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The Passage: A Novel ~Michael Hurley

May 30th, 2016

Give a middle aged American Irishman a bar fight, put him on his sailboat headed to Ireland to find the true taste of Guinness and an amazing story emerges from Hurley’s imagination.   I could not put this book down, I was possessed by the story and the frame and range of the surface right to the depth the heart can reach.

I am so very happy Mr. Hurley asked me if I wanted to read it and that he sent me a PDF copy.  WOW.  Lucky ME!

I even read THE PASSAGE on two 4-hour car rides.  I could totally identify with the main character’s life – “Fitz” was just right and complete and steadfast and I just wanted to know how he was fairing on his path to salvation, redemption and his progress to shore up his self-worth.  The tragedies and mistakes were sublime and the droplets of humor and descriptions just tickled and delighted my imagination – holding my attention steadfastly.

Several years ago I reviewed another of Hurley’s books – THE VINEYARD.  The story was interesting and well written, but I could not identify with any of the 3 women characters.  None of them became real.  The book went on to win awards and I just thought “Oh well, we all have different tastes in reading.”

The twists and turns in the writing of this novel, were remarkably paced and just slid into this readers psyche with sometimes a sigh, a laugh or a didn’t see that coming.  It is so like life – no matter the taste of Guinness – no matter where.

“Do you believe in everlasting Love?”

My favorite quote came at PDF page 146: “Genre fiction uses plot to tell you a story about someone else’s life.  Classic fiction uses characterizations to tell you a story about yourself.”

What is holding onto you?  What is making you define yourself incorrectly?  How do you care and like yourself?  What pieces/peaces are you missing in your own journey?  What are the meanings you hold dear? And are those things, which you value – programed at age 10 true or false?

Life is definitely a journey and a process and so many of us have a middle-aged change of heart and endeavor.  It would be hard not to relate to this character and his story.  Irish magic just short of leprechauns and fairies adds just the right leverage to this tale.  I am passing this on to several friends for sure.

A remarkable read and I would give it a “10” and hope that it might reach the award phase and become a best seller.

About the Author (from book cover)

“Michael Hurley is the author of three novels and several works of nonfiction.  His debut novel, THE PRODIGAL, won the Chanticleer Reviews Grand Prize for Book of the Year in 2013.  This second novel, THE VINEYARD, won the 2015 Eric Hoffer Award for General Fiction.  A memoir, ONCE UPON A GYPSY MOM, was published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.  His essay collection, LETTERS FROM THE WOODS, was shortlisted for Book of the Year in 2005 by ForeWard Reviews.  Between 1995 and 2003, he published a quarterly literary journal on wilderness canoeing, now collected in single hardcover volume entitled HURLEY’S JOURNAL.  He wrote THE PASSAGE while living in England and Wales.  He keeps a journal and stays in touch with readers on his website, www.mchurley.com

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INCARNATION: A Novel ~Laura Davis Hays

May 26th, 2016

Are you ready for a fascinating read?  Do you like to think and figure out what is going on in a story?  How is your intuition?  How do you feel about the environment and science?  Do we have one life or do we come back many times?  Do we have a task to complete while we reside here on earth?

The INCARNATION keeps asking those questions and it truly made my brainwork and stop to contemplate and sort.  This book is a good mental workout and at the same times an interesting and provocative story that includes science and archeology, nightmares and psychology, abusive behavior and loving kindness.  A great many characters and different locations and scenes keep the reader on their toes and alert to what is happening in the story.

TLC Book Tours  sent me PDF copy of this book for review.  I used a pencil and paper to make notes and form a timeline and compare dream sequences and contemporary story lines.  A very interesting read, which would not be hurried.

The characters in the dream sections are from Atlantis, which is just very interesting on its own.  Iriel, Gewil, and Jarad take us through this story and introduce us to Muamdi, the Grandmother and “Chrystal – minde “

Kelsey, Sam, and Harrison are the contemporary incarnation of the Atlantis characters.  As confusing as the story line began in the “white” world and all the “control” issues it was worth it to sort and assess the interconnection and where the outcome was leading.  Kelsey and Harrison are scientists working on an organism which would clean up oil spills and the like in the ocean, hopefully not damaging the sea life.  This is about saving the world and keeping the earth moving forward and surviving human flaws and contrary actions – greed.

I liked the adventure in the story and the Metaphysical, supernatural references and the revealing treatment of contemporary women-not much has changes throughout history. “Tested in life-or-death struggle, Kelsey must face an ordeal she can survive only through great courage and deep karmic understanding.” (Cover)

This book is very hard to put down, a compelling read and quite the adventurous thriller.  One will want to read every word and then maybe pick it up and read it again.

