Category Archives: book review

A Quick Poll. Please Help Me Name My Next Book!

The sequel to Time To Lie has been written and edited. I have sent it off to the publisher. I have tentatively titled it The Last Locked Door. I’m wondering if that’s a strong enough title to lure readers in. Many a book, movie or other product have been either successful or done poorly based on the choice of name. I want your opinion on the title The Last Locked Door. Vote in the poll !

Thanks everybody! I really appreciate your help. Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

Second In Command: The Debut Novel by Sandi Van!

I’m proud to introduce you to my neighbor, friend and author Sandi Van. Her first published novel Second In Command, is available TODAY on Amazon! Sandi is a writer, counselor, and former special education teacher from Buffalo, New York. She blogs at Caravan of Composition, and for all of my WordPress blogging friends, she is a WordPress blogger, so go give her a follow. Her work has also been featured in Adoptive Families magazine.

Second In Command synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Leo dreams of becoming an Eagle Scout and, someday, a police officer. He makes sure to always do the right thing and be responsible. With his mom deployed and his dad constantly working, Leo is often left in charge of his two younger siblings. Then Leo’s brother, Jack, gets caught up in a dangerous plot that rocks the community. Can Leo keep his promise to stand by his brother no matter what, or will he stand on the side of justice?

Me: Hello Sandi and welcome to The Phil Factor! Although your cover, pictured above has the title Second In Command, on Amazon the title is Second in Command (YA Verse). I know that YA means Young Adult, but what does the Verse refer to?

Sandi: A verse novel is a story told entirely through poetry. It follows the same narrative structure as a traditional novel (in other words there is a character with a goal, and there are obstacles preventing him from reaching his goal that increase in peril as the story progresses), but instead of chapters there are poems. Not to fear, the novel is aimed at reluctant readers and was written for anyone to enjoy, despite their experience in the realm of poetry.

Me: How did your own personal experience influence the plot and characters of your novel?

Sandi: The story is about a family affected by their mother’s deployment. The main character, Leo, is 16 and expected to help take care of his younger siblings. My husband serves in the Navy and was deployed for most of 2003. I witnessed firsthand the stress deployment can have on those left behind, particularly young families. The characters are loosely based on our next door neighbors from that time period. Mom was deployed and Dad worked long hours, leaving the kids to take care of homework, meals, and laundry. I was impressed with how responsible the oldest son was, and years later he inspired me to create the character of Leo. 

Me: When and how did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

Sandi: In fifth grade I was chosen to be part of an experimental group that tested this newfangled 1980’s software that could create a sort of choose your own adventure story. My story was about a witch, and I had a lot of fun coming up with ideas and watching the completed project spill out of the dot matrix printer. Around seventh grade I discovered Edgar Allan Poe. Between that and various episodes of unrequited love, my poetry flowed heavily and with abundant angst. There is also a box full of old journals in my basement my husband and children have been instructed to burn upon my passing. I started my first blog in 2008, and in 2013 I found myself without a job and with an idea for a novel but no clue how to write it. Fate brought a writer into my path who introduced me to a whole bunch of other writers and helped me figure out how to turn my ideas into a book. The book wasn’t very good. But the process of writing, editing, and putting it out into the world made me believe I could actually be a writer.

Me: So what comes next? Is there a sequel to Second In Command, or do you have something else you’re working on?

Sandi: Oh the million dollar question. No, there won’t be a sequel to Second in Command, although I’d love to write another verse novel. Currently I’m working on a story about a young Naval Reservist who serves on the funeral guard. On her way to a funeral she gets stuck in a snow storm and learns how to cope with a personal tragedy through her interactions with other stranded motorists. I was born and raised in Buffalo and although thankfully I’ve never been trapped in my car during a storm, I’ve always been impressed by the way people come together and help each other during heavy snowfalls. 

Thank you for sharing my story with your readers, Phil!

Me: You’re welcome Sandi! A book about someone stranded in a snow storm? With the weather this week, it’s too bad you can’t launch that one right now!

Even though Second In Command is her debut novel, do you know how you can tell that Sandi is a big time author? (Aside from the fact that she’s featured on The Phil Factor. ) Hardcover! Her first novel is published in both hardcover and paperback!  Hardcover is big time. Hardcover is James Patterson/Stephen King big time. Michelle Obama’s first book came out in hardcover and so did Sandi’s!

Thank you again Sandi for appearing on #ThePhilFactor. I wish you the best of luck with your new novel and we look forward to what’s next. Please check out Sandi’s novel on Amazon . You can find her at her website and please give her a follow at Caravan of Composition and Twitter!

Have a great day! ~ Phil

Some Suggestions For Getting Your Kids Away from Their Phones

Denzil Walton , a friend of The Phil Factor, has written a fascinating book. If you’re a parent I’m sure that the title of this blog post caught your attention. How in the world do we get our kids off their phones and interacting with the “real” world? Denzil, a lover of nature, the great outdoors and birds in particular has some great ideas.

Author Denzil Walton

His highly rated book is available for Kindle on Amazon USA, Amazon in the U.K. , and on Kobo . If you’ve got kids who are already spending a little too much time looking at life online instead outdoors I encourage you to check out Denzil’s book! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best Books I’ve Ever Read. What Are Yours?

Like the title says, these are the ten best books that have ever read. They’re my favorites. Yours may be different. In fact, I’m hoping they are. Either in the comments or, in your own blog post with a link back, I’d like you to share some of your favorite books so that we can all maybe find a new favorite book or author from each other. Of course I won’t shamelessly plug my own books by putting them on my list, but if you want to, I won’t argue.

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10. The Vampire LeStat: by Anne Rice. Unbeknownst to most people (you know it’s serious when I use big words like unbeknownst) it wasn’t Stephanie Meyer who invented the vampire genre, but Anne Rice about fifteen years earlier. LeStat, referred to as the Brat Prince, is such a fun character you’ll want to become one of the undead just to hang out with him for eternity.

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9. The Da Vinci Code: by Dan Brown. The first in the series was easily the best. Don’t watch the movie because Tom Hanks stars in it with a ridiculously bad hairdo, but read the book.

8. How to Succeed in Evil: by Patrick E. McLean. Edwin Windsor is an Evil Efficiency Expert who contacts out his services to help supervillains be more villanous. Hilarious!  You end up rooting for evil!

7. Bite Me: by Christopher Moore, award winning, New York Times bestselling author who I interviewed for The Phil Factor about three years ago. Spoiler alert: This won’t be his only book on the list. Trust me on Christopher Moore. You’ll want to read so many of his books. Bite Me skewers the vampire genre with brilliant sarcasm.

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6. Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys: by Pulitzer Prize winning Dave Barry, whom I interviewed for The Phil Factor in 2013. If you’re a woman, you’ll laugh as you read countless hilarious examples of the idiocy of men. If you’re a guy you”l see yourself in so many of the true stories.

5. 11/22/63: by Stephen King. I hope you didn’t watch the Hulu miniseries. They took some liberties with the plot that I didn’t think were necessary and detracted from the story. Read the book. It’s a surprising love story.

4. Good Omens: by Neil Gaimans and Terry Pratchett. Read. Laugh. Thank me later. Both authors are cherished titans of English literature, and their other solo works are brilliantly funny. Together they don’t disappoint.

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3. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: by Douglas Adams. This book is a literary classic. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch the movie. Read the book. Your cultural education cannot be considered complete until you’ve read this book.

2. A Dirty Job: by Christopher Moore. Being the Grim Reaper is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Hilarity galore. If you enjoy the absurdity of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, then you’ll also love Christopher Moore.

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1. Odd Thomas: by Dean Koontz. In general I consider Dean Koontz to be Stephen King lite, but Odd Thomas is his signature character. I read books from a first person point of view. I become the protagonist when I read. Some characters fit in my head better than others. Odd Thomas fit me like a glove. For me, he was one of those characters where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be him or have him as my best friend. I read the first Odd Thomas novel at least a decade ago and was disappointed earlier this year when, after 16 novels, the series came to an end.
Those are my top ten. What are yours? Answer in the comments or create a post and link back so we can all find a few more good reads.

Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

A New Review For Time To Lie

Thank you to Jackie Paulson of The Nutty Book Blogger for the great review of my book Time To Lie. You can find the review and the rest of her site HERE. Have a great Friday evening! ~Phil

“A Roller Coaster Ride of Fun” and like Back To The Future?

Reviewed by Bruce Arrington for Readers’ Favorite

Time To Lie: Landon Bridges’ Story Book 1 by Phil Taylor is what I would call a YA thriller/sci fi/comedy that is somewhat reminiscent of Back to the Future, but without the DeLorean going 88 miles per hour in order to travel to a different time. Landon’s in a much different situation, and time travel is not exactly like he expected it to be. His knowledge about his future begins at zero (as you might imagine), but ramps up steadily throughout the book. Without giving too many spoilers away, our hero Landon learns that some big changes are coming and he’s a big part of them. Little by little, he learns the extent of his responsibility in the whole mix.

This was an excellent story, with believable characters, plenty of twists and turns, mysterious people coming and going, and events unfolding, all the while adding a generous dose of self-deprecating humor to the mix. The story was tightly written and worked well to keep me in my seat. It was hard to put it down. I liked the part where the author showed how going back and forth in time can mess things up, instead of only always telling how things will change for the worse. The only downside I saw in Time to Lie, Landon Bridges’ Story Book 1 was the use of profanity throughout that might turn some readers off. However, overall, Phil Taylor delivers a roller-coaster ride of fun. Fortunately for us readers, this is only the first book. Highly recommended.

Thank you Bruce and Readers Favorite! If you haven’t tried my humorous suspense time travel novel, why not? It’s available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. Have a great Friday! ~Phil

Fifty Shades of …

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I am absolutely outraged! Just because I’m a small time author, some big movie company thinks they can steal my title, change a word and pretend it’s their idea. My Fifty Shades of Phil book came out in June 2013, so obviously I had the idea first. I’m considering legal action.

Because of this weeks movie opening of Fifty Shades Darker I thought I’d capitalize on all the people searching the web for info using the phrase #FiftyShades by putting my book on sale Many people may visit my site here from their smartphones and never see the link in the sidebar for my book Fifty Shades of Phil. I could tell you about the book that contains the best 50 humor essays from the first 8 years of #ThePhilFactor, but I won’t. I’ll let the reviewers do it for me:

Hilariously Funny! ~Narly Nuts Book Lovers: Phil takes us on a HILARIOUS ride of HUMOR and TRUTH! He says all the things we know to be true, but most of us likely don’t say out loud. We think it and know how we feel about the different topics. Yes, some of it is ego-centric and down right blunt, but what fun would it be if Phil wasn’t putting his spin on it.
All in all, this is a book I will recommend for laughs, wit and Phil’s oh so subtle charm. When Phil is elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, I WILL VOTE PHIL, whichever comes first.:)

Author Sean Smithson (How to Lose a Girl in 10 Ways): “Perfect read for any commute. …snappy and entertaining reading. Perfect for a very recent and uncomfortable long haul flight. Definitely do not regret picking this up.”

Now for contrast, here is an excerpt of a review of Fifty Shades Darker from USA Today: There are a lot of negative things to be said about Fifty Shades Darker. But it does impress in one sense: The erotica lite sequel somehow manages to be worse than the stupefyingly bad Fifty Shades of Grey.”

To celebrate the movie #FiftyShadesDarker this week I’ve put my book on sale for just 99 cents for Kindle, Nook, or in the iTunes bookstore.  I’m not sure what it is in Euro’s or GBP but you can still find it in the Amazon bookstore in every country in the world and they’ll tell you how much it is.  What? You don’t have a Kindle or Nook? You don’t need one! You can download the free Kindle or Nook app to your iPad or smartphone and then download Fifty Shades of Phil. For 99 cents you can’t go wrong. If you can read the entire thing without laughing I’ll refund your money. If you go to Fifty Shades Darker and you hate it, I doubt they’ll give you the same offer.

Had I known 6 months ago about the current movie title, I’d have come out with a book titled 50 Shades Dorker, a collection of the fifty best humor essays from the last four years of #ThePhilFactor. You think there’s still a market for that?

Have a great Friday! ~Phil