Tag Archives: reviews

EGO – Everyone’s Got One

I’ve often wondered at what point A-list celebrities become jaded to their success. Recognizable folks from any walk of life are at risk but since the world (especially Americans and Brits) obsess over the antics of the rich and famous, it must happen more quickly with those prominent, newsworthy folks. However,  even photogenic “beautiful” people have flaws.

Authors are a different lot for the most part, perhaps because we hide behind our characters. I seldom see that nose-in-the-air snootiness with a well-known author. Oh, there’s a few, don’t get me wrong. I won’t name names but every aspiring or mid-list writer knows who they are. Unapproachable. Kiss-my-ring, peon attitude. “I’d be happy to speak at your event but I must have Evian water and no red M&M’s at my table” type requests. “Certainly I will be a keynote speaker but keep those autograph hounds away from me.” Sadly, I’ve even met some of those ego driven folks at chapter meetings for various author organizations.

Sad, isn’t it? My parents stressed that I should never forget my roots – which came from an archaic middle class, hard working, respect your elders, have pride in your work, look at those less fortunate and say “for the grace of God, there goes I” type upbringing. That being said, today’s world requires caution when dealing with the public because the values I was raised with got thrown out with the bathwater.

Old habits die hard. I’m a writer. A good writer but not the best or most recognized writer. I’m not sure I would even classify myself as mid-list. I love spinning a good yarn and am flabbergasted when others seem to like it, too.

Today I received a 5 star review for one of my older books. A book I considered irrelevant to today’s market. It’s not graphically sexy. My characters are not as contemporary as those written by my peers. It’s kinda hokey, I guess, but back when romantic suspense was popular, it did okay. I like it. In fact, it’s one of my favorites. A nice blend of things I love like strong men, sassy women, Native American culture, and a bad ass (IMHO) villain. I actually thought about taking this book off my availability list. But now, because of one kind and expressive person who cared enough to leave a short review saying they liked it, I will keep Red Hot and Dangerous active in hopes someone else might find respite form the craziness between its pages.

Thank you to all my reviewers. Remember, most authors are an insecure lot. It makes us feel good when you enjoy our hard work that probably took months, or even years to release. Writing a novel is like giving birth to a child. We carry it inside us for ages, allowing it to grow and nurture. When our manuscript finally takes its first breath as a published work, we are proud.

If you don’t like it, there’s no reason to be cruel. Just let us know what you think would have made it better. The majority of us want to know. Believe it or not, we listen – and also realize it’s impossible to please everyone. But as writers, we’re probably still going to try.

 

Paper Doll – A Mystery With So Much More

51-lvAPX9sL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_REVIEW:

PAPER DOLL (Jana Lane Mystery Book 1) by Joe Cosentino should be on everyone’s summer reading list – not just because it’s a well written mystery thriller but because it’s fun! Quirky. Refreshing. And will keep you guessing to the end.

I loved the cast of characters. Each eccentric soul is motivated by their own agenda and it’s often not what you think.

Start with little Jana Lane, famous child actress who walked away from fame after a heinous attack. Now she’s all grown up with a family of her own and living nicely on residual income . . . but still haunted by nightmares from her past. Her hunky husband is struggling to overcome a bankruptcy but is doing okay with his new landscaping business – much to the aversion of his father-in-law, an aging movie star who wants to use Jana to resurrect his own career. And then there’s Jana’s delightful BFF who is openly gay and openly lusts for husband but would never breach their friendship. Or would he?

PAPER DOLL is a mystery but in many ways, more of a character driven satire. Joe Cosentino has crafted an engaging tale of secrets, lies and deceit set in that crazy, ego driven scene called Hollywood. As much as I enjoyed the glimpse of glamour and glitz, it was the insightful presentation of diverse personalities that kept me hooked.

I admit, the ending caught me off guard. I identified the villain but was surprised by some of the outcomes with the supporting cast. And that made me love this book even more.

I think you will, too.

MY RATING – ★★★★★

Available at AMAZON

Paper Doll 

Jana Lane Mystery – Book 1

Joe Cosentino

  • Print Length: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press LLC (March 5, 2015)
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00THKODUC

Book Description:

Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.

