Friday, December 30, 2011

The Undertaker by William Brown - Review and Interview

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday Season.  I am ending this year on a review and my first author inteview.  The review will be first and the interview will follow.


First I want to thank Mr. William Brown for giving me the opportunity to read his newest suspense novel The Undertaker. I will be looking at more works written by William Brown.

The Undertaker is a suspenseful on the edge of your seat novel. I found myself reading whenever I had a free moment. When I was at a red light I had my phone out and was reading The Undertaker while I waited for the green light. I think you can say I was hooked from the beginning.

Peter Talbott is a man who was married to Terri. Peter became a widower when his wife Terri became ill and died. Terri's death hit Peter hard and he hit rock bottom. His friends thought he died in a car crash in Mexico.

Peter is brought into trouble when a guy named Gino shows Peter his obituary and his wife's from an Ohio newspaper. Peter is very much alive and wants to know why someone is impersonating him and his dead wife.

Mr. Brown does a fantastic job of keeping you guessing as to who is really the good guy until the very end. He keeps your eyes glued to the pages and your heart racing till the climatic end.





INTERVIEW WITH MR. WILLIAM BROWN

     
 Did you want to be a writer when you were a child?
No, not really, although I did try my hand at some short stories when I was 8 or 10.   I was mostly a reader all the way up into my 20s . . .  mostly history, international suspense, and adventure fiction.

How did you get into writing?
I read one too many bad books.  (It was a surprisingly bad Clive Cussler novel, but don’t tell anyone!)  I turned to my wife and said, “I can do something this bad!”  So, I went to the library, read a bunch of books on how to write novels (I was a history major, not an English major) and gave it a try.  Forty rejections later, “The Allah Conspiracy” was bought by Beaufort Books.

What other jobs did you do before you became a writer?
My ‘day jobs’ were as a city and county planner, then a vice president of the real estate development subsidiary of a Fortune 500 firm, where I built business parks across the country. 

Do you write long-had or straight onto a computer?
All of the above . . . longhand, then a small typewriter with a gallon of White Out, a correcting typewriter, and finally a succession of bigger and faster PCs.   Next, I suppose I’ll try Dragon and dictate text into the computer, but not yet.  That brings up visions of Barbara Cartland, the late British romance author, who would lay back on a ‘psychiatrist’s’ couch in a pink feathered gown and dictate her novels whole-cloth  to her secretary. 

What’s the best part about being an author? And the worst?
I think it keeps your brain sharp and busy.  The downside is the long waits while agents, publishers, and others take forever to do things, and the frustrations of a bad market and the occasional bad review, not that I’ve had many.  The Undertaker now has 34 Amazon reviews, 16 of which are 5-Star, 16 Four-Star, and 2 Three-Star, so I can’t complain.

How did The Undertaker come to be published?
This was an experiment with e-books.  Until now, I had only pursued traditional publishers, but that market is now horrible.  They have slowly concentrated on blockbusters, while all the former ‘mid-market’ books (most of us) got passed over and have now gone electronic.  With no more Harry Potters, they are in a real squeeze and get no sympathy from me.

What tips would you give to aspiring writers out there?
Write what you know and like.  Don’t write to what you think the market is, because you’ll be wrong by the time you finish.

Does the character or plot come first?
I begin my thinking with a 1-line concept that gets successively expanded; but in the end, it is interesting characters that drives the story and gets the reader to care.  My best writing is in my characters, especially the evil ones, my action scenes, and cliff-hanger pacing.

You have authored a total of six suspense novels and 3 have been published.  Is anything in the works for the other three suspense novels?
I am in the process of bringing the next 5 out as e-books in 2012.  While The Undertaker is a contemporary story, snarky, even humorous at times, with a strong love-angle; most of the others are sweeping, international suspense, action, adventure stories set in the mid 1940s thru the 1960s.  Amongst My Enemies came out on Amazon last week and will be out on the other sites in a couple of weeks.    It deals with a sunken German U-boat full of gold and a secret that can tear NATO apart.   Next will come Thursday at Noon, a middle-east thriller originally published as a Joan Kahn Book by St. Martins and reviewed by The New Yorker.   I then have One Good Shot, an updated version of The Allah Conspiracy to finish, and finally, Winner Lose All, which is currently out with my agent.  That is a lot of work, but after that, I’ll get back to Through the Glass Darkly, a more contemporary suspense novel like The Undertaker.    

