#BookReviews- Hello Stranger @KatherineCenter, Saddled Hearts @JanSikes3, Cold Dark Night @JoanHallWrites #Amreading


Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com

One of my favorite mystery writers- Louise Penny- has an exciting new series on Amazon Prime called Three Pines. Have you read her books or seen the first episode yet? So good!

This week I have three stories with the underlying message of the importance of believing in yourself. Click the covers to learn more.

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Sadie Montgomery has had good breaks and bad breaks in her life, but as a struggling artist, all she needs is one lucky break. Things seem to be going her way when she lands one of the coveted finalist spots in a portrait competition. It happens to coincide with a surgery she needs to have. Minor, they say. Less than a week in the hospital they say. Nothing about you will change, they say. 

When I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher, I didn’t know the subject matter would cut so close to home. My daughter was also diagnosed with cavernoma, a malformed blood vessel in the brain- otherwise known as a raspberry- after she passed out at work. Needless to say, it scared her mom and dad to death, but with careful monitoring, she will hopefully never go through the trauma Sadie had to live through.

Sadie has been an outcast since her beautiful, artistic mother died when she was fourteen. Her father quickly remarried, bringing an ambivalent woman and her vindictive daughter into their lives. Unable to cope, Sadie moves out as soon as possible and spends the next few years until the diagnosis working to stay afloat. But now, she has a chance to shine; a contest to win ten thousand and a prestigious spot in the artist community. Until the brain surgery wipes away her powers of facial recognition, leaving her unable to see anything other than pieces of a person’s face in strips and pieces. Can you imagine? It’s called prosopagnosia, or face blindness.

The author’s candid description of the procedure is both frightening and funny:

they’d wash my hair with Betadine solution to sterilize everything, and then they’d comb it with a sterile comb, and then they’d shave just the tiniest bit, and then they’d cut and peel a flap of my scalp back . . . and then they’d drill a four-inch hole in my head.
Like they were going ice fishing.
No big deal.

Katherine Center. Hello Stranger (Kindle Locations 539-542). Kindle Edition.

It’s moments like this that made reading this story a comfort for this very worried mother. It helps to learn with humor. Ms. Center does a wonderful job guiding us through Sadie’s emotional journey and all the highs and lows along the way with her core spirit that never lets her give up.

This is a must-read.


Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life, between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?

When a grizzled stranger shows up at Colt Layne’s ranch insisting Colt’s grandfather lost it in a card game, it starts a chain of events culminating in a murder and Colt’s arrest. Desperate for answers, he visits a psychic against his better judgment and is captivated by the blond beauty, Sage Coventry.

Colt and Sage search for answers as the danger increases, first with a fire on the ranch, then the poisoning of his horses. The trouble escalates with the return of Colt’s alcoholic father, who claims to be a changed man, and an abused horse named Ghost.

There are a lot of threads to this story, but the author does a credible job of weaving them into an engaging plot. My favorite moments were the quiet ones. The times when Colt took Sage riding on the picturesque ranch, spending time communicating with the horses he cares for, or playing his guitar

There are some twists and turns I didn’t expect, leading to a page-turning ending- an entertaining read!


New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.

Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, Jason will be the next to die.

Journalist Tami Mongomery and her husband, Jason move to Madeira, New Mexico, and look forward to his position as police chief. That is until they learn how cliquey the town is, and the mystery that surrounds their new home.

Tami joins the local historical society to make friends and delve deeper into her home’s history, and soon finds a disturbing trend of murder coinciding with her husband’s job.

Jason also has his hands full with a rebellious officer, the mayor’s condescending wife, and a string of robberies.

The strength of this novel is in its interesting array of characters. The author created likable friends like the Montgomery’s new neighbor, Abbey, the mysterious senior living next door, the obnoxious mayor’s wife, and a plethora of others.

The Victorian mansion is a character, in and of itself, with its dark nooks and crannies, the ancient cat who keeps showing up on the doorstep, and the powerful vibe drawing Tami to the house and its secrets.

This is an entertaining read mystery lovers will enjoy.


This weekend, we drove down to Ogden Point- the breakwater- to see the Santa Truck Parade and I got a shot of a spectacular sunset along with a romantic couple that got my muse thinking 🙂

52 Replies to “#BookReviews- Hello Stranger @KatherineCenter, Saddled Hearts @JanSikes3, Cold Dark Night @JoanHallWrites #Amreading”

  1. What wonderful reviews! Congratulations to all the authors. I’ve read Jan’s Saddled Hearts, and Joan’s A Cold Dark Night and loved both of them. It’s fantastic to see them showcased here today!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Hola Jacquie,
    Jolly good reviews! I love learning new words and facts, so thank you.
    What a frightening experience for you and your daughter – the body is full of mysteries, that’s for sure! May she now have continued good health.
    Now I’m older, my reading capacity has slowed down, more’s the pity. (‘Everything’ takes longer…I need to be ‘cloned!’) Musn’t complain as I’ve been very lucky. Have a really enjoyable festive season, with knobs on! Cheers and hugs. xx PS What super photo!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My eyes tire fast, too, Joy, but I’ve never managed to get into audiobooks (even though I produce them, lol) so I’ll just have to keep stumbling along.
      It was very scary for my girl. She’s a single mom with a diabetic son and the what-ifs weighed heavy on her. I’m glad she hasn’t had another seizure since and pray every night for both of them to stay healthy.
      Happy holidays!

      Like

  3. Thank you for the review of Cold Dark Night. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I’ve also read Saddled Hearts and recommend it.

    Love the photo, and I’m glad it inspired your muse.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Jacquie, I am beyond honored to find a review for Saddled Hearts here this morning. Thank you SO much for taking the time to read and review it, and I am thrilled that you enjoyed the story. I’ve also read Cold Dark Night and enjoyed it very much. Katherine Center is a new author to me and her story sounds compelling. I love the photo you captured of the sunset and the romantic couple. It could be a book cover.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. All great reviews, Jacquie. I enjoyed two of them. The one that had a similar issue to your daughter gave me chills. Its hard when our kids have any medical issues! Beautiful photo, I can see why your muse was inspired. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I admit I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read Katherine’s book after realizing the storyline, but I’m glad I did. In a weird way, it eased some of my concerns.
      Usually, it’s raining for the parade, this was a nice change, lol

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the common theme of believing in one’s self. That is a timeless message. Having read books by Jan and Joan, I’m sure their books will be great. I’m going to take a look at Three Pines and see if I enjoy the show. That will determine if I give Louise’s book a look.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. These all sound like great reads, Jacquie. How scary that must have been for you and to not know what was in this book must have been a shock. Have a wonderful holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your reviews Jacquie. Joan’s book is coming up soon on my reader. And oh ya, aren’t you love The Three Pines? I also used to read Penny and have fallen behind this past decade since I try to keep up with reading mostly Indie books, along with my usual nonfiction addictions. Can’t wait for this Thursday new episodes lol. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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