Saturday, September 23, 2017

Latest Peace Morrow Novel - An Uncertain Path by Sandra Carey Cody



Around her, the voices gradually softened to quiet murmurs and, finally, stilled altogether, letting the soaring tones of the organ fill the space. Familiar melodies that had become trite from repetition in shopping malls became beautiful again, proclaiming a message common to the religious traditions of both families. Peace on Earth.
~~~


Wow! What an extraordinary family drama!



In the last book, and without going into detail for those who haven't read it yet, Peace Morrow, our main character, met a family she had never previously known. Peace who had been abandoned at birth and adopted by Caroline Morrow. had discovered her real parents. Now her mother's family wanted to meet her and had come to Pennsylvania to spend time getting to know their first grandchild... Her grandparents and a cousin, the second grandchild (who had previously been considered first...and had been spoiled) also came.

Note: I was interested enough from Peace's description of her holidays with her mother, that I went out to find out more... This article helped me to understand how Quakers view Christmas. What I found was that, interestingly, my personal views were similar since I cannot accept the commercialism that now surrounds the birthday of Jesus...

With Peace's background life as a Quaker, she immediately found her new cousin, who was obviously doted on my her grandparents, well, spoiled... While she immediately fell in love with her grandparents, who clearly already cared deeply and wanted a relationship with Peace, she was distressed that they had planned on Flannery staying with Peace, so that they could get to know each other better.

By the time the book closes with all attending a Christmas service and hoping for peace on earth, an "almost" unbelievable series  of events had taken place, which included theft and death...

Briefly, a young local athlete had been killed by a car, which had been stolen, and happened to belong to Peace. By this second book, I am enthralled with this main character and already anxious to read the next book in the series. Peace is either a very perceptive person who cares for and watches people, or paranormal to some extent, or...chosen and placed where she needs to be in order to handle a developing or present situation...something like the "Touched by an Angel" television program... At this point, I'm thinking that, since few coincidents actually happen, that Peace is routinely pulled into God Incidents... Now I'm wondering if the author will clarify or just allow Peace to be Peace, no matter what and how she does it... Yes, I'm hooked...

This book provides no mystery for the readers since we are privy to thoughts of all involved characters and know what is going on...No matter, because it is still only at the end that we are to see what actually happens as two girls, caught in their own life actions, struggle to get through being caught... It is Peace who watches all that is happening and pulls out results of her God Incidents, or her keen perception, to know what to do... And, still surprising to me, she actually does what she feels she must do! Such a brave, strong woman we have in Peace Morrow! The climax literally shocked me as, Peace walks into the Lion's Den and leads one of the hardest discussions that could possibly ever take place.. placing herself in danger, but with only a very few people who knew that Peace was the catalyst used to resolve this multi-family dramatic tragedy! 

Many Kudos to the author! Start with the beginning but each can be read independently, with only the characters changing. Check out this series - Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews



And while the family continued singing traditional hymns, a new relationship was developing for Peace...
She felt a tickle on the back of her hand. ...fingers. Moving. Tracing a shape. She marked its circular path. No. The fingertips strayed from the circle, dipped down, made a sharp point, slanted upward. A heart?
She turned to him. The answer was in his eyes. Yes, a heart.
~~~

Friday, September 22, 2017

Debut Plus a Short Prequel Starts Fantastic New Series from Sandra Carey Cody


Just seven pages which you could indeed overlook if you weren't planning to read the new series by Sandra Carey Cody but if you find the descriptions for the first two books interesting, I highly encourage you to add the short story, which, in a way, is the prequel to the first novel.

Establishing the setting immediately, we move into a small town where a annual festival is taking place...

And we meet the main character, Caroline, a Quaker who led a very active life in support of her faith and realized she needed a break...


She was enjoying listening to a dulcimer being played among the crowd when suddenly a dog started barking on and on...Of course, somebody said that somebody should do something... And, of course, active Caroline got up and went to find the dog... Right then, I began to feel this was meant to be...

But, I hadn't a clue what it was that would change her life! So much said in so few pages, and yet the perfect scene was set. And It only took a little over 20 years to discover the full story... I loved it! And, by the way, it does stand alone as a sweet short story about God's plans and how they might work... 


