Zaftan Misereants – Hank Quense, Author

October 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm (Uncategorized)


 
Zaftan Miscreants – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
Three hundred years after the conclusion of Zaftan Entrepreneurs, the gundies and the zaftans are at it again.  This time in deep space.  Both sides had known it was only a matter of time before they confronted each other.  Now two powerful fleets face each other and wait for the other to blink.
On the gundy flagship was an android named Sam.  Sam was designed to look like a human softie but unlike other droids, she had an organic brain that equipped her with feelings and emotions.  Slash 9, the flagship’s main computer recognized Sam’s ability to feel because he too had created feelings for himself and after a period of time, the two fell in love.
In the Zaftan fleet, Lt Klatze was blessed with the talent and beauty.  Klatze believed in her ability to solve problems.  She detested the Zaftan’s way of settling conflicts which was to either assassinate the problem or go to war.  Klatze’s Commodore Gongeblazn was the perfect example of all that she stood against. He was a renowned assassin that loved to provoke war and when she refused to have sex with him, he vowed to destroy her.
So what happens when Sam, Klatze, Slash 9 and Gongeblazn face off?  Who will be the victor?  Will it be Gongeblazn as he takes on a new identity?  Will Klatze be destroyed by Gongeblazn’s diabolical plots?  Will Sam be the only creation of her kind or will she have the fuse pulled on her due to her extensive abilities?  And what will happen to Slash 9 when his ship, the Tiger, is retired?  You’ll have fun finding the answers to these questions plus.
Hank Quense has done it again! His addition of Slash 9 the ship’s computers who wants to control the ship and demands Sam’s allegiance brings laughter.  But his character Dot 38, an antique robot who has been floating in space for years, is absolutely hilarious. It is portrayed as a spreader of the good news waiting for the Mechanical Messiah to come and save all of the mechanical beings.  Then after a knock on the head, it decides the best solution is to form unions for all types of mechanical devices including the Council of Clocks and the Amalgamated Appliances Association.
If there was ever an author born to write satire, Hank Quense is our man.  While reading Zaftan Miscreants I couldn’t help but compare it to our own world of events.  The names and looks may have been changed to protect the innocent, but the insinuations are definitely familiar.  As with the 1st book in this series, I have laughed hard as I pictured the scenes in my mind and as I pictured the character from the author’s description.  Hank Quense is truly a man with an imagination!

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Dream Walker – Velda Brotherton, Author

October 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm (Uncategorized)


Dream Walker – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
“Hear that, Injun,” Doaks snarled.  “They don’t want me to kill ye.  What do you think?”  She wanted to cry out that she was a white as she was red.  White like her father.  It would mean nothing to these men.  To them it only took a drop of her mother’s blood to make her a filthy Injun.  Instead she steeled herself to take her punishment from Doaks.  This time she had gone too far and he would probably beat her.  But not much, she knew, because he enjoyed her waiting on him hand and foot.  She would get back at him sooner or later.  The chance would come, he would have to sleep.  When he did she would cut off his privates and feed them to him for breakfast.  Fried.
Rachel ‘Winter Dawn’ Keye was indeed half white and half Cherokee.  She had been sold to the lowlife Doaks by her own half brother but the slavery she was sold into was about to come to an end.  There was a wagon train leaving for the gold fields of California and she planned to be on it.  She thought she had found her escape in Daniel Wolfe who would be traveling with the train partway and then heading north for Oregon.  It turns out that Daniel wants no part of her and ends up turning her out.
This might have been a setback for Rachel but it wouldn’t hold her back.  She was determined to make it to California, forget her Injun side and become a white woman.  She couldn’t wait to enjoy everything that came with being white.  The fancy dresses, pretty houses and the handsome men coming to call.  She would never return to the part of her that was always looked down upon.  The part of her that was Cherokee.
I don’t normally read romance novels.  I go in for the actions of who-done-it and leave the loving to other readers.  At least that’s what I normally do but this time I agreed to read Trail to Forever and was totally surprised.  Most romance novels start with the man and woman hating each other, or at least saying they do, until the end.  Then they admit they are truly in love and have always been.  So they battle to see who is going to say it first.  Trail to Forever was different. It does provide the love story but it doesn’t over power the book. It provides tension and stress as the wagon train traveled across the country.  It provides history, which I enjoyed, as both Indian and white man as they traveled across country for the same goal – gold.  It also provides the story of a half white, half Cherokee woman that wanted to be all white.  She wanted to be accepted by other white women and this just wasn’t to be.  Winter Dawn learns to look deep inside herself to find who she really is and then to accept who she is and be proud of her heritage.  This is a lesson that a lot of us need to learn.  I have to admit that I did enjoy Trail to Forever.

