Hauling Checks by Alex Stone Review

Author Alex Stone takes readers on a hilarious, dark and unexpected ride through the world of aviation and in particular “freight dogs” as they are known in his novel, “Hauling Checks”.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Alex Stone takes readers on a hilarious, dark and unexpected ride through the world of aviation and in particular “freight dogs” as they are known in his novel, “Hauling Checks”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

I’m a cargo pilot. In the industry, I’m known as a “Freight Dog.” I fly canceled checks and other types of high-value cargo around the country, mostly at night, in airplanes that are older than I am. Flying freight-or “work” as we call it-in small, twin-engine aircraft is a lesser known side of the aviation world. Our day starts when banker’s hours end. Thousands of flights move millions of pounds of work from city to city every night while the rest of the country is asleep. We’re out there in the freezing rain getting de-iced when you’re laying down for bed. We’re sweeping the snow off our wings with a broom at three in the morning. That horrible thunderstorm you heard last night while you were sleeping, we were flying through it. The fog you woke up to in the early morning hours, we were landing in it. 

Hauling Checks is a comedy about the darker side of aviation. A cast of degenerate pilots, who work for a shady night time air cargo operation, take you on a flight through the unfriendly skies. The pilots abuse every Reg in the book in their quest to make deadlines for their high value cargo. As the company falls on hard times, management resorts to questionable measures to save the failing airline. 

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The Review

This was one of the more unique, creative and funny books I’ve read in 2018. The author’s experience as a pilot blended well into the fictional story being told, bringing with it a sense of adventure and realness that other fictional stories don’t always have. The cast of characters are not only flawed, but some of them are downright despicable or clueless. Yet despite their flaws the humor shines through the entire book, because they represent the flawed and painful encounters so many people have throughout their lives. It was like a blend of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Seinfeld within a cargo flight setting. 

The imagery throughout was incredibly vivid, bringing a sense of both familiarity and realness to these out of control situations the pilots and crew found themselves in. From drunken tales of debauchery from a useless co pilot to the fictional tales of a woman’s husband who may or may not be real, to the arial acrobatics some of the pilots take (literally) when faced with a crumbling company, this book had it all.

The Verdict

This is a must read novel for anyone who is a fan of fictional comedy novels, aviation and hilarious yet mind-numbing characters. The book was fantastic and well written, and the author brought a sense of experience to the novel that made it feel even more real. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Alex Stone’s novel “Hauling Checks” today.

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alex Stone grew up in Munster, Indiana.  He’s been flying since age fourteen and received a Bachelors Degree in Aviation Science from Western Michigan University.  He has worked as a flight instructor and was a “Freight Dog” in the air cargo industry for seven years.  This is his first novel.

Excerpts

     I glanced out the side window as I struggled to stay awake. Suddenly, something caught my attention that instantly woke me up. There was oil running out of the left engine. Not just a small leak like there always was. This was a steady flow that trailed down the top of the engine cowling and off the back of the wing.
     “Wake up!” I said to The Co. “We’ve got a problem.”
     “That’s fine,” The Co mumbled in his sleep, “you can take care of it.”
     I quickly scanned the gauges for the left engine and found that the oil pressure was dropping, and the oil temperature was rising. This confirmed that we were losing a large quantity of oil quickly. There was no way of knowing how much we had lost already, but judging from the extremely low oil pressure, it wouldn’t be long before the engine quit.
     The proper procedure in this circumstance is to shut down the left engine. If it lost all of its oil, the engine would seize up, destroying itself. By shutting it down prior to that happening, the engine could be saved, the oil leak could be repaired, and the engine reused.
     I’d had enough for one day though. I was pretty disgruntled at this point and decided that I didn’t care if the engine was destroyed.
     “Let them pay for a new engine,” I growled. “That’ll teach them.”
     I left the doomed engine at weekend power*; I figured I’d just run the hell out of it till it blew up. This kind of abuse of the engines, which happened on a daily basis, was a big part of the reason the planes had so many problems in the first place. That, combined with the lack of proper maintenance, of course. But when a company constantly treated you this poorly, it became hard to care about taking care of their airplanes.

