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Wilson R. (Pacific Northwest)

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How Do You Guys See Your Future Lives?
How Do You Guys See Your Future Lives?
Price: £3.55

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story About Life, 8 April 2014
I was curious when I came across this book and to be honest, really didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a very well written read. The characters all interacted well with each other.

The story put a lot in perspective to me regarding the day to day challenges many gays and gay couples may encounter. In this story, Jim and his partner decide they want children. The decision to do so then evolves into finding the right woman to carry their child.

I won’t give any spoilers but I found this book to be a great story about life, living with acceptance of others choices and a smattering of romance. There are some explicit comments here and there in this book but not excessively.

Memory's Wake: Volume 1
Memory's Wake: Volume 1
by Selina Fenech
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.02

5.0 out of 5 stars I would highly recommend to tweens, teens, and adults alike., 15 Dec. 2011
Looking for a young adult urban fantasy with enough adventure, romance, and page-turning excitement to keep even the most easily distracted teen captivated? Then look no further than Memory's Wake by Selina Fenech.

Imagine being dropped into a strange world with nothing more than the clothes on your back. From the opening pages, this is our heroine's reality as she finds herself in a land called Avall. Her body is bruised, she is confused about how she got there, and she cannot remember anything about her life, not even her own name. She meets a beautiful yet timid human named Eloryn who has the ability to cast magic spells.

Eloryn's unauthorized use of magic has her on the run from the wizard hunters who will not rest until she is arrested. Despite her own predicament, Eloryn decides to help this lost girl with pink-streaked hair, piercings, and ripped jeans find her way home. First, Eloryn gives her the name Memory. Memory and Eloryn must learn to trust each other if they're going to survive as there is no shortage of danger in Avall. The wizard hunters, fae, dragons, and even the King of Avall, all want a piece of Memory.

Roen, the son of a Duke, joins the group after a failed attempt to steal from the girls. Roen fills the role of the handsome prince to Eloryn's beautiful princess. Playing the part of the mysterious stranger and love interest for Memory is Will. Fenech gives all four characters turns as the POV narrator to paint a clearer picture of who Memory is, and does a remarkable job of giving each character their own perspective and unique voice.

Fenech keeps us guessing throughout. There is non-stop action and new perils to keep readers hooked. Fenech has a knack for setting up cliffhangers at the end of each chapter to make sure we can't put down her debut offering. The setting is vibrantly described and the writing flows well; however, it's the character development that sets Memory's Wake apart. Memory is a strong yet flawed, believable heroine. Young readers will easily identify with the problems she faces.

If the vivid description in this novel is not enough, the author has included dozens of her own skillful illustrations. The story is wrapped up with an ending that won't disappoint and readers will desire a sequel. Frequent POV changes may distract some readers in the early chapters, but overall, this is an exceptionally entertaining novel that I would highly recommend to tweens, teens, and adults alike.

by E. Hynd

Fish & Ships
Fish & Ships
by Alfred Pickup
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Look at a Life in the RN!, 27 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Fish & Ships (Paperback)
Fish and Ships by author Alfred Pickup takes readers behind the scenes and onboard the Royal Navy from the early 1960's to mid 1980's.

After receiving a full medical and passing a less than taxing written exam, sixteen-year-old Alfred joins the Royal Navy as a Junior Electrical Mechanic 2nd class in 1961. He reports for training at HMS Vincent.

Before joining any ship, a sixteen-year-old must learn many new skills that will make him a useful member of any crew, from embroidering his name on his uniforms to the use of a rifle. Pickup trains and studies math and electronics. He joins the Navy boxing team where he sees success with a string of knockout victories before taking a seemingly un-winnable bout against a local ranked amateur who would later turn professional. Finally ready for shipboard service in January 1963, Pickup joins his first of several ships, the HMS Wakeful, a dilapidated 1945 Destroyer.