Author Cody Reading in Mercer Library
MAY 1987 He stood at the crest of the hill, already shamed by the act he was about to commit. Could he go through with it? No choice. He studied the workers scurrying around the base of the building. No one seemed to notice him–or the bundle he carried. He moved closer, seeking accessible shelter. Behind the castle-like structure, a three-walled shed hugged the side of the hill. A half dozen steps put him in position to see that the interior was filled with antique carriages and farm wagons. There was no security guard in sight. A sure sign of a safe town. The decision made, he walked away. He came back in the darkest part of the night, slipped through the opening in the fence, and moved, step by irrevocable step, toward the shed. A wooden sign suspended from a thick rope proclaimed the area off limits. He ducked under the barrier and squeezed past the conveyances. A twig snapped. He stooped low and squinted into the shadows. A dog. He tensed when the animal approached, nodded when it ignored him. Yes, safe. Stray dogs don’t fear strangers here. He set his burden in the corner and stepped back, but remained poised, ready to intercede. He watched the animal sniff, then curve itself harmlessly, even (he told himself) protectively, against the basket’s side. The deed done, he slipped back through the opening in the fence and paused only momentarily to stare into the dark void that was the shed’s opening before he walked away. He returned when the sun was high to observe from outside the fence. The festival was in full swing, with celebrants swooping over the lawn like flocks of earthbound swallows. Strains of a dulcimer floated in the intervals between blacksmith hammer blows. Voices rose and fell in an easy-going hum. The dog began to bark in the shed. And didn’t stop. Someone will check on that. Again, he walked away and, this time, did not allow himself a backward look.
~~~


Twenty-two years had passed and Peace was now living in Doylestown, PA, involved in actually working on the preparation of the annual Festival she and her adoptive mother had visited so often! She was so excited but it was for more than that... Peace thought she might have met her father... One of the parents who had abandoned her at birth...



Right here on the property where she was now working at the Mercer Museum. Fonthill Castle was also there located . But Peace had been left in a storage shed and may not have been found if the dog had not come in when she was placed back behind some equipment and stayed there, only to soon start barking, obviously seeking help, for someone
to come and find the child... 
Shed where Peace was found as a baby and where Jack was found murdered...
in the exact same place...
Now Peace would often visited the little building and discovered that a homeless man was sleeping there now--in the exact place where her basket had been found!  Could it be? Soon she realized as they had talked and become friends, that she looked very much like the man she knew only as Jack...

Strolling through the crowds at the festival brought personal memories back to Peace...of that time when, once, her mother had heard a dog bark and went to find it... But this time, the disruptive noise was not a bark, it was a scream! Someone was shouting, "Blood! All Over Him!" Jack had been murdered...

Just like the old story of Hansel and Gretel who had planned for trouble by taking little white pebbles to be dropped, Sandra Corey Cody has masterfully dropped little pebbles of her story, bit by bit, moving from character to character, without identification of all those who are adding their personal story... The mystery actually becomes quite complex as Peace plays our amateur investigator and works parallel to the police activities taking place. But Cody refuses to give too many hints in this particular book and so, happily, I read through to the end without even guessing who had killed Jack... Wonderful! I love not being able to solve a mystery... This one keeps you moving from one possible option to another one...but I didn't even come close...

But the solving of the murder was minor for Peace...she had lost her father, perhaps, but could not even be sure enough to grieve for him! Nevertheless, when the ambulance came, it was Peace who demanded she ride with Jack to the hospital...

I love the character Peace and hope this series continues on for quite some time. Her faith and teachings from her adoptive mother have very much made Peace the woman she became and, no matter what had or would be happening, she firmly believed that Truth will come out... And if she could help make that happen, she persuasively helped to have that happen. But it is in her openness and willingness to care for people that we are moved as she started to bring food for Jack, even before she had gotten to know him... And when Jack had become friends with a young man who seemed to be a loner, especially after Jack had died, Peace worked frantically to help him deal with the loss, pain, and fear she found he had...

This is a special story, one I will long remember. Along with the prequel short story, it is totally satisfying for readers of mysteries and those who want to become involved with character lives.  I'm now reading the latest in the series, so watch for my review soon... I already can say that all three are highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews





http://www.sandracareycody.com
http://www.birthofanovel.wordpress.com
http://www.avalonauthors.blogspot.com

Sandra Carey Cody was born and grew up in the Midwest (the St. Louis area). She attended Washington University, met the love of her life when she cut an algebra class to go ice skating, married him not too long after that, and has since lived in various cities in different parts of the country. Wherever she's gone, books have the bridge to her new community and new friends.

She is the author of the Jennie Connors mystery series. The most recent entry in the series is Left at Oz, a prequel to Put Out the Light, Consider the Lilly and By Whose Hand, all of which are currently available in book stores and libraries. The Jennie Connors books take place in a retirement community where the residents are mobile, alert, and just bored enough to welcome a little excitement in their lives. If this involves helping Activities Director Jennie solve the occasional murder ... well, that's a lot more fun than bingo. In addition, the books explore the challenges facing a young mother as she learns to balance independence with family and career responsibilities.

Love and Not Destroy is a traditional mystery set in a museum of tools and folk art in a small town near Philadelphia. Peace Morrow is a young woman trying to learn the identity of a homeless man murdered on museum grounds, a quest that quickly becomes entangled with her own search for family roots. It is available in print and as an ebook.

A Perfect Wedding and Beyond the Fairy Light are both trios of short stories about the bump and jostle of day-to-day life in a family. More Than Words Can Say is a short romance. All are available available for your Kindle.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Want to be More Street Smart? Consider Study of Proverbs...


I sincerely believe God used Proverbs to restore my life, leading to the sale of my business to eBay in order to earn my master's and doctorate degrees in religious studies, allowing me to become a carrier of Christ's message of grace and wisdom. He has made me a better father to my four daughters and husband to my wife, Susan...


I liked the title of this book - the idea of considering Lessons from Proverbs in relation to present day life...

Mitch Kruse has an exceptional life story to share. While this is somewhat of a self-help by which the author has shared that personal story, it is also easy to apply the references and concurrent narrative as you think about your own life... I have found this the best way to deal with study guides rather than to review the book simply as written...


Indeed, this is a resource book that should be kept in your personal library for immediate access. Because of the chaos in today's world, however, I am choosing to dwell on the Chapter on Justice... By the way, you will find study videos on each of the points covered in the book, such as the following:







The thrust of the book, or subtitle, is to help readers understand how to navigate through conflict to community. The justice system itself is under scrutiny and I found this chapter helpful. I would recommend the book if only to help us live through each day when truth, lies, and lack of wisdom seem to be so prevalent and divisive.

Key points to resolution is to consider the person with whom you are in conflict. Then: Pray...Define the Conflict...Examine... Reflect...and...Determine. Many of you may realize this process is close to the scientific approach to any research and may already be routinely following the steps... But have we been praying before we start??? Whoa! Have we been neglecting that? I admit I have too, too often...

The simple fool is gullible. "A simple man
believes anything, but a prudent man
gives thought to his steps. 14:15.
~~~
Now none of us want to think of ourselves as fools, do we? Yet right there in Proverbs 1:7, we are confronted with the options... And we are told over and over in Proverbs to seek wisdom...knowledge...
Next we find out that there are different types of fools: The gullible fool and the stupid fool. 

