Back on Track

New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
I'm reclaiming my small place on the web.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Autobiography Review

A Chameleon's Tale
by Mo Tejani
ISBN-10: 1887521658

What is it like to be sent away from your country, your family split, and future uncertain? Mo Tejani explains it all in his memoir book, "A Chameleon's Tale." These true stories from a global refugee are enlightening, interesting, funny, sad, and poignant. Experience the world through another's eyes!

An Indian Shia Muslim by roots, Mo Tejani and his family were expelled from Uganda in 1972 when Idi Amin took over the government. He was not allowed to return to the country of his birth. For three decades he made his way, working for non-profit agencies that sent him to be a refugee teacher, trainer and interpreter. In many ways a refugee himself, he was of great help to many people even more lost than he. Helping others to learn new languages, what to expect culturally, how to shop in an American Supermarket, and how to cope with feelings of homesickness, he helped himself along the way, learning many of the same lessons but an even deeper one that you are never truly alone in the world, no matter what the circumstances.

Traveling over five continents leaves a great many stories to tell. Mo Tejani shares them with an open heart. His wit and humor shine through, but his humble humanity outshines all else. This is an interesting and entertaining read. Seeing history from another's perspective truly opens the eyes. I truly enjoyed this book very much.

Non-Fiction Review

Schatz Technique: Loving Touch Can Change the World and Reverse Chronic Pain
by Bernard Schatz
ISBN-10: 0977470717
Review by Heather Froeschl

Having witnessed family sufferers of chronic pain, I was quite interested in reading about alternatives to pain management through drugs and invasive surgeries. Bernard Schatz, P.T. offers his life’s work in “The Schatz Technique: Loving Touch Can Change the World And Reverse Chronic Pain.”

Addressing the issues right from the start, Schatz doesn’t pull punches when it comes to the medical community not taking responsibility with chronic pain and a lack of helpful answers to it. His case studies point out numerous instances where the doctors had failed a patient and then when he was able to help, the doctors refused to address the fact, let alone query as to how they can improve their treatment of patients. There are many reasons for chronic pain and Schatz goes into great detail with many common maladies, how he treated them and what you can do at home to help yourself. Yes, he tells you how to do what he does for his patients! Starting with Arthritis and going through the alphabet of common aches and pains to Whiplash, Schatz explains what the body is telling you, how you’ve grown accustomed to pain over the years, and what will alleviate that pain.

Explaining his technique as unique, something quite different than massage therapy and other forms of physical therapy, and a far cry from the torture of those horrible days of Polio “rehabilitation,” Schatz is one of only two who are certified in the Schatz Technique. But here he is, sharing exact details of it with you. He really cares about his patients. Every chapter is full of specific information on the pain felt, the cause of it, and the precise technique to ease the pain. If you, or anyone you love, suffers from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Migraines, Sciatica, Tendonitis or even Tinnitus, buy this book and see if the Schatz Technique helps. Easy to read and understand, this well written, personable text is like sitting down with a medical professional who truly cares and understands. Now that can be hard to find in person!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fiction Review

Silent People: Hearing the Call of the Dodder
by Yvonne Jerrold
ISBN-10: 1905237529

Have you ever felt that you just didn't fit in? Do you know people who refrain from joining in conversation and would rather stay on the outskirts of existence? Perhaps another world of possibilities exists. In Yvonne Jerrold's novel, "Silent People: Hearing the Call of the Dodder," readers will be opened up to another world, another race.

When Hebe was a child she spent summers with her maternal Grandmother, Poppy, and every moment possible playing with The River Boy. The River Boy told Hebe the secrets of his world, his people. The Dodders are people of the woods, protectors of nature, and an ancient race. They have gifts, such as being able to camouflage themselves with their surroundings. Their lands are being stolen and so their numbers grow fewer. Through interbreeding with monkeymen - our race of humans- hybrids are born. Hybrids are not accepted by the Dodders and are outcast. They live among us and tend to keep to themselves, ever quiet.

