A quick-tempo novel that will strike a chord with women’s-fiction fans.

LIVING BY EAR

When her scripted married life rattles off-key, a 46-year-old woman contemplates whether she can rewrite the score in this women’s fiction novel.

Things sound sweet for Boston street musician Chris Daley when attorney Jon Wendt whisks her into married life that eventually includes two children in an upscale neighborhood. Discord develops as Jon halts his wife’s musical career and battles his own drinking problem. Chris feels that “here, in the heart of Boston, I feel like I’ve been buried alive,” and she dreams about her free-spirited former boyfriend Curt, also a musician, who left for California 18 years ago. Once she discovers Jon’s infidelity, she divorces him. Waiting for the divorce to become final, Jon tries to woo her back while she attempts to restart her career. Chis does well at her audition for a music reality show and finds out that Curt is a judge who has helped engineer the career of his recent ex-girlfriend, a pop star. That same day, she returns home to discover her teen daughter has accidentally crushed the family cat. Issues mount as her daughter is caught drinking at school, her anorexic friend suffers a heart attack and she wrestles with her feelings that Curt has sold out. She backs out of the show thinking that her family needs her. Eventually, things calm down, and after calling Curt, she agrees to meet him in Hollywood to audition for a tour. Although Chris gives a mediocre performance, she and Curt impress the backers when they perform an impromptu duet with Curt’s lyrics asking “can’t we give it one more try.” Debut novelist Rowen reinvigorates familiar elements of a quirky woman neglected by a rich husband as short chapters rife with references to the music scene and pop culture flash back to various points of Chris’ life and make the story fresh, poignant and funny.

A quick-tempo novel that will strike a chord with women’s-fiction fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9883949-0-2

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Semicolon Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

NO REMORSE

Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

Did you like this book?

With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the...

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

Tragedy turns into triumph in Carlson’s debut novel about a young woman who regains her self-confidence after multiple losses and years of dejection.

Before readers meet 28-year-old Jamie Shire, she has already hit rock bottom. Jobless, she drinks away her days on her best friend’s couch as she wallows in loneliness. Among Jamie’s troubles: Her mother died when she was a child, the only man she ever loved wouldn’t reciprocate, her unborn daughter died, and she continuously feels rejected by her father and brother. After a chance encounter with a wealthy woman at a coffee shop, Jamie accepts a live-in job researching philanthropic causes at Fallow Springs Estate. Reaching out to the house staff and eventually working with Darfur refugees afford Jamie some valuable context for her own pain; she’s able to gain confidence as she learns to stop fearing rejection and start pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, the author skillfully creates mood. In the beginning, when Jamie borders on depression, her emotional touchiness and oversensitivity will create an uneasy feeling in readers. But as Jamie slowly regains confidence, readers will also feel increasingly optimistic. Alongside the main character’s emotional struggle is the struggle faced by Darfur refugees, although this plotline doesn’t advance too far; yet details from Jamie’s trip to the refugee camp in Chad—the types of beer served at the aid workers’ bar or a depiction of a young refugee sitting blank-faced and tied to a pole because he might run away—effectively transport readers to faraway places. Jamie’s story will interest readers, but, with a weak ending, the story leaves many unanswered questions. Who is Jamie’s wealthy employer? Does Jamie’s work in Chad help anyone but herself? And what of the conflict Jamie feels between herself and the refugees, between the haves and the have-nots?

With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the destination.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984991808

Page Count: 389

Publisher: First Snow Publishing House

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more