The second stage in the progression toward a hardened heart is the stupid fool. He repeats his gullible behavior "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." 26:11 This fool repeats anger, strained family relationships, wickedness, deceit, slander, and shame. Unlike the gullible fool who learns from his mistakes and doesn't make them again, this fool's repetitive folly carries deeper consequences...

And then there is the stubborn fool, the scorning fool, and the Godless fool... Quite a number of options to see if we fit in anywhere...or maybe just sometimes, does that count? Well, the point is that this book is full of content that makes us think...to attempt to understand... and hopefully gain knowledge...and wisdom...

At that point, readers begin to consider the key to unlocking wisdom, using the acronym WISE: Will, Intellect, Spirit, and Emotions. By considering the revelation in Proverbs of twelve words to the wise: righteousness, equity, justice, wise behavior, understanding, wise communication, prudence, discretion, wise counsel, discipline, knowledge, learning...and readers will proceed on to study each word, beginning with a chapter on righteousness...


Interesting to me was that the first section in that chapter was "Listening to Others." I have known all my life I was better at listening in a conversation/conflict than I was to extemporaneously respond. Many have found they start thinking about their response before they actually listened and that just leads to further the conflict. You know, though, as I grew older, I found I had grown hesitant to voice my own opinions but now that I am, that has, for the first time in my life, increased conflict...with comments like, "You've changed..." I mention this because each of us must know ourselves sufficiently to see what the real issue is we must address...


Somehow Proverbs 16:11 in the New American Bible started me thinking about this issue in my communication norm... A just balance and scales belong to the LORD; All the weights of the bag are His concern. Had I created my present situation since I had not applied equal balance in my listening and talking? Spotlighting "Be Impartial" seemed to expand my thoughts. When it comes to interpersonal conflict, do you tend to be one sided? Do you favor a particular kind of person or behavior over another? I found I had favored the listening role in relationships because it was easier to maintain equilibrium with the individual(s) and save myself from potential arguments... But God tells us that justice is of paramount value for our relationships: "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice." 21:3


I included this personal experience with the book to show that each of us will be reading and receiving knowledge that we will learn, for ourselves, and for our communication with others.  Or, through continued reading, reevaluate our communication choices.  May you read Street Smarts openly and honestly. In my opinion, you too will find advancement of your knowledge and wisdom. Highly recommended because of that...



