Newsletter for August 2012


Book Giveaways for August

theblackisle.jpgOne random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of The Black Isle by Sandi Tan. Click on book cover for more information and to enter.

shakeoff.jpgOne random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of Shake Off by Mischa Hiller. Click on book cover for more information and to enter.



strongvengeancesm.jpgFive random winners will be chosen to receive an autographed copy of Strong Vengeance by bestselling author Jon Land. Click on book cover for more information and to enter.




weaponofchoicesm.jpgTwo random winners will be chosen to receive an autographed copy of Weapon of Choice by Patricia Gussin.  Click on book cover for more information and to enter.


Book Giveaway Winners for July

Winner of The Last Minute

Maureen Winner - New Mexico

Winner of Dare Me

Mary Rodriguez - Texas

Winners of Run to Ground

Elizabeth Alvarado - Arizona

Waiting for Confirmation from One More Winner

Featured Book - The Grasshopper King by David Stanley

thegrasshopperking.jpgA precocious young boy of five, Cosmas Sarvey is sent to a Catholic orphanage near Pittsburgh because his mother has left her abusive husband. His father now lives with two bums in a battered houseboat, plays his haunting violin at Sandman's Bar and Grill, and is tormented by a recurring nightmare in which the cry of the violin becomes the screams of his beaten wife. At nine years of age, Cosmas travels alone by streetcar and train through heavy snow, his first visit "home" for Christmas vacation. What begins as a simple trip home, becomes, by dint of his sensitivity and imagination, a transformative odyssey. This book explores Cosmas's growing feelings of independence and solitude as the tenuous relationships with his remaining family deteriorate, and he is further isolated from the few acquaintances who might have been lasting friends. Cosmas Sarvey illustrates the resilience of a youth transcending daunting circumstances, overcoming his sadness and insecurity with creative optimism as he faces an uncertain future. The Grasshopper King is Book I of a larger work titled A Land More Kind Than Home.

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Featured Book - Strong Vengeance by Jon Land

strongvengeance.jpg“Land and his precise writing create an amazing read combining elements of the best of the Old West and the action thriller. Caitlin Strong seems so real that the reader expects her to walk into the room. She more than lives up to to her last name.”

--Associated Press on Strong at the Break
1818: In the Gulf waters off the Texas coast, the pirate Jean Lafitte and his partner Jim Bowie launch an attack on the Mother Mary, a slave ship carrying an invaluable treasure. The Present: Fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself investigating the murder of an oilrig crew that had found the long-lost wreckage of the Mother Mary. But the crew also uncovered something else beneath the surface of the sea—something connected to a devastating attack about to be launched on the United States by a mad American-born cleric who has recruited an army of homegrown terrorists. With the stakes higher and evil darker than any she has encountered before, Caitlin races to find the connection between the treasure pilfered centuries before and the deadly secret hidden on the bottom of the ocean today. This as she struggles to raise the teenage sons of her imprisoned lover Cort Wesley Masters who secures his release just in time to join the fight by her side. But shadows and subterfuge abound, starting with Teofilo Braga, a waste management baron hiding secrets born of his own past that are somehow linked to the threats America is facing. Caitlin’s desperate path plunges her deep into that past and an unsolved mass murder committed near the island refuge of Lafitte himself. Caitlin’s only chance to defeat the terrorists lies in first solving that 30-year-old mystery. In the end, only the strongest of vengeance can win the day, Caitlin and Cort Wesley standing with guns ready to save the country from the greatest threat it has ever faced.

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Featured Book - Fastball Fari by Michael John Cruit

fastballfari.jpgFari Madrigal is a young autistic woman obsessed with pitching baseballs. She's a genius at it and exhibits evidence of telekinetic control. Fari is discovered and recruited by the Minnesota Twins and becomes the first woman to break into US major league baseball. Fari becomes instantly famous and she and her mother, Frances, exploit this celebrity status by forcing giant corporations to make charitable donations. Fari and Frances explore the meaning of life and death, discover the relationship between space and time and encounter non-possessive love.

