I review all genres and I post them in 30 spots. Check out previous posts and I'm sure you'll find several books to catch your interest. I am a published reviewer and an award winning one. I am one of the best reviewers around. CELEBRATING 11 YEARS OF BOOK REVIEWS!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Stranger by Chris Martin


   Seal Bay is a close knit town. One of those everyone knows everyone kind of places.  Dillon is a computer repairman with a past. Lance Puckett is a supposed killer. Everything seems  to change with the arrival of Lance from prison. No one expected to see him ever again.  Now it's up to Dillon to find out why he's here and what he wants. Lance takes Dillon on a ride he never saw coming.

    This book is intense! It really hits home that we never really know a person. There can be things they are hiding that would send you running.  I thought the story was wonderful and the characters very well thought out. You'll never see the ending coming, no matter how good you are at solving mysteries.

    I found no issues with this one.

    I gave this one 5 books out of 5 books because it scared the bejesus out of me. 

Far Out Cafe by Stuart Chambers

    Daniel was a soldier in the Vietnam war.  Once he is shipped to Vietnam he learns that the War isn't anything like the people back home believe. It's a mission with no real reason or cause. Men sent to their death more than Daniel had ever dreamed. Scared but following orders, Daniel ends up on an island. He's not sure where he is or why he is there. The soldiers practice of taking the dog tags of fallen soldiers as their own or to keep in reserve, confuses the enemy but it can also cause issues for the soldier wearing them.  Kill or be killed is the mentality of these men.  Daniel, however, has the misfortune of being found on the island by the enemy. They torture him in unimaginable ways to gain information. One is his name. They don't believe the dog tags, even though the name is Daniel. They aren't his, but the first name is the same.  Eventually Daniel ends up with one of the women of the island and must deal with the demons that come to those who face war head-on. 

    As a person with numerous family members having fought in numerous wars, I've seen what the demons can do to their mind.  This is a very accurate portrayal of those demons. The descriptions of the war, the way the soldiers act and react and what they must contend with after are all extremely graphic and accurate. I base those statements on stories told by family members over the years and living with a Vietnam Vet who hid the fact until found out.  The character, Daniel is more the every soldier. He begins his tour with high hopes and thoughts of making a difference, and ends them just wanting to survive and get home. I found this book to be compelling reading.  Though graphic, you'll want to keep reading until  you have the answers to all your questions and there will be questions.  This is one to be put in the TBR pile near the top.

    I didn't find issues with this one.

    I gave this one 5 books out of 5 because it gave truth and life to a War forgotten.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Long Gone by Thomas Bryant

  Sammy Page has it all. A beautiful home. A gorgeous wife and a lovely daughter. His life couldn't be any better.  Except appearances can be deceiving.  Sammy learned from a young age how to get what he wanted by stealing it.  His mentor had a chop shop and put Sammy to work young teaching him the rules of the game.  Then, Sammy takes one job to many. He knows the job is dangerous but it's too good to pass up. Sammy thinks he's figured out every angle, but there is always a chance something will go wrong.  Sammy gets caught and ends up in jail. What unravels from there is something he never thought would happen.  Sammy is sure he's lost it all. His life, his family and his business. 

  This book gives a scary accurate account of  car theft and what happens to people inside jail.  The story keeps you enthralled while working it's way through some really tight spots.  The characters remind you of people in your neighborhood.  You'll enjoy the action in this book, but some of what takes place in jail/prison may surprise some.  I recommend this book to anyone.  

    The only issue I found was it does drag in spots. The action needs to be spread out more.

     I gave this one 4 out of 5 books because of the dragging. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meet Author Stuart Chambers

MY STORY - I am a film and video producer living in Dubai. Writing was always my first love; from an very early age. I sold my first screenplay to the BBC when I was seventeen. I wrote my first novel when I was twenty-two. It was called ‘The Dance of the Daemon Clowns’ ... about a time traveling Soviet private detective called Nietsky who stumbles upon a wealth of secret manuscripts beneath Lindisfarne Abbey. A literary agent loved the story but thought I would be compared to Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. He recommended I move away from what I personally liked and suggested I ask a close friend to give me a subject I knew very little about. My girlfriend at the time suggested ‘relationships’! (Witty) and ‘The Last Big Valley’ was born and all about a group of people in the wilds of Scotland who drop off the face of the known earth and create their own. The literary agent loved the style of writing but thought that the story was not mainstream enough. Not mainstream enough. Hmm. Not mainstream is not me. My favorite quote is, ‘If they give you lined paper, don’t write on the lines.’ So, one day I thought, good writing like everything requires lots and lots of practice and I decided to write a book that I would love to read; ‘my’ book.

