The Rockin’ Chair by Stephen Manchester

The Rockin’ Chair

By Steven Manchester

Genre: General Fiction

Four Stars

John McCarthy is losing his dear wife, Alice, to the horrors of Alzheimers. Her mind is slipping and her days are numbered. The crushing blow of loss motivates John to “finish his chores” and right the wrongs in his family. His son, Hank hasn’t been on speaking terms for years, though he lives just across the creek. His three grandchildren, George, Tara, and Evan, have left their Montana homestead to find their way in the world, and have lost their way.  John must call them home to mourn Alice’s passing and re-forge his connection to his family.

If you love a story of love and sentiment, where all the men are tough and earnest and all the women are longsuffering, patient angels, then this is the story for you. The writing style is rich and full of loving description of scenery and memories that run deep. Stephen has written his tail in a stream-of-consciousness style without losing the continuity of the tale. Rabbit trails branch off with appropriate context and return quickly. The sentiment of the tale abounds. Several of the descriptions made me cringe, but I’m a cynical Seattleite, not a country girl at heart.

This story was an elderly man’s fantasy. Grandpa John had all the answers and could solve all his problems and his family’s problems with a word or gesture of goodwill. Putting his mind to it and taking the steps he already knew he should, he buttoned up all the messy loose ends of his life and ensured his family’s happiness and success before he died. And they all knew it and fully appreciated him for it.

For a cynical Seattleite like me, the story was too sentimental. I enjoyed the descriptions of times gone by and love for memories, but Stephen didn’t hold back with the embellishments. Sometimes it went too far.

Grandpa John seemed to have been holding out on his family for a very long time. All along he had the solutions to everyone’s problems, but hadn’t gotten around to helping them out. Also, their problems were so easily solved by returning to the land and hearing an apology or a truism that shed a perfect light on any situation. I didn’t buy it. The troubles of each character appeared deep and serious, but evaporated like mist under the sunshine of Grandpa John’s wisdom, giving them a sense of triviality. Faith, churchgoing, and prayer appeared to be a light garnish to their lives and not the glue that held it all together. Grandpa John took that role instead. Countless opportunities to show the transforming power of the Gospel appeared to be omitted or edited out.

The Rockin’ Chair is an entertaining tale of family love and redemption. Sentimentality, country sense, and good ol’ days fill the pages, with a healthy dollop of family loyalty, drowned in butter.  If you long for the simple life, this book is for you.

Buy on Amazon

By on Nook

Regression by Kathy Bell

Regression

by Kathy Bell

Genre: Science Fiction

 

Mystery surrounds Adya Jordan. She may look like a forty-year-old wife and mother, but her past holds a deeper, and much longer story. This story begins its revelations when her car is struck by another in a traffic accident and she awakens in the hospital. But she finds that she is now fourteen years old. Struggling to discover why she is young again, catapulted back to her younger days, she explores her world and journals her memories.

Telling all of her experiences would ruin the surprise! Suffice it to say that she finds a home in a company called Three Eleven. The leaders of this company are just like her, sent back from the end of a different lifetime, but all male. The company, nonexistent in the reality she remembers, is bent on discovering a great and cataclysmic mystery, occurring on November 11, 2011, unless they can all find out what it is and prevent it.

This story took me less than two days to read because it was so well-written! Events flowed seamlessly and one adventure lead to the next. I was always wondering what would happen on the next page. The concept of the cataclysm and its solution was fascinating, and Kathy Bell thought a lot about every aspect of the scientific approach to preventing the end of the world. She also threw in a dash of magic with the supernatural occurrences witch drove Adya toward salvation.

The character of Adya was loving and emotionally real, but I think it was a mistake for the author to create her with no flaws. Adya never made a gross error. She had no idiosyncrasies. Not only that, but she always knew everything and was always right. If it weren’t for her warmth, I would have disliked the character for being a preachy  know-it-all. The only thing that saved her for me was her fervor for humanity, her fellowmen, and her own children. She would have been one of my favorite characters ever if she had managed to get dressed down or say the wrong thing. Heck, if she hadn’t known everything about everything all the time that would have done it. She didn’t even burn the steaks at her barbecue! Toward the middle of the book I wanted to put a frog in her bed or tie her shoelaces together or something. A feeling of sympathy for her faults and a sense of shared humiliation would have made me love Adya Jordan.