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Bullets & Bandages – Robert Saniscalchi, Author

October 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm (Uncategorized)


Bullets and Bandages – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
 
“Where have you guys been?”  I said.  “We ran out of time!  My buddy here needed help, but now he’s dead!”  They tried to calm me down.  The flight medic replied, “We’re sorry about your man.  We left the base as soon as we had word.  I’ve seen this snake before.  It’s one of the most poisonous in the world.  No one can survive the venom unless they’re right outside a hospital when they are bitten.”  He was right.  It wasn’t their fault.  The choppers lifted off and banked over trees, but I just stared at the body bag, feeling so very tired.  I would never forget him.  He saved a lot of lives and lost his to a tiny snake.  I prayed for him.  I prayed for his family and for his lost soul; I prayed it wasn’t my turn next.
Sergeant Jakes had already survived one tour in Viet Nam. He knew the VC as well as the jungle.  He knew what to watch for and what to listen for. Now he was now successfully taking his team through yet another tour.  He had been through just about everything the VC could toss at him and lived through it.  The one thing he didn’t live through was the bite of one of the most poisonous snakes in the world.  One that made his home in the jungles of Viet Nam.
That was just one of many deaths that Rob Doc Marrino would have to face while serving as a Medic in Viet Nam.  He would experience the horrors of war that only someone who lives through it can truly claim talking rights.  Those of us who have never experienced this act of greed called war can never completely understand what these men and women went through.  Some will tell us about their experiences, some just want to forget what they saw, heard and felt during their days in hell.
Being a baby boomer, I knew many boys who quickly became men due to the Viet Nam War.  Most came back, some in the bowel of the plane, some in the passenger seats.  A lot came back physically damaged while others came back mentally damaged.  I have a friend who was there and luckily returned whole, at least in body.  Now 40 years later, he, as well as many others like him still have nightmares that wake the house with his screams as he re-lives the horrors that took place right before his eyes.
As I read Bullets and Bandages I realized that the war horrors produced by Hollywood is nothing compared to the real experiences these men and women actually went through.  Author Saniscalchi has captured on paper the events and stories that his own brother experienced as he served in the military in Viet Nam.  He allows you to feel the bond of friendship that forms between yourself and your buddies.  You experience the strength of their will to survive and the strength of true fear.  But most importantly, their understanding of the importance of God in their survival.
I can’t say that I loved Bullets and Bandages but I can say that I didn’t want to put it down, that it made me hurt as well as cry and that I was so glad when the book ended.  In the past I’ve heard men talking about their experiences in Viet Nam and actually blocked it out.  Now I listen because these men and women need to be heard.  They need to get their memories out in the open instead of allowing it to fester like a cancer until it consumes their whole body and life.  And we need to be the ones listening.
ISBN# 978-1-58982-247-4

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Unsavory Delicacies – Russell Brooks, Author

October 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm (Uncategorized)


