Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2011


Behind Closed Doors – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

“ ‘Men have met their maker as a result of the greed and avarice of those who would turn the people of this fair city into denizens of the underground world. Be warned that their deaths will be avenged.’ It’s true that a number of workers were killed in accidents, mostly cave-in, during the excavations of the original, and some of the newer tunnels. This could be valid threats from someone with revenge in mind against the company, perhaps a friend or relative of one of the dead men. ‘God will not allow this fiendish contraption, this infernal machine of the devil to prosper. We will bring about its ruination and force the Metropolitan Railway to cease its operations forthwith, in the name of The Almighty.’”

These are excerpts from letters written to the owners, demanding that the operation of the Metropolitan Railway be stopped. They were brought to the attention of Inspector Albert (Bert) Norris and his sergeant Dylan Hillman as they are being told by their Superintendent about a murder that has taken place in the underground railway owned by The Metropolitan Railway Company. The murder takes place on the same night that Jack the Ripper made one of his own famous Whitechapel kills. Could they be related? Bert’s superior says no. He is being told, from those high up, that this is an entirely separate act that must be handled as quietly as possible to prevent bad publicity from damaging the railway company. But as other murders occur, again on the same days of the Ripper murders, it becomes quite difficult to keep these events quiet.

Author Brian L. Porter has always kept me in the dark with the endings of his books, but in Behind Closed Doors, I had him. I determined who the murderer was and had the courts ready to slip the noose around their neck by the middle of the book. Well…he did it to me again. I wasn’t totally wrong but I was nowhere near the real truth that would convict the real murder. I’m afraid my case would have been thrown out of the courts. So, the master of deception has tricked me again.

As always, Porter’s characters are believable and so real. His descriptions of the scenes place you in the middle of the action. One thing I can say with enthusiasm is this, ‘Watch out Sherlock and Watson…Norris and Hillman are on the case.’ And boy are they good!

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I Am More Than Just a Girl – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
‘You are not “just a girl”.  You are a human being who has strength, wisdom and a unique mind.  You have a million opportunities to grow and learn.  You are more than just a pretty face.  You are amazing and beautiful and have so much to offer our world.  You are equal to every woman, man and boy.  Your future is uncharted which gives you the chance to be whoever you want to be, do anything, and go anywhere.’
These are powerful words that each of us should not only listen to but hear as well.  Through the help and determination of women such as activist Gloria Steinem, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and my favorite Wilma Mankiller, the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation, women have been allowed to step out of their shells and become integral parts of life as we know it today.  And it isn’t stopping there but continuing on with YOU.
Through I Am More Than Just a Girl, Leah Oviedo has given the young women of today a map to follow as they mature.  She touches on topics such as loving yourself first and keeping positive thoughts about yourself.  She talks about angry emotions and offers ways to deal with and overcome them.  And she emphasizes the importance of taking care of your body and mind which if left to stress usually leads to physical illness.
I Am More Than Just a Girl is a book that I know would have benefited me as I grew up.  So many of the topics discussed actually pertained to my childhood but at that time and age there was no one around to tell me how to handle and deal with the situations as they occurred.  I want to recommend this book to EVERYONE who has a young woman in their life.  Even the happiest, most content young lady may still be struggling with problems of her own that she feels she has no one to discuss them with.  This book could very well help.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

Read Full Post »

Nate Rocks the World – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
 
“What in the world?”  I say quietly to myself.  I turn back around to look inside the house.  Everything I see is in shades of gray.  The blue couch in our living room is gray.  The green front door is now gray.  The grass and the trees, all gray.  Even Mom’s bright red van parked in the driveway is gray.  I look down at my body.  Sure enough, even my clothes are all gray!  I take a step outside.  It is a clear day, unseasonably warm for October.  There is not a cloud in the sky.  The sun – gray of course – shines white beams of light.  As I walk down the street, people I do not recognize start coming out of their houses wondering, as I am, what has happened.  I see a black spot in the sky growing larger.  At first, I think it is a bird, but as it approaches, I realize that it is actually a person…flying toward me.  A circle of people I don’t know, gather around me.  The man from the sky gets closer.  He lands directly in front of me, and I immediately recognize him.
Ten year old Nathan (Nate) Rockledge loves to draw.  His specialty…superhero cartoons where he Nate Rocks is the hero that saves the moment.  Give him a pencil and paper, a little quiet time and just about any situation and he will solve the problem as he saves the world.  In his cartoon world, even Captain Asteroid seeks Nate’s help to save the world from the evil Dr. Shadow.  Even the President seeks Nate Rocks’ help in recovering stolen spy equipment.  But what happens when the situation is real and not make believe?  Can the real Nate Rockledge stand up to the plate and become a true hero?
Nate Rocks the World takes the ordinary life of the Rockledge family and brings it to life as something most of us can actually relate to.  If you’ve ever had an older sister or brother, you can understand Nate’s relationship with his older sister Abby.  If your dad was like Nate’s you will see the humor in the stories he constantly tells about his own childhood.  And if you were unfortunate enough to have a mother that couldn’t cook nor sew you will definitely relate to the bad meals and bad Halloween costumes created by Nate’s mother.  This book is full of humor and sparked memories from my own childhood.  It’s light hearted and a really enjoyable book to read if you’re an adult and a fun book to have read to you if you’re still a child.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