1.      How did "Far out cafe" come to be?

Writing was always my first love; and from a very early age. When I was at school I only ever worked at English and Art. Our English teacher would give us a title for a story, say for example, ‘The Tree,’ and demand a minimum number of words and off the class would go and write about apple trees in orchards or majestic oak trees beside rural rivers etc, where as I would go an sit in my father’s cellar in the pitch-dark and light a candle and start, ‘The roots of the tree were clearly visible on the dark side of the cellar,’ - Stuff like that. I sold my first screenplay to the BBC when I was seventeen. I wrote my first novel when I was twenty-two. It was called ‘The Dance of the Daemon Clowns’ ... about a time traveling Soviet private detective called Nietsky who stumbles upon a wealth of ultra secret Holy manuscripts beneath Lindisfarne Abbey. A literary agent loved the story but thought I would be compared to Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. He recommended I move away from what I personally liked and suggested I ask a close friend to give me a subject I knew very little about. My girlfriend at the time suggested ‘relationships’! (Witty!!) and ‘The Last Big Valley’ was born and all about a group of people in the wilds of Scotland who drop off the face of the known earth and create their own. The literary agent loved the style of writing but thought that the story was not mainstream enough. Not mainstream enough. Hmm. Not mainstream is not me. My favorite quotes are, ‘If they give you lined paper, don’t write on the lines,’ and ‘two paths diverged in a wood & I took the one less traveled by & that made all the difference.’ So, one day I thought, good writing like everything requires lots and lots of practice and I decided to write a book that I would love to read; ‘my’ book.

2.      How much is the book inspired from real life?  

In many ways it’s all taken from real life, only the island is not real. I gave the main island the name, Isle de Christos and placed the island close to two more, Isla de Locura (The Island of Insanity) and Isla de Tranquilidad (The Island of Sanity). The research I did into Cuba, Vietnam, the war itself and all of the conspiracy theories one of the characters talks about was seriously extensive. I wanted the ‘history’ to be real even though the story is pure fiction and yet the more I dug into the ‘history’ the more I realized that ‘history’  is in many ways not quite as ‘real’ as its made out to be as its written largely by the victors!

3.      The protagonist, Daniel Dyer, is from Yorkshire and so are you. Are there any other similarities between the two of you?

When I originally wrote the book I really thought the lead character should be American. A UK literary agent talked me out of it, he didn’t think a book by an English Author about an American fighting in an American war would be picked up or adored. At the time I didn’t think that any English had fought in the Vietnam War, yet when I researched the possibility I found that whilst the English had not fought as an ally with the Americans - Something that annoyed allot of Americans - there had indeed been quite allot of English there. So, in the end I wrote my ‘English’ version. The strange thing was that from the moment Daniel was ‘born’ in my head the whole dynamic of the story and indeed the main character changed. Are there similarities between us? Not really but there’s a deep rooted sense of ‘self’ and being exactly who you want to be and fighting for the right to be exactly who you want to be  that runs through the story and that’s true to me.

4.      What do you want your readers to imbibe from "Far out Cafe"? Is there a message you wish to convey?

You’re living a temporary life in a temporary world, where nothing makes you less, yet, everything makes you more. The ‘more’ for my protagonist is finding light in darkness and understanding that everything we need, we carry in us. It always seems odd to me that as kids we are afraid of the dark yet as adults we seem so disinclined to turn toward the light

5.      What kind of books do you generally read? Who are your favorite authors?

              I read lots of different books and authors but mainly people like; Irvine Welsh  / Ian Rankin / Michael Chabon / Michael Ambrose / Ernest Hemmingway / 
              David Mitchell / Bill Bryson and lots of autobiographies and mainly along the lines of Oliver Reed. Peter O Toole. Keith Richard. That kind of stuff …