Laura Davis Hays is the award winning author of Incarnation, a metaphysical thriller set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a remote Island off the coast of Belize, and the lost continent of Atlantis. She is also the author of the forthcoming fantasy series, The Atlantis Material, and a collection of linked stories set in Denmark, her ancestral homeland, in the early part of the 20th century.

Laura writes with a mind balanced between right and left-brain capabilities that leads to a combination of flights of fancy and complexity of structure in her work.

A graduate of Rice University, Laura lives in Santa Fe with her husband, Jim, and two cats, Rufus and Dexter.

Laura Davis Hays website
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DECEPTION ISLAND: A Romance Novel ~Brynn Kelly

May 19th, 2016

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this novel for review.  It was an advance copy and there was no other promo information that accompanied the e-book, nor was there a cover.  As per my usual, I just dove in to see what this first novel was about.

There is some excitement to the story right away as there is a kidnapping of a politician’s daughter, who is sailing her boat around the world by herself, within the first few pages.  Sharks, three to one odds, kicks to the groin, fancy moves, and a talented heiress makes it to the attackers boat and then there is an attack of human kindness and the hope to save the kidnapper being attacked in the water.  First downfall and the heroine is overtaken and off to a hidden island and a honeymoon resort.

Holly, the heroine in this novel is very well written and even though size matters a great deal in this abduction, she has skill and huge survival instincts.  The reader has great hopes for her.  Her backstory is well written and very believable although her best actions are intimate manipulations and sex- throw in some kickboxing maneuvers and a pocketknife and she is ofttimes amazing.

Rafe, our hero, was kidnapped as a boy to become a child warrior and killer. He is trying to rehabilitate himself after his warrior group left him behind and Missionaries rescued him.  His son has been kidnapped and he must do this job of holding the heiress for ransom and in order to regain custody of his son.

Kelly’s story is located in a series of islands maybe near Malaysia – paradise. It exposes the American politician’s fake set up to get elected, sex trafficking and how it is concealed in Asian countries, and child warriors; what happens to them as they grow older.  The story is primarily a romance and I know there are hundreds of readers who will want to read this story and be involved in all the action and feelings shared.

I advise Romance readers to connect with the TLC link if they wish to know more about the story and how other readers enjoyed it.  This is not my favorite genre. I do not find these stories even entertaining. I did read the book from start to finish, and wish Ms. Kelly well on her writing career.

Brynn Kelly
“As a journalist Brynn Kelly once spent her days chasing stranger-than-fiction news reports. Now she spends them writing larger-than-life novels, in a happy bubble of fiendish plots and delicious words. Brynn has a journalism degree and has won several prestigious writing and journalism awards, including the Valerie Parv Award and Pacific Hearts Award. Her debut novel Deception Island was a Golden Heart finalist. She’s also a bestselling non-fiction author in her native New Zealand.”

Author’s website
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ONCE UPON A LIE: A Novel ~Michael French

May 16th, 2016

“Michael French is the author of 25 books, which include adult fiction and young adult fiction, art criticism, biographies, adaptions, and gender studies.” (Cover)

There is tremendous skill in the writing of ONCE UPON A LIE and the hooks captivate the imagination within the first few pages.  The characters are extremely well developed and the reader is able to empathize quickly; they pull at a feeling level as well as moving the story forward. Word usage is intelligent. The suspense is just right and definitely not to thriller level, keeping the reader figuring out what is next.  I liked the mix of voices; first and third person perspectives were finely synced.

The reader is meshed into a huge family drama, well two families with lots of drama and some huge lies to contend with and that makes for a lifetime of attempting to find the truth and a whole realm of situations that do not create relief from the tensions of the stories.

“…the two youths see the trajectories of their lives entwine, unravel, and come together again.  Justice, Alex learns, can be a betrayal.  Justice, Jaleel finds, can be a powerful –but dangerous- rock on which to build a life of honor and courage.” (Cover)

Alexandra is the daughter of a Los Angeles lawyer and a socialite mother and Jaleel is the only child of a black couple living on the financial edge in Texas.  The police are prepping Jaleel, who is 12, to be the murderer of his father – he is on the run.  The two children meet over a cup of lemonade and the author builds a good coming of age story around these two individuals and their survival.  The secondary characters are strong and agile in assisting the unraveling of the lies.

“Michael French is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and of Northwestern University with a master’s in journalism.  A native of Los Angeles, he also is a successful businessman, activist, and, with his wife, Patricia, a philanthropist raising money for programs aiding teachers in Santa Fe, N.M., public schools which are some of the most challenged in the country. They divide their time between Santa Fe and Santa Barbara, CA.”

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me an advanced copy for review.

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Alex
Jaleel
Author

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