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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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Leaders A Twin-Bred Novel by Karen A Wyle

LeadersCommunication is something so much of us take for advantage. One must ask themselves how they would survive if suddenly they couldn’t reach that person they are used to communicating with on a daily basis. A great example is imagine how you would deal if suddenly all the cell phone towers stopped working. I can imagine there would be some panic as so many have gotten rid of their land phone lines. There would be no internet access to talk to someone either. There would probably be some major panic across the world if this happened.

I know this is something easy to grasp but image it one step further and mankind had people living on Mars. Communication has gone blank and neither planet can talk to each other. The thought of concern for those on each planet would be tremendous. Who would send a rescue mission first, Earth or Mars? It’s the type of problem we find the Twin-Bred of Tofarn having to deal with.

Leaders is the latest entry in author’s Karen A. Wyle’s Twin-Bred series of books. I will admit it did help me to have read the first two books in the series before this one. I say that not because Twin-Bred and Reach are great books but the great work Wyle uses in creating the characters and world that is used within the pages of all three books.

The Tofa are different then man and events from the previous book saw much of the twin-bred rocketing into space leaving their home world of Tofarn behind.  Only one of their number had stayed behind and he, and his offspring, are seen as outcasts among those around them. They get second glances from others and hear whispers behind their backs. Some would plot to end them or change how society thinks of them. There of course are others who feel the offspring, Lan-sol, is their future leader. Those that have left the planet are also reaching out to Lan-sol inviting him to come and join them.

This problem communication will suddenly stop between the two worlds. Those who blasted into space have landed on a planet they are calling new Landing. Mara, a scientist behind the twin-bred experiment went with her twin-bred and is trying to live a quiet life. As one can imagine, when things go wrong people look to their heroes to save them. Thus, the twin-bred on New Landing turn to Mara to help solve what has happened with communications. They must also decide if it’s really worth the trouble to try and talk to those back on Tofarn. They chose to leave and other than friends what is there back home to really worry about.

It actually is interesting how events on both planets in a way mirror what is happening on the other. There are of course different characters along with different motives, but the main thing is do we care what happened to the others. This is where author Karen A. Wyle’s talent shows through as she is able to blend the events and stories so well throughout the book. Her character development will leave you wanting to take crib notes to ensure you don’t miss a thing as you read the story.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Nothing But Echoes by Anne Montgomery

NOTHING BUT ECHOES Cover ArtI do not normally re-post too many reviews, but sometimes one must just make an exception. In this case the closure of a publisher is a good reason to re-post a review. Author Anne Montgomery had such a problem and her book, The Magician, has found a new home and a new publisher in Sarah Book Publishing;. The book also has found itself renamed and is now titled, Nothing but Echoes. The book is still intact from its form I originally reviewed and due to this I am re-posting the review to bring attention to its new name. I do this as no matter what the book is called it is a great read.

The one thing any reporter loves is a mystery. The ability to cover secrets others have not been able to find will bring a reporter to the edge when it comes to getting the story. It’s what entices Kate Butler to her current assignment of uncovering information about the magician.  This mysterious man was found with more than your common funerary items around him when found in 1939. He was also found to be taller than most for the period, which raised questions about his heritage. The Hopi tribe that was helping with the dig almost knew immediately how important this man must have been when the Moochiwimi sticks were found.  Those sticks meant only one thing; this man had been a magician. This is the story that will be uncovered in author Anne Montgomery’s book aptly titled, Nothing but Echoes.

Who was the magician? Where did he come from? Why was he so important?

These are questions Kate will try to uncover as she searches into the man’s past. Her only problem is her main source of information, Dr. Perkins, suddenly will not work with her. Dr. Perkins had been a great asset on her story of the Native American ball courts but now he was nowhere to be found. There had been requests for a DNA source have been routinely turned down by those who wish to protect Native American remains. The Hopi tribe had refused her request as they wished to protect the remains not see any part destroyed for a DNA test. It is possible Dr. Perkins had received pressure not to help Kate, and thus she had to find other sources.

Her friend Jack Cooper had come along with her on this trip and it’s possible his skills as a police officer would come in handy.  She will also be assisted on her quest by Dr. Jerrod Crane and colleagues of his that will help point her in other directions. There is one problem, as Kate visits the museum for the first time another takes interest in her, and her quest to find out about the magician. This man may be up to something and able to get information she cannot.

