My Mother the Man Eater – Tracy Krauss, Author

December 22, 2010 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized)

My Mother The Man Eater – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“I was a dancer,” Joleen said, glancing up to gage his reaction.  “Of the exotic variety.”  “I see.  And your husband didn’t mind?”  William questioned.  “It was his idea to begin with,” Joleen answered back, somewhat defensive.  “And I didn’t take everything off.  I think he took some kind of sick pleasure in the fact that other men wanted me, but I was ‘his’.”  “And you didn’t object to that?” William asked candidly.  “I had no choice in the matter,” Joleen shrugged.  “What do you mean?”  “O’Brighton was also our landlord.  He had some very persuasive techniques for getting people to pay money that they owed him.”  “Sounds like a very unsavory character,” William noted.  “And what about after Harold went to prison?  You continued ‘working’ for O’Brighton?”  “Harold had made a lot of enemies.  I needed the extra cash flow to keep my family safe.”
Joleen Allen is 44 years old and has 5 daughters.  Jennifer is her quiet one.  She still lives at home, works for a publishing house and enjoys quiet evenings with a good book.  Jill is a police officer who has designated herself as the family protector.  Jinger lives at home and is a designer waiting on the right person to come along and take her to the top of the clothing world.  Jasmine, lives alone and even though she is the oldest, she has very little to do with her mother and siblings.  Her time is tied up with acquiring new advertising accounts and drowning her sorrows in a bottle.  Jade, the youngest, still lives at home and has nothing really going for her.  She works 2 jobs, one at a coffee shop and one as a ticket seller at a cinema.  Her favorite pastime – getting high with her boyfriend.  These are Joleen’s daughters.  She loves them dearly but they all seem to clash when together.  As for Joleen, she loves men.  Young men.  But she has finally come to the conclusion that something is missing in her life.  She needs to find a man who she just might be able to stick with and settle down some.  She has her eye on Sam in the delivery bay where she works and he seems to have an eye for her.  So when he finally asks her out, she accepts.  But she also likes the instructor from her self defense class and the teacher from her English lit class and then there was the guy who came in to talk her methods of selling lingerie and oh how can she ever pass up the motorcycle jumper she met at the race track.  She can handle it.  She will just have to juggle her time.
As you can see, this is one mixed up family.  As things heat up with arguments between the girls and Joleen trying to shuffle her boyfriends, in walks Joleen’s ex-husband.  He has served his time in prison and is bent on destroying the lives of not just Joleen but also the lives of the girls.  To do this he has decided to take Joleen to court stating that the divorce and her infidelity ended with him requiring psychiatric care.
I don’t know where to start with my recommendations for My Mother The Man Eater.  We all have skeletons in our family closets, somewhere.  Most of us handle them by keeping the door locked, hoping no one finds the key.  But what happens if those secrets of the past do get out?  Whether we are the one hiding something or we find that someone we love has been hiding secrets from us, how do we handle it?  Author Tracy Krauss has taken a family who’s past becomes exposed.  Piece by piece the family is torn apart and separated.  But, as they all slowly start realizing, there is one being and feeling that can bring it all back together.  The being is God and the feeling is Love.
My Mother The Man Eater is a book that I recommend to everyone.. man, woman, father, mother, grandparent, son, daughter.  The message in this book is loud and clear and I feel it has a message for everyone, no matter who you are.  I simply loved this book.
ISBN – 978-1-60976-585-9
555 pages
Published – Nov. 2010
Strategic Book Publishing, New York, NY
Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters-Indigo, or directly from the publisher:

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Ghost in Trouble – Carolyn Hart, Author

December 19, 2010 at 9:53 pm (Uncategorized)

Ghost in Trouble – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Suddenly I heard an odd crackling.  The sound was ominous, out of the ordinary, frightening.  I looked up and for an instant froze in horror.  An enormous vase directly above the cul-de-sack teetered on its pedestal on the third-floor balcony.  The vase tilted, then hurtled down toward the impatient woman, so near to me, so near to death.  With no time for though and little room to maneuver, I zipped into the cul-de-sack, whirled, and shoved her, shouting, “Jump!”  I pushed with all my strength.  We tumbled together out of the cul-de-sac.  The vase struck with enormous force where she had stood.  The sound of her cry was lost almost immediately in the thunderous crash.  Shards of porcelain and clumps of earth flew in every direction…. I regret to say she was swearing in a clipped, angry tone.  I zoomed to her side.  “Oh, my goodness.  Thank Heaven you’re all right.”  I was too excited to remember silence was my goal.’

Heaven’s “Department of Good Intentions” Emissary Bailey Ruth Raeburn has just been given another assignment in her home town of Adelaide, Oklahoma.  Bailey Ruth has completed two other assignments with just a few reprimands from the department’s conductor Wiggins.  Seems like she has a hard time following the “Precepts for Earthly Visitation.”  There are only 8 and Bailey Ruth apparently has a hard time with at least 3 of them:  Avoiding public notice;  Work behind the scenes without making your presence known; and become visible only when absolutely essential.  After all, how can you accomplish a mission if you can’t be seen, noticed nor heard?  Impossible!

