The Nettle Tree is a fantastic collection of short westerns, with stories ranging from the standard sheriff and outlThis review is by David Donaldson:
The Nettle Tree is a fantastic collection of short westerns, with stories ranging from the standard sheriff and outlaw to the zombie apocalypse to computer simulation. Every story is its own adventure, and left me wanting more. I would recommend this collection to anyone, as fans of western, sci-fi, and fantasy will all find something to enjoy. As a major fan of the sci-fi genre, the combination of sci-fi settings with old fashioned western style story telling was a welcome change of pace, one I would very much like to see more of. ...more
Maggie's Kitchen Tails was a blast to read and learn about how to prepare human grade food for dogs. I do not currently have a pet, but I am a great aMaggie's Kitchen Tails was a blast to read and learn about how to prepare human grade food for dogs. I do not currently have a pet, but I am a great animal lover. And do you know what? The book is all about loving your pet (in this case a dog). The people who wrote the stories and dreamed up the scrumptious recipes you'll find on the pages within use them to feed a family member they love dearly. Great book!...more
Leigh M. Lane is the kind of author who moves silently and unseen behind her prose, her words racing along without a single bump in the literary road.Leigh M. Lane is the kind of author who moves silently and unseen behind her prose, her words racing along without a single bump in the literary road. The story carries us as smoothly as would a fine car on a newly paved highway--until you look up, surprised, and find that you have reached the end of your journey so quickly.
The Private Sector is a fine prequel to World-Mart and a great read all on its own. As for my thoughts about the story itself? I, for one, can see clearly how we could end up in the terrifying world depicted by Lane: quarantine camps, cops turned salespeople, firemen who set their own fires, even the return of debtors prison. All of these things are made quite real in this book that is full of claws and sharp teeth.
This is a novel meant to make you think, and it will usher you silently through the lives of the rich, the poor and the in-between; the absurd, the insane and the killing fool–finally depositing you at a place that should be welcome but only mocks the semblance of the “good life.” Quite the ambitious novel, The Private Sector is, and I’m inclined to give it 5 stars. ...more
A Tale of Three Bridges (Lisbon, Rome, Istanbul) Lagarto Studio, 2015 Carlos Carvalho
“This book is a work of fact, fiction and fancy.” So says the openin
A Tale of Three Bridges (Lisbon, Rome, Istanbul) Lagarto Studio, 2015 Carlos Carvalho
“This book is a work of fact, fiction and fancy.” So says the opening page of A Tale of Three Bridges by Carlos Carvalho. And I can see it all in my mind’s eye. The question, however, is: “Will I be able to explain it to you?” Yes, I have read the book, and I loved it. Rarely have I been moved as this book moved me. I was reminded of the great romances of my life and of the great losses, and I identified with the main character tremendously.
Carlos is an artist who lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and much like (I’m assuming this) his artist creator, Carlos travels a great deal to find inspiration for his work. In these travels both have discovered three great bridges in three great cities. Apparently these bridges form a straight line between all. Even the cities are similar, in that they are each built upon seven hills. But enough about them (you will learn much about these bridges and these cities in the story). What is most important is that each bridge plays a part in the great loves of Carlos’ life. These are loves Carlos feels with an amazing depth of emotion, yet he can’t hold on to them. In fact the greatest love of them all lasted only three days before she left him, moved to another continent and married another man. We could be reading a Harlequin romance here–except that everything is so real it is impossible to tell where the fact, the fiction and the fancy leave off. Even the places and scenes set in each of the three great cities feel real.
I’ve read many Harlequin romances. Never have they given me the experience of love that Carlos Carvalho brings to the page. I’ve read many erotic romances. Never have they left me with such a sense of unbridled passion. I’ve read many great novels, classic and otherwise. So I can say this: Here is a love story for men and women. And I pronounce it good!
Mad River by John Sandford Published by Putnam, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-399-15770-7 Virgil Flowers Novel Crime/Thriller Hard Cover 387 pages
In a cold dry spring, thMad River by John Sandford Published by Putnam, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-399-15770-7 Virgil Flowers Novel Crime/Thriller Hard Cover 387 pages
In a cold dry spring, the clear air gives the prairie a particular bleakness, if your mood is already bleak.
