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Kevin Peter's book reviews

Discussion in 'Member Book Reviews/Journals/Blogs' started by Kevin Peter, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    The beginning of the end, foretold – A review of the novel ‘Planet B2’


    “The world is, of course, nothing but our conception of it.” ― Anton Chekhov


    Dystopian societies and alternate worlds have appeared in many genres of fiction & art over the years and judging from the stupendous success of The Hunger Games series, this could go on to become a pattern of the times to come. Dystopia as a creative device are often used to draw your focus to many real-world issues that affect our environment & politics, economics & religion, psychology, ethics and the science in our societies. The basic premise of dystopia is that, if these factors are allowed to expand and grow uncontrollably or without taking into consideration the human element in them; it could potentially lead to an alternate society or world.

    Dystopia can be made more manageable and understood better if the individual, the lowest common denominator in every society is allowed the freedom to express himself fully and freely according to his or her desires. The actual life of an individual is what must constitute to be called the true essence or meaning of life, instead of blindly following an arbitrarily attributed essence that is defined by others, which is then in turn used to define us. Therefore we humans through our own consciousness must create our own values & beliefs to determine a more meaningful existence to this life.

    Author M C Raj creates such a dystopian society set in a future not too far from today and also creates a whole new planet, called B2, filled with a new order of life. And to round off a stereotype, it is America, the big & powerful and capitalist America and the man at the centre stage of it all, the American President who wants to capture & occupy this new planet and plunder away its resources for their own personal selfish desires. This ambitious plan runs into rough weather because the inhabitants of planet B2, unlike the ones you see on earth can’t be fought and conquered over by the mere use of force and weapons because these beings do not have a definite organic form, they are more like life waves created out of the entropy of life thoughts & vibes that contain only positive energy. The American president Rustler’s plans to overrun Planet B2 faces opposition not just from the hostile atmosphere of Planet B2, which doesn’t allow any vessel or individual that carries negative energy entry into its sphere, he also faces opposition from his long time confidant and key man in this mission, Plumbel who gradually begins to preach a more peaceful line of existence and eventually joins forces with the German Chancellor who too is opposed to Rustler’s evil plans.

    This separation in idea and propaganda eventually leads to the entire earth being divided into two camps, those who agree with Rustler and are for the capture of Planet B2, form the Earth Alliance and those who are against it, headed by the German Chancellor forms the Cosmic Alliance. What happens next is on expected lines as another world war breaks out between these two opposing forces, but where this war becomes different from its predecessors is that this time war does spell the total end of humanity as we know it on earth.

    The highlights of this story are the detailed narrative explorations about Carolina and Marissa, two Native American girls who were selected in the space mission to become a part of the nefarious grand plan of Rustler to capture the planet B2. Through them we get to know and understand more about the shamanistic beliefs and disciplines that the indigenous tribe groups follow. Philosophical ideas of getting back to nature and becoming one with nature reverberate throughout the passages involving the girls and then further with Plumbel, in whom we get to see a gradual transformation and metamorphosis from as another American jock with his head stuck in the clouds to someone who becomes more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of not just the people around him but also gets in touch with his humane and natural side. And the idea of full body orgasm that has got nothing to do with sex but everything to do with the mind and its state of happiness sound very Osho ish in presentation. The fact that such a serious issue has been addressed in this sort of a simple, straight forward and slightly flippant manner and yet manages to keep the reader interested begets the praise that the author is due.

    Although sometimes the novel does become slightly caricaturist at certain points, the author may be forgiven for that because as our everyday news headlines show us, sometimes reality does become an extension of the caricature that is essentially drawn from it to begin with. But sometimes you do wish that the author kept the same level of focus even when dealing with less significant sub plot as he does with the main plots of the story. But these are minor gaffes that don’t necessarily stop the reader from enjoying the book.

    This is a book that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who loves alternate fiction, ideas of existentialism, action & violence, faith & bravery, and love of a different kind, maybe the purest kind that there is.

    Be forewarned that it will have you sitting on the edge of your seat as each page draws close and thereby inching you towards a very explosive & graphic climax.
     
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  2. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    An introduction into the FX world – by the bear & the bull and also the baboon!


    “If you want to rear financial blessings, you have to sow financially” - Joel Osteen

    One of the main reasons anyone would pick up the book ‘The Bull, The Bear, And The Baboon: FX Lessons Learned the Hard Way’ by Mr. Winsor Hoang is the title of the book itself. It’s catchy and intriguing and makes you want to know what it’s all about. Flip past a couple of pages and you will soon realize that it’s about FX or Foreign Exchange. And what is this FX or foreign exchange some of you may ask? Well, I found out from the book that foreign exchange means a place or a market where currencies are traded in. The need for such a market exists because currencies need to be exchanged in order to conduct foreign trade and business. And this foreign exchange market is said to be the most liquid and biggest market than any other financial market including the stock markets of the world.

    At this point if you have hastily come to a conclusion about Mr. Hoang’s book being a dry nonfiction book about forex trading, then you are wrong my friend. For the author very smartly inserts a fictional story into its midst, between the many data and information about foreign exchange trading and thus enables it to transform itself into an interesting novel as well as an informative read about FX trading.

    The main protagonist is one Mr. Harry who is shown as someone who has lost it all in the doom and gloom of business bubble bursts, and who tries to reverse his fortunes by conducting foreign exchange trading courses. And through this course we come into contact with his seven students all from varied background united by a single aim to get rich and get rich quickly. Harry then becomes the stereotype of all known scamsters who try to sell lies & deceptions to the many gullible minds to fuel their own interests & agendas.

    Mr. Winsor Hoang apart from coining a new term, ‘Baboon’ to describe the various individuals and firms who try to sell you false dreams, also manages to come up with a hybrid book which works both as a novel that tells a compelling story and also as a guide to any lay man interested in entering the world of foreign exchange trading.

    I definitely recommend this book all who are looking for a casual read and for those who want more information on foreign trading and the company CTS Forex, there is plenty of useful information that can be found in this book.
     
  3. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Time to embrace the change - A review of the book ‘Discovering A More Intimate Response’


    “The relationship between husband and wife should be one of closest friends” - B. R. Ambedkar


    Marriage isn’t a naturally occurring phenomenon; it isn’t something that occurs in the nature in between animals. It is something we humans have created and have hence become socially accepted and replicated ever since. Why do people still commit to this sort of a social contract then, if it is such an old and manmade institution? Maybe it’s faith, faith in a God above who oversees us in our everyday lives or maybe it’s faith in that emotion itself, the emotion that binds people together; when it’s true & real there is nothing quite like it in this world and it truly makes living your life a joy and a blessing. The emotion I’m talking about is of course love itself.

    Love can be of different types, a love that is just focussed on our exterior or body. Another type of love is one which treats each other as an equal. And thirdly is a love that is self sacrificing in nature, in which you live your life simply for the benefit of the other and to serve them.

    So love may have brought you two together, culminating in a married relationship no less. But years later in the middle of the night or after a bitter fight that leaves both of you cold and distant, is the time certain doubts start creeping up on you, you begin to think perhaps that former emotion, the love that had brought you two together has gone out of your lives or perhaps has changed from its past form. And perhaps it is this singular bitter and annoying thought that strains every marriage and relationship to the brink of dissolution itself. Your marriage is like your house. If you don’t maintain it well, it will slowly deteriorate.


    So what do you do now?

    Well author Philip D Cole says in ‘Discovering A More Intimate Response’ that for a relationship to be strong and stay on solid ground, it needs three main elements – communication, confidence & commitment. Communication as the old adage goes isn’t just about talking; it’s about listening too, being more receptive to your partner’s verbal and non verbal responses. Confidence means putting trust and having belief in yourselves and your partner to maintain this relationship in the rightful sense as the higher & mystical powers meant it to be. And speaking about commitment, it is the individual element of your everyday blessing which has the glue to hold together all the different aspects of your relationship.