Travelling the world's oceans meant facing powerful storms, on board fires, mechanical breakdowns, the threat of war, and shore leaves where young matelots with money in their pockets and adventure on their minds could get into all sorts of alcohol-infused shenanigans in local establishments.
Navy pay, being less than adequate to support a family of four, would see Pickup and his wife running a bed & breakfast and later a fish and chips shop. Pickup worked numerous odd jobs ashore and, during a lengthy station in Gibraltar, operated a booming automotive repair and paint shop.
Fish and Ships follows a twenty-five year career in the RN that would see Pickup rise to the rank of Chief Petty Officer and retire from service in his early forties to life as the owner of a fish and chips restaurant. Lacking the page-turning action of combat, Alfred Pickup keeps us intrigued and entertained with his quirky humour and attention to detail. There are many laugh out loud scenes in this book that make it a quick and easy read.

Fish & Ships offers readers a rare and honest glimpse into the adventure, excitement, and unique challenges of a career in the Royal Navy. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy military memoirs.

Lost on Spirit River: Spirit River Trilogy: Book 1
Lost on Spirit River: Spirit River Trilogy: Book 1
by Tommy Batchelor
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended For Young Reader's 8-12, 4 Dec. 2010
Mystery, mysticism, ancient American native culture, adventure and much more can be found in Lost on Spirit River, a novel for readers aged 8-12 by Tommy Batchelor.

Lost on Spirit River tells the tale of how cousins Tony and Kathryn, while visiting their grandfather in Flint River, Georgia, became lost during a rare December snow storm. Tony, thirteen, was a model student and athlete until his parents' separation left him bitter, angry, and blaming himself for their problems. Kathryn is a popular, intelligent eleven-year-old, more than willing to help her cousin through this difficult time at home.

The pair, along with their grandfather's aging beagle, set out to find the perfect family Christmas tree. A storm forecast of snow is ignored, as snow in Southern Georgia is unheard of at Christmas. As the children leave the cabin their grandfather warns, "Watch out for the ancient ones."

Kathryn is confident in finding a suitable tree in an area with which she is familiar. Tony doesn't think he needs anyone's help--especially a girl's. He thinks he can find a better tree and leads his cousin further and further away from the cabin. The temperature drops, the snow increases, and the children's light jackets are not enough to keep them warm. They continue their task in weather so bad that the local rescue team refuses to help until the storm ceases.

The children need to find shelter and fast, however visibility is zero and they are tired, cold, and hungry. Both Tony and Kathryn sense that someone or something is in the forest with them and that perhaps their grandfather's warning about ancient ones was more than an attempt at humor.

Tommy Batchelor has written an entertaining young adult novel with a multi-pronged message. He uses suspense and adventure to capture his audience's attention while making his point without preaching. Cooperation to achieve a common goal is presented in a way that pre-teens will understand and relate to easily. Readers are treated to a glimpse of the spirit world of ancient native tribes in a way that will stir imaginations to want to know more about early American civilizations. Children from homes where separation and divorce is reality will identify with Tony and his situation. The dialogue is crisp and well suited to the age group. The characters are well developed and Tony shows growth and maturity at the end. Kim Reale's illustrations solidify the images already created by Batchelor's exceptional ability to describe scenes and setting.

Highly Recommended by William Potter for Reader's Choice Book Reviews.

