SKIPPER'S REVENGE by Julie Teahan
2021 Pine Lake Rd, Lincoln, NE 68512
www.iuniverse.comGenre: Fiction/Romance Rating: Good
ISBN: 0595369375, $15.95, 210 pp
This story is a contemporary classic romance about Paige Sheehan and her definitive obsession about Mattel’s Barbie doll, the blonde goddess with the large breasts, and Skipper, Barbie’s less glamorous younger sister, with whom she identified. Paige actually had a boyfriend named Ken and did lose him to a Barbie beauty, which reinforced her belief that all the beautiful men belonged to the beautiful Barbies. As all romances must have a happy ending, and this one is no exception, you’ll have to read the book to find who the lucky man was.
Julie Teahan is a good writer with a Janet Evanovich style of humor, but on the lighter side–not nearly as outrageous. Her protagonist, Paige, is generally in a mess or making a mess of something, somewhat reminiscent of a Stephanie Plum novel. The book is well-edited and a fast read. Allow me to quote to give you an idea of the author’s style of writing, from page 9:
""According to statistics, 2.5 Barbie dolls are purchased every second worldwide, resulting in two billion dollars in sales annually. For over thirty years, little girls and big girls alike have viewed her as the ideal woman. Perhaps the reason much of the world sees her as ideal is the fact that she has never been a bridesmaid–never forced to wear an overpriced puffy-sleeved satin creation, never made to eat phallus-shaped confections at the bachelorette party, and never paired with a groomsman who would have been mistaken as the ring bearer. After all, never having to do these things would be . . . ideal.
However, I knew the world’s obsession with Barbie went beyond her never-a-bridesmaid status. I had studied her and the women she represented since my childhood, realizing I was not one of them. Over the years, I had developed a theory that most women could be slotted into one of two categories: Barbie or Skipper. There were distinct differences between the two. "Barbies" come readily stocked with beauty and accessories galore. They, like their namesake, appear to drift through life unaware and unconcerned with anything outside of their Mattelian universe.
"Skippers" are the younger sisters, impatient to grow up from their awkward adolescence and fill the high-heeled shoes of their glamorous sibling. Their identities are not well-defined, and as such, they are eternally stuck in the process of becoming. . . .""
If you like light, humorous romances and Julie’s writing style, you certainly might want to read this book.
Skipper’s Revenge is Julie Teahan’s debut novel, and it is a fine accomplishment.
Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 26 2006 - Copyright
GERONIMO STONE by Craig Stevens
PO Box 772246, Coral Springs, FL 33077
www.llumina.comwww.westbrookstevens.comGenre: Fiction/Business Rating: Good
ISBN: 1595265716, $12.95, 188 pp
Publication date: August 2006
Quoting from the back cover:
""In this searing drama, learn the seven attributes of "The Mobile of Excellent Management." This, the first story in the Geronimo Stone Series, takes place at an independent record label in Nashville, Tennessee. The once-prosperous company is in chaos when its patriarch, Robert "Geronimo" Stone becomes ill and dies. His family survives the profound personal loss only to face a hostile business war. They encounter so many challenges, so quickly, that it never occurs to them there may have been something peculiar about Geronimo’s death.
The family and remaining junior employees struggle against the compounding challenges of their deteriorating business. Together they attempt to stabilize their downward-spiraling blues record label, once the envy of the entire music industry. They face major organizational change and restructuring, a hostile takeover attempt, subversive senior employees, and more.
See for yourself how they handle this impossible situation with the help of unusual "mobile" and insightful message left by Geronimo. Hold on as you race headlong from tragedy to threat, to surprise solution and glorious celebrations. All the while, learn to handle the most perplexing problems of the 21st Century.""
