The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner

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Spanning nearly a century this novel follows the lives of the Esposito family who live on Castellamare, an island off the coast of Italy. At the center of the island’s life is a bar covered with Bougainvillea flowers called the House at the Edge of Night.

This story takes you into the lives of an eccentric group of villagers that are in many ways isolated from the outside world yet still affected by what happens through wars, economic downfalls, threat of fascism  and illnesses. Not to mention the intertwined relationships if the residents that fuel the fires of love and hate across generations.

This story meanders like one would suspect life on Castellamare would do. Yet the slow pace keeps you engaged as the people of this island come alive in the twists and turns of the story. I loved everything about this book from the first to the last page. The story revolves around Amedeo, an orphan, a foundling. He comes to the island in 1914 when he is 40 years old to take the position of island Doctor. The plot pivots is Amedeo’s love of stories – stories of saints and miracles, of fantasy and curses and real stories of the past. Amadeo carries a journal where he records all the stories that he hears through his life. This collection becomes an heirloom for his grand children.

Catherine Banner has written an epic story that has the potential to be a classic.

 

 

 

I’m Thinking about Ending Things by Iain Ried

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There are three types of people in the world. Those who have read the book and love it, those who have read this book and hate it or those who have not yet read this book.

I loved it. When you read it you are certain that you have fallen in to an episode of the twilight zone. Nothing is as it appears. The story revolves around a girl on a day trip with her boyfriend to meet his parents. She is thinking about ending things. It is the things that you have no idea what she means. Is she breaking up with him? Is she considering suicide? It is a mystery. Even at the end of the book it may still be a mystery if you don’t pick up on all the subtle hints. I actually read this book through twice be fore I had the ah ha moment and figured out most of the plot. Though very intense, it is an easy read. I read it through the two times over one weekend.

A word of caution! Danger Will Robinson!

There are web sites that discuss the book and the theories around it. Please read the book first before you read any of the theories. It will be a better ride to just go in to the book blind. Please do not cheat yourself of the experience of this roller coaster adventure of this book. Reading fan sites before reading a book is right up there with my aversion of seeing a movie before reading the book.

DON’T DO IT!

I am afraid that if I keep talking I will spoil this for you so I will just leave you with this thought.  This book is deeply haunting and irresistibly unnerving. It will stay with you long after the last page is turned and you put the book down.

 

 

 

Newest Novel in Progress…

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Would you read this book?

Charlotte Barlow suspected something was a little off when her quiet reserved cousin kissed her when she was just sixteen years old. The kiss unnerved her. Nevertheless, she lived a relatively normal life among the humans. Charlotte a practicing witch from the ancient order of Time Walkers, hid her talents and powers from everyone she knew. When Charlotte is injured in a drunk driving accident, she realizes that her life had been a lie from the very beginning. It wasn’t until she bumped into the devilishly wild fallen being, who called himself by his human name, Scott Petrois, that her life and family history finally began to make sense. 

Scott proved to be a force that Charlotte was not capable of resisting. Charlotte soon learned that Scott had taken an oath and that oath could destroy her. Despite Scott’s creepy ways and murderous tendencies, Charlotte finds herself falling for the dishonored creature. Only fate will decided whether she kills or protects him.

One night, a powerful warlock appears before Charlotte and warns her of a darkness within Scott. The enchanter gives Charlotte the pure silver sword – the only weapon that can defeat against a wild spiritual creature. Will Charlotte find it in herself to kill the only soul who has ever made her feel truly complete? 

You have just read a synopsis of my current work in progress. What do you think?

Don’t get to attached to the cover. It is just a mock up.

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…but I like my cheese where it is

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How many of you read that little book Who Moved My Cheese? I read it years ago and then again recently. (If you don’t have time to read it watch this short video.) The premise is easy, change is going to happen and you have to control how you react to it. If you stand firm and refuse to accept it you will get left in the wake of change. If you flow with it and adapt you will be better after the change levels off and status quo sets in again.

Most people do not want their cheesy goodness to move and do not want change. Change is scary and challenging. In the end I believe most people accept change and move along to the better cheese. Then there is me….

I have been a solid do not move, touch or even look at my cheese kind of person. I like my daily routines thank you very much. As long as I am in charge of the change and I am the creator of the change it is fine, but let someone else change something that affects me look out. I think it is the helpless feeling of not having control. What’s crazy is I haven’t had control in years until just recently. I have let life push me along. I did grab hold of control, went to school and changed my stressful job. Slowly I have taken control back. It is my cheese and I will do the moving..not you…me.

There’s old wisdom that advises that we can only lean against that which resists. This suggests that there might just be something good, or at least useful, about resisting change. Discovering what this resistance is and learning to work with it is key to understanding reluctance to change. That is all fine and dandy as long as I am in charge of the cheese…I mean change.

What throws me for a loop is when I am not in control of the change. That sends me in to flight mode. You know, fight or flight? I am a classic flight risk when I loose control. Either I fly or I bury my head in the sand and ignore the change. If I don’t see it, don’t acknowledge it, then it is not real…..there you go…denial.

Learning that change, even wanted change is stressful will make dealing with the cheese realignment easier. Taking the cheese knife in hand and carving the life you want is hard too. I have no answers here. You have to decide how you will deal with the fact of life that someone will move your cheese. It is just a matter of time.

 

Indomitable (The Push Chronicles Book 1) By J B Garner

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“Reality is subjective if you only have enough belief to change it!”

~ Indomitable by J B Garner

 

The first book in a series, Indomitable introduces the reader to Irene Roman, an unlikely super hero. She was forced in to survival which in turn forced her to become a hero. This story reminds me of The Rook by Daniel O’Malley in that the female lead is an unlikely hero. She is intuitive, strong and brave. All the best qualities for a female hero.

What I liked about this book is Garner’s use of words in ways that force us to rethink language. For example, in the story the world is now inhabited by people with super powers. These people are called the Pushed. The concept was a little hard to grasp at first but they were pushed in to these powers by a force that caused this altered state. The reader is “pushed” to accept this new use of the term. This concept of manipulating words and their meanings to fit the story is a cleaver talent that Garner uses well.

One thing that was difficult for me was some of the passages that reflect Irene’s thought and some of the lines she speaks do not sound authentically female. I found myself thinking, no woman would say that. It is my biased female point of view. As a writer I get how difficult it is to write in a voice that is not your norm. It is not easy.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes sci-fi, fantasy and super hero genres. It is a climactic combination of all of those and more. Though it took me a bit to get my head around the concepts, it was well worth the time and energy it took to devour it. It caused me to consider that life is not always what you presume it to be.  I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Keep writing interesting thought-provoking books Mr. Garner.  I am a fan.

I admit it…

I do not like to admit I was wrong, but I was very wrong. I have a certain taste in books. I know I can hear some of you say with much skepticism, “Sure you do.” While it is true I read in and out of several genres, I do have a preference when it comes to story lines. You won’t see me read many westerns or astronomical sci-fi novels. I steer away from the Harlequin type romances and the super sweet chick lit. I also hate to admit that I do, sometimes, judge books by their covers, though I am getting better at not doing that. Call me a recovering cover snob, if you will.

I had to rethink my methodology for choosing books when I came across Debbie Macomber’s The Inn at Rose Harbor. I had totally not read anything by Macomber because of the sweet covers and descriptions. I thought that this sugar sweet fiction would be uninteresting to me and not be worth my time. I was under the misconception that all her novels should be in the chic lit category. I was emphatically wrong.
When I had finished reading the story of the young widow who left her home and made a new life for herself as proprietor of a bed and breakfast I was left with the need to read the entire series. I fell in love with the people of the scenic Pacific Northwest town called Cedar Cove. I had to find out what happened to Jo Marie. Did she ever get all the answers about her Army husband’s death? Did her guests find the healing that is offered at Rose Harbor?

Much to my astonishment Macomber’s books were nothing like what I had envisioned. They are riddled with full rich scenery, deeply profound situations and intricate characters. It is certainly not chick lit. Macomber weaves amazing stories with people you will not easily forget in this series. It makes me wonder if I was wrong about her books entirely. Just maybe I have been wrong about other authors too! Oh my! What a thought!
I will read more of her books and I will venture off in to other uncharted territory of reading. I will let you know if I continue to shock myself by enjoying books that I never before even considered. Maybe you should try it. Risk being wrong about what you like to read. Who knows, maybe you will surprise yourself too.

There are eight titles in the series, but three are what I call in-betweens that really don’t add much to the story. Here are the titles in the Rose Harbor series and my library has them all! I bet your library has them as well.

0.5. When First They Met (2012)
1. The Inn at Rose Harbor (2012)
2. Rose Harbor in Bloom (2013)
3. Love Letters (2014)
3.5. Falling for Her (2015)
4. Silver Linings (2015)
5. Sweet Tomorrows (2016)

 

 

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue is fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating. It is about a college aged girl who was kidnapped and stowed away in a modified sound proof shed. While kept there for seven years she was subjected to rape by her captor and gets pregnant. The story is narrated by that child. Jack is five years old and the only world he knows is Room. Jack’s Ma has created a life for him. She realizes that she needs to do all she can to get them both out of Room and free. Through grit, resourcefulness, and an abundance motherly love, she figures out a way to escape with Jack’s bravery and help.

I cried throughout this book. Not little dainty sniffles and corner of my eye dabs but sobs and a water fall of tears pouring down my face as I read it. The entire story comes out of Jack’s mind and heart.  He learns that the planets on TV are real and that there is a whole other life in outer space.

As for Ma, she is still a gentle young girl whose tough determination crumbles once she is out of Room. While Jack is learning how to live and love in a new world, Ma is trying to emotionally and mentally escape it.

As if reading this heart wrenching book wasn’t enough torture, I then watched the movie. Though not as emotionally moving as reading the book it was still an amazing glimpse in to a mother and son’s survival.

Please read the book first. The movie leaves out so much of what makes Jack such a lovable character.

Be forewarned. Grab a box of tissues. Don’t read Room in public or you will risk embarrassing yourself.