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Pandora’s Gardener

Pandora's Gardener

John Cranston had no aspirations to be a spy. He was a gardener for goodness sake, and enjoyed the mediocrity that came with the job. But as is often the case, the unexpected came knocking and suddenly John found himself in the middle of a plot involving an old friend, the Russians, secret societies, and crooked cops- just to name a few. To make matters worse, they all seemed to think he was on par with them in regards to secrets and skills. As each day pulls him further from his business as usual, John has to uncover and help stop a sinister conspiracy that is revealed to be a matter of world security. 

Pandora’s Gardener by David Mason is a fun and fast paced thriller that tows the line between the serious espionage of James Bond and the absurd escapades of Austin Powers. With each new obstacle that John comes across, Mason does an expert job of weaving the stories together until the reader is effectively hooked. To keep the mood from getting too heavy, even the situations that provide a real degree of danger are met with a ridiculous sense of humor that helps keep the events moving right along. It’s a classic tale of “good guys” versus “bad guys” but crafted in a way that makes it difficult to determine which is which, since so many of the characters are delightfully charming. The notable exception of course is our unlikely hero who insists, time and time again, that despite his apparent skills, he really is just a gardener. No one believes that, and hijinks ensue.

The sheer amount of plot lines, characters, and double crosses could potentially make for a dense and unreadable story, but instead everything works in perfect synch. As mentioned before, Mason is superb at crafting the story, ensuring that there is always something new around the corner, even as other loose ends are resolved. Every character adds a distinct flavor to the story, no matter how briefly they may appear, and while some of them aren’t given the resolution they may deserve, it doesn’t affect the tone of the book.

Pandora’s Gardner was enjoyable and fun to read from start to finish and if there is any complaint I have, it’s that it was long enough to consistently surprise me with its new developments, and that it never fully fleshed out John’s past, which was referred to occasionally. Even at that, I was never disappointed. It maintained an excellent balance between goofy and serious while John consistently plays the part of reluctant spy perfectly.

Pages: 466

Sex, Cons & Rock ‘N Roll

Dating can be hard. Online dating can be even harder. Between scammers, sleazeballs, and the all too rare sincere connection, it can be a pretty rough road. But if you never try, you may never have that chance to find love.

Gloria Moodie has looked for love in all the wrong places, all the right places, and all the places in between. In her book Sex, Cons, & Rock ‘N Roll- A Tale of Love, Passion, and Betrayal! she gives an abbreviated glimpse into her journey to find a genuine connection, mostly through the use of online dating sites. Moodie moves quickly through the stages of her life, giving a brief synopsis into each of her serious relationships, and even some of the less serious ones. She injects her stories with both humor and humanity. There’s a sincerity to Gloria Moodie’s book that is rare and I wanted to dive deeper into the stories she tells, but they were often too brief for being way too interesting.

Throughout the book, Moodie focuses on the people who prey on others online, and the damage it does to those sincere in their search. Having been the target of scammers in the past, she makes an effort to educate others to prevent it from happening to them as well. She provides many useful tips and helpful resources that will assist you in furthering your research after you’ve finished this book.

Sex, Cons, and Rock ‘N Roll succinctly illustrates the pitfalls of putting yourself out there. Gloria Moodie’s anecdotes were engaging and funny and I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light memoir that’s also informative.

Pages: 180 | ISBN-10: 1525575341

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I’ve Got You (Captain Fantastic Book 1)

I've Got You (Captain Fantastic Book 1) by [Tommy Balaam]

I’ve Got You is a fun space adventure for young readers. Captain Fantastic and his best friend Winston sail through the galaxy when they encounter a scary looking galaxy. When Winston gets frightened Captain Fantastic’s mission is to reassure his best friend and let him know that he’ll never be alone. Together, they can face anything.

Tommy Balaam has created a charming children’s story that is filled with colorful images that give life to this simple but effective story. I don’t often come across children’s picture books that fall within the science fiction genre. This is a welcome surprise as the story embraces it with a unique charisma that is reminiscent of early science fiction TV shows like Flash Gordon.

