I was hooked in the Prologue, and I knew right then that I would enjoy this book. The characters are well-formed, with faults and strengths as real pe...moreI was hooked in the Prologue, and I knew right then that I would enjoy this book. The characters are well-formed, with faults and strengths as real people have. The action begins quite quickly, while Pat Tierney is still reeling from the disclosure that her daughter Tracy has 'come out' and moved in with her partner Jennifer Collins, or Jamie as she chooses to be known. Now suddenly the whole world seems to have turned upside down as the police call to ask for Tracy, and because she loaned her car to Jamie, they are both immediately considered 'persons of interest' in a murder case in Braeloch, some miles north of where they live in Toronto. To make matters worse, Jamie has disappeared but Tracy's car is still at the scene. Because Tracy has been told by police she can't leave town, Pat finds herself in Braeloch, meeting Jamie's mother Veronica, a good thing because after talking with her, Pat finds she is now able to put Tracy's life choice into perspective. But she is unable to locate Jamie and fears something has either scared her off or something has happened to her. She is absolutely sure Jamie is not a murderer. This is bolstered after a chance meeting with an old friend and confidante, Sister Celia, who knows Jamie and also knows the victim well as an employee at the Church.
Pat, a financial advisor, comes up with a plan thanks to her employer at Norris Cassidy, and positions herself at the newly opened branch in the town of Braeloch. So begins the search and chase, the sleuthing to find a killer...and hopefully Jamie. But murder is not the only thing that Pat will find taking her attention and threatening her family. Will she be able to work out the numerous oddities that turn up? Rosemary McCracken's writing is descriptive, the camaraderie amongst many townspeople brings Pat comfort and some of the unusual characters bring some humor and pathos to the mix. An interesting storyline with surprises in store for everyone.(less)
Seventh in the Booktown Mystery series, several changes are in the works. There are surprises in store as th...moreReview based on Advance Reading Copy (ARC)
Seventh in the Booktown Mystery series, several changes are in the works. There are surprises in store as the Chamber of Commerce prepares for elections, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas holiday events, keeping the shopkeepers hopping preparing for the hoped-for onslaught of holiday shoppers. With only three people running for Chamber president, it would be easy to think this would not take long, but once again a body has been found by Tricia, and it's the body of Stan Berry, not the most popular man in town, but one of the candidates.
Tricia's life is getting very problematic, aside from the obvious effect from discovering yet another body and the number of events calling for her attention. Her relationship with Chief Baker would seem to be on the skids if it weren't going downhill so slowly. She is thinking of calling it off altogether. At the same time, her ex-husband is in town and seems determined to reconcile. Will Chief Baker wake up to the fact he is losing her? Will Christopher's tactics, telling the villagers that they were thinking of reconciling actually work? And what about the new man in town? Is he a suspect or can she trust him?
Life is as much of a tangled web as ever for Tricia and is taking a toll on her. A meltdown is in the offing, but with Angelica running for Chamber president, Ginny getting married with Tricia as one of her bridesmaids, a murder to solve, and her assistant, Pixie, determined to dress the store up for the holidays, can the meltdown be avoided? Another wonderfully full throttle Booktown mystery with never a dull moment and an ending that took me completely by surprise, Lorna Barrett's cozy series never disappoints. Delicious recipes included. Book due to be released in July 2013.(less)
You don't just read a Tardif book, you live it! Awesome.
From Whale Song to Children of the Fog, Cheryl Kaye Tardif has consistently taken us on many...more You don't just read a Tardif book, you live it! Awesome.
From Whale Song to Children of the Fog, Cheryl Kaye Tardif has consistently taken us on many exciting journeys. Different stories, but always with something new to learn, a fact I enjoy. Now suddenly we find ourselves immersed in her latest book "Submerged." Once again she allows us to get to know the new characters then plunges us into terror and keeps our hearts pounding. There are many heroes in this book, including a very convincing ghost, and hints of other paranormal activities.
Rebecca has no idea she has anything to fear. All she wants is some peace of mind, a couple of days of rest and solitude away from home as she waits for her husband to sign their divorce papers. A small hitch in her plans when her sister can not keep her children for the weekend means that she will have to take them with her.
"Submerged" dishes up a dash of reality, some pinches of the paranormal, a splash of romance and mixes it into a heart-wrenching terror-filled plot that will have you on the edge of your seat. Will the broken "superhero" Marcus arrive in time to save Rebecca and her children? Is it possible to find a new beginning after deep trauma and guilt? You don't read a Tardif book, you live it. With a deft hand she has us caring what happens to her characters. A taut suspenseful plot to rev up the adrenaline.(less)
Based on Advance Reading Copy (ARC) Third in the Victoria Square Mystery Series, this book does not disappoint, in fact if anything, it surpasses with...moreBased on Advance Reading Copy (ARC) Third in the Victoria Square Mystery Series, this book does not disappoint, in fact if anything, it surpasses with a mysterious fire and death in Artisans Alley. As Katie's mind races between one suspect and another, one victim and another, the reader is hard put to try and outguess the protagonist. With her keen sense of intuition, she needs to talk her ideas out with someone. What a time for Detective Davenport to retire! So many loose threads, but who is holding the winning one, the one with the right answers? Why did two men disappear at the same time, with one body left behind at Artisans Alley? Katie has two many suspects and too many victims. But Detective Davenport does not go lightly into the sunset but is actively hoping to solve this last case before his official retirement date and time. Who died in the Wood U fire?
Another thorn in Katie's side, she has once again seen her dreams of owning the Webster Mansion to a new buyer. Turning to Seth, her lawyer friend, she finds no answers but more questions, but on meeting the new owners, she finds that they have a lot of ideas similar to her own, and even better, she really likes them. But can she part with all her stored treasures she bought in anticipation of turning the house into the English Ivy Inn?
In this sizzling early summer heat, tempers flare, strange things are happening at the Alley, and the air conditioner is ill-equipped for both the extreme temperatures and the size of the building. Going home at the end of the day to her room over the pizza parlor is no better. Emotions run high, and dealing with Ida's frustrating personality has driven her to remove her from the Alley. A decision that will come back to haunt her.
Once more Lorraine Bartlett has given us a very hot mystery to keep us guessing. A large part of the charm of the Victoria Square Mystery Series is the camaraderie shared by so many mainstays in the series, and that charm continues. Well-written as always, introducing new characters and perhaps a new direction, this book will certainly keep our brain cells cooking! With Katie's mind going in so many directions, there are twists and turns galore.(less)
I am quite enjoying the Colt O'Brien series. He is now in college on a scholarship. He must work with the computer support group fixing computers as a...moreI am quite enjoying the Colt O'Brien series. He is now in college on a scholarship. He must work with the computer support group fixing computers as a part of his scholarship, which to him is an ideal chance to learn more technology. He is in a relationship with Amy, and his best friend Bobby is his room-mate. What could possibly go wrong? He will find out soon.
