Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Falling of the Moon

The Falling of the Moon
Book 1 - Moonfall Mayhem series
A. E.  Decker
World Weaver Press
Alpena, Michigan
ISBN: 978-0692526019
Paperback
2015
$ 14.95
330 pages

How many of us secretly dream of life as "happily ever after?"  
For Ascot Abberdorf of Shadowvale, all she has to guide her through life is a single book of fairy tales.  Being orphaned, she relies on the guidance of her big brother for advice as she is approaching adulthood.
However, when her big brother arranges her marriage to a much older man, she decides to leave her home carrying her guide book of fairy tales and whatever silverware she can quickly grab along with her loyal bat-winged cat, Moony.
She believes that by traveling to the distant Daylands, she will find her true love as her destiny in life.  Her father was from Shadowvale and her mother from Daylands, so why not discover how the other half lives?
Since Ascot is a vampire, this land of brightness is a little strange to her.
As luck would have it, the prince of the land is searching for a wife.
Fortunately, a fairy godmother appears giving Ascot a ring with this inscription to help her find her true love. 
"I burn bright in Love's True sight.  If you light not where I have shown, live out your life, unloved, alone."
Will the ring lead to the prince?
What could stop Ascot from finding her own happily ever after with this prince?
The Falling of the Moon is a delightful adventurous fantasy for teenage girls, but all readers who have ever thought about the "happily ever after" philosophy of life.  Often resembling The Wizard of Oz, Ascot's adventures in life are realistic with her quickly valuing her friendships above all other goals.
The assortment of fanciful characters is unquestionably unique with teaching the reader to judge each person or animal by their deeds and words rather than their appearance.
A. E. Decker is a former ESL tutor and doll-maker who has become a masterful storyteller who resides in Pennsylvania.  
The Falling of the Moon is the first in this trilogy and unquestionably a prerequisite for the second book, The Meddlers of Moonshine. 
I am completely addicted to this fantasy series that has a little life lesson for everyone.   The Falling of the Moon is one of the most enjoyable and fun books I have read in ages.

Poison Feather

Poison Feather
Matthew Fitzsimmons
Thomas & Mercer
Amazon.com
ISBN: 9781503939296
2016
Hardcover
$ 24.99

A wealthy billionaire spends seven years in prison for embezzlement. However, he doesn't seem to regret his past crime.   After an interview with a financial magazine about his upcoming release, it is apparent to everyone that he has hidden money from the authorities.  
So who will find the money first?  
Charles Merrick swindled people's hopes and money.  Many people invested with him every penny so that their families would have prosperous futures.   He took their money and left them with nothing.
Unquestionably, Merrick had made some deal with the government since he was at minimum "country-club" facility.  Are they expecting some payoff as he is released?  Why are they still so interested in Merrick?
Before his imprisonment, Merrick had been married and had a daughter.  As with many relationships, his wife divorced him, and he lost contact with his little girl.   
Chelsea, his daughter, had no college fund since Merrick had invested her money.
Now that Merrick is out, who will find his money first?  Or will he outsmart all of them and disappear to some island with no extradition?
Gibson Vaughn is brilliant as a computer hacker.  As a teenager, he was imprisoned for hacking into the Vice-President's e-mail.   Unfortunately, his past continues to haunt him.
Now Gibson just wants to earn a decent living in the computer security field.   He seems to be blackballed with achieving this dream.
Now the former judge who sentenced him would like to use Gibson's talents in finding the money his family lost in investing with Merrick.
Can he find the money before everyone else?
What would you do for one point seven billion dollars?
Poison Feather immediately grabs the reader into the world of Gibson Vaughn and Charles Merrick, two characters wielding the story onto a roller-coaster ride for power and money.  With likable characters who evolve along the journey and antagonistic ones, who stay the course into an enthralling page-turner.
Poison Feather is the second novel for the author, Matthew Fitzsimmons following his best-selling first book, The Short Drop.   He currently resides and teaches in the Washington, D.C. area.
Poison Feather is a thrilling book for any adult reader who enjoys a well-written, intricate story.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Northeast Quarter

The Northeast Quarter
S. M. Harris
Wheatmark
Tucson, Arizona
ISBN: 978-1-62787-376-5
Trade Paperback
2016
$ 20.95
464 pages

A birthday celebration changes their lives.
Colonel Wallace Carson is looking forward to his granddaughter's birthday party.  Now that is it 1918, Ann is ten-years-old and feels special that she shares her birthday with the country. 
During the family gathering, the Colonel gives advice to his heir, Ann, to always protect the Northeast Quarter of the family land.  The Colonel started his estate in that part of Winfield, Iowa and expanding his property as he prospered. 
Warren Hyatt decides that this is his moment to tell the Colonel hat life needs to change.  He believes that the revolution in Russia where the workers own the land should be inspirational to change life in this country.  
The Colonel dies.  Did Warren cause his death?
This one death changes life for every member of the Colonel's family.
The Northeast Corner is the story of the household for the next eight years, especially Ann.   Through sheer determination, Ann daily remembers her promise to her grandfather to protect the Northeast Corner, her legacy.  With constant challenges, she realizes that this promise seems impossible to fulfill.  
The promise to preserve the land seemed simple.  The problem to keep the promise is overwhelming, especially to a teenage girl.  How can she possibly fight for her family when they don't fight for themselves?   What does anyone do when the world is against them?
This family saga is reminiscent of Nelson DeMille's novels centering on one character, Ann, while also observing how each of the other family members change throughout the years. 
The Northeast Quarter has phenomenal realistic characterization portraying life in the early part of the twentieth-century before the stock market crash of 1929.  The setting of Winfield, Iowa in the year of 1918 transport the reader into the rich farmland of the time.
The author, S. M. Harris is a playwright of the Colleen series which have been produced off-Broadway in Spokane, Cincinnati, and Baltimore.  The Northeast Quarter is his debut novel.
The Northeast Quarter is for readers who enjoy well-written historical fictions involving family sagas.  

Love Notes and Old Friends

What would happen if you chose eight singers, four males, and four females, varying in age from eleven to sixty-nine to create a fundraising show lasting only ninety minutes?  Could you do it?  
With varied backgrounds, experiences, styles, education, and preferences, how could anyone merge all of these into one production?
Just ask Gary Bosanek, the director of this current cabaret performance for the Chanticleer Community Theater.   Besides being a director, he was also a performer.  He demonstrated his diverse talent by the singing of "Alone at the Drive-In."  This fifties-like tune was a delight for the entire audience.
Dianne L. Jones is unquestionably the ultimate performer with her masterful stage presence.    Her interpretation of "I Wonder as I Wander" was heavenly.
Kim Alger perfectly blended and harmonized throughout the night.  She also performed the eccentric selection "Summer in Ohio" bringing humor into song.
Vicki Molacek is a great singer that can always be expected to be outstanding.  She masterfully sang "Dreamers," "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes." and "When I Grow Too Old to Dream."
Lauren Anderson shined as a soprano while singing "If I Loved You," "Almost Like Being in Love," and the haunting "Somewhere."
Bob Schamp's mellow voice in both "Autumn Leaves" and "Try to Remember" was hauntingly memorable.
Ian Mooney is a young talented performer who "wow-ed" me when he sang "Run Away with Me."  This song was unfamiliar to me but unquestionably one of my favorites now after hearing him sing.
Jude Glaser is an incredible talent for being only eleven-years-old.   You should have seen him singing and dancing to "Give My Regards to Broadway."
Kim Hansen demonstrated her ability as an excellent accompanist playing the entire ninety minutes and never missing a beat.
Dave Podendorf, as usual, kept the sound system perfectly balanced throughout the evening.
Unquestionably one of the highlights of the night was when the four women harmonized the song "May You Always."   The richness and blending of their voices created musical beauty.
What I found surprising with this show was the number of songs that were new to me but phenomenally performed.  "Grateful" sung by Gary Bosanek is one I want to hear again and again.   Another number sung by Diane was unquestioningly appealing and intriguing, "A Quiet Thing."
The next fundraiser cabaret night for Chanticleer will be February 17th and 18th with the theme being operettas.   These are fun evenings filled with great music, fantastic food, and delightful company.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Pandemic

Pandemic
Tracking Contagions, From Cholera to Ebola and Beyond
Sonia Shah
Sarah Crichton Books
Farrah, Straus, and Giroux
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-0-374-12288-1
Hardback
2016
$ 26.00
250 pages

"Cholera kills people fast.  There's no drawn-out sequence of progressive debility.  The newly infected person feels fine at first.  Then half a day passes, and cholera has drained his or her body of its fluids, leaving a withered blue corpse."
Pandemic sounds like a science fiction thriller.   Unfortunately, it can be all too realistic and could happen.  
How do we prevent it?   One way would be to read Pandemic.
Most of us do not plan to be exposed or infected with cholera.  What would you do if you were on an airplane from Haiti to Florida in 2013?  
This particular flight was delayed.  The crew disinfected where a cholera infected person had been the previous hour.   What if you had been on the plane with a person suffering from cholera?  They probably felt fine when boarding the flight.   Could you contract cholera by being on a plane with an infected person?
It seems as if the more advanced medical science becomes, the more contagious these diseases become.
Author, Sonia Shah chose to write a readable and understandable journey following the cholera epidemic to demonstrate to everyone, even those not in the medical field, how a pandemic happens.
Shah understands these diseases and has personal experience with the MRSA bacterium herself and in her family.
One of her sons had contracted the disease.  Being a thirteen-year-old boy, she was accustomed to seeing skinned knees and sores.  When he complained about a bandaged sore on his kneecap, she investigated only to discover the sore was boils.  It was a staph infection called MRSA.
MRSA is a nasty disease.   It was first identified in the 1960s and by the year 2010, had killed more people than AIDS.  This disease tends to infect and reinfect family members for years frequently causing people or lose a limb or their life.   How does anyone stop it?
Treatment is painful and takes weeks or months to recover.  How can anyone cope with this?  How does a family conquer this antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
Pandemic is a must-read for everyone.   It realistically explains the precautions in an easy-to-understand manner that makes you a little more cautious in public places and especially boarding planes.
Be prepared.  Read Pandemic.