Hebe is drawn to Dodders Well, the place where her grandmother's cottage still stands, her grandmother still taking care of young ones. Hebe has tried to make it in the world of colleges and jobs, losing her illustration position at a botanical garden due to an encroaching world of computer graphics. She feels a need to return "home" and help to protect the natural world of plants, trees and Dodders. Even her duty to help her scientist father, by illustrating the flowers and plants of Dodders Well, is impossible to complete as she finds herself subconsciously unable to finish even one drawing. Will Hebe find her place in the world? Will she answer the call of the Dodder?

Yvonne Jerrold has woven an intricate tale spoken in first person, through the eyes of Hebe. As she figures her way in the world the reader figures the plot of the story. It is a vivid experience, to read this book. How ones sees the world is a key theme, for we all have our own views and as such we may be blessed to witness more than others, or blessed to see less. Jerrold's talent is in portraying the confusion of a character trying to find her way. This is a haunting tale that will compel readers to try to see the world from other viewpoints. Well done!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Children's Book Review

The Playdate Kids: Cosmos' Mom and Dad Are Moving Apart
by Annie Thiel
ISBN-10: 1933721049

When parents get divorced the children will often feel that they are to blame, in addition to being scared, angry, and sad. Help for the youngest children can be found in "Cosmos' Mom and Dad Are Moving Apart," by Annie Thiel, Ph.D. Geared for children ages 3-6, this book addresses every concern a young child might have.

Cosmos' parents don't get along anymore and are always arguing and sad. Cosmos is sad too. When his parents tell him that they are getting divorced he goes through the natural emotions and asks the important question, "Was it something I did?" Reassured that it wasn't, Cosmos begins to tell his friends at school, who also react in a natural way. Through the process, Cosmos learns some things about his parents, his friends and himself. Keeping his room clean in both homes is still going to be a parental concern, and spending time with both of his parents is still going to create a loving environment.

Dr. Annie Thiel knows how to address these issues, and so many more. Having over 30 years of experience as a child psychologist gives her the best possible role requirements to play as an author of this and other titles that will be of high family value. The story is simply written to directly answer the concerns of children in this age group. Straight forward and to the point, but friendly and engaging, children will relate to every word. The illustrations are bright and colorful and full of life, lending to an atmosphere of interest and potential personal growth for readers. I look forward to Dr. Thiel's other titles, which involve a new baby brother, moving, and a parent having to go to the hospital. It's about time that the youngest children's needs are addressed in such a loving and caring way. I highly recommend this title to family therapists, divorcing parents, and teachers everywhere.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pregnancy Self Help Book Review

The Single Woman's Guide to a Happy Pregnancy
by Mari Gallion
ISBN-10: 1419633287

If there was a time when I needed a friend the very most in my life, it was during my pregnancy and after the birth of my first child. We can't all have Mari Gallion for a friend, but through her book "The Single Woman's Guide to a Happy Pregnancy," we can learn to feel better and to be our own best friends.

Mari shares her own story, as a single mother, right from the start. She doesn't hold back and lets the world know how it was and is. She shares what she did to get through some tough things, and like a great friend, puts herself in the position to understand what her readers are going through. Her most imperative message is to feel confident and do what you feel is right and not to worry about what friends, family, or society have to say about your decisions if they are not in agreement. Offering a plethora of information, on all topics from breast-feeding to diaper changing, organic foods to dark chocolate, bassinets to WIC, the book reads like letters from a gal-pal you can't live without. Her advice is down to earth, honest and well researched (as well as lived out by the author herself).

Not just a guide for Singles, or those boasting a baby on board sign, the advice holds true for all women in many aspects of life. Meditation, healthful eating, exercise, finding companionship or not, financial interests, and emotional well being are all topics we all can relate to. Buy this book for a friend, read a copy yourself, and pass it on. Mari may live in Alaska but she is right there in the peace of mind of every one of her readers.

Hard Science Review

One Moment in Eternity: Human Evolution
by Eugene Minard
ISBN-10: 0976445948

Are humans still evolving? Not noticeably in the physical sense, but culturally, we certainly are. To that effect, are we becoming better, or worse? After reading Dr. Eugene Watkins Minard's book, "One Moment in Eternity - Human Evolution," readers will surely have something to think about.

