L. A. Wright
L.A.Wright is an avid reader and writer. Growing up in a family of nine, stories were always welcome and expected. Besides working on her novels, she writes book reviews for her own blog as well as Blog Critics and The Romance Reviews.
L.A. Wright lives in the great Northwest with her husband.Besides burning a candle at both ends and keeping up with her interesting family, she does a fine job of showing a composed facade to those who do not know her. Reading and writing are her main passions in life, outside of her family.
Splintered: Sierra's Legacy
by L. A. Wright
Born an orphan of three worlds, Sierra learns of a rare magic common to only one race. Even there the magic is unique and she must learn how to use it to save a world on the precipice.
It is up to her to find two others with similar magic and backgrounds born for the very task of saving the Splintered worlds from ruin. Can she live up to her destiny and find the others in time?
The Hidden Will of the Dragon
on Sep. 18, 2010
Article first published as Book Review: Hidden Will of the Dragon by Charlie Courtland on Blogcritics.
As Lady Amara's illness continues to worsen, the shortness of time drives her to finish the ledger she has promised Count Drugeth. He has only recently sought her out in in effort to know more about his family and the history that plagues them. Only now as she looks back, writing and reflecting on her life as the ladies maid and confident of Countess Bathory, does the time seem right to set to paper the truth of what really occurred, both the joys and the horror. History would remember Countess Bathory as the Blood Countess and one of the fist women serial killers in written history, Amara would remember her as a friend.
In Hidden will of the Dragon, Charlie Courtland takes you back to the late 15th and early 16th century where women were unable to inherit and were traded in marriage in order to improve the coffers or standing of her family. Marriages were set up as business propositions and women had no choice in the matter. The same is true for Elizabeth Bathory, and because her husband is a soldier she is sent into isolation in the Hungarian countryside to reside in Cathcice.
The descriptions of the day as well as the characters pull you in and you feel the hopelessness and despair, almost as though you were there in that time and place.
Lady Amara, her friend and companion is with her through everything, a constant in her life that is so rare. I was initially fooled by Amara, thinking her to be that friend and confidant that would be the strength to deal with Elizabeth’s demons. I was disappointed to find that Amara not only had her own demons but that she was pulled into some of Elizabeth’s madness as well.
Charlie Courtland has taken a time and event in history and put a story to it that would rival the actual events. She takes the reported facts as well as many of the rumors of the day and spins them into a story so believable that is could be the true events as they transpired.
This story is not for the weak of heart as there is much madness and despair. Be prepared to be sucked into the story and become a part of it. You will see the blood spatters and will feel the actual weight of the horror as it unfolds.
I would recommend this book with the understanding that it is not lighthearted reading. I believe it would be great for a book club or a reading group. There is a great deal of information that would be interesting to discuss.
on Sep. 19, 2010
Article first published as Book Review: Immortal by Lauren Burd on Blogcritics.
Alina's day is just getting worse. First there is getting home from her dad’s place in California. Flying is unnatural and Alina is absolutely terrified when in the air, so to keep herself distracted she tries reading but can not keep her mind on the book. As she hears a commotion at the front of the plane she spots one of the most entrancing guys she has ever seen. His eyes are a deep ocean blue and he is well built. He ends up sitting just opposite of her on the plane. She finds herself constantly looking at him, as if!. If that was not bad enough, when her mom picks her up at the airport and takes her home, she finds everything that belongs to her packed up in boxes and ready to be gone. Knowing she would be moving out for college was one thing; the coldness of the actual event is another.
On her first day of class, the guy from the plane sits next to her. He attracts attention like a flame attracts a moth. She studiously looks away but sees all the other girls watching. There is something about him... something different. It is during class introductions that she learns his name is Samuel. Just being next to him in class keeps her heart racing, making it impossible to concentrate on the assignments.
In her second class as she is waiting for the professor to show, she hears a wonderful, deep purring voice, asking if the seat next to her is free. She finds herself sinking into a pair of incredible green eyes, belonging to an exceptionally attractive guy. He too seems to have that certain charisma, which has every eye turning his way. But he appears to have eyes just for her. He introduces himself as Duncan as he takes the seat next to her. She can feel him staring at her through out the class and she is not sure how to handle the attention.
Each day is a new struggle for her, as Duncan is steady in his pursuit, while she can tell that Samuel likes her as well, he is more standoffish. For some reason she is more drawn to Samuel, although both of them are extremely handsome and charismatic. Duncan chooses to get close to her through her best friend Tabby, but in Alina’s world that makes Duncan off limits.
As Duncan sees her interest shift directly to Samuel he takes a risk and reveals his true nature to her. He then gives her the background on both himself and Samuel, thereby also revealing Samuel's secret. His goal is to direct her feeling back to him by revealing Samuel's dark past. Little do they know that this knowledge has put her in imminent danger.
