Forget me not

 

Forget Me Not by Marie Sibbons

A sub-title, “Two missing women; Fifty years One house holds the key” appears on the cover. It opens immediately with a Prologue. There is no ISBN or similar indication of the usual copyright material or publisher and is assumed to have been published by the author named on the cover as well as copyright and written by the referenced author. The book opens with a Prologue followed by PART ONE with Chapter one beginning “4th January 1995 Christine shuffled her feet to keep warm as she stood shivering in the doorway.” The tale continues following her and best friend Judy who has a teaching position as a nearby university. Their relationship appears to have risen because of a mutual need for housing at the lowest possible level plus the fact that both are graduates of the British system of providing for young children who have been orphaned. The rooms they acquire are in one of a few strange old mansions in an almost totally deserted section of Glasgow, Scotland. The landlord is a married man who lives in a part of the building until moving out and only to return monthly to collect the rent. The two young women find themselves as the only tenants in this ancient house that appears to be haunted. Several other characters are introduced as the story begins to recall the period of the Nazi bombings interchanging with those of the present. PART TWO ultimately is presented in the last few chapters to present a solution to the mysteries that gradually have been sketched out in the sizable number of chapters that have composed the first part if the book.

Discussion: Regrettably from this reader’s perspective, this is an enigmatic story that defies assignment of any specific number of stars. The overall tale is interesting, but must be read by one willing to persist through a considerable quantity of confusing material peopled by characters that never are ‘fleshed out’. The plot is slow to develop and the ‘haunting’ seems a somewhat forced inclusion for other than perhaps a few readers. But then, my impression is from that of one without any knowledge of the British system of dealing with orphans. Readers acquainted with such matters would be far better qualified to follow much of the action and thought patterns of the protagonists. From this perspective, the author’s book probably would appear to be far more suitable for other than some readers who exist within a so-called American market.

2* Possibly ranging to 4* for certain readers.

Something Found: A coin

Something Found: A Coin, published copyright and written by Troy Aaron Ratliff.

The reader is introduced to Todd Freeman, a middle-aged man who leaves Ohio to drive down to Key West, Florida where he establishes a studio. He is a good artist selling enough paintings to support himself and his studio. He is recognized by the locals for this, but also as a ‘Good Samaritan’. When Todd is not painting, he loves to roam the beaches with a top-of-the-line metal detector. He finds a lot of odd metal, and a considerable number of small coins and an occasional piece of value. And this is the reason for presenting him with a humanitarian award. Rather than gaining money for the valuable piece found, this “Selfless Scavenger” attempts to find and return the item to the rightful owner. As the story advances, we discover more about Todd’s early developed talent, marriage and arrival of a son that required a better income than that available for a new and unknown artist. Apparently he has other talents as well, which develop into the type of success every one associates with the American Dream. However, this purportedly idyllic life is destroyed by a catastrophic event that has led him to his journey to find solace in his original love of art and the success he has achieved within the last three years. However, once again fate intervenes when he discovers a most unusual penny with his metal detector and he is forced to flee for his life. He is saved with help from a number of strange individuals he does not know and begins a search for the answer to a long existent and well known mystery that has plagued an area of the Atlantic Ocean for many years, a unique and deadly problem that extensive scientific investigation has not been able to solve.

Discussion: the author has offered a most fascinating introduction to another possible answer to this strange phenomenon that has plagued scientists along with everyone else for many years. For this reviewer, the writing contains unnecessarily long descriptions of the trip, terrain, et al of the trip to and from Miami to Key West, but apologetically this may result from personal familiarity. Overall, the author has provided a fascinating opening book to what could be entrée to series exploring an intriguing addition to those proposals already set forth.

5* First of trilogy proposing cause of long standing phenomenon.

 

 

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage ISBN: 9780985370282, published, copyright and written by Susan Cory.

