Friday, August 12, 2016

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf
Book Two of The Oldenglen Chronicles
Robin Mason
Tricklewood Press
Brooklin, Ontario
Canada
ISBN: 978-0994837127
Trade Paperback
2016
$ 13.99
348 pages

"Hunted.  That was the sensation: the feeling of being hunted.  Hunted down. Terror gripped his wolven side.  But even the part of him that was human felt the loss of freedom.  He felt suffocated."
For Jackson, being a new student entering the seventh-grade at Bear Creek Valley Middle School in Ashland, Oregon is challenging.  Even though English is the common language between the U.S. and England, he feels like an alien in this different land in the foothills of the mountains.
His summer w as an adjustment learning to live with the wildlife in their remote home away from the small town.  The magic of nature and this particular place developed into a friendship with the granddaughter of his nearest neighbor and landlord.
Making friends is always a little awkward for Jax.   He is comfortable with animals, but teenagers can be a challenge for anyone. 
Noah observes Jax holding a wren on his finger in the middle of a group of girls.  He states that he is saving the girls and throws the wren against a  window.
Jax immediately verbally attacks Noah revealing a part of him that needs to stay hidden.  Noah is much bigger and older.
Miraculously, after Jax holds the injured bird, it can fly away.  Jax feels relieved.  Noah, angry, calling Jax, a Freak.  Is Noah jealous of Jax's attention from the girls or did he see something that scared him?
Noah wants revenge.  For what, saving a bird?  Making him look bad in front of a bunch of girls?
Noah also is good friends with three other boys who like to bully other students.  Four against one are not great odds for Jax.
For tweens, having thirty-one chapters is perfect for young readers.  Also unique about this series is that the books are boy-oriented.  Most literature for this age-group is girl-based.
Lone Wolf is an excellent fantasy adventure for eight to twelve-year-olds.   The story is appropriate for tweens with issues of bullying and an overlying theme of friendship.  Learning the value of being one with nature and preserving the wildlife and their habitats is also a major component throughout this series.
While recommended for young readers,  Lone Wolf has lessons for everyone of all ages.





Saturday, August 6, 2016

Asssault with a Deadly Lie

Assault with a Deadly Lie
A Nick Hoffman Novel of Suspense
Lev Raphael
Terrace Books
University of Wisconsin Press
Madison, Wisconsin
ISBN: 978-0-30230-6
Trade Paperback
2014
$ 26.95
176 pages

"And how much longer would our relationship last with a minefield like that between us?  If was as deadly as the death of a child, which many couples never survive.  Tragedy didn't always unite complex-often it sundered them forever even if they went through the motions and pretended they could go on together."
Nick Hoffman enjoys his life as a professor at SUM, the State University of Michigan in the English department.  His partner, Stefan Borowski also is living his dream as an author.
Their lives change when a SWAT team enters their home, arresting Stefan.  The police are responding to an anonymous tip regarding a hostage.  Armed with a warrant, while Stefan is being arrested and taken to the police station, Nick is handcuffed.
Fortunately, a neighbor happens to be passing by who is a criminal attorney.  Is this a helpful kind acquaintance, an ambulance chaser, an opportunist, or does she is behind this attack?   The lawyer is dressed well for the middle of the night.
Nick and Stefan have no idea why this is happening as they are not criminals or engage in unlawful activities.
The realism of being accused of a crime and the fall-out is, unfortunately, authentic.  Just suspicion can cause others to believe inaccurately of your guilt, including employers who often search for a reason to terminate people.
The author, Lev Raphael have written twenty-four novels in various genres while currently teaching creative writing at Michigan State University.  Apparently, he chooses his plots based on his setting and experiences.
Theses characters are realistic, flawed and up-to-date with American society being that the two men are partners.   The intended audience is for adult readers due to the police activities.   Similar events mentioned in this book have been part of our modern culture.
The book is from Nick's perception almost daily journaling the attack on their house and their reputations.  From the feeling of paranoia to wanting to purchase a gun and learn how to use it while still curious about who and why this is happening are all relevant to both the story and living in a post 9/11 world.
What is unusual about Assault with a Deadly Lie is how it reveals how these attacks can harm relationships which are usually solid.  Tragedies frequently break families apart as each person must individually process the accusation and resolution within themselves.
Assault with a Deadly Lie is a glimpse of many people's lives who are unjustifiably blamed or attacked.  
Personally, I loved reading this gem and am delighted to experience these feelings only through this book.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Troublemaker

Troublemaker
Linda Howard
William Morrow
Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-241897-5
2016
$ 26.99
384 page

"On a very basic level, fighting was what he knew, what he was, so he fought everything."
Morgan Yancy lives a life filled with adrenalin.  He is a specially trained political operative sent throughout the world on undercover missions rescuing American citizens in dangerous situations.
Finally, he has some downtime and is looking forward to taking his boat, Shark, out onto the Potomac River for a relaxing fishing trip in the Chesapeake Bay, just down time from having a stressful job.
What Morgan didn't expect was to be attacked as he arrived back at his home later that evening.  He saw a flash and a sledgehammer hitting his chest.   Who?  Why?   He had no clue.
The next thing he remembers is waking up in a hospital and being in intense pain.  So much, that his entire body is exhausted, and he sleeps.
He is surprised to awaken to find his boss, Axel MacNamara in his room.  He explained that a member of the Russian mob had shot him and that Morgan had killed him.  Why?  Who hired him?
Strangely, the GO-Team files have been hacked since the attempted murder of Morgan.  He has given this agency his life.
Axel moved Morgan for his safety.  With the files hacked and the attack, where can Morgan heal without the protection of a prison system?
Fortunately, Axel has an estranged step-sister who is in law enforcement.  She also lives in a small isolated town in West Virginia.  No one would easily find him here.  He needs time to heal and regain his strength.  
The race now begins.  Will he recover?  Will he be killed?  Which will happen?
Isabeau Maran is the chief of police for Hamrickville, West Virginia.  Bo has two part-time jobs and is also a technical writer with a demanding dog, Tricks.
Hamrickville is quiet town but does have its share of marital disputes needing law enforcement to keep the peace.  Bo does the paperwork required by law while the other officers handle the town's disruptions.
So what happens when Morgan stays with Bo and Tricks?
The author, Linda Howard has written numerous award-winning and best-selling novels.  She resides in Gadsden, Alabama.
Troublemaker has well-developed characters in a small town with its townsfolk possessing unique but caring idiosyncrasies that make you want to know these people.   Between the residents of Hamrickville and the dog, Troublemaker combines humor into an intriguing romantic thriller.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Truth about Fragile Things

The Truth about Fragile Things
Regina Sirois
Create Space Publishing Platform
Amazon Digital Services
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1505407600
2016
$ 14.95
308 pages

"I'm here to forgive you.  It wasn't my idea---to forgive you.  
It was my dad's."
What has made you fragile?  What event in your life left you so scarred emotionally that you could break?  That feeling as if you are made of glass is terrifying for each person, always wondering when you will shatter.
For Megan Riddick, she carries the memory of her two-year-old self. As a toddler, she was following a butterfly when she ran out onto the road in front of an oncoming vehicle.   Miraculously, a man pushed her out of the way, giving his life for hers.   The guilt of his death and hers being spared still hangs on her like an albatross around her neck.
Megan is a junior in high-school and enjoys being the prize of the drama department.  She loves becoming someone else.  That is much easier than being herself.
Her life changes when a new girl enrolls at her school. This new girl glares at her.   Why would this freshman show Megan such contempt?
Charlotte Exby is the daughter of the man who died saving Megan's life.  As a lowly freshman, she is scared of nothing.   It's obvious that she blames Megan for her father's death.
What can Megan do?   
The Truth about Fragile Things excels in characterization.   Having a character burdened with guilt as a teenager shows an authentic protagonist who feels as if she were the antagonist.    Learning to forgive others and yourself is an issue every human being struggles at some time in their lives.  How does anyone move beyond the guilt and learn to take chances, have fun, to feel the joy of living?
Besides guilt, Megan along with the other characters learn about the value of trust and developing friendships that last a lifetime. 
Through great examples of maturity with solving problems, each character views life through their individual perspective learning how best to become the person they each dream of becoming.
Due to these overlapping themes, this book is appropriate for all ages, having no inappropriate scenes or language.  The intended audience is for eleven to eighteen-year-olds, but every reader can easily find this a novel, a gem.
Regina Sirois has previously written the novel, On Little Wings while currently residing in Kansas with her family.
The Truth about Fragile Things is a phenomenal journey of a teenager but for readers of all ages.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Dream Lover

The Dream Lover
A Novel of George Sand
Elizabeth Berg
Random House Book
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-081299152
2015
$ 28.00
368 pages

"There is only one happiness in life, to loved and to be loved."
George Sand was of the few women throughout history who followed her dreams and desires without consideration of society's rules.   She liberated herself at a time when females were considered property.   She wore trousers, left her children, wrote books that were admired even by Balzac, lost her inheritance to her husband when she divorced him, how could this person survive in the world of France in mid-1800s?   This woman who wrote under the name of a man while living with her personal standards and not society's.  I was curious about any woman who held Chopin spellbound.
George Sand was born Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin but usually was called Aurore. Her mother had been beautiful attracting the attention of many men.   Unfortunately, she was not of the class of people of her father creating animosity between her mother and grandmother.
Living in the French countryside, she grew up as a daughter of privilege.  Her father came from a well-respected family who fell in love with a beautiful woman.  Aurore was the result of their marriage.
Aurore's  mother was not well accepted by her husband's family, especially after his death.  While her mother pursued a new life in Paris,  Aurore lived with her grandmother.
Although brilliant and rebellious, Aurore married a man who gave her the expected status of prosperous French wife.  Quickly she became the mother of a son, Maurice and a daughter, Solange.
Aurore quickly learned that she was given a brilliance mind with her gift for creating realistic characters in her writing which completely opposed her life as a wife and mother.  Added to that was her daringness to write what no other female had ever written even pushing her contemporaries to higher levels.
"It is expected that people who are not artists might not understand the need for one to immerse oneself totally in one's work, but it also sometimes happens that other artists feel no compunctions about interrupting, or in feeling slighted that one's attention is not focused on them first and foremost.  What jealousy can be inspired by a person's singular devotion to something the other cannot share!  It was a concern for Liszt, I knew, who had once confided to me that it was difficult to play the piano with a woman's arms around his neck."
George Sand changed literature with her writing while at the same time influencing much of the writers of her time and memorably, her time with Chopin.
"Music is limited, too: to the power of the instrument, to the power
the musician's imagination, to one's ability to let go of conscious thought in favor of an unseen power."
The Dream Lover is a fictional account based on George Sand who and her with her rebellious attitude socially, even being accused of a lesbian relationship, who strongly influenced the world through her writings.   Elizabeth Berg beautifully captures both the objectivity of this larger than life personality along with her beautiful gift of writing.