A Perfect Appetizer: Review of The Perfect Crime: An Asher Benson Short Story

What did I think? I thought it was awesome! THE PERFECT CRIME, by Jason Brant, is a short story that occurs between books 1 and 2 of his Asher Benson series. Asher was just as witty and tough in this short as he was in ASH. The cool thing about this short is that it is told totally from the point of view of the bad guy, a lowlife creep named Andrew. And the ending took me by surprise! What I loved most about this story is that it made me laugh out loud. What I disliked? Absolutely nothing! THE PERFECT CRIME was a perfect appetizer for MADNESS, book 2 of the series, which I am about to start reading right now!
Check out this book on Goodreads: The Perfect Crime: An Asher Benson Short Story https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23622005-the-perfect-crime 

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A Fun, Feel-Good Read (Review of THE PLAYER’S OPTION by K.L. BRADY)

Ty Ellen Baker and Chris “C.J.” Jamison are sports agents on a collision course. They each have a client who has threatened to jump to the other agent and Ty and Chris know this. And they both have serious flaws which hamper their business. Maybe their meeting at the Combines in Indianapolis is fate at work. The only thing is, when they meet, they only know each other as Just Ellen and Just Chris. Having never met as Ty and C.J. before, they have no clue at first that the other is a threat. Will they connect? What happens when truth springs and two wolves learn that they’re hunting the same piece of meat?

This was a fun, feel good novel. Written with wit and charm. Sprinkled with comedy here and there. There are two POVs: Ty and Chris. This is cool; however, the author at times rehashed entire events that I’d read in one POV in the next. The characters were well fleshed, real, and flawed. As crazy as it sounds, flawed characters are good. A character that has all the answers is not only boring to me, but unrealistic. The only thing I disliked about the novel is that the author “told” instead of “showed” in a few scenes–told me how a character felt instead of illustrating it through action, facial expression or dialogue. But this was only minor to me.

A major theme of the book is the dynamic of competition and completion. For example, in the novel (won’t say where) there’s this guy (won’t give name) who was jealous of his lady’s success. How shallow! Man, my wife’s successes are mine as well. The more money I make, the more money she makes. When she wins, we win. There is no competition. Only Completion! How can we complement each other so we both get what we need?

If you’re looking for a fun, feel good novel that is written with wit and charm, check out K.L. Brady’s THE PLAYER’S OPTION. There’s also a great life lesson there. Fiction–from the times of the Parables to now–still one of the best formats for learning life lessons.

For more info on K.L. Brady’s books, check out http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/K-L-Brady/76764023 

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Come On Book Two! My Review of RENAISSANCE (THE NORA WHITE STORY) by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Nora White is a recent high school graduate searching for herself, trying to find her voice. A seed looking for the right environment. It’s not the family farm, not the acres that provide food and establish ownership. It’s not the South, with its stench of slavery and racism. It has to be Harlem, New York. It has to be the Mecca, where blacks have finally arrived, right? Only there, in that environment, will Nora find her voice. Because she wants to write. Be mentioned among the likes of Langston and Zora Neal. So she flees the South for greener grasses. Leaves her mother and father’s good graces. She essentially runs away from home, from her family, and maybe even from herself. Will she find good soil and break ground? Or will she just end up breaking her parents’ hearts?

The first thing that drew me to this novel was its beautiful cover. A deep blue sky fading into a sunset which bakes an old country road golden brown. After reading the description and the first few pages, I was hooked by elegant prose and alliteration (e.g. “knew the mind of a mule”). I enjoyed the use of personification, when the author says that the sun was an overseer. The plot moved quickly but did jump around a bit from relative past to relative present. However, the author clearly notes this movement. So it assists the reader.

There’s a  little mystery, which I love. What was it about Nora’s mother, Molly White? What family secret was always at the tip of the tongue? I enjoyed the way that mystery kept peeking out at you. To me, that tugs at the reader. Keeps him and her intrigued.

The characters were well developed and memorable. You’ll love Nora’s father, Gideon AKA Dee Dee, because he’s ‘bout that life! You’ll hate Ms. Charlotte, because she’s eccentric and entitled. There are characters you just aren’t sure about like Lisa, no spoilers. Then there are the famous Harlem Renaissance folks with whom Nora rubs elbows. I won’t tell you who, exactly, but they are some of Harlem’s elites.

Overall, RENAISSANCE is beautifully written, with an ending that will have you craving book two to see what happens next. Come on, Book Two!

For more info about this book and other titles written by Yecheilyah Ysrayl, check out yecheilyahysrayl.com

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On Labor Day, 2001, Dallas Amderson is invited to a cookout by his best friend. The next day, his friend his killed by a car. During the week that follows, Dallas falls in love with his best friend’s sister. On the following Tuesday, they witness the 9/11/01 attacks. And the next morning, Dallas is invited to a Labor Day, 2001 cookout.

