The Power of Persuasion by Shelagh Watkins

Reviewer: Eileen McLeish

I read your book some weeks ago and hope you do not mind, put some thoughts on paper:

I was intrigued the way you set out your book with the link of the mysterious appearances of D’Arcy. My very early and mistaken assumption was that Beth’s letter was equivalent to Elizabeth’s refusal of Darcy’s proposal of marriage by Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. If you saw the production with Colin Firth, he became frustrated at this and was obviously haunted by her.

I was particularly interested in the ‘snapshots’ – I could see where the university scenarios came from and those concerned with human interaction showed your perception of how we mortals behave. You must have done a lot of research on some of the geographical visits – I have been to most places so recognize the authenticity. Many of these could be expanded into short stories and then you could have your own anthology. Well done!

13 Responses to “Fiction”

  1. kaylinmcfarren Says:

    Flaherty’s Crossing by Kaylin McFarren

    Reviewer: Dottie, Romance Junkies
    Rating: 5 Blue Ribbons

    FLAHERTY’S CROSSING is an amazing, emotional story of a young woman, who tries to come to terms with losing her estranged father and, at the same time, mend her troubled marriage. Certain aspects of the story were spooky, but the reader cannot help empathizing with Kate. I found myself emotionally involved with the story, laughing at times and near tears at others. Author Kaylin McFarren is an extraordinary storyteller with the ability to touch your heart with her words and I look forward to reading more of her works. Brimming with witty repartee, well-drawn characters, creativity, imagination, plot twists, a few surprises and a bit of the paranormal, this story is unforgettable. If you are looking for a terrific story, assured to keep you up until you finish the very last sentence, FLAHERTY’S CROSSING is the one for you.

    Reviewer: The Pen and Muse (

    Rating: ****

    What I liked: What a beautiful love story! Kaylin’s story is so vivid and the characters are so profound. I really enjoyed reading the story of Kate and her journey to find out what’s right for her and dealing with father on his death bed. The whole story is a whirlwind of emotions as we live and breathe with these characters. Flaherty’s Crossing is an inspirational story that cannot be missed. Kaylin teaches us that through the darkness and confusion there will always be light at the end of the tunnel.

    Reviewer: Paige Lovitt, Reader Views

    “Flaherty’s Crossing” by Kaylin McFarren is a beautiful story. The author does an incredible job of presenting the story in vivid detail. We are taken into the minds and hearts of the characters. As you read, you will feel the same anguish that they each felt in dealing with their own issues. In your heart, you will also feel their love and their hope for a better future. Even though it is a fictional story, it made me reflect on my own life, and how I shouldn’t wait until it is too late to let people that I love know how I feel, or to apologize if I need to. This is a novel that is written with exceptional quality. Readers will truly enjoy this story

    Reviewer: Kirkus Discoveries

    A skillfully wrought tale.

    Reviewer: Tami Brady, TCM Reviews

    Sometimes, the deepest darkest moments allow us to finally recognize the light in our lives. Only when we face our pain can we move onto something better. So it seems for Kate Flaherty. Kate was at a crossroads. From the moment her mother died, everything changed. Her father became distant. As she watches her father succumb to cancer, Kate realizes that she was very much her father’s daughter. She’d lost her mother, would soon lose her father, and if she wasn’t careful her husband would give up on their marriage. She had to make some changes and fast. Flaherty’s Crossing is an inspirational story about learning to let go and love fully for the sake of love. Who are we under our masks of pain? How would it feel to have those burdens lifted?

    Reviewer: Regina Ellis, Founder, CEO The Children’s Cancer Association

    Flaherty’s Crossing captivates readers with a moving story about the complexities of loss and love with unexpected turns and revelations. Kaylin’s writing is heartbreaking, funny, and tender. For anyone who has loved immensely and faced a painful loss, this book is a bridge to healing, forgiveness and an open heart.

    Reviewer: Aubrie Dionne, SynergEbooks

    McFarren’s latest novel, Flaherty’s Crossing, is about so many crossings on physical and metaphorical levels. The story delves into complex relationships between a husband and wife and a father and daughter, and explores how the past can affect the future. McFarren unravels a rich history of events that lead to the decisions that the characters make throughout the novel. She weaves in complicated topics of death and religion in a masterful manner that helps shape the plot. Told from a rotating viewpoint, the story illustrates how there can be two sides to an argument, and how both parties must set aside pride to pave the way toward forgiveness. McFarren’s writing is powerful and detail oriented, making the story come alive and creating a suspenseful atmosphere that sustains to the last page. A brilliant exploration of women’s fiction.