GABixlerReviews



MITCH KRUSE is known for his contribution to the collector car and real estate auction arenas. For seventeen years, he was owner, CEO, and auctioneer of the world's largest collector car sales organization. Kruse and his father developed the world's first auction park, home to the annual Auburn, Indiana, collector car auction that attracted three hundred thousand collectors each year. Mitch and his wife, Susan, live in Auburn, Indiana, just 15 minutes north of Fort Wayne, IN, on their family farm, first homesteaded by Kruse's great-great-great grandfather in 1854. They have four daughters.

D.J. WILLIAMS has been in the entertainment industry and nonprofit sector for twenty years. His writing credits include Restoration Road with Mitch Kruse, The Disillusioned, Waking Lazarus, and contributing writer for Holy Bible: Mosaic. Currently based in Los Angeles, Williams continues to add to his producing and directing credits by continuously developing new projects for television, film, and print.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Trust--Another Winner by Ronald H. Balson Out Today!

Ronald H. Balson won me as a fan with my reading of his books, Once We Were Brothers, Karolina's Twins, and now with The Trust.

Balson writes drama that is real, gritty, and provocative in its coverage of past or present world events affecting us all. This time we visit Northern Ireland, still dealing with "The Troubles" as it was called...






St. Michael's, a Five-Hundred-Year-Old Gothic church, sat perched on a hill beside a river named Six Mile Water. The car park was nearly full when I arrived and the moment I pulled in I saw Jane. She was standing alongside her car in a black jersey dress, having a smoke. When she saw me she flipped her cigarette, walked quickly over and threw her arms around me.
"So glad you're here, Liam." She slipped her hand in the crook of my elbows and led me toward the church. "Everyone will be so pleased to see you."
"Maybe not everyone."
"Anyone who's not will have to answer to Janie," she said forrcefully.
We walked into the vestibule where the congregants had quietly gathered around my uncle's casket waiting to follow him into the nave. My aunt Deirdre, a black veil covering her head, held her hand firmly on the casket. She would hold on as long as she could to the man she'd loved for so many years.
My arrival turned a few heads and some acknowledged me with a nod. We still off to the right, next to my uncle Robert, Janie's father. Normally, he was the jovial Taggart, with cherry cheeks, a generous paunch and a beer in his fist. Today he had dark circles under his eyes. He warmly shook my hand. "Welcome back, Liam. It's good to see you."
"Good to see you as well," I answered. "I just wish it weren't under these circumstances."
"As do we all."
I leaned my head sideways and whispered to Janie, "How did he die, Janie? What did you mean we'd talk about it?"
"He was killed, Liam. Murdered in cold blood."
~~~



Liam Taggart lived in the United States and worked as a private investigator. It was natural to assume that the phone ringing might be for a job--but he never would have guessed that it would be both bad news and a job! His cousin, Janie, was calling from Ireland about the death of their uncle. Fergis Taggart had died the night before... Fergis and Liam had been estranged for years and Liam's first reaction was not to go to the funeral. After all, Fergus had told him to leave his home on the day they had last talked...

But Janie had surprised him during the call when she said "The family needs you. Uncle Fergus needs you." Liam's puzzlement started at that very moment... How could Uncle Fergus even know if he was there or not? And he wasn't really sure that many of the rest of the family would want him there, especially after they had found out about him... After all, some would call him a traitor...

It was at the family gathering at Doogan's, that the division of family feelings began to come out...But Janie held to her promise and quickly stepped in by introducing Liam and explaining that she had been the one to call him and insisted he come. She then pointed out that Liam was a private investigator and that the family would be fools not to use his expertise to discover who had killed Fergus... Things settled down until the reading of the Will...

Liam had been named the sole Trustee of Fergus' property until such time as the person who had murdered Fergus had been discovered and prosecuted... The characters and readers both were flabbergasted! What the victim had done was essentially state that he knew somebody planned to murder him...and he'd made sure his estate was held until everything was cleared up... The police really were being put on the spot, as was the members of the family who might have thought they would inherit, especially Fergus' children...

Essentially, placing Liam as head of the Trust with full control, brought everybody's feelings about Liam back to the front. But Fergus had so arranged it that Liam would probably be forced to take the role, whether he wanted to or not...

A legal thriller like those that often come about when a large amount of money is at stake through  family inheritance (and, even, when it is a small amount, sometimes death brings out the worst in greedy people) is surely one of the options to pursue. But so was somebody coming back to seek revenge based upon actions by the Taggart Family during The Troubles!

What actually happens is that, while Liam is in the middle of things, he spends more time learning about the family and what has happened between and among them. One strange thing was that his beloved aunt who had cared for him when Liam had lived with Fergus early in his life, had never been officially married. She was possibly going to lose the right to stay in her home!  

The family drama is engaging, familiar, yet embarrassing, as fighting begins even before the family members leave the lawyer's office for the reading of the will! While the potential historical perspective chosen by most family members as the likely answer to the death of their Uncle was certainly intriguing given what had occurred those many years ago. but really seemed unlikely... But then, more relatives began to be murdered. Fear of which old family could be after them caused both the police and family to begin remembering who they had killed...and who might still seek revenge for those deaths they had caused...

And part of that investigation naturally took place at the local pubs, where Liam, even there was remembered for another reason... I thoroughly enjoyed his being asked to sing an old Irish song from the time of The Troubles.  


Just then the band finished a number and Janie grabbed my hand and pulled me up to the stage. "C'mon, Liam. I've heard that you sing a mean 'Roddy McCorley.' Get up there!"
I hesitated, "No, no Janey. Don't do this to me," But she was forceful "Who told you that? It was Deidre, wasn't it? Janie!"
The bartender ran up with a short of whiskey and handed it to me. "The stage is yours, Liam. We're waitin'." The fiddle player nodded to his companions who picked up their instruments. "Roddy McCorley, gents."
I hadn't done this in years. I downed the shot, looked at Janie and said, "I'll get you for this." She laughed and was joined by others in the bar who smiled and prodded me on. I took a deep breath, grabbed the mic, and started slowly.
"O-oh, we the fleet-foot host of men who come with faces wan..."
My weak beginning to the anthem brought police smiles and nods from the gathering at Conway's, but in for a dime, in for a dollar and I plowed ahead.
"From farmstead and from Fisher's cot, along the banks of Ban..."
Thank God for the band behind me setting the beat. The crowd started clapping and keeping time with their feet. I got a little louder. And a little bolder.
"They come with gengeance in their eyes, too late, too late are they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today."
I started to hand the mic back to the guitar player, but the banjo picked up the tempo, a man ran out with another shot, and comeone shouted, "You can't quit now. On to the second verse. You're doing splendidly."
I shrugged, downed the shot and continued to embarass myself. While I sang and looked out over the crowd, most of whom had come here, to their local watering hold, to nurse a pint and enjoy a peaceful evening of music and neighborhood camaraderie, it occurred to me that these were my people, my Irish roots, my DNA. For the men and women, especially the older ones, the words to the traditional tunes came to their lips as natural as breathing. And when I got to the third line of the third verse, "For Antrim town, For Antrim town, he led them to the fray." many stood and belted the line boldly, raising their beer glasses in salute...
~~~

