Articles for the Month of May 2016

She Bites by Roger Arsht and Caitlin Hawker

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A fast paced psychological murder, mystery.

Being an animal lover I immediately warmed to the lead character in this fast paced psychological murder mystery, what a woman! However I have to say at the beginning that this is no soppy animal story, it enters the horrific dog fighting world and some of the scenes and stories in it are very graphically written.

Robyn is a veterinarian, passionate about animals and angered and appalled at the poor dogs who are bought in to her, maimed and worse, sometimes by the perpetrators of the crime. Vile characters with no compassion, or thought for life, either human or animal. However the face she puts on at the surgery is a mask. Behind it lies another Robyn a woman whose past has made her the way she is, angry, deadly, passionate and vengeful.

Jack Williams is a police detective who has been put on leave following a horrific case. He has no memory of the details, the event was so traumatic that for his sanity his brain has blocking it out.

Then there is Lizzie, the Corgi, Jacks therapy dog who he takes to Robyn’s surgery for treatment.

As the friendship between Jack and Robyn develops he soon realises that she has a hidden side, one which she can’t always control – sometimes it comes to the surface, and when it does…

The characters both major and minor are very well written. From the colourful and haughty Ms. Smyth-Anders, to poor Doctor Oliver, a therapist with his own problems. As the story evolves we witness the day to day life at the veterinary surgery and police station, and behind the scenes in the shady world of dog fighting.

This book is like no other I have read, in some parts fascinating in a horrific way, yet there is also compassion and love. The plot is very cleverly written by its two talented authors and contains some very clever twists. Definitely for the reader who wants something different and very fast paced.

Authors Biographies:

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Roger Arsht – Roger Arsht is a mild-mannered high school English teacher by day, but dons his writerly cloak after class and pens the darker side of life. His noir thrillers ask some hard questions about corruption and violence in the world, and what to do about it (which sometimes involves evil veterinarians gone vigilante.)

Knowing his work needed a darker element, he contacted a former student of his who was loaded with talent, but also horrified him with her scary stories. Caitlin Hawker stepped up to the job and a collaboration was born.
When he’s not writing or hanging out in high school (his favorite place to be), Roger loves to fish, golf, travel and cook, not necessarily in that order. He and He and his wife have two grown sons, and live in Park City, Utah with their Golden Retriever rescue dog, Pumpkin.

Caitlin Hawker – Caitlin Hawker is a self-described “dark” persona who loves horror movies and the study of humanity’s darker side. As a child, it took her a while to learn to read and write, until her dad described to her that letters were pictures, and then suddenly it all made sense. Now a prolific writer, she began penning noir fiction in high school, in typical dark, brooding teenager fashion, which scared her teachers. What was a hobby later turned into a career when Roger Arsht walked into the college bookstore where she was working and asked her to help him write a book.

When she isn’t writing, she makes costumes and dabbles in art. Caitlin is a connoisseur of all things weird, and loves to collect facts.

She and her husband live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Caitlin is planning for the day when she can get a dog.

About the book:

Salt Lake City, Utah – Co-Authors Roger Arsht and Caitlin Hawker team together to tackle the horrors of dog fighting in She Bites, a page-turning noir thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

Robyn Sparks may be every animal-lover’s favorite vigilante. Compassionate veterinarian by day, she’s converts to animal activist at night and exacts punishment to the cruel men whose animals find their way across her surgical table in various conditions of burnt, broken, and bloody. Having seen enough, Sparks decides to make it stop. For good.

Available from:

Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/She-Bites-Roger-Arsht/dp/1480822213/ref=cm_rdp_product_img

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/She-Bites-Roger-Arsht-ebook/dp/B015MYB9P8?ie=UTF8&qid=&ref_=tmm_kin_swatch_0&sr=

Barnes & noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/she-bites-roger-arsht/1122668755?ean=9781480822214

and as a Nook Book http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/she-bites-roger-arsht/1122668755?ean=9781480822221

 

The Starlight Club 7: End Game by Joe Corso

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Although they live apart, Bobby has a wonderful relationship with his daughter Lynn, and she never tires of hearing his tales of the Starlight Club in Queens, New York. So, as they wait for the snow to clear before Bobby returns home, he tells her of a pivotal time in its history…

Suddenly he’s back in 1962, and the boys are at the Zebra Club celebrating the return of their mate Renato after his discharge from the army. However, when they witness a friend being beaten up across the road, they take chase. When they catch up however, in the blink of an eye the situation changes, as they could do in those days, and Renato is beaten nearly to death by the gang’s leader, Sailor Burke.

Now Bobby jumps forward to 1965, and at the Starlight Club Tarzan is suggesting a new barman for the club, none other than the aforementioned Renato Mellina. Red remembers him, and after a little talk about loyalty and family he is hired.