    Reviewer: Elizabeth Joy Arnold, USA Today bestselling author, Pieces of My Sister’s Life

    Be warned: do not start this novel if you anticipate any pressing obligations – a need to sleep, say – or without a handful of tissues within arms reach. Flaherty’s Crossing is a compelling and imaginative story, not just about death but about life and emotional growth, a broken woman’s journey towards learning to trust again. Beautifully written, heart wrenching yet inspirational, this is a ‘must read’ for anyone who has loved and lost.

    Reviewer: Joy Nash, USA Today bestselling author, Deep Magic

    Before you start reading Flaherty’s Crossing, clear your schedule. You will not want to look up until the last page is turned. Suspenseful, poignant and ultimately soul-satisfying, this life-affirming tale of shattering secrets will keep you on the edge of your seat. Don’t miss it!

    Reviewer: Angela Fox, Publisher of Oregon City News/Clackamas Review

    FLAHERTY’S CROSSING immediately engages the reader with lyrical prose, a plot equally moving and suspenseful, and real, compelling characters. The writing is as fresh as it is evocative. From heart wrenching to heartwarming, inducing laughter and tears, this virtual roller coaster of a tale won’t let the reader go until reaching the final turn of the ride. A superb novel bearing a message not easily forgotten.

  2. Roy Pickeirng Says:

    Patches of Grey by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

    Reviewer: The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers ( and
    Rating: *****

    Lionel Johnson vowed to take care of his family at all costs. Working laborious jobs and giving up his aspirations has not only weakened his resolve but has transformed him into a bitter man. A bitter man whose cynical views, although due to the harsh hand life has dealt him, are turning him into a tyrant and demoralizing his entire household. Lionel is desperate to spare his offspring the pain he’s endured so he’s laying out life’s bitter truths in black and white. But life isn’t always so clear cut; it’s the shades of grey that his family needs to learn about the most. Over the time period the novel encases they’ll learn just that.

    Lionel’s wrath always seems to be bestowing mostly upon his eldest son Tony. Tony is finishing up his senior year of high school and views college as not only as an escape from his domineering father, but as a way to escape his impoverished neighborhood. Lionel views Tony’s dream of higher education as a snub towards himself and feels that Tony looks down on him for being nothing more than a laborer. Not only does Lionel think Tony is ashamed of who he is as a father, he thinks Tony is ashamed of being black, especially when Tony starts dating a Caucasian girl.

    Tony’s character is the primary voice throughout most of the novel. Tony provides a very poignant voice as he deals with feelings of resentment towards his father and also reels from the stigma associated with dating outside of his race. The younger brother, C.J., has no desire to escape the projects in which the Johnson family resides. He foolishly wants to rule them, which he thinks he can by do by joining a gang. Tanya, the middle child, finds her chastity is at stake while she ponders just how far she’s willing to go for her first love. While Caren, the matriarch of the Johnson family, has to deal with her husband’s fragile ego, which elevates to violent proportions once the company he works for goes on strike and he can no longer provide for his family.

    Author Roy Pickering does an outstanding job allowing readers into the minds of each character within the Johnson household. Not only effectively capturing their hopes and dreams, but their fears as well. Fears that sometimes push them into making foolish decisions and even while doing so Mr. Pickering’s writing style will cause readers to empathize with the characters’ actions, no matter how wrong. But greater than that, PATCHES OF GREY will actually convince readers there are more ways to deal with life’s struggles than just black or white, compromise can be found just within the patches of grey.

    Reviewer: Beth Blake “Author, “No Child Left Behind…
    Rating *****

    Patches of Grey follows the difficulties of the Johnson family as they struggle to find answers in life. The mother Caren is an optimistic woman, “There are no struggles too difficult for God’s love to guide us through.” Her husband, Lionel, is embittered and can’t find a job to support his family, “He chooses to complain about what hasn’t been handed to him.” Their 15 year old son CJ lives for his gang, then tries to escape. Their daughter is confused and feels pressure from her boyfriend.
    But the story centers around their son Tony. Tony is intelligent with a bright future. He is college bound. He falls in love with a caucasian girl, Janet, whose parents are racists with ridiculous stereotpical ideas of African-Americans. The story revolves around their relationship and the problems they experience as an inter-racial couple.
    Pickering’s descriptions and metaphors are vivid. “Wide spreading ripples can reach calm waters far removed from where a stone has been tossed.”
    Pickering asks the question, “When searching for your worth on this planet, is it love or is it power that will accomplish this for you?”
    The language is often gritty and not for the faint-hearted.

    Reviewer: Terin Miller
    Rating: *****

    With “Patches of Grey,” Roy L. Pickering’s debut novel, coming of age is as difficult as it’s always been – except, rather than rant against the alienating conformity and rampant consumerism of earlier generations, the characters must choose a path between soul-crushing disappointments and the violence of surviving in “the projects” and the hopes and dreams youthful confidence and lack of experience generate when one looks outside one’s own neighborhood.

