Mercer Street is the second book of John A, Heldt’s American Journey five-part series. Like the rest of the books, it’s not required to be read in order. I started off with the third novel, Class of ’69. I quickly became a fan of Heldt’s writing and couldn’t wait for more. I was glad this one didn’t disappoint.
Now that I’ve read all five, in this second book, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities with the other novels, such as repetition in the dialogue between characters, which made me begin skimming. Although it’s the second book in the series, it’s the fifth one I’ve read, and reading some of the dialogue became tedious. That said, I don’t plan on subtracting any points from the book because I truly enjoyed the story that was weaved together.
Professor Geoffrey Bell and his wife, Jeanette are the only characters that remain in each of the books. I like them, particularly Geoffrey. They aren’t present much, which is a shame but understandable. They are the keepers of a time traveling tunnel built by Bell’s distant relative, Percival Bell. Every so often, they choose people as a guinea pig of sorts to travel to certain parts of the past using this tunnel. The way the return is by use of a magnificent crystal.
In Mercer Street, Susan Peterson travels with her mother, Elizabeth, and daughter, Amanda, to the year 1938, to Princeton, New Jersey. There, the trio gets swept up in love, honor, and heartbreak as they embark on a journey of a lifetime.
As usual, the story line is intriguing and fun to read. Heldt does an amazing job with his research to make this story believable. Of course, with any story messing with events of the past, anything can happen. I’m sure if you had the opportunity to walk into yesteryear, you’d be tempted to make the most of it. You’d want to make new friends with amazing people, even fall in love….after all, the heart wants what the heart wants. And just like any story messing with events of the past, even the smallest change may have major consequences that could impact the current times.
I won’t say whether it did or didn’t in this book. That’s the fun part of turning the pages until you’ve reached the end. Mercer Street is a light, clean read, one that you can’t put down.
John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.
Wow! This was an amazing read. It’s hard to write up a brief summary of what this book is about because there was so much going on. It opens with bodies falling, bullets flying and it doesn’t stop there. I’ve read a lot of science fiction novels and I have to say this is one of my favorites. So much blood was shed during the course of this book as the world of Frihet rebelled against Earth. Earth’s only chance for victory is the alien ship Spearhead, run by Joniskyredread, a Sklalen, who we refer to simply as Jon, and his human friend, Bryant Johnson.
There are a lot of characters throughout this book and they all seem to pop out from the pages. There are obvious evil ones, good ones and the ones we don’t know whether or not we can trust. No matter which side they’re on, the characters are to be remembered. In reference to Jon, though, I sometimes had a hard time keeping in mind that he was an alien. We’re reminded of his gray skin now and again; however, being referred to as Jon throughout most of the book just made him seem human.
The writing was tight and well done. I almost heard the war going on within the safety of my own home. My biggest issue was the POV. I noticed it especially toward the ending that we’re in one character’s POV and suddenly we know what the other is thinking or feeling. I don’t think it happened too often earlier on but it’s possible I overlooked it because I was too engrossed in the tale. It’s also possible it was meant to be that way in order to help the speedy pace. Either way, I prefer to focus on one person’s mind. Additionally, what really gnawed at me were the use of characters’ thoughts. I like it when authors italicize the thinking so it’s kept separate from the narration. This author didn’t do that. There were a lot of times when it’s a lone sentence in a paragraph, making it first person. After that one sentence, the narration would continue a new paragraph in its usual third person, until a short paragraph later, it’s back with a lone sentence in the first. It just struck me as awkward. But still, I rate this book as amazing. I feel any science fiction fan or any war lovers would enjoy this book. It’s a thrill ride you need to buckle up for.
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
Born in 1959 and getting older by the hour, Neil Davies writes Horror and Science Fiction. When not writing books, he likes to write and record music with his son, as The 1850 Project, and paint. His favourite authors are, in no particular order, Richard Laymon, Steve Gerlach, Arthur C Clarke, Frank Herbert, H Rider Haggard, Guy N Smith, H G Wells, Bram Stoker, Dennis Wheatley, Connie Willis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Graham Masterton, Sax Rohmer… with more being added all the time. His favourite musicians include Nightwish, Nils Lofgren, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Cat Stevens, Jimi Hendrix, My Chemical Romance, King Crimson, Yes, Spock’s Beard, Gentle Giant and lots more. In art he admires the cover work of Chris Foss and Bruce Pennington, and maintains a healthy dislike of modern and abstract art. He’s still writing and refuses to stop however much people ask him to. Expect more published works soon.
Sarah is a young, strong-willed woman who is nothing if not loyal to her family and friend. She’d been hurt in the past, which resulted in her fear of falling in love, so she vows to avoid it. When she meets Luke Patterson, it’s an instant affection. They connect on a level which surprises her and she finds herself at ease whenever he’s around. While she’s struggling with unwanted feelings for Luke, she finds herself blackmailed by another man into an engagement to save her family’s honor and their land. Luke, on the other hand, has his own secret to protect. While he works to save the woman he loves from sacrificing everything, he tries to help her overcome her fear of love.
A Taste of Love is an excellent, fun to read on the beach novel by Cathy Padilla. The story was well-written and the scenes were clean, meaning there were no erotica or bad language, which was good.
Throughout most of the book, I was hoping to find more of a fault to Luke. He seemed a little too perfect; however, I still liked the character and wished there were men just like him. Sarah, though set in her ways, bounced around whether or not she should trust Luke. After her past dealings with love, it’s understandable. However, at times, I just wanted to tell her to take a deep breath and calm herself. A few parts in the story, character-wise, I didn’t care much for. One time Sarah wanted a friend to find out what the statute of limitations to murder was. Maybe it’s just me as a mystery writer/fanatic but I thought it was a crazy thing to ask. There were a few other brief scenes such as that that struck out as weird. Thankfully they didn’t stay in my mind as I continued to read.
My biggest issue in the story was the point of view changes. However, I later found out after reading the novel that it was meant to be in the omniscient point of view. There was a scene when it’s mainly Sarah’s POV and she’s talking on the phone with her Aunt Laura, we know that Laura winks at her sister, although Sarah obviously can’t see her. I normally prefer to know what’s inside one person’s head during a particular scene because at times ended up confusing me. However, I ultimately decided to overlook POV changes because I enjoyed the story.
While I did figure out some of the plot points, there were one or two which shocked me toward the end. I would certainly enjoy reading more romance from this author. I believe she has the ability to go from being good to great. It’s one of those sweet novels where you turn the pages and realized you’ve spent hours reading when it only feels like a few minutes.
When I started to read ‘The Rushing of the Brook’ (which I received free for an honest review) I originally thought it was a coming-of-age story for young adults, as quite a lot of the book is written in a young ‘teenage’ style and at the beginning focuses on the aftermath of a tragedy that affects four pre-teenage boys who set out for an adventure one afternoon in October 1987, along with their thoughts and feelings at the time. However, with the addition of a serial killer at large it soon becomes obvious that this book is for adults only.
The plot is excellent and fast moving, and for the plot alone I would give 5 stars. Unfortunately the formatting suffered on my Kindle as I had not received an e-reader version, with words and paragraphs broken up, and sometimes it was hard to tell which person was speaking. In my opinion the book would be improved by a re-write to suit adult readers, but I give ‘Rushing of the Brook’ 4 stars as the plot is very good and I enjoyed reading the story to the end.
Scarlett Johansson attempted though did not succeed in getting this book banned. Intriqued? Read on.
Title: the first thing you see Author: Gregoire Delacourt (translated from French by Anthea Bell) Publishers: Weidenfeld & Nicholson (August 11, 2016) Format: Paperback Pages: 245 Genre: Fiction – Contemporary; Romance
What’s it about?
This is a quirky book of the plight of being famous at first glance. But it is more than that. It speaks of love and loss, of our need to be seen for who we are, especially by our loved ones.
“the first thing you see” is about a handsome unassuming motor mechanic living in a French provincial town, a man with little experience of the world beyond this town, a man whose young life is beset by tragedy.
Then one morning, a movie star turns up at Arthur Dreyfuss’ front door and his life is changed. But she is not what she may seem. Jeanine Foucamprez is after all suffering from an identity crisis. How and why did she choose Arthur?
Arthur and Jeanine are lost, both traumatised by the presence of unloving parents. Yet with each other, they re-discover their lost innocence. Their faiths in the purity of love are restored.
New encounters, or at least those that seem important, always have that effect: you don’t feel sleepy, you never want to sleep again, you want to tell the story of your life, all of it…, and then that hope – you wish you had always known each other, so that you could embrace and love each other, knowing why, with confidence…
How sweet is this?! But there is more… This is a story of love with a twist, though somewhat easily detected.
Delacourt’s eccentric references to celebrities, movies, and poetry make this book a fun romp through the entertainment industry, both French and American.
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction
The Gate Guardian’s Daughter is the prequel to KT Munson’s upcoming dark fantasy series, which will be released in July 2017. With only 28 pages, it’s a very quick read. I happily read it in one sitting during a break at work. OK, so I was a little late getting off work. I enjoyed the story that much.
Elizabeth is only ten years old, aching to become a normal child. But she can’t be normal when her adoptive father, Matheal, is insisting she remain nearby. The reason being is that Elizabeth is special. Matheal knows that one day her true nature will be unleashed.
This is yet another story I’ve enjoyed reading by KT Munson. It’s to the point but does well in giving us the general background of Elizabeth and her family, while providing us with just enough surprise to make us want more. It was a very well-written intro to The Gate series, and I, for one, can’t wait until the first one is released.
K.T. Munson is a freelance author. First published at 5 years old in the young writers conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com that is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.
Murder Without Pity is a slow-moving suspense, told in a way that makes you want to turn the pages and keep going. If I had the chance to read it in one night, then I probably would have. It wasn’t even the mystery portion of this novel that I enjoyed so much, although I enjoyed trying to solve the crime before reaching the ending. While I had a few suspects in mind, I feel that there could have been a little more foreshadowing or red herrings to help solve the mystery. As a mystery author myself, I certainly understand how hard it is to throw in red herrings without giving the plot away. There were, however, enough twists to keep me yearning for more.
This story was much more than just solving the strange murder of a man. The investigator, Stanislas Cassel, spends a good amount of his time interacting with the people of France, hoping they either won’t judge him or they just don’t know that he’s the grandson of a French propagandist for the Nazis during their WWII operation. This part of his family’s past mortifies him, so Cassel attempts to avoid anything political and hopes no one will recognize him. Of course, we all know that’s not always possible. And as Cassel continues his investigation, he finds himself in the midst of a larger wickedness beyond the small crimes he prefers to investigate.
This wasn’t a book where you can easily skim a few words here and there…let’s face it, we all tend to do that, whether we mean to do so or not. If you’re focusing on solving the mystery, then it’s possible something would be missing between the lines on the pages. Even reading carefully, I’m sure I missed a thing or two. And if you’re only along for the ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery that’s portrayed, then skipping around will force you to miss out. I’ve never been to France, and as someone who would like to one of these days, I felt I had a good idea of what Paris was like during the time this story takes place. The writing splayed across my mind as though I was watching a movie. It was so beautifully descriptive, whether it was about the thick fog smothering the city or Cassel’s thoughts.
I would most certainly enjoy reading more from this author.
Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars
A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. “Murder Without Pity,” a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. “The Killing Ploy” (with heavy overtones of “fake news” before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, “Darkness and Blood,” the sequel to “The Killing Ploy,” and “Winston Churchill’s Renegade Spy” also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.
After his parents are murdered by the Ministry Breakers, Oren flees New Arcadia to the dangerous Miralaja desert, leaving behind his once comfortable life and his best friend, Clementine. With his mentor, Khalil, he begins to learn the truth of his path and unfolds the devious plans of the Ministry. Meanwhile, Clementine has to survive on her own by thievery. When she performs her latest job infiltrating the Ministry Defense building, she barely manages to escape. Soon, she catches up with Oren and Khalil and together, they embark on an epic journey of survival and unraveling ancient mysteries.
I enjoyed Recreance. For the most part, it was fast paced. The only time I felt it sluggish was when it would jump without warning to the past. Sometimes I had to reread it for me to say, “Oh, we’re not in the present anymore, I understand what’s happening now.” It was meant to bring more debt to the characters and their lives but I found myself skimming over some parts because I wanted more of the here and now.
The skipping between the past and the present was my main issue with the story. Other than that, I loved the plot line and the world building. The characters were easy to get to know, especially Khalil and Clementine. I loved Khalil so much. He had great humor and I felt he breathed life into the story. The chemistry between him and his apprentice, Oren, was great. Clementine was smart and very resilient. Again, she had amazing chemistry with Oren, which says a lot about his character. So, I guess in truth, there is no way to choose a favorite character.
Recreance is a great start to the series, a magnificent way to introducing the characters and the evil ways of the Ministry. It held my interest, especially as I neared the end of the novel because it was hard to put down. I wanted more and I wanted it right away. Very well done.
Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
I was born in British Columbia, Canada, but spent most of my youth on the beaches of Maui. Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to explore my passions. I’ve had harrowing experiences as a helicopter pilot, drying cherries in the desert mountains of Washington state. I’ve toured with a band down the eastern seaboard in a $2,000 van, surviving on Arby’s fixins, and selling CDs for gas money. I’ve built websites and designed logos for businesses all over North America. Of everything I’ve tried, writing fantasy is by far the most exciting and fulfilling.
My whole life I have been fascinated by stories. Especially the kind of stories that transport you into incredible worlds where the impossible becomes real; where epic battles between good and evil rage across the centuries. This sense of escape and wonderment are what I hope to embody within my own work.
World of the Innocent is a sweet story of two young people, Jhoi and Marcas, as they explore themselves and romance. Jhoi (pronounced JOY) is a young, African-American woman who’s poetic and guarded. Marcas is admired by many but is viewed as strange.
Nadine Keels creatively weaves a genuine romantic tale of two people who falls in love before they realize what’s happening. The words across the pages are vivid enough that you get a feel for not only the scenery but for the characters’, particularly Jhoi and Marcas, sentiments as they explore their budding relationship and faith in God.
Time goes by quickly in this novella and at times took a few seconds for me to realize that it had been a few days or even a month from the last sentence. The ending came as a surprise to me (in a good way) but I wanted more of an elaboration because it had the opportunity to draw some tears.
Either way, this was a sweet YA novella that deserves a chance in the limelight.
Nadine. A French name, meaning, “hope.”
With her lifelong passion for life-enriching fiction, Nadine C. Keels enjoys reading and writing everything from short stories to novels. Her fiction works include Love Unfeigned and The Movement of Crowns Series, and select pieces of her lyrical poetry can be found on her spoken word album, Hope. Lyricized. As the founder of Prismatic Prospects, her communication company, Nadine has served as editor for a number of titles, and through her writing, from her books to her blog posts, she aims to help spark hope, inspiration, and genius in as many as she is privileged to reach.
“Sarabande” is a story of two people navigating through their lives, bound by their pasts which they must reconcile in order to have a chance at a future they want.
Colin Ashe is a man losing his identity. He suffers from epilepsy which is triggered by music. His anxiety surrounding the possibility of unexpected occurrences keeps him away from a job he loves, and costs him the respect of his wife and potentially the love of his son. Then Colin digs up a box buried in his backyard some twenty years ago by a then young girl.
Anna Brawne is now a renowned cellist, committed to music and Bach. She had buried the box with its secrets to maintain a connection to the one place she calls home.
This box forges a link between her and Colin, creating an intimacy which is the catalyst for the events to follow. With the death of her mother, Anna broke free from the bonds of expectation, only to encounter Colin’s desperate attempt to hold on to his.
Where does integrity lie, in the this age of online connection? Is emotional intimacy enough to sustain a life longing to be complete? Will love redefine the measures of a real life?
What fate awaits Colin and Anna?
Would I recommend it?
Yes, Sarabande is a beautiful love story of triumph and love. I could not put it down and I’d bet neither will you.
And I cannot resist – here is Yo-Yo Ma’s interpretation of JS Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 (Sarabande).
Bully Boy Blue is a short psychological thriller by John Nicholl, author of White is the Coldest Colour and When Evil Calls Your Name. This novella takes only an hour, maybe an hour and a half to read for several reasons. One, it’s only 62 pages, and two, it’s extremely engaging. From the beginning, we get inside the head of the wife (Kathy), who is married to an abusive husband. Like many abusive husbands, only Kathy gets to see his dark side.
As usual, John Nicholl weaves the tale in a way that forces us to become a part of the story. There’s sympathy for Kathy, who has no one but her sister to turn to, there’s hatred for her husband with his hateful slurs and degrading abuse toward his wife, and there are people that surround them that you just want to slap for their ignorance.
I could tell how the story would end, but it pleased me just the same. With every piece of his writing (I’ve read and enjoyed them all), John Nicholl grows and digs deeper into your psyche. And the titles he comes up with is always pure genius. Well worth the read! My only complaint is I want more!
John Nicholl, an ex police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written three dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which have been Amazon international bestsellers, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA. John is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or the media, and can be contacted via his author website at: http://www.johnnicholl.com. Rights enquiries should be directed to Mr Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.
Rebirth is the first of a three-part science fiction series entitled The Praegressus Project. Eighteen-year-old Chris and his mother were both taken in the dead-of-night. Soon, Chris awakens in a cell. Confused and frightened, he has no knowledge of where his mother is–only that she’s accused of treason and children must pay for their parents’ crimes. Chris must join forces with others just like him in the fight for survival against a group of doctors who are experimenting with science in order to enhance the human race.
The premise of the story kept my interest from start to finish. It held at a steady pace with a couple of action scenes here and there. Most of the setting takes place solely in the cells, so there wasn’t a lot of world building; however, that didn’t drag the plot. Unlike most science fiction stories, Rebirth wasn’t about building a world, but about character development. It’s hard not to like the characters, particularly Liz, the young woman Chris first meets after he awakens in his own cell. Chris, on the other hand, took awhile for me to like. But I believe out of the small group, Chris was the one who grew the most–and maybe that’s what author Aaron Hodges had in mind, although I can’t vouch for sure.
I believe Rebirth would fit just about any type of readers. There’s just about everything one could want: science, fantasy, friendship, love, power, and survival. It’s clean of bad language and no sex scenes. There is a bit of violence, though, but it’s not heavy, so no gore. It only shows how evil these experimenters are. They treat their captors as if they’re lab rats.
There were some errors here and there, but I’m quickly learning not to count against it…especially since the errors were few. After all, we are all human, and shouldn’t be expected to be perfect! Even the greatest has misprints at times. I don’t know if Aaron Hodges edited his own work or not, but as a professional editor myself, I’ve learned that it’s not easy editing one’s own work.
Rebirth was well-written, tight and a story I couldn’t wait to finish just to find out what happens. Aaron Hodges is definitely on the fast track to becoming an excellent science fiction novelist. I can’t wait to read more from him. Highly recommended.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Today, his adventures continue…
Although I’ve read novels based on aliens, and I wouldn’t turn down a chance to read books about aliens, it’s not technically my type of thing. I tend to be very picky with the alien genre. Spirit Raiders is about such: alien abductions, the threat to humanity, advanced technology, and first contact…pretty much everything a die-hard science fiction fan would enjoy.
The plot was complex, very slow moving, filled with a lot of technical things I had trouble grasping…mostly because I’m not very technical-inclined. While much of it was science fiction, the reality of some of the technological terms was very well-researched to make the fiction appear realistic. Sometimes, I had to re-read the information to grasp what it was saying…remember, I’m not much of a technical person, so at times, the information didn’t do enough explaining for me. Other times, however, I was overloaded with information and caught myself skimming a tad.
With a little bit more editing, the writing could have become tighter and stronger, earning a higher rating. I like to be shown what’s happening during the scenes, rather than being told. It helps me visualize better, even if I’m reading about things I just don’t understand.
If you’re one that loves aliens and you can understand a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo, then I recommend you taking the time to read this book. Don’t be put off by the slow-moving parts. It took me a few chapters to really get into the story. Once I did and continued reading, I was pleased to find that it ended with a well-built, action-packed climax
Savio is a resident of Mumbai, India, who grew up on everything sci-fi. Science Fiction has its own charm of unravelling mysteries, boldly going where no man has gone before [yeah I know it is from Star-trek :)] and to seek and find explanations for the unexplained. This is more or less what excites a true sci-fi enthusiast.
Savio is one of the enthusiasts too and he is presenting his own version here. Mystery surrounds us in many ways and it is mammoth in proportion to what we know. No one knows what lies beneath the ocean; no one knows what lies beyond our solar system; no one knows how vast the universe is; no one knows if any other extra-terrestrial form exists, but still the pursuit of knowing the unknown will continue unabated and will continue to excite us. This excitement is what Savio attempts to bring out in his books.
Savio is blessed with a supportive family and has a day job in India. Writing is his passion and he also writes for many blogging sites. When not writing and not working, which, of course, happens a lot of time, Savio likes to while-away and watch sci-fi movies.
“The Museum of Modern Love” by Heather Rose traces the soul of Arky Levin, a film composer. Arky is separated from his wife, Lydia. She has asked him to keep a promise. And he does. So why is he troubled? In his restlessness, he wanders into the MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist Is Present.
The novel spans the 75 days in which Marina performed between the months of March and May of 2010. It goes through the seven phases of a project, as identified by Marina, being:
So it is that the lives (as projects) which intersect Arky and Marina’s eventual encounter are changed.
This is a story of love, and how we perform love every day.
Love accounted for so many things. A series of biological and chemical interactions, A bout of responsibility. An invisible wave of orality that had been romanticised and eternalised. A form of required connection to ensure procreation. A strategic response to prevent loneliness and maintain social structures.
When Lydia said, “[g]o and write. Make wonderful music. Know that I love you. Have no regrets” then shouldn’t Arky do what she has prescribed?
That is what Arky believes, until he is compelled to discover love’s true gift. And this compulsion is through the art of Marina, whose performance in the MOMA demonstrated the power of connection and the magic of “being seen” by another, beyond the material visibility that is reflected through the context of this novel – the New York rich and celebrities who came to sit with Marina.
This is a story of courage, Arky’s and the participants in “The Artist Is Present” with Marina; people at the crossroads, like Jane, who observes the performance then leaves wondering,
Had it been enough to sit on the sidelines? Had she somehow missed an opportunity for something life-changing, some act of courage?
The courage to not succumb to the should and ought of this world, to face the uncertainty of beginnings.
This is a story of connection – to our past, to each other in the present, and to the future. That we hold the history of us and humanity within us. How we are shaped by the convergence of our past, present and future.
Now, day after day, he looked into the human face, painted with curiosity, and he saw the abyss of history within a human heart. Everyone was its own beaten, salvaged, polished, engraved, carved luminous form.
A connection to our raison d’être – of being open and available to that which calls to us, soul-deep, and honouring it.
All that they are is stored up loud and insistent inside them. But what does it take to be an artist? They have to listen. But do they listen? Most people are filled up with a lifetime of noise and distraction that’s hard to get past.
If Arky’s life is a project, what is the gift? His to receive or to give?
Would I recommend it?
“The Museum of Modern Love” won the 2017 Stella Prize. A thought-provoking and enjoyable book definitely worth checking out!
Get The Fourth Pularchek by best selling author Sam Marquis at Amazon by clicking here
The Fourth Pularchek is an action adventure novel set today with ties to the WWII. Nick Lassiter and his just married bride Natalie are about to head on their honeymoon when they witness an assassination. The assassination leads to a honeymoon in Poland and a race to find a Nazi horde of stolen art worth billions. Did I mention Lassiter discovers his real father is as Polish billionaire?
I like books with a link to the past. But a lot of them sort of tend to be the same old thing. Not that I’m complaining. They are still fun to read. But in The Fourth Pularchek, Marquis, takes a familiar prompt and adds a lot of twists and turns to it.
Marquis could have simply made this an action book with a lot of guns and chases but instead he throws in some head line events the real world is facing today. There are also so many subplots going on, that all tie into the main story, that you shouldn’t rest when you think something isn’t happening.
I recommend The Fourth Pularchek to those who like action and adventure or like a touch of history to their modern stories. I think when you’ve been compared to James Patterson you must be good.
The Symorians are an alien race whose home planet is inside the core of the sun. Four Symorians: Lenyx, Tryst, Kazi, and Milliken embark on a mission to save their people from extinction. It doesn’t take long before their vessel crash-lands on the planet Earth. Afterward, their troubles are just beginning. The Symorians get off on the wrong foot with the humans after accidentally killing one. Then they attempt to bridge an alliance between Symoria and Earth, but after another incident occurs, our alien friends have to fight for their survival.
I loved this story. It was the perfect blend of mystery, action, and sci-fi. The characters were believable, the plot line engrossing and every turn I took, there was a new twist, many of which put me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t get enough and once I’ve finished reading, I wished I’d taken my time. People of the Sun would definitely be one of the few books I wouldn’t mind re-reading.
Let’s get off topic for one brief second. For Star Trek fans (like myself), you know how viewers say the undertone meanings of the episodes mirror real life? For example, in the episode, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” there are two separate alien races, one has white on the left side and black on the right side, while the other race has the same colors vice versa. They’re killing each other even though they are exactly the same. They’re judgmental. Now, back to People of the Sun, Jason Parent does the same thing. He cleverly shines the light on mankind’s weaknesses. Humans tend to judge others by the color of their skins, by the mistakes we’ve made, by the class we were raised from, etc. Reading this story makes you think about what you do, what you say and how you react to certain circumstances.
People of the Sun isn’t just a science fiction novel. It’s not just a horror book. It’s also filled with plenty of action, adventure, and thought-provoking situations. It’s a very well-written novel, deserving of praise. In my opinion, I think just about anyone would enjoy this book. With the exception of Star Trek, I’m not a major fan of aliens. But I love the Symorians!
In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.
In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it’s harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he’s back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that’s another story.
When he’s not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody’s head off – he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.
I read this memoir by David Jordan and I must admit I was appalled at the way Social Services had treated David’s family. The problems began following an innocent initial inquiry to Social Services by a relative, concerned that David’s partner Martha and their baby Sally were living in unsuitable housing next door to an aggressive mentally ill man. Instead of finding them a suitable flat, two social workers forcibly removed Sally from Martha as she was pushing her along the street in her pram and placed her with foster parents. After Sally was taken away, Martha then began to suffer with mental health problems.
This is David’s very detailed and documented account of what followed next, in his efforts to claim back Sally and have her removed from the ‘At Risk’ register. He was to discover that social workers fabricated and falsified evidence in order to prevent Sally returning home, and that they were in fact a law unto themselves (social workers cannot be sued due to a ruling by the House of Lords). They also tried to have David and Martha’s younger two children taken away and put into care.
David fought the system for many years, trying to glean new information from the police, from Sally’s teachers and foster parents, and from the corrupted ‘Mega Pig’ file (Social Services’ name for the Jordan family’s file) in order to get his eldest daughter returned home to the damaged family unit. I can only applaud his efforts.
This is a book that has been well edited and is easy to read. It is compelling and a definite page turner. I recommend it most highly.
Do contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a true story or a fictional family relationship drama that you would like me to read and review.
It’s very rare that I would be tempted to give any book more than a five-star rating. If I did do that, then Cory Barclay’s Devil in the Countryside would be one of the few. It’s 1588, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. It’s rumored to be the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg. Investigator Heinrich Franz is assigned to find the killer, seeking help wherever he can get it. A priest attempts to keep the peace amongst the townspeople, while he attempts to fight against the temptation of a young woman that could destroy his most basic beliefs. They find themselves wrapped in mysteries, steering through the political and religious landscape of the 16th century.
Devil in the Countryside was an extremely tightly written novel, keeping me on my toes the entire time I was reading. I did not want to put it down. The characters were three-dimensional and realistic…very memorable. In my minds-eye, the book played like a movie. I felt as though I was watching the scenes unfold so much, that at times, I had to remind myself that I was in the 21st century. I felt it was that good.
You’ll not only want to find out who—or what—is piling corpse after corpse, you’ll want to find out what secret these characters are withholding from everyone else. You’ll want to find out if they can force temptation out of their minds. You’ll want to find out everything you can about this book.
The story is action-packed from the second it begins until the ending, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat. There were times when the dialogue didn’t seem up to par with the time; however, that didn’t even matter. The scenes were painted beautifully. For readers that enjoy historical fiction, werewolf hunts, and murder, I recommend giving Devil in the Countryside a try. It’s a must-read!
As far back as he can remember, Cory Barclay has always loved the “big picture” questions. How much knowledge did humanity lose when the Library of Alexandria was burned down? Why has the concept of Heaven remained intact, in one form or another, throughout most of human history and how has it impacted life on Earth?
And even before that, when he first began writing stories in grade school, he’s been fascinated with histories and mysteries. Whether Norse mythology, the Dark Ages, or the conquests of great leaders, Cory’s been that kid who wants to know what’s shaped our world and write about it. Especially the great unsolved mysteries.
So Devil in the Countryside was a natural for him.
Born and raised in San Diego, he graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied Creative Writing and Modern Literary Studies. He’s also a songwriter and guitarist, and – no surprise – many of his songs explore the same topics he writes about – the great mysteries of our crazy world.
Devil in the Countryside is his second novel and he’s hard at work on its sequel.
Hey, guys! I’m looking for some reviewers willing to add one or two of my books to their queue! The first novel, The Murder of Manny Grimes, needs five reviewers, while its sequel, Blood Runs Cold, needs ten. They are both standalone novels. They both have a slight Christian slant, as well as paranormal, but neither are heavy on those topics.
Blood Runs Cold is now available and it would be great if I could scrounge up some reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon, as well as your blog. So far, my early readers has said Blood Runs Cold is just as good, if not better, than its predecessor, which has had 14 awesome reviews.
Contact me at email@example.com if you are interested in reading one or even both stories.
The Murder of Manny Grimes–5 reviewers
Blood Runs Cold–10 reviewers
The format, unfortunately, is PDF, as I do not have a mobi file. However, it can still be read on your e-readers just like the kindle/nook version.
I would greatly appreciate your help in this matter!
When three young boys stumble into Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life one night during a winter storm, they claim they’ve seen a dead body by the swing sets of the Columbia County Elementary School. After he investigates, DeLong sees no evidence, not even a body. But were the boys telling the truth?
With the help of his oldest friend and mentor, former Naval investigator Russ Calhoun, DeLong sets out to find whether Manny Grimes is alive or dead. The further away he gets to the bottom of the mystery, the closer he comes to realize that his own life is falling apart.
Delving deeper into the murder of Manny Grimes, Lieutenant DeLong begins to unravel, losing his sense of control, falling into old temptations he spent years to overcome. Will he be able to move past his own demons and untangle the web of lies before it’s too late?
A young woman has been murdered at the Savannah Rapids
Pavilion and Lieutenant Jim DeLong realizes at first sight this
case will be the most difficult one of his career. DeLong is immediately swept into the memories of his childhood and dark
secrets he’s longed to forget. The victim is his sister-in-law, and old thoughts he’s fought to delete will be resurrected whether he likes it or not. With no clear motive, DeLong questions his ability on whether he’s able to remain objective.
Title: Practicing Normal Author: Cara Sue Achterberg ISBN13: 978-1611882445 ASIN: B06XH4SJW6 Published: 31st May 2017 Pages: 336 Genre: Women’s Fiction, Family Life Description:
The houses in Pine Estates are beautiful McMansions filled with high-achieving parents, children on the fast track to top colleges, all of the comforts of modern living, and the best security systems money can buy. Welcome to normal upper-middle-class suburbia.
The Turners know in their hearts that they’re anything but normal. Jenna is a high-schooler dressed in black who is fascinated with breaking into her neighbors’ homes, security systems be damned. Everett genuinely believes he loves his wife . . . he just loves having a continuing stream of mistresses more. JT is a genius kid with Asperger’s who moves from one obsession to the next. And Kate tries to manage her family, manage her mother (who lives down the street), and avoid wondering why her life is passing her by.
And now everything is changing for them. Jenna suddenly finds herself in a boy-next-door romance she never could have predicted. Everett’s secrets are beginning to unravel on him. JT is getting his first taste of success at navigating the world. And Kate is facing truths about her husband, her mother, and her father that she might have preferred not to face.
Life on Pine Road has never been more challenging for the Turners. That’s what happens when you’re practicing normal.
Combining her trademark combination of wit, insight, and tremendous empathy for her characters, Cara Sue Achterberg has written a novel that is at once familiar and startlingly fresh.
“Does facing the truth beat living a lie? In PRACTICING NORMAL, Cara Sue Achterberg has given us a smart story that is both a window and a mirror, about the extraordinary pain ― and the occasional gifts ― of an ordinary life.”
– Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN
“What does it really mean to have a normal life? Achterberg’s stunning new novel explores how a family can fracture just trying to survive, and how what makes us different is also what can make us most divine.”
– Caroline Leavitt, author of CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and the New York Times bestsellers PICTURES OF YOU and IS THIS TOMORROW
“PRACTICING NORMAL takes a deep dive into the dysfunctional dynamics of a ‘picture perfect family.’ A compelling story about the beautiful humanity in the most ordinary of lives: from first love to a marriage on the downward slide to an unexpected family tragedy. Achterberg handles each thread with tender care and we can’t help but root for every member of the Turner family.”
– Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of THE VANISHING YEAR
Body of review:
I was given a copy of this book as a gift and I freely chose to review it.
Tolstoi’s probably best-known quote: All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way fits perfectly this novel. As a psychiatrist, ‘normal’ is one of those terms that we always seem to come back to, even if it is impossible to define. It seems that normal is always what other people are, never us. Perhaps, as it is discussed in the novel in reference to Autism and Asperger’s, which are conditions that fall within a spectrum, the same is true for normality. It is not an on or off thing. Perhaps we all belong to some point within the spectrum, but we’d be hard pushed to find many people whom we’d all agree were ‘normal’, at least if we got to know them well.
The novel introduces us to the Turners, who live a reasonably comfortable life within a theoretically idyllic neighbourhood. Once we scratch a bit under the surface, we find: Jenna, the sixteen year old daughter, who is not a goth but likes to shave her hair, dye it in interesting colours, collects piercings and is an ace at breaking into neighbours’ houses (courtesy of her father’s job in a security company). Kate, her mother, is forever busy caring for everybody but herself. She has to look after her mother, Mildred, who might be dementing, or perhaps not, and who lives alone, never leaves the house and talks to her birds. She also has to look after JT, her son, with an Asperger’s diagnosis, who cycles through periods of obsession with different topics (ER Medicine, Fire-fighting…), has tantrums if his routine is disturbed, cannot read people’s expressions or understand their feelings, but is a genius at Maths and has an incredible memory. She also runs around the rest of the household and is always worried about her husband, Everett, who cheated on her once (that she knows of). The chapters alternate the first-person narrations of Jenna (who somehow becomes friendly with the rich, handsome and all-around nice neighbour, Wells, who isn’t, after all, the stereotypical jock), and Kate (whose sister, Evelyn, has made contact with their father, Frank, who left them when they were young children, and believes their mother has been lying to them) allowing the reader to better grasp, not only the secrets they all keep from each other, but also the different ways the same events can be interpreted and seen. Everett’s narration (also in the first person) joins later, giving us hints of more secrets to come, allowing us a more rounded picture and offering us a male perspective.
I found the first person narrations served well the topic, and the voices of the three narrators were very distinct and fitted in well with their characters. Although personally, I can’t say I liked Everett very much, no characters are despicable and all of them love their family and each other, even if they might go about it the wrong way. Jenna’s strong hostility towards her father is easy to understand, not only because he cheated on her mother (and is still doing it after promising not to) but because she had idealised him when she was a child and he’s shattered that illusion. She is clever, challenging and reckless but with a great heart (she doesn’t care for rules or conventions but has no bad intentions) and her romance will bring warm memories to all readers who are still young at heart. Kate is a woman who is always at the service of others and makes big efforts to ignore what she feels she can’t cope with, even if it means living a lie. But she learns that she is stronger than she thinks and grows during the novel. She also gets to understand that her dreams of romantic love are unrealistic, and we feel optimistic for her at the end. Everett is a man who lost his way (it seems) when he left his job as a policeman. Now, to feel better about himself he’ll do almost anything, not caring what the consequences for himself and others might be, and he always puts his needs before those of the rest of his family. He does not understand his children but he loves them and tries to do what he thinks is best, within limits. JT is a wonderful character, well-drawn and realistic in terms of the behaviours he exhibits and his relationship with Kate, Jenna and the rest of the family is heart-warming and has the ring of truth.
There are many secrets, some that come from a long time back and some much more recent, and the narrative is good at revealing them slowly, even if we might strongly suspect some of them, partly because we have access to the thoughts of several the characters (as they don’t communicate with each other that well). There are also many love stories and many different kinds of love that are explored. Ultimately, love must be about more than just saying the words and looking into each other’s eyes. It isn’t something we should feel automatically entitled to; it has to be proven and worked on, as Cassey, a friend of Jenna and later Kate, explains.
The secondary characters are also interesting, mostly sympathetic (with the exception of Wells’s family, and Evelyn, who comes across as self-centered and domineering) but not drawn in as much psychological detail as the members of the family, but they are far from unidimensional. I really liked Cassey, the hospice nurse who understands all the females of the family and helps them without asking anything in return, and Phil, a good man who, like Wells, disproves Mildred’s generalisations about men. Mildred, the grandmother, can be at once annoying and endearing, but eventually, we get to understand her a bit better, even if we might not necessarily agree with her actions. I also loved the animals, especially Marco.
This is a well-written book, where plot and characterisation go hand in hand, that offers good psychological insights into the nature of family relationships and the games members of a family play with each other. It also will make readers think about what love means and will remind them of the risks of keeping secrets, not only from others but also from ourselves. The narration flows well and once you get to know the characters it’s difficult to stop reading and you feel bereft when you come to the end as they’ve become part of the family. A great read.
I couldn’t leave you without sharing a few of the sentences I highlighted.
Never break more than one law at a time.
Kate talking about JT, her son, with Asperger’s: but I focus on what JT can do, not what he can’t.
Kate again, wondering about her son’s inability to read other people’s expressions and know what they’re feeling or thinking:
Maybe it would be easier to sail through life unaware of the emotions of the people around you.
And Jenna, on one of her typical (and oh, so accurate, sorry gentlemen) pearls of wisdom (although this one she keeps to herself):
If men didn’t have penises, they’d probably be a lot smarter.
Ratings: Realistic Characterization: 4.5/5 Made Me Think: 4.5/5 Overall enjoyment: 5/5 Readability: 5/5 Recommended: 5/5 Overall Rating: 5/5 Buy it at: Format & Pricing: Paperback: $ 10.75 Kindle: $ 8.95 Audiobook: $31.86
Thanks to all and remember to like, share, comment, click and to review all the books you read!