Fiction Posts

You, In Your Green Shirt

81ri6M1yg5L._SL1500_by: Barbara Monier

Pages: 142

ASIN: B00CD9HBQM

From Goodreads: YOU, IN YOUR GREEN SHIRT, by Barbara Monier, follows a woman coming back to life after the disintegration of a twenty-plus year marriage. The book opens with Madeline Bruno and her family sitting around the dinner table as husband Dick recounts his fascination with a new female employee. Within a few quick, jabbing lines, 14-year-old son Jack accuses his father of being “involved” with her, 11-year-old daughter Kate hurls insults, and Madeline has retreated into a fantasy that her once-beloved husband has turned into a giant, scurrying cockroach.

As Madeline struggles through each incremental breakdown of her lovingly-created marriage and world, she is alarmed to find herself having vivid fantasies about her daughter’s music teacher. At first feeling that this must be an aberration and indictment of her maternal skills, she gradually allows herself to experience long-numbed feelings of desire for connection. Encounters with the musician, both real and imagined, become more and more playful, flirtatious, and sexual, such as when she attends his very formal concert and imagines hurling herself from the balcony directly into his lap below.

Ultimately Madeline realizes that this largely-fantasied “relationship” has served its purpose; it has enabled her to be ready for the real world of middle-aged, post-millennium dating and men. Neighborhood friends talk her into trying the internet dating scene, which she tackles with utter trepidation but also determination and gusto. Madeline wades through on-line dating profiles. She unravels the protocol of first encounters via e-mail and phone. She has her first “first date” in more than twenty-five years, wandering through a shopping mall with a man before dissolving into tears back in her car.

When daughter Kate notices that the neighborhood “catch” has his eye on her mother, Madeline is more than a little skeptical. But when a four-year friendship between Madeline and Bud crosses the line into romance, the results move quickly from heated passion to an aftermath of woeful regret. Back to the online dating scene, Madeline meets Robert, a long-divorced business owner with a dog Madeline ultimately feels far more affection for than his eccentric owner. Though Robert becomes somewhat of a steady beau, they both agree they should keep the door open to meeting others.

The final chapters of the book find Madeline meeting an internet date at a local coffee house, her fantasies once again taking hold of her as she envisions a new life with him, fully recovered and wholly alive. But it becomes clear that her fantasies are actually memories here. She is telling this entire story to Jim, the story of everything that led to this moment, when she would meet and fall in love with him.

 

This story was incredibly well-written and fun. I didn’t want to put it down. I love the way this author can draw you into a story. This is the second story I’ve read and reviewed from this author and I think I liked this one even more than the last one. It goes in depth to Madeline’s mental illness and I’ve always found that type of topic fascinating. This story really gives you an insight into what she’s going through and makes you feel for her. The transitions between fantasy and present were extremely well done. I found myself getting excited each time it happened because I was loving the story so much and wanted to keep reading. I would recommend this story to anyone who is looking to get sucked into and immersed in a world that is not their own. I love getting inside other people’s heads. Especially when it is realistic and really makes me feel like that person like this book did. This book should be getting more attention. If you’re looking for something new to read, pick this up! 🙂

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Buy this from Amazon here:You, in Your Green Shirt

Snake the Gypsy

18147257by:Mikal O’Boyle
Pages: 156
Published: June 20th, 2013 by Black Rose Writing
ISBN: 9781612962245
From Goodreads: Enchanting and full of adventure, the story of Snake
the Gypsy, narrated by an elderly Snake, is a recounting of her life
as a young girl. It begins with a lonely gypsy girl who is ostracized
by her own nation and is neglected by her unsympathetic mother. Times
seem very hard for her as she struggles to find happiness in life
until she finally befriends an extraordinary snake who follows her,
protects her, and even dances with her during her rigorous training
sessions. When the time comes for Snake to enter into the Loce, the
bi-annual gypsy festival, a horrible fate befalls the gypsy girl and
her snake, deserting her in a place she is unfamiliar with, but she
soon discovers that things have become even worse as she has stumbled
into the midst of a war between two very unlikely beings. After nearly
enduring a painful death, losing her heart for the first time, and
sacrificing herself for a hopeless cause, Snake the gypsy continues on
to become the elderly woman who narrates the story. The only question
is, how true is a gypsy’s story?
This story was actually quite fascinating. I love stories that have
rich backstories that add depth to characters. I felt incredibly close
and connected with Snake by the end of the story. There were a lot of
part in this book that were difficult to read in the sense that they
were emotionally painful. The story itself was wonderful though. I
think Snake is a fantastic character and this story is tons of fun
because it rides that line between being believable and complete
fantasy. It’s exciting and engrossing. It’ll make you want to keep
turning pages and want to ignore real life. It’ll also make you feel
like you should be grateful for the life and family that you have. If
you’re looking for something different from your normal genre, give
this a try, you might be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