An abundance of information awaits within these pages. Such research and thought development that went into this work is astounding, all to wrap it up in a neat package for the world to devour. Beginning at the very beginning, for us, with the origin of the known universe, and finishing with thoughts on the survival of civilization, as we know it, Minard leaves no stone unturned in his search for the truth. From what religious organizations have done to influence the beliefs of the people of the world, if not the world itself, to what motivates our highest political leaders. From the very beginnings of life to the evolutional process of Homo Sapiens. From Holy Wars to secret societies, Minard has thoughts and documented evidence to back up his ideas, all lined up for readers.

A bit slow to get into at first, after all we are talking about the beginnings of the universe here, the thought process quickly becomes apparent and the mindset is in place to expand your horizons and consider things you might not have previously. Or maybe you have, in which case, Minard brings forth a fresh perspective. Open your eyes, read this book, and you won't think the same way ever again...your own little evolution!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fiction Review

The Interview
By King Hurley
ISBN-10: 0977418804

Just how far would you go for employment opportunity? Is your career more important than family, friends, or your happiness? Just how far should companies go to woo their next big players? In King Hurley's novel, "The Interview," readers will come face to face with those questions and will come to realize how dangerous it is to play with tigers.

Michael King is the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, making a competitive wage and living a good, albeit stressed, life. He takes on the worries of his investors, and dreams of a simpler life. When his recruiter calls with the offer of a lifetime, he simply cannot say no. Panda Pharmaceuticals is the largest private drug company there is. They are on the cutting edge of medical breakthroughs and employ the greatest minds in the industry. Michael first interviews with the board and then with the partner President in Virginia, where he is wooed without mercy. The final word though, is up to Dr. Chu, the other presidential partner in Thailand. Michael's weeklong visit to Dr. Chu is when the real interview takes place. When dealing with the future of a multi-billion dollar company, one can expect the interview process to be highly scrutinizing. Michael thinks he is prepared, but nothing could be further from the truth. No one could be prepared for such a trial. But how can he say no?

The novel is well set up, with great detail to characterization. The plot flows smoothly, gaining strength as the pages turn, developing a running high in the last few chapters. The story idea is fascinating, even compelling. Truly, the book captures the reader's attention. "The Interview" is a very well written piece of fiction.

Fiction Review

Lying with Chiyo
by J.L. Tyler
Review by Heather Froeschl

Cole Thompson is on a journey of reflection as he travels by motorcycle for a rendezvous with friends. He recalls his recent past and tells a story of love, lust, need, and growth. J.L. Tyler’s novel, “Lying with Chiyo” is a book about self-inspection, self-respect, and dealing with the fallout.

Cole lived in Japan for six years, running his own business and being involved with another man’s wife. Chiyo is like a drug to him, and he is an addiction for her as well. The two complete each other but at the same time take away things like self-respect, trust and integrity. Can love overcome the negative side of their relationship? Can fulfillment of some desires be enough to fill the void?

Tyler’s book is an interesting examination of feelings, actions, and consequences. The plot is in flashback and present day, which truly lends itself well to the reflection of life Cole is going through. The characterization is superb, letting the reader into a discreet relationship and all of its dirty little secrets. “Lying with Chiyo” is a good read.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fiction Review

White Raven
by Deborah Cannon
ISBN-10: 1412096278

When myth comes to life, no one is safe; the monster ravages. In Deborah Cannon's novel, "White Raven," the past comes back to haunt in more ways than one.

Jake Lalonde is an archaeologist who searches for the past in his own life as well as that of the Queen Charlotte Haida...his own people. It is a bad time to be stirring up old memories as there is a harsh dispute ongoing between loggers and environmentalists, involving the archaeologists who search for clues of ancient native culture. A tight society is sometimes hard to get straight answers from and Jake's inquiries leave closed mouths. One man in particular isn't to be trifled with. Thomas McPherson has brought an old myth to new light, scaring everyone into believing that the Seawolf has returned. A monster has been unleashed and Thomas has everything to do with it. Will the loggers lose their way of life? Will the Haida fall victim to big business? What will happen if Jake discovers his parentage and the meanings of his dreams of the past?

