Book of the Week 4/14/14

MurderByPlane

I visit the Pinterest social media site on a regular basis and often come across books of interest that were “pinned” by other members. One Pinterest discovery that caught my eye was T.E. Avery’s Murder by Plane (Amazon Digital Services, 2012), a captivating story of actor/aviator Reginald St. John’s belief that he’d killed his fiancee in a plane crash until evidence proves she was murdered.

Murder by Plane is a detective novel with a classic “old movie” aura, its plot set in the 1930‘s. The book begins on a slow note, but soon picks up the pace once the death of Reginald’s fiancee is attributed to murder. There are few details omitted as Avery guides us through the unveiling of murder, why the fiancee was targeted, and possible suspects, with ambitions and rivalries of starlets in between.

Sure, some areas could’ve used some additional editing, but the overall story will grab and hold readers’ interests until the murder suspect’s identity is revealed. Prepare to be surprised; if my first guess was far off the mark, yours will likely be as well.

Murder by Plane combines the golden years of Hollywood with intriguing mystery, a great read one can finish in a night or two. Hopefully, no one will be affected by the idea of flying once they finish this fine novel.

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Book of the Week 4/7/14

DeathofWCWUpdated

One day removed from WWE’s annual WrestleMania event, I thought it would be appropriate to profile R. D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez’s updated version of their best seller The Death of WCW. You can read my September 16, 2013 Book of the Week profile on the original book at this link.

The Death of WCW: 10th Anniversary Edition of the Bestselling Classic — Revised and Expanded (ECW Press, Tenth Anniversary Edition, 2014) is scheduled for release October 14, 2014, complete with revisions and updated information not included in the first edition.

Book Blurb (courtesy of Amazon):

In 1997, World Championship Wrestling was on top. It was the number-one pro wrestling company in the world, and the highest-rated show on cable television. Each week, fans tuned in to Monday Nitro, flocked to sold-out arenas, and carried home truckloads of WCW merchandise. It seemed the company could do no wrong.

But by 2001, however, everything had bottomed out. The company — having lost a whopping 95% of its audience — was sold for next to nothing to Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. WCW was laid to rest.

What went wrong? This expanded and updated version of the bestselling Death of WCW takes readers through a detailed dissection of WCW’s downfall, including even more commentary from the men who were there and serves as an object lesson — and dire warning — as WWE and TNA hurtle toward the 15th anniversary of WCW’s demise.

The book is available for pre-order in paperback on Amazon.com.

Book of the Week 3/31/14

FaultInOurStars

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton Children’s, 2012) is a New York Times best seller that tells an intense story with a blend of life, death, and love, bringing tears to readers’ eyes.

Hazel is sixteen and battling terminal cancer and clinically depressed. Following her doctor’s advice, she attends a support group and meets fellow cancer patient Augustus Waters. The teens fall in love. She expresses great interest in An Imperial Affliction, a novel about cancer, and develops a curiosity about characters in the book following its ambiguous ending. Hazel and Augustus travel Amsterdam, the present home of Imperial’s author Peter Van Houten. I can’t give away subsequent events, but readers will become engrossed in what the teens discover along the way.

The Fault in Our Stars is not light reading, and the impact of this book’s contents will make us remember no matter how bad some things seem in our lives, there is always someone who has it far worse. It’s beautifully written and stems many emotions, only two characteristics that make a good novel – at least in my opinion. It is a recommended read for anyone who has ever dealt with cancer or close to someone with the disease.

On a side note, The Fault in Our Stars will be released as a major motion picture on June 6, 2014.

Book of the Week 3/24/14

CurtainCall

When my latest book, Billy Kidman: The Shooting Star made Amazon’s best seller list after its March 1 release, Dan Ryckert’s Curtain Call: How An Unscripted Goodbye Changed The Course Of Pro Wrestling (Up To Something Publishing, 2014) also caught my attention.

Curtain Call details the story of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall leaving WWF for rival WCW and how they – along with friends Shawn Michaels and Triple H – broke character before a WWF sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in 1996. Using interviews from all involved, the book unfolds events leading up to the notorious Curtain Call, the actual moment, and the aftermath that changed the wrestling industry.

