American ex-pat living in the central highlands of Mexico. Retired with plenty of time to read, and enjoy life.
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Smashwords book reviews by Marti xx
- Tortilla Press
on April 01, 2011
What a wonderfully written book, with converging story lines that keeps the action moving. Getting inside the head of the various characters gives insight into their actions and decision-making. A fine example of how we all do the best with what we've got, and a lot of what we've got depends on what we start off with in life. Believable and sympathetic characters, and a storyline that keeps moving, all keep the reader cheering for the characters and hoping for the best for them, while at the same time fearing the worst.
- Death and Taxes (The Accidental Acquittal)
on April 30, 2011
An interesting short story with a not-very-surprising ending. Good writing, but a bit disappointing in the story line.
on May 13, 2011
A delightful short detective mystery. It left me wishing it was novel-length. Sympathetic characters, crisp writing. All in all, a good read.
- Bubba and the Dead Woman
on May 26, 2011
What a fun read. What's not to like about a good ole boy from Texas with an old pickup truck and a beagle named Precious, a decaying pre-civil war mansion and a mother who runs a quasi-secret illegal floating poker game for the gals in town? Oh yeah, and a body in his front yard. Now I got to get me the other title, Bubba and the Twelve Deadly Days of Christmas.
- Of Mice and Murderers - Book 1 in The Z-Detective Series
on July 28, 2011
Great story, great writing. The only nagging annoyance was the constant flamboyant and unnecessary use of quotation marks throughout the book. One suspects that either he had no editor, or that his editor could not dissuade him from this annoying use, and I found that it distracted me from fully enjoying an otherwise excellent book.
- The Teacher's Guide To Spying
on Feb. 27, 2014
This book was a hoot! It was a really fun take on the spying industry, and a charming look at teaching school and taking care of an autistic brother ... all the while reluctantly spying for the government.
Gus Fox likes his life teaching school, and is a caring guy for his autistic brother, and even though the chick he has googoo eyes for is in a relationship with someone else, they are still good friends.... and without any benefits. He is pressed into service against his will to spy on a Russian gangster and .... well, you'll see all the cool stuff when you read it.
Well written, although the narrative flow is somewhat interrupted by being chopped up into number segments, but so what. That isn't going to diminish the 5 stars it gets from me. It's a fun read. Khorosho moi druz'ya.
- The Gray Ghost Inn
on March 20, 2014
If you are a mystery fan, you will probably have read Agatha Christie. This is Agatha Christie without the solemnity. Sort of Agatha Christie. DEFINITELY without the solemnity.
Our hero, a P.I., his menza-intelligent-but-somewhat-ditzy partner, and his long-time mentor arrive at a B&B for which they have reservations. At the B&B are an elderly Jewish couple, and the two owners, BFFs from college, and the brother of one of the owners. And then it storms. And then there is a body hanging from the rafters in the library. That would be the body of a person whom nobody actually likes very much. But the police can't come immediately because of the raging storm and their other emergencies, so the folks in the place are instructed to not touch anything and just sit tight and wait for them.
So, since they have nothing to do while awaiting the gendarmes, our P.I. decides to investigate the death, even going so far as to have a seance. See? I told you -- not solemn.
This is a fun -- and funny -- read. Delightful enough to make us ignore the knee-deep holes in the plot, because really, who cares. The books seems to exist as a vehicle to carry the wit of the author, and mighty indeed and charming is that wit!
Our P.I. hero is, charming, handsome, a deep-dish liar, with a 'patented Lady Killer 9000™ " smile, guaranteed to turn all females into mush. Whatta guy! I loved him. The whole time I was reading, I kept picturing him as Tony DiNozzo from the NCIS TV series. dinozzo
You just know the author loves these characters in this book, the third in a four volume series. But in spite of numerous and ongoing references to the events in the prior volumes, it is a stand alone, and a delightful one at that.
- Homesick: A Time in Yellowstone Story
on March 30, 2014
A truly delightful story, one of a series, about Yellowstone National Park in the time of World War II, when most of the Park staff were off fighting the war, and there were few visitors because there was no gas for traveling.
Ranger Will McManis is the guy in charge of the Upper Geyser Basin. He and his wife have had the care of their now five-year-old grandson since his birth, due to the death of his mother and his father's despair. But after this summer, he will be moving to Denver to live with his father and to go to school.
A beautiful story full of loving details of the countryside, the relationship with the three family members, and a ghost.
Oops! Didn't mean to tell you about the ghost.
This is a gentle story with just a smidge of paranormal. Just a smidge. Definitely a warm-your-heart work.
on April 06, 2014
Some guy in a hospital waiting room empties a vial of powder in front of the air vent, and from then on, people start dying in vast numbers, not from a virus as such, but from exacerbated effects of any injury or illness they already have. This continues with such speed that it isn’t long before the planet’s entire population is wiped out, with the except of a handful of apparently immune people.
Our protagonist, aptly named Eve, is one of the handful of survivors in her town in a southern state. She, and her sister’s baby, who was born on the day her sister died, seem to be the only ones who survived, until a knock at her door turns out to be a cleaning crew, small teams that are going around cleaning out the dead bodies in the houses and neighborhoods, burning trash, and turning off the utilities in the empty houses.
