Aug 142014
 

Eyes Closed Tight by Peter Leonard
Published by The Story Plant
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
ISBN-10: 1611881145
ISBN-13: 978-1611881141
Pages: 276
Review Copy from: The Story Plant
Edition: TPB
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Amazon):
O’Clair is a former Detroit homicide investigator who now owns a motel in Pompano Beach, Florida in his retirement. He runs the place with his much younger girlfriend, Virginia, who’s a knockout and can fix anything. One morning, he’s cleaning up after the previous night’s partiers when he sees a lovely young woman stretched out asleep on a lounge chair. He shakes her gently. Then he touches her neck and feels for a pulse. There isn’t one. Her skin is cold, body starting to stiffen, definitely in the early stages of rigor.

When a second girl is murdered, O’Clair knows someone is trying to send him a message. The way the girls are killed reminds O’Clair of a case he investigated years earlier. Now convinced the Pompano murders are related, O’Clair returns to Detroit Police Homicide to review the murder file and try to figure out what he might have missed.

And when Virginia is kidnapped by the killer, the stakes grow exponentially higher.

The most powerful work to date by one of the most thrilling suspense novelists of our time, EYES CLOSED TIGHT is relentless, surprising, and deeply satisfying.

My Thoughts and Opinion:

Peter Leonard was added to my “authors to read” list in January of 2012 when I read Voices Of The Dead and his subsequent books, All He Saw Was The Girl and  Back From The Dead.

 

An author once told me that a reader had to be “hooked” by page 5 but Peter Leonard has the brilliant ability to grab the reader within the first few paragraphs and never lets go.  The suspense was constant and the action nonstop the entire book.  The author takes the reader on an incredible heart pounding roller coaster ride.  The number of twists and turns were extraordinary.

I highly, highly recommend this book, and author, if you are a fan of suspense.  An incredible “whodunit”!!!  Loved it! This book was a reminder why Peter Leonard is on my “authors to read list” and should be on your’s.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!!

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DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.

Aug 082014
 

What It Was Like by Peter Seth
Published by The Story Plant
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
ISBN-10: 1611881900
ISBN-13: 978-1611881905
Pages: 464
Review Copy from: The Story Plant
Edition: TPB
My Rating: 5+

Synopsis( via Amazon):
“It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”

So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.

It is the summer of 1968 and a young man takes a job at a camp in upstate New York before starting his first semester at Columbia University. There, he meets Rachel Price, a fellow counselor who is as beautiful as she is haunted. Their romance will burn with a passion neither of them has ever known before…a passion with the power to destroy.

In the tradition of Endless Love and Gone Girl, What it was Like is an intimate, raw, and revealing journey through the landscape of all-consuming love. It announces the debut of a remarkable storyteller.

My Thoughts and Opinion:

WOW!! WOW!! WOW!!!

It has been a few days since I read the last word and closed the back cover, before putting my thoughts in writing, because it took me some time to process and reflect on what I had just finished reading.

From reading the back cover/synopsis and previous reviews, I knew that somewhere in these pages, an outcome was going to be tragic. And a love story was to be told.

But before I go any further, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, I am a member of The Story Plant’s Spread the Word Initiative, with a little tease “It’s both romantic and suspenseful, but it’s not romantic suspense.” However, please know, I was asked, in return for this copy, I would provide an honest review, which I will.

Did I say WOW??!! I still don’t know where to start with this review because my head is still reeling.

It is a story of, to name a few elements, a first love, obsession, manipulation, parental love, friendships, boundaries, unconditional love and one life changing decision. Characters and settings will touch every reader and will evoke memories and emotions as one turns the pages. Gripping!! A page turner!!

I could not put this book down, reading into the early hours. Riveting!! And when I read the last word I was astounded. Is what I just read a fictional novel? Or was it based on truth? Was it an autobiography? Or is this debut author a masterful, first-rate storyteller that has my head reeling still? Outstanding!!

My prediction…in the coming days, weeks, months, this book will become a bestseller!!! And Peter Seth will be a familiar name in the literary world!! An extraordinary read!!! Bravo Mr. Seth!! And kudos to publisher, Lou Aronica, for discovering this brilliant author!!

