Milt Gross Book Review: "Alert" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
It was the kind of mystery that holds my attention, especially since after while I stop looking for typos. Or I could describe this one as "riveting," which I'm fairly sure means the same thing as "holds my attention." "James Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author. He is largely known for his novels about fictional psychologist Alex Cross, the protagonist of the Alex Cross series. Patterson also wrote the Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, and the Witch and Wizard series.
Nov 22, 2015 - 12:52:42 AM
Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "Raine's Rainbow Socks" by Richard Ditchburn
This short story is very well illustrated, very colorful and it should hold the attention of both the reader/parent and the child. The story is so well-done that it also makes the adult stop and think, about the colors of the rainbow and how to solve problems such as a child might encounter, all the while helping the child to learn how to think for themselves.
Nov 15, 2015 - 2:45:29 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Naked Greed" by Stuart Woods
Theft, murder, or perilous confrontation, I did find the story a bit hard to follow, legs on the cover, Maine, criminal toughs, and all. (Maybe I should have been sitting up instead of lying on the sofa.) Priced $18.31 on Amazon.com for the hardcover, which I read, $13.99 for the Kindle Edition, and $6.13 for "used or new" editions.
Nov 15, 2015 - 2:42:57 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Hellfire Canyon" by Max McCoy
This Max McCoy, book was published by Thorndike Press, Thorndike, ME in 2007 by arrangement with Pinnacle Books, imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp. My copy was a large print hardback with no price. Amazon.com lists this version at $4.79 for the Kindle Edition and the paperback at $39.80. McCoy also wrote more than one Indiana Jones thriller, The Moon Pool by McCoy and Reed McColm, Billy the Kid Beyond the Grave, Jesse, A Novel of Outlaw Jesse James, Damnation Road, Quantrill, The Even More Continuing Adventures of Max Bullet: The Chinese Food Delivery Man Sometimes (but not always) Knocks, and in case you like days farther back than the 1960s western, Indiana Jones and the Dinosaurs, and more.
Nov 8, 2015 - 12:22:47 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough
Parts of it are almost unbelievable, like taking off from sand dunes to fly a few seconds. The pictures in this David McCullough book are also fascinating, seeing these two brothers and others as they fly and live normal lives. If you've only heard the tales of a flight on the shore, you "ain't heard nothing yet." For most interesting reading, grab this one somewhere and take a night off from the TV reruns to enjoy this spectacular tale of two guys who wanted to fly.
Nov 1, 2015 - 4:15:49 AM
Laure McCourt Lopez Book Review: "Ordinary Evil" by Gene Ferraro
Ordinary Evil explores corruption within the established hierarchy of the Catholic Church.. Via a series of vignettes revealing the various characters preparing to converge upon the stage, Ferraro introduces the reader to a host of individuals who are all touched by a common thread. The characters are as varied as the locales they represent; from the pomp and tradition of Rome to the local parishes of Massachusetts come young seminarians, parish families, soup kitchen volunteers, stalwart Vatican diplomats and Catholic clerics of varying personal convictions. Yet it is in the Prologue that we are introduced to one that carries with him seeds of deceit that will be spread along the path of many and will test the trust of those with whom he comes in contact.
Nov 1, 2015 - 4:12:59 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "The Life and Legend of a Polio Victim" by Dr. Cliff Edward Williams
Though his book is short with only seventy-eight pages, one can readily see from all Dr. Williams' awards, diplomas and credentials that this is a man who, when he sets his mind on achieving something, never gives up. Dr. Williams not only had to overcome the fact of being born a child of African descent but of being born in a "southern" state and all the "race and discrimination" that were so prevalent in that time and place. And he also had to deal with being a victim of Polio in that time and place.
