Archive for February, 2013

Review: A New Birth of Freedom: The Translator – Robert G. Pielke

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press (2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611605423
ISBN-13: 978-1611605426
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Edwin Blair – History Teacher and Time Traveler from the year 2136.
Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of the United States.

Synopsis:

Noam Chomsky argues that communication with aliens would be impossible. Stephen Hawking argues that it would be extremely unwise even to try. What if it were absolutely necessary to do so? This question arises with extreme urgency at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, in this time-travel, alternate-history trilogy, A New Birth of Freedom.

Review

This book continues at the exact point where the previous entry The Visitor ended. We find the characters in search of two “Indians” known as Big Mouth and White Hat. This search wll hopefully enable Blair and the President to communicate with the alien species. This kind of fills in one of the areas that seemed rather weak in the previous book. It was established that the aliens knew things because we wanted them to, but then I had the question, why didn’t Blair just want them to know English. To get around this, the author sets up a chain of communicators that to me really didn’t make sense or serve any purpose except to throw some historical characters in there. I still don’t understand why they couldn’t just learn English.

One thing that I did appreciate in this book, is that we see Blair, who was always disgusted with the idea of how slaves were treated as less than human, showing the same characteristics towards the alien species. In this way, they contrast the two societies and I felt like that was a nice touch and showed that any one of us is capable of carrying some kind of prejudice around.

Overall, outside of a few technical issues I found the story to be enjoyable. I look forward to Volume 3 and finding out how things ended for Mr. Blair and what exactly the Aliens were wanting. For alternate history, Civil War, and sci fi fans, check this book out and be sure to stop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Robert Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California.

He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph. D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. As a professor, he published a variety of articles, including an analysis of political labeling (“Political Typology: A Suggested Clarification” – in Reason Papers), a phenomenological depiction of science fiction (“Star Wars vs. 2001: A Question of Identity” – in Extrapolation and elsewhere), an ethical appraisal of humanity’s eventual encounter with extra-terrestrials (“Humans and Aliens: A Unique Relationship” in Mosaic) and an exploration of sex roles (“Are Androgyny and Sexuality Compatible” in Mary Vetterling-Braggin’s “Femininity” “Masculinity” and “Androgyny” – A Modern Philosophical Discussion – Littlefield Adams & Co.).

Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history. Since then, in addition to his academic writings in ethics, logic, and popular culture, he has published short stories in Hard Copies and Phoebe, a feature articles in Cinefex, film reviews for Video Update and both fiction and non-fiction books: an analysis of rock music, You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture, a boring academic treatise, Critiquing Moral Arguments, a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music and it is being republished by McFarland & Co. as Rock Music in American Culture: The Sounds of Revolution. Alternate Dimensions Press has published A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, the first book of an alternate history/time-travel/first-contact science-fiction trilogy. The second of the three, The Translator, is soon to be released.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life;” his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Nicole at Tribute Book Tours 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.

Review: A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor – Robert G. Pielke

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: Altered Dimensions Press; 2nd edition (August 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: ISBN-10: 1936021234
ISBN-13: 978-ISBN-13: 978-1936021239
Order book here:

amazon

Characters:

Edwin Blair – History Teacher and Time Traveler from the year 2136.
Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of the United States.

Synopsis:

It has taken centuries to recognize that all humans possess certain unalienable rights. There will come a time when we have to consider whether others deserve those rights as well. That time will come on July 3, 1863.

When a stranger carrying a shiny, metallic valise steps aboard a train carrying Abraham Lincoln home from a two year stint in Congress, everyone stares, wondering about the stranger’s odd clothing and strange footwear with the word Nike emblazoned on them.

When the strange man shows up in Lincoln’s office at the White house 14 years later, still wearing the same clothes, carrying the same valise and looking not a day older, the president and his staff know something is odd.

But when Edwin Blair opens his valise and projects a 3D image of the Earth on Lincoln’s wall, then proceeds to tell a fanciful tale about time traveling aliens preparing to land at Gettysburg on July 3rd, they are sure they’ve met a lunatic.

Unfortunately for them, they’re wrong.

A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, is the first book in a new science fiction series that follows the adventures of Edwin Blair and the aliens known as Pests as they chase each other through all the centuries of Earth’s past.

Review

I found this book to be an enjoyable adventure into America’s past, in this case The Battle of Gettysburg, this time though, there are Aliens involved. I liked Mr. Pielke’s character development and the story line kept me involved. Having been my first exposure to alternative history stories, I found it to be pretty enjoyable.

If there were one drawback, it turned out to be communication. It was determined that the aliens learned things basically through us wanting them to know it. With that in mind, I found myself wondering why the characters didn’t just want the Aliens to know English instead of other languages.

Outside of that drawback though, I think if you are a civil war buff or a fan of alternative histories, then you might want to give A New Birth of Freedom: The Vistor a shot. I’d definitely recommend it for a fun weekend read.