    And always, because of birth, because of melanin pigmentation in the skin, that dasher of dreams and killer of youth, prejudice lurks to slap hard those who aspire and seems to make life easy for those who don’t have to.

    This novel could introduce readers early to the essence of one of life’s truisms – that living is difficult enough, especially for teenagers, without others trying to make it more difficult for anyone.

    Each generation absorbs as much as rejects the teachings of its parents – good and bad – and chooses to find truth lying somewhere in the “Patches of Grey.” Or dies believing itself to be whatever it’s labeled as.

    I recommend this book. In fact, I’d recommend it be on every junior or senior level high school reading list. Maybe earlier. Maybe it can catch the next generation before it gets to the stage of some of the characters in the book.

    Reviewer: The Book Journal “”
    Rating: ****


    What I really liked about this book was how true and honest it sounded. You can go to any inner city and find a kid who has the same feelings as the characters in this book. This could almost read like a true-story account of someone life.
    Story Characters:

    Tony Johnson was very well written on and about. You clearly get a feeling from him early on in the book and very quickly either love him or hate him. What is unique about this, is that even if you choose to hate him, you care about him. He is memorable.

    Writing Style:

    There are no pretensions in this book. There are no “this must have been researched” moments either. As you read the book, you notice that it is written by someone who has had all those thoughts in their head. From someone who didn’t walk around asking others how they felt and then wrote about it, but from someone who understood those feelings and wrote about them perfectly.

    Overall Thoughts:

    I liked this book a lot. In my opinion it should be read by high school students across the country, to give them a better appreciation of others around them and help dispel pre-conceived notions.

    Reviewer: Books & Wine
    Rating: *****

    Patches of Grey by Roy L. Pickering Jr. is to me, on the border of being a young adult book, as it deals with an 18-year old boy and being an adult book, as there are several somewhat explicit sexual situations. Personally, I do not mind a bit of sex in the books I read, but I know other people do mind that.

    Essentially Patches of Grey, when one breaks it down, is all about relationships. There is the main character, Tony’s relationship to his girlfriend Janet. There is Tony’s relationship with his family. There is his brother CJ’s relationship to his gang. There is his sister Tonya’s relationship to her hook-up boyfriend. There is the relationship between Tony’s parents. The interactions between these people provide so much information about the people in so few words. I mean, Pickering does not provide 17 pages of exposition and background, one is just sort of thrust into the world and trusted to come to their own conclusions about the characters. I know several interactions and things I had questions about were later explained through conversations the characters had.

    I honestly enjoyed the characters. For one, the main character, Tony is African-American. Kudos Mr. Pickering for putting a POC character within your book, and for making Tony seem so real. I mean, Tony is not perfect by any means. To me he seemed like an actual person. He’s not some rich spoiled suburbs kid with no problems, as I see in so much YA today. Instead, he lives in the projects, his dad is a bit of a jerk, his girlfriend is white, and his brother is in a gang. Yet, he still has aspirations to rise above that and go onto college. I love that his struggles and what he endures actually mean something. To me, it didn’t seem superficial. Also, even the jerk characters sort of won me over, we see that Tony’s dad isn’t a huge douche, he actually does so much, but I guess it is hard for him to express it.

    In regards to the writing, this book is very well-written. I feel the sentences were selected with care. It isn’t simplistic writing, it is quite literary, so I suppose if you enjoy Jodi Piccoult’s writing style, you will enjoy Pickering. The plot kept smashing my soul into pieces. I mean, I was crushed. I would say, don’t read this book if you don’t have room in your heart, or space in your life, or time in your day to invest in these characters. Just a note – I finished this book last weekend, and I am still thinking about these characters. I think this is definitely a good book to read if you want something more serious or heavy to read. It’s not a beach book at all.

  3. Cindy Vine Says:

    The Case of Billy B by Cindy Vine

    Reviewer: Readers Favorite “Readers Favorite” (Hawesville, KY USA)
    Rating: *****

    I had tears in my eyes February 13, 2010

    Based on a true story, this is a fictionalized account of one boy`s history of child abuse. Born with a cleft lip, ignored by his mother for the first six months of his life, she walks out on him and his father. His Army father is now faced with the task of raising Billy by himself, trying to keep a roof over their heads, and feeding and taking care of Billy while trying to further his Army career. Finally, realizing there was no other choice, he leaves the service and vows that he and Billy will make it.

    The women he goes out with only have one thing on their mind… Marriage. Billy`s dad finally becomes consumed with two things in his life,beside Billy, Sex and Vodka. Unable to hold a job, he is always on the move. Ending up in Michigan, he meets up with a woman who runs a day care center. Infatuated with Chris, she is very abusive toward Billy, becoming a very real threat in their lives. Not only does Billy suffer the abuse of Stella, his father is not much better. Mentally, Billy has withdrawn into himself and has seen and endured more then any child his age should.