About the Author:

JoeJoe Cosentino is the author of AN INFATUATION (Dreamspinner Press), PAPER DOLL Jana Lane mystery 1 (Whiskey Creek Press), DRAMA QUEEN Nicky and Noah mystery 1 (Lethe Press), A SHOOTING STAR (Dreamspinner Press–releasing this September), A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Dreamspinner Press–releasing this December), THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (Dreamspinner Press–releasing 2016), PORCELAIN DOLL Jana Lane mystery 2 (Wild Rose Press–releasing 2016), DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah mystery 2 (Lethe Press–releasing 2016), and THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MOUSE KING (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, INFATUATION and NEIGHBOR, were performed in New York City. He wrote “The Perils of Pauline,” available on CDROM (through Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe received his MFA from Goddard College in Vermont, and MA from SUNY New Paltz. He is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Review – “The Naked Storyteller” by Laura Michelle Thomas

naked banner revised

The Naked Storyteller

by Laura Michelle Thomas

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Comedy

NakedStorytellerCoverBook Description:

Harry Tyke is a flabby, divorced grade-six teacher on the verge of a monumental mid-life crisis when he unexpectedly ends up in a storytelling workshop taught by a creative, free-thinking teacher-turned-storyteller named Olga. The workshop awakens Harry’s long dead romantic side and hurls him into stories from his past, including his decision to give up on his dream of being a novelist to please his parents, a decision this classroom-weary teacher can no longer live with as he sags into his fifties.

Questioning contemporary ideas of what makes a happy and productive life in an increasingly digital world, this romantic comedy––set in Vancouver, Canada––will have you cheering for this unlikely leading man from start to finish.

Purchase Links:

(iTunes) https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-naked-storyteller/id909123422?mt=11

(Kindle Amazon.ca) http://www.amazon.ca/Naked-Storyteller-Laura-Michelle-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00MO0DF9W

(Kindle Amazon.com) http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Storyteller-Laura-Michelle-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00MO0DF9W

Review: 

The Naked Storyteller is an interesting tale of one man’s life as he searches for hope, love and forgiveness after years of living in disappointment. Harry Tyke is an overweight, unkempt, middle-aged teacher on the cusp of an emotional breakdown. He doesn’t like or understand the attitude and actions of his students. He dutifully takes care of a mother who viciously attacks him. He is ridiculed by students and faculty. And he is filled with regret for never pursuing his passion for writing.

His life sucks. But it’s about to get better . . . before it gets worse.

Harry is jarred out of his misery and bitterness at an educational conference by the sight of a striking woman in bright red heels. His best friend, James, is also intrigued and immediately launches a campaign to woo and bed the workshop presenter, Olga. Her training module is entitled “The Naked Storyteller”, sending both men into sexual fantasies about the woman and her red shoes. It is later explained that the title stems from her time in Mexico where she was forced to teach children without aid of books, paper or pens. She relied solely on storytelling and achieved remarkable results.

James is quickly shot down in his pursuit, surprised to find Olga’s attention focused more on his messy, ill mannered friend. Harry is even more surprised than James. As Harry attempts to use his storytelling skills to teach a class of unruly students, he realizes his style is missing something. He asks for Olga’s advice. Through her tutilege, he breaks the barriers and finally garners his student’s attention and respect. Unfortunately, he does so by sharing questionable details about his life including his mother’s stern actions, catching his wife with another man, ejecting her from his house while she is clad in leopard panties and being forced into a teaching career by his parents in return for the ownership of their upscale home. Needless to say, not all the parents are happy with the content of Harry’s “lessons” and soon complain to the principal.

The rest of the novel deals with Harry’s metamorphosis from unhappy to happy and dealing with his mother’s lies and rejection. Along the way, he and Olga must also overcome some relationship issues . . . trust being one of them.

The Naked Storyteller is touted as a comedy but I feel satirical is more appropriate. It’s a character driven tale so the pace moves a bit slower than a story with more drama. However, following Harry Tyke’s bumpy journey from miserable, brow beaten man to someone who follows his dream with confidence is a fascinating study in human nature.

Ms. Thomas has penned a compelling novel that will keep readers cheering and jeering for the unlikely hero while remaining sympathetic to the unfortunate events in his life. You’ll enjoy it.

LauraAbout the Author:

LAURA MICHELLE THOMAS is an author with an opinion on just about everything she thinks is wrong with contemporary life in North America (which, in her opinion, is just about everything). Harry Tyke, the 52-year-old protagonist of The Naked Storyteller, is who Laura might be if she wasn’t the author of her own life and had a beard. When she’s not writing and telling her family to buzz off and let her work, she’s runs a very busy website through which she fosters the development of young writers around the world through free annual writing contests, young writers conferences and other inspirational stuff. With the assistance of her team of junior bloggers, editors and artists, Laura has the privilege of being publisher and senior editor of an international e-zine for young writers called jaBlog! To find out what novel project Laura is working on now, please visit her website (www.laurathomascommunications.com) and click on “Novels by Laura Michelle Thomas.”

