Fresh Ink 2019 Short Story Collection

Fresh Ink 2019 Short Story Collection, published, copyright and written by Jamie Stone.

The book consists of seven stories. Perhaps all should be referred to as ‘on the dark side’. The first is about the protagonist chasing down the monster that torments almost every small child with problems by hiding under its bed every night. He finally destroys it making it safe for the small children until the next generation arrives. The next is of a Serial Killer finally arriving in Hell, his treatment there and his opportunity to obtain redemption along with a few others in a similar situation. The rest of the stories are of a similar dark nature. The entire book easily can be read in one sitting, thus having the advantage presented by most collections of this type. An individual selection can be consumed in a very short space of time.

Discussion: From this reviewer’s perspective, this is a volume that will appeal to a particular ‘mind set’, and for those readers I’m sure, will provide a high level of interest. For others, interest in this book probably will be minimal, except for the third story entitled “To Protect You”. This story opens as follows: “This is Report # 1,208,096, regarding Humanity’s loss of power, the end of machines, and the future of Planet Earth. May this be our final recollection.” The thoughts generated by the material presented are endless, and so closely relevant to life’s activities as they exist universally today, to be scarily mindboggling.

3* with a range from 5* to 2* as discussed.

The Origin of the Exiled Rogue

The Origin of the Exiled Rogue 2nd volume of a trilogy published copyright and written by Sandeep Adana.

This volume opens with acknowledgements followed immediately by “About the Author” explaining that he is the “Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of ‘The Codes of the Exiled Rogue’” and that “he nurtured this metaphysical and transformational fiction idea for over six years before finally publishing it in 2019.” A Prologue offers that the tale is based in the year 2038 and follows the characters introduced in the first volume from the end of that book. Further, for those readers for whom this is the first they have read of the series: “When the truth was revealed to Aurora, Tristan and Sid, it brought with it a bigger confession of a larger reality, which will form the foundation for this part. The codes guided The Host, Matthew and Zhang Wei to share truths, who made it their life’s purpose to do so with all those who were ready to receive it.” This volume then opens with Chapter 25 on August 1st, 2039: Mid-levels, Hong Kong.

The story teller comes awake in a strange but beautiful place, starts walking, and sees a male sitting on a bench. They lock eyes and the man speaks through mental telepathy. He is there to welcome this newcomer because no one else is. He informs the new arrival that they don’t use speech in this place, have no concept of time and there is no day or night, birth or death, no gender or identity. Everyone is alone here but are a connected kinfolk that manifest randomly and disappear. You can communicate with anyone or no one as you choose. We don’t know where we came from. The ground speaks to you, the wind whispers, plants and flowers murmur secrets. You become acclimated eventually. Go anywhere you want, choose what you want to do and when. The planet ensures your survival; you just leave it to her.

From this initial introduction, the reader is taken to Hong Kong in 2039 where close friends Zhang Wei and Matthew, characters apparently from the first volume in the series, are introduced and we gradually discover that The Host, who was the newcomer in the previous exchanges, now is the disseminator of a dimension of knowledge on Planet Earth they had not previously seen when considering and discussing life’s existence and problems therein. His mission was to provide groups with aspects of life from a less toxic viewpoint than he had encountered on the previous Planet Mother that seemingly were established to confuse and divide the ordinary people and establish power by bigotry. The plot continues with shifts from Earth back to Planet Mother and introduces additional characters of Tristan, Sid and Aurora who also were carry overs from the first volume, more groups are established, and the importance of the existence of love in the world of Earth is brought forth. Eventually, to fulfill a prophecy, The Host must return to Planet Mother where he prepares to leave to fulfill the prophecy of which he was unaware that he had been designated as its principle player. The enactment of the prophecy is assumed to be the subject of the next volume.

Discussion: Of most prominent importance – this is NOT a book that ‘can stand alone’. It is most strongly recommended that one read the first book in this series before continuing with the others. However, with respect to this volume. Once a reader becomes oriented into the subject of the matter presented, he/she will discover a thoroughly interesting metaphysical discussion that offers a fascinating concept of ‘what happens after death’. The main flaw encountered is the author’s explanation of the ‘thought processes’ manifested by descriptions and statements provided by individuals in the latter part of this volume versus the description of reasons The Host left Planet Mother in the first place; i.e. “His mission was to provide groups with aspects of life from a less toxic viewpoint than he had encountered on the previous Planet Mother that seemingly were being established to confuse and divide the ordinary people and establish power by bigotry” [from 3rd paragraph. above]. Reappearance of The Host on Earth planet is another point of interest that perhaps could use a little further explanation. But to reiterate, this reviewer’s comments must be considered from the perspective of a reader whose introduction to the series is the 2nd volume.