Along with the quest to find out who the magician was, there are other elements weaved into the book. These elements take us back to the life of the magician. The way the people of the era lived is explained, and they actually come to life.  We will also get to see who this magician was and his impact on the people of that area.

Names such as Woodrat, Deer Runner, Mul, and others will be discovered to belong to those who are central characters in that second feature of the book. The book will intertwine the two stories in such a way that they will complement each story contained within the book.  Montgomery uses as much realistic facts and content as she can during the writing of the book that helps bring the story to greater life.

There is drama, secretive plans, and subterfuge in both stories in the book.  The book reads in such a manner that you will not find yourself confused over the facts in the story. You will instead find yourself holding your breath at periods as the story switches from one period to another. You wonder should I skip a chapter and read a head. The answer is simply NO! Nothing but Echoes is a book meant to be read and enjoyed by those who are fans of History and I have to add Mystery. The elements add up to a great book that tells not one but two great stories. As a bonus the article that Kate is writing even toward the end of the book. So you will see Kate gets her story, but the events to get there are not easy as most reporters will tell you.

Where to find Anne Montgomery Online

 

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2016 in Reviews

 

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A Light in the Desert by Anne Montgomery

NightI have to admit when I saw the title to author Anne Montgomery’s newest book I had a flashback to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Why? In the movie Brad and Janet go toward a light to find help after a flat tire and a song plays. The song has a lyric of, “In the velvet darkness of the blackest night, burning bright, there’s a guiding star, no matter what or who you are.” I of course started humming the rest of the song but after reading, A Light in the Desert, I found this lyric to be quite fitting.

I write this as such a light has numerous connotations available to why it may be seen. A religious person would think of the light that led the three wise men to the manger where Jesus was born. Those not of a religious background may think alien, car light, train, or just a plain old light with nothing special to it. The book will introduce the reader to a few potential options but in its core is a story that takes the reader into the lives of many people that are as diverse as the wild of the Arizona Desert they all call home.

A Light in the Desert will introduce the reader to former Vietnam veteran Jason Ramm who has moved into town. He’s been able to settle in and found he’s been welcomed by the locals. As a person reads the book they will get to find much more of his background, including potential mental problems. These problems did not appear till he had a “mission” in Jerusalem and you may wonder what was he doing there. You will of course need to read the book to find out why. They will also find that he finds a dog, near death, and helps bring it back to life.

There are other characters like young teenager, Kelly Garcia, who is very pregnant and living with The Children of Light. The children are a group of Pentecostal zealots who try to live the way of the bible. They try and grow all their own food and help take care of those who cannot help themselves like Kelly. She has found her way to their home after a jealous mother decided she could not live with Kelly in the house any longer. Kelly does have a birth defect in her face, but it appears some man still found her beautiful.

There are other characters within the book such as a malicious gas station owner who has no problem beating his own son. The man’s problem is that the son has reached an age where he is not afraid of his father and is himself quite ruthless. The local store owner is the man all should talk to if they want to find out about their neighbors as he is the local gossip. He hears so much and sees so much as he does operate the only store around. There then is a smart and edgy news reporter who according to her bosses is a bit “past her prime”. She has won several Emmy’s but her age has caught up to her and in the world of TV News that is deadly.

The book will take the reader into a very complex plot filled with many plot lines. Ramm seems to be just another man escaping the big bad world but there is so much more to him. He helps the Children of Light and even takes a liking to Kelly. She needs help and someone to watch over her as she is under educated and the world has not been kind to her.  Ramm even may believe that she may help him with the madness he struggles with all the time.

There then is the gas station owner’s son, Billy, who stole so much from his father before running away. In truth Billy had left a nice package for his father in the bathroom of the gas station but it was found before it could do any damage. Billy has missed that opportunity but for those riding the train that goes through the area will find out, he is not done yet.

