Monday, February 27, 2023

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: 27 Days, by Patrick Moore {ends 3/6}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Tony and I drove to General Mitchell Airport in a rented grey Sonata. He waited at the bottom of the escalator near Baggage while I ate the price of a one-way ticket to Cleveland. Went through security and waited at Gate 17 where Southwest flight 1678 was scheduled to disembark. The flight was on time, and I watched Tommy Blank emerge from the tunnel and stroll casually toward the escalators. He was wearing an expensive black leather jacket. No carry-on. Not as tall as I’d expected but handsome with full lips and thick, dark Hollywood hair, jelled on top, razor cut on the sides.

I fell in behind him, strolling just as casually. He stopped at the first men’s room; I stopped too. He matched Rainey Morgan’s description – brown eyes and the livid, diagonal scar across his otherwise perfect right cheek. As he turned away from the sink, he looked right at me. Hunger. Gave me a jolt. And a softness in the eyes that I hadn’t expected. We exited together. He rejoined the throng and I fell back into the crowd.

Nick Crane hasn’t had much time to relax, but this time he’s fighting for both his life, and that of his good friend, Bobby.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: 27 Days, by Patrick Moore {ends 3/6}
27 Days is a taut and topical political thriller narrated in laconic noir fashion by veteran LA PI Nick Crane. In the spring of 2019, Nick is on the run in the Pacific Northwest, pursued by a cabal of wealthy right-wing power brokers and domestic terrorists (the Principals) led by Marguerite Ferguson and Desmond Cole. Nick has clashed with Marguerite and her crew in the past, and she wants him abducted so that she can personally “close his eyes forever.”

Things get worse. Nick’s close friend and business partner Bobby Moore is kidnapped by Marguerite and the Principals. Nick is then informed that he has twenty-seven days to surrender to Marguerite. If he does not turn himself in, Bobby will be sent to Scorpion prison in Egypt to be tortured and murdered. If Nick surrenders, however, Bobby will be released.

Help appears in the form of a young, idealistic female FBI agent named Carrie North who wants to arrest Marguerite for conspiring to commit domestic terrorist operations against the United States. Nick and Carrie join forces and the race against time to rescue Bobby Moore begins.

And what a race it is! Marguerite and company are the toughest foes Nick has ever faced and he must dig down deeper than ever before to have any chance of surviving.

Lots of action in this one! While currently described as book 1 of 1, it feels like sequels will be coming, with well-developed characters and evolving relationships. 

In this story, Nick starts out being warned that the right-wing politicians are still trying to kill him, now that he’s recovered from their last attempt and is trying to lie low and stay off their radar. Once they scare him back to his office, he finds that they’ve already abducted his good friend and are interested in a trade. Nick has 27 days to get to the bottom of it all, or turn himself in to secure Bobby’s safe release.

The cast luckily expands, as Nick is connected with an FBI special agent who he may eventually find himself able to trust. He’s used to operating alone, and flings around cash like he prints it, but he needs a little more manpower and authority, and some actual agency assistance may help for that.

Overall, Nick and his contacts turned out to be fun and spunky, and the book earned 3 out of 5 stars from this reader. The political angle was amusing, but did not feel like the most pertinent part of the bad guys’ agenda. This book could be recommended for those who enjoy contemporary action/adventure thrillers.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a wife, mom, and reader who is now celebrating having her two current cats for four years already! Check out some of their cameos on her Instagram, where she posts as PoshBecki.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of 27 Days!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday, March 6th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

27 Days, by Patrick Moore

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Book Review and GIVEAWAY - An Assassin in Utopia: The True Story of a Nineteenth-Century Sex Cult and a President's Murder, by Susan Wels {ends 2/23}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

There was no doubt that President Hayes was straightlaced. He never smoked, swore, or drank liquor, and his wife, who banned alcohol from the White House, was known in the capital as “Lemonade Lucy.” But Hayes was surprisingly broadminded when it came to his first cousin John Humphrey Noyes. As governor of Ohio, Hayes told visiting Oneidans that he had “no prejudices” about their peculiar religious beliefs, “and was well pleased” at having a visit from them. He even toured the Community’s branch in Wallingford, Connecticut. Later, when he was president, Oneidans came to see him in the White House and presented him with a huge bear trap – although they were always careful not to embarrass him about their connection. 

This book covered a slice of history in and around the East Coast with information surrounding several presidents and their inter-relationships.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY - An Assassin in Utopia: The True Story of a Nineteenth-Century Sex Cult and a President's Murder, by Susan Wels {ends 2/23}
It was heaven on earth—and, some whispered, the devil’s garden.

