Book Reviews

Book Review: Something’s Fishy In Palm Springs by Michelle Ann Hollstein


Title: Something’s Fishy In Palm Springs

Author/Publisher: Michelle Ann Hollstein

Year Released: 2008

Hi, Guys! I’m back with another book review for indie author/publisher, Michelle Hollstein.  Yes, I just did a review of her book, Deadly Withdrawal, the first book in her Aggie Underhill Mystery series. Something’s Fishy In Palm Springs is Hollstein’s second foray into mystery writing, and finds her attractive, albeit “too nosy for her own good” protagonist, Ms Aggie Underhill, once again involved in a mystery that goes from missing to murder, with a couple kidnappings mixed in, when a beautiful online dating site owner/ part-time actress goes missing, a fish is kidnapped and a murder occurs during a party for the fishy. Yes, I said a party for the fishy. In this book, readers are further introduced to Betty, Aggie’s best friend for over twenty years, and Roger, Betty’s flamboyant cousin, whom she found during an online family search.

Overall, I give the book four out of five stars. There are grammatical errors and misspellings throughout the book, and I felt the ending was a little too convenient. With that said, I think that Something’s Fishy In Palm Springs is a great second effort into this new genre, and look forward to seeing how Hollstein’s plots and characters develop over the next eight books in the series. If you’re looking for a light, “quirky” mystery series, you need to check out the Aggie Underhill Mystery series by Michelle Ann Hollstein. For the holidays, I’m reading Maid In Heaven, the third book in the Aggie Underhill series, and will have a review soon afterward.

Deadly Withdrawal by Michelle Ann Hollstein: A Book Review


Title: Deadly Withdrawal

Author/Publisher: Michelle Ann Hollstein

Year of Release: 2008

What starts as a simple visit to the bank turns out to be much more for the attractive, fifty-something widow, Aggie Underhill in Michelle Ann Hollstein’s “quirky” first novel in her Aggie Underhill Mystery series.

While waiting to open a savings account for her grandson at the local bank in the small North Carolina town where Aggie’s daughter, Sarah-Underhill Ferguson and son-in-law, Everette Ferguson – a US Marine, currently overseas, live with their son, Aggie’s grandson, Shawn, Aggie encounters a host of characters, and learns that the bank has been subject to several robberies and the recent murder of a security guard. And, as if that’s not enough, while she is there, a police detective, who is at the bank to investigate the recent murder, is murdered herself in the break room of the bank, and two teenage boys come in to rob the place, one of them holding a gun! Being “too nosy for her own good”, as her daughter tells her, Aggie can’t help but get involved in solving this mystery.

Who is responsible for the murders? Why is the bank such a prime target for robberies? Does Aggie get to open the savings account for her grandson?! All of these answers, and more can be found by reading “Deadly Withdrawal”.

The first time I was introduced to Aggie Underhill was when I read “The Case Of The Haunted Address” by Michelle Ann Hollstein. All I can say is I’m sorry I didn’t meet Aggie ten years ago. When I read “The Case Of The Haunted Address”, I pegged Aggie Underhill as a cross between Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Ms Jessica Fletcher, no-nonsense but with a touch of whimsy. While reading the character list at the beginning of “Deadly Withdrawal”, I saw where she is from England and spends time in the US, visiting her daughter’s family. The book will also introduce you to a host of other characters, each with their own quirks and agendas.

There are currently ten books in the Aggie Underhill series, and I wanted to start at the beginning, so I’m about ten years late with this review. At this time I’m reading the second book in the series, “Something’s Fishy In Palm Springs”. Future review to come. As always, you can visit Michelle’s website at for a complete list of her Aggie Underhill Mysteries and her other books.

Book Review of M.A. Hollstein’s Fatal Reaction: The Beginning


Another author I have had the pleasure of meeting on Twitter is Michelle Ann Hollstein. She is the talented, multi-genre author behind the Aggie Underhill Mysteries series. Fans of fantasy reading may know her as the author of The Niberia Chronicles trilogy, or, if you prefer mystery mixed with paranormal romance, you might enjoy reading her Lost Souls series. And, if that is not enough, she is also a very talented artist with a series of non-fiction books out, titled, Who Says You Can’t Paint.

She has recently ventured into a new genre, that of sci-fi, with her Fatal Reaction series.  The first book in the series is titled, appropriately enough, “The Beginning”, and it is every bit as good as her other books with a strong plot and solid characters.

After spending a girls’ weekend in Vegas, Ellie was heading back home to California and stopped in at a dessert gas station to refuel and grab some snacks. When a woman, looking very ill and seemingly badly blistered, entered the store and started growling, Ellie wondered if the woman was okay and tried to render assistance. After the woman attacked the elderly store owner in a beastlike manner, Ellie managed to get away with her life intact, only to realize later that it was not just an isolated incident. She would soon discover that similar attacks by the “infecteds” were happening all over the world.

This is a great first book of, what looks to be, an equally great series. What is causing the people of the world to become infected, raging lunatics? Is it a terrorist plot? A biological anomaly? Predestined genetical occurance? Or is it something much bigger? I highly recommend that you read this book. The second book in the series, Fatal Reaction: Survival, has just been released, so, get in on this series from The Beginning!