I am definitely spreading the word on this book, and I’m sure, once you read it, you will be doing the same!!!

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REVIEW DISCLAIMER
This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.  I am an IndieBound affiliate.  I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
Mar 312014
 

Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester
Published by The Story Plant
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
ISBN-10: 1611881358
ISBN-13: 978-1611881356
Number of Pages: 355
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: ARC
My Rating: 5

Synopsis via GoodReads:
Rick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige’s father nearly destroyed Abby’s spirit.

Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they’re hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She’s very protective of the life she’s made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn’t know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you’ve dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?

PRESSED PENNIES is a nuanced, intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love it its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings. It is the most accomplished and moving novel yet from a truly great storyteller of the heart.

My Thoughts and Opinion:

I seem to ask myself the same questions whenever I start to read the latest Steven Manchester book… can he do it again?… can he make me feel the emotions of his characters?…. will I relate to the cast?….will I imagine the settings from his descriptions?… will this read stay with me? …will this book be at the level of the bar that HE, himself set with his first book, Twelve Months?…what about his other books..Goodnight, Brian and The Rockin’ Chair?  OK..let’s see so those questions can be answered!

 

From the first sentence, the reader is swept away to become one and part of the story because of the talented writing style by this author. Not only does Steven Manchester have the gift to pen stories about matters of the heart and relationships, I believe what puts him above many others, is that he truly writes from the heart. It is apparent that he writes about what he knows best, life, but he also has the ability to make his written words come to life in poignant stories.

 

The Cast: are believable and relatable even though I hadn’t experienced the situation of a divorce, which both Rick and Abby were going through when they were reacquainted, I could feel their emotions as the author described.  I did know, and feel, the level of love between mother and child and kept putting myself in Abby ‘s shoes asking myself what I would do in this situation? Does a mother protect her child at the expense of personal happiness? (You will have to answer this question yourself)

 

There were so many other emotions, situations, experiences and feelings that were brought to mind in comparison and relatability to my own life, both present and past.  One example, that brought back vivid memories and emotions of my childhood, of Christmas shopping with my Dad and sister in downtown Providence:
pg 126   Smiling faces, framed in woolen scarves and colorful earmuffs, released a chimney of steam into the starry night and most waved at him.  Shop windows, adorned in the year’s latest clothing styles and ingenious toys, beckoned the masses…..Massive garlands, strung from lamppost to lamppost, dangled red-bowed wreaths at each center.

 

The Setting…it was easy for me to visualize since the setting mainly took place in southern New England with a quick getaway to Aruba, both  places I personally have visited during different stages of my life.  Places like Lincoln Park , a large amusement park that I haven’t thought about in years and has been long gone, Fenway Park, the corner neighborhood store and the beautiful beaches of Aruba.  But I can guarantee that even if you don’t know this area, you will have no problem creating the exact imagery of what he describes.

 

The Answers:  Yes to all!!!  A lasting memory and a read that met the bar!! Once again Steven Manchester delivered!! As with all his books, they are written about love, compassion, parenting, growing, pain, relationships, family, disappointments, all the experiences and emotions of life as we all know it.   Steven Manchester’s books are written with those very emotions and he allows his readers to remember, relive and feel.  His books are timeless!

 

I have to be very honest, however. I did have one very big disappointment. It was when I started reading the final chapter and knew that the final word would be soon approaching. Why? For me, since I have read every one of his books, I now have to wait another year, waiting for his next novel Goosebury Island, which will  be released in May 2015. I highly recommend and urge you to pick up this or any of his other books…..you won’t be disappointed. But like me, I’m sure you will become a Steven Manchester fan and waiting for and wanting more! In my opinion, PRESSED PENNIES, as all his books have, will be winning awards!

 

Bravo Mr. Manchester and thank you!

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REVIEW DISCLAIMER
This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.

ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.  I am an IndieBound affiliate.  I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
Jan 252014
 

An Anniversary Feast by Michael Baron
Published by The Story Plant
Publication Date: January 14th, 2014
ASIN: B00G1SM4ZO
Pages: 60
Review Copy from: Personal Purchase
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 4

Synopsis (via Amazon):
Deborah Gold and her boyfriend Sage are celebrating their three-month anniversary, marking one of the longest relationships Deborah has had in a young life of too much work and not nearly enough play. They have a special, very romantic day planned, one that will culminate in a sumptuous meal at one of the hottest restaurants in the country. When they wake up to a blizzard, though, they realize that not only have their evening plans changed, but everything they were going to do for their celebration has been snowed out. Fortunately, for a couple of food lovers like Deborah and Sage, there’s a day’s worth of entertainment available in trying to turn the limited supplies in Sage’s apartment into a fine-dining experience. The adventure this entails will challenge their creativity and define their relationship in ways they’ve never before considered.

The second of four novelettes about the Golds, who we first met in the national bestseller LEAVES, AN ANNIVERSARY FEAST is a cornucopia of food and romance.

My Thoughts and Opinion:
In this novelette sequel to Leaves, we are reacquainted with Deborah, one of the 5 Gold siblings. Since selling the family inn, which she was the chef, Deborah has settled into her new life, including her relationship with Sage. Plans for their 3 month anniversary, an elaborate dinner at a friend’s restaurant, are thwarted by a blizzard, but together, they prepare a gourmet meal from items in Sage’s pantry.

This is the second of four novelettes, that will be published, that showcases each member of the Gold family, ending with a full length novel Everything of Nothing. The remaining novelettes are titled Harmony and Putting Yourself Out There. My review of Recovery can be seen here.

Reading the first two novelettes, felt as if I was catching up with old friends.

Not only did I enjoy “catching up” with Deborah, but also the chapter entitled “a note from the author” in which he relates how each Gold sibling was “born”.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the length. Michael Baron’s writing always leaves this reader wanting to read more of his characters. I am now anxiously awaiting the next installment. Warning: do not read this sequel if you are hungry. The food descriptions will have your mouth watering.

Highly recommend not only this novelette but any and all of Mr. Baron’s titles.

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REVIEW DISCLAIMER
This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

(2014 Challenges: EBoook, Where Are You?, A-Z, Turning The Pages, Outdo Yourself)

Jan 102014
 

Recovery by Michael Baron
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: Nov. 19th, 2013
ASIN: B00E79005K
Pages: 66
Review Copy from: The Story Plant
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (borrowed from Amazon):
As November chill settles on the town of Oldham, CT, the world has shifted under the feet of Corrina and her teenaged stepson Ryan. Contending with tradition when nothing is the way it used to be is a challenge for the steadiest of relationships – and no one would ever define Corrina and Ryan’s relationship that way. But tradition is still staring them in the face, and they’re going to have to deal with it whether they want to or not. On a day when Ryan is too vulnerable to fight, he agrees to spend some time with his stepmother. Will it be the first stage in their recovery, or a final passage together before they go their separate ways forever?

In the first of four novelettes about the Golds – who we first met in Leaves – Michael Baron further explores the nuances, complexities, and unique comforts of family and shows that “nothing will be the same” has a multitude of connotations.

My Thoughts and Opinion:
I have been a huge fan of Michael Baron, enjoying every book written by him and even this novelette did not disappoint.

Recovery is a sequel novelette to Leaves. Leaves tells a story of 5 siblings dealing with the loss of not only their parents, but their decision to sell their family Inn.

In Recovery, Mr. Baron brings the reader up to speed on Corinna, (due to spoiler, will be vague) after a traumatic ending in Leaves. I felt that I was catching up with a friend. Emotional and tender, characteristics of Mr. Baron’s writing.

I understand that there will be 4 novelettes released, each chronicling one of the Gold siblings, which leads up to the next novel, Everything or Nothing. I can’t wait to read all the subsequent novelettes to see how each Gold family member is since Leaves.

If you haven’t read a Michael Baron book, you truly are missing out on an exceptional author. I highly recommend any and/or all books.

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REVIEW DISCLAIMER
This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

(2014 Challenges: JustForFun, Mount TBR, EBook, Where Are You, A-Z, Turning the Pages, OutdoYourself