    The author acknowledges that although this blessing can make a tremendous difference in your marriage, it does take time and hard work to pull these principles off these pages and apply them with your spouse in your relationship. Even so, you know you won't regret even a minute of the time you spend cultivating each of the elements in your home, especially when you see the end result; the bountiful harvest of love and happiness that arrive in hoards to your household.

    What Philip D Cole manages to do so successfully well in this book is not just to provide the right answers but also showing that he has the deep insight to ask all the right questions too. And that he manages to do so while narrating in a neutral voice and without sounding condescending or blaming a particular gender for all travails that ails a relationship is simply put, a remarkable achievement.


    Quirky chapter names and a narrative that doesn’t become preachy at any point and the input of the right amount of off handed humour at all the right places are what make this book a real page turner. Philip has rightfully acknowledged the influence his wife Carol had in shaping up this wonderful book on marriage and relationships and it clearly shows while reading certain passages when you feel this direct connection to the happenings in the examples and stories with your own life. The ‘time to reflect’ segment at the end of each chapter beautifully summarizes each chapter and it motivates you to approach these ‘questions’ honestly with your partner.

    I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for personal development and emotional and spiritual growth while becoming complete in God for yourself and your partner.


    Product Details

    • Paperback: 150 pages
    • Publisher: Outskirts Press (March 19, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1478728795
    • ISBN-13: 978-1478728795
    Buy from - http://www.amazon.com/dp/1478728795/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
     
  4. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Sure at the Crossroads - A review of the novel ‘Zack’s Choice’

    “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way” – Henry David Thoreau


    People are often not what they appear to be, the perception and imagery of our assumptions about their character are often wrong and misleading. And it is often said that you can find out a person’s true nature in the time of a crisis; when they are faced with important and critical choices, we get to see their real core, understand what they are truly made of. If this is true in life, then it’s truer in the case of fictional characters. The easiest way to reveal your character’s true nature is to present before them a choice and document the path that they undertake.

    In author Harry E. Gilleland, Jr’s new novel, ‘Zack’s Choice’ the choice the namesake lead character Zack has to make is something that will truly test his character. Fiction often immortalizes its Heroes & Villains through films & books as moral characters who will make these moral & immoral choices, resulting in victory through sacrifices or by withholding it. But in Zack’s Choice, you have a protagonist who isn’t your archetypal goody two shows hero but more of a character who is at a crossroads in his life, wanting to break away from the secure and pre planned life back at home to take a chance, a chance at redeeming something, and that something maybe as simple as rediscovering himself in the bargain. So you have certain conflicted characters who might think they are the good guys or the bad guys until, when faced with a dilemma, they learn something new about themselves. This is the single most defining element of this novel that enables a reader to assimilate the fiction to his real life because similar to real life, in the novel too its only when the lead character is faced with hardships, does he discover his true self.

    Zack’s not so ambitious plan to marry his high school sweetheart and follow in his parent’s footsteps come undone the day he meets Bobby Smith who turns his world upside down from the minute they meet and who even manages to convince Zack a farfetched tale about his role in saving the world from its imminent destruction. This is where he makes the first choice, and he soon realizes that our choices don’t affect only us but also those around us. They can affect our lives in unimaginable ways like it does with Zack whose detour takes him to California and across Europe all the while trying to avoid the law. It soon becomes a complex, cat and mouse game between Zack and Bobby and how their characters even after choosing different paths end up affecting each others lives.

    This is the beauty and great quality of good fictional writing. Our past actions and words do come back to haunt us. An immoral choice made in the past by a character comes back to hurt him in the end. While a moral choice, made by a lead which often involves a sacrifice, actually ends up bringing great rewards to him in the end.

    You can’t categorize and departmentalize “Zack’s Choice” into a hard and fast genre; it can be a thriller at times and a coming of age story otherwise. But what it is for sure is a first class page turner that is both an easy read but also manages to leave its impact long after you’ve turned the last page.

    I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a short and cozy summer read that you can relax with and then prepare yourselves to fall in love with Zack and his naivety and innocence and monitor his growth into an introspective young adult with a good soul by the end of the novel.

    Buy from - http://www.amazon.com/dp/1495983293/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
     
  5. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Excellent reviews. I appreciate that you tell the shape of the story without giving anything away. :)
     
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  6. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    When Murder is Humorous – A review of the novel ‘Hand In Glove’

    “This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last” - Oscar Wilde

    Private investigators and the field of PI work have long held our fascination. So much so that they have become an intrinsic part of everyday fiction through radio programs, suspense and thriller novels and of course film and television shows, where a PI brought in from outside solves the mystery and thereby saving the day, has become the most dependable and staple plot line of all such shows. And when you are talking about private investigators how can you not mention the most famous of them all, I’m talking about the iconic Sherlock Holmes himself.

    And thanks to such novels, movies and television shows, people can immediately summon up a mental image of a PI when they hear about one. And the one you are most likely to have is the image of the stereotypical private investigator. One who operates out of a single room, a dim lit office in a shady area of the town, an office cluttered with files and paperwork with the lone PI sitting back in a rickety old chair with a lit pipe sticking out the corner of his mouth and blowing slow smoky circles of intense puffs, greeting the unsure and nervous clients with overzealous secretive ambience.

    If that is the perception you’ve been carrying around, then get ready to chuck it out and embrace the new generation PI’s.

    In author Paddy Bostock’s latest novel Hand In Glove, PI’s Dr Jake Flintlock and his sidekick Dr Bum Park are wealthy and live in high end homes and lead a very affluent life when not taking on investigative assignments. Their blissful to the account of almost dreary lives change the day Binkey, Jake’s dog discovers a severed hand inside a baseball mitt. Which then soon leads to the murder of an American, Chuck Cinzano at Jake’s house at Primrose Hill, London; who apart from being a lot of other things was also the bloke whose game of baseball with his friends was disrupted by Binkey when he found the severed hand. And in light of the clues and revelations that reveal themselves in the aftermath of Chuck’s ‘murder’, Jake & Bum take on this apparent ‘murder’ case which takes them on a whirl-winding trip all the way to California, where Jake and Bum soon begin to suspect that everything isn’t as obvious as it seems on the surface. The rest of this story focuses on how they manage to overcome the many hurdles to find the real culprit.

    Hand In Glove is unlike any other novel in its genre out there, with enough satire and madcap madness and mayhem to satisfy the attention span of even a first time reader. There are questionable dead bodies, scorned ex-lovers, dubious alliances, the ever lingering sexual tension between the unlikeliest of pairs and the staunchest of loyalty that you can find between the two lead pairs in any sort of fiction. Jake and Bum may be an odd couple but they share some great chemistry and work very well in tandem to the flow of the story. The nasty cynical humour in it, the very colourful language a character like Dr Bum Park uses and the subtle references and gentle nods to other great pieces of fiction over the years are all what makes Hand In Glove a real gem in the list of its contemporaries.

    If you like gritty natty thrillers that are narrated by a very intelligent and knowledgeable voice with well drawn out and colourful characters, a story that grabs you by the collar in the first few pages itself and doesn’t let go until the end, then this compelling suspense mystery thriller with more than a good dollops of witty English humour is the perfect choice for you. To use a baseball analogy as it is in the midst of a baseball game that it all starts; Paddy Bostock has hit one right out of the park with this novel, a definite homerun. It’s written in a pacy narrative that travels at just the right speed letting you soak in all the madness in this thriller. I wonder if anyone will be able to forget Binkey, Stormin Normin and Kyorugi Joonbi even after turning over the last page, to find out who or what they are, you have to go and purchase Paddy Bostock’s Hand In Glove.

    There is one warning though that I have to issue, the moment you are done with Hand In Glove, you may feel this irresistible urge to run right out to buy another one of the Paddy’s books and immediately start to read it. Why? Read Hand In Glove and you’ll find out soon enough!


