Donate to MBeckelhimer Book Reviews

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Hate Notes | Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Title: Hate Notes
Authors: Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

These workplace romance novels are usually nothing but trash, and while this one is plenty trashy in places, it's actually a pretty sweet story. The man isn't a domineering pig, which is a pleasant change of pace in these types of books, and the woman is almost likable. She's definitely relatable, if nothing else.

All in all, it's not the best book I've ever read by any means, but it wasn't terrible, and I was happy with how it ended, even if it was completely cheesy (literally and'll have to read it to find out what that means).

Three out of five stars.

The Tommyknockers by Stephen King: 36%
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon: 36%
Rock Needs River by Vanessa McGrady: 48%
Say You're Sorry by Melinda Leigh: STARTING NOW

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Serial Date | D.V. Berkom

Title: Serial Date
Author: D.V. Berkom

Getting 2019 off to a good start with a review on Day 1!

I got one of the later books of this series for free on BookBub a while back, so I decided to try it from the beginning and bought the first book. Aside from my grammatical issues with the book, of which there were many, this was a fun thriller with murder and mayhem without being too graphic. It was an easy, fast-paced read, if slightly unbelievable at parts (these things always are), and I'll probably continue with the series at some point, just to see where the main character, Leine, ends up.

Three out of five stars.

The Tommyknockers by Stephen King: 30%
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward: 70%
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon: 36%
Rock Needs River by Vanessa McGrady: STARTING NOW

Monday, December 31, 2018

Choosing Me | Bill Weber

Title: Choosing Me
Author: Bill Weber

This is a post of firsts, as this is the first poetry book I've reviewed on this blog as well as the first book that I've been asked to review by its writer for this blog.

I started out my writing career as a poet (in fact, I still maintain a poetry page over on Hello Poetry), so I am a huge fan of poetry in general, and I was very excited to get asked to review someone's book. This became awkward when it became quickly apparent that I did not like the poetry in this book at all. It had a couple of fine moments, most specifically found in "Fountains of Heaven," toward the end.

The writer overuses several words, such as "feminine' and "sensuous." I cringed when he said "anxiousness" instead of "anxiety." I recognize that "anxiousness" is technically an established word, but "anxiety" just sounds so much better. In fact, this writer was a big fan of just tacking -ness on the end of several words. And some of the metaphors were so bad that it actually made me laugh out loud. It reeked of a lack of creativity.

The book starts out as an homage to femininity in general, and as it progresses, it becomes more and more obvious that it's about one particular female. Unfortunately, it really felt like I was reading the same poem over and over, and I found myself rooting for some serious heartbreak at the end, just for a change of pace.

I feel bad saying these things since the writer asked me to review the book, but my job is to be honest, and this is my opinion. I may not accept requests for reviews from authors themselves in the future, just because I had to struggle with the need to please the writer of the book and to be honest about my opinion.

2 out of 5 stars.


The Tommyknockers by Stephen King: 30%
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward: 70%
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon: 34%
Serial Date by D.V. Berkom: 90%

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Road Beyond Ruin | Gemma Liviero

Title: The Road Beyond Ruin
Author: Gemma Liviero

I hated this book.

This was my December pick for Amazon First Reads, and I so wish I had gone with something different. I'm usually a huge fan of historical fiction, but this was just not good at all.

I'm a fairly intuitive reader, so I usually have a good idea of where a plot is headed before it gets there. I'm usually happy to be surprised. This, however, is only the case if the plot twist is well-executed.

This book has a few twists, but they are so poorly thought out that it makes what could have been an outstanding novel absolutely terrible. The twists don't even make sense. My advice to this writer is that if you're going to write from multiple perspectives, at least be consistent with your characters' thought processes. This book would have been far better if only told from the perspective of one or two people, probably Erich and/or Rosalind. If you want to surprise your readers, make it a surprise that isn't completely unbelievable.

I rarely write a review this harsh, but this book actually made me angry.

Two out of five stars.


Reading Progress:

The Tommyknockers by Stephen King: 26%
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward: 70%
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon: 27%
Serial Date by D.V. Berkom: NOW STARTING

Saturday, December 15, 2018


Hello, my literary lovelies!

I know you've been anxiously awaiting this month's giveaway. The winner this month will receive a free copy of George R.R. Martin's new release, Fire & Blood. I know we're all ready for him to write Winds of Winter already, but whatever. This is still cool.

Fire & Blood is a prequel to the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the first book of two in a history of the Targaryens. It's a #1 New York Times Bestseller. This book is hot right now, y'all.

To enter the contest, all you have to do is like the contest post on my Facebook page, share it, and comment on it. I will announce the winner on Facebook on Tuesday, December 18. Again, I do these giveaways monthly, so if you are not following my blog or my Facebook page, you should do so.

