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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Review_WRITERS ON WRITING OMNIBUS by Various Authors, Ed. By Joe Mynhardt

Writers on Writing Vol. 1 - 4 OmnibusWriters on Writing Vol. 1 - 4 Omnibus by Joe Mynhardt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

By Various Authors

Although I am not a published author, I have been a widely voracious reader for six decades, and a sometime writer. I adore reading books on the writing process. Doing so, I think, improves my reading capacity and draws me closer in understanding to authors.

I'm delighted to review Crystal Lake Publishing's new WRITERS ON WRITING OMNIBUS, a compact collection of advice and how-to, provided by authors and editors who are familiar with the processes of writing, self-editing, proofreading, editing, formatting, and self-publishing and traditional publishing. These women and men have all "paid the dues," suffered and celebrated, sacrificed and rejoiced. (Hopefully, none has been "down to the Crossroads" to do a deal for fame and fortune.) Nonetheless, the dues are paid and they've enjoyed success, but will be the first to tell you, writing--and succeeding--is always an ongoing process.

The beauty of this omnibus volume is the plethora of excellent and pointed writing advice, offered in a series of essays. Read what you need at any given time, or settle in for a longer read if you wish. It's all time well spent, whether you are a beginning writer, an accomplished author, or a reader looking for a closer view of the writing process.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: MONARCHS by Alex Chu

MonarchsMonarchs by Alex Chu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MONARCHS by Alex Chu

MONARCHS is a suspenseful and surprising thriller, set primarily in New Jersey and New York City, with a side venture to modern Shanghai. A disgruntled worn-out call center rep receives a bizarre spam email, offering to fulfill his wildest dreams of wealth and status--in return for a human sacrifice. Arriving at his down point, the offer is neither faux nor fraudulent, catapulting Logan into an entirely new realm of possibilities. But the "one" sacrifice is never sufficient--until Logan's dilemma magnifies, and he crashes and burns. From that point, the thriller becomes more of a self-help exposition, as Logan determines to take charge of his own life.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review_A GLITCH IN THE SYSTEM by Adam Aust

A Glitch in the SystemA Glitch in the System by Adam Aust
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: A GLITCH IN THE SYSTEM by Adam Aust

This debut mystery is a thrill-a-moment highly suspenseful roller coaster ride, where surprises and twists abound and both reader and protagonist are kept heart-in-mouth. Readers are caught up from the first page, accompanying the female protagonist whose life and relationships are upended and turned inside out.

Angela Gianni is a university-degreed L. A. resident who makes her living as a psychiatrist. When her best friend reports a bad breakup, then disappears while supposedly returning to the ex's apartment to collect her clothes, Angela files a missing person report. Next a client also disappears, she receives threatening text messages and parcels, another client dies--and a bewildered Angela finds herself charged with triple homicide.

A GLITCH IN THE SYSTEM is breathless reading (and heaven for a conspiracy theorist like me.)

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Review_LOVE YOU TO DEATH by Caroline Mitchell

Love You To Death (Detective Ruby Preston #1)Love You To Death by Caroline Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: LOVE YOU TO DEATH by Caroline Mitchell

An electrifying suspense thriller, LOVE YOU TO DEATH is also heartwrenching and horrifying, as Detective Sergeant Ruby Preston and the Shoreditch (East London) Serious Crimes Unit work without respite to identify a killer stalking, then murdering and staging, women who gave their daughters for adoption.

Author Mitchell weaves a compelling character in Ruby, as well as in her team and superiors, and her family and former love. Not a spare moment to catch breath in this powerful novel!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Hitler: The Psychiatric FilesHitler: The Psychiatric Files by Nigel Cawthorne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: HITLER: THE PSYCHIATRIC FILES by Nigel Cawthorne

Although the quantity of deaths for which he was responsible was far exceeded by both Stalin and Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-Tung), Adolf Hitler's infamy persists. More than 80 years after he determined to assume power, he is still an enigma, not for what he did, but for the reasons behind his actions. In this study author Nigel Cawthorne carefully examines the nature of Adolf Hitler's personal pathology.

Driven by his megalomaniacal conviction that “I cannot be mistaken. What I do and say is historical,” [quoted from text, p. 16], Hitler grasped at power first and foremost, without a cogent plan of action or a platform. As early as 1940, psychoanalysts and psychatrists began to formulate studies of the mind of Hitler, based on what available information existed, such as newsreels of speeches, and his writings.

Drawing on numerous extant sources, author Nigel Cawthorne delineates a clarifying portrait of a man whose obvious mental illness and shortcomings, in the natural course, would have resented in a life poor in quality, and likely homelessness. Yet this same individual managed to take power, become a dictator, and control a nation with his on-again, off-again, charisma and hypnotic gaze. HITLER: THE PSYCHIATRIC FILES makes for fascinating, thought-provoking, reading.

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Friday, November 11, 2016


Safe With MeSafe With Me by K.L. Slater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Detailed and implactable, SAFE WITH ME is a portrait of madness "from the inside." There's a trite cliche holding that those who worry they have mental illness don't; the corollary is that the truly ill just don't know and can't recognize. Such is the case with this novel, stuffed to the brim with off-the-track personalities, ranging from the selfish mildly neurotic, to the definitely dangerous to self and others. In between, perhaps, are the morally lethargic, who experience a niggling awareness of "something is wrong," but for reasons of greed or ambition or personal loss, fail to act. Just as in the brutal murder of Kitty Genovese in New York City several decades ago, those who know, even if only an inkling or an intuition, and don't act, are guilty by omission of the inevitable tragedies.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

THE OTHER SISTER by Dianne Dixon_Review

The Other SisterThe Other Sister by Dianne Dixon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE OTHER SISTER by Dianne Dixon

Early on THE OTHER SISTER truly captivated me. I loved the insight into lives and lifestyles unlike mine, and the clues planted every so often telegraphing hints of future events, kept me racing through the pages. The "slice of life" portrayal of various characters and the subtle realistic horrific events befalling several, vividly create the environs. I am reminded of the admirable English author Tina Seskis, in themes, execution, and quality of achievement.

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