I understand that you are a dog person, so what is your favorite breed of dog and why?
Hands down, a cocker spaniel, although I’m also partial to Goldens, which are really up-sized cockers and very loving.  Probably the nicest of all, however, was Buffy, my son’s dog, which was a mix of a strong Golden Retriever head and body, and Bassett Hound legs.   You have to think about that for a minute to picture it.   

I would like to thank Mr. William Brown for taking the time to answer my questions.  I hope everyone enjoys the interview and decides to buy a copy of THE UNDERTAKER!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
   

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

I have decided to try and read all the Harry Potter books again since the last move was released this year.  I have read every book except for the last one many times.  My goal is to finish all 7 books by the end of the year.  I am not doing so well.  I am currently on book 4 and I haven't gotten very far.  Hopefully I will complete this challenge.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the beginning of the life of an ordinary boy until he receives some mysterious letters. His aunt and uncle are determined not to let Harry receive these letters.

The story is slow at first just so that you can be introduced to the many characters. You meet Dumbledore, Harry, Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, Dudley, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid and many more. I love all the interesting descriptions of these characters this helps with being able to connect with them on a very personal level.

Harry is surprised to learn that he is a wizard and that his parents were great ones. I loved the part when Harry learns that he is a wizard. Hagrid is a huge lovable character. He is like a big teddy bear.

Harry learns a lot about his new world before he even starts at Hogwarts. Harry doesn't know anything about the Wizarding World and he is afraid of making a total fool of himself. While Harry is shopping for his supplies he meets his young nemesis Draco Malfoy. Harry is very alert as to not trusting him from the start.

I could go on and on about this book even though it isn't my favorite. It is great for being the first book in the series but not the best.

4 1/2 stars

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

This is my all time favorite book and movie.  The images below are one of the book cover and one of the actors that starred in the movie.

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The movie!!

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The Book

I read this book again just because I love it so much. Plus I really want to watch the movie. I am just not paying $3.00 to watch it. I cried as soon as I started reading the Outsiders. I think this is one book that everyone should read.

The Outsiders is the story of the Greasers and Socs. Ponyboy is the one who narrates this story. Ponyboy is 14 years old and lives with his two brothers, Darry and Sodapop. Their parents are dead and Ponyboy is always afraid that Sodapop and him will be put into a boys home if they get into trouble.

The other members of the Greasers are: Dally, Johnny, Two-bit, and Steve. The Socs are: Bob and Randy, there are 2 Soc girls named Sherry Valance (aka: Cherry) and Marcia. Johnny, Dally and Ponyboy go to the movies. Dally teases the two Soc girls Sherry and Marcia. Johnny tells Dally to stop picking on them and he leaves. Ponyboy and Johnny sit with the girls and watch the rest of the movie.

After the movie is when the problems start. Johnny, Two-bit and Ponyboy decide to walk the girls to Two-bits house so that they can drive them home. Cherry and Marcia's boyfriends drive by and almost start a fight with them telling them never to pick up their girls. Cherry and Marcia stop the fight from happening.

Johnny and Ponyboy are the two that get jumped later by the Socs and are almost killed. They run to Dally for help. This is when Johnny and Ponyboy really do start to grow up and learn things about themselves and life. I am not going to reveal to much more because I feel this is a book everyone should read.

5 stars

Review - That Day in September by Artie Van Why

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I am finally getting to post my review for That Day in September.  I wanted to post it in September but I work in a school district and it was just so hectic at work I didn't have the time.  Better late then never.

I want to thank Mr. Artie Van Why for giving me a chance to read his story on the events of September 11, 2001. That Day in September is the first book I have ever read about that fateful day. I do have a fascination about actual events and to have the chance to feel what it was like to be there through the words of someone that was there is one that I will never pass up.

That Day In September had me tearing up right from the beginning. I know what I was doing when the attack happened and it touch me then and it touch me again reading this book. Yet to read a first hand experience makes me realize how much different it was for me then for everyone in New York. I cannot even start to say what it was like to be working right next to the World Trade Center and hearing a loud boom.

Mr. Van Why writes from the heart as he recounts his steps during the attack on the World Trade Center and the days and months that follow. Most of us may have suffered for a few days but those who live and work in New York saw the damage for months after the incident. They had a reminder of all the lives lost every day. There are parts of the book when Artie talks about strangers comforting each other and how he felt like New York had become like a family to him.

