Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wyndano’s Cloak by A.R. Silverberry




Wyndano’s Cloak A.R. Silverberry
Tree Tunnel Press (March 15, 2010)
9780984103768

Wyndano’s Cloak by A.R. Silverberry is a five time award-winning fantasy novel sure to be enjoyed and cherished by readers 10 and up. Settle in as this talented new author takes you on a grand adventure in the magical, wondrous Kingdom of Aerdem.

A story with one strong, well-developed female protagonist is rare. Here two heroines take center stage: the brave yet vulnerable Jenren, who grew up as an orphan in the dreary, magic-less Plain World before she learned of her royal bloodline, and her shy but determined best friend, Bit.

Princess Jenren, or Jen as she prefers, receives a mysterious message foreshadowing doom. She immediately suspects the return of the evil Queen Naryfel. Jen calls a family meeting, her father and mother, the King and Queen of Aerdem, her brother Dash, and Dash’s fiancée, Bit. The family agrees that Naryfel will soon strike—but strike who and when and how? The King and Queen refuse to live in fear and carry on with royal business such as a masquerade birthday party for Dash. Despite Jen’s best efforts, the castle is soon under siege. Jen and her mother are abducted while Dash and the King are trapped by a supernatural plant with branches that constantly tighten their deadly grip. Any attempt to remove the growths will surely kill both father and son.

Bit embarks on a quest for a doctor who can free Dash and the King from their bonds. Along for the trip to Plain World is the Countess Petunia. Pet is more suited to her lavish lifestyle than a harrowing journey and may have her own agenda. Meanwhile, Jen must learn to trust a strange young man named Blue to escape from the wicked Queen Naryfel.

Through the clever use of back-story, Silverberry allows us to see the magic and power of Wyndano’s Cloak and how Jen’s first attempt to use it almost cost her life. Finding the Cloak and overcoming her fear of using it may be the only way to stop Naryfel once and for all.

A.R. Silverberry’s creativity and imagination are second to none, but it is the character development that really shines in Wyndano’s Cloak. These young ladies are easy to relate to and cheer for. Whether it’s Jen who learns to trust others and herself, or Bit conquering her self-esteem issues, or Pet who learns compassion, they grow and mature as the author puts each through a series of ordeals testing their makeup. Silverberry is no slouch either when it comes to plotting a page turner, as he has infused enough conflict and suspense to keep the most distracted reader intrigued. His knack of closing various chapters with a cliffhanger is a brilliant technique that won’t let you stop reading.

Frightening creatures, a horrible antagonist, friendship, courage, and more in a coming-of-age soon to be classic that is certain to keep kids entertained and away from the TV and video game system for long stretches. Highly recommended and rated a Must Read for fans of Young Adult fantasy.

Available at Amazon.com

Reviewed by William R. Potter for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Coming Soon: Our Review of The 19th Element by John L. Betcher





Coming Soon: Our Review of The 19th Element by John L. Betcher

This is the second "Beck" Thriller!


PLOT SUMMARY

Al Qaeda plans to attack Minnesota's Prairie River Nuclear Power Plant as a means to return for the down-trodden terrorist organization to international prominence.

Al Qaeda enlists some homegrown anarchists, and a Three Mile Island survivor with a vendetta against the nuclear establishment, to assist in the assault.

James "Beck" Becker is an erstwhile elite U.S. government intelligence operative who has retired to his childhood hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota — just six miles down the Mississippi from the Prairie River facility.

Possessing wisdom born of experience, Beck suspects the terrorists' intentions as soon as the body of a university professor turns up on the Mississippi shore. He recognizes the connections between seemingly unrelated events — the murdered agronomy professor, a missing lab assistant, an international cell call, a stolen fertilizer truck — but can't piece it together in enough detail to convince the government authorities that a larger threat exists.

Only his American Indian friend, "Bull" is willing to help Beck defeat the nuclear assault. So it's Beck and Bull versus international terror.

May the better men win.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Eyes Smile by Priscilla M. Francis Dozier




My Eyes Smile

Priscilla M. Francis Dozier
Xlibris (March 30, 2009)
978-1441520388
Reader’s Choice Rating 4 stars

My Eyes Smile is an inspiring collection of poetry written from the heart by author
Priscilla M. (Pat) Francis Dozier. Pat invites the reader into her life experiences, drawing on her hopes and dreams, successes and failures, and most of all, the love for her children, grand-children, husband, and friends.

Many of the seventy selections are dedicated to her family. However, the strength of the book is the way in which she is able to, in a dozen or so uncomplicated lines capture a snapshot of her life, detailing her sorrow, frustrations, love, and simple joys.

I look at some of my favorites.

In Fence Friend a neighbor is honored with warm memories. A fence between them couldn’t halt the good conversation and companionship. Pat writes, “She was my fence friend. She had a heart of gold.”

Don’t Second-Guess reminds us to trust our instincts. She writes, “To second-guess is to not believe in yourself.” Good advice for charting a course through life’s decisions.

For me, one of the most memorable selections was Death (No Tears) in which she suggests that tears are wasted on the dead. She writes, “When a person dies, we should rejoice. He suffers no more, there is no pain.”

On a lighter side, Pat looks at the state bird and flower of Louisiana in The Magnolia and later, The Pelican. The Obama family hasn’t escaped Pat’s pen either. She dedicates First Family to them and writes “American History will never be the same.”

I Hate Me packs a wallop in what is definitely the emotional highlight of the book. She writes, “I hate me for giving you so much power over me.” I commend the author for having the courage to include this affecting selection.

After such a moving piece a much lighter poem waits just a few pages on. The Best Things in Life are Free states, “Hug a child. Walk a mile. The best things in life are free.”

My Eyes Smile is an uplifting, quick read. Author Priscilla M. Francis Dozier has opened a door to her life. Stop in, pick up a copy, set aside some time from your busy life, and enjoy uncomplicated verse.

Recommended by William Potter for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews

Heartache and Sin by Charles Soto




Heartache & Sin
Charles Soto
BookSurge Publishing (April 23, 2009)
978-1439202401
Reader’s Choice Rating 5 Stars

Heartache & Sin by Charles Soto is a powerful, emotional tale of love, faith, family, and survival. This is fiction for the thinking reader that may have you revisiting your beliefs on abortion and perhaps questioning your opinions of organized religion.

Steven and Karen Wheaton live in small town North Dakota. They have a wholesome, happy, American lifestyle with a loving, passionate marriage and large Sunday dinners with family and friends on the farm. All that is missing is a family of their own. This is where the trouble begins—when Karen is diagnosed with diabetes and is strongly advised to not get pregnant. Karen dreams of becoming a mother and cannot come to terms with the thought of living her life without children.

Pastor Ryan McDonald runs the Church of Resurrection. Ryan has the knack for gaining peoples’ trust through intimidation and trickery. He convinces his congregation that he is a Prophet and that he can end the drought that is crippling the community. Ryan exploits the naïve and insecure, and when the rains come, his following strengthens. Karen is drawn to Ryan as she is desperate for any help with her health issues and is certain that through prayer and the pastor she will be cured.

Steven sees the pastor for what he truly is: a lying, deceitful, brainwashing psycho, who must control everything and everyone around him. When Karen learns she is expecting, Steven struggles with the thought of losing his wife if she attempts carrying the baby to term. Pastor Ryan convinces Karen to continue the pregnancy despite the serious health risk, and begins to use Karen to further his campaign against a local abortion clinic.

The ongoing battle for Karen between Stephen and Ryan kept the pages turning as I became invested and deeply concerned for both baby and mother and how it would play out.

Author Charles Soto has infused enough conflict, tension, fear, and suspense to keep readers riveted throughout the 510 pages. This is his first novel, however, he writes like a seasoned pro. His characters are well developed and believable. He descriptions are vivid; his dialogue authentic. This book is difficult to put down and will be long remembered after you turn the final page. Highly Recommended.

Reviewed by William Potter for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mystic Grits: A Southern Girl's Journey to Wisdom by Darelyn DJ Mitsch




Mystic Grits: A Southern Girl's Journey to Wisdom
Darelyn DJ Mitsch
Pyramis Press (June 19, 2009)
978-0615300870

Mystic Grits by Darelyn DJ Mitsch is a book about a southern girl's life journey as her spirituality and consciousness evolve. The book, equal parts autobiography and metaphysical nonfiction, is many things: inspiring, humorous, and amazing.

Precious Darelyn Darr (as she was born) was set on her path of discovery from an early age. Confusion about her early bible teachings led her to ask many questions about religion; and although she found peace in her prayers and dreams, she found she got the best answers from her grandmother, Maw Maw. A healer and mystic, Maw Maw was a constant comfort and teacher for DJ, guiding her in life and from beyond.

As DJ’s life journey progressed, she experienced phenomena that fuelled her desire to investigate the spiritual realm and her mystical longings. Aware that relaying her experiences might scare people or cause them to think she was an “airhead” or cause her to become an outcast, she nevertheless found people to whom she gravitated (and who were in turn drawn to her) that she could share her experiences with. Her relationship with her friend, Sharon, is heart wrenching and inspiring and shows the depth of DJ’s loving and accepting spirit, giving us the example that joy and peace can be found in times of loss and grief. It is through relationships with her friends, family, partners, co-workers, and herself that she learns to trust her intuition and really listen to what the universe is telling her.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and felt as though DJ was sitting with me, having a conversation. Her wry, self-deprecating style is as engaging and refreshing as it is moving and evocative. It is also courageous in its honest and open depiction of that which we cannot see, but which many people instinctively feel – that is, that spirits and heavenly guides are working around and through us. The frequent journal entries and her reflections on the events effectively – and in many cases, humorously – illustrate her personal evolution and acceptance of circumstances. Early in the book, I decided to mark pages that particularly resonated with me, but soon found that I’d be marking almost every page. This book made me think about not easily explained experiences in my own life in a new way. I came away with a resolve to truly live the moments of my life and to hear what the universe is telling me. Highly Recommended.

Reviewed by William Potter for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews.

Available at Amazon.com