The Hunter: my review


The Hunter

Author: John Lescroat

 

Text messaging is an easy way to communicate with a friend, colleague or parent. Some texts can be quite enlightening while others like the one Wyatt Hunt received can set off a chain of events that would rock this private investigator’s world causing him to search for answers to his past. While having dinner with his best friend homicide detective Devon Juhle, Wyatt fails to acknowledge the ping on his phone signaling a message. Never noticing the five simple words that would change his life forever. But, first let’s add more players as he meets with the women of the Mission Club to help them vet out a new applicant for membership. Upon investigation he uncovers information about her that leads the committee to decline her application. But, when Wyatt finally reboots his phone after the meeting the message he reads would resound in his mind and memories for a long time. “How did your mother die?” Five simple words yet frightening. But, first he has to find out that sent this message, from where it originated and why.

 

Before becoming an investigator Wyatt spent many years working with Child Protective Services. Author John Lescroat’s research is extensive in this area and the author explains in detail the adoptive process, the red tape involved and the reasons why certain information remains sealed. But, the only way Wyatt might get some answers and start his search is by asking his adoptive parents some pointed questions. As they limited information they have comes to light he learns more about Catholic Charities and the fact that the records he might be seeking have been sent to the California State Department of Social Services Adoption Support Unit and probably filed away somewhere.

 

Meeting Father Bernard was his first step into solving this intricate mystery and learning more about his birth parents. Learning that the police arrested his father twice for the murder and the history behind his mother’s friendships and past was bone chilling to say the least. But, a letter in his father’s handwriting causes him to doubt his guilt and Wyatt and his team of investigators decide to search for the answers. But, he’s not alone in this as his best friend Devon puts his job on the line, gives him access to the files that he needs and one contact at CPS and another at the phone company help him learn more. Callie Lucente was his link to the texter’s location and Bettina Keck to the files. But, the trail or road has just begun and he meets with the former District Attorney, a next-door neighbor, the priest again and the former Public Defender. No one seems to know very much, the information is not forthcoming and from the conversations related by the author in some respects he seems to be getting stonewalled.

 

Learning the reason that he and several other small children were left alone leads the author to relate more about his mother, her friend Evie who influenced her into doing this and the rationale behind parents who have commitment and abandon their children. But, when Wyatt delves in deeper along with Devon what happens next will surprise not only them but the reader too as the head of homicide warns Devon about using his time on this cold case and requests from the higher ups for him to close the investigation. But, with each text and more contact with this unknown person the information that comes to light drives Wyatt even further.

 

Learning about Evie See Christ and her relationship with his mother leads him to learn about the Jonestown Massacre, the reasons behind it and the author will now take Wyatt and many others from Indianapolis to the Jim Jones religious killing grounds of Jonestown to the mountains of Mexico and eventually endanger more people.

 

In the interim Wyatt and his receptionist get closer and upon talking to her in retrospect he realizes there might be a connection between one of the women from the Mission Club and Evie whose real last name his learns is Spencer. Going back to speak with Ferrill Moore the former prosecuting DA he hopes to refresh his memory, enlighten him about Evie’s death and why and hopefully learn more about his mother and asking him why set the police chief on this asking them to stop the investigation.

 

Meeting with the wife of an Inspector thought to have committed suicide he agrees that something else happened to Jim Burg. Focusing more on the link between Evie and his mother seems to be leading to Jonestown and more dead ends. The texter has stopped communicating for a while.

 

What happens next changes everything for Wyatt and his team as one of his investigators is brutally murdered while working on a case sending them back to square one to find out more about Evie, her connection to Ivan’s murder and his mother’s death.

 

Investigating the murder proves to be difficult for Devon and his partner as Abe Giltsky seems to wonder why they feel Ivan’s death is related to all the others including Wyatt’s mother. Meeting with Evie’s ex-husband does not really shed too much light on the situation and what happens next will definitely make things more difficult. Politics in police investigations seems to be an issue brought out in this book as well as the truths behind investigations when the police have a suspect and look no further.

 

Going to Indiana Wyatt hopes to finally put the pieces together but with all bureaucratic agencies you know that there are definite snags. Meeting with Margie’s mother on created more questions, some information about her growing up and joining the cult but then Lionel is killed thought to be the killer but the texter is back and the trail is still quite long before all is said and done and the killer or killers are revealed.

 

Meeting his father and his wife brought him a new family. Finding out what was plaguing his headaches even more telling. Author John Lescroat created a storyline that keeps the reader glued to the printed page, wondering who is trying to stop the investigation, which the texter is and how all of the pieces will finally fit together. Thinking that the killer might have taken his own life is short lived as more evidence comes to light and the texter reveals just one more piece of information. When the pieces finally fit and the killer is revealed more lives are in danger but the end result you don’t see coming. Money, greed, deceit, hate, fear and avarice are all part of the master plan that the killer had in mind. Who lives, who dies and who profits that still remains to be seen. When Tamara’s life is on the line will Wyatt get there in time? Will he find his mother’s killer, exonerate his father and learn what really happened to Burg? The only way you fill find out is if you read this outstanding novel by John Lescroat

 

Well-developed characters, fast paced, outstanding plot easy to follow and a dramatic and explosive ending that you won’t see coming. Let’s see what’s next in store for The Hunt Club and our hot investigator. Make sure you read those texts: You never know what they might say or how your life will change.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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Meet the Perl Family: The American Family


Peter Lefcourts: The American Family

 

The legacy of every family and the people within the framework of each family are all different, unique and special to those within their circle. Lives begin at an early age and there is usually one person that heads a family. In some it might be the mother taking the role of matriarch or the father, strong figure that creates the rules, mores and decisions for the younger members. The Perl family has their own dynamics. Living on Long Island and coming here from Poland, this family creates a tapestry of many interesting colors, shapes and threads that will finally fill the walls of many museums, art galleries or their homes when all of the events that comprise the Perl family finally fill this amazing family tapestry. This amazing story begins on November 22, 1963 with an event that changed the course of many lives and history. Throughout the first chapter of this novel the author introduces each of the ten main characters and their reactions to what happens that day. He explains where they were, what they were doing and their initial thoughts when President Kennedy is assassinated.

 

Let’s begin creating our tapestry with ten blank squares and one more in the center with the name Perl embroidered in gold. The top corner will be reserved for the head of the family, Nathan who the author introduces as a cutter working on 7th Avenue. The next square is reserved for Meyer a tailor, like my grandfather who came from Poland, but with one exception, Meyer had a thing for the ladies, namely Yiddish actresses in the theater. Top right hand corner we will put Jackie, who like Meyer had his own weaknesses for women. Jackie a lawyer loved his alcohol and worked with clients that his family might not consider reputable. The next row on the left we will reserve for Michael. Michael is quite intelligent, a businessman and definitely wants better for his children and not have to pinch pennies. His goal is to make money and lots of it. Elaine gets the square in the middle and she is an educator but not really satisfied with her life. The final square in the second row goes to Steven. Steven is an artist, smart and like most artists is struggling with his craft but he has many other problems to deal with too that I will relate as we fill in his square. Bottom row on the left let’s give Roberta the first square. She is the rebel of the family and what you might say a typical 60’s hippie. Lillian Perl gets the one in the center and Nathan’s wife. Three more squares will be filled as we learn more about this family and their lives. When the tapestry is completed and all of the spaces in all of the squares are filled in what you will see will surprise you as the history of one family, their defeats, successes and triumphs creating their legacy.

 

As each family member’s life is described so vividly by the author you not only get to know them, hear their inner most thoughts and hopes but you understand the conflicts within the family, those striving to survive and the reasons their political views. Discussing the Vietnam War, their beliefs about going to fight for our country, the problems Jackie encounters when his boss learns what and his wife are doing and the promises made to assist him no matter what. Within the family you learn about Lillian, their stepmother who Uncle Meyer does not like, Elaine tolerates and Nathan is happy to have as his wife. Enter a new family member; Naomi married to Michael giving her the next square in the tapestry. The novel moves ahead to 1966 where we learn more about Elaine and her new career as an educator. We also learn about her relationship with Stuart that seems to be at standstill as his primary concern is Medical School at an Albert Einstein in the Bronx where I grew up and his lack of commitment.

 

But, the history of this family really begins with a timeline. Timelines depict the events in history, happenings or breakthroughs in a concise and timely fashion. The Perl family appears to be just like any other typical American family but when you look beneath their appearances, learn more about their inner thoughts and personalities you will find secrets, lies, deceptions that begin when Kennedy was killed all the way until the end of this timeline in 2001 with September 11th. This intricate timeline will allow the reader to understand what appears to be a perfect American family is really just like any other with imperfections, flaws, highs, lows but with a strong bind that ties them together although sometimes frayed but never completely severing.

 

But, there is much more to relate first as Elaine marries Stuart who seems more married to his job as a doctor than Elaine. Michael’s business opportunity needs financial backing, which he gets from his father in law with a serious stipulation if he fails. Added in is Bobbie whose behavior seems to be more spontaneous, rebellious and no one seems to notice what she is up to or doing. But, the real story begins when Uncle Meyer finds himself in a difficult situation when three Negro youths come into his tailor shop to harass him and rob him. What happens next will definitely surprise the reader as a man over 80 not only defends himself but also gets arrested for shooting one of the robbers. The Perl family is a tightly knit and when one is in trouble everyone comes to their aid as they did Uncle Meyer. Uncle Meyer is a great character whose personality is touch, soft when he has to be, independent and no holds barred when dealing with his family or anyone else. As the author brings the family together to help Uncle Meyer, Steven returns home from Paris to a walk welcome. As Nathan explains what happened with Meyer to Steven, Bobby relates how so many top Jewish lawyers wanted to come to his defense.

