So Much for Plans – 2ReviewTues

My original plan for Two Review Tuesday was to complete at least two book reviews a month and offer them here (and in all the places that matter, like Amazon, Bookbub, etc.). Perhaps launching this series in November was a dumb idea. December is always crazy, and January is a busy writing time for me.

The second part of my plan was to offer reviews of two books that were somehow related. I was planning to review two books of poetry for my next set of reviews. That might have been a good idea, if I hadn’t bought, read and enjoyed more than two books of poetry. It seems I share the trait of overthinking that I’ve given the main character in my books. Hmmm, I wonder why that seemed so natural.

I’m sneaking the renewed Two Review Tuesday feature in, under the wire with a review of a novel and a book of poetry. Going forward, I’m going to focus less on trying to find a connection beyond “I liked both books!” I’m learning.

Patricia Furstenberg – As Good as Gold: A dog’s life in poems

I read this book a few months after our dog, Maddie died. I miss Maddie more than any dog we’ve ever had. Maddie needed us, so we were a big part of her life. The poems in Patricia’s wonderful book helped me think of Maddie’s life from her point of view.

What does a dog think about? How does a dog see the world? Why is it, dogs always love us? I found answers to these and many other questions I never thought to ask in this delightful collection of poetry.

I want to share a portion of Dog Or Book, the poem that reminds me most of Maddie. She and I would lay on the couch, she would sleep, using me for a pillow and I would read. If I was home alone with her, sometimes I’d read out loud.

His voice is warm; the words roll, fall into a rhythm
With highs and lows, like waves, and with ‘em
I close my eyes and sigh and let the sounds surround me.
It’s just the two of us and… book.
If that’s the case, I’ll reconsider; perhaps the book’s been overlooked.

Dog Or Book Patricia Furstenberg

In her own words, Patricia enjoys writing about animals because she believes that each animal, no matter how small, has a story to tell if you only stop to listen. She lives in sunny South Africa with her husband, children, and their dogs. Find more of Patricia’s stories on her author page, Alluring Creations.

Prior to reading As Good As Gold, I also read Patricia’s “Dreamland: Banat, Crisana, Maramures, Transylvania, 100-WORD STORIES, Folklore and History” I hope I get around to reviewing that. Patricia is a master of the 100-word story, and she presents amazing slices of history from a portion of the world I am not familiar with.

John W. Howell – The Last Drive

John visited the crew at the bar a few weeks ago. We shared some food and drink and talked about how “The Last Drive” came about and John answered an array of questions. I hadn’t quite finished the book at that time, so now seems like a good time to offer my thoughts.

The Last Drive is one of those books I feel like I could simply say “This is a great book! Go buy it!” Ah, if only reviews were that easy.

Having read “The Eternal Road,” I was familiar with Sam, James, and Lucifer and his evil quest to trap their souls. I didn’t know a sequel was in the works—apparently, John didn’t either—but I was thrilled when it was published.

Sam and James have been send by Archangel Michael to find two (literally) lost souls, Ryan Sanders, a pilot who was killed in Afghanistan while trying to avoid a schoolyard as his plane crashed, and Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero. Eddie was supposed to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, just as Sam was supposed to guide James in The Eternal Road. The Prince of Darkness doesn’t want Ryan to make it to Heaven. He probably wanted him to crash into the school.

Lucifer, as he is wont to do, tries to trick the group into making the mistake of interfering with history. In doing so, he brings them to some of the most gruesome events from the past. The group must remain strong and aware of the rules, lest Ryan has to give up his soul to Lucifer.

John gives us well-researched views of these past events. I could feel the desire to step in and right the wrong playing out before them. Watching, knowing that you can’t interfere is a palpable fear, and John’s descriptions make it all the harder as he draws us into the story with his characters.

The action is swift-paced, the characters are relatable—leave it to John to make Lucifer relatable—and the intersection between spiritualism and what some might consider magic, is believable. It was easy to get caught up in the action and to imagine the scenarios in the story. I enjoyed the history almost as much as the story line.

The ending is nothing like what I expected, and that’s a very good thing. The book will amaze you. It will make you sad, angry, scared, happy and grateful. Sometimes all at the same time.

Below are some links if you want to purchase these books or learn more about these two talented authors.

If you like magical realism with suspense, action and a bit of family sarcasm, you will enjoy these books:

The Evil You Choose
When Evil Chooses You

Series page on Amazon

My profile page (and books) on Lulu

All available on Kindle Unlimited!


  1. Dan, I cannot thank you enough.
    I feel overwhelmed. You mentioned reading As Good As Gold, but seeing your review made my day. Your insightful words bring out the essence of my poetry book. sorry to hear about the passing of your dog Maddie. They fill up such a big, empty space in out lives, our pets – even when we think we have everything we need.
    We also lost one of our two dogs and just before Christmas. We still miss her and the girl that’s left with us just glued herself to our hearts even more. She’s 13 years old and I dare not think about the future.
    So thank you for allowing me, us, to speak of our dogs today.

    John W. Howell’s novel sounds intriguing and thought provoking. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
    Congrat, John, on yet another fan :)

    Liked by 4 people

    • It was my pleasure to share my feelings after reading that collection of poems, Patricia. Anyone who has ever had a dog knows the pain and sadness when they leave us. Your poems give us a view of the world through their eyes and their thoughts. I hope you have a wonderful week.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for the lovely review of The Last Drive, Dan. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story, and am grateful you took the time to let your readers know. Your review of Patricia’s book was excellent. I’m glad her poems helped you with Maddie’s passing. I think we all miss Maddie, so that is a big endorsement of her work.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wonderful reviews, Dan. I had to laugh at your comment about your “plans” gone awry. Isn’t that the way it goes? Love both of these reviews. I haven’t read Patricia’s book but it sounds like a gem. I have, however, read John’s latest and enjoyed it immensely. I like that you mention the well-researched historical events. Both of these books give the reader and up-close and personal view of some of these. Congratulations to John and Patricia! Thanks for sharing, Dan!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Good reviews, Dan, I will have to add them to my list! Having dogs, I’ve had all those same questions.
    John Howell’s book sounds intense, not sure if it’s reading-before-bed material, but I’ll be sure to check it out.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Your reviews are wonderful, Dan. And you did pick two books ‘that are somehow related.’ Look at that sweet pup on Patricia’s book cover. You just know he wants to walk down the path on John’s book. We have such talent here on WP–I’m so glad you are able to spread the word about them. Congratulations to Patricia and John!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Dan – what interesting books to promote – especially the one that reminds you of Maddie – I feel for you – I still want to cry about mine, who I had to give up after I got divorced … while John’s Lucifer does sound interesting … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Whenever I make plans for myself, Dan, I break them. So I’m not surprised that you’ve had to rework your reviews post. “Books I liked” is a great theme. :-) Patricia’s book of poetry sounds wonderful. Losing our beloved dogs is hard, so a chance to see the world through their loving eyes must help. And I also enjoyed John’s book – a rollercoaster of action and emotion in there! Congrats to both authors on the wonderful reviews.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hi DAn, I have alread read and enjoyed John’s latest novel. Interestingly enough, Patricia is my March Treasuring Poetry guest and I am just about finished this poetry book. It is delightful. Patricia and I share a love of nature and wildlife.

    Liked by 1 person

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