* – Weekend power means full throttle even if that takes the engines over redline. This may result in airspeed exceeding the maximum speed for the airplane, which would set off a warning horn. If that happens, you just pull the circuit breaker for the warning horn, disabling it. This would allow you to overspeed the airplane without the annoyance of that pesky horn.
     Weekend power got its name because no one wants to fly on the weekend, so, if you have to, you fly full power, getting the flight over with as fast a possible so you can go home. Some pilots have also used the terms “Horn Fridays,” and “Overspeed Sundays.”

Hauling Checks can be purchased at the following online stores:

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Sleep Savannah Sleep by Alistair Cross Review

The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One man’s journey to rebuild his family after a tragic loss turns into a nightmarish journey to discover who was behind a small town’s grizzly murder in author Alistair Cross’s “Sleep Savannah Sleep”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace 

Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own – and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings. 

When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder – and he becomes a likely suspect. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him. 

Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem – and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace. 

“SLEEP SAVANNAH SLEEP hooks you with a small-town atmosphere that quickly turns ghostly cold. Beware a plethora of twists and turns …” – Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks and Phantom Effect 

The Review

This was an incredible story. Author Alistair cross continues to shine as one of the horror/thriller genres best writers. Feeling like a successor to greats like Dean Koontz and Stephen King, the author captures the mystery and intrigue of a murder-mystery while bringing in an emotional story of a father trying to hold his family together in one piece after losing his wife. 

The story itself is intriguing, as it keeps you guessing all the way to the book’s end who could be behind this senseless violence. It’s a story of family, loss (both physical loss and the loss of a spiritual or mental variety), and the impact the past has on the present. The setting is incredibly vivid, bringing to mind the small town horror stories fans have grown to love from authors like Koontz. It was a roller coaster of emotions as you felt for protagonist Jason. Why was he chosen to be thrust into this investigation, and will he be able to protect his family from the true killer? That’s the quest the author takes readers on.

The Verdict

Overall this is a must read thriller. Filled with action, suspense and fantastic characters that draw the reader in, the novel is incredibly powerful and a prime example of how modern day horror thrillers need to be. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Sleep Savannah Sleep by Alistair Cross today.

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series.In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was a bestseller. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

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Interview with Author/Poet Lamar Neal

I can’t remember what exactly motivated me to put pen to paper but I do remember it being a coping mechanism. I wrote down my thoughts and how I was feeling and I would tear it up. It became my way of letting go.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is me making tv shows with all of my toys. I would have legit tv shows with commercials and everything. I guess my first formal introduction to writing was me at 12/13. I can’t remember what exactly motivated me to put pen to paper but I do remember it being a coping mechanism. I wrote down my thoughts and how I was feeling and I would tear it up. It became my way of letting go.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

My mental health. I like to think that this is my therapy session. I just sat down and vented to myself about everything that bothered me. This book is very autobiographical. I wanted to tell my story in hopes that it can inspire other individuals to tell their truth.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Don’t be afraid to be imperfect, it’s natural. I would hope that we as individuals and a society understands that everything in life is a process. We have to work to keep growing. With that said, we have to have moments of introspection to address something that needs fixing. We have to be able to look in the mirror and tell ourselves, “you were wrong.” That type of self-awareness is lacking in the world-well I think it is. To get personal for a moment, therapy is like a curse word in my family. We can look past everything like adultery, drugs, alcohol, abuse, but therapy is where everyone draws the line. I hope that people can read this book and feel empowered to speak their truth-ugly or not. We cannot process as people or a society without that happening

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Music. I love music but I don’t have the talent to create my own. Songs aren’t anything but poetry over beats, In my opinion. I took the musical aspect out of it and just wrote. I love just how raw and honest you can be in a poem. You don’t have to worry about anything but saying how you feel. I love writing narratives like novels and short stories but at times it’s confining. With a poem, I’m just free.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

