Monday, February 28, 2011

Review of Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee

Emily and Einstein

Linda Francis Lee

St. Martin’s Press

369 pages

Emily Barlow lived in the shadow of her feminist mother and against her mother’s beliefs gave love a try. She met and fell in love with handsome Sandy Portman who came complete with wealth and pedigree, then a tragic accident makes her life spiral toward devastation and pretty soon she’s questioning the choices she’s made.
Sandy Portman had it all, a wife who adored him a posh Central Park apartment, a job with his family’s firm, a family with prestige and the prosperity that came with it. He comes to find out through divine intervention that he is not all that he thinks, and he finds himself given another chance to make things right but little does he know that this chance will come with complications, complications that he may not be able to overcome.

Linda Francis Lee has this little story to tell, she tells it with humor, with pain and with intense feelings that her readers will experience all of plus a few more as they read this incredibly touching, amazingly thought provoking tale. She tells it with a narrative that mixes whimsy and prose and her plot gives her audience a very It’s A Wonderful Lifesque feel to it complete with angels and consequences. But it’s her characters that steal the show and they run the gamut from wickedness to pure of heart. Her protagonist Emily is a woman that any female can identify with from any walk of life because we’ve all at one time or another experienced a form of her pain. Her other star is Einstein, and what a star he is, you have this complex, complicated and huge personality stuffed inside this small wiry dog. And the magic starts the very first time the author relays the dog’s thoughts and words and how she got into that perspective is just one part of the mystique of this wonderful story. Her co-stars are a booklover’s dream team and they are portrayed in such a way as to really intimate them to you as a reader. It’s a love story on so many different levels, it’s a romance, it’s a coming of age again tale, it’s about new beginnings and restitution and about moving on and leaving the past behind. But most of all it’s about faith and it’s about hope.

I have to admit that this is my first read by Ms. Lee, but let me assure you it’s far from my last. If you love to be entertained but informed at the same time, if you love novels that give life lessons, or if you simply love a story that’s filled with remarkable characters and a plot that literally sings, then sink your teeth into this one. It’s a must read for all ages the only requirement is that you “believe”.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review of Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr

Harvest Moon

Robyn Carr


361 pages

Kelly Matlock is living her dream, or is she, she’s a sous chef in a San Francisco 5-star restaurant owned by the man she loves and says loves her, but not all's well in paradise and when it literally comes crashing down around her she escapes to Virgin River and her sister Jill, her Victorian home and organic gardens to rethink what’s really important.

Lief Holbrook has problems of his own, after the sudden and tragic death of his wife he brings his rebellious stepdaughter to the slower paced life in Virgin River hoping it will help to heal them both and bring them together as the loving father and daughter they once were. Lief and Kelly have a fierce attraction to each other but the obstacles in their way may be too much for their love to survive.

Welcome back to Virgin River where Ms. Carr has given her fans so much to read about and so much to look forward to. She’s introduced us to Lief and Kelly in previous novels and now it’s their turn to shine with their own flawed and fated love story in a plot that will draw her readers in and not let them go until the very last page. Her characters are real stars in her series and these characters won’t let us down as she instills them in our hearts and minds as she so expertly builds their traits their faults and their believability. As an added bonus her fans will get to catch up on the lives and goings on of the characters in her previous novels in the series. Her romance is sweet and somewhat old fashioned, but don’t despair if you’re a romance fan who loves a hot love scene because you won’t be disappointed, but she will make her hero and heroine really work for their happily ever after so that by the time they get it we’re all wiping our brows and saying whew. The love scenes are sensual and descriptive and yet you can feel the emotion with each encounter.

So if you’re a long timer of the Virgin River series you’ll be delighted with this chapter and if you’re a newcomer, well it would be best if you went back to the beginning to find out where it all started. Either way you’ll soon have your own love affair with the people of Virgin River.

