Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nora Roberts Chesapeake Bay Saga


My first encounter with Nora Roberts’ novels was when I bought a bag of paperback books at a library book sale. The name of the book was Sacred Sins, and I mentioned it in a critical way on a writer’s forum. My remarks aroused the wrath of some writers who view her as a goddess in the Romance genre. I still hadn’t learned my lesson, so I threw in a few additional remarks about romance novels, and the ones who write them. Several of them replied with the kind of remarks I hadn’t heard since grammar school. They double-dog dared me to read some of Roberts other novels. I couldn’t turn down such a challenge, so I read the suggested books and went back to apologize. Some of them have not forgiven my unkind words, and occasionally make suggestions concerning what I should read next. As I read a few others, I came to realize that Nora Roberts knows her audience in an uncanny way, and this accounts for much of her success.


As every writer knows, or should know, writing consists of stringing words together into coherent sentences. It also involves giving your readers the kind of book they have grown to love. Some readers evidently have the barely suppressed urge to do what a woman did in Stephen King’s novel, Misery. In case you aren’t familiar with the book, the plot involves a psychotic woman who held a famous writer captive and forced him to change the plot of his novel to meet her expectations. Nora Robert’s will never be subjected to that kind of fate because she learned early in her career to give the fans what they want.


Roberts is also aware that there are other fans that are not interested in ordinary Romance novels. All of her books wisely involve love, and The Chesapeake Bay Saga is no exception. The four novels in this series trace the lives and loves of four men who were adopted by a college professor and his wife. Each of them is tormented by the traumatic events that hold them captive to their past. In all fairness, I must say that these books contain more graphic sex than I like in a book, but that is my opinion. These four novels are the kind of stories you will never forget. Sea Swept is the first book in the series. Once you read it, there is no turning back. You might as well order all four of them while you have the page in front of you. There is a link to the first book in the series below. Thanks for visiting and happy reading.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lincoln by Gore Vidal

If you are a fan of novels about American History, I hope you have already discovered Gore Vidal’s American Chronicle Series, which covers the history of the nation from the American Revolution to the post WWII era. It is almost impossible for me to pick a favorite among these books, even after reading each of them more than once over the years. When I read Lincoln for the first time, I was immediately captivated, not just from Vidal’s superb manner of telling the story, but by the historical accuracy. Vidal spent years going through every available manuscript in the national archives that pertained to the story he was telling. He once mentioned that the story of Lincoln was more history than fiction because every statement attributed to Lincoln was gleaned from documents that told of actual events and his reaction to these occurrences.

Many of us remember history as that dull subject in high school we suffered through while fighting those urges to nap. Vidal found a way to grab the reader’s attention from the first paragraph and keep them turning pages to the very end. Government and military figures are presented with vivid reality, warts and all, with each event having the ring of reality. If you are a history buff, Lincoln is a book you don’t want to miss. It is historical fiction at its very best. You can find the book on Amazon at the link below.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

Important Things I Learned While Watching Horror Movies


(1) The bad guys (Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruegar, Damien, etc.) wear high-topped black shoes.

 (2) The victims accomplish little from running from the bad guy. He can always walk faster than they can run.

 (3) Cell phones never work when you try to call 911. You can hear the dispatcher, but she can’t hear you.

 (4) If a group is being hunted by the bad guy, the ugliest girl will always die first. With each attack, the other girls will lose another article of clothing.

 (5) If someone gets word to the sheriff, he won’t believe that four members of the group are already dead in the woods. He will threaten to arrest them for disturbing the peace if they insist that it really happened.

 (6) Any stranger who is accidentally in the area will refuse to help, and will tell them, “I have hunted in these woods all of my life and there has never been any danger here.”

 (7) The car key never fits the ignition when one of the last survivors tries to escape.

 (8) Guns are useless against the villain. Even if he is standing close, the one firing the gun always misses the target.

 (9) A victim, any victim, has at least five gallons of blood, and he/she can lose half of it without falling down dead.

 (10) “Look behind you,” shouted in a loud, frightened voice never gets any results.

 (11) Leaving the cabin to search for your missing boyfriend/girlfriend is never a good idea.

 (12) Going back to bed after each attack is not the best course of action.

 (13) Hiding places are hard for you to find, but the killer can walk directly to them after scattering a few items of furniture around the cabin.

 (14) Getting killed early in the movie isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are going to die, it better to do so before you have to run for hours through the woods.

 (15) Getting your best friend to go outside with you isn’t going to help. They can run faster than you can, so guess who is going to get caught.

 I have scheduled a horror flick for tonight. If anyone wants to watch it with me, I will furnish the popcorn and drinks, but you must bring your own guns and knives. Oh, and another thing. You might want to bring a wooden stake or two in case they are needed.

Friday, November 9, 2012

British Singer Danica Hunter


I have always loved music, especially the kind that is wonderfully different, and stirs something deep inside of me. In a recent interview on a writer’s website, one of the questions was, ‘what kind of music do you like?’ I quickly ran through the list of music that lives inside my head, but could not come up with an answer that made sense, even to me. I love classical, rock, new wave, country, but especially music from the Middle East with its driving beats and unfamiliar instrument that soar and wail, as if they are somehow attuned to those things inside of us that cannot be expressed in words. Something that is new on the American music scene is a type of dance music that had its origin in South London. It is called Dubstep. It is a genre of dance music, heavy on acoustical effects, and a rhythm that can get you out of your chair and on to the dance floor.


When I am on Twitter, or any other social media, I always take a look at the websites in the member’s bio. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. When I visited the site of a young British singer named Danica Hunter I was immediately captivated. While Danica is only 18-years-old, she has performed with such notable performers as Sting, and I predict that she has a great future ahead of her. But don’t take my word for it. Here is a link that will carry you to the BBC site where you can hear her newest hit called Heartbeat. I think it is wonderful. I will be waiting for more from this performer and I don’t think I will be disappointed.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Joe Pickett series by C. J. Box

It is always good to find a great writer, and especially when the author has created an interesting series. C. J. Box is one of those writers. Not only has he done an excellent job of creating believable stories, he has created a central character that seems as real as the people you encounter in everyday life.

I love police procedural novels, as well as the ones that have private detectives as the main character. It is a double bonus when an author comes up with a new type of hero. In Box’s Joe Pickett series, the main character is a game warden in Wyoming. In COLD WIND he is faced with the problem of keeping his wife’s mother from being convicted of murder. The book has the outdoor magic of a traditional Western novel, but in a modern day setting. There is no doubt that Box researched this book carefully. It is a robust story containing all of the elements we expect in a suspense novel. At last count, there were eleven novels in the Joe Pickett series. You are going to love them all. You can find all of his books on his Amazon page at this link:


Five Star Books

Five Star Books -- What is it all about?
I seldom watch television and spend my free time reading. Over the years, I have traveled along the roads and byways of thousands of wonderful books. When I started receiving emails from readers asking me about the novels I enjoyed the most, I decided it would be a good idea to blog about them, rather than writing articles about random things as I have done in the past. It also saves me some time in having to respond to individual emails.

My articles will not be book reviews in the traditional sense. Instead, I will tell you about the books I liked best, and the reasons I enjoyed them. There are many great books, and just as many talented writers that are unfamiliar to us. Most of the books I will suggest to you will be from bestseller lists. Some of them will be hot off the press and others published years ago. I hope you will enjoy reading some of them as we travel this road together. I hope to recommend a new book to you each week. Thank you and happy reading.