    One has to read this book with an open mind to see and visualize the sheer torment that this young child endured. Called a freak and a misfit, can there be any help for this struggling father and his son? As he and Billy are continually stalked by Stella, it seems Billy becomes a pawn in the game of survival. Can Chris save himself and provide a stable home for them.

    I had tears in my eyes reading this just wanting to hold Billy and show him that there was love in this world and no need for the suffering he was going through. The ending of the book left me with open minded and cries sequel. This book is highly recommended, but be prepared for coarse language and sexual content. The book contains material not suitable for those 17 and under.

  4. Mary Krome Says:

    Left in His Closet by Mary Krome

    Reviewer: Keith Sommers

    As a phoenix is born from his own corpse
    And his false image dies…

    There is no honor in being alive
    Unless in his closet they still reside
    (excerpts of a passage from In His Closet by Mary Krome)

    In his closet is one of the more genuine stories I have read in years. Sad, but sincere, this multiperspective story shreds the invisible taboo of gay versus heterosexual philosophies into a brilliant and ingenious study of human philosophy, connection, sexuality, and identity. Krome, the author, is a doctorate who has won awards for her research, which she brilliantly spins into the prose without it ever feeling like an academic lecture. This reviewer has a background in clinical psychology, and therefore it was easy to identify the sound research perspective and thoughts Krome spins into the web of human frailties recorded throughout Left In His Closet, but never once did I feel I was being talked at, but rather let into a privacy and undiscovered world that so few know.

    Rephrased, I felt that Krome’s subtle poetry, and soft-lit inner dialogues mixed with a story really moved more by conversations than events in a way a pointillist painter might blend the blurriness of inane color dots, that seem hazy at first glance, but from far away form into a beautiful whole that is too easy to miss if one’s review of the art at hand values Polaroid over Picasso (yes I know Picasso was not a pointillist, it’s a metaphor).

    The point is that Krome sets out in Closet to do more than tell a story, she seeks out to bleed it into your own veins, merge it into your own thoughts, press it into your own vulnerabilities, and triumph it into your own hopes, and she achieves in a glorious way the untold story of the other spouse left in the closet when a gay lover wanders into a new life, and all without demonizing human beings in general along the way. This story will trouble you, move you, make you smile, make you frown, make you cry, but in the end, make you a better person for having suffered through the darker with the lighter parts of the human landscape.

    On the writing style: mainstream fiction, brilliantly written and softly guided. Krome is undoubtedly a fine artist including a great writer. She also mingles poetry throughout in a way that doesn’t feel foreign or surreal, as the poetry is written by a character who writes poetry, but the words highlight the points too easy to miss to the untrained reader.

    On the Target Audience: Women do appear to be a better fit for much of what is discussed, although there are scenes and storylines written for the male experience of the book’s message, so there is wide appeal to all who have loved and lost, and loved some more—or at least wanted to. However, the style screams to me that a woman who enjoys the gentle but direct analysis of life could curl up on a rainy day and explore herself and life more thoroughly with Krome as the host for a day.

    On the best parts. I think more than anything, and consistent with the tenets of mainstream writing itself, Krome expertly connects people with people. If you do not feel the power of the human drama while reading this book, you may as well give up on reading altogether and spend your life doing something else!

    Closing thoughts and overall summary: An EXCELLENT read. Both for the lover of fiction, and the professor trying to get students to get life and not just research. I highly and thoroughly recommend this book, and look forward to the next from this new fiction author.

    About the Reviewer
    Heath Sommer, Ph.D. is the author of the contemporary mystery novel, The Manufactured Identity, and has two other fiction books scheduled for production in 2010, The Grand Delusion and The Human Obsession.

  5. Robert G. Brown Says:

    The Book of Lilith by Robert G. Brown

    Reviewer: Pod People (Cheryl Anne Gardner)

    Rating: 9/10

    I loved it, and the author’s approach to the story not only made me giggle a bit, but it also made me ponder and appreciate what it means to be a woman – a candid and tough woman, struggling in the world of men … Whatever the author’s intent, overt feminism or prodding flippancy, I came away with a new vision of Lilith and many new points to ponder over the origins of the Soul and necessity of Suffering.

    Reviewer: Breenibooks Reviews

    Rating *****

    The Book of Lilith is an extraordinary fictional account of the life of Lilith, here portrayed as the first woman of Creation rather than the succubus or demoness of certain myths… I found myself emotionally involved in Lilith’s tale, at times laughing out loud, at times brimming with joy or seething with anger. At some points, I was lost in the story so much that it seemed real to me, and when I brought myself back to reality, I longed for it to have been a true account. It’s a wonderful work of fiction that encourages the reader to examine humanity’s existence and the sacred feminine from many perspectives.