Soon however trouble comes knocking at Red’s door in the form of Aldo Zinera who has been hired to head the new government F.B.I task force on organised crime. He has a vendetta against Red, and leaving no room for doubt, or error, Aldo quickly informs Red that he will get him, uncover his crimes and see him sent to prison.

Realising the very ‘real’ danger he is in, and knowing that it is possible for charges to be made to stick, Red embarks on a fight, literally for his life.

Always used to taking care of his people, Red now has to look after himself and his new wife. Soon he realises there is only one course of action left open to him which will stop the vindictive Aldo.

It is drastic, however, once resolved, Red wastes no time in setting his plan in action, calling in favours and getting on with the job. It’s not the time for regrets, now is the time for action!

Undaunted, the plan is carried out, however, things hot up almost out of control as Red and his men find themselves literally fighting for their lives.

The question is – can Red pull the right strings, has he the necessary clout to survive?

With a fantastic storyline and brilliant characters this book is action packed right to the last page. Imaginative subplots, revenge, passion, love and betrayal, the Starlight Club 7 has it all, and is definitely a winner for all crime thriller fans.

As it closes, I ask myself, although this is called ‘End Game’ and is it truly the end of an era?

As the last page is read, only one person has that answer, and that’s the author, Joe Corso.

About the author: I’m a Korea Veteran. I Retired from the FDNY and I Grew up in Queens, New York. I started writing late in life hoping to help my grandchildren pay for their college education. I found to my surprise that I could tell a good story which resulted in my writing 29 books, garnering 18 awards and becoming a 4 time top 100 best selling author.

Go figure… If I would have known I could tell a good story. I would have started writing a half century ago.

About the book: The Zebra Club 1962: After his discharge from the army, neighborhood boys are celebrating the return of their buddy Renato. However when they witness him across the street being beaten nearly to death by the gang’s leader Sailor Burke, they take chase. When they catch up however, the situation quickly changes, as it could in those days. The Starlight Club 1965: Tarzan needs a new bartender and he suggests Renato Melina whom Red remembers. Trouble soon comes knocking at Red’s door in the form of Aldo Zintera the head of the new F.B.I. task force on organized crime. Zintera quickly informs Red that he intends to prosecute him for his crimes and send him to prison. Realizing the very ‘real’ danger he is in, and knowing that the charges could stick, Red embarks on a fight for his life. Red always took care of his men but now he has to look after himself and his new wife. He soon realizes there is only one course of action left open to him, which will stop the vindictive Zintera. Calling in favors and knowing it’s the time for action and not regrets Red hatches a drastic plan which includes his pal Trenchie and he wastes no time in implementing it. Once the plan is set in motion things heat up as Red and his men literally fight for their lives. The question is… even with the necessary clout and the ability to pull the right strings… can Red survive Zintera’s onslaught? As one reviewer writes. “With a fantastic storyline and brilliant characters this book is action packed right to the last page. Imaginative subplots, revenge, passion, love and betrayal, the Starlight Club 7 has it all, and is definitely a winner for all crime thriller fans. As it closes, I ask myself, although this book is called ‘End Game’ is it truly the end of an era? As the last page is read, only one person has that answer, and that’s the author, Joe Corso.”

Available from Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Starlight-Club-End-Game/dp/1518637973?ie=UTF8&qid=1463670227&ref_=tmm_pap_swatch_0&sr=8-1

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Starlight-Club-End-Game-ebook/dp/B017MP2QPM?ie=UTF8&qid=1463670227&ref_=tmm_kin_swatch_0&sr=8-1

The Complete Mexican, South American & Caribbean Cookbook by Jane Milton, Jenni Fleetwood, Marina Filippelli

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This book is one of those which become a bible. I bought it wanting to explore the world of Mexican cookery and discovered it contained so much more. This book has everything you could possibly need if you are a keen cook wanting to experiment with new dishes, or indeed make some of the classic favourites from scratch.

Since buying it I have enjoyed countless evenings cooking, and then eating, recipes from it. Because of the versatility of the Mexican, South American and Caribbean recipes they can be enjoyed cooked in a traditional oven or barbecued. There are plenty of recipes for vegetarians and lots of interesting salsa’s and dips.

If, like me, you enjoy ‘playing’ with recipes and entertaining, then this is a book you will find, like me, you cannot do without.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and a plus for me is that it is very well illustrated. If I could give it 6 out of 5 stars I would.

Available from Amazon:

Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Mexican-American-Caribbean-Cookbook/dp/1844777820/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1463563276&sr=8-2

Hardcover http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Mexican-American-Caribbean-Cookbook/dp/1844777839/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1463563276&sr=8-2

Wishing for the Better: The life story of a dreamer by John Needham

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Well… the fact that this book is written by someone who is not a celebrity makes it so much the better. In it, John Needham lets the reader into his life, sharing with them what it was like growing up in the 40’s and 50’s with his siblings.

