Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cork Town by Ty Hutchinson

Article first published as Book Review:Cork Town by Ty Hutchinson on Blogcritics.

We often hear of cover-ups in crime and politics, but what happens when the two coincide. When innocent lives become the fallout of corruption, who really wins? Who is there to unveil the truth?
In Cork Town by Ty Hutchinson, we are introduced to the darkness and depravity of a cover-up that seems to be rooted in the past. When a serial killer begins copycat killings in Detroit, Agent Abby Kane is dispatched with her partner, from their home office in California. Known for her ability to find the truth, she is nevertheless confused. Everyone in the precinct seems to shy away from talking about the first crime spree, the one that is being copied. When trying to find answers, she runs up against a solid front of denial.  Finally allowed to visit with the original killer in prison, she only learns that he is guilty of murder and bank robbery, but even he insists that he didn’t do any cutting. Yet many of his victims were cut, including his girlfriend. Her visit only adds further questions, leading her back to some form of cover-up and a swift move to justice. But why?
When the original perpetrator is found dead in his cell, and executives of the auto industry begin turning up dead, she is at her wits end. Like being in a pinball machine, she hits bumpers in every direction she turns, spinning her off into other tangents. Trying to keep her home life separate, she finds herself trying to deal with both, but with little success.
Can she find the answer to the darkness that buries the truth before other lives are lost? Is the secret too entrenched to discover. As bodies continue to turn up, she races against the clock in an effort the stop the madness. Who can she trust when the house of cards begins to tumble and all avenues are a dead end?
Hutchinson has brought us another hero, a short of stature, but long of brass female agent. She is fun and feisty, fiery and bold, but also just beginning to realize what family means. Endangering herself is not just about her any more, but what it would mean to her children.  While a bit absurd, her continued texting in the middle of danger, is cute and just a little distracting. But she seemed unfazed and able to handle the small annoyances it brings.
When she realizes she has fallen for her partner, the story heats up a bit but disappointment and heartache are only a few pages away.
If you enjoy action, and a bit of savagery, you will enjoy Abby Kane, the agent in charge. Cork Town gives us background and a bit of history, along with a seriously disturbed killer. The red herrings are plenty, and the action is continual, keeping you deep in the pages.
This would be a great book for a book club. Abby Kane is a new hero to be watching for. I look forward to her further exploits. 

Rating 4/5

This book was received free from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Givaway entry for The Tartan Shroud by Ken Dalton

The Tartan Shroud Book Summary:
A bulldozer unearths a young girl’s body on a golf course in Scotland but for some reason, Fergus Murray, the top crime officer in Tayside seems unwilling to pursue the case. Fergus contacts Willow Stone, his American cousin and pleads for help. Willow, Pinky’s favorite ex-wife, calls in all her chips and convinces Pinky, Bear, Flo, and Ettamae to go to the small Scottish town of Pitlochry to help her cousin find the killer. Along the way the American’s come across a forester with a wonky eye—haggis—the occasional bad weather spring day—various Scottish policeman all named McSomething—mutton pie—a near new, sixty-year-old Austin Taxi—a bathroom that could double for a freezer—the nearly indecipherable Scottish accent—many glasses of whiskey and beer—ancient records—a broadsword—and a real Duke! Ride with Bear, Flo, and Henry during their final mad dash across Scotland to try to stop the murderer before he kills again inside the hallowed halls of Blair Castle.

Ken Dalton's Bio:
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.
Enter below to win a copy of the Tartan Shroud. The Drawing is done through Tribute Books. Good luck, you will enjoy this work.

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Giveaway ends February 1st, Stay tuned for an indepth reveiw on January 9th.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Linked by Emma Hill

You can never go back. One of the lessons we learn as we grow older is that even as we wish for the past, even returning to the roots we left there, we find change. Is it because the place has changed, or is it that as we get older, we outgrow the trappings of our former years and move on?  We do not always realize that home is where we make it, not in what once was.
In Linked by Emma Hill, we are transported to the life of Matt Clevene as he leaves his lavish business in England, and heads home to Australia to visit his uncle. Reminiscing about life as it has changed; his uncle shares the harrowing details in the death of his nephew a few years before. Hearing the details are tough, he has already lost both his parents and has finally let go of his anguish.  His foray to visit his uncle causes him further surprise as he soon realizes that along with the background information about his nephew’s death, he is realizing that his uncle was much closer to his mother than he imagined.
As he takes it all in, he also notices a new neighbor in the house next door. His uncle has only the best to report about the woman that lives there, but warns Matt that she is a recluse.  Something about her strikes his interest and he intends to meet her.  Ready to delve further into the mysteries and find out what he can about the past, he is stunned by the sudden death of his uncle.
As he waits for the autopsy, and tries to make sense of the tangles of life that have closed around the bowels of his family, he finally meets the neighbor Sarah. As elusive as his uncle described, he is smitten. Every step of the way he makes the wrong turn, and within a very short time, his business is under scrutiny and close to being closed, and people around him are beginning to die. There is something at play that he does not understand, but can he find the secret before it is too late?
Hill has given us an interesting mystery with just a hint of paranormal.  While it does not come into play in this work, we have an inkling of something that is happening that we are not privy too.  The first of a series, there is an interesting plot in play that makes you want to hear more. Both a romance and a mystery, the story is interesting.
The interplay between characters however is rather stiff at the beginning, and while some of the characters come through clearly, the development could use just a bit more on the others. Beginning somewhat slowly the story broke through and the interest ratcheted up, creating a stronger interest.  The romance between Matt and Sarah was stilted, but it may well have been planned that way. The author has set it up neatly to continue on to the second of a series, but I felt a bit let down as the story wound down.
The work is interesting, and with further development could be a strong and fun series. If you enjoy romantic mystery and light reading this will fill the bill.  
Rating 3/5
This book was received from the marketing assistant. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the information.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Conneticut Tragedy

