Ethan Justice: Origins by Simon Jenner

41ph6YMVZDL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_If you read my last review, you know that I have only recently embraced e-books. My appreciation for this literary media continues to expand in that this latest read was a laudable, ‘can’t put it down’ kind of book. This trend, reading and reviewing great e-books reminds me of the 1992 movie, Unforgiven. At the end of the movie, William Munny (Clint Eastwood) guns down Little Bill (Gene Hackman) and his immoral, scandalous posse for “decorating their saloon with his friend”, Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman). After the smoke clears, the ‘writer of books and such’, Mr. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) asks William Munny how he knew the order in which to shoot. To which Munny (Clint Eastwood) replies, “I was lucky in the order, but I’ve always been lucky when it comes to killin’ folks”. Perhaps somewhat morbid but appropriate in that I was so impressed by this book, my mind was dragged back to this familiar movie. It amazes me how the recall of the brain works. Although I’m not a violent person, this scene came to mind when thinking ‘I guess I’ve been lucky in the order of these e-books that I’ve read’. Inasmuch, that this book by Simon Jenner is just one of those books I’ve been lucky enough to read. It was indeed a privilege to read this brilliant display of literary prose. On to the book…

Simon Jenner’s Ethan Justice: Origins is a book that will captivate and consume the reader from start to finish. There is not a chapter that falters. The pace is relentless, which as irony would have it, is the name of the second book in this series. It’s a narrative that examines the complexities of strained familial relationships, true love that comes when least expected and a myriad of other provocative insights in to the profundities of human grace and human depravity. The book begins with an unknown antagonist giving us a first person discourse that will seize the reader’s attention to say the least. This prologue is pivotal throughout the novel, keeping the reader on edge throughout this intense cliffhanger. The story then shifts to the central character, John Smith (yes, that’s his real name), who walks into a ‘lion’s den’ or as it’s become to be known…a  family intervention.

Betrayed by his family and his best friend, John is at a loss. So he does what many do, he gets drunk. Upon awakening the following morning, he finds a gorgeous women sleeping next to him. Who is she and how did she get here are just some of the questions racing through his liquor polluted mind. As his head becomes a jack hammer, he quickly learns that this woman, although breathtaking, may have an unsavory background with disreputable acquaintances. Her name is Savannah Jones and she’s threatening bodily harm. As he begins to wrap his mind around their current situation, he finds that some things are not how they first appear. Thrown together through abhorrent circumstances, they begin a journey of a trepidatious romance filled with murder, deceit, menacing danger and precarious uncertainty. This is truly a journey in which one or both may not make it back. As the story takes off at breakneck speeds, you’ll be caught off guard by the twists and turns. At this point, you may be wondering who is Ethan Justice and just where does he fit into this narrative. Well that’s just one of many mysterious revelations that you’ll have to read this book to find out. You’ll also find yourself having problems putting this book down. This isn’t hype…this is the real deal as I found myself staying up way too late for ‘just one more chapter’.  This is a standalone book by a standalone and accomplished author.

The author, Simon Jenner, knows just how much information to give and just how much to withhold. He understands the human desire for peace and just how far one will go to procure it. He knows what the reader wants and he delivers. This book encompasses many genres offering the reader a kaleidoscope of emotions for which to contend. In addition to the nail-biting,  edge of your seat entertainment, the reader will find this book both irresistible and gratifying. If you’re in to mysteries, thrillers, suspense and romance, then this book’s for you. Treat yourself and make this your next read. You’ll be glad you did.

Review by David Gartner


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Vengeance by Bryan Koepke

51WNfJPHABL._UY250_There has always been some hesitation on my part to begin the exploratory journey of e-books. Don’t misunderstand, I absolutely love technology and embrace it as much as possible. However, when it comes to one of my greatest passions, reading, I’ve invariably clung to the traditional written word. Notwithstanding, when this author so graciously gifted me with his debut novel, it was an act that would have a prodigious impact on this book bloggers life…for it was an e-book. My journey was about to begin. In truth, I had already downloaded the Kindle app on my tablet and had a few books in my library. Nevertheless, I continued to surrender to my affinity for the traditional….until now. My experience of reading Vengeance was not only revolutionary but evolutionary as well. In that it completely gave me an overwhelming appreciation for e-books. To the extent that I’ve since downloaded many other e-books as well. Why do I preface this review with such arbitrary information? To show you the excellence of this book. I cannot express enough, the gratitude that I have to this author, Bryan Koepke, for expediting my introduction to the electronic word. I don’t think it possible to have a better book in which to begin my evolvement. As a result, I now have a fond anticipation to continue this journey that is the e-book.

