Book Reviews

Midwest Book Review of Strike Three:

 

MBR: California Bookwatch, October 2014

 

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

 

Strike Three
Joy V. Smith
WolfSinger Publications
9781936099658, $12.95, www.wolfsingerpubs.com

Because of the 'hot virus', World War III's scenario is more deadly than any nuclear-powered conflict, and the missiles fired during conflict are far more deadly than any conventional battle could have envisioned. But the message of Strike Three isn't just about altered warfare, but altered survival mechanisms honed by feisty protagonists who seek to start over, against all odds and against the backdrop of an Earth devastated on many different levels. Against this scenario are a series of vivid protagonists who battle for not just survival but a revised world - and within their efforts to rise again will be the rudiments of a new kind of humanity. Strike Three is exceptional reading for any who enjoy apocalyptic stories, and offers many twists and turns unpredictable even for avid readers of end-of-world sagas.

 

 

MBR: California Bookwatch, October 2014

Readers' Favorite review of Strike Three:

 

Reviewed By Michael McManus for Readers’ Favorite

In her novel, Strike Three, Joy V. Smith introduces us to the aftermath of World War III, a short battle that claimed the lives of the majority of the Earth’s population. The survivors of the war that turned the planet brown, those who went underground well prepared, and those who survived in spite of poor planning, returned to find the world outside their caves, fallout shelters, missile silos and communication bunkers completely barren. Nothing had survived a “hot virus” that had been unleashed onto the world by an unknown enemy. Some places were obliterated by nuclear bombs, but the most severe devastation took place in the plant and animal worlds. Even the insects perished. Sheridan and Lea Zane emerged into the new world ready to organize a recovery of the planet, or at least their corner of it. They had plants and wildlife enough for their own survival, but they reached out to other survivors as they returned to the surface and began to reestablish their homes and farms. Soon, the development of a trade route brought hope to the many settlements that formed; hope that the nation and, indeed, the planet could be saved.

This story grabbed me from the start and would not let go. I read it in three sittings. Along with the plot moving at lightning speed, the characters are real and interesting in the way they react to the situation they have inherited. For the science freak, there is enough detail about the devastation and recovery to keep you going. There is also adventure, a bit of action and even politics. I happily recommend this book to a general audience.

Midwest Book review of Detour Trail
 

Cowper's Bookshelf

 

Detour Trail
Joy V. Smith
Melange Books
Nancy@Melange-Books.com
www.melange-books.com
9781612355702 $12.95 pbk. / $5.99 ebook

 

Detour Trail is an original Western novel, about a woman' journey on the perilous Oregon Trail. Lorena Emerson is left by herself when a thief murders her uncle; rather than return home, she works with other people in need of help. This makeshift group joins a wagon train to continue their long, hard journey through sticky mud and forbidding mountain passes. Lorrie must battle the elements and the ferocity of winter itself, not only for her own sake, but for the well-being of all who brave the difficult journey with her to stake their hopes and dreams on the future. Captivating from cover to cover, Detour Trail is highly recommended.

 

Mary Cowper
Reviewer

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 Detour Trail review from Julie's Book Review:


It's rare that you find a Western written by a woman. Maybe that's why it's been labeled an
historical novel as well as a western.  Historical novels often have a character from history play a part in the story. I don't think that's true in this novel unless I missed something. It's not important. What is important is that the story rings true and this one does.
The western novels I've read have usually been written by men with an emphasis on the "wild and wooly" dimension of the Wild West. The "Detour Trail" has plenty of violent moments but what I also found engaging was the emphasis Ms. Smith gave to the town building and housekeeping aspects of what pioneers had to do.


Many novels and films today make their female protagonists equal or superior to men when it comes to defending themselves. Lorena Emerson, the lead woman in this novel, is one of them. What I like about her is she's a balanced character. Tough as nails when she has to be with a warm and caring touch when needed. Women have been homemakers because of childbearing, but there is much cultural evidence of their history as leaders in community development. Too bad so many  men don't share.


Like all westerns I've read there are good guys and bad buys including renegade native Americans. What I found here that I didn't find in others was what went on when it came time to build a community. How people worked together and learned to respect the differences among themselves. In that regard there is a lesson for what's going on today in the streets and even the churches.


Besides writing a good story Joy V. Smith has given us something to think about when it comes to the respect most pioneers had for each other. More than a history lesson the respect shown in the characters of the "Detour Trail" is needed in the here and now.


4 Stars
Bill S

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 Detour Trail review from Long and Short reviews: 


Detour Trail by Joy V. Smith
Publisher: Melange Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Short Story (138 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars


Reviewed by Aloe

 

Westward bound on the Oregon Trail, Lorena Emerson is alone after her uncle is killed by a thief trying to steal his money belt. Ignoring the wagon master’s advice to go home, she rounds up others needing help, and they join a later wagon train and are soon slogging through dust and mud and steep mountain passes. It’s a long way to Oregon, and because another woman needs her help, Lorrie again goes her own way, leaving the wagon train and the Oregon Trail to travel onward—off the beaten path—with her small group of wagons. She’s helped by members of her wagon train, people she meets along the way, and the mule, Jake, an integral part of the story. You’ll meet them as they join in her travels and encounters with enemies she also meets as she searches for a new home and supplies as winter reaches out its icy hands…. Settling the frontier isn’t easy!

Her uncle, a lawyer, has taken her off to a new start. They’ll move west to Oregon and start a new life without the greedy relatives who want her inheritance. Things start to go wrong a lot sooner than expected. Thieves try to take her uncle’s money belt. Her uncle ends up dead and so do the two thieves. Now the wagon train master tells her to go back home. She can’t go on alone. Oh yeah? Lorena Emerson may never have been on her own before, but she’s determined to go west and make herself a new life. Now she just has to figure out how…

Ms. Smith writes a good western tale. She points out the hardships and the glories that are all part of life on the trail. She also has good and bad people populating her stories so there are challenges for her characters. I really liked Lorena. She started shy but she bucked up and defended herself. She’s a strong woman with a good head for planning and organization. The men in her life are mostly nice and good friends with her, but it takes a while for her to find love.

Wagon trips were hell. There were food shortages, wagon problems, sometimes illness, and no rest for anyone. When Lorena starts trying to get a group together to travel with her, she never realized she was developing a small, mixed family. She finds a young brother and sister and a Negro couple, and finds another wagon train that will let them join them. The problem is that there is a pregnant woman on the new train that is having problems from the travelling. When Lorena hatches another idea, the pregnant woman and her family joins Lorena’s little family and they look for a place to settle.

The characters are strong, work hard, defend themselves and offer each support. Lorena needs that since she never learned how to cook! Now she’s got free meals everywhere.

The pace is strong, there’s plenty of hard work and action to keep your interest and, while there are sad spots, for the most part this is a positive story about life in the west and how settlement changed it.

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