Everyone of us should reflect and remember September 11, 2001 especially with the 10th anniversary so close upon us now. Take the time to read That Day in September and remember those lives lost.

5 stars

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Keep Watching!!

I just want to let everyone know to keep watching Nutz4reading's Thoughts.  More reviews will be posted this week.  And look for an upcoming giveaway to happen in the future.  I am hoping to start doing some more giveaways and interviews soon.

Start following so you are in the know!!

Update from Hurricane

I just wanted to let all my readers know that I am fine and that I had no problems during the hurricane.  I was very lucky to not have lost power or have any major damage to myself, family, house etc.

I would like it if everyone would just remember those that did suffer some sort of damage during the hurricane.

The east coast was very lucky and the storm turned out to be less threatening than expected.  I did have a tornado watch for our area which frightened me a lot.  I did learn one thing during this hurricane.  Do not look at all the posts on Facebook about the Hurricane.  I was more worried when reading the posts then any other time.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Preparing for Hurricane Irene

I am sure everyone has heard of the hurricane/tropical storm that is scheduled to hit the eastern states today (Aug. 27, 2011) and continue into late Sunday.  I am in that path and decided to post to let everyone know that I am hoping to get a lot of reading done during this storm.

I believe I have myself prepared with new flash lights.  I couldn't find any of the ones I already own.  They just up and walked off I think.  I even put jugs of water in the freezer so that if the power goes off I at least have some cold water to drink and use for other things if needed.

The past couple of days have been very interesting.  So many people running out and buying water, food, generators and other things.  We were talking at work about how some people we saw with gallons of water, and milk.  One person had 8 loaves of bread.  I hope she has a huge family otherwise the birds are going to be well fed in her area. I am not trying to take this storm lightly.  I just figure I am not going to spend money on water when I can just as easily take all my containers and freeze water if I need it.  I bought food that will feed me and my son for the storm.

Personally I think the weather forecasters just like to embellish these storms and it just makes people panic.  Where I live we had a hurricane/tropical storm go through before and yes we go floods and some places lost power. The children were in school and they got dismissed early.  Some children took forever to get home because roads were under water and the bus couldn't make it through. I am just going to take the storm as it comes.  Hope the Good Lord is looking out for me and my family.

Now to all who are in the path of the storm stay safe.  If you are supposed to be evacuated then please evacuate.  I am praying for the safety of all who are in the path of Irene and those who have already been hit by the storm.

Some things to do during this hurricane/tropical storm is to read, play games with the children or family members, cuddle with your pets, and watch mother nature at work.  Get yourself ready for the storm of the decade... :)

Stay Safe Everyone!!  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The End of Summer...

Well the end of Summer is drawing nearer everyday.  I will be going back to normal work hours next week, yeah!!  Which means 8 hours days instead of 10 hour days.  It will take me forever to learn to sleep past 5 am.  I do like to be up early and stay up late.  Now hopefully I will be able to get some reading done before going to bed at night.

Now that Summer is winding down in the U.S., at least, do you have plans now that the kids will be going back to school.  Did your children do any summer reading?  Did you have to force them to read?  What did they read?

I remember when my children were young taking them to one of the local libraries and checking out books for them to read.  Sometimes they were all gung ho about it and other times they could care less.  The library also had some camps for them to do.  I signed them up one year and they enjoyed themselves.  My son did one for Science.  I can't remember what my daughter decided to do.

Now my children are older and I don't get them to go to the library as often.  The last time my son went he was looking at reference books just to read.  He loves to learn and reading factual books seems to be what he enjoys.  My daughter I haven't taken to the library lately.  She is in college and she talks about the books that she has to read and the ones she has read.  Sometimes I do get to keep some of them but not often.



Those are my thoughts for today.  I hope to post more often.  I will have a review coming soon, just not going to say for what...

Happy Reading and thanks for visiting!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tears for the lives lost 9/11

I want to thank Mr. Artie Van Why for giving me a chance to read his story on the events of September 11, 2001. That Day in September is the first book I have ever read about that fateful day. I do have a fascination about actual events and to have the chance to feel what it was like to be there through the words of someone that was there is one that I will never pass up.

That Day In September had me tearing up right from the beginning. I know what I was doing when the attack happened and it touch me then and it touch me again reading this book. Yet to read a first hand experience makes me realize how much different it was for me then for everyone in New York. I cannot even start to say what it was like to be working right next to the World Trade Center and hearing a loud boom.