Plus, a Drum Roll please - Robyn Carr has won the 2010 RT BOOK REVIEWS Career Achievement Award for her body of work in the Contemporary Romance category. The winners in this category and others will be announced in the May issue of RT BOOK REVIEWS magazine #327. Go Robyn!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review of Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

Finding Jack

Gareth Crocker

St. Martin’s Press

290 pages

A tragic accident takes away the very heart of Fletcher Carson, his wife and daughter. After their deaths he tries but finds he just can’t cope with living without them, after a failed attempt at ending it all he decides to try suicide by war. It’s late 1972 and the war in Vietnam is almost over, we’re loosing more and more boys everyday and many question the cost of their sacrifice, here at home we protest daily and treat our home bound soldiers not with fanfare but with barbs and shouts, but in the field orders must still be followed and that’s where we find Fletcher. While on patrol his platoon finds an injured Labrador retriever, the Lieutenant orders him shot, but Fletcher won’t have it. The dog is ultimately taken back to base where he becomes much more than a pet, but an invaluable asset protecting the men out on patrol. Then the news comes the war is over, there is cheering and celebration until the final edict is announced, one that will change forever the lives of a few good men and one brave dog.

Gareth Crocker made me relive my youth and not all pleasant memories. I remember being in high school in the early 70’s hearing horror stories of big brother’s, uncles’ and sometimes father’s of my classmates coming home from war, but not completely as they were never the same again, and then there were the stories of the ones that never came back. But the one thing I didn’t know about was the fate of the thousands of war dogs in which only a fraction came home, most were euthanized and some were left to their own devices when the US pulled out of Vietnam.

This is the fictional tale of one of the lucky ones, a tale that will make you laugh and make you cry, but it’s a tale that had to be told, it’s an important lesson to learn and Mr. Crocker does a wonderful job of telling it. He tells it, not in prose and flowery dialogue, but in a narrative that takes you into the jungles, on the bases and into the minds of the men who were there. He gives us colorful characters that he builds up and then takes away from us, not because he’s cruel but because that’s the way it was and he gives us characters that survive, that sacrificed and made it through and those are the characters that will stay with you long after the novel ends. This is a love story about a boy and a dog, it’s a second coming of age story of someone who lost his way and found it again at the end of a leash. It’s about camaraderie and deep friendship, about doing the right thing, it’s about fate and it’s ultimately about faith in the face of terror and destruction.

Is this an easy book to read, no. You will cry a few tears. Is it worth those tears, definitely. All in all this is a feel good book, even though you have to wade through some pain. It’s a novel for all ages, for all walks of life, it’s a testament to those who give voice to those who have none to those who do the right thing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review of So Close the Hand of Death by J T Ellison

So Close the Hand of Death

J T Ellison


408 pages

So Close the Hand of Death is the 6th in the Taylor Jackson series.

Taylor Jackson get’s word from her fiancé John Baldwin that her fellow team member and father figure Fitz has been found, alive as she’s spiriting her way to him there is a macabre crime spree going on all across the country and Taylor fears that The Pretender is back, that diabolical serial killer that mimics the heinous crimes of other past serial killers and was the student of The Snow White Killer (14-2008), he’s been haunting her ever since he got away and it looks like his ghost may just have materialized. Taylor is now very afraid for all the people around her that she cherishes will be in the line of fire for this madman and she has to find a way to not only keep her loved ones safe but to find a way to permanently stop The Pretender. Taylor of course is helped by the one man who is her true soul mate and he’s vowed to keep her safe at all costs, but there are still secrets he hasn’t shared with Taylor and he’s about to learn the cost of not coming clean.

Ms. Ellison is a terrifyingly cleaver author to keep her stable of characters interesting by giving them the utmost in villains to find and eliminate. This plot is straight out of the dictionary of Hardboiled Crime Fiction with a diabolical evil doer who is Oscar worthy. It’s an over the top crime with an over the top villain but that’s what brings her fans back time after time. I also love the not quite cliffhanger but that hint of what’s to come that brings me back novel after novel. If you’re a fan then you’re used to that no-nonsense in your face cop speak that Ms. Ellison uses and for her series and her characters it’s very effective. Her characters rarely change so we get a chance to really get to know what makes them tick as well as keeping an eye on what they’re up to now. Her heroine Taylor Jackson is a straight shooting good cop, not necessarily by the book, but always in the name of justice and what I really like about her is how she evolves with each subsequent novel as she learns how to be not only a better cop but a better friend/lover/person, sometimes in spite of herself. Her other main characters from the cops to her friends to her significant other all take supporting role awards and I love the interaction between the characters. Her romance between John and Taylor is ongoing although not always smoothly and it’s that certain angst that keeps her fans wondering what exactly is on the horizon for this couple.

