L.V. Gaudet is a Canadian fiction writer.
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Smashwords book reviews by L.V. Gaudet
- More Deaths Than One
on Nov. 22, 2012
In More Deaths Than One, Pat Bertram has woven an intriguing tale of what can happen when the wrong people are given control over another’s life.
Our hero, Bob Stark, is mostly notable for his very essence of being un-notable. In fact, he is so un-notable that even the people who know him seem to have trouble recognizing him when they first see him. This very plainness draws you in, making you like him for his simplicity and empathize with him for that unwanted feeling of invisibility that we all share at times.
His ordinariness also proves to be essential to the story. In fact, his very plainness plays you right into believing the possibility of the truth that comes out later in the story. You’ll have to read the story to find out why.
The story starts with the very ordinary Bob Stark having a very ordinary hot chocolate in the Rimrock Coffee Shop, where his solitude is intruded on by his waitress making a rather ordinary attempt at flirting with him.
Unfortunately for Stark, the ordinariness of his life ends there.
Stark learns from the newspaper that his mother, Lydia Stark, has passed away – again. Yes, after burying his mother once already, the woman apparently has died a second time, 22 years later.
Convinced it has to be a hoax, Stark decides to show up for his mother’s second funeral.
All the usual people are at the funeral, friends and family, including Stark’s old college girlfriend Lorena Jones. Stark watches the funeral as an outsider only to find himself with more than one shock. Not only does the funeral appear to be entirely real, the man his old girlfriend is with comes as a big shock too. Bob Stark finds himself staring at none other than Bob Stark. But how can this be? How can he be watching himself at his own mother’s second funeral?
Stark soon finds himself pulled along an inevitable series of events, his newly befriended waitress Kerry Casillas at his side.
Stark’s search for the truth draws him deeper into a web of secrecy, and deeper into danger as the pair find themselves trying to stay one step ahead of someone who seems intent on catching them.
He soon learns that the road to the truth lies in his own past, a past he in part has to rediscover as if learning it for the first time.
Bob and Kerry travel to Thailand in search of answers that lead only to deeper questions.
The answers to the mystery prove to be as shocking as looking at yourself at your own mother’s second funeral.
More Deaths Than One is published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC.
- Indian Summer
on Nov. 25, 2012
Indian Summer, by Dellani Oakes, is a story that would appeal to the younger romance readers. It draws the reader into a world of the past that is not much different emotionally to the world of today. The suspense of the events surrounding the heroine draws you on through a plot that is not over-complicated and is an easy read.
Our story is set in the town of St. Augustine, Florida, which is under attack by the British.
It begins on February 15, 1739. Our heroine Gabriella Deza is a young girl of the tender age of fourteen. She is just coming into age where her mind and heart become awhirl with thoughts of boys and men instead of more childish pastimes.
As Gabriella is approaching her fifteenth birthday, and her big coming of age party, she becomes increasingly intrigued with her older sisters’ interests in men and marriage.
She soon begins to experience the first tingling of sexual attraction and the whirlwind emotions of an adolescent girl that can make a crush drive her mad and bring forth titillating fantasies.
Gabriella is also on the verge of discovering the more mature relationships and romance.
She soon finds herself considering two possible suitors. Dr. James Stevens, a surgeon attached with the fort and an Englishman is the first to show an interest. However, Gabriella’s attention is quickly drawn to the more exciting Manuel Enriques, a man her maid-servant encourages her to stay clear of for her own good.
As her fifteenth birthday draws nearer, Gabriella gets wrapped up in a whirlwind romance with Manuel. The romance becomes almost a torment for her as she finds herself terrified both by her own overpowering urges and Manuel’s passion for her.
However, before that day can come Gabriella’s world becomes turned upside down as the secrecy and intrigue between her father and Manuel deepens, taking her lover away from her for dangerous secret missions for her father.
At last, Gabriella’s big coming out party draws upon her, together with the promise that she will be permitted to marry Manuel. However, the dangerous events come home for her as the fort is attacked and Gabriella discovers the traitor in their midst. Gabriella flees for her life with her heart broken by the knowledge that her lover may be dead. Pursued by the traitor, she finds safety and solace with a new man whose passionate longing for her rivals Manuel’s and soon brings out her own passion for him.
Will Gabriella end up with her original suitor, the Englishman Dr. James Stevens who at first seemed to be the right match? Or will she stay with the aboriginals who took her in, get over her misgivings of betraying Manuel who very likely is dead, and let herself love Sailfish, the tribe’s chief’s nephew and next in line to be chief? And what of Manuel, whose death Gabriella was certain she witnessed but couldn’t quite let herself believe?
While Dellani Oakes stays true to the recipe for romance in many aspects, including the young innocent heroine falling for the older experienced man, she does stray in one significant way. It was a refreshing change to experience a romance where the obstacles involved outside forces instead of the usual emotionally abusive nature of the hero who inevitably wins the girl by treating her badly.
In this story the hero is neither abusive, nor treats our heroine badly at all. This is a true love story where love triumphs over situation and not one drawing on emotional strife to force the couple together.
I would recommend this to any young romance reader.
- Light Bringer
on Nov. 25, 2012
When strange things happen people go to Chalcedony. But what is so special about the little town?
Helen Jenks’ life changed with a drive home on a snowy night. That change came in the form of an infant girl, who she calls Rena, which she finds abandoned on her doorstep.
It becomes immediately apparent that Rena is not your usual kind of abandoned-on-the-doorstep baby. There is something special about the child. Helen soon finds herself living on the run with the child, but on the run from who or what?
And that is where her story ends and the real story begins.