To help in keeping these giveaways going, or even to increase the frequency of the giveaways, and to help me in being able to review as many books as possible, please consider donating. There's a link at the top of the Web version of this page (you will not see this link on the mobile version), or you can just click here to donate. If you'd like to contribute in a different way, please feel free to email me directly at

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Fiery Cross | Diana Gabaldon

Title: The Fiery Cross
Author: Diana Gabaldon

This is the fifth installment in the Outlander series, and I have to say that it's the first one that I haven't loved. Don't get me wrong, I still really liked it. Gabaldon is a great writer, and I'm always thoroughly impressed at the amount of research she puts into her books. Being from North Carolina, it's fun to see familiar settings.

As a bit of historical background (and this is explained in the book), the Fiery Cross (or Crann Tara, in Gaelic) was an ancient form of communication between the Scottish clans. It was used as a way to get the clans to gather together. It would only be used in a situation of great importance. The way Gabaldon brings this Scottish tradition to colonial America is fantastic and, frankly, awe-inspiring. I really respect her as a writer.

When all is said and done, though, this book had some really slow spots, and though it ends in a good place, I had to really work to read through some not-so-interesting stuff to get there. I'm still excited to start the next installment today. This book gets four out of five stars from me.


Reading Progress: 
  • The Tommyknockers by Stephen King: 17%
  • Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward: 70%
  • The Road Beyond Ruin by Gemma Liviero: 66%
  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon: Starting Now

DON'T FORGET to like the Facebook page for news about this month's giveaway, to be announced on Saturday, December 15!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

General Updates, etc.

Hello, my literary lovelies!

I have posted several reviews here since August, but I haven't posted anything else. I decided to write about a few things I've got going on, in case anyone is interested.

First, the most important part, my reviews. I usually am reading about four books at a time, mostly because I am moody and can't stick with one thing. I will start posting blogs indicating what I'm reading. Right now, the list is as follows:
  • I will always be reading a book series. Currently, I'm reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I'm on book 5, The Fiery Cross. I'm about 90% done with this book, but these books are extremely long, so there's still a good chunk of reading time left there.
  • I am reading the books of Stephen King in chronological order. I think I've mentioned that before. I'm currently reading The Tommyknockers. I'm only about 17% through with this book, so it'll be some time before it gets reviewed, I'm sure, unless it really hooks me, and I can't put it down.
  • I usually select a book from the bestseller list. This is where most of my trashy reads come from. The current selection here is Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward.  I'm about 70% done with this book, so a review should be coming fairly soon. These are the reviews that are the most fun to write, because I usually have a lot to say, and most of the time it's not good. I'm at my best when I'm being snarky.
  • Lastly, if you are a reader and enjoy reading e-books, I highly recommend you search Bookbub and sign up for their daily emails. I compulsively download every free book that comes up on my daily email, and they also have daily deals on other books that are under $4.00. I have gotten some really great books this way. If you are an Amazon Prime member and aren't aware of Amazon First Reads, you need to get on that. With your Amazon Prime membership, you are entitled to early access to one of a selection of new books each month, either a free e-book or a discounted hard copy. Between these two things, I have so many e-books, I can't possibly read them all, but I pick one (usually the highest rated on Goodreads) for my fourth read. Currently, that is The Road Beyond Ruin by Gemma Liviero. I'm about 63% done with this book.
I will keep you guys up to date with what I'm reading, so you will know what to expect.

Next thing, if you haven't liked my Facebook page, you should definitely do that. Last month, I decided to start doing a monthly giveaway around the middle of the month (which is soon). Last month, I gave away a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I was very pleased with the amount of interest the giveaway generated, and I have decided that I would like to keep doing that. I haven't announced this month's giveaway yet, but I will on December 15th. I use a randomizing software to select the winner, so it truly is random. There is absolutely no favoritism in the selection of the winner. Last month, the winner was a lady who said she wanted to give the book to her son, and that made me very happy, because I always like to see parents trying to get their kids reading. I think it is so important.

Third, in case you didn't know, I am writing a book of my own. This book is called The Burden of Loss, and I've been taking some of my reading time to work on that. I'm hoping to have it out digitally by the spring, but I will definitely keep you all posted.

Now here's the last thing. You will not see this on the mobile version of the page, only on the Web version, but we have a link at the top where you can donate. This is not because I want a paycheck to read and write about it (though wouldn't that be lovely?), but mostly because I want to be able to buy books to read and review as quickly as possible, and also I want to be able to keep the giveaways going. If I'm able to generate enough revenue, I may even make it a biweekly or a weekly giveaway. But without the revenue, that's impossible. I can't sustain it indefinitely. I just ask that you please consider donating. You can donate any amount you choose on a single or reoccurring basis, whichever you want to do. If you can't see the link at the top, because you're only using mobile, the donation site can be found here. The link can also be found pinned to the top of the Facebook page. If you don't feel comfortable giving that way, but you still want to contribute, please don't hesitate to reach out to me via email at

Anyway, that's all I've got for you right now. I'm excited about what's in store, and I hope you are, too. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me via comment or email if you have any suggestions on books to read, any thoughts on what I'm doing, or even if you just want to chat about books.

Take care, everyone!