The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthor Conan Doyle


The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthor Conan Doyle

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Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Publisher: Finisterra Books
Copyright Date: 2011
Foundational Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, Sir Hugo Baskerville, Sir Charles Baskerville, Air, Henry Baskerville, Dr. Mortimer, Jack Stapleton, Miss Beryl Stapleton, John and Eliza Barrymore, Laura Lyons, and Seldon
Standard Rating: Y
Reviewer Rating: 5
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982954328
ISBN-13: 978-0982954324
Book Dimensions: 5 x 8 x 0.5 inches
Page Count: 228
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Mystery, Detective, Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Ghost Story, Family, Investigation
Tags: Fiction, Mystery, Detective, Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Ghost Story, Family, Investigation

 

Description

From “Origins” on the Wikipedia Page for The Hound of the Baskervilles

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this story shortly after returning to his home Undershaw from South Africa, where he had worked as a volunteer physician at the Langman Field Hospital in Bloemfontein at the time of the Second Boer War.

Conan Doyle had not written about Sherlock Holmes in eight years, having killed off the character in the 1893 story “The Final Problem”. Although The Hound of the Baskervilles is set before the latter events, two years later Conan Doyle would bring Holmes back for good, explaining in “The Adventure of the Empty House” that Holmes had faked his own death.

He was assisted with the plot by a 30-year-old Daily Express journalist named Bertram Fletcher Robinson (1870–1907). His ideas came from the legend of Richard Cabell, which was the fundamental inspiration for the Baskerville tale of a hellish hound and a cursed country squire. Cabell’s tomb can be seen in the Devon town of Buckfastleigh.

Squire Richard Cabell lived for hunting and was what in those days was described as a ‘monstrously evil man’. He gained this reputation for, amongst other things, immorality and having sold his soul to the Devil. There was also a rumour that he had murdered his wife. On 5 July 1677, he died and was laid to rest in ‘the sepulchre,’ but that was only the beginning of the story. The night of his interment saw a phantom pack of hounds come baying across the moor to howl at his tomb. From that night onwards, he could be found leading the phantom pack across the moor, usually on the anniversary of his death. If the pack were not out hunting, they could be found ranging around his grave howling and shrieking. In an attempt to lay the soul to rest, the villagers built a large building around the tomb, and to be doubly sure a huge slab was placed.

Moreover, Devon’s folklore includes tales of a fearsome supernatural dog known as the Yeth hound that Conan Doyle may have heard.

The Revelation

In this, the 3rd episode of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novel series, Holmes and Watson are introduced to Sir Henry Baskerville, the American heir of the Baskerville estate. Having been born in England and raised in the United States, Henry is not unfamiliar with the legend and curse that has followed his family for generations. It was rumored that one of Henry’s Baskerville grandfathers, Sir Hugo Baskerville, who lived in the 17th century, made a deal with the devil, and since that time, a hell hound has followed, tormented, and haunted the Baskervilles intent on ridding the world of the Baskerville family name. After the death of Henry’s uncle, the late Sir Charles Baskerville, Holmes and Watson are retained by Sir Henry to help get to the bottom of the age-old family legend.

With his characteristic wit and unfailing logic, Holmes figures out who is behind the latest chapter of the Baskerville family legend, but not without a sore struggle and much frustration. Before that happens, a number of serious questions need answers: Is the hound a real dog, or is it, in fact, a spectral creature sent from the underworld? If the hound is a real dog, who desires to rid the earth of the Baskerville name, and why? Where on the moor does the hound hide?

If you, like me, and addicted to the classics, love crime and detective stories, and haven’t taken the time to read any of Doyle’s works, The Hound of the Baskervilles will make you a true Holmesian. This is an absolute classic…one that I have wanted to read for years and finally took the time to complete. I am now a very pleased and devoted Holmes/Watson fan myself.

Characteristics

This novel is recommended for all, except the youngest, readers who may find the descriptions of the hound disturbing, and may not appreciate the suspenseful aspect of the novel.

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Posted in Action, Adventure, Arthur Conan Doyle, Book Review, British, Classic, Detective, Drama, Family, Fiction, Forensic, Genre, Literature, Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller, Unexplained Phenomena, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Team Approach by Steven J. Stowell & Stephanie S. Mead


The Team Approach by Steven J. Stowell & Stephanie S. Mead
Click the link to purchase your copy of The Team Approach: With Teamwork Anything Is Possible from Amazon.com.

