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AuthorIrisChacon last won the day on September 25 2015

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  • Birthday 01/04/1950


  1. Book Review: Magic O'clock, By L.s. Fellows

    Rated five stars out of five by reviewer Iris Chacon. A complimentary ARC was provided to this reviewer for an honest, unbiased review. Imagine that someone you loved very much simply disappeared. Imagine that you know they become visible again for an hour each day at three o'clock, and you go to that place every day at three just to see your loved one. But you can't talk to them or touch them or even reveal yourself to them, because if you do, they'll disappear again immediately. That's the scenario presented in all its joy and pathos in L.S. Fellows' short story/novella, Magic O'Clock. The story is so empathetic, enthralling, and eloquent that even readers who thought the subject of dementia held no interest for them will be delighted. One is tempted at several points to simply stop in the middle of the narrative to revel in the beauty of a particular line or phrase. An example might be this passage from the first paragraph of the story: "It's not that I'm hiding, but Dad no longer recognizes me and it pains me to see his blank expression whenever I visit. I'll make myself known later. After the miracle." In these phrases, the narrator (a fictional character, not the author) describes the changed man who enters the magic place each day at three: "He no longer slouches. Instead, he stands upright, shoulders back, chin jutting upward, arms glued to his sides, and thumbs point to the floor." What an insightful, clear, and wonderful mental image that shows us much more than merely the outward appearance of the man. The melancholy yet celebratory prose continues a page further on: "The lost soul that inhabits his body and mind for most of the day is vanquished for now and the man in his place is my father of old." Later in the magic hour, the narrator shares, "He is a true word-smith, a man for whom eloquence and diction make pillow talk while he sleeps." I might say exactly the same of author L.S. Fellows. Add Magic O'Clock to your reading list immediately. It is so brief and beautiful that you will find yourself re-reading it from time to time (no pun intended) simply to relive the nuances of love so poetically presented in this story. This novella is suitable for all audiences and contains no offensive material.
  2. Rated five stars out of five by reviewer Iris Chacon. This book is scheduled for release December 5, 2017. A complimentary ARC was provided to this reviewer for an honest, unbiased review. In January 2017 I had the pleasure of reading Katherine Arden's first novel, The Bear and the Nightingale. At the time, I wrote in my review that the book was "a laudable debut and gives every indication that future works by Katherine Arden will be worth a look." It turns out, I was right. Arden's second novel, The Girl in the Tower, is even more polished than the first. Arden says in her Author's Note, "The icy, earthy terrain of medieval Muscovy is not necessarily the most natural setting for a fairy tale." Nevertheless, Arden uses her encyclopedic knowledge and understanding of Russian history and culture to create what she calls a "fairy-tale form--strong on villains and princesses." Imagine if Leo Tolstoy sat down over a mug of warm borscht on a snowy night, with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, to concoct a fairy-tale full of heroes, heroines, villains, and supernatural beings. Together they might produce a story with elements of Russian melancholy and superstition, combined with fantastical battles in exotic places, combined with brothers and sisters living an otherworldly drama they never planned or expected. That story has been written, and written well, but not by Tolstoy, Tolkien, and Lewis. It has been written with all the gravitas of those gentlemen and all the passion of author Katherine Arden, and the book is called The Girl in the Tower. Lovers of the Narnia chronicles and Lord of the Rings trilogy will also enjoy and appreciate The Girl in the Tower. The book is suitable for all ages and contains no offensive material.
  3. Rated four stars out of five by reviewer Iris Chacon. A complimentary ARC was provided to this reviewer for an honest, unbiased review. This book is scheduled for release on October 3, 2017. Perennially popular author Debbie Macomber says of her 2017 Christmas novel, "Merry and Bright is a fun story. ... My wish is that you will smile and it will bring a bit of light and warmth to your winter." Macomber fans, and readers new to the Macomber magic, will find all the entertainment, romance, and sentiment they could want between the pages of Merry and Bright. This is a light-hearted office-romance story with a bit of "You've Got Mail" added. Merry is enjoying an online friendship with Jay after her mother and brother signed her up for a match-making service. Neither of them realizes that Merry is the same "Mary" who frequently endures stressful office conflict with her boss, Jayson ("Jay") Bright. The situation grows more complicated when Merry's mentally disabled brother begins a computer friendship with Jay, and when Jay and Merry make an appointment to finally meet.. The story is not altogether unpredictable, but it is satisfying and enjoyable, especially for a leisurely Christmas-season read. Merry Knight and Jayson Bright will generate sparks like a Yule Log, with neither messy fireplace ashes nor offensive content, in Debbie Macomber's Christmas romance, Merry and Bright.
  4. Book Review: "love's Unfading Light"