As I began reading Lauren Burd’s Immortal, I was initially disappointed that it seemed to be following in the path of the Twilight series. We have these handsome guys, they have that certain something, a charisma that attracts, and Alina, our young heroine is a pale, brooding girl who somehow seems to be extremely attractive to them, more so then any other.
What sent me in a different direction, was that Alina actually has some very close female friends that will do anything for her. In return she is also very protective of them. As the narrative continues, Alina finds out that the guys are both vampires, and that they have a story from their pasts that puts them at odds with each other.
Lauren Burd has developed a group of very likeable characters. Alina really cares about her friends and puts their feelings ahead of her own. While she moves too quickly into decisions, this also makes her very much like most girls her age. She is brave and a bit foolhardy. Tabby, her best friend, makes herself available for Alina at every juncture. We should all have a friend like her. Samuel, while very aloof is also quite tender and fierce, while Duncan reminds me of the many jocks I knew growing up, he thinks he is wonderful and that everyone should fall at his feet, but at the same time he seems to really care about Alina, so it is hard not to like him.
Immortal was enjoyable for a light read with some fun and danger thrown in. The characters were good but seemed to grow as the book took a turn and developed a unique storyline of its own. Anyone who loved the Twilight saga is sure to enjoy this book.
While it begins much like that series I think you will find as you read further it changes gear and goes in a whole different direction
This book was received a a free copy from the Author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
The Ghost Of A Flea
on Oct. 18, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010The Ghost Of A Flea By John Brinling
Article first published as Book Review: The Ghost Of A Flea by John Brinling on Blogcritics.
Life for Roger Davis is mundane, he works a job that sucks the energy from him, he is married to Natalie, unhappy with how their love has warped since marriage, and one of his best friends Gideon, while a great person to talk philosophy with, has a keen and cutting mind, and a way of making Roger feel very small.
As he spends his usual one night a week with Gideon, defending his life and defending his wife, he is ready to snap. Gideon seems to see this and changes direction with their conversation, talking about all kinds of nonsensical things. He finally brings out a small panel, painted in tempura, asking Robert what he thinks of it. Robert is about done, feeing that Gideon is again setting him up, but Gideon just replies that the painting is a copy of one hanging in London, and is called The Ghost of a Flea. As Gideon tries to get Roger to relax, he invites him as he always does during their weekly meeting, to have a smoke. Tonight Roger finally gives in. He has never smoked marijuana before in his life, and he is amazed how calming it is.
Life as he knows it has just changed for Robert. All of a sudden things begin to happen. He hears conversations that are not happening, he loses things, but when he looks again they are exactly where he thought they should be. He gets called into a meeting by one of his work colleagues, and when he shows up no one else is there. When questioned, his friend knows nothing about a call. He initially wonders if it is a side effect from the marijuana but when he discusses it with Gideon he is assured that it would not affect him in that way. Here he also meets Peggy Curtis, a good friend of Gideon‘s, a very attractive woman that actually comes on to him. He is worried and frustrated unable to understand the mind games that he feels are being played on him.
Then his friend Gideon is found brutally murdered, shortly after Roger has left his apartment. And as he tries to figure out the pieces, he runs into Peggy again. Not sure what her part in all of this is, he is distrustful, but she knows so much of what is happening. As they work together to find the clues, at every turn, someone they have been close to or in contact with is found murdered. And who do they go to; even the police seem to be involved? Natalie, his wife, has gone off the deep end, she has moved out of their home, but even then Robert can not go home, he is now a suspect. As his friends are murdered, a young girl is kidnapped and he is now on the run for his life.
He has been cut off from everyone he has known and his only ally, Peggy is possibly at the root of everything happening to him. Who does he trust and will he be able to find Cathy, the young girl in time. He holds the key to it all, a puppet on the string, dancing in what ever way he is directed. But who is the puppet master? He is known only as the Clown. In this fast paced story of greed and murder, will the winner take it all?
This is a well written, and fast paced book. The Ghost Of A Flea is full of surprises and constantly keeps you on your toes, wondering what will happen next. Peggy is a strong heroine, while Roger is a very weak counterpart. As the story progresses he gains strength and confidence and actually seems to enjoy some of the action. The characters are well developed and written with exacting detail. It is easy to see them in your mind as the action takes hold. As the plot thickens it gets a little confusing, as almost every one that Roger runs into is suspect. Are the police on the take? Who do they trust when every were they turn there is murder and madness? Roger tries to steer clear of the danger but when everyone and every thing he holds dear is threatened he calls on his strength and cunning to find the mastermind, because only then will all be made clear and the madness find an ending. John Brinling veers left, then right, and then somewhere in the middle in this madcap game of suspense.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves suspense and mystery. Be prepared to be surprised and on the rollercoaster ride of your life. The twists and turns keep coming and it is anyone’s guess where it will all turn out. And really, in the end, it is a love story of note. Not everything is as it seems.
