Watch Your Back – Lisa Y. Watson, Author

March 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm (Uncategorized)


Watch Your Back – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“Hello, everyone, I’d like to personally thank our lovely hostess for allowing me to interrupt what is by far the best party this town has seen in quite a while,” Candace said into the microphone.  Loud claps echoed around the room.  Candace used the time to look for Devon.  She spotted him through the crowd.  He was staring at her with curiosity.  Good.  Emboldened, Candace placed the microphone to her mouth again.  “I’m sure all of you know me by now, but in case some of you have never picked up a magazine or watched television, my name is Candace Monroe.”  Everyone in the audience roared with laughter, except the two men watching her from opposite sides of the room.  Each wore a similar expression of anger.  “I hope you all don’t mind my brief interruption, but I have the most exciting news, and I can’t contain myself any longer.  You see I just found out my fiancé, Devon Mitchell, and I are expecting a baby!  I’m just beside myself with joy,” Candace cried with tears pooling in her eyes.  The crowd went wild with applause and cheers.  Across the room stood Candace’s shocked and disgusted lover.  Ignoring the condemnation in his eyes, Candace focused on her boyfriend.  He looked murderous.
Candace Monroe has just informed her boyfriend and half the world that she was carrying an heir to the Mitchell estate.  This wasn’t exactly what Devon Mitchell had expected.  The last time he had seen Candace it was understood that during his absence due to family business, she was to move out of their apartment by the time he returned home.  What Devon didn’t know was that Candace was actually carrying another man’s child.  But greed was a personal factor in everything Candace did and since the true father of her baby was nowhere near as wealthy as Devon, he became a secret that Candace planned to keep to herself.  And all may have worked out as planned had it not been for the accident that took both her and her unborn child’s lives.
Devon was at the wheel when he lost control of the car that killed Candace and “his” child.  In the process of trying to get away from the pain as well as the reporters that camped out on his parent’s lawn, he left, telling no one where he would be, and went to his Uncles farm.  His stay with his Uncle Henry was disrupted when he found that “accidents” were threatening the stability of the art gallery he had inherited from his grandmother.  Going into the gallery as an unknown he assumes the duties of the retired director.  What he didn’t expect to have to deal with was Jayde Seaton whom had been promised she would inherit the position.  He also didn’t expect to fall in love with her nor to have to protect her from someone who was doing their best to destroy her, the gallery and his whole family.
In Watch Your Back, Author Lisa Y. Watson takes you through the flair of tempers, which Devon and Jayde both have cornered the market on.  You experience their intense love for each other and the love of a close family.  The story had me raking my brain to determine who the real father of Candace’s baby was, if he was the same person out to destroy Devon and his family and more importantly, why.  Watch Your Back kept me on my toes and entertained throughout the book.
2009
377 Pages
Urban Soul
ISBN# 978-1-59983-097-1

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I Listened Momma – Darlene Campbell, Author

March 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm (Uncategorized)


I Listened Momma – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

In I Listened Momma, Chippie Pablos grows into a woman of many dreams and nothing nor no one will take those dreams from her.  She knows that God has put her on earth for a reason and through her faith and determination, he will see her through to the end.  And believe me, she does!

I Listened Momma takes place in the backwoods of Kentucky where money is tight but family and love is strong.  The story takes you through the good times and the bad times of Pablos family as they strive to keep a family of 8 from going hungry.  Growing up in the South, with a family of 7, I could relate to some of the hardships.  But what really got my memory working was the dialect used by so many of us those hard years ago.  So, read through my memory of words as I take you back to the times when life was harder but maybe just a bit better.  Who knows, you just might go back in time too.

