Book Review for DEADLY ADAGIO by Carole Howard

Title: Deadly Adagio
Author: Carole Howard
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1938101373
deadlyadagio

Deadly Adagio
by Carole Howard

Book review by S. M. Senden

A violin string becomes a deadly weapon in this haunting mystery set against the backdrop of Senegal. Carole Howard leads us into her tightly plotted story immersing us into the deeper social issues of western Africa as Emily, the main character unravels the death of her friend Margaret. This is a thrill ride riveting your senses leaving the reader gasping for breath up until the end.

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S. M. Senden was raised in Winnetka, a north shore suburb of Chicago. From an early age reading and writing were passions as was travel. Senden has studied, lived and worked in the USA, Europe, the Mid-East and Africa, spending a number of years as an archaeological illustrator for various expeditions. S. M. Senden earned a Masters Degree and has studied creative writing, play writing and screenwriting.

Senden is the author of Clara’s Wish, Lethal Boundaries, and Murder at the Johnson and a number of ghost stories in various magazines.

Book Review for INDIAN SUMMER by Dellani Oakes

Title: Indian Summer
Author: Dellani Oakes
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Historical romance
ISBN: 978-1935171102
Indian Summer

Indian Summer
by Dellani Oakes

Book review by S. M. Senden

I appreciate a well researched story that not only teaches me something about the era, but more importantly takes me along and immerses me deep into the era with sights, sounds and smells that touch my senses. Dellani Oakes has done this quite successfully in Indian Summer a story of love lost and won, betrayal and coming of age in St. Augustine. Her characters are rich and have depth. I will be reading more of her books!

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S. M. Senden was raised in Winnetka, a north shore suburb of Chicago. From an early age reading and writing were passions as was travel. Senden has studied, lived and worked in the USA, Europe, the Mid-East and Africa, spending a number of years as an archaeological illustrator for various expeditions. S. M. Senden earned a Masters Degree and has studied creative writing, play writing and screenwriting.

Senden is the author of Clara’s Wish, Lethal Boundaries, and Murder at the Johnson and a number of ghost stories in various magazines.

Book Review for HOWEVER LONG THE NIGHT by David Pereda

Title: However Long the Night
Author: David Pereda
Publisher: Eternal Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1615725991
index

However Long the Night
by David Pereda

Book review by S. M. Senden

Old family secrets left unresolved have a way of creating problems for generations to come. Cid Milan heard his father’s death bed confession of events long ago that leave Cid with no choice but to return to Cuba, the land of his ancestors, and delve into the past. David Pereda has written an exciting tale layered with conflict and betrayal full of twists and turns that will keep you reading to the end.

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S. M. Senden was raised in Winnetka, a north shore suburb of Chicago. From an early age reading and writing were passions as was travel. Senden has studied, lived and worked in the USA, Europe, the Mid-East and Africa, spending a number of years as an archaeological illustrator for various expeditions. S. M. Senden earned a Masters Degree and has studied creative writing, play writing and screenwriting.

Senden is the author of Clara’s Wish, Lethal Boundaries, and Murder at the Johnson and a number of ghost stories in various magazines.

Book Review for GIRL by Robert N. Chan

Title: girl
Author: Robert N. Chan
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978-1630660956
girl

girl
by Robert N. Chan

Book review by Sheila Deeth

We name those things and people we value, and so Girl unnames herself, casting off her old identity after a brutal rape. But now she has to cast off all the identities others give her too. Replacing the rules of the Torah with laws of her own, honoring no-one, and writing her own dark script, she passes through almost mythical tests and trials to reinvent herself as an upscale whore. Meanwhile she reads and fills the hole in herself with wisdom and wit. Meanwhile, someone else has other plans to fill Girl’s life, and she becomes Woman.Girl is the sort of unsettling novel that makes the reader switch seamlessly from belief to disbelief and back again. It’s beautifully, powerfully written, filled with a series of dangerous characters, deeply drawn so evil can show its human side and crime can reveal its hidden cause. World-spanning cruelties and wildly different paths to self-destruction come into focus around real people who hurt, care, and try their best to survive. But sometimes survival’s not the most important thing after all.Girl will make you question pre-conceptions. The prose will draw you close to Girl, then cast you aside as she detaches again from her past and reinvents her life. It will make you long for salvation, as humor and pathos give way to cruel irony. And it will linger in your mind long after that final page is turned, the final myth inverted on itself. It’s a cool, dark, unflinching, scary book, with hints of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Woman of Substance in its multi-year scope and depiction of determination, reinvention, and realism. It’s also an excellent modern-day satire and an enormously relevant read.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review.