Virgil had a feeling that there’d be a shooting before the end of the day, that people who were alive and even feeling good right then, maybe asleep in their beds, would be bleeding into the dirt before the sun went down.
Written with his friend Joe Soucheray, John Sandford has penned a terrific Virgil Flowers novel. We get to see glimpses of the fiercely individualistic Flowers while Sanford unrolls a particularly brutal string of shootings by the Bonnie and Clyde style murderers–Jimmy Sharp and Becky Welsh. Much focus is placed on police procedure and the sharp mind of Flowers. The mixture works well and makes for a story I didn’t want to put down.
Flowers’ fight against the mob mentality of the small-town cops after blood makes an interesting backdrop for the killings and poses the question: What do you do with people who throw out the law-book and begin killing their neighbours and even family–just because they can? Do you bring them to justice or do you shoot them like wild dogs in the street? And what about revenge killings by family members of one of the deceased? Do you treat them the same, or is there a different law for those on the side of right?
Mad River is an interesting story about small town folk with big city problems. And no one writes about rural Minnesota and Wisconsin than does John Sandford.
Broody New Englander THREE STORIES BY Kenneth Weene Red Chameleon Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1502759283 Trade Paperback 234 Pages Fiction/Poetic Prose
The Broody NBroody New Englander THREE STORIES BY Kenneth Weene Red Chameleon Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1502759283 Trade Paperback 234 Pages Fiction/Poetic Prose
The Broody New Englander is exactly the type of book you would think it would be—broody people, broods of people and even a broody tale. All set in new England in different times and in one case in a world somewhat different than our own (or at least we hope it is different), these stories take us deep into the lives of New Englanders. These are New Englanders as remembered by Ken Weene, who no longer lives among them. No, Ken even admits to sitting high on a pole and looking down on his creations. This long view, the distance gained from age and many, many miles is then filtered through Ken’s version of poetic prose.
The product is more, however, on a number of levels. It is delivered into our hands as a beautiful piece of fiction, meant to be read aloud, as all poetry is meant to be read aloud. Will you catch the subtle rhythms, the literary pounding of the prose? I don’t know. Whatever was happening there happened in the background for me. I was much more taken by the intimate portrayal of his characters, of the deep, but largely wordless people of these brooding lands. The currents of feeling he was able to create were remarkable; the roiling emotions, the hidden but passionate burn of love, the loyalty and deceit, the infidelities, and the sweet, siren song of death.
All of these things—and more—beg to be carried off the page and into the air. So I suggest you order a copy and read it to yourself or a loved one. I’m sure the book of stories will capture you as it captured me.
Cross My Heart James Patterson Vision, 2013 ISBN: 978-14555-1580-6 Mass Market Paperback 407 pages Thriller
Blurb Alex Cross, James Patterson’s famed detective whose storied life has entertained millions of people for decades, has unintentionally wounded the ego of a supreme egoist, someone with no conscience, only a black and white philosophy that life just is. As such, this man has developed the belief that he can do anything he wants—and he does. A mass murderer, rapist, troublemaker and attacker of the “norm,” this criminal genius has turned the full force of his intellect and beliefs on Alex cross and his family. His plan? To kidnap Cross’s entire family and kill them one by one while Cross watches helplessly. Will he succeed? Will this be the case that crushes Cross once and for all? Read on my friends.
The review No one tells a story like Patterson. His words literally race across the page. His chapters are small, usually limited to one scene, so this 400 page book has 112 chapters. His prose is sparse but perfect, and his plotting quite intricate. For example, this story devotes many scenes to how the master criminal, and his equally twisted lover, operate. In fact, most of the book is devoted to the criminal and helping us understand him, his motivations and his actions. Thus, when the full force of his anger is finally thrust upon Cross and we see the tormented man begin to deteriorate, we are more than ready for our superhero detective to emerge. But he doesn’t. Instead it’s those around him that rally, and as the denouement comes and passes, one is absolutely ready for the Cross we know and love to emerge victorious.
