Where books are chronicled from beginning to end, and never stop being read.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Fool Whiskey Hero

Fool Whiskey Hero (Drunken Fool Thrillers) (Volume 1) by Jason T. Blundell
Two people are brought together under extreme circumstances. Nyah is a young lady who stands in the crossfire of corruption and almost certain death. Grady Fisk is an anti-hero who may be the only solution to Nyah's nightmare. As the unsettling journey takes place, Grady wastes no time doggedly searching for answers. 

Who do you trust?

As the plot thickens to reveal ostensible characters colluding to cover-up a deeper secret, Grady's efforts to clear his name and rescue Nyah becomes a battlefield of suspense. Layered in fast-paced dialogue, the author cuts into the facets of each character, pushing the darker aspects of daily life.

"To stiffen my resolve, and drown my conscience, I sat down with a bottle of rye. I drained the first glass before the ice had cooled it, burning my throat and warming my blood. I finished my second glass and my headache subsided. I stopped using the glass and drank right from the bottle."

Blundell uses a unique perspective of first person narration for Grady and a third person point of view for Nyah. Surprisingly, this does not take away from character development. As a matter of fact, Blundell is able to aptly display the tormented undertones of pain.

"Nyah ran on, still soaked in her mother's blood. She smelled it, and her sweater stuck to her, heavy with it. Her legs finally gave way, and she swerved off the sidewalk and ducked down in some big, leafy bushes at the edge of a property that had fallen into disrepair. Nyah sat down, bringing her knees up to her chin and hugged herself."

As the story progresses, the reader is given moments of pause with the bureaucratic parsings of true power and ethics.

"The police have little proof so they’ve resorted to extracting a confession by force."

The novel is a quick read and allows a measure of hope at the end, that perhaps a human being has the capacity for change. Blundell has successfully doled out an irrevocable challenge of resolution that is the epitome of this thriller.

Jason T. Blundell was born and raised in North Bay, Ontario. He played football for the University of Manitoba and graduated with a BA in English. He is currently published with New Pulp Press.

Fool Whiskey Hero (Drunken Fool Thrillers) (Volume 1) by Jason T. Blundell, 2016 ISBN 978-1945734052

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bess: A Pioneer Woman's Journey of Courage, Grit and Love

Bess: A Pioneer Woman's Journey of Courage, Grit and Love by [ Jett, Charles Cranston]
Bess: A Pioneer Woman's Journey of Courage, Grit and Love by Charles Cranston Jett

Frontier life would be difficult for a man or a family, but for the collective imagination to conceive of a lone woman braving such a stark and unforgiving land is nearly impossible. This is an engrossing tale about Bess, a highly motivated and determined young woman who lives on the frontier. The entire historical narrative is accurate and enthralling. There is something quite remarkable about Bess, she stands apart from the traditional pioneer woman. The lone image of Bess on the cover is suffused with a brave solitude that resounds within the pages of the story.

Charles Cranston Jett has created a phenomenal storyline that offers a radical challenge in disproving the stereotypical prototype of a woman in the early 1900's. The reader will follow the emotional roller coaster of the heroine's struggle in combating the tremendous changes throughout her journey.

"She lay in bed for a moment, taking deep breaths. Today is the day I will be leaving my home in search of another, she thought. She took a deep breath—and the thought did not frighten her—it excited her."

The research that Jett has done breathes a dual tone of truth and fantasy for the reader.

"Doc went inside the house and came out with the 30-30 rifle, but by the time he started down toward them, the coyotes had already run off. What was left of the sheep was mostly the hindquarters, so Doc brought the carcass back to the homestead and severed the hind legs because they had been untouched and could be used by the family."

There is an abundant cluster of hope and joy that the reader will hold close to his or her heart when reading this book.

"Afterwards, they held a social gathering right in the middle of the street in town. Everyone could get something to eat from the food that members of the audience had brought for all to share. It had been a great day in Haley. Life on the prairie is good. Thought Bess."

I was surprised at the way this book gripped my attention. The author allows for a sustaining exuberance and expressed devotion in his creative diction. There is a reminder of the legacy of traditions, principles, and commitments that exist in our history. This inspirational story engenders all readers to pursuing their dreams and evokes subtle reminders of the human struggle that never ends.

Charles Cranston Jett is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He is the author of two other new books: "Wanted: Critical Skills!" and "Career Crises and the Doom Loop".