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232Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero and other “mathemafiction” contemporary novels. She’s a Catholic Protestant English American mathematician writer, who moved to the Pacific Northwest a few years after immigrating to the US from England with her family. Before writing (and editing) novels, Sheila studied mathematics at Cambridge University, wrote (and broke) computer programs for a living, and brought up three (grown) sons. Now she enjoys reading, writing, watching movies, and walking with her husband around the neighborhood, where many wonderful cats and dogs have been known to roam.

Book Review for APRICOTS IN A TURKISH GARDEN by Carrie Jane Knowles

Title: Apricots in a Turkish Garden
Author: Carrie Jane Knowles
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Short Stories
ISBN: 978-1630661090
Apricots in a Turkish Garden

Apricots in a Turkish Garden
by Carrie Jane Knowles

Book review by Dene Hellman

The ten stories told in Apricots in a Turkish Garden are penetrating explorations of sensitive relationships that try the souls of their participants. Carrie Knowles writes each with a perceptive voice that takes no prisoners. Mothers and daughters cope with Alzheimer’s; a daughter grows up adjusting and readjusting to her father’s blindness; a woman dismays her relatives with her determination to find family ties to Clint Eastwood. It isn’t a stretch to think we must have met all of Knowles’ characters at one time or another and that we now know them for who they are.
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A native of Iowa, Dene Hellman has lived in North Carolina since the ‘80s. She is a graduate of The University of Wisconsin Green Bay and has written professionally in numerous genres, including corporate publications, executive speeches, newspaper feature writing, commercial videos, and two books of poetry with Annie O’Dell. She is the author of The Ninety-Ninth Reunion and The People Under the House. She currently lives and writes in Winston-Salem, NC. Dene has four daughters and six grandsons.

Excerpt from ACQUIESCENCE by Velya Jancz-Urban

Acquiescence+front+coverWhen Pamina Campbell learns of a murder committed over two hundred years ago in her Connecticut farmhouse in order to avenge an unforgivable crime, she accepts that she has no idea how the universe works, except that it requires acquiescence at every point.

EXCERPT:

I used to think the antique cross-stitch sampler hanging in my friend’s tiny guest bathroom was kind of cheesy. Her sloping bathroom is tucked up under the eaves, and I’m one of the few people who can actually stand up straight at the corner sink. The other day, I dried my hands and read the sampler. For the first time, I thought about the words.

“Some people come into our lives and quietly go, others stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same.”

In the last year, two such women have entered, and exited, my life.

I’ve thought a lot about these women. Both of them have left their mark on me. Both of them have changed me. My mother always told me, “Pamina, there is no growth without change.” They have made me grow.

The first woman was an intuitive who claimed to have psychic abilities. She was in and out of my life so quickly I often wonder if she was real. She helped me understand that sometimes we just have to accept the fact we can’t explain everything. Because we see the effects of wind, we believe it exists. Just because we don’t see the spirit world doesn’t mean it’s not there. As a skeptic, I resisted. Yet I didn’t question contagious yawning, the placebo effect, dreaming, nipples on men, intuition, the law of gravity, or female orgasms. It’s a very confusing dilemma to be open-minded, yet be skeptical. It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? I met the second woman only once – on a chilly October night when the maple trees blushed red and my husband and kids were out of town. That’s when I found out ghosts do exist. My ghost needed me. She had unfinished business in this world, and spirits are often people who can’t get over their past. I don’t think you have to believe in ghosts to know we are all haunted.

I used to think a lot of things. I used to know a lot of things. Now, I only know two things: I have no idea how the universe works, except that it seems to require acquiescence at every point. And disaster – the sort of disaster that leaves you numb on a park bench or aching for your husband to come back to you – can be a freaky thing of beauty.

***

Bio:

Velya Jancz-UrbanVelya Jancz-Urban, and her Acquiescence protagonist Pamina Campbell, have a lot in common. Both are teachers and hoodwinked Brazilian dairy farm owners, and both share a 1770 Connecticut farmhouse with a spirit woman. Velya has been married for 32 years, and is the mother of two grown children. She has a few too many rescue dogs and cats, is happiest with a fresh stack of library books, loves thrift shops, and is passionate about alternative medicine. Her entertainingly- informative presentation, ‘The Not-So-Good Life of the Colonial Goodwife’ is a result of the research completed for this novel. http://www.acquiescencethebook.com

Click here for an Interview with Velya Jancz-Urban, author of “Acquiescence”

Acquiescence is available from Second Wind Publishing: http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!product/prd15/3391685311/acquiescence

Links

Website: www.acquiescencethebook.com
Website: www.colonialgoodwife.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vjanczurban
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Acquiescence-and-Colonial-Goodwife/1554841878108700?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cgoodwife
Blog: https://colonialgoodwife.wordpress.com/

Book Review for DEADLY ADAGIO by Carole Howard

Title: Deadly Adagio
Author: Carole Howard
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1938101373

deadlyadagio

Deadly Adagio
by Carole Howard

Book review by Maribeth Shanley

Don’t underestimate this author as, in true adagio fashion, she soothes your mind with her characters.