 

Our tapestry is beginning to fill up as each square now has many different lines, colors and events depicted in the character’s life. Nathan with his enlarged family, his floor that needs to push more work and not be back logged, his worries about Meyer and his life with Lillian are all part of his square. Meyer and his shop, the gun he bought to defend himself, his trial and the outcome next. Steven and his trip to Paris, his return and his hope of becoming a novelist are part of his square. Bobby her arrest, smoking pot, her time with Ellis and her rebellious behavior are all shown within her square. Naomi and Michael living together yet far apart as she takes care of their daughter but her thoughts and fears run with Michael as he struggles to make a living selling to jewelry on campus to faculty and students and asks for help in the most unlikely place. Let’s not forget Jackie who seems to come to everyone’s aid and forever the optimist and never the pessimist. As the trial of Meyer Perl begins the author brings to light many issues. Is he guilty of attempted murder? Was he defending himself? What about race? What was he thinking when he shot him? What memories of the past came flooding through?

 

But, like everything else lives intertwine, fate steps in and the tapestry gets larger as all of the squares are filled up and start blending together forming a picture of the lives of all of these people separately yet connected in some way. Nathan wanting only what is best for all of his children yet not noticing the changes in Steven, the stress in Michael and the discontent and disconnecting of Bobbie from the family. The only person she seems to relate to is Steven and yet he seems disconnected from everyone as he fights with his own demons and feelings of inner conflict. Jackie is high up in the DA’s office yet struggling to find a place for himself in the world as he flounders from woman to woman. But, my favorite character is Uncle Meyer who found love in his eighties even though some think she’s after his money. The author allows the reader to learn that the family seems to be falling apart as Steven is drafted and goes off to Viet Nam, Michael and Jackie join forces in a business venture leaving Naomi to care for the children, Bobbie leaves home to go to Woodstock gets pregnant and has a little girl. When everyone winds up together for short periods of time you can feel the tension in the room and the sadness in Nathan’s heart as things change all around even for him as he finally receives a well-deserved promotion. But, Uncle Meyer married Yvette and we move to 1975 when Steven returns, Nathan worries about his family and Lillian goes to Michael for financial help. Although they are one family at times you begin to wonder if anyone is really paying attention to the others. Closely knit in some respects yet distant in others with most not wanting to upset Nathan and disappoint him yet Bobbie seems headstrong and has a mind of her own.

 

Jackie’s wedding is goes off but Uncle Meyer dies leaving the family with a huge question: Does Yvette get the money? Can they prove if they were ever married when Jackie knew his uncle wanted to cut her out of her will?  The story moves to Israel where Nathan finally reunites with his brother, and Steven finds himself alone again in Paris. Bobbie immerses herself in the music business taking her Grace Slick along with her every step of the way. As Michael’s shopping mall begins to take shape.

 

Things changed and the family grew in some respects and fell apart in others. Bobbie’s life took on a different turn as her daughter went out on her own. Michael’s wealth increased, Jackie’s career in politics folded and the rest of the family moved on in many different ways. Tragedies, new found friendships, heartache and one man that tried to keep all of the squares in this tapestry together. What finally happens and where every winds up you have to read for yourself? As September 11th would change everything and one square would fade away with the life of the person who it belonged to.

The Perl family will make you laugh, cry, smile, angry and just plain want to be one of them as you meet them and get to know them in this wonderfully written story by writer, producer of films and television Peter Lefcourt.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

Just an aside: The Jewish words and expressions brought so much back that I could hear by grandmother using so many of the familiar expressions. The places the author mentions and the restaurant Patricia Murphy’s my parents knew. Beth David in Elmont is where my grandparents are buried.

Let’s dedicate this to the Perl Family and their great history and story.

 

 

Fran Lewis: Bog Talk Radio Interviews.


Fran Lewis: Bog Talk Radio Interviews..

