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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Thursday, July 31, 2014



First of a series, THE CAMELLIA RESISTANCE takes a different turn to reach an ugly dystopian society. In this case, the fulcrum is Health: no not plagues which decimates the global population; nor a pandemic which first kills, then revives as zombies. This is a more finely-tuned sociopolitical alteration; not the broadly.drawn disaster of nuclear holocaust or plagues. This dystopianism is very plausible; just hark back to the initial onslaught of AIDS in the U.S.: remember the paranoia, the unfounded ugly assertions, the virulent hate--and you will know that a society founded on "Health" could very well become a dystopia in which the contagious ill are ostracized, made pariah, considered enemies of the state. Here you have it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014



Not just a police procedural (though the protagonist is a foul-mouthed, moody, multitasking NYPD detective), NEVER ALONE holds a complex mystery interwoven with emotional.entanglements, parental demise, older-adult issues including Alzheimer's and care homes and which sibling pays what. There's hardly a relaxing breath for the reader, or for the detective and her partner, just as for detectives worldwide. The reader won't be bored, and will keep puzzling over the bizarre murder sequence.



What an adorable, heartwarming, heartfelt, hopeful book! This trio of short stories plus an introduction present aspects of life with dogs (or dogs' lives with humans). One of the authors is a lifelong dog lover, the other came to that later. I so appreciated the comment in the introduction, to the effect that our dogs are never really "gone," but return to us, possibly different in color, gender, breed; I know this from personal experience. I also especially enjoyed the story "The Devil at Christmas," a narrative memory of the experiences of a young rural physician and his wife and new dog in 1939.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: DEBRIDEMENT by Sean Dow

Review: DEBRIDEMENT by Sean Dow

Jack Hastings M.D. is an Oregon pulmonary and critical care specialist, leading a life he deems appropriate and fulfilling. With an overly busy practice, a beautiful wife, three sons--two grown and one nearly, a lovely home, nearly an "empty nest," what could go wrong? Well--everything. Due to the greed of a former patient's ex-wife, and of a malpractice attorney, Jack is served in an unfounded malpractice suit. If he had stopped there, he might have managed; but no, Jack, too full of himself, decides to play  God, and to eradicate the threat-permanently.

I couldn't dredge up much sympathy for the protagonist: taking everything for granted, and too suffused with self. I much preferred hi buddy and colleague, Dr. George--not a nice guy, but at least straightforward with it.



This novel strongly put me in mind of the trend of Southern mid-Atlantic literary fiction (specifically the Carolinas novels of the illustrious Anne Rivers Siddons). Although on the surface it might appear to be a typical rebellious still coming of age in adulthood ("I want to be my self, not what my daddy/granddaddy/ancestral lineage demand) narrative, it takes up some issues with irretrievably consequences, and unlike many novels, demonstrates character evolution and hopefulness.

Review: EXIDON: THE NEW CAPTAIN by D. A. Workman


I found this book saddening, due to the main character. Young Sally is clearly a victim: held in contempt by her father despite her high intellect, decried by boys because she doesn't fit the societal trend, abused despite her wonderful imagination and naivete (perhaps because of--people fear "strangeness" and the unknown, reacting in anger, using insults, contempt, and abuse to "tear down" to size what they fear). In the end, Sally "triumphs," but I fear at too great a personal cost.

Monday, July 28, 2014



I chose to read this novella for review because I expected much from the author, and "much" was the result. My heart is still pounding and my mind is still vibrating from its roller-coaster speed and surprises. Mr. Bernstein starts with a tragic topic, domestic violence, and personifies it through Beth's neighbor Marcy, and Beth's own daughter Alice, murdered fifty years earlier. Yes, Beth is an elderly lady; eighty-two years old. But fragile? Look again.

Next Mr. Bernstein turns to Evil, and how it manifests in a greed for power, the power to abuse and.debase. And when the Supernatural leaps into the fray, all bets are off as the seemingly impossible occurs--and how sweet it is. Definitely not.for the easily queasy; but a great story.

