A Beconing Hellfire

A RECONING HELLFIRE, A Novel of the Civil War, Kindle Edition by JDR Hawkens.

The author has set forth a coming of age tale of a young farm boy in the horribly difficult time of the Civil War between the states. His father has joined the Army of the Confederate States of America and left him to manage the large but somewhat hardscrabble farm in western Alabama with the help of his sisters and mother. Unfortunately, he is killed and the family is informed just before Christmas shortly before the boy’s 18th birthday that was to occur the following year. With a typical display of the bitterness exhibited between residents of the northern and southern states, plus an anxiousness to “get into the action existent in almost all naïve young men, he is determined also to join in the bitter fighting to “gain revenge on the Yankees:” The story unfolds following the young man’s subsequent enlistment and experiences as he becomes one of the many young men involved in the gradual expansion of the deadly hand-to-hand combat of a member of the Southern cavalry fighting under the flamboyant and highly successful J.E.B. Stuart. Unfortunately, he is a rather simple young man and quite naïve whose plight is made worse by his actions immediately before leaving for the army. Fortunately however, he is aided considerably by his lifelong close friend who joins with him and by his unusual horse that has been his close companion for many years actually in a similar fashion as a companion dog in many ways.

Discussion: The author is a well-known and eminently well-qualified individual writing in this area of American literature. Actually seemingly the only woman with this reputation and once again she has provided readers with a well-researched, well-written, mostly poignant story of one series of actions that could have taken place during the conflict. It is a story of the common soldier with only an occasional glance into the lives of the cavaliers and the storied lives lived by the wealthy plantation owners and that from which came the Southern Officers of their military structure. Instead it depicts the farmer, blacksmith, store clerk and others who made up the largest proportion of the soldiers involved in the horrendous conflict. It is not a story for the delicate reader and, as are any descriptions of battle scenes as they truly exist, subject to a goodly amount of repetition or repetitive-like description. However, the informed reader will learn much he/she may not previously have known about the substitute foods and other innovative moves the southerners ‘manufactured’. So in summary, although a poignant tale and largely quite depressing, it is a worthwhile addition to the collection of stories of this great American conflict.

5* thoughtful addition to the American Civil War literature.

The GOLD TRAIN

The Gold Train ISBN: 97817337277, Dos Hermanos Publishing, a Mason and Thorn Western, copyright and written by Larry Richardson and Tom Richardson.

The authors again have embarked upon providing their readers with another in the series following the adventures of their seemingly popular protagonists Mason and Thorn. Thorn is the retired U. S. Marshal for whom Mason worked and he and his wife Amanda are ranchers attempting to save their cattle ranch after another of the devastatingly big freezes that periodically devastate the area ranches. Mason is Thorn’s replacement as U. S. Marshal for the territory and appears to be, along with his wife Grace, in his twenties. The destruction of the huge number of cattle actually proves most helpful for the new Marshal because Thorn is willing to serve as Deputy in the Marshall’s new assignment of seeing the new shipment of gold be safely transferred from Denver to the local area bank. The shipment is close to one million dollars and if this is not enough of a problem. Grace and Amanda want to enter the local auto race as participants for the $10,000 prize money being offered. The manner in which these two plots are developed and intertwined,, along with the skullduggery involved and the new interesting characters introduced form the body of this tale depicting the beginning of a new era of activity in the developing western part of the developing America.

Discussion: The manner in which the authors have presented this fundamentally double plotted story is quite fascinating. Its attendant sub-plots and introduction of characters, as well as handling their activity, is quite appealing. Their stories and reasons largely are credible and create empathy, the pace of the action is good, the interplay of the plots acceptable and the new material presented with respect to this era in the ‘new’ west quite enjoyable. Generally speaking, this is a most enjoyable read for anyone with even a modicum of interest in the early development of the western part of the United States.

5* especially for anyone interested in early Americana.

