Archive for July, 2010

This Is The Place – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘UTAH 1959’  Sky Eccles sat in the old ’49 Buick convertible she shared with her mother, its fenders riveted with salt decay from the Utah roads…. She sat in silence looking at her grandparents’ house at the edge of Holladay, a small farming community turning suburb at the edge of Salt Lake City…. Located at what was once the dead-end of Meander Lane, the little house had been built by her grandfather, Brock Eccles, and her polygamist great-grandfather, Hart Eccles.  The house and land was in Sky’s soul, both sweet and scary, like finding a dark spot in the core of a sugar apple.

Sky is in love with Archer Benson and expects him to pop the question any day.  It could be a beneficial marriage but Sky isn’t sure what her answer will be.  The Benson name is as strong as the Eccles name in the Salt Lake area as well as through the Mormon religion.  Sky’s problem is that she’s a half-breed, half Mormon and half Protestant, just as her Grandmother Harriet had been and just as her own mother Stella had been.  Her Gram Harriet solved her problem by joining the Church, Sky on the other hand was brought up to make her own choices and with that came her decision to become an Episcopalian.

The decision to marry could tear both families apart.  Archer’s father is running for political office and his marrying outside the church is simply not acceptable.  Archer has just been accepted to Harvard but without help from his father, he can’t afford a wife plus education.
Gram Harriet has turned her back on Sky since the ceremony won’t be taking place in the Temple.  If Sky and Archer marry, she will have no choice but to give up her journalism education and work to help pay for Archer’s education.  Being a journalist has been her dream forever.  Would her dream ever be fulfilled or would she be expected to be a wife and have children.
So what choices do these two young people really have in deciding their own futures?  And what will Sky’s answer to Archer’s proposal be?  Will he even ask?  Following Sky as she drops back into the past with hopes of finding answers, made me aware of just how hard times really were, not just with religious differences, but also with nationalities differences, especially when it came to marriage.  I can remember people being outcasts if they went outside their own “kind” for marriage and even socializing.
Times have changed tremendously over the last 50 years, I feel for the better, but they still have a way to go.  “Mixed marriages” are being accepted more and more every day and the children of these marriages are being given the chance to make their own decisions, not just about religion but about life in general.  And as this happens the pressures of following in our parent’s footsteps are being lifted.

Now, for a personal note on this book.  As a child I lived in Utah twice.  My mother’s family is still there and I have a trip planned to revisit the beautiful state of Utah in September of this year.  This is the Place reminded me of the beauty of the mountains, the fields and the cities.  This will be a trip to revitalize my childhood memories.  2001

292 Pages

Available Through Amazon www.budurl.com/ThisIsThePlace

ISBN 1588513521
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Olivia and the Little Way – Review for American Author’s Association by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘She hated feeling nervous, but she couldn’t help it.  Today was the first day of fifth grade at her new school.  Two big things in one day.  She thought of all of the other kids at St. Michael’s School who were probably eating their breakfasts at the same time as she.  They were lucky.  They would be able to see all of their old friends.  They would know their way around the hallways, know where to go for lunch, be able to find the bathrooms and drinking fountains.  She’d be lost in a sea of new faces and new rules.’

Living in Houston, Olivia always looked forward to being able to visit her Grandma Rosemary in Michigan.  But things had changed.  She and her family would now be living in Michigan.  She would be leaving her two best friends Claire and Emily.  She was not faced with making new friends in a new school.

Then Grandma came to the rescue with a beautiful chaplet that had been given to her years before.  It was the St. Therese chaplet.  Grandma explained to Olivia that St. Theresa the Little Flower was someone who had lived many years before and would always be there to listen to her when she needed someone to talk to.  Olivia took great solace in knowing that even in a new town and new school, she would never be alone.  But that didn’t mean that she wouldn’t still run into problems as she made herself comfortable in her new surroundings.

Reading Olivia and the Little Way made me realize that things never change.  I can remember some of the problems that Olivia was faced with as she made new friends and worked at being accepted by the other kids in school.  I can remember the trials of being tested to do things that I knew weren’t right.  I can also remember what it cost me when I made the wrong decisions.  Olivia and the Little Way is a book that would be wonderful read as a discussion book.  Not only is this book helpful for young people that WILL eventually be faced with the same situations Olivia is faced with but it will also help adults remember how difficult it was for them when they had to make decisions of right and wrong at such a young age.  Reading Olivia and the Little Way just might slow us all down enough to think about the outcome of anything that we do, good or bad. I recommend this book for ALL ages.