Author: Steven J. Stowell and Stephanie S. Mead
Publisher: CMOE Press
Copyright Date: 2007
Foundational Characters: n/a
Standard Rating: Y+
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Available Formats: Hardcover, Kindle
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0972462740
ISBN-13: 978-0972462747
Book Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1 inches
Page Count: 196
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sub-Genre: Business, Teamwork, Team-Building, Management, Leadership, Management Science, Organizational Development, Entrepreneurship, Business & Investing, Small business, Human Resources, Human Resource Management, Personnel Management
Tags: Non-Fiction, Business, Teamwork, Team-Building, Management, Leadership, Management Science, Organizational Development, Entrepreneurship, Business & Investing, Small business, Human Resources, Personnel Management

Description

Never in the history of human experience has there been a greater need for people working in groups to perform at a higher level in an effort to solve the world’s social, technical, political, and environmental problems. As organizations grow in size, as work becomes more complicated, and as competition heats up across the globe, teamwork holds the best possibility for solutions to complex problems that will enable individuals and businesses alike to flourish. From all corners of the business world, people are interested in tapping into the energy, synergy, and ingenuity that only come from a high-performing team. From our perspective, this phenomenon is neither a fad, nor a flavor-of-the-month management technique designed to squeeze more out of people. Legions of leaders, managers, and employees are rediscovering that teamwork can increase productivity, offer satisfying rewards, and produce quality relationships in the work place.
(From the publisher’s website)

From the Dust Jacket

There has never been a greater need in the history of the human experience for people working in groups to perform at a higher level in order to solve our social, technical, political, and environmental problems. As organizations grow in size, work becomes more complicated, and competition heats up across the globe, teamwork holds the best possibility for solutions to complex problems that will enable individuals and businesses alike to flourish. From all corners of the business world, people are interested in tapping into the energy, synergy, and ingenuity that only comes from a high-performing team. From our perspective, this phenomena is neither a fad, nor a flavor-of-the-month management technique designed to squeeze more out of people. Legions of leaders, managers, and employees are rediscovering that teamwork can increase productivity, offer satisfying rewards, and produce quality relationships in the work place.

The authors of The Team Approach contend that there are stunning parallels between the forces of teamwork that are observable in nature and what we see in modern organizations. Mother Nature and history are both powerful teachers as they have combined over and over again to demonstrate that teamwork is ageless and timeless. The authors will illustrate and elaborate on the key building blocks of teamwork in virtually any setting through their Diamond Model of Teamwork. This remarkably clear and easy to understand model will help anyone form and develop a team that is capable of unbelievable achievements. The elements that make up the Diamond Model of Teamwork are universal. So it doesn’t really matter if you are serving on an R&D project, government agency, sales team, manufacturing group, school staff, or a group of NBA referees huddling and debating a call. The principles and skills described in The Team Approach can help any kind of team make the leap to the next level.

Dr. Stowell and Ms. Mead make the case that team success is everyone’s responsibility. Consciously or unconsciously, everyone chooses to either help the team pull together or pull apart with their actions and words. Team members who choose to be enrolled and actively involved in the pursuit of a clear purpose with a deep sense of responsibility will generate an unbeatable force. With the right team anything is possible.

The book has been written in a straight-forward, reader-friendly fashion and is full of examples, real experiences, metaphors, thoughts, and stories to pull you easily through and explain the core concepts of the Diamond Model of Teamwork. The Team Approach is designed more for the practitioner than the academician. In a special chapter of the book, the authors explore the unique issues and challenge that leadership teams encounter and how to work through them. So, if you are looking for specific, actionable ideas to implement in your team, you have come to the right place as the authors and their colleagues share insights from 40 years of combined study, consultation, and teaching on the subject of team development.

Regardless of the particular area of interest, readers will come away with renewed motivation to help elevate their team to a new standard of performance.

The Revelation

Voicing the business case for creating and developing effective working teams has been a big business over the past 20 years or more. Research in this area has increased, too, and has shown that teams that work well together experience more success. While it may be cliché to include a sports team example, there is no better metaphor for making the business case for establishing and training teams to work together. Ball teams that act like a team and play like a team win more games. Many readers will likely say to themselves, “Duh? Everyone knows that teams who act like teams, and work together like teams, perform at a higher level.” This begs the question: So why aren’t more teams performing better? I think the answer is this: they simply don’t know how.

The Team Approach by Steven Stowell and Stephanie Mead presents a model for teams to use that will help them improve their performance. This model can be applied to businesses and any other organization style that forms people into groups in order to get things done.

The Diamond Model of Teamwork is probably the strongest aspect of this book. Backed by research, the authors elaborate throughout the book on ways to help teams work better together. It is the Model that drives the whole process and is divided into three main areas:

  1. The Center
    • Leader
    • Member
  2. The Middle Area
    • Direction
    • Process
    • Community
    • Structure
  3. The Outer Edge
    • The Environment

All of these topics impact teams in very intriguing ways. Stowell and Mead elaborate extensively on each of these points, drawing on real world research and experience as they work the reader through each point of the model. Also, their colleagues chime in and add their experience to help readers understand key points of the model. Their clients have found a lot of success while using the Diamond Model of Teamwork in their teams and businesses. If your team needs help, this book may contain the solution.

Characteristics

This book contains no questionable material and is well-suited for all readers.

Click the link to purchase your copy of The Team Approach: With Teamwork Anything Is Possible from Amazon.com.

Posted in Book Review, Business, Business & Investing, Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, Human Resources, Interactions, Lead, Leader, Leadership, Management, Management Science, Organizational Development, Personnel Management, Professional & Technical, Relationships, Self-Help, Small business, Social Science, Sports, Stephanie S. Mead, Steven J. Stowell, Team Building, Teamwork | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman


Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman
Click the link to purchase your copy of Red Hook Road from Amazon.com.

