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Archive for December, 2012

Dead Man Haunt – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Twila and I see ghosts. We talk to ghosts. We actually hunt ghosts and enjoy the heck out of our quests. We love to prowl old buildings and graveyards, day and night, study the history of them, and occasionally chat with the long-passed occupants of both the buildings and graves. Yet out of the dozens of gone-by souls we chat with, very few ever keep our attention past that one and only conversation. Patrick, however, a ghost I met recently, had intrigued us into this upcoming adventure, the adventure Jack was so adamantly opposed to. I’d met Patrick when I joined a few local ghost hunters to investigate the historic, scheduled-for-demolition Springs Hotel in the tiny West Texas town of Mineral Springs. He stepped out of the shower in the men’s dressing room, six foot of blond nakedness, dribbles of water crawling down his tanned muscles, a white towel draped around his neck. No doubt in my mind he was a ghost, yet what a gorgeous ghost. Patrick winked at me – he could see me every bit as well as I could him. Then he disappointed me greatly when he faded back into his own dimension. I didn’t even get a chance to see if he’d show up in a photograph, because I was too rapt to remember the digital camera hanging around my neck.

Alice is a writer by occupation and resides in a lakeside cabin in Six Gun, Texas along with several cats and a dog and a mixture of ghosts who would rather stay as they are than to go into the light to the other side. Her closest neighbor Granny and her aunt Twila both indulge in Alice’s taste for the spirit side of life, or should I say death. Oh yeah, I can’t leave out the 4 legged ghost hunters, Trucker the dog and Miss Molly the cat who accompany the 3 on all of their ghost hunting trips. And I almost forgot Jack, Alice’s ex-husband who is a New Orleans detective who seems to be drug into all of Alice, Twila and Granny’s tangles with the ghosts as well as the non-ghosts. Jack just happens to be a non-believer but he can see the ghosts. Go figure.

I can’t get enough of this author. In Dead Man Haunt I enjoyed a real laugh when Alice and team are accosted by a skunk and end up taking a tomato juice bath. I laughed when Patrick would appear at the most inopportune times, sporting nothing but his birthday suit, which seemed to be his preferred mode of dress, or should I say undress. I laughed when the ghost Mary Ann, who had been cut in half, appeared scaring the pants off Delroy the ‘commando.’ But laughter isn’t all T. M. Simmons puts into the Dead Man series. I stayed in total suspense until the end trying to guess who killed Mary Ann and why. I strained my mind trying to come up with the reason for Patrick, as well as several other ghosts, still being on this side and not the other where they can find peace. And then the characters started coming together making the puzzle into a picture. But the ending still ended up being nothing that I had suspected.

I seem to be reading this series backwards starting with Dead Man Hand, book #1, which was just as good as Dead Man Haunt, book #2, I can’t wait to read book #1 Dead Man Talking. I’ve also read T. M. Simmons Paranormal Suspense Winter Prey, enjoying it immensely. As I said, I can’t get enough of this author. And did I tell you that T. M. Simmons actually lives in a haunted house in East Texas which she shares with hubby, a variety of pets and of course her paranormal residents.
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Pork Chop McQuade
Looking for Pork Chop McQuade – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

‘My illicit love affair began with a jar of homemade pickles. The whole thing started the same day Uncle Faucett got arrested for indecent exposure. I’d gotten up before daylight to fix breakfast for Bob. Then like he did every day, Uncle Faucett pecked on my front door and, like I did every day, I opened it. “Damn fool chickens ain’t layin,” he muttered. “Where’s the damn fool chickens?” He leaned on two canes. His black-rimmed spectacles, like two magnifying glasses, made his gray eyes look too big for his body. “We sold them last Thursday,” I said. “Remember? Daddy took them off.” “Oh, I forgot,” he mumbled and shuffled away. I knew he would go stand on the edge of our lane and catch a ride into town with some local farmer. He had done that each morning since he had lost his license, the unfortunate results of an accident involving a cattle trailer. Every morning he asked about the chickens and every morning I told him Daddy had sold them on Thursday, because even though it had happened when I was a girl and Daddy was now long gone, I remembered clearly that my father had sold the last of our chickens on a Thursday.’

This was the day that Raspberry Cupcake McQuade and her twin sister Cookie Thompson found themselves visiting the local police station and coming face to face with Sheriff Daniel Ransom. Apparently Uncle Faucett had run across a box, took his clothes off and was walking around town wearing just the box. This also became the beginning of changes to come in the lives of Cupcake, Cookie and Sheriff Ransom.
Cupcake and Cookie both have their own problems. Cupcake is married to Bob ‘Pork Chop’ McQuade who has papered their trailer with tin foil in the attempt to keep the government and aliens from being able to penetrate their home with their spy technology. He is so paranoid that the government is abducting their own people that he has joined a militia and is storing arms to defend himself. So, when he comes up missing, was he abducted by aliens or his own government? Cookie is the total opposite of her sister Cupcake. She is pushing 500 lbs. and becomes depressed when any form of bad news comes her way. Then we have Sheriff Ranson who became sheriff after his wife was hit by a drunk driver. He wanted to do his part to prevent this from happening to anyone else. And of course there is Uncle Faucett who is approaching 94 and seems to be losing his memory as well as some of his facilities.