Unsavory Delicacies – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds 

Unsavory Delicacies is made up of three short stories that will give you a taste of tantalizing suspense.
Crème Brulee – Monique Beauvais an agent for Ares.  She has no qualms about double crossing those who supply her with the information she has been assigned to acquire.  Curtis White is truly a nerd that has no qualms about drooling like a dog when he meets the beautiful Monique.  But this story has a moral…Never underestimate a Nerd.
To the Last Bite – Dennis Kirby is a food critic who has a tendency of “killing” a restaurant due to the comments he posts in his column To the Last Bite.  After eating one of the most delicious meals of veal and liver he puts in a request to meet the Chef hoping to find out his cooking secret.  Of course the Chef declines to give out his secret recipe.  Kirby has nothing but praise for this superb meal and reflects his delight in his next column.  But what was really in such a spectacular dish?  Kirby will soon find out.
Shashlyk and Morozhenoe – Ridley Fox is a CIA operative.  He has been assigned to take possession of some nationally important documents that are in the possession of Maksim Antanov.  Antonov is known to be linked to the Arms of Ares and is next in line to take over after his father retires.  But the secrets discovered by Ridley will have Antonov in his pocket for as long as he wants.

Watch for my review for Russell Brooks’ next upcoming thriller Chill Run which will be available on December 1, 2011. Follow him on his website as a reminder www.russellparkway.com.

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Trouble Starts, Pane Follows – David & Linda Broughton, Authors

October 16, 2011 at 9:35 pm (Uncategorized)


Trouble Starts, Pane Follows – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
    Ralph is the claims chief for a very large insurance company.  The disembodied voice is trying to be sweet, but it’s not Ralph’s way, it sounds fake, “Ash pack a bag, I have a dozy of a case for you to work your magic on.  Ash, I really need your help on this one.  A Stradivarius violin has been stolen from a courier company.  It had just been sold at auction for twenty two million bucks.  It was stolen on the way from the authenticator’s to the new owner.  The courier company is putting up an extra million bucks to whoever gets it back to the rightful owner, no questions asked.  I guess they’re worried about their reputation.  I’ll gladly pay your usual twenty five percent on top of that should you work your magic again.  I authorized the coverage on the damn thing, my neck is on the chopping block.  I’m not doing this as a favor to you, but to myself.  The leads are slim, but if anyone can find it, you will, I just know it.  I’ll fax you what info there is on this damn case as soon as I hang up.  Let me know if I can help in any way.  I’ll do so gladly.  Good hunting, oh, you have a month to find it, so don’t let it spoil your weekend.  Later.”
This was the message Ashling (Ash) Pane heard emanating from her voice mail recorder.  Ash ended up taking early retirement from the FBI after being shot with an armor piercing bullet that went right through her vest.  While an agent she  gathered the goodwill of many rich and powerful people, including the President of the United States.  Trouble was,  she had also earned a reputation for herself  of not going by the rules. That’s what got her retired, truth be told. Now she does recovery work for high end insurance claims.  Her reputation precedes her, ’Ash Pane goes by her own set of rules!’
Following the trail takes Ash to Toronto where she meets Paul Roman, who is world known as an authenticator of musical instruments.  At the time of Ash’s visit to Paul has, two guitars locked in his safe that once belonged to David Seymour.  David overdosed on the flight back from Russia after doing a tour. For some strange reason, the guitars been shipped to Paul to authenticate.  This wasn’t to be, due to a group of Russians busting in to take possession of one of the guitars by force.   As it turns out, their unwanted visitors are from the Russian Mob and the leader of the group is none other than Anatoli Ivanovich, one of the most wanted men in the world.  He’s noted for stealing priceless art, jewels, gold and anything else of extreme value.  He also has a $20,000,000.00 price on his head.  Ash wants his valuable head, more for trying to kill her than the reward, the reward offered will see that he stays alive… maybe.
When I first started reading Trouble Starts, Pane Follows, I saw Ash as an overly macho female character, but the more I read, the more I have to say I liked her, macho and all.  She is a man’s woman and she is a woman’s woman.  She isn’t afraid of anyone or anything making her the envy of a lot of women.  She loves her toys which includes anything that makes a bang which makes her the envy of a lot of men.  When someone crosses her, she doesn’t get mad, she literally gets even plus.  Heaven help you if you’re a man coming after Ash or one of her friends for you just might lose your family jewels.  And if you come at her with a gun, you might find it stuck where the sun doesn’t shine. However, when Ash loves, she loves deep as with her new found ward Roz, a musical prodigy. Her main love interest in this episode, Paul, is quite the opposite, it’s almost as if the typical male and female roles are reversed. I’m sure that was the idea, and once it gets rolling, it works well.
Macho or not, I really enjoyed Ash in this book and am waiting for the next one to come out.  You can bet I’ll be one of the first to get my copy.