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Author: Ayelet Waldman
Publisher: Anchor
Copyright Date: 2011
Foundational Characters: Daniel and Iris Copaken, Ruthie Copaken, Mr. Kimmelbrod, Jane Tetherly, Matt Tetherly, Becca Copaken, John Tetherly
Standard Rating: A
Reviewer Rating: 5 Stars
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307275825
ISBN-13: 978-0307275820
Book Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
Page Count: 352
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Family, Saga, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Literary, Literature,
Tags: Fiction, Grief, Death, Family, Wedding, Class, Marriage, Family

Description

As lyrical as a sonata, Ayelet Waldman’s follow-up novel to Love and Other Impossible Pursuits explores the aftermath of a family tragedy.

Set on the coast of Maine over the course of four summers, Red Hook Road tells the story of two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, and of the ways in which their lives are unraveled and stitched together by misfortune, by good intentions and failure, and by love and calamity.

A marriage collapses under the strain of a daughter’s death; two bereaved siblings find comfort in one another; and an adopted young girl breathes new life into her family with her prodigious talent for the violin. As she writes with obvious affection for these unforgettable characters, Ayelet Waldman skillfully interweaves life’s finer pleasures—music and literature—with the more mundane joys of living. Within these resonant pages, a vase filled with wildflowers or a cold beer on a hot summer day serve as constant reminders that it’s often the little things that make life so precious. (From the author’s website)

Praise

“This book made me happy, and happy to be alive. It took me out of my home on the coast of South Carolina, placed me in the town along Red Hook Road, and changed me the way good books always do.”

PAT CONROY, My Reading Life

“A thoroughly gripping and elegantly written story about love, grief, friendship, and the unexpected ways in which disaster brings families together.”

KHALED HOSSEINI, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

“Red Hook Road is a masterful imagining of the way a single tragic event impacts the psyches and behaviors and dynamics of two families. Waldman’s writing is elegant and riveting.”

KELLY CORRIGAN, The Middle Place and Lift

The Revelation

Admittedly, it took me a long time to get through this book. The plot unfolded very slowly. However, I tend to be an optimist, and I am a patient person, so I allowed the plot to unfold as it would. I questioned whether I would actually finish the book on a few occasions. After one of these-the last one-I decided that Waldman had something interesting and profound to say, and that she was simply taking her time getting to it. That was the point that I stopped requiring more out of the book than it provided immediately.

Red Hook Road is a good example of the difference between fiction and literature. The authors of numerous works of fiction spell everything out for their readers. In effect, authors of basic fiction tell their readers, “This is what I want you to see, this is what I want you to feel, this is what I want you to take away from this narrative.” The lessons, the meaning, the essence, the meat and potatoes of the story are spoon-fed to the reader. Don’t get me wrong; I like a good spoon-feeding as much as the next guy. But I also cherish a read that makes me think, that makes me ponder, that makes me struggle. All along, I had an idea of the point Waldman was getting at. All along, I could see where she was going. She laid the groundwork of her thesis for well over three hundred pages, and when she finally gets to it, she couches it in metaphor:

“Oh,” she said, wiping her eyes, not sure what was bringing her to tears. “Poor Matt.” That was not sufficient to explain the strange mixture of sorrow and gratitude that she felt, sheltering in her husband’s strong arms. But it would have to do.

“Poor Matt,” Daniel agreed. “But, like he said, it’s only a boat.”

That was true, Iris would sometimes think, about marriage: it was only a boat, too. A wooden boat, difficult to build, even more difficult to maintain, whose beauty derived at least in part from its unlikelihood. Long ago, the pragmatic justifications for both marriage and wooden-boat building had been lost or superseded. Why invest countless hours, years, and dollars in planning and carving, gluing and fastening, caulking and fairing, when a fiberglass boat can be had at a fraction of the cost? Why struggle to maintain love and commitment over decades when there were far easier ways to live, ones that required no effort or attention to prevent corrosion and rot? Why continue to pour your heart into these obsolete arts? Because their beauty, the way they connect you to your history and to the living world, justifies your efforts. A long marriage, like a classic wooden boat, could be a thing of grace, but only if great effort was devoted to its maintenance. At first your notions of your life with another were no more substantial than a pattern laid down in plywood. Then year by year you constructed the frame around the form, and began layering memories, griefs, and small triumphs like strips of veneer planking bent around the hull of everyday routine. You sanded down the rough edges, patched the misunderstandings, faired the petty betrayals. Sometimes you sprung a leak. You fell apart in rough weather or were smashed on devouring rocks. But then, as now, in the teeth of a storm, when it seemed like all was lost, the timber swelled, the leak sealed up, and you found that your craft was, after all, sea-kindly (338-339).

After I read that passage, I almost stood up and gave the novel a standing ovation. Her metaphor was beautifully laid out, perfectly placed, and well-received-at least by this reader. Yes, it took me a while to get through this book. But I believed I found what Waldman wanted me to find, most of it anyway. She sprinkled a few points of interest throughout the story. It was enough to keep me coming back for more, and enough to convince me that she had more to say.

I found the characters very intriguing. They were very relatable, even though I have never been to Maine or New York City. And I don’t know any Jews. But I felt like I knew these characters, like we were friends hanging out on the beach eating lobster salad watching fireworks. That is literature.

Characteristics

This novel contains numerous instances of adult language, sex, and musings related to other adult subjects.

Click the link to purchase your copy of Red Hook Road from Amazon.com.

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Posted in Ayelet Waldman, Book Review, Contemporary Women's Fiction, Drama, Family, Fiction, Literary, Literature, Saga | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman


The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman

Click the link to purchase your copy of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts from Amazon.com.

Author: Gary Chapman
Publisher: Northfield Publishing
Copyright Date: 2004
Foundational Characters: n/a
Standard Rating: Y+
Reviewer Rating: 5
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Kindle
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802473156
ISBN-13: 978-0802473158
Book Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
Page Count: 208
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sub-Genre: Self-Help, Health, Fitness, & Dieting, Relationships, Marriage, Love & Romance, Christian Books & Bibles, Christian Living, Psychology & Counseling
Tags: Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Health, Fitness, & Dieting, Relationships, Marriage, Love & Romance, Christian Books & Bibles, Christian Living, Psychology & Counseling, 5 Love Languages, Five Love Languages

Description

Falling in love is easy. Maintaining healthy relationships is a daily, lifelong pursuit. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Once you know your “love language,” you’ll understand why some attempts at romance work while others fall flat. Dr. Gary Chapman’s perennial New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages® is full of “Aha!” moments that make expressing love easier and more desirable. You’ll find yourself more motivated and more confident that you can succeed in having the relationships you’ve always wanted. More than five million copies sold! (From the publisher’s website)

The Revelation

On many occasions, I have wondered how many hundreds of marital advice books are out there. When I first picked this book up, I had a hunch that it would be just another one of those books that some doctor wrote that was based on some Band-Aid theory that has no basis in reality, let alone real life. However, as I read (for the purpose of full disclosure, it took me a while to get through it), I found a lot of well-grounded advice. Dr. Chapman has been a marriage counselor for a number of years, and has applied his love language theory to numerous marriages — including his own — with miraculous results. In fact, when I first started reading the book, a friend saw me reading it and told me, “That is a good book. It will change your life and your marriage.”

The five Love Languages are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

They are simply labeled, but for those of us that don’t speak a particular language, they are difficult to understand and act out for our spouses and those we love. Dr. Chapman digs deep into each love language and explains the intricacies of each language. He also explains how to determine what your love language is (primary and secondary) so you can help guide your loved ones in that direction. He also includes two love language tests in the back of the book, one for men and one for women, to really focus in on your love language.

The book also includes practical, tactical advice about how to speak a particular love language. The advice is really helpful, especially for those of us completely unfamiliar with how to navigate a particular language. After reading this book, I have a better idea of how to navigate through the relationships that are most important to me, and I believe that if you read it, you will feel the same.

Characteristics

This book is written for a general audience, but especially for married couples.

Click the link to purchase your copy of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts from Amazon.com.

Posted in Book Review, Dr. Gary Chapman, Family, Health, Home, Home Life, Interactions, Mind-Body, Non-Fiction, Personal Transformation, Psychology & Counseling, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worlds Apart by Luke Loaghan


Worlds Apart by Luke Loaghan
Click the link to purchase your copy of Worlds Apart
from Amazon.com.

Author: Luke Loaghan
Publisher: CreateSpace
Copyright Date: 2011
Foundational Characters: David Orpheus
Standard Rating: Y+
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1461169658
ISBN-13: 978-1461169659
Book Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
Page Count: 398
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Youth Fiction, Young Adult, High School, Coming of Age
Tags: Fiction, Youth Fiction, Young Adult, High School, Coming of Age

 

Description

Luke Loaghan’s first novel, Worlds Apart was published in May of 2010. Although he majored in English Literature (a long time ago), Luke had given up on writing for the past 16 years. He spent ten years in corporate America, and has been an entreprenuer for eight years.

When Luke Loaghan attended his twenty year high school reunion, he realized that many people were still obssessed with high school, even two decades after graduating. “Some people never get over high school.”

Boiling over with ideas, Luke started writing again. It was a long process with multiple rewrites and many plot changes. Two years later, Worlds Apart was completed.

But what is Worlds Apart about? “Its really about regret and indecisions about high school. For some people, the decisions they make or don’t make in their senior year stays with them for their entire life. The characters and the supernatural ending summarizes how friendships and how people go their separate ways after high school.”

Luke’s favorite Greek myth is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice (included) but readers will find another greek myth retold as a substory.

Summary of Worlds Apart

Stanton High School is an ultracompetitve New York City high school in Brooklyn. There are nine students deaths every year. Surviving senior year has never been so stressful. Its the 1980’s and crime, gangs, and violence, have taken over New York City.

The story follows David from the first day of his senior year in high school, all the way to graduation. Doubts, a lack of direction, and regret are weighing heavily on his mind.

David is an insecure musical prodigy confused about college, life, and career choices. He can’t trust his teachers, or his classmates. The only thing he knows for sure is that he is interested in Delancey, the girl of his dreams. But she is out of his league. David sings and plays guitar, but must give the performance of his life in order to win back the girl of his dreams. An unforeseen supernatural plot twist leads the reader to a suspenseful ending.

Worlds Apart is a modern day retelling of the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. (From the author’s website)

The Revelation

A talented guitar player, a competitive high school in an extremely dangerous New York City neighborhood, and a wild senior year create a very compelling novel. Stanton is the high school equivalent of an Ivy League university. It is very difficult to get into, and very difficult to graduate from once accepted. Stanton is the kind of high school that prepares students to be the best of the best at whatever profession they choose, whether it is business, medicine, law, engineering, or literature. The level of stress many students experience literally pushes their sanity to the brink of failure, and a number of them, during their senior year, commit suicide because they simply cannot handle the pressure anymore. The level of competition is so fierce that other students are relieved to see a classmate carted off to Belleview Mental Hospital. With one more student gone, the students ranked below the latest mental patient move up into better positions. The same occurs when students knock themselves off or become victims of the drugs and gang violence that happen on the streets surrounding Stanton.

A major theme Worlds Apart covers is the simple fact that you cannot change the past. Early in the story, David says, “I wished I was built faster and stronger, that my body had produced more testosterone. I wished that I had developed hand-eye coordination like a short stop or a point guard. If that had happened, I could’ve been a great athlete. But I can’t waste anymore time looking back at what could’ve been. No more looking back, only looking forward.”

Every high school student struggles to find their place in the world. Luke Loaghan points out the fact that most high school graduates never find their place in life. Many of them never escape their high school glory days, as if they are the best days of their lives, never to be replaced by anything better.

Overall, Loaghan’s story is successful, compelling, and worthwhile. Unfortunately, it is also obviously self-published. My educational training has engrained in me the simple fact that perfect language does a much better job at communicating the author’s desired message. If readers are tripped up by poor grammar, punctuation mistakes, poor sentence structure, and a host of other issues, the effect your writing can have on the reader is diminished significantly. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Authors, before self-publishing anything — poetry or prose — have a professional or freelance editor help you work the kinks out of your writing. Yes, it may cost you a few hundred extra dollars, but the end product is always better, cleaner, polished, and refined. Though Worlds Apart is a really good story, an editor would have been able to work wonders on Loaghan’s prose.

Characteristics

Some content may be inappropriate for younger readers.

Click the link to purchase your copy of Worlds Apart
from Amazon.com.

Posted in Drama, Fiction, Literary, Luke Loaghan, Young Adult, Youth Fiction | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sulphur River by Art Anthony


Sulphur River by Art Anthony
Click the link to purchase your copy of Sulphur River
from Amazon.com.

Author: Art Anthony
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Copyright Date: 2009
Foundational Characters: Art Logging, Darrell Stroud
Standard Rating: YA
Reviewer Rating: 2 Stars
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audible
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607995433
ISBN-13: 978-1607995432
Book Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
Page Count: 316
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Historical Fiction, Civil War Era, Friendship, Family
Tags: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Civil War Era, Friendship, Family

Description

As the Civil War draws to a close, the desperate Confederate army drafts fifteen-year-old Art Logging in place of his dying father. Sulphur River follows Art and his friend Darrell Stroud through their service in the Red River campaign and into their journey to make men of themselves. Art’s keen eye for business opportunities in the midst of a crumbling nation and Darrell’s resourceful support could set both boys up for a comfortable life in Northeast Texas. If only it were that simple.

Art and Darrell aren’t the only ones looking to take advantage of chaos in the South in the mid-1860s. They must navigate their cotton, cattle, and horses around Confederate deserters, a crooked lawyer, and their own passions to reach the markets where they are most likely to make a profit. The boys find natural allies among neighboring farmers and a few unnatural allies in escaped slaves, Indians, and even Union soldiers.

Author Art Anthony has loaded Sulphur River with research into the history, culture, and economics of the eastern edge of the Old West. Those interested in Civil War history or pioneer stories will especially appreciate the adventures of Art Logging.

Art Anthony was born and raised in Goose Creek, Texas and now resides in Tuttle, Oklahoma. He retired in 2005 after twenty-three years in education. The last ten years he was superintendent of South Fork School district in Kincaid, Illinois. He moved to Oklahoma to be near his two grandsons. Art again began teaching for Oklahoma City public schools at Southern Hills Elementary. Earlier in his career Art was involved in agriculture manufacturing and marketing. He has four children and six grandchildren. (From the publisher’s website)

The Revelation

The story of Sulphur River started out well. Anthony laid out the plot and started his character development much the same way as many other authors. After some twenty pages, I began to notice a trend. I flipped back a few pages, and then forward a number of pages just to confirm my suspicion. I was right. I wasn’t going nuts, and I wasn’t falling off my rocker. I was right. For some reason, Anthony wrote the whole of Sulphur River without using dialogue.

Sure, some dialogue is present, but not in the traditional sense. What I mean is this: When an author sets dialogue apart from the rest of his or her text, the author does so with quotation marks and direct quotes made by his or her characters, as follows.

“This is something that one character says to another,” said one character to another.

“This is what the other character says in reply,” replies the other character.

Dialogue like this is not present in Sulphur River. When I first realized what was going on, I was somewhat put off as the reader. I felt cheated in a way.

Instead of using direct dialogue from the characters’ point-of-view, the narrator explains everything to do with the characters using the same tone, the same cadence, the same level of familiarity with one character as it does with another from only the narrator’s point-of-view. Because of this one-dimensional level of depth, the reader is left with an otherwise good story that is written as if it were just the outline of the story as a whole. The story looks like Anthony took his notes in a sort of weak outline form and published them instead of waiting to finish the story and publish the whole story.

At first glance, I thought I would be able to get over it, but as the pages passed, I grew more and more annoyed at what I was missing out on. Sulphur River could have been a very successful story had Anthony provided it to his readers. But instead, we are left with just the idea of the story only. I would have liked it a lot more given the full story.

Characteristics

Contains teenage sex and other adult content.

Click the link to purchase your copy of Sulphur River
from Amazon.com.

Posted in Art Anthony, Family | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Nomad on the Run by Georges Benay


Nomad on the Run by Georges Benay
Click the link to purchase your copy of Nomad On The Run from Amazon.com.

Author: Georges Benay
Publisher: Bookstand Publishing
Copyright Date: 2011
Foundational Characters: Eric Martin, Jeff Offenbach, Valerie, Laura
Standard Rating: YA
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Available Formats: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1589098404
ISBN-13: 978-1589098404
Book Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
Page Count: 290
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Tags: Fiction, Action, Adventure, Thriller

 

Description

Nomad on the Run is a fast-paced action adventure novel based in the North African kingdom of Morocco about greed, deceit and a viscious scheme to terrorize the global financial markets.

“You will find a humane hero caught in situations that deliver realistic emotions and thrills aplenty along the way … a completely engaging read from beginning to end.”
—Stevan Jovanovic, Author.

“A world-class novel that will have you reading right up the final cryptic page. You will enjoy the trip … a winner right out of the starting gate.”
—Chuck Waldron, Author.

“Georges Benay’s Nomad on the Run is a riveting thriller imbued with one difficult choice after another for the central character. One wrong step and all may be lost, “But when you feel a strong urge to do something, you must follow your heart. Nothing else must stand in your way, no matter what the consequences.” An intriguing plotline, vivid descriptions of foreign settings, and stunning character development are just a few of the many positive aspects that Nomad on the Run offers.”
—Mihir Shah, New Media. (From the author’s website)

———-

Beneath the golden desert and azure seas of Morocco lurks a hidden world of greed, deceit and financial terrorism. But the players are not who you might think.

Lured away from his seemingly idyllic life as a managing director for a major international bank in Toronto, Eric Martin returns to his ancestral roots in Morocco. Tempted by a mysterious offer from a boutique financial firm, Eric soon discovers he has walked into the middle of a whirlwind where everyone has their own secret agenda, and he unwittingly has become the key to unlocking them all. From the broad avenues of Toronto to the mean streets of Casablanca, Eric rushes to discover the truth before time runs out.

But who can he trust? The power and attraction of money is strong. In the midst of a dangerous cast of characters, Jeff Offenbach, bank president, knows more than he lets on. But how much does he know? Is he a key player in a scheme to terrorize the global economy, or is he just trying to save his firm from becoming another victim of the global economic collapse? Valerie is the unknown factor. Is she involved in the partners’ machinations, or is she as guileless as Eric?

Can he trust her?

And more importantly, will he survive long enough to find out?

“Georges Benay has written a world-class novel and will have you reading right up to the final, cryptic message. You will enjoy the trip … a winner right out of the starting gate. He has peopled Nomad on the Run with a wide range of interesting and believable characters, and created a word canvas rich in detail … and when the reader has maneuvered past the plot twists and reads past the roadblocks in the protagonist’s path, the reward will be a story you will remember long after you read the last page.”
—Chuck Waldron, Author of Served Cold, Tears in the Dust, and Remington and the Mysterious Fedora. (From the publisher’s website)

The Revelation

In a suspenseful thriller approaching the quality and depth of John Grisham and Dan Brown, Georges Benay takes a deep look at the financial systems of the world and deconstructs the problems of a broken system. Because our current world financial system is so fragile, is would be relatively easy for terrorists to strike at the heart of the world economy. After all, if the world financial system were to collapse, whole societies would fall with it.

Eric Martin is a very successful investment banker who is lured to Morocco-the country of his ancestral roots-when a strange professional opportunity presents itself. The timing could not be more perfect. His relationship with Laure, his long-time girlfriend, is falling apart, and his position at the Banque du Commerce in Montreal, Canada was threatened by internal politics. Forced into a leave of absence, Eric took the time he needed to reassess his live and goals. Then the note that would change his life forever came from out of nowhere.

The note was nondescript and looked like another piece of junk mail. Eric almost threw it away before opening it. When he opened it, it was obviously hand-written, and oddly featured a type-written phone number. That is when Eric’s adventure began.

Leaving Laura and her quirks and demands behind, Eric boarded a plane to Morocco with a one-way ticket. Once he steps off the plane, his whole world changes and will never be the same again. What else would you expect from a good suspense novel? Nomad on the Run is a page-turner from beginning to end. I wouldn’t be surprised if a big publishing house picks this one up sometime soon. I doubt this will be the last novel the reading public will see from Georges Benay.

Characteristics

Contains some adult themes and language.

Click the link to purchase your copy of Nomad On The Run from Amazon.com.

Posted in Action, Adventure, Fiction, Georges Benay, Thriller | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Ticket by Sean Liv


The Ticket by Sean Liv
Click the link to purchase your copy of The Ticket from Amazon.com.

Author: Sean Liv
Publisher: Sean Liv Productions
Copyright Date: 2010
Foundational Characters: n/a
Standard Rating:  Y+
Reviewer Rating: 3 Stars
Available Formats: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN-10: 098139860X
ISBN-13: 978-0981398600
Book Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 0.6 inches
Page Count: 294
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sub-Genre: Health, Fitness, Motivation, Transformation, Mind & Body, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Recipes
Tags: Non-Fiction, Home, Organization, Exercise, Workout, Health, Fitness, Motivation, Transformation, Mind & Body, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Recipes

Description

The Ticket is perfect for people who have been trying to lose weight, make positive changes in their life or live out a dream they’ve always had. With practical tips and motivational stories, The Ticket shows people how easy it can be to break through their barriers and find their own inner power. The Ticket gives straightforward advice for strengthening body, mind and spirit, creating a united foundation for profound and positive change. It’s full of exercises you don’t need a gym membership for, tips for smart grocery shopping, strategies to make better choices – and more! It’s the ticket to a transformed life! (From the author’s website)

The Revelation

Have you ever seen that romantic comedy movie? Yeah, the one in which the male character meets the female character, does something stupid to screw the relationship up completely, and then does something else to mend the relationship so they can live happily ever after? That type of film is what film critics call the “cookie-cutter romantic comedy”. In other words, so many romantic comedies have been made that fit that description that viewers can see them coming from a mile away. This is true for all cookie-cutter film genres. A number of action and drama films can be considered “cookie-cutter” as well. Similarly, the motivational/self-help book genre is seeing the emergence of a number of seemingly cookie-cutter titles as well. The Ticket by Sean Liv shows a number of the cookie-cutter symptoms found in this genre.

Here’s the pattern that books like this follow: The author had a rough, boring, unfruitful, pointless life until one day they decide to get up and do something different. Before their transformation, they are typically fat and unhealthy, suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth, have a number of toxic relationships, and are at a low point in life. After waking up sick and tired of their lives, they decide to finally do something about their lives. They stop eating poorly and begin to exercise and get active. They finally see a professional for counseling, or start living the advice a number of past counselors gave them years before. When they start seeing the fruits of their new activities, they begin to feel empowered, full of life and energy, and ready to conquer the world. Then they decide they need to become a personal trainer, motivational speaker, or guru of some sort, write a book, and attempt to pass their experiences off as something new.

The funny thing about books like this is that they are everywhere. Literally everywhere. The contents are all the same, and because the author somehow feels enlightened, they also feel the responsibility to share their message with the world. Then a new book is born, or a new diet, or a new and improved exercise routine. Or, in other words, more of what the world does not need.

The intended audience of a book like The Ticket needs to realize something and realize it fast: What you need to improve your life, help you make better decisions, and make improvements is not found in a book like this. Hire a personal trainer, or a therapist, or find a priest or other ecclesiastical leader, that will help you find the root of your problems so you can fix them first. Once the root causes of your problems are identified and dealt with, life will start to improve. The latest and greatest fitness or nutrition guru’s book will not help you in the least.

Characteristics

This is another health/fitness/transformation book. Approach at your own risk.

Click the link to purchase your copy of The Ticket from Amazon.com.

Posted in Autobiography, Fitness, Health, Interactions, Leadership, Mind-Body, Non-Fiction, Nutrition, Personal Transformation, Psychology & Counseling, Recipes, Relationships, Sean Liv, Self-Help, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Contact: Digital Science Fiction Anthology 1, Compiled by M. Willis, S. Helleiner, and C. Ham


First Contact: Digital Science Fiction Anthology 1

Click the link to purchase your copy of First Contact – Digital Science Fiction Anthology 1
from Amazon.com.

Authors: Ian Creasey, Ed Greenwood, Ken Liu, Jennifer R. Povey, Rob Jacobsen, Edward J. Knight, Jessi Rita Hoffman, Kenneth Schneyer, David Tallerman, Curtis James McConnell
Publisher: Gseb Marketing Inc.
Copyright Date: 2011
Foundational Characters: Contains ten short stories with with unrelated plot lines.
Standard Rating: YA
Reviewer Rating: 4
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0986948411
ISBN-13: 978-0986948411
Book Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
Page Count: 192
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction, Short Story, Imaginitive Fiction, Anthology
Tags: Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story, Imaginitive Fiction, Anthology

Description

First Contact — Digital Science Fiction Anthology 1, was first published in June 2011, and is available in all popular eBook formats and regular print. The digital price for First Contact is just $3.99 USD, and the print version is a reasonable $11.99 USD. This first release of our science fiction anthology series is approximately 54569 words in length, and is 192 pages in the 6×9 perfect bound print version. All stories are original and first published in this collection.

First Contact contains ten original science fiction short stories from professional fiction writers. Each story is between 3500 and 7500 words in length, allowing for rich tales and well developed characters. (From the publisher’s website)

The Revelation

First Contact is a compilation of short science fiction stories, the authors of which were the winners of the first Digital Science Fiction writing contest. The works of ten authors are included in this compilation:

  • Ian Creasey
  • Ed Greenwood
  • Ken Liu
  • Jennifer R. Povey
  • Rob Jacobsen
  • Edward J. Knight
  • Jessi Rita Hoffman
  • Kenneth Schneyer
  • David Tallerman
  • Curtis James McConnell

Digital Science Fiction uses a fairly loose definition of science fiction to guide the writers towards the end goal. The definition used is provided by Wikipedia and can be found on their Submission Guidelines page.

The writing is good. The Digital Science Fiction editorial team picked ten stories that are very good. The first story, for example, written by Ian Creasey, is about an alien life form that I imagined is the size of a household pet (like a dog or a really large house cat) that helps its owner lose weight in an imaginative way. The next story, by Ed Greenwood, could be described as a mix between fantasy and science fiction that is heavier on the science fiction end of the spectrum, and thus worthy of being published in a sci-fi anthology.

All in all, this was a captivating read. I love the short story fiction form because you get all of the oomph of a longer piece of fiction in a smaller package. All of these stories have intriguing twists and turns that show their authors’ story-telling skill and proficiency. Even the story titles themselves are appealing. For example, Creasey’s story is titled, “How I Lost Eleven Stone and Found Love.” Greenwood’s story is called, “Biting a Dead Man’s Hand.” What’s also great about this publication is that it’s the first in a series of monthly publications that will likely be of the same high quality.

Characteristics

Contains adult themes and language.

Click the link to purchase your copy of First Contact – Digital Science Fiction Anthology 1
from Amazon.com.

Posted in Action, Adventure, Book Review, British, Fiction, Multiple, Sci-Fi, Short Story | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Presidential Risk by Michael Bronte


Presidential Risk by Michael BronteClick the link to purchase your copy of Presidential Risk
from Amazon.com.

Author: Michael Bronte
Publisher: iUniverse
Copyright Date: 2010
Foundational Characters: Dead U.S. Presidents and Other World Leaders, Pauli Campo, Angel Martinez, Ann-Marie Doherty, Others
Standard Rating: YA
Reviewer Rating: 3 Stars
Available Formats: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1440156808
ISBN-13: 978-1440156809
Book Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.8 inches
Page Count: 34
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Politics, War, Metaphysical, Military
Tags: Fiction, Politics, War, Metaphysical, Military

Description

When dead presidents in a supernatural world play the board game of world conquest, their moves are carried out in the human world.

Leaders are born and dictators rise to power as presidents past, such as Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, and others, plot their moves. One of them makes a move, and invasion takes place on Earth.

In the supernatural world, it’s about strategy, wits, and the will to win. But on Earth, it’s an action and adventure story featuring a psychopathic dictator threatening the United States, and the boy who will grow up to stop him from taking over the world. It might seem impossible, but history is being determined before it actually happens.

In the end, it’s all about leadership, and little Pauli Campo emerges from his meager existence to lead his country in the fight to avert a world war that could lead to the deaths of millions of people. This is the unGame, and the struggle for world domination continues with each roll of the dice in Presidential Risk. (From the author’s website)

The Revelation

Using the spirits of dead presidents of the United States and other world leaders, Michael Bronte creates a war tale that is similar in nature to the board game, Risk. To the dead, the earth is a game board, and all of humanity are the game pieces. The story begins in the world of spirits-a place of stars, universes, and constellations. The players of the game assemble in a room and roll dice to decide which player gets the first move. When the winner is determined and the first moves are made, life on earth will never be the same again.

There are two different settings in this novel. The first is the place where the place where the spirits of dead presidents, etc. gather. The second is present-day earth. The novel started out in the spirit world, and it was a rough start. Instead of naming all of the players as they were named while they were alive, the author gave all of them nicknames. Whether he used the nicknames given to them while they were alive, I don’t know. In a few cases, such as The Lady’s Man, Georgie Boy, and Mister Peanut, I doubt it. In other cases, like Ready Teddy, Ulysses, and Old Hickory, the nicknames are more believable. But in all cases, it would have been better to refer to them as they were named in life so the reader would not be distracted from the story by trying to figure out who the nicknames applied to.

The chapters that were set in the spirit world were written in a very childish tone. Those that were written describing the events on Earth were very good. When the author transitioned from Earth to the spirit world, the story took a turn for the worse and my attention waned. When the story came back to Earth, my attention returned. In keeping with the adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a narrative is also only as strong as its weakest element. In the case of Presidential Risk, Bronte would have been wise to strengthen the obvious weaknesses to create a stronger story line.

Characteristics

Contains adult language and sexual references and war scenes.

Click the link to purchase your copy of Presidential Risk
from Amazon.com.

Posted in Action, Adventure, Book Review, Fiction, Metaphysical, Michael Bronte, Military, Supernatural, United States, War | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment