Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Flip by Michael Phillip Cash

The FlipThe Flip by Michael Phillip Cash
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the way home from a successful flip, Julie and Brad Evens come across an old Victorian home for sale. From the moment, she saw it Julie was in love, despite Brad's misgivings about the property they take a leap of faith and buy it. What they find inside is more than their relationship and nerves bargained for.
Once again, I am on the fence with another book from this author. I read this book quickly because it flowed well and the characters were unique and moved the story in the general direction it was supposed to go. That said there was a set of pivotal characters called the sentinels. They were the guardians everything and seemed to play a very important role, but they were only mentioned in passing and were not developed. Readers of this book are left hanging wondering who or what they are and why they are influencing the life or death direction of the main characters in the story. The beginning starts strong but seems to lose focus at the last few wrap-up chapters and floats to the finish line. Would I recommend this book? Yes, I found it very enjoyable but I do not find myself wanting to re-read it. If you like ghost stories, real estate flipping, or a fast read which is mildly intriguing then try this book because the underlining message is a good one; Love conquers all you just have to smart enough to recognize it.

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Fly Girl by Syd Blue

FlyGirlFlyGirl by Syd Blue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fly Girl by Syd Blue

Dealing with her dad's death is hard enough, but having to do so while raising her sisters is a whole different story. Unable to cope with her husband's death, Jill’s mother shuts herself off, and sixteen-year-old Jill is left to take care of the family. Sure that her life will be stuck in this endless rut forever, Jill finds out that the cutest boy in the school thinks women pilots are hot. This sparks in her a previously unknown desire to be a pilot. After her first flight, she is forever hooked and knows the sky is where she is meant to be. It is a long, hard road filled with stupid mistakes, financial loss, and self discovery that will send her soaring to new heights of understanding about herself and who she wants to be. With a little help from another female pilot, and her friend who, even though her feet always remain on the ground, dances as if she is flying, Jill does eventually reach her goal and manages to fix her family in the process.

This is a good book for young girls who think they will never accomplish their dreams. I liked the sentiment of this story, but it was written poorly. Sometimes the character would jump from one point in the town to another without any clear way of how they got there, and the conversations were just stuck in the middle of the paragraph making it hard to tell who was talking when. That said, I would recommend this book to any young adult teen who is trying to reach what seems like an unrealistic goal. It is full of very good life lessons which will, hopefully, keep the reader from making the same life-altering mistakes as the character did.

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Jerry's Magic by W.W. Rowe

Jerry's Magic by W.W. Rowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Magic is a powerful thing if you believe in it. Troubled by the loss of his father in the war a young boy tries to sell magical items to his friends. He soon learns the hard way however that the true magic is within himself. He only needs to look to his higher self to find it. This story as a good moral and the characters are likeable. I liked the batty mother and the mystic homeless man. The only issue I had with this book was it felt a bit rushed it seemed to come into the story in the middle and it was a very quick read. I would recommend this book to younger children who like magic as a great way to learn about finding the magic in them to do good for others.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Leeram in Fordlandia by Buell Hollister review and author interview

Leeram in Fordlandia by Buell Hollister
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Talking shrunken heads, dead men coming back, electricity from plants, and the one and only Heny Ford as a river dolphin. These are a few of the oddities you will find in this strangely addictive book. Much like the riverboat captain in this novel, I find the concept as whole nuts but it works well. I would highly recommend it to anyone who finds the Amazon river amazing, is an environmentalist, or just wants to read the weirdest book ever.

I would like to welcome Buell Hollister to my blog today please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?

I had three very different careers after I graduated from UVA in 1964.  The first was in journalism – I was a newspaper reporter (Greenwich Time in Greenwich CT), and a stringer for UPI.  In addition I was the Boston correspondent for a commercial fishing industry trade periodical called the National Fisherman, and a free-lance writer on various boating topics.  After a divorce (with custody of two small boys) I found myself in my second career in the real estate development business.  This one lasted about five years or so.  Tired of it, I went to Umass Boston to study marine biology and spent the final 15 years of my life working for a paycheck with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, from which I retired in 2001.  My web address is (still getting its final tweaks).
Since I left the DMF, I was president of the St. Botolph Club in Boston (a club centered around the arts) for four years, and have recently tried my hand, for the first time, in fiction.  In addition to Leeram, I have written a half-dozen or so short stories which are making the glacially slow rounds of various literary magazines.  A couple of unfinished novels are still waiting their turn, but not before I finish the sequel to Leeram in Fordlandia.  Essentially, I started a new career in fiction – my fourth – at the age of 75. 

Taking your questions in turn:
1) What genre do you like to write?
     1. I enjoy writing historical fiction and humor.