    Product Details

    Print Length: 440 pages

    Publisher: Wings ePress (February 10, 2014)

    Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

    Language: English

    ASIN: B00IDHHJ7O


    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IDHHJ7O/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb
     
  7. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Dawn of Control – A review of the novel ‘The Circuit: Executor Rising’


    “For the wise man looks into space and he knows there is no limited dimensions” - Lao Tzu

    Destruction of the world looks imminent, the end of the human race as we know it... not original or updated thoughts they are, for our fiction writers in both books and films have been toying with this idea as a sub genre of science fiction for a very long time now. So what is this grand fascination with a dystopian society in a post apocalyptic future that enthrals us all? Why are we so keen on destruction of this civilisation and the beginning of a new one? Perhaps it has got to do with a quiet resentment over the life as we know it or perhaps wanting to do away with some ills of this society which we hope wont present itself in the ‘new world’; a sort of rebooting the system, a fresh start, new beginnings, newer rules and newer classes... perhaps? But then why do all this ‘new worlds’ still resemble the old ones? With these new societies having the same kind of individuals at the helm who dictate or fame rules which enables the ruling class to always be one step ahead of the rest? Or maybe what they are trying to say is that we humans are never going to change, the inherent characteristic that makes us who we are will stay for eternity, and continue on with the rise and fall of many a great world. But let’s say such an apocalypse is upon us and earth as we know it has becomes inhabitable.

    So what do you do now?

    Well a long time ago theoretical physicist and also a cosmologist Stephen Hawking authored an idea for space colonization as a means of saving humanity. He predicted that the human race would become extinct within the next thousand years, unless colonies could be established in space. And space could technically support a lot more human life than the earth can do at the present. It can offer plenty of energy and the yet to be uncovered vast amounts of minerals and rare elements all support his views.

    In author Rhett C. Bruno’s new novel ‘The Circuit: Executor Rising’ such an apocalypse has hit earth a long time ago and space colonies have already been established and have become the order of the day. And this group of colonies even have a name; they are referred to as the Kepler Circuit. These colonies are kept in the loop of resources delivery by a group called the Solar-Ark transports and the most valuable and precious element is Gravitum which is unfortunately found only in the mantle of that old planet, earth. Peace and tranquillity of everyday living in this colony is soon brought to a halt when a new religious sect known as the New Earth Tribunal rises over to preside over most of The Circuit. Their enigmatic rise to power goes unchallenged until one day when their crafts of transport starts getting attacked and stolen. This soon leads to the New Earth Tribunal calling on a man, Cassius Vale for his help in solving their problem but unknown to them it is Cassius Vale himself along with a special creation of his, an android called ADIM who are responsible for the attacks. Why does he do so and what does Cassius Vale have in plan for The Circuit forms the rest of the story.

    Mr. Rhett not only manages to imbibe a strong message through his narration, but makes the book a real joy to read because at its core is a plot which is both enthralling & exciting with characters who are both complex and realistic and yet speak in a very beautiful language not usually found in sci - fi fiction. Alongside all this rich character development is an exciting world of alien technology and epic devastation, the descriptions of the battle scenes will fill your head with fantastic images. The narration maintains a fantastic sense of suspense, excitement, and wonder throughout while always keeping you on your toes guessing what is going to happen next.

    Rhett has also done a fantastic job in The Circuit: Executor Rising by capturing the human element of deep space exploration, with all its hopes and fears. And even though some of its main characters are flawed, Rhett finds a way for you to get inside their heads, understand them better and in the end you will end up empathising with each of them. Another good thing the author has managed to do is that even though such themes calls for the use of several incomprehensible jargon and made up scientific sounding words, Rhett has kept it to the minimum of at least tried to use them in such a manner as not to confuse the reader about the proceedings going on in the background.

    This book is the first in the series of (hopefully) many instalments. And there are a number of indicators in this first book itself which promises that the future books too will continue in the same lineage and continue to garner positive reviews. There are plenty of references to real life situations in the world today which are bound to make you sit up and notice the underlying message. The android’s quest to be more humanlike although not completely original still warms you up to the character and the deep philosophical questions that the author asks hiding behind the guise of voicing ADIM are also noteworthy. There is a discourse on love between Cassius and ADIM which will surely stay with you even after you have finished with the book.

    Rhett sets the series up for more stunning political & economic challenges that Cassius, Sage and ADIM will have to deal with along with Talon who wakes up from cryo sleep and gets ready for part two of the adventure. There is a big finish as well, the last 40 -50 pages of book will keep you on the tenterhooks as the action unfold on the pages before you. There’s this line from the book - “There are no monsters... only different perspectives”, which pretty much sums up what The Circuit: Executor Rising is all about. Recommend.



    Product Details


    • Paperback: 264 pages
    • Publisher: Mundania Press LLC (June 10, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1606594044
    • ISBN-13: 978-1606594049

    Buy From - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KY04RIC/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb
     
  8. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Love on the Run – A review of the novel ‘Valerie's Retreat’


    “Crime does not pay as well as politics” – Alfred Newman


    If you have switched on your television anytime in your lifetime or ever picked up a magazine while waiting at the doctor’s office or even picked up a book at the library where you went in to use the loo; you would have come across some form of fictional work and sometimes even non fictional work which can give its fictional cousins a run for its money discussing the latest crime or a glorification of a criminal event. Television ratings and internet forums of everything cultural all say that there has always existed a keen interest in horrors of crime, and action between criminals & police. Some of the most highly rated television shows and books deal with detailed & exaggerated violence. Psychologists claim that it is human nature for a person to be fascinated and intrigued by the "wrongs of society." Whether those wrongs are death, cruel and unusual punishment, or crime, they all attract seem to attract large audiences.


    In author Joseph M Rinaldo’s latest novel, ‘Valerie’s Retreat’, Valerie is a middle-aged woman, leading an average life as a head teller at a bank who finally finds her soul-mate, Franco. But this sudden romance comes to a grinding halt the day Valerie’s boss starts harassing her and Franco is accused of stealing a rare artifice by the FBI. Strange circumstances have them on the run from everything back home. They then land up in Peru to live out the rest of their lives happily; well more or less.


    Joseph it seems probably had a film representation of his story in mind when he wrote this book, because the more you read it, the more vibe you get that you are reading a movie script. The action takes place mostly in dialogues between the characters and they move in and out of scenes in short and precise movements not usually found in novels. But this is necessarily not a bad thing as it is still a very engaging read and has some very relatable characters in it. One must also appreciate the author for taking what must have been extremely time consuming research into building the background for the professions shown in the book, be it both about banking or about archaeology.

    I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a casual read, which is a part thriller and part romance novel.


    Product Details


    Paperback: 404 pages


    Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 7, 2013)


    Language: English


    ISBN-10: 1492762628


    ISBN-13: 978-1492762621

    Buy From - http://www.amazon.com/dp/1492762628/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
     
  9. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    An Original Sin – A review of the novel ‘Stage Four’


    "While seeking revenge, dig two graves - oneforyourself." - Douglas Horton

    A question that has troubled members of the human race right from the start; when early cavemen stood motionless and stared in amazement at the afterglow of the sun and stars to the present times where we continue to sit motionless and stare in amazement in front of the afterglow of computers and smartphones; has been one long struggle to find out the meaning of life or our purpose in this vast and amazing universe. And we are a curious lot, more perhaps than a cat; every child taking its baby steps is a scientist, curious and enquiring everything about themselves and the world around. But this curiosity, this quest to acquire knowledge about everything has not always been to the benefit of all humankind.

    And sometimes knowledge that comes to us ahead of its time, as an advance in this age of reason have often ended up being a step backwards for humanity. New inventions, machines & tools and such created for a good have often found their uses to be put as seeds of mass destruction. So it’s not surprising that we have had such a complicated and conflicted relationship with science and had trouble defining its boundaries in society. And that is why we have always had mad scientist stories in our fiction and as part of our general folklore. Notwithstanding the changes in technology over the years, what has always remained constant are our fear of the same, a possible hidden and part devious plan that perhaps all this technology has in store for us. Showcasing this fear through horror and fiction is perhaps our sane (or insane?) way of keeping the excesses of laboratory lunacy reined in, by confining it to platforms and avenues of mass consumption; a possible reason being, it may be a nightmare but now at least it’s our shared nightmare.

    In author John C Payne’s latest novel, Stage Four, cancer treatment is finally at hand. The cure promises great results too, but with a very deadly catch; the patient’s DNA gets altered, turning them into monsters who will not hesitate to kill. Kat Kurbell, Pierre Duvair and Slade Glick have all been diagnosed with stage IV melanoma and there is nothing the present medicinal world can offer them as a way out of the inevitable end. This is when Bobby Biel, a research bio chemist offers them an alternate treatment, which does cure them of one disease but makes them more sick than one can imagine. When this new sickness threatens to get out of hand, steps in to the scene Jamie Richards, an ex army man and a friend of Bobby. But Jamie soon realizes that with each step that he takes, it puts him into direct confrontation with not just the ‘patients’ but also Bobby himself.

    Even though Stage Four may deal with a theme in which the individuals affected are in the process of transforming into an animal or have already transformed into an animal, it doesn’t focus the narrative to the mere transformation itself and thereby avoids setting up a platform for comparison with other such transformation novels which may be scientific or mystical in origin.

    The book although not recommended for a young audience as it's rather gritty and dark in places (assuming that these young audiences are still as naive as we think or want them to be) still works as an amazing book full of action & adventure, crime & mystery, love & romance, brought together beautifully by the genius of John C Payne. The action is intense and the pace is even more arresting.There are some sequences which fully rewards your decision to pick up Stage Four, such as Bobby’s and Jamie’s trip to the Reunion Island, which if you are a Marvel comics fan then you are sure to love this bit as well.

    Author John C Payne appears to be one of those authors who just love to have fun with his characters, by not limiting their movements to the confines of the plot or confines of the story to be told. He lets them free, plays God and influences each character to behave independently and with gay abandon. Make no mistake, I’m in no way instituting a lack of coherence between the plot line and the main leads but it’s just so refreshing to read a novel that isn’t trying to be something it’s not, its got its objective sorted out right from the start and that is to provide pure unadulterated entertainment with any pretensions. And that is why Stage Four will leave you quietly chuckling away and render you speechless with its amazing treatment.

    Recommendation are passé, what you need to do is go out and grab a copy of Stage Four at the earliest and then prepare yourselves to be entertained by a very original and one of its kind novel.



    PRODUCT DETAILS


    File Size: 971 KB

    Print Length: 402 pages

    Publisher: Page Publishing Inc (March 17, 2014)

    Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

    Language: English

    ASIN: B00J3ADUCS


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  10. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Before it’s too late – A review of the book ‘No Innocent Affair’


    “Life without caution is like a car without brake.” – Bamigboye Olurotimi

    There’s this silent epidemic that has been sweeping through our societies since almost the beginning of the creation of such gated communities, one whose existence we all silently continue to acknowledge as the thing that ‘exists’ in our midst but there has never been a real serious or a vocal enough attempt to address the issue or even find a remedy to it. The epidemic I’m talking about is of course, extramarital affairs whose stranglehold on our society is so strong that certain experts say almost 50% of all spouses have become victims to infidelity directly or indirectly one time or the other. And another worrying statistic is that the chances of an average relationship ending in divorce are far less than them having to deal with an affair at some level. Most extra marital affairs have attraction as an element that is more often than not the driving force that kick starts the chain reaction of things to come. Attraction usually and mostly happens with someone you know well and spend time with on a regular basis; in most cases it being a friend or a colleague. This is perhaps because attraction doesn’t merely include the physical part but also the emotional part as well, when a spouse who gets real conversations and genuine affection from someone other than their respective other, it becomes the driving force behind an affair. Most people consider sex as a minor player in the larger scheme of things in reasons why people cheat on each other but the fact that sex is also a very strong reason why people have affairs can’t also be ignored completely.

    A problem that often plagues us individually and for us in a relationship is when we ‘zone out’ of everything important and don’t give the necessary attention that each important element in our lives so rightfully deserves. Dissociation is a form of selective attention and imagination. If we are not careful, we will never be able to learn, make connections in thought, or even develop the right intuition that is essential to relationships. That is why it is often said that it is impossible to stumble into an affair if we were all really honest about our needs & feelings.

    Author Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr’s book No Innocent Affair deals with adultery and extra marital affairs, he addresses the fact that adultery can lead to the destruction of a marriage. He uses scriptures, his own contemplative thoughts and personal experiences as examples in his role as a pastor who has had to deal with families affected by adultery to bring out a book that deals with adulterers and the victims in a head on manner and offers steps that will lead to repentance and forgiveness which will hopefully lead back to salvation for the individuals with God and with each other.

    The book offers plenty of advice in a non confrontational and non preachy voice; also looking at the issues that precipitated the straying outside the marital bonds is a necessity not only to ensure future fidelity of the spouse, but also to bring about healing and oneness for the individual and the possibility of a deeper and lasting relationship with the betrayed spouse. Edward encourages you to be honest with each other so that both the parties can embark upon the rest of their lives in a more faithful and trustworthy manner. So naturally, trust building becomes the initial focus. And yet, real trust can only happen over time.

    So this is the time when you are called upon to reach down for a new level of inner strength. The answer to all of this lays in the scriptures and examples that Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr has so painstakingly and generously compiled in his book. For people who are still struggling in the aftermath of adultery and its repercussions this book will help you give voice to your struggle.

    I recommend this book to all who have indulged in some form of adultery or betrayed their partner’s trust, reading this book will prepare you for all the struggles that you will have to face in order to save your marriage. It will also help the aggrieved party to begin the process of healing. There’s another segment of the population who will benefit from reading No Innocent Affair and they are people who haven’t yet treaded on the path of infidelity but have contemplated it or have at least cheated on their spouse in their mind, they too need to read the book to find out the sheer amount of pain and suffering your actions will leave on your spouse, which will hopefully act as a deterrent in stopping you from crossing the sacred lines.

    Go and buy this book today if you are in a relationship, this easy to read and yet powerful book may be the best gift that you can gift to your significant other and then watch the passion, love and trust return to your relationship like it was always meant to be.



    PRODUCT DETAILS


    Perfect Paperback: 200 pages

    Publisher: Tate Publishing (September 20, 2011)

    Language: English

    ISBN-10: 1617777684

    ISBN-13: 978-1617777684


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  11. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Hidden from Plain Sight – A review of the book ‘The Great American Adventures of Modern Big City Railroading’


    “The train is a small world moving through a larger world” ― Elisha Cooper

    We surely have come a long way in the manner we undertake journeys, for short distances and also for criss crossing across the country we now drive our cars and for longer journeys, there’s airline travel as well. The ever increasing costs of fuel and stressful driving we experience in cars and the dreadful bag searches, cavity searches or even the long lines at the airport don’t seem to bother us anymore. It’s almost like we have forgotten about trains and railroads and the great adventure that is a railway journey. How did such a change come over us?

    Trains allow you to travel in safety and comfort, they pollute less, rarely suffer from weather delays plus you can make new friends or talk freely to the ones you are travelling with, read a book, and (or) have a snooze and when you wake up you might go for a stroll up and down the aisle; and if nothing else just their old-world charm sets them apart from other more mundane means of transport. Taking a train journey inside a big city has its own perks too. Forget about the fact that trains are more cost effective or offer far more scenic views through their huge windows than your average car windows can ever provide; such journeys can also become full of rewards and lessons that only a intense great rail adventure could provide and so instead of passing the time with eyes closed, just waiting for the trip to finally reach its end, you can choose to keep your eyes wide open at all times to soak in the innumerable sights, sounds, and smells (yes! There’s no limit to the extent of surprises you will encounter!)