The book does have several different plot lines, but there is one thing that runs throughout the book. This is how one should never give up and fight for what they feel is right. Yes, there are those within the pages of, A Light in the Desert, that are misguided but the story unfolds nicely thanks to Montgomery’s writing. People will find some characters larger than life, and others you cannot help but sympathize with. There are even moments when one may feel terrible for Billy, and the next want to him hurt. The one character that caught my eye was that of the “retired” TV Reporter Kate. I felt there may be a bit of Montgomery in this character when one considers her back ground in TV. The simple truth is that each character is well developed and the story eventually will find a point where all the plot lines seem to join and converge on the right track. I have one final note and that is be sure to read the Dedication as the struggles Ramm has may be more real for the reader.

The book is published by Sarah Book Publishing.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Red Desert – Invisible Enemy by author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Invisible EnemyThe last time a reader had seen Anna Persson she had just made a shocking discovery on Mars. She had found the original mission site and what she found inside would make her forget all of the problems she was having back in her habitat. The deaths, a potential murder, and a potential dangerous crew mate where all gone at that moment. However, one discovery cannot change everything as she will find out in this book.

Red Desert – Invisible Enemy, is the third entry in author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli’s Red Desert series. The book will continue the tail of Anna and Hussan on Mars and reconnect the reader with Mission Control and Anna’s fiancé Jan. A connection that will be part of this series as intrigue will spill from the red planet back to those on Earth.

The book opens with those left in Alpha fighting among each other. Robert is attacking Hassan and he has no recourse but to strike back. The actions of the two men are brutal as Robert seems almost possessed by some unseen force. He blames Hassan for Anna leaving and the laboratory is Robert’s newest target for destruction and it is hear the two men will have a potential final battle. The outcome will not be shared for some time in the book but so much will happen between that point and the story.

This third installment will tell the reader what Anna has found on the planet is not just a living virus but more life. The life she finds will save her from certain death and shock those back on Earth into agreeing to launch a new mission to Mars. One would think that after all the calamity that has been happening with this second, cursed, mission they would not but things change.

Author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli does it again as she inter winds high drama on Mars with drama back on Earth. Jan will accidentally uncover a dark secret that will shake him to his core. He is so shaken he is willing to make a deal with a reporter and tell this woman all what is happening on Mars. This is just some of the intrigue happening on Earth as Mission Control must deal with all the data they are getting from Mars.

The book is aptly titled with Invisible Enemy as you never know where the danger will come from. It can be from your fellow humans to the minds of those around you. Their thoughts could be hiding an evil intent or even something more serious can be behind everything. The book will take the reader into a great tale that will leave all wanting more and nervous on what could eventually happen on both planets.

If this review isn’t enough to get you interested check out the books trailer.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Mail Horror Bride (One Nation Under Zombies Book 1) by Raymond Lee

MHBThe dating world has grown significantly through the advent of the internet. Men, and women, can search the world to find that perfect match. It has allowed both genders to easily cross borders when looking for their soul mate. There are even websites, and phone apps, that will feature someone from specific countries. This is what brings me to the book, Mail Horror Bride: One Nation Under Zombies.

The book is written by author Raymond Lee and will take the reader into the world of mail order brides and a “potential” danger that can come from these women. You will read how many men look at women from foreign countries, like Russia, for love. They look for a woman that may not have the independent spirit of many American women. They could also be looking for a woman that could be a “show piece”, and ones who may just be looking to get a green card.

The book opens with a man asking his wife about her brother’s wife. The husband is asking if he is married to one of those Russian mail order brides. She’s originally upset with him as it appears they have been down that road before and is tired of her husband talking about it. However, this is not the case as he is watching the news and there is a breaking story.  It is here at the beginning of the book that we find out the Russians have been busy. They have placed a disease into the women that have come to America to marry. The woman where implanted with a disease that would turn the women into, zombies.

The book takes off and we are introduced to a varied group of characters. There are sisters stuck in a hotel in California that after venturing out of their hotel room walk into the horror that awaits them. A man has escaped prison and while waiting for his ride he gets a phone call. The call is from his friend asking him to watch over his children, as his wife was one of those brides. A woman bangs at the door of her ex-boyfriends home demanding to be let in. She knows the type of woman he married and wants to tell him off for what he did. Those working in the film industry from a set worker to famous actor will be pulled into this mess. Lastly there is another mail order bride, but this one is from Asia. She has to not only survive the outbreak, but a husband who beats her.