That was really the only thing I would change about this book! Adya was still a pretty awesome lady and the story was a super-duper page-turner! I really appreciated the classiness with which Kathy treated the more intimate moments of the plot, too. Sexiness was preserved but trashiness was not included.The action was well-timed and the plot was smooth as butter.

Now I really need to get the next book, Evolussion! You will too if you read Regression. Just do it. You know you want to!

For more about the author, visit http://kathybellauthor.wordpress.com/

Purchase on Kindle

The Disenchanted Pet by Kate Policani

The Disenchanted Pet

by Kate Policani

Genre: Science Fiction

(Yes, this is my book, but these are not my reviews!)

The review by Tahlia Newland on The Disenchanted Pet can be found at:

http://tahlianewland.com/2011/12/23/review-the-disenchanted-pet-by-kate-policani/

The review by The Maine Muse can be found at:

http://mainemuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-disenchanted-pet-by-kate-policani/

The review by Nadia Riell can be found at:

http://nadiariell.com/2012/01/18/a-book-review-for-the-disenchanted-pet-by-kate-policani/

The review by Maria Tatham can be found at:

http://www.speculativefaith.com/authors/kate-policani/

The review by Laura Pfundt, the Quillwielder, is here: http://quillwielder.com/2012/02/12/book-review-the-disenchanted-pet/ It’s also posted here! http://thedarkglobe.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/book-review-the-disenchanted-pet/

Thank you, Tahlia, Sharon, Nadia, Maria and Laura!

Book Synopsis:

Far into the future, the Earth is ruled by the ShaZha, a hyper-intelligent race of alien beings who are plagued by the violence and volatility of the human race. Supposedly intending to repair the broken societies and polluted planet, they have found the Human problem to be much more complex than they ever imagined.
Zarah is a Prodigy, an obedient human, with a caring ShaZha master. Zarah wants to prove all her master’s hopes that humans can be civilized and responsible. When she is lost by her master and exposed to the other side of humanity, she must confront the possibility she might be not a valued citizen, but a pet.

To buy The Disenchanted Pet on Amazon (Kindle and Paperback)

To buy the Nook version: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/The-Disenchanted-Pet?keyword=The+Disenchanted+Pet&store=allproducts

To buy multiple ebook formats, go tohttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/93067

To buy the paperback, click here:https://www.createspace.com/3657962

The Dark Song by Piia Brendenburg

The Dark Song

by Piia Brendenberg

In the short novel, The Dark Song, songwriter India has bought the perfect artist’s retreat home. Nestled into an ideally tiny and remote town, the house draws her in–supernaturally. Something mysterious and sinister lurks within the Bakery House. Will India succumb to its beautiful, dangerous allure, surrendering herself to its perilous inspiration?
Reading this story was like listening to a song. I was carried along with the wonder and danger of the exciting tale. I liked the main character, India, a genuine, typical woman. Though personal descriptions of her were not abundant, she came alive through her genuine, amusing impressions and reactions to her circumstances and to others in her life. Her courage and innate sense of abandon carry her through her ordeal with flair.
Piia definitely filled her story with Great Sentences (see Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose). I wanted to clean that house even though I knew it was imaginary! I couldn’t find anything in this story I thought could be improved, except for wanting to hear more from Piia Brendenberg! And guess what! She has more coming soon. Keep an eye on this author!

The Dark Song on AmazonThe Dark Song on Smashwords 

About Piia Brendenberg: from Amazon

Piia was born in Helsinki, Finland, in the middle of the winter, and she’s been freezing ever since.

A lover of fantasy, history and a good mystery, all of which also feature in her stories, she writes Urban Fantasy and Gaslight Fantasy, both in English and in Finnish.
She lives in a slightly haunted house with her cat, her chocolate, and her overactive imagination, and when she’s not writing or revising, she reads, knits a lot of warm socks, sculpts and paints.

Here is the story behind the Bakery House!