    Reviewer: Odyssey Reviews

    Rating: 4.5/5 medallions

    I’ve come to think that author Robert G. Brown might be one of those guys who really likes to hear himself talk. This isn’t said with any malice, of course. He’s invested a good deal of his wild ideas and ruminations into this work. It is the product of an active, imaginative and thoughtful mind; taking an existing mythos and making it his own. I normally dislike this genre of book; mostly because they just come off as a blatant show of the author’s brilliance and wit; smug and lofty. But I couldn’t bring myself to hate the Book of Lilith. Trust me, I tried. The truth is, I kind of liked it. I kind of really liked it actually. ::sigh:: I know… The horror!

    Reviewer: My Cool Book

    Rating *****

    We laughed and cried. He deeply stirred all our emotions. In fact we were mesmerized by this remarkable book and loved it so much so that we wanted to help Robert spread the word. So we contacted him and offered to create this web site. We hope you buy The Book of Lilith as a gift for someone special … as it is truly the first classic fable of the 21st century, that will act as a beacon for the future, for whoever are fortunate enough to read it.

  6. M. L. St. Sure Says:

    Evensong by M. L. St. Sure

    Reviewer: Lindsey Cook

    A Look Back – Written by Book Critic, Lindsey Cook

    “EVENSONG” is the story of Christina Cross who grew up on a farm in Missouri and learned how to sing opera from her war-scarred father. When her father dies unexpectedly, her mother throws her out of the house.

    Christina is forced to try and find a job to support herself; she begins by being a maid in a hotel, but she is discovered by the owner who harnesses her talent and transforms her into an opera singer.

    When Christina finds that her younger sister is being abandoned by her older abusive brother and that her mother is drinking, she decides to take her sister and escape to Europe.

    Going to live with her uncle, Philippe Petain the premier of France in Paris, Christina immediately finds herself in the mix of World War II politics. When her uncle surrenders Paris and all of France to Hitler, she is forced to sing for the Nazis.

    Recruited by French underground leader Laurent de Gauvion in the resistance, Christina begins to realize what is really going on in the war. She does everything she can to help, from caring for orphaned babies to infliltrating a Kinderkamp in Germany.

    Christina’s journey makes us realize the costs of war and how they affect everyone, no matter what their role is.

    A bittersweet story with a heart wrenching ending, “EVENSONG” is a beautifully written novel. St. Sure transports us into the vivid world of the 1940’s exploring everything from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high in the world.

    Readers become extremely attached to Christina and her sister Nicolette because St. Sure’s characters are carefully crafted; they’re vivid, interesting and provide different perspectives about what is going on in the world around them. St. Sure makes sure that readers are privy to their loves, hate, vengeances and motivations.

    The plot is fast-paced, taking you everywhere St. Sure needs you to go, while holding back on some of the more gruesome details. This is, after all, a story of one person’s encounter with the war, not an overview of the war.

    The ending, while extremely sad, is appropriate and did not leave me feeling upset at the author, which is surprisingly unlike how other books have left me when faced with similar endings.

    At only 214 pages long, the author still finds a way to fit everything that is needed to create a truly remarkable story. A lot of novels about World War II are extremely long with all the detail, while the shorter stories sometimes feel as if they don’t have enough information to make you feel fulfilled.

    With short chapters and an interesting topic, this is a good read for anyone of any age or gender. It leaves you attached to the book until the very end. A great read that leaves you thinking about life while you’re stuck inside on a cold winter day.

  7. Ida Plassay Says:

    Love of a Lifetime by Ida Plassay

    Reviewer: Marilyn Meredith-AAA Member

    In this sweet romance, the heroine, Rita Sterling, in her hopes of having a stable and happy home with the man of her dreams settles on someone who has all the attributes she’s been looking for. Unfortunately, something important is missing—love. It isn’t long before this man begins to sow his true colors and they aren’t pleasant. A stranger enters Rita’s life—Vittorio delle Rose—and the attraction between the two of them is instant.
    Author Plassay has written a sweet and satisfying novel that will satisfy readers with a romantic heart.

    Reviewer: Natalie Destro

    I was taken with the book from page one. I thoroughly enjoyed the imagery the author used in describing the characters and their surroundings. Ida Plassay did such a superb job at making the reader feel like you are there along with the characters in the book that it kept me wanting to read more. Before I knew it, I was done the book! Being a wife and a mother of two children, reading Love of a Lifetime was a pleasurable escape for me from the demands of everyday life. I highly recommend this book. Thank you, Ida Plassay, for writing such an inspiring love story. I look forward to reading your next book in the near future.

