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Archive for December, 2011


The Stages of ME – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

‘We all have a beginning, middle, and eventually an end. The simple things can become so major in an appreciation of a true work. We are all works of art with our own complexities. I often find myself standing before a person as if in a museum, trying to observe the creation and realness beyond the layers. We all have so many layers. It is almost like a person’s life is a script on a theme tablet and he or she flips to the page that fits a situation. You know it’s true! In many ways this ties into our trust issues. We all have them! Do we trust enough to show our realness, or are we guarded out of fear? Do we change our tablet daily?

Life is a ‘stage’ and our Director is our Maker. He wrote the script and directs us through the many stages of Me as we go through life. Author Kathy Henderson takes us through her own personal script as she discovers the different stages of her own life. As we all know, life has its ups and downs and how we handle them and prepare for future stages depends on the faith we have not only in ourselves but also the faith we have in those touching our lives and more importantly our Director.

Kathy loved helping people, so with the help and faith of her Director, she became a Therapist in Physical and Cognitive Rehabilitation. She became the strength for those without strength. She became the sounding board for those with no one else to voice to. She even became the shoulder for those whose loved ones went on to a better, healthier place. But when she herself was struck down with a rare muscular disease, she became one of her own patients.

The strength displayed by this woman is amazing. With her own health threatening to slip over the edge, she never gives up faith in her Director as He takes her from stage to stage in life. When fear creeps into her children’s minds, she’s there to ease it away. Even when her husband is diagnosed with a heart disease, she still stands her ground and follows the script given her.

Kathy Henderson is an incredible woman with incredible strength. As she explains to us, life comes in different stages and our Director will guide us through all of them. The Stages of ME is a very uplifting book that everyone who has ever felt sorry for themselves should read.

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

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The Undertaker – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds Dessert

TALBOTT, PETER EMERSON, AGE 33, OF Columbus, died Sunday at Varner Clinic following a tragic automobile accident. President and founder of Center Financial Advisors of Columbus. Formerly of Los Angeles, a 1999 graduate of UCLA and a lieutenant, US Army Transportation Corps. By authority of Ralph Tinkerton, Executor (See also TALBOTT, THERESA JUNE, wife, accompanying). Funeral services for both at 2:00 PM tomorrow, Greene Funeral Home, 255 E. Larkin, Peterborough, Ohio. Internment, Oak Hill Cemetery, following.

‘That was me. I was Talbott, Peterson Emerson, 33 years old, and formerly from Los Angeles. I had graduated from UCLA and I had been a lieutenant in the Army. Coincidence? I didn’t think so. There was only one of me and I didn’t die in the Varner Clinic or anywhere else last Sunday. I was an aeronautical software engineer and I had never been to Columbus or heard of Center Financial Advisors much less been its President. Still, when you’re looking into a set of hard, dark eyes and a .45 automatic, it’s hard to argue the fine points.’

According to the papers, Pete Talbott was dead. He and his wife had both died in a car accident. But…Pete was very much alive and living in Boston. His death wouldn’t have bothered him that much if whoever was responsible for this notice hadn’t brought his wife Terri into the picture. Terri had died of cancer and this funeral notice was nothing but a lack of respect to her making him determined to get to the bottom of both notices. He would also have never learned of his own death had it not been for the big, burly man named Gino sitting next to him with a gun pointed at his head. He would also have never met Sandy whose husband had died a year before but apparently had just died again. Confusing? Imagine what they felt as they uncovered several deaths that had taken place at least twice.

Racing around the states, being chased by the very people who are supposed to protect them, Pete and Sandy find themselves being blamed for not only murders of innocent people but also those committed by the mob. As the puzzle starts to become clear, Pete and Sandy begin to understand why people are ‘dying’ twice. They also begin to understand who is behind this and why as they discover how high up the ladder the arm of ‘un’justice really reaches.

Have you ever read a book that keeps going and going and you see yourself running out of pages with no possibility of a ‘happy ever after’ ending? That is what I was facing with The Undertaker. As the pages ran out I could see no possible way for Pete and Sandy to escape cliff-hanger after cliffhanger. Could this be one of those books that simply don’t end with a smile. You’ll have to read The Undertaker and find out for yourself. I truly enjoyed sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the ending.