This wonderful mix of mythology, tradition, mystery and even romance is a delightful read. Deborah Cannon depicts the legend of the Seawolf, as well as her character's relationships, with the flair of a true storyteller. Her descriptive writing puts you right there in the elements of the islands on the Pacific Coast, on the water, with a gigantic sea elephant snorting mist into your face. This fast paced book is one you will not want to put down, but is also one that you will hate to see the end of.

Fiction Review

Millionaire City
by Jack J. Miller
ISBN-10: 0977051730

Imbedded deeply within the history of the Catholic Church is a secret power. From its adoption as the official new religion in Rome to modern day times, there has been an immensely powerful cartel calling the shots, protecting its benefactor and basically guiding the world from the inside. With secret cities in various places over the globe, T.E.R.A. controls the majority of wealth and the allowances of invention.

In the state of Colorado, hidden in a natural canyon, is Millionaire City, a place where only the wealthiest live. No one has to work, but they can if they choose to. Robot humanoids perform the tasks that no one desires. Everyone is at least a millionaire. But not everyone is happy.

When the mayor is kidnapped, his daughter, Laura Morgan calls upon an old flame, a former CIA analyst, Rick Burton, for help. Allowed into the secret city as a visitor, he is sworn to secrecy and soon becomes the possible pawn for the cartel. If they suspect their secrets will not be kept they offer bribery, or, deliver silence in the ultimate fashion. Will Rick be able to find the mayor in time? Will he be allowed to leave Millionaire City in the end? Will he and Laura rekindle what once was?

There is so much more involved in this work of fiction that I cannot possibly touch upon it all. The book is full of mystery and conflict, plot twist and intrigue, throw in romance and personal growth and you have a genre-crossing novel that appeals to the masses. However, I found the continuing conflict to be a little tiring, the promise of romance a little drawn out. What should be the climax of the main plot left me wanting more. But the story goes on and the reader will be satisfied.

All in all, the book offers an interesting cache of possibilities.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Short Story Collection Review

Bumps, Bruises and Bouncing Back: A Young Woman's Adventures into Womanhood
by Leigh Platt Rogers
ISBN-10: 0741431971
Review by Heather Froeschl

Being thrust into adulthood is usually how we find ourselves, all of a sudden, grown up. Trials and tribulations, panic attacks and calm responses, all add up to how we behave as adults. Getting through the lessons of early adulthood is a trying and memorable thing. Sometimes it is so helpful to know that people have been there, done that and are still breathing to talk about it.

Leigh Platt Rogers has compiled stories from her own plunge into adulthood and offers them to readers in the book, “Bumps, Bruises and Bouncing Back!” in hopes that young adults everywhere will take some comfort in her tales. This motivating book will make readers laugh, think, sigh in the contentment that someone else has done a crazy thing, and maybe even understand themselves just a little bit more.

Fiction Review

Secretarial Wars
by Linda Gould
ISBN-10: 0595275923

We all know that it is the secretaries and receptionists that make the world go `round. Getting through the guard dog can be the biggest challenge in a business deal. In Linda Gould's, "Secretarial Wars," we see where the power lies.

Miriam is a secretary in a Washington D.C. office for U.S. Peace Grants. The program sends scholars and professionals abroad to share their knowledge of American ideals. However, this is only on the surface. What is really happening? Miriam is intent on discovering the truth. A bit bored with her cubicle entrenched life, empty apartment and seemingly dead end job, she takes a peek at the files that surround her. Why are some grants awarded to incomplete applications? Is there a pattern to those who are awarded? Is there an underlying scandal that involves the rumors she hears about The U.S. Peace Council being nicknamed the Covert War Council? And just how influential is the President of the United States on a professional football team?

Linda Gould has written a testament to the power of secretarial staff. Be warned people! Secretaries know your dirty little secrets. The book's plot is well thought out and moves along nicely. The characterization is downright realistic! From the sluty two timing upper management to the tight fisted, by the book image, of the director, and right there with the staff who actually does the work, these people are folks you might know! The story is almost too real. A well balanced read of scandal, sex, drugs, and politics.

