Selfless by David Michael Slater


SELFLESS

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2009

Selfless by David Michael Slater

David Michael Slater: Selfless

Publisher: Abbey &Co.

ISBN:0781888842562

The definition of a person who is selfless is one that puts the welfare and interests of others before their own needs and wants. But, how does this fit in with this unique and poignant book about a totally dysfunctional family with members who are so outlandish you begin to wonder how they all managed to live together even for a day. This brings me to my review of David Michael Slater’s book Selfless.

As the story begins we meet Jonathan Schwarz and his three friends who are up to the usual games boys age 12 and 13 play. However, Jonathan’s two sisters are rather unusual and lure both boys up to their rooms for some more adult like fun that is totally inappropriate for them to be engaging in, but nonetheless quite comical in its outcome.

Nadia the older of the two sisters has a fixation with the bizarre, the occult and behaves in a fashion that is bold, outrageous and odd. Olivia the younger sister is into porn and does not hesitate to show off her adult apparel to Jonathan’s two friends.

However, this is just part of the unusual and definitely non-conventional family that this young boy belongs to. His mother Deana is greats ads for an advertising company. Her ads are totally over the top and often offensive to their intended audience. Michael, his father is a writer and has no use for the Judaism, its customs, beliefs or anything affiliated with organized religion. Yet, we learn that he is secretly meeting with an orthodox Rabbi at all hours of the night and has his own private agenda dealing with these issues and more. Add to that two grandparents that survived the Holocaust but are not exactly your typical overprotective and overbearing grandparents, but who have their own quirks, beliefs and odd ways of acting in with family and company, and you have a novel filled with many layers, many themes and different characters who appear to be anything but Selfless.

The author uses a unique technique of writing to draw the reader into the world of this family and their lives. Each character seems self -absorbed in fulfilling their own wants and needs divorced from those of their family members.Most authors use italic print to relate facts that happened in the past bringing the reader the events that occurred before in order to understand the present. But, David Michael Slater uses italic print to let the reader know that the events being read are really happening in the mind of Jonathan and that these thoughts and ideas are what he wished could have happened.

As you learn more about this family an unsettlingly reality comes to light and the lies that were left hidden in their pasts will not come to the forefront and ruin the future but forever change their lives. Deena learns upon the death of her father the harsh reality of the torment her father endured before and after her birth and the truth behind who she really is and is not. Added to that Michael, her husband left to find himself in Israel and possibly convert to become an orthodox Jew even though his beliefs were much farther away. Why this was happening you would have to read to understand the reasoning behind his actions and more.

Getting a SOS to come home while at a party with his friends, Jonathan learns that someone has accused his father of stealing the manuscripts for all of his books and not really being the author. At the beginning of the novel Jonathan finds a picture or as he calls it a doodle and proceeds to make a replica of the drawing. Not thinking that this drawing had anything to do with his father’s writing until much later on when his mother received an anonymous letter in her mailbox claiming that the four books were written by someone else and after destroying her entire family room coming across the exact drawing that related the event that was written in the mysterious letter. The picture was of a wreckage of a boat and linked to an accident related in this letter that changed would change the way he looked at his father forever. But, the secret behind these manuscripts and the truth about wrote them and why will shock you and will not be revealed until you read the last chapter and turn the last page.

Throughout the book the author refers to his illness and seeing his father and thinking that he was visiting him while recovering. Traveling in his mind to many places in search of the truth. The reality of what really happened you will have to learn by reading the book.

All they wanted was to be loved and accepted for who they were. Nadia, with serious problems divorced herself from her family and pretended she did not need them. Olivia wanted to be something she was not. Jonathan just wanted to be accepted and loved and wanted to emulate his father by being a writer. A father who tried to find his true identity in order to be a better father, husband and help others do the same.

Lies and deceptions often come back and smack you right in the face. His grandmother had her own secrets of how she really escaped the gas chambers. A mother who felt she was to blame for not allowing her son to have a religious education. Family and friends thought Jonathan understood the complexities of the world and had the ability to listen and help others solve their problems and not ever complain about his. What are the truths and what really is the fate of all of these characters you will be astounded to find out.

It is about trust, love and four friends that had their ups and downs in school and in their own relationships. It is about Cory, Jake, Milo and Jonathan who are four friends, each with their own family problems and hardships. Finding yourself and who you are does not come easy. But, true friends that are there for you throughout the good time and bad and a family are priceless.

Jonathan spent his life trying to please everyone but himself. His father just wanted to find who he was. His mother sacrificed a lot to be the person he wanted her to be and lost some of who she really was.

There are different degrees of Selflessness. Someone who thinks about the wants and needs of others fits this definition. Read this outstanding, thought provoking and mind-stimulating book and you decide whether all of these characters are in someway Selfless or none.

POSTED BY FRANIFASHIONISTA AT 11:43 AM 0 COMMENTS Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)

FOLLOWERS

BLOG ARCHIVE

ABOUT ME

FRANIFASHIONISTA
I taught in the NYC school all of my life as a reading and writing consultant and staff developer. I loved helping the teachers, new and seasoned with developing meaningful and interesting lessons that would keep their students highly motivated and enthusiastic about what they are learning. I have published 2 children’s books which are on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com as well as many other online sites. The first is My Name is Bertha and the second is Bertha Speaks Out. If you have ever had a weight problem or have gotten picked on by bullies in school you and your children need to read how Bertha handles these situations in a positive and funny way.

VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE

Advertisements

25 years ago today by Stacy Juba


Twenty- Five Years Ago Today

Author: Stacy Juba

Publisher: Mainly Murder Press

ISBNN: 978-0-615-29011.

Newspaper reporters are supposed to do research and print information in their articles that is not only factual but accurate too. But, that is not always the case when looking to increase readership and sales of the paper. All too often when murder is involved the reporters use tactics involving sensationalism, invasion of privacy of the families of the victims and more in order to get their story on page one of their paper and possibly a banner headline. This brings me to my review of Twenty-Five Years Ago Today by Stacy Juba.

Starting a job as an editorial assistant, Kris Langley learns more than just the inner workings of a local newspaper as the story enfolds. Writing obits, wedding announcements, and compiling events to write in her column,”25 Years Ago Today,” she stumbles upon an unsolved murder that occurred 25 years ago and decides to launch her own private investigation and find the killer. The Fremont Daily News is the paper that hired her and Diana Ferguson is   young cocktail waitress who was murdered 25 years ago and from the information she finds reading the microfilm on the case she is determined to find justice for Diana and bring closure for her family. But, what she is about to find out will haunt not only the reader but bring up memories from the past that haunt Kris and might destroy her future.

Haunting Kris is the senseless murder of her cousin Nicole Jordan who was killed 14 years ago and whose murderer was brought to justice, but Kris blames herself for what happened and her nightmares about the incident and more are what drives her to try and solve the Diana’s murder.

Diana Ferguson was an artist who loved to paint pictures about Greek and Roman mythology. She even painted one of Pandora’s jar, not box. The picture depicts Pandora opening the jar and all of the evils and plagues of the world poured out, except HOPE. She was able to reclose the lid and keep HOPE safely inside. Which is one of the reasons Kris was determined to find out who killed her and at the same time prove herself as an investigative reporter.

Kris’s sister and mother are both doctors and feel that working in news and reporting it is beneath her and pays poorly. They put her down every chance they get and try to convince her that her life would have been better doing something else.

But, using her intuition, intelligence and creative ideas, our author paints a different picture of Kris and lets the reader know that she is definitely a force to be reckoned with and will stop at nothing to find the answers she seeks. With the help of Diana’s mother, sister, and nephew she learns a lot about the night she was killed and more about those who might be guilty. But, at what expense and at who’s?

Her boss Dexter, the managing editor Jacqueline are at definite odds and although Dexter is a great editor, she is trying to force him out and so is everyone else on staff at the paper. But why?

Getting close to Diana’s nephew Eric, who opposed her every step of the way at first, they venture into Diana’s world and soon have a list of suspects to interview and suspect. Two ex-boyfriends, one ex-boss and one jealous wife who was in the same History Club and classmate, several others who claimed that she had a reputation for dating too many men and more, lead Kris and Eric on a quest that take them back to ancient Rome and Greece and the key to the answers they need.

With the help of Diana’s college professor Kris learns about the History Club she belonged to and the many cultures that influenced Diana’s paintings. Diana Ferguson painted many pictures based on many of the myths in both Greek and Roman mythology. Many of her paintings were inspired by these myths of gods whose lives were filled with human agony, as hers must have been and no one knew. But there a more secrets to unfold based on her paintings and the link between Kris’s obsession to solve this murder and to come to grips with what happened to her cousin Nicole in order to start living her life without her feelings of guilt.

The events that unfold will astound the reader and cause Kris to come face to face with a murderer and possibly destroy the world she is trying to build a family’s hope for justice too. But, sometimes the best intentions are misunderstood and the managing editor of her paper decides that she is detrimental and what happens next is not only unfair but also vengeful.

Threats to her life and phone calls to call off her investigation spur Kris and Eric on in order to find out who this murderer is and the reasons behind the killing. All too often what is evident is right in front of us and we wear blinders in order to hide the truth and not let the light in from the sun to illuminate what we need to see. Kris’s father, her mother and sister live in their own world of what they feel life and reality is. Her sister, Holly in a career she was programmed by her mother to enter. Kris, strong willed and determined to find her own way but guilt-ridden over the death of her cousin which she blames on herself and will not discuss or share with anyone.

Finding out the truth and admitting it are often the same things. Kris finally bears her to Eric about what really happened the day Nicole died. Then, she finally blurts it out to her mother and sister who still remain judgmental and the rift between then gets wider. Not wanting to give up on the Diana Ferguson case she delves deeper into the meaning of a painting that she had done before she dies and realizes the connection to the mythical Furies and their beliefs.  What link do the beliefs of these avenging goddesses have to do with the real murderer? What do Diana’s studying and painting of Greek and Roman mythology have to do with the surprise ending? You will have to read this well crafted, well-researched and outstanding first novel of the newest mystery writer on the block, Stacy Juba.  To the great mystery writers of the 21st century, make room for the author of this great book.

One mistake can forever change the destiny of two people and the lives of a family forever. What really happened to Diana and who was responsible? I will not reveal the twists, turns, lies and deceptions that the reader will have to figure out for him/herself to learn the true identity of what really happened 25 years ago to Diana. Is lady justice served for Diana? You decide for yourself.

Do you know where you were 25 years ago? Look back and find out you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find out or not.

