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Archive for September, 2011

Nick, of Time – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds 

“…please, won’t somebody help me?” his voice barely touched the darkened space while he did his very best to hold back the fear that always came when he was alone. Frank Emerson didn’t want to cry, he didn’t like to cry; and even if Nick said it was okay sometimes, he never cried without good reason – and there was nothing more that Frankie wanted than to be like his big brother. But Nick never got thrown into a smelly, old dumpster either. It wouldn’t have been so
bad if it’d been the one by the main doors of the Robert Townsend Elementary School. That was where they threw out the papers and dittos and stuff, so it wasn’t so bad in there. But for some reason, Tommy Haywood and Bruce Evans always made sure to toss him into the one behind the lunch room, into stinky old piles of half-rotted food and gross stuff from snotty pasta to curdled milk. And sometimes there was stuff he really didn’t want to think about, stuff that was mixed in with the saw dust Harry used to clean up when someone got sick.’


Nick, of Time
introduces the reader to two young brothers who, when we first meet them, are deep into the task of navigating life with an absentee parent while surrounded by playground bullies and their mom’s creepy boyfriend. There’s nothing Nick wouldn’t do to care for and protect his little brother, including running interference to keep that creepy boyfriend away from Frank.

As if tending their daily trials and needs weren’t enough, one day a friend, in the guise of the school janitor threatens to expose the shame Nick keeps buried from his brother all while revealing a destiny that any adult would find more than a little daunting. Nick and Frank were born from an ancient line of heroes who once saved the world of light and all its inhabitants from the clutches of the malevolent Living Dark and its sinister minions, the Schades. Once again,
the world of light is in danger, and these two young boys must embrace their destinies as one, to save it and all they hold dear.

Throughout the series the recurring theme is family, friendship, and the power of love to heal and overcome any hurt. There are also occasional glimpses into how even a small window of abusive behavior can leave scars and pains that echo forward in unfathomable ways. I also want to make you aware that 30% of all the author’sroyalties from Nick, of Time go to the prevention of child abuse through the “Heroes of the Line” campaign.

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An Uncommon Family – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

 

“Mama?” she whispered.  She saw the woman only from behind, but the bounce in her step, the long, reddish-blond hair flowing down her back, swaying left and right, the tall, slender figure – it must be her mother.  She tossed the rest of the ice cream into the trash can, got up, and ran after the woman.  “Mama!” she called as the woman got ready to cross the street.  The light turned from blinking red to solid red, just as the woman reached the other side.  Karla rushed after her, barely aware of the honking around her or of the shrill warning bell of the blue-and-white streetcar.  She heard someone yell at her but by then she had arrived at the other side.  The woman was walking along the river toward the Lake of Zurich.  “Mama, wait!” Karla bumped into someone.  “Watch it, kiddo.” A man stepped aside.  “Mama…”  The woman finally turned around and looked back, scanning the people behind her, then walked on.  Karla stopped dumbfounded.  It as the face of a stranger.

Six year old Karla is devastated when she realizes the woman she followed wasn’t her mother.  The disappointment she felt when finding out she had been mistaken brought her to her tears causing her to fall and skin her knees.  Jonas Bergman was walking by at that time and helped the little girl up and tried to ease her pain until her Aunt Anna made it to her side.  When Karla explained that she thought the lady was her mother, Anna had to explain to not just her but Jonas as well that her mother wouldn’t be coming back.  Karla’s mother and grandmother had both been killed in a car accident.  This was something that Karla knew but wasn’t ready to accept.

After her sister and mother were killed, Anna took custody of Anna.  She was a single woman with memories of a happier, yet devastating time when she was younger.  Twenty years ago she was married to a wonderful man and living in New York.  Live couldn’t be better.  But it could be worse and that’s exactly what it became.

Jonas was a widower.  The love of his life had died of cancer leaving him with an emptiness that no one would ever fill again.  His life now consisted of his art work and teaching.  And after seeing some of Karla’s work, he knew she would be a master student.

Now, can you take 3 very lonely people and make them into one happy family?  Can you take the lack of trust from a woman that has been hurt so badly that she swore to never trust another man and turn her into a loving companion?  Can you take a man who spends his free time talking to his deceased wife as if she is there and convenience him to take a step toward healing and happiness?  This is what Karla and her best friend Maja plan to do.

An Uncommon Family was an extremely heart touching book.  When I read a book to review I normally make notes or post stickies on pages marking events I want to remember.  I didn’t do that with this book.  I didn’t have time.  I became so engrossed that I turned page after page and forgot the notes.  This is a truly beautiful story about love and the loss of love.