Fantasy Review

When Buffalo Roam: A Fantasy
by W. G. Palmer
ISBN-10: 0595392741

George Orwell's "Animal Farm," taken ten steps further! That's the best description I can make of W.G. Palmer's book, "When Buffalo Roam."

Imagine a world in which animals have secretly learned human language, where they have evolved beyond us and show the intelligence to keep quiet about it until the right time. The right time to what? Kill all humans of course. In a hidden society, deep within a mountain of caves and tunnels, a plan is developing. With the initial help of a radical human and her bewitched lover, the beginning of their time is born. Their society is based on Orwell's book, "Animal Farm" with thoughts from the Bible and other works of authority thrown in. Will the animals take over the world and become the higher dominance?

W.G. Palmer must have been influenced greatly by Orwell; it shows in his style and of course in the concepts in the book. An intense read with multiple layers of things to think about, this book is not light reading, though it fits the fantasy genre well. Marketed as Juvenile Fiction - I disagree. The text can be confusing, the plot a bit difficult to follow for the younger set. Young Adult and older is more the target audience and the book should be well received.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Children's Book Review

The House with the Magic Cellar: Realm: I
by Antonio Garza
ISBN-10: 0595392911
Review by Heather Froeschl

What kid doesn't dream of finding a secret world where they can experience magical things? "The House with the Magic Cellar," by Antonio Garza tells such a tale.

Twelve-year-old Angela and thirteen-year-old Tony often play together. One day they find a trap door in the basement floor and are amazed to find that at the bottom of a ladder is an entrance into a magical world where they can train to be wizards. Time will cease to move on in their world while they are gone, so Mom doesn't have to worry. She won't even know! In this new realm, Tony and Angela are tutored by their guide, Peepo. He shows them how to collect crystal powers and spells and how to use them. Along the way, they encounter of which is a dark wizard who had been transformed into a rattlesnake. In an act of courage, Tony makes a mortal enemy of this snake and the danger follows them throughout the book. Will they learn enough to make their mark when taking their exam at the end of this training session? Will they live to take the test?

I personally love books that attempt to inspire the way Harry Potter books do. Antonio Garza has a feel for that magic. I had a couple of plot issues with this book though. The story is without an end goal other than to learn enough to take a test. The evil wizard adds some drama but there could have been more interaction between the characters. This promises to happen in future books. Certainly, young readers will find the details of magic "goodies," like a crystal that makes you invisible, quite interesting, and the magical abilities and spells fascinating. I think though, that the author is focusing too much on presenting the feel of a magical realm (Which was well portrayed) and not enough on overall plot. Since this is the first in a series of books, it does make for a good introduction to the characters and realms. I look forward to reading more about Angela and Tony and their adventures.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fiction Review

A Testament In Purgatory
by Scott D. Muck and M. Kevin Durak
ISBN-10: 1424118956

Can one person make an impact on the world? Absolutely. Look at Hitler. While definitely not a positive impact, he did leave a huge, unforgettable scar. Have there been people who have initiated a point for the good side? Absolutely. We may never know how many. In "A Testament in Purgatory," by M. Kevin Durack and Scott D. Muck, readers will come to realize that there is a lot we do not know.

Magnus is a loner. He's very quiet, even brooding. His work in a grocery store is not a life long dream but it is something to do. He's a recluse, hiding in broad daylight, stocking shelves. He has a great secret, but since no one thinks to ask him about himself, he has no temptation to share. Samuel likes things in order and on time. He has a sense of duty and commitment, yet something is missing in his life. As the manager of a coffeehouse, he provides for the typically human habit of addiction to caffeine. Yet he drinks tea. The weirder side of Samuel is his seeing flames where none exist. This quirk leads readers to believe there is something beneath the surface that we're just not able to see...yet.