2010Harvey House Publishing216 PagesISBN# 978-0-923568-92-4
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Road Closed – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

“We’re evacuating the neighboring houses,” a voice called out.  “We need to move all those cars, now,” another voice barked.  A movement nearby caught Sophie’s attention.  Two men were carrying a stretcher, its small load covered.  Sophie stumbled over to it.  The stretcher bearers paused.  She raised the blanket.  Tom was sleeping, his face smudgy and grey.  Soon he would open his eyes and scold her for leaving home without waking him to say goodbye.  She reached out.  Gently she stroked his cheek, ran her finger along his bottom lip, round his chin.  Her eyes filled with tears and her head sank forward on to his body.  She would have stayed there forever – she had nowhere else to go – but someone pulled her away.  A hand pulled the blanket over Tom’s face as he was carried to the van.  One dead and more to go.  This is what DI Geraldine Steel will be facing and trying to prevent over the next few days as she searches for the person or persons responsible for murder and arson.  Actually she’s sure she knows who the killer is but gathering enough evidence to prove her theory has become her biggest challenge.  Her suspect seems to always have an alibi and people to back it up.  And to add to her problem, someone is trying to kill the killer.  Is it his partner?  His partner’s girl friend Brenda?  Or someone uninvolved with the present case altogether?   On top of solving the murders, Geraldine has to live with her own life as it tumbles out of control.  She’s recently lost her mother… in more ways than one, she’s loosing her sister and best friend.  She has lost her boyfriend and is in the process of loosing another one.  And these problems are all self inflicted due to Geraldine putting her job first.    Leigh Russell’s book Road Closed had me wanting to say to heck with everyone and everything else until I had turned every page.  I will admit that through her story writing she will let you see the “who” that is involved in the murders but gives no clue as to “how” the case will be solved.  This was an irritating book to read, in a good sense of the word.  Every time I thought the killer would be caught, he got away!
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Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Once upon a time in the early days of Twitter everyone said, “I don’t get Twitter.”  Time magazine reported that the CEO of Twitter agreed that most people don’t get Twitter when they first start using it.  In fact, he said he didn’t get Twitter when he first floated it as a new social network on the Web.’

If you have a computer, television or even a friend who has a computer, you’ve heard of Twitter.  It’s has to be one of the most talked about networks in cyber space.  I can’t even imagine how many people are members of this “say it in 140 characters or less” site.  I know that I’m a member that had no idea at to what it was really all about.  In the beginning I saw Twitter as a site where I could meet someone, post my message of “Hi, how you doing?”  Get an answer back from them “Fine, how are you?”  And that was about it.  After playing around on the site for a while I found its use of notifying people when I posted book reviews to my site A Book and A Dish or new recipes to my site Stir, Laugh, Repeat.  But after reading Frugal and Focused Tweeting I found that I’ve really missed the boat on it’s true purpose… promoting yourself and your product(s).

Frugal and Focused Tweeting teaches the importance and uses of hashtags, avatars, direct messages, follows and followers.  It explains the importance of taking those 140 characters allowed and making them into eye catchers.  You’ll learn what a moniker, an HTML and a RSS Feed is and how they can help you and your business.  The Author even gives you connections to other sites that will not only help on their own but also work with Tweeter to improve your visibility.

Twitter is a network that is used by millions with any and/or all of them being potential customers.  It’s a site that you can easily take full advantage of for many your promotional needs.  And I’ve found Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers to be the best source for finding Tweeter’s uses as well as how to find and use then.  And best of all, Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers is written in “English” not “computerish.”

2010HowToDoItFrugally Publishing129 PagesISBN# 9781451546149
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Rightfully Mine – Reviewed by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Zelophehad’s eyes fluttered.  “Bring my daughters and my half brothers.  I want all my family here – to bless them.”  His eyes succeeded in opening and as Rizpah looked into them, she admitted at last he was truly near death.  Moses, Joshua and Caleb, Israel’s ennobled leaders, rose tactfully to leave but Zelophehad reached a trembling arm toward them. “Please stay.  I said I want all my family present.”  Moses’ eyes softened and the three men turned back to face the old man’s bed.  “Moses – you are like a brother to me,” Zelophehad wheezed.  Moses came closer.  “We are the last, aren’t we, my friend?”  “NO,” Zelophehad inhaled sharply.  “Do not pity me.  We both know the mercy of Elohim Hayyim, the living God, do we not?  So we must accept also His judgments.  He is the object of all our human striving and the end of all seeking.  I look gladly to the end.”  He coughed weakly, but his voice gained volume.  “What will you do when this plague is over?”

Noah, who was nicknamed Rizpah by her father, is the second born daughter to Zelophehad.  She’s strong willed and minded, and often speaks her mind before thinking.  With the death of her father Zelophehad, Rizpah and her sisters are left with no man in their household.  As the rulings were, no land would be inherited by a woman, leaving Rizpah and her sisters at a loss when Israel is finally allowed to cross the Jordan.    But Rizpah will not let the injustice go without a fight.  She will speak her mind to Moses asking that her father’s land be inherited by she and her sisters.