A PictureBook on the Wall: Memoir


A PICTUREBOOK ON THE Wall: Memoir

Author: Elaine Margolis

ISBN: 9781934938102

Publisher: Bascom Hill Publishing

I can hear the music of Uncle George’s violin fill the air as he played on the back porch of the author’s small apartment in Chicago. You can hear the sound of her Aunt Bernice’s piano playing in the living room while everyone sat and listened. You could feel the sadness in a little girl’s heart because she felt unnoticed and afraid. You can picture her hiding behind the grand piano in the living room and hide from everyone entering her own imaginary world and hearing the sounds of her family and hoping not to be found or noticed. This brings me to my review of A PICTUREBOOK ON THE WALL: A MEMOIR by Elaine Margolis.

The novel opens with Elaine’s parents discussing the stock market crash of 1929 and the effect the downed economy would have on their family and her life. Family members lost not only their jobs but also their homes and all too often had to move into crowded spaces in order to have a roof over their heads. Moving in with family was not uncommon during this time and Elaine loved having her Uncles and Aunts live with her and her family even though it meant sacrificing many things along the way. The caring and nurturing she received from her uncle’s and aunt’s is what sustained her as a young child.

An over protective mother who wanted to choose what she wore, who she played with and control her every activity and more, caused Elaine to have outbursts that were often uncontrollable at a young age. Going to the country and learning to fish with her Uncle Jack allowed her to enjoy some type of freedom away from her mother who thought she knew what was best for her and everyone else in her family. It was what she thought that was right that mattered. She left no room for discussion.

An invisible plastic wrapped around her making her feel unnoticed and different from everyone else is how she describes the way she viewed herself. Enclosed in this plastic with nothing able to penetrate it.  She immersed herself in reading and living in her own imaginary world filled with paper dolls and books that allowed her to feel empowered and free of the constraints put upon her by her mother.

A barrier between her, and her brother and a mother who was dominant, chose her friends and programmed her life and her brother’s throughout their childhood years. A father who was steeped in work and was not able to show any opposition to what her mother expected from her children or him.

But, for Elaine things changed in High School and her plan and her goal to become involved in journalism took shape. Meeting new friends and trying to fit in is not always the answer for everyone. Finding yourself and who you are is hard when there are many obstacles in your way and breaking the barriers that tie your hands might seem insurmountable at first, but for Elaine it would be her salvation and a whole new life once she succeeded in implementing her plan and finding a whole new life away from her family.

From the first page of this book I could not stop reading and learning about the life of such a remarkable and interesting woman. Living through the depression, World War II and learning many lessons in life are not that unfamiliar to many of us, but are so poignantly described in this memoir and awakens the reader to the many struggles that people faced and that are not uncommon and faced by young people today.

With her life savings and her strong will Elaine moved to New York hoping to embark on a career in journalism and be away from the control of her mother. Set during a time period where women stayed home and rarely ventured into the working world, Elaine began not only building a more positive life for herself but took control of her choices and dissolved that invisible plastic wrap that she felt enveloped her entire being and became her own person.

Getting a job at a bride’s magazine and then for Winner Comics she learned much about publishing but even more about the prejudices of people living in New York. So much like her father who was afraid to get involved and voice his opinion in opposition to her mother’s ideals and thoughts, Elaine develops her own voice and soon the world knows that she exists as a professional and a person who can stand on her own. Her time at Winner Comics was fruitful and enlightening but short-lived.

As you read this book you feel that you are going along on this journey of the author’s life and you feel a part of it. You can hear her mother’s voice of disapproval; you can feel the sadness of a young child who feels invisible and unsure of herself, and her destiny.

My grandfather sold apples on a street corner to make a living for his five children and his wife when he came here from Poland. The picture of her grandfather with his wagon reminded me of how hard it was for people during the depression to make a living and how proud her grandfather must have been to sell his wares from his Smoke and Chew wagon as my grandfather was to sell apples on a street corner.

When you walk through a storm you might get pushed and tossed and blown away and never see the light of the sun. Elaine Margolis’s life reminds me of a tumultuous storm with many breaks in the clouds that finally let to a beautiful rainbow of life and colors at the end.

There are many lessons in life that can be learned from reading this amazing and heartfelt memoir of a woman whose voice was silent and hidden behind the grand piano of her living room with her drawings, pictures and paper dolls and finally came into the light.  Thank you for sharing your life and your memoir with the world and I am honored to have had the privilege to review this wonderful must read book.

Tangled Minds by Yvonne Mason


Tangled Minds By Yvonne Mason

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Teenage prostitution, drugs, murder, small town cover ups and more are only part of the tangled webs that have been so craftily intertwined in this novel by the mistress of mystery, murder and mayhem Yvonne Mason. Throughout this novel we are introduced to characters whose decisions are poorly thought out, whose ideals and values are twisted and convoluted and his morals sink to the lowest depth of an ocean floor.

Brianna Van Pelt feels that she has been dealt a bad hand. According to her it is the world’s fault that she got pregnant and 17 and got stuck with a child. It is her parent’s fault that she lost her freedom to party hardy and go out with her friends because they felt she had to own up to her responsibilities as a parent. Not according to this self-centered and thoughtless teenager.

Wanting to get a job, her own place to live and be on her own, Brianna is angry with her parents for not understanding her points of view when she wants to spend time with her friends and they refuse to babysit her son Josh. Josh becomes the innocent victim of a poor and heartless mother who decides she hates this precious child and will care for him but with a cold heart.