3* Fascinating metaphysical discussion; rating explained in discussion.

Blood and Water

Blood and Water, A Paranormal Mystery assumed published copyright and written by Caroline Ann Davis.

        Jan Martínek is a vampire, unwillingly converted by his uncle Otakar, and although married to vampire Darja who still would like to be with him, but because of their constantly occurring inter personal problems has caused them to separate for a time. Her brother Petr hates Jan and didn’t want her to marry him in the first place and wants her to return to Prague. She is in a quandary because she loves her brother as much as Jan. Right now, Jan is more or less assigned a job in America looking for Otakar and Magda who have disappeared. The pressure to find them is strong because the latter gradually has evolved to almost legendary status in vampire circles. The reader next is introduced to Kristina Benson who with her brother Kyle, live with her grandfather in the apartment over his old fashioned bookstore. The store is close to an old relic of a hotel/hospital that recently has burned to the ground. Her brother and a close friend are ‘Ghostbusters’ and went there to record ghosts reportedly living in the place and perished in the fire. Kristina has inherited psychic abilities that she refuses to follow even though she is a distant relative of Hanna Gerlach, a psychic and one of the most famous ghosts that lived there. But in spite of her reluctance, she feels a strong need to attempt to contact Kyle, wherever he is. Russell Hodges, a professor at the local college who, through his prominent position as head of the American Society for Psychical Research, had given a lecture at the bookstore some time ago and is attracted to her when again meeting and becoming aware of  her desire to contact the dead Kyle. Hodges is related vaguely to Dr. Clifford, the former owner of the destroyed hotel which also had been part of his clinical program. He arranges a séance with her, her grandfather and himself in attendance. The session is dominated by the harsh voice of the doctor as Kristina acts as the séance performer and Clifford is ranting that he wants Hanna back, and that he knows he has taken her. They are not aware that Jan has snuck in and is listening and he knows Clifford had taken the locket he, Jan, had given her and should remember destroying her body. It seems Jan had tried to convert her to eternal life as a vampire, but was too late as she was too far advanced with T.B.

Kristina collapses into a coma-like condition that takes time to dissipate and scares her grandfather severely. She recovers soon, but still is insistent upon contacting her brother so Russell introduces her to Gwen Crowley, a well-known medium to help her. Meanwhile, Jan, posing as a writer interested in the burned out hotel/clinic offers to help her with another séance and the tale continues as Jan becomes increasingly attracted to Kristina who looks startlingly like Hanna, Russell similarly becomes enamored, Otakar and Magda are rediscovered as well as more about them unfolds, Darja becomes actively involved and Kristina’s grandfather plays a surprising role, all leading to an interestingly different climax.

Discussion: The author has provided an interesting plot that is much more involved than those previously read in this genre by this reviewer. My only, no doubt irrelevant aside, is that I do wish this author, as well as many others, would please become a little more knowledgeable about firearms when their characters are going to use them. Nonetheless, this is a vampire story that it would seem aficionados especially will thoroughly enjoy.

5* Interestingly ‘different’ vampire tale devotees should thoroughly enjoy.

Loose Threads

Loose Threads: Cool Assassins in ISBN: 9780994070807 Creator/Distributor: Psignologic Services copyright written by J. O. Quantaman.

This story follows a number of members of the “Cool Assassins Series” – Cool Assassins 1. Hot Wheels: Cool Assassins 2 (in 2019. Soar Down: Cool Assassins 1 & 2 (in 2019)’ with a Cast List of members of the Dog Breakfast Co-op, an organization composed of seemingly well-trained martial arts specialists established to fight underworld organizations such as the Japanese Yakuza; Mishima Security members for the area, and others. The world described is an intergalactic one containing earth, as well as other parts of the all-encompassing universe. The story opens with a young girl, Jenna Marov whose love of adventure and amazing acrobatic ability leads her to a professional life as an aerialist and fearing burn-out, a move to Kuala Lumpur 17 years later. However, the main plot centers on Nyssa Person, a teen enticed into acting but eventually arriving under the control of a powerful Yakuza overlord from whom she escapes with aid from the Dog Breakfast Co-op, which as described above, but also is a well-organized training facility producing assassins loosed upon members of organizations such as the one from which she had been rescued. She joins the Co-op and begins training and continues for several months before earning an R&R trip to the nearby metropolis, TCP, a large city complex, with its residents and/or workers, endless shops and entertainment. Here she becomes involved with several ensuing adventures. In a somewhat unexpected manner, the reader encounters a second plot that one eventually learns involves Nyssa, in ninja-like activity that seemingly occurs a few years later. The tale continues with more varied activity.