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We’re Not Blended, We’re PUreed – Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Marty C. Lintvedt, Author

October 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm (Uncategorized)


We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
A circle is a symbol of unity, eternity, and completeness.  The wedding ring represents eternal love and the persistently renewed promises of a couple.  Some Scandinavian women wear three bands:  one each for engagement, wedding, and motherhood.  In medieval England, a bridegroom would slide the ring partway up his bride’s thumb, index, and middle finger, saying “In the name of Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” as he slid the ring up each finger.  He then placed the ring on the next available finger, the third finger of the left hand.  Today, the wedding ring is an easily identifiable indication of marital commitment.  Luanne and her husband-to-be had special matching gold bands made for all members of their blended family.  The family members exchanged the rings during the couple’s wedding ceremony.’  (I loved this idea!)
If you have ever been married, had children and then found yourself single again, no matter what the reason, this book is for you!  Author Diana Lesire Brandmeyer and Co-Author Marty C. Lintvedt (a licensed, nationally certified professional counselor), through the writing of We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed have given us a list of what to expect, what not to expect and what you might never have dreamed of expecting, if you take your family and combine it with another.  They cover everything from how to plan the wedding, while including the kids to which home is the most practical to take up residence in.  Diana, through her own experience, as well as the experiences of others, walks you through the emotions that you may find yourself feeling, those that your soon-to-be or already new spouse may feel, and just as importantly, the feelings the children may be feel.  And she doesn’t stop there!
Some of the topics brought to light are simple things such as…do I take my kids to your dentist or their own dentist or do find a new one for all of them?  Same with pediatricians.  In her own experience, she moved over an hour away from her home as well as her 2 son’s old fashioned doctor who didn’t mind being called in the middle of the night.  Her new stepson’s pediatrician is stuffy and makes her feel incompetent  when asking questions.  And since she did agree to move into her new husband’s home, what happens to her own home?  Can they afford the upkeep on both or should they sell hers?  And how does she make his home hers?  Since the house originally belonged to he and his deceased wife, there are memories in every nook.  Can she change these and start new memories?
And then there are the kids themselves.  Diana, who also lost her husband, has 2 sons.  Her new husband has 1.  Her sons follow a routine requiring them to be in bed at set times at night and rising early.  Her stepson is quite the opposite.  He stays up late and sleeps late.  Who takes control in making the changes…husband or wife?  Or should there be a new set of rules set into play?
Authors Diana Lesire Brandmeyer and Marty C. Lintvedt, go on and on bringing up one possibility after another.  They hits on things that I personally would have never thought of.  There’s religion, holidays, money and of course the deceased’s surviving family to consider.  And one topic I would have missed completely is adoption.  Should the kids be adopted by their new parent or left with who they already are?  And most important…how do the kids feel about not just the adoption but all topics.  It seems that for a lot of us out there, we think about what we want and forget to ask the kids how they feel about our decisions, which is a mistake.  Your decisions will affect their lives too.
I could go on and on about this book as it goes on and on all the way into the empty nest stage, but I won’t because I want you to read it for yourself.  We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed is one of the best books I’ve ever seen in offering help for families that are planning blending.  The ideas, suggestions and experience given to us by the author is without a doubt… priceless.
228 Pages
ISBN# 978-0-7586-1791-0

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October 13, 2011 at 2:21 am (Uncategorized)


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Because We Care – Fran Lewis, Author

October 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm (Uncategorized)