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A Little Birdie Told Me

91ZiTyuDQ2L._SL1500_by: Barbara Monier

Pages: 184

ASIN: B00CDA9U3I

From Goodreads: A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME, a novel by Barbara L. Monier,
takes place over the summer and fall of 1972, in the six months
leading up to narrator CATHERINE’s sixteenth birthday. Thrust headlong
into an identity crisis when her mother reveals that she had actually
planned to marry someone else, Catherine decides to begin a journal in
an effort to find solidity and permanence in her own life. Hilariously
funny, impetuous, impatient, sometimes annoying and always remarkable,
Catherine freely quotes literature, pops pills, and casts her eye
unflinchingly around her world as she takes the reader through a
unique coming-of-age tale.
During the awkward summer in which Catherine is just barely too young
to get either a paying job or drive, she learns that her fraternal
twin sister Lizzy has been accepted at a prestigious dance academy and
will be leaving home, separating the sisters who had begun their
lives, Catherine muses, “so close that every bit of our bodies was
pressed tight tight together, a time when we didn’t even understand
that we were two different people, but just felt somehow that we were
one being with an extra bunch of limbs.”
As Catherine’s mother continues to drop hints about a former life and
a lost love, Catherine decides to undertake her own detective mission
to piece together the puzzle of her mother’s past. As she scours the
nooks and crannies of her home, she finds remnants of her own
childhood as well as her mother’s youth. When Catherine ultimately
discovers a large bundle of letters from her mother’s former lover, as
well as a handful that her mother wrote to him, she encounters a young
woman who seems to be an entirely different person than the mother she
knows.
Catherine sneaks the letters from their hiding place every chance she
gets and pours over them in her room; meantime, a very confused
cardinal continually attacks his own reflection in her window.
Catherine becomes nearly obsessed with both her mother’s story and the
troubling behavior of the bird, her feelings for each one paralleling
the other as she moves from concern, to anger, to frustration.
Set quietly against a background of radically shifting times – the
near end of the Vietnam War, racial tensions, changing sex roles and
more, A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME is ultimately a deeply affirming story.
At the book’s end, as Catherine lay in traction following a car
accident, she has learned lessons from her own experiences, her
mother’s, and from the relentless bird; she is ready and resolved to
move forward in a fully realized, fully embraced life.

I loved this book and it probably got me into more than a little
trouble at work. I didn’t want to stop reading it. I can’t really
explain what it was about this novel, but I found Catherine to be
fascinating. It wasn’t really that I could relate to her, but I found
her interesting and wanted to continue seeing the world through her
eyes. It is incredibly well written and makes you think a little
harder about your own life. It’s absorbing and rich in emotion. Anyone
that is as much of a coming of age story as I am will love this book.
It’ll bring you back to your own sixteenth birthday and maybe make you
think about it a little differently. I loved the letters and what they
revealed about Catherine’s mom. It hit home that you don’t always know
everything about your parents and that there may be secrets there that
you would never guess. I think that anyone looking for a good story
should pick this up and dive right in. 🙂

Cupcakes: Other FictionOther FictionOther FictionOther Fiction

The Cancer Code

18158632by: Andrew Findlay

Pages: 393

Published: June 10th 2013 by WINEGOT BOOKS

ASIN: B00DCYBBFO

From Goodreads: THE CANCER CODE is a thriller about an altruistic New York biochemist called Jim MacWaide, who discovers a cure for cancer, independent of the world’s largest pharmaceutical company – his employers, Gluck Schmidt Little.

Coming from a renowned Napa wine-making family, Jim has spent three years obsessively experimenting on the properties of Resveratrol, an extract of the red grape. After achieving miraculous results in regenerating human tissue cells, he shares 90% of his discovery with the firm, but quickly gets cold feet. Realizing too late, he’s certain that once the ruthless pharma giant gets hold of the ‘Holy Grail’ of cures, only the rich will be saved from cancer – by a drug that costs ten dollars to produce.

When Jim refuses to reveal the last, vital code, his bosses hire an ex-Guantanamo interrogator to torture the goods out of him. Saved by a last minute tip-off, Jim hits the road, pursued by the relentless bounty-hunter in a race to find a non-profit organization for his miracle cure.

