Title: The House on Bo-Kay Lane
Author: Greta Burroughs
Reviewer: Dannye Williamsen
Having read the first in this series, Gerald and the Wee People
, I was not surprised to find myself just as captured by this tale. In the first book, we were taken via a portal into another world that only Gerald could see, and he and Vernon’s time with the Wee People was filled with heroic adventures. In The House on Bo-Kay Lane
, Gerald and Vernon discover that their adventures have only just begun. Author Greta Burroughs cleverly brings the world of the Wee People into Gerald’s world this time. Gerald is joined by his friend Vernon again and by Andrew, his father, in the quest to discover the mystery that lies within the house on Bo-Kay Lane.
There is magic mixed with science, entwining the future with the present. The race to save the world of the Wee People and their own future pushes Gerald and his father to the outer edges of their willingness to accept the unknown.
The author classifies this book as one for middle grade children primarily. Apparently, the child in me was active when I read this book because I enjoyed going along on their adventure, too.
Title: The Seventh Stone
Author: Pamela Hegarty
Reviewer: Dannye WilliamsenThe Seventh Stone by Pamela Hegarty is not a story for those who are all about action and care nothing for the historical background that is spurring this plot onward. If you’ve become accustomed to a quick read, you might be too quick to judge this book. True, it is long, but I thought Hegarty did an excellent job of keeping me on track with the story. I was fascinated by how she took this piece of history and wove it into such a complex plot that unfolded in so many different corners of the world and yet came together smoothly at the end.
Years ago, when Dan Brown published The DaVinci Code
, I discovered that I was not alone in being unimpressed with his writing. The movie was much better than the book. Professional reviews of The DaVinci Code have used phrases such as “intelligent and lucid thriller,
” “a collection of fascinating esoteria culled from 2,000 years of Western history
,” “exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient coverups and savage vengeance
.” The Seventh Stone
could easily be described with these same phrases. I would recommend this book to anyone who is excited to read a novel that will educate and inspire.
Title: The Gay Mardi Gras Murders
Author: Sylvia Massara
ASIN: B00BBS2R88Reviewer: Dannye WIlliamsen
Author Sylvia Massara describes her main character in The Gay Mardi Gras Murders
as a “smartarse, older chick, super sleuth,” and I have to agree. Readers of this series will not be disappointed with this book because all the memorable characters that fill Mia’s life are still around, stirring up her antagonism and her passions. Sometimes, however, I do feel the urge to shake her loose from her competitive streak. It makes her a better sleuth in many ways, but it does now and then seem to cut her nose off to spite her face on a personal level.
The murderer who has the misfortune of enacting their crime within striking distance of Mia Ferrari is brought to justice, but not without the reader experiencing a thrilling ride that takes you through the world of drag queens, transsexuals, and family dramas.
If you haven’t read the first novel in this series, I suggest that you start your adventure with Mia Ferrari by reading Playing With The Bad Boys
first and then following the Queen of Sassy into The Gay Mardi Gras Murders
. The energy that Ms Massara has invested in this series shows clearly in her writing style and quality of presentation.
Title: Angelo’s Journey
Author: Angelo and Leland Dirks
Reviewer: Dannye WilliamsenAngelo’s Journey
by Leland Dirks is a tale that springs from the deep love a man has for his beloved Border Collie and the irreplaceable companionship they share. When Angelo inexplicably disappeared for five weeks, Dirks went through 4 ½ stages of grief. The final stage of acceptance was not easy, but it led him to seek out Maggie, a Lab mix. She wasn’t Angelo, but he felt a definite bond with her. Still, he could never quite make it through the fifth stage and give up on Angelo.
Angelo’s return sparked the imagination of his owner and co-author, Leland Dirks, to recount what he envisioned to be the purpose of his beloved dog’s miraculous journey home. The short vignettes of Angelo’s encounters, interspersed with Dirks’ actual blog posts, keep us emotionally connected with the passing days of both Dirks, the Man as he is called in the book, and Angelo.
Perhaps best described as creative nonfiction, this book manages to tug on a whole gamut of emotions: the anger felt towards a man who abuses Angelo counterbalanced by compassion for the dog, hope arising for a spurned woman in Stockton, Texas, the excitement building for a 71-year-old woman who gathers enough confidence to change her life—to only mention a few. Even if you’re able to stem the flow of tears through Angelo’s journey home, by the time he’s only 25 miles from home, sitting on the side of the road for days watching for a familiar face, you will not be able to hold them back any longer. Trust me.
Even though most of Angelo’s encounters are imaginary, they weave a metaphorical thread through the reader, connecting you to all the emotions that inspire us to be better human beings. This is not a lengthy novel, and its presentation is different from most; however, it will touch your heart, and who knows, you may even walk away feeling a little more optimistic about your own life. “If we were all like angels, the world would be a heavenly place.”
Author: Richard C. Hale
Reviewer: Dannye WilliamsenFrozen Past
by Richard C. Hale will surprise you. At first it seemed like the book might turn out to be a suspenseful story targeted at high school kids. The intensity, however, started to shift about 6% of the way into the book. After that, Hale skillfully drew in adult characters whose destinies were aligned with those of the kids and who were just as desperate to end the reign of terror unfolding as they were. The suspense spiraled until I was riveted to the Kindle, anxious to see how it was going to develop.
One particular aspect of Hale’s writing that I enjoyed involved the combination of the mystery with the thriller. In a thriller, the reader knows who the bad guy is, and the story revolves around catching that person. In a mystery, the reader learns more and more clues designed to help her eventually discover who the bad guy is. In the beginning, Hale takes the reader through a series of clues and misinformation on the trail of discovering the identity of the bad guy. However, once you know, that’s when the thrill ride really begins.
Author: Sandy Wolters
Reviewer: Darian Wilk
When first reading the synopsis of this book I was intrigued, the idea of fate pulling two people together, people seemingly impossible to fall for loves tricks, well obviously, that’s right up my alley! I was eager to dive into this one, and not at all disappointed once I started reading.
Wolters did a superb job showing the emotion, the unexplainable connection between Maggie and Michael. The characters feeling the strange sensations they both feared to ever feel, yet not being able to deny its existence, was very well described. You could sense the rush, confusion, fear and hope in the wave of their meeting. And from there, you couldn’t help rooting for love to triumph fear, and to crush Rafferty’s twisted hopes for his relationship with Maggie.
I was so pulled into this story I had to keep turning the pages. Just as I was about to cheer that love would survive, I saw how many pages were left and braced myself for heartache. In one turn after another love was at your fingertips, and then pulled away, then within reach again. It was a thrilling ride Maggie and Michael’s whirlwind relationship took me on. So much so that I finished the book in one day. Yes, neglecting everything I had on the to-do list, I plopped my kids in front of the TV and put a movie on for them – I just had to see how this ended.
I could easily connect with these characters, getting wrapped up in their every emotion came easy, and I can’t even quite say why. Which right there, is a sign of solid writing. They were real characters; flawed, broken, hopeful and scared. Much like we all have been at some point in our life.
The ending held a few surprises in it, and I won’t indulge you with whether it left me heartbroken, or embracing the excitement of a ‘happily ever after’. I will say however that it held within it many sweet moments. Overall this was an excellent read, and well worth the guilt of making my kids watch TV for an entire afternoon. The way Wolters developed the bond between Maggie and Michael, and the challenges they met to fight or accept love was, well…for anyone who has seen The Notebook, that feeling – you’ll find it in this book. If you’re a fan of love, a fan of getting sucked into the story of people meant to be together – yet almost pulled apart by circumstance, you’ll love this book. Wolters masterfully produced one of the best love stories I have read in a very long time.
Playing with the Bad Boys (A Mia Ferrari Mystery)
Author: Sylvia Massara
Reviewer: Karen Bryant Doering, Parents' Little Black Book
When an exclusive international hotel chain hosts a party for the rich and famous, everything must be perfect. The food, the service, the body on the grand piano. Wait, that's not right. That doesn't seem to be on the menu or part of the entertainment.
Mia Ferrari is a hotel executive, a frustrated detective and a woman in the midst of a divorce. The daughter of a cop, Mia always wanted to follow in his footsteps. But all is not lost. Mia has a real life murder mystery to solve, or maybe not; the police think it was suicide. Determined to prove them wrong, she enlists the help of her family friend, co-worker and ex-cop. Is she right or does her animosity against the police chief cloud her judgement.
As if investigating foul play isn't enough on her plate she has to deal with a temperamental chef, an ex-boyfriend who is the owner of the hotel and his 18 year old son who does IT on a part-time basis. Emotional complications abound.
So do drug deals, love affairs, internet intrigue, international criminals, sexy cars and younger men.
