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The Dot on the Left: Life Lessons on Moving from Below Average to Ahead of the Curve by Dave Swanson

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The Perfect Match by T. Wayne Bloodworth

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Understandings the Patterns of Your Life: Take Charge of Your Destiny by George Pan Kouloukis

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Nitro Wild

Nitro Wild (Rex Knight Book 4) by David C. Brown

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The Power of the Dhin (The Way of the Dhin Book 2) by John L. Clemmer

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Strong to the Bone (A Caitlin Strong Novel) by Jon Land

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Hidden Sea by Miles Arceneaux

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The Missing Factor: A Jim Factor Novel by Daniel C. Lorti

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Chanting the Feminine Down by James C. McCullagh with Roy McCullagh

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Chanting the Feminine DownOddly enough, when an author subtitles his book it is often more about the author then the book. However, McCullaugh here declares this to be a “Psychological, Religious and Historical Novel,” he is not being disingenuous.

This story is well researched and well documented. It is a tribute to the author’s dedication and abilities in research and correlation of large amounts of data and information. The author provides source references and other interesting information at his website, Chanting the Feminine Down.

The Dot on the Left: Life Lessons on Moving from Below Average to Ahead of the Curve by Dave Swanson

Reviewed by Ray Palen

The Dot on the LeftWhen readers turn to a self-help book they are looking for something new and different. There have been thousands of books written about overcoming adversity, striving to improve yourself, finding strength from within, etc… The question when promoting these self-help books is not only how to market them but finding something unique that no one else has written previously.

Dave Swanson’s self-help/inspirational book entitled THE DOT ON THE LEFT: Life Lessons on Moving from Below Average to Ahead of the Curve is not as much another primer or how-to book. Rather, Swanson simply tells his own story and how he overcame adversity, negativity and labels others wished to place upon him and instead listened only to his inner feelings as he pushed himself to succeed at every goal he set for himself.

This is a great start, but to really grab readers and keep them engaged you also need to have some credibility beyond just a good story. Swanson has that in droves. In addition to being a published author he is also a motivational speaker and former U.S. Army infantry platoon leader. He knows about real adversity as he survived over 100 firefights while deployed to Sadr City, Iraq. There’s an old adage that states ‘there are no atheists in fox-holes’! Well, to survive the type of warfare this man was faced with required much more than faith alone. Dave Swanson sounds like the type of person I want to listen to when he has something to say.

The Perfect Match by T. Wayne Bloodworth

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The Perfect MatchA narrative, both sincere and touching, The Perfect Match by author T. Wayne Bloodworth focuses on the complex and emotion ridden journey of Dr. Zack Folsom, a man living life so mired in doubt, sorrow and guilt, that it takes twisted fate for him to let go and start living life as he should.

Central character, Doctor Zack Folsom, a talented cardiac surgeon, loving husband and father, becomes a man preoccupied, after suddenly losing his wife Emily in a fatal car accident. To avoid the pain of his loss, he throws himself into his work dedicating the majority of his time and energy to his medical practice gaining him the reputation of being “all business” while he constantly wields an irascible and crudely sarcastic disposition.

Although he experiences great success as a competent surgeon, he also deeply feels the emptiness of the void left by his wife’s death. Meanwhile, his only son Brody who is very much in need of a loving relationship with his father especially after the loss of his mother is now raised and cared for by Emily’s family. Consequently, the relationship between father and son eventually festers into a dysfunctional and emotionally fractured relationship as Brody feels ignored and essentially parent-less, and in turn grows to hold onto a deep and resounding resentment against his father.

Understanding the Patterns of Your Life: Take Charge of Your Destiny by George Pan Kouloukis

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Understanding the Patterns of Your LifeDo the events in your daily life follow patterns? It is usually easy to find math patterns. What about nature? Is there a pattern in examining pine cone? The mathematician Fibonacci certainly saw that pattern. Are there other patterns?

Are there good years and bad ones or is that just a balance of life? Obviously, not every second of each day is good or bad, but what about the overall year? Of course, every day is not typically all good or bad.

Think about the major shifts you have experienced. Examine your health issues, your money situations, your career ups and downs, and your love life. Do any patterns appear? When you analyze your results in chronological order, surprisingly you are likely to see a pattern. Could this help each of us begin to predict our own futures? Would it help each of us with our family, relationships, career, or life issues in general?

George Kouloukis analyzed the lives of twenty-two well-known people who lived in the last five-hundred years, a few still living today. He quickly found the not many ordinary people chronicle and publish their lives. Due to this, he chose famous people in various parts of the world with different careers who experience their own good and bad years. He studied the lives of Ludwig van Beethoven, Giusepppe Verdi, Pablo Picasso, Mikhail Gorbachev, The Dalai Lama, Margaret Thatcher, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Christopher Columbus, Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon, Victor Hugo, Winston Churchill, Aristotle Onassis, Nelson Mandela, Maria Callas, Sarah Bernhardt, Napoleon’s wife – Josephine, King Henry VIII, Jimmy Carter, and John Glenn.

Surprisingly, the author, George Kouloukis discovered a pattern in their lives, a sixteen-seventeen year cycle. The short biographies of these famous people help every reader to properly assess the good and bad seasons for each individual. Naturally, not everything is good in the good season and bad in the bad, but the major overall events are the focus. The author examined the health, wealth, their positions or careers and love.

Kouloukis researched other findings of patterns identified by other researchers. The Universe by Time-Life Books explained how the magnetic poles of the sun alternate every eleven years. Strangely, this pattern seemed to have little to no relevance to human behavior. Another consideration was The Seasons of a Man’s Life by Daniel J. Levison explained the four seasons of every life with each lasting round twenty to twenty-two years. Again, George Kouloukis found no normal correlation with his life or those he studied. These resources appealed to Kouloukis but seemed slightly flawed.

Lacking few biographies of ordinary people or regular people, he began to study these famous people throughout the world, varying the time periods, the gender, the situations, and delving into their personal lives focusing on their wealth, health, love, and successful or failed careers.

He discovered the patterns through these people and allows you to examine your own life to discover the season you are now experiencing so that the author’s realizations can assist you with your life in the future.

Reading the book, Understanding the Patterns of Your Life allows you to learn to examine your own life to allow you to make choices for yourself. George Pan Kouloukis has opened his wisdom to read your own personal crystal ball.

Nitro Wild (Rex Knight Book 4) by David C. Brown

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Nitro WildDavid Brown has composed an epic alternative fantasy history tale of the 19th Century. Rex Knight is the protagonist. From Rex’s mysterious transport from Earth through his first few years on Erden, the inhabitants’ name for their planet, he struggles to survive, thrive, and finally succeed in great ways. Most of the story is related from Rex’s viewpoint.

There are other transported races and groupings of people. The Wapiti spoke a lingua franca that was primarily English, German and some of the indigenous peoples’, the Clovis, own language. This could support other transports and some indigenous groups, but there is also an alien, non-human race called the Ichneumons who rule a substantial part of the continent that appear to be much like 19th century North and South America.

The details of the planet, civilizations and governments here are sprinkled sparingly throughout the story’s development. The Ichneumons are vying for control of the world with the mighty Prussian empire. The area that conforms roughly to the Eastern United States is controlled by the Prussian Empire. The remainder is largely controlled by the Ichnemons. These two empires are at constant conflict for control of this continent. Meanwhile, the European and Asian equivalent continents are split between the Prussians and their allies and the Mongol tribes that are constantly restless if not openly attacking on the eastern borders of Prussia.

The Power of the Dhin (The Way of the Dhin Book 2) by John L. Clemmer

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The Power of the DhinContinuing his offering of intellectually arousing science fiction, author, John L. Clemmer, once again accomplishes a satisfying and entertaining narrative with his second addition to his “Dhin” series, The Power of the Dhin.

