Magic In The Storm – Meredith Bond, Author

July 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm (Uncategorized)



Magic in the Storm – Review by Martha A. Cheves – Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Jack took a few steps back while he was thinking and leaned himself against the wall. “Hmmm. That’s a tricky one, ain’t it? Never heard o’anythin’ like that happenin’, not that I know a lot of Vallen, mind ye.” He thought for a moment, then said, “I’ve always thought the power came from within. There must be somethin’ changin’ within ye. What is it, inside of ye, that’s changin’?” Morgan shook his head, thinking hard. “I don’t know.” “Well, when ye figure that one out, then you’ll know where the power’s comin’ from.” What was changing within him? Morgan stood back and began to think about this. So many things had changed within him recently. It could be his self-confidence, it could be Adriana, it could be his determination not to wait for his destiny to come to him, but to go and seek it out on his own, it could be so many different things.

Morgan Vallentyn is a Vallen. Most people compare them to and even mistaken them for witches but their powers are real and true with each having a different specialty. Morgan was born the 7th child of the 7th generation Vallen. His mother Lady Vallentyne should have been happy but when she discovered that Morgan was a male child what would have been a strong mother’s love turned to hate. No Vallen leader had ever been a male and had it not been for her husband, Morgan’s father, she would have killed the child just after birth. Instead, Morgan was banished to the forest where his mother cast a spell that would imprison him for life.

Adriana Hayden was an orphan who had been entrusted into the care of a distant relative, Lord Devaux. Devaux had one desire in life and that was to climb the ladder of Parliament. To do this he needed influential people and money. He found both in Lady Vallentyne. Her oldest child and son, Jonathan, the sixth Viscount Vallentyne would be the perfect husband for Adriana. Jonathan wanted nothing more than to run the Estate but his mother had higher expectations for her son. He was to enter politics and with he and Devaux combining their minds and skills, Jonathan would be quite successful. She would see to this marriage even if it meant using her powers and with her being the highest priestess within the clan, no one could refuse her. So she thought.

The last thing Adriana wanted was to marry, especially without love. Her heart’s desire was to paint. Nothing mattered more to her than her paintings. Unfortunately, Devaux knew of this love and used it to blackmail her into agreeing to marry Jonathan. While visiting the Vallentyne Estate, Adriana had ventured into the woods that acted as Morgan’s prison. Not knowing the history of his being an outcast, she made the mistake of mentioning him to Lady Vallentyne. This brought more injustice to be inflicted on Morgan by his mother.

Morgan is nearing his 21st birthday and knows that he must reach his full capacity of powers before that day or lose all powers. Through his experimenting he finds his powers have increased but has no idea why. All Vallen are born with their powers which are revealed at an early age. His powers growing as he nears his birthday is unheard of. Something is different and something is causing this to happen. But he’s running out of time and has no idea as to how he will find his full potential, especially while being encased within the forest. He must find a way to break his mother’s spell and escape.

Magic In The Storm was an edge of the seat read. I kept hoping that Morgan’s mother would change and give in to him allowing him to find his own strength and powers. When he finally made it out of the forest I knew she would see that he was truly the 7th of the 7th generation and accept him even though he was a male, not a female. Did she? I’ll never tell. I will say that a lot happens as his powers increase but does he ever become more powerful than his mother? If so, does she help him in his endeavor? I’ll only tell you that Magic In The Storm was a very enjoyable book.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Whispering Cypress – B. J. Robinson, Author

July 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm (Uncategorized)



Whispering Cypress – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

“Breaking news, just in. A young woman was found beaten near Whispering Cypress Campground early this morning. She’s listed in critical condition in Pines Lake Hospital. Details are pending notification of the family, but we’ll have more at noon.” Hackett’s mouth fell wide open, and he dropped the spatula he used to flip the pancakes. “I think I just lost my appetite.” Spring gasped. “Oh no, you don’t think it was Logan, do you? She wouldn’t have committed suicide would she?” Before he could answer, she rasped, “Near Whispering Cypress Campground. That’s all we need for new business.” “That’s all I need is for it to be her.” His eyes met hers and his face was chalk white. “I don’t think she would’ve killed herself, though she was afraid to tell her daddy and the father of the baby.” She ran her palm over her heart. “This can’t be happening. Of all things. Not now. Not this.” Her mind spun and froze on a point. “What about the baby? Do you think it’s dead?”