Read Full Post »

In the St. Nick of Time – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
“Two sidewalk Santas died on the street recently from heart failure, according to the death certificates.  Both were St. Nicholas Society to End Hunger volunteers who annually played Santa at outdoor locations around the city.  They collected money during the organization’s Christmas fund drive.”  He consulted a paper he had placed on the lectern.  “Both were active, healthy men in their seventies with no prior history of heart disease, according to one of the deceased’s wives.  I fielded a call yesterday from one wife, Mrs. Heller.  She believes her husband was murdered and insisted that we open a criminal investigation.  She stated that Mr. Heller passed a full-body physical two weeks ago, purportedly in perfect health.  I’m not sure where this will lead, but I could use a volunteer to do some of the legwork for me.”
Hand raised, Kay Lynch holds her breath in hopes that Flynn Dowd will choose her to partner on this case.  The case has caught her interest.  So far there have been three incidences of sudden cardiac arrest.  Each victim is an elderly man posing as a Santa but each has apparently had no heart problems in the past.  It may have been passed off as a coincidence until Santa number 4 passes in the same way.  So, Kay wants this case to help prove herself but she also wants it for another reason.  For the first time since losing her husband 2 years earlier, Kay has found someone she really wants to be around and with.
Kay Sullivan Lynch, along with her brothers, were all police officers.  When she married Mike Lynch, she hung up her badge and became a mother of 4.  After Mike’s death Kay decided it was time to go back to the living world.  She requalified for her position with the department and was assigned to her brother Pat’s precedent.  Her oldest daughter Mary and the twin girls took her new life without problems.  Her son Mike was a different story.  He felt she should have continued life as it had been before his dad died.  So, when she hooked up with Flynn, Mike made it known how he really felt about the situation.
In the St. Nick of Time has it all.  It’s has love but I wouldn’t really call it a love story.  It has murder and suspense but I wouldn’t call it a mystery.  It has family affairs and problems but it’s not actually a self help book.  And there humor but it’s not a comedy.  What is it?  It’s all of these rolled into one and I simply loved it.  The trials Kay goes through as she juggles her life on the force, at home and her personal life, and her solutions and decisions for handling life, are so real.  As for the Santa Slayer, I could see the possibility of that happening in real life too.  This was a very enjoyable book.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

Read Full Post »

Plymouth Colony II – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
…Teris wiped her fingers across tear-streaked cheeks.  “It looks bigger than our village.”  Her fingers tightened on her brother’s arm and her voice shook.  “Do you think they’ll separate us?”  Eric leaned over and kissed his older sister’s forehead.  “You worry too much.  Just remember, out of all the billions of people on Earth, the lottery selected very few.”  His brow furrowed.  “Although, I can’t help wondering why they chose us.”
“I don’t think, for a society this advanced, they would need me as a doctor.  I’m sure they have doctors of their own.  And you?”  She shrugged. “I’m sure they have police officers, too.”  Her woeful gaze darted to his.  “Mother said they wanted people of breeding age.  I don’t know why but this makes me nervous.”  She began crying again as she thought about her family.  Starting from today, Eric would be the only family she had left.  Her children, if she ever had any, would never know the special people her parents had been.  “I wish Mom and Dad had the same chance as we do.”  One of Eric’s shoulders rose and fell.  He pushed his raven hair behind his ear.  “Don’t think about Mom and Dad anymore.  You know they wanted this for us.  They told us to put our names in the lottery, even though they knew they would be left behind here on earth.”…
Teris and Eric Keyes were both chosen by a lottery to be to leave earth before it’s destruction by meteors.  Scientists reported that over one hundred meteors were traveling toward earth, some as big as the ones that took out the dinosaurs.  After the discovery, a planet that virtually mirrors earth agreed to take one hundred thousand young people off Earth and to the safety of their planet Kelkan.  The one condition was that they must be young and of a breeding age.  Due to a plague that had been spread years ago by the reptilian beings from Novari, many Kelkans died or were became unable to produce children.  Unless outside life was introduced to their world, the Kelkani people would become extinct.
Imagine being chosen to leave the world you know to be taken to one you don’t.  As with Teris and Eric, they, as well as the others, want to trust these strange people who look like Earth people but can you really believe in them enough to put your life into their hands?  How can you be sure their promises are real and there aren’t other reasons for them rescuing your people?  You know nothing about their cultures.  You don’t even know what they eat.  But what if their promises are all true and they are really helping to save your world and way of life by rescuing as many as possible.
Plymouth Colony II will make you realize that disasters are possible and hopefully rescues are too.  This was quite an interesting book that gave me food for thought.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

Read Full Post »