Oct 28, 2015 - 7:43:14 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Wonderland by Ace Atkins," who used a manuscript that remained unfinished when the late Robert Parker died
The plot is a typical Parker plot, started by him before his death, with lots of action and some humor. I won't go into it because the plots aren't Parker's strong points. Its all about following the action, as usual, wondering how our hero this time will win over the villains. He does, of course, and ends up in the last scene with long-time girlfriend Susan. "'Together again,' Susan said." That's how the late Parker's books are supposed to end, Spencer, Susan, and Pearl, the dog.
Oct 25, 2015 - 12:03:19 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Motor Mouth" by Janet Evanovich
If you appreciate Evanovich's style, humor and mystery combined in a breath taking tale, grab a copy, sit down in a well-lit room, and enjoy the tale. I won't tell you the story. For that, you'll have to find your own copy, at Amazon.com for $7.99 for the paperback I read and $4.99 for the Kindle version. Or you can buy it in a book store. You can't borrow mine, because I have no idea where I put it after I read it. Somewhere, I'll bet.
Oct 18, 2015 - 7:05:53 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "Calico Jam" by Joanne Greene
This story is not a "feel good" book but it does illustrate how families react to different challenges be they divorce, illegitimate children or human beings just trying to make it in a difficult society and world. This story keeps the reader guessing and I was sincerely impressed with the writer's command of the English language.
Oct 14, 2015 - 8:41:30 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Blaze" by Stephen King and his pen name, Richard Bachman
I learned a lot about Stephen King and his pen name, Richard Bachman, "King dedicated Bachman's early books -- Rage (1977), The Long Walk(1979), Roadwalk (1981), and The Running Man (1982) -- to people close to him. The link between King and his shadow writer was exposed after a Washington, D.C. bookstore clerk, Steve Brown, noted similarities between the writing styles of King and Bachman.
Oct 11, 2015 - 3:25:16 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "To the Sun and Back" by April Awalt
I was so touched by the writer's ability to put her own monumental grief aside in order to complete this heart breaking task. I doubt that many parents, when faced with the loss of a beloved child, could have completed this heartfelt task, but April Awalt has. To the Sun and Back, is a sweet tale of parental love. The author lost her son at age ten to meningitis and wrote the book as a way of healing by reflecting upon the love and bond she shared with him.
Oct 10, 2015 - 8:00:24 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Last Bookaneer" by Matthew Pearl
A well-written story, Buckaneer, one I thoroughly enjoyed and a tale you should read if any of the details of Stevenson's life at all interest you. Bookaneers were those who borrowed or stole book manuscripts before laws protected publishers and printing houses in the early 1900s. It was a fictionalized account of Robert Louis Stevenson's final days on a Pacific Island.
Sep 13, 2015 - 8:20:13 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "You Can Be Lucky Like Me" By Dr. Ron Deigh
Most people facing child abuse and abandonment would have just given up and let life over take them but not this man. He seemed to have an inner strength that others do not have and he learned from it and this intestinal fortitude has served him well, all of his days. Dr. Deigh's accomplishments are many and he has every reason to be proud. He illustrated that always having optimism, luck and determination to reach a given goal, is the best way to get what you want.
Sep 6, 2015 - 4:42:13 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Fear the Silence" by Iain Cameron
The story was good in the latter part of the book. During the first part, I wasn't sure it was a story. But it got better toward the end. In fact, toward the end, it was a good, readable tale. What made it different from the rest of the self-published novels I've read is that this one is British. This means I'm lucky I know what a "boot" is...not footwear but a part of a car. Another problem that hindered this American reader was that the author used too many initials in front of names or documents. What a DC was I never found out.
Sep 6, 2015 - 4:37:30 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Plum Lucky" by Janet Evanovich
Robert Parker and Evanovich are my favorite two writers, both fiction mystery, murder, and mayhem and both with humor tossed into the plot. The difference between the two is that Parker covers Boston, while Evanovich covers California and other warm places like Florida. In this one, there's crime, including kidnapping of Plum's grandmother, Grandma Mazur, as well as the horsey adventures. It's hard to imagine anyone with the courage to kidnap Stephanie's grandma! I can't loan you my copy, as its going back to Searsport's Carver Memorial Library soon.