The Girl Who Ran With Horses
on Dec. 30, 2010
Article first published as Book Review:The Girl Who Ran With Horses by David Michael on Blogcritics.
Stevie Buckbee dreams about horses. She is just thirteen and has been living with her Aunt and Uncle in the city, going to school. She is ready to go home and spend time on the ranch with her beloved horses. Things have changed so much in her young life. Her brother Edwin was killed the prior year. Just thinking about it brings on tears. Then her mom left, leaving her and her brother Blake with their father on the Horse Ranch. These are really the situations that have brought her to this place and she is ready to be home, on the ranch and with what is left of her family and horses.
As she finally reaches the area of ranches near her own home, she feels an odd feeling, as though she is being watched. Looking out the window, she notices that the horses are all looking at her. At first that seems silly, but as she continues passing the pastures and farms, the horses are all looking her direction, their heads turning as the car passes by, keeping their eyes on her until she can no longer see them.
When they finally reach McAlester, she forgets about it as she sees her brother Blake waiting for her. They have always been close and she runs to hug him. Her warm hug is returned but she is bothered to find that he has brought his girlfriend Shannon. She is not ready to share her family yet, but what she finds when she reaches the Ranch disturbs her even further.
Her father is not as she remembers. He drinks more and sleeps more, he does not get up as much and the Ranch has gone down hill. There is only a semblance of what used to be, there are even less horses then there were when she was home before. The Ranch is a mess, and Blake assures her that they will be cleaning it up before she is able to do any racing. Even with that, Stevie is happy to be around her beloved horses. What she is not ready for is to find that they can communicate with her. And stranger yet, she can communicate back.
David Michael has taken a time in a young girls life, already rife with change internally. He has added external changes of such disruption and turmoil, that it almost makes the family come apart. With first the loss of her brother in death and then her mother leaving, she is sent off to live with relatives away from the comfort of her family and her beloved horses. Her life is turned upside down.
In The Girl Who Ran With Horses, he has given Stevie something new to believe in. A new kind of belonging, one where she is never left out. She gains control in a way that she does not have in her actual life, a life that is changing, becoming both more and less then it was before. He has built his characters from real life, with both the hurts and frustrations that are often in our every day dealings. Stevie is a fun and loving child out of place, and feeling it, acting out in her own abilities. Both her father and her brother, deal with the life and heartaches in their own way. And yet it takes a very traumatic circumstance to help them draw together and become a family again.
It is a heartwarming book, with just a bit of the paranormal thrown in. The communication she has with the horses is fun and frivolous, and at times painful.
This would be a fun and unique story for the young adult reader. It deals with real issues and problems that face many families, and the pace is steady, easy to follow. A great book for old and young alike.
Dead Man's Eye
on Feb. 17, 2011
Article first published as Book Review:Dead Man's Eye by Shaun Jeffrey on Blogcritics.
After Joanna Raines cornea transplant, she begins to feel hope, the gift of vision from her donor was everything to her. Distortion still blocked her vision but she was continuing with her doctors recommendations, but her vision was still blurry and she was afraid of rejection. It seemed a miracle that she received the transplant after losing her own to Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy. What would she do if her transplant failed? Her fear drove her back to the doctor for a checkup.
As she waited for train, another man, Lincoln Parker, also waiting commiserated with her on the lateness of their particular train. She was having difficulty seeing, getting some halo effect as well as the blurriness. As the man got up and headed to the train, she began to get ready as well. As a stack of luggage fell over it created a chain reaction that caused the man, she had been sitting next to, to fall onto the tracks. As he tried to pull himself out of the way, the train hit him, severing his arm. Joanna’s view of the entire scene was surreal; she could see something shadowy seeping into the body, something dark and creepy, just before the man seemed to come alive again. Was it an effect of her vision, or did she really see something?
After getting confirmation from her doctor that she was doing well, and her eye was coming along fine, she ran into her boyfriend Stephen Cook, also a doctor. As she is speaking with him, they push the man from the train station by her, on a gurney. She again sees the shadow and quizzes Stephen as to what he sees. Stephen does understand, all he sees is a man that lost his arm. She is seeing something else, something dark and disturbing, and yet how can she tell anyone. Who will believe her?
As the shadow begins to take over the consciousness of Lincoln Parker, he becomes a different. Is he still a man, or has he become something more, something dark and deadly, a shadow looking to inhabit the earth again? Can Joanna get someone to believe her before it is too late? Was the gift of the cornea, truly a miracle or was it something more?