As secrets are revealed, an epiphany occurs, that we never really know what is truly going on around us. This short book is a delight and a disturbance. The plot is tight and well tuned with a fantastic twist. The characters are quirky and quaint and something completely different. "A Testament in Purgatory" is a fun read.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Adventure Fiction Review

The Incredible Adventures of Enrique Diaz: A Novel for the Young at Heart
by Andrew J. Rodriguez
ISBN-10: 1598008293
To find a land where people live in harmony - such is the adventurous if not arduous task of Enrique Diaz. In "The Incredible Adventures of Enrique Diaz," by Andrew J. Rodriguez, readers will embark on the journey of a lifetime, or three.

A youthful dreamer, Enrique Diaz is a fifteenth century Portuguese Catholic. Leaving on a quest to find the legendary kingdom of Prester John, he is joined by David, a Portuguese Jew, and Blas, a Moor. Together the three will have unbelievable adventures and dance with danger at every turn. To visit the holy city of Mecca is the first goal of the trip, the second is to find the lost tribe of Black Jews, known as Falashas, and the third and most precious goal is to discover the truth about the legendary kingdom of Enrique's dreams. Along the way the three friends see, taste, endure, and learn much. Danger is all around in the form of pirates, slave traders, thieves and disease. The plague lurks and lepers reach out for help. Somewhere down the road the three also experience compassion, gain wisdom, understand the global world and its religions, and find love.

Andrew Rodriguez has done it again. He has written an epic journey within the confines of a mere novel. To live a lifetime of adventure through his pages is a treat indeed! The plot flows eloquently through the Nile, up mountainous terrain, and sweeping into France. His characters are endearing and show their flaws like the hearts they wear on their sleeves. The greater message though, is one of living in harmony. Let us all have such a quest.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Science Fiction/Fiction Review

The Gospel Probe
by Myron Curtis
ISBN-10: 059536327X

We believe what we perceive to be true. Our truths are often led to us by various others, who, in turn, believe what they perceive to be true. What would you think though, if all of our beliefs were based on what somebody else wants us to believe? Confused? Let Myron Curtis, in his novel, "The Gospel Probe," explain it to you.

The year is 2287 and finally H.G.Wells' vision of a time machine of sorts has been invented. In a battle between the two largest religious sects, one following the Old Testament and the other following the newer, to be deemed "right," scientists and a few other choice specialists will travel back in time to the days of Christ and his trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. The goal is to prove by first hand accounts the existence of Jesus and the subsequent events that the Gospels were based on.

Rajulk is the main explorer of this time period and through his eyes we see the events unfold. Disguised as a traveler he encounters the people, hears the rumors of not one but two prophets, and sets about gathering "evidence" in the form of audio recordings and a visual recording of a crucifixion. He comes away with much more than he expected after risking his life among the Roman guards. Will the Pope get his wish, and see his "mission to prove the veracity of the gospels and discredit satanic counter efforts" fulfilled? Will the world see the truth or continue on seeing what someone else wants us to believe is fact?

Myron Curtis brings forth a highly interesting thought. The book is intriguing and interesting. As a whole, I feel the story was told well and shows promise to be somewhat controversial for a work of science fiction.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Non-Fiction Review

Retiring in Thailand
by Philip Bryce
ISBN-10: 1887521704
Review by Heather Froeschl

Admittedly, all I've known of Thailand is that many Cambodian's fled to it during the seventies, and, I happen to love Thai food. Reading "Retiring in Thailand" by Philip Bryce and Sunisa Wongdee Terlecky allowed me to visit the country and come away with a good deal of knowledge. While I'm nowhere near ready to retire, I can see this is a viable and desirable option!

The book is in five parts. The first is an introduction to Thailand, opening the reader up to customs and facts, amenities and culture, and offering the testimonials of a few folks who have retired in Thailand. Part two is the how-to section, describing in detail how to go about preparing for your retirement there. Information on passports, visas, taxes, social security, health care, and even plans for your will are all included. This information is for those coming from the U.S. and the U.K.. Part three details helpful hints on living and adjusting to Thai life, explaining mannerisms and etiquette, what you can expect and what will be expected of you. Part four examines the different areas of Thailand, giving the pros and cons of each major retirement spot. Part five is a plethora of reference information including websites to check out, a calendar of national holidays, a list of common items and their cost, and much more.