Colt discovers that his boss in the computer group is out to get him on the sole basis of the fact that he doesn't do Unix. Gerry is so pro-Unix that he is going to be on his back and overloading Colt by making him the sole responder to Microsoft issues for the college. This leaves him with precious little time for studies and Amy. Then he realizes that Bobby has dropped so far into the party mode that he is becoming an alcoholic. In other words, everything seems to be going wrong.
With good and knowledgeable friends to turn to, especially in his psychic visions and working under serious stress, the rapidly moving events are offset in some areas. In others, Colt is at his wit's end trying to cope. This series, with it's fascinating blend of technology, psychic awareness and mystery is a winner. Colt O'Brien sees the light in many ways and he certainly does grow up fast. This book is no exception, George Cole has done it again with tension and drama. This well-written, informative Young Adult book touches on many issues college freshmen could come across.(less)
Interesting memoir of a Hippie, inside out Douglas Williams begins his memoir somewhere in the middle, describing life as a hippie at a time when so ma...moreInteresting memoir of a Hippie, inside out Douglas Williams begins his memoir somewhere in the middle, describing life as a hippie at a time when so many young people slung on their backpacks and took off for the quest to live life wild and free, travelling through Europe mostly, some dipping into Africa and Asia as well. He has described the scene of the counter-culture life of the '60s well, both good and bad. It may be symbolic that he next reverts to his childhood memories in the second part of the book.
Living rural near a small town in post-war Canada, his parents immigrants, life was loosely structured but strongly disciplined. The author bares his heart and soul in this memoir. We see a slice of life in what could be referred to as a border town on Lake Erie through the eyes of a child, then through his teen-age years. His honesty is "no holds barred" about himself and the lack of adjustment to the times in a small town.
His father's death when Doug was 7 profoundly affected him in numerous ways. The most consistent theme in his life appears to be his creativity, whether it be in ill-chosen exploits with school friends, or the creativity that comes through during the 1960s, it remains central to his character. By the time the '60s are in full swing, he lacks a close family relationship and is ready for his journey abroad.
As he tours several countries, intimate encounters, and whatever drugs come along, his descriptive writing gives the reader one man's record of a unique and surprising decade. He makes fairly lasting friendships regardless of the nature of his meanderings through time and place. This decade is forever etched in the minds of anyone who lived through it, whether in the counter-culture or away from it, it was a stupifying time filled with change. A time of living music speaking to a new generation.
This book reflects the changes in the traditional mores, beliefs, politics, drugs and sex, a book for those who will remember the distrust, unrest, the revolt on rigid morals, religion, war and corporate greed driving political agendas, and as such is definitely an adult book. The book is true to itself -- Doug Williams kept a journal which is probably why he was able to write so comprehensively on his subject. We learn that among the spaced out, starving, and sharing, there is also humour. Travelling with friends in a malodorous, airless, traditional old VW van is often hilarious. In keeping with his creative side, he touches on his occasional forays into the film industry while in Europe, a stint at a film school in London, England, discussing with the reader his thoughts on movie-makers and their impact on him. Among those movie contacts he mentions are Truffault, Kubrick, and Hitchcock, as a few.
For readers who were not around during what really begins in the 1950s through into the '70s, this book is an eye-opening trip, both in hippiedom and in the aftermath of WWII, segueing into the fear and adulterated suspicion of the Cold War and on through the biased Viet Nam war. This book deals primarily with those fast-changing decades.What he writes in this memoir is baldly honest. What you read is what he is.
As a descriptive and thought-provoking author, I suspect we haven't heard the last of Douglas Williams. But whether his next book will be about the industry of film making, the National Film Board, TV directing, producing and writing, or more travels, we will have to wait and see. Regardless, I'm sure it will be interesting. (less)
Many people will find this book relate to them in some way. Who hasn't lived with or known someone with dementia or alzheimer's and seen all sides of...moreMany people will find this book relate to them in some way. Who hasn't lived with or known someone with dementia or alzheimer's and seen all sides of this insidious illness? The protagonist and sometimes narrator, Stacey "Shakespeare" Williams a.k.a. "Shakes," is on his way back from Denver to the old family farm and his father. A quirky cast of old high school friends come back into Shakes' life when he arrives too, both helping and hindering.
His father is living by himself and as Shakes will find out, no one is checking on him. Though he is remarkably able to fix almost anything and is very precise in engineering, he is likely to ask in the midst of putting together amazing pieces of equipment he invented in the past, "Why are we doing this?" Of course, recent memory is what goes first, the past is the present.
The book takes us through the humour and pathos of alzheimer’s...the brilliant flashes of recognition, the sad demise of the person you once knew. But as Gregory Hill demonstrates in this exceptional book, though occasionally crude yet more realistic because of it, he shows that there is still a person there, and we can still learn from him. Although the book is fiction, I feel that the adventure was real. Well, maybe not the airplane but it sure was fun. I identified with this book in so many ways, as I'm sure other readers will, too. Shakes has anosmia and describes it well. This hit a chord as I'm an anosmiac, too (read the book).
The ending is reminiscent of old slapstick movies like the Keystone Kops, or the Pink Panther, but satisfying in a way. Hilarious and gut-wrenching, very well-written story. Gregory Hill has taken to heart the old adage of "keep them guessing."(less)
Love spans from life to the hereafter, hear her, feel her
I feel comforted having read this winsome story of a family who has suffered too many losses...moreLove spans from life to the hereafter, hear her, feel her
I feel comforted having read this winsome story of a family who has suffered too many losses at once. A tale of 3 sisters who have lost their mother too soon, a marriage that failed too soon, a sister who left behind her 2 sisters too quickly, and a son with a father who doesn't know he is one. Now suspend your disbelief for a moment and relish in this imaginative story by Ann Axisa.
Bonnie is living in what she calls "halfway heaven," a place to learn and adjust, a place to watch over loved ones, and sometimes even interact with them. She is being mentored in this place that is neither here nor there by her spirit guide, Robert. Bonnie is able to communicate with her sister Laura, but not sister Mia, although before long she will feel her touch. She is seen and heard by her 3 year old son, not as unusual as one might think. She left so quickly she is confused and angry. She attends her own funeral and is amazed at the wonderful comments she hears. Over the next little while Bonnie pays a visit to Max, her son Sam's father. Max, totally taken unaware, is able to both hear and feel her. Bonnie has to learn if Max will take an active part in Sam's life. She has a plan.
This is a delightful story about a subject we all fear. Under Robert's tutelage she is granted a few moments to visit her mother in the spirit realm, partially to help her with her anger at being dead with no place to call home. I really enjoyed this very different book. It touches on several subjects with lightness and some levity. With no time frame given between Bonnie's death and the final outcome for all, it may seem that some things happen too quickly in relationships. But fear not, all is as it should be.(less)
This was a wonderful read! Even without the mystery, sleuthing and unique manner of deaths and attempted murders, I was fascinated by what I learned a...moreThis was a wonderful read! Even without the mystery, sleuthing and unique manner of deaths and attempted murders, I was fascinated by what I learned about oil paintings, by newbies and the old masters alike ... how paints were made, detecting forgeries, techniques, styles and more. Jean Sheldon's research into all types of subjects never fails to amaze me.