    BOOK REVIEW: Love's Unfading Light, Eagle Harbor Book 1, by Naomi Rawlings Rated five ***** stars out of five by reviewer Iris Chacon. A complimentary ARC was provided to this reviewer for an honest, unbiased review. This engaging, entertaining small-town story follows a lighthouse keeper (Mac) and a baker (Tressa) in a place called Eagle Harbor, on the shores of Lake Superior. Both characters have experienced tragedy and are separately dealing with social, business, and family problems. Only God could repair the cracks in these two lives, and Tressa no longer believes in Him. Author Naomi Rawlings has crafted a story that will be popular with readers of historical fiction and Christian fiction. Rawlings has woven together threads of romance, suspense, danger, adventure, and faith in a seamless, flowing narrative that never sounds contrived or preachy. Non-Christian readers will find as much to love in this story as Christian readers will, and readers of all ages can enjoy this novel because it has no offensive content. I look forward to future books in the Eagle Harbor, when the author will tell the stories of many of the likable characters introduced in Book 1. Love's Unfading Light, by Naomi Rawlings, may be found on Amazon.com and at other popular booksellers.
  5. BOOK REVIEW: Love's Legacy; A First Street Church Romance, by Stephany Tullis (Christian author) Rated five stars out of five by reviewer Iris Chacon. A complimentary ARC was provided to this reviewer for an honest, unbiased review. The book is scheduled for release on July 19, 2017. In this charming novella, a young married couple experiences a family's worse nightmare: their 9-year-old son dies in a random, drive-by shooting during an innocent Thanksgiving celebration. Two and a half years later, Dee and Kyle are literally on their way to a divorce as Kyle drives Dee to her mother's house in a distant city, because Dee is moving back home to start her new life. Life changes suddenly and dramatically for the couple when their car quits on a deserted road, and an unusual woman called "Tabitha" appears to whisk them off to a tiny town unknown to them. Everyone and everything in Sweet Grove, Texas, conspires to change Dee and Kyle in surprising and often mysterious ways. The story keeps us fascinated as we learn bits and pieces of the couple's life together through well-crafted flashbacks scattered among their Sweet Grove, Texas, experiences. The citizens of Sweet Grove live out their faith through selfless love toward these two strangers, and more than just two people are changed as a result. This is a lovely, hopeful, sympathetic story written from the author's tender heart, guaranteed to produce a happy and satisfying reading experience. Recommended for all ages, with a caution that children might be troubled by the violent death of a child in the beginning of the book. There is no offensive content. Stephany Tullis Learn more about author Stephany Tullis and her many novels and novellas by visiting Stephany's Amazon Author Page. For other book reviews and articles by Iris Chacon, visit https://www.authoririschacon.com
  6. BOOK REVIEW: Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber Rated five stars out of five by reviewer Iris Chacon. A complimentary ARC was provided to this reviewer for an honest, unbiased review. Fans of the clean, smooth, charming style of author Debbie Macomber will find her once again on top of her game in the novel, Any Dream Will Do. Macomber takes us into the lives of a woman in prison and a young pastor, widowed and raising a small child. These two people are from different backgrounds and traveling on different life paths, yet Macomber weaves their stories together in a fascinating and intriguing tapestry. The author keeps it real, eschewing any temptation to sugarcoat the mistakes and mis-steps made by everyday people -- Christians or not. Seeing the characters in this novel work their way through hellish troubles on to a better life gives hope to us all. I happily recommend this enjoyable novel to readers of all ages. It's Christian worldview is strong and it contains no offensive material. Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber, is available for pre-order now on Amazon.
  7. Book Review: It Began

    Review of IT BEGAN (Zero Power Book One; A Post Apocalyptic EMP Survival) by Max Lockwood. Rated 4 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon. Parents strongly cautioned: It Began contains no explicit sex, but alludes to extramarital sex. The novel contains mild, infrequent cursing and instances of bloody, graphic death. The author kindly provided me a copy of the ebook upon my promise of an honest review. High school teachers, Clara and Cooper, are both colleagues and carpool buddies. One day as they are driving to work, a traffic jam becomes a nightmare. Every vehicle goes dead at the same time. Moments later, a large airplane crashes into the crowded street and nearby buildings, causing unimaginable carnage and death. Clara and Cooper narrowly escape the crash and spend the next hours attempting to help the injured and dying. No phones work, no vehicles run, and they realize no emergency assistance will reach them for hours, if it comes at all. Author Max Lockwood immerses us in the maelstrom that is urban "civilization" when the worst has happened, bringing out the best and the worst in humankind. Clara and Cooper must learn to survive and to help others survive. To do that, they'll have to work out their own relationship and their relationships with flawed or disabled friends and family. They will face violence and horror and their own weaknesses as they struggle to establish a new kind of "normal" life. The novel is imaginative in its details and situations, and evokes contemplation of whether we ourselves would fare better or worse than the people in the story, people who are not survivalists or doomsday preppers or former Navy SEALs. People who are as ordinary as we. It Began is hard to put down; you'll want to finish it in one sitting. Be warned, however, that it is the first book in a trilogy and, as the title implies, the first book encompasses only the beginning of a larger story. Good thing for us, readers, that book two is already available, and book three is in the works. The author cautions readers from the front of the book: "Please note that this work is intended only for adults over the age of 18 and all characters [are] represented as 18 or over." This is a secular work of fiction with neither positive nor negative references to religious faith.
  8. Book Review: Roadside

    Review of Roadside by AngieDokos. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon. After Zayne and his father happen upon a young woman left for dead on a deserted roadside, her recovery and protection become central to Zayne's life. The story revolves around the victim, Serena, and her relationship with Zayne and other young adults as her body and spirit gradually heal. The search for Serena's attacker is suspenseful. The ebbing and flowing relationships between the young people surrounding Zayne and Serena provide various insights into the human condition in general and Serena's damaged psyche in particular. Author Angie Dokos has called Roadside a "New Adult Romance," but it might also be considered YA Contemporary Romance or YA Mystery. The main characters are students or college-age adults, and their story is told in an ingenuous style reflective of a young person's natural lack of sophistication. Roadside is a sweet story that will appeal especially to high school and college age readers but is suitable for readers of any age. This is a G-rated story, free of steamy sex, foul language, or gory violence. Characters show kindness, acceptance, and forgiveness, and, though no one is perfect, the protagonists attend church. The novel is secular enough to appeal to a wide audience, but it treats people of faith respectfully.
  9. Book Review: Resurrection America

    Review of Resurrection America (A Thriller) by Jeff Gunhus. Rated 4 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon. The author furnished this reviewer with an advance download of the book on the promise of an honest review. Science fiction fans will enjoy this engaging thriller about mysterious doings in the isolated town of Resurrection, Colorado. Sheriff Rick Johnson and Deputy Manny Garcia accidentally discover that a supposedly abandoned mine outside of town has been re-inhabited and now operates under a sinister veil of absolute secrecy. Soon, Deputy Garcia has disappeared, Sheriff Johnson is being coerced into lying to protect the evil "mine" operators, and the entire population of Resurrection may die. Ultimately, the lone ex-soldier/sheriff and an ex-girlfriend/scientist will be all that's left to stop worldwide annihilation. Author Jeff Gunhus has crafted a spellbinding, imaginative story that is hard to put down, with surprises and dangers around every corner. The military and scientific details seem well researched and are recounted in ways that convey their complexity while being understandable to the layman. Lovers of dystopian fiction will find that Resurrection America has a "Day After Tomorrow" quality they'll appreciate. I would recommend the novel to sci-fi and thriller fans of all ages. It contains no explicit sex, some non-gory violence, and only minimal vulgar language. If it were a film, I would rate it PG. Issues of religious are skirted; neither Christianity nor people of faith are denigrated. This is a secular novel.
  10. Book Review: My Heart Belongs To Only You