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

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Escape 2 Earth 2012 – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

‘Two tall male forms walked from the ship toward them. This was it. It was obvious from their attire that they were not from this world. It was one of the coldest nights of the winter but the thin blue shimmering material worn by the visitors seemed more than adequate to keep them warm. One of the aliens began to speak. His voice was calm and welcoming. “I bid you peace. You have no idea how long we have waited for this moment to arrive.” The two aliens bowed slightly under the moonlight while Will and Matt stood motionless and speechless. “Your friend is injured, allow us to help.” One of the aliens had dark blue hair, when he moved away from the light it actually looked black. He motioned toward Art. When they didn’t respond he picked Art up in both arms and carefully carried him up the small ramp and inside the ship. The other alien was a little shorter with shoulder length reddish brown hair. The shorter man did not speak but motioned for Matt and Will to follow. Once on the ship the door silently slid closed behind them and once again the ship seemed to vanish. Matt and Will were not the only ones amazed at the dramatic arrival of the aliens, the man who had shadowed them since their arrival at the airport was back. This time he watched, with high-powered night vision binoculars, from a clump of trees on the other side of the clearing. The stalker had shed his disguise. He would be much easier for Matt to recognize now. It was Matt’s nemesis, Dave.’

Matt and Will were not just best friends, they were also partners in a venture to photograph and hopefully find answers to the mysterious masses of ‘crop circles’ that had plagued the world for years. But, as time passed and the answers with it, Matt decided to split the partnership and take a real job. One that would keep him home where he and his wife Sara could hopefully start a family. But, as predicted by Will, Matt would soon become bored with his position at America’s Pulse Magazine. At least that was the case until Matt and Will met Arthur Collins. Art was a computer whiz with CBT Electronics. He and his team were in the process of building a new super computer. Secretly he talked Matt and Will into allowing him to submit the data they had collected over the years into the new computer to see what it might come up with a pattern and therefore answers. The answers calculated by this super computer would change the lives of not just Matt, Will and Art but the whole world. By diagnosing the data, there appeared to be 3 symbols that kept appearing in the printouts. They were 001, 034, AH and 2,012. After many calculations 001 turned out to be San Andreas Fault, 034 – England, and AH – Averbury Hedge. 2,012 was the year which was 8 years into the future. The year Earth would be destroyed.

So, where do the aliens come into play? Are they here to help or to hinder? According to them, they aren’t even supposed to be there. If their planet officials found out, they could face death. But can the trio believe what they tell them about the destruction of the world? According to them, Earth cannot be saved but the people can. How? There are millions of people on the planet and no way to get off and even if they could, where would they go?

I’ve read books that have kept me on the edge of my seat but Escape 2 Earth 2012 had me even holding my breath at times. Why? So many of the happenings are so possible. What are the pyramids really and how were they actually built? What is Stonehenge and who built it? Is it possible that there might be a planet out there that is on course to collide with Earth? Would our government even tell us if there was no way to avoid the collision? Escape 2 Earth 2012 is fiction but it sure makes sense of some of these questions. This is a truly intense book.

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

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Slade’s Destiny – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds

‘Ming could hear the click of armor and the rhythmic pounding of many, many feet as they drew closer. She could feel her heartbeat increasing and pounding heavily in her chest, using the exercises and skills taught to her as a monk she tried to quiet her rapidly beating heart. Panic and fear would only cause her to make mistakes; she needed a cool, clear and calm head. It was one of the first lessons learned in the warrior training at the Black Lotus. Less than an hour had passed before the group got their first look at the approaching army. In spite of the lanterns it was still shadowy along the length of the underground roadway. They could not be certain who they faced but she noted with a sense of relief that the army, and an enormous army at that, seemed to be primarily made of up the very dwarves that Zexsan had been leading them to see. In the very back she could just make out a group of taller figures that indicated an almost equally large human following closely behind the dwarves.’