After reading the first page of this book I knew it was going to be good. What I didn’t know was that it was going to be more than good, it was going to be great! With names like Cupcake and Cookie, I found humor, but that wasn’t all. This book is filled with love, compassion, heartaches, and sorrow. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book that makes me feel so many emotions at the same time. And when you put all of these together you have Looking for Pork Chop McQuade in the form of a book that I didn’t want to put down.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Yesterday’s Daughter – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Grace stared at the large stranger who filled her small apartment with his mammoth presence and suddenly felt very warm. She shook her head from side to side trying to dislodge the chaos that his words brought about. She couldn’t have heard him correctly. Had he said that he knew her parents? She didn’t have any parents. She was an orphan; that was the only thing she knew about her past. He had to be wrong! This was some kind of bad joke, wasn’t it? She started to interrupt Malachi, but he put up a hand and said, “I pled with you to listen. I know I have not handled this matter well,” he signed in frustration. “In truth, I thought I was better prepared, but I too find the situation to be most extraordinary and find myself at a loss for words.” Grace noticed how he spoke, the way he formed sentences. He spoke as if he were from a different time. Again, she started to interrupt him, but he said, “Listen please! I know your thoughts, what you must be thinking, that you grew up in foster care and that your biological parents were never found.” As he spoke, a look of great shock and bewilderment blanketed her face. No one knew that because no one knew who she really was. Who is he? How could he know so much? I ran away from my foster parents years ago. Is he a blackmailer? This is crazy, she thought. “Grace…Grace,” he said as his voice gentled even more to a smooth calming chant. “I know you are frightened and overwhelmed. But it is also true that I knew your birth parents, your real parents.”
Grace Stone’s memory goes back to foster parents and years of abuse, which she was finally able to escape by running away. Even as she lived in hiding she was still able to continue her education and had eventually acquired a job working in the morgue. She had always sensed that she was different from others. She couldn’t allow herself to be exposed to the sun. It seemed that her skin had no protection from the sun’s rays and exposure would cause severe burning of the skin. Therefore she worked nights only. Even though she was declared to be a beauty by everyone who met her, she refused to associate or become close to anyone. The strangest thing she noticed about herself was her lack of taste for normal food and her taste for blood which was easily acquired with her working within the hospital. So when she came home after a night’s work and found a total stranger in her apartment, she was more than shocked. Especially when that stranger admitted to knowing her real parents.
Malachi has been searching for his ‘life mate’ for decades. As a child she had been placed in an underground chamber to age to maturity before they were to be bonded. Due to a cave-in within the chamber, she was assumed dead even though there was never a body recovered. Malachi refused to believe that his mate had been sent to the ‘void’ so his search started and had never ended until he finally found Grace Stone. This he knew was his mate, alive and well.
Now that Malachi has found who he believes to be his ‘life mate’ he plans to take her home where she belongs. What he doesn’t know is that one of the Doctors she works with is a ‘harvester’ and wants her just as bad as Malachi does but for different reasons. Where Malachi wants her love, the good doctor wants her blood.
Yesterday’s Daughter is filled with: deception – there is a traitor among the clan; love – between two that were always supposed to be; mystery – who is the traitor?; and suspense that took me all the way to the end of the book. I thought for a while that I knew who the traitor might be but wasn’t sure until I made it to within the last few pages of the book. Was I right or wrong? You’ll have to read Yesterday’s Daughter to find out for yourself. This was an enjoyable book from beginning to end.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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The Devil’s Garden – Reviewed by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and a Dish

The conference room was full of police officers, social workers, and attorneys from the district attorney’s office. The staff psychologist, Dr. Coffee, was in attendance as well. Everyone was trying to piece together the night’s events. Officer Shelley was in a corner of the room on the phone with the investigative team in the field. “Alright, let’s go over what we’ve learned so far,” Detective Collier told his team as he tried to get everyone’s attention and get them to focus. “We have four dead men at the Colsons’ residence and two more dead mean in a plane that crashed into Calusa Harbor. All of which happened by Mr. Colson’s hand and by his own admission.”
Brandon Colson’s training had been extensive. He had served as a Recon Marine with extensive training in guerrilla warfare, jungle survival, desert survival, underwater demo, just to name a few, so when a group of Muslims attacked his family he took matters into his own hands and defended them the way he had been trained. Four never made it out of Brandon’s home, two made it to the plane but were shot down, two more did escape with one injured. Those two will forever wish they had died with their friends for Brandon would not give up until he found them.
Police Detective Samuel Collier has the duty of trying to make Brandon talk. Who were these men? Where did they come from? Why were they at Brandon’s home? Why did they want to kill him? Brandon’s answer is plain and simple… I killed them. Before charges can be brought against Brandon, Homeland Security steps in and Brandon is released. Sam is assigned by his superior to stick to him like glue, not knowing what this assignment is going to get him into. His first taste of the dangers come when Brandon and Sam embark on a mosque that Brandon feels will lead him to the two that escaped him as well as their reason for the attack.
The Devil’s Garden is truly a man’s book but I have to admit that I didn’t want to put it down. I can’t say it is an enjoyable book due to the graphics but I can say that it was an extremely interesting book. Brandon is a strong minded, God fearing man. He trusts in God to see him through all dangers while serving as a Marine as well as living as a civilian. He also trusts in God to help him do whatever needs to be done to protect the innocent and to not allow him to shed the blood of anyone innocent that he may come across. The Devil’s Garden is a very intense book written by an author that served as a Recon Marine and has written about something that he apparently knows a lot about with a lot of it probably being through experience. I can just see this being made into a movie with a strong actor like Mel Gibson being Brandon.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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