As with others, I listened to the news, not understanding what I was actually hearing. Who would target young children in such a cowardly action. Who would take the lives of those who have just barely begun to live?

Unsure how to react I can only send my prayers and love to those who are in the middle of this unbelievable moment of madness and despair. The pain and fear suffered by those parents who had to wait to hear if their own child or loved one was safe had to be dreadful. The joy and relief on one hand, or the grief and disbelief on the other. How do you prepare for such a tragedy? There is no answer, because there is no conceivable reason to believe this could happen.

In the time of year where families draw closer, to have such an abrupt and unacceptable shooting take place and to target those who have offered the least offense to anyone, creates a heartbreak for the entire country and the world. The pain and fear of those affected will last a lifetime, for those present and the families of all that were there today. The world stood still for a moment, a breath of time, and in that instant many lives were changed forever.

Please send your love and prayers to those who are suffering and for those who were lost today. Mourn with those who lost everything they had planned for, for we have all lost something today in the midst of this tragedy.The joy of freedom is fickle and can be wiped away in a moment--today we had such a moment.

My condolences to the families to all of those affected. My prayers are with you all.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Fart that Saved Christmas written by Jacob Morningside and illustrated by Nadja Andrasev

Article first published as Book Review: The Fart That Saved Christmas by Jacob Morningside, Illustrated by Nadja Andrasev on Blogcritics.

If you are looking for the lighter side of Christmas you will find your wishes in The Fart that Saved Christmas; An Adults Tale written by Jacob Morningside and illustrated by Nadja Andrasev. Written In the style of  Dr. Seuss, Morningside has written a fun tale of the woes of fate that linger behind the lives of Santa and his not always so Merry crew.  When the reindeer decide they have had enough and call a strike, it seems that everyone will take sides.
Listing their grievances including those having to do with Santa’s weight to his wife intruding in their home life and to the Elves mocking them, they are loud and boisterous with their concerns.  As Santa understands the nature of their thoughts, he is not about to step down.
He becomes belligerent to the point that the reindeer have concerns for his very safety.
This is a fun look at the lighter side of life, a chance to meet the darker side of Santa. The rhyming is satirical and at times sophomoric. The challenges and charges fit the stories and as the reindeer begin to see the error of their complaints the course changes for all involved.  But can they diffuse the situation before it is out of hand.
If you enjoy humor and are looking for that special gift for the holidays, this does the trick. Short and raunchy it will tweak your funny bone, launching you into an explosion of laughter and fun. A treat to pass around at your holiday parties, the humor is contagious.
Watch your guests though as they may begin to have ideas of their own in how to enliven a party, that may not be consistent with that of your neighbors.
Can’t find a gift for that adult that has everything? This may be just the fun to try on.
Jacob Morningside's Facebook:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

The Fart That Saved Christmas blog tour site:

The Fart That Saved Christmas Book Summary:

The behind the scenes story of what really happened "The Night Before Christmas."

It's Christmas Eve. The reindeer go on strike with a list of demands for Santa, the elves and Mrs. Claus. Santa gets "loaded" and threatens to cancel Christmas, fire the deer and divorce Mrs. Claus. But, just when all seems lost, Christmas is saved by a timely fart.

Jacob Morningside's Bio:
Born into a body inhabited by multiple muse personalities, I create stories by stretching the "normal" beyond the boundaries of the absurd. The result is a worm-hole ride to the Far Side. I love a good story — so, I wrote one. Enjoy it with my wishes for a happy holiday season.

Price: $4.99
Format: Ebook
Pages: 40 illustrated
Publisher: Publish Green
Release: September 6, 2012

iBookstore buy link ($4.99):

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tortured Spirit: Book Four in the Jake Helman Files Series by Gregory Lamberson

Article first published as Book Review: Tortured Spirits: Book Four in the Jake Helman Files Series by Gregory Lamberson on Blogcritics.

A fascination of sorts exists and has for many years about the advent of zombies and other various creatures. Even those that do not believe in the idea that such things exist often find a bit of time to view the various movies for the sake of the horror they often evoke or the book for a spot of disconnection from reality.

In Tortured Spirits by Gregory Lamberson, we follow the exploits of his main character Jake Helman, a private investigator that is deep into the lore of such things. An ex-cop, he finds that his profession as an investigator is more than he bargained for in many different ways. Having already been in serious battles with an army of demons, zombies and a variety of other types of creatures, he is now on a quest to save his best friend.
What he doesn’t expect is that Maria Vasquez, his best friend’s partner, has her own plan. That is to join him and find out what is going on in the mysterious life of Jake.  Only knowing that her partner has disappeared, she knows that Jake knows the answer. But she is unprepared for what she finds.

Putting aside her skepticism, she joins forces with him in his attempt to find the one person who can help him in his goal to return his friend. There is a catch; he must first rescue her husband. The danger in this task is palpable, but she is the only one who can help him. Her husband, a political refuge, is being held on an island that is a law in itself. Darkness covers the area, and the inhabitants live in constant fear of retribution, but Jake and Maria have no choice.  Can they break into the prison and rescue the prisoner, escape with him back to the states and still live to tell the tale? Do the rumors that abound about the creatures that live there, hold any merit?

Lamberson has delivered us a hero with strength and an ego. His exploits remind me much of the character, Jack Reacher, of Lee Child fame. The difference is in the dangers they face, one more human and the other the stuff of nightmares. The ability to blaze through the sequences hold a fascination, and when Maria Vasquez joins in, the going becomes a higher caliber.

While Helman is the main character, in this particular episode, Vasquez with her personality and ability to get out of tough situations steals the scene time after time. The action is fast and deadly, with unexpected twists and turns that keep you reading far into the night.  Be assured that you will keep the lights on and the slightest noise will give you a start.

There is richness to the action that takes you there, and even with the advent of zombies and demons, you can visualize the events. The color is clear and the action sucks you in. If you love action packed thrillers full of creatures and characters that you only dream about, this would be a book for you. If you find this to your liking you will be interested to note that it is a part of a series of books featuring Helman, known as The Jake Helman Files. Be prepared for a wild ride into a world much different than the one we now know. Or is it?

Rating 5/5

This book was received free from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Article first published as Book Review: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver on Blogcritics.

Can the beauty of nature distract us from the reality of what changes in her behavior can mean in our world? One of the most beautiful of nature’s creatures is the butterfly, majestic and noble, with a grace that captures the hearts and souls of many naturists. A Change in the migration patterns of these beauteous creatures would be an anomaly to the science world, but could bring about misunderstanding in the community that becomes their home.
In Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver we are taken into a place in Appalachia where a rare and concerning change in behavior of the monarch butterflies has changed the behavior of a family and a town.  The lives of the Turnbow family become inextricably linked with the migration as the butterflies choose to settle on a part of their property that has been slated for clear-cut.
Dellarobia Turnbow feels like an outcast in her family.  Caught up in marriage at an early age she still finds herself craving that something more.  On her way to an assignation that will change her life, she feels a chill of premonition of how this will affect her life. The thought of her children and her marriage, create sadness, but the excitement pulls her.  Heading into the wilderness area of the property owned by the family for generations, one that has been slated for clear-cut; she is startled by the vision of the sky in flame. The orange color broils and twists, in a show of beauty and danger. To her, this is a clear sign that she cannot resist. Turning and making her way back to the life she now lived, she felt the vision was a sending from god.
Not sure how to move forward though, she finely tells her husband that he needs to walk the area, and make sure that his father is doing the right thing with selling the timber off.  After pushing in this direction, she is finally vindicated when he acquiesces and follows her up into the mountain. The discovery of the butterflies is interpreted as an act of god, and turns the town on their heads.  The influx of entomologists and the involvement of the news turn the countryside into a place of curiosity.
This is a beautiful piece of work describing the changes made with global warming, and how the effects of weather disturb the natural progression of the seasons.  As the changes evolve, so does the Turnbow family begin their own evolution.  A family entrenched in their beliefs, they move inexorable towards a truth that life must change.
To stay the same in beliefs and work in their own little place in the world does not change the tides of nature. Kingsolver gives us a story full of heart, and heart ache, delivering the tribulations of a family in denial and crisis. She uses the advent of beauty to bring out the depth of secrets lodged in a family mired in lies and pain. The truth of nature seems to guide her characters to their own truths, and a healing that is necessary. 
Will the migration actually create the ending for these beautiful creatures and as well as the end of a family held together by deception?
The Flight is an interesting take on global warming, but it also takes you into the personal lives of a family that has hidden much of their pain and existed in a vacuum of hope that tugs at your heart.
If you enjoy finding the beauty in nature, and the overcoming of personal turmoil, you will enjoy this work. The description of the event is amazing and beyond the scope of expectation.  This would be a great work for a reading group or discussion group.
Rating 4/4