Denise Janikowski-Krewal's Book Blog


Author of "Spotted Overcoat, Poetry on the Lam."  In addition,  I  collaborate on a poetry blog called "the lost beat" with my cousin and fiction writer, Tom Janikowski.


Reading and listening take me to unexpected places. Writing poetry and storytelling allows me to share the unexpected.


Time Alone with F. Scott...

Tales of the Jazz Age - F. Scott Fitzgerald

I hope that the short stories in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Jazz Age" were intended to be funny because so far, I am laughing out loud. 


Or I could just have an odd sense of humor.

Free Today Only!

My poetry book, "Spotted Overcoat," will be free in ePub format all day today on!


Download a copy today on me and enjoy!



Spotted Overcoat - Denise Janikowski-Krewal




Sweet Inspiration (The Klaus Brothers #1)

Sweet Inspiration  - Penny Watson

Romance readers take note!


I wanted to read a book that was Christmas-y, endearing, fun and lighthearted. Well, I got all of that and more!


Penny Watson created her own world with Santa's first born son, the fastidious pastry chef Nicholas, and Lucy Brewster, a kind, workaholic cafe owner. Her tales of romance and cookie recipes and North Pole drama will make any romantic sigh. She adds in the right measure of humor and hard drinking bar elves to keep it from being saccharine.


I found it to be a quick and delightful read.


NOTE: This is NOT a children's book! There were sex scenes that contained extra doses of pepper and ginger in the pfeffernusse, if you get my drift.



New Poetry Book: "worse than it looks"

worse than it looks - Tom Janikowski

This afternoon, I was surprised and delighted to find out a big secret.


My cousin and collaborator on "the lost beat", Tom Janikowski, just released his first poetry book today. I am so very excited to read it!


His offbeat fiction travels on the other side of the road from his gritty poetry about working with people on the rough city streets.


Brace yourself and check out "worse than it looks!"

They Die Alone: A Ross Duncan Novel

They Die Alone: A Ross Duncan Novel - Christopher Bartley

My lifelong fascination with the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's drew me to this book. I love a good story about Jazz Age gangsters, loud music, endless liquor and life on the edge.


"They Die Alone" by Christopher Bartley covered the whole gamut along with surprising twists in the storyline.


Ross Duncan is a mystery: a bank robber with a conscience. His story reads like someone's journal that was hidden away for eighty years. He is a loner being recruited by both the Irish and Italian mobs in 1934 Chicago.He tries to stay under the radar while searching for his dead partner's younger sister.


Christopher Bartley gets all of the details right while keeping you on edge throughout the book. If you like historical fiction in noir style, this is a worthy read.


I can't wait to read the other four books in the series!

FREE Book Alert!

Today, after getting some good health news, I have a lot to be thankful for.


To celebrate, I am giving away free epub copies of my poetry book, "Spotted Overcoat!"


Download it, tell your friends, your local librarian. your book club, everyone you know!


Until Monday only!


Have a great weekend!



Critical Incident

Critical Incident - Troy Blackford

For the record, I don't read many thrillers anymore, at least the contemporary ones that seem like creepy newspaper headlines.


Since I do like variety, and Troy Blackford was kind enough to offer this one for free, I decided to give it a try.


Critical Incident was a compelling, page turner. Until I got to the halfway point. ( Refer to my previous post.)  Without putting in a spoiler, I will tell you that an apartment scene and a warehouse scene made me put the book aside out of fear of nightmares.


After a few days, I picked it up again, but skipped to the end. Then I proceeded to finish the whole book.


Here is my summary:


1) Fast-paced, compelling story

2) Clear writing style

3)  Original and interesting story lines and plots

4) The ending seemed a bit rushed, but the author did resolve all open questions


This book would probably get a higher rating from thriller fans, but I deducted points just for the nightmares.


Not quite sure...

Critical Incident - Troy Blackford

I am about 60% finished with "Critical Incident," but I may have to set it aside to avoid nightmares.

This has nothing to do with the quality of the writing, but more to do with the violent content. I'll give it a couple of days and get back to you.



Mini Review - The Witch Who Made Adjustments

The Witch Who Made Adjustments - Vera Nazarian

In this story, a witch arrives in a small town just before Halloween and causes mayhem.This book was a delight to read. It contained all of my favorite Halloween whimsies: a bit of humor, a mild fright, lots of candy and pastries. The unexpected turns made this a wonderful fantasy that is acceptable for children and  anyone who likes twists on folk tales.


Last week, I was lucky enough to hear (on BookLikes) that this book was free on Amazon. Before that, I was not not familiar with the works of Vera Nazarian. This ,too, is a needed adjustment.

G.R.O.I.D Update

For those of you who read my earlier post and review of the novella'"G.R.O.I.D.", I have an update from the author, Thomas Gregory Ray.


He just notified me via Twitter that there is a follow- up book called " G.R.O.I.D. 2235, Rise of B.A.B.E.L." Sci-Fi lovers take note: the author is setting up a free download of this book from Amazon Kindle on October  14, 2013! 


Be sure to check it out! You know that I will...

G.R.O.I.D. Gradual. Race. Objective. In. Dilution.

GROID 2235 AD...Gradual.Race.Objective.In.Dilution - Thomas Ray

At the start, I was a bit concerned that G.R.O.I.D. was going to be a very quantum physics dense story. Once I got through the introduction, the novella was a very quick and compelling Sci-Fi read.


Thomas Gregory Ray explored some very interesting ideas regarding race and class distinctions and bias in a futuristic setting. His main character, Reglar, was part of a society that had genetically evolved to look, speak and act like everyone else, although an inner individuality sparked inside.


My biggest complaint about the book is that it was far too short. I would have loved to have explored some of the characters more deeply. Hopefully, the author will pursue writing more books on this topic.


UPDATE: After my original post a few hours ago, Thomas Gregory Ray sent me a tweet to let me know that there is a follow-up book. It is called "G.R.O.I.D. 2235 Rise of B.A.B.E.L." 

Walking With Ghosts

Walking with Ghosts - David Leadbeater

This short story by David Leadbeater was a free read on Amazon. If this giveaway was done to lure me to read more of his writing, it worked.


The tale of a young female police officer on the dark streets of York is a thrill a minute. Working the late shift with her "I've seen it all"partner, she encounters unreal and nightmarish experiences.


I found it to be a quick paced and intense read, perfect to kick off an eerie start to the Autumn season.


Penelope ( A Madcap Regency Romance ) - Anya Wylde



For the record, I love the works of Jane Austin. For those of you who are Jane Austin purists, I will apologize in advance for offending you.


But... I could not help placing my favorite characters from Jane Austin's books in the place of the crazy funny and charming characters in "Penelope."


This is a hilarious farce by Anya Wylde that kept me laughing (or at least smirking) throughout the whole book.


If you like comedy and/or romance and/or just need a good laugh for a change of pace,

"Penelope" is a great option.


I am looking forward to reading other books by Anya Wylde.

The Cease Is Increase

The Cease Is Increase: An Oral History of The Milwaukee Punk & Alternative Music Scene - Steven Willard Nodine

The dedication in the front of "The Cease Is Increase" shocked me.


Until you no longer have something, you don't realize how special an era was. Or how special the people were. The three page list of the deceased from the Milwaukee music scene made me realize how important this book was even before I started to read it.


The 418 page transcription of audio interviews of musicians, club owners, reporters and DJ's easily could fall into my favorite books category.


For me, the book was more personal than most history is. Since I was a great fan of the Milwaukee  punk and alternative music scene back in the early 1980's, much of it read like a stream of memories. The raw, uncut dialogue contains priceless tidbits of the mysteries and controversies behind the scenes.


The downside of this book is the enormous quantity of typos. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to transcribe audio. After self-publishing a book of my own, I also know that many sets of eyes and many reads can still produce errors.  That said, Steve Nodine needs a really good editor for a second edition of this book.


If you are driven by the punk and alternative music scene, or if you want to know more about the late 1970's and 1980's in Milwaukee, you will like this book and should get it now.


However, if you get easily frustrated by typos, wait for the second edition to come out. It will be a worthwhile read in either case.

The Cease Is Increase - Update

The Cease Is Increase: An Oral History of The Milwaukee Punk & Alternative Music Scene - Steven Willard Nodine

After reading  to the half way point, I am enjoying the book.


It is almost entirely dialogue from interviews of musicians and club owners.


More to come...

Winners Selected!

Thanks to all who entered the Booklikes Giveaway! I truly appreciate your interest in "Spotted Overcoat."


Congratulations to the three  winners!


I will be packaging up your books and sending them off to you today.


Happy reading!




Currently reading

worse than it looks
Tom Janikowski
Progress: 45%
Cutting Your Losses: A Collection of Stories
Robin M. Kalinich
Progress: 74%
Seeking Philbert Woodbead
Anya Wylde
Progress: 3%
Tales of the Jazz Age
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Progress: 72%