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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Symphony of Rivals Review from Kirkus Reviews

A Symphony of Rivals
Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-9987319-3-3
Ebook and Hardcover available at Amazon

 Printed with permission of Kirkus Reviews

“A Suspenseful bridge to the final volume to a historical fiction series. Alejandra Stanford Morrison is a strong-willed woman with ambitions to become a symphony conductor, though it defies the gender expectations of the 1930s. When she learns of her acceptance into a prestigious conservatory in Berlin, her ecstasy is met with reluctance from her husband, Richard. Part One chronicles their travels and musical training amid increasing political tensions in Germany and Austria. Calatayud-Stocks portrays her characters clearly, each with a unique voice and agenda. The novel raises stimulating questions regarding work-life balance and the entwinement of art and politics.  The momentum accelerates with the emergence of more serious conflicts, leaving readers with a cliffhanger that should entice them to pick up the next volume. And for culture enthusiasts, the author once again offers musical selections corresponding to each chapter. 


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG AND GETTING REVIEWS

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. Reviewers will have a special interest in the chapter on how to make reviewing pay, either as way to market their own books or as a career path--ethically!

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Dr. Wesley Britton Reviews the Clinton/Patterson Book

The President is Missing
Authors: Bill Clinton and James Patterson
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Audible.com Release Date: June 4, 2018

Reviewed by: Dr. Wesley Britton originally for BookPleasures.com

On so many levels, the powerhouse collaboration between best-selling novelist James Patterson and former President William Jefferson Clinton has ignited nearly every kind of possible critical response. Some readers nearly gush with effusive praise; other reviewers are far less kind, and not always for political reasons.

Some reader games would seem unavoidable. Guessing who wrote what is more than problematic, although I’m certain Clinton wrote both the first and last chapters. The first as it seems so much like Clinton’s own experiences during his impeachment hearings, the last as it reads like one of Clinton’s famously long speeches. To the chagrin of some readers,it’s a speech that touches on many issues not dealt with in the novel at all.

Another game is trying to decide how much of Clinton is captured in the character of President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan. Other reviewers have pointed out a handful of biographical similarities as well as major differences. Me, I read the book noticing the absence of any sex or romantic relationships. Was this a means of avoiding the smirks and/or guessing games of readers who’d want to connect Clinton’s erotic life with his fiction?

The fingerprints of James Patterson are evident throughout the bulk of the thriller. For one thing, the pace of the book is partly driven by his very short chapters that jump from scene to scene, from character to character in a rapid-fire delivery. Throughout, there are many very familiar tropes of the political thriller genre that are reminiscent of numerous authors, not just Patterson. For example, the rudder of the plot is a terrorist named Suliman Cindoruk who wants to activate a computer virus that will cripple the U.S. by erasing all internet data of the military, government, business, medical facilities, and infrastructure. In an often convoluted storyline, President Duncan believes he’s the only man who can meet with Abkhazian separatists to avert the catastrophe. That’s why the President is missing, although political opponents think he’s pulling a fast one to avoid impeachment hearings. 

Typical of such novels, one fly in the ointment is a traitor at the very top echelons of the government. But who is the traitor? And why is the female sniper code-named Bach not assassinating world leaders when she has them in her sites, but instead shoots defectors from the terrorist ranks? And who is paying for all this carnage?

Part of the story focuses on discussions between Duncan and his advisors, part is action-oriented with shootouts, car crashes, Viper helicopters, and deadly infiltrations into secret government facilities. It’s either a pleasure or an annoyance to read so many red herrings in the book that lead to a number of very surprising reveals and conclusions in the final chapters. 

I recommend reading the Hachette Audio edition of the book to hear the passages narrated by Dennis Quaid, January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, Jeremy Davidson, and Mozhan MarnĂ³ . It’s also interesting to hear the chapters focused on Bach read by a female reader and often spiced with musical backgrounds by the classical composers Bach is listening to while setting up her kill shots.
For my money, The President is Missing is a fun read occasionally laced with political observations no doubt offered by Clinton. Maybe some of these lectures will resonate with readers who don’t often listen to voices not coming from their political bent. 