James Joyce. I would ask him what was that old man doing in “An Encounter.” I know he was doing something gross but I want him to tell me specifically. In that short story, he never explains what he’s doing, and the kids just reacted. So I just need to know. Besides James Joyce, I would love to sit with Gil Scott Heron. He’s not an author but he’s amazing. I don’t even want to ask him a question, I just want to hear him talk.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Instagram. Most definitely. I’d probably say 100% of my fan base came from Instagram.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Write. And never stop writing. It doesn’t have to be everyday but keep writing. And forget all these rules. Write what you feel, write what you think. I remember when I first started writing poetry, I was trying too hard to follow all these rules and textbook examples of what poetry should look and sound like. Then I realized that there are no rules in art. You just express yourself and I guarantee you there would be dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of individuals who feel the same way.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I like to tell myself I’ll retire but I have a soul of creator so I’m always going to be writing in some way or another. My last two books were collections of poetry but I think I want to go back to my other love, writing novels. So before I’m 30, I might try to publish another novel.

About the Author

Author/Poet Lamar Neal

Outreach specialist by day at a community college. Writer and creative by night. Trying to balance a creative mind in the professional world without succumbing to the doubts every self published writer has. Hopeful that the world will be able to see my writing, not so I can be rich and famous but so I can have my voice heard and connect with others. 

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Facebook– /lamarKeonNeal

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Beyond the Serpent Hills (Legends of the Lost Tribes Book 2) by Kitty Lewis Review

It’s time to return to the epic fantasy world filled with magic, gods and goddesses, and one young woman seeking revenge for her brother’s demise in author Kitty Lewis’s novel “Beyond the Serpent Hills (Legends of the Lost Tribes Book 2).

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

It’s time to return to the epic fantasy world filled with magic, gods and goddesses, and one young woman seeking revenge for her brother’s demise in author Kitty Lewis’s novel “Beyond the Serpent Hills (Legends of the Lost Tribes Book 2). Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

The old priests have fallen, the Demons are no more, but Kandrina has yet to find out what really killed her brother. Her need for revenge takes her and her former teacher on a perilous journey into uncharted territory. They must travel north, into the lands of the fearsome lizard men known as the Li Buqu. Meanwhile, the tribal lands are under attack from predators, and rising internal conflicts between the Vice-Chiefs threaten to disrupt the People’s way of life. 

The Review

After conquering the corrupt high priests and setting the record straight about the Colourless, the hero Kandrina returns to find the monster responsible for her brother’s death. In her journey she discovers a fearsome and powerful race of beings known as the Li Buqu. There she learns just how large her world is, and must prevent an all out war that threatens to tear the world apart.

The author does a marvelous job of building upon the foundation laid in the first book. Moving on from the corruption of a twisted man’s take on religion, the story instead focuses to mirror mankind’s tendency to invade lands they feel belong to them, even when someone else or something else is already living there. The mythology expands greatly as we meet this new civilization, and the character growth of Kandrina especially in this story is so engaging that it keeps readers invested in the story, something not every author can accomplish with a book’s sequel.

The Verdict

Overall I loved this story. It’s the perfect sequel to the original book and continues to expand upon a world that is ripe for a full blown series. It captures the fantasy element in a very creative way and explores mythology in a comprehensive way that allows readers to get into it themselves. Be sure to grab your copy of Kitty Lewis’s novel “Beyond the Serpent Hills” today!

Rating: 10/10

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https://www.kittylewisfantasy.net/

https://www.facebook.com/KittyLewisAuthor/

 

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We All Need Therapy by Lamar Neal Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book of poetry deals with themes and elements of abuse, self-harm and suicide. If these themes are triggering to you, be advised and prepared.

An emotional story of one man’s journey of defining himself and struggling with the world he was born into takes center stage in poet and author Lamar Neal’s poetry book, We All Need Therapy. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

This is a collection of poetry of how a boy, who started whole, encountered the world, which caused some painful cracks to appear in his vessel. He soon learned that when we do not hide your imperfections, a cracked vessel is the one, which lets the light shine through.

The Review

I was taken aback by the beauty and tragedy and pure emotion of this poetry book. The poems spoke to me in a way that touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye. You can feel the poet’s pain and heartbreak in each line, such as this passage from the poem Morning/Mourning:

“Living in the ruins of dreams
I was never supposed to have. Tomorrow we might lose everything Before our hearts can prepare.”

The author does an amazing job weaving themes and issues that plague our world to this day. Challenging the toxic masculinity that haunts young boys who dare to live outside of societal norms, fighting back against racial injustice and dealing with themes of love, loss and the pain of not fitting into the mold set out by our elders/peers, this book brings the causes of both inner turmoil and societal upheaval in our world currently into the spotlight like no other book of poetry out there right now. It also does a great job of addressing mental health overall, challenging this need to label anyone with a mental health condition as “crazy” when they are far from it. It was refreshing to see a poet and author expose their mental health struggles to the world in such an open and honest way, and showcase the need to fight against the stigma of mental health overall.

The Verdict

This is a must read book of poems. Due out on January 25th, 2019, these poems will touch on the struggle to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to fit you into a mold you don’t feel comfortable in. Full of heart, pure emotion and a message of hope and struggle that will help highlight the very healthy need for everyone to get therapy and face that inner turmoil head on. If you love beautiful poetry and raw emotional story telling, then pre-order your copy of We All Need Therapy by Lamar Neal today.

Rating: 10/10

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Interview with Author Ben Schneider

Chrome Flyer C 20181027

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

  1. A) I am currently active duty in the Air Force. I have worked for the military 15 years. I am also a cartoonist and a comedian. I discovered many of my jokes work better in literature than they do in cartoons or on stage. In addition, I am a fan of thriller novels, which inspired many ideas in my own stories.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

  1. A) The work of other action/sci-fi authors and films based on such books inspired my novel.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

  1. A) My book has several messages I hope to give readers. If I were to choose just one, it would be: “Life with a bad attitude is far too difficult.”

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

  1. A) Several things drew me to action/sci-fi, especially James Cameron films.

Chrome Flyer 20181026

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

  1. A) I would ask Sonya McCall what she would do if she were the first female president because she is very ethical and tough.

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

  1. A) Facebook.

 Author Pic2

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

  1. A) Make your characters people you would admire and give them strong motives for everything they do.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

  1. A)Realm Journeyis my first book and is like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Treasure Island. I finished it in 2009, but never tried to get it published. Now that I’ve seen some success with my second novel, Chrome Mountain, I am rewriting Realm Journey with the intend to have it published. Someday, I would like to write a sequel to Chrome Mountain as well as create and publish my 3rd Airman Artless cartoon book.

 

About the Author

 

BIO:  Ben Schneider was born in Oklahoma. In 2003, he earned a B.A. in Graphic Design at Oklahoma University, married his fiancée, and joined the Air Force. Ben and his wife, Suzy, have been stationed in Italy, Okinawa, and Alaska. Aside from writing fiction, Ben’s other interests include drawing cartoons—mainly his Airman Artless comic strips. Chrome Mountain is his debut novel.

To order Chrome Mountain on Kindle or paperback, go here:

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To see 30+ reviews on Chrome Mountain, go here:

https://www.facebook.com/Chrome-Mountain-281058869320535/

 

Chrome Mountain is also available at the following sites:

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https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chrome-mountain-ben-schneider/1128858008?ean=2940161675625

To message Ben Schneider or see more of his work, go here:

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Interview with Author P.A. Kane

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I grew up in a small three bedroom/one bathroom house with my parents and nine siblings in Buffalo, New York. Presently, I live in a suburb of Buffalo with my wife and three college age children, who don’t seem to want to leave.

As far as how I started to write. I went through a pretty aimless period after high school where I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and was in and out of college.  Finally, in my early twenties I started read in a pretty serious way—stuff like Kerouac, Philip Roth, the poetry of Anne Sexton—which led me to want to give writing a shot. Problem was by the time I was all read up I was in my late twenties and had the pressure of trying to keep a roof over my head and a pretty serious girlfriend, whom I would eventually marry and have children with, so I had to shelve the writing thing. But when the kids got older and needed me less, I started to get up before work (really the middle of the night) make some coffee and write for a few hours. Few years later I have two published novels and a book of essays on the way, plus a million other ideas for books.

 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

Leaving Jackson Wolf was intended to be a novella about Jackson’s friend McDougal. But as I got into it I realized the book was more about Jackson and his relationship with his father which was fraught with so much anger and dysfunction. This compelled me to explore how a fifteen-year-old kid would not only survive the violent dysfunction of his home life, but the possible outcomes on the other side of it. I also wanted to talk about male relationships and tried to portray Jackson and McDougal without all the tough guy underpinnings of traditional male relationships. Both boys are pretty tough, but they aren’t afraid to be vulnerable with each other and to care for each other in a way you don’t see much, but I think healthy. I’m pretty sick of the toxic way guys measure themselves with each other.   

 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I would hope when people read this they find value in owning up and being accountable for your life. Jackson makes his share of mistakes, but rather than wallow in his failures, he is persistent and moves forward trying to do better, always trying to find his power. Additionally, the boys love indie music and in dark times not only is it a friend that helps them feel less alone, but it also provides great perspective on life. So I would hope people might look into some of the fifty plus artists mentioned in the book and give them a good listen or just listen to good music in general. I feel sad for people who don’t have music or think good music is Coldplay.

  

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’m not really drawn to a genre. I just wanted to tell a story about two boys trying to make their way through a complicated world. The writing world seems to be genre and series driven, but all I really want to do is write stories about real people in real life situations regardless of their age or whatever.

 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Though she wasn’t in the book much I would like to sit with Jackson’s mom and get a update on where she was and what happened to her. Maybe this is a little voyeuristic and creepy, but I also would like to sit off to the side back at The Spot with Jackson and McDougal and just listen to them and talk music and the wonders of the female persuasion with a couple of beers. I’d like to hear the excitement in their voices as they talk about all the possibilities still ahead for them.

  

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Boy, this social media thing is so overwhelming and so competitive. Too much for the one-man operation I run. I mostly use Facebook and I mostly do a bad job with it. Going forward as I gather more resources I’m going to invest in some outside help.

 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Don’t be afraid to start small. With the recent baseball playoffs I was reminded of being in a school lavatory back in the day and some older boys had a transistor radio and were listening to the World Series. From that single image of the boys with the radio in the lavatory I got this pretty cool story Knox, O’Malley, Sheena and The Miracle Mets. From little seeds a tree can grow.

 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Presently editing a book of essays that I hope to publish in the spring/summer of 2019.

I have this new charter O’Malley that I’ve been sketching on my blog and a couple chapters of another novel.

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About the Author

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Growing up in a three bed/one bath house with nine siblings in Buffalo, New York was a just the facts, assembly-line type of childhood. However, one day in the late seventies, well into my clamorous teen years, that all changed when my exhausted mom uncharacteristically asked several probing questions about how I was doing, what I wanted of life and how I was going to get there… totally confounding me.  She was supposed to dish out commands and make declarative statements: …take out the trash …don’t come home unless you’re bleeding; …every time you masterbate it’s a hundred-years in purgatory. Not ask me to articulate inward looking, reflective questions about myself. Self-examination and contemplation, was light years beyond my transactional existence.

 Eventually, though, due to a certain amount of aimlessness and failure I did come to consider my mom’s questions and many more of people, time, place and heritage, which have become the basis of the novel “Written In The Stars: The Book Of Molly.” Seen through the eyes of young Molly Shea it is an exploration of the ways and means of 1979 Irish-Catholic, South Buffalo and an evolving girl’s place in that world.

Presently I am one neighborhood removed from South Buffalo in West Seneca, New York where I live with my wife, three college age children and a cat that hates me. I have a State University of New York background in English and I love trade paperbacks, quiet black mornings and The Ramones.

https://www.facebook.com/pakane14220/

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