On the other hand, the crimes committed and how they were carried out are compelling and complicated. It seems like what could be described as a relatively straightforward mystery becomes a full-blown investigation that takes many twists and turns. Rayna Hunt, a somewhat uncomplicated individual, a brilliant artist who is thwarted by a horrific injury to her hand is the main character. Once she overcomes her frustration, fear, and depression, and finally embraces the use of a prosthesis, she trains to paint again, her character blossoms and she takes on teaching painting. Her class of seniors and troubled teens become the family she misses, with her daughter living in New Mexico. Rayna still has issues with self-esteem though and a very patient Paul, director of the Stratford Art Museum, waits in hope of a return to the relationship they had prior to her accident.
The characterizations in this book are so much fun yet realistic. The unity built between the seniors and the teens is wonderful to watch and they soon become a team with the purpose of keeping Rayna safe when she unknowingly becomes a target while embroiled in a police investigation. As an expert at discovering forgeries, her life is seriously threatened but who is responsible? Is it her beloved friend Paul? Why is she a suspect? How did so many paintings get switched in several different museums? It's not as though you could carry one in under your arm and replace the original hanging on the wall.
I am quickly becoming a huge fan of this author who can write such good mysteries in so many different styles. With several people involved in the crimes, the detective Diane Parker, Rayna and her art class involved in trying to solve the crimes, this book is a great balance of friendship and criminals. Fun and sometimes grisly at the same time. As the only member of my own family who can't even draw, I thoroughly enjoyed my romp in the art world. With Jean Sheldon's ability to bring a feeling of comfort in the midst of chaos, I loved this book.(less)
Excitement and chaos reigns among Kelly Flynn's familiar and friendly group in Fort Connor, Colorado. Their good f...moreReview based on Advance Reading Copy
Excitement and chaos reigns among Kelly Flynn's familiar and friendly group in Fort Connor, Colorado. Their good friends Megan and Marty are getting married and Kelly is in the wedding party. Megan has everything under control down to the minute. The dresses are gorgeous and ready, designed and made by Zoe Yeager, a local seamstress, assisted by her sister Vera.
Zoe is friendly and creative, but she has a secret. Zoe suffers from spousal abuse, hiding her bruises and nightmarish life from the world. This all-too-familiar scenario is discovered by Kelly and her friends, who try to help her make the decision to finally leave Oscar, her husband, and go to a shelter. When she does call her friends and tell them she is ready to leave they make plans to get her out of the house quickly and secretively. With shelter volunteers keeping her away from her husband, her friends feel she should be safe from danger, but is she?
Though Zoe's problems put a damper on the friends' spirits, they pick up the threads of their plans. When Zoe is found dead of a single shot to the head in the church parking lot, everyone immediately turns their radar toward Oscar as the murderer. There seems to be no question about it, but questions have a way of turning up strange things. Kelly and her friend Burt get to sleuthing quickly when other suspects for the murder come under scrutiny.
Meanwhile, Megan, organized as always yet easily panicked in unforseen changes, has been feeling confident that all is in order for her wedding, when her sister announces she has become pregnant and needs her dress adjusted. Prior to starting her own business, Zoe had worked for Leann O'Hara, long-time local seamstress. Fortunately, Leann steps in to help with the adjustments, another problem solved ... or is it?
Maggie Sefton writes with the ability to bring her readers right into the lives of her main characters, and this book is no different. The warmth and camaraderie is engaging and shared. With a permanent cast of this size, I appreciate the Cast of Characters page in each book. Kelly's sleuthing methods are definitely a part of her personality and with the help of retired police detective Burt and his buddy on the force, everything comes to a satisfying conclusion. In this, the 9th book in the series the conclusion satisfies in more ways than one. Knitting pattern and recipes included. 4 1/2 stars(less)
Don't let the title fool you, this is a story of relationships, but it is also a legitimate murder mystery served up with inter-active humour, sometim...moreDon't let the title fool you, this is a story of relationships, but it is also a legitimate murder mystery served up with inter-active humour, sometimes quirky, sometimes laugh-out-loud, sometimes with snappy wit. There are many different relationships between mothers and daughters: love, pride, disappointment, competition, among others. This book has them all.
Imagine the insecurity and fate of a young woman who has not quite found her niche in life. Now imagine her mother, a famous soap opera actress, strong, confident, and not 30 pounds overweight. On the other hand even she, Ava Gerard, has her own fears to conquer...she has never won an Emmy! Here we have the basis for the relationship between Heather McPhaul's two main characters. Still, many can relate to at least some aspects of these relationships.
Leann Conklin has a difficult time with her many choices of work, but has finally found the one that at least has one customer. She is on her first day as a private investigator and is hired by the wife of a supposed cheating high-profile husband, Joseph Marlens, to take photos of night-time activities in his office where she believes he is having an affair with his new secretary, Brenda. No problem, a handy perch, perfect view to take the photos that very night, but they only appear to be working, nothing more.
After work, Marlens escorts her to her cab then returns to his own car and is immediately shot to death! Oh, oh! Looks like another short term job for Leann. But wait! Why is her picture plastered all over the news? And just who is this cop that keeps showing up everywhere? Surveillance or something more sinister? She wasn't even there when the shooting happened, but now she must either run for her life or wait for the murderer to catch up with her.
Heather McPhaul has a wonderful quirky style of writing. She can switch locations and personalities at a moments notice without losing the plot. This book gives her plenty to work with as naturally, the plot is about to thicken like glue! But this is where our perception of the mother-daughter relationship alters. They actually not only work together, they work well together and the humour flies. Fast paced, with an actress in the mix, the book is given a lot of opportunity to entertain. The mystery and the chase to keep Leann from being arrested or killed covers a lot of ground quickly. The story spins out in rapid speed to the final confession.
Loose ends are tied up, but there seems to be a possibility of a man in Leann's future, even the possibility of a partnership of some type, whether it will be romantic, friendly, or working relationship remains to be seen, but sounds like a good deal to me. However, we will have to wait and see if anything comes of it. For now, we will have to just sit back and enjoy this attention-grabbing book and leave the rest to chance, or to the author.(less)
I began this book in an erroneous state of mind. I was sure I was reading non-fiction, but no,...morePublished by 529 Publishing Reviewed for Review the Book
I began this book in an erroneous state of mind. I was sure I was reading non-fiction, but no, this book is a novel, in fact it is Ryan Frawley's debut novel. It must say a great deal about the author's ability when the reader can err between fact and fiction. In my own defense, there are several passages that were obvious and deliberate fiction. Regardless, this is an exceptional story from the mind of Dermot Fallon, a man who has the ability to keep a journal illuminating the mind of a schizophrenic, a man who is suffering from and hospitalized with schizophrenia. His psychiatrist collaborates on the story which has been written in journals he has provided his patient with to put down his thoughts and memories. The results have been outstanding.
