Druid's Moon. I haven't read any of the Galbraith books - but read your notes about her latest book ... interesting! Cheers Hilary

Adam said...

Happy Wednesday

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for co-hosting this month. I like stories and genres with a lot of action too. And yes, westerns often have a strong moral code. This summer my mom and I re-watched some if Gunsmoke. We used to watch it when I was a kid.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A moral code - I like that.
Thanks for co-hosting today!

Liza said...

Thank you for co-hosting this month. I appreciate the reviews. It's hard to get invested in a series and end up disappointed with the ending.

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi. Thank you for co-hosting, and for the reviews. I used to enjoy adventure earlier but now have different preferences.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Great reviews!

I used to read western fiction, but haven't in a long time. My dad watched any western movie he could get on TV so our household watch many in my childhood. Today, when I see one on TV, I'm drawn to it. It's a good feeling.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed Druid's Moon.

Lynn said...

Hi Sandra,
I like the Reacher series, too, perhaps for the same reason. His strong moral code. Sometimes, he's too rigid, but how he copes add interest.

And there is closure to his adventures, and I'm OK with a thread or two of unresolved issues dangling.
Thanks for co-hosting our October IWSG blog hop.
Lynn La Vita @

Cathrina Constantine said...

I also like the moral code in books and movies. You mention a lot of good books for this time of year.

Thanks for co-hosting.

Nancy Gideon said...

I grew up watching westerns on TV (b&w!) with my dad. It was out bonding time. Back then it was pretty much the western or variety shows - a no brainer for which I preferred. You always knew good guy from bad guy. It wasn't until I was older that I discovered interesting shades of gray. Now, those are the books I enjoy the most! LOVED the Reacher series and can't wait for Season 2!!

Staci Troilo said...

I love characters with a strong moral code, too. Regardless of genre.

Sandra, I want to thank you for that wonderful review. It was so important to us to not only tell a good story, but tell it in a way that blended our voices seamlessly. I'm thrilled to know you think we hit our goals. My hat's off to Diana, whose latest release is masterful. I seldom read fantasy, but she makes me want to immerse myself in her worlds. The archaeology book piqued my interest (of course). I have to confess, I didn't realize Rolling's titles as Galbraith was a series. I've had the first one on my Kindle since it was released, but I never got around to reading it. As I hate to give up on things I start, I'm sure I'd want to read all of them. I think you've saved me a lot of time.

Thanks for sharing all your reviews today. And again, my heartfelt appreciation for the kind words you said about our novel.

Anonymous said...

I generally read literary or women's fiction, so I'm all about the people. But I do enjoy a thriller or cozy mystery for my in between reads. I'd not considered the moral code aspects, but now that you've mentioned it, it's hard to believe I missed it!

Loni Townsend said...

Have to say I haven't seen or read many westerns, but looking back, you're right about the moral code!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great reviews. I need to read the Reacher series.
Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

D. Wallace Peach said...

Thanks so much for including The Necromancer's Daughter in your reviews, Sandra. I'm stoked and happy to be included with these awesome authors. I also enjoyed The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. And Druid's Moon caught my attention. See you on Friday!

D.L. Finn said...

Great reviews, Sandra! I saw a couple I loved too. I found more to add to my TBR list and sorry about the disappointment. By the way, you made me of fan of westerns:) xo

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Best of luck to all the authors. My dear husband reads 10-20 westerns a month. It's difficult keeping him in books actually. There aren't enough Westerns. Happy IWSG day. Thanks for co-hosting.

Damyanti Biswas said...

Thank you for co-hosting, Sandra! I have these books on my TBR. Thank you for sharing these wonderful blurbs :)

Sandra Cox said...

EC, Time flies, etc. etc. Let me know what you think of Ink Black.
Hils, Deniz's concept was fascinating. Hope she does, very, very well.
Happy Wednesday, Adam.

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing

Jenni said...

I don't read Westerns really, but you're so right about the moral code. That's something that's important to me in my fiction reading too.

J.Q. Rose said...

I agree with liking a strong moral code in Westerns. Great observation. What an interesting list of book reviews. I need to stretch my reading horizon and try out some different genres. Thanks for co-hosting!!

Arlee Bird said...

The Western is such an old school genre of American literature. I've watched many a western film, but haven't read many western novels or stories. I think you're right about the code of honor. Traditionally there has always been that demarcation of good guys versus bad guys. I think some of that is changing, but it's more a reflection on today's society that the traditions of the genre itself.

Thrills, action, and adventure is the go to film genre for my wife and I. My reading in that area has been limited, but I've got several of those kinds of books on my shelves that I still need to read.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Birgit said...

Look at you go! You are one busy lady. So many books and having a moral code is important no matter what Era.

diedre Knight said...

Hi Sandra,

Your admiration for western life shows in your exceptional portrayals of it. That and paranormal ;-)

I think I’ve seen all the Clint Eastwood westerns, otherwise I love western history.

You sold me on “Necromancer’s Daughter,” and “Cuss” is an excellent name ;-)

Thanks for co-hosting!

Sandra Cox said...