Discussion: This is a sci-fi story set in 2073 and years following. It is a tale that no doubt will find readers who are devotees of the genre who will enjoy the tale as long as they understand that sexual innuendo and/or activity, whether intersexual or within the same sex and loose language are basic to the presentation. There also are numerous ‘new’ words for which the author has furnished a glossary. Regrettably, this reader found that although several of the characters were interestingly described, as well as some of the scenes, the action and individuals involved were combined in a quite confusing manner that provided frustrating moments that detracted greatly from any flow of enjoyment.

3* or less for this reader who prefers to enjoy rather than search for clarity.

SLAM DUNK

SLAM DUNK The true Story of Basketball’s First Olympic Gold Medal Team assumed published, copyright and written by Beth Fortenberry,

The book’s format is a bit unusual in that directly upon opening it, the reader is presented with a note from Carter DeHaven, producer of ‘Hoosiers’, stating “Soon to be a major motion picture”; then the book title/author pages; a picture of Joe Fortenberry, the Slam Dunk originator, finishing such a shot in the 1936 Olympics; a dedication page; Table of Contents; Praise of Slam Dunk by DeHaven; acknowledgements; and ultimately a prologue followed with 32 chapters and abundant reference material. The narrative describes and follows the life of James Naismith, the husky young Canadian-American graduate theologian, who invented the game while attempting to devise a game to keep athletes fit while in the employ of Dr. Luther Gulick who was charged with preparing teachers-in-training so they could be instructors and coaches in the Y.M.C.A.’s throughout the world. From this simple beginning in the late 1800’s the story unfolds the early beginnings of this game, the people who played and developed it, and how it was brought into the 1936 Olympics. Here, the group that included some prominent Jewish team members, along with the thrilling field athletics’ black Jesse Owens, walked off with their respective golds to effectively destroy Adolf Hitler’s desire to demonstrate to the world the supremacy of the Aryan race.

Discussion: The author has provided a gold mine for readers interested in the historical background of sports. Not only has she disclosed little known facts about the origin of basketball and details of the players involved in these early endeavors – Fortenberry, “Tex” Gibbons, ball hawk Francis Johnson, Sam Balter, the first of the Jews on the Olympic team and others, but has included largely unknown or often overlooked features of prominent people associated with the Olympics and other sports; e.g. coach Jimmy Needles, Phog Allen, Gene Johnson, the mercurial Olympic politician Avery Brundage, Maude Sherman Naismith organizer of the first women’s basketball team as well as earlier having devised the first usable football helmet noted by Amos Alonzo Stagg (the legendary football player/coach long association with the Y.M.C.A.). The descriptions of Hitler and Goebbels activities and that of the German people of the era are most appropriately portrayed. In all, this is an interesting book and must read for sports aficionados.

5* Interesting for all; a must read for sports enthusiasts.

The Complete Collection of Short Stories

The Complete Collection of Short Stories assumed published, copyright and written by Paul Michael Peters.

The book contains eighteen short stories on various subjects created between 2012 and 2018. It opens with an overriding opening quote from Jean Paul “Memory is the only paradise from which we cannot be driven.” The opening story, Hickory Switch, is a quite fascinating look at human frailties when faced with a momentous decision. The second, Fukushima Gold, an interesting story about the fallout from the atomic residual. The 3rd, 4th and 5th are stories from the mind of James Hollins, more easily recognized as “Mr. Memory”. He was born with synesthesia, an unusual condition in which the senses cross and interconnect. Some experience an ability “to taste words, see music or feel smells”. One ability is rare, two are extraordinary. Holland had multiple connections. Thus, “he remembered everything about everything” even to the smallest detail. The first tale introduces the man and his abilities. The second is tied to the once extremely well –known song made particularly famous by Nat King Cole and dealing with the Great War in Poland and attempts by smaller countries to exit soviet dominance. The 7th an interesting ‘take’ on Robots and AI. 8th a tale that looks at transfer of human frailty to an AI component. 9th interesting look at the importance of performances of ‘small helpful activities’. And the stories continue for a total of 18 with 17 an amusing tale of ‘sanctuary’ and 18 another short treatise that follows another strange train of thought. A series on the Devil explains a simple fact that “you can’t kill the devil without facing your own hell.”