A branch – no it doesn’t come from a tree it’s actually a creek.  Chippie and her siblings caught tadpoles and crawdads in the branch, I remember doing that too.  Her mom had a transistor radio.  That was a little box radio that ran off a 9 volt battery and had a wire you attached to something metal.  This acted as an antenna.  I would attach mine to the metal piece running down a telephone pole and pick up conversations from my party line neighbors.  Chippie’s grandmother cooked a mud-turtle, I can actually remember my step grandmother doing that but I refused to eat any.  Chippie’s brother Jerry Wayne had “chester drawers” in his bedroom, we had those too.  They were used to put your folded clothes in.  And their TV had a picture tube.  I don’t think there is a TV still running that has a picture tube anymore.  Chippie’s mother curled her hair with sponge rollers.  Boy can I remember those.  The only good thing about them was that you could actually sleep with them in your hair.

Now Chippie and her family would holler for each other.  Holler actually had 2 meanings.  You could live in the “holler” which was down the way or you could holler at each other.  I didn’t live in the holler growing up but I did do my share of hollering and still do.  And I’ll never forget the hours my family would spend “breaking” beans for mom to can.

A cell phone was something that the Martians would bring with them when they invaded earth, everyone knew there was nothing better than the old wall phones with a rotary dial.  Chipper’s family, as well as mine for a while, had outhouses and wash tubs for bathing.  And there were always animals, both for food as well as pets.  The pigs were fed by using a slop bucket and the dogs and cats were fed the scraps that weren’t given to the pigs.

I hope I’ve sparked a few memories of your own life or maybe a few memories that were passed on by your parents.  I Listened Momma shows that there is hope no matter who you are nor what your living conditions may be.  Everything is possible if you just trust in God and believe.  I also want to make you aware that all royalties from I Listened Momma will go to Relay for Life to help fight cancer.

ISBN: 978-1456355031
Publishing Date: December 1, 2010
Publisher: Moon Gypsy Press
Number of Pages: 260 pages
Genre: Drama/Southern Fiction
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The Tumbleweed Family – Sharon Hays, Author

March 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm (Uncategorized)


 

The Tumbleweed Family – A Wyoming Adventure – Reviewed by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

The adventures of the Tumbleweed Twins Willie and Tillie take place in the beautiful fields of Wyoming.  As they play around and are tossed amongst the beautiful flowers, a gusty wind comes up sweeping them farther and farther away from their home and family.  Even though their little adventure is frightening, it’s not in vain as they meet other plants and animals that work together to protect them until their family comes to take them back home.
This darling story is so cute yet educational.  Not only does it give a little history about our beautiful state of Wyoming, it also teaches that through working together we can accomplish just about anything in life.  I would love to see this become a series featuring each state.  With fun books like this, morals, history and even geography can become more fun for our kids.
24 pages
2011
ISBN# 978-1-4568-6825-3
Xlibris Corporation

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The Salvation of Tanlegalle – Tim Ahrens, Author

March 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm (Uncategorized)


The Salvation of Tanlegalle – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘The small village of Willow Down burns.  Flames of unending appetite eat away at inns, shops, and homes; not one building on Main Street or the outlying expanse escapes.  A Thick, gray smoke clogs the air, filling the sky with clouds of dancing ash.  I cover my mouth with a bloody rag and try to ignore the bitter taste of soot that fills my mouth and nose, though my eyes sting more from the heat of the unbridled inferno than from the smoke.  Mounds of smoldering flesh, once living residents of Willow Down, rot in the street.  Large birds circle high above, waiting patiently for the fire to die so their feast can begin.  “Myra,” someone calls my name.  Gradually I begin to advance down what was once Willow Down’s Main Street.  “Myra!”  The echoing voice becomes more insistent.  I quicken my pace, causing the heat-dried mud to crack beneath my worn black boots.  I feel the breath of the fire seep into my black leather shirt and breeches.  The naked skin of my face and hands turns from pale white to red and begins to blister.  Still the voice pulls me onward.  “Myra!” In time I reach the center of Willow Down and stand before the largest of the carrion mounds.  “Myra, I wait for you, my daughter,” the voice flows from the dead.’

In The Salvation of Tanlegalle, Author Tim Ahrens created places of make believe, both past and present.  Through his imagination he has brought these places to life through his creation of characters, both human and not so human.  The story above is called “Death and the Widowmaker.”  Within this story, the Widowmaker is out to track down Masterson before he destroys other villages and the people within.  In “Catherine’s Prayer,” Catherine is being held prisoner for being a witch.  And one of my favorite stories titled “Sassafrass One Seven Four” is the tale of a robot who just might be a bit human.  Each story has it’s hero and heroine with each fighting for the same cause – justice.  Will they succeed?

There are 12 short stories in The Salvation of Tanlegalle, each made up of its own characters but in the end Ahrens has written one last chapter which amazingly brings all of the stories together.  I enjoyed them as individuals and really enjoyed them as one.
Forward by Piers Anthony
Illustrations by Eric J. Turman

2010
179 Pages
Lucid Style Author Services
ISBN# 978-0-9821992-2-0

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The Raven Read by Basil Rathbone

March 24, 2011 at 12:45 am (Edgar Allen Poe, Uncategorized) (, , , )


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The Book of Tomorrow – Cecelia Ahern, Author

March 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm (Uncategorized)


 

The Book of Tomorrow – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Tamara and her mother Jennifer have moved into the gatehouse occupied by Author and Rosaleen Kilsaney after her father’s suicide.  After living a life of luxury, never being denied anything, life in the country becomes quite a challenge.  Then Tamara has a visit from Marcus and his traveling library.
Dear Diary,
Is that what I’m supposed to write?  I’ve never written in one of these before, and I feel like an absolute dork, beyond words.  Okay so, Dear Diary, I hate my life.  Here it is in a nutshell.  My dad killed himself, we lost our house and absolutely everything.  I lost my life, Mum lost her mind, and now we’re living in Hicksville with two sociopaths.  A few days ago I spent the afternoon with a really cute guy called Marcus who is Vice Present of Dork Central, a traveling library.  Two days ago I met a nun who keeps bees and breaks locks and yesterday I spent most of the morning sitting in a ruin- “Ruin” had been crossed out and beside it was: castle on a stairway to heaven that looked very tempting to climb and leap for a cloud that would carry me away from here.  Now it’s nighttime and I’m back in my bedroom writing in this dorky diary that Sister Ignatius talked me into doing.  Yes, she’s a nun and not a transvestite, as I’d previously thought.’
This is the first entry written into the mysterious book found by Tamara Goodwin in the “traveling library.”  It had no name on the cover nor spine but was sealed with a lock.  But with the help of Sister Ignatius, the lock is picked and Tamara is encouraged by the Nun that it might be therapeutic if Tamara wrote her activities and feelings every evening.  After giving it a bit of thought, she decides keeping a diary just might be what she needs.  That is until she opens the book to write her first entry and finds, in her own hand writing, an entry already entered.  Problem is, the entry is dated for the next day’s events.
Finding this quite impossible, Tamara decides to test the diary’s words.  As the day progresses she remembers what she “had written” and surprisingly it was all happening just as the book had said.  To prove this she opened the diary to reread the entry only to find the words disappearing and new words taking form, these becoming the entry for what would happen the next day.  After giving this much thought, Tamara decides to see if she can change events by not following the entries that were written for the next day.  To her amazement, it actually worked.  Now she can change her own history.  But should she?  What will the repercussions be?  Will any changes be for the better or the worse?
Tamara finds herself pretty much on her own to the grounds around the gatehouse.  In doing so, she discovers a “secret garden” cared for by Sister Ignatius as well as a burned out castle.  Her curiosity has her wanting to know more about the castle as well as it’s fire but when she asks Sister Ignatius, she suggests that she ask her Aunt Roseleen or Uncle Author.  But Roseleen is a very mysterious person who refuses to divulge any information about the past.  Tamara becomes even more confused as she discovers the “glass woman” and the garden of glass hangings.  She has a feeling that these finds must be kept from Roseleen.  But for some reason Tamara knows that the castle, the glass woman, Sister Ignatius, Rosaleene and the diary all have a connection.
The Book of Tomorrow is a beautiful book of love, deceit, tragedy and mystery all written into one.  The characters come to life as being so real that you feel you actually know them and their lives.  But the biggest surprise of the book comes at the very end as all of the pieces of the puzzle are placed together to make it a complete picture.
2011
312 pages
Harper Collins  Publishers
ISBN# 978-0-06-170630-1

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Reunion – Jeff Bennington, Author

March 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm (Uncategorized)


 

Reunion – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Breathing heavy from carrying the tote across the parking lot, David barged into the cafeteria, shot one round into the ceiling and shouted, “Attention everyone!  Attention! My name’s David Ray, and some of you…are gonna die!”  For a moment, the crowd sat quiet and still.  David made a mental note of their blank faces. They probably think it’s a firecracker or a joke, he thought.  I’ll show ‘em it isn’t a joke.  Mr. Gardner strutted toward David, exuding his authority, but David pulled the trigger and shot a couple of the students nearby. Mr. Gardner threw his arms over his head, ducked down and crawled toward the wounded students to help. David squinted hard, looked into the crowd with dead eyes, and began shooting. Bodies scattered as the cafeteria erupted with screams, falling bullet shells, the squeaking of sliding sneakers and the turning over of chairs. He watched their scared bodies hide and tremble in fear and listened to their voices question who and why. Their fear gave him strength, feeding his adrenalin, pressing him deeper into the crowd.  He knew exactly where to go. His tormentors’ locations were too predictable. The cliques always sat in the same places. David stepped forward and located his prey. He shot another round and heard another scream. He repeated the process, over, and over.’
The school massacre took place 20 years ago ending with eight students dead, several wounded physically but many more wounded mentally. Maria Vasquez lost her beloved Darrin, and to cope with her memories became a counselor working with PTSD patients. As the 20th anniversary of the killings as well as the 20th reunion of her graduating class approached, Maria decided that there were probably others from her class that might benefit from a reunion as a way of facing their memories and fears.
Of those Maria was able to contact, only five responded and agreed to the reunion.  Up until the day of the massacre, senior student Bryan Jacobs had planned to become a doctor.  His plans changed and he became a policeman in hopes of helping to prevent the event from reoccurring. He would attend the reunion. Kate Schmidt Tooley still lived in the town of Crescent Falls and was married to Nick.  Nick’s twin brother Randy was killed when David Ray mistakenly shot him instead of Nick.  Nick deals with his memories by drowning them and seeing “ghosts” of David who he feels is trapped within the school  Kate will be attending but probably without Nick. Lana Jones became a writer who, along with her daughter Zoe, travels around the country talking to students about the David Rays in the world.  She will attend.  Tanner Khan deals with his memories by creating challenges. He climbs mountains, crosses rivers  and sails oceans. But when the invitation came to return to Crescent Falls for the reunion, he saw this as his biggest challenge and accepts.
These are the five who accepted the invitation to create a reunion. When it is decided to hold the actual event at the school itself, Bryan starts to have second thoughts. As part of his duty as a policeman he checks on the now deserted school. He has heard sounds and seen things at the old school that are out of the norm. But he also feels, like the others, that this may be the best place to start healing.
As I read Reunion I felt like I had stepped into a movie. As I followed each character’s story and their method of coping with their own tragedy I felt as if I knew them personally. This book is so well written that if it isn’t picked up to be made into a movie then the industry is missing out. The characters, story and events are so believable that you can’t help but picture each as something you’ve just read in the paper or seen on a news strip. For those of you who enjoy a great paranormal mystery, Reunion is a must read!
2011
334 Pages
Nexgate Press
ISBN# 9780615450865
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Deadly Currents – Beth Groundwater, Author

March 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm (Uncategorized)


 

Deadly Currents – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘This was her second week on patrol as a brand-new seasonal river ranger, still under the supervision of Steve, the head river ranger.  Sure, she had run all the whitewater sections of the Upper Arkansas for years as a rafting guide… But now guides like Gonzo relied on her to rescue their customers who’d been snatched out of their grasp by the river.  Slowly Mandy gained on the second swimmer, a young woman.  The man in front of her must have fallen out of the raft first or been swept up by the main current sooner.  Though Mandy couldn’t see his face, the man seemed strangely calm, unmoving.  In contrast, the woman’s arms and legs flailed in the seething whitewater.  She bounced off a rock and got smacked in the face with backwash from a hole… “Grab on!”  Sputtering, the woman slung an arm over the nearest pontoon…  Nearing the man, Mandy blew on her whistle, but he didn’t respond… “Looks like he’s unconscious,”  Mandy shouted to the woman.  “I’m going to need your help pulling him in.”