The book is about how gradually a few other people find her, and create a small enclave of survivors, and how they managed and their community grew.
I don’t usually read post-apocalyptic books because I like my world to be PollyAnna bright and cheery and post apocalyptic stories are usually dire, dismal and dismaying, but the idea of being entirely alone in the world hooked me, and I was interested to see what the author would do with this idea.
Of course, if Eve and her baby nephew survived, there have to be others as well, so there is scope for an interesting story line. What I liked about this book was that it was about survival and adjusting to being first alone, and then with only a small number of people. It wasn’t all about how nasty bands roamed the country creating murder, havoc and destruction and how the country became terribly dangerous to live in, as so many other post apocalyptic books seem to be about.
All in all, I enjoyed it quite a bit. From the promotional blurb, I thought it was going to be about some kind of Boadicea type of chick, leading the remnants of society into battle, but it was really just about a young woman doing her best to survive and take care of her young nephew in the face of horrific events.
- The Deadly Playground - 1914
on May 02, 2014
It's 1914, and the wealthy and influential Barrington family of Britain, with its 5 sons and two daughters, must set aside its frivolous ways because war has been declared. Germany is about to take over poor little Belgium in an effort to get at France and take over France as well.
The first section, an introduction to the various members of Barrington family, is told through the eyes of Stanley Walker, a former classmate of the youngest Barrington, Jimmy. Stanley comes from a working class family, and managed to scrape by to attend university, has a knack with motors, and stays connected with Jimmy as he works on Jimmy's motorcars.
When the war effort begins, Jimmy coerces Stanley to join the nascent air corps as pilots the fact that neither had ever even been in an airplane, let alone flown one, notwithstanding. With Jimmy's connections, he is able to get them a certificate, which gets them into classes.
The remainder of the book is the story of how the piloting effort goes, and the different directions and interconnections in the European war zone the lives of the two main characters take, Stanley as an ace pilot, and Jimmy in 'Intelligence'.
I believe this is the first of a planned series about the Barringtons, although this one is primarily about the war in 1914, and is completely a stand-alone book.
This book is obviously extremely well researched, and the historical period is integral to the story, not just window dressing for it. I am really looking forward to the continuing story,
- The Weeping Empress
on May 15, 2014
"For some, death is an art," a voice behind her said. "For others, it is merely an inevitability."
Gee, this was an interesting book. Actually, more than interesting.
Did you ever have one of those days, or periods of days, where what you really wanted to be doing was slashing a honking big sword at everybody and everything that annoyed you, and then say to yourself, 'Well, they needed killing.' Yeah. Me, too. Well, here's your chance to do that vicariously through Chiyo Alglaeca, a perfectly normal young mommie with a nice husband and a darling 3 year old child, who wakes up one bright morning to find she has been mysteriously transported to another place, and another time. Another dimension?
It seems sort of like feudal Japan, but maybe not exactly. We are never told exactly where, but there is a cruel Emperor who lives in a great castle high on a bluff, and the place is referred to as the kingdom.
Anyway, she is right in the middle of a group of conscripts being taken in lieu of money to work in some function of the Emperor. (I forget exactly. If I had a penchant for detail, I could get a real job.) Upon seeing a frail elderly woman being cruelly treated then killed for not moving fast enough, Mz. Chiyo goes into action, and well, the game is on.
Without knowing diddly squat about sword fighting, she picks one up and starts flailing away, to the amusement and interest of a couple of rebel types who have come to disrupt the human caravan, and thus provoke the Emperior, which they have being doing for years. They agree to help the group escape by taking them far away to a river border to a place they will be safe. More swordplay, more slashing and flailing, which certainly gets their attention.
The three become companions, and the two guys, Muhjah and Senka, begin to teach her how to properly handle the sword. She works hard at learning and eventually becomes an excellent warrior in her own right, and she and her two companions do a Robin Hood/Bonnie and Clyde and Clyde throughout the countryside, wrecking havoc against the forces of the Emperor.
And if all this weren't paranormal enough for you, we now introduce you to Kali, the Goddess. She had been worshipped by the animals and humans since time immemorial, but times have changed, and the humans have drifted away from her. She promises to send her Arm to free her people. And it soon becomes apparent that Chiyo is thought to be that Arm of the Goddess, and is becoming revered throughout the land, as tales of her powers and that of her two companions, begin to spread.
You know how so many sci fi, apocalypse and dystopian stories are about how we humans are destroying our resources and our planet, and how that theme, serious as it is and true, sort of gets tedious after about the 70th book? Well, this is the same, in disguise, and it isn't until after you close the book and think back on the story that you realize that it is a parable. Kali the Goddess is the Earth, and her devotees and followers who have rather abandoned her are, well, US. And how we are always looking for a savior to get us out of this mess.
Wonderful read, filled with Latin quotes, and lyrical writing. And a real kick-ass female warrior. So get your bad self on, grab a sword, and swing away!
- Flat Tire
on June 24, 2014
In spite of the cover claiming it is a novelette, it is really a short story, and a fun one at that. And although it is grammatically challenged in a couple of places, that does not take anything away from the enjoyment of the story that leaves us smiling with the knowledge that a love that is out of this world can come to us out of the blue.