Currents Deep and Deadly
Currents Deep and Deadly
by Arleen Alleman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended by Reader's Choice Book Reviews, 20 Nov. 2010
Find adventure, romance, mystery, bizarre interconnected coincidences, brutal murders and a journey of self discovery on a luxury cruise ship in Currents Deep and Deadly.
Author Arleen Alleman introduces her main characters with plenty of description and back story while showing the events that brought each on the month-long South American cruise. Darcy Farthing, the heroine, boards the Sea Nymph, an enormous floating city, with her current love, Dr. Peterson. Darcy is a self-described atheist and non-believer of coincidence. While boarding, Darcy overhears a conversation that may suggest the planning of foul play. Mick Clayton is a recent widower who chose the cruise last minute, more to keep an eye on Sidney, an old acquaintance, and her problems with her dangerous husband, Paul Denezza, a Vegas casino boss with old school mob connections. Captain Epsten is as proud of his Viking heritage as he is to be the Captain of the Sea Nymph. Rounding out the principals is the exotic beauty Suzanne Moretti, the Captain's wife.
When a crew member is killed it is first considered an accident. A second death has ship security and Mick investigating two possible homicides. Meanwhile the romance between Darcy and Mick increases, with their love scenes adding some needed sizzle. The coincidences continue as Darcy begins to believe someone is pulling the strings when she is reunited with an old friend. The finger of guilt is pointed at several of the primaries including the suspicious Denezza, the jealous Captain, his mysterious wife, and others as the author successfully keeps the reader guessing who-dun-it. When the killer turns on Darcy, it's a life-and-death struggle that could destroy all that she has built with Mick. In the end, the author wraps up the loose ends while nicely setting up the sequel.
Arleen Alleman has done her homework. I came away with a clear picture of the shore excursion tour stops thanks to the well researched details of the villages, townspeople, and scenery. Alleman knows her way around a cruise ship as well, cleverly inserting the ship's specs and dimensions to make me feel as though I was onboard. Darcy is an interesting, realistic protagonist and she has immediate chemistry with Mick as her side-kick love interest.
I would have liked to have seen an impact event in the opening chapter to hook interest earlier, and then a gradual increase in tension until the climax. Unfortunately, the author waits more than a dozen chapters until Part 2 to turn up the emotional ante with the first murder. No sooner had conflict arisen did the author switch to romantic scenes. Frequent head hopping point-of-view changes were distracting and slowed down an already sluggish plot. If the author had stayed in Darcy's first person POV, I believe it would have improved flow and allowed readers to form a stronger bond with her and her plight.
Overall, Currents Deep and Deadly is a good attempt at a mystery/thriller and I would recommend it as a holiday read.
By William Potter for Reader's Choice Book Reviews

by Colin Boxall-Hunt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Action, Adventure, in Central Africa, 18 Nov. 2010
This review is from: CONGO COBALT (Paperback)
Journey to Central Africa for action, adventure, excitement, and romance in Congo Cobalt by Colin Boxall-Hunt.

Set in 1994, we meet Major Algernon Charles Nasty-Farting or "Warty." Warty is a retired Royal Artillery and Infantry Officer with a plan; set up a Cobalt mining operation in the Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is no easy feat as the area is controlled by a number of heavily armed terrorist gangs. His first part of the plan is to put together a group of trusted military comrades and to set up financing and a means to sell their product. Along for the operation are experienced and mostly retired military men with nick-names like Bullet, The Black Dwarf, and Keith Monkey Lawrence.

Once in the Congo, the first order of business is setting up/fortifying a compound of living quarters and the mining and ore reduction plant. Local civilians are hired for labor and more than 60 are enlisted for a security force. The force is split into two full platoons and armed and trained in the highest British Military tradition. The security force will need to be at its best to protect the camp from terrorist gangs known for murder, torture, and cannibalism. A UN-backed medical team arrives to inoculate the villagers against measles, small pox and other diseases. The all female medical team quickly catch the eyes of several of the officers. With the operation in full production, it isn't long before the gangs become interested and mount their first attack on the camp.

Author Colin Boxall-Hunt's experience and knowledge of weapons and military operations is apparent on every page with detailed description giving this story a realistic feel. He keeps the tension up with the constant threat of the gangs and pirates who are ready to unleash bloody mayhem and/or steal the valuable cobalt. This is a quick read that will catch the interest of readers of action-adventure and combat fiction.

I felt that the author's choice of the omniscient point of view kept me at a distance from the story. There is little or no character development, back story or description. There is a "List of Principal Characters," however, the list mentions military backgrounds and doesn't help create a clear picture of the cast. Instead the author refers readers to his prequel, Rhine Army Summer, for more details on Warty and the others. In fact, the prequel is mentioned no fewer than five times by page six. The story is set in the 1990s; however, the medical staff is stereotypical meek females. Their living quarters supplied with "girlie potions and lotions" and decorated with wild flowers suggests a setting in the 50's or 60's. The book could have used the services of a professional proofreader to catch the numerous typos and formatting issues that became distracting for me. Despite these problems, I would recommend Congo Cobalt to those who enjoy a fast-paced read in the action/adventure genre.
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Battle Lines Undrawn
Battle Lines Undrawn
by Rick Brooks
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended by Reader's Choice Book Reviews, 9 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Battle Lines Undrawn (Paperback)
Follow an American teenager from his daily struggles at Jump School training to becoming a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne, to the beginning of the African-American civil rights movement in Battle Lines Undrawn by Rick Brooks.