And there is the key to why Balson's books continue to be so popular, so real. This author takes us into the lives of characters, no matter where they are, and we feel like we become part of the lives of those characters, constantly considering how each one has been affected by the events happening in their lives...right now... as they face a future without loved ones that have been purposefully taken away from them. For in the midst, secrets always come out, supposedly hidden for a reason... I cried with Liam as he learned his father had been murdered... so many years ago... at that time, possibly, just because he was Catholic...

If you haven't read any of Balson's books, this is an intriguing book to begin! This and his other books I've read are highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews


Ronald H. Balson is an attorney practicing with the firm of Stone, Pogrund and Korey in Chicago. The demands of his trial practice have taken him into courts across the United States and into international venues. An adjunct professor of business law at the University of Chicago for twenty-five years, Ron has also lectured on trial advocacy in federal trial bar courses. 

During the early 2000s Ron spent time in Warsaw and southern Poland in connection with a complex telecommunications lawsuit. While in Poland Ron was profoundly moved by the scars and memorials of World War II, which inspired him to write Once We Were Brothers, his first novel. Extensive travels to Israel and the Middle East provided the inspiration for Saving Sophie, his second novel. While on his Once We Were Brothers book tour, Ron met Fay Waldman, a survivor of multiple Nazi prison camps. Her remarkable story inspired and provided the backdrop for Ron's third novel, Karolina's Twins. The Trust is Ron's fourth.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ann Swann Presents Fantastic Romantic Suspense Stutter Creek! A Personal Favorite Selection!

