Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Candidate for Murder

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In this realistic fiction novel, actually the seventeenth in the Mac Faraday Mystery series by Lauren Carr, the election season is occurring in Spencer, Maryland, and tensions are ablaze between two factions, chiefly the lifelong residents of the community and those fleeing big city life for a quainter settlement, the latter taking charge of the city council and imposing regulations involving banal things such as outdoor clotheslines. Disillusioned with the two main candidates, Police Chief David O’Callaghan nominates Mac Faraday’s German Shepherd Gnarly to run for mayor, and though this seems at first a mere jest, things become serious when the canine becomes the frontrunner, and thus, his human opponents attempt to fling mud his direction, with the dog’s friends seeking to clear his name.

In a rarity, Carr includes a helpful list of dramatis personae with decent descriptions for each character in order of appearance, with the prologue occurring four years before the book’s main timeframe, with Gnarly on a military mission with soldiers in Iraq near the Syrian border, where the canine is accused of killing a handler. This plays well into the hands of his mayoral opponents in the story’s present time, with the general narrative, despite its somewhat asinine concept, generally being enjoyable, with a riveting denouement and satisfactory conclusion. Though it’s not the first in its series, mystery enthusiasts will be happy to know that they needn’t read the books predecessors to enjoy the seventeenth entry.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Wish Rider

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In the first sequel to author Barbara Casey’s The Cadence of Gypsies, which she dedicates to Sophia Bell and precedes with a rhyming proverb by James Carmichaell, the teenage Dara Roux and her closest friends, Mackenzie Yarborough and Jennifer Torres, all referred to as FIGs (Females of Intellectual Genius), have returned home from an excursion to Italy, where their mentor Carolina Lovel found that her biological parents were gypsies and had a connection to an enigmatic document known as the Voynich Manuscript. The trio has recently graduated from the Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women, with Dara seeking her birth mother, who might be in New York City.

Thus, they seek their target throughout the Big Apple, although as they do so, they find an ominous secret society that might hold the clue to why Dara was abandoned in a candy store years ago. The mystery of the whereabouts of Dara’s missing mother and the aforementioned cult definitely provide reason to read the sequel from start to finish, with the FIGs having occasional help along the way, the story itself ending on a positive note. Overall, this is an enjoyable sequel, although there are occasional untranslated terms that might vex readers not proficient in foreign languages. Even so, those that liked the first book will most likely enjoy the second.

Haven

Haven (Chronicles of Warshard #1)

In the first installment of Katherine Bogle’s Chronicles of Warshard series, which she dedicates to Shelyse, her “Lareina,” the eponymous princess, Haven, ascends to the throne while her country is on the brink of war. A despot named Kadia yearns to conquer Haven’s homeland and its neighbors, with Haven having the choice of whether to face the tyrant or flee across the sea. Even early on, Haven finds that being a Queen is not all it’s cracked up to be, what with the amount of paperwork coming with the occupation. She ultimately learns swordsmanship in her quest to stay alive, with the novel ending with hope and room for sequels. Overall, this is an enjoyable yarn that fans of fantasy young and old will likely devour.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

She Never Got to Say Goodbye


This supernatural mystery novel starts as something of a romance, with Olivia struggling with writing an essay, with Brandon Olson seeing her more for her intelligence than her beauty. However, after they start a family, tragedy ultimately strikes their relationship, with the book evolving into a murder mystery, with several suspects and a few twists and turns, not to mention a supernatural aspect in the world of the spiritual. This reviewer can’t really go into detail without spoiling major portions of the novel, although he definitely enjoyed it, despite the concept of the spiritual in mystery novels hardly being a distinctive feature.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The House of Kane




In this realistic fiction novel, which author Barbara Casey dedicates to various individuals such as her parents, the publication world proves quite complex, with aspiring writer Aislinn March├ínt, former wife of surgeon Robert, getting entangled in the web of publishing. The prologue and main chapters each open with a quotation from individuals of various professions, such as authors Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, not to mention British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. As an aspiring writer himself, this reviewer could definitely relate with Aislinn, given that her writing ideas, such as a girl’s friendship with a dragon, are shot down, and appreciated this intriguing yarn, recommended especially to fledgling authors seeking an insight, even if fictitious, into the world of publishing.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Party With a Plan Spotlight

Finally! Here is a proven, practical way to drink alcohol and lower your risk for problems. Up until now, there have been two primary messages when it comes to drinking alcohol. One is “just say no,” which for the majority of the population is not an option. The other is to “drink responsibly.” But what does that mean? If you ask five random people to define responsible drinking, you will most likely get five completely different answers. This invalidates the term because it can be defined in so many different ways. Party with a Plan® gives a concise and research based formula that teaches people how to drink and lower their risk of negative consequences. It’s like creating a speed limit for drinking. If you stick to the speed limit, your chance of problems is minimal. However, the more you go over the speed limit, and the more often you go over the speed limit, the more you put yourself and others at risk. This book is long overdue!
Randy Haveson knows addiction. As an alcoholic in long-term recovery (May, 1984), he has dedicated his life to helping others make more empowered choices in their lives. He is a 25 year veteran in the substance abuse field with extensive experience as a counselor, Director of Health & Alcohol Education at highly accredited universities, and speaker on over 100 campuses, speaking about harm reduction, self-esteem, leadership, and supporting students in recovery.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Loreena's Gift

In this supernatural novel, which the author dedicates to her mother, a young blind woman named Loreena Picket lives with her uncle, a pastor at a community church, serving its congregation as pianist. However, she has a sinister ability, which is to end lives by touching others. While her uncle considers this a blessing in shepherding others into the afterlife, Loreena has a guilty conscience, with her ability, for one thing, allowing temporary recovery of her eyesight. She ultimately reveals her ability to her older brother when she saves him from a drug dealer, although she’s quickly drawn into a world that will test her resolve.

The main action of the narrative opens in 1967, with exposition that the reverend’s residence stands twenty-two steps from the back door of Stillwater Christian Church, and Loreena remembering what the house she and her uncle occupies looks like, a hint at the aforementioned temporary recovery of her eyesight. Among the early recipients of her mortal touch is a lung cancer patient named Russell Pearson, with her Uncle Don insisting her power is a kind of merciful euthanasia. Her brother comes home early on, with the incident involving the drug dealer inciting the chief action of the storyline.

Story’s novel for the most part does a nice job fleshing out the primary narrative, with the perspective mostly being third-person limited, given the looks into Loreena’s mind, and will give those such as this reviewer who very much value their eyesight a nice insight into the psychology of the blind. The author likely did research as well into the lifestyles of the blind, as she acknowledges after the storyline ends the National Federation of the Blind and one of its conventions she attended years ago. Overall, this is very much a recommended novel to those seeking an enthralling, relatively contemporary supernatural narrative.
Colleen M. Story writes imaginative fiction and is also a freelance writer, instructor, and motivational speaker specializing in creativity, productivity, and personal wellness. Her latest novel, "Loreena’s Gift," was released with Dzanc Books April 12 2016. Her fantasy novel, "Rise of the Sidenah," is a North American Book Awards winner, and New Apple Book Awards Official Selection (Young Adult). She is the founder of Writing and Wellness (writingandwellness.com) a motivational site for writers and other creatives.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~ Twitter