You can download the book for free and hear samples at various sites on the net, such as

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

 Dr. Wesley Britton is the author of The Beta Earth Chronicles and regular reviewer for BookPleasures.com and this blog.  Learn more about him: 




   


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG AND GETTING REVIEWS

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. Reviewers will have a special interest in the chapter on how to make reviewing pay, either as way to market their own books or as a career path--ethically!

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Readers' Favorite Reviewer Gives Wilma Fleming's Middle Grade Novel Five Stars

TITLE OF YOUR BOOK: The Curse at Lilac Waters
AUTHOR OF BOOK):   Wilma Fleming
GENRE OR CATEGORY: Middle Grades Fantasy
 ISBN: -13 9781540607720
ISBN:-10 1540607720
Library of Congress number: 2016919809 
Purchase at Amazon


Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite- *****Five Stars*****

The Curse at Lilac Waters is a fantasy novel for children and preteens written by Wilma Fleming. Troelina was used to having things her own way. She was the prettiest purple troll and the others treated her with a bit of deference when she wanted her pick of the berries or other wild goodies the trolls fed upon. That feeling of privilege quickly got her into quite a bit of bother, however, when she ran up against the goat called Krug. Krug didn’t like trolls trespassing on goat territory, not one bit, and he was not at all impressed by either Troelina’s fair features or her attitude. All it took was a few magical words uttered by the truculent old goat, and Troelina found herself in the body of a Gopher tortoise. All her dreams about marrying Fole were instantly shattered. A mockingbird came by and laughed at poor Troelina, but even so she knew in her heart that the tribe and Fole would find her. The mockingbird told her that there was one cure to Krug’s curse; a magic pearl that could only be found in a lily pad in the middle of the lake -- but Gopher tortoises can’t swim. Will Troelina find a way to end the curse and be reunited with Fole?

Wilma Fleming’s fantasy novel for children and preteens, The Curse at Lilac Waters, is an enchanting environmental fantasy that blends the story of Troelina with that of Eric, a young New Jersey transplant to the Florida wilderness that his botanist father calls home. I enjoyed seeing how Eric's and Troelina’s stories came together so well. Fleming’s story also introduced me to the Gopher tortoise and other endangered species living in the Florida wetlands, and her descriptions of the environment Eric finds himself in are first-rate. While the woods are not for everybody, that Florida wilderness Eric’s father found seemed like paradise to me. This well-written and exciting tale succeeds on so many levels, not least of which is as an enthralling fantasy. The Curse at Lilac Waters is most highly recommended.



 MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Wilma Fleming has written columns, articles, and musical reviews for various newspapers as a freelancer, and former lifestyles reporter. Her stories have appeared in several anthologies, and she has published credits from small press, and nationally distributed magazines. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI), a former member of the Creative Writers of Southern Tier, (CWST), and the Florida Children’s Author Team, (CAT). She is married, a mother of five, and currently writes from home. Learn more at
Reach her at )wilma2flem@yahoo.comR


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG AND GETTING REVIEWS

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. Reviewers will have a special interest in the chapter on how to make reviewing pay, either as way to market their own books or as a career path--ethically!

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Author Jendi Reiter Reviews The Poet Spiel's "Pictures and Words"


Author: Tom Taylor a/k/a The Poet Spiel
Title: Revealing Self in Pictures and Words
Genre: Poetry, Memoir, Art Book
ISBN-13: 978-1979893695
Reviewer: Jendi Reiter
Publication: Reiter's Block

Reviewed by Jendi Reiter originally for her blog at JendiReiter.com


Visual artist Tom Taylor, a/k/a The Poet Spiel, is a creator of varied personae, with a 66-year career spanning genres from graphic design to mixed-media collage and installation art, poetry, and now memoir. His new book, Revealing Self in Pictures and Words, is an impressionistic retrospective of his personal journey and the dramatic shifts in his style and materials over the decades.

Boldly colored reproductions of his artwork are interspersed with vignettes, aphorisms, dreamlike or nightmarish memories, and previously published poems reformatted as prose paragraphs. These written sections are set off in quotation marks, like tantalizing snippets of an overheard conversation, and formatted in a multi-hued script that creates the impression of an artist’s journal. (This font was admittedly a challenge to read in large amounts, but the necessity of slowing down may have helped me absorb more of the meaning.) Instead of traditional narrative transitions, third-person summaries of the action, in a more businesslike sans-serif font, serve as occasional signposts to situate the samples of his creative work within the chronology of his life and travels.

And what a life: Born in 1941, Spiel was a maverick from the start. He grew up on a Colorado farm on the Great Plains, a repressive environment for a gay artistic boy with migraines and manic-depressive tendencies. The early pages of his book speak candidly, in intense and hallucinatory flashbacks seared with humor, about the burden of his mother’s mental illness and her violation of his intimate boundaries. His bond with animals and nature kept his soul alive, a connection he would later channel into successful commercial posters and landscape paintings of wildlife, inspired by his travels in Zambia.

In the 1990s his work took a surreal and expressionist turn, protesting social conformity and war. His life as a gay man in America has given him an outsider perspective on the hypocrisy of conventional mores, and a rage against the stifling of his authentic life force. These themes show up in his raw, satirical, unpretentious poems. Revealing Self invites the reader to experience Rimbaud’s maxim that “A Poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses.”

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Jendi Reiter is the author of the novel Two Natures (Saddle Road Press), a
Rainbow Award winner, Book Excellence Award, and National Indie Excellence Award finalist. 

See the book trailer at http://bit.ly/twonaturestrailer. The Midwest Book Review says, "Intense revelations about what it means to be both Christian and gay...a powerful saga."  She is Editor of WinningWriters.com , a Writer's Digest "101 Best Websites for Writers." 
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise." ~Surangama Sutra



MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG AND GETTING REVIEWS

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. Reviewers will have a special interest in the chapter on how to make reviewing pay, either as way to market their own books or as a career path--ethically!

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Title Bob Hope on TV Subtitle Thanks for the Memories

Title: Bob Hope On TV
Subtitle: Thanks For the Video Memories
Author: Wesley Hyatt
Publisher: BearManor Media (December 15, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1629332178
ISBN-13: 978-1629332178
Purchase at Amazon 

Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton originally for Book Pleasures.com


No other modern entertainer can claim the longevity or scope of what Bob Hope accomplished between 1919 to 1997, nearly 80 years in show business. Before his death at the age of 100 in 2003, Hope was a vaudevillian, actor on stage, radio, film, and television. He helped define just what a “stand-up comic” is. He was also a singer, dancer, sometime athlete, and author. He starred in 54 feature films, appeared in many more,  and hosted the Academy Awards show 19 times, more than any other host.

Those Academy Award Shows are among the seemingly countless Bob Hope TV appearances chronicled by Wesley Hyatt in his Bob Hope on TV.  The heart of his book, not surprisingly,  are the numerous specials Hope hosted for NBC television starting in 1950 which continued until 1997. Among those specials were a number of shows performed live before military audiences for the USO (United Services Organization),   including the 1970 and 1971 Christmas specials taped in Vietnam, now listed in the Top 46 U.S. network prime-time telecasts. Both were seen by more than 60 percent of the U.S. households watching television.

Add in all the specials hosted by others and TV shows Hope guested on, it’s obvious Hyatt had a daunting task simply cataloguing but one part of the Bob Hope legacy.      Gratefully, Hyatt gives us much more than capsule descriptions of each Hope TV outing.  Decade by decade, Hyatt gives us useful introductions that describe what Hope’s career was like during each of these periods of his small screen life.