After ten years away from the place and the person she loves most in the world, Spring Showers has returned to Whispering Cypress Campground as its new owner. A decade earlier she had left the love of her life Hackett Woods without even saying goodbye. She had left the campgrounds the two had spent many days loving each other and enjoying the beauty created by God. But he had left her first while trying to fit in with his friends. After a night of drinking and a morning hangover, Hackett discovered his friends weren’t what he really wanted. It was Spring, not them.

Now she’s back, just as God had planned it. They would be given a second chance to make up for their lost years and to unite in their love for each other. Or would they? Someone is trying to, if not run her off, at least persuade Spring to stay away from Hackett. Could it be Logan who claims to be pregnant with Hackett’s baby? Or is it Barrett, a friend of Springs who has come down for a visit and hopes to talk her into returning to the city with him? When she refuses to leave he does become an enemy out for revenge. Or could it be someone that wants the camp for themself?

I will give a hint and say that things always work out the way God has planned them, even if it takes a few years to happen. He always has a reason for events and happenings, even though we may not understand or even know his reasons. What we may see as a tragedy happens for a reason known only to Him. But in the end, it always comes together and we find understanding and comfort in His superior ways. This all made sense to me as I read Whispering Cypress. As I followed each event/tragedy as it unfolded, at first I didn’t understand why God would allow some of them to happen, then the reason came and it all made sense. Good people have bad times but instead of making them weaker, if they believe in God, it will make them stronger in their beliefs and bring them more joy than they could ever imagine money or good times bringing. Whispering Cypress is a very warming story of true faith. I love it.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Amongst My Enemies – William F. Brown, Author

July 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm (Uncategorized)



Amongst My Enemies – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; A Book and A Dish; Think With Your Taste Buds

Four months ago, their B-17 took off into a clear, Italian sky for the long leg north to Berlin. They hit their marks and dropped their bombs, but before they could make the big turn west, the German flank guns found them. A B-17 is a tough bird and Lieutenant Jensen, their pilot, fought hard to keep it in the air as they lumbered north and east, out of control. The smoke and flames got worse and worse inside, until the plan went into a steep dive. Mike and Eddie clawed their way to a side door and bailed out, but they were the only ones who made it. They came down in a muddy wheat field somewhere in East Prussia. Long columns of refugees choked the roads heading west, desperate to stay ahead of the Russians. Discarded furniture, mattresses, pianos, steamer trunks, and suitcases lay strewn along the roadside. He and Eddie found some civilian clothes and it was easy for them to blend in – not that it mattered. Two days later, they were stopped by a German Military Police roadblock, and the joke was on them. The Germans weren’t looking for American airmen. They were looking for strong backs to dig tank traps and clear rubble. Instead of a POW camp or being thrown against the closest wall and shot as spies, they were dragooned into a forced labor battalion headed north to Konigsberg.

It’s 1945 and the world is at war. Michael Randall and Eddie Hodge were Americans who found themselves in a world of trouble as they and their fellow prisoners were huddled together in an old truck bed trying to keep from freezing. Michael knew it was just a matter of time before their German watchdog Stolz would demand they leave the truck to start the day’s work. As Michael looked at Eddie he knew it would just be a matter of time before his life would be ended one way or another. He would either die due to the gangrene that had started eating away at his feet and legs or be shot by Stolz for not carrying his load of the work. Eddie’s solution was for Michael to find a way to put him out of his misery, which with a heavy heart, he did. Now he had to live with his guilt and his promise to not let those responsible get away with what they had done. This promise became the heart of Michael’s existence. He would make them pay and pay dearly.

Amongst My Enemies takes you on a tour of the world as Michael is put into a position that provides for his rescue from his capturers just before their vessel is attacked in Swedish waters. Before dying Eddie had also made Michael promise to visit his father and sister in South Carolina to explain to them what really happened and why. But his real promise came into place when a Charleston newspaper stated that Admiral Eric Bruckner was coming to New York. That simply wasn’t possible. Admiral Bruckner was the one who put Michael in a life boat before taking his U-boat back out into deep waters. He was also on board the U-boat when it was attacked and sunk. Proving this became Michael’s beginning of self-recovery and keeping his promise to Eddie. He just didn’t know what trouble he was about to step into.