    In author Eric B. Barnes’s new book ‘The Great American Adventures of Modern Big City Railroading’You get to meet this recently unemployed and down on his luck journalist, Daniel who unexpectedly finds himself along with his friend Dave and a woman, Karen who very soon becomes the object of his affections invited to a big city public transit exhibit, conducted by a larger than life figure called Circus Larry (who does have a very original and unique real name but we won’t get into it here) who takes them and the rest of the ‘invited’ guests on a once in a lifetime ride around their city on a rail car that drives on the road, introducing them to the many good and few bad of public transportation through which you get to experience your city like never before. A rousing, fun filled adventure is what the three get and which in turn changes their perspective on their daily city life.

    The Great American Adventures of Modern Big City Railroading is unlike any other book that I’ve read which have dealt with similar themes. Some books may turn out to be an out and out travel guides or a train travelogue or otherwise it may turn out to be a fictional tale woven with trains and journeys in them appearing as mere plot devices. But this book isn’t simply an advertisement for the railways or train travel or even public transportation, what the author tries to say and succeeds in doing is extolling the virtues of discovering or rediscovering the city you’ve been living in all your life. As the author pointed out in the book and which when I later contemplated found out to be true was the fact that many of us, including yours truly don’t always let our senses be at its receptive best. Eyes we have but we don’t see it all, ears we have but a lot goes unheard and nose we have and yet many a great scents are lost on us.

    The theme discussed in the book mirrors that often quoted line, ‘Sometimes the longest journeys one has to undertake in this world are the ones to find themselves’. Eric urges you to ditch your car and hop on to the public transport not just for the amazing views en route or to relish the extra time it takes, for such journeys can also function as a useful travel guide, an educational tool and brilliant personal account of the shocks, surprises, struggles and unfamiliar observations that every day travel on a train will bestow upon you. Eric’s honest & humorous writing style also brings the reader directly into the story and once you finish reading this book, one thing is for certain; you’ll be more excited than ever to experience trains and train travel for yourself.

    I urge you to go ahead and buy this slim and yet satisfying book, which acts as a reminder that a really grand form of travel that we all used to depend on has now been relegated to the background. But it’s also an eye opener which promotes big city experience. Eric’s book urges you to expand your vision, to be concerned a little more about the journey itself than just your final destination. There are beautiful chapter names, and Chapter eight’s description about every kind of human that you will meet in this lifetime is magnificently arranged. It’s really tough to read a single sentence without having a big smile on your face, there’s also a lot of Woody Allen - ish humour in the way the narrator Daniel goes about describing himself and his surroundings. In the end the only regret that you going to have is that it’s such a short read because there’s enough material in it which genuinely warranted a longer version. Hopefully the author will do a follow up on the lives of its main characters & enthral us once again.


    Product Details
    • Paperback: 68 pages
    • Publisher: Outskirts Press (January 31, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1478726539
    • ISBN-13: 978-1478726531

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  12. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    Interesting review, when I'm on the train I tend to read then I get the phone out for the wi-fi.
     
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  13. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    The Ride Begins – A review of the novel ‘Storm Rider’



    "I have vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals. -- Butch Cassidy


    A person's attitude or personality can be shaped by many things. Some say it’s inherent or in the genes, that you can’t escape your lineage. Others say it depends on the environment in which you grow up, that it is the things you see and hear in your childhood that shapes you. But all this is not set in stone, for the greatest freedom a man or a woman can hope for is to have the ability and the courage to choose their own way of life, to form their own opinions and not allow their judgment to be clouded by the opinions of the day or by the dictum of the majority. It’s not only about following an original path; you can be inspired by example, and you should be able to separate good from bad and chart your life accordingly. But the life you choose should be your own. And if you are able to inspire someone, make them want to emulate you, well and good but that should not be your main concern. You should continue to live your life in the way you intend it to be. Obviously, there must be a code to that life, some principles to adhere to lest it lead to moral corruption, which will end by causing you to diverge from society. So the philosophy is simple, less talk and more action.


    In author Richard Dawes' first book in the Tucson Kid Western series, ‘Storm Rider’, we are introduced to a character called the Tucson Kid, who is the quintessential gunman of the old west who doesn't care about the law, only about what's right. His belief in himself and his independent attitude is matched only by his ability to use his guns and to fight like a panther. He is hired by the Great Northern Fur Company to go after Rex Normanson, an erstwhile partner of the company who has gone rogue and is inciting Indian tribes to revolt against the American Government. A coalition of the fur company, the U.S. Army and the Canadian government want Rex Normanson stopped at all costs. He is believed to be hiding atop Eagle Mountain with a large group of fighting men. While some believe this to be a suicide mission, the Tucson Kid accepts the job. He is accompanied on the mission by a beautiful half-Indian woman named Sophie Halloway, who will work as a guide. The gunman, Joe Personelli, and his band of twenty men go along to act as the security detail for the mission. As the Tucson Kid and the rest soon find out, however, the journey to Eagle Mountain becomes more treacherous and dangerous than they ever expected.


    If you love Western stories filled with lots of action and a little romance, then Storm Rider, the first book in the Tucson Kid Western series will please you immensely. Even if you are not a fan of the genre, you will fall in love with this book and wait for the second part in the series because Storm Rider works on so many different levels. It has a hero who is extremely confident and skilful at what he does, and yet is very human. His straightforward talking will be one of the many reasons you will be able to relate to him. The setting of the story, the rich and detailed descriptions, help you picture the scenes as the action unfolds. Richard Dawes' ability to spin a story and keep the intensity going from page one to the very end is a very rare skill and is one of the best things about this book.


    By the end of the book, the Tucson Kid is completely transformed. However much you thought you understood him during the course of the story, your viewpoint will be shattered as he reveals this new side to him. A surprisingly sensitive ending after all the heavy duty action that takes place during the rest of the book will leave you pleasantly surprised. Bypresenting this new side to the Tucson Kid, Richard Dawes sets up the rest of the series beautifully, because now the character of the Tucson Kid is fully established, you can’t wait to find out about his next big adventure.



    Product Details
    • Paperback: 134 pages
    • Publisher: Melange Books (January 28, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1612357245
    • ISBN-13: 978-1612357249


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  14. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Ride On – A review of the novel ‘Death Song’


    “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by.” – John Wayne


    What exactly is power? Is it having the influence or ability to control people and situations? Is it holding an important position in society or government? Or could it be simply wealth? For some, it may be gaining respect from their fellow human beings. But power can also drive a wedge into society; it can create separation between the classes, a divide based on the have's and have not’s. But then this isn’t a recent phenomenon or a situation rising out of a particular point in history. There have always been large numbers of people who live their lives subjugated and under the control of a few. These people have often come to accept their lot as the ‘natural course of law,’ or see it as the dictate of fate.


    When the ‘ruling’ class begins to ignore its responsibilities and starts exploiting those below them, it sets the stage for revolt. For that to happen, however, a catalyst is necessary. Someone not bound by the iron chains of resignation must appear. By his example he shows that one can fight against odds and emerge victorious.


    In author Richard Dawes' new novel, Death Song, which is the second book in the Tucson Kid Western series. The Tucson Kid is sentenced to death when he's accused of murder after killing a man in a gunfight. He is bought out of his sentence by a young woman, Dolores Vargas, daughter of a rich land owner, Don Alessandro. Dolores has her own reasons for hiring Tucson. She asks him to find out a secret that she thinks her father is hiding. The Tucson Kid must join the gang of outlaws led by a ruthless bandit called Augustine Baca to find out the secret Baca is holding over Don Alessandro. Along the way Tucson finds romance with Dolores Vargas and a young peasant girl, Rosita. The story pounds to a thrilling and explosive climax in a battle to the death between good and evil.


    In Death Song, the Tucson Kid is back doing what he does best. He becomes a mythical God of death and destruction when his fury is roused. One thing you have to love about this character, the Tucson Kid is a killer with a principle - he doesn’t kill unless it is the only solution. Either in self-defence, or when a situation demands that he stand up for the rights of the downtrodden. There’s a lot of political thought that Richard Dawes presents in this book. He points out that difference in classes have always existed and probably always will exist. But that doesn’t mean the exploitation of one group by another can go unnoticed simply in the name of honour or aristocratic lineage.


