Archive for the ‘General Fiction’ Category

small coverHere’s an excerpt from his debut book.  Enjoy!

Cody took another left into a residential neighborhood. Looking back, I saw a barrage of blue and red lights flooding through the rear window. I could not tell how many police cars were behind us. They seemed to fill the entire scene, like some procedural television crime drama.

Cody took another wild turn and headed straight for the end of the street. At the end of the street was not a home, but a small field with some scattered trees and a creek.

“We gotta ditch out,” Cody shouted.

“What!?” I shouted back, exasperated at the notion.

“Better idea?” he asked frantically. I barely had time to think.

“’Ey, wipe the car down,” I shouted to the back. “Grab everythin’ we touched. We don’ want ‘em to get our fingerprints.” I thought of every crime show from television, distinctly remembering they always looked for fingerprints in those shows. “Come on, ya’ll!” I wiped vigorously around with my gloves. Brett barely moved. Juan was in a complete daze.

‘Not like this,’ the thought continued to rumble around my mind. ‘Phantom of the night…’

Juan yanked his seatbelt on and tightened it. Brett crammed himself close to his door, hand on the handle, getting ready to jump.

Looking directly ahead, I witnessed the car take flight from the road toward a colossal tree. Two car doors flung open. Cody and Brett leapt from the car.

I considered briefly, opened the passenger door, and jumped.

Umph. Ahhh! Clank, clank, crack! Ahhh!

I hit the ground, rolled over several times, ended up on my back, and slid for several meters. At the same time the loud bang of the car crashing thundered through the night sky.

I scurried to my feet and disappeared into the brush. The small grove we bailed into was quickly filled with police cruisers.

I hobbled between the trees and shrubbery. My knee was throbbing, which made the rest of my leg go numb. About twenty feet into the brush, I stumbled down a small ravine and into the creek I saw earlier. The water soaked my shoes and splashed up my pant leg.

I heard distant voices shouting, but could not make out much from the scene of the crash. I listened for only an instant before making my way off the bank of the creek and to a nearby house.

I crouched down and took a moment to catch my breath. Wisps of frozen breath evaporated into the winter air. My hands shook and teeth chattered, my body soaking in the cold from my wet clothing.

‘Where is everyone?’ I wondered. ‘Where are Cody, Juan, and Brett? Did anyone peel off the same direction as I, or did they head the opposite direction?’


I reached down and felt tenderly around my injured knee. I felt for any fluid in it that would indicate swelling or damage.

‘What was that loud crack?’ I wondered silently. ‘Must have been a tree branch of some sort.’

I did not feel anything to indicate injury and immediately felt relief. I had not done something that would hinder my ability to run.

‘I need to get home.’ I thought. ‘I’m not going down like this. Phantom of the night…’

In my thinking, if I got home, then time would reset itself. The phantom of the night would disappear. I would be Mike Mabe again: the normal kid from high school. I could retire the phantom, if I wanted, and no one would be the wiser.

I took another deep breath and pushed away from the side of the house.

‘I need to get moving,’ I acknowledged.Author

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Posted: January 17, 2017 in General Fiction

Quiney and Biddy have graduated from their high school special education program.  Neither can believe that they are placed to live with each other in the upstairs apartment of an elderly woman whom they are to assist.  Quiney works an outside job also.  She is so angry at the world, and especially at the guy who made her “special.’ Biddy is afraid of everything as she learned that her trusting nature could not trust  Chapters alternate between the two girls sharing their take on their lives.  Little do they realize that this placement and what they experience next will show fortitude never imagined.

Giles writes convincingly about the challenges of growing up special, and the added persecution and manipulation and abuse because of it.  Excellent for anyone to consider a different point of view and for point of view studies.

gail-giles                                 girls

A companion book to “Flirting in Italian,” the overseas school experiences of Violet and her new girlfriends at the exclusive school moves to the next level. Her visceral attraction to Luca di Verperi is extinguished, reluctantly, due to the family secrets held by his parents and hers. In the meantime Kendra has fallen for their teacher and the discovery of their rendezvous forces extreme actions by the school administrator.  In a climatic revelation, Violet and Luca learn their fate.