Bailey Ruth’s assignment for this trip is to protect an old enemy from her past – Kay Kendall Clark.  But, even though she may not be looking forward to dealing with Kay, she is quite excited about being able to stay in one of the town’s oldest and richest estates or as everyone from Adelaide calls it “The Castle.”   And as for Wiggins, he has his usual Bailey Ruth assignment drop-ins as she breaks just a few of her usual precepts.

Author Carolyn Hart has done it again with her Bailey Ruth series.  I’ve followed her with the first book Ghost at Work.  Then on to Merry, Merry Ghost.  Carolyn Hart has again combined murder, mystery and humor to create yet another light hearted read with Ghost in Trouble.  And I have to admit, she surprised me with the ending.  By page 85 I just knew I had discovered the killer.  I changed my choice around page 240 just to find out at the end that I was wrong in both cases.

276 pages
Harper-Collins Publishers
ISBN# 978-0-06-191501-7

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A Voice From the Grave

December 19, 2010 at 9:40 pm (historical) (, , , , , , )

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To Taste the Dragon’s Blood – Theresa M. Moore, Author

December 16, 2010 at 11:19 pm (Uncategorized)

To Taste the Dragon’s Blood – Children of the Dragon – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Mars.  Small, cold, foreboding, so close to Earth….. For billions of years it remained that way, untouched and untouchable by man, glinting redly in the night sky, until one Martian “spring” day in July of 2069 when the Earth starship Percival Lowell pierced the thin envelope of its atmosphere and perched its angular hawk-like body on the rim of a crater in the shadow of Olympus Mons.  Dust and smoke filled the pink sky with a dark haze thrown up by control and attitude thrusters as they formed a small crater.  The cloud drifted aimlessly in the thin air before settling down, covering the ship in a thin layer of micro fine ferric oxides.  There was no one there to greet the twelve astronauts who crowded around the main viewport in Lowell’s cramped, instrument-laden command module.  The image of the semicircular plain stretched out before them spoke mutely of a land colder and more dangerous than the icy glaciers of Antarctica.  No marching band, no reception committee, not even so much as an incurious stare from a herd animal munching lichens.  Lowell was cast adrift on a sea of barren rock far from home.’

As scientists from Earth proceed in their search for another planet that will allow life to live and multiply, their sight has turned to Mars.  The mission is to test, sample and determine if there was or is life on Mars. But when the ship’s archeologist Jonathan Kraine falls into a chamber below the planet’s surface, all is changed.  And when he solves the puzzle that opens the walls of the chamber, exposing compartments that still contain bodies of travelers before them, all hell breaks out.

The crew will only have the means to rescue one body from the chamber but that apparently turns out to be enough to wreak havoc on Earth.  The survivor, Andruantellus Trocana Dragonsblud, is from the planet known as Antellus and is a descendent of the “Dragon”.  In other words, he is what planet Earth calls… a Vampire.

Author Theresa M. Moore continues with her Children of the Dragon series by adding new characters, stories and places, but entwining them with her characters from her book Destiny’s Forge.  As I said after reading Destiny’s Forge, I’m not a Sci-Fi fan but Ms Moore has me hooked with this set of books.  I’m now looking forward to reading the next book in the series – Red Dragon.  Each book is written as a standalone, meaning you can read each individually without reading the others, but I recommend that you start with Destiny’s Forge and continue down the list. —

220 pages
ISBN# 978-1452851990

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The Devil’s Due – Arliss Adams, Author

December 14, 2010 at 11:11 pm (Uncategorized)

The Devil’s Due – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

“I can’t coat this with sugar.  Judy has seen Sherry.”  “Wh-where?”  “In Beverly Hills.  I tell her this woman must be someone who only looks like Sherry, but she insists she is positive.  I try to convince her she must let this go, but she doesn’t listen and goes back to make sure – did I tell you she saw her in beauty salon?”  I felt like someone had delivered a knockout punch to my stomach.  “No – a salon? How –“  “Judy sees her there first time when Brad treats her to a day at spa, but she was not sure it was Sherry.  After we talk, she makes appointment for facial with the woman who now calls herself Cher.  You know Judy.  She finds out much information and observes woman up close. Of course, woman does not know who Judy is.  Jen, I might doubt this story if I heard from anyone else.  But, not from Judy.  Then, she calls yesterday.  She is frightened – she has fantasy about how to kill Sherry.”

In Devil’s Dance, Jen is kidnapped, beaten and left for dead all due to her “friend” Sherry.  Now Sherry has surfaced and due to the pain she was responsible for being inflicted on Jen as well as Jen’s sister Judy, revenge must be carried out.  But by who?  Nadya still has connections with “people” in Russia who will carry out anything requested for a price.  But first there has to be proof that this woman really is Sherry and that’s when the bomb is dropped.  Sherry had a twin sister Cher.  And when I say “had” that is due to the fact that one of these two women has been reported missing for years.  So, do they seek revenge on the right twin?