The book is an ideal opening guide when considering retirement in Thailand. It is also a perfect introduction to Thailand itself. If you've known as little as I have about this beautiful country, you'll be happy to sit back and explore through the pages of the book. "Live in paradise for pennies on the dollar" certainly seems to be true.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Fiction Review

The Painted View
by Matthew Burns
ISBN-10: 1420803603
This is not your ordinary plot driven book. "The Painted View," by Matthew Louis Burns is unique in a distinctly twisted way.

The human race is in a downward spiral, soon to be unable to reproduce. Paint, the main character, has a brainstorm to help women to reproduce on their own, basically cloning themselves within their own bodies. While this is happening, Paint goes off on many random tangents on just about every subject possible. His ramblings are in turn interrupted by numerous adventures in the bedroom with a plethora of women named just as uniquely as he: Season, Horizon, and Faith, among others. His appreciation for drink, smoke and sex is apropos with his drop of the hat attitude of traveling, trading jobs, and his non-need to make money. Paint is one heck of a character to read about!

I'm not entirely sure that Paint's ramblings are his own or those of the author, since I have not read anything else that Matthew Burns has written. I would venture to say that Paint gives him freedom to express his thoughts! This book is by far the most different thing I have read in years. Quite interesting, indeed!

Monday, October 2, 2006

YA/Children's Fantasy Review

Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret
by Obert Skye
ISBN-10: 1590384903

Leven Thumps returns! Obert Skye's second book, "Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret," is a much-anticipated sequel to "Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo." In the first book readers learn about the existence of Foo and meet Leven, Winter, Clover and Geth among other delightful characters. In this second book, readers are able to explore Foo itself and hope that it will still be there at the end of the book.

Sabine, the darkest and most selfish being in Foo seems to have been splattered in Reality in the previous book, but his evil reach has a presence in Foo, one that Leven and his companions will have to deal with. From the very beginning of this book to the very last page, chaos is all around them as they try to restore Geth as the rightful king. Winter encounters grave dangers on her own as Leven must cross the dreaded Swollen Forest. At every turn there is an obstacle to overcome as Foo is still in turmoil from Sabine's reign of terror. Fate dislikes a plan and leads things in various directions while the four travelers hope for the best. Will Leven learn to trust in fate? He doesn't have much choice!

Foo is a fantastic place to visit and readers will experience things they've never imagined through the glowing eyes of Leven. Obert Skye has a true talent for creating the mystical and drawing readers in to his world. His seemingly laid-back style captivates and then the fast paced plot holds attention until the last page is turned. Foo exists to remind us to hope, imagine and dream; the Leven Thumps books seem to be reminding us how to do these things.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Fiction Review

Goodbye Evilwood: The Murders in Tinseltown
by Vladimir Chernozemsky
ISBN-10: 1932656049

What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. And who is more deceptive than the actors of Hollywood? Aren't they in the business of deception, acting the parts of a lifetime? In Vladimir Chernozemsky's latest novel, "Goodbye Evilwood," the deception is murderous.

Peter Arvad is an instructor at an acting school in Hollywood. He frequently spends a good deal of time with his students, outside of the classroom. Some, more than others; sometimes, in not so respectable situations. When a young woman shows up dead in one of his student's apartments, the law is obviously interested in how he could be involved. When he lies about the identification of the young woman, suspicion rises even more. Likely this action could be part of a cover up, but why and to what end? Peter is involved all right, for he knows all of the key players in this mystery. Some, more than others.

Chernozemsky has done it again. His careful attention to detail and the intricacies of creating a twisted, intense plot pay off tremendously. While this particular book is based on real life events, Vladimir's own experiences, the tale could not be told without his storytelling prowess. The reader's attention is held captive right to the very end. Head hopping between the main characters gives one insight to not just the actions of the plot but also the reasoning behind those actions. This murder mystery is a psychological ride on the Tinseltown roller coaster of greed, envy and jealousy. Bravo! Encore!