Take My Hand


Take My Hand

 

Author: Devon Mitchell

 

 

Stand still and look all around you. What do you see? Parents, kids, grandparents, teachers, counselors all going about their days hoping to accomplish something. But are they? Can you hear what they are saying to each other? Are they really listening to what the other person is saying? Being a parent or even an educator requires work, time, effort, patience and understanding. Believe it or not kids, it requires the same from you if you are going to choose the right path and want to be successful. Actions speak louder than words and people often judge you by the way you look, dress, react and behave in situations where you interact with others. Author Devon Mitchell begins this Simple Guide to Success from Child to Adult by applying what he learned at an early age, the tough situations he encountered, dealing the consequences meted out by his parents and hopefully imparting to everyone what he learned to make each and everyone one of us better adults or more successful children. Sharing his failures, successes and trying to explain to the reader how to eliminate failure from the lives of your children. Relating how he often took the wrong path or roads, the frustrations he faced and overcame we learn more about the author and how we can emulate and teach others what he has learned. By learning from his mistakes the author understood more clearly the roadblocks, obstacles and hindrances blocking his way to success. His children and their mothers endured a lot of pain but now he is trying to rectify that and give them a better life. At 37 he has five children and he had accomplished a lot. Learning that he has to move forward and not travel the roads in the past he has chosen to become successful in his own right.

 

Success is not easy. The choices and decisions you make will determine your level of success. Children need help in planning their actions and they need to understand the consequences attached to them when they falter and do the wrong thing. Many parents do not structure the lives of their children and teach them how to go from one point to the final endpoint and understand the long-range goals and not just what happens on a daily basis. There are different stages that children need to go through are outlined in Chapter One. From infancy, child, Young Adult, Grown Man, each person has to move to the next stage while acquiring the qualities for success. Whether the work you perform or choose to do and the decisions you make in each stage, your successes and failures come along with you to every new milestone. Your accomplishments in each stage are critical to your success. A critical point made by the author is that applying effort and how to achieve success requires that you think about your actions before the situation arises. You should have an idea of what you will do when difficulties arise beforehand.

 

Chapter 2 discusses and outlines his program. Defining success as begin experienced differently by different people. Depending on what each person wants to achieve hinges on their level of success. Setting goals is important and reaching them means finally “enjoying the fulfillment of a goal you have set and watching it develop from an idea,” that you have achieved. Next he defines interdependence as a dynamic of being mutually and physically responsible to “ and sharing a common set of principles with others.” He elaborates on other forms of success throughout the chapter and continues with several important points. First, be aware of your position and do not take advantage of it. Your actions will show others what you think of them and that is vital to getting along with them. If being successful means hurting, destroying and harming others what you think is success is not. If your success come at the cost of others and deflate them are you truly successful? The author then refers to examples of success from the Bible. He closes the chapter with an important point. You hold the key to your success and the traits you are taught come from your parents. You are born with them. Parents are supposed to be responsible fro your growth, development and welfare until you can take responsibility on your own. Parents, you are responsible for 100 percent of the parenting required to hopefully teach your child values, morals, importance of hard work, making the right decisions and more. The guidance you give a child at young age often reflects the guidance you received. Read the rest of the chapter to learn more and the final valuable definition of the Role of parenting.

 

What Parents do not Know is the focus of Chapter 3. A question asked as the start of this invaluable chapter is, “ Is it fair or right for parents at anytime to imply or overtly place all of the blame on a child for not realizing his potential as an adult?” Great Question! “ Who is to be blamed for the child’s failure?” The author elaborates by giving detailed examples that show how outside factors contribute to the failures systematically over time with no one doing anything about it. He continues by stating that parents need to remember their connection to their children and their obligation to taking care of them responsibly adding that parents and this is vital, must take their jobs seriously. He then continues to explain that it’s “ a child’s duty to live by his parents’ rules. How parents need to monitor teens, parents must examine themselves; they need to be concerned about their child and mindful of their behaviors. There are many salient points made in this chapter including children “are to obey their parents and have fun living.” The rest you will learn as a parent and child together when you read Chapter 3. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on important actions and who benefits from you actions beginning with this statement, “ every action we take starts with a desire to accomplish a task, and the purpose of the task, is to move forward from one point to the next.” He elaborates and gives many examples throughout the chapters. He includes teaching your children, training and instructing them, the Direction you want them to take and of course the challenges along the way. A Major question: Page 53 will help both parents and children create a plan that will focus your directions. These questions are clearly stated and defined. Chapter Five Who Benefits From Your Actions, followed by Chapter 6 which is the core of this program I feel: Communication. Defining communication on page 63 and explaining how communication impacts on your emotions and reactions is the focal point of this chapter. Read pages 67-68 to learn the definition and the 9-point explanation that follows. The first I feel in my opinion is the downfall at times of some parents when the author states: Giving your child just enough and not giving them everything they want. “ Instill manners in the child. A child can never bee too polite.” Most important. Throughout Chapter 7 you learn the importance of naming your child the right way, in 8 What happens when a child rebels. This crucial chapter and many parents experience the frustration of a rebellious teen. In this chapter the author explains why teens and children rebel beginning with some notice that everything is not going their way. Some refuse to listen, go to school and follow the rules. The author states to focus on what is important which is not to push back in response to the rebellion. Read pages 75-76 to learn more. He includes viable short- term solutions that will lead to long term solutions and hopefully successful outcomes. Chapter 9: Focuses on: They Live to Do What they Learn which incorporates helping children succeed followed by Chapter 10: What is your Destiny? Throughout the book the author focuses on different solutions to create success. The training and guidance parents received as children they need to impart that in a positive way. Children need to be responsible and manage their own actions, which require Commitment and hard work. Author Devon Mitchell relates his real life experiences that led him to writing this book. Fathering children with different women and making mistakes, raised in poverty with a family of 8 children, he hopes devotes his life to helping others. He includes motivators, which are reasons we have to live each day and accumulate achievements for that day to foster success. He also defines motivators as ideas and the smallest part of a goal. Chapter 13 Commitment, which can be long or short-term depending upon the amount of time, required to attain what you want. But, to me without the next work Confidence you will not succeed.