Natalie, Gunsmoke. Now that takes me back. I loved Chester:)
Alex, You bet! Thanks for all you do.
Liza, Agreed on the series:( Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate it.
A Hundred Quills, Our reading preferences does to seem to change and evolve, doesn't it?
T. Powell Coltrin, Westerns were always playing at our house too:)
Diane, Thanks for sharing it. The story line had a fascinating concept, didn't it?

Jean Davis said...

Thanks for co-hosting! I do love reading a good western, even though I don't write them. :)

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Hi Sandra! Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG question. Ooo, these stories sound scary. I've got to decide if I'm brave enough to read them. Great post! Bravo to all the authors and their books. Way to go! Have a great day!

Sandra Cox said...

Lynn, I love who they found to play Reacher on the Amazon series. He is so Reacher;)
Cathrina, You can't go wrong with any of them:) Thanks for stopping by.
Nancy, Westerns were always playing on our TV too. Season 2 of Reacher can't come quickly enough;)
Staci, You and Mae did a wonderful job. I think writing with another author would be challenging but you two made it look easy.
I found an error on today's post and I can't even blame it on autocorrect. Blush. Blush.
Anonymous, Focus on characters is so important isn't it?
Loni, It's a strong theme for sure. Thanks for stopping by.

Beth Camp said...

Thank you for co-hosting this month for IWSG AND for highlighting these book reviews. They all look enticing -- and hopefully will reach a larger audience because of your reviews. Your comment about Westerns having a strong moral code reminds me that we don't always acknowledge why we read a certain genre -- mine currently is mysteries and their quest for truth and justice! May October bring you good writing and many more new books!

Miffie Seideman said...

Thank you for co-hosting this month! I agree that a strong moral code makes a great MC. I love stories where that is the case, no matter what genre.

Sandra Cox said...

Mary, It's an awesome series. Thanks for co-hosting and stopping by.
Diana, See ya Friday. Can't wait;)
Denise, That's lovely to hear. Thank you. How long is that TBR list now?:) xo
Jolene, Yay for your husband;)
Damy, Excellent.
Christine, You bet.

Jeanie said...

I don't think I knew you were a Lee Child/Reacher fan. So, you might be interested in this. My friend Dick Hill, whom I've written about, was the first audio book reader for his series and did many of the books till about the last five, which was after he got ill and retired from reading. He died today -- yesterday, actually. If you look at his Dick Hill facebook page, there are lots of tributes, many from fans of his Reacher narrations. It's a sad day. He was quite an inspiration.

Sandra Cox said...

Jenni, A strong moral code can carry across genres, can't it? Thanks for stopping by.
Hey Cuz, Yes a strong moral code is a must in a good Western. Glad you stopped by;)
Hi Arlee, The Western is definitely an old school American genre. And I'm with you, I want action and adventure in my writing and my reading.
Birgit, Definitely busy today:) And yes, moral codes are important in any era.
Thank you, Deidre, you made my day:) I think you'd like Necromancer's Daughter. It's exceptionally well-written. I'm quite jealous I didn't think of the name Cuss. Wouldn't that have been purrfect for a bounty hunter?:)

Sandra Cox said...

Victoria Marie, You can do it:) All great reads. Thanks for stopping by.
Beth, Truth and justice. I like that.
I agree, Miffie. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Jeanie, I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend.That's rather eerie about his passing on a day I was talking about Reacher. Did he ever meet Lee Child?

J.P. Alexander said...

Suerte con la publicación de los libros. Gracias por la reseña. Te mando un beso

Mae Clair said...

Sandra, thanks so much for including The Haunting of Chatham Hollow among your book reviews. I'm delighted you enjoyed it, and thrilled to have it featured with these other great reads (I also enjoyed The Necromancer's Daughter).

I agree with you about the strong moral code in westerns. I am a fan from way back and even used to write them on a regular basis (all trunk novels and stories, LOL). You can't go wrong with the good guys in a western!

Diane Burton said...

Good reasons to enjoy westerns. I've seen a couple of Jack Reacher movies but haven't read the books yet. Thanks for recommending them. Thanks for cohosting this month.

Sandra Cox said...

Hey Mae:) Including yours and Staci's enjoyable story was entirely my pleasure.
Diana outdid herself this time didn't she?
I didn't realize you'd dabbled in Westerns. Woot. Woot.
Diane, The Reacher series is extremely well written. I think you'd enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by.

Jemima Pett said...

Well, I didn't enjoy the first Cormoran Strike book, so I have ignored the rest. :)

You read Westerns! I don't know anyone else who does, but I can see the moral code aspect being attractive. I have a few on my kindle - must read and review them, the authors have been waiting a while now...
Thanks for co-hosting this month!

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG, Sandra! I hope you had a fun day. I wasn't surprised to see your favorite genre was westerns. One of my favorite western writers is Craig Johnson who writes the Longmire novels. I also enjoy the Jack Reacher books. I also like the strong moral code in westerns. Happy reading in October!

Melissa said...

Score 1 for westerns! Yay!
Thanks for cohosting!

Janet Alcorn said...

I love Reacher! And I know this is heresy, but I think I might like the TV show as much as the books. They just started filming season 2--can't wait.

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for co-hosting this month and for sharing the book club selections.
Nice selection of books for September. I've been meaning to pick up Druid's Moon for a while.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

I like that following his own code thing from Westerns, too :-) The cover for the Necromancer's Daughter is eye-catching -- added it to my TBR because you liked it!