Aug 30, 2015 - 5:03:12 AM
R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Unseen Tears" by Beau Sides
This book is an easy and quick read with a simple storyline and is full of cultural information and anecdotes. It would not qualify as a 'dramatic tear jerker,' but this fictional story is certainly an excellent vehicle for the author's educational purpose. Some readers may be shocked by some of the things that they will learn from this story, and that is to be expected because westerners naturally view the entire world through their own cultural perspective -- or 'rose colored glasses.' At one point in this story, Anne, the private orphanage director says, "...most foreigners have to be here a long, long time before they can begin to understand." How true that is. And I guess that is why the author has chosen to write the book. Merely quoting facts, figures and statistical information is hardly likely to engage readers with the reality of life in China.
Aug 26, 2015 - 10:30:07 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Dog on It" by Spencer Quinn
Does a writer become better as he writes through several books? Does he hone his skills for a better tale? I've wondered that and still do. But in Dog on It, Spencer Quinn did a better job on his first, this one, than in the one of his I had read earlier, the seventh one of his dog-and-mystery series. But in Dog on It, Quinn did a much better job of combining doggie humor with the actual story. In fact, some of the story featured Chet, the dog in question, with his being the only action and Bernie, the doggie master, not being present for those parts.
Aug 23, 2015 - 7:05:50 AM
M.W. Johnson Review: "Hope for the Nations" by Dr. Tom Holland
This book does not seem to be specifically designed for scholars and theology students. It is not a complicated read. The author's writing and expository style are delightful and illuminating. His presentation on the 'Law' and 'Circumcision' will surely be understood by everyone as will his explanation of the significance of 'Passover' and 'Atonement.' It is my personal belief that most Christians today have, and most Christian Preachers today preach, a poor quality imitation of Christianity. "Hope for the Nations" is not some fresh revelation of Christ but rather the 'meat of the Word of God.' It's purpose is to help the reader UNDERSTAND.
Aug 18, 2015 - 7:27:27 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Wolf in Timber" by John Connolly
The first part of the story was good, a mysterious tiny church in the woods on the outskirts of the town, a mysterious preacher at the church who doesn't preach because there are no services, an evil Police Chief Morland, and a host of Prosperous locals who took in the stealthy goings on that begin the mystery. Maybe I'm just too old and numb to have followed the complicated plot, but I didn't. Parker is the lead character in a series of John Connolly novels, described in a cover page as a "thriller." You may find it really good. I hope so.
Aug 16, 2015 - 8:07:36 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Special Prisoner" by Jim Lehrer
This is an excellent book. The Special Prisoner is a novel, written by a career news journalist on public TV whose long-time job was telling the truth. John Quincy Watson, the lead characters, took part in bombing Japan during World War II. He was captured, when his plane went down, tortured and learned to hate his main torturer. Years later, as a bishop, Watson comes across the torturer by accident in an airport, follows the man to a hotel, and subsequently kills him.
Aug 2, 2015 - 7:12:07 AM
M. Stevens-David Book Review: "The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes" by H.R. Jakes
This book "The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes," told by her son "H.R. Jakes" was very interesting to say the least. The book itself is not an "easy" read but the reader will learn a lot from what was written. Elaine Jakes lived in the eccentric community of New Hope, Penn., and in the 1970s and 1980s set out to discover her Welsh heritage, herself, and her God.
Jul 29, 2015 - 4:43:14 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Taking" by Dean Koontz
My impression of The Taking is that the story keeps repeating itself, the lead characters go to different places where the same gooey critters show up. This continues for most of the book, when, presto, the sun is out and the critters are gone. I've read a number of Koontz's books (for example Intensity which I reviewed in December 2012), but this one did not make the grade.