 

 

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How to Tell a Great Story – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
‘The art of storytelling is not just about standing before a whole lot of people and saying the first thing that pops into your head.  It is about communicating your thoughts, ideas and vision to people in an effective manner.  It is about sharing your opinion with someone else.  It is about recording your own history for future generations.’
When I first started reading How to Tell A Great Story I thought to myself “I write cookbooks so this book won’t pertain to me.”  Wrong!  This is one of the most informative books I’ve ever read pertaining to writing and that’s all forms of writing as well as speaking.  By including speaking I want to point out that no matter what your topic, when you stand in front of someone you are a “story teller.”  Whenever you start a conversation you perform all of the steps of telling a story.  You have a theme or topic.  There is a purpose in what you are saying and your conversation will have at least one character.    How well your conversation, story or presentation is presented is determined by how strongly you emit your theme, purpose and characters.  And this is what Aneeta Sundararaj will teach you in her book How to Tell a Great Story.  She shows how to effectively make the theme the essence of the story.  How to get the purpose of the story across to your audience.  How to set up your settings using smell, taste, feelings, hearing and sight.  How to build character within your characters.  But most importantly she will help you understand ‘why’ you wrote or want to write your story.
This author takes it even further with her explanation of when, how and if you should use slang, swearing and clichés.  The use of punctuation – what to use, when and where.  And to wrap it all up she supplies the forms that can be used for your research which is a vital part of your writing.  No one wants to hear someone talk about a subject that they know nothing about.  All-in-all, this is a book that should not only be used by writers of all genres but also as a study book for corporate presentations, teachers of all school ages and maybe a pastor now and then.  I write cookbooks but I will be referring back to this for my own writings.

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Cold Hearted Son of a Witch – Dragoneers Saga Book II – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

 

‘The Crown Prince lay peacefully, as if asleep, inside the currently green-colored magical field.  He was afflicted with the Goblin King’s poison, a terrible stuff that had maddened and then slowly corroded from the inside out anyone who’d breathed it.  If the stasis failed before an antidote was concocted, he would surely die.  Jenka knew Herald was right about what had to be done, but that didn’t relieve the urge Jenka was feeling to just ignore common sense and keep his word by saving his fellow Dragoneer.

 

The Dragoneer’s Lair, as the hall was now called, was an intensely morbid place.  Queen Alvazina was often found there arguing with her husband or weeping over her son’s body.  Like Mysterian, she was a witch of the Hazeltine, and she fully understood the magnitude of the situation.  She knew Richard’s life hung in the balance, and that there was no certainty about the antidotal potion Mysterian hoped to brew.  Her sorrow seemed to sap the hope out of some of the others, thus the hall was sometimes the quietest place in Mainsted.’

 

In his first book, Mathias introduced us to Jenka De Swasso, Rikky Camille and Zahrellion, along with their dragons Jade, Silva and Crystal.  He took us through the battle with the Gravelbone and the poison that put Prince Richard into his state of suspended animation.  We saw King Blanchard and Linux change places for the benefit of the war.  We also learned the prophecy of what is called the “Confliction” that will be fought by 10 – 5 Dragoneers and 5 dragons.  But what is the “confliction” and who are the other 2 Dragoneers?  Where will they come from?  Where will the battle take place?  Will the antidote, once brewed and administered to Prince Richard, counteract the poison and bring him back to help fight in the confliction?  And will Linux and the King finally make the switch back into their own bodies?
It didn’t take me long to read M. R. Mathias’ first book.  It was packed with action, excitement, suspense and a little humor now and then, making it a fast enjoyable read.  When I read his second book in this series Cold Hearted Son of a Witch, I expected more of the same.  Well, he didn’t disappoint me.  It has everything that the 1st book had and more.
I’ve never been a big fan of fantasy books but this author is changing that.  He could carry this book into a series of 10 and I’ll read, and am sure, enjoy every one.  I love reading this series.

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Infinite Exposure – Guest Review by Matthew Morrison

Roland Hughes creates an intriguing jambalaya with his latest offering:  Infinite Exposure.  He mixes the raw carnage of high finance and international banking with a murky broth of covert “ops.”  Spicing the mixture cleverly with the bitterness of a neo-Nazi plan to eradicate al-Qaeda Cyber terrorists.  Served on a chilled plate of good old American corporate greed.  This book will wake you up to the possibilities what this world may be coming to.