Thousands came by trains and carriages to see this new Eden, carved from hundreds of acres of wild woodland. They marveled at orchards bursting with fruit, thick herds of Ayrshire cattle and Cotswold sheep, and whizzing mills. They gaped at the people who lived in this place—especially the women, with their queer cropped hair and shamelessly short skirts. The men and women of this strange outpost worked and slept together—without sin, they claimed.

From 1848 to 1881, a small utopian colony in upstate New York—the Oneida Community—was known for its shocking sexual practices, from open marriage and free love to the sexual training of young boys by older women. And in 1881, a one-time member of the Oneida Community—Charles Julius Guiteau—assassinated President James Garfield in a brutal crime that shook America to its core.

An Assassin in Utopia is the first book that weaves together these explosive stories in a tale of utopian experiments, political machinations, and murder. This deeply researched narrative—by bestselling author Susan Wels—tells the true, interlocking stories of the Oneida Community and its radical founder, John Humphrey Noyes; his idol, the eccentric newspaper publisher Horace Greeley (founder of the New Yorker and the New York Tribune); and the gloomy, indecisive President James Garfield—who was assassinated after his first six months in office.

Juxtaposed to their stories is the odd tale of Garfield’s assassin, the demented Charles Julius Guiteau, who was connected to all of them in extraordinary, surprising ways.

Against a vivid backdrop of ambition, hucksterism, epidemics, and spectacle, the book’s interwoven stories fuse together in the climactic murder of President Garfield in 1881—at the same time as the Oneida Community collapsed.

The book starts out with a lot of Horace Greeley’s life and background. As a newspaper man, his story mentions a lot of the other prominent figures and events of the time. It was a good way to lay out the general setting and political culture on which the rest of the book was based.

One of the ongoing curiosities of the time was communal living and different experiments of how this might succeed. The Oneida Community was launched by John Humphrey Noyes after a few unsuccessful attempts at the concept. He developed and set up production lines to fund the community, houses for them to live in together, "marriages" between all the men and all the women, and then personally arranged which conjugal unions were approved by his board. He was one of the "trainers" to initiate young women to physical relationships, and he also arranged for the young men to be trained by older women. It was definitely shocking, but they insisted it all worked for their community.

A resident of the Oneida Community on a couple different occasions was Charles Julius Guiteau, but his descriptions of himself were always as more of a leader than a follower. The book goes into his reasons for justifying his assassination of President James Garfield, and why he even disputed that he didn’t kill him.

Overall, the book gave a lot of insight to the time period and its historical figures. The book earned 3 out of 5 stars and definitely taught a lot about a potentially less popular period of U.S. history. It would be recommended to those who enjoy non-fiction, U.S. stories, political history, and late 19th century events.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a Gemini whose favorite seasons are spring, summer, and fallokay, anything but cold, messy winter. She shares about the books she reads both here and on her own blog,


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of An Assassin in Utopia!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Thursday, February 23rd, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen. 

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

An Assassin in Utopia, by Susan Wels

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Direction of the Wind, by Mansi Shah {ends 2/11}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Sophie - 2019

Naresh Uncle had been kind enough to give Sophie an advance on her wages, so she has been able to secure a room at Le Canard Volant beyond the couple nights that Cecile was able to help her with in the beginning. She is now sharing a room with five other girls and is surprised by how many people she’s met at the hostel who have come to Paris to pursue creative endeavors, whether they be art, writing, or food. She has never had such dreams or ideals and cannot recall her friends in India having those types of impractical ambitions either. Her friends enjoy dancing or cooking or art as hobbies, but none would consider stepping outside the confines of their prescribed lives to leave Ahmedabad and pursue such an uncertain career, giving up the comfortable and privileged lives into which they were born. This desire for a life beyond the one you were given seems far more Western than Eastern in her mind, and she does not fully understand it. It seems much simpler to fall in line with the life that is planned for you, especially when you are given so much as part of it, but she now realizes it is easy to be content when you are born into the upper caste. Clearly Nita felt differently and must have had some part of that Western idealism inside of her to have chosen the path she did. 

Not all beautiful stories have a happy ending. It felt warm and familiar getting to know Sophie, as she learned about her mother, Nita. 

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Direction of the Wind, by Mansi Shah {ends 2/11}
Sophie Shah was six when she learned her mother, Nita, had died. For twenty-two years, she shouldered the burden of that loss. But when her father passes away, Sophie discovers a cache of hidden letters revealing a shattering truth: her mother didn’t die. She left.

Nita Shah had everything most women dreamed of in her hometown of Ahmedabad, India—a loving husband, a doting daughter, financial security—but in her heart, she felt like she was living a lie. Fueled by her creative ambitions, Nita moved to Paris, the artists’ capital of the world—even though it meant leaving her family behind. But once in Paris, Nita’s decision and its consequences would haunt her in ways she never expected.