Discussion: The author has a very fertile mind that often proceeds in rather unusual directions. It is a book that will be most enjoyed by readers who have similar thought patterns. The book’s offering of largely short, self-contained subjects makes it excellent reading for the person who finds him/herself with short intervals of ‘time-on-their-hands’.

4* Of special interest to similar thinking individuals.

In Search of Natural Support for Diabetes Well-Being

In Search of Natural Support for Diabetes Wellbeing ISBN: 1950336043 The Books Factory copyright and written by John F. Burd, PhD.

Subtitled “The Discovery of Lysulin” the book contains 15 chapters, a Conclusion, an Appendix containing four impressive studies of the effectiveness of this new substance in treating the cause of Diabetes, several Testimonials and “About the Author”. Included are an explanation of Diabetes, Obesity & Heart Disease; the Misinformation Campaign on Diabetes; the Culprit: Glucose Toxicity; the Symptoms and Complications of Type 2 Diabetes; the Discovery of Lysulin; the Unfavorable view of Natural Supplements; the Politics of Food, Science and Diabetes; Putting Lysulin to the Test; Diabetes Drugs and Advertising; Metformin and Insulin; comparison of Effectiveness of Lysulin to Big Pharma’s Drugs; the Fundamentally Misguided approach to Medical Education; Where do we go from here? And the concluding chapter summarizing and amalgamating all of the material provided within the individual chapters.

Discussion: The author is an entrepreneur with an impressive record of successes in discovery, use and/or advancement of worthwhile biochemical elements. The thrust of presentation is obvious from the chapter contents. There is a certain amount of repetition and redundancy. However, the overall impression is highly favorable in that the activities of the pharmaceutical industry are well known and now under investigation, the gullibility of consumers obvious and the prevalent lack of attention to nutrition in medical and dental education shamefully apparent. The reasons advanced by the professions for these missing educational inclusions are just as inexcusable as the probable influential feature suggested by the author. Further, the missing instruction is a sad commentary (along with much that is occurring in these schools today) because, from personal experience, nutritional lectures still were a large part of instruction sixty – eighty years ago.

5* Highly recommended for ALL readers.

(Note – search for title may be easier using sub-title – it’s shorter)

The Robot and Automation Almanac

The Robot and Automation Almanac 2019 ISBN: 9781946197153, Published and Copyright by Prestige Professional Publishing. Edited by Jason Schenker,

The mission of this book is to offer predictive information “For automation and robotics futurists everywhere.” It consists of several descriptions/analyses/conclusions independently written by prominent individuals considered to be most knowledgeable in their particular field of endeavor. The essays are gathered together by the editor who is Chairman of The Futurist Institute and a man who is one of the most eminent in the field. It is divided into four sections; One – Outlook for Robotics, that offers an ‘overview’ of Automation and AI in 2019 including a look at the vectors for robotics advancement and a coming ‘day-of-reckoning’, and also predictions for the future of AI as well as robotics growth and quantum computing’s future in 2019. Two – examines Socializing Robots where various aspects are analyzed from the viewpoint of evolving perceptions, their ability to bridge industry and steam education, the fact that every chatbot now is a voicebot, who’s collaborating with whom and most importantly the need to overcome existing fear with respect to robot/human interoperability and labor replacement fears. Three – examines Socializing Robots from the perspective of how these factors will power innovation, be it in transportation, construction or the advent of “smart cities” and also the further advance of Blockchain and automation in the financial services sector. Section Four – Robots in the Supply Chain examines/ analyzes/ predicts the effects that will result from advancing innovation in this necessary section of the economy. Relatively brief material About the Futurist Institute, About the Author, About the Publisher and Disclaimers terminate the book.

Discussion: The selection offers an interestingly varied view of these rapidly advancing technologies by several individuals prominent in their respective areas. As quoted above, the selection has been offered to update “futurists everywhere” with what is transpiring to treat the environmentally unsustainable and thus totally disastrous worldwide “tsunami of data” that “is expected to consume one fifth of the world’s energy use by 2025.” A few of the more interesting suggestions from this reviewer’s perspective: discussion of the fusion of the physical, digital and biological world by this “fourth Industrial Revolution”; the manner in which robot-human interrelationships will be developed for greatest gain and little actual loss in human man-hours; the growth of presently functioning “smart pilots” into fully developed “smart cities”. However, generally speaking and most regrettably from this reviewer’s perspective, this book provides a rather superficial overview with a considerable amount of repetition, Further, there often is a seeming suggestion that each essayist and/or the approach offered can provide the most authoritative answers. Thus, judicious editing and perhaps greater essayist coordination would seem to have eliminated considerable portions of both problems, although having read several of the editor’s books, a similar inclination also seems to pervade his writing. But perhaps his impressive qualifications and positions make his stance more acceptable.