Mia is a wonderful character who at 48 has a take-no-prisoners attitude. She is witty, gutsy, brave and headstrong. To ease her mind and relax, she cooks. Italian food. For that alone she has my vote for Hotelier of the Year.
The writing is tight with good flow and character development. The dialogue moves the plot forward effortlessly without needless narration or explanation. The twists and turns in the story are well done and the clues are inserted with seamless ease.
Although the author is Australian and the book is set in Sydney, Australia, the novel has been re-edited to American English and vernacular for the U. S. market. Very well edited I might add.
Gerald and the Wee People
Author: Greta Burroughs
Reviewer: Dannye Williamsen
In Gerald and The Wee People
, Greta Burroughs speaks to the imaginations of young adults as she catapults Gerald and his best friend Vernon into another world, stretching their ability to believe what is happening. Beyond the strangeness of this new world, however, they soon realize that it mimics their own in many ways. The pettiness, the prejudices, the love, the caring—both the good and the bad exist in both worlds, all contributing to the drama in their lives.
Gerald and Vernon find themselves in a surprising position, one for which they feel ill-equipped, because the wee people are inexplicably depending on them to help defeat their enemy. In the course of fulfilling their destiny, the mettle of the two boys is tested to the point of breaking. In my opinion, this young adult fantasy novel can be especially viewed as a coming of age story for Gerald as his experiences among the wee people contribute to both his psychological and moral development.
Greta Burroughs has a soft spot for children, and it shows in the way she is able to write from their perspective. This story would be enjoyable for adults as well, at least those who still have a little child inside who’s alive and well!
Surfing In Stilettos
Author: Carol E Wyer
Reviewer: Dannye Williamsen
The title of Carol E. Wyer’s book Surfing In Stilettos
brought strange visions into my head. Once I started reading, I realized that it was internet
surfing. I admit it was a letdown at first because I was looking forward to seeing how she could pull off some of those strange visions I’d had! It was only a short-term depression, however, because Wyer’s writing style and her stimulating characters took me on a thoroughly enjoyable ride!
Amanda Wilson, Wyer’s down-to-earth main character, drew me in immediately as she rebelled against the mundane and frustrating moments of her life by trying to reignite passion in her life. She writes a blog titled Fortifying Your Fifties
while vacationing in France. Her vacation, which turns out to be longer than she anticipated, and her blog open her up to all sorts of new adventures. Along with her newfound and her past friends, you will want to follow Amanda through her ups and downs, her foibles, her temptations, and her joy of discovery. Surfing In Stilettos
is the sequel to Mini Skirts & Laughter Lines.
Carol E. Wyer has a refreshing sense of humor. Having been given the title by her own blog followers of BOTUK, Bombeck of the UK, she showers you with comedy and heart, all wrapped up in British flavor and French eccentricities. Don’t miss this book!
Reviewed by Dannye Williamsen, Author of Second Chances
and The Threads That Bind
Straight And Narrow
Author: Sigrid MacDonald
Reviewer: Dannye Williamsen
Quite a long while ago, I reviewed Sigrid MacDonald's book D'Amour Road. Sigrid has just announced that she has rewritten this novel: "Several years ago I published a book called D’Amour Road, which was loosely based around the true-life disappearance of an acquaintance of mine here in Ontario. I have since discontinued that book and I rewrote large parts of it last fall. The final outcome is my new book, Straight and Narrow. It features the same characters, but is more of a mystery with several different subplots. If you missed D’Amour Road, there’s still time to catch up with S&N!"
I haven't read her new version, but I thought I would share my review of the original, D'Amour Road. At the top of this post are the links to the lastest edition.
In her debut novel, D'Amour Road, Sigrid Macdonald draws the reader into the free-flowing associative thinking of Tara Roberts, whose mid-life crisis is punctuated by a desperate search for her best friend, Lisa, her life sponsor, the one to whom she turns when she trips over life. Lisa's disappearance drives Tara headlong into the complex psychological and social dilemmas that define her mid-life crisis.
With stunning originality, Macdonald thrusts readers into a non-stop ride that explores both the mundane and the soul-stirring themes that color the human landscape. In a well-conceived metaphor, Macdonald establishes D'Amour Road, the road of love, where Lisa's car is abandoned as the focal point for the search for Lisa as well as the psychological search for Tara. Beginning with doubts about everything, Tara's search ends in certainties that are rooted in love and trust in herself: certainties that transform the old age of her youth into the youth of her old age.