    What makes Death Song a winner like the previous book in the series is the unseen work of a very talented editor. By setting the correct pace throughout the narration, the author and editor have ensured that there isn’t a single page that won’t hold your interest or will make you gloss over the lines. This is one of the plusses of this book, along with Richard Dawes' genius for beautifully and vividly setting up the background for each of his characters.


    Augustine Baca as the villain is bad beyond belief and an equal adversary to the Tucson Kid. But Tucson's prowess finds no match either in Baca or among his men, or Don Alessandro’s vaqueros. You find yourself rooting for him through his every violent action because you feel he is fighting for the truth or has a nobler reason behind what he does.


    I most definitely recommend this classic Western format of storytelling in which one man fighting for justice and honour takes on an entire army of bad guys to emerge victorious at the end. There’s plenty of romance and humour to keep your interest until the very last page. Death Song’s Tucson Kid is a brilliant protagonist who is all too human with inhuman capabilities who is also supremely likeable, and has a host of great supporting characters who all turn this into a must read novel of the year.


    Product Details
    • Paperback: 162 pages
    • Publisher: Melange Books (January 30, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1612358004
    • ISBN-13: 978-1612358000


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  15. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    The Naked Queen – A review of the novella ‘Kingdom of the Sun’


    “Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time” - Rabindranath Tagore

    Knowledge is power’ this centuries old thought has always held weight to support its claim, continues to do so and will be the cornerstone on which our future will be established. The statement has lost nothing in terms of relevance or significance; and what can impart good knowledge in society? It’s education, for education is the constant prerequisite for political development, democracy and social justice. Education empowers all, and education promotes greater participation from amongst the many manmade and naturally occurring differences in humankind.

    Now only if the education we were imparting to our younger generation through schools and colleges could fully deliver the message discussed in the lines above. In today’s world, the one thing that unites developed and developing nations is ironically, the voices of dissent with the education sector and the quality of knowledge imparted. And it’s the same thing everywhere, everyone knows that a problem exists and gets together to address the matter in an almost uncanny manner everywhere. There will be meeting and conferences attended by a few educators and a lot of panellists and spokespersons representing the government, there will be keynote speeches, power point presentations, food and recreational breaks, a media op towards the end with a promise to return soon for a revisit of this circus act.

    But the woes that afflict education, the falling standards, incompetent & absentee teachers, the out of touch with reality syllabuses, which all contribute towards the mediocrity of the next generation who can’t be employed or can be counted upon to contribute towards the cause of nation building, are all but ignored and remains incurable in spite of the many ‘ideas’ that sprout out of such aforementioned educational meetings.

    But this wasn’t the case with our education sector in the past; we’ve had some pretty bright and impressive centres of learning imparting knowledge in such a detailed and disciplined manner that it would leave today’s teaching administrators tongue tied and embarrassed with their supposed ‘modern’ ways. One among the jewels in the advanced centres of learning of the past was the Takshashila University in ancient India. In its hey days it was more famous and known for its teaching prowess than all of today’s top universities put together. It used to host students from all parts of the world who could specialize in over sixty four areas of study ranging from learning about philosophy and literature to warfare, astronomy and decryption of ancient languages. Students who got admitted on merit, once they graduated would pass out as world renowned scholars with in depth knowledge in their elected subject of choice.

    In author Ariffa Bevin’s novella, ‘Kingdom of The Sun’, we are introduced to such a Kingdom called Sooryan that was famed for its education and knowledge imparting institutions, a Kingdom founded and built upon the belief that education and its teachers are the key to a successful and triumphant kingdom. Although Sooryan achieves its goal of becoming a powerful kingdom, the principles on which it was built soon starts rusting as they are ignored with the passage of time and the coming and going of new leaders. This inertia soon finds Sooryan facing all sorts of political, cultural and financial turmoil. And with a new queen Delilah who appears to be too blind with power or ignorant of the ground situation and refuses to take the help of the Scholars and the Scholar Apprentices to rectify the rotting education system, the occasion appears ripe for a change. This is when Helena, one of the Scholar Apprentices decided to fight back, takes on the entire establishment and faces the many hardships and pains it bring forth, Helena manages to bring actual change that everyone wanted but lacked the courage or conviction to go and do on their own.

    Kingdom of the Sun honours the many educators and administrators toiling away behind the scenes, working tirelessly, facing many hurdles and mounting insurmountable hardships and more often than not for very small victories and successes. And yet they continue to do so, carry on with the many numerous battles, because only someone who cares or tries to bring in change will ever know the supreme satisfaction and happiness that you get when you see your work bring in the change that you set out to achieve.

    You need to get past only a couple of pages to realize that it a good place from where the author Ariffa Bevin writes and that her intentions are very much sincere.Bevin's fantasy world is an allegorical, exposition filled narrative that resembles our world in on so many different levels. The messages, ideas and thoughts that she conveys through her main character Helena are thought provoking and makes you want to question the systems in place today that prevents our younger generation from getting the education that they deserve. Some of the lines clearly denote that this isn’t just another story that the author narrates but is a subject that is very close to her heart and something that she cares for deeply. Helena makes some very specific noise on the impact of unbridled use of technology, especially among the youth and the negative effect that rapid industrialization and globalization has on our society, from making everyday living easy and comfortable to how it has started to make us lazy and lethargic.

    I recommend Kingdom of the Sun to anyone who still believes that a single person’s determination and courage can bring about gargantuan change in our society that will benefit all. The story will appeal to all who believe in the power of change; Ariffa Bevin’s sincere voice carries through her choice of words and the world she has created in Kingdom of the Sun and long after you’ve finished reading the book.


    Product Details


    • Paperback: 110 pages
    • Publisher: BookPatch com The (June 3, 2013)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 162030421X
    • ISBN-13: 978-1620304211

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  16. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Audacity of Truth – A review of the book ‘President’s Body Counts’


    "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

    We all have eyes but how many of us can claim to see clearly? For an average person bound by his high school text books, it won’t be easy to discover the truth about your own nation and its real history. You can never be a true patriot without knowing about the bad as well as the good

    In Al Carroll's new book, ‘Presidents’ Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions’, the author takes on a challenge. We are not supposed to speak or think evil about our Presidents. Most books by journalists, political commentators, and historians all appear to be more loyal to the White House than the truth; but not this book. It revels in detail about the evils done by our past presidents, the numerous cases of mass murder, incompetence, and misconduct. But it also takes a look at our noblest presidents. As he says, for every evil president, there were few good ones also whose actions and decisions have saved numerous lives.

    This is a brave and magisterial work that will make you look again at American history and the Presidency. It’s a real eye-opener to anyone who thinks they know everything there is to know about U.S. history. It is the truth that you won’t hear through your mainstream media.

    Al Carroll’s research and superb writing skill are clearly displayed in this wonderful book which has a beautiful and engaging use of phrases, elegant pacing, clear intent, and the right use of bold and highlighted passages to convey his arguments even more strongly. You will be amazed at the speed you will finish a book of this size. This is because the author has filled each page with enough oomph while discussing the matter at hand and all the while never losing its momentum and readability. The book isn’t a mere expose on the many ills committed by the Presidents such as Nixon and Reagan due to their negligence or stubborn highhandedness or mere paranoia. It also reveals to us Presidents like Jefferson, Lincoln and Grant whose broader vision in times of strife and trouble helped them to act as a force for positive change.

    Every category dedicated to Presidents and the atrocities they committed is of great interest and even those with great knowledge of will find new information with respect to events and leaders. The best thing about Al Carroll’s effort is his ability to describe events in the context of the issues and the politics of the time. Presidents’ Body Counts is a grim reminder that many of our Founding Fathers and other political leaders from the nation's formative years to the present time are not the infallible icons of our nation’s history as we imagined them to be. They were just as petty, contentious and argumentative mortals like the rest of us; the only difference being their misdemeanours and transgressions cost the lives of millions.