Jul 26, 2015 - 8:54:45 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "A World War I Adventure" by a group of the main character's relatives (The House of Harkness)
From the hype in the book, the story should have been about Harkness' chores for the British -- he was from Australia -- during the First World War. But what I found were apparently unedited (unless for spelling) page after page of the fighter's journal, including only a minor part, of interesting reading. I found the wartime stories credible, but I'm not sure I would use the word "adventures" to describe them. The parts about the early aircraft, seeming to be somewhat like a modern day Piper Cub or a bit larger, were fascinating. I would guess about 60 old photos caught my interest. Apparently some family member found Harkness' journal in an attic. And apparently the self-publishing publisher accepted good money from the family to have this non-book material published.
Jul 19, 2015 - 6:47:44 AM
Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "Just Maagy" by Virginia Burton Stringer
First of all, I commend the author, Virginia Burton Stringer for having the insight and courage to take on a task such as this. Not only is her description of the young princess very interesting but the way she depicted this young child's feelings about her place in life, was very interesting also. I also loved the author's inclusion of a "glossary" for the reader to check the meaning of new or difficult words in the story and the drawings of each new event little Maagy encountered in young life.
Jul 19, 2015 - 6:43:21 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "New Beginnings" by J. Gawlik
Right from the very beginning, the story carried the reader on a journey that sadly, many other humans have found themselves involved in when trying to make sense of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. The main character finds herself married with a small child and soon realizes that the man she thought would be with her all of her days, was the worst kind of husband possible.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:17:13 AM
Laure McCourt Lopez Review: "It's All about Him: Intimacy with God" By Dr. Lois Brittell
There are books that engage the reader in fast-paced adventure or melancholy drama while others offer visitations to historical backdrops but "It's All about Him," by Dr. Lois Brittell, allows its reading audience moments of reflective solitude and places of pause while journeying a road less travelled. May the reader feel inspired by the gentle prompting along the way as the tangibles of today's society such as anxiety, fear, anger, just to name a few, are thoughtfully explored; note that along the road less traveled there is ample time to put down the backpack, curl up into a comfortable spot and seek wisdom and answers in this narrative of spiritual refreshment.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:15:24 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Death of a Mill Girl" by Clyde Linsley
There is no information anywhere I looked about how to contact the author. I'd like to contact him, and his photo makes him appear friendly. Should he read this, maybe he'll contact me. Are you reading this, Clyde Linsley? A very interesting book based on a true setting. This is the first self-published book I've felt was really good. This book was good, a good story except that things got a bit wordy near the end so I was losing part of the story.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:12:27 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "A Life in Two Worlds" by Thomas Hughes
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the author's writings of having been born into a family, that due to his father's occupation and time and place, had to endure many heart wrenching incidents in order to just survive. And I was also impressed that as a very, intelligent young man, the author had the wherewithal to keep detailed diaries of what "war" really brings. As humans, we often never give much thought about how a "father's" profession might bring harm to one's innocent family members.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:10:06 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "Shot in the Head" by Katherine Dering
Paul, one of the boys in this Irish clan is diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age sixteen and the telling carries one through the devastation that his large family had to endure for the his sake and well-being. This work is very well-done and extremely educational because nearly every family can relate when a family member is stricken with an incurable illness. I was struck by the way the author told of her family's love for one another and I could feel their suffering and sorrow when they finally had to let Paul go.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:07:02 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "Death of a Mill Girl" by Clyde Linsley
Death of a Mill Girl" by Clyde Linsley held my attention from the very beginning. I found the author's "historical inclusions" to be very interesting. His ability to build the "suspense" factor in his story was also very well-done. According to the publicity material for this book two million American children suffered harsh working conditions during the Industrial Revolution but fixing the problem didn't happen until the early twentieth century.
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:24:20 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "The Sketching Detective" by Jack McCormac
This story is a murder mystery but I found that most of the story line was combined with the story of a marriage that had gone off the road and one man's attempt to get his wife to show her love for him once again. It was not easy to understand because it has so many characters involved in the plot.