I must admit, Hyatt’s critical analysis of each special, in particular,   make it surprising Hope’s tenure with NBC ran for as long as it did.  After the 1950s, Hyatt uses few compliments to describe these programs. Hyatt claims that Hope got further and further out of touch with contemporary tastes and mores,    especially regarding equal rights for women.  During the Vietnam war, Hope was a conspicuous supporter of that unpopular conflict and was a known backer of beleaguered President Richard Nixon.   Hyatt goes beyond these already well-known aspects of Hope’s public life and knocks most of the skits and monologues for much of Hope’s TV career. As Hyatt made every effort to screen as many of the Hope appearances as he could,    one wonders if boredom crept into his critical eye or if Hyatt is using contemporary standards—as in his distaste for Hope’s targeting of gays—to measure broadcasts that might not have always earn high ratings, but remained popular for many reasons.  Audiences kept coming back again and again even as the generations changed. Advertisers usually supported Hope for long periods of time, especially Chrysler (1963–73) and Texaco (1975–85).

Whether or not readers agree with Hyatt’s often unhappy critical analyses or not, without question,   you got to be a major fan of Bob Hope to want this lengthy tome.  There’s a whole lot of old-timers in that number. And we must all applaud Hyatt for his incredible task of doing the research for this volume. From hunting down rare and obscure copies of the old broadcasts to screening nearly everything he could find to interviewing surviving participants, notably joke writers like Bob Mills,    Wesley Hyatt has compiled an impressive work of research most libraries should want to shelve, especially those with good collections of books dealing with entertainment. Bob Hope fans of whatever generation you belong to may well want to skim through these pages—Bob Hope on TV isn’t a cover to cover read unless, like Hyatt, all this television minutia is your cup of tea.

 MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

 Dr. Wesley Britton is the author of The Beta Earth Chronicles and a regular reviewer for BookPleasures.com. Learn more about him at: 



  


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG AND GETTING REVIEWS

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. Reviewers will have a special interest in the chapter on how to make reviewing pay, either as way to market their own books or as a career path--ethically!

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

TALES2INSPIRE ~ THE GARNET COLLECTION


TALES2INSPIRE ~ THE GARNET COLLECTION
                (Stories in Feathers and Fur)
CREATED BY LOIS W. STERN
ISBN-10:1530811198
ISBN-13: 9781530811198
GENRE: Pets and Animal Care, Inspiring Stories, Inspirational, Motivational, Non-fiction, Short story Collection

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EXPANDED AND REVISED 2018

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 REVIEWS


We have so much to learn from animals, their lives and their behavior, for they are complete while man is not. This book of heartwarming animal stories can continue to teach and help us all.

Dr. Bernie Siegel
Author of Love, Animals and Miracles, 365 Prescriptions for the Soul, and A Book of Miracles 

Heartwarming Short Stories about Loving and 
Being Loved by Pets
If you like animals, this anthology is a must read. If you don't, but you end up reading these beautiful stories anyway, you may end up loving them too. . . . If anything the tender, and humane way animals were loved and treated by their masters - as depicted in each of the stories - made me think that there have to be more kind people in this world than evil ones and that animals are here for a reason.
by Author-zone
Artist/writer/illustrator

by D. Diderot
Psychologist, writer of scientific treatises of animal consciousness 
Truly absorbing and charming real life vignettes that open our human minds to the utterly emotional world of animals. Each story demonstrates what science has come to understand: that animals have remarkable perceptual sensations, intently more sophisticated than any human. In these stories, as an animal interacts with other animals or people, (we see them as) feeling, caring, thinking and doing creatures.

Such Interesting true stories
An Amazon reader
A collection of amazing stories about not just the typical animals like dogs and horses, but also birds, pigs and even elephants! Includes photos and bio for each contributing author.

Love short stories
An Amazon reader
Love short stories? Love animals? Looking for a great gift? Buy this book and any in the collection. These authors are great.

Five Stars
by Kitria
Wonderful stories to inspire and enjoy!

A Really Feel-Good Read
by Linda Marie Frank
Author of The Annie Tillery Mystery Series


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MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.