It is lovely too that there are so many pictures, bringing the story even more to life. The preschool picture is adorable, and with his brother. This wonderful biography brings back personal memories of times long past, and due to the changing world, and advances in technology, never to be repeated. We walk in his shoes through his childhood adventures, holidays, home life, starting work, getting a car and learning to drive.

Like many of us, life’s natural course finds the author’s spiralling towards love, marriage and children. However, as with many of us, these paths are not always straight and uncomplicated, and can be tinged with sadness. However, John Needham with great courage takes us through the decades sharing selflessly with us one man’s triumphs and struggles.

The author says in his synopsis that he is a dreamer, well, his dreams and leaps of faith have provided him with an interesting life, career choices, and also they have given him a the opportunity to write this interesting book, I look forward to reading part two.

 

About the author:      

I have had a love affair with the written and printed word all my life. An avid reader as a child, my passion for print really took off when I was apprenticed as a compositor in the bygone age of hot-metal letterpress, long before the advent of computers, high-tech printing and ebooks.

Much of my career continued around print, in copywriting and as a graphic designer. Now retired from all that, I write books, issues-based and exploring the human condition. I have produced two house renovation books although not yet published them, and published part one of an autobiography, Wishing for the Better.

In fiction, my debut novel was Convergence, a story of elderly, interracial love. This was followed by Forebears, a family saga set in the east of England spanning 106 years from the early 20th century almost to the present day.

A third novel, The One of Us, is about the trials and tribulations and nature/nurture theory of separated-when-babies, adopted identical twins. My fourth book, Secret Shame, is a companion to The One of Us, telling the later poignant story of the birth mother of the twins.

My fifth novel, The Flautist, about a minor character from Secret Shame, is a gentle, sometimes sad story of music, love, belonging and rescue from despair.

Awakening is a small anthology of short stories: six of them stand-alone and five modified sample chapters from my novels.

I live and write my words in west Wales.

About the book:

This is not the autobiography of a Celebrity. Not a Well Known Person; not a Loved-By-The-Nation Lovie Thespian or Revered Rock Star or Virtually Deified Sportsperson. Or even a Politician.

No; it’s simply the sometimes funny, sometimes sad story of a really very ordinary, poorly educated bloke born in England during the dark days of World War Two to humble working-class parents, who might well have spent his life a tradesman like his dad (not that there’s anything wrong with that of course) but instead always had Ideas Above His Station; who had the sneaking suspicion that life could be full of exciting opportunities if one just dared to Go For It; that the grass just might indeed be greener on the other side of the fence; that one didn’t have to settle for the mundane. That one could Wish For The Better.

That it might be possible for daydreams to come true; that there might be a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.

So this is it: the story (Part One, anyway) of that famous complete unknown, John Needham, sometime typesetter, graphic designer, house renovator, landscape gardener and now, in retirement, writer with passion. Please, if you’ve a mind to, Look Inside to sample the aperitif; see what you think.

 

Available from Amazon in Kindle fomat:

Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wishing-Better-life-story-dreamer-ebook/dp/B01DRDHTCI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1463561305&sr=8-2&keywords=john+needham

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Wishing-Better-life-story-dreamer-ebook/dp/B01DRDHTCI?ie=UTF8&qid=1463561925&ref_=la_B00JNRZDDA_1_7&s=books&sr=1-7

 

 

 

Major Wager by Colin Koenig

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What a refreshingly different book. Everyone has heard of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods and this is the story of a hypothetical match between these two golfing legends.

The story is set in 1997. The young contender, Tiger Woods has proclaimed that he wants to win the most major tournaments in a career and beat the record of eighteen, held by Jack Nicklaus. Jack is not upset by this, in fact he secretly admired the cockiness of the young man. At 57, Jack cannot resist the opportunity to test the skills of the 21 year old, and so he puts the proposal to Tiger, that they play 18 holes of golf.

The author, Colin Koenig then takes the reader on an exciting tour of the 18 holes played. The interaction between these two golfing greats contains great banter, and surprises on the course.

This book is so cleverly thought out, and skilfully written that the drama builds to an excellent crescendo. To tell you more would ruin the story…

 

About the book: All-time golf majors champion Jack Nicklaus challenges first-time major champion Tiger Woods to a unique round of golf in 1997 to see if Tiger has ‘what it takes’ to someday break Jack’s record of eighteen major titles. Nicklaus was 57 years old. Woods was 21. No one else was there.

Available from Amazon in Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Major-Wager-Round-Challenged-Tiger/dp/1518748562/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462894634&sr=1-1

and Kindle format: https://www.amazon.com/Major-Wager-Colin-Koenig-ebook/dp/B0184QU7A4?ie=UTF8&qid=1462894634&ref_=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1&s=books&sr=1-1