Bess: A Pioneer Woman's Journey of Courage, Grit and Love by Charles Cranston Jett, 2017 ISBN 978-1-4787-6486-1, 978-1-4787-6517-2

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Summoned King: Book One of The Kalymbrian Chronicles (Volume 1)

The Summoned King: Book One of The Kalymbrian Chronicles (Volume 1)  by Dave Neuendorf

A young man finds himself in the middle of a fantasy realm that holds every fear, joy, and desire that one can possibly imagine. James Madison Young, the protagonist of this story, is summoned into an uncertain place, where he must learn to adapt quickly and force an entire kingdom to rebuild itself against the powerful cabal of treachery and deceit that works to undo everything that James attempts to restore.

As James is married off to the naive princess and crowned king, the reader gets a glimpse of an innately sharp, well-read young man. 

" 'Our government should not be in the business of subsidizing religions. Every religious group should be responsible for raising its own funds. I understand that the network of temples is being funded with tax money. I’m going to proclaim a new law prohibiting use of government funds for religious purposes, and further prohibiting any government interference with religious observances or anyone’s application of religious principles in his personal or business life.' "

Dave Neuendorf clearly interweaves the politics within this fantasy realm with American history. The more the story continues to develop, we see James become a stronger leader with principled ideas that are not popular with the Council of Advisers. 

But what regime change was ever quiet?

" 'Regulating sin isn’t a function of government as I see it. Drunkenness, prostitution, drug use, and the like are unwholesome and harmful to society, but attempting to stamp them out by law only stimulates rebellion. Once a spirit of rebellion is accepted by the culture in one case, it paves the way for more serious rebellion. That’s what happened back in my home country when the government outlawed alcohol. Laws need to be enforceable.'

I was glad to see magic incorporated into this fantasy story. Neuendorf has captured the mythic and disruptive nature of a true teenager, intentionally setting a scene for an archetypal sense of righting a great wrong that can only be done by the untainted, idealistic view of a young adult. I look forward to the next installment that will give readers a further glance into this extraordinary realm that the author has created.

Dave Neuendorf is a Java software development consultant who published "The Summoned King: Book One of The Kalymbrian Chronicles (Volume 1)" in February 2016. He and his family live with their two dogs, a Samoyed and a Siberian Husky, in Aurora, Indiana.

The Summoned King: Book One of The Kalymbrian Chronicles (Volume 1) by Dave Neuendorf, 2016 ISBN 978-1523973569

Saturday, December 10, 2016

False Prophet - A Saul Marshall Thriller

False Prophet: A Saul Marshall FBI thriller (A Saul Marshall Thriller 1) by [Davis, Richard]
FALSE PROPHET - A Saul Marshall Thriller by Richard Davis

What do you do when you know you're right? A horrific sequence of events will manifest themselves into fruition.

Richard Davis has created an intensely spell binding story of one man's journey into the world of intrigue and deception. Davis presents a richly devious plot that will seduce the reader into the thrilling sequence of one man's struggle for truth and justice.

Saul Marshall is forced into action, leaving his job with the FBI to find his missing son. He races against the clock, using every resource imaginable to dig deeper into a crime-ridden world where the rules of society become nonexistent. The author's hard-hitting first person narrative keeps the pages turning.

"...if the message wasn’t a trap or diversion, and something was really set to happen at the theater, there were still a thousand possibilities as to what it might be: a bomb; a fire; a lone gunman; a mass hostage situation – to name a few."

The detailed rhetoric strikes a deep vein of profundity within the reader.

"My aim is to be the most inspired manipulator of men. I’m looking to exert true power through deception – to persuade my victims to act against their own best interests. After all, isn’t that the essence of con-artistry?"

But this novel is not so one-dimensional.

The subject matter is obviously well researched and there is a depth of moral obligation and personal connections that allows the reader to get lost in the complicated synergy of each character. Davis provides a satisfying yet bittersweet tale of redemption and deceit.

Richard Davis is a Londoner and this is his first novel. In 2011 he graduated from UCL and Cambridge University. He is currently published with Canelo.

False Prophet - A Saul Marshall Thriller by Richard Davis, 2016 ISBN 9781910859223

Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Apology

I would like to offer a deep apology to everyone that tried to contact me in the last year and a half. My family and I were dealing with my son's health issues and I did not have the opportunity to continue reviewing any books. If I did not respond to emails or failed to contact you regarding your past requests, I apologize.

