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Khalid Muhammad

"There are people in this world who deal only in extremes. It's naive to think that anything less than extreme measures will stop them."

Currently reading

No Exit from Pakistan
Daniel S. Markey
Love Is Never Past Tense...
Janna Yeshanova
The One
J.K. Accinni
The Jetstream of Success
Julian Pencilliah
The Lamb Of God
Shane K.P. O'Neill
The Once and Future King
T.H. White
Under the Dome
Stephen King
The Janson Directive
Robert Ludlum
Matthew Reilly

How to be Twittertastic (Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media Series BOOK 1)

How to be Twittertastic (Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media Series BOOK 1) - Jo Linsdell I picked up Jo Linsdell's book about a week or so back and absolutely loved it!

For any aspiring author who is looking to understand how to use social media to promote their work, this is a great guidebook on the basics that must be done. Jo gives great real-life examples of how branding, marketing and public relations are done using social media. There is also an added value - many of the tips that Jo gives can be applied to any online business marketing effort. It's just that well put together.

Great job, Jo!

Alien Species Intervention Books 1-3

Alien Species Intervention Books 1-3 - J.K. Accinni I have been a sci-fi/fantasy fan since I was a kid and Alien Species didn’t disappoint! J.K. Accinni’s writing draws you into the story and keeps you spellbound until the very last word. This is a great story of good vs. evil, with a bit of political and controversial commentary mixed in for good measure.

If you are looking for a book that will entertain as well as enthrall, this is your story. If you want to be challenged emotionally with action, suspense, anger and hate, you will find it all within the pages of this series. But be forewarned, you will not be able to put it down once you start reading!

Highly recommended! 5 stars isn’t enough for this series.

The Riding School

The Riding School - C.P. Mandara *** This book was provided for an honest review ***

Racy, steamy, sexy and wickedly enjoyable. That’s how I would describe C.P. Mandara’s The Riding School. I have always been a fan of well-written erotica and this one goes well above the standard I have read in the past. From the characters to the storyline, this will heat up your summer nights and keep you up wondering how to satisfy the urges it inspires.

Jenny is the epitome of the spoiled rich girl and needs to be taught about real life. Her father, seeming tired of the lazy, irresponsible behavior, books her into the Pony Rides Hotel to teach her how the reins are taken… and used.

The progression of this story will have you wrapped in each of the characters, feeling the steamy, wicked sex and wishing that Jenny would get just a little bit more.

Highly recommended to anyone who is looking for a bold new voice in the genre. I can’t wait to read the other books in this series.

The Falling of Love (The Falling Series)

The Falling of Love (The Falling Series) - 'Carraine Oldham',  'Marisa Oldham' *** This book was provided for an honest review ***

I have to start out by saying that NA Romance is not something I typically read, but I have to say that Marisa blew me away with her writing and story in The Falling of Love. Too many reviewers will tell you that they experienced a wide range of emotions when reading a book, but this one will require a Kleenex box and someone to hold on to once you are done.

The story starts with teen love and matures into so much more. It will pull at your heart strings, drive up your blood pressure and drop you from a million miles high as you devour the pages absorbing every word. It’s a must read in every sense for every age!

I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to experience real love for the joys, hardships and pain. This is an emotional whirlwind that you will be happy that you were caught up in. Well done, Marisa! I’ll be looking forward to your books in the future!

The Guardian of Secrets and Her Deathly Pact

The Guardian of Secrets: And Her Deathly Pact - Jana Petken The Guardian of Secrets and Her Deathly Pact is a little out of my normal reading stream, but wow am I glad I picked it! The way the story is weaved together to bring the story of Celia Dobbs and her life of abuse makes he reader feel Celia’s pain as well as her victories. The author has done a phenomenal job in crafting the characters of the story. There were times when you wondered who was really the villain.

Historical novels present a huge challenge for any author to assure that the story matches the history. Jana has done a fantastic job with her research and made sure to bring the pieces together into a smooth, fast moving story that draws the reader in and doesn’t let them go.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be taken on an emotional roller coaster. I’ll be looking forward to more books from this debut author!

Phenomena: The Lost and Forgotten Children

Phenomena: The Lost and Forgotten Children - Susan Tarr, Michael Tarr, Anna Lund Talk about an author with a fantastic voice! Susan hits the nail on the head with a topic that is very difficult to turn into a strong story.

Malcolm, an inmate of a mental asylum, tells his story and how society has perceived him in relation to it. There is so much to this story that will haunt the reader as they understand Malcolm’s struggle with life and in-patient treatment. I found it interesting how the author told the story from his point of view and brought us into his world, almost making the reader wonder if it was really happening, had really happened or was just fiction. That takes great writing to achieve!

This is a book that will break your heart and fill it with emotions. From the person to the institution and the treatment, the reader is taken on a haunting, riveting journey that will haunt and touch them well after they have put it down.

Highly recommended!

The Meat Market

The Meat Market - James Chalk James has written a fantastic sci-fi novel with The Meat Market. Not only does it take you into a future that is both corrupt and depraved, but it also paints a picture of where the world could be in a matter of decades.

Jonathan Harkon is a fantastic character that will draw you deep into his world, forcing you to breathe and cringe with each step he takes. The author has created characters that will make you wonder if they are real or alive on the page.

This is a fantastic story that makes someone like me, who hasn’t picked up a sci-fi novel in many years, want to return to the genre that first taught me the love of reading and books in general. I’ll be adding all of James’ books to my library, as well as anything else that he writes in the Jonathan Harkon series.

A must read for anyone who loves the sci-fi genre and has the stomach to see where the world could be in the future.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners

The Luck of the Weissensteiners - Christoph Fischer I received this book from the author/publisher for an honest review.

“The Luck of the Weissensteiners” is a broad reaching, multi-category novel that will grab you from the first paragraph and keep holding on until long after you complete the novel.

Personally, I am a big fan of historical fiction stories, both fiction and non-fiction, but Christoph has been able to cross from historical fiction to romance, and back again, while crafting a message that educates as well as entertains. Greta and Wilhelm take us deep into the emotions, love and perseverance of two people struggling through one of the most horrific times of history. Their love will renew your own.

This is a definite must read for anyone who wants to understand the personal nature of conflict, suffering, fear, and survival and how love is the binding force for humanity.

I’ll be picking up the other 2 books in The Three Nations Trilogy! And recommending this one to everyone I know.

Was It a Rat I Saw?

Was It a Rat I Saw? - Sue  Perry I received a free copy in return for an honest review.

Sue does a great job of taking a very difficult storyline and trying to make it work. While the story is engaging, suspenseful and mysterious, the sheer amount of discussion of process takes the reader out of form detaching them from the quality of the story itself.

The writing creates a vivid mental picture for the reader and draws you into the world. While this novel was Sue’s debut work, I would hope that her more current writing has been able to surpass the problems that plague this one. From the misspellings to the combined fictional prose (heavy medical to suspense), there are many things that cause the reader to stumble and get back into the story for it to work for them.

Overall, a good read that will engage the reader, draw them into a world unlike their own and encourage them to venture down the unbeaten path. I do believe that if this were pushed through a more formal writing process now, the book could be vastly improved and the story structure and language tightened to a position of greater understanding and enjoyment for the reader.

Prayer for a Sinner

Prayer for a Sinner - Robin Peacock The book was provided free in turn for an honest review.

Prayer for a Sinner was a troublesome read for me. While I don’t normally mind long passages of descriptions, this book would be benefited with a great deal more dialogue. Small encounters, like Charlie’s first report to the police, or even some of the sex scenes, I feel should have been written out as dialogue and action, rather than the author telling us what happened. It’s almost as if the author is afraid to leave anything to the reader’s imagination.

There is too much over-explanation of unimportant things (describing what a Blackberry is rather than just naming it), confusing usage of quotation marks to signify dialogue as well as designation of individuals and names of objects and a clear inability to paint a picture for the readers. The book is written from a “let me tell you everything” point of view, rather than using any writing tools to allow the reader to see the story unfold before them. The sparsity of dialogue in the book detracts from the story telling and makes it a much more difficult read. It seems that the author just sat down at the computer, started writing and published it without bothering to go back and read the book for errors or clarity, much less how to improve the prose.

If this is erotica, then I would have expected to be semi-aroused, but the clinical description and the repetitive usage of the same word to describe body parts, caused me to just skim the scenes because they were basically the same thing over and over. For the most part, it seemed to be gratuitous boring sex that could have been left out to make the story stronger.

At the end of the day, having read erotica before, this doesn’t reach the mark of the genre. The crime/detective story that is interwoven into the book lacks maturity and makes the reader struggle to understand what was important and what is superfluous. Additionally, the numerous errors in terms of formatting, chapter naming and overall book structure make this a chore of a read for anyone who knows good writing. The characters were minimally developed, in my opinion, but it could just be that it was done in the first book of the series, and the author expected that everyone would have read that prior to reading this.

The 9/11 Wars

The 9/11 Wars - Jason Burke In one word - wow!

Jason Burke's book is an amazing compilation of facts that led up to and integrated into the War on Terror. Being a former journalist, Jason is able to go places where the regular author isn't and his volumes of facts and personalities is just mind-blowing. I picked this book up at the airport as research for a fictional novel that I am working on and found myself highlighting sections of information that I had heard in rumors and newspaper stories. He has brought a great deal of detail to each of his encounters and expanded the background so that the reader is better able to understand what went wrong and why.

This is an must read for anyone who wants to understand the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and why neither has delivered the results that were expected.

Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames

Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames - Peni Jo Renner Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames is a great story and a fantastic read. Personally, I am not a fan of witch trial stories, but can honestly say that Peni drew me into her story and engaged my senses with each word.

Rebecca’s character is intricately woven and filled with experiences that make our heart quake. From the imprisonment and feelings of depression, the tale is crafted in a manner that makes the reader feel everything that Rebecca feels. I personally, living in a country where loss is a regular occurrence, could easily identify with the situations and feelings that were written by the author. That realism helps the reader connect with the story. From the first angry words that start the ball rolling to the final curtain, I found myself enthralled in the story.

I believe that the author has crafted a story that will shock, disturb and bring people into a greater understanding of the life and times during the Salem Witch Trials in the 17th century. She has gone to great lengths to get the dialogue and language in sync with the time period and has given the reader an emotional roller-coaster throughout the pages of the book. If you don’t come away from this story with a different perspective on life, loss and conflict, you have missed the experience.

Tethered Twins

Tethered Twins - Mike Essex I can see a strong story possible in this novel, but it didn't emerge in the writing.

Tethered Twins is in dire need of an editor that can bring the story together in terms of language, flow and story line construction. This could be an extremely strong story if there was more detail to the surroundings and characters, both of which were extremely flat and didn't jump off the page into my imagination. The mixture of 1st and 3rd person in the beginning of the book was a good idea that was not executed well. When writing in the 1st person, it is impossible to explain what another person was thinking, feeling or doing outside of the line of sight. The writer seemed to miss this mark.

As far as the dystopian genre goes, it misses the mark against other books that are available. There is no connect for me as a reader, having read others in the same genre. It doesn't pull me into the story, I felt nothing for any of the characters and found myself laboring to read, rather than enjoying a futuristic world unfolding on the pages and in my imagination.

I believe that if the writer were to get a professional development editor involved in the process, the story could be much better, but in the current position... it just doesn't get there for me as a reader.

See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism

See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism - Robert Baer What a great look behind the curtain of what the CIA has become. For years, the CIA was respected as an intelligence organization, but the transformation that Robert Baer presents of how it was emasculated by politicos and career analysts gives me a deeper understanding on why the CIA has not been able to operate as effectively as it did in the past. From Lebanon to Tajikistan, his account of an intelligence organization more interested in photographs rather than on ground human intelligence destroys the impression that the world has of the CIA and explains why extraordinary rendition became part of the modus operandi.

I'll be reading his other books about his intelligence career!

I didn't know that this was the basis for Syriana, which was a pleasant surprise.

The Unraveling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad

The Unraveling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad - John R. Schmidt I am not impressed with The Unraveling. It is a biased review of one person's own personal impressions, backed with diplomatic language from the US State Department. I picked up the book during a trip thinking that it would make a good addition to the research that I was doing on Pakistan's battle with extremist organizations, only to find that the writer put the entire blame for the problem at the feet of Pakistan's intelligence service that since 9/11 has been dogged by the US government.

He seemed to go to great extents to not mention the mainstream political parties that support, shelter and encourage these same jihadi groups in their provinces so that he could make the entire base of his argument blaming the ISI. This is more of a memoir of a mid-level diplomat than a true account of the problems that Pakistan as a nation struggles with.

The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless Frontier

The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless Frontier - Imtiaz Gul Excellent! Imtiaz does a great job in explaining the history of Pakistan's most troubled, lawless region. The dynamics that exist there make it easy to understand why terrorists, extremists and criminals can find safe haven in this part of the country. The interviews with US diplomats, retired and serving Pakistan Army officials and politicians made the entire analysis much stronger.

A must read if you want to understand Pakistan's history with militant groups.