Thoroughly researched, quotes from interviews, behind the scenes details, and well-represented facts combined with strong writing make Curtain Call a must-read for those discovering sports entertainment and old school wrestling fans alike. While some of the book’s contents are common knowledge, I discovered other information I never knew prior to reading Rykert’s account.

Curtain Call is a relatively short book (around 50 pages), but it not only can be read on Kindle, but also Kindle app on iOS, Android, or on your PC for $2.99. I managed to finish this book in less than a couple hours, so it is indeed a fascinating read.

Book of the Week 3/17/14

ErrolComeHome

I don’t get many opportunities to feature children’s books on The Book Shelf, but since Harvey Rooster’s Errol Come Home (Errol Cat Mysteries) (Black Feline Publishing, 2013) has been in my reading queue for some time, there was no better time to feature this delightful tale of a sleek black cat with soft, velvety fur and small, pointy ears.

Errol Come Home is the story of Errol’s rooftop ride from being number one in the household to ‘paw’ relation when the ‘little ones’ arrive. He soon discovers the quiet life of sleepy cuddles and full bowls of tuna has changed forever, and journeys next door to find the lady with the red finger nails who has turkey chunks in her gravy.

Featuring illustrations by Jacoba Dorothy, Errol Come Home immediately hooks the reader into Errol’s pampered life being turned upside down with the arrivals of two children and he is no longer the center of attention. When he sees a kitten slip into a neighbor’s home, Errol follows the trail and discovers the aforementioned red fingernailed woman who welcomes him.

Does Errol eventually return home or does he stay with the neighbor? The answer can only be found in this lovely story children can easily follow while learning a life lesson and how Errol handles dilemmas. This is a book that should be included as part of a spring reading library.

Book of the Week 3/10/14

DogWhoAteAirplane

Not your typical mystery novel, Edward G. Coburn tells the story of Adam Martin, a gentleman driven out of his beloved Chicago by his self-created but ill-advised celebrity status as a “finder” followed by other events in The Dog Who Ate The Airplane (An Adam And Bagel Mystery) (Amazon Digital Services, 2012).

Forced back to the United States by the resurgence of his mother’s cancer after fleeing Chicago for Cancun, Mexico, Adam accepts a job as columnist for the newspaper purchased by his long-time friend Larry Archibald in Canary Corners, a small West Virginia town. He takes up residence at The Canary House, a place alleged to be haunted by several ghosts. When Adam learns the story behind Canary House, his investigative skills lead to solving a murder, unaware of how clues provided by his dog Bagel become critical to his investigation.

The Dog Who Ate The Airplane is a mystery novel that offers appeal to genre fans of all ages and walks of life. It’s a well-written book with a superb plot and charming characters. Like any great mystery, lots of surprises are discovered as readers delve deeper into the book. Bagel as his master’s investigative partner adds a masterful touch, and this book is an overall easy read that some finished in a day.

As winter winds down, The Dog Who Ate The Airplane can warm up those final chilly evenings. I’m not usually into the mystery genre, but made an exception with this book. Sometimes it’s a good idea to step outside one’s reading comfort zone.

Book of the Week 3/3/2014

BayouJesus

M.G. Miller’s award-winning novel Bayou Jesus (Southern Exposures Press, 2011) tells the story of Frank Potter, a young, divinely-inspired black man living in a house of haunted women with Samson Boudreaux, a white man of great power and greater weakness.

Bayou Jesus is much more than just race and religion in the Deep South; Miller unfolds the main plot in an eloquent manner, bringing out many readers’ emotions from anger to sorrow, from fear to hate. This book gives a clear idea of 1930‘s Louisiana while reading a mesmerizing mystery at the same time.

The story flows perfectly, written with an authentic voice, is well-researched, and attention-grabbing from page one. Readers will find a difficult time putting down this book until the very end, and then want to read it a second time to make sure they didn’t miss anything important.

Bayou Jesus has won the Oklahoma State Best Novel award, a Deep South Prize from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, an Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Literature, and praised by Noble’s Way author Dusty Richards as Miller being “in a class of artisans whose prose will someday sit on august library shelves alongside Steinbeck and Faulkner.” It is definitely a mystery book with a twist, and one not to be missed.