Thursday, June 18, 2015

THE GALAPAGAN -Review





The postmaster is murdered. Anton is a psychopathic murderer. Gabriel saved Anton's life. Is Gabriel responsible for what Anton will do with his saved life?

How can a murder thriller be so damn funny? Read the GALAPAGAN and find out. 

Jim Murray has hit the mark again in this latest thriller. His first two: BROTHER and DOUBLE UGLY were every bit as good, but not so much in the humor department. In this book you are gasping at the sheer audacity of Anton's psycho actions and then you are suddenly laughing out loud. It's a very strange combination that keeps the pages flying fast.

I highly recommend this book! And be sure to read Mr. Murray's other books as well.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

PIT-STOP Review



This book of horrors by Ben Larkin is so action packed that you're breathing hard right to the end. It's a classic theme of good versus evil, but the twist is that they are so intertwined it is difficult to discern which is which. The layers and degrees of each are questioned on every page.

Ten people in a road side restaurant plus one waitress does not sound like the basis for anything exciting. Mr. Larkin takes those people in that setting and screws your head right off your shoulders. At no point is there a lull where you can lay the book down for a minute. Excellent writing and storytelling. Five extra scary stars.



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

THE LIGHT SHIFT




This little jewel of a book makes you feel better just reading it and if you put any of it into practice, you'll find something akin to magic. Very well organized and easy to use, the author takes us through light shifts or steps to improve life on a holistic note. From the basics, like eating, and exercise to those emotional ruts, she suggests small changes that add up to large benefits. Mindfulness is something anyone can attain and use to become happier in life.

My favorite section was on gratitude and Rao includes my favorite quote by Melody Beattie which says in part: "It (gratitude) turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity."

I was given an advance reader copy of this self help book in exchange for an honest review and am only too happy to reveal that this is the first of a series planned by Rao. She could offer a money-back guarantee of satisfaction without worry, because I believe everyone who reads this book will be improved by it and happy with it. I recommend LIGHT SHIFT and give it a five-star rating.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN -Review




Starting with an unreliable alcoholic narrater, this book is about perception. What we think we see and what we actually do see and how it can change. Even if we actually see something with our own eyes and would testify in court as to what we saw, this story explains the danger in that testimony.

In style of writing, I am reminded of THE SHELL SEEKERS by Rosamunde Pilcher, another great read. She also writes thru the eyes of her characters.

The story demonstrates how far some of us are willing to go to right a wrong and the how it may backfire. From this psychological thriller here is my favorite passage.

"Hollowness: that I understand. I'm starting to believe that there isn't anything you can do to fix it. That's what I've taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps”
― Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

As a first venture into fiction writing, Hawkins is amazing and hit the New York Times bestseller list. It will make you a voyeur without your permission and haunt you for a long time. It has been optioned by Dream Works as a movie.

Let's hope to see more fiction by Hawkins.

BROTHER -Review














Available on Amazon HERE

This is a spooky tale of life long sibling rivalry. In this premier novel by Jim Murray (followed by DOUBLE UGLY and two more books in the works) the story perfectly compliments the style, or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, this fast read is thrilling in action and content.

So psychologically well spun, it's difficult to believe this was not written by a much practiced seasoned author. The characters are real and fully developed and the writer smooths past and present so seamlessly together that it's hard to think of the past as "flashbacks". The plot is perfectly executed and completely believable.

No spoilers here, let me just say that this is a must read. If there were a category for great but as yet undiscovered writers, Mr. Murray would definitely win by a large margin. He needs to be discovered and acclaimed on a large scale, so get this book for yourself and enjoy a fresh author who I'm hoping writes for many years to come.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

FEELING BLUE?







Articles on depression and happiness.


Depression and the two things it taught me HERE

Bertrand Russell in the Conquest of Happiness HERE


Writing Your Way to Happiness HERE

Lewis Carroll on Happiness and How to Alleviate Our Discomfort with Change | Brain Pickings
HERE

DOUBLE UGLY - Review




Sociopath versus sociopath;one good and one evil. This story is fast-paced and extremely well developed. The characters are tangible and so is the tension in the telling of such events as murder and human trafficking. The plot is thick and twisted and is developed through the characters rather than the characters developing through the plot. All issues are resolved in very satisfying methods.

