Winter Driving Best Books of the Month Valentine's Day Shop Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums easycohice_2016 All-New Amazon Fire TV Subscribe & Save Valentine's Day Cards Knock snow out cold Amazon Gift Card Offer chiraq chiraq chiraq  Amazon Echo All-New Fire Kindle Paperwhite Prime Exclusive Savings in Video Games Shop Now SnS
Profile for Grady Harp > Reviews

Browse

Grady Harp's Profile

Customer Reviews: 15383
Top Reviewer Ranking: 97
Helpful Votes: 92739


Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Grady Harp RSS Feed (Los Angeles, CA United States)
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
The Last Plutarch
The Last Plutarch
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘The Fog was a vast gray cloud resting on the earth, like the smoke-wrapped lair of some gargantuan beast.’, February 10, 2016
This review is from: The Last Plutarch (Kindle Edition)
New York author Tom O'Donnell began his career programing iPhone games, experimenting with that new form of entertainment until he broke through the barrier into pushing those games in to science fiction novels. His books to date are LOVE, DEATH , ROBOTS, AND ZOMBIES and THE LAST PLUTARCH. The concept of his preparing for his true calling in writing as being from manipulated and creative games makes sense as we read how Tom is able to take reality and warp it into the unreal fantasies of sci-fi stories.

One of the reasons Tom’s story works so well is his ability to maintain that connection between things we know and things imagined. His story is strong, his characters interesting and involving, but for this reader it is the beauty of his prose that elevates this book above many other science fiction tales. For instance, “Every tree is a temple. Every rock is an altar. This is only dust.” That sort of ability to enhance the post apocalyptic world with a spiritual sense is magic in Tom’s hands.

His own synopsis condenses the essence of the novel’s adventure: ‘In the city of Panchaea, society's elite are given godlike powers by a "fog" of microscopic machines. Instead of using the Fog to benefit mankind, however, the Plutarchs use their power to reinforce their own lofty positions.The Plebians under their rule, ignorant of the Fog's true nature, are bred to believe in the Divinity of their masters ... until the most loyal Plebian of all undergoes a life-changing journey, not only opening his eyes but giving him the one tool necessary to fight back.’

In the midst of this tour of things as they might become Tom drops lines such as “The day has been too long. At dawn, man had no words, and God was known. By noon, words flourished, but meaning was lost. At dusk, man made a god of himself and presumed the wisdom of one. Now night has come, and all the gods have fallen.”

That, fellow readers and lovers of fine science fiction, is what makes Tom O’Donnell unique. Grady Harp, February 16


Youth in the City: Various Small Fictions
Youth in the City: Various Small Fictions
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘They’re too far gone to be alive., February 10, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
California author Chris Jalufka makes his literary debut with this fascinating collection of short stories YOUTH IN THE CITY. More biographical information than that may surface in time, but for now we can recognize from his short comments that he owns a mind that is set to take chances.

This book of short stories is truly experimental literature – and it is refreshing to read work that is this unique, challenging our manner of thinking, asking us to relinquish credibility or the attempt to tie everything together into a cohesive whole. Some readers may get lost too early in settling in with this book, but others will become excited not only with the strange tales offered by a multitude of narrators over a couple pages until we bump into the next observer of mankind and scoop us up in another strange encounter.

Throughout the book Chris offers little asides, usually set in italics, as though he as the author is commenting on the people and the conditions of mankind that continue to appear in his odd tales. Some examples follow: “We are seen as the waste of all the empty days, us drifters, pockets full of waded dollars and bus transfers. No one may like us, but they all want to be us." And another more extended one, "Mothers don’t do well with being ignored. Something we all learn rather slowly. The lesson is paid for in long and useless phone calls where the mother rants and you stay put, quietly fuming, pacing a parking lot. Perhaps there are flower delivery costs until the mother is appeased, for now. Really, the only fun of the relationship is in hearing the mock sacrifice of parenting and its direct likeness to subduing a mythic beast. A child’s kiss is really just a Golden Fleece. I don’t know why anyone would want a mother, they seem to do more harm than good.” Or, “If you’re lucky enough to be drunk when you fall asleep, the sky giants grant you magnificent dreams.”

