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Seven for the Slab by Doug Lamoreux

There where comic books, radio programs and television shows that would give their audience short scary stories. These would often wrap up quickly and would allow the presenter to do an anthology of sorts as they could have several stories within the same production. These of course helped give birth to the numerous anthologies that can be found out there.  We can also get a sense of this style from the 20007 Horror film “Trick ‘r Treat”.

Author Doug Lamoreux takes this idea and does two better than the before mentioned film as he places seven stories within the pages of his novella. This novella is aptly titled, “Seven for the Slab”.  I’m sure many who see the title will draw the conclusion that the slab must be in reference to a funeral home. I will say that assumption would be very correct, but do not go thinking these stories take place in one.  In the contrary a funeral home does have some of the main story thread but it’s not all the reader will get out of the pages of the novella.

Seven for the Slab starts out with the one thing so many of dislike, and that is being awoken by a ringing telephone. If you ask me that in itself is a nightmare as you never know why someone is calling you so late and if you are about to get heartbreaking news. This phone call is one that brings good news for one Herb Flay, it would mean he had his job back and that the Fengriffen Funeral Home and Crematorium needed his services. It was a call he had been waiting on for what seemed like a month and with some odd glee he went out into the thunderstorm ready to do his job.

This is the setup to the novella as Flay heads out in the night to meet his boss at a home of not one but two deceased individuals, a brother and a sister. The scene is a small neighboring town and as Flay heads out to the scene we are introduced to a group of characters from firemen, EMTS, local police and a home owner.

The rain along with what is found at the home of the deceased brother and sister are what send many of the first responders to a home owner’s garage. The place becomes the official staging area for those involved to wait out the rain and their potential next assignment if something comes up. This is a welcoming option for those who had been in the home, as the bodies, well it’s amazing what can happen after a period of time. I’m leaving the details for the story itself as for some it could be slightly disturbing, but sadly it is part of life.

I’ve provided a bit of the background on why there are so many within this garage as this is where a push from one of those individuals will get the stories moving. One must realize that when you have so many first responders together they may have stories to share with each other. In this instance it is just that, they are all challenged to share a story that will fit their current settings. It is a chance for each of them to out-do the other as they tell their stores.

I could go into each story but as this is a novella I do not want to take away a readers opportunity to really enjoy them. I just will say that with each one they get a bit more thought provoking and there is a bit of everything involved. The reader will find aliens, ghosts, zombie like creatures, and the worse of all humanity. I say this as what man can do to their fellow man can be just as gruesome as the creatures that we see in our dreams.

Seven for the Slab shows off the creative mind of author Doug Lamoreux as his characters tell their stories. They are well crafted stories that will have you wondering not just about the character writing the stories but that of the author who wrote the novella. I must say that you can tell he was a fan of those old series like Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt. The thing is we hear some great stories from the first responders but the back ground story is just as traumatic. I’ll close by saying that it is amazing what some will do to keep a job.

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Posted by on October 30, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Kindred Intentions by Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

A book is something that we pick up to read and if we are lucky will light our imagination. If we are even more fortunate it, that same book will get us hooked. The reader will not want to put it down as they are afraid to miss a moment of what is unfolding in the story that is being told by those words on the page. It is not every day that a reader will come across a book like that, and it’s even more rare to have an author continually turn out books with such storylines we cannot help but want to read it cover to cover in one sitting. Author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli really hooked me with her Red Desert set of books, about life on Mars, but has done it again with her book, Kindred Intentions.

Kindred Intentions takes the reader into a police investigation of murders that are happening at the law firm of, Goldberg & Associates. We are quickly introduced to agent Amelia Jennings who has the job of finding out who is committing those murders.  However, things never seem to go as planned and before we know it people are out to get Amelia and she has to find out who is behind this all.

The reader will also find out as Amelia runs she will have one Mike Connor along for the ride. The issue is can she trust Mike and is he who he says, well I’m sure I could say but that is giving things away.

In the previous point I mentioned, “along for the ride”, and that’s what this book is. Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli has so many twists and turns within the pages of the book you may feel highs and lows as if riding a roller coaster.  The book has spots of humor that had me laugh out loud, and get a strange look from those nearby as I read. On the other side there are points that are dark as one must recall they are after a murderer.

The story is well developed, well told and if one tried to create a murder board as seen on TV shows, the intersections and paths would be confusing to follow, at first. This is the great hidden piece of the book the way you think you may have finally figured things out only to turn a page, and realize you were wrong. It can be upsetting for sure but it also makes you dive further into the story as you tell yourself you’ll figure out who it is.

I’ll add that this was one of the complaints about Agatha Christie’s books on how she would hide things from readers that only her detectives picked up on. It did frustrate some during her time, but it’s not the case within the pages of Kindred Intentions. Instead all you need to figure things out are here but life its complex.