Craig A. Stevens originally developed the concept of "The Mobile of Excellent Management" based on the earlier works on Quality Management by Dr. Jerry Westbrook. Dr. Westbrook discovered the six attributes of Total Quality Management (TQM): culture, customer focus, team building, problem-solving, continuous improvements and performance measure. Craig Stevens added the concept of the mobile, the logic of balance, the seventh attribute of Leadership, and updated the definitions of the other six attributes. Craig has shared this mobile with several universities, large companies, and governmental organizations (including, NASA, DOD, Vanderbilt University, etc). He believes that the mobile and the seven attributes provide a framework on which to build and/or improve any company's management. The mobile creates a step-by-step plan and an easy way to communicate these ideas to employees and others. Co-author Michael Moore (a music business expert) provided much of the music business insight, color and realism.
Geronimo Stone is certainly an innovative way of presenting a business management model for consideration. Craig Stevens has written a suspenseful fiction novel, incorporating his educational, professional and Christian background. The book is well-written and well-edited.
Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 24, 2006 - Copyright
THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS by Julia Eaton
PO Box 17247, Seattle, WA 98107
www.boonedog.comGenre: Fiction/Religious Rating: Average
ISBN: 0970510632, $14.95, 232 pp, 2006
Quoting from the back cover:
"What if the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible is a literal prophecy but those who preach it don’t have the interpretation right? Take a bizarre journey through an Apocalypse that doesn’t go as planned in Julia Eaton’s novel The Devil in the Details."
If you enjoy fictional stories about religious themes, you may enjoy this book. The author is an accomplished writer, and the book is well-written and edited.
Julia Eaton has been writing most of her life. Her first novel Annabelle’s Shoes was published in 2002. She currently lives in Seattle with her husband, daughter and their dogs.
Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 23, 2006 - Copyright
THE DARK KNIGHT OF LANCASHIRE by P.J. Kerti
www.luminia.comGenre: Fiction/Historical Romance Rathing: Very Good
ISBN: 1595265996, $13.95, 195 pp, 2006
The British Zorro of the American Revolution - a mild-manner businessman who becomes the courageous Dark Knight in this fight for freedom - has lost his heart to Deborah McMasters, a petite, non-ladylike little fighter. Deborah is torn between her feelings for the gentle, loyal friend Christopher and for the mysterious Dark Knight. The only thing she fears is love.
The Dark Knight of Lancashire is a fun, page-turner. I read the entire book in one night. The historical perspective is interesting/informative and the romance builds throughout as Christopher and Deborah come to realize their love for each other. The rhythm, pace and tension pull you right along. The only place where the author lost my belief in the fantasy she was weaving was when the petite Deborah took the place of the large Dark Knight. The cover is dark, mysterious and attractively enticing.
To provide a sample of Pamela’s writing I quote from the epilogue:
"The Dark Knight was never to be seen nor heard from again, except in legends. Some say that he had come from the dark mist of the marshlands and returned there until he would arise once again to continue his tasks. Some say that he had returned to hell, where he was born. Still others say his ghost can still be heard on dark, dreary nights as he rides along the old marsh road, laughing his deep menacing laugh, with his evil smiling mask.
Yes, he was indeed spirited away - by an obligation he still had for his true home and country, America, and by the love of a beautiful woman who came into his life when he thought he had no reason to live."
I would recommend this book to young women who like historical romances on the light side and to anyone who enjoys Zorro-type stories.
Pamela J. Kerti has been writing since childhood. The Dark Knight of Lancashire is her debut novel and a fine accomplishment.
Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 22, 2006 - Copyright
MAULED by Nolan C. Lewis
www.publishamerica.comGenre: Fiction/Mystery Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 141371250, $19.95, 200 pp
Do you like classic murder mysteries?. . . John Dunning’s Bookman’s Wake; Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels; Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress; John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee or John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport. If you do, then you’ll want to add Nolan Lewis’s Ankus Tom Hill and girlfriend Sherry to your list.
Nolan’s quality of writing and style are right up there with the best, plus Tom and Sherry are very human–sometimes fearful, just as you or I would be.