These are the main characters in the book and at some point their paths may cross but all will first have to survive this new America. The outbreak will follow many other zombie books as you read about how they must survive. There are also bits of humor tossed in the pages as I personally remember doing a fist pump when I read about the death of a singer. I know, I shouldn’t do that but its fiction and the individual just annoys me so much. Oh and just a note, it wasn’t Justin Bieber, but you have to read the book to find out who I am referring to.

Raymond Lee does a great job of developing the large cast of characters you come across within the pages. The characters are all flawed in some way and this comes out as you read more and find out about them. They can be crazy and insane, over caring, and even a bit psychotic but in their own ways they do care about others.

Mail Horror Bride: One Nation Under Zombies is a book that does come from the zombie genre, but do to the writing it stands out from the crowd. The book is something people will enjoy as there are moments in the book that will play with all kinds of emotions. There are just enough bits of humor it balances out the sadness that are within the pages. The characters will be relatable as they are very real and easy to connect with. The book is a great read for fans of all types of horror genre and even those who just want a great fun read.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Dear Dad by John Hazen

Dear DadA child’s life is impacted not just by the mother, but by a strong father figure as well. It’s often up to the father, dad, to be the bad guy. He’s the one responsible to put down the rules, hold the kids accountable, and do all he can to raise good kids. He won’t always look for recognition as a child grows up and isn’t bothered when he sees his child say, “Hi Mom”, on TV. A dad sees that as a reward, that he did his job right and raised a smart, respectful, and great kid.

It’s a main reason the book, Dear Dad by author John Hazen, caught my attention. The book’s description makes it seem like a great science fiction tale as there is time travel. The book also has elements of general fiction in the way the book was written. Dear Dad to me was more than both of those aspects. This to me was a book that really told the importance of a father and son bond that would traverse the boys life, and time.

The book starts with a very ominous letter with John Foster writing to his father that he had a “close one” and almost died. The letter is from 1969 and as you turn the page you find yourself back in time when John’s dad is telling a story. John’s father is a decorated World War II soldier who survived the battle of the bulge and as the book opens we read that story. We learn how his dad was able to take out a machine gun crew saving the lives of others.

The book takes the reader into what I considered a normal boys life as he grew up to become a man. We read on how John grows up with his family in a very small town of Fairbrook, Massachusetts, and attends the local schools. As normally happens a young boy makes a group of great friends and by the time high school comes along often that group begins to break up. This is often due to the social aspects of maturing and in John’s case it was just normal life.

The period of the book, however, is during the turbulent late 1960’s and John is quickly about to turn 18. His dad wants him to run to Canada to dodge the war, as this is not like World War II. Vietnam is sending boys off to a war they don’t know what they are fighting for. It’s brave of Hazen to show this side of John’s dad as even today Vietnam is a tough subject for many. We read what his old friends do to get deferments from fighting, to enlisting, or maybe another branch. John, however, isn’t as lucky as his luck just isn’t there and he eventually gets called to duty.

It’s thus when John gets to Vietnam we get to see the good and the bad of the military during the conflict. The story takes us into John’s eyes as he witnesses the injustice of Vietnam along with race problems that where still strong in the armed forces. However, dark that period in John’s life may be he does makes friends, witness’s horror a horrific act. This act will haunt John’s soul as he thinks what he could have done differently, what if he had tried to help instead of turning his back. It is while he is in Vietnam that an artillery burst sends him flying through the air, and seemingly back in time.

John will find himself embroiled in a long fought war in American History. He will find himself meeting General Grant just before one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The battle is that of Shiloh, which will leave scars not just on the land but on the men who fought there. John will be part of that battle in a unique way and a chance to correct a mistake will come and will be up to him to repeat the past or make things right.

Dear Dad by John Hazen has it’s stories, and the timelines, are tied together by John’s never-ending quest to write to his father. Chapters will open with letters home, or letters from his father. Of course no letters will exchange during the Civil War but John keeps writing. This bond, even through time, is what makes the book so strong. It brings an element of a father and son relationship as the tying factor no matter the time frame. The story has aspects of even unrequited love, but it’s that bond that makes the book so great. This shows that author John Hazen planned this book well as no matter the time frame the characters are strong and believable. Oh and John seems to have “some luck” no matter how old he is.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Reviews

 

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