Reproduced from Dermot's own writing, the psychiatrist's footnotes help sort the story out. The storyline by its very definition of mind fracture would be difficult to write, but handle it Ryan Frawley accomplishes this complex story very well. This is the first time I have felt the stirring of understanding schizophrenia, and just how rampant this particular disease of the mind or psyche is. Dermot is a patient in Riverview Hospital, a real mental health facility near Vancouver, BC. I was born and raised in Vancouver, which makes me feel almost as an onlooker of important tragedy in this large city.
This is a very powerful book. It is well-researched and portrayed. Reading the book brought me through pain and elation, through Irish mythology and human relationships. Partway through the book, I began to notice a puzzle. Not the obvious coded puzzle that is a part of Dermot's history, but a puzzle for the reader to solve. This was very interesting to me, a little bit of mystery in the mix. What does this mean? Well, that I am going to leave up to future readers because I will not give it away, if indeed there is anything to give away. I do believe I am right, though, and it will be interesting to see if other readers feel the same. A fascinating, frightening yet entertaining book overall.(less)
There are so many people in this world carrying far more baggage than their emotional stability can handle. This fragile yet entertaining story of two...moreThere are so many people in this world carrying far more baggage than their emotional stability can handle. This fragile yet entertaining story of two such strangers and their journey is a realization that there is life after the death of the soul.
We meet Rhianna, a palliative nurse, orphaned at birth and suffering a series of abuses at the hands of her foster family. She is beautiful, caring, has much love to give, yet burdened with her past. She has been hired to care for an elderly but rich patient with approximately six months to live. Their relationship grows much like that of father and daughter, and as a gift to Rhianna on her birthday, he sends her on a vacation near the Bahamas to Angelina's Island. A vacation that turns out to be more adventurous than relaxing.
Here we meet "Tyler", the reclusive owner of the island and so-called resort, also heavily burdened with secrets from the past, abandonment and betrayal. Their first meeting is definitely not pleasant. His only contact with the outside world is the arrival of his supplies by the captain of a solitary boat a few times a year, and that is how he wants it. Unfortunately, to make room for Rhianna on the supply boat, some boxes had to be left behind. One of these boxes contains the only method to contact anyone in case of emergency, parts to repair the all-important long-range radio telecommunicator, and the boat will not be returning for several weeks.
The story is anything but maudlin, though. It is exciting, fun, irresistible in its telling with both characters feisty and entertaining. The book is both heartwarming and electric. I absolutely loved this book! Cherish D'Angelo aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif has a knack of inviting the reader into the lives she writes about with such depth, and the locations with such clarity. I am totally immersed in the story.
Jonathan Tyler's wife abandoned him and their very young daughter, Misty, as soon as she learned the child was deaf. Once Rhianna learns of this she offers to teach Misty ASL, which she had learned when tending to one of her patients of the past. Misty is the magnet who draws these two lost souls together as they share the bond of love for this young child. The housekeeper and her husband have already noticed the sexual tension between the two, but what our two main characters assume may be lust, the others see as love. The relationship requires trust, something neither feels confident within themselves to give.
Over their six weeks of isolation and no contact with the outside world many discoveries are made between the two, their perceptions subtly change, and Rhianna reaches a point where she no longer wishes to leave the island. At the same time, she still feels the need to return to her patient JT. Yet, new information comes to light about JT Lance, which threatens the whole relationship, also putting Rhianna in extreme danger. Will there ever be true happiness for either Rhianna or Jonathan? Can the past be mended? Whatever the outcome, the reader can be assured that the story will be captivating.(less)
I found this to be a very unusual book, a fairy tale in concept perhaps, bringing to mind thoughts of Cinderella, maybe even Sleeping Beauty. I loved...moreI found this to be a very unusual book, a fairy tale in concept perhaps, bringing to mind thoughts of Cinderella, maybe even Sleeping Beauty. I loved it. A revelation in a way. Part pathos, yet very funny, with magic thrown in for good measure.
Our heroine, Josey, daughter of the very rich but deceased Marco Cirrini, is a perfect example of the way some people live their lives demoralized, feeling unworthy of anything better, and basically isolated from their surroundings. She lives with an adversarial mother who expects Josey to wait on her, stay home always, be available whenever she wants her, yet doesn't really like or want her. What happens to these people when something in their lives changes? How wonderful it would be to have something vastly out of the ordinary open a whole new life. This, then, is the basis of the story.
Sarah Addison Allen has an inimitable way of looking at things, a superb imagination, as in her debut book Garden Spells. In The Sugar Queen, she has changed direction while maintaining that bit of magic and illusion found in her first book.
Josey is approaching thirty, living with her mother in the luxurious home her father bought when he made his fortune building the ski resort that made the town the place to be in winter. Making up the third person in the household is the housemaid, of unknown nationality, but a woman full of superstition. Josey's only pleasure in life is found behind a false wall in her closet where she stores "lots and lots" of sweets, romance paperbacks, and travel magazines. One winter morning she finds something else in her closet: an interloper, Della Lee Baker, the hard luck, tough-talking girl of the town and about as unlike Josey as she can be. The last person in the world Josey would think of as a fairy godmother. But Della Lee is about to change Josey's life, with or without her consent or knowledge of her machinations. The interaction between these two is funny and perceptive. The housemaid, Helena (or is she?), is sure something bad is in the house and casts superstitious spells around the house, adding to the fun.
It is difficult to review this book without spoilers, so I will cut to the chase. Through Della Lee, Josey meets several people, some good, some bad. She learns to make friends, especially Chloe, who needs Josey as much as Josey needs her, but neither are aware of it when they meet. She learns how to live outside of her own imposed isolation. What draws these three girls together? Why is Josey able to feel such an affinity with them as she becomes more familiar with them? There is action, danger, mystery, and many secrets to be revealed as Josey begins to open up to the world. Why is Della Lee still living in her closet? What is the big secret surrounding Josey?
If you liked fairy tales as a child you'll recognize some similarities, but this is not a fairy tale, much as it contains what appears to be magic. This is a story of life and living it, not wasting it. Great fun, but there is truth in the overall picture of how people's lives can become so mixed up and self-damaging. But like a fairy tale there is a happy ending, although tinged with sadness. I really enjoyed the trip through Sarah Addison Allen's imagination once again and look forward to more.
Being burned is a very tragic event, especially when it is a baby who is badly burned, even through the efforts to keep this to a minimum by her father who is also burned. A tragedy which could so easily happen through a brain focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time. An overtired brain, a stressed brain, or in this case, a distracted brain.
The big game is on TV and Jim, the father, is baby-sitting his nine month old daughter, Anna, who is currently sleeping, to give his wife, Sharon, some time out with her friend Katie. When he hears Anna fussing, he does all the right things, cleaning her, changing her, and putting her bottle on to warm. What he doesn't realize is going to change all their lives in the next several minutes. A gas explosion is going to set the house on fire, not a small fire but a raging fire. Jim's efforts to get the baby out of her crib are next to impossible. The crib is burning and as he tries to bring her out avoiding the worst of the flames surrounding her, she falls through the side of the fiery crib. He does the right thing to try to protect her, stumbles outside and passes out.