Vengeance begins with a vignette in which the entire narrative will be established. Private Investigator Reece Culver takes on a basic, ‘run of the mill’ missing persons case…or so he thinks. His new client is beautiful and sultry. However, looks can be deceiving and first impressions are not always what they appear. Before long, Reece Culver is in way over his head with a personal interest at stake. The story takes you to Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and even South America. As Reece begins to learn how close to home (literally) this new case actually is, he’s compelled to add a new agenda to his list of priorities…vengeance. However, it’s never a simple thing to exact retribution. A lesson Reece learns the hard way. He meets many hardships along this road to ‘settle the score’. He’s a man on a mission…a mission in which he might not live to tell.

Inasmuch as this book is about vengeance, it’s also about the act of avenging injustices that have been perpetrated upon one’s family. In this story, blood is not only thicker than water but thicker than the broken judicial system that all too often has become the touchstone of our society. The reader will not only enjoy reading this high octane opus but will find their values challenged, their integrity reexamined. For if you’re like me, you immerse yourself in a book so completely that you feel the characters emotions, you carry their burden of altering their morality, if only to make things right. This is that kind of book.

This novel has so many twists and turns, it will keep you guessing and anticipating right up to the end. If you didn’t know, you’d never guess that this is his debut novel…it’s that good! Keep your eye on Bryan Koepke…this author’s going places. I absolutely love his style of writing. He does an excellent job of balancing the genres of Thriller, Mystery and Suspense with a hint of Romance. Yet all the while keeping the reader engrossed and engaged. This book is not only hard to put down, I literally found myself protesting food and sleep…for just ‘one more chapter’. But be careful, Vengeance moves along at such volacious speeds, the end comes up all too fast. Perhaps this is exactly the desired effect the author, Bryan Koepke, had in mind. It certainly left me wanting more and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for his next. So do yourself a favor, be sure to go to amazon, download Vengeance and settle in for the ride…you’ll be glad you did.

Reviewed by David Gartner


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Elvis & Ginger by Ginger Alden

71xXRW0yUJLIt’s taken me a little more time to post this review as I’ve recently started a new job. Many will understand the additional time that’s required during the initial acclimation period when working for a different employer. While I’m grateful for this opportunity, the time constraints have prevented me from posting this in a timely manner.

My appreciation for non-fiction is often trumped by my insatiable appetite for the fictive prose. However, in this case, my veneration for Elvis Presley dragged me over to the factual. In addition, with all the various biographies of Elvis’ life, the allure of a new, fresh perspective was almost impossible to resist.

This biography was different in that it was written by Ginger Alden. Ginger and Elvis were practically inseparable the year leading up to his untimely death. In addition to their engagement at the time, many in Elvis’ life hadn’t seen him that happy in a long time. So this author, who was so intimately involved in Elvis’ life, would seem the perfect candidate to provide some factual insight into that infamous year…1977.

There’s so much that I would like to impart, however, I’m committed to a spoil-free blog. Nevertheless, be prepared to have your previously held concepts of Elvis and his untimely death challenged, if not changed. Ginger Alden draws the reader into the setting so well, you feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. As she takes you through that last year of Elvis’ life, you get the impression that you are finally being told the truth. Her memories, good and bad, are extremely vivid and quite specific. The more I read, the more convinced I became that this retelling of events is authentic. Inasmuch as she pulls the reader in to Elvis’ world, she also gives a unique perusal in to her own world. This is important in that there’s an almost uncommon bond between Elvis and Ginger’s family. You get the feeling that Ginger has absolutely no motive to embellish or rearrange the truth in any way. Especially since her family was also intimately involved in Elvis’ life. By the way, you’ll love the irony of Elvis’ connection to her family years before he even meets Ginger. It’s quite obvious that Ginger doesn’t need me to validate her story but I’ve grown so weary of those who’ve perverted the truth for personal gain!

The author takes you on tour with her and Elvis. You get a backstage pass to see the many entertainers of the day wait their turn to speak with the king. You get a glimpse of what it was like to fly on either of his personal jets. You’ll read familiar stories and be surprised by those untold until now. In addition, (I hate to even go here, but I feel I must) you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Elvis was NOT the drug enthusiast that a few money hungry, sensationalists claimed him to be. These societal wannabes have damaged and tarnished the image of the greatest entertainer of our generation. This is why I’m so very grateful to Ginger Alden for finally setting the record straight on this particular topic. A voice of reason within the mayhem of the ‘rumor mills’. However, one of the greatest aspects of the book for me was the privilege of a glance in to the love story that was Elvis and Ginger.

Finally, there’s a few more elements of this book that impressed me. You should know that the writing is extraordinary, making this a perfunctory, refreshing read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Elvis & Ginger. It’s an obviously must-read for Elvis fans but I would highly recommend it to anyone who can appreciate a well written book. It’s not just the quantity of reliable information she gives, it’s the quality. This is a ‘hard to put down’ kind of book. So, go out, pick up a copy of Elvis & Ginger and make a cup of your favorite java…sit back and let the author, Ginger Alden, take you back to the time of a king and the queen who made him complete.


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April – A Month dedicated to the Emotion of Words…Poetry

PoePoetry has always held a special place in my heart as it seems to touch the nether regions of my emotions. My favorite, (ready for cliche?) is the ever debatable and often objectionable Edgar Allan Poe. Even though I’ve read the greats, I still find that I’m drawn to Poe. In as much as I enjoy reading a good yarn, I find reading poetry is a wonderful and often rewarding experience. However, for me, the greater satisfaction comes from extracting those forbidden feelings within me and finding a place for them with pen and paper. I enjoy the traditional written word…I can always convert to print at a later time. Sometimes, the very thought of writing poetry can be laborious and tedious.  Nevertheless, once the process begins, so do the rewards. Upon completion, there comes an ethereal connection to my ‘heart’. It’s the one craft that I find on both ends of the procedural spectrum (reading and writing) to be soothing and cathartic.

As many of you know, April has been set aside by the Academy of American Poets since 1996. So whether it’s an old favorite or a new poet, allow me to challenge you to pick up a book of poetry this month. Let’s celebrate April, our National Poetry Month.

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Musings of books and birthdays

image[2]Having had a birthday recently, I began to think how similar our lives are to novels. How birthdays are so like the chapters of a book. There’s a bitter-sweet quality of finishing one chapter, an apprehensive confidence of beginning a new one. There is a blessing that comes from another year lived, the incurable blight of another year closer to the grave. Now you may think…novels are fictional, our lives are not. However, consider the following:

A given is the statement that ‘often life is stranger than fiction’. Indeed we know this to be true. However, how fictional are the lives we lead? Sounds like a silly question. The fact is there are lives that I peruse and others that I read. Some interest me and others send me running to the TBR (to be read) pile. Some books lives I recognize immediately and have no need to read the back cover for I already know I’ll like the content. Others appear ‘new’ or ‘different’…further analysis needed. Some are as fictional to me as those I would find in the fiction section of Barnes & Noble. Perhaps my own often unpredictable life appears fictive to others as well. Perchance others will peruse my ‘dust jacket inside flap’ and decide this one isn’t for them. Regardless, our lives take on a fictional prose, in that we don’t and usually can’t control the events that happen. Some desirable developments come to fruition while others remain aloof.

However, there remains some non-fictional responses that we do and can control. We can turn the pages and accept the challenges that come with the beginning of a new chapter. We can acquaint ourselves with realistic expectations and embrace birthdays as an opportunity instead of a deterrent. We can learn the prudence that comes from another year lived. We can examine our past, make the necessary adjustments. On the other hand, if we try to look too far ahead in this novella of life, we become confused and disoriented. Thus learning time and again to stay in the moment. Finally, we can choose to embrace this great novel, this great adventure called life.

Yes, birthdays are a time of reflection. And as you can see…I just couldn’t help myself. The truth is I’ve deliberated for the last four days whether to post my thoughts or to keep them hidden. For I thought of the countless analogies that could not be included due to time and space constraints. However, the nostalgia in me would not abate. And so finally I consented to the inner urges we all have…to express ourselves the best we know how. For me, the written word is that catalyst.

So I leave you with one last muse and contemplation. There’s not a birthday that goes by that I don’t remind myself of one thing. “I’m not merely 365 days older but I’m 365 days wiser.” (or so I’d like to think)

David – blogginbooks4u

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My Favourite Things About Blogging!

Jenny in Neverland


Hello lovely readers! For the last two months, I’ve been really enthusiastic about blogging and my blog again – which is great considering the 6 month break I went on last year where I essentially abandoned my blog and Twitter account. So I’ve decided to do a series of posts about blogging from all different angles, the first one being my personal favourite things about blogging. Some of these may be similar to yours – others totally different – but that’s the great thing that we all have different experiences!

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The Ranger by Ace Atkins

9780425247495_p0_v1_s260x420This may seem hard to believe for some but this was my first introduction to author Ace Atkins. For that matter, it’s even hard for me to believe. Reading is such a passion for me that I don’t know how I’ve missed such a talented writer. He seems to know the strings to pull and with what force to pull to keep the reader’s anticipation just short of frenzy. He’ll definitely join a host of other great authors in my burgeoning TBR (to be read) list.

In addition to my awakening to a great author, I was introduced to Quinn Colson, the main character of this book as well as the series. The Ranger being the first in a series of four with a fifth due out in July 2015. Looks like my ‘work’ is cut out in order to catch up. On to the review…

The book begins with Quinn Colson, an Army Ranger stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia, driving toward a dot on the map in rural Mississippi. After being deployed to various war-torn regions of the world, he returns to another torn region of the world…his hometown. On his way, he runs into (almost literally) an unlikely character. This is only the beginning of a plethora of unlikely characters to intrigue the reader. However, the characters are not the only contrivance of the story line. The foreboding setting put me in mind of a Cormac McCarthy novel. Ace Atkins weaved this ominous setting into the story to the point that the reader becomes convinced that they’ve been there. Have you ever read a book that the setting transcends imagination…this is that kind of book.

Quinn Colson’s main reason for coming home is to attend the funeral of his uncle. Almost immediately, Quinn suspects that there’s more to his uncle’s death than the folks of Tibbehah county are saying. By default, he takes on the task of putting his Uncle’s affairs in order. In so doing, the plot thickens and Quinn begins seeking answers to seemingly unyielding inquires. Thus, Quinn’s tenacious nature takes him to the disreputable seedy parts of the county. The story takes some hairpin turns that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat wanting more.

However, it’s not all grit and grime, there’s also potential for unlikely romance, friendship and familial bonds. This is the kind of book that lends to one’s own self-examination as the reader becomes immersed in the story. It takes one out of their comfort zone and begs the question to what lengths we’ll go to exonerate our own. As, ‘is blood truly thicker than water and just how thick does it run’?

The setting, characters and inauspicious events captivate one’s imagination. You’re sure to turn the pages well into the night . This profound, intelligent book will keep the reader engrossed all the way through to its poignant apex and subsequent surprise ending.

Finally, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, believable yarn. And if you’ve not treated yourself to an Ace Atkins novel, do yourself a favor and pick one up today.

Review by David Gartner

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New beginnings…

620-667-I-G36They can challenge us, they can change us or they can bring us chagrin. To be challenged and to embrace change can be one of the most gratifying human experiences. Chagrin only comes from one’s refusal to move forward resulting in stagnation and apathy. Nevertheless, society excels when we embrace change. However, when we initiate change, our lives become conduits for inspiration and invention. This is my ‘new beginning’.

This is the introduction of a grand adventure as I embark upon the challenge of a blog. I’ll be blogging book reviews (as if there’s not enough of this going around) on a somewhat regular basis. I believe I can bring a unique perspective to this ‘table’ of book reviews. A common theme amongst other bloggers is to simply have fun. And so I will, along with my attention to detail and my unrelenting need to ‘get it right’.

So let the adventure begin…blogginbooks4u.

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