What we get is nothing of the kind. What we get is one of Hollywood’s current tricks. We get an abrupt end to the novel and the promise to return to the story in November of 2014 in a book called Hope to Die. What a total disappointment. In fact, I was so angry that it has taken me weeks to write this review. Great book, stupid ending. That’s all I have to say.
Jane, Volume 1: Revival (Jane the Hippie Vampire) Leigh M. Lane Published by Cerebral Books, Sept. 24, 2014 193 pages Dramatic Horror
Jane is a collection o
Jane, Volume 1: Revival (Jane the Hippie Vampire) Leigh M. Lane Published by Cerebral Books, Sept. 24, 2014 193 pages Dramatic Horror
Jane is a collection of 3 novellas and 1 novelette about a vampire from the 60’s who’s frozen in time as a teenager-turning-adult. We follow her as she travels from town to town, somehow running into trouble wherever she goes. Why does Jane get into trouble? I think it’s because she’s an atypical vampire. First of all she was turned while on the streets running from an abusive father. Then, the vampire who turned her was far worse than her father ever was, raping her in unimaginable and horrific ways. These experiences drive Jane to feed on no one but the evil. Hence, Jane must seek out the evil, which invariably leads her into troublesome situations.
To tell you any more about the stories would be to spoil the surprises which await you in each tale. Let me continue in this way: The only thing that bothered me in these delightful and saucy stories was the soul-searching that Jane should have dealt with 50 years earlier. Much of the time I felt that Jane was a fairly new vampire instead of one who had been turned back in the sixties. Now this could just be me being picky, because the information had to be brought into the stories somehow. I say these things yet I went through the book rapidly, finding it hard to leave the book closed as I worked. I also thought each story was refreshingly original. But the reason I gave Jane a 5 star rating instead of the four it might otherwise have been is this…Jane was fun to read. When did you ever say such a thing about a horror story? Perhaps this is the reason Leigh M. Lane called the book a dramatic horror story. Yes! This book is a drama with horrific passages. And as horrific as some of those passages were, they were not enough to keep me from enjoying the drama. I felt like I was immersed in a television series. As Jane would say, “Cool.”
PROMISE NOT TO TELL Jennifer McMahon HarperCollins Publishers, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-06-114331-1 250 pages Mystery/Ghost Story
Kate Cypher has returned home to d PROMISE NOT TO TELL Jennifer McMahon HarperCollins Publishers, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-06-114331-1 250 pages Mystery/Ghost Story
Kate Cypher has returned home to deal with her dementia stricken mother. As a nurse Kate knows the answer to all of her mom’s problems is an assisted living home, but as a daughter she feels a lot of guilt. After all, she has been gone for a long time, leaving her mother in the care of friends. She wants to do the right thing, but Kate keeps getting side tracked by some awful things—the day she arrives the daughter of an old school mate is killed in the same manner as her best friend was killed three decades earlier. And other strange happenings prey on her mind until Kate begins to wonder about her sanity. The questions she is left with are, “Who is the murderer?” and “Are ghosts real?”
Promise Not to Tell is an easy book to read. The pages flow by as you wait breathlessly for more information about the “Potato Girl.” Written with two time-lines, Jennifer McMahon could easily have lost her readers. But she goes back and forth almost seamlessly, leaving you to wonder at the fact that this is a debut novel.
This book could have been a thriller if the author had been willing to take us a little deeper into the darkness. As it is, however, McMahon has given us a mystery and a ghost story. Not so frightening as a thriller would have been, nor so scary as a horror story, Promise Not To Tell manages to be something uniquely strange. At times, because of the 30 year-old timeline, the book has a juvenile feel, then in the present it becomes ever more an adult ghost story—to the point that the two strands become completely entwined.
Do I like the book? Yes. Do I think it could have been “more?” Again, yes. But here I must confess that it is the intricate storytelling that even makes the book possible. So, should I really expect “more?” Not if I want to be fair to the author. This leaves me struggling with my gut, which says this is a four star book, and my head which proclaims Promise Not To Tell as a five star performance. Let’s go with the pundits and give Jennifer McMahon five stars for one hell of an effort.
