Saturday, September 12, 2015

Free to Good Home by Anne Kelleher

Anne Kelleher is a writer's writer. She teach, lectures, and of course she's written plenty of books. In fact, she's penned epic, 400-page futuristic tomes and shorter, scaled-down novellas that highlight her skills at capturing a reader's fancy. And now, she's compiled a group of true short-stories designed to grab the reader, thrust them brilliantly (and quickly) into a new time or world and let them appreciate the writing before turning them loose after 20-pages.

This group of stories includes several that she calls Celebrity Supernatural, including titles like Conjuring Johnny Depp, and Walking with Elvis. Each is just long enough to savor for a half-hour before going on with your day or as with many guilty pleasures, reading one more. I also found that my mind was on the stories later, and that's the sign of a good writer. Anne Kelleher is both prolific and talented. You'll enjoy Free to a Good Home. Trust me.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Fantasy Maker by Emily Kendricks

The Fantasy Maker by Emily Kendricks is a newly released Romance/Crime novel. Although I don't have much experience with the Romance genre, I did enjoy the intrigue and forces that got the protagonist, Emma, to venture forth and look for a new fantasy.

There is also the driving force of this book which is a murder, as all good crime stores should have (or a really good heist of some type). The author takes us through Emma and her husband's daily life, their struggles, and her diminished role in his eyes before getting to the good stuff.

Kendricks' writing is fairly straight-forward to begin with, although she does show a soft side momentarily before the action heats up, then it's all romance, sex, denial and decay, right before our eyes.

This is Kendricks' first novel, and she has a good chance of becoming a regular in the Romance books section - and I hope, a regular in a more defined area of woman-detective, woman-empowered roles that show women can be strong and beautiful at the same time.

The Fantasy Maker is available at Amazon for $3.99 on Kindle and $13.95 softbound. It runs 314 pages and currently has 21 Reviews with 90% 5-Stars. That's a pretty good sign the readers are very happy with this offering.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

True Blackjack

A lot of people miss the point of gambling. It's supposed to be entertaining - fun even. Unfortunately, society teaches us to be winners. We learn that we shouldn't give up and that it's better to play the game and lose than to never play. Wow, that's great for casinos, isn't it?

Keep trying, keep playing, don't give up.....

Well what if you could win at a game in the casino? Wouldn't that be cool! But casinos don't like it when you win. In fact, if you do win they will do everything in their power to figure out what you are doing and look for ways to keep you from continuing to drain their coffers.

True Blackjack is just what it says it is: a true story of a blackjack player who learned a little too much about the game of 21 and started beating the casinos, so they beat him.

These days there are enough laws and cameras that casinos can't get away with attacking the players that learn to beat the game of blackjack, but those same cameras help them detect them - and then bar them from playing. You do all that work and what have you got? Nowhere to play!

Author Ron Johnson tells his story of learning the game from professional players, using his ability to beat the casinos, lose his friends, and his freedom to play (temporarily), and he explains everything a beginner needs to know about blackjack to play almost even with the house - and then to beat the game with a simple card counting system if you want to learn that too.

Along the way he tells of his adventures and how he managed to begin winning without being detected. That's the big thrust of the book - learn, play, don't get barred.

Overall this is an enjoyable inside-the-game look at casinos and blackjack, a learning manual, and a story of youthful exuberance and the wisdom that comes with experience and loss.

You can't go wrong with True Blackjack as a good, easy read - or a place to learn the game of blackjack. It's just $2.99 at Kindle.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Take me out to the ball game

Take me out to the ball game, let me eat lots of junk. I'll stay away from my Kindle blog and find that my numbers have sunk!

Apparently I have seriously neglected this blog. Although I have been involved with several books recently (my own and two friends), I have no excuse. So, it's time to get more books reviewed. For a few weeks I'll entertain emails from authors who want a free review. Readers want good books, good reviews, and I've got an opinion, so look out. All I ask is that you take a look at other reviews and consider purchasing another author's book - we all need to sell books. 

Use the contact form at the right to reach me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Vegas and the Mob" - Book Review

Like stories about Las Vegas? Good, because that's all I've been writing about for the past year. I started with 600 pages of FBI documents on the Mob, Las Vegas, and some interesting characters like Franks Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Benny Binion and many others, and found every link possible between them, and what I came away with was that the FBI really snooped into the lives of a lot of people, but they sure didn't do much with their information!

The FBI is a huge investigatve body that keeps tabs on millions of people, and fortunately when it comes to crooks, gangsters, and Las Vegas badguys, their snooping makes for some very interesting findings in the lives of those very same casino owners!

Vegas and the Mob is the story of forty years of frenzy as Mob families fought with players, registered owners, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the FBI, and even their own members for control of the multi-million dollar empire of Sin in the Desert.

Eventually there were over a dozen Mob-controlled casinos in Downtown Las Vegas and along the Las Vegas Strip. The FBI estimates at least $300 million was skimmed from the casinos as unreported income. What the owners did to control that money is the great story behind Vegas and the Mob. I'm certain you'll find this to be a great  addition to your library!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Into Another World

Into Another World is a book review and writing blog featuring author interviews and insight to how writers think about themselves, their work, and their careers. The blog is hosted by Susan Leigh Noble, author of a trilogy of fantasy novels about dragons, magic, and a telepathic cat.

Her first novel, THE ELEMENTAL: SUMMONED, is the story of Lina, who discovers she carries the long-lost art of fire-starting, using nothing but her thoughts. When a strange urge compels her to travel from her homeland, she finds there is much in the world her family never told her. Her journey takes her to a foreign land filled with gypsies, magic, and mystical creatures she had only dreamed of. As she begins to use her innate Elemental power, she becomes more certain someone is using magic against her. There's more to the world than heaven and earth.

As for Into Another World, Noble also includes advice on writing, and for her audience a basic concept is creating believable magic. Her advice, "There must be limits on magic otherwise the person using magic would always win and there would be no conflict in your story," may sound obvious, but clearly there's a hook here. Merlin couldn't do everything, neither can Harry Potter. Even Superman can't see through lead with his x-ray vision, and of course he loses his powers around kryptonite.

So, the  question for you is, "What's your writing kryptonite?" What is it that's keeping your writing from going mainstream and catching a larger audience? Does your overall story need punching-up? Do your characters need to go from minor cardboard cutouts to believable individuals? Or do you just need to define the magic and keep it real enough for your readers to enjoy the story's realism and accept that the skies can be filled with dragons in your fantasy land?

Whatever the answers, don't be discouraged. There are a million other authors out there wishing they could sell their work. If you are working daily on your stories, you already ahead of the pack. Keep your story believable, keep your characters compelling, and keep your pace steady most of the time but with snippets of break-neck speed and you're on your way!