In 1956, Brad Stevens is an All-American kid, star of his high school's football and track programs. Instead of college, Brad and his friend, Billy, enlist in the army. After basic training, the pair transfers to Jump School where recruits are put through vigorous training designed to separate the men from the boys. Every day, many of Brad's co-recruits either quit or are kicked out of the unit. Brad must make five successful jumps to earn his wings as an elite Screaming Eagle of the 101st Airborne. The training is tough and the jumps dangerous, but Stevens will stop at nothing to become a paratrooper and to protect the American way of life against the communist threat. Soon Stevens begins to see that the biggest challenge in America isn't from a Soviet or Chinese invasion but from inside the nation's own borders.

Brad and his platoon are sent to Little Rock, Arkansas in September 1957. Once there, Airborne troops are deployed to protect nine African-American students from an angry anti-integration mob. The students were prevented from attending Little Rock Central High School by the Arkansas National Guard.

Author Rick Brooks has done a wonderful job detailing the severe challenges the brave soldiers of the airborne must face in order to earn the right to serve their country. Brooks has done his research, as the training and parachute passages feel authentic. His characters are well drawn and the dialogue realistic to the time period. His illustrations are exceptional and add nicely to the imagery of his narrative. With the election of President Obama, it is easy to forget that only few short decades ago a level of bigotry existed that would stop an African-American person from enjoying a movie with his white friends. This is a coming-of-age story of a naÔve teenager and of an entire nation. This book is geared to young adult readers (10-18) and I believe it would be an asset to middle school history/social studies programs. Highly Recommended.

By William Potter for Reader's Choice Book Reviews

Mexican Autumn
Mexican Autumn
by John Howard Reid
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended Short Story Collection!, 9 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Mexican Autumn (Paperback)
Mexican Autumn is a short story collection that reads like a novel, full of intriguing characters and trademark charm and wit from author John Howard Reid.

The first sixteen shorts are inter-related and take place in a true Mexican fishing village called Bahia de los Angeles. Bahia de los Angeles lies 350 miles south of the US border along the shores of the Sea of Cortes on the East Coast of Baja, California. The Mexican government has closed the area to fishing, forcing the village to rely on other sources of income--that new source being "el Gringo" or the American tourist. This is where the fun begins as Mr. Reid observes the conflict of opposing cultures--the laid back native Mexicans and the hurried American visitors and everyone's need to understand each other.

I enjoyed all the stories so I'll look at some of the main characters:

∑ The village physician, who is also curator of the town's mining museum, whose lack of tolerance for American tourists is as clear as his need for their cash;
∑ The doctor's good friend, the town mayor and owner of the Miraculous Superstore (the village's largest store) who is happy to help his fellow villagers, but expects their loyal business and votes come election time;
∑ The silver-haired, aristocratic land owner and confirmed bachelor who is always on hand to lend his advice in village matters;
∑ The devoted Catholic, town gossip, and proprietress of the Refugio del Sol motel and cantina who is ever so grateful for the retired American priest's arrival in the village;
∑ The village's only policeman; and
∑ The young beauty determined to leave Bahia de los Angeles for a better life even if it means marrying the first wealthy American who asks for her hand.

Two other stories complete the collection. However, Zone of Silence and The Feast of Gonzaga do not take place in Bahia de los Angeles, nor do they include any of the aforementioned characters.

The stories are presented in chronological order and stand alone well. What I found unique is that each short could be considered and read as a chapter in a novel. Reid has obviously spent time in the village as his descriptions paint a clear picture of a village too small for a church with dilapidated buildings, rough yet paved roads, and a stray dog problem. The characters shine throughout the book, setting the stories apart from other short fiction, and highlighting an author at the top of his craft. The quirky banter and authentic Mexican slang used between the villagers makes this book a treat to read. Whether you enjoy Mexican Autumn as a novel or as a group of short stories it will not disappoint. Highly Recommended.

By William R. Potter

The It Handbook for Business: Managing Information Technology Support Costs
The It Handbook for Business: Managing Information Technology Support Costs
by William C. Couie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.86

5.0 out of 5 stars If you own or manage a business you need The IT Handbook for Business., 30 Oct. 2010
Learn how to spot IT scams and unfair billing practices, how to interview an IT firm, what a service invoice or quote should look like, and much more in The IT Handbook for Business by William C. Couie.