This time around, author Clemmer fully immerses readers in a more plot driven perpetuation of the Dhin saga; albeit, he still maintains an approachable level of scientific sophistication, with this book he engages with more plot twists, action and conflict within an intelligently expansive, multiperspectived and multihabitated universe.

The story starts two years plus, ensuing the A.I. Governors departure from earth. They exited on a mission seeking to expand their existence in the galaxy with the coveted Dhin technology. However, their efforts towards expansion do not come easily, as they find themselves faced with a powerful obstacle. Meanwhile, on earth, mankind has accomplished the feat of reverse engineering of the Dhin technology, giving rise to the beginnings of the unfettered exploration of the vast regions of space, which in turn, also leads to a stunning discovery.

Moreover, while free of the distrusted A.I. Controllers, citizens on earth continue a turmoiled existence with their lives made uncomfortable and disorganized by a lack of A.I. control and a portion of the populace unable to contribute to society in much needed technical ways, those of lesser intellect hold minimally paid jobs, forcing them to live an actuality fraught with poverty while seemingly stuck in a downcast position in society. With riots, and hacking attacks on the rise, those in power on earth, struggle to maintain control over its restless population, while clues point to the possibility of a rogue force at work and scheming, in the background.

Altogether, The Power of the Dhin turned out to be entirely enjoyable to read. It was a well-posed and successful continuation of the Dhin story, which I found both stimulating and engaging. Author John L. Clemmer, delivers with his balanced style of cognizant, palatable science fiction that is diverse in perspective, consistently creative and provides unique facets of science fact, fiction and innovation. Thus far this is a read worthy series.

Strong to the Bone (A Caitlin Strong Novel) by Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Strong to the Bone“You may be able to walk on water, Ranger, but quicksand’s a whole other thing,” a character advised Caitlin Strong early on in Strong to the Bone.

And quicksand is pretty much what Caitlin finds herself mired in here in the superb ninth book to feature the stalwart Texas Ranger who’s as close to a female Jack Reacher as it gets. No, she doesn’t use her fists with the aplomb of Lee Child’s seminal series hero, but she more than makes up for that with her prowess as a gunman (or, more accurately, gunwoman), a skill she gets to use with typical frequency in her latest adventure.

But Strong to the Bone serves up a new kind of target in the form of the man who sexually assaulted Caitlin eighteen years before while she was a collegiate undergraduate. We’ve barely started flipping the pages before she rescues a woman from a bar basement who’s been similarly assaulted and barely taken a breath before learning that it was the same man who raped Caitlin all those years ago. And I haven’t even mentioned the book’s primary villain in the form of a neo-Nazi gang that’s appropriated a Texas ghost town as headquarters for the massive drug dealing operation their leader, Armand Fisker, has taken international.

Fisker, a man so prone to violent impulses that one scene finds himself dousing his own son with gasoline and flicking on a lighter before the terrified boy’s eyes, is somehow connected to a killer Caitlin’s grandfather Earl Strong hunted in the waning days of World War II. Did you know that Texas was home to over 100,000 Nazi prisoners of war in camps scattered throughout the state? Neither did I. In the flashback thread that’s become a staple of this sterling series, though, Earl Strong finds himself on the trail of one of them who escaped his camp after killing his three bunkmates. Why? What did they know? And what’s none other than J. Edgar Hoover himself doing on the scene?

Strong to the Bone, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, unfolds frantically and frenetically, serving up a smorgasbord of emotionally wrought angst garnished with characters of both misplaced and misconstrued morality. Fisker, for example, isn’t planning to unleash a catastrophic weapon upon the world when the book opens; that intention unfolds organically, lending Strong to the Bone a stunning spontaneity featuring characters who are truly in charge of the action.

Heading up that roster as always is Caitlin herself, whose own personal quest to at long last find her dragon lends the book a visceral quality to go with the visuals Land has always excelled at framing. But what’s truly special is her doubts about whether she really wants to kill that dragon, lest she lose the edge that has long defined her, as Land deftly stirs a pot that features the perfect blend of emotion and action.

The Caitlin Strong series is much deserved of the praise it has attained and many awards it’s won. But Strong to the Bone takes what’s always worked to a whole new level. A terrific, tumultuous tale of rare depth and prowess certain to solidify Caitlin’s place as the most polished and proficient female hero in thriller fiction today. Maybe that’s why none of Jack Reacher’s travels have taken him to Texas. Even he doesn’t want to risk messing with Caitlin Strong.

Hidden Sea by Miles Arceneaux

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Hidden SeaProffering a literate jolt to the senses, miles Arceneaux’s Hidden Sea gives readers food for thought with its rich and captivating narrative of human trafficking in the Gulf of Mexico. Albeit this is a work of fiction, the story is based on the reality of sea-faring enslavement, which occurs within the South Sea of China. Readers will find this entertaining story stocked with a bevy of colorful characters artfully immersed in a briny mix of adventure, humor, political corruption and pirates, set in the Gulf of Mexico. Written by a trio of well-honed authors, known as Miles Arceneaux, writing as one voice, this makes the fifth addition in their series of Gulf Coast thrillers.

The Missing Factor: A Jim Factor Novel by Daniel C. Lorti

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

The Missing FactorArms dealer Jim Factor has a great life, a thriving business, a loving wife, and an affluent lifestyle. The one time engineer has always run a legitimate arms business, until he is approached at a convention in Europe with a steal of a deal. Carlos Sengretti would like him to act as a moderator in negotiations with a client and will make him a large sum of money. After some discussion, Jim agrees to assist Sengretti with his deal and they decide on a payment amount. Jim believes he will just be a consultant and once the deal is finished, his services will no longer be needed.

Unfortunately, he is mistaken. Soon after the business is completed, Jim receives a phone call warning him of potential danger. The illegal deal has gone sour, and now he is suspected of leaking the deal to the United States Customs Service. His life is at risk and Jim must immediately leave the country without a trace. He cannot even tell his wife anything about the deal gone wrong, nor can he tell her where he is going. He quickly gathers cash and some clothing and leaves his housen eventually ending up at the bus terminal where he makes his escape to another city.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Last Mrs. ParrishWho doesn’t want to be richer, thinner, blonde with blue-eyes, tanned, better looking and more successful? This seems to be the American dream for many women. Most wealthy people appear to have it all. With money, they can recreate themselves into almost the perfect person. Think of the numerous women and even many men who spend enormous amounts of money to achieve their vision of perfection.

The problem is often what appears in public is quite different than reality or in the privacy of a home.

Amber Patterson is tired of being normal. She is thin, but plain. Mousy brownish hair, dowdy, ambitious but in a career with no future for making real money. She just makes enough to get by with her paycheck to paycheck existence.

How can she change her life?

Amber finds a new friend, Daphne Parrish, who seems to be everything she could want. Daphne is beautiful, rich, blond, blue-eyes, married to a gorgeous husband and two young daughters. Amber wants Daphne life, but slightly changed without the children. She doesn’t enjoy young ones at all.

Coincidentally, both Daphne and Amber had sisters who dies due to cystic fibrosis. This is the foundation of their friendship.

Will Amber ever have a life like Daphne’s?

The Cold Kiss by John Rector (Review #2)

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

The Cold KissI must admit there aren’t too many books that really grab my attention and keep hold of it all the way to the end. The Cold Kiss is an exception.

Nate and his pregnant girlfriend Sara leave Minnesota and plan to drive to Reno to get married and start a new life. They are both trying to forget their past lives and begin new ones.

When Nate and Sara stop at a diner, they noticed a man who had a terrible cough. As they were leaving the diner, the man confronted them and offered to pay $500 for a ride. Nate did not want to take the man in the car but Sara’s eyes lit up when she started thinking about what she could do with $500. So, against Nate’s judgment, they agreed to take Syl in their car. It started snowing.