Faithful Place By Tana French Hodder & Stoughton, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-340-97761-3 Trade Paperback 434 pages Character Study/Mystery/Crime
The Blurb: “The couFaithful Place By Tana French Hodder & Stoughton, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-340-97761-3 Trade Paperback 434 pages Character Study/Mystery/Crime
The Blurb: “The course of Frank Mackey's life was set by one defining moment when he was nineteen. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned.
Frank never heard from, or of, her again.
Twenty years on, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He's cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie's suitcase has been found…”
The Review: Frank Mackey is what I would call an anti-hero. Having cut all ties with his dysfunctional family, he works hard, drinks hard, has an ex-wife whom he still loves and a child he adores. He tries to be honest but is, on the other hand, ruthless to a fault. And when it appears his first love had been murdered instead of dumping him 20 years earlier, he also throws away the rule book. He takes time off and goes back to his old life.
Nothing has changed. And just when Frank thinks he can't take any more of his crazy family, his brother Kevin is murdered. To make matters worse the murder squad blames his brother for Rosie's murder and decides that Kevin killed himself by taking a header out of a window in the same abandoned house where he had supposedly killed her.
Frank knows the investigators have it wrong and he sets out to find the local he knows has killed his brother. But what he finds threatens to be his undoing. Frank feels the whole world breaking apart and he doesn't know what to do--at first.
It is at this point the novel finally begins to move and take on the feel of a thriller. Prior to Frank's discovery Faithful Place is a rather plodding sort of mystery. Dealing more with relationships and the creation of characters who are real and interesting, Tana French gets too involved with the little world she's building, making the novel more of a character study than a mystery or a crime novel. Faithful Place is definitely not the thriller one would expect from French.
Title: The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran Author: Sigrid Fry-Revere Publisher: Carolina Academic Press Month and day of publication: Marc
Title: The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran Author: Sigrid Fry-Revere Publisher: Carolina Academic Press Month and day of publication: March 1, 2014 13-digit ISBN: 978-1-61163-512-6 Price: $35.00 Format: Jacketed Hardback Number of pages in the finished book: 254
I was asked to review The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran some time ago.
The review has been longer in coming, because I decided to read the book in its entirety, even though I didn't have a clue how I was going to accomplish the review.
I am a reader, writer, publisher and reviewer, and I must say The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran is the first book of its kind I have ever come across. The story of a woman who is convinced she has found the solution to the American kidney donation crisis--in Iran of all places--is something like a fairy tale at first, as the author, Sigrid Fry-Revere and her trusty Doctor translator weaves her way through the Iranian cityscapes, seeking interviews with donors, recipients and doctors alike. Her first discovery? There is a waiting list for donors rather than recipients. That's right, rather than having dozens of people dying per day (as in America) from the lack of suitable kidneys for donation, Iran has a reserve list of donors anxious to give the gift of life--a new kidney for those who do not have one.
How can this be? Well, following a long circuitous travel itinerary, Fry-Revere finds that strict donor investigation ensures good quality candidates. Next she comes to understand that a combination of government assistance and recipient donation, pays the donor a small fortune for his or her kidney. Treatment is also offered to the donor after the donation has been made, in some cases, life-time medical insurance also being provided. It all depends on which city you live in.
Much is made of the cultural differences and thus approaches to the problem of organ donation in both the U.S. and Iran, resulting in some very interesting reading.
But as I finish and my head spins, trying to take in all the data I have been presented with, the best thing I can do and say is the following...
The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran by Sigrid Fry-Revere is a must read for anyone with a conscience. Second, the presentation of her work is interesting enough for me to say it is worthy of five stars! Third, I give it my personal stamp of approval...
This book needs to be read by Americans. It really does....more
Take Back Tomorrow Richard Levesque Format: Kindle Edition 2012 File Size: 3729 KB Print Length: 318 pages Science Fiction/Time Travel
Eddie Royce is a wannaTake Back Tomorrow Richard Levesque Format: Kindle Edition 2012 File Size: 3729 KB Print Length: 318 pages Science Fiction/Time Travel
Eddie Royce is a wannabe science fiction writer who, by stealing the storyline of such greats as Shakespeare, is on the brink of making it. Then a bizarre visit from his favourite author, Chester Blackwood, gives him the power to live his stories rather than writing them. It's 1939, Asimov and Heinlein have barely begun their careers, Hollywood is run by gangsters and Eddie Royce can now travel in time. He can actually steal stories before they've ever been written, rather than copying those of the past. He can become a player.
Except there's this girl and these bad guys and he's limited to just a few visits to the future (or the past). Does he help her or does he help himself?
Take Back Tomorrow is one of those stories that lifts you up and transports you to another place and time. It's science fiction the way it was written in the 1950's when that kind of writing was hitting mainstream. Yet the tale takes us back even further—to a time when the art form could be found in just a handful of pulp fiction magazines.
And let me tell you this guy Levesque can write. There is non-stop action, the plot is a beautiful thing to see, as it sweeps in and about the characters until it comes full circle and leaves us satisfied but melancholy. Satisfied because this is a very good read; melancholy because one knows he will not read another book like this. That age of science fiction is gone. Some say this is a good thing. I, who cut my teeth on space operas and the grand speculations of the 50's, say not.
I give this one 5 stars and a personal recommendation.
Johnny Cash: The Life Robert Hilburn Little, Brown and Company, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-316-19475-4 Hardcover, 680 pages Biography
From touring with Elvis, Jerry Johnny Cash: The Life Robert Hilburn Little, Brown and Company, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-316-19475-4 Hardcover, 680 pages Biography
From touring with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and June carter to his final days and perhaps the best song he ever recorded, Johnny Cash lived his life and managed his singing career on his own terms. This is the one thing Robert Hilburn makes abundantly clear in his exhaustive commentary regarding the career of Johnny Cash, a career that spanned 5 decades (1954-2003). It didn't matter if the record was bad because Cash was wired on drugs or if it was a gospel record when his fans wanted more country or if he was recording punk rock in an effort to connect with the youth of today, Cash always had an album concept he was working on—the record label be damned. He was the original outlaw for both country and rock and roll, and unknown by most people, he never really gave up those titles. Cash was simply overshadowed during the latter part of the 70's and most of the 80's. But he never stopped touring and he never stopped making records.
"From his early days as a pioneer of rockabilly and rock and roll in the 1950s, to his decades as an international representative of country music, to his resurgence to fame in the 1990s as a living legend and an alternative country icon, Cash influenced countless artists and left a large body of work. Upon his death, Cash was revered by the greatest popular musicians of his time. His rebellious image and often anti-authoritarian stance [even] influenced punk rock." - Wikipedia -
Sources disagree, but to the best of my knowledge Johnny cash recorded: 55 studio albums, 104 compilations, 6 live albums, 2 soundtracks and 153 singles. With the constant touring this man did, the number of songs he wrote and the number of songs he recorded is mind-blowing.
I can't say this with more passion. If you have ever wanted to know about the life of a rock or country music star, why not study the greatest of them all: Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn.
After a few misfires, the stories in Mandy White's 2012 offering, Dysfictional, are interesting, unique and well edited. I especially enjoyed The ArtAfter a few misfires, the stories in Mandy White's 2012 offering, Dysfictional, are interesting, unique and well edited. I especially enjoyed The Art of Bathing, Zombie Cuisine and her novella, The Immigrant.
This collection is a solid, 4 star effort by an imaginative author. My one criticism is that the author sometimes gives away the story. She definitely has the ability to carry the reader to places of the imagination, but she must be cautious not to allow the reader to envision the ending before she takes us there: Ruby in the Mist and A Simple Life are examples.
Summary? The first two stories in the collection could easily cost White her reader. This is unfortunate, as the rest of the stories come in at 4 or even 5 stars. So, if the title catches your attention (as it did mine), then I say go for it--buy the book. Just know that the collection is much better than the initial stories suggest.