There is no eye-popping literary appeal to this girly beach novel, but just enjoyable escape. And happy endings.  It was a fun, relaxing read.  The book will qualify for lovers of teen romance, while showing teens the importance of accepting the results of their actions.

lauren                                                kissing-in-italian-cover

What Light by Jay Asher

Posted: January 3, 2017 in General Fiction

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks”? Instant attraction, worried parents, rivals, high possibility of personal tragedy…. What Light has it all, with a different ending.
Jay admirably builds the tension of the central love theme, while interlacing conflict with friends, parents, and one’s pass. Intrinsic to the novel is the philosophical question “Can a person improve his life or will he always stay the same?” Is a person equivalent to a leopard? Not only can a person turn from past destructive behavior, but the story illustrates how a person becomes his better self. Jay also illustrates that restoration can be made, that light from candles within a chapel on Christmas Eve or lights strung from trees on a hill can illuminate the world for good and replace the darkness; that a person’s actions can erase pass errors. This is a powerful book cloaked in an alluring young adult love story.

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Firebug by Lish McBride

Posted: September 8, 2016 in General Fiction

Ava can start fires with her mind, and the magical mafia, Coterie, employs her as their top hit human.  Ava and her friends go on the lam when Coterie’s godmother, Venus, requires her to kill a family friend.  McBride once again introduces the reader to a story, truer than true, in a fantastical setting.  Verbal repartee between characters illicits snorts or guffaws.  This author introduces a blatently impossible plot and sucks the reader into the reality of the improbability.

Fantasy readers who enjoy clever wordsmithing will enjoy this along with the sequel, Pyromantic.
lish Lish’s Website                        firebug


Determined to help her father with his political career, Jocelyn sets aside dreams of love. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Grant Amesbury, her dreams of true love reawaken. But his secrets put her family in peril.

Grant goes undercover to capture conspirators avowed to murder the prime minister, but his only suspect is the father of a courageous lady who is growing increasingly hard to ignore. He can’t allow Jocelyn to distract him from the case, nor will he taint her with his war-darkened soul. She seems to see past the barriers surrounding his heart, which makes her all the more dangerous to his vow of remaining forever alone.

Buy your copy here:



Donna Hatch is the award-winning author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series.” She discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. A sought-after workshop presenter, she juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, her six children (seven, counting her husband), and still makes time to write. Yes, writing IS an obsession. A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

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The Suspect’s Daughter by Donna Hatch
Review By Joan Enders of Bevy of Books Blog

I must concede that I am a young adult book reviewer. But interestingly, my forays into reviews of adult literature have wandered smack into some form of historical fiction. Now, here I am, strolling into the realm of Regency romance novels. For my usual YA readers, you do not need to puzzle about the conventions of a Regency romance novel. Just think Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice but written now. There you go; you are ready for The Suspect’s Daughter by Donna Hatch.

And one more confession: I have not read any other books in the “Rogue Hearts” series with its interrelated characters. That will be corrected. The Suspect’s Daughter is the fourth in the series. Now, on to the review…

Jocelyn Fairley (The Suspect’s Daughter) critiques her father’s London home in her last minute walk-through ensuring all is ready for the ball that will catapult her father into the office of Prime Minister of England. As she inspects, a light in the study alarms her and she cat-paws into the room only to have her mouth clamped by a large hand, “an unyielding force push[es] her back against the wall,” and another hand at her throat….coarse coat and voice, contrasting hint of mint and bergamot, a threat, and jump from a window. Jocelyn is left alone in the study with nothing taken, not even her pearl necklace at her throat. Showing her pluck, she walks to the window to lock it, tidies herself, and marches to the drawing room to host her father’s ball, determined that this is his season to govern and to wed again. Jocelyn’s prospects are nil. In fact the man who attacked her with his big hands, broad chest and low voice is the closest she had been to man in a year.

Grant Amesbury landed outside the Fairley house, disgusted. Despite how he feels about women, he has never threatened any woman. Tonight he sunk to a new low. His mission is foiled. Nonetheless, that night he would find himself back in the same home with a vastly different mission.

And so, the game begins between Grant Amesbury, Napoleonic Wars veteran and aristocrat, and Jocelyn Fairley, the privileged and guileless daughter. In true Regency form, conversations between protagonists entertain the reader. Practices of “the ton” (The higher classes of England) juxtapose the depravity of street life. The manners of the times clash with true feelings.