A Matter of Perception by Tahlia Newland

A Matter of Perception

by Tahlia Newland

Publisher: Catapult Press

Release date: 7th November

ISBN: 978-1-4660-4849-2

Category: Urban fantasy, adult/young adult, ebook.

Four Stars

This book is a collection of short stories with a variety of themes and settings.  I’ll give each one a little attention so none of them feel left out. If you want to know the author’s intentions in writing (which I always do), be sure not to skip her thoughtful explanation of the themes at the end.

 The Drorgon Slayer’s Choice

The first story was a fantastic encounter between an unnamed photographer’s assistant and The Gods. This fast-paced, thrilling glimpse into a bigger tale begins with a blow to the head, awakening new and fascinating senses and perceptions in the young woman, who then proceeds to get snarled up in a battle fought by James, a Drorgon Slayer and a god. An unexplainable attraction forms between the two and James seems determined to see where it will go. But can a regular girl and a god really find something that lasts?

This incredible tale has a fascinating take on gods and human mythology that I’d like to read more about. I enjoyed how the main character’s disability, epilepsy, became an advantage, allowing her to see what regular humans couldn’t, which was intriguing. The myriad of questions left unanswered led me to believe this was very much a preview for another book, The Drorgon Slayer’s Choice. This short story made me curious about hearing more in the following book, but unsure just how many of my questions would be answered.

The Bone Yard

This is a chilling tale of supernatural creatures helping a woman trapped in tragedy, with a cruel twist ending. I enjoyed the emotion and the wildly imaginative supernatural characters, but felt left out here and there by abrupt or absent explanations.

 Mistril’s Mistake

Wizards battle with the power of colored light. Mistril and her apprentice Ealanor must bring wayward Damien to account for his crimes. This story feels like a segments from the middle of a larger story and I was forced to read and reread certain passages to understand what was happening. I truly enjoy the style of bursting information onto a reader, not boring us with endless explanation, but clarity can be compromised with this technique. Tahlia succeeded overall in pulling it off.

 A Hole In The Pavement

Norris follows his Goddess, Georgia, on their way to the bus and through an obstacle course of neuroses turned real. I loved Norris’ fragile sincerity and both characters sweet overcoming of their hang-ups. This was my favorite of the tales.

 Not me, it can’t be.

This story was a surreal switch off between an ancient world and modern. Is the main character an unwilling sacrifice to foreign gods, or a modern woman battling deadly cancer?

I liked the warmth and depth of this story, exploring the characters feelings facing death.

 Rose Coloured Glasses

Sally is a chubby, frizzy-haired office girl, enjoys a new perspective on her coworkers with some fantastic glasses. Through them she sees new depth in others and possibly love.

This story was full of rich description and challenged me to see beyond first impressions. Tahlia’s writing is very loving.

Review Summary

Tahlia’s tales were vivid and rich. Her characters are deeply real, as if she is writing about people she knows, not making up individuals. They learn deep and vital lessons in each of the stories.

The first three stories felt a lot like excerpts from larger stories while the final three were true short stories, encompassing the entire subject on their own.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the stories, especially the daring honesty of her emotions. There were a few ungainly expressions and descriptions, with people and events thrust in with little explanation, which became confusing at times. On the other hand, it contributed to the thrill of her writing and the attraction of the story. Not once was I bored with too much explanation, which is a problem in a lot of writing I’ve read lately. Tahlia has a unique, charming style that is bold, honest, and thrilling. I feel like I know her after reading her work.

Author Bio

Tahlia is an avid reader, an extremely casual high school teacher & an occasional mask-maker. She reads and writes urban fantasy for adults & young adults and likes to challenge readers to look more closely at the nature of their world, their mind and their perception. After creating and performing in Visual Theatre shows for 20 years, she is now a bone-fide expatriate of the performing arts. She lives in an Australian rainforest, is married with a teenage daughter and love cats, but she doesn’t have one because they eat native birds.

Purchase links

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0061V4H9C

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/100869

Author links

http://tahlianewland.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tahlia-Newland-author/188047104605893

http://twitter.com/#!/TahliaNewland

 http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5283573.Tahlia_Newland

 http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0063WTC8U