Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Book Review Website Accepting Book Submissions!

The Reader's Choice Book Reviews website is now open for business. This is a full service site with a team of talented reviewers to serve authors faster and professionally.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Merryll Manning: Trapped On Mystery Island by John Howard Reid

Police sergeant Merryll Manning is on vacation on an island in the Florida Keys for a Murder Mystery weekend. The plan is to solve the mystery and win a cash prize of $5,000.00. Easier said than done. Merry has his teenage-looking girlfriend Susan Ford along for the trip. Susan isn’t above using her sexuality to keep Merryll flustered and under her thumb.

Merryll Manning: Trapped On Mystery Island by John Howard Reid was published more than twenty years ago in Australia. The first installment of the twelve part Merryll Mysteries made its American debut in the spring of 2008.

The game players are an eclectic group including a priest, lawyer, novelist, as well as several actors who may or may not be playing parts in the game. Merryll begins mingling with the players as only he can. His abrasive, eccentric style quickly puts him at odds with several of the gamers. Merry continuously aggravates the priest with religious debates; while Susan’s sexy and spunky charms push and pull Merryll’s concentration from the game.

Soon the first victim of the game falls as Merryll has predicted. The others have a problem with a policeman’s unfair advantage in the game. Others believe Susan is under-age and doubt Manning is a cop at all.

When blood is found, Merryll traces it to a real murder victim. The horrific bloody murder scene has a profound affect on Merryll. Another gamer disappears during a smoke break. With no way to contact the mainland, to leave the island, or to inform the police, Merryll takes over the investigation.

Author John Howard Reid has an undeniable skill for keeping the reader guessing who-dun-it. Reid points the finger of guilt, through Merryll, at many of the characters. The reader keeps turning pages to see who Merryll will infuriate next with his accusations and taunts. Tension, mistrust, fear, and a quick pace keep the reader captivated to the final page.

Don’t mistake this as another self-published vanity project. John Howard Reid is a talented, experienced writer with more than 70 books to his credit. His dialogue is brilliant in the back-and-forth banter between Merryll and the priest, and Merryll and the novelist. He paints scenes so well that you expect to see Merryll and his suspect burst into your living room.

Books three and four in the series are scheduled for release in 2010 with Merryll Manning: Beachfront Holiday set for release in June. Merryll Manning is a wonderful, old-fashioned style mystery series. Start here with Trapped on Mystery Island and you’ll be hooked. Highly Recommended. (June 24, 2008)

By William Potter for Reader’s Choice Reviews.

When I Remember Love by Trish Silver

Imagine meeting, falling in love with, and marrying the biggest pop star in the world only days before he wins an American Idol-type singing contest. This is the story of Jenna Holden and Aidan Price in When I Remember Love by Trish Silver.

When I Remember Love is a modern love story, sizzling with passionate love scenes and a powerful emotional plot. The author captivates the reader immediately with a horrific car accident in the opening pages. We read on to learn how this couple overcomes numerous setbacks to become pop music royalty.

Still distraught over the passing of her mother, Jenna travels to California to visit her Aunt Vanessa. Vanessa is a music agent about to sign pop music’s biggest commodity, Aidan Price. Jenna had previously seen Price on the televised singing contest, American Star. The couple meet, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. Within a short time, Aidan proposes to Jenna and, against his agent’s and record producer’s advice, the couple wed only days before the finale of the competition. Once married, the couple tour the country while Aidan’s star grows, and soon they are blessed with children.

It’s not all glitz and glam, however. Jenna has a generous heart. She can’t pass a homeless person without stopping and offering help. Aidan decides to use his fame to help Jenna work to end homelessness in America. The couple seem to have it all, fame, money, love, beautiful children, and an unquenchable passion for one another. Their love is strong; however, the music business can be ruthless. With the stresses and pressures of fame comes a horrifying accident, threatening to end everything and testing the couple’s faith and commitment.

I only had a couple of minor problems with this book; one was with the recycling of descriptive narrative in the love scenes. The other was occasional abrupt time/setting changes without adequate transition. Aside from that, I believe this book would make a great movie, as readers will fall in love with Aidan and Jenna.

Author Trish Silver combines traditional romance, steamy erotica, and gripping drama in this memorable story. She has included well-developed supporting characters, fiery twists, and a satisfying ending. Highly recommended for fans of modern romance. Read it now as the sequel is in the works. 5 Stars (March 4, 2009)

Reviewed by William Potter for Reader’s Choice

When I Remember Love

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco

In “Underlying Notes”, Eva Pasco explores the emotional, life-altering renaissance of her aging heroine Carla Matteo, a 50-year-old housewife residing in Rhode Island and struggling with a midlife crisis and the helpless feeling of a life unfulfilled. Carla’s only escape from her potential, emotional demise lies in her “glass goddesses”, a vast collection of perfumes encased in glass bottles ranging from cheap dime store no-names to designer queens including the likes of Estee Lauder and Liz Claiborne. It is through these olfactory portals, Carla’s “ladies-in-waiting” that she finds her respite from a mundane reality of house cleaning, cooking and nurturing a twenty-five-year marriage to Joe Matteo, a decidedly pragmatic, loyal and unimaginative man.

Carla’s purpose in the novel is to brave the challenges of her golden years, confront past demons and to right conflicts in her present and past. The “underlying notes” in Carla’s life exist within the layers of fragrance in perfumes that she likens to musical compositions. Her computer keyboard functions as a piano as she “composes” her scores, summaries of her preferred scents for her part-time job as a freelance journalist. The scents themselves serve as a clever metaphor for the complicated relationships Carla shares with family and friends.

“Underlying Notes” isn’t entirely flowery or picturesque however. Carla presents her marriage with its flaws and strengths in a clear light. Early in her marriage Carla forgoes a teaching career to work as a secretary in Joe’s waste management business. Later in life she worries mistakenly that he might be having an affair and invests in the occasional piece of lingerie to “keep the flames of passion from dying out”, a tactic that proves remarkably successful. Joe’s own insecurities and jealousies are roused whenever his neighbourhood friend Frankie Martucci keeps company with Carla. It isn’t that Carla and Joe don’t appreciate and love one another. Carla acknowledges Joe’s many qualities as a fine husband even as she details “the early tightrope years when both of us were learning to live with each other in harmony and balance.” Rather it is Joe’s penchant to “distort and exaggerate reality” that prove wearisome over time.

Carla’s demons haunt her throughout the novel. Alice Greene a childhood friend, surfaces in Carla’s memory and it is with painstaking hindsight that Carla pieces together Alice’s regression from innocent classmate to pregnant juvenile after years of molestation at the hands of her uncle. Carla is plagued by unwavering guilt that she neither recognizes nor assists Alice in her plight, behaving more like Ponctious Pilate than loyal friend in keeping silent and handing her over to the enemy.

Eva Pasco does a fine job of uniting Carla Matteo with her female readers, particularly readers approaching their own middle years and beyond. That Carla’s struggle lacks melodrama and undue hyperbole renders “Underlying Notes” all the more believable. Pasco’s exquisite, languid prose and detailed characterization bring “Underlying Notes” to life. Descriptive narration weaves a seductive yet realistic tale. “In time, underlying notes of cedar and sandalwood in the base would orchestrate a woodsy, dry down, while the vanilla and musk conspired to convey sweetness and warmth.” These underlying notes are not unlike the novel’s plot as it reveals its own underlying secrets, hurts and resolutions. A worthwhile and intoxicating read, it is highly recommended., Inc. (December 3, 2009)

Review by Lisa Lahey, B.Ed. for Readers Choice Reviews

Underlying Notes

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Second Tour by Terry Rizzuti

I was six years old when news footage of the Fall of Saigon filled the world's living rooms. I remember helicopters and soldiers and asking my parents about those men, who they were and what they were doing...

Nothing since has come close to answering those questions until I read "The Second Tour." Terry P. Rizzuti wrote in his Preface that his first tour of duty as a US Marine in Vietnam lasted 13 months and that the second tour never ended. His book is a fictionalized account of what happened to him in 1966, '67 and how it has shaped his life over the last forty plus years.

The sequence of the short chapters is jumbled and reads as though the scenes were written as they came to the narrator's mind. For example, one chapter is an all-hell-breaks loose combat scene, next it's at tender moment at home with a girlfriend before deployment. This intense style puts the reader in the story and will have your emotions on a roller-coaster laughing one minute and horrified the next.

Rizzuti shows his considerable writing talent with vibrant scene painting descriptions. He has written an captivating story filled with plenty of tension, conflict, fear, with superb character development, and realistic dialogue the fits the time setting.

Most readers are able to describe at least one book as "I couldn't put it down!" The only time I stopped reading was to let the previous passage sink in. This book is not for timid or easily offended readers. Shocking at times, it is an honest telling of an experience few of us can imagine.
...those men were Rootie, Raven and Malcolm, and nearly three million more. They were boys, thousands of miles from home in a place worse than hell, dyeing for a government which considered them disposable.

I highly recommend The Second Tour and rate it a Must Read! Mr. Rizzuti has a degree in English Literature and has received several awards for his writing. He began "The Second Tour" in 1984 and I consider myself fortunate he shared this story.

212 pages

Spinetinglers (November 11, 2008)


By William Potter for Reader’s Choice Reviews

The Second tour on

The second Tour was the Reader's Choice Best Book For 2008.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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