This is the 4th volume in the Iris Reid Mystery Series, a series that employs the world of architectural design for its plot. The protagonist, Iris Reid has discovered a source of deep love and committed to living with Luc Cormier, an excellent chief whose restaurant had gained sufficient recognition to be considered for the acclaimed James Beard Award for culinary arts attainment. The restaurant kitchen and dining room conveniently occupied the entire ground floor of an old place in Cambridge, Massachusetts that was available at a very affordable price. She had completely redesigned the building in this manner and utilized the entire 2nd floor to install their living quarters along with an office for her architectural activities. In continuing work in her own area of expertise, Iris began redesigning an old abandoned building for Ash, a very talented young artist who had been able to purchase it because ‘the price was right’. All is progressing nicely until a series of totally unexpected ‘happenings’ begin. A huge fire of suspicious origin destroys a portion of the young artist’s building and is followed by another at an abandoned well on the property that contains bones of a human that police are able to identify. As the building’s owner, he immediately becomes the main suspect until later on Ash, the young artist himself, is the victim of a gun shot from a passing vehicle. These developments tie in with other events already set forth and an almost unbelievably convoluted and interwoven tale of betrayal, deceit, treachery, self-preservation, lost and/or misplaced love all are combined to present a mystery for which further details would only serve as a disservice to a prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has introduced, at least for this reader, a new and unique area for a mystery tale. As a well-qualified and actively engaged architect, she has successfully endowed her protagonist with the same abilities and set forth a mystery that involves many emotions. Unfortunately I have not read the previously written books in the series and must say that most credibly, this volume can very easily stand completely on its own, providing a tale mystery lovers will not want to put down.

5* Most unusual mystery/suspense/love story readers should love.

Cycladic Girls

Cycladic Girls ISBN: 9781735123004 first published by Aegis Press copyright and written by Patrick Garner.

Sub-titled Celebrities, Deities, Love & Power; Greek Gods in the Modern World, this second book in a series (first, The Winnowing) states that the characters are not based on living persons. Rather, only the gods and goddesses are real. An author’s note explains that it is a ‘stand-alone’ volume but readers would find references to events in the first to appear frequently here in the second. For example here, Jackson Night is the story’s narrator and is an individual Lachesis, one of the three Fates who control life spans of mortals and gods alike made him a-mortal; e.g. he, like the gods, will live forever but is not immortal as are the gods, including his wife Danaë, who is a demi-God, daughter of the god of the seas, Poseidon and his human wife. The tale, as related by Jackson, follows the progress of Timessa, a nymph protected by Artemis (Apollo’s sister) who, feeling ‘controlled’ decides to leave and gradually evolves into what they know as ‘The Great One, Ishtar of Babylon and many other names. She preceded all of the other gods by perhaps a millennium and was the most powerful of all. She could bring fertility and she could kill by atomizing and scattering her selection to the winds.

The story follows her life as it emerges from her move as one of Artemis’ nymphs as she moves to the modern world where she attends college and enters a modern day life style. She has a spectacular type of beauty that draws her to modelling where she becomes an almost immediate sensation. As time passes, calls for her from all of the top designers become highly competitive, the fashion magazines pay top dollar for her shoots and she becomes an immensely wealthy worldwide sensation, attracts an almost cult-like following of girls and young women, revives the Ancient sacrifices, relabeling as Observances for pack of followers to be performed at the time of the girls’ period so that the shedding of blood was performed as a tribute to her, a gift they could bestow for those provided by her. The story’s breadth expands as more of the old Greek gods are re-awakened from their more than millennium of sleep and how this, along with Timessa’s discovery of Iole, an obscure French fashion designer, affects Timessa’s need for adulation that had mounted to the level described.

Discussion: The Series author might be thought of as somewhat of a Renaissance man in the breadth of his personal activities. He is a man with several degrees, a poet, playwright who also has established a theater, and author but also is involved as a wetlands scientist and hydrologist. His characters and ancient gods are fascinating and, as described in the author’s notes from the first book in the series, their “Sexual hunger, hubris, infatuation – these emanating combined with divine intellect drive the Winnowing’s key characters” and are carried over into this second in the series. Description of the old gods is supplied to the reader as a most helpful addition. It is suggested that reading the first book in the series will avoid a bit of ‘spinning of one’s wheels’ if beginning this volume.

4* 5* tale; -1 for struggle described if not beginning with the series’ first book.