Matthew Morrison
 
Order your copy by going to

http://www.infiniteexposure.net/order.html
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Dead End – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
Abigail’s head hurt.  She was afraid something was wrong with her eyes.  She couldn’t see anything.  A heavy weight was pressing down on her chest.  She fought against a feeling of nausea, and tried to turn her head but couldn’t.  “Hello,” she croaked.  No answer.  She was alone in the darkness… “Hello,” she called again.  Her throat hurt and there was a strange smell.  By now Abigail had realized she was in hospital, coming around from an operation.  Nurses of all people should have known better than to leave her lying on her back.  There was a risk she might choke to death if she were sick.  She seemed to lie there for hours, drifting in and out of consciousness.  “Hello,” she called again.  “Is anyone there?  Please?”  The light dazzled her “Am I in hospital?” she asked.  Her voice sounded far away.  “Are you a doctor?”  “Hello, Mrs. Kirby.  Mrs. Abigail Kirby.”  The man smiled.  “How are you feeling?”  He held up a syringe.  Clear liquid glistened on the tip of the needle.  The man leaned forward, his head framed by an aura of white light.
Those would be some of Abigail Kirby’s last words.  Her body would be found later in the woody part of the park with her tongue missing.  Abigail left a daughter Lucy, a son Ben, a husband Matthew and a world of questions for Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel and Detective Sergeant Ian Peterson to sort through and find the answers.  When another victim is found later with his eyes missing, the two detectives are still baffled and without answers.  What they think might be their one and only clue comes when Lucy disappears in what the family believes to be a runaway but turns out to be a bit more.  But still the clues are bleak.  Will they find Lucy before something really bad happens to her?  Will there be other murders with missing body parts before the killer is found and stopped?  Good questions and the answers won’t reveal themselves until the end.
As with Road Closed, Author Leigh Russell kept me guessing.  She gave the clues but I ignored them until the end finding myself not believing the ending as the true killer was finally revealed.  Just as Jeffery Deaver said Leigh Russell has ‘A brilliant talent in the thriller field.’  A very enjoyable book.
2011
376 pages
No Exit Press
ISBN# 978-1-84243-356-0

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For Every Action There Are Consequences – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
‘Back in my office, I set Jed’s report aside and turned my attention to the witness statements.  Neighbors had reported loud noises and shouts coming from the only bungalow in the cul-de-sac.  According to a neighbor two houses down, everyone knew about the constant arguing.  One statement quoted a woman at the top of the cul-de-sac as saying, “Liticia Tuarence often accused her husband of passing judgment on her.  I saw the police arrive more than once when things got out of hand.  We went out of our way to ignore the squabbles.  This time was different, lots of banging and profanity.”  I reread the remark about “passing judgment” and wondered if the woman had chosen the phrase herself or is she’d only repeated Liticia’s words.  According to Jed, Wes Tuarence admitted he’d stabbed his wife multiple times though he offered no explanation for his actions and refused to make any further comment.  The snapshots stapled to the file told me far more about the man than any written statement ever could.  White borders around the photos drew my attention to the gruesome details of each knife wound, giving me a measure of the hatred this man must have harbored.’
Pepper Bibeau is an insurance investigator for Early Settlers Insurance Company.  Her boss “Sully” Sullivan has just assigned her to not one but two cases that will take her to Chicago to hopefully solve.  The first case is a claim filed by a Doctor Patel who has filed claims for five members of the same family.  Due to the heredity of the children’s illness, sickle cell anemia, the probability was that the claim was correct.  But due to the lack of blood and other lab work, it became Pepper’s job to check out the claim.
Her second assignment in Chicago came in the form of a favor to Sully.  There had been an insurance policy taken out on Liticia that listed her husband as beneficiary and an orphanage as second in line.  Sully’s hopes were that Pepper could turn up something, anything, that would help to convict Wes Tuarence of murder and not allow him to claim the proceeds.  Sully personally wanted to see it go to the orphanage.
What should have been two simple cases taking just a few days to research ended up taking Pepper into the next week and almost getting her killed.  But which case was the real threat?  Were the insurance claims legitimate or was the doctor faking claims?  Were Liticia and Wes Tuarence in over their heads in something illegal that caused them to flee Chicago or are they victims of the circumstances?
As the number of deaths increased, my list of suspects declined.  At one point I really suspected it might be one of the “good guys” gone bad.  Actually, I had that suspicion until the end.  Was I right?  You’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out.
2011
346 pages
CreateSpace
ISBN# 9781456522155
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