    Reviewer: John Pasqua

    Ida Plassay is a first-rate and brilliant writer! Her first book, “Love of a Lifetime”, is enchanting, riveting and mesmerizing to read. You just can’t put the book down! From page one, you will find yourself, completely captivated and bewitched by this true love story! If you read only one love story this year, then it’s got to be Ida Plassay’s, “Love of a Lifetime”.

    Reviewer: Alexa from Vancouver

    I have just recently received Love of a Life Time in the mail, and it is the best romance novel yet. My 20-year old daughter Nancy just saw the cover and wanted to read it. I just finished yesterday, I could NOT put it down, I was also thrilled to know it took place in Canada. I hope Ida Plassay writes another excellent romance novel like this!

  8. Ida Plassay Says:

    Abandoned Love by Ida Plassay

    Reviewer: Marilyn Meredith-AAA Member

    When only four, the heroine of this romance, Delila Love, learned she was a foster child who had been abandoned by her mother. An unhappy childhood as she moved from one made her vulnerable to anyone offering love and affection. When it happened, it was with the wrong person and she nearly lost her life.
    A dedicated pediatrics nurse, Delila has devoted her life to the children she cares for. When Delila is urged to rejoin the dating scene by her roommate, she is reluctant. An attraction begins with a handsome stranger she meets at a party. Many of her doubts and insecurities reemerge causing major difficulties for the blossoming romance.
    For those who love sweet romances with happy endings, Abandoned Love is the book for you.

    Reviewer: John P

    Author Ida Plassay has done it again! Her latest book “Abandoned Love” is another page turner. It is an intense and evocative tale of one woman’s search for true love, security and identity. It is a must read for all serious readers of romance novels. I highly recommend it.

    Reviewer: Author, Tory Lynn

    If you love romance and a lot of steam, this book is certainly going to fit the bill. The story of Delila Love, a woman who grew up without parents or the love of a caring family finds friendship from a woman who befriends her and accepts her for who she is including her insecurities. Delila takes her job of being a nurse seriously and is not interested in love or men because of a bad experience and rarely goes out. One night her friend talks her into going to a company party. From that moment on everything changes when she meets the man who will change her life. Facing her insecurities and learning to deal with them means letting them go, or her future with the man she loves can be lost.

    This author has created a story line that is easy to follow and has a few twists that make the story fun to read. Nice job Ms Plassay. Keep up the good work.

  9. Alex Stone Says:

    Hauling Checks by Alex Stone

    Reviewer: Fran Lewis, Author
    Rating: *****

    Fly the Unfriendly Skies,

    “Hauling Checks” by Alex Stone is a humorous, yet very enlightening novel that brings to light a profession that so many people have probably never heard of, or would ever be brave enough to try. The occupation of Freight Dogs is unique and dangerous. Flying small airplanes in storms, fog, lightning, ice, and snow; Freight Dogs transport their cargo wherever and whenever, no matter what the conditions may be. This interesting and humorous novel kept my attention from the start.

    In “Hauling Checks” the pilots of Checkflight Airlines persevere, risking life and limb every minute they are in the air, carrying canceled checks that have to be delivered to banks. Their boss (The Chief) does not care about the lives of his pilots, only the money he needs to keep his business afloat. The fact that the engine might be on fire, the wings might be so iced up that the plane may not make it off the ground, or the fog so dense that the pilots cannot see does not seem to faze him, nor does he care.

    Resorting to unethical and shady business practices, The Chief is thoughtless, unfeeling, and mercenary. He cuts costs, salaries, pilots, and more in his final resort to save Checkflight when it becomes apparent that his airline might go under. In order to compensate for his lack of management skills, he decides to resort to some unsavory business practices such as having his pilots make drug runs, money laundering flights, and transporting people who he claims can sit on the floor of the plane without seatbelts or a seat, just a rope to tie around them to keep them from falling out of the plane. The situations will make you laugh, and keep you on the edge of your seat dying to see what happens next.

    With a cast of characters so ill suited to their profession, the pilots create havoc wherever they go, and rarely make their destinations on schedule. This novel really keeps you laughing and yet it’s a little frightening to think that these things could really happen. The narrator flies with one co-pilot that is always plastered and another who is depressed over two failed marriages and is just a drop delusional, which makes flying with him quite an experience.

    These underpaid, unappreciated pilots of Checkflight Airlines clock an insurmountable number of hours flying for a company that gives them no perks, no bonuses, and certainly no help when trouble arises in the air. On one run they leave a door open and the checks fall out of the plane. Before you know it reporters are televising pictures of these bank checks raining all over downtown Cleveland. It is like an Abbot and Costello movie but even funnier.

    Also part of the mix are Checkflight’s two dispatchers, who are totally unfit for their positions, and have no clue as to what they are supposed to be doing. One of the dispatchers is senile, and barely remembers where she is, or her own name, and the other lives in her own imaginary world. You never know what is going to happen, and yet the situations that are described are so far out, you just have to laugh or stop and say: “You have to be kidding.”

    The pilots fly planes that are poorly maintained and in terrible disrepair. Fixing and repairing planes is out of the question. Mechanical failures arise constantly and the people who own Checkflight airlines do not care. The safety of the pilots is not their concern, only the timely delivery of the cargo. I would not exactly call them Checkflight airlines, maybe No Budget Airlines or High Jinks Airlines. But, whatever you call them, this book is great.

    For those men out there who are Freight Dogs, you deserve a lot of credit. This book, although humorous, shows the seedier side of flying. As a pilot who has experienced a lot of situations in the air, and as someone who was a Freight Dog, the author writes from experience making the novel more realistic to the reader. “Hauling Checks” is so funny that I could not put it down. The stories, the incidents, and the characters will keep the reader astounded until the very end.

    Reviewer: Chris Gerrib,
    Rating: ****

    It’s a little-known fact, but for many years, every check written at a bank had to be physically air-freighted back to the original bank it was drawn on. Modern technology is slowly phasing this out, but in the meantime, a group of airfreight companies make a living flying this “work” around. These pilots refer to themselves as freight dogs. It’s a tough business, consisting of flying small turboprops out of secondary airports at night for little money.

    It’s the world of Alex Stone, author of the new novel Hauling Checks. This short work (166 pages) is ostensibly the story of Checkflight, a (hopefully) fictional airfreight company swirling down the corporate drain. In reality, the book is an excuse for Alex to tell fictionalized exploits and anecdotes of his flying career. Very entertaining anecdotes, I might add.

    Alex is an engaging writer, aiming at a general audience, so there’s no “I did a second IFR on the PDQ” technobabble. What aviation lingo you need to understand is explained. Even then, most of the entertaining stories aren’t about flying; they are about characters, from a copilot who’s afraid to fly to a company chief who dabbles in illegal activities and a senile dispatcher.

    Now, the author is a young man, apparently single, and he hangs out with a young crowd, so there are a few adult words and situations. Having said that, Hauling Checks is an entertaining and quick look at a less-than-glamorous side of being a pilot. I’m very fond of Patrick Smith, who writes “Ask The Pilot” for Alex Stone shows the writing potential to be another Patrick Smith.

    Reviewer: Rycj, Amazon Reviewer
    Rating: *****

    It’s Raining Laughs,

    The best parts of this quick amusing read was the pilot’s conversations with the chief, and his wit and ability handling planes under any conditions, often to include going co-pilot-less, despite a lukewarm body being seated (sometimes “nut strap” harnessed) in the co-pilot’s seat. I couldn’t help but to keep thinking that this man (the pilot) needs to fly for major commercial airlines, where his service would be appreciated. This made the ending most rewarding to hear what became of his career.

    A misbehaving, enjoyable light read.

  10. Andy Love Says:

    Short Shocks Volume I by Andy Love

    Reviewer: Renee Miller-Johnston
    Rating: *****


    The only negative thing I can say about this wee book is that it is too short. I want more!! Two stories are not enough. I hope volume 2 is longer. Mr. Love has written two stories in this short shock that will draw you in immediately and they don’t let go until the very end. Even then they linger in your mind, tickling your imagination when you least expect it. My favourite of the two is A Night With Frost, I want more of Mr. Frost please. This is the reason my toes are always covered. That’s all I have to say, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else.

  11. Andy Love Says:

    Short Shocks Volume I by Andy Love

    Reviewer: Kevis Hendrickson
    Rating: *****


    Short Shocks Volume One by Andy Love is a riveting collection of short Gothic stories. It is a pensive and stirring book that grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the very end. The first story in Short Shocks called ‘Minion’ concerns itself with a nobleman who is summoned to the estate of a wealthy lord in order to research the lord’s family lineage. However, upon arrival to the lord’s estate, the nobleman encounters a series of strange and disturbing events which ultimately causes him to realize that there is more to the mysterious lord than meets the eye. In the process, the nobleman, to his surprise and growing consternation, discovers that he shares a connection with the lord and is hence ensnared in an ancient legend. The second story featured in Short Shocks appropriately named ‘A Night With Frost’ is the very frightening tale of a little girl named Jenny who is being hunted by the evil visage of Jack Frost. Frost is a relentless and cruel spirit determined to destroy the child at any cost. The only thing that stands between Frost and Jenny is her father. This riveting account of a dark cat and mouse game takes readers on a chilling ride of one man’s battle against the supernatural. Fans of Lovecraftian-styled stories would be right at home reading this volume. The prose is breathtaking and the tales heart stopping. Long after I had finished reading the final page of this book, I find my thoughts constantly reflecting on its brooding tales. If I have one complaint is that Short Shocks is quite literally too short. I was tempted to give this book a lower score due to the fact that a reader can breeze through the two tales in this book in under an hour. I truly believe that this book would have been better served if it contained more stories. However, in light of the sheer brilliance and quality of what is present in the book, I decided to give it the highest rating possible. It truly does deliver what it promises. I only wish that it could have delivered more. With that said, anyone who loves dark, Gothic stories will enjoy the pair of macabre yarns included in Short Shocks. Perhaps you too will find yourself looking over your shoulder or glancing at every fleeting shadow wondering if someone is in the dark watching you.

  12. Andy Love Says:

    Short Shocks Volume I by Andy Love

    Reviewer: Jess C Scott.
    Rating: *****


    To be quite honest, I found the two stories to be more entertaining/interesting/stimulating, than most modern-day bestsellers. Andy draws his inspiration from a sordid, brutal and horrific Scottish history, where there is an abundance of fables, folklore, murders and superstitions. This is evident in the book, SHORT SHOCKS. There is an eerie mood (and setting) which wraps you in and keeps your attention. A word about the dialogue – I felt that the lines of conversation, could have been more carefully edited. For example: — “You do what you want.” John shouted. (“You do what you want,”) “It’s getting colder these nights” (missing full-stop) “Mr. Bastion,” Said the Lord. (said > Said) — Perhaps it’s because I am naturally extremely attentive to such details (I also edit some short stories for publications, on the side)…and to just harp on this, and overlook the loveliness of everything else of the two stories, would be my loss/an error on my part. I also thought the dialogue in the first story could have sounded a bit more “old-worldly”, because the story takes place in the year 1834. I must emphasize “a bit”, in my previous sentence, because dialogue that’s lengthy and difficult to decode (how I feel when reading Shakespeare sometimes, even though I truly love The Bard lots!)…can get in the way of the forward motion of a story/book. ‘Minion’ and ‘A Night With Frost’ are two incredibly imaginative, original, and well-crafted stories. Horror is not the usual genre I peruse material in, so I was initially wondering if it’d be too “gory” for this reader’s tastes, but nope, the descriptions added very nicely to the stories [“the eyes weeping bloody streams of fear and panic”, oh and the part about John “(returning) to his room, to lick the bad taste from his conscience” – I thought that was very nicely phrased]. ‘Minion’ has a whole gothic and terrors-of-the-soul mojo going on (the journal format/gothic mix of ‘Minion’ was reminiscent of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA) – ‘A Night With Frost’ was/is very aptly titled – it’s gripping and chilling (how fitting!) and keeps you hooked to the story till the end. One gripe (more so than my comments on the dialogue): I wish there would have been more stories!!

  13. Gordon Basichis Says:

    The Guys Who Spied for China by Gordon Basichis

    Reviewer: Midwest Book Review

    A growing power, China has placed eyes all over the world. “The Guys Who Spied for China” tells the story of two gentlemen who uncover the deeper uncover some of these eyes for China in the United States, in their home state of California. Inspired by true events, and colored by author Gordon Basichis’ dark humor, “The Guys Who Spied for China” is an intriguing and entertaining read. “The Guys Who Spied for China” is a worthwhile investment for spy fiction fans.

    Early Reviews Regarding The Guys Who Spied for China as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition, in the Historical Fiction Category

    These reviews are based on the first fifty pages–

    Editorial Reviews Review

    I really liked this. I’m not really sure where it’s heading, so it’s possible that it will turn into a book that I wouldn’t want to finish, but at this point I’m intrigued. The first chapter was interesting enough, but given that this excerpt was classified (mistakenly, I’m assuming) as historical fiction, I was reading it with the expectation that it was going to be some twenties noir maybe. But the tone didn’t quite fit. I was able to enjoy it more when I realized it wasn’t a historical. At any rate, once we hit the dentist’s office, I was hooked. Louis is an interesting character, and his first meeting with our protagonist was just uncomfortable enough for it to be intriguing. Love this line, by the way: “I’m a dentist with a gun. That makes all the difference.” Review

    I enjoyed it. I’m intrigued, and I want to know more. The characters we meet in the first few chapters — the narrator, Noah, the Japanese terrorist & the dentist are well-developed (in such short space) and interesting, three-dimensional, intriguing characters. I want to know more about them and figure out what the connection between them is. Several different makes & models of weapons are discussed in the first few pages. I’m a little bit concerned that this is going to turn into a gun book — a book about libertarian nutball gun junkie. Not being a gun person myself, if we get too much detail on specific weapons, I will likely lose interest. However, so far, there’s just enough information about the different guns so that I can understand their relative attributes without getting bogged down. I don’t know how much the gun theme is going to carry though this novel and how broadly the gun theme appeal will be. Overall, though, I like this and want to read more.

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