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Bear Hug - Buying Time

Bear Hug – Buying Time by J. Wes Watson

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End Matter

End Matter by Ezekiel Cartwright

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Debt Cleanse: How To Settle Your Unaffordable Debts For Pennies On The Dollar (And Not Pay Some At All) by Jorge Newbery

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Where is Emma Butler's Life Plan

Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? by Julia Wilmot

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My Best Friend and Loyal Companion

My Best Friend and Loyal Companion
by Nancy Eaton

About six months ago, I had to have my Shih Tzu euthanized. She was very ill and did not want to eat. No one wants their beloved pet to suffer. I was devastated. Today, I am still not over the hurt I feel over her loss. When I tried to More »

Bear Hug – Buying Time
by J. Wes Watson

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Bear Hug - Buying TimeBear Hug: Buying Time is a fascinating alternative history novel from the talented author, J. Wes Watson. Set during the post-World War Two time period, in Watson’s take on the events that transpired at the August 1944 Conference in Potsdam, Joseph Stalin decides that it is his time to act and make his mark on the world stage. In essence, Stalin replaces Hitler as a threat in an ongoing war, seeking to conquer all of Europe before the Allies can regroup and react fast enough to stop him.

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In Bear Hug: Buying Time, Watson, who is a retired Army intelligence officer, writes about the post-World War Two alternative history scenario in stark and realistic terms. Watson colorfully describes the dramatic aftermath of Hitler’s, and Germany’s, defeat, as Stalin rallies his forces and rolls across Europe in his quest of dominance.

End Matter by Ezekiel Cartwright

Reviewed by Teri Davis

endmatter“These stories must never make it to paperback. I don’t want them edited, and they must never change from their existing format. They’re written this way for a reason, and…”

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The stereotypical author is introverted, creative, and extremely analytical. These attributes lead greatly assist them in examining and writing about the world around them, whether real or only in their imagination.

Nathan Cartwright fits this description. Living alone in Maine, he is very reclusive to the point of being almost a hermit. His only contact with the real world is through his son, Danny and his granddaughter.

Nathan has an advantage though over most authors. The major publishing houses want his writings, but he refuses to work with each of them, choosing to have his work strictly available through self-publishing only. He tried to write romance and even drama novels with little success, but his magic touch was the thriller. Why?

Nathan is facing the reality of his life ending. His physician has informed him that his days are numbered. Now is the time for him to do one final good deed.

His son needed money for his wife’s cancer treatment. Between the medical costs and raising a daughter, Nathan feels obligated to help with the family needs with money.
He is returning to being a successful writer of thriller novels. His books almost have a magical authenticity to them with so much explicit gore that he given the nickname, “Grisly Grandpa.”

Nathan now wants to publish a book that will secure Danny’s financial needs and those of his granddaughter.

With finally completing the latest novel on his tablet, Nathan meets with his illustrator at a nearby coffee shop that will change all of his plans.

It all begins with a server who eventually recognizes him. Who could predict how this would send his life into a downward spiral?

The author, Ezekiel Cartwright propels his interests into his writing while being influenced by his childhood in New England and writers such as Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, and Dean Koontz.

This novella is tightly wound into an introspective tale around the theme of striving for greatness while being aware of the impending cost of responsibility in that achievement. With realistically flawed characters striving for hope and a better life, the reader views the world through Nathan with his daily frustrations and challenges.

End Matter is a different novella with a unique authenticity that is a frightening page-turner.

Debt Cleanse: How To Settle Your Unaffordable Debts For Pennies On The Dollar (And Not Pay Some At All) by Jorge Newbery

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

Debt CleansePart how-to manual, part self-help book, and part-companion to the larger website DebtCleanse.com, Jorge P. Newbery’s Debt Cleanse: How to Settle Your Unaffordable Debts for Pennies on the Dollar (And Not Pay Some at All) is a definitive, exhaustive guide with the goal of forever ridding the reader from the crippling debt that so unfortunately saddles millions of Americans.

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Newbery begins with a set if staggering statistics. Literally millions of Americans are burdened with various forms of debt. Some of this debt is so massive that is it often feels to the victims that they (or even their progeny) will never be rid of it. Newbery himself once suffered from that kind of debtor’s fear. As he so candidly admits, at one point in his career as a businessman, he owed a debt amounting to over twenty-six million dollars. But today he is relatively debt-free. Sound impossible? Newbery’s guide illuminates step-by-step how he was able to emerge from that crippling figure by paying only a miniscule fraction of it. He further provides hundreds of exacting tips, tools, and tactics to aid any person who finds him or herself in debt to eventually walk away debt-free after only paying a very small portion of the overall cost.

God Help the Child: A Novel by Toni Morrison

Reviewed by Teri Davis

God Help the Child“Her color is a cross she will always carry. But it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. It’s not.”

How can skin color determine your path in life? It does. Even in those with darker skin, how dark or light is very important.

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Her mother knew that skin color would be a problem. The was extremely dark, better known as Sudanese black. How did this happen? She is light-skinned as is her husband. How do two light-skinned blacks have a very dark skinned baby girl?

The mother’s husband worked as a porter on the train. Obviously he had been away from home for stretches of time. What is the obvious conclusion? Added to that the baby girl has hair that is straight with a little natural curl. How could this baby be belong to this father? DNA did not exist in those days so appearances led to logical conclusions, whether or not they are correct.

This is how Lula Ann entered the world. Even her mother distanced herself from the young girl. With the difference in their skin color, her mother insisted Lula Ann call her “sweetness”, not mother. She believed that others would cause problems for them if they knew the truth. What would people think about a light-skinned woman with a dark baby? What would people think about a dark-skinned girl with a light-skinned mother?

How does anyone become a successful adult when they have been rejected their entire life?

Utopia, Iowa by Brian Yansky

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Utopia, Iowa “I wanted to write about a magical Midwestern small town and a boy who will have to leave that magical town to chase his dream of writing the movies. There’s murder, mystery, and mayhem in this novel, but at the heart is the struggle of a boy to leave family, friends, and home behind to pursue his dreams.”

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For Jack Bell, who is entering his senior year in high school, life is not easy. Jack’s mouth tends to have a life of its own and he enjoys the trouble he causes, even if it means numerous detentions. He has big dreams of being a screen writer and believes that this will be his last year living in Utopia. His life next year will need to be in California.

Warriors of the Storm: A Novel (Saxon Tales) by Bernard Cornwell

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Warriors of the StormThere has been numerous books about Richard the Lionhearted and his mother, Queen Eleanor. However, the years before their reigns do not have the documents supporting the history. The basics have been recorded but not many accounts still exist showing the various perspectives. What about the time period just as England was becoming a country?

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Fortunately for most of us, Bernard Cornwell masterfully has researched this time period and has created a phenomenal saga in his Saxon stories.

Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Blood WeddingA darkly disturbing thriller, Pierre Lemaitre’s Blood Wedding gives new life to the genre with this mind-bending novel that keeps readers engrossed in excited speculation, as they are made privy to the convoluted world of Sophie Duguet.

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From the story’s outset, readers will find themselves immediately focused on Sophie’s world, as a horrifically intense scene introduces her in a spine chilling way. Duguet is a rather ambiguous heroine entrapped in the throes of a life that is nothing short of a waking nightmare. Living a life no one would envy, Sophie finds herself plagued by a mosaic of bizarre occurrences she does not seem to be able to control nor understand.. From mysteriously misplaced objects, to lost episodes of time, to being central to unspeakable acts that point to her own volition, her life rapidly disintegrates into a hellish existence. As Sophie’s story unfolds, readers will query to themselves as to whether she is actually losing her mind or is it possible that something far more sinister is at play?

Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies: The Patriots by David Fisher

Reviewed by Allen Hott

legendsandliesThis is really a great rendering of the story of our country’s battle to be a free nation and not part of England. The book tells about many of the people who participated in this great episode. Although it attributes some of the quotes that have become synonymous with these Patriots, it does point out that many of them may not necessarily be completely true and accurate.

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It seems somewhat hard to envision today how this country was divided at the time of the Revolution. Many Loyalists were very definitely in favor of staying under the wing of England but a major turning point for many happened when the British passed the Stamp Act. The Sons of Liberty were formed to fight against this act with all of their might.

If You Were Me and Lived in China…Italy…Egypt: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World by Carole P. Roman, Author and Kelsea Wierenga, Illustrator

Reviewed by Teri Davis

If You Were Me and Lived in ItalyIf You Were Me and Lived in ChinaIf You Were Me and Lived in EgyptHow does anyone prepare to visit another country? Most travelers quickly have discovered that the experience is more enjoyable when you know what to expect. Immersing yourself in any place with another language and culture is the best way to understand others. How do you prepare for the multiple aspects that no one source can explain?

Collecting the Dead: A Novel by Spencer Kope

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Collecting the DeadCollecting the Dead introduces a fresh face in crime fiction. Magnus Craig, better known to all as “Steps,” has an unusual gift that makes him invaluable to the elite Special Tracking Unit of the FBI. Steps has become known as the human bloodhound in the press for his ability to find traces of a perp’s trail when no one else can. This has made him a bit of a media star but also has drawn the suspicions of some prosecutors who suspect there is something a little hinky with his finds. One even challenged him in open court-one of the lighter scenes in the book as Steps answers the challenge via demonstration. However, the truth is, the doubters are not wrong-Steps’ success comes from an oddity. He has the ability to see the remnants of a person’s aura long after the person is gone. By following this “shine” as he calls it, allows him to track where there really is no trail remaining and in some cases sense whether a person is still alive.

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In this debut of the series, the Special Tracking Unit is called in when the remains of a murdered girl are found. Not only does Steps see the killer’s shine, he ability allows him to also recognize a signature left at the crime scene by the killer-a sad face image. It is the sad face image that triggers a memory in Steps of an earlier case with a victim who physically resembled the current one. This leads to the obvious question, “are there even more victims of the sad face killer?” And just like that the investigation of one murder becomes the hunt for a serial killer.

The Steel Kiss (A Lincoln Rhyme Novel) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Steel KissDeaver just keeps going, on and on, with great detective stories featuring Lincoln Rhyme and his investigative group. If you haven’t read any of these stories you probably should start further back and work your way up. But if you don’t want to do that this one is a great story by itself. Many, many interesting happenings back to back!

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Rhyme is a “retired” forensic detective with the NYPD. Although retired forced by a horrendous on duty incident which has left him about 95% paralyzed and wheelchair bound. He has recently announced that he is retired and only consults on forensic cases for insurance companies or certain police matters. However every one of his crew is trying hard to get him to return to his normal job.

The Sins of the Father: A Derek Stillwater Thriller (Volume 5) by Mark Terry

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Sins of the FatherDerek Stillwater enjoys living on his boat. Life this way requires constant upkeep which almost compensates for the peacefulness. That changes when he receives a package. Unfortunately, the letter begins, “If you are reading this, I am dead.”

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Derek immediately calls Tom Ross, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security requesting an immediate and indefinite leave of absence. He works with preventing and investigating biological and chemical terrorism attacks.
Next, his call is to his travel agent to arrange for his upcoming trip to Moscow.