Excerpt
Prologue

Edwin Blair (July 6, 1863)

Edwin Blair’s headache ebbed and flowed as remnants of what-used-to-be clashed with the influx of what-now-is deep in the cavernous recesses of his mind. At least, he thought, as my memory evaporates in the passage of time, I should expect the rebellion of one against the other to do me less and less harm. Although no one was looking at him at the moment as he leaned against a shady tree, were they to do so they would perhaps have noticed a hint of bitterness on his visage as the word “time” passed through his ruminations. He had neither expected nor wanted any of the Pests to survive. For as long as he could remember, his mantra had been—and he chanted it to himself—the only good Pest is a dead Pest. With all of them dead, he reasoned, a new future would develop without the horrors these Pests would mete out. They simply wouldn’t exist in this modified future. But he soon realized this would bring about a self-defeating dilemma. They have to invade the planet where and when I come from. Otherwise, I’d never have come back to the past to stop them in the first place. He clenched his teeth at the thought and sighed. We can’t kill them all. Maybe that’s why previous attempts to change the future have failed—if there were any. It’s just not possible to exterminate them. Logic trumps everything. The surviving Pests change things. If they somehow escape and warn the all the others about what I’m doing, they could prevent me from doing anything at all, and I’d have to start all over. But I have to do something. He shuddered and looked off toward the fourteen imprisoned Pests. There’s one thing I know for sure, however. We don’t need their eggs.

With his valise safely stowed with President Lincoln’s personal belongings and guarded around the clock, he was reasonably confident the mission could be salvaged. But how? He adjusted his back against the trunk of the tree as an early morning mist became an un-refreshing drizzle, and turned the collar of his black leather jacket up around his ears. At least it’s quiet, he mouthed while scribbling into one of the notebooks he had given to John Hay. Using an unfamiliar quill pen, his words only on occasion approaching legibility, he wrote.

Everything now depends on you following through with your plan. You may have lied to the others about your intentions, but you can’t lie to me. If you are reading this, then we have been successful.

At least I think so. He looked up again, put the pen into the inkwell filled with a pale pink liquid sitting on the ground next to him and rubbed his eyes. Then again…will I even believe I wrote this to myself? He picked up the pen and tried to smile, looking this time toward several of his companions that were getting ready to consume coffee and a few hardtack biscuits, perhaps even some pudding. He nodded to them before returning to his journal.

Only the continuing threat of the Pests still lurking in the two prisms is supporting this truce. It’s more fragile than it appears. They think the danger is over, but it’s just begun.

John Hay noticed Blair’s glance from several paces away and pointed to his own steaming cup of coffee with raised eyebrows. He shouted, “Mr. Blair, can I get you some?”

“ Please.” Blair kept the volume of his own voice down, relying on an accompanying nod to be sufficient.

“ No hardtack yet, but there’s sugar. I’ll be back soon.” Hay strode off with Joseph Pierce at his side.

“ Thanks, John,” Blair muttered as he watched the two of them depart. Pierce was waving his arms with some sort of patterned repetition—no doubt trying to explain some complex Indian phraseology he thought might be useful. Washburne, Stanton and Pinkerton were nowhere to be seen. Probably already with Lincoln in his tent. He returned to his writing.

If I’ve really succeeded, then all these changes should be reflected in the historical records on the computer—the fight with the Pests and this truce—but if not then something’s gone terribly wrong.

He stopped writing for a moment and shook his head. I’ve got to get back into the computer soon. I shouldn’t have even turned it off. I don’t like logging in while people are watching. I should probably change the pass-code, but it’s based on my wife’s birth date so I’m not likely to forget it. Should I take the chance?

The only thing I know that’s changed is my memory. The historical records may not have changed at all, but I’m slowly losing my memory of them…and everything else too, it seems. My guess is that the changes I’ve made to the history I used to know so well are rapidly affecting future events—too rapidly. As a result, my memory about them is no longer referring to anything, yet it continues to try.

The sounds of hooves slogging through the rain-soaked grass and the clattering of wagons startled him but didn’t interrupt his writing.

The courier traffic is beginning to intensify, and as the circus gets larger it will become unmanageable. Maybe today Lincoln will issue the martial law decree he promised…or threatened…depending on one’s perspective.

He wasn’t planning to write much—just enough for his words to be a reminder of what he had to do. If I have to try again, I have to make sure these same people are included…did I write that list of four names to myself on a previous attempt? Was it me? If so, nothing has changed. Am I just repeating everything over and over in an infinite circularity? He paused and looked over what he wrote. How can I know? Have I written this before? I have no memory of earlier attempts…but that means nothing.

He stopped and pulled the list out of his jacket to look at it. The same as it used to be…or is it? How would I know? He drew a deep breath while rubbing his temples, his teeth gritted. I really have to find out somehow if any changes have occurred in the future. I have to get into the computer. I just may have to start over immediately. Another interruption ended his contemplation.