Ming is just one of the key elements that must put a stop to the witch Shallendara’s attempt to open the portals that will cause total destruction to their world. Slade and his sister Ursula, as well as many others, have vowed to rescue their father King Erich after his kidnapping. To do this they must stand against their older brother Ulrich who has taken over the throne. Both realize his evilness and also the fact that he may have had a hand in the kidnapping as well as the death of their mother. But time is running out. Shallendara has learned what is required to open the portal. She must acquire two of the three gemstones required for the opening. When these two are brought together, the third will follow. The mystery is her motive. With the destruction of the world how does she expect to survive? How can she be stopped?

Then there is Nexus who has worked with Shallendara as a joint quest to find the stones and open the portal. But can she really trust him? Is his motive real or does he have ideas of his own? Will the two continue to work together or will they betray each other?

Book Three of the Witchcraft Wars has been a true page turner. I couldn’t wait to see Slade’s Destiny would really become the end of the series or hopefully lead to a 4th. I was completely surprised by the ending! And to my delight, there are many possibilities for continuation. Hopefully soon. My advice, read the complete set of the Witchcraft Wars in order. You won’t be disappointed.

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

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

‘Inside the still smoky house, Lieutenant Bill Kenny of the Vinyard Police Department was approached by a tall, older man in a baggy brown suit. He introduced himself as Virginia State Police Lead Investigator Bernard McNutt. McNutt assumed he was introducing himself to the Vinyard police chief since Lieutenant Kenny was wearing a suit and tie instead of a uniform. McNutt was surprised to learn that the chief wasn’t at the crime scene. He had heard the firemen on the radio talking about the four bodies they discovered and had expected the top cop to be at a crime scene of this magnitude. Kenny told McNutt the police chief left the heavy lifting to him and said he would be working more with him than the police chief. Kenny explained that the police chief did all of the media releases, the glad-handling with business people, and dealt with the town officials, and he, Bill Kenny, handled the crime and workaday part of the Vinyard police business. Then he informed the investigator of what they had found and as much as he know about the victims’ background.

Vinyard is a small town in Virginia. Most of the residences were born there and never left. Everyone knows everyone as well as everyone’s business. So when ex-postal worker Brad Harmon, his wife and two children were murdered, the first person Investigator Bear McNutt suspected was Adam Brackett. Bear has had his eye on Adam every since two girls that he had taken to his motel room disappeared to never be seen nor heard from again. He couldn’t pin it on him then but he would get his, one way or another, for the Harmon murders. But could Adam really murder the only friends he has really ever had? The more Bear talks about the case, the more people are starting to believe he could and did.

In Vinyard, you find the typical small town politics. The council rules the police chief and the judge, at least they think they do. The police chief rules his lieutenant Bill Kenny, so he thinks. Bill Kenny rules the drug dealers in town, yeah right. And the whole time, the major crimes are being committed by those that are sworn to uphold the laws. The only results can be nothing more than disastrous.

Vinyard is the story about a town that’s so corrupt that the only way it can correct itself would be to move everyone out and start over. Yet the story is so believable that I have no doubt there are many towns out there just like Vinyard. And I bet if you grew up in a small town or live in one now, you will be able to relate to a lot of the happenings in Vinyard. I know I can.

Smoke and Murders became a book that I really enjoyed and I think you will too.

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

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Love of a Stonemason – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds Dessert

‘She saw the car just as she stepped into the crosswalk. An old beat-up Fiat screeched to a stop within a few inches away from her. Karla jumped back and dropped her portfolio, spilling its content onto the pavement. Her heart thudded and she took deep breaths, trying to calm the queasy feeling in her stomach. That smell. Burnt rubber. A young man got out of the car and stared at her, stunned. “Are you all right?” Karla still dazed, nodded. She bent down and began to pick up her drawings. A few pedestrians stopped but when they realized that nothing major had happened they walked on. The driver’s dark voice rose to an angry pitch. “Jesus Christ. What’s the matter with you? You practically threw yourself in front of my car. I could’ve killed you. Are you suicidal or something?” “I’m sorry, I wasn’t watching.” Karla slid the papers back into her portfolio. “Yeah, well, that’s obvious. Wake up, for heaven’s sake.”