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Featured Book - The Farm by Charles C. Anderson


Lieutenant Commander Andrew Carlson is a U.S. Navy SEAL-emergency physician who is part of a helicopter mission to investigate possible terrorist weapons at a prince’s palace in the Saudi Arabian desert during a sand storm. He is the first one down the rope when the helicopter engines suck in too much sand, causing the chopper to lose power and crash. Andy rolls out from under the fiery hulk of metal but has no significant injuries.  His best friend never makes it out of the chopper.  This kind of personal loss has dogged Andy throughout his career.  Although he’s an experienced warrior and trauma physician, one of the SEAL’s elite, he’s also a binge drinker, never comfortable around women when he's not drinking, and scarred by his personal losses and survivor’s guilt.

Despite being thirty-six hours by foot from his destination, Andy makes his way across the desert by dead reckoning.  After he shoots out the electrical transformer to the palace with his sniper rifle, the occupants flee in vehicles.  The palace is empty except for a teenage girl, Sahar, who had been kidnapped and routinely raped by the men who fled.  Andy had orders not to leave anyone alive, but the girl turned out to have a wealth of information about the sale of terrorist weapons from the palace and spoke English.  For the first time in his career, Andy was unable to pull the trigger as ordered. The girl was incredibly bright for age sixteen and had already suffered enough.  Besides, he was attracted by her spunk. 

Sahar directs him to a truck in the compound, where Andy finds two 40-year old Soviet tactical nuclear warheads, each the size of a generator. Both had recently been recharged with new neutron reservoirs. Sahar informed him that it was Andy’s CIA contact, Harrison, who wanted to buy the weapons from a Russian black market arms dealer named Boris, formerly a member of the KGB.  Andy knew that the U.S. had plenty of warheads of its own and didn’t need to buy any.  And the U.S. had been helping Russia disarm its gigantic nuclear arsenal since the Cold War ended.  Harrison had specifically told Andy not to disarm warheads if he found any.  Because Harrison had visited the palace often to buy and sell weapons, and Sahar’s captives did not know that she understood English, she had learned that the CIA wanted the warheads because they were untraceable. The plutonium in the warheads did not come from a known Russian source.  They were not on any list to be disarmed and Boris had destroyed the records that they ever existed. 

Sahar explains that Harrison and the U.S. President have cooked up a scheme to blame a nuclear terrorist incident on the Saudis, allowing the U.S. to invade Saudi Arabia and confiscate its oil, now at $200 per barrel. Andy believes Sahar, partly because he has never trusted his CIA contact, partly because he knows the American president is desperate for cheap oil, and partly because the teenager arouses feelings in him that he is ashamed of.  Instead of calling Harrison on the palace satellite phone Andy chooses to call his Saudi royal family contact, who he advises to remove the weapons before Harrison can send a team to pick them up.  As Andy leads Sahar across the desert to his extraction point, he realizes that his life as a SEAL was over.  He will not dishonor his dead SEAL buddies by participating in whatever Harrison has in mind.   He delays his report to Harrison long enough for the Saudis to remove the truck and tells Harrison that he found the girl in the desert.  He resigns his commission from the Navy and Sahar enrolls in college in Norfolk, Virginia, close to the hospital where Andy gets a job as an emergency physician.  

Fast forward eighteen months and Andy is fighting off his urges for Sahar, who encourages his attention every day.  Out of nowhere a beautiful new emergency department nurse comes into his life, Lindsey Baker.  Lindsey is a CIA operative.  Harrison has found out what Andy had done in the desert and Lindsey tells him that Sahar is the same girl from the palace in the Saudi desert.  Both Andy and Sahar are not just expendable, they threaten both the CIA and the president himself. Andy and Lindsey go for a weekend drive to Andy’s farm in central Virginia, near Farmville.  The farm is a 3400 acre 1743 land grant from King George II to Andy’s ancestor.  The president wants to use Andy to confirm that the Saudis have armed nuclear weapons so that he can complete his original plan to set up the Saudi royal family as nuclear terrorists who are trying to destroy Hampton Roads, the largest U.S. Naval Base.  Because the Saudis have a reputation extending back to 9-11 for supporting terrorists, the president only needs a credible witness to confirm that the Saudis indeed have at least two nuclear warheads.  Andy is the only American to actually see those warheads.  Lindsey intends to seduce Andy on the farm, where the CIA will kill him. Then they will kill Sahar.

But the CIA is still under the impression that Andy is a closet drunk who can be manipulated easily by Lindsey.  And no one but Andy knows the secrets of his huge antebellum plantation, where he grew up and learned its network of limestone caves and its natural defenses.  The caves on the Carlson plantation had served as an arsenal for both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  Just before the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, only twenty-five miles away, the gold bars from the Confederate treasury had been hidden in the caves under the plantation.  The Carlsons had always collected weapons, considering themselves to be true patriots, and Andy had continued this role all of his life.  All of his skill and experience will be required to fend off multiple attacks on the farm, including being stabbed in the chest by Lindsey.

No one in Washington understands what one motivated SEAL can do against an army of invaders who don’t know the ground they are fighting on.   After killing every CIA agent and mercenary sent to kill him, Andy confronts Lindsey and spares her life.  In return, she allows him to escape and warn Sahar.

Andy’s wound heals as he hides out and is helped by the Saudi royal family. Andy has again warned the Saudis of the president’s treachery, making it possible for the Saudis to foil the nuclear terrorist plot.  The Saudis now have the president in a pickle, warning him that if something happens to Andy Carlson, the price of oil will skyrocket.  The president must postpone his plans to kill Andy and Sahar, while Lindsey returns to her job as a nuclear threats analyst at the CIA.

The Saudis warn Andy that Boris is trying to sell more reconditioned cold-war era nuclear warheads in America. Boris comes to the farm and Andy mesmerizes him with the Confederate gold and buys several warheads from him.  These go into the caves.  Eventually the president wants Andy and Sahar dead so badly that he sends several helicopters of mercenaries. Boris wants the gold so badly that he brings a truckload of soldiers.  Re-enter Lindsey, now pregnant and near term, determined to convince Andy that he will soon be a father, but unable to figure out how to tell him.  Andy is quite uncomfortable around Lindsey, who claims to have switched sides.  He is hurt by the fact that she is pregnant, and blind to his obvious paternity.  In addition to Lindsey, who can barely walk, Andy enlists a descendant of a former slave on the Carlson plantation, Ben Carlson, who shares an ancestor with Andy.  They are few in number, but Andy uses the caves to move unseen on the battlefield and lures the invaders into one trap after another. 

A final battle shapes up on the farm with everything at stake.  Boris is there. Harrison is there.  Andy succeeds in turning these two enemies against each other.  The president waits anxiously in the White House for a call from Harrison as he watches satellite images of the battle. Lindsey is severely injured by a grenade.  Twins are delivered in the cave in the middle of a war overhead.  Ben is hit by a .50 cal round in the chest.  Andy Carlson M.D., ex-Navy SEAL, ex-drunk, is a man you won’t forget.


Featured Book - The First to Say No by Charles C. Anderson

thefirsttosayno.jpgThe First to Say No opens with a gritty, realistic rape scene as one of Parkview Hospital’s ED doctors, Elita Romanov, regains consciousness to find herself tied to a table and being assaulted by a member of the Plagues gang. Because of her specialized military training in her native Chechnya, she is able to kill her assailant and his partners, escape and blow up a gang house as several other Plagues walk in.

The Plagues have terrorized the citizens of Watertown and especially the ED staff for years, but attacks were now coming daily. The hospital administration refuses to protect or support its emergency staff, fearing that the presence of armed officers and metal detectors would frighten the public. The local police are corrupt, taking money from the Plagues to ignore their drug enterprises. Elita is the latest in a string of ED staff who have become assault victims, but her experience galvanizes the female staff to fight back.

Elita and her friend, Dr. Kate Taylor, discuss ways of dealing with the Plagues and decide that killing them is the only solution. How to go about ridding Watertown of these violent drug abusers/pushers is the next issue they must decide. Whatever they do must be undertaken with caution, so that none of their co-workers, friends or family members are implicated in the plot.

As Kate debates methods of killing the Plagues, she is stunned to discover that her mother killed her abusive stepfather with continued overdoses of a blood thinner prescribed for her mother. A chance encounter in the ED with an alcoholic who had accidently killed himself with acetaminophen gives Kate the idea to use acetaminophen to kill the Plagues. But how to overdose them without getting caught?

It is Kate’s mother who solves this conundrum by suggesting that the common painkiller be hidden in homemade chocolate bars and moonshine. Slowly, Kate’s mother, one of her mother’s friends, a sympathetic neighbor, and several members of the ED staff become complicit in the plot to kill the Plagues and document the police corruption.

Within a matter of weeks, the gang is decimated by a lethal combination of acetaminophen-laced chocolate and moonshine and a mystery sniper who takes out the survivors one and two at a time. Ridding Watertown of its “Plague” does not come without cost, however, as Kate’s mother and her neighbor, both suffering from terminal illnesses, take their own lives after implicating themselves in the string of homicides to cover for the younger doctors, nurses and EMTS actually responsible. The climax of the book is Dr. Kate Taylor’s fight to the death in a water fountain with her chief nemesis, the last of the Plagues.

Featured Book - The Inner World of Money:  Taking Control of your Financial Decisions and Behaviors by Marty Martin

theinnerworldofmoneymed.jpgThe economic crisis stemming from the financial meltdown of 2008 is personal. The Inner World of Money: Taking Control of Financial Decisions & Behaviors focuses upon those areas in one's
financial life that you can control. Throughout the book, practical tips are provided about how to save, how to invest, how to have conversations with loved ones about money, and how to tame out of control spending behaviors. This book is not your typical personal finance book or your typical pop psychology book. This book translates the empirical evidence from behavioral finance and psychology in a way that the reader can assess their financial life and take greater control of their financial life in a way that reduces stress and promotes well being.

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Featured Book - Oddities & Entities by Roland Allnach

odditiesandentitiessm.jpgOddities & Entities is an anthology of six tales within the supernatural/paranormal/horror genres, exploring a definition of life beyond the fragile vessel of the human body. The stories are: ‘Boneview’, in which a young woman struggles to balance her ability to see through people with the presence of a supernatural creature in her life; ‘Shift/Change’, in which a hospital worker struggles to regain his memory as he is confronted by a series of desperate people;‘My Other Me’, in which a lonely college student finds himself displaced from his body by his alter ego; ‘Gray’, in which a frustrated man is stunned to discover a little creature has been living in his head; ‘Elmer Phelps’, in which a brother and sister find themselves linked in a strange reality by a bat bite in their youth; and lastly, ‘Appendage’, in which a cynical mercenary is hired by his son to protect a research lab on the verge of a stunning discovery.

See Our Review

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Recent Interview

Interview with Roland Allnach, author of Oddities & Entities.


Recent Reviews

1812 by David Nevin

All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith

All the Pretty Hearses by Mary Daheim (Review #2)

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

At the End by John Hennessy

Calico Joe by John Grisham

Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton

Death Makes the Cut by Janice Hamrick

Devil-Devil by Graeme Kent

Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman

Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag

Embracing You, Embracing Me by Michelle Bellon

Endangered by Ann Littlewood

Fastball Fari by Michael John Cruit

Fifty Shades of Grey (Book 1) by E.L. James

For the Love of God by Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.

Midnight Sun, Arctic Moon by Mary Albanese

Never Tell by Alafair Burke

Oddities & Entities by Roland Allnach

Parrot & Sweeney by Alan Roberts

Safe Within by Jean Page Reynolds

Strong Vengeance by Jon Land

The Amazing Adventure of Paddy Platypus by Tom de Paolo

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Confession by John Grisham

The Devil Colony by James Rollins

The Devil's Madonna by Sharon Potts

The Farm by Charles C. Anderson

The Fear Artist by Timothy Hallinan

The Inner World of Money:  Taking Control of Your Financial Decisions and Behaviors by Marty Martin

Scorpion Betrayal by Andrew Kaplan

The Pitcher's Kid by Jack Olsen

The President is a Sick Man by Matthew Algeo

The Search by Shelley Shepard Gray

The Treble Wore Trouble by Mark Schweizer

Vanishing Girls by Katia Lief

Vanishing Girls by Katia Lief (Review #2)

Weapon of Choice by Patricia Gussin

Whiplash River by Lou Berney (Review #2)

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

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