She had finally fallen asleep. But even the sleep-aid hadn't been able to protect her from the dream. Every time she closed her eyes, the blackness came and swallowed her family. She was reminded of her grandmother and how the elderly woman had often suffered from bad dreams and what she'd referred to as "visits."
Beth had always thought the woman was a little off until her grandfather had passed away, that is. Then she had experienced such a clear vision of him standing at the end of her bed, waiting to say goodbye, that she had never doubted her Grandmother's stories again. When she had mentioned it to her Gran, the older woman had simply hugged her and with tears in her eyes, she'd said, "Your momma, she got visits, too."
Beth hand't really known how to respond to that. Her mom had died of toxemia shortly after Beth was born. When her Gran had passed several years later, Beth had awoken--apparently at the very moment of the elder woman's death from a stroke--to the old John Denver song, "Leaving on a Jet Plane." She awoke
hearing line that gave her an immediate image of her Gran standing out in the hall, luggage in hand, ready to go on a trip. She had a sad look on her sweet old face, as if she hated having to stop by so unexpectedly.
Beth never doubted that it was her Gran, stopping by just like her Granddad had done so many years before. Then, when the same song just happened to be playing on the car radio three days later on the way to the funeral... that had really convinced her that she had been "visited."
~~~




I loved this book! Romantic Suspense is among my favorite genres, but when you add a bit of the paranormal, it adds so much to the options that can be added... and Swann did this exceptionally well. After mentioning early in the book about the incidents that had happened to Beth, the main character, we do not see any further evidence of this phenomenon until Ann has arrived at Stutter Creek... I'm not going to share anything further, because this is so special that you will want to read it and respond to it first-hand... Without saying any more, I'll just add it was the perfect complement to making the story...fantastic! 

Beth's life had hit a new bottom and she was just beginning to deal with it... Beth's mother had died when she was born, and her father had raised her on his own--they were inseparable. But he had recently died while at the same time, her husband had left her for a younger woman. It was wonderful to see her daughter married soon thereafter, but when they decided to live in Italy, well, Beth had never felt lonelier... 

Facing that she was now having a hard time staying in her home, Beth suddenly decided to pack and head up to their cabin where she had so many wonderful memories with her father... And as a divorcee now, she couldn't help but remember her very first deep crush for Big John, a young man, who at 18, realized that he shouldn't be feeling like he did for the 14-year-old Beth and had joined the service...and then continued to work until he'd retired... Twenty years had gone by and he and Turk, a dog with whom he'd worked during the service and whose life he'd save when he was leaving a last battle, arrived at Stutter Creek, just before Beth showed up... Their reconnect is, well, truly sweet...and would have been the answer to her dreams if it had not been tied to...death...

The book opens when a young woman sees a small boy standing along the road... Amanda couldn't help but stop... The boy's father immediately drugged him again...so he would have time for his fun with Amanda and then get rid of her... The serial killer was quite happy to have found his son and use him to attract his victims! And he was ready for the next one on his list...


Kurt head butted Sherylyn when she tried to grab the gearshift. Then he cranked up the volume on the radio and smiled when he heard the refrain of "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain."
As Willie Nelson continued to wail. Sherylyn did her best to get rid of the wad of duct tape in her mouth, but Kurt went wild He loosened his grip on her chin. Sherylyn whooped air through her suddenly open mouth just as Kurt thrust his entire hand between her teeth. Her jaw was forced open with a craack, and he crushed the ball of tape down into her throat.
Completely panicked, Sherylyn whipper her head back and forth, but she could not dislodge the tape. His fist was iron...
~~~

Beth had seen the boy along the road as well, and had stopped immediately. He had disappeared... Beth at first thought it was an hallucination, caused by the stress she'd been experiencing, but she couldn't stop thinking about it and knew she would have to make sure the boy was really not out there somewhere...

Beth was not the type of victim the killer wanted--his picks were young blond girls, but Beth was causing problems and she would be taken care of...for his own protection...

This book is action-packed as the bodies start being found and another girl is taken... The suspense is developed as readers move from situation to situation, until the climatic merge of the various characters explodes into a frantic search and rescue, led mainly by Turk! It's tense, edgy, and yet the finding of an old love late in life is so tenderly presented, emotions will be going up and down as each event jerks us from either concern, fear, or loving moments... This one just had to be added as a personal favorite for me! And, by the ending, prepare for a wonderful smile of complete satisfaction...

This was my first time reading Ann Swann, but I found her writing provocative and flowing as she deftly moves us from scene to scene... I can certainly recommend this and for romantic suspense lovers, call it a must-read suggestion from me...


GABixlerReviews


Ann Swann was born in the small West Texas town of Lamesa. She grew up much like Stevie-girl in The Phantom Pilot, though she never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house. Ann has done everything from answering 911 Emergency calls to teaching elementary school. She still lives in West Texas with her husband, Dude, one rescue dog, two rescue cats, and a part-time box turtle named Piggy. When not writing, Ann is reading. Her to-be-read list has grown so large it has taken on a life of its own. She calls it Herman.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Florida Gothic...May Not Be What You Think... Mitzi Szereto Does...Unique...