Philip Hansen opens his door to unexpected guests, Agent’s Derrick and Hugh from the National Security Agency. Philip immediately suspects they are there to discuss the books he’s been checking out at the library. He sounds borderline crazy-guy conspiracy theorist, but Philip quickly shows himself to be no crazier than anyone else who thinks aliens are visiting Earth.
With a little help from an unlikely source, Philip escapes the two agents, who aren’t who they claim to be, and finds himself drawn involuntarily on a path not of his choosing.
Becka Johnson, baby Rena grown up and with a new name, returns to Chalcedony thirty-seven years after her adoptive mother found her.
Becka has decided it’s time to find the answers to her lifelong questions that center around “who am I?” And she believes those answers can be found in Chalcedony, Colorado where her life started on a snowy night on a stranger’s doorstep.
In a financial bind, Jane Keeler finds herself in Chalcedony searching for her sister George Keeler. Instead of finding her sister, she discovers an empty house, ransacked office, and abandoned car.
Georgy’s apparent wild ways make things difficult for Jane as she finds herself drawn by the need to investigate this mystery and learn her sister’s whereabouts. Only no one seems to believe her or to even care.
When the trio converges on Chalcedony with no knowledge of each other, things immediately take a turn for the strange.
Philip Hansen arrives to find himself thrust into the arms of Becka Johnson, literally, when he’s dropped off at her doorstep.
Things soon heat up for Philip and Becka when the strange things happening to each of them grow in intensity with their proximity, leading them forward on an adventure of discovery.
Jane is pulled into the strange events surrounding Philip and Becka, finding herself drawn into the midst of a bigger mystery than she’d anticipated.
In Light Bringer, Pat Bertram weaves a fascinating tale of a group of people connected by events in the past, beginning before they were even born, who are inexorably drawn together for the culmination of what was started so many decades before.
In drawing out the strange events linking these three, I also had the impression that the small town of Chalcedony, Colorado hides other secrets that could very well find themselves revealed in another tale entirely unrelated to this story.
- Carpet Ride
on Nov. 25, 2012
Newlyweds Sam and Lynn Stanley embark on a cross country RV honeymoon with Lynn’s young son Andy. However their trips turns more eventful than they bargained for when they suddenly find a barely passable mountain trail blocked by what appears to be a large roll of carpet.
They have no choice but to run over the object, sending them out of control as Sam narrowly avoids sending them careening over the cliff to their deaths.
As Sam gets out, shaken, to investigate the object they ran over the reader gets the first hint there might be more to this scene than meets the eye.
Arriving at their new home, they find a police car waiting in the driveway for them. Officer Jenson of the Oregon State Patrol has already contacted Lieutenant Banyon to bring Sam in for questioning concerning their accident. Sam goes with the officer, leaving his new wife and her son to unpack.
At the police station Sam learns that he is being accused of running over a person in the road, is possibly facing charges, and there is no sign this carpet ever existed. The victim’s car, a Ford Taurus, was discovered at the scene with a flat tire and open trunk, suggesting that Robert Riddlin may have been walking in the road looking for help when Sam ran him down.
But how could this be?! There had been nobody in the road! Sam was sure of it!
From there things get stranger. Sam’s wife suffers an accident that could have killed her and he discovers strange coincidences that leave him certain someone is trying to kill him.
Sam’s friend John Canton goes to Boulder, Colorado to investigate the strange events from what him and Sam think is the source, the victim Robert Riddlin. There, he finds himself any ally in Cynthia Kildeer, Robert’s administrative assistant.
The two investigate, but seem to find more questions than answers.
Meanwhile, at home Sam tries to keep himself and his new family safe, finally falling on his wife’s old friend Martin to provide a safe haven, who we later learn has secrets of his own.
You quickly find yourself asking questions. What really happened to Robert Riddlin? Who is trying to kill Sam and why? Will they discover John’s deception and come after him too for play amateur sleuth?
Norm Brown takes you on a carpet ride of suspicion as you find yourself suspecting everyone who is deeply involved until the truth finally plays out at the end. This was an enjoyable read.
While the end comes as no surprise, all the hints were there, it is not so obvious that you figure it out halfway through the book.
I would have liked to get more explanation behind the whole Robert Riddlin affair, however there are more mysteries to the story than that, and Riddlin is more of a driving force to push the story forward and not the reason Sam and Lynn have been chosen to be pulled into their situation.
- Daughter Am I
on Dec. 29, 2012
In Daughter Am I, Pat Bertram has created an entertaining tale of friendship, discovery, and mystery filled with diverse characters who are instantly likeable. Not only does she bring to life the past world of the gangster era in the current age where it is mostly forgotten, she also reminds us through her elderly cast just how closely linked the past and present really are.
Mary Stuart received a letter from a lawyer that would change her life. She learns that not only did her parents lie to her about her grandparents having died many years before, but also that those grandparents have just passed away and left her everything.
She immediately learns that her grandparents were murdered!
Driven by curiosity and perhaps a sense of self loss and the lack of direction her life has, Mary is drawn into the intrigue of finding out who these people were who her father denied her for her whole life, and the possibility of solving the mystery of their murders.
Mary begins to follow a trail she picks up at her grandparents farm, one that leads her back through their life by finding people who had once known them and finds herself travelling with an unlikely group of relics from a past era. Each stop they make in the search for truth ads another elderly person to her crew. They seem more interested in breaking the boredom of their lives and the excitement of sneaking off on a road trip than anything and yet hold the key to the secret of her grandparent’s murder.
With colourful characters, leftovers from the long gone age of the gangsters, including Lefty, Teach, Happy, Lila, and more at her side, Mary finds more than just answers. She finds more questions and love, and a direction for her life.
Daughter Am I is published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC.