Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: First Song Might Just Have Been Better?

Swann's Last Song

By Charles Salzberg

I admit I was pulled in by Salzberg's slick interactive promo! I just knew I was going to like the book, except I was saddened by the ending. Now the author will know that this is important. Me, I'm sitting here wondering what my feelings would have been had I first read Swann's Last Song as originally written. You see, I liked it better--it fit with the story and it fit with what I thought the character, who really was known to me by the end of the book, would have done and said. 

You see, the latest, published by Greenpoint Press included not only the entire book, but included the original final chapter as well as an essay published in Writer's Digest. So, in essence, my reaction was the total opposite of earlier professionals who told the author that nobody would accept the book as written. Indeed I was saddened by the book's ending, which was what had been predicted by those who reviewed earlier would have happened if they had not forced the author to, as he said, give in and change the ending.

Does that make me unusual? Or was the book really great as first written, only to be reduced in impact, by the changed final that was forced on the author?

Of course, some could say I was influenced by the essay. Only thing I know is that I was relieved and grateful when I read the real final--because I was then satisfied with the book!

Now if all that doesn't make you curious enough to read the book and make your own decision--and please do share your thoughts with me, but especially the author--let me tell you that the book is truly fantastic! 

Saltzberg refers to a number of  authors that you might think while you read the book. It was the handsome TV Mike Hammer that I pictured in my mind. The case begins as usual. Beautiful woman comes to Swann to find her husband.:  

Only thing is, Swann is not a PI, he's a skip tracer.

But since he normally was offered food stamps to pay for his services, he decided to take advantage of the opportunity, even though he's not quite convinced her reason for coming to him is the truth. And besides, he does go out looking for the missing, even if most of the time, it is to repossess a car... 

Swann's Last SongHarry Janus, however, had already been found by the police--dead. He had been found in Times Square, probably as a result of a fight with a pimp. Mrs. Janus didn't believe he would be where he had been found and wanted Swann to proceed with his investigation--now he was to find out who had killed him.

Visiting Janus' apartment, since he and his wife had an open relationship, resulted in Swann being hit in the gut, soon out cold. Once he was awake again, he did hear his answering machine which gave him two names, Carole and Horst, both claiming a need for urgent callbacks. From this he moved optimistically forward...

Soon, he was meeting the ex-Mrs. Carole Cheney in sunny California, where he learned that not only was he previously married as Jason Cheney, as in "the" Jason, of "Jason and the argonauts, "a famous rock group from the 70s". (If you haven't yet clicked the first insert above, do so now for a little background rock!)

Before anything else happens, Swann is convinced by Carol to take a plunge--into her bed.

One clue on top of another next takes Swann down Mexico way...and then on to Berlin. Instead of expecting Mrs. Janus' ongoing financial support, he's wondering exactly why she cares who killed her husband! He's been battered and nearly killed, so Swann is grateful for her support, because by now, he is almost obsessed in following the case to the finish and finding the murderer. After all, it is not everyday that you find one individual who has lived four separate lives! Besides, I think he is quite proud of his work so far!

Since I started with the ending of the book, I'll just stop and say I was just as obsessed to follow Swann through his journeys, growing more and more amazed about the man who was so many different people before he was killed. Swann follows the trail and pulls readers along; we have no option but to follow. But I wanted to turn each page!

Still, I do have one question in my mind as I finish the book and my review. Was this really Swann's Last Song ? I hope not. I don't mind his remaining a skip tracer--I just want to meet him again and see how the next case goes. How about it Charles Salzberg? 

Book Received from Author


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: J. A. Konrath Gives Readers Thrilling Ride!

J. A. KonrathImage via Wikipedia

By J. A. Konrath

Konrath's main female character is Jack Daniels. Well, it is actually Lt. Jacqueline Daniels. Daniels is a cop, perhaps even a great one. But there is always one case, one criminal, that plays against the best that the cop has to give, and sometimes almost leads to...death.

Shaken has more than one of that type of criminal--and Jack Daniels has met them both. One's in jail; the other has been hired to kill Jack. This is Konrath's latest in a series; my first reading Konrath. All I can think of to say is "Whew!" What a thrilling ride he gives readers!

Shaken (Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels Mysteries) (Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels Series)
The novel moves among three time periods, one of them being August 10, Present Day. On this day, for most of the book, you see little more than one page. A short update that shares very little, so little that I at first thought that the writer really didn't need to bring us back so often. Then, however, you begin to see the buildup of what is coming and begin to want more of those updates, hoping against hope that Jack is going to make it...