Have I told you the entire story for my latest novel THE DARKEST LOOP? Nope! Not even close.

The Darkest Loop Book Blitz is HERE. Sign up for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

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I Loved This Novel!!!

My Review of Michelle Stimpson’s WHO KILLED MY HUSBAND

I loved this novel! The way Michelle goes from point A to B to C without much flashback, which I’m starting to think drags a story down. I enjoyed the way she built the plot, placed all the pieces of evidence in front of you and had you wondering until the very end who killed Allan Crandall. Was it his wife, Ashley? The man he owes money to? Or someone else? This was a page-turning, bite-size read that sucked me in from the start.

Characters were well developed. Although, at the beginning, I disliked Ashley for seemingly wanting to change Allan’s ways. For trying to be his super-saved savior. I thought initially if this keeps up, I’m not going to be able to finish the book. But Michelle quickly brings out Ashley’s true nature. Yes, she wants Allan to be saved, just as she was recently. But she is still flawed and in need of rescuing herself. Also, I wondered why Ashley would marry a man so different from her. But they weren’t always different. A loss brought her closer to God and she wanted to share that beauty with her husband. Would he ever accept it?

You will enjoy this book if you like quick, exciting and fast-paced reads. Here’s the Goodreads link. Check it out! It’s definitely a good read!

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Fact and Fiction

I write fiction. And fiction isn’t fact. But I still want my writing to be authentic. Especially now that I’m writing historical fiction, writing a novel surrounded by accounts that actually happened. Take for instance one of my favorite historical fiction novels,11/22/63 by Stephen King. In the author notes, King talks about his research: Lee Harvey Oswald; his wife, Marina; his relationship with George de Mohrenschildt; when Oswald came back to Fort Worth from Russia; how long he stayed there before he moved to Dallas. All important. Why? Because I’m sure a history buff is going to read the novel. And a history buff is going to know if Stephen King got those details wrong. Even though it’s fiction, if it isn’t authentic, the reader may put the book down. A writer DOES NOT want the reader to put his or her book down.

In my up and coming novel, THE DARKEST LOOP, I triple-checked several scenes to make sure they were authentic. In one scene, the main character, Dallas, is watching Monday Night Football on September 10th, 2001. Now, I could’ve wrote that he was watching the Cowboys play the Steelers but that’s not who played that night. It was the New York Giants versus the Denver Broncos. Also, there’s a scene where Mike (can’t give away who Mike is) complains about being pulled away from New York when he had baseball tickets. Again, I could’ve wrote that he had tickets to see the Yankees play the Mets—the Subway Series. But during 9/3/01 through 9/11/01 (the dates that are looped in the book) the Yankees didn’t play the Mets. They played the Red Sox and they did so at home. Another important point. Thus, I dare not write that Mike was watching that game in Boston. Even though I’m writing fiction, I have to get my facts straight. Because I never want the reader to put my book down.

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Leadership Lessons: My Review of OMARI AND THE PEOPLE

I don’t quite remember how I came across this novel. Don’t remember if I saw it in the Amazon ad emails and the cover struck me. Don’t recall if I was searching for something and it came up in the search. Perhaps the reason I can’t remember how I found the book is because I didn’t find it. I believe it found me. The novel was definitely entertaining. But it was much more. It was edifying. It had loads of lessons about leadership. And that is why I believe I was drawn to it. That’s also why I gave it a roaring and resounding five stars.

Omari is a thief. A Good one at that. So good that he was able to amass a large amount of wealth. But his estranged wife ratted him out and with his back against the wall, he decided to burn his house down. But he ends up burning down the entire city. This act starts a whirlwind adventure that includes salvation and starvation, war and feasting, love and deception. We see Umal, the Old Mother, who transforms over the course of the novel, showing us just how mysterious she is. We meet Umbarak, the uneasy at first but soon fast friend. We meet the sneaky Bin Aswad, a classic villain who stays the course through the journey, providing inner turmoil. And what would any story be without love interest? Saba Khan, appears as the apple of Omari’s eye. But perhaps also the poisonous apple that would lead to his destruction. Omari transforms from thief to chief, leading a people through an unforgiving and oddly alive desert, to a destination they’re unsure of. And isn’t that just like life and leadership? Big tasks. Lots of characters. Adversity. But how do you perform in the midst of it all? What types of decisions do you make when people are counting on you? How do you lead people you dislike, in the spirit of fairness and not selfishness? These are the challenges that Omari faced. I found myself turning the pages and finding nuggets within them to make me a better man and leader.

I loved the novel overall but wished at times that less detail was given. The reader gets details about side actions I thought were unnecessary and caused drags in some spots. Other than that, the novel was outstanding. I’m glad I found it. Check that. I’m glad it found me.

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