Now, I will add that as I read this I would have to tell myself that what I thought could be misspellings are not ones at all. The books setting is in London, England, and thus the British English is utilized in the book and to me just added more realism. I would not expect a British character to be using American terminology, and as a reminder English is not author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli first language. It however does not matter what language you may read this in as the story in itself is what will capture your attention and suck you into the pages, be that they are digital or real. Kindred Intentions is just one well written book with plot lines that are developed masterfully and a story more twisted at times than a pretzel, but well worth the read.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss by Ty Mall

Children’s books are one of those areas in a book store, be it online, or in a store, that is full of titles.  It’s difficult to look through so many options, as many have cute titles, celebrity authors and unique art work to draw a potential reader in at the hopes of being purchased.  It is why it is important to understand the child’s interests when it comes to a main character of a book. This brings me to the book by author Ty Mall with some great illustrations by Alex Bjelica titled, Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss.

I am sure some of you are going why a dragon would need to learn how to floss. My response back is explained in the book as it could throw off their fire breathing. They may lose some accuracy if they have a tooth ache and are unable to shoot that flame straight. There are of course many other reasons for good teeth in a dragon but this is a children’s book.

The story is straight forward enough as the child will get a sense on the importance of flossing. I realize some may not think that as something important but really it is. Oral care is something all children should learn from an early age, or they can have a life time of problems.

The books artwork is well done and works well with the story and is something I can see young children enjoying. A parent would get a laugh out of the art work and I’m sure a good conversation with their child. I say this as I’m sure a child may have many questions about a dragon as a parent reads this to a child.  I’ll close by saying that I did get a copy to review and can see how this book would appeal to parents interested in teaching good oral care, and more importantly getting a child interested in reading.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2017 in Reviews

 

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The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Reviews

 

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The Media (Does it report or just looking for Ratings)

I’m going to start by just saying that all below is my original thoughts. I do not claim to speak for anyone else, or my employer. I just am writing and sharing what I have come to feel when it comes to the media today and the major influence they have on the world.

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I’ll start by saying that when I was in high school I was asked to try out for the Forensics team.  The goal of Forensics is to help high school students get better at communication through things such as theatre, debate or speech. I went for a piece of that which gave me an opportunity to take provide stories and make a news story out of it. This eventually led to one of my first paying jobs outside of my father’s auto body shop.

I did have to leave the Forensics Team but I was hired by a local radio station and I ended up working in radio in both High School and in college. I would read the local news reports and even was given options on how to edit them to keep them to a specific length. These lengths and topics were important as we wanted to keep listeners and bring them back. I was allowed to leave out important facts if I needed to make sure the newscast did not go to long and more importantly what would get folks to come back later.

I had an even a short period of time than many news casts that have maybe thirty minutes and try to fit in as many stories as they can. Actually if you think about it a thirty minute news cast may only have time for 10 minutes of news as they have weather, sports and commercials to deal with. It’s also important to note that these newscasts face ratings and really their job is to keep you coming back to their channel. Often they say they are there to inform but really they are giving the highlights, the buzz words they know will get you talking and of course watching.

They also get to pick and choose what they wish to focus on and what they wish to leave out of their newscasts. You have to ask yourself, are they really covering everything in that 30 minutes or just what someone else deems to be the topic of the day.

I’m not talking about Fake news but real news as in CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, CNN, MSN, and any other network. I know this to be true as some of what I’m saying are things I was told to do when I worked in Radio. No matter what you think the news is often spoon feeding us what THEY want us to be concerned about. They will use all the words and videos they can find to get us coming back and watching their program.

As a few examples of what I mean on the tricks they will use to get you back. They will a tease stay tuned to learn about this, or coming up in our next half hour, and things like that. However, if you stick around has the news really changed or is it basically a wash and repeated version of what you sat through already with a few minor changes. They can edit a video any way they like to get the story to tell what they wish to show.

So just stop and think who is pushing the divide in the United States. Who is reporting day in and day out about the problems to get RATINGS? You think they actually care? Well when did it go from a news report to a news story? I mean a story can be written in many ways to influence someone over a report that gives us, the facts and lets us decide. I know this as I had to write news stories and did my best to stick to the facts as it was NOT my job to influence but to report.

It’s why I personally have unplugged from the news as I see them as part of the gasoline that is creating the issues we see. Sure you can say they are bringing light to an issue, but are they doing so to alert us or to get more ratings. Just my two cents having worked in a form of media. I’ll close by saying I’m not even going to start on print news they can be just as bad as again how you phrase a sentence, or words used, can shape an opinion.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2017 in Personal

 

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Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft

I first want to be honest with all that I was provided with an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) for my review. The review is unbiased and honest as a free copy does not get me to change my opinion or review style. I just wished to put that out first and foremost so all understand how I came about this book.

Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft is the book I have been referring to. The book is one in a series of books around the primary character Eric. The book will allow the reader to follow along as Eric starts his sophomore year at the Academy on Arsenal II. What awaits Eric and what will become his “gang” will be told within the pages of this very interesting book. I do want to make sure to point out this books setting is in outer space with Eric being a Midshipman in a Navy who’s ocean is the darkness of space.

The story will unfold as we find Eric traveling back to school as he looks to continue his education at the academy. It’s not easy to make sense of who Eric is but within the first few pages we find that he is quite a unique young man as he had made friends with one of the newest member of the Union, the Coven. He even at one point recollects meeting an admiral and discusses how in the past his confusion on whether to dress as a man or a woman.