Mr. Van Why writes from the heart as he recounts his steps during the attack on the World Trade Center and the days and months that follow. Most of us may have suffered for a few days but those who live and work in New York saw the damage for months after the incident. They had a reminder of all the lives lost every day. There are parts of the book when Artie talks about strangers comforting each other and how he felt like New York had become like a family to him.

Everyone of us should reflect and remember September 11, 2001 especially with the 10th anniversary so close upon us now. Take the time to read That Day in September and remember those lives lost.



5 stars

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review - Paper Towns by John Green

Have you ever heard of Paper Towns? I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book by John Green. This book was recommended by an online friend from my website. I am glad I finally read it. I found the story very entertaining. The story made me think about my time in high school.

Paper Towns is the story of teenagers and just them discovering things about themselves and their friends. How would you react if you just learned that your boyfriend and best girl friend were hooking up? Your friends knew but didn't bother to tell you? Would you just snap or would you do something like Margo Roth Spiegelman does in Paper Towns.

Paper Towns follows Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman on an adventure and mystery. Q is the good kid and doesn't do anything wrong. Margo is the adventurous type. Two different personalities that were friends when the were young yet have grown apart like so many of us do over time.

I suggest taking some time and pick up Paper Towns and just enjoy the adventure.


A little tid bit I learned while reading the book is that Paper Towns were created so that cartographers could protect against copyright infringement.  So if you ever come across a place on a map and you are unable to find it then it most likely does not exist.


5 stars

Review - ER Book - The Silent Enemy by Thomas W. Young

I won this book through Library Thing's Early Reviewers Program (ER).  I want to that both Library Thing and Putnam books for giving me this opportunity to read and review this book.

Silent Enemy is the story of Major Parson and Sergeant Gold. We were first introduced to these two characters in Young's previous book The Mullah's Storm. I am not familiar with that book yet I still found Silent Enemy easy to follow.

Major Parson is pilot in the Air-force and Sergeant Gold is from the Army working as a teacher in Afghanistan to help train those who want to become police and make Afghanistan a better place. Her school/police office is bombed and students and staff are injured. Gold and her friends and colleagues become patients of Major Parson's aircraft. 

Parson's aircraft is now considered an Air Evac mission. The story doesn't get interesting until the Air Evac is in flight and they learn of a bomb threat to all aircraft that left Bagram Air Base. Parson's is left with trying to figure out what to do to protect his crew and the patients. The most logical thing is to find the bomb and to try and diffuse it.

Parson's crew search the aircraft and don't find a bomb. During the search Parson learns of 2 planes that had left Bagram have gone down. Now the threat of a bomb is more prominent then first thought. One place on the plane they didn't look is a place you usually don't go into during a flight. Parson decides that section needs to be checked and he has to depressurize the plane to search it.

The intricacies of the story are sometimes long and drawn out as you are reading. Parson's character sometime remembers his last time with Sergeant Gold and how they handled that crisis. Some of their pasts are brought up and how they are reacting to the current situation.

So will Air Evac survive or go down like the other planes that have left Bagram Air Base? You will need to pick up your copy of Silent Enemy to discover what happens.

4 stars

Review - The Secret Garden

Now many may be surprised to learn that I never read this book as a child.  I have heard of it but wan never one to read books just because everyone said they were good or that I should read them.  I could be very defiant when it came to reading.

I am glad that I did finally read this book.  I have seen parts of the movie but never from the beginning.  This is a very nice story of a girl, two boys and a secret garden.  The names of the children are Mary, Dickon and Colon.

Mary is quite contrary is what children from India called her when she lived there with her parents.  When her parents and everyone she knew had died she was sent to live with her uncle.  At first she was not happy to be in England.  She is very thin and looks ill but once she starts venturing outside and getting exercise and fresh air everyone notices how she grows and changes.

She meets Dickon and those two start taking care of the Secret Garden.  One night Mary hears some one crying  and is determined to find out who it is.  She finds a boy in his room crying.  This is her cousin Colon that she did not know existed.  The bonds that are formed between all three children is quite remarkable and believable.

4 stars

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Sad, Sad Day...