3* Interesting, but rather superficial discussion/predictions for 2019 technology.

Mask of Bone

Mask of Bone, Book III in the Chemist Trilogy. Fearless Publishing, copyright and written by Janson Mancheski.

Although a standalone book published first in 2011, this series of activities follows Cale van Waring, Senior Detective Investigating Officer of a series of kidnappings in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Through grinding detective work, a little luck and strangely a little help from his significant other’s clairvoyant sister, he manages to apprehend the perpetrator in a shoot-out, saving his loved one’s life while doing so. In the second volume, the reader discovers that, even though receiving commendations for his heroic activity, he is relieved from duty for two weeks for ignoring basic police rules. The kidnapper, after his incarceration, attempts to avoid a murder charge for the death of his first victim, by providing the name of a man who had been deported from Great Britain as a Liberian National associated with human trafficking. Through FBI connections Cale discovers that this is not a ploy but that the man actually exists. Thus, in typical Cale fashion, he decides to follow the killer named by the serial human bondage kidnapper and return him to the U.S. In this third volume Cale, with his group of mercenaries move from their headquarters in Italy to Belgium where the killer is attending a party held by an extremely wealthy and prominent buyer of trafficked women. Not only is the killer a guest at the man’s Chateau, but there is additional information that one or more of the Green Bay captives also are there. It seems that the Chateau owner is especially prominent in, and holding a week-end soiree, for other fetish lovers from numerous countries, and where his specially attired and trained team of trafficked women is the favorite to win the featured race. It further is reported that one of the Green Bay captives is a member of this team. So Cale’s objective becomes first to rescue the girl and another of the green Bay women also reportedly there. Simultaneously with these activities, Colonel Tazeki “Taz” Mabutu, the head of the Liberian National Police with whom Cale tangled so nearly disastrously in Liberia is moving further on the attack of Cale and those close to him for wrongs he unknowingly performed against the colonel. It seems that Taz also is an extremely highly placed African voodoo priest, a botono or master of all loa, especially the petro loa or dark gods. As such, it is believed Taz can possess another person’s body turning them into a zombie slave to do the botomo’s bidding as well as perform other dastardly effects. The abundant action is concentrated first on the attempt to rescue the girls followed by Taz’s strange and gruesome voodoo activity with Cale’s love, her clairvoyant sister and Cale’s long-time partner heavily involved.

Discussion: This third volume follows the high octane activity established and carried through the first two volumes and again should be sufficient to satisfy the suspenseful thriller devotee. Regrettably, for this reader and perhaps unfortunately for other more pragmatic individuals, several features have lessened appreciation of this series. The supportive procedural police work presented in the first volume was gradually replaced by less credible activity in volume two and this volume seems but an extension of the same with final concentration on the occult. Granted, the action still is intense and to reiterate no doubt manages to retain this element sufficiently to satisfy devotees, although these individuals now must also lean heavily toward tales of the occult for their satisfaction.

3* 4*for continued action; 3* or less for reasons described.

A Place to Stay Forever

A Place to Stay Forever ISBN: 9780228809944 Tellwell Talent copyright and written by Mark L. Lloyd.

After finishing this book, this reviewer finds himself in a remarkably unusual position of attempting to present an intelligible description of a plot to prospective readers. A prologue depicts a man ruminating on facing death at the age of 22 years with an opening statement “You must be bold to face certain death by a god you hold no love towards. Twenty-two years old, twenty-two years old, my time living any longer in this realm is now at a close. The magic which grants me a glimpse at God’s real potential, only to snatch it from my gaze using the cold hands of death.” Twenty-one chapters follow as this individual mostly is ignored until quite late when he experiences a biological love that is worth giving up the unusual state of eternal life that is being thrust upon him and many inhabitants of the small area in which he resides. He does not speak the necessary word at the prescribed time to bring the affair to fruition. And the Epilogue describes his death as occurring as a result of his breaking the rules of the society into which he has been thrust. Between these ‘Book Ends’ the reader is presented with philosophical meanderings with respect to immortality in general and the meaning of life.

Discussion: If the prospective reader enjoys philosophical ruminations following a rather vague pattern, the book will be for you. Regrettably for this reader the progression was somewhat difficult to follow, there was considerable redundancy and a degree of confusion. However if the story is begun, it did offer enough of interest to urge one on in an attempt to see exactly where the story was headed.

3* For the devotee of philosophy; rating explained above.