Grant is the gallant but bitter war hero who is plagued by “vent du boulet” (PTSS) and scars from a personal treason. Despite his heritage, he chooses to live alone in London assisting a local magistrate, and tries to save a young local prostitute from the profession. He vents incessantly over the betrayal of women, he never smiles, he rejects his family, and he is ferociously loyal to his friend and his cause. And yes, he needs to be tempted to dance.

Jocelyn is a capable young woman, runs a peer’s household in two locations, cares for tenants, improves people’s situations without permission or blessing, shows bravery and nerve, and berates herself for not having an amazing waif-like figure like most women of the time.

Well, this is a Regency romance so there is no doubt about the building action of this plot. The joy in reading is the delicate dance to arrive at the climax of this relationship story. Luckily, there are still questions to answer at the conclusion of the novel to be tickled in another novel.

I enjoy the immersion into the society of London, and the allusions to practices of the peers. I appreciate that the chalking of ball floors, seasons, squabs, runners, wastrel, chit, light-skirts, whist, faro, vingt-et-un, loo, and other lingo of the day lightly skip as stones on a pond rather than sink in the detail of definitions on-page. Also, Regency romances prove that love off-page can be as powerful as on-page.

On the suggestions side, I grew tired of Grant’s endless venting about women. There were three prepositional typos that a spellcheck would not catch, but the story was not compromised. In chapter seven Fairley was once written as Fairly.

The runners of Bow Street intrigue me. I did a little research discovering that the runners of London preceded the peelers of London. Sir Robert Peel’s peelers started around 1829, just a few years after this novel. If you want to travel forward in time and enjoy an quirky fantasy novel with peelers, the reader might want to follow up The Suspect’s Daughter with Dodger by Sir Terry Pratchett.

I was requested to post an honest review based on my reading of the ebook.


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once alphabet“A is for …” has died. Oliver Jeffers has created a entertaining style of wacky alphabet books that honors the humor and intelligence of children! Twenty-six stories are inspired by letters rather than being soundly beaten into submission by them. My interest level rating shows my enjoyment level and desire to share with my grandchildren who have amazingly raucous senses of humor. Consider the story of Edmund the Astronaut who wishes to meet aliens during his adventure. There is only one little problem: Edmund is afraid of heights. Cup was sick of living in a cupboard and wanted to live by the window where there was a clear view. He went for it, forgetting that the cupboard was very high and concrete very hard. Out in the ocean octopus and owl search for problems to solve, responding to cries for help on other alphabet pages. Edmund needs help. Why didn’t they help him? A particular parsnip is rather daft, sure that he is a potato and even ids a peanut as a parsnip. And if that is not bad enough, question has disappeared. Read it. Enjoy it. Buy it. Give it.  Rated all the stars that shine on the sea.oliverjeffers

Jeffers Website

The Graveyard Book, Volume 2

Posted: January 13, 2015 in General Fiction

Craig adapts one of my favorite Neil Gaiman stories, The Graveyard Book, into a spectacularly tense and visual graphic novel that will not disappoint Gaiman fans. This is the second half of the hysterical and haunting story in which Bod has toddled from his home to the local decrepit graveyard unknowingly escaping being murdered with his entire family. The colorful ghosts take it upon themselves to raise Bod. As volume two begins Bod is accosted by Thackery Porringer, 1720-1734, who is incensed that Bod borrowed his only earthly possession, a copy of Robinson Crusoe. Bod’s vampire guardian finally tells him about the murder of his parents eleven years prior, in the hopes that Bod will understand the danger that he is in. But of course, that would be too compliant and Bod’s actions place him and his girl friend from the past in danger. If I were in a middle or high school library I would certainly buy both volumes. I appreciate the high quality glossy illustrations.

gaimangraveyard v2

By raise of hand: Where is Angel Island and for what is it known? I did not know either. It was the site of the San Francisco Bay immigration station for most Asian immigrants who were detained, interrogated and scrutinized for extremely lengthy periods of time. In 1970 the buildings of the station were slated for demolition, but the new park ranger, Alexander Weiss, noticed engravings over the interiors of the barracks that were dismissed as graffiti. They were reflections and poems written by the detainees! He told a former professor about them, and suddenly activists in the Asian American community visited, touched and successfully campaigned to save the structures. The former professor was George Araki. His mother had come through the island herself as a Japanese immigrant. I have always admired Freedman’s exposure of history that needs to be known, and this is another welcomed addition to his arsenal of shared knowledge.


angel island