I am very upset about the news I just heard.  My favorite book store is closing all of their stores.  If you haven't heard it is Borders that is closing all of the remaining stores that are open.  When I found out about this I was very upset and now wondering if I will have to go to B&N for all my book purchases.  I don't care that much for Amazon as a book seller.  And I feel that B&N can be over priced.  Those are just my opinions.

I used to shop at B&N before I realized that there was a Borders just down the street from B&N.  I have gone to midnight parties for Harry Potter and Twilight at both B&N and Borders.  I felt more like family at Borders then I did at B&N.  I remember my sister working for Waldenbooks and just hearing her stories about the books, customers and the people she worked with.  Now I just have to get my emotions in check so that I can decide where I will be buying my books. 

I always ask for gift cards to Borders because I know I can find the books that I want and they always have the best deals on books and everything.  How is this going to change the book industry?  Does this mean that the usual physical stores are going to close and only e-books will be available?  I really enjoy going to Borders and just sitting down and picking up a book and just reading it while in the store.  This way I can decide if I want the book before buying it.  I know that you can do this at B&N but I don't find it as cozy as Borders.

How do you feel about this closing?  Are you one that just buys from online retailers or do you like going to the book store and actually smelling the books and the atmosphere?  I partly wish that I had money to purchase Borders because I really hate seeing this company go out of business.

I am providing a link to a news article I found on the internet at MSN:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43797505/ns/business-consumer_news/'%20rel='nofollow

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Definitely Dead By Charlaine Harris

I am slowly making my way through the Sookie Stackhouse series.  I started reading the series due to my online friends at Books and Chat talking about the series on HBO called True Blood.  I wanted to watch True Blood and realized I also wanted to read the books before hand.  I will say that the HBO series doesn't follow the books completely.  I still love both of them.


The sixth installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series.  I enjoyed the book and the stories.  Sookie again is mixed up with trouble and she tries to figure out who has made her a target again.  I did get tired of being reminded of what happened in the previous book.

There wasn't as much romance in this book as in the previous books.  There was one scene where Sookie and her newest supe interest were fully clothed and both were sexually satisfied.  I found that scene interesting because it made me think of two teenagers having sex for the first time and not being able to get undressed before having an orgasm.  Sookie's newest interest is a weretiger by the name of Quinn.

Sookie also learns why she has so many supes interested in her.  She finds out that she has very special blood and vampires are very in tuned to it.  She also learns the truth about Bill and begins to question their whole relationship.

Sookie meets a new witch named Amelia.  Sookie and Amelia become friends by the end of the book.  Amelia asks Sookie if she could join her in Bon Temps for awhile.  Now I just wonder what the seventh book has in store for Sookie and possibly Amelia.

4 stars

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Reading List of 2010

I don't believe I ever posted a full list of all the books I read in 2010.  Now I have decided to post them, a little late but now you can see how my reading was in 2010:

January
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
You did it for me by Robert Hug
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

February
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

March
When the Phone Rang by Harry Mazer
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Final Target by Iris Johansen

April
Genoa Bay by Bette Nordberg
The Soloist by Steve Lopez
The Broken Blue Line by Connie Dial

May
Down River by John Hart
Flash Terminal Velocity by Mark Waid
Someone Is Out There by Carole Standish
Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness by Sidney Sheldon
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

June
Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

July
Blind Faith by Ben Elton
Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Twilight: The Complete Illustrated Movie Companion by Mark Cotta Vaz
In Harm's Way by Ridley Pearson
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn

August
Snagged by Carol Higgins Clark
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey (8/15/10)
Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (8/19/10)

September
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (9/11/10)
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (9/21/10)

October
Cape Refuge by Terry Blackstock (10/3/10)
Open by Andre Agassi (10/7/10)
Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo (10/14/10)

November
Pooh Goes Visiting by A.A. Milne (11/9/10) 
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet By Jamie Ford (11/7/10)
Outside Wonderland by Lorna Jane Cook (11/18/10)
Richard Scarry's ABC's by Richard Scarry (11/22/10)
The Ugly Duckling by Landoll (11/22/10)
What's for Lunch? by John Schindel & kevin O'Malley (11/22/10)
Cinderella by Henry W. Hewet (11/26/10)
The Reckoning by Howard Owen (11/28/10)

December
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (12/1/10)
Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag (12/22/10)
King Lear by William Shakespeare (12/31/10)




I read a total of 53 books last year.  That is an accomplishment for me.  Love to read your comments about my reading tastes.