    Review of My Heart Belongs to Only You (Cupid's Bow - The First Generation - Book 2) by Melissa Storm. Rated 4 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon. (No offensive content.) The reviewer received a complimentary download of the ebook in exchange for an honest, objective review. In this charming, wholesome romance, Deborah's fiancé, James, is missing in action during the Korean War. Rip is a wounded soldier on recuperative leave from the same war, and he is fighting his own personal battle against what will someday be called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Rip moves into a short-term rental house in Deborah's neighborhood, and their early social interactions are stunted and unpleasant. Still, he reminds her of the lost James, and she can't deny she finds him handsome despite what seems to be his constant rudeness. Even so, they might never become friends if they didn't both go swimming in the same lake on the same night, each trying to escape their own mental demons. After the serendipitous late night meeting at the lake, a relationship between Deborah and Rips begins to form, in fits and starts, as they work out their past hurts while learning to trust themselves and others once again. The fifties, that relatively pleasant era between the end of World War II and the beginning of Vietnam, is the right setting for this steady, sweet story. You'll find it entertaining, relaxing and soothing to join these likable characters as they find their way from a troubled past toward a hopeful future. The book is free of offensive content and suitable for any age level, but younger tweens and teens may find this romance too quiet and staid for their video-game attention spans. Adults will like it just fine. Visit Melissa Storm's author page on Amazon.
  11. Book Review: Devil's Porridge

    Review of Devil's Porridge (The Kirsty Campbell Mysteries Book 2) by Chris Longmuir. Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon. (Contains no offensive material. The "devil" in the title does not refer to Satan or any demonic beings, it is the name of an explosive made with nitroglycerin.) If you have not read book 1 of The Kirsty Campbell Mysteries, don't let that keep you from enjoying Book 2, Devil's Porridge. The second book stands on its own, but you'll want to read another mystery by this author as soon as you finish this one, and Book 1 would be as fine a choice as any. The "devil's porridge" of the title refers to a colloquial name given to the highly explosive gruel-like substance made in munitions factories during World War I in Great Britain. Young women were drafted into service to operate explosives factories on the home front while the young men were away at war. The women lived in closely supervised dormitories and worked shifts day and night, usually mixing nitroglycerin compounds with their hands, in large barrels. Kirsty Campbell is one of first policewomen in Britain at a time when women had yet to get the vote and were prohibited from holding jobs in many fields. Although many of the male police executives either ignore or insult Kirsty, she is a clever and resourceful detective and an excellent law enforcement officer. Devil's Porridge is deeply researched, and the author weaves a stunning three-dimensional picture of life, work, and crime in Britain during the Great War. You will be drawn completely into the scene as Policewoman Campbell pursues a murderer/saboteur while carrying out her assignment to guard the munitions factory and the female "munitionettes." History buffs, WWI aficionados, mystery lovers, and Anglophiles will delight in the story and in the author's skills. You won't want to put it down. Recommended for all ages, from teens to senior citizens. Book available for purchase on AMAZON.
  12. Book Review: The Ghosts Of Peppernell Manor

    Book Review: THE GHOSTS OF PEPPERNELL MANOR by Amy M. Reade. ~o~~o~ Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon. ~o~~o~ The reviewer received a complimentary download of the novel in exchange for an objective and honest review. ~o~~o~~o~ When Carleigh and her 3-year-old daughter, Lucy, take up residence temporarily in Peppernell Manor near Charleston, South Carolina, Carleigh thinks of it as an exciting new restoration project and a break from her jerk of an ex-husband and his stripper girlfriend back in Chicago. Carleigh never imagines that the ensuing months on the grounds of the antebellum plantation will entail not only the satisfaction of bringing the manor house and out buildings back to their historic grandeur, but also the terror of unexplained deaths, familial intrigue, and a supernatural Presence. Author Amy M. Reade recreates the quaint, historic city of Charleston and its environs with such exquisite detail, the reader feels like a long-time resident of the area. The foods, climate, history, and even the weather become real in Ms. Reade's precise, flowing prose. The characters -- both human and ghostly -- display charm, personality, depth, and numerous surprises as one mystery after another unfolds at Peppernell Manor until all is connected and explained in the end. Be prepared to read the entire novel in one sitting. It is a pageturner that will keep you engulfed in Lowcountry atmosphere, romance, and suspense from the first chapter to the last. I recommend this novel to readers from early teens to golden years as it has no offensive content and provides people and details that will interest any and every age group. If you haven't picked up a good old gothic-type mystery in a while, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor is an excellent way to break your literary fast. Get The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor or Amy M. Reade's latest mystery, The House on Candlewick Lane, A Malice Novel, and be sure to visit Amy's Author Page on Amazon.
  13. Book Review: Hunting Hour

