Friday, December 30, 2016

Review of "The Nettle Tree"

The Nettle Tree claims to be a genre stretching collection of strangely different western stories. I agree, it certainly is that. Of the thirteen short stories in the anthology, I found interest in two. The Nettle Tree and Welcome, Stranger both tickled my sense of adventure, curiosity and were entertaining. Beyond those, the rest were stories one might chronicle with the episodes of The Twilight Zone. I have read several western and fantasy novels over the past couple of years, but nothing like this which I get was the point of the book. For all of you out there that enjoy stretching your imagination, this book is for you. 3 Stars

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review of "Good-Bye Russia Hello America"

Well written story about Russian Jews who came to America to start a new life. Nathan and Louis were the first and settled in New York, then came Jack, Rubin, and Mama Ida. Ida's oldest son, Yehuda stayed with his family in Brest. Jack married Bela and Rubin married Lota. All the boys were successful, then Jack was inducted to serve in the Army during WWII. He was sent to language school and served as a linguist. During his deployment in Europe, Jack met Vladimir, a holocaust survivor. During a three-day leave, Jack found Mosha Vinkovsky, a relative, at Buchenwald and hoped to take her to America. Vladimir and Mosha left for Italy instead, in hopes of making it Palestine. It was years later that the family learned that Vladimir and Mosha married and had a child. 4 stars

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Review of "Consequences of Falling"

After a bitter divorce in Dayton, Ohio, Kimberly Young, aka Elizabeth Trent, returned to her hometown, Riverfield, Missouri. She signed on at the CYA Clinic to work as a psychologist and counseled Grace Benton. When Grace was abducted and found dead, her father, Peter Benton accused Kimberly of being involved and attacked her. She died shortly after the incident in a fiery car crash, then Peter was found by his boss, Ito, with his throat slashed in his home. Peter's co-worker at Shikata, Connelly Dunnerman was found by Ito in his office with an apparent heart attack. Were the deaths related? Was there a conspiracy at work? Sartori does a masterful job of keeping the truth from the reader until the very end. 5 Stars

Monday, December 19, 2016

Review of "High Plains Fort"

After a fight with his father, Justin Tolliver left their South Carolina plantation to make a new life out West. On his way, Justin stopped to say good-bye to the love of his life, Amelia and promised to send for her when he got settled. After taking some odd jobs on his way, Justin hooked up with the Bent brothers and was hired to run the store in their fort along the Sante Fe Trail. The fort was a haven for the wagon trains moving west and a place for the trappers and traders to do business. But the Comanche Indians provided a serious threat to the fort and its inhabitants. Holt proves again that she can spin a well-told western tale and one that's hard to put down. 4 Stars

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review of "from Stardust to Babylon"

This is a memoir, an extraordinary story and from my point of view, rather unbelievable. Amanda and Simon became lovers in their teens, but they couldn't live with the concept of love. Instead, they lived to hurt each other, him flaunting his new girls, and her marrying for the wrong reasons. Simon died at the age of thirty-seven, then Amanda began hearing Simon's voice, and even feeling his presence with her. It became a stumbling block in her marriage to Richard which ultimately ended in divorce. Amanda continued her journey in the metaphysical and related her experiences in the second part of the book. However, it is clear that Amanda has put a lot of thought and energy into writing her story. 2 Stars

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Review of "Reverend Dumb"

The Brexit vote and the European Football Championship is the backdrop for this novel. During this period, a delegation of seven Chinese investors arrive to explore purchases. Deputy Director Caulfield of the British Security Services is assigned to interact with them. One of the delegation, Reverend Uhm is familiar to Caulfield from his days in Hong Kong, but there is something odd about his behavior. As the plot thickens, several members of the delegation die and Uhm, who doesn't speak much, spends most of his time away from his comrades. But there is a lot more going on in the story and Scantlebury does a nice job of mixing it all in. 4 Stars

Monday, December 5, 2016

Review of "Stone Angels"

College life is the backdrop for the story which is the complex psyche of Augustine Shaw. Shaw, Ben and Duncan share a room their freshman year, but Duncan becomes Shaw's nemesis and does everything he can to infuriate Shaw, including insulting his girlfriend, Lily. At a party one night, Lily has too much to drink and is egged on to drink more by Shaw. The result is death by alcohol poisoning, and Shaw blames himself. The testosterone-fueled feud continues and erupts in a fight behind a bar where Duncan is killed by some thugs after Shaw leaves him unconscious. Shaw accepts the blame for his death. Finally, on the ride home from the Florida Keys on senior spring break, Shaw finds the way to release the guilt and hopefully change his life. 4 stars