It first started in 1989. A man by the name of Dalton is watching while another man is killing his latest victim, thinking that the man was more than a killer, he was a butcher.

While taking pictures, he wonders whether he should have brought color film, finally deciding that the black and white will make it more realistic--even though there's a lot of blood.

After Victor Brotsky dismembers his victim, he follows his routine, carrying the bags out to his car.

Dalton is there to greet Brotsky with his gun soon jammed against his back.

Dalton is not a cop...

He's a hit man who represents Brotsky's new employer. He doesn't want him to quit his work; he just wants to control the victim selection.

It was in 1985 that Jackqueline first heard Dr. Horner, a clinical psychiatrist, speak to the cadets about evil... A serial killer known only as Mr. K.

Three years ago, Jack worked the case that resulted in Brotsky now serving his time. But with each case, there is always the question in her mind, is this man Mr. K? And then she meets him...

And there is just no way she can get away!

Giving readers a very surprising ending, Konrath pulls readers through i wondering when all this is going to end, but hoping it doesn't until Jack Daniels becomes the heroine of the novel. I think that ending must have just sent me backward to catch up on the Jack Daniels series and maybe even Blake Crouch, another new author to me--sooooo many books, sooooo little time! Is this a battle of serial killers? If you are a fan of this sub-genre, and haven't read this author, you won't want to miss this book.

Tell me, "What is true evil? Someone who enjoys committing evil acts? Or someone who commits evil acts for monetary gain?" (p. 110). After reading this book, I'm thinking it depends upon whether I'm the victim or the cop... Readers, you know of you'll think this a must-read!

Book Received Via
Amazon Vine

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Combine Ghost Whisperer With Six Feet Under - Get Sadie Witt Mysteries!

Six Feet Under, Vol. 2: Everything EndsImage via Wikipedia

A Sadie Witt Mystery

By Beth Solheim

Sadie Witt is hilarious--ok, admittedly it is her outlandish outfits and hair that got me laughing; but there is so much more. When I thought of our beautiful Ghost Whisperer on television and then of Sadie, well, you just have to start making comparisons. Still, she is my age, and I fully empathize with her desire to be all that she can be! Still, buying a hearse for the resort shuttle is even too much for me.

Now one thing Sadie is not is a whisperer. Although she keeps her activities a secret from her neighbors, she does not hesitate to talk to them--the "crossers"--wherever she meets them. So, in her community, she is seen as eccentric--maybe even crazy--since nobody else can see she is actually talking to somebody.

Jane is her twin, although they do not look alike, nor act alike, for that matter. In fact, even though she knows her sister has visitors in their home, she is quite adamant that they keep their home in normal conditions. For instance, Jed, their latest crosser died in the hospital, so he was still wearing his gown--you know, the ones that leave you BA? So Jane is naturally appalled when Jed sits on her chair with a BA, and quickly goes for her cleaner... On the other hand, Jane keeps the remains of her dead love on the table, where everybody talks to him--including the closers!

Outwitted (A Sadie Witt Mystery)Next door to the resort is a funeral home, recently taken over by Nan and her son, who also happens to have been selected to help the crossers find their way--not that he enjoys it. Especially when a young girl comes and chooses Aanders to befriend.

Sally doesn't know she's d-e-a-d...She's trying to find one of her parents. Now Sally is a child so she wants to play and is always running off, normally with Belly, the dog that nobody claims but that sleeps with Jane and of course can see the dead.

Jed is a very nice man and is not quite sure why he hasn't already crossed over, but Sadie is positive that it has to do with his sister having disappeared years ago and never been found. So they begin to search out details of the old mystery. In the meantime, the police are trying to find at least one of Sally's parents who had been separated. Jed takes over the care of Sally when Aanders or Sadie is not around.

And Sadie is gone fairly often, since she is also a helper for the funeral director. Of course, Nan forces Sadie to change clothes when an actual event is taking place there.

Oh, one other thing is taking place in town. Everybody is upset because a baby has been kidnapped from the local hospital!

And I'm not even going to go into the fact that Sadie set up a date online for Jane and he arrives at the resort for the weekend... 

While Sadie and the other do a lot of investigating that brings them closer to solving all the mysteries, it is actually Sally (and Belly) who solve the cases! How Cool!