“ Mr. Blair! You’re in luck. There was fresh coffee…genuine coffee, to boot! I watched a soldier crush the beans with a rifle butt. And there were a few hardtack puddings, too.” John Hay trudged through the sodden grass, placed the steaming cup and plate on a rock behind Edwin Blair, and then put his hands on his hips. “’Tis good to have the Tycoon amongst us, though he’s a bit jarred by the Hellcat’s carriage accident a few days ago. But, as suspected, Mrs. Lincoln has earned her reputation. The very ground she fell upon was too terrified of her to do her any serious injury.” Then, laughing, he added while looking skyward once more, “How are you this gloomy morn? It may rain again, judging from the clouds.”

“ I’m puzzled, John.” Blair picked up the coffee then paused to shake his head.

“ As you usually are, sir…. Why this time?”

“ It’s that…” Blair took a swig of the black brew. “Yeow!” He promptly spit it out. “It’s scalding!” People nearby glanced over at him, shocked at the sound. “And it tastes terrible.”

Hay laughed and shook his head. “I never did see anyone quaff hot coffee before. Quaffing’s for cold beer. And it tastes better too.”

Blair swirled his tongue around the roof of his mouth, wincing and muttering curses under his breath. After a moment, he ventured a much smaller sip. “When I first met you in the President’s office, if you had remembered me being here before, that would have been very odd, right?”

“ It sure would have, Mr. Blair! It would have been impossible!” Hay rolled back, laughing. “No one remembers you from before. You were a real top sockdolager to us all then.”

Blair eyed Hay directly and just above a whisper said, “Someone remembers me.”

Hay scrunched his brow. “Who?”

Blair inclined his head toward the prisoners’ enclosure. “That Pest.”

About the Author

Robert Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California.

He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph. D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. As a professor, he published a variety of articles, including an analysis of political labeling (“Political Typology: A Suggested Clarification” – in Reason Papers), a phenomenological depiction of science fiction (“Star Wars vs. 2001: A Question of Identity” – in Extrapolation and elsewhere), an ethical appraisal of humanity’s eventual encounter with extra-terrestrials (“Humans and Aliens: A Unique Relationship” in Mosaic) and an exploration of sex roles (“Are Androgyny and Sexuality Compatible” in Mary Vetterling-Braggin’s “Femininity” “Masculinity” and “Androgyny” – A Modern Philosophical Discussion – Littlefield Adams & Co.).

Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history. Since then, in addition to his academic writings in ethics, logic, and popular culture, he has published short stories in Hard Copies and Phoebe, a feature articles in Cinefex, film reviews for Video Update and both fiction and non-fiction books: an analysis of rock music, You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture, a boring academic treatise, Critiquing Moral Arguments, a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music and it is being republished by McFarland & Co. as Rock Music in American Culture: The Sounds of Revolution. Alternate Dimensions Press has published A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, the first book of an alternate history/time-travel/first-contact science-fiction trilogy. The second of the three, The Translator, is soon to be released.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life;” his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Nicole at Tribute Book Tours 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.

Review: Plague – H. W. “Buzz” Bernard

Thursday, February 21st, 2013
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (September 4, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611941768
ISBN-13: 978-1611941760
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Richard Wainwright – Temporary CEO of a Biological Development Company.
Dr. Dwight Butler – Scientist studying Viruses.

Synopsis:

Deep in the secret recesses of a Cold War lab, the Russians created tons of deadly bio-weapons. Now, decades later, a protege of that Russian research is about to release weaponized Ebola into the heart of the South’s most iconic city: Atlanta, where the symbols of American “decadence” range from a happily diverse population to the Coca-Cola museum and CNN headquarters.

A preliminary test of the horrifying virus demonstrates the unspeakable suffering of its victims–and alerts the Centers for Disease Control that a terrible pandemic is in the making. CDC Virologist Dr. Dwight Butler begins a frantic effort to track down the source of the virus before it’s too late.

For new BioDawn CEO Richard Wainwright, it quickly becomes clear that the “accidental” plane crash that killed the pharmaceutical company’s entire executive hierarchy may have some connection to the evolving threat. Suddenly, Richard is being stalked by a hit woman. He and Butler join forces to find the lone terrorist at the center of a plan that could unleash the Black Plague of the 21st century.

Review

When this book was offered to me, it immediately caught my attention. I’d always liked books like The Andromeda Strain and Next by Michael Crichton. This was in a similar vein. A terrorist threatens to unleash a biological weapon on a city. The reader almost never knew where the bad guy was going to strike, or what was going to happen. You are able to really get into the mind of Richard and see his fears. You also get to see things somewhat from the terrorists point of view. The reader really does get the sense that this terrorist draws no lines in what he’s willing to do. People die, some due to their own involvement, some merely got in the way.

If you like bio terror type books, then grab a copy of Plague. I think you’ll really enjoy it. If I were to give it a rating, I’d say older teens and adults due to the content and subject matter. The author seemed to leave things open for a follow up novel, so I hope he does do a followup, as I’d be eager to read it.