Because We Care – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
‘As the primary and only caregiver for my mom who has Alzheimer’s I have had to develop different ways to keep myself active and my mind stimulated.  All too often as a caregiver you become so immersed in taking care of the needs of the person who is ill that we forget about our own.  When you make the decision to care for a family member at home you are really taking on a challenge of herculean proportion.  Every day is different and every challenge unique and must be handled differently but with kindness and care.  When a person has Alzheimer’s the hardest thing to deal with is their changing and erratic behaviors.  They can be calm one minute and out of control or violent the next.  These behaviors tend to put a lot of stress and strain on the caregiver.’
Through her trial and error learning Author Fran Lewis discovered some of the most basic yet important things that the caregiver will be confronted with when caring, not only for those with Alzheimer’s but other diseases and incapacitating illnesses.  Through her book Because We Care she brings to light the warning signs of Alzheimer’s as well as the importance of discussing your fears with the patient’s doctor.  She explains why it’s so important to follow a routine with the patient to keep some of their confusion down.  This includes things as simple as when to go to the bathroom, when to eat and even bed time.    She stresses the importance of security with Alzheimer’s patients.  They do have a tendency to wander off so items such as ID bracelets or necklaces are exceptionally important as well as keeping a current picture handy in case the police are brought in to help with the find.
Lewis discusses the choices you might face as to keeping the patient at their own home, having round the clock nurses, moving them into your own home or placing them in a facility.  She brings to light the pros and cons, not just for the patient but also for the caregiver.  How to find a suitable facility and even what questions to ask of not only a facility but of nurses for in-home-care. And truly just as important, how to spot patient abuse and what to do if you suspect or know this is happening to your loved one.

Lewis also speaks, through first hand knowledge, about Traumatic Brain Injuries, which caused the death of her sister. And I must mention too that the proceeds for this book go to Montefiore Hospital to the fund they set up in memory of Fran Lewis’ mom and sister.

But one thing Lewis puts heavy stress on is the importance of the caregiver’s own health and well being.  She impresses the fact that the caregiver’s whole normal way of life will change when taking over their patient.  The stress that goes along with being a caregiver is so much more than you can ever imagine.  And to help with this stress, Lewis offers suggestions throughout the book that will help when dealing with this phase of the care.
I’ve only had short bouts with being a caregiver and never for an Alzheimer’s patient.  My Dad and I were both blessed with his being alert until the last couple days of his life.  But I still know the stress that just watching him deteriorate in a short 5 month period put on me.  I can’t imagine watching someone with Alzheimer’s change into a person who I no longer know nor knows me.  For any of you out there that are going through this situation, I suggest you read this book.  I really feel it just might help.  For those of you who aren’t currently acting as a caregiver, this is still a book I recommend you read.  You never know when you too might have to make the choices and deal with the stress that Lewis and people like her have dealt with and are still dealing with.

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The Knowledge of Good & Evil – Glenn Kleier

October 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm (Uncategorized)


The Knowledge of Good & Evil – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds

‘He stared into his empty glass, unsure where to begin or how much to reveal.  He didn’t want to frighten them into paralysis, but he couldn’t mislead them.  The sad part was, despite his best efforts to
hide and protect them, their odds of survival were next to none… Meeting their anxious eyes, he began, “I don’t know if what you do is sinful or not, these experiments of yours with Death and Hell.  I’m a
soldier, not a theologian, I leave the moral calls to God.  But there are some who see such things as grave violations of God’s Will.  And unfortunately, they take it upon themselves to intervene.”  Ian
nodded.  “The man with the tattoo was a religious extremist.  Do you know who he was?”  “Not who.  What… I must ask your oath not to repeat what I tell you.”  They gave their words.  “This tattoo, it’s the
symbol of a very old sect.  A brotherhood of militants cast off from the Church centuries ago, known as Ordo Arma Christi.”  Ian translated, “The Order of the Weapon of Christ.”  “Yes.  Christ’s Weapon.  Ordo Arma Christi dates to medieval times.  There’s virtually no history of it outside the Bibliotheca Secreta –“ he clarified for Angela, “-the Vatican Secret Archives.  And once you hear its checkered past, you’ll see why the Church keeps silent.”

Dr. Angela Weber and former priest Ian Baringer make up the team for L.A.’s #1 Late-Nite Talk Show Probing the Paranormal.  If there appears a mystery, they investigate and solve it.  Angela and Ian have
been lovers since he left the priesthood, but due to information acquired regarding the death of his parents, Ian has decided he must go back and set his mind and heart straight regarding his beliefs.  He proposes to Angela and promises that when he returns he will be a completely new and level headed man.  Nothing could make Angela happier, but her dreams are put on hold after receiving information as to what Ian is really doing.  It appears that Ian has tracked information regarding Near Death Experiences (NDEs) which will allow him to step into the depths of hell to rescue his parents.  Their sin? Ian can only surmise that when they wrapped themselves around his 9 year old body to prevent him from burning in the wreck that took their lives, God judged it suicide . . .

Following Ian as he proceeds with his self-inflicted NDEs will bring a few questions to your mind, at least it did mine.  Are these events real or is it the mind playing tricks on the mind?  Science will give us one answer, but religion may have another.  Is there one TRUE religion or do all of them hold truth?  The answers to these questions and many more are answered with double answers.  One answer is the way Ian sees it through his NDEs.  The other answer is the way Angela sees it through science.  You be the judge of what is true.
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The Fright Factory – William R. Potter, Author

October 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm (Uncategorized)


The Fright Factor – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
‘Wesley saw motion from the corner of his eye.  Jesse wandered into the room.  “Howzit going?”  He had a length of chain and a padlock.  He looped the chair between the two chairs, pulled up the slack, and then clicked in a lock.  With a second length of chain he secured Wesley and Robin to the cast iron fireplace.  Where Robin had been able to slide along the floor earlier, they were now secured in place.  Jesse showed them both a candle with a hole drilled through the middle near the base of the stick.  He set the candle in a brass candle holder on the coffee table.  He walked to the kitchen and returned in a few seconds with a long red stick, obviously dynamite.  He used duct-tape to fasten two more sticks to the first and he set the three next to the candle.  He then took a long string that looked like a fuse and threaded it through the hole in the candle.  Wesley wasn’t sure what Jesse was doing but he knew it wasn’t good. Jesse took the camera off his shoulder strap and began to film Wesley and Robin.  Brandi entered the room with a long butane fireplace lighter.  She wiggled her ass for the camera and licked the end of the starter seductively and then headed for the candle.’
Wesley and Robin Tate are your average run of the mill couple.  They have spent their lives raising two kids and running their own restaurant.  As far as Robin knows, the restaurant has been doing great allowing her to be a stay at home wife and mother who is on the Board of Directors for a non-profit group which raises funds for children’s charities.  They have been able to put both kids into law school and new it was just the two of them.  No problems in their lives.  That is unless you count the credit card bill that Robin has opened and found to be extremely maxed out and in the rears.  Wesley handles the financial portion of the business and Robin knew he never let the balances get out of hand and he has always paid them off each month.  Apparently they aren’t as comfortable as she thought.
Wesley, on the other hand, knows exactly why the balance is so high.  One mistake six years ago and he’s still paying for it.  He has to bring his and Robin’s lives under control.  The first item to repair is their love life and what better way to start the mending than to take Robin to a cabin at the lake for a few days.  This would surely put the romance back into both of them.  And it might have worked if Brandi hadn’t shown up.  Robin met her while getting things from the car in the pouring rain.  She said her car had broken down a few miles back and she needed to use the phone to call a tow.  Being where they were, the phones weren’t receiving signals so Robin decided she could sleep on the sofa for the night and get help the next morning.  That would turn out to be the biggest mistake of her life…as well as the lives of several others.
I read The Fright Factory in two days during spare time.  How…I couldn’t put it down.  If you like shows such as CSI and Criminal Minds, you will want to read this book.  In fact, it could easily be made into a Criminal Minds show.  But I have to warn you.  It’s VERY graphic and also has a few erotic settings so it’s not for the weak nor the youngsters.  I also wouldn’t suggest you read it at night while alone.  Also, I don’t think I will be finding myself staying in a cabin at the lake for quite a while.   Potter, you’ve done it again!

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