If ignominiously wrenched from his comfort zone, this terrifying journey liberates Jim’s ‘inner man’ and hitherto unknown strengths to outwit his nemesis for the common good.

 

This book was super interesting. I thought it was incredibly fascinating and I wanted to keep reading and neglect any work I had to do. This book was very well written and everything that explains the cure for cancer isn’t written in a way that’s hard to understand. In fact, it sounds perfectly realistic. I loved this book from the start and it drew me in instantly. I loved all the different plot lines and the way the book jumped around to let you catch up on all of them. I think that anyone who is looking for something fast paced and interesting, this is the book for you. I t is on the serious side, so if you’re looking for something lighthearted and fun, then this won’t be the place. But I love any book that has to do with medicine in fiction. It’s so fascinating and fun to imagine a world where stuff like this existed. I thought this book was very well thought out and very well paced out. Like I said, if you’re looking for something new and exciting and interesting to read, give this a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. 🙂

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Buy this from Amazon here: THE CANCER CODE: “…more prophesy than fiction…”

Posted by juliette in Uncategorized and tagged with , , , ,

The Clout of Gen

15743233by: Ahmad Ardalan

Published: July 2012 by Smashwords

ISBN: 9781476056623

From Goodreads: Newspaper reporter John Teddy’s miserable life is turned upside down when he uncovers a voice from the past—a voice that suspiciously knows far too much about the would-be future. John’s natural curiosity to understand the hidden message takes him to places he never imagined seeing, and ongoing conspiracies he never thought existed. The more John gets involved, the more he is led towards mysteries that are beyond his understanding. The circle of people involved grows bigger stretching from west to east; each step forward is like a step backward.

 

This book was really, really intense and fun. I admit to not wanting to do my work in order to keep reading. It was very surprising. There are a lot of twists and turns in this book and it’s fun trying to keep up with the mystery. I think this book was very well written. I didn’t find myself having problems with any of the grammar or spelling. I was able to quickly get absorbed into this world and continue turning pages! There also wasn’t a lot of moments in this story where I found myself drifting and had to get myself to focus again. I was always completely focused on the story. That’s always a good sign for me because I get thrown out of stories very, very easily. I’d recommend this book to anyone just looking for something new and exciting. This book is not what you’d expect. It also doesn’t really fall into any specific category in my mind, so I’d say it’s good for any adult fan of reading!

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Buy this from Amazon here: The Clout of Gen

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with , , , ,

Paradise for a Sinner

16129398by: Lynn Shurr
Published: March 2013 by L & L Dreamspell
ISBN: 9781603185301
From Goodreads: When Samoan cornerback Adam Malala and two children in need show up at Joe Dean Billodeaux’s house on the first day of the off season, Joe knows he isn’t going to get any relief.

Adam, jilted by his island fiancee, has no desire to go home until he meets Winnie Green, a nurse called in to help the abandoned little boy.

When the chaos of Joe’s place becomes too much for them, Adam and Winnie take off for American Samoa and an unexpected adventure awaiting them there.

This book was very entertaining and a great escape from reality. What I love about these books is that they can appeal to any audience, not just those that love sports. Because while there is a sports theme that is tied into this series, it isn’t the main plot of each story. I’m not a big sports fan myself, but I find myself enjoying these books. I love the Louisiana setting, especially because it’s written by someone who knows what they are talking about. Another theme I would say plays heavily into these books is love and acceptance. I love that this family is made of kids that come from different places. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot away. (because I kinda think that while you don’t need to read the other books, you should go grab those as well… and I don’t want you to get so excited about this one that you don’t give the other ones a fair shot. :P) But I liked this book even more than the last one and thought that Adam was an awesome hero and Winnie a fantastic heroine. She’s strong, kind, and compassionate and that type that you can relate and look up to. I love how deep and well written the characters are. It makes it that much easier to get sucked into their story. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE that this was a multicultural romance. I think that fans of any genre could find something about this book they appreciate.

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Buy this from Amazon here: Paradise for a Sinner (The Sinners Sports Romances Book 4)

Piranhas in the Bedroom

17293561by Andy Dale


Pages:352


Published: December 1st 2012 by Lulu.com


ISBN: 9781291224887


From Goodreads:It’s 1986, and 19-year-old Jonathan gets quite a
culture shock when he leaves home to start his First year teacher
training at Derbyshire College of Higher Education. Living in a large
white (unmissable) student house full of lads, ranging from a posh boy
from Kent to a northerner with anger issues, he must negotiate the
perils of student life, which include seven-legged pub crawls in the
dead of winter, fishnapping raids and cereals in the bedsheets, all at
the same time as trying to woo a pretty blonde from Rochdale. Set in a
time when cassette players were cool, contact with home was a red
phonebox, but alcohol, lingerie and high jinx were still the order of
the day, First Years: Piranhas in the Bedroom is written with a great
British dry wit. Its nostalgia for all things 80s as well as its
“will-they-won’t-they” romantic comedy gives it a really broad appeal:
The Young Ones meets High Fidelity.