So all in all what it boils down to is this amazing talent that Ms. Ellison has in spinning a tale that keeps her fans glued to the pages and buying the next one in the series long before the published date. She has a unique style that’s all her own but her plots remind me of Lisa Gardner’s. One thing’s for sure she can definitely bat in the majors because this is another home run.
Well done Ms. Ellison you make it hard for me to patiently wait for the next installment in Taylor’s life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Interview with Marilyn Brant author of Friday Mornings at Nine

March at the General Fiction Book Club at B& is going to be a great month, we'll be featuring Friday Mornings at Nine by Marilyn Brant who will be attending the month long discussion and commenting right along with the rest of us.
Here's an interview she so graciously granted me. Enjoy

Interview with

Ms. Marilyn Brant

Debbie - Marilyn, first of all thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to partner with us as we feature your latest novel Friday Mornings at Nine in March on the Fiction General Book Club at B&

Marilyn - Deb, thank YOU for inviting me! It's a pleasure to be here with you all ;).

D -In reading your bio on your web-site here I see a very literary background in your career path and to me it seems a natural progression from teacher, library staff, magazine writer, book reviewer to author, was that how it was a forward path or was there some twists and turns involved.

M- Oh, yeah. There were a lot of twists and turns. I don't think we always see the patterns as they're emerging in our real lives but, for me, the signs that I was inclined toward becoming a novelist were always there...I just spent a few decades ignoring them! The thing I knew for sure was that I had to do something creative -- it was part of what I loved about being a classroom teacher (I had some very bright 2nd and 3rd graders) because the creativity and enthusiasm of the kids was just so high. We wrote original class plays every year and performed them -- some were a full hour long! -- and one of the plays even ended up being shown on local cable. It was a simultaneously exciting and exhausting job, but after 8 years full time, I knew, more than ever, that I needed to focus more heavily on the arts. I'd actually just taken a leave of absence from the school district to add an art-teaching certification when my husband and I got the happy news that I was expecting. Once my son was born, all I wanted to do was sketch pictures of him and write about him and, eventually, I started sending in those pictures, poems and essays to parenting magazines. A few of the written pieces surprised and delighted me by getting published and, in one case, one of the watercolors I did of my son as a baby was printed in a magazine, too.

D -Your educational background is an eclectic blend of arts and science with an awe inspiring list of alma maters. Was it that insatiable curiosity mentioned on the web site bio that took you not just all across America but over the pond as well. And what was it like studying abroad.

M- I've always been extremely curious about places I'd never been -- both in the U.S. and around the world. I remember being 11 years old and writing this very descriptive passage about how beautiful Switzerland was... I described the cozy chalets and the breathtaking mountains and the warmth of the people. My 6th grade English teacher said she loved it. Thing was, I'd never been anywhere near Switzerland at the time (and I'd told the teacher that), but I'd watched movies like "The Sound of Music" that featured the gorgeous Alps, read all about Bern, Geneva and Zurich in the encyclopedia and desperately wanted to visit the country, which I finally did when I was 19. I remember thinking in junior high that my life couldn't possibly be complete until after I'd seen the Alps with my own eyes...and visited Venice...and climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower... But, with every fabulous, exotic place I saw in person, I found myself adding 12 more to my Must-See list, LOL. So, the idea of being able to take classes in a foreign city and learn about the country and its people (and its regional dishes!) was just an intoxicating concept.
I've always been extremely curious about places I'd never been -- both in the U.S. and around the world. I remember being 11 years old and writing this very descriptive passage about how beautiful Switzerland was... I described the cozy chalets and the breathtaking mountains and the warmth of the people. My 6th grade English teacher said she loved it. Thing was, I'd never been anywhere near Switzerland at the time (and I'd told the teacher that), but I'd watched movies like "The Sound of Music" that featured the gorgeous Alps, read all about Bern, Geneva and Zurich in the encyclopedia and desperately wanted to visit the country, which I finally did when I was 19. I remember thinking in junior high that my life couldn't possibly be complete until after I'd seen the Alps with my own eyes...and visited Venice...and climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower... But, with every fabulous, exotic place I saw in person, I found myself adding 12 more to my Must-See list, LOL. So, the idea of being able to take classes in a foreign city and learn about the country and its people (and its regional dishes!) was just an intoxicating concept.

D- We will be discussing your novel Friday Mornings at Nine, were the characters in the book based on people you know and do they know who they are in the book.

M- !! This is a great question. Short answer: No. The characters in this book aren't based on specific people I know, and they're not based on me, either. I did draw a handful of traits for Bridget, Tamara and Jennifer from people I'd met real life, but I scrambled them, along with interesting characteristics of people I'd read about in other novels or from actors who'd portrayed roles really well in a films I'd liked. And I, personally, have very few of the special skills my characters have. I can't garden like Tamara to save my life. I kill every single plant. Really. Plants scream when they see me walking by (it's inaudible to human ears, but I know it's there). I'm also not remotely a techie like Jennifer. I just learned to text about a year ago, and I've only sent, maybe, 10 messages total. Like Bridget, I love delicious food (!!), but my interest goes only as far as LOOKING at the recipe in the cookbook and admiring the finished product when someone else makes it. I rarely cook anything remotely complicated myself.

However, as a writer, I'm always trying to be honest about how complex our human emotions are, particularly in regards to relationships. So I did talk with a lot of women over the years about their marriages and, sometimes, even about their affairs. What interested me most was where there were similiarities between many of us -- in what we fantasized about, what we complained about, what we struggled with privately and, at times, what we were willing to discuss over coffee with our friends. I wanted to explore the degree to which self-understanding played a part in being conflicted in one's relationships. ALL relationships, by the way, not just one's marriage. I feel strongly that our friendships and our family relationships, too, are affected by how well we know ourselves. Which is why one of the biggest issues in the book is, actually, the concept of "choosing" -- coming to know ourselves well enough to make healthy decisions -- rather than the concept of "cheating." I think we can really only be in a relationship fully (romantic, friendship or otherwise) once we understand how and why we've chosen to be there. And that, in every relationship, we choose over and over again (either consciously or unconsciously) whether we want to stay. So, I really wanted my characters to move from living what I considered very unexamined lives to being actively and consciously aware of their choices.

D- Who are your literary heros/heroines and do you write the kind of literature you like to read.

M- I write the kind of literature I absolutely LOVE to read. I'm a huge fan of stories about women's personal journeys -- how they overcame obstacles, dealt with tricky family situations or relationships, learned to listen to their own voice -- so contemporary women's fiction with some romantic elements is a perfect fit for me. In classic literature, Jane Austen's novels Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion speak to me strongly, as does E.M. Forster's A Room with a View, so the characters from all of those books are heroes and heroines I particularly love. I found the introspection of A Separate Peace by John Knowles to be fascinating, as well as the humorous dialogue and the heartbreak of Erick Segal's Love Story. I also really like the novels of Elizabeth Berg, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susan Wiggs, Jennifer Crusie, Anne Tyler and Sue Miller.

D- Tell us about your next novel and when does it come out.

M- My next novel is called A Summer in Europe, and it comes out on November 29, 2011. I'm VERY excited about the release of this book! It's the story of a woman who gets a five-week trip through Europe as a 30th birthday gift from her eccentric elderly aunt. The only catch? They're taking the trip with her aunt's senior-citizen Sudoku and Mah-jongg club, and they're a collection of really offbeat characters! So my heroine knows going into it that she's in for an unusual experience, LOL. She'll have the chance to see lots of great European landmarks, meet some handsome foreign men and eat a tremendous amount of Italian ice cream.

D- Tell us something about you that would surprise us.

M- Hmm. Well, I met my husband on my 23rd birthday, and we went on our first date just 4 days later. We spent the afternoon and evening talking, going out for burgers and catching an evening movie. Nothing at all unusual, but I knew when I came back home that night that I'd met "The One." I'm not sure if that surprises any of you, but it sure surprised my husband when I told him about it a year later!! (It took him a few months longer to reach the same conclusion. :) We've now been married for 18 years, and I can honestly say that my instincts were absolutely right. Neither of us are anywhere near perfect, but we're a really good match for each other.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review of The Chimney Still Stands by Tammy Snyder

The Chimney Still Stands

Tammy Snyder

Self Published-ebook form only

192 KB-Approx 178 pages

Tandon Bowman has had many regrets in his life, but perhaps the most important was JulieAnne Peterson. He’s not a man to look back, but now as he heads to the only place he’s really ever called home he reflects on his life, past and present because there will be no future for him. He looks back at the could have beens and the wish there weres and he contemplates the choices he’s made and the costs that came with them and as he nears his final destination he’s amazed that “The Chimney Still Stands” a testament to time. He also knows first hand that sometimes happy endings only happen in fairy tales, the truth is sometimes love isn’t enough and sometimes that’s the ultimate cost of being true to yourself.

Welcome to a brave new world and debut author Tammy Snyder. It’s not enough she writes the novel, she also published it, marketed it and I hope with all my heart that it pays off for her because it deserves to. In her debut novel Ms. Snyder takes us close to her heart and home to the still wilds of Arkansas and the Buffalo River. She gives us a story line that could easily be told from one friend to another, sitting in a hair salon or gossiping in the grocery store isle or even over the back fence and she does it with pleasant to read, easy to understand language, dialogue that will take her readers directly into the pages of the novel as she expertly describes places and scenes and people we can clearly imagine. She also accomplishes this feat with far fewer pages than other novelists and the tale is told to the fullest so don’t worry that there’s more you should know. Her hero of this story is someone we all would be proud to know, a man who was brave enough to live his life by his terms, with honesty and integrity and unselfishness. Her other characters are stars in their own rights and are very well developed and portrayed in this drama. This is a love story, but not your typical Harlequin Happy Ever After tale. It’s the love of a woman, the love of your family, but most important the love of oneself.

If you like the novels of Nicholas Sparks you’ll love this one. It’s a poignantly told drama that will make you laugh, make you cry and at times make you angry, and isn’t that just what a great author can do, pull all the emotions out of her readers.
Don’t hesitate to get this read, all you need is an e-reader, a box of tissues and a love of a great story.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review of Love You More by Lisa Gardner

Love you More

Lisa Gardner

Bantam Books

368 pages Release Date March 8, 2011

Love you More is the 5th in the Boston Detective D.D. Warren series.

D.D. Warren has seen some bad scenes in her life and this one is no different, but things are not what they seem, somebody’s lying and nobody’s telling the truth, and beneath the mess of her work is a mess of the personal kind. State Trooper and D.D.’s former lover Bobby Dodge is involved as a liaison between the state and the Boston PD in the case as it involves another State Trooper.
Massachusetts State Trooper Tessa Leoni has sacrificed much for the sake of her six year old daughter Sophie, she’s the reason Tessa became a police officer, but now buried in the deepest mess of her life she has one chance to prove she means it when she says “Love You More”.

Ms. Gardner is in my opinion the best thriller writer out there, maybe it’s because of that mild mannered wife and mother façade which behind lurks a mind that can turn out some of the most heinous literary monsters in her genre, but really it’s because she’s just that good. The plot for Love you More could be found on the headline of any newspaper or scrolled across the screen on CNN. It’s obvious that she goes out of her way to learn the whys and hows of police work and it shows in the finished product. Her dialogue isn’t sweet and flowing prose, no it’s hard nosed police speak and fits right in with her hard nosed protagonist a protagonist that her fans have had four previous novels to learn about her and yet we still yearn for more and in this tale we get more, we get to see D.D. as not just brute strength in a small package but a woman this time, hormonal, weepy, uncharacteristic and utterly believable. Her other characters are all well portrayed and we’ll get to catch up with Bobby Dodge (Alone & Hide) her former lover and then we have her co-protagonist Trooper Tessa Leoni, a petite stick of dynamite who will make you change your mind about her with every new piece of evidence. Her villains are as always chillingly, horrifyingly real and as usual you will have nothing but guesses until Ms. Gardner finally decides to put you out of your misery and let you in on the secret of who done it.

If you love John Sanford, Nelson Demille, Ridley Pearson or Michael Connelly give Lisa Gardner a try because she can bat in the big leagues with the rest of the boys and hit a home run while she’s at it. If you’re looking for a great read to get you through those last bitter days before Spring, a novel that you will go back to re-read numerous times or the next choice for the NYTimes Bestseller list, Love You More is the big IT.

Congratulation Ms. Gardner for another must read.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review of In Too Deep by Jayne Ann Krentz

In Too Deep

Jayne Ann Krentz

G P Putnum’s Sons

324 Pages

In Too Deep is the first of The Looking Glass Trilogy.
Fans of the modern day Arcane Society who thought Fallon Jones would never get his mate, stand to be corrected.

Fallon Jones, head of the family business of J&J Investigations long ago moved to the quirky, quaint town of Scargill Cove CA. It’s close to the sea and shrouded in more than the fog rolling off the Pacific, why did he move, well it’s location, location, location. Fallon is a strong probably off the charts chaos theory talent, which helps immensely in his investigations, but not so much his social life which is why he prefers this little town where he can hide in plain sight to aid his reclusiveness.
Isabella Valdez is fleeing for her life from the very people who she once worked for, now she fears they’ve done away with her Grandmother and the only place she has left to run to is Fallon Jones. Fallon knows she’s hiding something, he is after all a strong talent, he just has to keep her safe until she fesses up. In the mean time they have this other small problem, they can’t keep their hands off each other. Chaos, Kismet or disaster, start turning pages to find out.

Ms. Krentz continues her beloved Arcane novels with the irrepressible Fallon Jones, that unlovable character you’ve met in many previous reads and matches him with this spunky, sparkly direct opposite of him, which works like a charm. The plot is of course out of this world, dealing with Victorian paranormal weapons and villains who are just as odd as the heros. Her dialogue is in the ever present Arcane-speak that her fans are used to and love, but if you’re a new reader to this series it may take you a few pages to get it down, once you do you’ll Arcane-speak with the best of them. Her characters are over the top, unforgettable but at the same time very personable. The romance is wonderfully sweet in part because of the hero’s proclivity to chivalry and the heroine’s allowance of it and in part because these two lovers make you smile at every turn. The love scenes are as hot as the romance is sweet, but not too hot to embarrass the reader.

Get ready for another trip in the funhouse that is the Arcane Society with all the quirky members, bad and good and in between, for a bumpy ride to romance, for tense moments with villains to remember and crimes you won’t forget mixed with a cornucopia of odd characters and even odder places. All in all a great read. The only detriment to getting hooked on the Arcane books, is waiting for the next one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review of The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins and giveaway

Proper Care Hat Giveaway In celebration of the release of Lisa Verge Higgins' new novel click here for details


The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship
Lisa Verge Higgins
Grand Central Publishing (Publish date 1-26-2011)
352 pages

Four very different friends have remained so with much effort, but when tragedy strikes and deathbed requests are made the least that will happen is head scratching, the most will be life changing.
Ms. Higgins has a sure to be hit on her hands in this her first foray into mainstream women’s literature. The first thing that was apparent to me was her astonishing storytelling capability, the second is her capacity to pull some deep emotions from me while reading. She gives us a heart-wrenching tale that will affect even the most stoic readers and she does this with a gracefully flowing narrative that will transport her readers from the most exotic of locations to the mundane of everyday life. She makes this happen with the most incredibly unforgettable characters not stopping with the stars of her novel but right on down the line to the most minor of roles. Her main characters are outstanding in their density and Ms. Higgins does an excellent job of making them very real to her audience. They were not only authentic in the roles they played but also very multi-dimensionally faceted in their personalities. She did an excellent job of making them believable and at times frustratingly so. This is not a romance even though there are romantic elements to the story it’s instead a love story about what it really means to be a friend, what it takes to keep that friendship alive and makes those of us who haven’t done that ashamed and looking up names that we have forgotten about along the way of growing up and growing older.

Anyone who has ever had a lifelong friendship should not only read this but buy it for that special someone they call friend, every woman who’s ever experienced the whole hearted friend love between herself and another woman should experience this awe inspiring novel. And every man who loves a woman will get a better insight into her should he read this tale.

So go out and get this the first “Best Read” of 2011, you won’t be sorry and you will be a better friend if you do.
Kudos to you Ms. Higgins for an inspiring, heart warming and very emotional read.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Review of The Collectibles by James J. Kaufman

The Collectibles

James J. Kaufman

Downstream Publishing

309 pages

The Collectibles is a must read. It makes a believer out of us that Angels do walk among us, however most of them are of the corporeal variety.

Joe Hart pulled himself up by his bootstrings from his unremarkable humble, but loving beginnings, beginnings that would stay with him for the rest of his life and always trying to live up to the words of his uncle. “Do what the other fella can’t. Be what the other fella ain’t. And help the other fella. After a tragedy that sets his world upside down he comes back to life with a vengeance to help a businessman who’s gotten himself in big trouble.

Preston Wilson came from wealth and through out his life has tried to do one thing, never fail. Now in the face of the one thing he’s vowed never to let happen he seeks counsel from the one man he thinks can help him out. But Preston has a lot to learn before he can really be a true success, the question is, will he.

If you, like I are used to that often used prose like flowery, flowing dialogue in literary fiction, you will be pleasantly surprised by this author with his every day and every man narrative and as you get deeper and deeper into the read you’ll understand the power it gives to the characters and the tale.

Mr. Kaufman tells us his morality tale in his oh so mild mannered way so that no matter who reads it, from whatever walk of life, we all get it. It also makes it easy for his readers to see what a marvelous storyteller he is and he doesn’t feel the need to shout it, he prefers a whisper. His dialogue is matter of fact, easy to read and it just works. His words take us from small town America to big city lights, from beautiful seascapes to the casinos in Vegas and each of these scenes are vividly and easily recounted in the eyes and minds of his readers. His characters however are all stars in their own right and each one has his or her story and Mr. Kaufman tells them in a way that goes right to the heart and soul of his audience. The Collectibles is definitely a love story, the love of your fellow man, the love of family, the love of your friends and how that love can really grow once reciprocated.

The lesson is simple, the question is did we learn it, and if we did can we or more importantly will we do it.

This is a novel that everyone should and can read, no matter where you are in your life, no matter the circumstances.

Thank you Mr. Kaufman for the most enjoyable life lesson I’ve ever experienced.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review of Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning


Karen Marie Moning

Bantam Dell

595 pages

Shadowfever is the fifth and final novel in the Fever series – Or is it

It’s the most magnificent, most awaited and most revealing of the series – yet.

MacKayla (Mac) Lane has been through hell, literally and lived to tell the tale, but she’s in for the journey of her life or maybe her death in her last ditch effort to find and subdue the Sinsar Dubh a dark tomb thought to hold the essence of the Unseelie King, given into the care of the sidhe-seers of the Abbey who let it slip away twenty some years ago. She will battle old foes and new ones, she will love and she will loose and even though she’s already lost so much, this time it may be fatal if not to her life then to her soul.

Ms. Moning ends her epic urban fantasy series with a BANG in this immensely emotional and intensely action packed novel. Her readers will recognize many of the heros and villains of her previous novels along with a few new faces. Pay attention readers because you’ll need to keep your wits about you to take in the myriad of information doled out in this mega-paged, mega-important read. She brings us her requiem with her identifiable no-nonsense in your face dialogue with amazing descriptions of places, beings and objects that her audience will visualize without effort even though most of us have never experienced any of these things personally. She uses her amazingly adept imagination to conjure some of the most fantastical characters ever put on paper and makes them believable in your eyes even in their unbelievable-ness because most of all she gives them heart and soul. And as she tells her tale she tells not one love story but many, romantic love, love of family, love of friends. Her romantic love story is as big as the novel and Mac will get her happy ever after and I can tell you that because Ms. Moning has already said she would, but I’ll let you read it to see what the final outcome is because to tell you here would ruin most of the story. Her love scenes are sexually and sensually depicted with realism and candor but without being garish, she leaves that to describe the villainy.

So you all want to know, is it worth the wait? YES. Will you read it over and over again? Definitely. Will it satisfy her fans? Absolutely.

So wait no longer to fulfill your every fantasy ever brought to you by the once in a lifetime storytelling ability of Karen Marie Moning.

Ms. Moning, my only question is. When will we get to go back to the streets of Dublin?

Kudos for an amazing journey.