    Review: HUNTING HOUR, A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery, by Margaret Mizushima Description: Dramatic, exciting mystery with just enough romance and no offensive content. ***** Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon. When Mattie Cobb and her German shepherd, Robo, are called in to find a missing teenager, the child is found dead and the small town of Timber Creek is shaken. Tensions rise even further when the young daughter of Mattie's maybe-boyfriend, Cole, is kidnapped -- apparently by the same child-killer. Mattie must stretch herself emotionally and professionally -- and she and Robo must develop some new skills -- in order to save a little girl she secretly loves as if her own. Another complication is that Mattie will have a hard time keeping Cole away from her investigation. This mystery is skillfully written, fast-moving and engrossing. It is a read-in-one-sitting story with the perfect combination of romance and drama in the background. I can recommend this book to readers from middle school to senior citizen; it contains no vulgar or offensive material.
  14. Audiobook Review of THE CHOCOLATE LABRADOODLE CAPER, A Damien Dickens Mystery, by Phyllis Entis. Audiobook narrated by Harry Dyson. ★★★★ Rated four stars by Iris Chacon. This writer received a complimentary copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest and objective review. I recommend this audiobook to listeners of any age; it contains no offensive material. I had previously read the ebook version of this enjoyable novel by Phyllis Entis. Hearing the story narrated, though, was a different experience entirely. I was surprised at how the pace of the story seemed more sedate and mellow, giving me time to digest and appreciate all the deep detail incorporated into the story as the result of the author's extensive research. Perhaps when reading to myself, I went too fast, eager for the next clue, and failed to appreciate the beauty of the descriptive passages in their recreation of the period setting. This new audiobook is of excellent production quality and was easy to navigate with the Audible.com interface. I listened to it on my Kindle, but it would perform as well on other devices. Narrator Harry Dyson does a fine job of bringing our mystery-solving hero, Damien Dickens, to life as a likable, smart, personable fellow. Dyson's voice suits the pace and tone of the book very well and causes the listener to feel instant affinity for every character -- females as well as males. I'm hoping to hear his narration of future Damien Dickens Mysteries. Author Phyllis Entis weaves several plot lines so skillfully that I didn't realize the many connections between the disparate mysteries until she led me to them in the end. Be warned that the adorable labradoodle appears only briefly (I won't say more, to avoid spoilers here), but the puppy is still an integral part of the plot. Whether you have ever read a Damien Dickens Mystery before, you will enjoy this one; the story stands on its own.
  15. Audiobook Review: The White Russian Caper

    Review of audiobook: The White Russian Caper, A Damien Dickens Mystery, by Phyllis Entis Audiobook narrated by Tom Lennon ★★★★ Four stars from reviewer Iris Chacon. The reviewer received a complimentary download of the audiobook in exchange for an honest, objective review. Recommended for all audiences,this book contains no offensive material. Fans of the Damien Dickens mysteries will enjoy the new, more openly affectionate relationship between Damien and Millie. When The White Russian Caper (book two of the series) begins, Damien and Millie are newlyweds, still working together in their private investigations agency. This story contains many surprises, including the abduction of Damien at one point, at which time Millie takes over sleuthing and dealing with dangerous criminals. She has always been a resourceful woman, and she comes into her own in this novel as a full-fledged PI. The book was fun and contained enough suspense and clever crime-solving to keep me turning pages at a steady pace. The main characters are as winsome, the locales as detailed, the technicalities as well researched as we have come to expect from a Damien Dickens Mystery. Put all that together with a total absence of offensive material, and you have a mystery recommended for all audiences. I dropped one star for the narrator's mispronunciation of several words, indicating he had not done his homework. I found voice characterizations inconsistent, making it difficult to identify what character was speaking, at times. The White Russian Caper audiobook is available on Amazon. ______________________ Iris Chacon is addicted to coffee, mysteries, and audiobooks. Her latest novel, Duby's Doctor, is available in ebook and paperback.

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