#Review “Needs Work” by John L. Sheppard

cover

~~~

5/5 Stars!

Early in Needs Work, Phil Derleth watches his Mustang burn with all his worldly possessions inside. For him, it’s just the latest shove into the downward spiral of failure which is his life. Not coming home before his mother died. Suffering a traumatic brain injury in combat. The disintegration of his marriage.

Before even reaching chapter two, Phil had become Bad Luck Schleprock from The Flintstones to me. Wowsie wowsie woo woo. If he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have none at all.

The story unfolds from Phil’s point of view, and it’s hard to believe people could be so cruel and distant, especially his waffle-obsessed father, Larry, who calls him dummy. But as contempt and anger morph into absurdity and the impossible (and dogs into people and back again), the light comes on.

This IS told from Phil’s point of view.

To heal from his TBI, Phil has to come to terms and accept not only how his injury happened but everything that came before in his life. Needs Work isn‘t about Phil finding employment (although he does go to work at the Buy and Bye), but reclaiming himself. His brain needs work. His life is a puzzle missing pieces, and while people like his first crush, Patty, his old Army buddies, his father and his band of cohorts, his dead mother, Marie, and a husky/human named Katie provide the pieces, it’s up to Phil to place them correctly and complete the picture.

Needs Work has been called contemporary fiction and magical realism, but there’s also a love story here… you just have to take a trip down the rabbit hole to get to it.

But it’s worth it.

Enjoy!

~~~

Fiction
Published: October 2019
Publisher: Paragraph Line Books
Once upon a time in Cleveland… Phil Derleth, a former Army “combat cartoonist,” comes home to Cleveland, Ohio after a messy divorce. Phil is brain-damaged from a war wound and there are holes in his memory. His father Larry, a stone mason living on disability, takes him in. Soon enough, Phil finds himself embroiled in all sorts of trouble, including dodging the Ohio Department of Transportation, blood-stealing tramps, the ghost of his dead mother and stray dogs who are more than they appear to be. One stray in particular will show Phil the way back to a life that he may have forgotten.

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

IndieBound

 photo Needs Work print ipad and iphone_zpsp3czhhlp.jpg
 Excerpt
I was let go.
That was months after my wife threw me out, taking our daughter with her. I was twenty-seven and starting all over again with life. I moved in with my father. Moved back to Ohio, a place that I thought I’d left in the rearview mirror. Instead, it was in my cracked and hazy windshield.
My car, a ten-year-old Ford Mustang, broke down in my father’s driveway never to recover. It had thrown a rod.
I got out of the car. The parking brake popped. The car slowly rolled into the street. A small fire crackled under the hood. In few minutes, dark black smoke poured out from the undercarriage and a red glow simmered within the passenger compartment. For a moment, I saw a shadow behind the wheel, a remnant of my former self, the one who was so confident that he would never again grace the state of Ohio. A small explosion. Another small explosion. They sounded less like explosions than someone manually popping a paper lunch sack. The driver’s side front wheel fell off and the car tilted over. The Mustang emblem clinked onto the pavement. A car, and then another car, drove past as if this sort of thing happened all the time. Nothing to get excited about.
“My clothes are in there,” I said aloud. “My employee of the month certificate. My Army uniforms. My crazy pills.”
My father emerged from the tiny house I’d grown up in, leaning forward on an aluminum walker, a wry grin on his mossy face. There was a reason why he’d never grown a beard while my mother was alive. The beard was patchy in so many ways. The coloration was wrong. The growth was uneven. There were too many things wrong with his beard to list.
The look he sent my way told me that he hadn’t yet forgiven me for not coming around while my mother was dying. I came to the funeral. Wasn’t that enough?
The police arrived. They pulled their cruiser up to the curb. A decal on the side of the car read, POLICE INTERCEPTOR. An older fat patrolman strolled up to me. He stood alongside me in silence and we watched my car burn for a while. Finally, he said, “That yours?” His name tag said, SMITH.
“Yes,” I said. “I have no money.”
“Who does?” He patted me on the shoulder solicitously.
The flames licked the air. It was sensuous.
“This is my son.” My father was beside us, opposite the cop.
“Total loss,” the friendly, gray-haired patrolman said. He rubbed his belly like there was a cat underneath his shirt.
His partner, a youngish woman, her hair pinched into a severe bun at the nape of her neck, stood near the car in the street, waving other cars past. When the street was clear, she pulled out her ticket pad and wrote me up.
My state of Illinois vanity plate fell off the back. It read, “E4MAFIA.” It was a joke that wasn’t funny now that I was out of the Army. I’d been out of the Army for years. I was in the Army for four years, most of it spent in a Navy hospital in Illinois, recovering from my war wounds. The Navy corpsmen would wheel us all up to the roof of the hospital at times, I remembered. We’d sit up there, high above the base, staring at Lake Michigan. It was calming. The hospital specialized in traumatic brain injuries. It was why we were all there. We were learning to speak again. To feed ourselves. To walk. To read and write. The Navy’s corpsmen school was there, so the student corpsmen would come by to gawk at us, or help us out with basic things. Eating. Finding our way back to our ward.

~~~

About the Author

 photo Needs Work Author John L. Sheppard_zpsua5q7qsy.jpg

John L. Sheppard, a graduate of the MFA@FLA creative writing program at the University of Florida, is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He lives in Illinois.
Contact Links
RABT Book Tours & PR

#ReleaseBlitz “Scandal Queen” by Anna Bloom

Scandal Queen

by 

Anna Bloom 

The much anticipated follow up to Tabloid Princess

AVAILABLE NOW

DOWNLOAD TODAYmybook.to/Scandalqueen

Genre: Contemporary Romance
#ScandalQueen  #ReleaseBlitz #AnnaBloom #RoyalRomance
#BareNakedWords #RomanceReaders #Books

SYNOPSIS

I never meant to fall for a prince… now nothing can be the same again.
It wasn’t meant to be this way… My life with my daughter was safe and protected; perfectly controlled.
Then he came and smashed everything I knew, everything I thought I knew, into pieces.
He broke my heart with his lies and deception, but now he’s under my skin and I can’t go back to the life I once had. All roads lead to him, the king of my heart, the man I would change everything for.
But with royalty comes obligation and expectation. Everyone wants a piece of him.
Inside the palace walls, he swears to keep us safe, yet I know the promise isn’t his to make.
Can he be the person his country needs while also loving us? Can I be the woman who stands proud by his side, or will I always be the daughter of a drug addict who has no place in the higher realms of society?
He says we can make it work, that we can fight tradition and give his people something new.
I wonder what price we will pay to be free to live our dream.
A heart-stopping Rags to Riches tale.

NOT STARTED THE DUET
Buy your copy Today: mybook.to/Tabloidprincess
 

Meet the Author

A book hoarder and coffee addict by heart Anna Bloom loves to write extraordinary stories about real love. Based south of London with her husband, three children and a dog with a beard, Anna likes to connect with readers, fan girl over her favourite authors and binge watch Supernatural while drinking lots of wine.

#BookTour “The Enigma Stolen” by Breakfield and Burkey

~~~

coverTechnoThriller
Date Published:
April 2015 (Paperback and eBook)
Jun 12 2018 (Audio Formats on Audible and iTunes)
Publisher: ICABOD Press
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
A brilliant mathematician and spoiled rich girl, Gretchen, is focused on harnessing Big Data and computing power to control the world stock markets not only to optimize her family’s wealth but also to control the future.
As a descendant of the Nazi Werewolf Clan, is Gretchen being maneuvered into leveraging unlimited computer power along with the ethical nihilism to manipulate lives, or just stretching her genius?
Is Gretchen working alone or is she adding additional computing sources from the Dark Net?
The R-Group, a high-level information gathering and security team, composed of Quip, Otto, Jacob, and Petra along with Julie and Juan’s fledgling group of Cyber Assassin Technology Services teams are trying to isolate the source of the massive computing power required.
Could these cyber schemers be as good at analyzing the information as the R-Group themselves? 
Are people unwittingly feeding an ever-growing tsunami of information into increasingly sophisticated computer systems? This begs the question: who controls whom? 
Breakfield and Burkey shared their 5th book, The Enigma Stolen, from their award-winning series focused on the relevant world of Big Data and analytics. This one will make you ask who are the winners when humans are herded to a machine’s targeted end point?

~~~

What Readers are Saying
Kirkus “The covert Werewolf Clan, with ties to Nazis, may be responsible and has been using a computer program to accurately predict stock futures. But it has an even more ambitious plan to link supercomputers around the world and potentially manipulate the future.”
 
“Wow this series gets better and better with every book I feel. Stakes are high in this one. More people are using the technology to hire assassins to go after high profile people.”
 
“Yes, I am hooked. I love the way the plot twists and turns throughout the book. As one completes, another arises.”

~~~

About the Authors

 photo Untitled_zpsdjsjlnjq.gifBreakfield – A renowned technology solutions architect with 25+ years of experience in security, hybrid data/telecom environments, unified communications, enjoys leveraging his professional skills in creating these contemporary TechnoThriller stories. He likes studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges everywhere he can. Charles’ love of wine tastings, cooking, and Harley riding has found ways into The Enigma Series. He is convinced that being a part of his father’s military career in various outposts, has positively contributed to his many characters and the various character perspectives he brings into the series. He has accepted the challenge to try to teach Burkey humor and has added this to the stories in an unexpected manner.

~~~

Burkey – A renowned customer experience, business architect optimizes customer solutions on their technology foundation. She has been a featured speaker, subject matter expert, interviewer, instructor, and author of technology documents, as well as co-author of The Enigma Series. It was revealed a few years ago that writing fiction is a lot more fun than white papers or documentation and Rox took it to heart. As a child she helped to lead the other kids with exciting new adventures built on make believe characters. As a Girl Scout until high school she also contributed to the community in the Head Start program. Rox enjoys family, learning, listening to people, any kind of travel, outdoors, sewing, cooking, and imagining the possibilities.

~~~

Breakfield & Burkey – Combine their professional expertise, knowledge of the world from both business and personal travels, many characters whom have crossed their paths are a part of the series character universe. They find it interesting to use the aspects of technology people are actually incorporating into their daily lives and make it one aspect a primary theme for each story. Breakfield & Burkey claim this is a perfect way to create stories that pit the cyber good guys versus the cyber bad guys. The books in this award-winning series can be thoroughly enjoyed alone or in sequence.
You can invite them to talk about their stories in private or public book readings. Burkey also enjoys interviewing authors through the Indie Beacon/iHeart Radio programs with dates of interviews showing inside the calendar page of their website http://www.EnigmaSeries.com. Followers can see them at various book fairs, book Stores, Comic Book events, libraries and other fun venues.
Contact Links

~~~

 
RABT Book Tours & PR