The reader will also get an introduction into an often used tool within in writing, the interlude. I can see how some readers may get turned off but such a device, but these are well used within the book. They help to give insight into what is going on in the much larger landscape of the story. You will also get to learn so much more about Eric, and who he maybe even if unknown to himself.

The one point most important that I found within the opening chapters about Eric is a simple scene within a bar at Arsenal Gate. He stopped to get a drink and hope to find some directions on how to continue his trip on to Arsenal II. However, when a Midshipman walks into a bar often patronized by hard working men things can get heated. A simple misunderstanding turns into a near fight as Eric is required to defend himself. The whole thing shows that the young man is willing to try and avoid a fight, but if he must he will. The part that stuck with me was how he dressed down the security officers who came to his “rescue”. They did not follow the proper protocols and they ended up in more trouble than the man who tried to pick a fight with Eric. This showed me that he has a sense of fairness and will not just defend himself in a fight but in general.

The scene in the bar sets up behavior that will become a bit more common place for Eric as the story unfolds. We will find out some of stories behind him in his past as the book continues. You will find yourself wishing you had read the previous book just from what was revealed during the story of this book. The author Vanessa Ravencroft does a magnificent job in not just framing the story but the looks of the other species that are found within and outside of the Union. She will take the reader to worlds and species that may not come to the mind till they are introduced.

The book will eventually give us so much more when it comes to the story. One should not go into this book thinking it’s going to take place just within the training confines of the academy. Instead Eric will be on two very special ships of the Union fleet and even be temporarily given the role of one of these fine ships. The reader will eventually be introduced to the Olafson’s Gang which introduces some of the diverse aliens that are introduced within the pages. The one readers will surely come to sense is that there is something VERY BIG on the horizon that will involve Eric. The before mentioned interludes will introduce the reader to what may come and potentially even more on what makes Eric, well Eric.

Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft is a fantastic book. There are so many primary plots with minor plots woven within the story the book is hard to put down. You will also find yourself wrapped up within Eric’s life and I found myself wondering how I would handle some of the things thrust upon this character. One can honestly find plenty to like about this book as there are elements of drama, comedy, mystery and so much within the pages you do not need to be a fan of science fiction to love the book.

I want to take the last few lines to thank the great people at Inkitt for introducing me to this great book. I can honestly I am hooked and look forward to what may come within the pages of future books by Vanessa Ravencroft that tell the story of Eric Olafson. I must conclude that I did tell a fib as I am a bit biased as Eric is from a planet that is based in some Old Norse mythology. I myself have some Norwegian heritage so really looked forward to that part of Eric.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Promises by Ardyce Durham

As many fans of history know there are several ways to keep history alive and to record the events of the past. Author Ardyce Durham uses just one of those ways by researching the life of her paternal grandfather to find out the man had lived a very interesting life. She used these historical findings to put them into a very well told story that, although fiction,  gives us glimpses to a period many have forgotten.

Promises takes the reader back into the 1800’s prior to the Civil War and up thru and beyond.  The book opens with the reader getting an introduction to both the Walker and Cartwright families. The main characters are going to be a set of boys who were born just days apart. Their names are Owen Cartwright and Wes Walker.

The story will follow the lives of these two young men as they grow up into adult hood, and go off to war. The story will be filled with things from moments of comedy, to that of sorrow. One of the comedic pieces that stuck out to me is when the young men try chewing tobacco for the first time. I could almost imagine what they went thru as who has not tried something they shouldn’t as a child only to have it backfire and cause sickness.

There is also heartache and tragedy within the pages as often happened in the mid 1800’s whole families could be uprooted from their homes as they must move to where the work is to survive. This happens to both families when the local sawmill where both men work, shuts down. The families are forced to travel and find jobs and we find a lot of the original grit of the human spirit on how they react to these changes. We have to remember there are no paved roads, no cars and worse of all no CELL phones at this time. A trip that today, could be a few hours to a day trip by car on an express way took days, maybe weeks or months during this period.

The story will follow the boys as their families must move to a new town, a new way of living and how they adapt. We will read how they take up fighting in what can only be called an early fight club. The reader will have to take time to see how they do as I want to avoid a lot of spoilers. There again though we get a glimpse at the bond between the boys and also their families.  The bond forged thru their youth will take them into the Civil War and be part of what comes after that conflict.

Readers will get a sense of the bond the boys build throughout the book as they read the stories before and after the Civil War. I am sure there will be some who may suffer with the language used in the book. It’s in no way something you need to have fear about, it’s just that a lot of the language is period based. It fits the story and is something I enjoyed as it took me even more into the story.

There are some great characters developed within the pages of Promises by Author Ardyce Durham. She does a very good job at not just building the story between the boys but the scenery of the era the book takes place within. The backdrop of a strong bond between families, to that of the conflict that put families against families was brought to life with the writing. There are some moments of sorrow, love and anger within the pages but the book is a great telling of a story that is based on the life of the author’s grandfather.

 

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Reviews

 

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