The IT Handbook is presented in seventeen detailed chapters. Certain chapters in the book will stand out to different business owners and managers depending on their personal situations. I will look at six chapters that stood out for me.

Interviewing an IT Firm. Selecting an IT firm is much more than opening the yellow pages or performing a Google search. Couie looks at the questions you need to ask and the necessary Certifications, Credentials, Experience, and References you should look for in an IT firm.

Lowering IT Costs. These chronic expenses can overwhelm budgets as well as the managers responsible to keep them in check. The valuable tips on these ten pages alone make this book a must own.

Anatomy of a Quote and Anatomy of an Invoice. Two important chapters. The first shows what a quote for quality service from a reputable firm should look like and how to tell if you are about to be ripped off. The second shows what the invoice should look like and how to spot when you are billed for work not done, etc.

How to Recognize Technobabble. Industry jargon can be used to confuse, mislead, or dazzle customers in almost any industry. This chapter will help you recognize technospeak, whether it is spoken by a technician or written in an invoice or quote.

Scams and Unfair Billing Practices. This chapter is a revealing insider look at the grey areas and total rip-offs that some IT firms exploit to pad their revenue streams. The author looks at no less than 10 shady practices and complete scams. This information is the equivalent of an auto- mechanic or plumber showing how their industries cheat motorists or home owners.

Mr. Couie draws on his more than 30 years of information technology field work, protecting and auditing businesses to write a book that could transform how businesses and IT firms cooperate with each other. He writes in a conversational tone and does not bog down his pages with highly technical passages. As someone with limited IT knowledge, I was able to absorb and understand the information easily. This book will empower business owners and managers to make informed decisions about their computer network maintenance, upgrades, and repairs. The book begins with the author's bold statement, "In virtually every city in the world that has computers, I think there's a technical support firm or person who's taking advantage of a business's ignorance of technology." I have no doubt this quote is accurate and I believe that a significant amount of IT Support expenditures can be reduced, or eliminated, by reading and implementing the lessons learned in this book.

If you own or manage a business you need The IT Handbook for Business. Highly Recommended.

William Potter for Reader's Choice Book Reviews

Mission Possible: Spiritual Covering
Mission Possible: Spiritual Covering
by D L McCarragher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended by Reader's Choice Book Reviews, 9 Oct. 2010
For a modern Christian wife, hoping and waiting for your husband to embrace Jesus as his savior is not enough. With Mission Possible, Deborah McCarragher hopes to offer a guide to show your man the path to finding and creating a relationship with our Lord.

Like many North Americans, author Deborah McCarragher made many excuses for not going to church. Finally, in the spring of 1989 she attended with a neighbor. As she describes it, Deborah was "radically saved" that first Sunday. She took her two-year-old son and each week she became closer and closer to God. Her husband approved, but would not attend church. During this time Deborah decided that her husband was "on lease" to Satan. A "spiritual skirmish" was taking place--God's desire to see a couple united together as one versus Satan's opposition to Holy Union.

At this time many women may give up the battle for their husband's soul, seek a divorce and a new man who is a believer. With Mission Possible: Spiritual Covering the author encourages women to stay the course as even good, moral men devoted to the marriage and family need help to find salvation. The book offers a step-by-step "How to" guide to showing your husband God's mercy, love, and desire. Each chapter concludes with a "Seek and Find" section that presents questions concerning applicable scriptures. These questions help the reader fully understand and utilize the information previously covered.

Modern families are bombarded with temptations and numerous issues from financial concerns to troubles at schools and in communities. A couple with a shared spiritual foundation is better equipped to stand against these challenges. The struggle to help your husband develop a personal relationship with God is no easy task. With trust in your faith and the spiritual tools found in this book, this religious obstacle can be become Mission Possible!

The book was written for women, however I believe it would just as helpful to men hoping to show their wives the path to God. Religious differences continue to be a leading cause of marital break up. Mission Possible could save your mate and your marriage. Highly Recommended by Reader's Choice Book Reviews.

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