Book Review of McNally’s Caper by Lawrence Sanders




If you never read any of the McNally series, you are missing a treat for a light read. They are almost reminiscent of an English Cozy. Archy McNally works at his father’s law firm. He is not a lawyer, but makes Discreet Inquiries for his father. They often work with wealthy clients and Archy always ends up in wild situations.

There are several things that Archy holds important. Number one is he is a snazzy and very bold dresser. His appearance is important to him and he really likes to stand out in a crowd. A second thing that he holds as vital is that he consume great food. The family has a cook that is outstanding and since he lives with his parents, even though he has his own lair, they often share meals. They eat very well and Archy is sure to tell you about it. He enjoys a cigarette from time to time and his liquid refreshment must be every bit as good as his meals.

While solving mysteries for his father, he seems to have no shortage of female companionship. He has a girlfriend he loves, but cannot stop the wealthy females, the heiresses from throwing themselves at him regardless of class and age.

These are like cozies because they solve the complicated crimes, but in less horrific detail for the reader. The mysteries are still good and contain many twists and turns at times, but the reader also enjoys the character of Archy McNally so much he is the story as much as the crime and solving it. Like any other mystery, it has the same elements as any other who-dun-it.

Lawrence Sanders is a great author and the McNally series delights me every time. I recommend all these books.



My New Book – Just Released – A Collection of Jo Ann’s Thoughts


I just released my new book called A Collection of Jo Ann’s Thoughts. This was a way for me to answer the many questions I get from readers and chat room attendees. It was a way to corral the numerous pieces of writing in one place and still this book certainly does not contain all my articles.

This book is available on Amazon in e-book and print format-

You may also purchase this at Create Space-

For decades I wrote articles for websites online and print offline. Many of them were addressing parenting and foster parenting issues. I specialized in many different types of articles for specific websites. For example I wrote hundreds of articles about party planning and celebrating holidays for Suite 101. As an Examiner, I covered small business issues and rescue pets topics. There were many more issues especially when covering newspaper stories.

When you are involved in the social services field for foster parents, dysfunctional families and challenging kids, topics you deal with daily results in articles you wish to share. Sometimes they are a form of advice and some of mine have even been used in parenting and foster parent training. Dan and I used them in doing our job and others have included some of them in their agencies training as well. Many of my articles were also reprinted in newsletters for various foster care and adoption agencies.

Some articles discuss terms and concepts which I found vital when working with at risk kids. These include “Success is Relative,” “Unconditional Love” “Separate the Kid from the Behavior” and “Foster Care is a Different World”

While working with whole families, it became apparent that some parents do not know how to provide activities for their children which led to a whole series of articles such as starting your children on a collecting hobby or tracing your roots for your kids.

Kid’s parties and I believe in celebrating holidays of all kinds even when money is short. There are non-expensive ways to keep the holiday and at least include its recognition. Since I love theme parties, I have included several plans in this book.

Relationships have their own set of issues and being married to the same man for over 52 years, I think I found a few of the answers to popular questions about marriage. Communication is one topic discussed in this book along with how to choose friends and mates.

Since wring for such a long time, almost every imaginable topic has been explored in my articles. Of course they are not all in this volume. The miscellaneous section includes such things as an essay of food, how to organize a bedroom closet, spiritual issues and my take on gun control.

This book includes 60 articles. All fairly short and easy to read. Lots of topics not discussed here. If this book finds interest, there are enough articles to at least do two more books.

Please grab a copy since I will need readers and reviewers. Thanks to all who have supported me.

Book Review-Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks


I cannot give this book enough praise. I believe Mr. Weeks hit the mark perfectly when he described the era and the culture in the poor, dilapidated sections of the southern cities. He lets you into the grungier part of town where vice is expected and the cost of getting what you want or need can be very high. This is not society of The Great Gatsby though the motives and desires may have been the same. Gatsby gave you the cleaned up version.

He introduces us to Baby Teegarten, a -would -be -jazz singer just trying to break into the places where that type of music is allowed. The girl is very young and very small but, with a big voice, enough to make those church women cry. All she wants is to sing jazz and eventually get to New York to perform where she expects to find fame and fortune. But, she must start somewhere so here in rural Mississippi and New Orleans she tries to get her break. The problem isn’t talent but she is too white for those speakeasies.