About the Author

H. W. “Buzz” Bernard is the author of EYEWALL and PLAGUE. EYEWALL, his debut novel, became a number-one Kindle best seller. PLAGUE was released in September 2012.

Buzz is a veteran meteorologist having spent 13 years as a senior meteorologist with The Weather Channel, and 33 years as a weather officer in the U. S. Air Force.

His background as a meteorologist informs EYEWALL. He’s had first-hand experience with hurricanes, having penetrated the eyewall of Hurricane Felix in 1995 with the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters. The mission he went on wasn’t nearly as exciting–or as terrifying–as the one described in EYEWALL, but he did get an up-close and personal look at how the job is done. At The Weather Channel, he worked closely with some of the most highly regarded hurricane forecasters in the business.

Besides his trip with the Hurricane Hunters, he’s flown air drops over the Arctic Ocean and Turkey, and was a weather officer aboard a Tactical Air Command airborne command post (C-135). Additionally, he’s provided field support to forest fire fighting operations in the Pacific Northwest, spent a summer working on Alaska’s arctic slope and served two tours in Vietnam. Various other jobs, both civilian and military, took him to Germany, Saudi Arabia and Panama.

He stepped away from a weather-themed book to write PLAGUE, mainly, he says, because the subject terrified him.

Buzz is a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a degree in atmospheric science and studied creative writing. He’s currently vice president of the Southeastern Writers Association.

After leaving active duty with the Air Force, he spent twenty years in New England, but now lives in Roswell, Georgia, near Atlanta, with his wife, Christina, and overly active Shih Tzu, Stormy. Buzz is at work on his third novel now, another weather-related drama, SUPERCELL.

His Website can be found at www.buzzbernard.com.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book Promotions 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: H. W. “Buzz” Bernard – Plague

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Thanks to Dorothy and Pump up your Book Tours and Mr. Bernard I’m able to offer my readers 1 paperback 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 3/7/2013.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US only. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

Article: Computer Glasses – Grace Beckett

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Computer Glasses – Lenses Designed for Them

If you are on the computer for hours together every day, a pair of computer glasses used for reading may benefit you. Even if you wear contact lenses or glasses everyday, they probably are not the right ones for you to work on computers. Computer glasses are specially made to reduce the symptoms associated with CVS (computer vision syndrome).

CVS defines the symptoms that occur due to using a computer constantly. Symptoms appear, as your brain and eyes react differently to the words on your computer than with words on printed text. Symptoms are dry eyes, eyestrain, blurred vision, and headaches. Many of you try compensating for such vision problems by looking down or by leaning forward to see through the lower portion of your glasses, which often results in shoulder and back pain.

You may be getting symptoms of CVS because of presbyopia which is a disorder in the vision that develops as we grow old. It results in loss of your eye’s ability to look at near objects, and becomes noticeable by the age of 40. If you notice the symptoms of CVS, you may have to buy a pair of computer glasses Mississauga. These glasses are given on prescription and are specially designed to help you comfortably work on computers.

The following are the lenses that are specially designed for computer glasses:

Single vision

These lenses are the simplest kind of computer glasses. The whole lens is made and designed to see the computer screen and provides the largest field of view. Many adults or children enjoy single vision lenses because the screen is clearly visible without any obstructions.

Flat-top bifocal

This type of a lens looks similar to the usual bifocal lens worn by some of you for near and distance vision. They are designed such that the first half of the lens focuses on the screen while bottom half on a closer reading object. These lenses come with a visible line which divides both the focusing segments. Flat-top bifocal lenses provide you with a comfortable viewing of your computer though the objects that are far appear a little blurry.

Variable focus

This lens is also known as a computer progressive lens. Variable focus lens comes with a small segment on its top part to view distant objects, an intermediate wide segment to view the computer screen, and another small segment at the bottom to focus on close objects. No segments or visible lines are present in this kind of lens, so it appears more like a normal vision.

Computer glasses benefit users as long as they are fitted properly and prescribed correctly. Ophthalmologists and optometrists are knowledgeable in issues resulting from CVS and can help you in finding the appropriate glasses.

About the author

Grace is an enthusiastic blogger and likes to write about healthcare. To get world class designer Mississauga glasses, contact an expert optician at Next Optical Store.

Review: Into The Dark – Stacy Green

Thursday, February 14th, 2013
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 29, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480078999
ISBN-13: 978-1480078994
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Emilie Davis: A young woman being stalked by a man who is willing to kill to be with her.
Nathan Madigan: A Swat Cop involved in saving Emilie, he finds himself drawn to her.

Synopsis:

A two-hundred-mile labyrinth of dark storm drains serves as a refuge for the delusional stalker who will go to any lengths to possess fragile, emotionally isolated Emilie Davis. To survive, Emilie will have to confront the secrets of her past she has kept locked away from everyone, including herself. Emilie is a master escape artist—she’s fled a manipulative mother and a controlling ex-husband. But it’s impossible to evade a stalker who uses a bank robbery as a ruse to kidnap her.

He’s still out there, hiding in the Las Vegas tunnels and dodging police. Emilie’s life careens out of control as her assailant continues his pursuit. She has nowhere to turn but to Nathan Madigan, the hostage negotiator who worked the robbery. Nathan is haunted by his failure to protect a loved one fourteen years ago and dedicates his life to saving others. Determined to catch the lunatic hunting Emilie, he finds himself losing his professional detachment. He fears history is about to repeat itself if he cannot protect Emilie from the Taker’s obsession.

The police close in on the Taker’s identity as Nathan and Emilie grow closer to each other and to resolving the misery of their own pasts. At the height of The Taker’s madness, his attempt to replace someone he’s lost will either kill them all or set them free.

Review

I think this book had something to appeal to a lot of audiences. There was a little romance, there was a psychological thriller. There was the damsel in distress with the night in armor (okay actually a Kevlar vest) riding in to save her.

The story alternates between Emilie and the view of The Taker. The reader gets exposed to his life, his thoughts, and in the end you may or may not have the same opinion of him that you had in the beginning. I think he’s actually one of the more developed characters in the story.

While I was okay with the relationship of Emilie and Nathan, One small drawback I felt was it seemed at times to be a bit rushed. There was very little conflict, and in some ways that kept it from being very realistic. * Spoiler * I’m not sure a cop would risk his entire career for someone he’d just met. It seemed a love at first sight kind of thing, and may appeal to some readers.

Overall though, that one issue aside, I found the story and the plot very entertaining and it was a book I couldn’t put down. When the whole conflict finally comes to a head, it keeps you turning the pages until the conclusion. As far as the audiences go, I’d say it’s for older teens and adults. For a debut novel, I think Ms. Green did a very good job and I look forward to her next book. If you pick up a copy, stop back by and let us know. Also be sure to enter our giveaway here and see our interview with Ms. Green here.

Excerpt

Nathan peered through the chain link fence. “Is that it?”

“I didn’t even know this culvert was here.” Chris started to climb.

“I drive over it every day, too.”

“That’s why they call them box culverts,” Johnson said from the other side of the fence. “You don’t see them unless you’re walking inside.” “Why couldn’t we just cut this thing down?” Nathan huffed as he made the short trip up and over the wobbly chain link barrier. They were several blocks north of the raucous Freemont Street Experience and looking into the mouth of one of the storm drain entrances.

“Because no one in Metro wants to deal with the city officials over it,” Johnson said.

“Talk about spook central.” Nathan shined his light toward the culvert. Bathed in shadows, it stood silent and empty. A chill of foreboding washed over him. “Watch yourselves.” Johnson led the way as the three men entered the culvert, weapons ready. “Anything could be lurking.”

Standing water covered the toes of Nathan’s boots. The air was thick with mildew. “Drain’s over there.” He shined his tactical light on the flood map. “To the right.”

The temperature dropped as they entered the large drain. Darkness engulfed them.

Chris’s whistle cut through the eerie stillness. “Wow. It’s a hell of a lot cooler in here. Place smells like feet, but I’ll take what I can get.”

Nathan shined his light on the walls. Colorful graffiti decorated the concrete.

“Someone’s a talented artist.”

The darkness thickened with each step. The odor grew increasingly foul. “Jesus, I can taste the stench in my mouth.” Chris gagged and spit into the dirty water.

Nathan didn’t respond. He was too busy trying to keep the contents of his stomach down and wondering how the people who lived in the tunnels stood the smell and the constant dangers. The drains provided relief from the sweltering desert heat, and free housing, but they were death traps. Large portions ran directly underneath the city streets and inhabitants risked carbon monoxide poisoning and the frequent threat of flooding. Growing up poor in North Las Vegas gave him a better perspective than many, but he couldn’t imagine having no other alternative than to live minute-by-minute.

“We shouldn’t run into any camps,” Johnson said. “They’re deeper in. One of the biggest is right under the Strip.”

“You know we aren’t going to find shit,” Chris choked out. “It’s too dark. Guy planned this for months. He knows his way around. We need to get out of here and check on Adam.”

“Medic called me when they got him to the hospital,” Johnson said. “He’s going into surgery. All we’d be doing right now is sitting around waiting. Still have to do our jobs, Holt.”

“He’s just a rookie. I should have been in front of him.”

“Stop,” Nathan said. “You followed protocol. That was a lucky shot.”

“Doesn’t make it right.”

Silence fell over the men as they moved farther into the stinking drain. Something hard crunched underneath Nathan’s boots. He nervously shined his light into the black water. Crawfish swam around his feet, probably on their way to the Las Vegas Wash. A mushy white glob looking suspiciously like used toilet paper floated by, and he focused his light away from the stream. Better not to know what he was stepping on.