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:03:18 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Oregon Trail" by the late Francis Parkman Jr.
The book follows in first person a trip across part of the West, and it mentions contact with wagon trails heading for Oregon. But I didn't read of any trip in the first person of the Oregon Trail itself. The incidents in the book seem to be real, including camping with Native Americans. It's a book I'd recommend, because it shares the values or lack thereof of that period in American history, not made up from today but as the values were then. I personally am glad those values have changed. Had they not, there probably would be no buffalo alive today nor any parks of any type where the visitor can see what the land was like when the parks were founded.
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:24:34 PM
M. Stevens-David Review: "A Forbidden Boundary" by Shauna Springs
This book, "A Forbidden Boundary" is an "historical" fiction novel written by Shauna Springs. Set in 1902, this work details the interactions of a wealthy inestment banker and his unrelenting control over his family and its servants. As the publicity material states: "..it teaches that some things never change. There are still issues of racism, classism and women's rights. Sometimes you have to sacrifice everything, including family, to be with the one you love."
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:20:47 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "My Own Cape Cod" by Gladys Taber
But Taber wrote about a quieter Cape, kind of like rural Maine was when I visited as a kid. Taber built a house at Still Cove near which is Mill Pond. She writes mostly about her neighborhood. But she does include a geological history going back 50,000 to 70,000 years, when she said the Cape was left when a sheet of ice from Labrador finally melted and, as Taber puts it, "Cape Cod was born." This edition of My Own Cape Cod was published in 1981 by Parnassus Imprints by an arrangement with Harper & Row.
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:00:01 PM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "The Doctor's Stories" by Dr. Charles T. Chase
Dr. Chase, through his well-written stories, cited many examples of how a caring doctor can help others in dire medical need and even when circumstances were not as expected, this well-educated caring man, stepped up and did what was expected of him and more. Dr. Chase can go into his twilight years in peace.
Jun 24, 2015 - 7:15:20 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "House of Earth" by the late Woody Guthrie
Singer Woody Guthrie apparently wrote this book to promote building houses in Dust Bowl-era Texas from mud bricks, an improvement over the rickey wooden shacks most residents called home. Guthrie, who lived from 1912 to 1967, was an American folk song singer, whose best known song was the well-known "This Land Is Your Land." The back cover of the book states that Guthrie's "legacy" included over 3,000 songs with themes of history, politics, culture, spiritual, narrative and children's interests.
Jun 20, 2015 - 8:14:45 PM
Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "Choosing to Live" by Jerry D. Campbell
"Choosing to Live" though small in pages, contains life changing information that all human beings should read because what Mr. Campbell experienced in the loss of his wife, can and will help prepare all those left behind in knowing what to do next. One never wishes to be "blindsided" by a sudden death as so many of us are. I was brought to tears upon reading the love-filled passages of a couple's love for one another the writer's agony in dealing with the loss of his beloved wife Veta.
Jun 19, 2015 - 9:15:21 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Hound-dog Man, a novel", by Fred Gipson
This fiction novel covers a raccoon hunt by Blackie Scantling and two boys, one of whom, Cotton Kinney, is the hero of the story. It also covers home life in the Texas outback, the threats and defeat of a bad guy, a baby being born, and other typical incidents of early-twentieth-centure rural Texas. Gipson wrote it in first person...Years ago when I was teaching, I read Gipson's books, and I highly recommend this one if your sense of adventure has remained youthful.
Jun 14, 2015 - 1:10:15 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Running with Scissors, a memoir" by Augusten Burroughs
The book is kind of quirky, weird, about a young man, the author, Augusten Burroughs, and his years as a teenager. Actually the book is a memoir, not fiction, and it is crass, describing many indecent scenes -- according to me -- of how Burroughs mother was mentally ill, his living a good part of the time in the house of the psychologist who is treating her, and the weird occurrences that took place.
Jun 9, 2015 - 4:50:13 AM