Michael’s travels take him back to the coast of Sweden as he and a small group search for the sunken U-boat expose the imposter. This will bring the Russians in as they try to destroy the find preventing the world from knowing about their infiltration into other countries defense systems. It will bring in the Germans who had stripped the U-boat and loaded it with gold, jewels and art work that had been collected throughout the war. Will Michael be strong and smart enough to succeed? Will the Germans recover the loot inside the boat? Or will the Russians blow it all to keep their ruse running?

I’m not a fan of war stories and seriously thought about having my friend who sometimes helps me read this book and do the review. Glad I didn’t. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. It held my attention to the very end. Great book!

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Royal Pane Down Under – David & Linda Broughton, Authors

June 12, 2012 at 12:01 am (Uncategorized)



Royal Pain Down Under – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; A Book and A Dish; Think With Your Taste Buds

(This book has an added bonus. The Author is giving you a 1/2 off code for your copy of Royal Pane Down Under through Smashwords. Here is your code HM48Z)

When the cheeseburgers arrive Ash about falls out of her chair. The things are huge, probably bigger than those of the Red Top back home. They’re certainly thicker. No wonder they’re that price.. Ravenous Ash manages to eat only one of them. They taste fantastic. She has the other put in a to-go container. On a whim, Ash has the waitress get the owner to her table, acting as if she has a complaint. When the owner comes to the table, she tells him she won’t pay that for those burgers. Before he can say a word, she hands him the check with a ten thousand dollar pack of bills, “That’s what I’ll pay for these burgers.” The man if flabbergasted, totally speechless. Exactly the effect she wanted to have on him. She and Rodger get up to leave. She tips the waitress a thousand dollars because she can. Outside, Rodger quips, “What do you fancy yourself? Some kind of Robin Hood or something?” Ash smiles, “Something like that, when I get unexpected funds like those t the mill, I like to spread it around to those that deserve it, some of it, anyway. Some folds give to charities, I do a bit of that myself. I also like to help out hard working people that are doing things right.”

Ashling Pane is a woman of many faces and she doesn’t mind exposing them all when the need arises. One of her best friends just happens to be the President of the United States. After she saved his life twice, his career once, and rescuing his daughter from kidnappers, he has declared that she has free run of whatever she might need or think she might need. Nobody dares say different. This friendship has helped her accomplish her tasks in more ways than one. Ash normally works recovering high dollar items for major insurance companies. Her fees are high but her success rate is even higher, since she never gives up. On a case where she recovered a famous violin ‘Lady Blunt’ she also recovered a young Russian immigrant, Roz, that was being and used against her will. After taking her in, Ash discovers the girl’s musical talent affording her any instrument her heart desires to help make up for what she has been through. Money for that job was good but when Ash is asked to go to Australia to free those being enslaved by a man named Aldridge Ainsworth, the offer becomes more than she can afford to turn down. The Queen herself is making the request and offering her over $188,000,000 and that doesn’t count whatever she and her team might find along the way.

As it turns out, Ainsworth has the natives working the mines producing uranium as well as gold and silver. As the mines and compounds are attacked and the slaves freed, Ash and team find themselves collecting what ends up being several billion dollars in gold, gems, art and money hidden within the compounds. Even after making the team members rich beyond their belief, Ash still has more than she can ever begin to spend. Therefore she becomes ‘Robin Hood’ of sorts, taking from the criminals and giving a hand up to the working class.

Royal Pane Down Under wasn’t a disappointment. Ash Pane is still the person that you would love to be friends with while hoping that you never get on her bad side. If she likes you, you will always be in good hands. If she doesn’t like you, don’t step into her path. She is one macho woman who even the most macho men fear. This would make a good character for Angelina.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Captured Moments – Ellenelizabeth Cernek, Author

June 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm (Uncategorized)



Captured Moments – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat, A Book and A Dish, Think With Your Taste Buds

Crossroads

Life again and again
Finds only crossroads
Where now and before
Shall turn into a tomorrow.

Worry not in this
Crossroad’s time
For this will always
Pass into a yesterday.

Life again and again
Finds only crossroads,
Where life will again
Be always new.

This has to be one of my favorite. Each time I read these few words, the more I agree what that they say and mean to me. We do have a lifetime of crossroads and now does always become tomorrow.