 

As an educator I have to agree that Chapter 14 says quite a bit as it deals with Why Education is Necessary and the power of knowledge. Next and foremost is Social Interactions and monitoring your child’s activities, who they are friends with, watching out for peer pressures, and knowing where they are going at all times. Read pages 151-158. The remainder of the book focuses on the Church, Responsibilities and Chores, Recreation, Children’s Language and Manners and Speaking the Truth. Chapter 20 says it all in one line: Treat Your Child With Love! Finally Sex Education and Influences, How Does your child Spent their Time? “ Do you want to emulate your Parents?” I did and still do. My best teachers were my parents and grandparents that taught me the rules, respect, manners and the discipline I needed to focus on my responsibilities in school leading to be a dedicated educator as an adult.

 

Demons or Problems and Extending Love and How money affects your Life round out the rest of the book. On pages 252- 253 the author created a list of the most salient points that sum it all up for you. Beginning with “ Consider what you need to take before you act. Followed by 23 valuable points to remember to be a success. So take this book and share it with you whole family. Read it together and discuss the many chapters and lessons learned. Respect each other, listen to what your children are saying and of course point 6 School is the place for a child to be. Use what this outstanding parent and author learned to make his life better, the lives of his family and so many others.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

Vosper’s revenge my review


 

Vosper’s Revenge

 

 

 

Author: Kristian Alva

 

 

 

In this final chapter of the dragon riders we begin with Elias and receiving his training from Tallin. Hoping to be able to communicate with his white dragon he begins to learn the many spells necessary to protect himself and others. But, danger is imminent and a dust cloud hovers over them as Vosper’s evilness lurks in the distance to make sure that he does not succeed. But, Sela and King Rali her son are trying to deal with the elves and dwarves to come up with treaties to enlist their aid against Vosper. But, what ensues and you hear will remind you of a schoolyard rant, fight and definite loud yelling matches as the clans will not give in, change their minds or even consider helping them without something in return. Each side suspicious of the other and no one willing to budge the orcs are becoming more powerful, danger is coming closer and nothing is getting done. When a Carnesir shows up with two other female dragons the plot gets more interesting as he goes head to head with Tallin. One dragon stone might save the day as one greedy elf named Bolrakei the head of the jewelcutters’ clan meets with Thorin and gives her demands. Will he be able to satisfy her greed with a dragon stone? Where he will get one and will Sela agree to the demands?

 

 

 

Sometimes hidden secrets are revealed and truths come out when you least expect them. Shock treatment is not what Elias needed when he learns about Chua being his father. His reaction is normal the end result will surprise you. As we visit Vosper who is aging fast and is ill. His minions are concerned about him indirectly caring about how what he requests of them will affect their lives and their respective family. Everyone but the Empire and the necromancers respects Qildor, the spellcaster. If Vosper decides to crossover and become one of the undead how will that affect everyone else? Will it change anything? Wanting to confront his father and meet him Elias leaves Parthos.

 

 

 

Dealing with the people in Ironport proves enlightening to Sela as she sees the conditions first hand and learns of the death, destruction and poverty inflicted on so many. Disease runs wild throughout the city and the end result would put her and Thorin in danger. Necromancers are dangerous and what happens next will definitely test Sela’s strength and hopefully get them out alive. But, what happens is tragic as more lives are lost at the hand of the necromancers and one strong character is gone. As Elias meets his father and learns more about his mother, her past and the reasons she aligned with Vosper. Greed and power are two very dangerous things and Ionela wanted both. She was clever, powerful, and defiant. But, there is still much more to come as Sela is in danger, seriously injured and she learns more about Vosper’s plans, what he has done and where he is now. Deciding to crossover he has taken the necromancer’s oath and killing elves, dwarves or anyone that stands in his way and does not pledge their obedience will die at his hand. But, things change as Elias comes to the aid of Sela and finds a way to cure some of what has happened to her. As Vosper’s men and people see him for the first time they realize what he has become and pledge their allegiance to his cause. More fighters, more soldiers and more deaths before all is said and done and the final battle is waged. But, a traitor is in their midst and what happens and who brings him might surprise the reader as the dramatic and explosive ending is near. How will they neutralize him and what about the dragon stone that belongs to him? What happens when the King Hergung learns the truth about Bolrakei and what she wants in order to cooperate? What will he do and will she get away with it? Will anyone believe Tallin or will they side with her?