    Al Carroll’s ‘Presidents’ Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions’ is a book that every student of history should read at least once. And even if you are not into the subject, the author’s ability to traverse through tough subjects as one would normally do in a novel will win him plenty of fans. If you think this is another book about USA bashing, then you are wrong, the only thing he bashes is the one sided, non-controversial and white washed version of this country’s great history, and in the process he gives a very balanced account of the weaknesses of many of our great presidents.


    Product Details

    • File Size: 1112 KB
    • Print Length: 516 pages
    • Publisher: Al Carroll; 1st edition (March 11, 2014)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00IYX12PW


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  17. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    An Intelligent Thriller – A review of the novel ‘Mardi Gras Madness’



    “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery” - Francis Bacon

    In author Ken Mask’s latest novel, ‘Mardi Gras Madness’, the recurring character of New Orleans' attorney turned private investigator Luke Jacobs from his previous books such as ‘A New Orleans Detective Mystery’, ‘The French Quarter’ return to solve a new mystery in his favourite city. When Jake Matos is convicted of killing a police officer in the Louisiana state; New Orleans most favourite and feared private investigator Luke Jacobs must enter the scene to try and save his friend from a long and unjust prison term. But what Luke and his gang of detective crew stumbles upon on the way to solve the case is a deceitful tale of real estate fraud, misleading & malicious intent by a pharmaceutical corporation and also a cover up murder to boot. Luke soon realizes that the key to solving Jake’s case lie in uncovering the truth behind all the mysterious dealings.

    Ken Mask takes you on a virtual tour of the famed New Orleans city; he lets you visualize the architecture and the colourful culture contributed by the mixed races of people without all of it becoming too much of a hindrance to the actual story telling. Ken reveals his first hand, personal knowledge of New Orleans, also revealing its history, character and the dark underbelly that is a constant of any great city. And you will just love the pacing of the story, it’s like a written down version of a slick Hollywood production handled by an enigmatic director and editor combo. The way Ken Mask handles the narration is brilliant, scenes cutting into one another with such furry and dialogues that are pacy and strictly to the point are some of the major highlights. There is even a poem recital in the middle of a love making scene; that just takes top marks for ingenuity! And for a book boasting of such a ‘cool’ hero, the author reveals that his hero isn’t just another fighting machine but also has the intellect and acumen of a top class detective. Ken Mask seems to have done a lot of research before writing this book because often it’s so easy to pen down certain things and take fictional liberties especially with a subject like science and create something out of thin air but here, Ken Mask’s ability to make you believe in the science behind the ‘shooting’ and the mischievous alcohol addiction plan all becomes tremendously credible in his wonderful writing.

    Mardi Gras Madness is one of those rare books that offer a riveting story in addition to raising certain ethical questions such as what does one do when the supposed to be effective judiciary and law enforcement agencies become weak or can be bought off, then who does one turn to and can such alternate system bypass the prevailing stagnancy and emerge stronger and victorious? Mardi Gras Madness presents an exhilarating picture of playful words splashed across an exquisite canvas, one that will stay etched in the reader’s mind long after the final pages of the book have been turned. It’s always wonderful when you are able to finish a story feeling like you’ve come to know all the characters well. Luke, Sky, Melvin, Matt & Jan are characters whom you are not going to forget so easily, they are so good that you will end up hoping that Ken will stage another mystery for our favourite PI to solve just so that he can bring back the old gang together.

    I recommend this book to anyone who is up for a quick read about a murder mystery that is filled with lots of plot turns and a surprising and dramatic conclusion. You are bound to enjoy this fast paced, page turning thriller. And when you’re finished with Mardi Gras Madness you’ll be waiting patiently for the next genre defining work from the genius that is Ken Mask. If you have never visited New Orleans before, then Mardi Gras Madness might just be the tipping point you needed to go ahead and book that plan ticket today.


    Product Details

    • File Size: 251 KB
    • Print Length: 77 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: eBookIt.com (December 15, 2013)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00HCR17GU

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  18. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    Timeless Song of Love – A review of the book ‘The Spirit of a Sultan’


    “The secret of Sufism is that it has no secret at all” ― Idries Shah

    The essential truths of Sufism exist in all religions’, and no one knows this better than a Sufi practitioner who are often know to be mystic; and Sufi practices are considered as the mystical practices of Islam. Mysticism often refers to the collective of all the outer forms of a religious practice, along with living a life based on certain moral and ethical principles. If religious laws give religion a firm base to stand strong, it is often mysticism that helps one to reach the ultimate truth or God. The many saints and sages of the Islam religion were in fact all Sufi masters. For thousands of years, Sufi practices have co-existed and grown and helped grow Islam’s reach throughout the world along with its other practises & cultures.

    Teachings of Sufi too are very practical in nature. Even though one would attribute teachings told within a mystical framework as something one would find difficult to comprehend, but surprisingly this isn’t the case with Sufism; the idea to spread the word and wisdom of God in such a way that even the lay man can understand him better is its main goal. Becoming one with God, becoming whole once again is what a Sufi practitioner strives to achieve.

    In author Ahmad Javid’s latest book, ‘The Spirit of a Sultan’, the author narrates a historical novel centred around the life and times of one of history’s most revered and venerated Muslim scholar and poet, Hazrat Sultan Bahu. Bahu whose name itself means ‘with God’ was a saint and a Sufi poet who founded the Sarwari Qadiri Sufi order. Most books on Sufism and Islam and its mysticism are attributed to him. His couplets and poems have had a lasting impact and are sung even today in qawali and kafi forms. Although based on true events and historical people, the novel employs certain fictional liberties to tell a biographical story of a great poet and saint. It follows Sultan Bahu’s life history, his spiritual journey and the impact he had on the world, all the while showing us how to connect better with God in our hearts and minds.

    The Spirit of a Sultan is a biographical account of Hazrat Sultan Bahu’s life and times. Whatever it is that we know today about Sultan Bahu has been in the form of tales and written works like the Manaqib-e-Sultani written by Sultan Hamid Sarwari Qaderi in the Persian language. Dr Ahmad Javid has brought out a very thoroughly researched and well written book that not only introduces to the reader the life of a gentle spirit but also shows a fictionalized account of a glimpse into the life in the Mughal times and their various conflicts all of which transports the reader to a historical world.

    The book starts with a bang and the thrilling and mind captivating battle scenes will pull you right into the story. Bazaid Muhammad Awan’s courage and fighting skills will enthral the readers completely and sets up the first chapter and the book just perfect. Bazaid marries Bibi Rasti and out of their union is born the great Bahu. The rest of the book shows Sultan Bahu’s quest for divine knowledge and the way his teachings & messages of mystic Sufism, journeys your soul on a path of spiritual highway and towards the final destination that is God. All things present comes from him and will eventually need to find its way back home, getting immersed in the oneness and wholeness of the single God.

    The Spirit of a Sultan oscillates between telling a story and telling about the history behind an event, and this works well because this is also probably the best way to teach history to students. And although narration of history can never be full and final or complete, as each historian will have his own way to interpret the happening of events to better suit the message he has chosen to send out; Dr Ahmad Javid’s book is pretty accurate in its retelling of events and you won’t find anything controversial in them. All in all there are four parts to the book, each part dealing with a particular phase in Sultan Bahu’s life. And the last chapter is devoted to Faqir Nur Muhammad who was Sultan Bahu’s devotee and disciple and whose efforts bore fruit to ensure that the saint’s teaching spread all across the world.

    I recommend this book to both Muslims and non Muslims alike and anyone who is interested in learning more about the life of the great Sufi saint Sultan Bahu. This fictional style of writing makes this book a must read and the real photographs and original poems and prayers are a definite bonus. The Spirit of the Sultan enjoys the best of both what the fiction and nonfiction worlds has to offer and is a wonderful work from a very learned mind.