(Turn the sound down low for background mood...)


Got to tell you right away, that Florida Gothic was not what I expected... As a long-time gothic fan, I was expecting something like Heathcliff, or other similar novels where people live in castles and there is romance, suspense and more...NOT! So, if that is what you're looking for, don't buy this...

On the other hand, Mitzi Szereto has written in a range of genres and I've always liked her writing, so I was willing to read on...Be prepared, this Gothic is from the Horror side of Gothic--and horror is what you're going to get! Starting with how the main character is...killed...

On a muggy Sunday evening, Ernesto Calixto Martinez is run over by an expensive black Hummer with the vanity license plate kngpdro. There are no calls to 9-1-1, no attempts to keep him from going into shock, no offers of comfort. There’s nothing but the SUV driver speeding away, leaving a broken old man to die in his own pee and shit on a dark Miami road by a smelly canal. 

Ernesto’s not yet fully dead when the alligator finds him. After making quick work of his left arm, it takes some chunks out of his already scrawny right leg. As he listens to the sound of sharp prehistoric teeth crunching tired old bone, he drifts in and out of consciousness, convinced he must be dreaming—hoping he must be dreaming. His brain feels like a waterlogged ball of cotton, but it’s not water but blood that’s misting his thoughts. Only after he dies does Ernesto appreciate the extent of the damage done to his body. His left arm has been torn off at the shoulder, leaving behind a bleeding gash festooned with ribbons of raw flesh and tendon, the alligator having slithered back into the murky canal to savor its tasty prize. As for his leg, its meat and muscle have been pulverized to a lumpy pulp by a primitive creature as efficient in killing as it is lying in wait for victims. Ernesto nearly vomits when he sees it. 

Except the dead can’t vomit...
~~~

Ernesto is not only a victim of a hit-and-run... a nearby alligator sees him and waddles over for an unexpected meal!

Gory death...gory afterlife... You know, something like the infamous scene everybody thinks of when they say "Thanks for the ride, lady..."

A dead man’s rage is like no other. Ernesto can feel it bubbling like boiled tar inside the dead shell of him until it spills from his lips in gluey strings of blood-blackened bile. He rages at the man who hit him; he rages at the drivers who ignored him; he rages at the people responsible for the creature that took what remained of his life away. That’s what happens when baby alligators are dumped in lakes and canals after their owners discover their “pets” won’t stay small forever. Usually you hear about it when the adult versions show up on a golf course and interrupt someone’s game. Then it’s reported as a funny news story—something to be chuckled over after the reports of drug busts, government corruption and murder are presented. An old Cubano’s gator-mangled body probably wouldn’t qualify as a funny news story.
~~~



I try not to enjoy revenge...but I've got to admit, this guy deserved to take it! So be prepared for a hunt like no other, as Ernesto finds hate, anger and a need for revenge keeps burning even after death...

He had plenty of time to think and, first, realized that he had died just as his daughter had...by a hit-and-run... and the one who killed her had just got out of jail... He would be the first... He knew unfairness in this world was wide and sometimes it seemed to come from God. He was willing to take it from Him... But, not from his peers, those humans who chose to act in evil, drinking and driving, without taking responsibility for what they did! Indeed, was God allowing him to stay here for exactly what he had in mind? How would he know? But he continues on his search...

He lives alone as he finds his way through the world that holds evil, his only friends the bugs and maggots that now occupy his home and even his body... But he sits remembering his beloved Esperanza.


Ernesto decided to go outside. He wanted to see the moon, possibly for the last time. Its brightness lit up the closed Venetian blinds like the screen in a movie theater, reminding him of happier times. He and Esperanza enjoyed looking at the moon together. They would hold hands and he’d sing to her “Moon Over Miami” from the film, though he was no Don Ameche. Back when they were dating, they went to see the musical at a movie house in Matanzas, though by then it had been out for more than a decade. Ernesto wanted to relive those joyful moments, but the stark aloneness of his dead self staring up at the sky with his dead eyes couldn’t bring them back...
~~~

I admit that I am not a fan of this type of horror, but there is an underlying story that is intriguing even while horribly graphic... Just as the terrible horror is happening in Florida right now, and other catastrophes across the world, including Texas, we are pulled into the individual story that arises out of the world we live in. Ernesto lived after death for a length of time... and when the door knocked, he was ready...

Soooo, "thanks for the ride..." Mitzi! Your writing saved this book for me... I don't know how you do it...But, those who enjoy graphic horror, do check it out!


GABixlerReviews



Mitzi Szereto (mitziszereto.com) is an author and anthology editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction. She has her own blog Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto's Weblog, and a web TV channel Mitzi TV, which covers the "quirky" side of London. Her books include Oysters and Pearls: Collected StoriesRotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) and Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) - the cozy mystery/satire series co-written with celebrity author bear Teddy Tedaloo; Phantom: The Immortal (co-written with Ashley Lister); Love, Lust and Zombies; Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of RomanceThe Wilde Passions of Dorian GrayThrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and FirePride and Prejudice: Hidden LustsRed Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance;  Getting Even: Revenge StoriesDying For It: Tales of Sex and Death; In Sleeping Beauty's Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales; and Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Chair - His Chair

His first assessment was wrong. As he studied it longer, he realized its minimalism masked a complex beauty.
Interesting.
And its finish was...he didn't know. He'd never seen one like it before. Almost a translucent gold.
He stepped forward and rubbed his finger along its back. Again a tingling sensation ran through his fingers, lighter this time as if he'd stuck his fingers in an electrical socket with a minimal current flowing through it. But the feeling wasn't painful. It was almost warm and tinged with energy. An instant later he felt...refreshed. As if he'd just taken a twenty minute power nap.
He pulled his hand back and rubbed his thumb and fingers together, "Strange."
~~~








On Tuesday afternoon at five thirty, an elderly lady strode into Corin's antiques store as if she owned it and said, "The next two months of your life will be either heaven or hell."
...She looked at Corm as if observing a small child, "You've misunderstood. I am not asking you to buy the chair. I am giving it to you."
"Why would you do that?"
"You are to have it." She motioned again toward the door.
"I am?" Corin slid his hands into his jeans and eased toward the woman. "Who made that decision?"
She stared at him and gave a faint smile but she didn't answer...
"Where did it come from? Who made it?"
She stood. "I told you. A craftsman."
"His name?"
She kept speaking as if she hadn't heard him. "Who lived long ago."
"What was his name?"
~~~



Check out my Review of First Rubart Book Read!

After I had finished reading Rooms, my first book by James L. Rubart, I wrote that it was one of the best books I ever read. Although I can't remember the exact story now, since it was in 2009, I still remember the feelings, the emotions, the impressions from that book. Soon after I finished reading Rooms, I ordered The Chair...
It had sat on my bookshelf until this month, when I pulled it out, unbelievably exactly 8 years after I bought it...
God sends me the right books to read at the right time...Perhaps this is your time to read one or both of these books or others by this outstanding Christian fiction writer!




As I think of this book, I find myself picturing Jesus as he grew older, knowing what was coming in His life, realizing that, with His carpenter skills, He could leave a part of Him to actually live on after the Crucifixion. He would be leaving his Holy Spirit, but something tangible might be actually used to perform miracles in His absence... He built The Chair...

And when the chair was discovered, it was secretly taken into a woman's hands who would guard and protect it and allow it to be used by those in need, as guided by our Lord...The Chair was then handed down from mother to daughter through hundreds and thousands of years until it was brought into an antique store, owned by Corin Roscoe.

Corin...and readers...will wonder why The Chair was given to Corin. He was not a devoted believer nor, even after he'd begun to guess who built the chair, was he anxious to keep it...except, he did have one major issue as well as his own needs that could certainly benefit from healing. It is not my intent to share much about the story; readers need to experience it as it evolves and I don't want to take that away...  I will say that Corin had a unique and unusual story in his life that won't match many of what we may have experienced...

The key issue, for me, was to learn about events in his life and consider how I would have responded to a similar situation... Then, too, there are principles of trust, judging others, and being forced to deal with the actions of others when they do not support our own will or desires, Rubart brilliantly turns a flip-flop on our own emotional responses and forces us to realize facts that are surprisingly different when faced with the reality of what actually happens...

In today's world, The Chair, perhaps is even more important for us to read. We are being tossed and turned, not able to believe or trust was is being said even from our leaders. Certainly it is a time when we must realize that emotional responses from within us can be found to be wrong...and that, we must move away from our emotions, old friendships even, or from whom we may think are men of God (or not) and open our eyes to consider how each may really be... 

As a straight fictional story, it is a wonderful story with several surprise endings that keep you in suspense until the very end... I enjoyed more, for myself, the lessons to be learned--the realization that over and over, what we each may want is not in sync with God's guidance for our life. Rubart forces us to face reality and learn to trust, first, in Jesus... Even in the presence of The Chair...


GABixlerReviews







James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man's body. He thinks he's still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they'll remember months after they finish one of his stories. 

He's the best-selling, Christy, Carol, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com More at http://jameslrubart.com/ and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesLRubart