Archive for July, 2011

Review: A Matter of Justice – Steve Alcorn

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011


 Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC; 1st Hardcover Ed edition (July 14, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594260036
ISBN-13: 978-1594260032
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Dani Deucer
Mott Simon

An abusive man in a small town is murdered. 12 year old Dani Deucer and her family are spending their time their on vacation. she becomes convinced that Mott, the man accused, is innocent. She has always been fascinated with the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and the way it deals with justice. She fancies herself a detective, and even orders a book in the mail on how to be a detective.

The story follows her around as she questions people, looks at the scene, and ultimately determines whether Mott truly killed the man. Along the way she and the reader learns a lesson in not judging others based on outward appearances.

I liked the story. It reminded me in a lot of ways of the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew mysteries from my youth. I was able to be taught a bit by Mr. Acorn in a class he wrote on mysteries, and it was interesting to see how the stuff he taught was played out in practice.

I think this book would be appropriate for almost any age group. While the subject matter might be a little strong for pre-teen readers, there’s nothing very graphic about the murder itself, or the abuse. If you want to introduce your young ones to mysteries, then I think this would be a good choice.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Interview – C. D. Shelton – A Kid’s Guide to being a Winner

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

This is C.D. Shelton.

I’ll be answering your proposed questions in the order you wrote them.

I see you’ve asked thirteen lucky questions:

Rhodes Review: How did you get interested in writing?

C. D. Shelton: We were caring for an invalid father in-law who lived in Palm Springs. We were traveling every weekend for our turn in caring for him. So we had plenty of time on the road. We discovered Earl Nightingales inspirational CD’s. While listening on the way to P. S., I can still remember his words regarding time and creation. Basically he said, “You can choose to do nothing and at the conclusion of doing nothing you still have nothing. Or you can choose to follow a more rewarding path and think of something you want to create. A creative person can by brain power alone, create something from nothing.” To me, that had a certain appeal, the concept of creating something from nothing, an idea translated into a novel. The year was 2008. I am currently working on my tenth book, five have been published. One of those was a nonfiction volume, called “A Kid’s Guide to being a Winner” which also includes an accompanying workbook.

Rhodes Review: What are some of your favorite books/authors.

C. D. Shelton: Years ago, I liked to read Science Fiction, Heimlein’s (Spelling?) “Stranger in a Strange Land” was his best. Later, I evolved into reading action/adventure novels by Louis L’Amour. I have read all of his work, which was prodigious. I discovered Lee Child at the beginning of his “Jack Reacher” series. He is the ultimate action/adventure novelist on the current scene, In my opinion. I liked some of the earlier Steve Martini books, they were great courtroom dramas. Herman Melville and his “Moby Dick” was bit too tedious for my taste. J. D. Salinger’s (Spelling?) “Catcher in the Rye” and all that teenage angst was never my genre of literature. There have been so many authors I have read and admired, it is difficult to remember them all. Mention one and we can talk.

Rhodes Review: Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?

C. D. Shelton: I drew heavily on my own belief system to create the character, Jon Anderson, in the novel “Raider of the Primal Forest.” He was a “Can do” kind of a guy. He had honor and integrity and was a “romantic at heart,” which I like to believe, is much like myself. The character I created in the novel, “I’ll take the Fat One”, at least in the beginning of the story, was a juxtaposition to my own values. Nori Fugita is his name and in at least the first part of the story, he is the complete “Jerk.” An opportunist, a manipulator, a user, all of the things I like to think I am not.Later in the story he goes through an evolution in his character.

Rhodes Review: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?

C. D. Shelton: Jon Anderson from “Raiders of the Primal Forest” would be my first choice as a dinner guest. I like his background and the way he thinks. Nori Fugita, from a yet to be published book, “I’ll take the Fat One”. He is a “user” one of my least favorite human characteristics.

Rhodes Review: What would your ideal career be, if you couldn’t be an author?

C. D. Shelton: A college professor, I love to talk about ideas that interest me.

Rhodes Review: If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?

C. D. Shelton: From a strictly monetary point of view, I think I would have tried to get on board with some of the “Big” publishers, rather than go with a small publishing house. It all deals with exposure.

Rhodes Review: How long does it take you to write a book?

C. D. Shelton: My initial pace, in writing a book was torrid. I wrote three books the first year I started writing. My pace has slowed recently. I think this is because of the amount of research I do and the books are getting longer. My average length of time is about four to five months.

Rhodes Review: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

C. D. Shelton: When there are no other demands for my time, I like to work at writing in the morning hours. I feel more alert and get fresher ideas during the morning hours. However, if an inspiration strikes me any hour of the day will do, seven days a week.

Rhodes Review: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

C. D. Shelton: I like this question, because I do have quirks. First of all, lets identify a couple personality traits. I like “Happy Endings” and I Like “Winners not Losers”. Those two personality traits translates into characters that manifests those characteristics. The first, “Happy Endings”, all of the leading characters will ending up getting married at the end of the novel. The second, “Winners not Losers”, I strive to create a character that is able to cope with the curve balls life can throw at a person. In a yet to be published book, “Tenderfoot Rider”, I create a character that should not have been able to cope with the many alien conditions he faced as an easterner, forced by circumstance to live in a western world, but he is adaptable and grows to appreciate and love the western culture. In other words, a “Winner”.

Rhodes Review: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

C. D. Shelton: I do read the reviews with great interest. Most have been complimentary. Some, such as the review on “Raiders of the Primal Forest” have been questionable. I think the reviewer had an unhappy childhood and wanted more trauma and loss to occur.

Rhodes Review: Do you have any suggestions to help my readers become a better writer? If so, what are they?

C. D. Shelton: Ernest Hemmingway said, “Any topic is interesting, if the author delivers a true and accurate picture of that topic.” I like that quote and it should be every author’s mantra for whatever he’s creating. The other small piece of advice is to create time for you to be creative. For instance, pick a time and place you feel is best for you to work, and put yourself there, frequently. Eventually, the creative juices began to flow and a book is the results.

Rhodes Review: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

C. D. Shelton: Reader of the trilogy, (Mostly college students) have been very complimentary. Saying things like, “Very innovative,” or “I didn’t know people lived like that,” All very positive to read.

Rhodes Review: Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

C. D. Shelton: Do you mean oral or written interviews? To be candid, I’m not “Sick” of any question an interviewer asks. I feel complimented by the interest of that person to ask a question.

About the Author:

Texan born, C.D. Shelton grew up in Los Angeles California. He served two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

He holds two Masters, one in Administration and the other in Biology.

He taught at Hollywood High School and was assistant Vice-Principal during his first ten years as an Educator.

He has taught Biology for the Los Angeles Community College District for over four decades. As a Biology Professor, he wrote and developed the Biology Curriculum for the Los Angeles Community Colleges for all the pre-med majors and non majors. He co-authored two laboratory manuals for the life science department on Physiology and for Anatomy.

C.D. Shelton’s interest have included aviation, tennis and golf to name just a few. He has a private pilots license, he was a certified tennis instructor for eight years. He is a father of three, grandfather of four, he lives in Orange County California with his wife and niece. He is currently writing his tenth novel.

Review: Star Wars: Vortex – Troy Denning

Saturday, July 16th, 2011


 Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks (November 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 034550920X
ISBN-13: 978-0345509208
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Luke Skywalker – Jedi Grand Master.
Ben Skywalker – Jedi Knight.
Gavar Khai – Sith Knight.
Sarasu Taalon – Sith Lord.
Vestara Khai – Sith Apprentice.

Abaloth has been defeated, or so the joint force of Sith and Jedi believed. However, Abeloth survived. Once again Luke, Ben, and the Sith find themselves trying to stop her before danger comes the galaxy. On the other side of the world, Admiral Daala is continuing her quest to destroy the Jedi Knights. The Jedi Council has to deal with one of their own who may be becoming extreme in his duties.

I’ve enjoyed this series. Vortex is the sixth book, and there are three more to go. There are mutliple plot lines going on, and they add to the adventurous feel of the story. I can see more and more how this series is setting up the galaxy for the future as we’ve witnessed it in the Legacy comic series. A lot of questions remain. What is Abeloth’s goal in the story? What do all the visions mean? Will Luke and Ben ever be able to return? If so, will Ben be able to bring Vestara back from the darkside?

I enjoyed the story. For the audio edition, the added sound effects, and the narrator blended an extra dimension to the overall story. If you have read the others, then don’t miss this entry in the Fate of the Jedi series. If you haven’t, you have a lot of catching up to do.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Kathryn at Random House for a review copy of this audiobook. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: A Conflict of Interest – Adam Mitzner

Friday, July 15th, 2011


 Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Gallery (May 17, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439157510
ISBN-13: 978-1439157510
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Alex Miller – Defense Lawyer working for a large New York law firm.
Michael Ohlig – CEO of a Large brokerage firm.

A Conflict of Interest is Adam Mitzner’s debut novel, and is a good one. The story revolves around Alex Miller. On the day of his father’s funeral, he is approached by an old friend, Michael Ohlig. Ohlig is being charged by the government in a fraud investigation. It seems that his company persuaded investors to buy stock that they may or may not have known was worthless.

There are a lot of plot elements involved. You have betrayal, marital issues, uncovered secrets, and you have to discover whether Ohlig is guility or not. Some of the aspects were a bit foreshadowed and I could see them coming. However, being it’s a debut novel I was willing to overlook that. In so doing, I found it an enjoyable story.

There is a some strong language and adult situations, so it’s definitely for the older teenage/adult reader. However, I think it’s a story you’d enjoy reading. I look forward to reading more from this author.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Leyane at FSB Associates for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: Sixty-Nine – Pynk

Thursday, July 14th, 2011


Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (March 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446563331
ISBN-13: 978-0446563338
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Magnolia Butler – Long Series of unfaithful boyfriends.
Rebe Palo-Richardson – Ex Wife of NFL Football Player.
Darla Humphreys-Clark – Widow.

3 Friends find themselves on the verge of turning 40. On New Years Eve, of their 40th year, they make a pact to experience new sexual freedom. The Sixty Nine in the book has nothing to do with the sexual position, but is related to the year in which the 3 women were born. Rebe is the first to pursue this, when she picks up a man at the bar. Darla wants to open an adult store, while Magnolia thinks about pursuing being a stripper.

Along the way in their pursuits, there will be both good and bad circumstances. Giving in to your desires can impact not just you, but those around your, your family, your friends, and sometimes strangers. Different aspects of human sexuality are covered throughout the book, some were new concepts to me. The characters participated in swingers clubs, online chat rooms. There were stories of betrayal, love, and forgiveness.

This is the second book I’ve reviewed by author Pynk. The books are definitely meant for an adult audience. If I were to put a rating on it, I’d probably say R or NC-17. The characters are nicely developed, and I actually liked these women, and felt sorry for them at times.

If you are a fan of erotic fiction, then check this book out. If however, sexual talk is something that offends you, then you definitely want to skip this.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Brad at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Giveaway – Singular – David F. Porteus

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Thanks to Brandi at BK Walker I’m able to offer my readers 1 copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 07/20/2011.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

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Review: A Kid’s Guide to being a Winner – C.D. Shelton

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011


Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 50 pages
Publisher: Choice PH (June 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984191046
ISBN-13: 978-0984191048
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What does it take to be a winner. How do you depart this knowledge to your child. C. D. Shelton in his book Kid’s Guide to being a Winner breaks it down into 6 easy lessons.

Each lesson is prefaced by a clear easy to understand definition of tha t concept. Some of the insights presented:

Thoughtful is not teasing someone you know is sensitive to being teased.

Other lessons cover respect to teachers, the elderly, parents, etc
At about 36 pages, it’s a relatively thin book and can be read with a child in a short amount of time.

If you have a young child and want to help them understand the things it takes to become a positive member of society, then I think this book would help. I think it would be good for parents or teachers.

The one thing that I thought was probably negative was breaking things down to Winner and Loser. Loser is such a negative term, and seems to defeat the purpose of sections of this book.

However, that point aside I would recommend it.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.