Stay with Chris throughout this book, either in small or large portions, and discover how inventive the English language can be in the hands of a man with this kind of unique talent. Once you get the concept of what he is doing (if you do) then re-read some of the stories and see how much alienated and isolated wisdom is here. He is on to something fresh. Grady Harp, February 16


Happy Chasing Happy: An Aimless High To Happiness Volume 1 Fight addiction
Happy Chasing Happy: An Aimless High To Happiness Volume 1 Fight addiction
by Jerome Jay Isip
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.99
2 used & new from $14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘We are all addicted to something’, February 10, 2016
Jerome - or rather Jay - Isip is one extraordinary being. He lives is a completely buff, fully tattooed well kept body and combines the roles of entrepreneur, Pro Mixed Martial Arts fighter, author, Investor, life enthusiast etc. all because he chose to create his own dreams. In this very wise, solidly written, at times gut-achingly hilarious book he leads us through his autobiography – a life as wild and mad as any author has confessed – and in doing so he opens our minds to challenges we all face while offering us (he’d never confess this!) some sound philosophy on overcoming the hurdle we tend to place in our lives. His wit is at times acerbic and naughty but he uses it to pull that string on our brains' light bulbs to make us take responsibility for achieving the life we want. You'll not find a book more full of an author's quotes that could (make that `should') be pasted around the space where we cogitate than this.

As is often the case in a well constructed book Jay spells out his purpose in a very solid Introduction: ‘We are all addicted to something. We all reach a point in our lives where our destination is dictated by nothing but an addiction. A point where we have to stand and face our reflection and ask ourselves, how? How did we reach this point of living life as a rodent in the dark, when we all have a light to shine? Because we dread facing the painful situations, we detach from our core of pureness and shift into a dimension of false euphoria. The components of depression, anger, and lifelessness lead us to suppress our emotions with an outside substance, which leads us to a lost land that is directed toward a level of highness nothing else now could replace. We chase the uplifting feeling from the very foundation of our physical existence. We‘re running through the jungle with our eyes wide shut, sniffing for the next appetizing piece of scrap we could feed on. We fall for the bait, but only to find out the scrap is bait from the lions, hoping it would catch some appetizing prey worth eating. We stare into the hungry eyes of the jungle king, in complete fear like the scavengers we are. The panting breath of the lion shoos us away, realizing we are worthless for he wants no part of our peasantry. Our fear descends, and we walk away in relief that we are unharmed, but then we realize that lion used to be us. Somewhere, somehow, we lost ourselves, always chasing the next high in life because we are unhappy with our present being. Our addictions have given us amnesia about our true selves, and we‘ve forgotten what it‘s like to live in ample freedom and power—to live like a lion.’

The manner in which he lays out his life story is a trip through those various addictions he has overcome and how he has ultimately arrived at a happy gratifying life – and how he now uses all of that to help each of us find honest happiness. Jay is a wise man, a born comedian, and the kind of guy you’d love to call your best friend. And he is a hell of a writer! Grady Harp, February 16


Mindfulness: Simple Mindfulness Techniques for Stress and Anxiety Relief (Mindfulness, Mindfulness For Beginners, Meditation, Present Moment)
Mindfulness: Simple Mindfulness Techniques for Stress and Anxiety Relief (Mindfulness, Mindfulness For Beginners, Meditation, Present Moment)
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ‘One of the easiest ways to understand the basics of mindfulness is to practice mindful breathing.’, February 9, 2016
Natasha Lee has released a short but pertinent survey of her thoughts on the importance of Mindfulness in teaching us techniques for relieving stress and anxiety, and while she indicates this is a book for beginners, most readers will discover how little they understand about the concept of mindfulness and just how significant it is as a mode of changing our noisy far too busy lives.

Written as a primer, Natasha does not emphasize science or esoterica but instead simply brings us to an understanding of what the concept of ‘mindfulness’ is and how to incorporate the art into our living.

She opens her book with helping us understand ‘mindfulness: ‘Mindfulness is a word that can bring up a lot of different associations when we hear it. It is often described as “being in the present moment,” but that description leaves something to be desired. It conjures images of somebody with no attention span at all, constantly distracted by every passing image and noise. There is also a religious connotation to mindfulness. It has its origins in Buddhism, but one does not have to be a Buddhist to practice it. I think the best way to describe mindfulness is to say that it is about paying attention to who and where you are right now, and not allowing your mind to get distracted by regret about the past, or worry about the future. Practicing mindfulness does not mean that you must notice everything in your environment. It is about training your brain to keep away from stress and anxiety, both of which take us away from where we are and into a world of fear and imagination. Writer Brene Brown describes anxiety as “dress rehearsing tragedy.” When you think of it that way, it makes sense to avoid it. In the event that a tragedy occurs, you will have no choice but to deal with it. There is no point in imagining what you will do if it happens. If you spend your life doing that, you will never see what’s right in front of you. Mindfulness is also about being aware of your own thoughts and feelings as thoughts and feelings – and being able to view them in a way that allows you some level of detachment. If you can teach your brain to be mindful, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary stress.’

It is this kind of nurturing dialogue that Natasha uses throughout her brief book, but especially for beginners it is a very fine start in embracing a new more placid manner of living. Grady Harp, February 16


Hydroponics: The Essential Hydroponics Guide: A Step-By-Step Hydroponic Gardening Guide to Grow Fruit, Vegetables, and Herbs at Home (Hydroponics for Beginners, Gardening, Homesteading, Home Grower)
Hydroponics: The Essential Hydroponics Guide: A Step-By-Step Hydroponic Gardening Guide to Grow Fruit, Vegetables, and Herbs at Home (Hydroponics for Beginners, Gardening, Homesteading, Home Grower)
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘“If there is magic in this planet, it is contained in water.” — Loren Eiseley, February 9, 2016
Andy Jacobson has written a book about a ‘science’ about which few of us know are familiar. In a warm and accessible manner he introduces the basics of Hydroponics. In his Foreword he states, ‘Whilst expending my efforts on it for almost 30 years, I’ve been able to narrow down the science of hydroponics into a number of easy to follow and digestible steps. I even like to say that I’ve managed to transform this science into somewhat of an art form. After a great deal of encouragement from my agricultural friends and family, I’m compelled to share with you the proven step-by-step methods for creating and managing your own successful hydroponic system. With this, you will have the tools needed to grow a selection of herbs, vegetables, and flowers at home - without the use of any soil.’

Though for the beginner reading the entire book is essential, for the curious Andy cover the following subjects: What Is Hydroponics?, Choosing a Hydroponic Medium, Types of Hydroponic Systems, Plant Nutrition – Learning and Selecting, Your Perfect Lighting Solution, The Growing Process, Creating Your Own Hydroponic System, and Pest Prevention and Troubleshooting.

Mixing his written passages with diagrams and illustrations makes the book easily accessible and a very fine start in learning the art of Hydroponics, Grady Harp, February 16


Elphie and Dad go on an Epic adventure (Elphie's books Book 1)
Elphie and Dad go on an Epic adventure (Elphie's books Book 1)
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘And now we are going to have an extra special adventure chocolate milk!’, February 9, 2016
Israeli artists – mother and daughter team Hagit R and Or Oron – present their debut joint venture – a book written by mother Hagit and illustrated by daughter Or. Hagit R is an award-winning writer whose short stories are published in Israeli literary magazines and websites. Or is a graphic designer, photographer and illustrator. This team has a way with children’s books and if this one is an indication of their future projects, start collecting them now!

Elphie loves adventure but doesn’t care much for mundane chores. When his Dad suggests they go to the market for chocolate milk Elphie groans, but on the way to the store the son and father encounter not only fantasy adventures but real life ones as well and in the end a simple trip to buy chocolate milk ends up being a terrific adventure.

Not only is this a colorful, imaginative fantasy tale, it is also a fine little lesson about father son relationships and making use of fantasy to keep the run of the mill chores exciting. Well written and beautifully illustrated this little debut book is a winner on every level. Grady Harp, February 16


The Criminal Elite
The Criminal Elite
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘A person in his business loses his humanity.’, February 9, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
New York author S. W. Frank has had a varied career as a student in law school, working for the FDNY Emergency Medical Services, and now embraces the full time occupation of being a best selling author with some twenty eight novels published!

Frank’s novels tend to be dark but this novel, while boasting a terrifying image on the cover and a story that is steeped in darkness, opens with a moving ‘dedication’ – ‘this novel is in honor of the migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker, creative and hard-working people whose contributions boost economies. And most importantly, to the good people around the world that continue to seek opportunity, fleeing poverty, corruption and war, dying in the pursuit to live peaceably and without fear. May the merciful hand of brave nations hear the desperate cries of children, mothers and fathers. Compassion and humane treatment, regardless of color, creed, religion, sexual orientation or lack of wealth represents nations in accord with a greater humanity.’

The writing style matches the subject material while opening possibilities for multiple interpretations of the vision of the story. How more plain can a direction seem than with the following opening? ‘No good deed goes unpunished, Cole Eniton Lazarus reflected while he waited in the bathroom for the drop. He had stayed inside a stall for close to an hour, pretending to use the commode. Cole figured if that statement was true, then he should not be stuck in a urinal, inhaling human fumes as a penalty for his bad deeds.’

Cole Eniton Lazarus is one finely sculpted character – an assassin whose manner of living betrays the soul inside. Frank shows the shift of the direction in is synopsis: ‘"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" This is the sonnet, Mia Sandra Garcia Suarez recites to the man she loves while gazing upon New York's harbor. She foresees fascism rising, led by the bigot running for office that framed her brother. Cole Eniton Lazarus cares deeply for the migrant, Mia but he's a hardened loner. He's grown up without money or adequate healthcare. He's associated money with premium treatment. Cole's a capitalist and stays out of politics. However, he'll cross paths with a criminal elitist more ruthless than an assassin in love.’ What a post! And that is only a hint at the quality of dark adventure mixed with a healthy dose of romance. S.W. Frank has this style polished to a fare-thee-well. Grady Harp, February 16


Jack (Jack: Part One in the Trilogy Book 1)
Jack (Jack: Part One in the Trilogy Book 1)
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘A man never rises so high as when he knows not whither he is going.’ - Oliver Cromwell, February 9, 2016
Massachusetts born but world traveller author Gary L. Dorian has a colorful career and outlook on the world. He has been a journalist specializing in court coverage in Boston, has taught English and Global History in New York, an author of three books (wide ranging topics), and now lives in Thailand where he is devoting his attention to Young Adult novels – the JACK Trilogy – of which this is the first installment. Gary’s strong interest in history is evident in all of his works – whether about the Holocaust or the African American saga in American history, and it is that depth of knowledge that informs his writing while he entertains us with colorful characters and his magnetically attractive prose style.

Gary’s novel is rather short and is directed to the young adult (ages 12 – 18) and he knows this audience well, able to speak in their language form to further involve them in the progression of the story. For instance, he opens with a prodromal conversation that while hinting at the story ahead still bows to the characterizations he is creating: ‘Crawling up alongside the red wooden façade of the school house, Jack and I peeked through the windows and scanned the room. There was Mike sitting on one end of a bench, paying the strictest attention to master’s lesson. “The sniveling little worm!” Jack said, scrunching up his nose. “I knew he didn’t have the nerve to skip. Next, he’ll be licking Whittemore’s boots - the little worm.” “What are we gonna do?” I asked. “What do ya mean what’a we gonna do? What are you gonna do you moron?” Jack said and rapped his knuckles on the wooden door of the school house as hard as he could, then bolted toward the hedges across the Meetinghouse Road, saying, “Run son if you knows what’s good for ya!”

Comfortable in the arena the important story unfolds, and Gary’s synopsis is succinct: ‘The setting is Charleston, South Carolina, and it also is set on a slave ship that traffics in the Caribbean islands before and during the American Civil War. It is about a rebel's rebel, Jack, who, as a young boy, challenges the racist teachings of his schoolmaster, but later following him to sea aboard a slave ship and ultimately meeting his fate at the epic battle of Gettysburg. In Part I the time ’is set in the American south one year prior to the civil war. It focuses on three characters who are children at a fictional schoolhouse in Charleston who challenge their racist schoolmaster, a former preacher on a slave ship on the high seas. Jack is at the center of the revolt against "Master Whittemore" and ultimately defeats him during a "trial" that master conducts in his little schoolhouse. Master, after some reflection, sees the criticism his students have tried to make and understands that his efforts to sing the praises of the plantation slavery system and of the benefits of secession were wrong. He decides to return to the same slave ship on the ruse that he will again preach the necessity of slavery. He does the exact opposite and tries to incite rebellion. Master is thrown overboard. Jack and Jeremy had signed up for the journey to Jamaica and other slave-trading ports after they saw the change in their teacher. In Jamaica they meet two free blacks-America and her friend-and together the four conspire to take the ship and set free the entire slave cargo.’

Adventure peppered with solid humor to make the tale yet more pungent, this first installment is fine reading for adults as well as young adults. A solid start on a worthy project. Grady Harp, February 16


Reparation: A Supernatural Cult Thriller
Reparation: A Supernatural Cult Thriller
Price: $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘His mother would never wake up but he couldn’t bear for her to pass alone.’, February 8, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
According to the book’s bio information about the controversial author Laine Cunningham we discover she is a multi-award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction that crosses boundaries. Six months after Laine began writing novels, the New York Mills Cultural Center offered a month-long residency. In 2001, she spent a month at Cornucopia Arts Center; in 2005 she received a week at Wildacres; 2006 brought a month at the Vermont Studio Center; July of 2011 brought a week at Blowing Rock Conference Center; and 2014 found her at The Rensing Center for six weeks. Recently she was accepted to the Arte Studio Ginestrelle residency program in the historic Umbria region of Italy to further research on her current historical fiction project. Her first novel, Message Stick, is a literary novel of suspense set in the Australian outback, was called “the best novel in ten years” by the James Jones Literary Society. Now she places before us another cultish story focusing on American Indians. She handles these adventures well, infusing history with fantasy very successfully.

Laine seduces us into her strange world with that feeling of timidity she with which she imbues her child character: ‘To Aidan Little Boy, San Francisco was a harvest of chokecherries. Each carefully stored fruit was the memory of an hour or a day from a family vacation. Although he and his sisters had left home years ago to start their own lives, the memories were as sour and sweet as if they had been plucked that day. During each trip their parents had carted them to attractions that changed as the kids had abandoned sand castles and theme parks for more mature pleasures. The beach had remained a constant, fueling his younger sister’s romantic fantasies with an endless parade of boys. His older sister had never been anything but bored there, and broadcast her distaste with constant sighs. For Aidan, the ocean had been ominous. The surf spoke with a strange voice that growled with rip currents and stuttered around sinkholes. Even in the height of summer sudden fogs shrouded the cliffs. A different kind of fog had crept inside their mother’s body. Cancer grew in her breasts then metastasized to her brain. As the bloated cells muffled her mind, they also shrouded her memories. Her own parents and her childhood, the man who’d become her husband, the births of three children had disappeared into the mist. The speed with which she’d became bedridden and tethered to a catheter had been shocking. Their father was already dead and Zona had gone away to college, leaving Aidan to shepherd Fannie through the chaos of treatment, the endless hospital visits, the nauseating drip of chemotherapy. Then the cancer had stopped its remorseless progress. It hung on some ridge of her brain, trembling and swirling like fog. It was unheard of, the doctors claimed. Metastatic cancers were always relentless and rapid. And as was so often the case when the European world met the Native American lifeway, what they deemed miraculous was a torment. Their mother’s mind was eaten away yet the body hovered like a slow-blooded lizard. The Lakota called it telanunwela, dead but alive, to celebrate the immortality of the spirit. But for her, it meant that her soul was imprisoned.’ How can we not continue in such an atmospheric setting?

Laine writes about a native American cult and the machinations of that cult’s effects on its members. Cancer, faith healers, the black arts and the title Reparation - a ceremony that will cleanse the souls of 405,000 congregants. It is a beautifully written, supernatural story – the work of a master craftsman who has insights into tribal life that exists in many forms around the world. Fascinating! Grady Harp, February 16


William Heirens: The True Story of The Lipstick Killer: Historical Serial Killers and Murderers (True Crime by Evil KIllers Book 13)
William Heirens: The True Story of The Lipstick Killer: Historical Serial Killers and Murderers (True Crime by Evil KIllers Book 13)
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘There was something evil within William Heirens that was fighting to get out.’, February 8, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Florida author Jack Rosewood inherited his fascination for heinous crimes from his father, a journalist covering major grim crimes. He is fascinated with serial killers – their development psychologically, their preparation for their life of crime, and the details of how they made their bloody black marks on the world. The movie star handsome Rosewood lives in Jupiter, Florida with his wife and two children. This is now his thirteenth inimitable book from his series Historical Serial Killers and Murderers.

Jack’s writing style completely captures the essence of the serial killers he studies. His astute studies of the various serial killers about whom he is providing biographies is not only fascinating reading material, but also a probing investigation of the psychopathology of serial killers. However in is 13th installment of Jack’s series he seems to grow along with his expertise in reportage. There is complete information not only about the perpetrators background and the series of murders and assaults they committed, but also about the interplay between the press and the judiciary system and relatives of the victims that makes this one of Jack’s most successful books to date. Though it may sound a bit sadistic, Jack’s books are so riveting that with the release of every new volume everything else gets set aside for the new journey into terror and madness.

Jack grabs our attention with each novel with his opening sentences;’ “Heavens sake catch me before I kill more I cannot control myself” was found scrawled in lipstick on the wall of a Chicago apartment on December 11, 1945. Under the bizarre inscription lay the mutilated body of Frances Brown, who was the second victim of serial killer William Heirens, the man who would later achieve national infamy for his short but brutal reign of terror on the city of Chicago. Once Heirens was identified as the killer, he was quickly given the moniker “the Lipstick Killer” for the unholy epitaph he left in Brown’s apartment.’

Perhaps few of us outside Chicago have heard of this serial killer but Jack informs us well: ‘In the early 1940s, the city of Chicago was in the midst of a one-man crime wave. But this crime wave was unlike any other in Chicago history. It was not perpetrated by a seasoned gangster like Al Capone or sophisticated serial killer like John Wayne Gacy: the offender in question was an unassuming teenager named William George Heirens. Before Heirens’ crime spree was over, he burglarized over 300 hundred homes and murdered three innocent people. In this true crime murder book you will learn the details of Heirens’ rampage through the city of Chicago and what drove him to become one of the most disturbed psychopaths and sociopaths in the annals of all true crime stories. At first glance, as an American serial killer, Heirens may not appear as formidable as others since he only claimed three victims. He was also much younger the average serial killer and was a nice looking young man when he was arrested. But the truly frightening aspect of Heirens’ story is how a seemingly normal child, with a stable home, can evolve into a petty criminal and eventually to the status of serial killer. A close examination of Heirens’ life will reveal that beneath the façade of normalcy lurked a vicious killer waiting to be unleashed on the hapless citizens of Chicago.’

Thirteen and going – one wonders how many more of these terrifying sociopaths Jack will unveil. As always, this is a terrific read. Grady Harp, February 16


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20