Review: HISSY FITZ by Patrick Jennings


Animal-lovers, gather round! This jovially delightful chapter book teaches important lessons about the care and feelings of our pets, from their point of view. HISSY is a valued member of the Fitz family, more than eight years old (in a sense, he's the oldest "child") and a very smart cat he is. Here he narrates a day in his too exciting life. Advancing young readers will appreciate the chapters; and each chapter is well designed so one can be read to.younger children for bedtime treats.



Hilarity abounds in this graphic-format story (along with just a few home truths) as Narcissistic Bird and insecure worry-wart Squirrel land (unexpectedly) at the South Pole, in the process managing to.alter some of its topography. Bird is "elected" the Chosen One" of legend, the penguin tribe from enslavement to Great Whale. Has Bird beaked off more than he can swallow?


Review: LETHALCODE by Thomas Waite

My primary criterion in horror is "implacability," the unavoidable, inescapable nature of the threat. In LETHAL CODE, a tremendously terrifying new thriller by Thomas Waite, the threat should not be unavoidable. Procedures should have been put into place years ago, and updated frequently. However, short-term greed, shortsightedness, and just-plain-foolishness, rule as usual. So the nation once considered the most powerful, the global policeman, lies in neat-complete ruins. The United States has been leveled by frequent and seemingly capricious cyberattacks. Not due to.a solar flare nor to an electromagnetic pulse weapon, nor to.natural disaster, these events are at the control of an unidentifiable, extraordinarily well-concealed, enemy of.the U.S.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cover Reveal: DARKNESS WATCHING by Emma Adams


Darkness Watching, by Emma Adams


Genre: new-adult, urban-fantasy, paranormal-romance


Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press


Date of Re-Release: September 1st, 2014


Cover Artist: Amy Chitulescu (






Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into theDarkworld, the home of spirits - and the darkness is staring back.


Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.


All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons still stalk Ash, and their interest in her has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.


In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be…




About The Author:


Emma Adams spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults.

She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, featuring disappearing uncles, invisibility potions and chimeras.

Emma also writes dark and creepy supernatural novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and was published in October 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Find Emma Adams Online:

Facebook ( | Goodreads( | Website (

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: GONE DEAD TRAIN by Lisa Turner

If you want to learn about Delta Blues, the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis (and Mississippi), and you want it couched in a snapping plot with well-developed characters, a pair of flawed but admirable protagonists, a deeply-felt and deeply-drawn background, GONE DEAD TRAIN is the novel to read. I was so impressed that halfway through this advanced reader copy (the second book in the series), I bought the first of the series.

Author Lisa Turner intertwines three major themes: Blues, Civil Rights Era, and Santeria, and then interleaves a number of subplots, including mental illness, broken relationships, and a culprit I never saw coming. My high recommendation: Reader, Don't miss this train!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014



A finely-wrought, incredibly detailed, novel of a life lived in three nations, two continents, by a woman whose consistent determination is to stand strong through the storms and adversities of circumstances and to persevere throughout. Ms. Bourne was a small child during the tribulations of World War II, in a constrained environment which affirmed the value of the famous "British stiff upper lip," so that early on she learned to minimize tears and conceal suffering. I think this "training" as well as her determination to focus on the positive carried her through decades of a frequently "topsy-turvy" existence, and planted her on a shore of emotional security and self-possession.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: FRONTIERS by Jeff W. Horton (Cybersp@ce Series #2)


FRONTIERS is an exciting science fiction adventure about man's quest to reach the stars, and the reasons behind it: greed for new weapons technology vs. the impetus to acquire advanced knowledge. Henry is literally a "boy genius," seeded with intellectual and intuitive capacity by one who.intervenes "from elsewhere." Once into adulthood, he will be the chosen pilot of "Frontier," the space ship whose design had been gleaned from reverse-engineered alien technology. Hank' s flight will catalyze a literal new era for humanity.