This book was highly entertaining. I got a view of the world that I
normally wouldn’t even think about getting to see, since the setting
was a British college in the 80s. (Let’s not forget that it’s also a
guy’s experience of all of this.) It was very funny and entertaining
though. I thought the main character was a wonderful companion. I
would definitely recommend this book to someone who is looking for
something that’s a little different than most books you’re going to
pick up. There isn’t a specific genre I could give to this book,
except maybe humor. But even that doesn’t feel quite right, even
though this is quite a funny book. The title might scare you off a
little bit, but I promise it is aptly named and the reason for the
title is very funny. If you’re looking for a bit of a break from your
normal reading and a little bit of an escape into another reality,
give this book a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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Buy this from Amazon here: First Years – Piranhas in the Bedroom

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with , , , , ,

Francesca of Lost Nation

8988491by Lucinda Sue Crosby


Pages: 252


Published: April 24th 2010 by Luckycinda


ISBN: 9781450701679

From Goodreads: If you love a grandmother or are one yourself –
especially a feisty, leggy and stubborn kind – then join 10-year-old
Sarah as she and her grandmother, Francesca tear up the race track,
team with barn-storming pilots and capture a wanted felon on an Apple
Farm in Iowa during the late 1940s. It’s one fun read and a story you
and your grandchildren will want to visit time and time again.

This was such a cute story. It was so much fun reading this because I
felt like a 10 year old again. I mean, sure, my life wasn’t actually
anything like this, but this book captured that kind of feeling. The
feeling of being a kid and thinking that your grandmother is one of
the coolest people on the planet and that you could never have more
fun than when you’re with her. This story also reads like something I
would’ve read when I was in school for summer reading and (because I’m
a huge nerd) I have a fondness for those kinds of books. I do think
this is something that children could read with their grandparents and
would have a great time with it. It’s not too long and has enough
excitement to keep anyone’s attention. I would definitely recommend
this for some summer reading. 🙂

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Buy this from Amazon here: Francesca of Lost Nation

Guardians at the Gate

17993262by: Ray Dacolais

Pages: 258

Published: May 24th 2013 by Ray Dacolias

ISBN:  9780988817760

From Goodreads:  Margaret C. Carbuncle is the principal at Amethyst Elementary. She has an insatiable appetite for power and soon becomes a tyrant; she also develops a desire for prestige and glory, and she knows the only way to attain this is through high test scores for her elementary school. Therefore, she drives her Teachers into a frenzy as she demands that they instruct only those subjects that will be included on the all-important, all-consuming state examination. She is ruthless in her desire to achieve her lofty goals. She happily destroys the lives of anyone who gets in her way. Some of the Teachers fight back, and some of them are destroyed by her; still, she cannot be everywhere at every moment, but when cameras are put into the classrooms, the Teachers are nearly under her complete control. But then the Secret comes, and with it, the Teachers are able to carry on, and wait for the day they will be liberated and can educate as they know best; yes, they survive, but the school slowly dies, for no true learning occurs, only monotonous, repetitive lessons that inoculate the students with certain test-ready knowledge. And then one day, two small visitors come for Carbuncle and attempt to teach her a real lesson in civility and charity and give her a chance to repent for all she has done to the inhabitants of the school. Will Carbuncle reform? If she reforms, will she fight for the Teachers? If she refuses, what will be the consequences? And what is the Secret? Public schools are an easy target for anyone who has a yellow pen or a high position in society or politics and who decries the state of education in America, thereby crucifying every Teacher in every school and empowering principals like Carbuncle everywhere; yet, these people form their opinions about American schools from flawed childhood memories, unreliable anecdotes, and distortions of the truth. Read every word between the covers of this book and you will soon know what is really going on in the secret world of public schools, for the author of this tale is an educator, and reveals the unabashed, sordid truth, albeit in novel form, about America’s crumbling educational system.