By the way, in case you are around the area of Northern Minnesota and find yourself at the Sadie and Jane's resort, ahhhh...don't accept Cabin 14...

I loved it. Combining death and ghost closers into one series, adding humor, is so much fun. Add the routine characters, plus the closers that pop in to each novel and you are bound to find it quickly addicting. The series started with At Witt's End, so I'll have to go back and pick that one up...I don't want to miss any of this series!

Book Provided Via
Bostick Communications


Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: Barager Merges Vietnam War With Famous Music Concert for Great Drama!

Gimme Shelter (film)Image via Wikipedia
Altamont Augie

By Richard Barager

Wait! Before you start reading, click the title of this review and in the middle of the page, start the music of the 60s as mentioned in the book--including Ohio, Fire, The Ballad of the Green Berets, and more!

Sometimes behind the scenes, the real drama seeps out into a startling story discovered only 30 years later by a "John Doe's son..."

Caleb Levy was sent to San Francisco to create a trailer for the 30th anniversary of the Rolling Stones' 1969 U.S. Tour. Through a series of events, the outside concert actually took place in Altamont. Many considered the concert to represent the Death of the Sixties.

For me, I had already started on my career and took little time to keep up with those who woud go on to college, became involved in student organizations, the culture, the music, the drugs, the free love... In fact, I watched from my office window as protestors gathered on the street on the campus where I worked, or laughed at the streakers as they zoomed by sharing all they had to share.

It was my own personal connection, a young man I wrote to in Vietnam, that kept the war alive for me.

Altamont AugieInterestingly, Caleb Levy in doing his research for the trailer, had become more interested with an obscure fatality at that 1969 concert that nobody had paid much attention to that day...

And then when he found a picture of a man streaking--and in the background of that picture was a picture of a blond "with a bodacious grin, the freckled cheeks, the lustrous skin as yet unblemished by time..." and he realized it was his mother, he learned more than he ever imagined!

This is the story of that John Doe, later identified as David Noble, and Jackie Lundquist, Caleb's Mom.

David and Jackie met on campus and were immediately attracted to each other. Their beliefs were so far in opposite directions, however, that in a fit of anger, David joined the Marines and was soon serving his time in Vietnam. The first half of the book takes readers along with David as he fights a war that Jackie and many others opposed.

Many will still remember much about that war, but Barager takes us deep into the life of the soldiers as they are first changed in boot camp from boys into Marines. And then tossed into a country so unlike anything they could have imagined--there to kill or be killed. Many of my readers know that I've read a number of books from those who served in Vietnam. If Barager was not actually there, he has done amazing research and created an excellent story detailing the fear and anger as well as the close friendships from David's time there.

One of the most poignant scenes is when one of his officers takes a few minutes personal time to require David to write to his girl (David had no family), even if they had had a fight, noting that he "needed" to be able to write to somebody... So David began to write to Jackie, routinely. Never receiving a response. Until it was almost time for David to leave the service and Jackie had read in the news of how bad it was. She finally broke her silence...

And then David was home, only to find that Jackie was very involved with Kyle Levy, the Students for a Democratic Society and all the activities they held against the war. But they also rediscovered their love.

The second half of the book details much of what was happening on university campuses, and in particular, those "dreamed of" by Levy. Exploring the politics, the national role in the war, as well as what individuals were trying to develop as the New Left is an excellent review of the tumult existing in the U.S. because of the war. Still, the story of their romance is the drama that will draw readers into that time.

The magnitude of drug use, the sexual freedom that Jackie (and many others) explored while being involved with both Kyle and David underlies those national activities with a truly compelling but devastating drama that highlights the danger that many young people were in, without even realizing it--until it was too late. For those who lived the story, I believe they will find this book a must-read...Really, you don't want to miss this one.

Book Received Via
Gail M. Kearns
To Press and Beyond


Enhanced by Zemanta

Review: Sandra Balzo's New Series A Winner!

Caucasian male wearing a red shirt and suspend...Image via Wikipedia
"The man's wearing a blaze-red shirt--"
"Vermilion," AnnaLise interjected."..
Chuck looked skyward.
"What?" Annalist protested. "It's still deep red, just with an orangish--"
Running on Empty

A Main Street Mystery

By Sandra Balzo

I had to add this lovely picture of Sandra--I can just imagine her creating her new character, a news reporter, AnnaLise Griggs, who is going to be interrupting and correcting all the other characters, as she does above...