A loud splash ahead brought all three to a halt.

“You hear that?” Johnson asked.

“Sounds big.” Chris stepped in front of Johnson and raised his Glock.

“Las Vegas SWAT,” Johnson shouted. “Identify yourself.”

Nothing.

“Maybe it was an animal,” Nathan said.

“That’s even worse than a junkie,” Chris said. “With my luck, Cujo’s man-eating cousin will show up and give me rabies.”

“They have shots for that now.”

“No shit, Sherlock.”

A second loud splash was followed by the distinct sound of footsteps plodding through the water.

“That’s no dog.” Chris sprinted after the runner with Nathan and Johnson closely following. The beams of their lights flashed haphazardly against the walls making the tunnel even more ominous.

A strange brightness glowed several yards ahead of them. Their quarry came into view. He was too short and stocky to be their man, but he could have information.

Tour Schedule

January 28th:  Review & Giveaway: Teena in Toronto
January 29th:  Review, Interview & Giveaway: The Top Shelf
January 29th:  Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Live To Read~Krystal
January 30th:  Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Beth Art From the Heart
January 30th: Review & Giveaway: My Devotional Thoughts
January 31st:  Review, Interview & Giveaway: Wanted Readers
February 1st:  Review & Giveaway: Hezzi-D’s Books & Cooks
February 2nd:  Review, Guest Post &  Giveaway: My Cozie Corner
February 4th:  Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Jersey Girl Book Reviews
February 5th:  Review & Giveaway: Mary’s Cup of Tea
February 5th:  Interview: Writers and Authors
February 6th: Review & Giveaway: Minding Spot
February 8th:  Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: The Book Diva’s Reads
February 9th: Review & Giveaway: Saving for Six
February 11th: Review & Giveaway Books, Books & More Books
February 11th: Spotlight & Interview: Mama Knows Book
February 11th: Review & Giveaway: Must Read Faster
February 12th:  Review & Giveaway: Reader Girls
February 13th: Review & Giveaway: Bless Their Hearts Mom
February 14th:  Review, Interview & Giveaway: Rhodes Review
February 15th:  Review & Giveaway: Celticlady’s Reviews
February 16th: Review & Giveaway: Hott Books
February 17th:  Review & Giveaway: Smoochiefrog Reviews
February 18th:  Review & Giveaway: Deco My Heart
February 19th:  Review, Giveaway & Interview: Hotchpotch
February 20th:  Review & Giveaway: JeanBookNerd
February 21st: Review, Guest post & Giveaway: Cabin Goddess
February 22nd:Review & Giveaway: The Stuff of Success
February 25th: Author Showcase: Read 2 Review
February 25th: Review & Giveaway: Deal Sharing Aunt
February 26th: Spotlight & Interview: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
February 26th:  Review & Giveaway: Keeping Up With the Pheinlander’s
February 26th Review & Giveaway: The Wormhole
February 27th:  Interview: Frequent Reader, Infrequent Blogger
February 28th:  Review & Giveaway: Jess Resides Here

About the Author

Raised in southeastern Iowa, Stacy Green grew up watching crime shows with her parents, so her love of suspense and psychological thrillers is no surprise. She’s fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Turning the Page.

After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a

stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for a city magazine before penning her first novel. She shelved the long drama and began working on a suspense book set in Las Vegas, featuring a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless.

Into The Dark is suspense with a dash of romance, and Stacy is hard at work on her next book, a darker, grittier thriller set in the Deep South.

When she’s not writing, she spends all her time with her precocious daughter, supportive husband, and their three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Gina at Partners In Crime Tours 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.

Interview: Stacy Green – Into The Dark

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Today we are pleased to welcome to Rhodes Review, Stacy Green, author of Into The Dark who is currently on tour to promote her book.

Rhodes Review: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Stacy Green: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but for a long time, it was something I never thought I could accomplish. It wasn’t until a good friend read some recent work and started pushing me that I finally decided to take the plunge.

Rhodes Review: How did you start writing?

Stacy Green: I’ve written little stories since I was a kid, but the first thing I remember writing that had any plot to it was a story about New Kids on the Block, probably around 1989. I would have been 12 and thought it was a masterpiece. My mom still has the notebook

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

Stacy Green: I’m a SAHM and do part-time child care, so I’m able to get a lot done as long as I don’t procrastinate. I usually try to write for a couple of hours before lunch as well as after. On my off days, I can write straight through, but when the kiddo is around, it’s choppy.

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

Stacy Green: Hmm. I suppose the natural light thing. I don’t like to write at night anymore, partially because I’m always beat, but I also like to be in a room with the main light off and lots of light in the windows.

Rhodes Review: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Stacy Green: I watch a lot of true crime shows, so I’m always looking for ideas there. I also keep a journal of any sort of “what if” question that might pop into my mind. With INTO THE DARK, I originally wanted to write about a SWAT officer saving the damsel in distress. Then I discovered the tunnels beneath Las Vegas, and the book took on an entirely different meaning.

Rhodes Review: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Stacy Green: Read! Relax. Spend time with my daughter. We try to cram in as much family stuff as possible on the weekends.

Rhodes Review: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Stacy Green: How crucial back story is to the plot and how very little of it actually makes it into the book. You can’t tell a good story without knowing what happened before, so in a sense, you’re writing two books. You just can’t bombard the reader with the details.

Rhodes Review: Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer?

Stacy Green: Keep writing. And read, read, read. Read the books in your genre, study how they are telling their stories. Read outside your genre, too. Look for fresh sentences that stand out, and always write the story you want to. If you love it, others will, too.

Rhodes Review: Which of your books was the easiest/hardest to write?

Stacy Green: I can’t say that any of them were. Into the Dark is my debut, and as a new author learning story structure, it had its own set of challenges. My April release, TIN GOD, was tough because the plot was much more intricate than Dark’s. And the book I’m currently working on has a pretty intense subplot, so it’s tough as well. And that’s how it should be – if you’re learning as you write, every book will present new challenges.

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

Stacy Green: Emilie has some of my personality, in that I’ve dealt with letting go of the past and not letting my mistakes eat me alive.

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

Stacy Green: That is really tough, because I feel I’m still at the start of my career. If anything, I wish I’d had more faith in myself early on and not taken so long to get to this point.

Rhodes Review: What inspired you to write Into The Dark?

Stacy Green: Many things. Originally it was simply the idea of a hot SWAT guy. And then I wanted to write about a woman with some secrets. But it wasn’t until I found out about the tunnels and the homeless living inside them that I really started to understand who the bad guy was, how he could use those tunnels, and how the plight of those living inside could shape both Nathan and Emilie’s lives. So it really started to come together after that.

Rhodes Review: What was your favorite part of Into The Dark?

Stacy Green: A couple of scenes. First, when Nathan discovers what’s under the bank and realizes what the Taker has done. Second would be much later, when Emilie is in true peril. I really felt like that’s when the theme came together.

Rhodes Review: What was the hardest part of Into The Dark to write?

Stacy Green: The hardest part was learning story structure and understanding how much that plays into the plot. Writing a story is very different from writing a book, and I really had to learn (and am still learning!) how to do that.

Rhodes Review: What did you wish was different about Into The Dark?

Stacy Green: You know what? It’s my first book, and I’m happy with it. There are little things I would change, but there will always be something you wish you’d done differently. At this point, you have to be proud of what you’ve done and let it go.

Rhodes Review: What are your favorite authors/books?

Stacy Green: Lisa Garder, Thomas Harris, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Greg Iles. Gardner’s Say Goodbye is a standout to me, as is Silence of the Lambs, The Shining, The Queen of the Damned, and Turning Angel. But all of their books are great.

Rhodes Review: If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Stacy Green: Nefertiti, although I’d need a translator. I’d like to know what her life was truly like in ancient Egypt, and if she was as beautiful as her famous bust shows.

Rhodes Review: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Stacy Green: That writing a book is a lot harder than I thought! It’s one thing to have a bunch of great ideas, but putting them together in a cohesive plot that isn’t too far fetched yet keeps readers on the edge of their seats is tough, and a constant work in progress!

Rhodes Review: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us here.

Stacy Green: Thanks so much for having me! I hope your readers enjoy INTO THE DARK.

INTO THE DARK is on sale for $2.99 for a limited time only!

INTO THE DARK/Blurb

IT’S THE MOMENTS FROM OUR PAST THAT BIND US.

Branch Manager Emilie Davis is having a day like any other–until two masked men storm into WestOne Bank demanding cash. Her hopes of a quick end to her terror are dashed when she realizes one of the men has no interest in the bank’s money. Emilie is his prize, and he’s come to claim her.

When hostage negotiator Nathan Madigan and Las Vegas SWAT enter the bank on a rescue mission, Emilie’s captor makes a shocking escape into the abyss that lies beneath the city: the Las Vegas storm drains, a refuge for the downtrodden and the desperate.

HOW WILL IT END?

Who is the man the media has dubbed the “Taker?” Why is he after Emilie, and what is the connection he’s convinced they share?

Emilie can’t run from the Taker, and she can’t escape her own past. As her life closes in on her, she has nowhere to turn but to Nathan. The lines of professionalism blur as Nathan becomes determined to save Emilie. Together they venture into the depths beneath Las Vegas and discover a shocking piece of the puzzle.

But the Taker remains one step ahead. Desperate for the threat to emerge from the shadows, Emilie makes a bold move to reclaim her life, and it may cost her everything.

Amazon for Kindle
MuseItUp Store for all digital formats
Smashwords for Nook, iTunes, and other digital formats: (use Coupon Code: CF97D)

Sign up for Stacy’s newsletter by February 19th to be entered into the contest for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Subscribers will only be contacted with pricing and contest exclusives for them!