Inherent Greed

Inherent Greed ISBN: 9781734436167 Authoraide Publications, copyright and written by Carney Vaughan.

The author opens with a synopsis of the story that explains a man by the name of Cameron Parmentor “a self-swerving, cunning, cold-blooded adult, matures with eyes upon a career in Australian federal politics” and describes the manner in which he achieves his desired position. It further introduces two police officers who are captured on film exchanging a large amount of cash in a situation deemed to be corrupt. One of them disappears and the other, Jack Penrose, is cashiered from the force with only his word to verify that is was in return for a debt owed to him. A battered housewife neighbor to whom he is kind is the only one who believes him but then both are declared murders when her husband is killed. The story follows their attempts to evade capture and brings into the tale a large number of other characters that play important roles leading to a most interesting and unexpected climax.

Discussion: This is an account of a sociopathic killer that begins slowly but gradually evolves into a circuitous trail of events that are unraveled only by the tenacity of a woman journalist of sorts along with help from her husband, a retired detective, the disgraced policeman and a couple of Parmentor’s heavily affected victims.

5* Absorbing tale mystery readers will not want to put down.

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind ISBN: 9781999279479 Pearson Press, copyright and written by Alex Neumann, MSc.

The author’s intent has been to provide a strategy that will lead individuals plagued with anxiety, self-hate and/or lack of confidence to a position of success and happiness. His thoughts and suggestions are set forth in ten chapters and a conclusion. He begins by discussing diversity in general terms and provides examples of individuals who are taught how to control a perilous situation such as a Maasai boy or Khoisan children and follows with other famous persons including famous sports figures, such as Michael Jordan who had made numerous mistakes early in his career that he overcame with perseverance; Albert Einstein who was labeled as not too bright as a child, as was Sir Isaac Newton; Statesmen such as Winston Churchill, and music composer Beethoven. Also included are an author by the name of Richard Bach and his interesting story of a huge number of repetitive rejections through which he persevered finally to publish the book in 1970 that sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone. The narrative continues and with succeeding chapters provides more complete stories of additional well-known individuals who conquered monumental odds to attain true success. The discussion additionally explains the difference between “market successes” and “true (inner) success” and how pursuit of the former can trample attainment of the latter. Again he illustrates with an example. This time with that of a simple fisherman who was confronted by a Harvard MBA who explained how he could grow his business and become wealthy before retiring when he then could do whatever he wished to do – something which the fisherman knew was exactly what he was doing The author’s discussion extends to stress how “marketing success” and what it is doing to the world, its forests, oil, water and its people is an “illusion success” rather than the “real success” that lies within. He further admonishes “Demagoguery is the new norm. Fascists, Nazis, racists, chauvinists, sexual harassers and other such dehumanizing malfeasants have been planted into the highest offices, albeit in disguise.” “Has our society lost its value?” and describes how marketing education is driven by the premium on labor that is based on “market” not “real” success. Instead you should play the game to enjoy. Love what you are doing to attain true success which is composed of four factors: compassionate service to others, a life fully lived, an achieved vision and eternal joy. Often you need to take risks, but if you fail, learn from your mistakes and attack the problem again. Originality often is lost by the time education has been finished. It is necessary to stop whining and start thriving. He describes further a time-frame within intent as being the critical ingredients that may be required to unwind mentally from entanglements in the matters that are causing the grief. He prescribes repeatedly the need to persevere and to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Discussion: The author has set forth a prescription for success that has been presented by many CEOs and entrepreneurs in numerous areas of endeavor. However, he has specifically targeted the individual plagued with anxiety, self-hate and/or lack of confidence. Here, he has suggested steps that such a person can, and actually must take to rid themselves of this overburdening weight that such persons carry. A weight that affects every part of the body both mental as well as physical. His thoughts, suggestions and advice are set forth in a simple straight forward, albeit repetitive manner that in itself may be helpful to the troubled reader looking for a way out of the morass in which he/she abides. Specifically, at least one of the messages with its different approach set forth with even different examples may provide the spark that is necessary to ignite the fire required ultimately to help the burdened person to throw off the oppressive yoke under which they have been carrying.

5* Advice for the angst-ridden; highly repetitive but helpful from different perspectives.