Meet the characters:

Karla Bocelli is an artist whose first exhibition opens the following Friday. The gallery belongs to a friend of hers who devotes time and money to help fledging artists showcase their work. Karla’s mother and grandmother were both killed in a car accident when she was still a child, leaving her to be raised by an aunt. Her father Arturo and her mother had never married and there was never a real father/daughter relationship between he and Karla. He now lived in Peru with his wife and family. The few times they had seen each other, the feelings were strained. Then Karla finds not just one but two men of extreme importance stepping into her life. Andreas O’Reilly and her art instructor Jean Philippe.

Andreas O’Reilly is a stonemason. He not only makes head stones for the cemeteries but he also does sculptures. His childhood, in ways, was like Karla’s. His mother Emilia had married his father Robert but at an early age in his life they had divorced, he and his mother moved in with her brother and his father moved back to the United States. His relationship with his mother is also strained. He blames her for the nightmares he lived through as a child. His chance meeting with Karla has brought life back into his existence. But not without problems that must be dealt with for both of them.

Through Love of a Stonemason I have traveled to Peru, Florence, Switzerland and many other countries in-between. I’ve experienced not just the beauty of these places but also took a history lesson in the arts. Through the author’s description, I feel as if I’ve just returned from a journey that I’ll never be able to take in person.

As for the story, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a love story as beautiful as Love of a Stonemason. When you combine the mistakes, the forgiveness and the love filling the pages of this book you can’t help but have a truly inspiring book. It makes you realize that there are always two sides to each story and unless you listen to both, you’ll never be able to expel the resentment you might be feeling. Great book!

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

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Eddie bit down hard to avoid himself from trembling. The finger that his father used to point at him came from the same hand that used to spank him. Wait a minute. Why am I being scared? This is why I’m always on the ropes, because my father always instilled fear in me. Edward’s eyes narrowed as he spoke. “You quit school, left this house on your own, and got that little job at the bookstore. Now you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, running around like a hamster in a wheel. Running around and not going anywhere – that’s you. You squandered everything that your mother and I invested in you. Once you decide to do something meaningful and stop writing nonsense, then I’ll help you.” He then finished off the last of his sweet potato. The tightness at the back of Eddie’s throat suddenly went away. He felt his pulse beating hard in his neck, something he never felt before. It was bad enough to be kicked when he was down. But now his dad had crossed the line. I stood up to Patrick at the bar, why shouldn’t I stand up to you? “Dad, all I have to say to that is that I can respect you all the way. You came from nothing and you became a pharmacist. You faced an uphill battle to become what you wanted.” His father didn’t appear to hear what he said. He wasn’t landing his punches. “And that’s why you are so wrong, in every way.” Eddie felt the shock and awe around him at the table as everyone simultaneously stopped eating.

Eddie Barrow, Jr. has finally confronted his father and stood up for himself. Eddie had always wanted to be a writer but that wasn’t what his parents, especially his father, wanted him to become. The lack of support from his family is what caused him to move out of their home and seek a life of his own. But, of course, independence came with its own ups and downs.

Eddie’s best friend Corey, who had once saved his life, became his roommate but he had his own problems, mainly the lack of a job. So when Eddie lost his own job there was nothing else to do but find another way to make himself known and stop the rejection letters that were coming in from the publishers after reading his manuscript. Through the help of Corey’s girlfriend Jordyn, the perfect publicity stunt was set up and put into action. They would never have guessed that this best laid plan would end up in murder with Eddie, Corey and Jordyn all three running for their lives.

Chill Run is a fitting name for this book. The twists and turns will keep the chills running as the trio has no choice but to find the real killers and expose them. But how do you make that happen when the person in the background pulling the strings has people in his pocket that can prevent you from reporting what you know to the police?

Not only does Chill Run have the action, suspense and a laugh now and then, it also speaks to the reader. Eddie’s family has shown no support for his choices in life. They insist that he follow their dreams for him and not his own. For a determined person like Eddie, this gave him no choice other than to do something he would have never even considered otherwise. And now his only goal is to keep himself and his two best friends alive, again without the support of his parents. Chill Run is a story that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next.

To enter Russell’s contest to win a free copy of his book simply write a comment and leave your email address with your post, but hurry because the contest ends 11/30/2011. Russell will be giving away 10 copies of his book Chill Run.

Russell Brooks
Author
Pandora’s Succession
Read Now – http://bit.ly/97ZcmI
Twitter – @AuthorRussell

Buy your copy today Chill Run

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

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