Mandy Tanner has just made her first rescue as a river ranger.  Hannah Fowler and Tom King were both knocked out of the raft while going through some class IV rapids.  Hannah will survive from her scrapes and bruises but Tom King is another story.  He has a slight pulse but even with the CPR Mandy gives him, he’s too far gone.  King and Hannah’s father are both bidders for water rights needed for their developments.  Fowler will hopefully give some of the rights back for recreational purposes but King will need his rights to water the help water the greens of the golf course he plans to build.  The trip down the Arkansas was planned by environmentalist Lenny Preble in hopes of opening the eyes of both men to just how important the river in its natural state really is, not just for recreational purposes but also for the wild and plant life of the area.

Mandy’s real problem comes in when King’s wife decides to sue the outfitter’s owner who just happens to be Mandy’s uncle.  The only way to help out Uncle Bill will be when the Medical Examiner discovers that King died of a heart attack and not something stemming from neglect on the part of Bill’s company.  But… he didn’t have a heart attack.  He was actually murdered.  Who did it?  Why did they do it?  How did they do it?  These are the questions Mandy must find answers to before someone else dies and her suspect list took off with leaps and bounds right from the beginning.

I’ve read Beth Groundwater’s books A Real Basket Case and To Hell in a Handbasket, enjoying both tremendously.  Now she has taken me on a trip down the Arkansas River in a fast moving raft.  In Deadly Currents you will be taken through the rapids just as fast and just as deadly as the river itself.  She will also give you one last Class IV ride at the very end as she reveals the true killer.  Reading Deadly Currents has made me feel as though I’ve actually ridden the river myself.

2011
Midnight Ink
300 pages
ISBN# 978-0-7387-2162-0

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Silent Scream Excerpt Chapter 62

March 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm (True Crime) (, , , , , , , , , )


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Once Upon a Dark and Eerie… A. F. Stewart, Author

March 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm (Uncategorized)


Once Upon a Dark and Eerie… Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
The Artwork
Through the smudged portal, I watched the eerie dancing lights.
This was the third time my artwork, my mural, had come to life, but the first time it had opened a doorway to another dimension.  In wondered why now, maybe it was because I had smeared the paint or maybe it was just evolving.
Whatever the reason, the lights, those tiny bright fairies were beckoning…
Haunted
The moonlight illuminated the cemetery with an eerie glow, making shadows seemingly dance around Cheryl.  Dark clouds swept past the pale orb; a storm was on the horizon.
“I’m here.  I’m waiting.”  Cheryl listened, but she heard no answer; there was simply the sound of the wind and approaching thunder.  She sighed; she had been here an hour and still nothing.
“What did I expect?  I’m trying to talk to a dead man.  I must be crazy to think it would work.”  She tried, but she couldn’t stop the tears.  “You promised you wouldn’t leave me, even in death!  You said you would stay, that spirits were real, that you would wait for me!”
Thunder crashed and a few drops of rain fell; Cheryl turned and began to make her way from the cemetery.
A strange glow appeared, whispering.
“Don’t go…”
The noise of the storm swallowed the words.
I don’t normally read nor do reviews on poetry.  The main reason is that most of it makes no sense to me so it makes it hard to write a good review.  Once Upon a Dark and Eerie… turned out to be different.  It is extremely on the dark side but written in a style that I could actually picture most of what I read.  So I have to admit that I kind of enjoyed reading Once Upon a Dark and Eerie… And just wait until you read Learn the Alphabet the Creepy Way!
2010
Smashwords Edition

http://afallon.bravehost.com/
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