In Dead Man’s Eye, Shaun Jeffrey has found an effective form of terror. He has found an effective outlet to create a way to see something that others do not. The story keeps you wondering. Does Joanna really see something, or is she really just adjusting to the new transplant? As people around her begin to die and the shadowing surrounds the newly dead, bringing them back to life, she finds that she is the only one who sees them. Her boyfriend Stephen wants to believe her, but when her friend dies, he turns her over to the police. Only then does he realize that she may truly know something. Can he get her to trust him again, to allow him to help her before it is too late?
This is a good scary story, different and unique. It is fast paced and interesting, with just enough horror to keep you reading, but with a wary eye, making sure the door are locked and the window closed. I really enjoyed the story, but I would have liked to know more about the characters prior to the actual events.
Shaun Jeffrey has put together in interesting scenario explaining the visions. The characters, even without the added depth, are well written, and as sometimes happens in times of great stress, extremely brave in a fool hardy way. If you enjoy spooky, creepy stories, you will enjoy this book. A must have for the spooky aficionado. Shaun Jeffrey is an author to keep an eye on.
This book was reveived as a free e-book from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
on March 20, 2011
Article first published as Book Review: Promise Kept by Brandy Hunt on Blogcritics.
In a history set in 2187, Lila Howell works as an archival historian. She works for the Security ministry, a part of the New Dawn Government also known as N. D. Her psychic abilities as well as her youth in a Crèche make her a commodity. She takes the autobiographies of those that lived through the passing. While the ministry continues to try to manipulate her, she has vowed she will never use her psychic abilities to hurt anyone. Her recent assignment leaves her concerned and confused. It is a bit unlike her previous orders, and signed by three different people, and unusual occurrence.
The woman she is to read is Susanne Newton, a woman in her nineties who worked and helped to found the New Dawn government. Someone is looking for information on the Southern Dragon. This is information suspected to be known by Susanne and is important to someone in the ministry. Lila finds herself intrigued with Susanne from the start. She is charismatic and has lived and amazing legendary life. Susanne is a farmsteader, whose best friend Larissa is with her in the home where she lives. In fact, Larissa has been involved with Susanne over the years, in both fortune and war. The stories from Susanne open her resolve and have her thinking about her own life and relation-ship with her family.
Second-guessing the quest, she finds that she herself has come under scrutiny by the very government she works for. She is being followed and her every move is being questioned. Who is the one known as the Southern Dragon and why would this very entity also aged into the nineties create such and effort at search. Lila finds herself at risk and yet as she continues her job, the more she learns the less she understands. Can she still get the information and protect Susanne, or will she have to disappear before her very life is no longer of value?
In Promise Kept by Brandy Hunt, the story is set in a world far in the future. A future that has changed and evolved over the millennium, and yet the farmer, or farmsteaders are those that maintain their freedom. Part of the change and yet able to withstand the winters and changing landscapes, even now they offer both hope and fear for the masses. Well developed, her characters are endowed with strengths as well as flaws, which draw you to them. They are likable and real, or the alternative, looking out for number one, not caring about others. This is much of what we see every day and it appears as though humanity remains much the same in this futuristic world.
Lila is a young woman with a gift that is valuable to the government. It lifts her from a life of drudgery, which is what many can only aspire too. The thing that the Ministry does not understand about her is that she has a strong sense of ethics. They can only push her so far. Susanne and her life brings out a spark in her that she did not know was missing.
Susanne herself is a wonderful and charismatic woman, a storyteller. But what interesting and amazing stories she tells. It is easy to forget her age as she brandishes her sword and battles the reevers and other dangers in the earlier times. Her friend Larissa is by her in every instance and story, both of them strong and courageous. Something we can all aspire too. The story is interesting and full of love and surprises, with an ending that will invoke envy.
I would have to recommend this book for reading and book clubs. It is both interesting and insightful, a book to grace anyone’s library, especially those that enjoy this genre.
This book was recieved as a free download from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
on March 26, 2011
Article first published as Book Review:Shard Mountain by Joseph Mitchell on Blogcritics.
On his way to prison for a crime as simple as excess parking tickets created a nightmare for Charles Rogers. A computer geek to his bones he still does not understand the process that put him in this place at this time. Along with a few other prisoners and guards his life is about to take a turn into the ‘Twilight Zone.’
The accident came out of nowhere, as the prison van moved to pass a military convoy, a tanker lost control veering into the bus. The last thing Charles remembered was the jarring feeling and a sudden burst of some form of silver liquid covering everything. Hitting his head, he did not remember anything else, never dreaming he slept, unaware of time passing.
Charles first burst of conscious thought came with a painful light. Blinking against the sudden pain, he felt uncomfortable. Hearing a voice, but not understanding the message, he hears that he would be very stiff from the amount of time that passed. Finding a voice that sounds familiar, he finally opens his eyes, only to realize that he is in a nightmare. Some sort of giant pink humanoid creature was looking at him. As he backed up against the bed quickly, a human reminded him to take it easy. Moosh was a friend and had helped to rescue him and his friends. But who or what is Moosh?