I’m not big on reviewing poetry due to the fact that what I like you might not like, but Ellenelizabeth Cernek has written ‘songs’ that tug at my heart as well as my spirit. “Her Beach Reverie” will make you wonder about ‘Neptune’s fury’. “Empty Space” will have you remembering illusions you believed in at one time. And then there is “To Remember.” It will bring back the Could-bes, Should-bes and Would-bes. Captured Moments will keep you stepping in and out of time, life and space. This is a beautiful book!

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Meet the 2012 EVVY Winners: Yvonne Mason

May 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm (Uncategorized)


Meet the 2012 EVVY Winners: Yvonne Mason.

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Dark Moon – Maggie Tideswell, Author

May 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm (Uncategorized)



Dark Moon – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

“Well, my girl, I hope that boyfriend of yours is ready to make an honest woman of you. Congratulations. Everything looks fine so far.” Though he smiled, there was hesitation in his voice. Biting her lip to save her cheek, Storm lost the battle with the tears that had been threatening all day and doubly so after Trevor’s rebuff. Andrew pulled her head down to his shoulder, rocking her from side to side, as he had done many times before. He let her cry, and then, after what seemed like forever, he said, “There, there, it’s not the end of the world. You’re going to make yourself ill. Come on, chin up. Trevor seems a good sort. You’ve been dating him for long enough. Why aren’t you on the pill?” “It makes me ill, and as there was no reason to suffer, I didn’t bother.” Calm washed over Storm. “Uncle Andrew, it isn’t Trevor’s,” she mumbled hoarsely.

Storm Fenton has just had confirmed what she and her best friend Donna had suspected – she’s pregnant. Problem is, she has been dating Trevor for almost a year and he isn’t the father. Actually she didn’t even know the name of the baby’s father. Her pregnancy is the results of a ‘rape’ that wasn’t exactly a ‘rape.’ Maybe it’s best called ‘consented rape.’ But to Storm’s surprise, she will soon meet her mystery man and when he discovers her situation, she can’t seem to shake him. When she finally tells Trevor that she’s pregnant with another man’s child his attitude splits. He assures her that she will never have the baby while assuring her that she belongs to him and he will have her through marriage. His motive as well as his actions come from deep within and he seems sincere when it comes to wanting Storm for himself and does all in his power to keep her away from Jarred, the baby’s father?

Storm is a psychologist who tries to help Elle, an attorney, find a murdering/rapist who has killed 7 women already in a ritual fashion. Elle also turns out to be his 8th victim and the only one that was spared her life. But Elle’s life is not only disrupted by the rape but by the appearance of her birth mother who inform her not only that she is a witch but that the murder is her own son, making him Elle’s brother. The two must band together to destroy him before he kills again and before he performs his final ritual that will give him the powers he desires.

So, who is the killer – is it Trevor or is it Jarred? Or is it someone else entirely? Who is really looking out for Storm’s best – Trevor or Jarred? And which will end up with her in the end – Trevor or Jarred? Dark Moon is one of the most unusual books I’ve read. It has everything – murder, rape, witchcraft, fear and even love. And it left me with a feeling that there just might be a book 2, I hope.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Winter Prey – T. M. Simmons, Author

May 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm (Uncategorized)



Winter Prey – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; A Book and A Dish; Think With Your Taste Buds

“Let’s get all of our cards on the table, Sheriff. You’ve got a monster due to start prowling the Northwood again in a few weeks. One that’s been around for three centuries and the same species of evil entity that I suspect killed my wife and son. But yours is – ”

“It isn’t mine,” Hjak interrupted in a level voice, but Caleb continued over the attempted disruption.
“—on a different timetable than that Colorado bastard,. Maybe you aren’t even sure the rumors of this thing are true, since you were probably a kid the last time it appeared. On top of that, from what I could find out, not many whites know about this one. So far, it’s always focused its kills among the Native American population.”

Caleb McCoy is a paranormal investigator that is accustomed to talking to both believers and non-believers of the supernatural entities so his conversation with Sheriff Hjak can go either way. After the death of his wife and son Caleb is positive that the same type creature that took their lives will soon be waking from its forty year sleep in its lair hidden deep within the mountains.

Lieutenant Colonel Kymbria James, R.N. has resigned from her military career to do something she never thought possible. She will now devote her life to raising her daughter Risa, but first she has problems of her own that must be resolved if she has any hope of doing this successfully. Her time spent in Afghanistan trying to help the soldiers cope with their injuries both physical and mental, her own husband dying in her arms as he called the name of another woman and her own battle with PTSD must be sedated before she can become the mother Risa needs and deserves. The best way to accomplish this is to leave the white-world medicine and give the Old Ways a chance. And to do that she must go back to her origin and her own people – the Ojibway Tribe of Native American Indians.

As Kymbria will soon find out, the healing will be disrupted by Caleb and the beast he seeks to kill. The creature the tribe calls a Windigo. Its existence has been known for over 300 years but no one has been successful in destroying a Windigo. Its pattern consists of waking up every 40 years to feed, keeping the number of humans it feeds upon to 16, always Native Americans. With Kymbria being an Ojibwa, she just may be his next meal but if that’s true, why is it trying to communicate with her? What makes her different? The answer was a surprise to me as I believe it will be to you too.

When I first saw the word Windigo it sounded familiar so I googled it. Sure enough, it’s a Native American entity that is believed to be a cross between Big Foot and a Werewolf. This knowledge gave Winter Prey and an even more interesting appeal to me. The author has combined history with folklore to give a mystery that is believable. All through the book I found events taking place that were a total surprise to me as a reader. Winter Prey is a very enjoyable read that might just have you looking out the window at night to see if you might see a Windigo.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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An Extra Topping of Horror – Darrell B. Nelson, Author

May 12, 2012 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized)



An Extra Topping of Horror – Guest Review by Matthew Morrison

This one has it all: ALIENS! PIZZA! TIME TRAVEL! A 50 FOOT CAT!

In An Extra Topping of Horror, Darrell B. Nelson takes over a sleepy little town and makes it the nexus of a rambling series of loosely connected (by time) vignettes. It’s almost as if Stephen King’s character, Roland, in The Drawing of the Three sat down to a palaver with a John “Johnny Wad” Homes about the merits and detriments of applied String Theory, and somehow Mr. Nelson (no doubt, disguised as a lobster monstrosity) managed to record their conversation. If one looks beyond the plethora of interplanetary inter play, in the end, this is a love story in reverse at least for one of the pair of lovers.

I will place An Extra Topping of Horror on the shelf between the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and the Talisman by Peter Straub, just beneath my massive collection of Rodox!

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Death Comes Silently – Carolyn Hart, Author

May 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm (Uncategorized)



Death Comes Silently – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Annie was struck by the weariness evident in his broad face. He was Billy, big, brawny, and muscular, but Billy without his customary equanimity. Tight lines marked the corners of his eyes, bracketed his generous mouth. Instead of a jacket and slacks or a suit, his usual dress for work, he wore a navy pullover and jeans. His blue eyes had a lost look. “I know you support me, but that isn’t what matters at this point. There’s a dangerous killer out there who will remove anyone seen as a threat. Right now Henny is safe. Jeremiah’s arrest will reassure the killer that she doesn’t know enough to be a danger. As for the rest of you” – he looked at Annie, Emma, and Laurel in turn – “don’t even think of trying to investigate.” Annie felt a deep twist of disappointment. “Jeremiah’s innocent!”

Annie Darling is owner of Death on Demand, a mystery bookstore. She is also a volunteer for Better Tomorrow, a charity shop that offers groceries, clothing and other needs for those in financial binds. Due to a scheduled booksigning for author Emma Clyde, she switched days with Gretchen Burkholt. This switch turned out to be fatal for Gretchen when she found a note in the pocket of a jacket that had belonged to Everett Hathaway. Everett’s body had been found two weeks earlier floating not far from his overturned kayak. An autopsy listed drowning due to unconsciousness as a result of hypothermia as the cause of death. According to the voice mail messages from Gretchen to Annie’s cell phone, the note she found leads her to believe his death wasn’t an accident but murder.

There are three people who would benefit from Everett’s death. His much younger wife, his nephew who wants to manage the family advertising business and his 16 going on 21 year old niece who wants to run her own life, with her own money. So which hated him enough to want him dead? Could Annie be wrong and Jeremiah is the guilty party? Or was Everett’s death actually an accident and has nothing to do with Gretchen?

I can’t get enough of Author Carolyn Hart’s books. She has entertained me with all of her Death on Demand stories and I simply love her Bailey Ruth ghost stories, which I hope she writes more of soon. With all of her books Hart combines love, humor and a ‘whole lot of mystery’ making each page flip by quickly to see what clue the next holds. You can’t help but love this author.

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