Bookend Chronicles will resume reviews posthaste. If you have a book that you would like to request to be reviewed, please look under "Contact For Reviews" for further information.

Thank you all for your understanding. Here's to the adventures of reading your incredible stories!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night by Joanne McGonagle, Illustrated by Rachael Mahaffey
What is the value of an individual?

It's a difficult question to quantify and yet, a question that each person has most likely asked at one point or another in their lives.

In this story, Andrew the toad comes to a crossroads in his life. He questions his worth as a toad, wondering why he had not been born a frog. He asks his mother the question and she sends him off to visit his wise grandfather.

" 'Toads and frogs are both amphibians, but why does it seem better to be green and shiny than brown and warty?' "

On the way to his grandfather's house, Andrew meets various animals who give him a different perspective on his own sense of worth. As his journey continues, it becomes apparent to the reader that Andrew is quite a smart toad.

"Andrew thought that tasting terrible to a fox might make even an ordinary toad, like himself, something special."

His encounter with three young bullfrogs stands out more than any other part of the book. Perhaps it is because of the boastful nature of the "Bug-Eyed Bullies".

"Deep down, Andrew knew he wasn't in any real danger from the young bullfrog army... Even worse, he began to wonder if they were right. Maybe it is better to be a frog than a toad."

Bullying is not new in any sense. It exists and most of the populous has experienced it to one degree or another. Yet the fabulist way in which this author decided to approach the circumstance was quite extraordinary.

Andrew reaches his destination and finds his own enlightenment through his grandfather.

McGonagle provides an interesting array of characters ranging from highly detailed to purposely nondescript. The environment that she provides in her writing assumes a fantastic whimsy while still keeping rooted in a realistic quandary.

The story teaches children that being different should not only be accepted, it should be welcomed. The visual component adds a deeper connection to the story. An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night is humorous, educational, and entertaining.

Joanne L. McGonagle has an MBA from Ohio University and a Master of Zoology GFP from Miami University. She is the award winning author of The Tiniest Tiger, a children's book.

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night by Joanne McGonagle, Illustrated by Rachael Mchaffrey, 2013 ISBN 978-0989008808

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Interrogator's Notebook

The Interrogator's Notebook by Martin Ott
Danger is imminent in the title and stark cover of The Interrogator's Notebook by Martin Ott. The author evinces a treacherous cloak and dagger story line that is fueled by vengeance and frustration.

Norman Kross, a retired interrogator, finds himself teaching a class within his field expertise, perhaps feeling a bit bereft of his own path in life. In civilian life, he is going through the motions of a pseudo-proletarian existence. The aphorism "those who can't do, teach", rings with the banality of truth.

His family life is at odds with the successes of his professional life, and he is plagued with certain doubts.

"His bombshell Russian wife, her volatile violinist father, and his two headstrong sons stared at him from their framed family holiday photo. What did it say about him that he wan't in it? ... Did his family like having him around now that he wasn't traveling to the four corners of the globe..."

When Norman is commissioned with a job of interviewing a character actor, George Stark, concerning the death of a young woman, he suddenly finds himself walking a sinister tightrope that shatters his original assessment of the generic private sector.

"The actor paused and slyly looked over his shoulder. 'I'm going to like pulling the carpet out from under you and wrapping you up in it.' Stark tugged on the door handle, slid out, and casually reached back for the light switch, casting the room in total darkness."

With his own family now in certain peril, Norman must unmask the true threat that lurks just beyond the shadows.

I was impressed with the progression of The Interrogator's Notebook and the character development that portrayed a complex understanding (on the author's part) of human behavior. Snippets of the Notebook are added before each chapter, allowing a glimpse at the moral reckoning and experiences of the main character.

"As interrogators, we've all been instructed by our superiors to follow the rules with a wink. The subtext is the get results, that 'our' human lives are always more important than 'their' human lives. There are moral consequences, of course, to this approach, not just to a nation but to its citizens that commit themselves unequivocally to a cause."

There is a hard boiled quality to Ott's prose, it is allegorical and his narration is entirely transfixing. His references are dead on and, upon close inspection, his writing is quite profound.

Martin Ott is a former U.S. Army interrogator. He has published two books of poetry as well as dozens of short stories in publication. He also has a blog for writers: writeliving.wordpress.com

The Interrogator's Notebook by Martin Ott, 2013 ISBN 978-0983605881