John Howell’s My GRL and Other Stuff

I read John Howell’s adventure novel My GRL a month and a half ago, but was so busy with promo stuff for Kin Types that I didn’t get a chance to do much besides jot down some thoughts about the book. I’m taking a break now to write my review because his book deserves to be read!

Howell created a page-turning thriller. In the midst of the suspense, the most charming aspect of the story is that the protagonist John J. Cannon is an anti-hero. He’s a lawyer who has taken time off to move to a coastal Texas town and, although he knows very little about boating, buys himself a pretty good sized vessel he names My GRL. John is not necessarily the sharpest, most experienced, or courageous hero. But he’s likeable, the sort of guy you’d like to visit on his boat with a six-pack in your hand—if only it were a safe place.

But from the getgo, John and his boat are involved in a dangerous situation with some very shady characters.  It’s great fun to follow along for the ride. John gets himself into one hot spot after another, but eventually he’s gotten himself in so deep it doesn’t seem possible that he can escape. Has John become canny enough to vanquish such a mighty opponent? Once I hit the last third of the book, where suspense leads to fast-paced action, I couldn’t put it down.


Reminder: writers not only love reviews, but need them to sell their books. Thank you so very very very much if you left one or more for Kin Types! If you read and enjoyed Kin Types and have not done so, please (Ima begging) swing over to Amazon and leave a review. (and/or Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, and Finishing Line Press).

Verse Daily published one of my Kin Types poems a week ago. I was thrilled, to say the least. They publish one contemporary poem a day. Check them out and be sure to follow them on Twitter!

Perry is still living in his bedroom, but every day he spends several hours in the house with the rest of the cats. I am going very slowly because he loves his room and his privacy, but more importantly for two other reasons. One is that my other cats are old, and he’s very curious and wants to play (or in the case of Felix, to play fight with him), and they can’t handle more than four hours at this point. The biggest reason, though, is that Perry breathes SO heavily when he’s out with the cats. It’s kind of scary. I took him to the vet and had him checked out, paying them buckets of money. She had no answers except that his heart might be slightly enlarged and the next step COULD be an echocardiogram (more buckets). But we don’t have to rush into that at all. However, to be on the safe side, I don’t want him breathing like that all day long . . . .

That’s how Perry treats Felix. He treats the female cats much nicer. When they give him warning growls, he listens.

#amwriting: I’ve written two poems, peeps! Yay me!

Have a happy and productive week!


Filed under #AmWriting, Book Review, Books, Cats and Other Animals, Fiction, Kin Types, Poetry Collection, Writing

46 responses to “John Howell’s My GRL and Other Stuff

  1. Reblogged this on Fiction Favorites and commented:
    Luanne Castle wrote a lovely review of My GRL. She is also introducing her chapbook of poetry, Kin Types. In addition to the review, there are other fun things to read about today as well. Thank you, Luanne.

  2. Good news about Perry. Gracie sometimes gets the other cats nuts. Especially when she tries to bite their belly! Ah youth!

    • Belly biting! That is beyond the pale! Perry climbs on top of Felix, pins him down like a wrestler, and then puts his teeth on his neck. The neck seems to be his fixation. As you can see, he just wants to be king, but the irony is Felix doesn’t even want to be king. He just wants to lie in his bed and be left alone. He’s more of a Greta Garbo type.

  3. Great review, Luanne! I couldn’t agree with you more about John’s writing. I believe my father compared his books to James Patterson and David Baldacci. I’m looking forward to his release on Oct 1st. I’m happy Perry is doing better!

  4. I was hoping to find a contact address for John. Would you be able to help me with that? Or if John sees this and wants to contact me, my email is

  5. John’s book sounds great, Luanne. I’m also happy to see a Perry update.
    I was telling my daughter about Perry yesterday. (And did I tell you her nickname is Perry, and sometimes I say Perrywinkle?) 🙂

    • No! You did not tell me that! Wow. I think the P sound is great for terms of endearment, by the way. I even wrote a poem about that when my daughter (who I call Pea) was a baby. John’s book was really fun, Merril. I am not used to reading books of that genre, and he had me with him the whole way!

  6. A super review of My GRL. I have also recently read this book and my write a review soon.

  7. Perry looks so relaxed in that photo. 😉 Kudos on being such a superstar foster mom!

  8. Congratulations Luanne on all your achievements, both written and feline… So amazing to think that all that life and fun and energy were hidden below Perry’s fear when you first brought him home… he is a real triumph for you…

    • I love the way you put that, Valerie. “life and fun and energy were hidden below Perry’s fear.” it’s so true. When I think of all the cats living in fear when they just need a little love it breaks my heart. But at least I could help him. Keep your fingers crossed, please, that his health is ok! I hope he just gets so excited that he gets winded easily.

  9. Luanne, as usual I learn so much from your posts! Thanks for the info on reviews, and congrats on the poem publication, that’s GREAT. I always love the updates on Perry’s journey – your photo reminded me of Pickles’s stretches. We call it “Kitty Yoga” when she stretches and rolls from side to side on the carpet floor, haha. and, “#amwriting: I’ve written two poems, peeps! Yay me!” – Excellent! Me as well! Inspired by a creative documentary I saw on Netflix this week (“Abstract: The Art of Design”) I’m going to try to some new approaches to my work and see if that helps me discover some new creative things. (here’s the link, if you’re on NetFlix and care to take a look: Congrats!!

    • Thanks re the publication, Theresa! Haha, Kitty Yoga. That is exactly what it looks like! I saved the netflix link in case I figure out how to use it. I have it only because my daughter has it and she put me down as a user of her account. But I can never figure out how to use it on my complicated and somewhat old-fashioned AV system. Can I watch it on my computer? It’s music to my ears to hear you talking about new approaches to your work because we know how exciting that can be, right?! Woohoo!

  10. Oh! I also wanted to mention, great video. Do you use any particular software to edit different clips together? I’m trying to learn more about video for future projects … just wondered. Thanks!

    • Haha, those little guys! I just use Movie Maker because it’s easy enough for me! I probably don’t even use a lot of what it can do. But I used to use a more complicated program, and it was too much for me. I haven’t even been able to figure out on MM if I can use transitions or not. Sigh. My favorite tech program (this is a tangent because unrelated to video) is Zamzar. Have you ever used it? It converts almost anything! Text, audio, video, pdf, photos. I’m in love with it.

      • Oh, I have not heard of Zamzar. I’ll look into it! And Movie Maker sounds great … I’m on a Mac and I should do more research to see if I should try iMovie again … huge time sink to start fiddling around wiith this stuff, huh? thanks!

        • I can ask my daughter if she ever calls me again (boohoo, haven’t heard much from her lately as she’s very busy). She has a Mac and makes great movies.

          • Update- I talked to my spouse this afternoon and found out, I was wrong! Actually ours comes through the TV or through a DVD player with a NetFlix app or capability. He seemed to think it might be about $100 for a DVD player or a Bluray player w Netflix capability.

            • oops! wrong comment-reply! 🙂 {embarrassed} – don’t worry about asking your daughter, I know what that’s like having limited time and bandwidth with your child, it was like that with my son as well. Happy she’s doing well!

              • She used to be so much better, but now she’s so busy and working so much I rarely hear!

              • I remember, my son was also super-busy the last 3 years of his life, from when his daughter was born especially. So it’s great that you are understanding about her schedule!

              • Have you written about this son much on your blog? How many children do you have?

              • Oh, thanks for your comment, Luanne, I have/had three children, my two younger ones are college-age, and my oldest was 31 when he died from a virulent lymphoma in 2014. I have written a couple of things mentioning his death, but nothing in detail. It’s a sad thing, especially as we all thought he would survive based on the statistical outcomes of the chemotherapy program he underwent. But … people die even when they get treatment for the disease, as we found out. :/ Thanks for your message!

            • What?! We even bought a little Apple TV I think last year after my mother talked us into it, but we can’t figure out how to use it with this system–or at least without more work than we want to do in the evening hah.

  11. An interesting review Luanne and as always I love to see a Perry update!

  12. Thanks for the review. I love that kind of story!!

  13. I own “My GRL” now and have two books to read (Anneli’s “Marlie”)! Winter has been more busy than usual, Luanne.
    Congratulations to John Howell and am excited to be reading his book and will post a review, too.

    • His book is very exciting! You will feel that you are in an action-packed movie!

      • Ooh, I love action films although I also recently treasured “Maudie.” Such a touching and true story of an indomitable artist who overcane her disability like Grandma Moses. The real woman at the end in a short clipped had me bawling due to her creative spirit, Luanne. hugs xo

        • I will have to watch for that movie. It sounds wonderfully inspiring.

          • Sally Hawkins is the actress who just recently starred in “The Shape of Water, ” Luanne. (I loved this movie which my oldest daughter and I went to together. Too violent I feel for you, unless your husband and you rent it and fast forward through these moments. . .)

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