Along the way, Syl sounded deathly sick with his constant coughing and even at times spitting up blood. The snowstorm got worse and Nate pulled into a motel. At first it didn’t look like the motel was open. When Nate turned to look at Syl, he believed he was dead in the backseat.

End Game (Will Robie Series) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

End GameWill Robie and Jessica Reel, two of the top secret agents working for the U.S. government, are in it again. And this time they have to stay in the states and find their immediate superior.

However the book starts out with Robie battling a group of bad guys in Europe and Jessica doing the same in Iraq. Neither one have a problem doing that as it is their training.

But shortly after getting back they are given the information that Roger Walton, known as the Blue Man, their immediate superior is missing. It seems that Walton had gone back to Colorado where he lived for years while he was growing up. This time on his trip back he suddenly disappeared.

The area in Colorado today is pretty much inhabited by ne’er -do- wells. There are neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other slightly different groups of people settled in here. These folks appear to be battling each other but also causing some problems in the area. It hasn’t been enough to put anyone in jail but recently it seems that some folks have come up missing. And among that group of missing persons is Roger Walton!

The local law enforcement consists of a sheriff and a deputy. They do not appear to be too anxious to do anything as long as the laws are not broken. But on hearing of the missing FBI agent they immediately join up with Will and Jessica to help in any way they can.

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

No Middle NameThis one is not a normal book but is a collection of several novellas and then even more short stories. All of the tales do feature Jack Reacher, who has been the main character in many of Child’s works. No doubt that the title No Middle Name pertains to Jack Reacher. That always comes up in all of the stories that Child writes. Someone invariably asks his name and they cannot get over the fact that he doesn’t have a middle name. Even without a middle name Jack Reacher is a very interesting character. These stories carry that character forward as he makes his trek not only across the United States but even on occasion into Europe.

Reacher is a retired Military Police officer who has a very astute mind when it comes to looking into situations that would probably stymie the minds of most people. Wherever he goes he seems to not only run into things that happen to be at least a bit illegal or scary but then he always seems to also solve the problems or assist in solving them.

Where It Hurts (A Gus Murphy Novel) by Reed Farrel Coleman

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Where It HurtsThis is the first book I have read by Mr. Coleman and I would have to say I was really into it. A great mystery involving a retired Suffolk County cop who is really battling his own demons due to the loss of his son. The young boy had been diagnosed with a heart problem but then too soon he passed away due to that problem. Gus Murphy, the retired cop, and his wife both were so depressed that they could do nothing but get on each other’s case until boom, they ended up divorced.

So now Murphy, retired and divorced, goes to live in a very run-down hotel and begins working as a driver for the hotel’s van and also as security for the hotel. He is not at all happy but realizes that it all has to do with his unyielding grief.

Out of the past comes a two-bit crook that Gus had had dealings with many times while working as a cop. This time however Tommy Delcamino has sought out Gus to help him find Delcamino’s son’s murderer. The boy appears to have been somewhat involved with drugs as both a user and pusher. His dad doesn’t feel that the police are really working the case because he believes that someone in the police department was also involved in the mess that got the boy killed. Gus abruptly runs Tommy D off and says he has no interest in the case especially because he believes Tommy D is trying to play on Gus’s feelings about his own son’s death.

Killing Season: A Thriller by Faye Kellerman

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

The Killing SeasonFaye Kellerman hits a home run with theKilling Season. After finishing the novel, I couldn’t believe that it was close to 700 pages as the pages flew by and I couldn’t wait to see if Vicks was able to solve his sister’s murder.

The novel takes place in small town New Mexico and centers around Ben Vicksburg or Vicks as he’s known throughout the story. Vicks is a high school senior and a math genius who is obsessed with finding his sister’s serial killer. The nerdy Vicks finds an unlikely sidekick in the new girl in town who happens to be way out of his league. While this may seem a bit cliché Vicks and Ro share a common link in that they have both loss a sister, as well as dealing with families that are trying to overcome a great loss. Vicks and Ro make a great team working together to try and locate the serial killer before he kills again.