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PollyWantstoBeaWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraThomasComm

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7329741.Laura_Michelle_Thomas

 

“Playing Darlene” – Not Your Average Fantasy

Most kids grow up playing make believe. Sometimes it carries into adulthood. Go to any Renaissance Faire and tell me those participants are not having fun. But when fantasy borders sexual deviance, it suddenly becomes a topic that’s not spoken about in “polite” company, and practiced in dark dungeons.

“Playing Darlene” is a true story about one woman’s secret life as a Dominatrix while working as a respected school teacher.

I agreed to review “Playing Darlene” out of morbid curiosity. I confess I was prepared for a book filled with explicit details of sick, perverted actions. What I found, however, was a smartly written story about a woman’s ability to overcome an abusive childhood and carve out an unconventional future doing something she enjoys.

“Darlene” had it rough growing up. From the outside, it looked as if her life was straight out of “Leave It To Beaver” but past those closed doors was a dysfunctional family. Her father was rarely home, her mother was weak and controlled by Darlene’s older brother – an adolescent who enjoyed terrorizing his sister.  What kept Darlene going was her love of performing. She thrived under the spotlight and found opportunities to perform in dance, plays and school events even as her brother took pride in destroying her happiness.

Darlene was a sponge for learning through college and beyond, but once she felt like she’d conquered the tasks, she grew bored and sought out something new. She wasn’t a “desk” person, preferring active positions where she could mingle with people. She soon combined her love of dance with the lucrative art of stripping. From there, she began to explore the fantasy world of S&M, Bondage, Slavery and Domination. While some might question her decision, I prefer to remain non-judgmental. Darlene found fantasy role-playing an exciting outlet for her desire to perform.

An interesting element in “Playing Darlene” is the case histories of clients layered throughout the book. I found it fascinating to enter this world via the written word, and walked away with a better understanding of how Dominatrix are caring for the special needs of their elite clientele. Very often, the client sends a description of exactly how they want their fantasy to play out, even including props and costumes. It’s usually planned down to the smallest detail. Darlene never had sex with her clients, although they were allowed to pleasure themselves. Many didn’t because it was about a different experience.

You won’t find explicit sex scenes in “Playing Darlene”. There’s plenty of erotic fiction out there with titillating details. Even though the subject matter might prove unsettling to some readers. In my opinion, this is a great human interest story about a courageous woman who took lemons and made lemonade. Darlene lives her life with honesty and pride. She is as comfortable teaching students in the public school system as she is “playing” with customers in the dungeon.

She lived her fantasy dream for 18 years and is still enjoying life. And while her dream might be vastly different from most people, I admire her ability to juggle the light with the dark without losing balance.
Playing Darlene: The True Double Life of a Public School Teacher & Professional Dominatrix
By Darlene
Genre:  Autobiography/Memoir/ Erotica
Publisher:  Chances Press, LLC

ISBN:  978-0988230200
ASIN:  B0094JN1R2

Number of pages:  114
Word Count: 23,000

Cover Artist:  Geronimo Quitoriano

Amazon

Book Description:

In this eye-opening true story, one woman recounts the double life she led working in two very different professions…one revered and the other reviled. Darlene spent over twenty years being thought of as a well-mannered teacher in a Southern California public school district, but her colleagues and students would have never imagined that for eighteen of those years she also worked as a professional dominatrix in a dungeon. “

Playing Darlene” lets the reader take a peek into the mysterious lives of professionals in the sex industry and some of the jaw-dropping encounters she had with the thousands of clients whose fantasies she helped come true. With everything from roleplaying a shopaholic wife being spanked by her husband to wrapping up a muscular cross-dressing client in plastic and watching him wiggle, Darlene helped men realize their most secret desires…while she wasn’t grading school papers on her breaks.

Darlene’s true stories of balancing her two different personas are frequently shocking, at times hilarious, and occasionally touching, but at the heart of the story is a woman on a personal journey not only to reconcile with her past, but also to discover the full potential of her own sexuality.

About the Author:

Darlene was born in Hollywood, California, and grew up in Pasadena, a quiet suburb near Los Angeles. She received a BA in German from California State University, Los Angeles. For several years she worked in television and film. Credits include General Hospital, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the female lead in the film Monstrosity in which she played a spaced-out punk rocker. She even photo-doubled for Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun and Corey Feldman in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (when they were 14 and 12 respec- tively). For the past 20 years, she has been a public school teacher in Los Angeles County. She currently lives in the San Fernando Valley, where she can be found indulging in her favorite hobby, ballroom and country-western dancing. Her next book is scheduled to be released in early 2013.

http://www.chancespress.com/darlene.html

Review and Opinions are like . . . what? – New Kids on the Writers Block

Have you ever gotten a bad review? Check out my latest blog at New Kids~ Even the best writers can’t please everyone.

Review and Opinions are like . . . what? – New Kids on the Writers Block.