The surroundings were unreal, all metal pieces and parts domed off, with wires and technology everywhere. Although is all seemed surreal, he could see the damage to the equipment and lab, which is what they appeared to be in. As he began to get a grip, he saw there were two others with him from the prison van. A young man named Jake and one of the prison guards, Parker Boll. The human rescuer said his name was Brother Kevin and reminded them they must get away. Apparently, Moosh had found this bunker and killed the two mutants that were intent on killing them.
Hurriedly pulling themselves together, this ragtag group of humans with their mutant rescuer prepares to leave the area. Not prepared for the devastation he finds outside the dome, Charles is horrified. The world is not as he remembered it. It is barren and hostile, with one definitive wonder that stood above it all, a mountain of glass. Known as Shard Mountain, it contained secrets sill not known after hundreds of years. Looking again in surprise at Brother Kevin, he finds out that he and his friends have been sleeping for 500 years. The world as they knew it is not the same, it is a dangerous world and they will have to make their place in it.
In Shard Mountain, Joseph Mitchell has fabricated an apocalyptic world. It is full of danger and surprise. Both human and mutants inhabit the earth, but there is more––much more. Charles, Jake and Parker must find a place in this world; most of the cryotes (the awakened) are not so adaptable. Waking in the year 2581 has both its advantages and disadvantages, weapons are few, drugs are easily accessible, transportation is with stagles, and a mind speak exists that only a few are capable of. Having been asleep for all these years our heroes find their minds have been experimented with, but have no idea how.
This is a story of challenges and changes, of finding your place and your courage in a world different from anything you have ever known. It is full of savage predators, mutants, living machines and just about everything you can imagine from an ‘Alfred Hitchcock’ nightmare. The characters are much as you would expect and yet they grow and expand to fit the rising needs. Love is in store as well, and we will follow this group of individuals on their journey to find their place.
This is a novel of extremes, but has a story line quite in keeping with the expectations of those that predict these very things happening. Sometimes fiction is stranger the truth and Mitchell has brought us a world of the future. Come and visit a world that is bold and crazy, but be prepared for a long journey. This book is not for the faint of heart, but is full of incredible experience.
I would recommend this book to the science fiction aficionada. Be prepared as this is a book so filled with story and challenges it is quite long. At over 400 pages, be prepared to bury yourself in time, to dig into the volume of material. It is fun and has vivid depiction; the words transport you to the very time. Mitchell has done a great job of fictional prose, with such remarkable detail as to make you find yourself in this future. Hang on for the ride.
This book was received as a free e-book from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
My Superhero Sister
on April 08, 2011
In the tradition of comic book heroes everywhere, Toni Lotempio has put together a fun and energetic young adult fiction dealing being an outcast in a family of superheroes. Holly Hamilton is a normal young teen and takes after her mother. Now many would not find this to be an issue, but Holly does not live in a normal family. Her father is Invincible Man, an incredible Super Hero. Again, this is kind of cool unless of course your sister takes after that side of the house. In her case, Ellen was the recipient of the super power genetics. Her super name is Suprema. Holly’s friend Mona thinks she is jealous of her sister, but Holly knows that is just ridiculous. I just does not seem fair that she does not have even a bit of superpower herself.
In school, she also has to compete with her sister who is also super cool, even without her powers. She is on the cheer squad, and well-liked by both the students and the teachers. Holly is not good with the same types of studies, but she does excel in science. During lunch, she notices that two new students have started at school. Eddie is kind of a geek but Holly’s friend Mona thinks he is dreamy. Holly on the other hand finds Tad the other new student to be quite attractive. He appears to be attracted to her sister Ellen.
When the family finds out that Anti Hero has escaped Space Station Prison, they are deeply concerned. Invincible Man was retired because during the capture of Anti Hero, he had lost most of his super powers. He had almost lost his life. When a new hero shows up, Holly wonders if it is possible that Anti Hero has found a new way to finish the job on her dad. Can she figure it out before it is too late? Can she, with her scientific mind be the one to save her family?
In My Super Hero Sister, Toni Lotempio has taken a normal family with all the interactions of any that you meet, and yet added another dimension with the super powers. There is sibling rivalry, and jealousy, and yet there is love and caring as well. Holly is a fun character, full of deviousness and energy. Her friend Molly is a great foil to her personality and brings out the devil in her.
Holly gets into all kinds of scrapes, and wants so much to be a part of everything. When she tries to find Magna Boy’s alter ego, she puts herself in danger. Can she find the answers in time to save her father and sister? Will she finally be the hero of the hour?