As quickly as your mind begins to drift into sweet repose, the author jolts you to life as she garrotes you just as the character Margaret is garroted into permanent rest with a violin string. Suddenly all your senses are wide awake and you find yourself in the middle of a perfect storm. Ms. Howard commands you to sit down, shut up and pay attention as she rubs your face and mind in African traditions that rivet refined senses, leaving the reader stunned at the insanity of it all.

I love Ms. Howard’s writing style. When the main character, Emily plays her murdered friend’s violin, one can’t get any closer to the heart of how she felt about her friend. “Emily tucked Margaret, in the form of her violin, under her chin and smiled.” That passage made me smile.

Ms. Howard’s intimate relationship with the English language results in her painting facial features and expressions, human thought and bodily language with strokes that left me thinking … when I grow up, I want to write like her.

Click here to read an: Excerpt From “Deadly Adagio” by Carole Howard

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MaribethMaribeth Shanley lives in Myrtle Beach, SC with her husband Bob Bibb.  They have three furry and three feathered children.  Maribeth is now retired from McCormick and Co., Inc. of the famous spice brand.  Once retired she decided to try her hand at writing.  “I’ve always loved to write and dreamed of becoming a writer.  Never did I imagine, however, it would actually happen.” Shanley is the author of the novel Crack in the World, which is based on her own experiences as a sexually abused child.

Book Review for THISTLE DOWN by Sherrie Hansen

Title: Thistle Down
Author: Sherrie Hansen
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-1938101496

thistle

Thistle Down
by Sherrie Hansen

Book review by David Pereda

THISTLE DOWN reads like a made for TV character-driven, episode of a series filmed in Scotland. The character of the pastor, Ian McCraig, is engaging and authentic. The characterizations of Emily, Benjamin, Greg, and Chelsea are unique and believable. The descriptions are vivid, and the story flows smoothly, leaving a few lose ends to tie, I suppose, in future episodes — like the stolen church items and the relationship between love-struck Chelsea and selfish Greg. All in all, it’s a nice read for a Sunday afternoon. I would have preferred to have seen all these loose ends resolved in this episode instead of left as dangling carrots to entice the reading of subsequent episodes. I admit I was a little disappointed and even considered making this a three-star review — but the strength of Sherrie Hansen’s writing, her keen eye for description, and her perceptive characterizations won me over in the end. A four-star review it is.

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 DavidPeredaDavid Pereda is an award-winning author who enjoys crafting political thrillers and mainstream novels. His books have won the Lighthouse Book Awards twice, the Royal Palm Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Readers Favorite Awards twice. He has traveled to more than thirty countries around the world and speaks four languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching, Pereda had a rich and successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Qatar, among others. Visit David online at: www.davidpereda.com Other titles by David Pereda: However Long the Night Havana: Top Secret Havana: Killing Castro

Book Review for CRACK IN THE WORLD by Maribeth Shanley

Title: Crack in the World
Author: Maribeth Shanley
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978-1630661014

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Crack in the World
by Maribeth Shanley

Book review by Nicole Eva Fraser

Maribeth Shanley wrote Crack in the World from her personal experience, intensifying the story’s chilling realism. Shanley’s characters and their relationships are drawn and developed with detail, authenticity, and feeling. Main character Emily ultimately frees herself from her father’s abuse — but that doesn’t immediately free Emily from the effects of the trauma she endured for years. Her trusted friends support her in her recovery process. The frank sexual content may be too much for some readers; the story and characters will ring true to survivors; and for those who have been spared that kind of suffering, the book offer a window into their reality.
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07-2014-nicole-eva-fraser-230x280Nicole Eva Fraser received her MFA in creative writing from NEOMFA consortium in northeast Ohio, and graduated summa cum laude from Baldwin-Wallace College with a double major in English and communications. She is an adult-literacy activist in Cleveland, Tanzania and Malawi. She runs 10Ks (slowly), used to speak French, and often can be found putting her foot in her mouth. Fraser is the author of It’s the Hardest Thing in the World and I Don’t Think It’s that Simple.