The Devil’s Due has been just as exciting as Devil’s Dance.  It’s kept me in suspense from page 1 as it continued the story of Jenny Conner in her attempt to bring her life back together and do the only thing she has ever wanted to do – dance.  In Devil’s Dance, Jen flees her in-laws as they try to take her son PJ from her.  Now she will come face to face with them in their attempt to proceed with the custody fight.  But both have friends in high places which takes the battle down to who has the most friends and influence.  I do recommend both books, Devil’s Dance and The Devil’s Due and read in that order.  I don’t believe you will be disappointed.
L & L Dreamspell
209 pages
ISBN# 978-1-60318-234-8

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A Different Hunger – Lila Richards, Author

December 5, 2010 at 10:44 pm (Uncategorized)

A Different Hunger – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Just inside the doorway stood the most remarkable-looking young woman he had ever seen.  Her raven-black hair was drawn severely back into a bun at the nape of her neck, like a governess or a lady’s companion, though no respectable governess would have dared to wear her elegant gown of garnet-coloured moiré silk.  Her skin, as pale and translucent as alabaster, stretched like an artist’s canvas over high, prominent cheekbones and a straight, rather pointed nose.  Against the pallor of her skin, her wide lips were like the blood-red stroke of a painter’s brush.  Yet it was her eyes that dominated her singular face.  Hugh and dark under black brows, they seemed to invite Rufus into some somber, secret world, which, he realized with a sense of shock, he had longed all his life to enter.  Utterly unlike the girls he usually favored, this tall, slender woman was by no means pretty, nor even feminine in the soft, pink-and-gold style that usually attracted him, yet she drew him as a flame would draw a moth.  And, like a month, he felt he would willingly risk being burnt to bask for an instant in the pale radiance.’
Rufus de Hunte, discovers not only that the woman he thinks he truly loves, is married but that he is also being challenged to a duel by her husband.  His only resource to escape the duel is to avoid going home with the hopes that the husband will give up.  That is not to happen.  Whereas Rufus couldn’t be found, his father could be and has been told about the duel as well as what led up to the event and when it is to take place. Since the family is not only a pillar of society, they are also quite well off, giving Rufus’ father the option of paying the husband off as well as sending his 23 year old son live with his uncle in New Zealand.
The voyage, which will take 4 months to complete, takes Rufus into a world he has only read about in fable books.  A world that he is sure exists only in the minds of the authors who write the tales.  He will soon step into the world of vampires.
A Different Hunger is a very well written book, which makes the reader feel they are actually watching the events take place.  The vivid descriptions will leave your mind with a full picture, just as if you were watching a movie.  Author Lila Richards has put a new twist on vampires, making me even feel a little sympathy for them.  A real thriller!

Year of publication – 2010
Publisher – Bluewood Publishing Limite (
Number of pages – 312
ISBN# 978-1-877546-40-2

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Down to the Needle – Mary Deal, Author

December 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Down to the Needle – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Abi reached for a tissue from the box on the credenza and blew her nose.  She drew in a breath to pull her emotions together, blinked to clear her vision, and studied the photos spread alongside the aging of Becky Ann.  Other than the fact that both were women, no noticeable similarities existed.  The computer reconstruction of Becky produced a full, rounded cherub face of someone with a curly head of hair who would weigh more than the lean, gaunt-faced inmate.  Megan Winnaker’s eyes were larger and definitely closer together, with a sharp chin and cheekbones.  Her lips were well formed and wide.  Abi noticed again how flat and smooth Megan’s nose was compared to Becky Ann’s slightly humped bridge.  In both the old photo and the computer aging of Becky Ann, the mole on her left cheek was prominent.  Abi breathed in again, more in control, and sighed heavily.’
Abi Fisher’s 5 year old daughter disappeared 23 years ago.  Even though she has never given up her search for Becky Ann, Abi finds it almost impossible to believe that the young lady sitting on death row could possibly be her.  But, even a small chance of finding her won’t slip by without being fully investigated.  And to investigate, Abi finds herself meeting Megan Winnaker face-to-face as she sits in prison awaiting the Supreme Court ruling that could grant her a new trial.
Abi had no idea as to what she was stepping into when she first decided that Megan was her daughter and that she was also innocent.  Her investigation steps her right in the middle of arson fires that are believed to be set by a group of skinheads that call themselves the Dregs.  She discovers crooked cops and finds that the only witness to the accusations against Megan is blind.
Joe Arno has been Abi’s strength in her quest to find her daughter, for several years.  He’s always there for her no matter what comes up.  But will that support continue after he finds the love from his youth is now living on the streets?  Abi feels that she will not only loose her daughter again but also Joe.
Down to the Needle lives up to its name.  This story will keep you hoping and even begging the author to let Megan really be Becky Ann and find a way to prove her innocence.  I’ve often said that a book kept me on the edge of my seat but that is normally used as a figure of speech.  But when I say that about Down to the Needle it’s the actual truth.  I found myself actually leaning forward and sitting on the edge of my seat to the end.
326 Pages
ISBN# 978-1-4401-9820-5

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