When Sharon arrives at the hospital she learns both that her husband will survive, but Anna has been so badly burned it will mean a long recovery at best, but they don't know at this point if she will survive. Though the doctor does not want Sharon to see her at this time, she absolutely insists, and this action will clinch the effects that soon will engulf the whole family. Sharon will soon turn her back on her husband and they will be separated. The stage is now set for the mystery part of the book.
J.A. Nevling certainly knows how to write emotion. He also knows how to write a sequence of awful proportions in a way that the reader knows what is going on, but is not horrified to the extent that he/she will find the book so upsetting it will be impossible to read further. The reader instead will stay focused on the story as it unfolds and will have trouble putting it down. This book is meant to be read. It will be emotional by its nature, but there is so much more than the fire and its results. Once Sharon has moved away, Anna is going through her various treatments, and Jim is dealing with his feelings of guilt, remorse, and the loss of Sharon, the mystery portion of the book begins to unfold.
Sharon has found a small apartment and a good job at Prescott Industries, a new life she can not quite separate from the old. When a marriage is based on real love, it doesn't separate easily. Yet soon it becomes apparent that a transition has happened in Sharon's personality. She can't understand it, she often sleeps too much and feels strangely different. She seems to lose time, her ability to focus has changed, and she has some memory lapses. When she is run off the road as a car rams her from behind, she begins to feel someone is out to kill her. The detectives she talks to have some doubts but decide they should look into it. This is a real mystery, and there are several suspects, but the ending is shocking, and at the same time satisfying. This book is a definite adventure in reading. It speaks to the fallibility of people, love in its truest form, runs the gamut of several emotions, and is well worth the read. I enjoyed the book, which seems strange in light of the difficulties involved, but that is how well-written it is.(less)
I went into this book thinking it might be lighter reading, somewhat like a fascinating cosy, but immediately found out how wrong I was. Fascinating, yes, but this plot is much more sinister, a significant, fast-paced thriller. This story has a deadline which must be beat! An arrogant, self-centered sensational reporter, Suzanne, with her own show, Judgment Day, is about to find out she has taken on more than she can handle. Somebody wants her to meet her own judgment day.
Teens are disappearing, most of them runaways who presumably won't be discovered as missing. Is there any connection? Her boyfriend has just been killed while driving her car. They traded cars for the day because he was worried she would have an accident, and he wanted to take it in to be checked out. Somebody is trying to kill her.
Who wants her dead? The father of her boyfriend? The senator she has been investigating? The Reverend she has accused of building his mansion with church funds? The District Attorney who is in such a hurry to prosecute her? Or maybe it's the widow of the school principle her allegations caused to commit suicide. Suzanne has been arrested for a murder she didn't commit. Her rich father has posted bond and she is back on the prowl for information.
Only one thing is sure, she is onto something, but since she hasn't been doing her homework, sensationalizing her accusations to boost her ratings without proper authentication of her facts, she doesn't realize what she has. Her lawyer knows he needs good investigation if he is going to win her case. Enter her ex-fiance, now a private investigator, and his suspicious female partner who knows their romantic history from the college they all attended. Marcos and Alexandria (Alex) suddenly find themselves baby-sitters, while trying to learn what is happening to the missing teens and if they are truly missing or just hiding. Their assistant Razz, a technical whiz who can achieve amazing results, starts digging to find out why the D.A. is in such a rush to get the murder to trial.
Everyone involved is fighting demons of their own, but somehow they must keep Suzanne safe and find out who is framing her. She certainly does not understand what she has done, how much damage she does with her lack of attention to the details of truth. She constantly takes chances as though she is immortal.
Lots of action in this book, and with so many possibilities for suspects, there are lots of red herrings, but are they really? Or is every one of them involved? This is a good storyline, up-to-date, and a fast read. I found the book intriguing and the more I read, the more I needed to. My attention was held all the way through. It is not just a case of who and why, but how many are involved. The character of Suzanne is pretty straightforward. We do get to learn what drives her, though, which gives the reader a different perspective from that which runs all through the book. Razz is a likeable character even while dealing with the death of his wife. Marcos and Alex are great characters I'd like to meet again. They work very well together.
Wanda L. Dyson has produced a great plot, involving a totally unexpected crime that is current, and delivers it with aplomb. There is in this atrocity more than the usual known facts about the dangers to teen-age runaways, and a lot more money can be made. This is a plausible, newer hazard, and profitable to people with the right connections and lack of principles.
Published by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking Review based on Advance Reading Proof
A wonderfully well-written, psychological thriller debut, one that just cr...morePublished by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking Review based on Advance Reading Proof
A wonderfully well-written, psychological thriller debut, one that just cries out to be read and discussed. A perfect choice for a book club. Although I found it a bit disconcerting with early chapters switching between then and now, it is really just an essential hiccup in the storyline. This ploy simply increases the building suspense as the story unfolds. Watch out for author Erin Kelly, she has thrown down the gauntlet and intends to stay around for a long time!
An unusual storyline from the voice of the protagonist, Karen Clarke, the characters with their many differences are well-drawn and continue to grow throughout the book. Take a young normal girl who just happens to be fluent in several languages and throw her suddenly into a completely different society and what is she to do? Her meeting with Biba opens a whole new world to her, one she is not only introduced to, but embraces wholeheartedly. In 1990s London, the beautiful and vivacious Biba lives her life fully and dramatically, essentially the actress she wants to be. When she meets Karen, the straight-A student of linguistics, she brings her to her home, a very run-down yet exotic house of many characters, some of whom live there with Biba and her brother Rex. Soon Karen is a constant visitor.
The book begins near the end, then switches back to this carefree and exciting life, time and time again. We learn of old secrets that have a distinct effect on the brother and sister, and later newer secrets come between them. Karen can not tell her story alone without telling the story of Rex and Biba. Their lives and stories are tangled as one. These three are the main characters, but there are more roles to be played by lesser players. Still, they are all bigger than life and all play their parts boldly. The story unfolds between this wild beginning, fraught with suspense and lies, racing toward an unknown and unexpected tragedy. Clues and portents are sprinkled between these carefree days of one summer, building and building to an excruciating level. Murder, prison, life, loss, all wrapped up in one great read. Descriptive, alluring, and definitely atmospheric, characteristics run the gamut from innocence and trust to parties, drugs, drama, sex and lies.
This is not a book one can easily review without spoilers, mostly because of the way the book is written with all its portents. That said, the ending is shocking and yet feels right. Once read, the reader will understand what I mean, but earlier in the book he/she may not. This is an exceptional start to what I believe to be a long run for this author.(less)
A very creative and enjoyable first novel, Rod Hoisington has created a complicated whodunit with red herrings to spare. At the basic root we have the...moreA very creative and enjoyable first novel, Rod Hoisington has created a complicated whodunit with red herrings to spare. At the basic root we have the remaining two members of a family, a brother and sister, who have had no real contact since the day their parents died several years ago. In fact, sister Sandy is living her well-ordered life quite satisfactorily, thank you, doing legwork for a highly respected law office. A late night call brings her brother Raymond back into her life like a slap in the face, she has all but disowned him and the call is like a blast of ice. He is calling from a Florida jail in a small town, with a murder rap hanging over his head. Sandy is determined that in no way is she going to help him, she is still too angry about his lack of support for her when she needed it.
A quick look at the News, and she starts to get second thoughts. Too many questions, Ray is not the type to murder anyone, much less a high-profile Senator. Confusion reigns as she arrives to find her brother being railroaded through the system so that State Attorney Moran can win a famous trial whether his "held in custody" suspect is guilty or not. Moran is ignoring the many other possible suspects and zeroing in on his target, creating a case for conviction. A stranger in town? What a break for him, everyone will hate this guy Ray for assassinating their Senator!
From this point on, there are misunderstandings, misdirections, underestimations, especially underestimating Sandy, a pit-bull in a sexy body. Ludicrous statements and outright lies are flying everywhere. Not only are there lots of twists in the case itself, but in the many strange relationships that show up here and there throughout. This book is written almost tongue-in-cheek and I loved it. It grabs hold of you early on and you can't get away from it. The action suddenly takes off with a few diverse leads and builds very quickly toward the final setups, lies and implausibilities that give the reader a sense of fun and satisfaction as the story finally wraps up all the loose ends, finding more to deal with than meets the eye. I will definitely be looking for another novel by Rod Hoisington!(less)
A very entertaining treasure hunt and thriller, somewhat reminiscent of the "Sisterhood" series by Fern Michaels with its mixed group of heroes. Jean...moreA very entertaining treasure hunt and thriller, somewhat reminiscent of the "Sisterhood" series by Fern Michaels with its mixed group of heroes. Jean Sheldon has written an adventure based on legend and history from the invasion of the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s and the discovery of a journal presumably dated from 1539.
The reader is brought into the story very quickly with the abduction of Jacqueline Tracy, who has unwittingly purchased this journal at a book auction because she liked the carved leather cover. She has a tendency to forget about auction purchases until they are delivered and so is unable to tell her kidnappers where the journal is.
Jackie's friends, almost all middle-aged including Jackie, soon realize she is missing. The police won't do anything until there is more information, so the women turn to Jackie's friend Nicole, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Little do they know the abuse Jackie is going through, nor the kindness of one of her captors, a giant of a man.
Her group of merry girls manages to rescue her, but they are incredulous when Jackie hires Chuck, the captor's 7'4" assistant, to be her bodyguard, and she won't take "no" for an answer. She is sure he is a good man and didn’t want any part in the kidnapping but had his own reasons for being involved. What impressed her was his kindness and his assistance in helping with her escape. Their group now numbering six including Jackie's Aunt Beth and Chuck, starts trying to sort out what the kidnapping was all about. While Jackie was away, a parcel that had been overlooked in a delivery truck finally made its arrival, and of course, it is the journal being sought after by somebody pulling the strings in the background regarding Jackie's kidnapping. Someone with a great deal of money and a ruthless greed.
Gwen, a psychiatrist in their close-knit group of friends, is able to translate most of the ancient Spanish, touching off a decision to go to New Mexico. Several things happen that hurry them on their way. Our modern group sets off on a vacation which, though exciting, is not at all the kind of excitement they expected or wanted.
There are several interesting characters in this book, not all in a good way. Our motley but hardy crew is made up with Jackie and her adventurous aunt Beth. Beth Tracy has raised Jackie in Chicago from childhood, the city where all their friends live, but still maintains the house in New Mexico where Jackie lived before her parents died. Pat, whose partner recently died, lives with her cat Zodiac above the bookstore Jackie owns. Nicole, the P.I., Gwen, the psychiatrist, and Chuck, Jackie's new friend, bodyguard and excellent cook. Then there are the "bad" guys under the thumb and threat of one psychotic "Conquistador".
This book surprised me. I learned some history along the way, the legend of the "streets paved with gold" as understood from the journal, that middle-age can be exciting, loyal friendship is a wonderful thing to have, and when you are being chased by a madman always watch your back! Ms. Sheldon has mixed adventure, terror, history, and the beauty of New Mexico into a story I didn't want to put down. The characters, even the worst of them, molded a certain fascination into the story. I feel with these characters she has the makings of a series, though I have no idea if that is in the author's future. She has written a variety of books and possibly prefers stand-alone stories. I want to keep my eye on this author's output, I'm sure it will be interesting.(less)
A fabulous book for young and old, as we find ourselves back in our childhood right away. What wonderful memorie...moreAbsolutely love it! Great family book.
A fabulous book for young and old, as we find ourselves back in our childhood right away. What wonderful memories this book will bring to those fortunate to have known a grandmother like Grandmom. The story really belongs to a three year old girl named Raelyn but her Grandmom always calls her Sammie because that's what she thinks is more to her personality. Sammie narrates the story with a beautiful innocence and brings back all the magic we adult and even many teenagers have left behind us. I am so pleased to have the opportunity to read the book. With a title like "A Hot Dog Stand in the Himalayas", what else could I do, I knew I just had to read it. I think it was calling out to me personally.
Anyone who has heard the haunting sound of a whale's song will never forget it. So it is with this story, mystical, honest, haunting and wonderful. So...moreAnyone who has heard the haunting sound of a whale's song will never forget it. So it is with this story, mystical, honest, haunting and wonderful. So emotional in fact, that I am writing this review while my eyes are still damp with tears. Tears of joy, tears of sorrow, and a great feeling of enlightenment and belonging. The rich blend of lifestyles from the prairies of Wyoming to Vancouver Island's rugged west coast in British Columbia, both very remote, brings together a family who have never seen an ocean to the very shores in their new home, and a traditional indian family whose roots go back many hundreds of years. The area around Bamfield is largely populated by the Huu-ay-aht Tribe and the warmth of the people represented in this novel is passed on to us in a way that feels personal. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you moved me. I read this straight through without setting it down once.
The story begins with Sarah, an eleven year old girl, learning that her marine-biologist father has been offered an opportunity he can't refuse, nor wants to, to live and work near Bamfield for a couple of years. His artist wife, well-known for her paintings of the plains will have the opportunity to paint different scenes in their new home. Sarah of course does not want to move, her best friend is here in Wyoming. However, at eleven one has little in the way of choices. But Sarah has no idea how much her new home will change her life. Though well-populated with many full-fledged characters, this is really Sarah's story.
If I take nothing more away with me from reading this book, these three alone were worth the read: live life fully; "forgiveness will set you free"; know when to let go. Of course I loved many things about this book, and it deals with many subjects that afflict peoples lives today. [On a personal note, I mean no disrespect when I refer to our native people as indian. As a Chief once told my husband when he asked what he wanted him to call him, he said to call him an indian, the government made him an indian when they created the legislation in the 1800s, and they call themselves indian because why should they keep changing names, because someone tells them to?:]*
Very soon after arriving at their new rural home, Sarah meets Goldie, her neighbor who is indian and also eleven. They become the best of friends and very soon both families become as close as non-family can be. Goldie's grandmother Nana, regales the girls with many legends, and yet it seems that she is tapping into something that Sarah is thinking or troubled about. I know, you are wondering about the whales. Sarah had been warned by her parents never to swim past the float because a young boy had tried to swim to the nearby island the year before and drowned. Sarah soon hears from Goldie that she believes her brother is now an Orca (Killer Whale) and swims nearby so she can talk to him. Nana narrates the legend to the girls later and Sarah then understands what Goldie was talking about. Sarah's mother and Nana have also become good friends, and incorporating something of the legends in her newer paintings have given her even more notice for the mystic quality they present.
When school starts, the girls find they are in the same classroom, and sit next to each other. But trouble brews for Sarah in a case of racism and bullying all through the first year. All is not terror for her though, as she becomes popular among her classmates and has also caught the eye of a popular young boy Adam, causing her to giggle and blush every time he looks at her. Goldie tells her he is part Haida, part white. A field trip on the boat Sarah's father does his research on brings a great windup to the school year. They are all mesmerized by the sounds of both fish and whales after Sarah's father drops the echolocation microphone into the water and turns the volume up so all can hear. Adam in particular looks toward his future as he learns as much as he can from Sarah's father.
The book takes place over approximately 13-14 years and there is so much to tell, but I will not plant spoilers. I have left a large part of the book undiscussed. Let me just say that this is one book I am thrilled to have had the opportunity not only to read, but to feel. It is as though I was dropped into the mind of Sarah and existing within these pages myself, feeling every emotion. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you are an inspiration! The version I am reviewing is an ebook, and is more recent than the original printed book (I chose the pdf file and printed it because I don't have a reader). This book should be read by everyone, perhaps a little too sad in places for young children but definitely for 12+ because some of the lessons learned, almost by absorption, are particularly applicable to that age group. For the rest of us, we are never too old to learn something new, and sometimes you can go home again.* *This review is written by a Canadian reader, reference to legislation is Canadian(less)
I love this book! Valerie Connelly has an impressive imagination full of mystery and wonder that keeps the reader enthralled throughout. From gritty...moreI love this book! Valerie Connelly has an impressive imagination full of mystery and wonder that keeps the reader enthralled throughout. From gritty Chicago to the jungles of the Amazon, this book takes on a life of its own, and what a trip!
Two strangers, talented but unsuccessful in their lives, are "hired" individually to perform their music once a week at Rita's Bar. Emily provides vocals with guitar and Dan is a pianist. This is their first performance and the place is packed. Unknown to everyone there, the Grim Reaper is waiting in the wings. Terrorists driving a car bomb for reasons we are not yet privy to, are about to come crashing through the front window. Only two survive the horrendous blast. Our newly introduced musicians are found alive but unconscious. Rita has disappeared and no one knows if she was vaporized along with all the patrons, or left before the bomb detonation. No bodies are ever recovered.
In another part of the world, not far from Belem, Brazil, an elderly chief of the Tokablaki tribe is about to partake of a ritual which will return him to his earlier vibrant self. A form of rebirth, a kind of fountain of youth. This ritual had been passed on through the ages, and soon it will be his "Sacred Night". This ritual will involve the retrieval and ingestion of silt, Algala, from the bottom of the Amazon River. I like to learn something new in books I read and found the chapters about this ritual and its beginnings fascinating. Do I know if this really exists? No, but then this story is tagged a fantasy. Regardless, the author has given this part of the tale a plausibility and a sense of possibility bathed in tribal hierarchy, and therefore it plays a major role in our developing story. Certainly there is factual information mixed with the fantasy.
Shifting back to our two survivors, they have been hospitalized in the same room and under constant surveillance. Emily is the mother of two girls and Dan is the father of two boys. It is decided for the present the four children would be best served by keeping them all together in a foster home while their individual parents either come out of their coma or pass on.
There is so much happening in this book all the way through. Even with three stories weaving in and out, it keeps the reader riveted. No one realizes that Emily and Dan are together in their comatose world and are trying to unravel puzzles in order to get back to "save" their children. There is some mysterious substance found in their blood, unidentified. No one knows if this is compromising or helping their chances of survival. Emily's 16 year old daughter Miranda holds part of the key, but no one is listening to her.
Meanwhile, back in the Amazon jungle, many changes are taking place. The "business" that has been going on undetected for so long is in extreme danger, a type of danger that could mean death to our two unwitting protagonists, Emily and Dan. The Amazon tribe who have been using Algala for so many generations and whose secrets were used to create this life-giving drug, are all killed. Suicide bombers seem to be reaching out everywhere, and there is no hint of who is controlling them or who will be the next victim(s).
At the hospital, Emily and Dan appear to be losing their battle, they both seem to go through each step together. With so much going on in the book, it is difficult not to give too much away in a review. The tension which started the story has been building steadily, each bombing bringing a new flood of anticipation and fear to the characters and Ms. Connelly has a knack of transferring that anticipation and tension to her reading audience. The various threads running through the book create their own kind of tension and bring together all the elements in the end, leaving the reader with a feeling of closure and relief, and yet is it the end? We are left with tantalizing possibilities in the future as the few survivors of the Tokablaki tribe hide in the forests of the Amazon.
This was definitely a thrilling ride for me, with lots to keep me interested quite aside from the mystery and thriller components. A complicated story that's easy to read, a difficult and unique challenge to an author and with Valerie Connelly at the helm, we ride out the tumultuous waves to safe harbor and enjoy the sail.(less)
If I were to consider this book as a person, I would have to say it was warm and comfortable, like enjoying a friend's company. But first, the reader...moreIf I were to consider this book as a person, I would have to say it was warm and comfortable, like enjoying a friend's company. But first, the reader learns that life for the characters hasn't always been that way.
Sara, the main character, has just caught a glimpse while driving home of someone she thinks could be her long-missing and presumed dead husband. Her daughter on the same day, coming from grocery shopping is sure she has seen her father. Sara has never gone into details with Emma about what happened before his disappearance. The first few chapters are the memories of Sara as she reminisces about the past. Her life in Milwaukee, her childhood, her part in the family brewery, and her failing marriage.
Fast forward: With a rocky and unhappy background set at the beginning of the book, the story moves on as the reader is taken into the workings of the brewery owned by generations of Sara's family, and her life as a middle-aged businesswoman. Her daughter grown, a lawyer, and married, Sara has settled into the daily life of president of the family business. Although this is a city brewery, the camaraderie throughout of the employees and board is much like a small family-run atmosphere, but as often appears in every group, with the traditional prickly thorn. This particular prickly thorn is a family member, and also on the board.
Nancy Gettelman obviously is very knowledgeable about breweries, the descriptions so vivid I could almost hear the bottles rattling! I love books that are entertaining but where I can also learn something new.
But time works its way into the building and equipment rendering them gradually no longer viable, and after the long haul, Sara and her Uncle Vincent have concluded they must sell the brewery they can no longer afford to maintain. Into Sara's life comes a reason to be happy again and perhaps find new life along with the changes that are about to happen to the brewery. Changes that are more than satisfactory to all but the thorny dissenter, who opts out by selling his shares and retiring to Northern Wisconsin.
I love the way the reader is privy to the thoughts in Sara's mind, often at odds with what her words are saying. Particularly once she meets Robb Schneider, who has made a very good offer on the brewery, and still wishes to have the family involved. Only now does Sara appear to wake from the nightmare of her unresolved marriage and what has happened to Kyle, her former husband. Like moving into a new dream, she suddenly finds herself lacking confidence in her personal life, shy and afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing or sending the wrong message.
With encouragement from family friends and relatives, including her daughter Emma, she feels a great load has lifted and happiness can be hers. With an unexpected resolution, an announcement from Emma, an answer to the glimpses of Kyle, and new beginnings for Sara, she looks forward to a brighter future as she is finally able to put the past behind her.
The book is well-written with fully-fledged characters, a strong, balanced plot, and a consistent storyline. It flows very well regardless of jumping about 20 years ahead partway through the book; in a way it flows better because of this and the way it was handled. It's so refreshing to read a book of this type with the main character middle-aged, strong yet vulnerable, and with an exciting future ahead of her. Full Circle gets the story right, well done Nancy Gettelman!(less)
Marian K. Volkman has written and illustrated a beautifully imaginative scenario with this book. We have no problem with trying to learn to communicat...moreMarian K. Volkman has written and illustrated a beautifully imaginative scenario with this book. We have no problem with trying to learn to communicate with other cultures, and even imagine what it might be like to communicate with beings from other worlds, but how often do we think of those other worlds as being right here on Earth?
A fable in the true sense of the word*, the story is introduced by a turtle, named Turtledove for the benefit of humans who think every being should have a name. Turtledove speaks of a time when dreamtime, in winter for turtles during hibernation, became shared dreaming, inter-species, in this case with a specific group of dolphins. The dolphins in turn have been sharing dreaming with other aquatic species but required a species both aquatic and land-going to bridge a gap to humans, hence contact with the turtle.
Whimsical and thought-provoking, inspiring in it's creative message, Turtle Dolphin Dreams was originally written in 2005, but with recent events it may hold even greater meaning here in 2010. The reader is taken through metaphysical voyages of delight, a balance of nature, while remaining earthbound but connected. A truly unique book with several messages presented, a journey worth taking.
*Definition from About.com, fable: A short allegorical narrative making a moral point, traditionally by means of animal characters who speak and act like human beings.(less)
I find it incredible that this is a debut novel, it is so well-written. Mara Feeney has written a wonderful novel...moreRankin Inlet, a Novel by Mara Feeney
I find it incredible that this is a debut novel, it is so well-written. Mara Feeney has written a wonderful novel taking place in a part of Canada few people know about. The characters and descriptions of life in Rankin Inlet are so real that it is difficult to realize this is a novel and not a true story. Ms. Feeney has personal experience to draw from. The book is written with a very compelling knowledge of life in the isolated north, and no doubt at least some of her characters are based in some small part upon real people, or a combination of individuals she has known or met. To this Canadian reader I felt a connection to this far northern village through this book.
The story begins in 1971 when our heroine, Alison, comes from Liverpool, England to be a nurse in this remote location. After waiting for weather to clear she is on her way north in a small plane flown by a bush pilot, arriving in a village that looks completely alien to her.
The book is written as a diary by Alison, some pages devoted to the stories of the patients themselves, some to the families of patients. The stories are told in the voices of the characters. Historical and accurate, this is the first book I have read of this particularly remote area and am very glad I did. This is a delightful read with the characters bringing us from the old ways via a grandfather talking to his critically ill daughter, and later to his grandchildren. The novel continues to update right through the creation of Nunavut, the newest of the northern Territories of Canada in 1999.
The "first hand" stories of the entire family of Nikmak, the grandfather, give the reader insight impossible to get without an actual non-fiction biographical work. When Alison marries into the family we really begin to see the changes as they occur in the lives of the Inuit. Using the true Inuktitut words in many cases adds to the authenticity of the book. Although explained as the words are first used, there is also a glossary at the back of the book.
It is a tale of hardship, family, lifestyles old and new. The coming of electricity, skidoos, and finally television and computers, while still trying to maintain some tradition in their lives becomes more difficult as time goes on. Children in the old days were sent away to school, later they were able to be schooled in Rankin Inlet. Many of the Inuit children are now able to go on to university in Manitoba and become a part of the evolution of the north while trying to protect the rights of the "people of the land". Alison's own sons and daughters become very active in the environment, the growth, and the government of Nunavut.
I would definitely recommend this book to any age group as a glimpse of the Arctic and its contribution to the development of this country, to the mix of ethnicities of Canada, and among the first peoples of Canada.(less)
Despite the title of this book, it is primarily cheerful, with an undercurrent of mystery surrounding the stran...moreOf Ghosts and Magic by Alfred M. Albers
Despite the title of this book, it is primarily cheerful, with an undercurrent of mystery surrounding the strange disappearance of a Vietnam vet 26 years previously. Alex Holloman had returned home after his stint in Vietnam, but lost his parents in a horrible freak accident a few months later. After celebrating New Year's eve with his cousin Stella Noone, he walked out into the night and simply vanished.
Stella and Alex had been very close. Both were also close with his best friend, John Michaels, the three a tightly knit group. John was also a Vietnam vet who had returned several months earlier and became over the next few years a world-renowned magician. Alex's disappearance made an incredible hole in the lives of both Stella and John.
When John receives an invitation in 2000 to their high school 30 year reunion, he immediately calls Stella. Over the years he was touring with his magic show, he had gradually been in contact with her less often. The reunion is the link that begins the chain of action, renewal, and reconnection of friendships. It is the catalyst that begins the search for Alex.
Alfred M. Albers has written a wonderful book of relationships and how they work or don't work, as well as a very interesting glimpse of magic from the inside out. John is asked to bring his magic act out of retirement as the main entertainment for the reunion.
The storyline is unexpected and great to relax with in a comfy chair; the portrayal of the people of New York was a nice surprise from the overtly rude citizens often portrayed in books.
The reunion itself brings happy memories to this reader, memories so often shared at these events and the wonderful camaraderie that ensues. The magic show is a huge success and the evening ends on a very high note.
Unexpectedly, this was not the end of the book. The author still has more to say, but it is far from a letdown. This is the point at which relationships become a major factor in the story. Misunderstandings, psychological effects on the Vietnam war survivors, especially those who suffer further trauma after returning home, as so many did, tie up the loose strings into a neat package.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It kept my interest, taught me something about dealing with depression, a little bit of magic, and the difference friends can make in one's life.(less)