Excerpt From “Twin Powers” by David Pereda

twinWhile vacationing with her mother in Havana, a ten-year-old American girl is taken by members of a child sex ring intent on selling her into forced prostitution. When the human traffickers avoid capture and escape the island, the father of the girl, surgeon Raymond Peters, decides to take matters into his own hands and intiates a worldwide investigation. The Cuban government assigns a lethal professional assassin named Marcela to help Raymond track down the culprits. The search for Stephanie takes the unlikely pair—a man who has taken an oath to save lives and a woman who kills for a living—to the Middle East in the hunt for the mysterious mastermind, Mohamed. Working against the clock, Raymond and Marcela must pull out all the stops to save Stephanie and flee Dubai before Mohamed and his thugs kill them.

Excerpt from Twin Powers:

The full moon reflected on the beach waters, multiplying itself like enormous gold coins with each gentle wave.

“Let’s go for a swim naked,” Marcela said, tugging at Raymond’s hand. “It’s a beautiful night out.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

They were sitting on the porch of Marcela’s house on a secluded beach in Havana. Raul Castro had been true to his word. Her old house had been intact and spotless. There were a lot of recollections in that house for her. Every room evoked a special memory for her. She had made love, and she had killed, in that house. She had been attacked and beaten, but she had survived.

The altar to Chango in the main room of the house had taken her fifteen years to build. Every object on it was special to her. The two-foot-tall statue of Chango in the middle she had commissioned from Cuba’s finest sculptor and paid for with contraband dollars. She had spent three years carving the huge figures of Oshe and Shere, Chango’s bodyguards, from the hardest and darkest mahogany. The antelope horns, symbolizing Oya, Chango’s wife, she brought from Africa. The jade miniature of twin little girls at Chango’s feet, she bought in Mexico at the Teotihuacan pyramids.

The secluded beach where she swam naked every day held countless reminiscences too; the feel of the sand itself; the salty waters where she once had an encounter with a shark; the training area behind the trees where she practiced four hours every day.

Everything in and around her house brought so many warm recollections to her. And now she was contemplating leaving her home and all her memories to go live permanently in Miami with Ray. She was split in two. Cuba and her home pulled her one way; Ray and her love for him pulled her another way. She had never been so indecisive in her life. One moment she was ready to pack and leave. Five seconds later, she was convinced she would stay. How could she even think of leaving her country, her house, and the only life she had ever known behind? And all because she was in love with one man, an older man at that, one who could be her father. A moment later, she would argue with herself that change was good and necessary when one felt too comfortable in one place. Change builds character, challenges you, and makes you learn new things. Her English wasn’t very good. She could perfect it in the United States, for instance.

All this thinking was giving her a headache. Her decision could wait. Now she needed exercise.

Ray was looking at her with that especial expression of his that always made her want to hug him so hard she could get inside his body.

“Hey, did you fall asleep on me?” he asked. “You’re kidding about going swimming naked, aren’t you?”

“No, I’m not kidding.”

She stood and peeled her clothes off.

“What about your neighbors?”

“What neighbors?” She started undressing him, beginning with his T-shirt. “Have you seen any neighbors? This is a secluded beach, kimosabe. There are no neighbors.”

“Hey, wait a minute,” Raymond protested as she started unzipping his shorts.

“Be quiet and don’t move!”

He did as ordered. When she finished undressing him, she stared appraisingly at his naked body, making a bit production of it. She could tell he was a little nervous.

“Do I pass inspection?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” she said in a serious tone. “You’re old enough to be my father. Gaining a little weight around the middle, losing your hair; your package is a little too small for my taste.”

“Ouch!” Raymond looked down at himself. “You really know how to make a guy feel good.”

“But…”

“But what?”

“But I love you anyway.”

Marcela started running toward the beach, feeling the breeze on her face and smelling the salty scent of the sea. A moment later, she heard Ray’s footfalls coming behind her. A long time ago, she had learned that happiness consisted of relishing the little moments in life. She was happy.

***

DavidPeredaDavid Pereda is an award-winning author who enjoys crafting political thrillers and mainstream novels. His books have won the Lighthouse Book Awards twice, the Royal Palm Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Readers Favorite Awards twice. He has traveled to more than thirty countries around the world and speaks four languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching, Pereda had a rich and successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Qatar, among others. A member of MENSA, Pereda earned his MBA from Pepperdine University in California. He earned bachelor degrees in English literature and mathematics at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He loves sports and has won many prizes competing in track and show-jumping equestrian events. Pereda lives with his youngest daughter Sophia in Asheville, North Carolina. He teaches mathematics and English at the Asheville-Buncombe Community College. Visit him online at: www.davidpereda.com Other titles by David Pereda: However Long the Night Havana: Top Secret Havana: Killing Castro

Click here for an Interview With David Pereda, author of “Twin Powers”