To learn more about Michelle Hollstein, you can find her author page at, or visit her web page at She’s got some really cool book trailer videos on here, also.

Cabals of Blood: Book Review


Another author that I have had the pleasure of meeting on Twitter is Richard Klu. Richard writes in the style of H.P. Lovecraft, commonly referred to as Cosmic Horror. His book, Cabals of Blood will be releasd October 30, and he put out a call for ARC readers. I used to read mainly sci-fi and horror in my teens, and even read some Lovecraft, so I told him I’d be an ARC reader for his new book. Since it has been decades since I read any of H.P. Lovecraft’s works, when I got the ARC copy of Cabals of Blood, I’ll admit that it took me a few tries to get into it. I went back and read some of Lovecraft’s works again to get into the rhythm of the stories. Once I found that rhythm, I had no problem reading, and enjoying Richard’s stories. What follows is my review of Cabals of Blood.

H.P. Lovecraft was an American short story writer around the turn of the twentieth century, writing in the genre of dark, horror fiction, sparking the ‘Cosmicism’ movement. While reading Richard Klu’s Cabals of Blood it is easy to see that he is a true fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s works, and that said works have had an influence on Klu’s writing style, as evidenced in his thoughts, descriptions and characters. Richard Klu does an excellent job with drawing his readers into his stories by painting such vivid and colorful pictures of his characters and the different places to which he draws the readers’ minds. He has managed to create modern stories while keeping in the tradition of Lovecratian story telling, and, like Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, Richard Klu has created his own unique beings that become recurring characters  in a lot of his stories. I think that any fan of horror fiction, dark fiction, science fiction or H.P. Lovecraft will enjoy reading Cabals of Blood by Richard Klu. I know that I enjoyed reading in this genre again, and look forward to reading more by this author.

That’s it for my review. I hope you liked it. If you want to follow Richard, and read more of his works, he can be found on Twitter at @Richard_Klu_ and at his website:

The Mystery of the Rougarou by Michael Hoard: A Book Review


When I was a kid I played outside most days. Home video game consoles were either not on the market, or were a new concept (did anyone else have Pong?). I remember playing hide and seek, kick the can, touch football and other games, when I wasn’t jumping my bicycle over earth ramps and riding through the woods. This was also before mountain biking became popular. Well, I recently read a great young adventure book, The Adventures of Nick and Billy: The Mystery of the Rougarou, written by another man whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, Michael Hoard. Curious to know what a Rougarou was I Googled it. It is a beastie, well known of in Louisiana folklore, with the head of a wolf and the body of a man. Being a lifelong wolf man fan, and occasionally looking like one myself, when I get a little lax on my grooming, I knew that I was going to love this book, so I bought it.

The story takes place in the Louisiana swamplands. Best friends Nick and Billy have been waiting all year to have great summer adventures at the ‘swamp camp’. On the first day they encounter one of their neighbors running scared through the swamp and talking about the Rougarou! Not wanting to see their neighbor leave his lifelong home, the boys decide to get to the bottom of this, and their adventure turns out to be more than they bargained for, taking every outdoor skill they have learned in their twelve years on earth to get through alive.

Now, I have never lived in Louisiana, however, I have spent my share of time in the woods, and have even been in a few swamps. Reading this book took me back decades to the times when I was camping, or just building forts in the woods and making up adventures with my friends. I highly recommend this book for upper elementary through middle school ages, as it has great lessons about the outdoors, friendship, neighbors, love, persistence and teamwork. I also recommend it to anyone of any age who can relate to growing up in the outdoors, however you grew up.

Right as I was finishing the book Michael Hoard was awarded 1st Place for Young Adult at the 2017 SIBA awards for The Mystery of the Rougarou. So…if you want to read an award winning adventure, buy this book! For more info you can check him out at his web site, or on Twitter at @hoard_michael.

A Book Review of “The Third Step” by William Lobb


There But For The Grace Of…God? At one point in my career I worked with convicted felons who were either on probation or parole. Most of them had been ordered to do some kind of substance abuse program, and it was my job to refer them to the appropriate treatment program. I’ve never been an addict, nor am I naive enough to think that a person is going to stop using drugs just because a judge or releasing body has told them they have to stop. But I wanted to do the best I could for them, so I talked with a lot of them about their addictions, so I could get some kind of understanding as to what they felt and why they did it. I talked with AA/NA facilitators and substance abuse counselors, and even have a copy of the “little blue book” somewhere in my possession.

I recently read The Third Step by author William Lobb, and it gave me a look into addiction that far surpassed anything I had ever heard from anyone I ever talked with. It was one of those books that, even though I couldn’t relate to the main character, Frankie’s, need for pills and alcohol, I could find other things to relate with. This was one of those books that I found myself losing sleep over, because the deeper Frankie went, the deeper I went, too. I just didn’t want to stop reading. In a review I posted, I said that any one of us could be Frankie. We all have our gods and our demons. Frankie’s may have just been one and the same. The ultimate internal battle between good and evil.

Frankie danced with the devil while trying to gain an understanding of who he thought God was to others and himself. Did he figure it out? I strongly suggest you read it for yourself and find out. This is a great book that will make you wonder, at times, if it is fiction or biography. William Lobb has written what he knows. I’m glad he has put that part of his life behind him, and has written this deep insight into addiction and human condition.