Or writing the dialog for Mama and Daisy as they shared their secrets as best friends...

LOL, you are right Sandra, it is funny for readers. I'm not so sure about how your other characters put up with it though...

I enjoyed meeting Maggy Thorsen in A Cup of Jo (See My Review), which is the latest book in Sandra Balzo's Maggy Thorsen Mysteries, but I loved meeting the new characters in Running On Empty, the first book in Balzo's new Main Street Mystery Series.

Running on Empty (Main Street Murders)AnnaLise Griggs has come back home when she received a call that, in working with a blood donor, her mother made a mistake and took extra blood (3 pints!) from Mrs. Bradenham. She has also had some other moments that have concerned Dr. Stanton--in fact he said that Daisy "might not be quite right."

Now I should quickly point out that Mama is the owner of the Main Street restaurant and all the patrons call the present owner Mama...

AnnaLise calls her mother Daisy, although that's not her real name.

There seemed to always be some type of trouble going on in Sutherton, North Carolina, people being drowned in Lake Sutherton and other events that occur in towns where there are many visitors on vacation or sightseeing, but this time it involved her mother so AnnaLise left immediately for a long weekend to find out what was going on.

Of course, AnnaLise went immediately to the restaurant upon arrival in town. There you will quickly see the atmosphere and quality of discussions that are routinely going on in this small town. Of course, the first thing offered is food! Mama is not a creative cook, but she does follow recipes making them into scrumptious treats, leaving the main ingredient name the dish--Baker's German Chocolate Cake or Bacardi Rum Cake...

Anyway...AnnaLise quickly found out her mother was not expecting her. But she seemed quite logical as she explained that she had made a mistake and would not even accept its being an accident. Sooooo, most of the time, her mother seemed fine. But not always--and when AnnaLise saw what happened, she knew it would be longer than a weekend that she would be staying.

Finding her old friends again was fun though, Bobby, whose mother was the individual who had too much blood removed, was fine and was quickly forgetting it ever happened. Bobby, who had been a good friend of AnnaLise quickly brought her up to date, while Chuck who was now in the Sheriff's Office was still as good looking as ever, but unfortunately took the time to announce to AnnaLise that he was gay. Bummer...

It was with Sheree Pepper, her close friend, that she discussed the possibility of her mother's Alzheimer's or a vitamin deficiency, noting that her behavior was "downright spooky."

Of course, danger arrived. Rance Smoakes had been found on the beach dead. Dickens Hart was wounded, but was with AnnaLise at the time--could it have been her the individual had been aiming for? Interestingly, in addition to Chuck's having come out, it was also now openly being discussed that Bobby was the son of Dickens Hart and that he had purchased the home for he and his mother many years ago.

Actually, there were quite a few secrets that had been kept for many many years that were now coming out.

But when AnnaLise is seriously hurt by someone pulling a garage door down on her. And they find what was used in one of the murders in their garage, there was fear that Daisy was going to be blamed. After all, there were times she didn't seem to remember what had happened or where she had been. There was no way that AnnaLise, a crime reporter, was not going to conduct her own investigation and clear her mother!

Balzo has created a fun set of characters that are uniquely individual but small-town close neighbors, caring about those that live there in town and putting up with the visitors who help them make their living. Dickens Hart, a supposed playboy millionaire seems to be at the center of many of the problems, or is he? Flushing out the old connections between town members now, after so many years, does indeed lead to sadness and anger...but also to new relationships? Hopefully, this series will be around for awhile! I thoroughly enjoyed Running on Empty.

I purposely didn't include earlier that Dickens Hart had commissioned AnnaLise to work with him as a collaborator to create his memoirs... This, a man, who ran a version of the Bunny Club in NC, called the White Tail Lodge (and, yes, the girls wore white tails)...just imagine the possibilities for future stories!

Book Received Via
Bostick Communications


Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Welcome Bitten Twice On Your Blog Tour!

Alexander the GreatImage by SiamEye via Flickr
A Blood Moon

Macedo Ink Series

By Bitten Twice

After a historical introduction to her main character, Alexander the Great, it was interesting to move forward for more than 2000 years and find that this well-known Macedonian leader was still in the prime of his life, looking to be just past 30, perhaps?

Was that enough of a clue to let you know he is now a vampire? Well, actually, he is now much more than that, but you'll have to learn about that while reading A Blood Moon, of the Macedo Ink Series, by Bitten Twice. Not having read too many recent vampire books--I was grateful that the author included so much detail about the more modern vamps. In fact, since Alex was an ancient, he was just introduced to drinking his blood from a bottle--normally he went to bed with his meal...

A Blood Moon (Macedo Ink Series)Lina, a very old friend of Alex had come to town. She had been out clubbing with a friend who was helping her back to her secure place when they were attacked, her friend killed.

Alex had also been at a club when he decided to stop and visit Jacqui (Jack) who he had saved from being forced to marry a demon. Now he was interested in getting closer to her, but she had found him in bed eating. He was still trying to figure out how to convince her that "he had to eat!" Alex was known as Xander to Jack and her assistant Samantha.

Unfortunately for Xander, when he arrived at Jack's office, she had a visitor and he was in the midst of trying to get closer to her--so Xander left, only to stumble into Sam, who immediately let Jane know that he had been there and seen what was going on.

It was quite obvious that Alex and Jack are both interested, but before they could get things totally worked out,  Catalina shows up at Alex's home and explained aout her being attacked.

Now Lina is quite an interesting character. She is a Prince in her own realm, the daughter of a King. She was also betrothed to Alex hundreds of years ago...and actually within this story, marries him, while allowing Jack to continue in Alex's his familiar (which is not just an animal I learned for the first time).

Now there are many more characters, and many different types of beings that you will be meeting. You will also be visiting the three realms of the world, with most of the action in that lower realm where Lina has decided to reclaim her seat as Prince with Alex joining her.

But the demon who has sat in place of The Prince is not willing to have that happen and the trouble begins to happen, including against Alex and Jack!

When Jack is attacked and saved, an entirely new role is defined for her and moves the book forward to war that pulls players from all three realms...with lots of magic! For instance, Lina's blood-red dress on the front cover is alive and the red blood color is because...well, it is real blood, so that when the dress is worn in battle, it flows out to absorb the blood from those who had lost it... A bit ghoulish? Still, you've got to admit it creates a wonderfully vivid scene to imagine!

Bitten Twice includes all the players, each looking to win the man who continues as Alexander the Great, on their side and in their realms...and does an excellent job of setting us up for the next book in the series!

Who knows where that will lead--notice that she wears a scarf wound tightly around her neck...will she share how her name became Bitten Twice in some future book--or perhaps she is already a character, telling her own story. But which character is she?

Readers, you know who you are! Fantasy and SciFi Readers! Fans of vamps, weres, demons and all those creatures who scare us as they appear as humans at one time, only to reveal the monsters within at some point! You will find the link to Macedonian history an intriguing twist to the constant battle between good and evil...

What I want to know is--what's up with Lina? She loves that red dress, but why did she give Jane a cross necklace??? I think I've been hungry for more...

Book Received Via
Mystical Events/Promotions


Thanks so much to Bitten Twice for visiting. Please feel free to comment and we will make sure that the author sees all...

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kisses - Beautiful Poetic Words from Adolfo...

LesbiaImage via Wikipedia

Kisses to Remember

Every kiss has its story--
No two of them being alike,
Or countable--
As any two flakes of snow
Has fallen to the ground
To gain new form
From the same creator

Oh, Catullus!
We have had our Lesbia,
Her body covered
With a thousand kisses
Diminished to one hundred
Only to give a thousand more,
And how sweet they were
When each kiss
Counted to infinity!
In giving light to darkness,
We challenged death and time!
Passion driven
Each kiss produced
The intended pleasure
Against the backdrop
Of ever-present pain.

To you, Strega!
Liquefying within
We responded
To our very beat
As though there was
No rhythm or rhyme
Than that of our own cadence—
No rhyme here
Except for the accidental
“Skin” and “chin”
And no specific meter,
Except for how many feet
One wants to count
Into any one line,
Of my broken verses.

But to you, alas, sweet Lesbia,
Every kiss is gone:
Ephemera has taken command
And my memory bank is empty.

A placid chiaroscuro gives life
To two women in an evening chat,
The flames from the fire lighten their faces;
Hardly three-years-old,
On my mother’s lap,
Rubbing my hand
Against the smooth skin
Under her chin,
My first memory:
She took my hand,
Brought it to her mouth,
And kissed it,

Oh, Pauline, auburn-hair,
Freckled-face teenager—
At the summer beach house,
She pulled me to her face
To trembling lips--
Still vibrating after so many years!
No friendship, thereafter,
Nor longed-for second kisses.
On playing in the water the next day,
She, sitting on top of my shoulders
Wrestling with our opponents,
Almost drowned me--
From sheer weight of her size.

Not even the ménage
Of Catullus with Lesbia and Sappho
With their
One thousand kisses and more
Can compare with the kiss
Of Rose Marie,
In the back seat of my friend’s car.
Having been rebuffed
On my first and only attempt,
I settled into the seat
In complete dejection--
A pro of rejection
Beyond compare.
Suddenly she turned and said,
“Only once will I kiss you,”
And proceeded without approval.
Heaven help me!
Not only was it the longest,
But the deepest!
I comprehended its value
Only after comparing it,
To the thousand and more kisses
Of Catullus with Sappho
And his sweetest Lesbia.

Different still was Marilyn’s kiss:
On leaving the office at Christmas,
She stood me against the wall
With a kiss rivaling that of Rose-Marie,
And more,
Much more!
Tremors shook my very being.
No liberation of an earthly soul,
Or the tremors felt by those in Dante’s heaven
Can compare to that kiss.
No! My being locked
As in a prison;
My bones
Shivered out of control.
Our last hug came later
At her summoning
In one encounter.
She said her last goodbye
With an unexpected
Gentle and light kiss.
She had cancer and never told me.

By myself in a compartment
In a train from Padova,
This young woman
With wispy auburn hair
Sat opposite me,
Her scattered belongings
Pointing to either a medical student
Or accidental tourist
From Midwest USA.
Politely, I asked;
She confirmed
My prediction of a tourist
When she mentioned Giotto,
Whose Chapel in Padua
Quickly became the catalyst.
She listened about my son’s reaction
To the figures in hell,
Wherein he began
To cry over the possibility
That his grandfather
Might soon be one of them.
And my denial of that impossibility
Did not diminish his unending tears.
At the train-stop,
I got up to say goodbye,
At which point she stood up,
Came face to face,
And kissed me ever so gently
And for such a long time
As to seem the sweetest of an eternity--
A kiss that has remained indelible
To this very day!
On returning home
I knew I had met the angel
That placed me
On the right road to paradise,
For the first time,
The role of true angels in our lives.

Of all the kisses
Remembered or otherwise,
The ones missed are just as memorable,
And their aura just as real.

Laverne, in the post office,
Forlorn as any woman,
But as full of desires,
Stood behind the window.
By an un-explained compulsion
I brought my face to hers
And stopped.
Her large lips remaining dry,
Sweetness all but gone--.
That I didn’t kiss her
Continues to
Haunt my memory.

As un-explainable
Was the aura of another kiss
That did not take place
And should have.
My neighbor, fresh from divorce,
Unexpectedly revealed her soul.
Her grief
Over the children’s fate
Being greater than
The sadness
Over broken relations
Dramatically culminated
Into an ethos of bewildering emotions.
Her face coming down towards me
Seeking relief
Was met half way
Over mistaken signals
Of cowardice or false circumspection.
That moment remains alive
With its aura as palpable
As if the kiss had taken place.

The aura of kisses disappear
When love and love-making
Become synonymous,
            The simple
Seals the phenomena
Of its aftermath,
While we fall asleep
With the sensation
That heaven has magically
Come down to earth,
And we are entering its paradise.

--Adolph Caso
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: Linda Nance Provides Great Suspense in Second Novel!

Alan.Image by chez_worldwide via Flickr
"He[the officer] ignored her and instead leaned down 
resting his elbows on her windowsill.  
'I said, I don’t think I seen you around here before!'  
His smile did nothing to put her at ease."  
Journey Home

By Linda Nance

Even from the grave, love comes to make sure the Journey Home is safe and fulfilling—excellent suspense keeps pages turning ‘til the end!  Lara's Uncle Charley had just died. And she was still surprised at what she had learned from her uncle's attorney. Lara had already been upset by the way a police officer had acted offensively toward her as she had driven to her uncle's home, especially after having been greeted so warmly in town when she'd arrived.

Now she was learning that Allen Coleman was not only in the will, but her Uncle had placed stipulations on both of them!

It was strange to be in her aunt and uncle's home without their being there. Especially when she began to feel like she was being watched. Of course, she had been, with Fred having come to visit and breaking a potted plant. Though she was forgiving of the dog, she wasn't quite so sure when his owner, Mr. Coleman himself, also appeared. From that first meeting she had been both attracted and angered by how close Allen had gotten to her uncle. Was it guilt because she had not visited very often?

She had begun to wonder what had been happening. There had been many locks added to the home place. Allen explained that her uncle felt like somebody was prowling around in the house and through his things. Then she learned that a young man had been living there for awhile, helping her uncle, but had just seemed to disappear.

But nothing prepared her for the first visit from another neighbor, Paul Winters, who immediately had moved to come into the house "to visit" and get to know each other. Fortunately, Allen had come right at that time. But it was not the last time she would see Paul. Sometimes he would be standing in the woods just at their property line; other times he would yell from there, or come to visit again, always carrying his gun.

Her uncle's stipulation that she stay and live in the house for at least nine months was going to be hard. As a writer, she would be able to work anywhere, but things were getting strange. Could the tobacco she kept smelling mean that Uncle Charley was still in the house, or was somebody purposely playing tricks on her. Then she learned that her agent and best friend's office had been broken into and Marla felt Lara should not live alone for such a long time.

Fortunately, she was getting along with Allen and he introduced her to other neighbors, Donald and Katelyn who also were neighbors who lived fairly close. She was at least feeling more at home and beginning to have friends and somewhat of a social life. Even Fred had fallen for her and spent much of his time visiting, so that she wasn't alone.

But then Fred was killed...

And her house had been broken into, sloppily so that she would know somebody had been there. Soon, Allen, Donald and Katelyn became more than friends; they were also providing protection!

Nance's second novel keeps you guessing, and some of the bad guys won't surprise you, but the final ending was totally unexpected and greatly added to the tension of this great drama. But no matter how quickly the author forced us to turn the pages, in the end Nance presented a totally heartwarming love story filled with friends who quickly came to be closer than family!

I loved this one and hope Linda is already imagining where her next novel will take us!

Book Provided Via
Facebook's Reviewers Roundup


Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Nance's Debut Novel Shares Heartwarming Family Drama!

Carrie, Mary, and Laura Ingalls frolic down a ...Image via Wikipedia
Nance Shares a Contemporary Little House-like Story

Life Goes On

By Linda Nance

Suspense, intrigue and family highlights Linda Nance’s debut novel as a contemporary ‘Little House on the Prairie’ novel of love, devotion, and inspiration. I was so pleased to meet Linda at my Facebook Reader's Roundup group and learn of her books. But I was honored to know her as an author when I had the chance to read her first novel, Life Goes On.

John and Becky were caught in a financial situation that was one they could not handle themselves. John knew he would not find another job in the city and that he had to do something dramatic--his answer was to turn to a relative--Uncle James, who lived in Arkansas. Becky was shocked to consider not only leaving the city, but to move to the country, and in Arkansas! John explained that he had already talked to Uncle James who had suggested he might find work at a local factory.

Just when Becky was beginning to consider the idea, Donna, Bobby and Stacy came home from school. Neither John nor Becky were surprised at their responses. But this time, John had planned ahead--he had already made the necessary decisions and the family were soon on their way! John knew he had not fully provided the guidance of a father to his family, but now with Uncle James' help, he was firm that he was going to make up for the past.

Soon everybody was adjusting, but the children felt they had been given no choice. Donna called her boyfriend often, Bobby soon was finding that he could find like-minded peers here as well as in the city--those that drank and did drugs. But what they now had was a father who had made up his mind to be more firm and an Uncle who was quite willing to help! They soon had Bobby working with them--at least when he didn't sneak off...

Becky had taken a job at a motel and soon began to see that there were just as many problems with co-workers and strange, potentially dangerous activities there as they had been worried about in the city. But when they discovered that Bobby could very well be right in the middle, the family had to pull together even closer. Even then, death reached out to Bobby and Uncle James who was there to save him!   

Nance has the heartwarming storytelling skills of the creator of The Little House on the Prairie, sharing family love, fortitude, and forgiveness, but adds a contemporary setting where it is no longer safe to have children out with friends where drinking, drugs and sex reach them. Life Goes On reaches out to parents in today's world and shares that hope that still is available when family love is strong and caring. Highly recommended for parents as well as young teenagers who just "don't get their parents!" Linda speaks for many of us who hold on to family values as the way to meet the future! 

Book Received Via
Facebook Reviewers Roundup