6.      Tell us how you came about to be a film and video producer? Is this something you've always wanted to be?

I always wanted to be myself if that makes sense and that’s not always easy. But, yes, combining pictures and words into ‘moving’ pictures has a very logical thread back to who I always wanted to be. Writing was my first love, art my second. I have lived in the Middle East for over 30 years and I have a background in advertising and commercials. I produce television commercials and documentaries but I think the most personal film of my career was a film for the State of Qatar. The film tells the personal stories of four families who suffered terrible tragedy when horror and incredible disaster struck their region. Kashmir, Beirut, New Orleans and Banda Aceh could seldom have appeared on the same travel itinerary but they were all on mine: Seventeen flights, nine countries and a total of forty-five thousand miles; a journey of epic proportions to some of the most isolated parts of the world where we would uncover stories of real courage and dignity and survival against the odds. It was continually exhausting, always challenging and occasionally dangerous, but it was incredibly rewarding and memorable too. The director (Liam Hall) and my client (Haytham Yahya) travelled twice around the globe, went to places you’d never normally visit and met inspiring people that you wouldn’t normally meet. Yet, it was a huge privilege to walk where we walked and to see what we saw. Driving around the mountain passes in Kashmir is dangerous enough, the mini bus hurtles like some high speed roller coaster spitting peddles into open air as the back wheels spin on the sheer drop corners. What do you do, you have faith in God because you never met the driver and you know that if this day is going to be your last and that’s what God deems that a paper cut will kill you! But, I love what I do and I know how privileged I am to be doing what I do.

7.      How did you get into writing? Your first script was broadcast on BBC at the age of 17! How did that happen?

        I was sixteen, and in those days, life was complicated although I never saw it that way. My parents took my sister and I to North Berwick for the family       annual holiday. The flat was called Linda Vista, on the seafront and at the same time there was a family called the Parnaby’s from Cambridge who took the upstairs flat. Bert Parnaby (The father) was the head of drama for English schools. He took an interest in my writing. (We had little to do in North Berwick but beach combing and lobster potting around the Bass Rock and Fidra island with a white haired Scots fisherman called John Adams was my thing in those days and doing nothing well has always suited me.) Bert was retiring from his career in education and we used to meet every year. Bert’s son was a budding actor … and in those days Alan was in a period piece shot in Yorkshire called ‘Flambard’s’ - (Alan played the weaker of two brothers who preferred to make model airplanes rather than ride horses)!!! Bert himself, then fully retired wandered into Alan’s agents in London to collect some mail and Alan’s agent found all manner of walk on parts on TV in things like ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ etc! I even found out just before he passed away that he was used in a huge advertising campaign for Kodak. Good days, but all water long gone under a very old bridge
At the time I was writing a screen play about a group of young offenders on North Berwick beach doing community service work; basically, these boys were picking up litter and empty bottles when there was no litter or empties to pick up; but the boys did collect a few empty soda / pop bottles from the litter bins on the beach road but the boys supervisor was a bit of a megalomaniac and insisted all of the bottles that had any refunds due on them be given to him; hence the title of the play - ‘Non-Returnable’s’ - The boys did have a sort of leader, he was 16, a bit of a misfit and stole most of the valuable bottles back from the supervisor : ) and that was the joke when the supervisor tried to cash them in - (You have to bear in mind that when I was fifteen when the Wetherby police came banging on my parents door to question me about a group of boys who were stealing soda siphon’s and then returning them and my dad only recently reminded me that I got annoyed with the police who were writing my statement and demanded that I write it myself and the police let me  - So, I wrote from experience, so to speak : ) That year, sitting in North Berwick Bert told me that he had written a short screen play himself about a young girl who was sixteen and pregnant, and still at school because of some bureaucracy due to her date of birth which basically meant that she had to finish one more term before she could leave the school. In the end we simply put the plays together; the misfit sixteen year old boy on the beach became the boyfriend to the sixteen year old pregnant girl, and her father was the megalomaniac supervisor of the boys on the beach … a cute idea with a very funny twist at the end and then the BBC bought it, messed up the story completely by announcing the ‘funny end twist’ in the first few minutes of the play and utterly ruined the story … but they paid us … and that was good and for a short while I was a writer. When we complained to the BBC, the BBC producer told us that we had no rights to say anything at all; he made it incredibly clear and in no uncertain terms that the day the BBC bought the screenplay that they could do whatever they wanted with it. Looking back I suppose he was right … as my current life reaffirms that when a producer flexes his muscles and wants something done his way, it is done his way … but that was little consolation so many years ago. The BBC had ruined a good story and our names were on it.