Winds of Wildfire – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts.
‘Taos Pueblo is home to the Tiwa trib.  The first Spaniards named it pueblo, town, because they lived in a multi storied adobe complex.  The Pueblo has stood for over a thousand years on its original lands, even though it’s called a reservation or rez for short.  These ancient people have never known a forced march to a government imposed location which is the common stipulation for the word “reservation.”  Their long history has been preserved mostly by a secret oral tradition.  The tribe enjoys an autonomous form of government as well as full citizenship in the United States.  They rule themselves through elected tribal officials.  Their lands extend to Blue Lake, nestled in the pristine valley high up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and in various sized patches in and around Taos.  No outsiders are allowed to enter the Blue Lake lands without special permission for they are held to be sacred.  The pueblo compound is open to the public for a fee.  At the approaches to the Pueblo stands a casino, where they have not lost the art of scalping.’
Billy Stonewofl works as a guide  for tourists that visit the pueblo.  Like most of us he’s possessed with his own personal demons.  Billy’s demons consist of drugs and alcohol and have taken him to the brink of suicide.  Through the grace of his god, this wasn’t to happen.  To live with or hopefully destroy Billy’s demons he has decided to revert back to the ways of his people.  He will go to the mountains, find a cave to call home and live off the land.  What Billy didn’t expect was to find one more demon to add to his collection.  This demon came in the form of gold.  Will this add to Billy’s depressing life or will it be the answer to his prayers?  I think the answer will surprise you.
Donato Atencio is Spanish American.  His demon came in the shape of losing his wife.  Her death brought him to the edge of suicide.  Even though he came close to his final destruction, he stopped and decided to take one day at a time.  In doing so he became a volunteer caretake for the 18,000 acres of land surrounding Taos.  He made a stipend of $10.00 a day, living quarters and all the fresh air he could breathe.  He owned nothing and owed no one.  But he still carried his demon with him wherever he went in his lonely world.  Would his living one day at a time finally run out and allow him to end it all?
Amee Brooks brought her demons all the way from Boston when she bought her small farm outside the village of Questa.  The man she had loved with all her heart had deceived her.  He had turned her away from the desire to love again and turned her into a recluse.  To add to her demon was a neighbor who cut off her weekly water supply that was the lifeline for her small garden.  Fighting him would be impossible.  He was a native and she was a white outsider.  Would her demons talk her into giving up and moving back to Boston?
Billy, Donato and Amee have nothing in common yet they have everything in common.  The three have to deal with their losses and move on with life but aren’t quite sure how.  Will they be able to help each other?
Winds of Wildfire became a book of thought for me.  It made me think about things in my own life and how I have handled them and how I might have handled them differently, making me wonder if I made the right decisions when faced with my own demons.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Read Full Post »

The Island Calls – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat & Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

‘For a brief period, early in my life, things were wonderful.  When I was very young my family, which consisted of my mom and dad and my three sisters, lived in Northridge, California on Napa Street.  My mother, Nikki Philips, was young and beautiful – she was tall, blonde, slender, and a model at the time.  She had big beautiful blue eyes that grabbed you!  A perfect match for my father.  My father had come to the United States from Guam when he was 17 and still in the Marines, but he was 32 when meet my mom, and his dark good looks contrasted, yet complemented, our mother’s fair complexion.  My father’s name was Felix Montanona Garrido.  I felt lucky to have the parents I had.  My older sisters, Kim and Stephanie, were five and six when I was three.  They had a different father than Peggy and I, as our mother had been married before.  But we were a close family, always looking out for one another.  Peggy, the baby, was a year younger than I.  We lived in an old, two bedroom house with a very large fenced yard.  I felt safe and deeply loved by my family.’

Teresa Garrido’s life changed when one day her father left her mother, taking her with him.  He hoped her around from place to place until he apparently decided she would be better off with her mother.  Upon returning her, he made her promise him one thing and that was that she would always take care of her baby sister Peggy.  She made the promise and as life went on, she stepped in to rescue her sister more times than she could count.
Peggy was blonde and fair skinned like her mother whereas Teresa took after her father with dark hair, skin and eyes.  This difference in looks caused problems for Teresa throughout her school years with kids calling her names and wanting to know where she came from.  Peggy was well accepted due to her beauty and trusting nature, which brought major problems when it came to men.  Even as a child, she was the target for pedophiles.  It became Teresa’s job to watch her constantly, as she had promised her dad.
Teresa loved her father and knew that one day he would come back for her but as the years went on and no dad she quit getting her hopes up.  Then the day came that she found out her dad was dead and had actually been murdered.  This started Teresa’s search for the truth about what really happened to her father.
Searching for the truth opened doors that some would say should never have been opened, but after reading The Island Calls, I think I can understand the need for closure that Teresa Garrido Roberts may have never found otherwise.  I have to praise her for the bravery and persistence she showed throughout her life.  The Island Calls is a very involving story and knowing that it was real and not fiction made it even more so.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Read Full Post »