That's the story. Now to the writing. This author could write a phone book that would keep you breathless till the very end. The writing is flowing and natural. Not an extra word anywhere yet full and rich and ripe for a one sitting read. Masterfully indulging the reader in a whole gambit of emotions that his main characters cannot feel is a clever and delicious mode of delivery.

I'm now going to read BROTHER ( his other novel ) and wait for the next book by this amazing author. I hope he also turns out to be a prolific author though I'm not sure he could top this work.

I received this book free from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

DOLORES CLAIBORNE - Review

This is a short review because most everything about it has already been said.



I need more than 5 stars to properly rate this book. A brilliant masterpiece!

No spooky stuff this time from Mr. King. This is one chapter, one person speaking, one character, one confession...one hell of a book. From the first chapter you know it's an all-in-one-sitting book. The writing is tight yet very easy going.

I have no accolades for this book that have not already been stated by others, but this book affected me and I will never forget it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

THE DCI JONES CASEBOOK:RAYMOND FRANCIS COLLINS - Review




This novelette keeps you running along with the police to catch a deranged killer. The murder happens almost immediately as the author places the reader at the scene of the killing. Gasping in shock, readers are then in hot pursuit along with police and investigators to find and apprehend the monster. Straight-forward, physical chase. Sounds simple, but the writer somehow infuses the chase with the psychology of the killer along the way. Police on the chase are also fleshed out as characters, all while in pursuit, and not by description, but by actions.

This technique of using the bare actions to tell the reader not only the plot, but the characters, the motive, everything the reader needs to know, is highly effective and entertaining. I was impressed and recommend this as the appetizer to the full-length novel(s) to follow. It makes you want more.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Writing Contests




Here are two fiction writing contests with all their details. Just click links.

Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction

Innovative Short Fiction Contest



E-Readers Vs. Print Books

I received permission to share the following article. Please click on images to enlarge. HERE is the original article.


E-Readers Vs. Print Books
JANUARY 26, 2015 by CustomMade








Reading just got a whole lot more complicated: Once confined to print materials, today’s readers now have a plethora of devices to choose from to get their literary fix. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and e-readers are transforming the reading landscape. On the surface, this may seem like a good thing—the more people who read, the better—right?

Sure. But if you’re as concerned with environmental conservation as you are with the accessibility of literature, you might need to think twice about making a switch from paper to electronics. Follow along as we dive into the debate over eco-conscious reading.








Getting Bookish About Book Reading

E-readers are becoming increasingly popular. Since their debut, millions of e-readers have been sold—today, as many as one in four American adults owns an e-reader or tablet. By 2025, e-readers are projected to make up approximately 75 percent of the total market.

At the same time, the number of books produced and sold around the world has been steadily increasing. Put another way: Both print book and e-reader consumption are on the rise. Increased use of reading materials, regardless of their format, results in heightened demand for the materials required to manufacture, transport, and store them.

With great sales revenue come great questions—namely, just what are the environmental and social consequences of all this literary consumption? When it comes to determining whether e-readers or books are more environmentally friendly, there is a long (and we mean long) list of factors to be taken into consideration:







Materials

E-reader: Producing one e-reader extracts approximately 33 pounds of minerals, including some toxic and conflict minerals, many of which are mined in underprivileged, war-torn countries. It also uses up to 79 gallons of water and produces a large amount of waste, which is dumped in landfills.

Book: Producing a book from recycled paper uses about 2/3 of a pound of minerals and two gallons of water. But it’s not all good news for the book industry: Combined, U.S. book and newspaper production requires the harvesting of more than 100 million trees, generates tremendous amounts of wastewater, and creates a sizable carbon footprint.

Manufacturing process

E-reader: An e-reader’s manufacturing process consumes approximately 100 kilowatt hours of fossil fuels and produces more than 65 pounds of carbon dioxide (one of the gases responsible for climate change). As stated above, most e-reader production also utilizes toxic chemicals, which result in toxic emissions that can make asthma worse and increase the risk of premature death.

Book: Producing one book consumes two kilowatt hours of fossil fuels and approximately 7.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide, for a total of 100 times fewer greenhouse gases than those caused by the production of one e-reader. But that doesn’t mean books go easy on the environment. Paper production often poses risks to virgin, old-growth forests: The newspaper and book publishing industries consume 153 billion gallons of water each year. Producing ink for printing releases volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere, which can aggravate smog and asthma.

Transportation

E-reader: Most new consumer electronics are produced abroad, which means your new e-reader probably had to be shipped across oceans and land to make its way into your hands. All that shipping requires burning a huge amount of fossil fuels.

Book: This one’s tricky, as it depends on whether a book was purchased online (and if that purchase required transport by air or over land), whether a book was purchased at a bookstore (and if that purchase required driving to the store), etc. Suffice to say transportation by plane, train, car, ship, or automobile requires the burning of fossil fuels, so few literary purchases are without their climate-change impacts. Meanwhile 25 to 36 percent of all books in bookstores are returned to the publisher, wasting tremendous amounts of energy in transportation and disposal.

Usage

E-reader: One of the good things about dedicated e-readers is that the electronic ink used in most of them requires no backlighting, which is a big energy suck. How long (and how often) you use an e-reader can make a big difference, too. One study found that, for the most part, one year of use offsets an e-reader’s lifetime carbon footprint, provided the e-reader is substituted for the purchase of more than 22 books—but that number depends in part on just how many factors are taken into account. Another study found a person would need to read 40 to 50 books in order to equal the fossil fuel use, water use, and mineral consumption of one e-reader. But if climate change and human health consequences are factored in, that number can grow to more than 100 books. The good news is most e-reader devotees read upward of 35 e-books a year. But if a person uses an e-reader while continuing to buy print books (and doesn’t recycle the e-reader at the end of its life), then e-readers are definitely not the most eco-friendly choice.
Then there’s the question of how many people in a given household are using personal e-readers. If multiple e-readers are in use, then a household’s annual carbon emissions are 600-750 percent higher than they would be for a family that owned or borrowed books.

Whether an e-reader is used for activities besides reading is also a factor. If you use an e-reader to browse the Internet, check email, play movies, etc., then that prolonged usage results in more electricity consumption, which is a drain on the environment. These more sophisticated devices also require more precious materials for their manufacture.

Measures of e-readers’ environmental impacts also include the eco-implications of using the Internet itself. Consider, for example, that servers and computers used to produce and deliver digital publications use a huge amount of energy. The average server uses up to 4,505 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. (To put that in perspective, the average American household uses just over twice that each year.) Then there are factors such as the communication infrastructure required to transmit digital files across long distances, the need to recharge or replace e-reader batteries, and so on.

Book: If you read at night for multiple hours, powering the light bulb in a bedside lamp will likely use up more energy than it takes to charge an e-reader. But most of your reading occurs during daylight hours (i.e., without electric lighting), then books come out on top. Also keep in mind that books, when properly cared for, have much greater longevity than e-readers. Plus one book can be shared with literally hundreds of people in its lifetime, reducing the need to produce additional copies.






Disposal

E-reader: Electronic waste is a growing problem. There’s too much of it and many of us don’t know how to—or don’t choose to—properly dispose of portable devices. If an e-reader isn’t properly recycled—i.e., if workers (primarily in developing countries) take it apart by hand—then the people doing the recycling will be exposed to numerous toxic substances. Dumping electronic waste also takes a toll on ecosystems.

Book: If a book makes its way to a landfill, then its process of decomposition will produce twice the climate change emissions as the manufacturing process.

What You Can Do

Utterly confused? The good news is that there are a few foolproof strategies to lessen your literary carbon footprint:

Buy rarely, or buy used. Whether it’s a book or an e-reader, buying new products always takes a toll on the environment. Whenever you can, borrow or buy used materials.
If you do buy an e-reader, use it up. There’s no need to upgrade just because a retailer comes out with a glitzier version. Instead, use your e-reader until it can’t be used any more. That way, you’re helping to pay back the eco-debt incurred by the device’s production. When the device does die, recycle it responsibly. If you buy an e-reader but find that you aren’t using it, sell or give it to someone who will.
Buy books online. Large brick-and-mortar bookstores tend to be very inefficient because they stock more books than they sell, which means they end up shipping back a significant chunk of books to their publishers. As a result, books purchased in bookstores generally have a much bigger carbon footprint than their online counterparts (That said, smaller, local stores have big-box stores beat and they’re better for local economies.).
Choose recycled books. As with pretty much everything else, choosing recycled helps diminish the environmental impact of making those books in the first place.
Choose eco-conscious vendors. Check out THIS LIST of publishing vendors who take the environment into account.
Be an advocate. Whether you’re Team E-reader or Team Book, it’s pretty clear both sectors of the publishing industry could clean up their environmental act. Use your power as a consumer to call on publishers and e-reader manufacturers to consider the environment at every stage of the production and distribution processes.
Decide what matters most. So many factors go into this decision that it ultimately comes down to what you determine to be the most important criteria.
Join the library. One of the best options out there for eco-conscious book-o-philiacs is the library. Sharing distributes the environmental impact of a book over a whole community and promotes reuse over new production. Want more bonus points? Walk or bike to the library. [You might want to mention that many libraries now loan out e-books.]
The bottom line? When satisfying the bibliophilic itch, buy less, borrow and share more, and get yourself a library card. Mother Earth will thank you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Depression Signs, Symptoms and Treatment