      8. Your next novel is "4 doors". Tell us more about it. What should we expect?
        It’s complicated and I need to simplify but I’m up to page two hundred. So, watch this space is the best that I can say.

      9. What advice can you give the young writers from your experience? How do you get started with writing a novel?

      Write about what you are passionate about and stick with it. Good writing like all other things in life does indeed require allot, allot of practice. There’s lots   
        of people  trying to write that one great summer best seller, the one that everybody takes with them on holiday or to the beach. My advice, step aside
        from that crowd, and create your own world  and your own kind of readers will follow you. In short, it’s good to be different. What more can I say, I have
        never been able to associate with normal, I mean, what is ‘normal’, normal is being ordinary, ordinary is being humdrum, humdrum is being trapped into
        appeasing people you don’t particularly like, appeasing people is being stifled. Being stifled is not being allowed to be brilliant, not being given the chance to
        be brilliant is having your opinions crushed, being crushed is being tricked into mediocrity …  Mediocrity is not my thing, never has been, never will, and
        normal is just an adjective! If this means different, so be it, this is me, abnormal me. Be different. Be who YOU want to be!

     10. What do you enjoy most about living and working in the Dubai?

      Dubai gives me the opportunity to be who I want to be and for that I am forever grateful. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Super Spies and The High School Bomber by Lisa Orchard

  1.    The Super Spies are at it again!  Sarah and Lacey Cole's day started more unusual than most. Sarah was thrown against the wall and received several cuts to her body. What was it? Sarah knew it was an explosion but just what caused that?  She would soon find out, as would the rest of the town a  bomb had gone off at the local high school during a faculty meeting. As clean up began, a second bomb went off. Uncle Walt was at that faculty meeting and Sarah couldn't reach him on the phone. The Super Spies meet at the willow tree to try to put the information together.  Sarah decides they should investigate and the case really begins.  Putting clues together and digging up information to help the police puts the Super Spies in danger as usual but Sarah and the others won't stop. Sarah begins to think maybe this bombing and her parents disappearance are connected. But why and how? Leave it to the Super Spies to find out things the police would take weeks to learn. Now to catch that bomber before he hurts more people.
     Once again Lisa Orchard has hit the nail square on the head! This series of books is perfect for girls or boys but young girls who love mysteries will devour these books.  They remind me of an updated Nancy Drew-type of mystery. There is danger, but nothing so bad it would keep girls from enjoying it.  The Super Spies retain their charm and personalities in this second book, something that can be difficult to achieve.  The story is another one that could be ripped from the headlines.  As a matter of fact, it could be a parallel story to the bombing that happened in the little town where I live. The high school here was bombed, but students were in class at the time and it was devastating.  Read about the Super Spies and introduce the young lady in your life to a series she'll remember for years to come.

    I found no issues.

    I gave this one 5 out of 5 books because I love how true to the original story and characters Lisa Orchard kept this one. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blue Water Dead by Stephen M. Goodrum

   Two young men are just trying to deal with daily life when they get swept up into a situation they never dreamed could happen.  Al and Cane Majors are fraternal twins who can communicate mentally.  Their job is working weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and such filming and taking photos.  Their boss decides to send them off on another assignment, one he usually does himself, following a potentially cheating married man.  The boys figure it's a slam dunk. Get a few photos of the action and then skip home to get their money.  Only it doesn't go quite as planned. They end up filming and photographing a drop by the Coast Guard.  Thing is, the Coast Guard shouldn't be dropping anything where they are in the park.  Suddenly things go from bad to worse. The situation becomes one they need more help with.  The guys end up needing LOTS of help, the state, federal and presidential kind.  The drop by the Coast Guard was only a small ripple of  a storm yet to come.  It just might be one of the biggest heists in history.

     You're gonna think you've got this book all figured out right away, but you have no idea what's coming. I love this book. It's not normally my type of read, but WOW I'd so read this one again.  The characters are lovable and could easily fill the real jobs they hold in the book.  It was also scary to think something of this magnitude could happen.  This is one for the TBR pile!  I recommend this book and this author.