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is first of a new series, published, copyright and written by Larry Richardson and is a truly entertaining story delivered in the time-honored manner of all of the good ‘story tellers’ of old. It begins with the killing of the wife of Vincent Marshall by the prominent and formerly untouchable Mafia Boss, Santino Giovani’ A spectacular court scene describes the face-off between the two men with subsequent assignment of Giovani to Federal Prison and necessitates Vincent’s assignment to the Witness Protection Program. Meanwhile,  Phil Branson, a rapidly rising General Manager in one of the largest Retirement Living Organizations is offered to leave his highly successful position in Orlando to take over the similar, but foundering organization, in Billings, Montana with the firing of their manager. From this moment a steady mystery thriller begins to develop and expand with a side of possible rising romantic attachment for this man who lost the love of his life shortly after an idyllic relation with this wife. The sub-plots are many and beautifully intermingled as this Retirement Home the Sanctuary had been selected as the scene of the Witness Protection Program; an assassin ‘who never failed had been hired by the Giovani family was closing in on Vincent; pieces of evidence against the former Sanctuary General Manager was playing with the CEO of the General Organization: a dedicated cop was working diligently with Phil in his attempting to gain the required evidence; and the one girl who seemed ready to replace Phil’s lost love suddenly was offered a career choice that would fulfil the dreams of her childhood.

Discussion: The author has set forth a mystery, thriller romance that should appeal to every aficionado of any of these genres as well as those readers who, as stated earlier, enjoy a well-paced, well-characterized, and intermingling of interesting and well-designed plots.

5* Highly recommended

Beyond Balancing the Books

Beyond Balancing the Books by George Marino is provided with a more complete title following several relatively brief, but pertinent “Words of Praise” written by individuals respected as knowledgeable within this area of endeavor: The new entire title, Beyond Balancing the Books Sheer Mindfulness for Professionals in Work and Life, is followed by a rather lengthy disclaimer including (“The information in this book is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians or other healthcare providers” and more…) ISBN: 9781736380208 (e) “Published in conjunction with One Heart Coaching, LLC.” Then in turn, is an invitation to Download Your Bonus Companion Guide to Beyond Balancing the Books which is a nine-page bonus guide to aid you in applying the book’s principles to your daily work life. The following Table of Contents consists of a listing of introspective analyses with respect to work as a CPA and evaluating individual elements of various aspects of personal health gradually moving into Chapter structure with #1 Getting Started with Mindfulness Practice beginning an incorporation of Meditation and other ‘helpers’ to achieve incorporation in its totality so as to find it ‘as not something you do, but rather becomes a way of life you live completely’. It will help you manage stress along with breathing exercises, ability to learn how to recognize your present, how to begin, and steps to follow. to attain the level of relaxation you wish to attain (How to get to the “Deeper Level” experience, you need to focus attention and for this you must choose how you will focus – by visual, auditory or tactile senses.) Also you must develop your Acute Sense Perceptions so you can focus on the present moment and acquire an open awareness- of what is going on in your mind and body. But at the same time be sure it is a not judgmental.

The rest of the ten chapters follow the same path of instruction until a final presentation About the Author and Appendices provide an extensive list of reading for each chapter and bring the book to its conclusion.

Discussion: The author has put together a distinctly different instructional book concentrating on business accounting, accountants, and a projected manner in which they may survive the tensions encountered in its pursuit and enjoy the resulting ‘fruits of their labor’. The unusual opening structuring of the presentation, combined with the trend set forth by the comments made by the opening series of comments and the unusual, specifically directed disclaimer provide the instant recognition of the book’s direction. However, it is not until the reader begins to absorb the author’s message that it is begun to be absorbed. Basically, it is one advocating constant introspective analysis with evaluation of the messages received and incorporation of the better portions discovered while employing “Core components of mindfulness attention and noticing, open awareness, acknowledgement of an acceptance, detachment, conscious choice, and the necessity to create ‘quiet time.’” Often necessitating use of whatever form of meditation the person finds to be effective.

Summary: The author has offered a book that from this reviewer’s perspective is markedly unusual for readers of this area of endeavor. However it deserves far more than a passing glance because of the myriad pertinent ideas the author has set forth from his extensive association with his profession and the many associated activities thereof.

4* 5* for concerned readers and important suggestions for all.  .

Bivrost Nine

 BIVROST NINE is the first in a proposed nine book series described as “an Epic Space Opera adventure (The Bivrost Nine Saga Book One)” Broken Wing Publishing, copyright and written by Andrew Tanner.

The prologue describes in detail the desperate last efforts by super hero woman warrior space pilot to perform her almost impossible ‘last stand’ attack on the attacking Otheran battle ship. Nysse Ann Hazara-Ghazi is successful in providing the last blow necessary when combined with the other successful battle results achieved by Earth’s forces, to make the invaders withdraw. The tale then moves into a period of uneasy peace among the various countries forming this huge intergalactic world in which Earth is a very new component. Nysse now is aboard a flight to her new assignment as a Commander in the uniquely structured ruling section of a small city left “on a chunk of what was left of the continent Bivrost Nine- an expanse of barren, reddish rock along the horizon” of a huge gap overlooking nothing but empty space.

The first chapter of this book opens with Nysse, now after participating in a ‘renewal program that has made this late middle-aged women into a vibrant and completely fit warrior who appears and acts like an individual twenty years younger. A person also particularly qualified because of her many years spent intermingling with the many different inhabitants of this intergalactic mass of diverse individuals.

She is on her way to assume her new position as commander of an outpost that represents a new approach to attempting to bring peace to the many highly diversified with many war-preferring nationalities sharing this outpost thousands of light years from its initiating conception by Earth. Her new team most prominently includes Sam, a person largely rebuilt from what was left of his badly destroyed body and referred to as Cyborgs which is a name, along with others rather distasteful to those involved; a brilliant, but totally unorthodox scientist Winston; then unfortunately assigned from the less favorable possibilities, Ishlaa, an Othren priestess, and her own long-time warrior ‘protector’ Ufthuf who hated humans. The committees’ task is to hammer out a lasting peace among this diverse and seemingly war-preferring intergalactic mixture. And the place in which they have to do it is as described, the small city situated on what is left of a partially destroyed continent sitting on a huge section of rock overlooking nothing but a huge abyss of endless space. The time of the tale’s beginning is only shortly advanced from Earth’s present year and the story is one of constant activity with danger, duplicity, treachery, betrayal and more.
Discussion: The author sub-titles this endeavor “The last hope for peace” and proceeds to present a sci-fi-thriller with undertones of mythology and philosophy from his self -professed position as a simple citizen who supports scientific advancement but finds the amount of authoritative pressure so widely extant to appear to be a little oppressive. Seemingly his beliefs seem quite in common with those expressed by individuals similar to his own background and training. He has served in the military, acquired academic training in one of the large California colleges and supports the concepts set forth by Black Lives Matter and of universal equality. His present endeavors seemingly are to attempt to add his ‘little bit to attempt to better the world from his position as an independent investigative individual who provides written analyses of his findings from his perspective’.  Summarily speaking, the author has produced a first volume of his proposed series that is a fast moving, sci-fi space thriller with interestingly portrayed characters with whom the reader can empathize, in interestingly presented imaginative situations and with a touch of humor. Attempts to impart some bits of philosophy and a tad of mythology additionally are included. The reader will need to decide how well he has accomplished his opening salvo, but if he/she enjoys the trend set by today’s futuristic thinking authors, they no doubt will enjoy this new book/series.

5* as described.

Leviathan Rising

Leviathan Rising A USS Bull Shark Naval Thriller, Book Two, published and copyright by Scott W. Cook and Spindrift Press and written by Scott W. Cook.

The author has set forth a thriller following the engagement of two submarines during the American Japanese hostilities of WWII. The vessels are constructed quite differently from those routinely composing the fleets of these two opponents. Each has been constructed with features providing aid to allow them to provide destruction to the other while on the surface rather than in the usual below surface manner of function. Added are an underling problem between the captain and his executive officer; a prominent member of the crew who is a drug user/dealer; the man’s accomplices, one of who has provided information to the authorities; Japanese and American spies, counter spies and or double agents; all gathered together to determine the condition of the other’s surrendered ship.

Discussion: Not having read the first volume, this is a seemingly plot driven tale with little background of the characters, but an intriguing, fast moving story that presents a most enjoyable few hours of reading.

5* Enjoyable read

Apotheosis Now. Rabbit Hole to the Beyond

 

Apotheosis Now. Rabbit Hole to the Beyond assumed published copyright and written by Yanhao Huang.

Description/Discussion: The author seems to have aspired to set forth another pseudo-philosophical discussion on how to face life and the situations encountered with a basic need to discover “Do you want happiness or success?” He further hypothesizes that the answer is happiness and yet he points out how often, even if success is attained, how often happiness still is missing. Or that a goal reached results in only a short period of happiness and another goal must be obtained. This in turn, leads to a need to question even the basest suggestion that comes to mind and leads to extended introspection. In the author’s beliefs, these appear to be somewhat heavily affected by Asian religious philosophy, but generally lead to attempts to discover who he is? What are his true goals? Is a deity’s inclusion in the mix? And other similar questions.

The reason this particular review opens with a note as to the authors approach to a confusion that seems to be occurring more frequently because it is the 3rd approach to the subject I have read recently, the last just a little more than a week ago. Thus, to render a personal evaluation, as expected from reviewers, this book offers another dissertation on a subject that appears to be of rising interest in today’s reading population. It offers another interesting approach for the confused individual to read, evaluate along with the other approaches offered, and arrive at a decision with which he/she can live.

5* As discussed

Arnolfini Art Mysteries 2

Arnolfini Art Mysteries 2 ISBN: 978190053059 (eBook), an imprint of Digital Vista written by Rich DiSilvio.

The author has set forth for the prospective reader a most interesting series of mysteries ranging from almost priceless pieces of art to prominent architectural structures. The protagonist is a private investigator whose vocation/avocation is to appraise the authenticity of these objects for Museums and other interested individuals/groups who are willing to pay the expenses as well as the fees for which such unique ability is rendered. The first of the investigation the protagonist, Armand Arnolfini, describes in this book is of the authenticity of the long-lost Leonardo daVinci’s “Leda and the Swan” which his father maneuvers him into doing after setting-up Armand’s marriage to Andrea St. John, a young woman he found to be able to replace an irreplaceable wife who he had passed away a few years earlier. The marriage took place in a storied castle in Belgium with a list of attendees that was a list of the elite of the art world. From this initial offering the story travels through a number of other investigations of prominent pieces of art, buildings associated with architect/artists and then to a fascinating tale about the at one time tallest architectural structure in the world, the Woolworth building in the United states.

Discussion: the descriptions provided by the author are replete with details of an opulent manner of life only imagined by most as well as fascinating details of the varied and often serendipitous path these investigations can take. The amount of fiction included within the body of this work only can be judged by how much the reader knows about the art and architectural world and those who participate and/or have participated through the centuries. Definitely a rivet and ‘must read’ for anyone interested in investigations and especially for those having any interest and/or curiosity about art and architecture.

5* Riveting if interested in investigative art and/or architecture.

Song of Eagles

Song of Eagles ISBN: 9780786037568 Pinnacle Books Published, copyright and written by William W. Johnstone.

Once again the author has provided a story about the ‘Old West’ which is labeled fiction largely because so much of the history contains so many questions with respect to activity, characters involved and the frequent requirement of including fictional character(s) to piece together a smooth sequence and/or explain ‘missing parts’ or logical reasons for the action that had occurred. In this case the author has told a tale of the Lincoln County War which was a complicated and bloody affair begun and continued by a basic greed that involved and extended to include, many unscrupulous men and eventually even to split friendships to a deadly degree. It included numerous men well known for various reasons including the infamous William Bonney (Billy the Kid) and his friendship with Pat Garret, the eventually appointed Sheriff of Lincoln County. Additionally, attempting to explain much of this period’s history with respect to the fate of the actual characters such as William Bonney, “Buch Cassidy” and others has been most difficult because of the amount of credible material that provides a different demise than the one reported and accepted at the time.

Discussion/Conclusion: Little material actually can be added to that already set forth in the above description. Many stories of this period are replete with inexplicable facts and/or credible explanations of differences between ‘facts’ accepted at the time and ‘facts’ that emerge in later years. The author has ‘pieced together’ a most enjoyable story of another of these ‘tales of the Old West’.

5* for readers who may not even be Western devotees.

What if one and one is not two?

What if One plus One is not Two? by daniel r. mcmullan

From the very opening the author has provided a rather unusual book. It begins with a pre-pre-introduction “to provide definitions of writing-related words and clarity the “nonstandard” aspects of the format of writing that I will be using to write this book. If you are a human that reads writings in the English language “often”, then I recommend that you skip the pre-introduction, begin reading the introduction and simply refer back to the pre-introduction for writing-related word definitions and writing-format clarifications as needed. His explanation is that he will be providing definitions of many words and sets thereof that he thinks might be defined in a different way that he prefers to use and perhaps a manner that may introduce a ‘different’ manner in which to observe them. He provides examples in detail. These instructive chapters are followed by the main theme of questioning the world on various levels from his perspective of examining the veracity of the premises under which we live and whether they really are correct? Or are we accepting what we believe to be realities when actually they are not based on proven fact? Or do we really wish to live in this manner?

Discussion: The author has set forth a most interesting theme and discussed it from numerous aspects. Admittedly, transition from one’s ‘normal’ way of reading to adoption of the author’s concept takes time and admittedly is cumbersome in many ways as well as ‘over-simplified” in others. Some may well enjoy such seemingly ‘deep’ philosophical discussion, while other, perhaps more pragmatic individuals, will look upon this book with a certain amount of distain. Thus, and understandably, it is a book that probably will be read and assigned a widely ranging level of acceptance.

3* as discussed.