Finding a job for this beautiful young lady was easy, the where and the what would forever ruin her life and hopefully teach teenagers and young adults that there are consequences for your actions and using poor judgment. Sometimes there is no turning back.

Leaving her son in a closed car with a small crack in the window, Brianna meet with the owner of a restaurant in order to get a job waitressing. Unfortunately for her, the child starts to cry and the next thing she knows she is arrested for endangering the life of her child. Instead of appreciating all of the help she receives from her parents and the social worker, she uses a key phrase that seems to become the mantra of each of the characters in the book: It’s not my fault. It is the fault of my parents or someone else. Never taking ownership of her mistakes, Brianna enters a world that would soon envelope her in mind, spirit and body with consequences so catastrophic that they will forever scar her in more ways than one.

Working in the restaurant for a man who is cruel and sleazy, she becomes involved with another, Ken Morgan who entices her into the world of prostitution and all the fancy luxuries he can bestow on her as long as she follows the rules and makes the clients happy.

But, this life was short lived and she and her friend Amber soon learn the other side of this profession and have to run for their lives in order to survive.

Added to this a young child who is sent from pillar to post and constantly in the care of other people, you have the formula for failure and more. Josh, who had the potential to be a good kid, also feels that it is the fault of the world for his fate, as the book opens and we meet him at 17 years of age in jail for murder.

Her employer and pimp, Ken Morgan, fulfilling the sexual desires of judges and those who await her services, bedazzle Brianna with wealth and money and more, we learn that there are many desperate and sick men out there that want to fulfill their wildest fantasies and will pay any amount for them.

The author is familiar with the inside workings of the legal system and she clearly explains and helps the reader to understand just how difficult it is to prosecute and arrest drug dealers, prostitutes and more when dealing with small town law enforcement and corrupt judges.

Learning the hard way she runs to the mountains and is kept safe there by a group of mountain people who protect their own and make sure that Brianna and Josh are taken care of. The Holt family is into making and selling moonshine, wild behaviors, keeping their secrets and justifying when they commit murders.

Within this story we meet Ms. Amy the woman that cares and loves Josh and protects him as a young child and whom he wanted to remain with when his mother had to flee and only took him with her out of necessity and not love.

Hannah Holt represented the only grandmother figure that Josh knew and upon her death his entire character changed and as his mother’s did and they become too cold-hearted and unfeeling people caught up in their own tangled and twisted minds whose knots are so intertwined they might never form a straight and single smooth line.

But, life is not always what it is cracked up to be and you need to find your own way even in a world that seems against you. Making excuses for yourself and going down the wrong path is easy and what some people do when they are afraid of standing tall and learning that success comes with hard work. But, Josh watches how his mother destroyed herself, how she succumbed to a life of hard knocks and desolation, decides to leave and follow his own path of destruction and more.

Michael, Josh and Louis rob and kill Louis uncle for money and rob Ms. Elmira Jones of her diamond rings. This is the straw that will break all three and forever change their lives. Winding up in jail but protected by a judge in their town, we can only hope that the police department of these small towns will win out and teach these boys a lesson in life they won’t ever forget and maybe learn from.

But, learning from their mistakes was not what happened. Brianna spent her entire life blaming her parents and Josh for what she endured in her life. Blaming Benny, the boy’s father and Bredlove and anyone else that she could for her own mistakes instead of taking ownership of them and moving forward.

Anger and hate are terrible and can eat away at the core of your being as they did to not only Brianna, Josh. Mack and Louis.

With the tenacity and persistence of a bloodhound and the perseverance and diligence he could muster, Captain Beck of Georgia, CSI Trip and Detective Askew managed to do the impossible, break the case and thwart the efforts of a corrupt judge to make the entire matter go away.

Children are our most precious diamonds and they deserve a change to have love, understanding and nurturing. Although Josh was able to finally reunite with Ms. Amy and heard her words before being taken away to prison, he never quite accepted the fact that it was his fault and he was responsible for his actions and he now had to pay for his crime.

Without the love or a parent it is hard for children to live life and understand that are special and worth something. Working with children who had learning disabilities was what I am proud to say I did for over 36 years in the NYC Public School system. I encountered many like Josh many like Mack and fortunately not too many that were like Louis. But, the one thing I will say is that the author has it right when she states in the Afterword of this book that many times people do not understand children that need that extra bit of understanding and love. All too often when children act out in public they parent is blamed and wrongly accused of misconduct toward the child. All of us learn at a different pace and all of us learn discipline in many different ways. But, what everyone needs and what Josh and Brianna never did is LOVE. The last line of this book gives up hope that maybe by seeing Ms. Amy and listening to her words that this mother and son might yet be saved.

Stop saying it is not your fault and learn from your mistakes and you will be ten steps ahead. Yelling at children and physical discipline is wrong. Coming from a home where my parents never yelled or inflicted physical punishment to any one of us, myself, my sister or my brother, I can honestly say that explaining, talking and patience works better. I never blamed anyone for my errors and I know I have made some too. But, I will say it is no one’s fault but my own that I love this book and it should be on the shelves of every high school, college, parent and teenager’s shelf to learn the harsh realities that face you when you say: IT IS NOT MY FAULT.

I give this book FIVE NEW STARTS FOR JOSH AND FIVE I AM TO BLAME FOR BOTH JOSH AND BRIANNA   AND TWO UNTANGLED MINDS WITH RENEWED LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

The Voice of Anton Bouchard


The Voice of Anton Bouchard and other Stories

By Brian L Porter reviewed by Fran Lewis

Brian L. Porter has put together stories in this book titled The Voice of Anton Bouchard which will not only keep the reader transfixed and spellbound and not able to stop reading until the last page of the last story, but wanting him to write a sequel for each one. No one tells a story or writes like the master: Brian L. Porter

The Voice of Anton Bouchard

My name is Anton Bouchard and I have a story to tell all of you lab rats that think you are above me and will capture me for doing my important work. I am truly the master of murder, mutilation and butchery. Jack the Ripper; you are a novice compared to me. In your time you might have created a stir and really frightened the residence of White Chapel, but what I did in Paris, France makes your work pale in comparison.

Everyone knew where you might strike and who your targets were going to be. As far as the world is concerned I earned my name as The Butcher Beast and my mutilations were better crafted and planned out. But, the reasons behind my killings stem from the death of my beautiful wife, Felicite who dies of a terrible disease that distorted her body and gradually turned her body as the author puts it into nothing more than shapeless pulp. As a result I began hearing a voice that urged me and summoned me to do the work I was destined to do and rid the world of useless and senseless women that needed to be eliminated from society.

I stumped the police, the coroner and the entire police department and more. Much was speculated that I might be a doctor, an intelligent man with obsessive-compulsive disorder and personal knowledge of the victim. I carefully choose my victim, find out where they will be at a specific time and place and then wait and bide my time before I strike without any warning. The results you will have to read for yourself if you can without turning your head away from the words because you are too much of a wimp to read about what I have done.

But, that is not the end of the story. The voice was heard in my head but the unforeseen happened. First, I was never found out or brought to justice, at least not the justice you would have inflicted on me. God has a strange way of teaching people lessons in life that they really do not deserve to learn. Such is what happened to me as a result of an accident that left me in a difficult state to continue on.

What finally happens to Anton Bouchard, and who he really was, what did he do in life and why, you will have to read this story to find out. Moreover, you better hope that I don’t recover completely and come back and continue my work.

Signed: Anton Bouchard

Red Sky in the Morning

Imagine what would happen if a powerful asteroid hit the Earth without any warning? Imagine that this was not an act of terrorism but the result of something far more devastating, a natural occurrence in a far away corner of space.

Imagine being in a nuclear submarine under the polar ice cap. What would happen if the ocean turned red hot and boiled over? The captain of the ship raised his periscope and saw a red tinge on the surface. Their communications destroyed with their home base they began wondering what had occurred. With the sky bright red and the world looking like its on fire, the captain of the ship would not quite believe what happened next. After the HMS Bedlington disappeared below the ice cap on her top-secret exercises, various space observatories on the surface were alerted to the fact that three asteroids were heading to Earth and there was nothing that could stop them. As the asteroids approached Earth, what people would have thought an act of terrorism nuclear war or worse was really an act of mass destruction but not caused by a human. The end result was the annihilation of much of our planet and the list of survivors minimal. The Captain of this ship does detect a slight signal coming from somewhere and heads in its direction to find the survivors. What will the fate of the world be? Will this submarine be able to find any survivors or is it too late for everyone? You need to read this story because we need to prepare for such an event and maybe our scientists need to look deeper into the sky before it turns Red in the Morning!

Breathing to Death

Mirror mirror on the wall who is the most perfect of us all: Well, according to our killer you will soon find out!

Mirror mirror on the wall that which does not deserve to live and is imperfect should be eliminated: You will see

Imperfections and physical illnesses are weaknesses and people who have them should not be allowed to exist. Poor Sally Mitchell and Melanie Blane had two strikes against them and  paid for them with their lives.

Sally had asthma and Melanie had a heart problem. Both tried to stay fit and went to the Arcadia Club to work out and keep healthy. Both had the same trainer and both were found dead wearing the same grotesque makeup that their respective boyfriends stated to the police they would never buy no less wear. So, why were they found dead in their apartments? What could these two have done? Melanie was a high-powered executive with a multi-national company and Sally worked for a small advertising company. Why would anyone want them dead?

Detective Chief Inspector Blake and Sergeant Ramage were called along with the coroner Sam Morris to find out who was responsible. Their quest for justice led them in many directions all pointing to someone working at the Arcadia Club. Both women worked out with the same fitness coach and both women were dead. But, the killer was not quite done yet. This person had one more victim who might not make it and die at the hand of this sick person.

What happens next will surprise the reader and make you wonder just how safe it is to workout at a gym and how safe you are when walking the treadmill?

The Sound of Silence

Sarah Durham was driving for three hours and made one wrong turn that would forever change her life. Her car went out of control. It crashed and left her pinned under it and very badly hurt.

Unconscious for a long time, when she finally opens her eyes she is startled by the figure looming above her. A young man, with white hair, yellow teeth and a strange countenance that would frighten anyone when you see him or look into his red eyes.

Trying to communicate with him was difficult and nearly impossible. Lifting her off of the ground she was helpless and could do nothing. Thinking that he was a vampire and would drain her of her blood frightened her even more. But appearances are not always what they seem and all too often we judge people on their outer shells and that can lead to wrong answers and misconceptions.

When Sarah wakes up she finds herself in a convent and the Sisters and their doctors nurse her wounds and back to health. She tells the Sister about this man only to see him standing behind the nun who readily explains who he is and how he came to be at the convent. 

Sarah looked straight at him and apologized for her wrong thoughts and realized she was looking into the eyes of her savior and had the Sister explain that to Ion who felt pleased especially when she hugged him and gave him a soft kiss.

Sarah learned a lesson that day that we all need to remember. You need to accept people for who they are on the inside and look past their physical appearances before making a judgment. What happens next you will have to read for yourself. Lessons in life are learned and many are more valuable than others. Just ask Sarah and the Sisters of the Convent and of course Ion. Is he really vampire? Only Brian Porter would know for sure and he is not telling.

Bodies in the Cellar

Carston Manor: what lurks beneath its austere walls and intimidating veneer. Called on a dark and stormy night to investigate what fate befell 2 bodies in the deep, dank and gloomy cellar, Inspector Tolland enters this mansion so reminiscent of that of Count Dracula you would think he would come out of a hidden coffin or passageway to greet the visitor.

Greeting him at the door is the butler who immediately ushers him into the house and toward the cellar where the victims lie. Asking if he needed assistance or wanted to refresh himself first, Inspector Tolland ventures down into this dark cellar to see what befalls him and exactly where the bodies are and what kind of disposal is required.

That’s all I am going to tell the reader. Who the bodies belonged to and who this Inspector really is you will have to read this story whose ending has a strange twist.

Megalith

A Megalith is a very large stone used in various prehistoric architectures or monumental styles, mainly in Western Europe during the second millennium B.C. What would you do if you woke up one morning and you found this type of stonehenge structure in the middle of your city or country?

Architects in Haifa, Damascus and the entire world are trying to figure out how and why these stone structures appeared and why are they seemed to be emanating a humming sound. Countries throughout the world set up a worldwide video link to discuss this and hopefully figure out the source and reason behind the appearance of these stones.

Of course here in America the ridiculous happened and many speculated that aliens sent these structures  or it was as an act of God.

Before allowing the army to launch a rocket or missile at this thing, the President decided to wait and see what would happen next. Throughout Europe, Asia and the entire world these Megaliths appeared out of nowhere yet appeared harmless.

In Haifa  Rachel Silverman and her team of scientists and archeologists met with world scientists to discuss the origin of these Megaliths and what needed to be done about them. Scientists speculated, discussed, theorized and worked as a team to discuss the possible effects of what these things might do in the future. The amazing thing was that all of these people forgot their hostilities and differences and bonded as a team, working together to solve a world issue. The more Megaliths that appeared the more the bond among nations in the Earth grew and it seemed as if the imminent danger to the world brought closeness among the nations on Earth to and look, as the author states, ”beyond its own insignificant boundaries,” and break down the walls that divide us. The reason these things turned up and appeared out of nowhere you will have to read for yourself. No matter how or why they only proved that people could work together for the greater good. Maybe we need some here too.

An Alien Abduction

Hallucination or alien abduction: Read the facts and you decide:

Six women  went to bed at night and were awakened by a bright light and a cold feeling that washed over their bodies. They could feel a presence in their rooms but did not see their physical appearances. All woke up in the park without any clothes on and did not remember where they were taken or what had happened to them. All 6 are now in a psychiatric facility and being treated.

All released from the facility after Dr. Sabra and his assistant Melika examined them and treated them. All six after leaving the facility found out that they were pregnant and never attributed their pregnancy to the supposed abduction. All 6 were strangers to each other and lived in different places and saw different doctors. How odd that they were all pregnant. How odd that they all experienced the same thing and did not remember.

We now move to the future many years beyond this incident. The time is 2296 and science has advanced to the point where they can create a whole new generation of people that will grow and respond to genetic modification and be programmed to do whatever the scientists want them to. It sounds like the people of planet KG644 where this is happening will be the unsuspecting victim of scientific research and experimentation.

On a planet designated  KG644 six women screamed and each had a beautiful child. Hallucination or Alien invasion. You decide when you read this bone-chilling story.

Preview: Under Mexican Skies

Sophia Morales an archeologist and her small team of students were on an excavation when the unthinkable happened.  A plane crashed above the site causing a massive explosion and it appeared that someone might have tried to bomb them and ruin what was to be a day that would forever change her life and those that worked with her. As the team began to assess the damage and leave the cave another explosion occurred and trapped Sophia inside while her students managed to get out. All but one survived the explosion and now the team had to tell her husband Captain Juan Morales that she might have been killed when the tunnel roof collapsed.

Her husband of only 6 months comes to the crash site and refuses to believe that she is gone and when she appears all covered in ash that is when the real mystery and the story begins. Sending those that are hurt to the hospital Sophia insists that her husband and her student Osvaldo Ruiz reenter the tunnel in to show them the amazing discovery she unearthed as a result of this untimely explosion.

Underneath all of that ash and deep inside the cave is a hidden treasure. One that could forever change the fate of all of the people in Mexico or the world if not protected, guarded and transported to their National Museum to be kept on display and under lock and key.

What did they find? A Tomb: inside possibly the sarcophagus of someone referred to as the Dream King who ruled the Dream People a Mesoamerican Legend. What does this mean and why do they need to guard this treasure? There is a jaguar, an altar and the cape of Teayo which the legends states yields great power and the person who possess this cape can wield power over the minds of men through their dreams. What happens and who owned the plane and how does that fit into the finding of this treasure you will have to wait and read the entire novel and see what else author Brian L. Porter has in store for those Under Mexican Skies.

I never give stars for a book:

I give this book

5 sequels: One for each story and one more to find out the ending to Under Mexican Skies

Fran Lewis: reviewer

Financial Ruin: Private and Public Encryption Keys: What Does It Mean: Fatal Encryption by Debra Purdy Kong


Fatal Encryption by Debra Purdy Kong

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

There are many ways that corporations and even the FBI and CIA hide information from the public to insure our safety. But, there are many hackers or as the more dangerous are called crackers who can decipher and break the codes or infiltrate the information to attack our country or destroy a company with one stroke on a computer keyboard.

Encryption means you make the files unreadable and no one can access them unless they have an encryption key. The files will stay encrypted until they are unencrypted and allow the company to do business with them unless the hackers find a way to permanently place a lock on them. This is not only true of financial records information imparted through any communication system. How frightening!

This brings me to my review of a mind stimulating and important novel, Fatal Encryption by Debra Purdy Kong. With the world as it is today and so many countries including our own having to worry about too much information being imparted over the airwaves and to the public, this novel definitely gives us pause for thought and much contemplation. How can we protect our financial institutions and our businesses from hackers? Are their private encryption keys that are so powerful that no one can get into them or decrypt the messages that are being sent? After you read this novel you decide just how safe we are and what you think needs to be done to make sure that what might happen in this novel does not happen to you.

To what lengths would someone go to ruin a company? Why would anyone want to ruin McKinley’s Department Stores? How can a hacker or cracker as they call them get into the financial records of a company’s financial computer system and delete them? How can this same person manage to encrypt the files and then unencrypted them until they decide to permanently delete them? Who is blackmailing and threatening the McKinley’s for 10 million dollars if they want their system to be up and operational? Someone wants to permanently encrypt the store’s data and burn it to the ground if they do not receive this money? There are so many suspects and so many that want to derail the company, the owners and many who work for them. Just who? I won’t tell.

Enter Alex Bellamy computer system analyst and main character of this novel. His job is to find out who the hacker is and possibly find out who killed Zachary Ternoway and why. Practical jokes and pranks played by this person, emails that change the numbers on accounts and files and more will keep Alex busy and possibly away embroiled in something quite dangerous. But the suspect’s mount up and time is running short and the end result would be catastrophic if the key to encryption key is not found. But who has it and how will he get in time will keep you guessing until the very end.

The activity of converting from plain text to a code is what this person is doing to the financial files and records of this company. In designing security systems, it is wise to assume that the details of the cryptographic algorithm are already available to the attacker.  The cryptographic system can use two different keys. One is the public key, which is known to everyone. The other key is the private or secret key known only to the person receiving the message. When someone sends a message to person A, person B uses person A’s public key to encrypt the message. Then person A who receives the message uses his/her private key to decrypt. The public and private keys are related in such a way that only the public and private keys are related in such a way that only this public key can be used to encrypt messages the private key uses to decrypt it. Having this proper key will enable you to unscramble the message according a formula or algorithm so that it can be read. It, But, having a key that is the right one is not easy and is often difficult to find.

This is the dilemma facing our main character Alex Bellamy and his assistant Tristan.  Hired to do the impossible they  have 2 weeks to find out who the hacker or cracker is that is manipulating the files and controlling the financial records of this company before they are totally encrypted or locked on December 1st.  With the company’s owners fighting to see who will take charge after the death of their father, and a sister who is trying to keep everything in place it will be difficult for Alex and his team to uncover the mystery behind this and more. Added to the mix is the murder of a man whose brother was fired from this company and both are noted drug abusers.

There are many who would profit from this happening. The heads of the company have many secrets of their own. One is liquidating his assets and having an affair with his executive assistant. He is using these funds to go into another business. His sister, has decided to resign from the business and pursue other interests but not until she finds out with the help of her latest boyfriend and Alex who is behind the threatening letters to the company, the corruption and the emails. But, that is not going to be easy for Alex, Tristan and many of the others to uncover.

A controller, named Oscar with his own private agenda. A security guard with a vendetta against the owners, Lena his girlfriend who is more of a gossip and liability than trustworthy and an ex-girlfriend who appears to be on his side and wants to help. So many players and so many more that it is difficult for Alex to know who to trust, including the owners.

Zachary is killed as the story opens. His brother Max, who was planning to extort ten million dollars from the company and he told him not to do it. A security guard who was angry because he was not promoted and decided to take the store’s emails with the financial data and make sure the numbers changed when the recipient opens them.

Alex is up to his neck in suspects and people with motives to want to take this company down. With so little time he enlists the help of Lucas one of the former analysts, who claims he might have the right encryption algorithm and he claims he is putting together a program to help crack it, or is he?

Relating the murder of Zachary and later that of Carl who changed the passwords on all of the company’s computers, the list of suspects grows and the link between the financial problems at McKinley’s seems to intertwine. With one owner who wants to sell off some of the stores and another who wants to expand the end result will definitely astound the reader. Max and his partner threatened to set fire to the Vancouver store if he does not get the 10 million dollars.

Murder, arson, extortion, blackmail, deceit and distrust and more face Alex and Tristan and hamper their investigation into who wants to permanently encrypt these files and destroy these stores. No one is safe, Alex, Tristan and Elizabeth targeted by the arsonist. The executive assistant having an affair with Winston the owner is attacked and the danger is not over for anyone.

The systems analyst, Graydon and his wife Celeste, in on the plot from the beginning and the extortion along with Max trying to ruin the McKinley’s each with their own motive and reason. Graydon pretending to want to help but in reality having the answers to what Alex needed to solve the case and save the company. Just how each player fits in and what part each plays you will have to read for yourself.

How all the pieces of this encrypted puzzle are finally decrypted and read you will have to read this thought provoking page turner. What does an observant child see from her room on Halloween night help put the pieces in place? Not until the last chapter and the very last few pages will you understand and learn the motive behind the fires, the murders and might  cause a company to fall victim to a Fatal Encryption and more.

Well- written and suspenseful thriller that leaves the reader waiting for a sequel to this great novel and hoping to see what happens next to Alex and Tristan. I never give stars to great novels and I won’t give stars to this one either. I give this author Five Public and Five Private Encryption Keys to help Alex solve any computer problems he might face in the future.

Dream Catcher by author Yvonne Mason: The story of Stan: A truly remarkable young man who believed in himself


Dream Catcher by Yvonne Mason

A story of triumph, love, persistence, endurance and more

There is no such thing as a child who cannot learn. There is no reason why anyone should be shunned or considered an outcast because he or she is challenged academically or in any other way. But, for a child to succeed he or she needs the support, guidance and love of a family. In this story you will meet a remarkable and unique family who not only proved the unimaginable and the unthinkable about a special young man, but engaged the help and love of friends too. Born with a serious illness, Yvonne Mason’s brother Stan proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he was going to show the world that he is here and that he will definitely succeed.

Not able to speak, not able to walk, and not able to do the things that other kids could do at first, he taught himself how to maneuver and crawl when faced with a challenge before the age of one. Born with 2 clubfeet and faced with wearing heavy plaster casts on his feet, Stan, Yvonne’s brother learned to overcome this and managed to move around. But, that is not all, with the help of his brother Barry, sister Yvonne and lots of friends and cousins he managed to learn to walk, take care of his own physical needs, attend school, graduate High School, help play practical jokes with his sister and cousins, take a bus to his Work Training Program and much more. But, what he had to learn after all of this is not much different from what we had to learn: Lessons of Life and Lessons of bigotry and prejudice not only toward people of different color or races but toward people who are different. Stan learned that not everyone is who he or she appears to be. Stan soon learns people can be cruel and underhanded. People take advantage of you when they think you are less knowledgeable than them. This holds for everyone, not just Stan.

His love of bowling, the first time he went to an Atlanta Braves game and his courage to forge ahead against all adversity makes you wonder why young people today give up so fast and try and take the easy way out.

Stan is truly a person to be admired. Nominated for the Toby Nobis award, which recognizes business, and employees who are challenged helped to give him a sense of pride but to his family too. Although he did not win this did not deter him. This was a man who was not supposed to be able “to do the simple things in life. How amazing the brain works,” as the author puts aptly puts it. Where others would whine and complain when Stan was faced with a problem he would handle it head on.

Flying by himself, dealing with a broken television set and adversity at work, he is truly an inspiration for all those who take defeat so easily and readily. Imagine trying to explain to someone the difference between 9-pin bowling and the regular method. As a bowler I do know the difference and when Yvonne describes the incident where Stan was trying to explain why he and his knew friend Lisa changed to a different bowling alley I remembered my brother trying to teach me to bowl without toppling over and throwing my arm cross alley. This story brought back some great memories. But, some lessons are difficult to learn and this time when Lisa proved herself to be a user and conniver his mother stepped in and thwarted Lisa’s scam. Others do not only learn by those who are challenged but these lessons of life too. You can never be too careful when it comes to lending money to a friend, especially when it appears that money is a primary reason for the friendship.

With their Abbot and Costello routines and their many funny high jinks Yvonne, Stan her mother and her family learned that you could do anything if you want to and don’t ever give up.

Everyone looks up to their parents and wants to emulate or follow in their footsteps. Stan loved his father and spending quality time with him and imitating some of his mannerisms and daily routines cemented their bond even more.

You need to read the last chapter written by Yvonne’s mother and presented at West Georgia for everyone to hear. Yvonne’s mother is truly amazing and someone who did what most mother’s should do but might not have the wherewithal or the stamina to do: SHE WOULD NOT ACCEPT FAILURE AS AN OPTION!

Stan is an example of what people must do in order to be happy. He accepted who he is and what his limitations and capabilities are. He would not blame the world for his problems and accepts people for who they are not bigoted or prejudice or hurtful to anyone.

Stan: I have a nephew that was born deaf. No one knew this until he was about a year old. The doctors told his mother and father he would never stand, sit up, walk, and drive a car or more. Then, he entered Lexington School for the Deaf and his mother and father would not let this diagnosis hamper him. He is now the father of a beautiful little girl and a web designer for a major hotel chain and more. Never give up on who you are. Never think that just because a doctor says it that it is written in stone.

Your influence on others will remain in their hearts and mind just by reading your story now and forever.

You need to read this book and give it to every educator, doctor and parent to know that knowledge if powerful and love and family can help you through anything. Stan’s life is message to all of us that everyone can succeed no matter what if they want to.

This book deserves more than just five stars. Fran Lewis: reviewer