This review is from: Depression: Depression Signs, Symptoms and Treatment (Mood Disorders, Depression Signs, Anxiety Symptoms, Bipolar People Book 2) (Kindle Edition) as published on AMAZON. I gave it 5 stars.

This little book succinctly explains depression and its treatment. In simple language, facts are laid out for anyone with depression as well as those who know us. Treatments with or without medications are stated matter-of-factually because they are facts. This is the first book out of hundreds I've read on depression that is not written by a doctor. It's good, plain effective information. I recommend and hope many, many people will take the few minutes to read it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Self-Publishers Ultimate Resource Guide - Review





I received an ARC (advance reading copy) of this kindle book in exchange for an honest review. Succinctly, it was free. Having read it, I can honestly say I would gladly have paid more than the retail price.

It is a book of lists, not a instructive or wordy book. The printed version is a great desk-top reference book, but I must tell first my favorite feature in the Kindle version. Its CLICKABLE! Every item on every list is a link you can click and be taken there and explore. Then come right back and click on another link for more information. It's so easy!

Looking for a cartoonist or a translator, trade organizations, print on demand or book production software? Simply go to that sub-heading and click on as many links as you want to investigate. No typing in each URL. What a time savor.

The introduction states that the goal of the book "is to make this process easier for you." I cannot imagine how it might be made any easier to use. Very well organized, the three main categories: prepare, publish and promote, are divided into multiple sub-categories which contain the links.

As an extra bonus, there is a free guide titled TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO,KNOW ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING included as a download.

I recommend this resource highly and rate it at 5 stars.

Monday, January 12, 2015

DRIVEN TO KILL - Review




This was a hard read, Mr. King. Even after reading the author's note, preface and prologue, there is no way to prepare the reader for what is to come. DRIVEN TO KILL is the story of a murdering pedophile, simply put, but the necessary details are painful to read.

Every one of the books (and there are many) by King make you think hard about evil in this world and the question of monsters being born evil or made evil. This reviewer knows that evil is born. This book, however, magnifies the way our society of man is able to develop evil in an individual starting early. Neglect seemed to be the main shaping tool used on Westly Alan Dodd, by parents, police, the system that let him slip through so many times, and many, many encounters with others. As Dodd himself commented:

"I could have been stopped over 10 years ago, but each of those times no charges were filed. I was taught by the police That I could molest children and get away with it. When, much later, charges were filed, I did only 3weeks in jail. I later committed 3 very violent offenses (ending with murders), while I should have been only half way through a 10 year prison term in Idaho (of which I served only 4 months)."

We did teach him through neglect and repeatedly letting him slip through the fingers of justice.

Well written in the King style, I recommend this book, but not for the faint of heart. The grisly details are necessary to the story, but are disturbing.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

DISTURBED GROUND Review







This is an excellent read! Norton has masterfully crafted a true crime story that reads like a fiction novel. She writes like a court stenographer who has been granted poetic license. With every detail laid open in the facts, the reader is also allowed to see how many, many people were affected by this killer and how their lives changed forever.

Salted with a few humorous snippets, the edge-of-your-chair suspense comes at an unexpected place after the case goes to court.

This is a good, tight, flowing account of a rare occurrence; a female serial killer. It's done without a drop of blood that isn't necessary, in fact, for a crime story this was fairly without gore. I have absolutely fallen in love with Norton's style and want to read everything she writes.





She also writes fiction and has a new book to be released June 30, 2015 that I can hardly wait for. You may preorder WHAT DOESN'T KILL HER HERE.