Edward G. Brown’s The Time Bandit Solution

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mr. Brown takes us into the idea of saving time. Not by telling us to get more organized, though that always helps, but by utilizing a technique he calls time-locking. Who would have thought that the basic “Quiet Time,” so many of us are familiar with, could be so important?

Story Telling: This is a good way to explain anything. Mr. Brown includes bullet points, charts, and a clever chapter naming scheme.

Likes: I like how Mr. Brown used himself as an example of how his ideas can and will work. Nothing like being an example of your ideas, especially since that proves that you truly believe in your policy.

Dislikes: I didn’t care much for the scripted sales pitch idea. There has to be a way to inform someone you need time to think without reading or memorizing a script. But then again, some people might need this aide. Other than that, there were a few things that I didn’t understand, but as they don’t work for me now, I have time to gain that understanding.

Favorite Scene: My favorite parts of this book were the Spanish and Irish sales people’s points about business meetings.

Conclusion: This is a very helpful book. One that will benefit most if they can let go of the idea of “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

Chris Reardon’s Breaking Rules

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Overview: What happens when someone, who is used to getting away with some serious crimes, decides to teach a couple a good lesson? If that someone is the teenage witch Salina, trouble for both the couple and her.

Story Telling: I’ve never read a present-tense book before, though I have heard of them. The only other one I know of is “The Hunger Games,” and that was a first-person present. This is a third-person present. Interesting idea.

Likes: The idea of another realm, one very much like ours but with magic, was interesting. That world’s laws, and prejudices were well put down. Kenny and Trish were well fleshed out, as well as was Salina.

Dislikes: I didn’t care much for Salina’s attitude. She might have tried to fix things, but she lied so often I don’t trust anything she has said.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part I the book was when Max broke at the kitchen table. It was perfect.

Conclusion: While I don’t care much for the present-tense writing, this story was a good one. I hope you like it.

David Driscoll’s Charlie and Felicity Go Wild

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Driscoll for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Let’s join Charlie and Felicity on their adventures along the river.

Story Telling: This is a simple story. One that just asks the reader to come along for the ride.

Likes: Not every book must be blatant about teaching you. This is one that just asks your children to learn how to enjoy the story. Charlie and Felicity worked well together throughout their adventures. They also held a great attitude during the trip.

Dislikes: There were a couple of things that I didn’t care for in this book. I believe that the illustrations worked against Mr. Driscoll in this instance. And, if an author asks a question in a book, then, to the best of his/her ability, (s)he should answer it.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part had to be the mushroom bounce race.

Conclusion: It’s a good short story. One more suited for a bedtime story.

Erika Knight’s Simple Knitting-A Complete How-to-Knit Workshop with 20 Projects.

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Ms. Knight has taken the time, and twenty projects, to help the novice knitter progress his/her craft into first intermediate, and then on towards mastery.

Story Telling: There is a lot you can learn in these workshop books. They always have their tips, and tricks, even when they aren’t advertising them. She calls them master tips, and they are good ones that is easy to spot. She included a couple of gauge rulers, and a list of abbreviations as well as a list of tools that will make your knitting life easier.

Likes: I like how the patterns include little tips for making the knitting process, and project, both easier as well as unique. And the sample pictures of the stitches were a great benefit.

Dislikes: I don’t have any problems with this book.

Favorite Scene (Pattern): My bookmark is set, and I’m ready to go. I plan on starting with the ‘Two Needle Socks’ first.

Conclusion: This was a fascinating book. One that is helpful to all those new to knitting, as well as a good reminder for those who have been at it for a while, and all those in between.

Dawn Menge’s Queen Vernita Visits Baja Quail-Queen Vernita’s Adventures 6

I received this book courtesy of Ms. Menge for the purpose fair and honest review.

Overview: It’s a new year and Queen Vernita has received an invitation to visit her friends from Baja Quail. Twelve friends in twelve months. This should be fun.

Story Telling: Ms. Menge has aimed for a rather young crowd with this series. The illustrations are amazing. The language used is comfortable blend of simple and challenging.

Likes: This is a great idea. Look at the little old lady. She’s not afraid to learn something new. We also have a good repetition going for the days of the week. The way Ms. Menge snuck information in. Blink, and you’ll learn something.

Dislikes: I really don’t have anything against this book. It was fun.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part was the months where Queen Vernita tried a few new dishes and tried to surf.

Conclusion: This is a terrific little book. One that most children will enjoy.

Dave Stanton’s Speed Metal Blues-A Dan Reno Novel 3

I received this book, courtesy of Mr. Stanton for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Dan Reno is back. Since he is the low man in the South Lake Tahoe private investigator circle, he has decided to renew his bounty hunting license. Just in time to head out for two rapist buddies from New Jersey that have shown up in town. It should be a simple case, but where would the book go if it was? Especially, since one of the dirt-bags has his eye on one of Dan’s friends, or should I say Cody’s?

Story Telling: This was one fast paced novel, and that was before Cody showed up. Then the action didn’t let up once. Mr. Stanton blended a tale of Satanists, gang members, Mafia politics, and more quite well.

Likes: Of course, Cody Gibbons is back with his black and white judgment calls. But the cool thing was the fact that Cody is a daddy. This just begs the question: what’s worse than adrenaline junkie Cody?

Oh, and John Switton. He might have started out as a problem in life, but he made the right choice in my mind.

Dislikes: I didn’t care much for the gang and Mafia politics. That could just be the fact that I don’t like politics period.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part here was the showdown between Loohan, Cody and Dan. It was perfect. Or was that Cody’s celebration?

Conclusion: I enjoyed this novel, though it does leave the question: what will Cody’s daughter be like? I wonder if one of these novels will see her following in Cody’s path.

D.B. Martin’s Patchwork People-The Patchwork People Trilogy Book Two

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Martin for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: It’s just about time for the funeral of the dearly departed Margaret Juste. Lawrence figures that he can figure out how to handle Jaggers with a bit of time. But some odd notes have started showing up signed only as “J.” Who else could it be if not Jaggers? It really gets heated up when Danny disappears, and a woman is found murdered in Lawrence’s house. Who can help Lawrence now? Margaret, I guess. Wonder how she’s going to do that one, since she is dead.

Story Telling: Mrs. Martin has continued her masterful story of Lawrence Juste, his past, and his attempts to be the kind of man his hero Atticus Finch would be proud of. You can feel his frustration and his anxiety throughout the whole book.

Likes: I enjoyed how Mrs. Martin handled the concerns of incest that was raised in the last novel. What seems to be an unraveling in Lawrence’s life, is more of the piecing together the quilt of truth.

Dislikes: Can we just kill Jaggers yet? Each time I thought that he couldn’t get much worse, he does something to prove me wrong.

Favorite Scene: My favorite parts in this part of the trilogy would be when Lawrence is talking to his attorney. Or when we figure out where Danny is. Or how about when we figure out who Danny is? Oh, I know. It’s when we find out who J is and Lawrence and J have their meetings.

Conclusion: It’s a great novel. I hope that I can get a hold of the final book in the trilogy, just so I can find out what happens to Jaggers. I just have to see him get his comeuppance.

Mark DeGasperi’s The Lazarus Experiment

I received this book courtesy of Mr. DeGasperi for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Dr. Jonathan Kelton has quite a problem. There was an accident in his lab the year prior to the beginning of our story here. His actual memories end around two years prior. Here’s the problem. Around the week of his accident, a student–and maybe something more–of his was murdered. Dr. Kelton doesn’t want to catch her killer really; he just wants to know what happened at the time of her murder and his accident.

Story Telling: Oh boy. Be ready when you read this one. I don’t usually like an unreliable narrator, but this is the first time I didn’t feel lied to. The reader is left confused because Jonathan has no memories for a two year span, and he’s the one we follow, hence the confusion. Between the small flashes of insight (or maybe memory sparks) he gets and the climax, it paints a clear picture of what happened. If you feel too confused, just remember that was Mr. DeGasperi’s intention.

Likes: You have to admire Jonathan when it comes to his search for the truth. And he was very determined to find it.

Dislikes: I had a problem with Oskar Rose’s great experiment. It seemed like dr. Rose wasn’t considering the effects that the implementation of his experiment would have on people’s mental states.

Favorite Scene: This is going to be simple. I believe, no matter how painful it is, that everyone does better with the truth. At least Jonathan found it.

Conclusion: It’s not bad for a crossover novel. Some of the science used was a bit difficult to follow, but the murder mystery part was fun. I hope you enjoy it.

Holly Webb’s Rose and the Magician’s Mask-Rose 3

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Overview: After helping to solve a kidnapping case with her master Mr. Fountain, Rose is looking forward to the holidays. Of course it would be easier if anyone knew where the kidnappers went. Oh, it turns out that they stole a valuable magical item from the Royal Palace as well. What’s the apprentice to the Chief Magical Counselor to the Treasury to do? Find the mask, what else?

Likes: I liked how Rose seemed to have a place of sanctuary in Mr. Fountain’s home. As well it seemed to be a place where you couldn’t count on the fact that ordinary meant, well, ordinary.

Dislikes: I didn’t care for the caste-like system that magic holds in this world. Children are born with it, it usually comes out by the time they reach ten years of age, and the stronger families are notorious for inbreeding or cross-breeding into other magical families. There really is no chance for the average person to be given a chance to learn these skills.

Favorite Scene: I guess it would be when Miss Fells saved her cousin’s life by knitting a strand of his daughter’s hair.

Conclusion: If you like the ‘Harry Potter’ series, you might like this one.

Dave Stanton’s Dying For the Highlife-A Dan Reno Novel 2

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Stanton for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Dan is back. After the events in “Stateline,” he has moved to Lake Tahoe. He has a nice little cabin, and a few odd jobs help make ends meet, at least between his private investigator jobs. Then, one day the stepmother to one of Dan’s high school classmates comes by to hire him. Turns out that Jimmy Homestead has just won the lottery, and Shelia isn’t the only one looking to cash in.

Story Telling: Mr. Stanton has done a great job referring back to “Stateline.” This is how a second novel in a series should work. Mr. Stanton has included just enough information to remind you of what has already happened, but not enough to spoil the first story if you’ve started the series late.

Likes: I rather liked Lou Calgaretti and John Homestead. Lou seemed to be the straight arrow here; he was willing to go only so far to get the information his client needed. And John seemed different from most of those who were searching for Jimmy.

Dislikes: One of my biggest problems here was how Dan as shifted over to the brawny side of the investigation. Lou was cool and all, but he just almost overtook Dan as the focus of the story.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part was when Cody decided to get the photos that Dan needed. It was such a compromising situation, for the subjects of the photos anyhow.

Conclusion. While I might have re-written the ending, I found this a great addition to Mr. Stanton’s Dan Reno series.