This would be a fun book for the young adult on your list. It is a cross between a novel and a comic book. It is fun and exciting with characters that have super powers. As usual, they are trying to save the world from evil. It is well done and quick paced. The conflicts and personalities feel like those you find in school and with friends. This is a nice and light read, with a twist of fun.
The Bad, The Good and Two Fly Fishing Women, and a Life-Changing Day on a River
on May 07, 2011
Article first published as Book Review:The Bad, The Good and Two Fly Fishing Women by Randy Kadish on Blogcritics.
Lessons in our youth are often the ones that dictate the path we choose. Everyone has those lessons, either good or bad, but something that shapes our life.
In The Bad, The Good and Two Fly Fishing Women by Randy Kadish, Amanda, an attorney now looks back at the formative years of her life and the special bond that helped her become the successful person she is. Having grown up with her father after her mother left and nurtured by her grandmother, Amanda has fond memories of the years gone by. She often looks back to one special day in her life when many things happened that changed her life forever.
Her Grandparents were avid fly fishermen; her Grandfather had actually died on the pond. Her Grandmother was her confidant and her best friend and Amanda spent a great deal of time with her learning the art of fly-casting. Amanda’s young life changed in an instant when her Grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. She no longer spent her free time on the water fishing she stayed near her sickbed, keeping her company. When her Grandmother gave her, her fly reel and shooed her on her way to more fishing, Amanda reluctantly agreed. She took her beloved dog and spent numerous hours wrestling with the fish. It was at this time she met the fish of her dreams, the one that always got away. The beauty and delicacy of the catch, the danger of losing such a prize made Amanda make a decision, if she could only land it she would let it go. It was about the mastery, and if she were capable of this, she would be forever grateful.
One morning getting ready for school, Amanda was surprised to find her Grandmother up and dressed in her fishing gear. Concerned, Amanda wanted to skip her schooling and keep her Grandmother safe. Laughing, her Grandmother assured her she was more than capable, and as Amanda hugged her to be on her way; she felt the gun her Grandmother was carrying. When asking about it her Grandmother reminded her that a woman on her own could never be too careful. In School, Amada kept thinking back to her conversation, and a feeling that something was wrong. Unable to concentrate and worried now, she leaves her school and tries to find her Grandmother.
It is a day of danger and even stranger happenings. She runs into an old man, down on his luck and a friend of his grandmother, and when Amanda see’s he has her Grandmother’s fishing creel she understands her feeling of dread, why would her Grandmother give away something so dear. Shock and dismay become the tone of the day, and the old man too learns a lesson from Amanda, as he becomes her protector through this dangerous and gruesome day. Can she find her Grandmother before the unimaginable happens? Can a young girl survive the real dangers that lurk in the woods?
Kadish has carved a wonderful story full of antics that any true angler would love. His characters are fun and bold, mercurial and fast somewhat like the fish themselves. Amanda is a brave young girl, searching for a hold in a world that has crumbled. Abandoned by her mother, the only other female figure in her life is her Grandmother. When she is diagnosed with cancer, Amanda’s life further erodes. The fishing soothes her feeling; the continual casting of the fly-fishing that keeps her mind from the worrisome illness of her beloved Grandmother.
Her Grandmother is a wonderful character. She is someone we would all like to know, and she too is knowledgeable about fishing. It is the tie that binds their family. This is a wonder character driven book that just happens to be about fishing. This is a short story, full of bravado and a bit of cunning.
If you love fishing and especially fly fishing, you will enjoy this wholesome family story. It takes you back to a time before innocence is changed and the times where a child is still unafraid to speak their mind.
This book was received as a free download from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
Life Seemed Good, But.... A Collection of Short Quirky Stories
on June 04, 2011
Article first published as Book Review: Life Seemed Good, But... by Richard Bell on Blogcritics.
A group of short stories, somewhat in the style of an anthology, Life Seemed Good But … by Richard Bell is a funny and compelling compilation of stories sure to get you laughing. Reading the first few stories, I was not sure what I thought but as I continued on my journey, I began to see the ties that seemed to connect this set of stories and make it into hilarious continuing work of comedy.
Each of the stories is unique and of itself and yet if you pay close attention you can seem they are not random but very precise in the lineup. I found myself laughing out loud so many times at the different types of word usage and famous sayings that are changed up to fit the story and yet you still get the gist of the original. The comedy is sometimes sophomoric, absolutely slapstick, and while the author states his influences as being Dick Van Dyke, Bill Cosby, and Jonathan Winters, I saw a bit of the humor that would have fit brilliantly in episodes of the Three Stooges.