   I found no issues.

   I gave this one 5 out of 5 books because it opened my eyes and entertained me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

*NEW* Cover Reveal for Kilted Desire by A.B. McKinley

   Cover Reveal!!
Kilted Desire by A.B. McKinley

Check out the new cover for one of the best romance/action books out there today.
You'll enjoy the story and characters in this book.  Be sure to get your copy
and check out the new website. 

http://tinyurl.com/cc2hp5x (Barnes & Noble)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Other Side of Night by Chris Martin

     Twelve year old Luke Farmer and his two best buddies, Ethan and Bobby spend a lot of time together. They know they can count on each other at any time.  It's a good thing too when strange things start happening in the park one day. Luke had been trying to coax a Golden Retriever from the woods for quite awhile and he finally succeeded. Just as he and his "new" dog Boone are getting acquainted his buddies show up.  They show Luke  a cell phone in the park.  While they are looking it over, it rings.  It really becomes a mystery after that and the boys have to decide who to trust.

     This novella is just right for the boy who likes to read but doesn't have the patience to sit for a long time.  It's fun, mysterious, and filled with action most kids will love.  I say kids and not just boys because my twelve year old daughter thought it was terrific!  The story is well executed and the characters are upstanding young men.  Check this one out for the child in your life. You won't regret it.

    I  found no issues with this one.

    I gave this one 5 out of 5 books because it really kept the attention yet seemed to be just the right size for those impatient kids. *smile*

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Mine by John A. Heldt

    Joel and his friend Adam are on their way to Seattle and along the way, having some adventures. Joel comes from a wealthy family where he's always had what he wanted. Never had to do without.  On their way back, they run into construction and after talking with one of the men there, decide to take a detour to a local gold mine that's been closed for years.  Adam just wants to go back and get his sunglasses and head for home. Joel though is a curious person. He decides to explore the mine and see if there is anything left inside.  What Joel doesn't expect is to walk into the mine while it's May 2000 and end up in May 1941. He's certain it's a dream but everything seems so very real.      Now Joel must learn to live in 1941.  By luck or design, he ends up living with the Carters and even meets his very young grandmother.  Joel's instinct is to save everyone from the heartache he knows is coming, but he decides to just watch things unfold. He never expected to fall in love while getting to know these people, but he did. Now he wonders if he'll ever see 2000 again.  

    An amazing story that is very well written. When I started this book, I thought, " another macho read." I couldn't have been more wrong. This book contains one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read.  The time period and characters make for a very easy read. It's such a romantic story! I highly recommend this book to everyone.  There are several surprises in store for the reader. 

    I found no issues.

    I gave this one 4 out of 5 books because while it was terrific, it did seem to drag in some spots. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

All The Blue-Eyed Angels: An Erin Solomon Mystery by Jen Blood

     Erin Solomon's childhood was anything but normal. Oh sure she had both parents and friends, her home though was on an island.  The island was also the home of a religious group, more of a cult, that her father belonged to.  Now a grown woman, and having survived a terrifying fire in the church during her youth, Erin has questions.  Too many things don't add up for her and her journalistic mind wants to figure it all out.  Enlisting her friend and sometimes lover Diggs, Erin begins to ask questions and investigate the whole Payson Island tragedy in earnest.  Strange things begin happening right away and more questions than answers pop up. Erin is forced to face and deal with many of the ghosts from her childhood.  Diggs is worried Erin will end up dead like so many of the people connected to the tragedy.  He keeps a close eye on her and so does his new friend, Jack Juarez. Slowly Erin begins to piece things together and see a picture that disturbs her more than what she knew before.   To add to the mystery, Diggs is acting a little different than he ever has, what's up with that? 

    A mystery that pulls you in, straps you down and takes you on a ride worthy of a blockbuster movie!  The characters are amazing and so real. Their quirks, emotions and fears are right there for you to see.  The story is solid and just as a good mystery should be! I was blown away by this one and finished the book ready to dip into the next one.  You think you have it all figured out, then Jen Blood sends you on a sharp left turn and introduces more characters.  Jen Blood is definitely going on my list of Favorite Authors.  WOW!

    I didn't find issues except that I didn't have the next one to dive into! *grin*

     I gave this one 5 out of 5 books because this mystery, this character, will become one of the more well known ones.