The heart and the fun of reading Mauled was meeting Tom, a freelance writer who was asked to cover a murder story for the local paper in a small Washington coastal town. Tom is quite the character from the beginning and I quote from page 7:
‘‘"Remembering the feel of a few minutes ago, I rolled over and snuggled against the warm body next to mine and ran a hand under the arm to explore. She is in at least one man’s opinion, a great example of how to distribute a hundred thirty-five pounds on a five foot four female frame, in order to attain the most tantalizing package possible. Sherry said, "Damn, didn’t you take care of that last night? Why don’t you go put a pot on like a good boy," as she turned firmly onto her stomach.
Knowing full well I was going to get nowhere, I gave up and rolled out into the cold air. First things first, a brief stop in the can. I couldn’t resist a look in the cloudy mirror as I washed my hands–I’m definitely not improving with age.
Blue eyes, rimmed by red from last night’s debauchery, in an elongated face that was much in need of a shave, peering out from between what I liked to call laugh lines. I never could figure why a beard should be so black in just twenty-four hours, when hair on top of the head was dishwater brown.
I shivered across the living room/office/kitchen to the sink to do as requested. A glance out the mildew-rimmed window and I knew why it was still half dark. Just the usual coastal weather for November: Wind and rain.""
To the end, quoting from page 195:
""We watched as the three were led off and the police cars vanished, one by one. I closed the door and turned. Sherry wrapped me up in her arms. I held her as she went from shivering to quiet and I thought it was over. Then I became aware of the wetness on my chest. She was crying quietly. Meaning to comfort, I wiped her face with my handkerchief and said, "It’s all over now. They won’t be coming back. We won’t have to worry about somebody busting down the door any more."
"Damn fool. Can’t you tell when I am happy?"
Women’s logic. Sometimes it escapes me. After a suitable interval I steered her to the bed. Some cuddling and she relaxed so I began to explore. I got no real objections until she murmured, "That’s all you ever think of."
I couldn’t let it pass. "That’s because that is all I ever get . . . to think about it.""
You’ll have to read the book to find out ‘who did it’ and ‘does he get it.’ And I’d certainly recommend it.
Nolan Lewis is an experienced writer with a rich background–newspapers, TV news and magazines. Besides Mauled he’s written Ione - Circa 1930 and his latest novel, Clouds Are Always White on Top, (an amazing story) which I reviewed in June.
Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 17, 2006 - Copyright
ANGELS FALL by Nora Roberts
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Fiction/Mystery Romance Rating: Excellent
ISBN:0399153721, $25.95, 440 pp, 2006
Angels Fall is Nora Roberts’s new novel. Allow me to quote from the cover:
"Reece Gilmore has come a long way to see the stunning view below her. As the sole survivor of a brutal crime back East, she has been on the run, desperately fighting the nightmares and panic attacks that haunt her. She settles in Angel’s Fist, Wyoming–temporarily, at least–and takes a job at a local diner. And now she’s hiked this mountain all by herself. It was glorious, she thinks, as she peers through her binoculars at the Snake River churning below.
And then she see the man and woman on the opposite bank. Arguing. Fighting. And suddenly, he’s on top of her, his hands around her throat . . . .
Enjoying a moment of solitude a bit farther down the trail is a gruff loner named Brody. But by the time Reece reaches him and brings him to the scene, the pair is gone. And when authorities comb the area where she saw the attach, they find nothing. No signs of struggle. No freshly turned earth. Not even a tire track.
And no one in Angel’s Fist seems to believe her. After all, she’s a newcomer in town with a reputation for being jumpy and jittery–maybe even a little fragile. Perhaps it’s time to run again, to move on.
Reece Gilmore knows there’s a killer in Angel’s Fist, even if Brody, despite his seeming impatience and desire to keep her at arm’s length, is the only one willing to believe her. When a series of menacing events makes it clear that someone wants her out of the way, Reece must put her trust in Brody–and herself–to find out if there is a killer in Angel’s Fist, before it’s too late."
If you don’t know who Nora Roberts is, you don’t live on planet Earth. She has written over 300 novels and is a consummate writer of many different genres.
In Angels Fall, a psychological mystery thriller, she captures so realistically the internal battle, pain and conflicts of a woman struggling to reclaim her life and sanity after surviving a serial killer’s rampage.
For all the many novels Nora has written, her stories are always new and her writing is always fresh. If you’re a Nora Roberts’s fan, you know . . . she’ll never disappoint you. She never does!
Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 16, 2006 - Copyright
DAY & NIGHT FOREVER by Jack Nease
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller Rating: Average
ISBN: 159113949X, $15,95, $28.95-HC, 300 pp, 2006
This mystery-thriller follows the standard genre formula–someone is murdered, the protagonist searches for answers, there’s a little romance and the truth is revealed in the end. How one gets there, to the end, is the key. Is it magical or mundane? Does the author have a special gift? Can we let go and believe what we read? Is the journey worth our time? I quote from the back cover:
"Maureen O’Neal is a one-of-a-kind Wall Street analyst, tough, incorruptible, and feared by corporate executives with something to hide. Her personal life is another story. So when her childhood buddy Gregory Overman phones and asks for help, she’s on the next flight to Florida. Once there, she’s astonished to learn he wants her to vouch for Roland Pettigrew, a sleazy billionaire-philanthropist known on The Street as Midas Man. Surprise turns to disaster when Pettigrew’s ex-wife is found murdered under circumstances that make Maureen and Gregory suspects. Together, these old friends must uncover the secrets of the Pettigrew empire and track down a killer, all the while grappling with the scars that have kept them apart."
Day & Night Forever is written from a third-person point of view with some personal insights into Mo (Maureen) through her thoughts. We never really know what Go (Gregory) is thinking or feeling, but for some reason we like him . . . maybe because he has a limp from polio as a child; he was in love with Mo as a young boy, and she hurt him; he’s a counselor who started drinking after the suicide of a young client, and he’s now in recovery. I personally could not relate to Mo, possibly because of her casual arrogance–smart, feared by corporate executives, all the way to who saved the day. But, just because I could not, doesn’t mean you may not.
As far as the development of the plot, it moved long nicely–Mo and Go were considered to be the prime suspects in the murder of Grace Pettigrew, and this information was in and on the news. Mo lost her job. So, Mo and Go had to solve the murder. I mention this because something in the ending didn’t track for me. First, they’re prime suspects according to corrupt police officer Fourquet, and next, they’re found on a sinking boat which is missing one person, Luther, and they’re no longer suspects or arrested for the missing Luther. Why should the police believe their stories now when they didn’t believe them before? Because we know all the answers? . . . and did those answers provide sufficient proof that they did not commit the murders?
Jack Nease excels as a writer in several areas: his ability to describe South Florida, so that it comes to life before your eyes, and his skill to convey his knowledge of the stock market and Wall Street, which add richness and depth to the story. The novel is well-edited, has a good rhythm, and I would recommend this book to mystery readers.
Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 7, 2006 - Copyright
TAMSHI'S IMP by Jonathan Fesmire
http://www.jonathanfesmire.comGenre: Fiction/Fantasy Rating: Good
ISBN: 1411637186, $15.95, 256 pp, 2005
Another high fantasy by Jonathan Fesmire, and I quote from the back cover:
"Tamshi Telardian just had an epiphany. Her memories are gone and she’s been serving an arch-demon bent on destroying the true gods. Further, her ice imp familiar vanished in the confusion. How can a simple sorceress stop an entire cult, let alone an ancient demon lord?"
"Jonathan Fesmire continues to grow as the fantasist of the new generation. Tamshi’s Imp is a blend of magic and mayhem, heartbreak and heroism, sorcery and suspense, but at its heart, it’s also a story of redemption and the undying power of love. It is an adventure not to be missed!" writes James Clemens, author of Wit’ch Gate.
Tamshi’s quest in search of her memories and the truth makes for a delightful, fantasical read for children of all ages.
As I said in my previous review of Jonathan’s Children of Rhatlan, the author is a gifted writer and artist with a rich imagination. The uniquely beautiful cover of this book is also by Jonathan and a fine example of his artistic talents.
Other books by Jonathan Fesmire include Children of Rhatlan, Seeds of Vision and Amber in the Over World. For more information about Jonathan, his writing and his art, you can visit him at www.jonathanfesmire.com.Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 2, 2006 - Copyright
CHILDREN OF RHATLAN by Jonathan Fesmire
http://www.jonathanfesmire/comGenre: Fiction/Fantasy Rating: Good
ISBN: 1411637194, $15.95, 276 pp, 2005
High fantasy at its best! Wizards, sorceresses, magic and the new duals.In this story the duals are twins (Garum and Vayin) who have two bodies but share one life and one place in the world. For one to be present, the other must vanish.
The evil wizard Paterun who possesses the magical Claws of Rhatlan is possessed himself by the souls and voices of those he’s killed. The voices laugh as one in his mind. They hear his thoughts, and they talk to him.
"Duals can handle another voice in their minds, so why can’t I? The hair tingled along his arms. He looked toward the open shutters, eyes widening as a new idea formed. No light came through the horn windowpanes. Duals! Curse of Rhatlan, I believe they can handle it because they were born joined. They were made that way. What if I were a dual?
You’re a fool! the sorceress cried. The wizard cringed; he had neglected to hide his thoughts. Now, he made the effort.
She’ll know soon enough. I can’t hide everything from them. He rubbed his forehead. I can’t become a dual, but I could join with one, send my mind, all these minds, into one. Gods, I believe this will work!"
Now our evil wizard has a plan to free himself from the voices in his mind. Does he succeed? Only the tale will tell.
Jonathan Fesmire is an accomplished writer and artist. Children of Rhatlan will definitely appeal to children of all ages. Jonathan has a rich imagination and the ability to describe the world he sees in his mind. The magical mystical cover was created by Stephanie Law and is a work of art itself.
Other books by Jonathan include Tamshi’s Imp, Seeds of Vision and Amber in the Over World. You can find out more about Jonathan, his writing and his art by visiting his website at www.jonathanfesmire.com.
Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 1, 2006 - Copyright
WISHING MAKES IT SO by Marilyn Meredith
Hard Shell Word Factory
PO Box 161, Amherst Jct, WI 54407
email@example.comGenre: Psychological Thriller Rating: Average
ISBN: 0759937605, $10.95, 164 pp, 2006
"Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished" might be another title for this book. Wishing Makes It So is a psychological thriller about a good, healthy family (Steven and Alyse Chrestman) who want to share their home and love with four-year-old Belinda Sleigh.
Belinda had come from an extremely abusive situation in which she’d witnessed her step-father fly out the window to his death, as she wished it so. To say that this small child caused havoc in her new home would be like saying Katrina was a wind that caused a little damage.
From the start, you know where the plot is going and what the conclusion may be, so it’s just a matter of how she wants to get you there. The idea of the "bad seed" child is not new. Marilyn Meredith is a competent writer but not one that grabbed or inspired me, plus some of the Chrestman’s behavior did not ring true for such intelligent, loving people–particularly Alyse’s forced bathing of Belinda her first night with them.
If you like psychological thrillers about "bad seed" children, of which I am not a fan, you might enjoy this book.
Marilyn Meredith has been a professional writer for many years. She is one of the founders of the San Joaquin CA chapter of Sisters in Crime and has served as an instructor for the Police Writers’ Association annual conference. You can find out more by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or going to www.hardshell.com.Reviewed by Kaye Trout - July 1, 2006 - Copyright