The story begins with the duo departing on an adventure. Before long we’re given a peek into their various exciting adventures on diverse planets and against many cute monsters. All relayed through rhyme. I loved the story but what I enjoyed most about this book, much like a comic book, was the fantastic art and imagery throughout the story. A fantastic start to what promises to be an amazing intergalactic children’s series.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B08BKSBHSN

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SEX, CONS & ROCK ‘N ROLL – Trailer

I have been widowed, divorced, conned, lied to, and cheated on.

This book is often humorous, sometimes sad, but mostly a truthful account of my life and experiences; THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. I hope you laugh, and I hope you cry.

A big part of this book is the nasty truth about online dating and mature dating in general.

I will tell you about the bad guys, scammers, and con men, working hard to steal your money, the ones that make their living taking advantage of your vulnerability, by lying to you.

I will tell you how I was conned out of $10,000 by a man I thought loved me.

GloriaMoodie.com

When Life Was like a Cucumber

When Life Was like a Cucumber by [Greg Wyss]

At a young age, Jeffrey Hese was coming off a divorce and could not wait to explore his true self. At a time when the human race was getting introduced to the 70s after the tumultuous 60s, Jeffrey was in for a ride. He found himself thrust in different cultures and cities from Amsterdam to Boston. He goes through the paces of experiencing the underbelly of life with the help of Isadora. And how different it was from his apartment in Oneonta. So much to see. So much to do. So much to experience. His journey will be one of enlightenment and perhaps a second meeting with God.

Greg Wyss has crafted an engrossing tale of one man’s journey through life in the wake of the wild 60s. He has written a story so intriguing and appropriately sculpted that a reader of any age will relate and enjoy the book. The scenes are described in vivid detail leaving the reader thrust deep into the vortex of Jeffrey’s life at that time as well as the general lifestyle back then. The story teeters on the edge of humorous and poignant. It is a brilliant mix of serious and casual. With alternating moments of sympathy and loud belly laughs.

The characters in this book are well developed. Although the dimensions of character development may seem a bit foggy at times. This does not get in the way of recognition of common qualities. Jeffrey is doing something that many people would want to do before they are too old or too busy to do it. He is as new to this journey as most of us are. This may therefore either inspire you to go on your own journey of self-discovery. Or it may allow you to live vicariously through him. There is so much depth to this book. It will take the utmost attention and focus to peel through all the layers and get to the bottom of the true meaning of the story. Laden with thematic consistency and careful handling of the reader, this book is exactly what you need when you find yourself angling for an enjoyable escape. What better place to escape than a different time you may not have lived in? Those who did live in this era will enjoy the various references to music and popular behaviors of that time.

You will enjoy the plot. You will enjoy the characters. You will enjoy the flurry of activity. It may not be crass but this book will have you red-faced on occasion. Nothing like a good trip back in time.

Pages: 557 | ASIN: B07QN1VK36

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My Inspiration for the Elaborate Mousetrap

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

The World’s Greatest Mousetrap follows Reginald as he tries his best to rid his shop of a pesky mouse. How did you come up with the idea behind this book?

It really began with the text on the first page. When I began writing the book, I had intended on having the bookstore as a small library. The only idea I had at the time was that I wanted to contrast the small, quiet and familiar world of a building (and the person within it) that had managed to keep out the expanding and fast paced world growing up about them.

After the first page, I knew I could take the story in a number of directions, but I decided that I really wanted to focus on that idea of our small worlds being challenged – not from the outside, but from within.

The elaborate mousetrap that Reginald builds was cute, and I ended up staring at the image for a few minutes just to take it all in. What served as your inspiration when creating the mousetrap?

I’m happy to hear that you lingered on that page – that was exactly what I hoped readers might do. I’ve always loved books that invite you to spend time looking over them in detail.

I think perhaps what served as my inspiration for the elaborate mousetrap, were the strange inventions and Rube Goldberg machines in the classic film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. I enjoyed the over-the-top attempts to solve a problem and I wanted to inject that humour into the book.