This novel was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, so this novel was a little weird for me. There were parts of it that I genuinely enjoyed reading and thought were entertaining. The author has a unique type of humor that is very rare in novels, and I found myself laughing at some parts of it. There were other parts though that seemed to go on for quite a while and I wasn’t necessarily sure where they were going or if I was really interested in finding out. This novel does offer a very scathing view of the world of education that I think someone working in that field may appreciate a little more than I did. I also found the writing style a little jarring. It’s broken up into sections that tell you something that may or may not come into play a little later on. Overall I found it interesting, but I don’t think this is the kind of thing I would want to pick up again. The humor was little hit or miss to me, there were some parts I found very funny and others I didn’t. I found the beginning to be a lot more interesting and engrossing than the second. It is something that a teacher or someone else highly invested in the education world might enjoy, but for someone like me who reads to escape from reality for a bit (even if that reality if harsh) it just didn’t quite do the trick.

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Buy this from Amazon: Guardians at the Gate

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with , , , , ,

Sabbatical in the Sun

19389589by: Jackie Ullerich

Pages: 323

Published: April 19th 2013 by Brighton Publishing LLC

ASIN: B00CG6NMZG

From Goodreads: Jessica Slater would seem to have it all. She’s young, personable, good looking and is making strides in her career as an educator.
Her personal life, however, is in disarray. Recently divorced, she’s also coping with the loss of her mother to cancer. What better time than now to take sabbatical leave, to shake the blues and escape wintery Northern Virginia.
Jessica’s choice for a sabbatical in the sun is Southern California where she is hired to housesit the showcase home of George and Lydia Papas whose import-export business has taken them out of the country. She also elects to take graduate courses at USC and it is there she meets John Martin, a university administrator who, unknown to Jessica, has orchestrated their chance meeting and subsequent dates for a very specific purpose: He must gain access to the Papas home.
Later the reasons become clear but at this point, Jessica, despite certain misgivings falls hard for John, and eventually they become lovers.
John is able to persuade Jessica to accompany him during spring break on a business-pleasure trip to Athens, Greece, and then to a resort town in the Peloponnese where, as guests of John’s friend, Denis Angelides and his family, the two are swept up into the exuberance of Easter festivities.
But then everything falls apart as Jessica learns she has been brought to Greece under false pretenses, that she has been a pawn in a scheme to recover an heirloom–a priceless coin belonging to the Angelides family–which Denis believes has been smuggled out of Greece by his brother Alex and into the home of George and Lydia Papas. John has used her to gain entry to that home. Worse, their entire relationship has been built on lies, on deceit.
Denis does recover the coin, but it turns out to be a fake. That he has been betrayed either by someone at home or in Los Angeles sets in motion a series of events in which Jessica plays a major role. She becomes the focus of Denis’ romantic intentions, as well. John, however, is never completely out of the picture, and after a harrowing adventure involving the coin that nearly costs her life, Jessica and John reconcile.
Among the supporting characters, Alex Angelides is a prominent figure. Unlike Denis, his brash but principled brother, Alex is a conniver, a master at manipulating others. He also hoards a secret about the coin that he shares only when he thinks he is dying.
Of concern to Jessica is the continuing presence in her life of her ex-husband Andrew whose obsession with her turns ugly.
In the face of calamitous events, Mort Abrams, an attorney-advisor for the Angelides family, is the voice of reason, a solid presence. He also becomes a father figure to Jessica, filling a void in both their lives.
If Mort is a stabilizing influence, Bill Warner is its antithesis. A seedy-appearing eccentric man in his sixties, Warner runs the housesitting agency that has hired Jessica, though his more important role is of go-between for parties in Athens and John Martin in Los Angeles. A truly devious person, he appears throughout the story in ever-changing guises and behavior that reveal him in an increasingly sinister light.
Sabbatical in the Sun is a novel of intrigue that deals with the consequences of selfishness and greed. But it is also about love–familial and romantic, about relationships that fall short of perfection. Mainly, it is about forgiveness.

 

Wow. This book was a lot. I thought it was really interesting and it made me want to keep turning the pages. Everything was very well written and I there was a great amount of depth to the characters. It was a lot though. If you’re not ready to set aside a decent amount of time then this book might not be for you. There were definitely some moments I had while reading this book that I thought things were drawing to a close and thought… “How could I possibly have that much left?” But then the story would pick back up and I’d get drawn in all over again. I loved all the different aspects of the story, so it ended up being a good thing that the story kept going. I thought the different settings and types of characters were interesting and that the complex story line was very well done. I’ve always wanted to go to Greece so I love reading books with a rich Greek setting.  If you’re looking for something quick and easy to read, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for something complex that will draw you into its world, then pick this one up. It’s worth it. 🙂

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Buy this from Amazon here: Sabbatical In The Sun