BIO

Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Get Twisted.

After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for Women’s Edition Magazine of Cedar Rapids, profiling local businesses, before penning her first novel. Her debut novel, INTO THE DARK, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless. INTO THE DARK is available on all digital formats and paperback November 30th.

Website: www.stacygreen.net

See our Review of Into The Dark here and our Giveaway here.

Giveaway: Into The Dark – Stacy Green

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime Tours and Ms. Green I’m able to offer my readers 1 copy of this e-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 2/28/2013.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

1 people like this post.

Review: The Tartan Shroud – Ken Dalton

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Different Drummer Press (October 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0578113252
ISBN-13: 978-0578113258
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

J. Pinkus “Pinky” Delmont – Defense Attorney
Benate “Bear” Zabarle – Part time Bartender/Investigator
Florence “Flo” Sonderlund – Bear’s girlfriend/Tech helper.
Willow Stone – Chief Deputy District Attorney

Synopsis:

Willow’s Scottish cousin requests her help with a small situation. It seems he’s up for the job of head of the police department, but there’s been a bit of a problem. It seems that on a local golf course, the body of a young girl turns up. Years earlier he had worked the missing persons case and due to departmental politics closed it. Now Willow, Pinky, Bear, Flo, and Anamae find themselves off to Scotland.

Review

This is the fourth and most recent entry in the Pinky and the Brain Mystery series. I had the opportunity to read all four of these, and while only this one required a review, I would have felt guilty for taking books and not reviewing them, so I reviewed all four. Each book has built and carried on from the previous book. For instance, in the third book, Ettamae is introduced into the normal roster of characters. In this one, a subplot involves a character from a previous book seeking revenge.

The characters as always are fun. I Flo and Bear together are the most fun, while Pinky seems to be the straight man for a lot of the humor. You are introduced to some of the culture of Scotland, and the descriptions are very vivid, so you can almost picture what you are seeing. The plot is well paced, I finished the book in two days. While the characters might be a bit over the top, I think when you are doing lighthearted mysteries, you probably want a little over the top behavior from them.

If you are a fan of mysteries mixed with some humor, then be sure and pick up not only this but the previous entries. If I were to give it a rating, I’d say older teens and adults due to some sexual content and language. However, if that doesn’t offend you, then by all means picks this book up. It’s my understand that Mr. Dalton is coming out with a fifth entry soon, so now is your chance to get caught up before it comes out. If you do decide to give it a look, drop back by and let us know what you think.

About the Author

Ken Dalton was born in 1938 at Hollywood Hospital. He grew up with his parents, his older sister, Pat, and younger brother, Richard in Los Angeles. The year 1938 informs the quick reader that Ken’s older than a lot of people, but younger than some.

In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken.

At the end of World War ll, Ken’s family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer’s brat on a base called Fort Warren.

By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken’s luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties.

In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg.

With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing.

Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded.

Then, ten years ago, Ken started to write. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated in August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens.

After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel.

Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world’s latest overnight sensation.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Nicole at Tribute Books 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.

Review: Death is a Cabernet – Ken Dalton

Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Different Drummer Press (September 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0578091984
ISBN-13: 978-0578091983
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

J. Pinkus “Pinky” Delmont – Defense Attorney
Benate “Bear” Zabarle – Part time Bartender/Investigator
Florence “Flo” Sonderlund – Bear’s girlfriend/Tech helper.
Willow Stone – Chief Deputy District Attorney

Synopsis:

The maker of one of Pinky’s favorite wines is found floating in a vat of Cabernet. Pinky and Bear are off to wine country to find out who killed him, and what secrets were being hidden in the winery.

Review

This is the third entry in the Pink and the Bear mystery series. This one like the previous entries is filled with humor and action. This time around we also see the addition of a precocious young girl who Bear and Flo meet when they rent a cabin near a lake. I’ve read all three of these novels so far for a book tour for Mr. Dalton, and each one has been an enjoyable and fun experience. This one is no different. Overall, I’d say Bear and Flo have quickly become my favorites, while Pinky just seems to be there to control the storyline.

If you are into mysteries, particular comic mysteries such as the Stephanie Plum series, then you should definitely check this one out. I’d rate it for older teens adults to the language and situations. It does come recommended though, so if you read it, be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Ken Dalton was born in 1938 at Hollywood Hospital. He grew up with his parents, his older sister, Pat, and younger brother, Richard in Los Angeles. The year 1938 informs the quick reader that Ken’s older than a lot of people, but younger than some.

In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken.

At the end of World War ll, Ken’s family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer’s brat on a base called Fort Warren.

By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken’s luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties.

In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg.

With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing.

Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded.

Then, ten years ago, Ken started to write. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated in August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens.

After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel.

Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world’s latest overnight sensation.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Nicole at Tribute Books 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.