 

 

 

The end is near and what happens will alert you to many issues that the author brings to light. Loyalty, deceit, hate, power, greed, traitors, and killing a necromancer that wants revenge and is more dangerous than you can imagine. The binding ceremony took place, the goodbyes to her father, the hope that Sela will survive and the fate of the dragon race at stake. Will Elias cure Hanko in order to allow the spirits to leave and reopen the portal?  The end result you will find out for yourself. What will happen and the fate of many that you think are gone will come full circle to the present. Twists and turns at the end that will send chills down your spine and when the battle is finally over who will survive? The end might be near for some but definitely not for others as one war is over, more battles still need to be fought and enemies are still at large. Dwarves and elves cannot relate to each other, kingdoms torn apart and Parthos attacked more than four times that year. What is the fate of Parthos? What will happen if they do not attack Balbur Island and rid the world of the Balborite assassins? The answers will come in 2013 with the first installment of The Chronicles of Tallin. Great stories that teach many lessons in life to YA’S and middle school children. Forgiveness, understanding, teamwork, caring and kindness come through loud and clear as Elias and Rali teach kids that sometimes we need to forgive those that do wrong in order for something things to turn out right.  Will Vosper get his revenge? Find out when you read it.

 

 

 

This is one series that everyone should read. With concealment spells, healing spellings, protection spells and dragons that you will definitely fall in love with and a characters are individual and unique once again author Kristian Alva penned another FIVE WHITE DRAGON STONE BOOK.

 

 

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer 

 

 

Treasure Me: My review


Treasure Me: Christine Nolfi

 

Parents are supposed to be our role models teaching us morals, values that children are supposed to emulate and mirror themselves after. But, Birdie Kaminsky has chosen a path that although following in her mother’s exact footsteps is not exactly one that most of us would consider virtuous. Birdie is great at what she does. She’s an outstanding first class petty thief who happens to excel in shoplifting, pick pocketing and general thievery as well as being a proficient art, that is con artist. But, in spite of these virtues she manages to endear herself and captivate the admiration and love of those she encounters. We meet out star thief as she is trying to after taking a wallet with 400 dollars in cash. With the help of new neighbors considered close friends she manages to escape unscathed but not before they fund her some more cash to tide her over for her long road trip. But, where will our heroine go? What is her plan? A newspaper article set these events in motion as she leaves and sets off for Liberty, Ohio believing that she will find a hidden treasure dating back to the Civil War and belonging to one of her long lost relatives. A single portrait of Justice Postell on the all of the Second Chance Grill would provide some clues and answers she hopes to find this treasure. But, first she has to overcome some major obstacles.

 

Arriving in town she finds the Second Chance Grill hoping to find the portrait and a place to stay. This is where the fun really begins but first we need to meet the man who would be a huge thorn in her side or maybe something more. Hugh Schaeffer is an investigative reporter whose editor has had enough of his dalliances, lack of meeting deadlines and Hugh in general. Despite that fact that he’s put the paper on the map many times, he fires him. But, Hugh is smart, clever and crafty when he convinces the editor to keep him on to uncover the dirt about something happening in Liberty. The only catch is he won’t get paid until he comes up with the information. Anthony Perini’s daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia and donations have been pouring in even after she has been cleared of the illness. For some reason Hugh feels that the money is being used to fund Anthony’s trips and other things. Blossom the young girl in question is quite crafty in her own right manipulating people to do what she wants, giving her babysitter a hard time and thinking she ruled the world.

 

Meet Birdie as she tries to find a room to stay in as she collides with Huge who claims it belongs to him. The dialogue that ensures is hysterical and the dilemma faced by Finney, the cook to decide who gets the room will make you not only smile well: Read it to appreciate how clever she was in creating the solution. Added into the story is the fact that both Birdie and Hugh can feel the inner tension when they are close together and the sparks begin to fly as they learn their temporary fate, which is to share the room.

 

As we get to know Blossom a little better we learn more about her past, the maid’s or babysitter’s family a revelation is made connecting Birdie. But, while this is all going on our Birdie searches the portrait and finds a hidden yellow parchment that would later prove to be another clue. Wondering if her relative Lucas Postell had sent these hidden treasures with Justice would start a chain of events that would involve many more people in this town. When Birdie goes back and gets caught taking something else Hugh decides to learn more about her and what he finds out will definitely help him keep her in line. Or will it? They say confession is good for the soul so will telling him about her past that he has already uncovered make it easier for her to find the treasure?

 

Enter Theodora Hendricks friends with Landon Williams the father of Meade the caregiver for Blossom. As events unravel and information is uncovered you learn the link between him and Birdie’s mother Wish and why he is so bent on finding out more about Birdie and hoping to get Wish who not only swindled him but many others along the way including her own daughter. Back in Liberty Hugh still flustered after his close encounter with Birdie, as she seems to be getting under his skin. Checking the net he learned more about what Blossom’s father appeared to be doing with the donation sites and hoping to create a huge story for the Akron Register. Trying to deal with this story and Birdie would lead them both to a tapestry in a storeroom with another clue or lines of poetry. Reenter Theodora Hendricks who appears to have the answers to many of her questions and proceeds to give her some history lessons that you will have to read for yourself because some lesson are worth learning on your own. But, what would you do if you found out that part of the treasure was rubies? Would you find a way to return it Justice’s ancestors or would you keep it for yourself and try and find more?

 

Lives intertwine when Birdie triggers off Landon’s memory and he recounts for his daughter his time with her mother Wish. Theodora seems to like Birdie and for some reason wants to help her. But, when the truth about the websites is revealed the reader will be surprised at Blossom’s father’s reaction and what he does will surprise you even more. When Theodora introduces Birdie to Meade and her father one photograph will tie it all together but will Birdie allow them to know the connection and when they reveal what happened to Cat she does not even flinch. Stories intertwined, lessons that are to be learned and one woman in the middle of it all. Would Birdie understand what Theodora was trying to tell her when she admits the truth about Justice? Was she making it up or was she trying to let her know she knew more about her than she was letting on? What about Hugh? Would he protect when his ex-boss wanted everyone to learn about Birdie? But, when the truth comes to light what happens will prove the loyalty that some families will show and the influence one woman has to protect one young girl that never had a chance growing up. With a town that is ready to flog her and Meade who wants her to disappear what will the final result be? Can a petty thief redeem herself? Can anyone forgive her for living on the edge because she had no choice or did she? What about Hugh? What about the story that broke in the paper? Author Christine Nolfi once again pens a story that brings to light what happens when a young child suffers the abuse at the hands of adults and the end result is not always what it seems. Characters that you will either hate or love but are so vividly described. One young woman with sass, feisty and full of spunk that you have to love, and an ending that will definitely surprise the reader that you won’t see coming.

 

Just how everything ties to together you will have to learn for yourself. Forgiveness is hard and many lies, truths and deceits are revealed. Some truths will change the lives of many, a town that will have to decide whether they can forgive one young girl’s past and deal with her in the present. What does happen to the rubies and who winds up with them? What secrets does Landon that will shock the reader and many living in Liberty reveal? Where will this go next? I guess when the author writes the next chapter for those living in Liberty we will find out. Treasure Me: Is the treasure the jewels, the clues, the tapestry or the love that some might find which is more valuable than rubies?

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer  

 

 

 

Enfold Me


Enfold Me

Steven Greenberg

 

Fear weighs heavily within the hearts of many. A nation plagued from birth with attacks, hate, blood-strewn bodies, violence and the hope that one day the world would accept its existence. Close your eyes and visualize the beautiful streets, landscapes, magnificent buildings, hotels, tourists and the bright sunshine that was Israel. The banks, the gardens and the water supply that once supplies the people enjoying the basic necessities of life each day not knowing that their way of life was about to end. Can you see the world before its demise? Burnt orange against sterile white, dust in the air causing you to have difficulty breathing, no greenery, no flowers and the sounds of humanity devoid of emotion and a world left to rot on its own.

 

Daniel Blum is our narrator as he relates the events in this outstanding novel, Enfold Me by Steven Greenberg in three different ways. Beginning with an email to his family he relates the horrific outcome of the Fall of Israel creating vivid images that would bring tears to anyone’s eyes. The world in which he lived no longer exists. Although his home is still in tact the modern conveniences that most take for granted have been cut off, destroyed and if repaired according to those who now run the country illegal. The horrors of an earthquake with add to this catastrophe and the terrorist attack inflicted on this nation that just wanted to live in peace are graphically and vividly described by our main character. Hamas now controls Israeli people, their movements, their sustenance and their very existence. Cruelty their goal, humiliation their folly as they focus their attention and efforts on destroying the Jewish spirit that soars through every Israeli. In his email to his family Daniel relates how this new government refuses to allow its Jewish residents to turn on their electricity, access to water and much more. Renamed the Northern Liberated Palestine state there are no banks, no work, no water and no electricity for those that remain. Fortunately, he created a garden which he expanded and has food. Able to rewire his house access to electricity which he only uses to power up his laptop and creatively finding a source of water. Next the author allows the reader to understand the history of the time period past and present, the city of Tzipori and how it got its name, the revolutionizing changes and the problems caused by the quake the attacks. Instead of being called Israeli’s they have been given the name Dhimmi’s made to wear orange armbands in order to humiliate and differentiate them from the Muslims. In order to survive they need to barter with vendors to get what they need. The author gives the reader some background into his life before the attacks, his job in a research lab doing genetic testing and working on fertility problems, meeting his wife and then finally introducing his blog which enlightens the reader about his life in the present.

 

Daniel is a soldier with a mission despite outward appearances. Working undercover for the Israeli Defense Forces he receives an email on his blog with instructions to go to Nazareth to meet his contact. Arriving there the author creates a picture of this town as if it is being reborn, rebuild and remade. But, the treatment of Dhimmi’s is cruel and harsh, as the soldiers do not think twice about inflicting pain on these people at any given time. This first installment of his blog discusses how he met his superior as he describes the mission and the history of how he came to become a soldier. As you read pages 23 you will learn more about the Dhimmi system and the true meaning as it is defined. At the base of this system is the collection of a poll tax called the Jizya claimed to cover the cost of protection. Added into the story is the fact that walking places is not allowed, children and adults have to wear the armbands, transportation is separate and strict rules of control interaction must be adhered to. This reminds the reader of how the Nazi’s marched 6 million Jews to their execution, how the blacks were paraded and sold as slaves and how the world discriminates against others who they feel threatened by or just plain hate.

 

The author then flashes back to 1989 and the history behind Daniel’s life, those he came in contact with, three men that tried to attack a college library and how he met George Farrah. The author includes the back-story about this interesting Arab and how these two men would come together to research and hopefully change the balance of what happened in Israel. Farrah having fought in Desert Storm and Daniel a soldier in the Israel Army what would they do to try and bring things back to the way they were before? We meet both men in Beirut in the present. But, his journey to freedom would come with many obstacles and hindrances. Roadblocks, checkpoints and encounters that would not only endanger him, place him in a refugee camp and thinking he was going to be home free he went along for the ride. But, the ride would not be an easy one; the deceptions and lies ran high the end result would definitely not bring him closer to his family. Hiding in a cave they meet two young Arabs that show them the way but when the last leg of journey arrives what happens to Daniel lands him in a hospital under the care of a nurse named Ayelet and his life is about to change and the truths that he holds dear tested. As he recuperates and thinks he is about to go to Tel Aviv and see his family the IRF expects him to complete one last mission. What will he do and the end result will definitely surprise the reader as some sacrifices are greater than others and things that appear to be true are really not.

 

The promises made were hollow and the hope for freedom an illusion. As he recuperates the voices he hears in his head are they real? What was really happening and what really did happen? As the poem entitled Enfold ME reflects his thoughts and he relates it’s meaning you begin to wonder what truths are being hidden and what lies are about to be revealed. Meeting Ayelet, the nurse at the hospital and hoping to go to Tel Aviv to secure his passage to find his way home, Daniel envisions his life with his family. But, reality sets in as he sees the destruction, inhales the dust, finds his way to Ayelet’s apartment and enters The New White City. Describing the carnage, the quake the links among the characters the desecration the reader becomes alerted that something dramatic is about the happen and Daniel’s work would no longer be filled with the sounds of hope but rather with the sounds of silence so deafening that he rings loudly in his ears. The silence in the streets, the lack of responses and the awakening when it’s too late and there is no chance for escape. As Daniel comes front and center with the truth and meets those that have perpetrated the lies the reader learns what they are really after, why Daniel will never have freedom and the truth behind his research. A truth that will send chills through your body, fear within the science world and knowledge that from some responsibilities there is no turning back. What he learns will change everything. Who is behind it he realizes himself. As the end is near and he enters the lab where it all began what would Daniel’s decision be? Will he help those that have lied and deceived him to rid the world of what was being done? What was the research that leads him to this moment that caused so many lives to be sacrificed and lost? What was that last dream and revelation that brought it all back? An ending that will make you think and a twist that will create fear within your inner core. As Daniel Blum confronts the truth, remembers the past and creates the future. But how?  How far would you go to protect your family and your country? What is the truth behind those that decided to Enfold Him and take away his life? Author Steven Greenberg leaves the reader with many questions that will haunt you after reading this novel. Characters that are so vividly described, a plot that will keep you on the edge and one man whose journey you will definitely want to take. Daniel Blum learns the true meaning of deceit, lies, hate, fear and finally responsibility in this outstanding novel by author Steven Greenberg.  Close your eyes. Now open them. What do you see? Can you see?

Fran Lewis: reviewer