Throughout the stories, the Mystee Forest figures predominantly, and then our protagonist, whom I identify with the author, seems to find tinfoil some form of safety device. Often wearing a hat made of the material, he has some very ingenious and comedic interchanges with different and oftentimes inventive outcomes. Another quite important part of the story would be the clowns in a jeep that continue to show up periodically, but with their own little piece of the puzzle which usually includes running over or into something. And then there are the potatoes. Whats up with that?
While many of the characters seem to be written with children in mind, the story is not; often they deal with drugs and other formats not particularly suitable for children. Although from the laughter I myself experienced, maybe there is a reason to have characters a child would be attracted to, they certainly held my attention.
If you enjoy humor and better yet, outright laughter, this is an extremely fun and engaging work. Richard Bell’s sense of humor is intact and it seems he is also quite comfortable poking fun at himself as well. This would be a great book for guests, and in fact would be a particular treat for the Dr.’s office while waiting for an appointment, it takes your mind off the mundane and transports you into a sort of cartoon world, a “Calgon take me away” sort of place, where you can be anything you want to be.
This book was received free as a Smashwords edition from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the information.
A View from a Height
on Sep. 11, 2011
Article first published as Book Review: A View from a Height by J.E. Murphy on Blogcritics.
The meaning of life seems so much a part of what we wonder on a daily basis, and is a question that is asked by almost everyone at some point in their life. While there seem to be no real answers, there is always the foray into spiritualism, which seems to give its own form of answers. At the same time, even this sojourn often leaves just as many questions.
In A View from a Height J.E. Murphy takes us into the world of a young woman, Dawn Bang. Born of Chinese decent she has always felt she is different. She could hear things others could not; she could feel the pulse of the world. Living in Hawaii, she is also made to feel different, and as she grows up, she finds it easier to block out the sounds and feelings with alcohol and drugs. Living a life of desperation and shame, she is unprepared for her death when it happens. Taking a stand to save and endangered species as her boyfriend of the time races down the roadway to kill it, she grabs the steering wheel and runs them into a muddy ditch. This however is not the end, it is as she tries to pull herself from the muddy, wet ditch and she grabs what she believes is a branch to help, she finds herself looking down on the crumpled body of a young woman. Even as she watches emergency vehicles show up, she sees that this woman is her, and that the branch was actually a live wire that was knocked down by the impact of the car.
It would seem that this is the end of her journey, yet it appears as though it was not her time at all. As she finds herself in a beautiful place full of love and understanding her fear disappears. This is a place of transition, but she is made aware that there is more for her in the world. She has a job to do and she has not even begun. Even as she feels the love and acceptance, she is abruptly pulled back into her own body, here in the real world.
So begins the beautiful, yet painful, soulful and amazing life of a woman who becomes more than who she is. This is a truly enlightening tale of love and war, of the menaces of pride and of how this young woman begins a journey that is so fundamentally real, yet becomes so much more.
The Story was not what I expected as I picked it up. I was initially daunted at the size of the work, and yet as I began the story I had trouble putting it down. As I moved on to other tasks it followed me, keeping my thoughts on what would happen next. I felt the depth of her joy, and the pain and degradation with her. As she connects with others that are on parallel journeys with her, they too became my friends and mentors. I found an odd connectedness about this book that is hard to decipher. The descriptions are vivid and the tone is flowing. The evil that would often infect the world in her journey was truly something that seemed both real and unnerving.
For the science fiction and reality buffs, Murphy introduces us to an amazing dirigible, used to transport many of the characters from the West Coast, to Hawaii and on to China. This is an integral part of the process of the book and gives us another layer of thought. It is an amazing machine and the computer technology alone is exciting. The intricate and amazing description of the vehicle creates a wonderful backdrop for much of what happens throughout the story.
There is so much and more of this book than I can explain. I would recommend it for those who feel a spiritual connection, who believe in karma and often have questions on life. I would also recommend it for those who want to know more about the world, and there is a kaleidoscope of places to read about. It would be a marvelous book for a book club and reading group, adding discussion upon discussion. It would be a great book for your permanent library. The information and the story itself could be reread time after time. This book will take you on a journey, only you can decide if it is one you want to transverse.
This book was received as a free e-book from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
Quest of the Demon
on Oct. 30, 2011
Living the life of an average teen always seems like a challenge in itself. Becoming engaged in basketball and excelling at the sport, Darci can feel a burst in confidence. This is something she is good at. After spending the day with one of her friends, she returns home only to find her parents gone for the evening. Leaving a message to let Darci know that they expect to return after midnight, she settles in for the evening. When she does finally retire for the evening, her parents have not yet returned, so she is not at all surprised when a sudden noise wakes her up. Leaving her bed, she becomes concerned when she finds they have not returned. Fear replaces her initial surprise as she picks up her hockey stick as a weapon while she searches for the origin of the noise.