2) If you were to branch out from your current genre which one(s) would you like to explore?
     2. I love poetry and would someday like to put a volume together.  I have three poems on my website which were published years ago in a Tufts University years ago.

3) How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?
     3. I have been writing, with some lapses, since I graduated with a BA in English from UVA.  When I was a student there, I met William Faulkner (he was writer-in-residence in 1956-7) and later, John Dos Passos and Jorge Luis Borges, both of whom visited the University several years later.  Their inspiration and that of Mark Twain’s were at the root of my desire to write.

4) What inspires you to write?
     4. Inspiration comes from the soup of my experiences in life.  It’s also good for a cold.

5) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?
     5. The last one – Leeram – took about a year.  Short stories generally take about three weeks to a month.

6) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?  Easiest? 
     6. The hardest part of writing is overcoming the hopeless feeling of being in a creative dead end – finding the energy to break through it.  The easiest part is riding the gush afterwards.

7) Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?
     7. I suppose I relate to my protagonist in Leeram – Gilbert Greenbush – but just obliquely.  In a lot of ways he’s not even close.

8) Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?
     8. This one’s easy.  Henry Ford reincarnated as a fresh water dolphin.

9) What is your least favorite part about writing? The Most?
     9. I suppose I share this with every writer, but as I write, I am convinced that what I electronically scribble on my computer is the most trite, worthless junk ever to be recorded.  Deleting what I have just finished writing is second nature and sometimes it feels like I’m trying to outclimb a mudslide.  The most enjoyable moments are when someone reads what I’ve condemned in my own mind and tells me that they really liked it.

10) When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?
     10. My other passion is sailing on the sea.  I was brought up by an actual sea captain who had the most impressive document on his wall I have ever seen – his master’s license.  It read: “Master of Oceans, all oceans, all tonnage”.  He taught me about sailing and seamanship, and it shaped my life.

11) What genre of books do you like to read?
     11. I am pretty much an omnivorous reader.  I usually have two or three books open at any given time, ranging from non-fiction historical topics to novels.

12) What author(s) do you enjoy reading?  Why?
     12.  This is a really tough question.  Yesterday’s fave is buried under today’s fancy. Lately I have been going back in time.  Right now I have “Wing and Wing” by James Fenimore Cooper on my bedside.  I just finished re-reading Ken Kesey’s  “One Flew Over the Coocoo’s Nest.”  Generally I avoid books on contemporary political issues, only because I can read their reviews and harvest the essence of whatever point they make.  Certain topics are timeless.  My favorite authors at this moment are Hilaire Belloc (his secular essays and writings about the sea), Anton Chekhov for his short stories.  He wrestles with Flannery O’Connor and O Henry on the literary mat, while the referee, Isaac Azimov stands over trying to break them up.  Close around the ring are Ray Bradbury, Harold Robbins and Herman Hesse, all on their feet cheering hoarsely, while the poets – all seated in the highest balcony, their arms crossed – include Wallace Stevens, Yeats and ee cummings.

13) Tell us about your books where can people find them?
     13 You can find Leeram in Forlandia on amazon here.

A YA Romantic/Time Travel Adventure INTO THE WEST Cover Reveal


A YA Romantic/Time Travel Adventure



J.A. Campbell

Release Date 2015

Published by Untold Press

Reveal In

A romantic, young adult, time travel adventure! 13+
Tina Harker is a typical teenager. She loves hanging with her friends at the mall, buying shoes, and getting manicures. Most of all, she loves horses. Her life is everything she wants until her father drags their family to Arizona. Now she’s living in a virtual ghost town in the middle of the desert, millions of miles from the nearest shopping center. The one small highlight in the dreadful situation is the local ranch. They have a horse Tina can ride anytime she wants. Trying to make the best of her situation, Tina goes on her first cattle drive and gets a lot more adventure than she expected. Bandits, cattle thieves, and a really cute cowboy are only the beginning as she finds out the ranch she is coming to love is in grave danger. Can Tina find the strength to travel back in time and save the ranch when her very life is on the line? It’s no simple trip to the mall, but with a little help from her cowboy, she might just save the day.

About the author

J.A. Campbell Julie has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She’s worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she’s been a writer and when she’s not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog Kira, her new horse and Traveler-in training, Triska, and her Irish Sailor.She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories and the young adult fantasy series Tales of the Travelers. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Dog Writers of America Association and the editor for Steampunk Trails fiction magazine.

Other Works by J.A. Campbell

(click on cover for buy links)
Sabaska's Tale eBook JC-SQ-Ebook-3 SYB-187x300  
Happy Afterlife


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