The author provided a copy for the sole purpose of my fair and honest review, as a participant in the Making Connections blog tour of this book. No fees were exchanged.

Review: WICKEDPEDIA by Chris Van Etten

Review: WICKEDPEDIA by Chris Van Etten

Another "Wow!!" One-session read: fans of twisted convolutions and unexpected chills will flock to this story, which has all a mystery lover could want. Even after decades of intense mystery reading, I was still kept on tenterhooks by the rocketing thrills of WICKEDPEDIA. I'm afraid to boot up.a computer!

I'm not sure whether the moral of this story is:

"Be cautious what you say/think/write" or "Trust no one." Think I'll go with the latter.



The Undead: Playing for Keeps, by Elsie Elmore


Genre: young-adult, paranormal


Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press


Date of Publication: September 3rd, 2014


Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson (






When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Especially once Lyla’s new talent of resurrecting the dead draws the attention of Eric, a Grim Reaper with a guitar and a chip on his shoulder.


While Lyla navigates the gossip-ridden halls, Eric works to gain her trust and discover why Death’s clients aren’t staying down. If she passes on her gift, his death-messenger destiny mightbe altered. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are way easier to deal with than the living.


Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.




About The Author:

Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.

With a science education degree from NCSU, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round.

Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW.  The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel.

Find Elsie Elmore Online:

Website ( ( |Goodreads (




My stomach drops when I see the dead woman lying on the table. Convinced the dim light is playing tricks on my eyes, I reach over and flip the switch. The overhead fluorescents flicker on and light cascades down onto the body. Dread replaces the doubt. I move closer for a better look. She’s not peaceful like the others. This is bad, really bad. Mom will go ballistic when she sees this.

“Lyla, what are you doing back here?” Ben whispers and gives me a playful shove.

I flinch, almost coming out of my skin. Ben’s always been better at the scaring game we started a long time ago. While I both love and hate our game, I also suck at it.

I turn and squint at him. “Asshole. This room should be off limits.”

“Language,” he chides and clicks his tongue. After glancing at the body, he steps up beside me and snickers. “You’re in so much trouble,” he says, drawing out each word as if it were a paragraph.

“No, I’m not.”

“Where’s Kate?”

“She’s gone, I guess.”

Kate Huntington, the eccentric beautician with tacky green highlights is gone, and only her handiwork remains. Glittery blue eye shadow and sapphire eyeliner cover the dead woman’s lids. Black mascara coats her lashes so thickly that her eye sockets resemble piles of tangled spider legs. She looks like a showgirl, an old, dead showgirl. I don’t even want to acknowledge the dark foundation, the cherry red lipstick, or the words “I quit” scrawled in eyeliner across her forehead.

“Mom and Dad are going to freak when they find out she left this. Mrs. Weller’s visitation is tonight.”

“Wait.” Ben’s interest shifts and he takes a closer look at the still body. “This is Mrs. Weller?”


“Leave her. Nobody will come see her anyway.” His nose wrinkles at the lifeless form. “Everybody hated her.”

“You hated her. I don’t think everyone else did.”

“She was horrible.”

“You’re still holding a grudge? You were in seventh grade when she busted you for taking off during the Chamber of Commerce field trip. Let it go.”

I lean closer to Mrs. Weller’s face. She looks like a sweet old lady, if you ignore what Kate did, but Ben always hated her. Then again, Ben dislikes most of his teachers. They all want him to work harder to meet his potential. Ben has other plans for his potential.

“Whatever. You wouldn’t know. Your nose stays stuck so far up their—”

I elbow him in the ribs. “Grab me a wet washrag. I’ve got to fix this.”

“No. I’m not touching anything in here, her included.”

“I didn’t ask you to touch her. I just asked you to get a washrag. You scared?”

“Disgusted is more like it.”

I huff, walking over to the sink. The room reeks of disinfectant, but it’s better than the embalming room smell that clings to everything like cobwebs.

“Are you worried Dad will mistake your help for interest? You know, this place isn’t the enemy.”

“Easy for you to say. He’s not trying to steal your future.” He crosses his arms. Ben’s senior year has been a struggle about his future. He and Dad both want control.

Grimm Funeral Home is now run by the fifth generation of Grimms. Dad worked here part-time as a teenager and returned after college just as his father before him had and so on and so on.

“What are you doing here anyway?” he asks. “Mom and Dad will be pissed if they catch you back here.”

“I came to ask Mom about spending the night at Cassie’s.”

“But Mom’s not in here.”

“I know. But I couldn’t walk by the door without peeking. And this is what I found.”

The water from the faucet splashes around the big white ceramic basin. Every room down the back hallway has too much white: white walls, white counters, and white cabinets. Everything feels sterile, worse than a doctor’s office.

“You’re really going to touch her?” Ben asks, now standing farther away from the table.

“Yep. I am.” I haven’t thought about it enough to freak myself out, unlike Ben. “It’s just a body without a soul, like a table. No big deal. Well, except for the horrendous makeup.”

“I wouldn’t. Mom and Dad are going to rail on you if you screw this up, which you’re going to do.” He sweeps his dark hair off his forehead while he inches backwards. “You don’t wear makeup. How are you going to know how to put it on?”

“I’ll rely on my artistic ability.” I dab Mrs. Weller’s face with the warm rag. “Besides, I do wear makeup.”

“Lyla, stop.” He points at the table. “Aren’t you supposed to be licensed or vaccinated to do this? What if she was sick or something?”

Is that genuine concern in his voice? “I’ll be fine. Besides, it has to get done. Mom’s got too much going on today and Dad doesn’t know the first thing about makeup.”

“Touching her is a bad idea,” he snaps.

Monday, July 21, 2014



Caller 107 by Matthew Cox


Genre: young-adult, contemporary paranormal


Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press


Date of Publication: July 22nd, 2014


Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn (





When thirteen-year-old Natalie Rausch said she would die to meet DJ Crazy Todd, she did not mean to be literal.


Two years is a long time to be stuck between two people that want nothing more than to destroy each other. A tween crush on the larger-than-life jock from a local radio station is the only trace of a once-happy life ruined by warring parents.


Whenever WROK 107 ran a contest, she would dive for the phone, getting busy signals and dead air every time. She never expected to get through, but at least with her best friend at her side, it used to be fun.


Before her parents ruined that too.


Her last desperate attempt to get their attention, falling in with a dangerous group of older teens, goes as wrong as possible. With no one left to blame for her mess of a life but herself, karma comes full circle and gives her just a few hours to make up for two years’ worth of mistakes–or be forever lost.




Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

Social Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Poor Natalie: What a miserable life...and Death. Once a capable, smart, pre-teen with a straight shot at advanced classes and early university.admission, her parents' unexpected divorce and subsequent inability to mature has resulted in Natalie' s extreme behavior: shoplifting, spiraling grades, running with a batch of gang wannabes, breaking-and-entering...and eventually, the worst occurs, an attempted rape, then murder. Very dystopian, very despairing. Yet Natalie, who has exhausted all her options, is unexpectedly granted make it right.

Review: GIFTED

Review: GIFTED

A wise maxim purports: "When the Student is ready, the Teacher will appear." ( capitalization my own ) As I read through.Daphne Michaels book "GIFTED: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams," I intuited that this book might become that teacher for many individuals. Ms. Michaels states that she has a calling others how to live a life of love, rather than the too-often lived life of despair. In this book, she identifies and explicates the nine gifts of:

Awareness, Potential, and Stillness; Disharmony and Harmony; Ease and Clarity; Freedom and Engagement. I think.many readers will be drawn to the material in this book.