Emily Ann, in many ways more child than woman, is experiencing her coming of age and the realistic emotions and desires many of us experience go much further when her curiosity leads her into many dangerous and unsavory situations. However, this girl never gives up.

This is a must read book but, be warned of the realistic portrayal of sex and violence if such things would offend you. The book is worth the read in spite of these things. I highly recommend it.

Book review for Haunting Megan by Rebecca Reilly

haunting megan

Haunting Megan is a great book with enough twists and turns, surprises and reveals to satisfy any mystery buff. The clues are well placed and usually a startling discovered fact to what you thought you knew. The story flows well and the characters are so well drawn you just read dialogue and know who spoke it right away.

I liked the realistic treatment of how likely such early tragic events in life can cause so many problems later. People can only handle so much without showing the scars. The paranormal element belongs and does not seem out of place. You easily suspend disbelief knowing these forces are really out there and it could have happened just this way.

The glimpse into emotions that cause people to hold onto grudges, jealousy and ill feelings about others for many years shows some people have not reached a high level of maturity along with age.

I highly recommend this book and think it deserves the highest rating. You won’t be sorry you grabbed a copy to read.

RRBC Blog Block Party Tour


Hi! Welcome to the Rave Reviews Book Club 2016 Book & Blog Party.


Check out the rest of the RRBC blog tour  lineup

Today I am honored to be your host. My name is Jo Ann Wentzel and I am pretty much a new kid on the block. This club has given me a warm welcome so I am ready and willing to become a supportive member. This tour is such fun and a wonderful way to get to know all of you. You are all great authors and I am so impressed with the quality and quantity of the books you have written. I must admit I am somewhat overwhelmed by all the great books I want to read and wonder if I will ever find time again to write myself. I want to read them all and how I try (Former home town librarians can vouch for that fact.) My husband and I are retired to a small motor home so this blog comes to you now from the 90 plus degree New Mexico. Specifically, we are in Sumner Lake State Park where we can enjoy the wilder side of nature while keeping an eye out for a recently sighted cougar.

Comment to be entered for prizes

Today’s prizes include 1-$10 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of It Begins and Ends with Family and an autographed copy of Ultimate Betrayal.  So three prizes and three separate winners. Just comment below for a chance to win.   Good Luck!


       Let Life Begin

081716_0500_RaveReviews4.jpg     E-mail me here    



Who am I?

For those who care I am a wife to the same wonderful man for over 52 years. I am a mother of two children, a daughter and son. I am also a grand mom to three grandsons plus the granddaughter I was blessed with when one grandson married. I am a former foster parent and worked with over 75 kids. Often our house saw 8 teen boys at a time so there was never a dull moment. My entire life was spent working with challenging kids and at risk families, retail jobs and writing. I adore party and event planning. In between, during or in addition to normal jobs, I often was employed in a variety of pursuits -anything from pulling chickens out of cages to send to Campbell’s for soup to selling cars. For a while I even fancied myself a goat herder.

You can see I have a love of color, no pale pastels for me; nothing that speaks of a sedate, classic personality. Besides this is a party!!! I have a weird sense of humor and people call me creative. Once bought a rickshaw at an auction and planned a whole promotion around it for a gas station we ran. I came late to the career of being an author and still am very green. Trying to learn how to write, how to promote, how to get reviews and how to sell books. Have no book trailers, videos or audios to offer yet. Hopefully, they are in the near future. This blog tour is enabling me to learn from all of you and that is appreciated. Since I can use all the help I can get.



Ultimate Betrayal (a first novel by Jo Ann Wentzel )

No one knows when the end will come! The Bible points to signs of those final days. It provides the warnings as to what the times leading up to it may be like, some very clear but, most more obtuse. We are warned that at the beginning of the end lawlessness will prevail. It speaks of cold hearts where no one really cares for their fellow man and even feelings for close relatives takes a back position behind a person’s own selfish desires. It is a world that is all about me. It is about selfishness and caring only for what you want or need. We have seen signs of this already and if not for the Church, we would be a people without concern for others and a world void of love.

Ultimate Betrayal explores a world like this. The world’s children are in trouble. When a criminal element explodes during the same time as a wonderful technological breakthrough; a unique and unthinkable solution results. This is not what the scientists promised. It is not any reasonable answer that those with a conscience could abide. Follow this time of hopelessness and misery but, don’t despair because the innate good in people will overcome and save all the children and restore human kindness and love.