    Product Details


    • Paperback: 416 pages
    • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 18, 2013)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1484917944
    • ISBN-13: 978-1484917947

    Buy from -http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484917944/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
     
  19. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    The past catches up – A review of the novel ‘Blood Moon’


    “A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it” – Shane

    Some say the greatest fear we have in life is a feeling that we are too big and powerful. While some want to become supreme and be number one, there are others who shrink away from their greatness because of the way people around them might react. But the truth is, glory can’t be bought or achieved by hoping and wishing for it; you have to earn it, seek the truth within you, by becoming who you were meant to be. Similarly, once you’ve achieved greatness or people have come to identify the true grit in you, you can never shy away from the responsibility; it is your crown and your cross to carry in this lifetime.

    In author Richard Dawes' latest book in the Tucson Kid series, Blood Moon, the story follows from where the previous book Death Song left off. After killing Augustine Baca, the Tucson Kid escapes Mexico before the former gang members of Baca, who are hell bent on revenge, can catch up with him. Leading this gang of men is a viciously evil man called Joaquin Murrillo, former associate and ‘disciple’ of Baca.

    Fate lands the Tucson Kid in New Mexico where he finds himself in the middle of a range war between a rancher named Ben Henderson and a beautiful Mexican woman named Mercedes De La Rosa. Henderson wants Mercedes' land – and he wants it at any cost. But when the Tucson Kid refuses to help him, and instead joins forces with Mercedes, an all out war breaks out. Henderson gets some unexpected help in the form of Joaquin Murillo. The Tucson Kid finds himself facing both his past and his present in a battle that leaves a trail of blood and death all around him.

    Blood Moon has a rather slow start unlike the previous books in the series, but you know the action is coming; as you turn the pages you can feel the crescendo rising, you know something huge is about to happen, like the calm before the storm. And when it strikes you are in for a surprise, a sort of anti climax because the Tucson Kid is shown riding quietly out of River Bend; but terror strikes in its most evil and malicious form when a gang of Mexican outlaws led by Joaquin Murrillo comes into town. They wreak havoc in Sheriff Tom McLaughlin’s house, where he and his wife Consuela had given refuge to the Tucson Kid when he rode through town. There is definitely more violence in this one compared to previous occasions; but what it also does by introducing a bigger sinister villain is that it brings into play a doubt that creeps into the reader’s mind as to whether the Tucson Kid can defeat this new stronger enemy, or if he has finally met his match? There are a lot of little gems of interplay like this strewn throughout the book, another example worth mentioning is the fist fight between Tucson and Wade Everett and Luis to establish superiority and leadership.

    Richard Dawes’ gift is the way he takes the reader along and makes him or her part of each character’s immediate environment, helping them to visualize even the minute details. Simply put, it's quite brilliant. In Blood Moon we also get to see a more subdued and insightful Tucson coming to grips with his fate as Storm Rider. There is even a back story into the myth about the origins of Storm Rider. He is part of a great lineage – that reaches back thousands of years - that says he was always meant for great things and a great destiny.

    Tucson’s relationships with women have always been a highlight in this series, marked by passion, feistiness and honour. But his romance with Mercedes De La Rosa has been given more depth and space to develop in Blood Moon.

    I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone who loves a good western story. The Tucson Kid is the sort of anti hero with a heart of gold who sets about to correct all wrongs. It will obviously satisfy the fans of The Tucson Kid series. Richard Dawes has ensured that Blood Moon is a worthy instalment for this very successful series. Watch out for the big surprise in the climax fight when an unexpected entity comes to the aid of the Tucson Kid.


    Product Details


    • Paperback: 138 pages
    • Publisher: Melange Books (April 22, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1612358594
    • ISBN-13: 978-1612358598


    Buy From - http://www.amazon.com/dp/1612358594/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
     
  20. Kevin Peter

    Kevin Peter Member

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    A Tucson rebirth – A review of the novel ‘Gunman’


    “Beware the fury of a patient man” – John Dryden

    Author Richard Dawes’ latest book, the fourth instalment in the Tucson Kid series is entitled ‘Gunman’. As the Tucson Kid rides west, he enters the town of Cedar Flats in west Texas. While there, he captures the interest of a local rancher called Benjamin Coburn. Coburn is a businessman whose daughter Estelle has been kidnapped by a gang of outlaws who have also robbed his consignment of silver. Tucson is hired to help Coburn and his gunman assistant, Joe Black, track down and kill the outlaws who have taken refuge in the Badlands. But en route to the Badlands, the trio is captured by a tribe of rogue Comanche who threaten to kill them for trespassing on their sacred land. The only way the Tucson Kid can survive the sentence of death and ensure the safety of his companions is by undergoing a series of ordeals that will test every fibre of mental and physical strength he has. A changed Tucson emerges from these tests, but the three of them are still outnumbered and have to fight an epic battle against the gang of outlaws.

    Shots are fired barely a page into the book, a ‘Howdy’ sort of greeting by the Tucson Kid to all the regular readers and it’s just the sort of welcome the fans of the Tucson Kid series would have hoped for. This little ‘incident’ in the beginning also contributes towards the story as it leads the Kid to Cedar Flats; which acts as a start up point for the rest of the adventure. Tucson meets Joe Black during a game of poker at the saloon; Joe is a fast draw gunman and often the voice of reason and patience to a very impatient and passionate businessman, Benjamin Coburn. When his daughter Estelle is kidnapped while visiting her aunt in Nevada, a plan of action is drawn up to travel to the Badlands, the old commanchero country where the kidnappers are holed up. The three are accompanied on this trip by Charlotte Danson who works as the manager at the Coburn Hotel and is portrayed as the Tucson Kid’s ‘woman’ in this latest outing.

    If the previous books in the series worked on the principle, ‘what you see is what you get,’ then this time the theme seems to be quite the opposite, for nothing is quite as it seems. We also get to see first hand Tucson’s amazing tracking skills which have always been talked about in the previous books but here we get to see it in all its glory. The language the characters speak, the conversation pieces, all feel so genuine and real to the time period that it takes readers into the characters and lets them roam the countryside along with the Kid. There’s some brilliant writing in Gunman. There is the duel between the Comanche chief’s son, Running Elk, and Tucson. Also the part where white men must be killed if they discover the tribe’s existence, to escape which Storm Rider must become one of them by undergoing a series of trials and ordeals. All of this is a testament to Richard Dawes’ skill and mastery in this genre. There are vivid descriptions of a claustrophobia inducing task that Tucson has to undergo, a series of tests which are not for the faint hearted, and maybe that is why only Tucson is qualified to go through them. For the first time in the series, the story also dwells on a theme like, hell hath no fury like the fury of a woman scorned, which gives a surprise or twist to the story.

    Gunman is also a study of the demystification of the archetypal hero we’ve been introduced to so far and have become comfortable with. In this book there is an attempt to make him more accessible, better than the rest but still very human. Instead of merely putting the hero into different situations that demand he show his true ‘heroism’, Richard Dawes throughout the series has focussed on showing the personal growth of the Tucson Kid. From the man we are introduced to in Storm Rider to the one we see in Gunman, the Tucson Kid has undergone a huge metamorphosis. He will never be the same again. There is a lot more action in this book and some ‘action’ seems to have gotten better, the Kid finally becomes the Man.

    In a pivotal but understated scene in the book, the Comanche chief recounts the horrors and the loss they endured due to the white man’s war of expansion and conquest. They are the last remnants of an ancient culture that is disappearing from the face of the earth. This is new ground for a novel of this genre. Perhaps a fictional tale such as this will inspire some readers to investigate the Tribes, their way of life, and the traditions and customs of Native American Indians.

    Gunman is the best of the series so far and I wonder how the author will be able to top it. But knowing the author’s ability to spring surprises on the reader by upping the ante in each book, it won’t be a surprise if ‘Lone Horseman’ turns out to be even better.



    Product Details


    • Paperback: 140 pages
    • Publisher: Melange Books (May 27, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1612359132
    • ISBN-13: 978-1612359137


    Buy From - http://www.amazon.com/dp/1612359132/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
     

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