That page was actually one of the more difficult ones I think for me to describe to Fanny Liem (the book’s illustrator). I hope I didn’t frustrate her too much, but I think we went through three revisions. Each time, I asked her to make it bigger and more complex. In my mind, I had levers and tubes and gears crowding the shop so much that they were invading the street. In the end, I think she rightfully restrained the idea to something that someone of Reginald’s age could manage. She did a fantastic job I think with not only the mousetrap, but with all the illustrations.

I think, in the end, this book is about unlikely friendships. What was a guiding theme for you when writing this book?

I really wanted to create a fun and accessible story about prejudice and the worlds that we create around ourselves that can often hinder our capacity to see the similarities in others.

Reginald’s world is safe. He knows who he is and he knows what he likes. The mouse ends up invading that world and obviously setting into motion a series of events that leads to Reginald confronting his own prejudgements.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book is called Don’t Drink the Pink and is about a young girl and the magical relationship she has with her Grandfather. Like all my other books, there are a number of layers that I hope will appeal to a wide age group. It will be available August 1, 2019.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

The World's Greatest Mousetrap by [Fegan, B.C.R.]When Reginald finds a mouse in his bookstore, he will stop at nothing to catch the pesky critter. Even if it means building the world’s greatest mousetrap. Unfortunately for Reginald, the mouse always seems to be one step ahead.

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Humorous and Fun

Norman Whaler Author Interview

Norman Whaler Author Interview

Oink and Gobble and the Men in Black brings two strange men to the farm and peaks the curiosity of the two farm friends. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this kids book?

All the Oink and Gobble books are are short reads and meant to be humorous and fun and to put a smile on everyone’s face! The Men in Black are popular and familiar to kids and adults alike, but are still are a mystery to be solved!

This is book two in the Oink and Gobble series. What were some new themes you wanted to introduce in this book and what were some ideas you wanted to continue from the first book?

Oink is adventurous and interested in all the strange mysteries of the world, yet has a tendency to jump to conclusions with few facts. Gobble is focused on facts first and tries to bring logic to the investigations the two inevitably start. Though they look at things quite differently, they are best of friends!

What kind of mischief will Oink and Gobble get into in book three and when will it be available?

Without saying too much, Oink once again will jump to conclusions about a mystery of the world, and Gobble will try to bring reason to Oink’s thinking. I hope everyone will enjoy it! Should be out by July 2019.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Oink and Gobble and the 'No One Can Ever Know Secret' (Oink and Gobble Book Series 1) by [Whaler, Norman]Oink and Gobble were best friends and, with all the other animals on the farm, had a BIG secret they could never, ever let any humans know! But, did Oink let the cat out of the bag?

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Oink and Gobble and the Men in Black

Oink and Gobble and the Men in Black (Oink and Gobble Book Series 2) by [Whaler, Norman] Oink and Gobble and the Men in Black is a children’s story written by Norman Whaler. The story follows a duo of livestock buddies, Oink the pig and Gobble the turkey. Oink is an excitable young creature, and Gobble is more mature and a bit on the serious side. The two find some unusual things happening on the farm and Oink cannot contain his curiosity and must look for answers.

I think the story has a pretty good pace and flow for children, but seems to rise and build suspense and then end abruptly. I think there was some room for some more scenarios to play out following the “unmasking.” I did like the friendship between the pair despite their differences. I liked that the pig was overly curious while the turkey was more reserved. That made way for a nice back and forth exchange in conversation.

The illustrations were cute but the colors seemed over saturated. I think softening things up a bit would add to the playfulness of the farm. The “Men in Black” aspect felt borrowed and I was wanted to see some Oink and Gobble specific twists to the story.

I love the authors work and I think Oink and Gobble has huge potential to be something both whimsical and unique. I’d like to see Oink and Gobble in original story lines that give their relationship and whimsy potential to stand out. Overall, I enjoyed the book and I think kids will adore Oink and Gobble as they are both fun and funny.

Pages: 28 | ASIN: B07PBMNYKS

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