Now that Sophie knows the truth, she’s determined to find the mother who abandoned her. Sophie jets off to Paris, even though the impulsive trip may risk her impending arranged marriage. In the City of Light, she chases lead after lead that help her piece together a startling portrait of her mother. Though Sophie goes to Paris to find Nita, she may just also discover parts of herself she never knew.

The stories are told in alternating viewpointsSophie in 2019, embarking on the search for her mother, and Nita in 1998, as she first goes to Paris. They are very different women. Neither quite fits into the traditional caste roles they were raised to follow, but their rebellions have been different. Sophie lives in a loophole. By taking care of her supposedly widowed father, she hasn’t had to enter an arranged marriage and take on a household of her own. While Nita knew all along that wasn’t the role she wanted, it takes years before she works up the nerve to escape, which also means leaving her young daughter behind.

The people both women meet along their journeys are never all good or all bad, of course. But while they both thought they knew what to expect in Ahmedabad, India, nothing in Paris turns out like their plans.

This was a wonderful book that earned 5 out of 5 stars from me. It could be recommended to those who enjoy family dramas, books about India and its culture, and stories with realistic female characters. 

{Click here to purchasecurrently free for Kindle Unlimited!}

Becki Bayley is a Gemini who would love to have a super-power ability to fix the world. You can find her @poshbecki on Instagram.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Direction of the Wind!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Saturday, February 11th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Fires, by Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir {ends 2/8}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

This is a really unpleasant position to be in, repeats the commissioner, looking at Júlíus and me like we’re responsible for the whole thing. There’s really no way to say what will happen next?

We’re sitting around an oval meeting table in the coordination center, people clutch their coffee mugs, and a plate of grayish pastries and wan doughnuts is arranged in the middle. The tension is palpable.

If I’m understanding you correctly, there’s nothing to specifically indicate there will be another eruption, says Stefán, stroking his shiny tie. It’s vital that we don’t fuel unnecessary fears amongst the public.

I look at him – after our meeting in the spring, I felt like I got him. He’s barely thirty, but his hair’s already thinning, he’s got his initials embroidered onto the cuffs of his custom-made shirt, he looks at this stint on the Scientific Council as his ticket to advancing through the ranks of officialdom. He’s as methodical as Júlíus is temperamental, as starched as Júlíus is rumpled, and they seem to have a physical aversion to one another. The seismologist opens his mouth to answer the bureaucrat, but I send him a warning look and he thinks better of it, keeps his mouth shut.

So much conflict—men vs. women, science vs. business, the earth vs. its population.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Fires, by Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir {ends 2/8}
After an eight-hundred-year slumber, the volcanoes in Iceland’s most populated region are showing signs of life. Earthquakes dominate the headlines. Echoes of the devastating eruptions in the past stir unease in the people.

Volcanologist Anna Arnardóttir has spent her entire life studying the volcanic powers under the earth’s crust, but even she cannot fathom the catastrophe at hand.

As a series of eruptions threaten most of Iceland’s population, she’s caught off her rational guard by the most terrible natural disaster of all—love. The world as she knows it is about to fall apart, and so is her heart.

Caught between the safety of a nation and her feelings for her children, her lover, and her past, Anna embarks on a dangerous journey to save the lives of the people she loves—and her soul.

The reader starts out seeing Anna primarily as her job title—she’s a geoscientist, an expert in volcanoes in an area built on volcanoes, but hasn’t seen substantial volcanic activity. She’s practical, and makes decisions about her job and her life based on the science, never on something as flighty as feelings.

When Anna finds herself suddenly overwhelmed by a passionate love, and the science of the volcano stops giving her straight answers, she doesn’t know how to respond to it all. Her choices begin to change the path of everything, as her life as she knew it quickly unravels.

The writing/translation style took a little bit of getting used to (as in the quotes above, no quotation marks are used), but the conversations were easy enough to discern from the main character’s internal dialogue.

While the ending may not be considered anyone’s happily-ever-after, this reader feels it was perfect for the book. This book was 5 out of 5 stars, and strongly recommended for those who enjoy family dramas, stories about Iceland, and those who don’t need a traditional happy ending. 

{click here to purchase—currently free for Kindle Unlimited users!}

Becki Bayley is a wife and mom. She enjoys curling up with a good book, enjoying movies and tv with her family, and watching the birds. Check out more of her life on Instagram as PoshBecki.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Fires!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, February 8th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Fires, by Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir

Share buttons


Welcome to Books I Think You Should Read, which focuses on book reviews, author interviews, giveaways, and more.
Get new posts by email:

2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Liz has read 0 books toward her goal of 20 books.

Blog Archive