This book came at a good time for me.  I had just bought a new Bible and had decided to start reading from page one through.  When I picked up this book to start reading I found that I had just finished reading the story of Moses and sure enough, when I went back to check I found Noah as being a real person.  The story that Aggie Villanueva has scripted made the story I had just finished in the Bible so real.  Sometimes when reading a Bible story we unconsciously see it as just that… a story.    Aggie Villanueva gave the characters of Rightfully Mine passion which made them more human and believable.  It also helped pass along the lessons to be learned from their mistakes.   I feel that Rightfully Mine would make a great book for Bible study classes and discussions, especially among young adults.
174 Pages
ISBN #978-0-557-08654-2
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Payback in Wayback – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Self-derision mocked him. What did he expect after spending twelve years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit? How did he forget the 4,380 days he’d waited for answers, and for the woman who never came? Was it not supposed to matter? Truth was – it did. It was why he’d come back to Wayback.’

Corey had served his term of 12 years in prison and now he was back where everything had originally started – Wayback, Texas. He was back for revenge as well as answers. The father of his one and only love, Tiffany, had put him in prison and then allowed her to marry Wayback’s oil Barron Les Covington. Les was twice Tiffany’s age and had passed away two years earlier leaving her with a son and more money than she would ever need.

Payback in Wayback is a story that really pulls at your heart strings. The lives of three people were put on hold due to one person’s wrong doings. Rebuilding those lives will take a lot of patience and understanding and like all good stories, there is a lesson to be learned by all of us in reading Payback in Wayback. This was a very enjoyable, well written short story and I look forward to reading more of Lynda Coker’s works.

The Wild Rose Press
45 pages

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Martha Cheves said: “Lighting The Dark Side – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Bent, Not Broken

He set his mug on the kitchen counter; and he knew that the mug was nineteen inches from the refrigerator, nineteen from t…more Lighting The Dark Side – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Bent, Not Broken

He set his mug on the kitchen counter; and he knew that the mug was nineteen inches from the refrigerator, nineteen from the sink, eleven from the backsplash, and eleven more from falling to the floor. He washed his hands for exactly one hundred and nineteen seconds and ran a hand through his hair for the third time.

Dwayne Johnson has OCD. Can the “Black-Coat Girl” that he sees at the bus stop every morning save him from himself or will he destroy her?

In The Gray

I was “in the gray,” that often-mystifying state, somewhere between sleep and consciousness where dreams blend with reality and voices on the television can be mistaken for a lost lover’s whisper.

Michael Conner is torn between a mother in denial about life and caring for his son and precious Tia. What would you do if put into his position?

Prominent Couple Slain

Staal shook his head. Even after seventeen years on the job, he had never gotten used to humanity’s capacity of violence and cruelty. The room reeked of burnt gunpowder and blood. It was the smell of murder.

What were a husband and wife doing in the apartment of one of their employees with a bullet in each of their heads. The wife held the gun so it’s apparently a murder suicide, or is it?

May 18th

“Look!” Kelly-Anne said aloud. “Meteors.” Trevor turned toward the city and watched the rocks streak across the sky and disappear on the horizon. Something was coming. The question on his mind was probably the same as for most people on the mountain. The sober ones, at least. Would this be it? A memorable night with a few shooting stars or was this the precursor of a much more serious event?

The commet, that has been named IVAN after the man who discovered it, is headed for earth. Can Trevor change the fate of the future by changing the events leading up to it? Maybe.

Blessed or Cursed?

‘Cutler had no idea how life had changed since I won almost twelve million in the lottery five months ago. The charities, both bogus and legit, hounded us night and day. The phone calls from past colleagues, cousins I never knew, everyone with their hand out for a piece of my windfall.’

Would you consider yourself “Blessed” if you won the lottery? After reading Brad’s story, I might agree that it’s possibly a “Curse.”

Surviving the Fall

“Is the shooter still in the house, Mr. Goodal?” “Yes, I think he’s dead.” “Dead, sir?” “Yes, I killed him.” James set the phone aside and took Ashley’s hand in his. “It’s ok, Ashley. They’re coming. Just hold on, sweetie. Hold on. “I love – you – James,” Ashley said almost silently, and then her body wilted and her eyes rolled back and closed. “ASHLEY, No!”

His whole life, James Goodal has been a rescuer of stray animals. Today, just days before Christmas, he rescues 14 year old Ashley form her life on the streets. Can he help her?

Lighting the Dark Side is a collection of short stories filled with compassion, fear, anger, and even a little happiness. Each has it’s own story and hidden lesson, making each enjoyable in its own way.

Xlibris Corp.
260 pages

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