Read a sample chapter here


Buy your copy here!

Ultimate Betrayal will be followed by a sequel soon.

What reviewers are saying about this book!

“Good plot!”

“Hardly able to put it down once started.”

“Difficult subject… at times hard to read.”

“Read in one 4 hour sitting.”

“Found the book an interesting study of life and the way we treat others, especially kids.”

“The story pulls the reader into a fictional world that could easily become reality.”

“This book made me feel a myriad of emotions. Mostly anger.”



Author Website

It Begins and Ends with Family by Jo Ann Wentzel (a non-fiction book)

After decades of fostering and working with at risk, challenging kids, a book was born. Over 75 kids each brought a lesson with them. They were all troubled and many broken. They had different stories but, the final results were always the same. They needed help to become functional or whole again. They needed to regain trust in any person especially those closest to them. For most of their lives, they had been let down time and time again by those who should have protected them and loved them unconditionally. They all needed some place to belong and a family that loved and protected them- blood or not. This book reveals the way we worked our way back to the beginning family to find the origin of the problems and tried to help that family once again become a place to belong and be loved in again. While this challenge was being met we gave them what they needed -love, support, a safe place to be themselves and people they could begin to trust again.

Read a sample chapter here.

Buy your copy here

Who should read this book?

Foster parents it explores a world only they understand. Those professional parents know foster care is not about dressing children up in cute outfits and giving them a cookie. This is almost a manual for those newbies.

Parents– we all know how hard the job is and that sometimes we should have more tools in our parenting tool box. You may not have kids with so many problems but, we all could use solutions that are creative and focus on a sense of humor.

Those who love reading about the dynamics of a large family– I was an only child, so much of the time growing up was rather boring. I always gravitated toward large families because there was always something going on. They were full of fun and all the different personalities in the family meant interesting and entertaining encounters.

Foster kids– You may enjoy reading about our brand of fostering and the things that made our house unique.

All readers may find the topic informative and eye opening. When you work within the system and need to advocate for the children they place with you sometimes you must recommend solutions not everyone is comfortable with or agrees with but, must be implemented for the good of the child.


Thanks for stopping and enjoy the rest of the book and blog tour! Don’t forget to comment. Consider joining the Rave Reviews Book Club for great author exposure and support.

Book Review of Over my Dead Body by Bruce A. Borders

0ver my dead body



I just loved the premise of this book. I thought it was genius. At first I thought it might be too unlikely a scenario but, those really are my favorite kinds. It certainly proved to be a plot for which I could dispel any disbelief with which I started.

The idea that things could get so out of control was easy to believe since my background includes working within the system he explores. He is right on. It is all possible and more. We saw it first -hand. Often those who claim to protect the family do just the opposite. The system is greatly flawed but, there are still lots of people who have families’ best interests at heart.

What would you do if you were faced with losing your child to a bad system because of a director with an ulterior motive? Jeff did what he needed to do to protect his family against the danger that threatened their normal life. Of course, when people with influence and friends, back the bad guys, everyone loses. Those who do not care about ethics are sold on trumped up lies as to what the truth is and join those perpetuating the lies. Jeff and his family paid the price.

It is pathetic that the systems put in place to protect us can be the very instrument in destroying our lives. Fortunately, the author brought this to a satisfying conclusion. I would highly recommend this book. I read this one to my husband and we are both looking forward to reading another by Bruce A. Borders.

Sugarcoatin’ Is for Candy & Pacifying Is for Kids: “Yes, I Said It!” by Nonnie Jules



This is a short easily read book with a wealth of thoughts by this pithy author. Jules is a combination of cheerleader, sage and advocate of sharing truth and honesty. She simplifies and makes quite understandable what matters to her and should matter to all of us.

Being a child advocate for decades, I recognize a kindred spirit when I see her stance on parenting. A tenet that almost all our hopes and futures start with our perfecting, as far as is humanly possible, parenting and instilling a base of values that children need to be taught.

She admits, we all should be interested in raising everyone’s children with a respect for life, a mission to share love and growing in being caring humans no matter what age.

Nonnie Jules talks about how important it is to be heard and to feel unafraid in expressing our values in a positive way.

I recommend this book as a reminder that yes all of us should care about the children we raise and everyone has a responsibility to fearlessly stand up for those values that make a nation great and their people an example to others.