As she enters the main room, she sees light and motion behind a curtain. As she swallows her fear, she darts forward with her weapon only to find a strange vortex behind the curtain. Having ventured too close, she is sucked into the swirling mass, and finds herself deposited in a strange new world.
Suddenly, Darci realizes her whole life has changed. Rescued by a young Wizards apprentice, Taslessian, she quickly finds that all is not well in this strange, new world. Not only that, but she has been selected for a quest to rid this world of evil, before it finds a way into her own. Unaware of why she is chosen, she is afraid. Somehow, the evil presence of Domati is aware she is in the world and is now interested in finding her and learning the secrets of her own world. She is in over her head.
This world is full of magic, elves, wizards, warriors and dragons as well as the evil and twisted creatures that come from the darkness of evil. Her own world would not survive the presence of such perverted and twisted evil. When Taslessian’s mentor dies in battle, it is up to both Taslessian and Darci to find the means to defeat this evil. She cannot return to her own world, the magic is not available for such a feat, and she must follow her path. Chosen for a reason, she cannot fathom what she can bring to the fight.
As this young pair continues their quest with the help of a dragon, they began to gather a small group of heroes. Known as the five of light, they are informed that weapons will be awarded to help them meet the challenge. To begin their quest they must first find their courage, and then their way to the lair of the dragon that holds the weapons. Each step of their journey they must fight for their lives and that of their friends, as they begin to learn more about themselves and each other. Can they really be the ones to drive evil from the land, and save the universe, and all its worlds from the darkness?
M.L Sawyer has written a great story and while it tends to drag a bit through the middle, it picks up a head of steam and the flow evens out as the heroes begin their quest. I found grammatical errors throughout the book that tend to bog the story down, but the story and characters are quite superb.
Sawyer has set the stage for a follow up story, and I truly look forward to seeing what she does to continue her epic saga. She has done a great job with character enhancement; you can picture them quite well in your mind as you follow in their journey. Each has to overcome different flaws to become what they are capable of, and the quest is well written. Sawyer has put some thought into this work and a good grammatical edit would do wonders to put this work in the mainstream.
This story would be a great find for the YA reader; it has all the elements of a courageous and epic journey. Told with a view to the flaws and feeling often addressed by young teens, the journey that each travels helps builds their esteem as well as their courage. This is a fun and adventuress read.
on Feb. 09, 2012
Article first published as Book Review:Shared Emptiness by John Brinling on Blogcritics.
Living wills and euthanasia are often in the news. There are varying opinions, and with the advent of Dr. Kevorkian, many feel that they have a right to make their own decisions. The topic is sometimes quite controversial and often heated.
In Shared Emptiness by John Brinling we follow the life of a family who finds themselves in a situation where this might be something that becomes a part of their own conscious. Brinling has brought us a story full of love and laughter, family, church and even danger and drugs. The quotes from Helen Keller are poignant and to the point.
Christopher Carter is a young Medical student, the son of Vince and Frances Carter and the brother to Jeannie. His mother and sister belong to the church and his father has an addiction to gambling. In most respects they are like many other families. They have their strengths as well as their problems. Chris is dating a wonderful woman and is well respected. He makes friends easily and is often the center of attention. He is also very opinionated about medicine and that includes the very topic of end of life scenarios.
When he is the victim of foul play and severely injured causing possible brain trauma, all of his previous rants and challenges to his friends and family come into play. But Chris himself is no longer sure, his mind is strong. He struggles with communication, and through the series of some strange and horrifying circumstances he receives further damage. Unsure what is happening he is at the mercy of the physicians, his friends and his family? They are all questioning their own ethics and feelings and with the lack of communication available they have varying ideas of their beliefs. With so much controversy and soul searching, lives are changed forever, and the drama as it occurs is both thought provoking and quite chilling.
I am sure this book will strike chords with many, some due to the very nature of the issue, but others because we have all lost a loved one. It is the degrees that envelope you in this work, the unimaginable possibilities of having others make decisions, that affect who and what you believe in. This work is both chilling and resolute. The changing dynamics of the characters as they struggle with their own thoughts and personal demons is uncomfortable and painful. The settings were well written an take you to the places you are meant to see, and make you question your own thoughts and beliefs.
The topic of the work is so controversial that without the story behind it, I would have found it quite difficult to read. Brinling does a great job of humanizing the process, and yet keeps it true to form. The book is quite long, and yet I could not stop reading, looking to find a way to find the hope behind the horrors involved. Even the ending takes you into another twist that you do not see coming.
I would recommend this book to any who have been or know someone who has been through this harrowing situation. This happens every day to both young and old and makes you challenge the thoughts you carry. This would be a strong recommendation for a book club or reading group. The work is something you may want to discuss with others, the chill is hard to dispel. Brinling has brought forth a subject that is not comfortable, and put a new face on it.
This book was received as a free copy from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.