connections by review

Connections: Mary Lou Gediman


Connections link us to both the past and the present as author Mary Lou Gediman takes the reader inside the world of Native American Indian Pontiac Parker as he is about to marry his true love Maggie. We are told of the history of their pasts, the lives before meeting and how they met as we go on a hunt that would cause them to question more than just their union. The number 7 is sacred, holy and powerful to Pontiac as he relates his life’s experiences to this number. Everything has its own meaning as Maggie and Pontiac are about to become one the Shaman will guide the wedding congregation and the reader through the 7 step ceremonial ritual. Each step of the way filled with its own unique themes and strong connections to that number. Each ending with the same phrase: “May we continue to be blessed by our creator.” As the couple presents each other with their special wedding gift, Pontiac a handmade basket his mother made and Maggie a poem someone else has a different kind of message for the couple that will change everything and create a chain of events that will send them searching for his past, a grave with hidden meanings and the hope of finding out who is behind it before it’s too late. With Maggie’s daughter and boyfriend at their side the wedding takes place and the reception is about to begin when the couple approaches their soon to be united home and find something tacked to the railing on the front porch. A note with seven numbers and the words Dropped Feather on it. Just what this means has not been revealed as Maggie, Pontiac, Abbie and Dick sit down to think about the hidden meaning but then Pontiac sees the person that might have left the clue. With Dick in his new super fast car they chase the sender and winds up finding another clue but this time it deals with a Happy Meal in McDonalds. But, there is much more as a strange and seemingly annoying yet smart neighbor might have the answers they need but will they finally listen to Matilda? The final clue is frightening dealing with a buried treasure and getting the small fry to find it. When speaking with Matilda even though Maggie is dead set against it they learn the meaning of the words Drop Feather and the other clues. Learning more about Pontiac’s mother she relates her skill as a healer and the reader connects the past with the present as we learn about a potion that his mother created that cured people of serious illnesses and might be related to why this person is sending the clues. Life cut short but whose from clue number 2 and dropped feather meaning life’s journey but whose life is in danger? Added in is clue four that refers to DNA. But, when they leave a note for the person sending these messages what Pontiac learns will definitely surprise the reader as he sees the person, understands his reasoning and learns more about one member of the group hoping to keep it from the rest. Just who cannot be trusted and why?


As the reader learns more about this mysterious sender we learn about his connection to Pontiac, the reason why he contacted him and the urgency of find what is needed to save his life. But, will Pontiac be able to comply by his wishes and what exactly did he tell him when they were alone. With the information on tape and Maggie the only person allowed to hear what was said can they transcribe the information and get what is needed in time? Would you dig up the grave of your parents to save the life of a relative you just met? How far would you go to help someone? His disease: Seven Syndrome how deadly remains to be revealed. Just what will they do you will have to learn and who can be trusted is hard to say at this point as they go to find the cure and learn more about his mother’s reasons for taking the secret of how to heal this illness literally to her grave.

When Abbie learns the truth about someone close to her will she believe her mother and Pontiac? Who was behind the scam to get the cure? Why did the Center for Hereditary Disease Research link on to this disease and how did they learn about Pontiac’s mother? Who was their connection to getting it? What would the payoff be? To truly understand the disease and its causes you have to read what Kanti, Pontiac’s nephew and the sender of the messages is described on pages 145-150. The final plan is ingenious and where it takes them you will have to read for yourself as you learn more about Pontiac’s family, understanding of differences and the hope of helping someone you hardly know. Connections are powerful and family ties often bind people just because of their kinship but what about Abbie when she learns the truth about someone she cares about? What will she do?

▪                To explain this illness further understand how it is detailed and described on Wikipedia: Chromosome 7 is one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans. People normally have two copies of this chromosome. Chromosome 7 spans more than 158 million base pairs (the building material of DNA) and represents between 5 and 5.5 percent of the total DNA in cells. Identifying genes on each chromosome is an active area of genetic research. Because researchers use different approaches to predict the number of genes on each chromosome, the estimated number of genes varies. Chromosome 7 is likely to contain between 1,000 and 1,400 genes. It also contains the Homeobox A gene cluster. Williams syndrome is caused by the deletion of genetic material from a portion of the long (q) arm of chromosome 7. The deleted region, which is located at position 11.23 (written as 7q11.23), is designated as the Williams syndrome critical region. This region includes more than 20 genes, and researchers believe that the characteristic features of Williams syndrome are probably related to the loss of multiple genes in this region. While a few of the specific genes related to Williams syndrome have been identified, the relationship between most of the genes in the deleted region and the signs and symptoms of Williams syndrome is unknown. Other changes in the number or structure of chromosome 7 can cause delayed growth and development, mental disorder, characteristic facial features, skeletal abnormalities, delayed speech, and other medical problems. These changes include an extra copy of part of chromosome 7 in each cell (partial trisomy 7) or a missing segment of the chromosome in each cell (partial monosomy 7). In some cases, several DNA building blocks (nucleotides) are deleted or duplicated in part of chromosome 7. A circular structure called ring chromosome 7 is also possible. A ring chromosome occurs when both ends of a broken chromosome are reunited. As you learn read this information you can tell the gravity of the disease and why Pontiac and Maggie would do anything to help more than one family member. The scene at the cemetery will definitely surprise everyone including Pontiac and Maggie. Just who else shows up and why you won’t believe as a secret is revealed and truths are admitted. What about the cure and the document that is buried with his mother?

An ending that will truly define the word connections and let the reader understand the meaning of the words Dropped Feathers and maybe the next time you see one on the ground you will pick it up and allow it to continue its journey. In life we all need someone to help us when things go wrong and as they say pick us up from time to time. Just what happens that connects everyone together and what will happen to the cure and just where was it hiding in plain sight? Connections: Where would we be without them! Author Mary Lou Gediman provides the research into the illness and she allows the reader to truly understand the meaning of love, understanding, traditions and the meaning behind the Number 7. This is one book that will surprise the reader from start to finish and one that is a definite must read. Meet Pontiac and Maggie and you will definitely find something in each character that you can identify with and learn as Abbie does that trust or distrust comes at a high price. But, you have to love Matilda to find out why read this interesting and outstanding novel.

Fran Lewis: reviewer









I Have A Secret: Cheryl Bradshaw

When your past becomes intertwined with the present why does it sometimes lead to murder? When high school friends decide to reunite on a cruise why is one classmate stabbed and thrown overboard? Doug Ward seemed very pensive and in need of deal with his own private thoughts before joining his former classmates for their night of fun on the last night of their cruise. Finding Doug on deck his wife Trista calmly waits for him to come back to the part after he tells her he needs more time alone. But, someone else is lurking in the background that remains unseen until the time is right. Many of the women in his class thought him to be the primary catch. One was on the cruise named Candice who seems bent on tormenting Trista but do no avail. Candice enjoyed tempting the men and Doug was her primary target. Not caring that he was married to Trista nothing would stop her from going after her prey except of course Trista or Doug himself. But, when Trista went back to the party someone came out in the shadows and took his life. Knife in hand stabbing him and with some effort threw him overboard but no one saw. When Trista became alarmed that he never returned to the party or their cabin she enlisted the help of Sloane and Giovanni and some others to try and find him. But, Sloane begin a PI know her way around an investigation and sometimes her methods of questioning can be quite inventive to say the least.

Finding her way into the surveillance room Sloane uses her feminine wiles and ingenuity to get the person on duty to allow her to view the tape from where Doug was last seen. What they both see with their own two eyes is the murder being committed but cannot identify the killer. The captain alerted and Sloane and Giovanni who happens to be FBI questioned the question of just where this investigation will go and how far anyone will go to find the killer is paramount.

Returning home Sloane contacts Trista and restates her offer to help find Doug’s killer. As she is about to enter into the investigation and even before she arrives in her old hometown another classmate is stabbed and murdered. Just why are the members of this particular class the target for the killer? But, when Sloane questions Trista about her life with Doug she learns about his drinking problem, their marital strive and the fact that someone else came between them. Learning that Doug attended AA due to his drinking problem she reconnects with another classmate, Doug’s sponsor. Sponsors are supposed to help when the person they are working with needs to talk and listen to their problems. But, sometimes people become too close and situations heat up and things change when Trista finds herself disconnecting from the world, taking too many pills and literally as she states to Sloane sends Doug into the arms of Heather. But, who wanted him dead and why and what else was Trista hiding from her and did Heather tell her everything?
Enter Jesse a cop in her hometown of Tehachapi who seems bent on not only using his masculine wiles to get too close to Sloane but claims he wants to help her find his killer. Hired by Trista to learn more and find out the answers Sloane agrees to dinner with him keeps her guard up at all times. Added in someone left her note attached to her hotel room door with a knife that when analyzed she learns would be used by a doctor performing surgery. The conversation with Jesse enlightens Sloane to some information about not only Doug but his sponsor Heather too. Learning Heather lied about her alcohol or lack of alcohol problem and learning more about Candice who seemed to make the rounds of every man in town, Sloane started to slowly attempt to connect some of the disjointed and fragmented pieces of the lives of these people together to try and find the common denominator and the killer. But, the secrets and lies mount up and the attempts on lives continue as Jesse makes a move on Sloane and finds out it was more than just a mistake. Giovanni shows up and Sloane realizes that she just might need some extra help to dig deeper into the lives of the people in this town and find out why she seems to be the only one who has no idea what is really going and what lies hidden and buried in the past.

Small town gossip is hard to hide from when Sloane starts to deal with the people in this town after twenty years. Secrets and lies hidden so deeply and threatening messages warning her to leave before she gets hurt, just how many more bodies will be found before the killer’s identity is revealed? But, the gateway to the past opens up its floodgates as Sloane relates her childhood nightmare to her Giovanni and the reader learns about the terror she and her sister endured at the hands of her father.

Then, Sloane decides to visit another old friend finds him dead and decomposed. Thrown, sick and unable to deal with more she calls for help and sends photos of the body to Madison to uncover something about this third person’s murder. Another stabbing another classmate gone but why? As she tries to piece it all together more players come into the mix and one night of fun is revealed that would change the course of not only four lives but a young child’s too. Nate, Jesse, Doug and Rusty just what did they do that has been hidden for more than two decades? Why did Jesse find it necessary to make sure that Sloane would leave town? What about Doug’s mother what truths does she reveal about her granddaughter that sets a chain of events in motion that will not end until not only is the killer revealed but a secret uncovered. A secret Pact made among four friends to cover up what they did to one young girl, the lies they told her and the end they assumed she met. When Trisa alerts Sloane that her daughter Alexa is missing just who would kidnap this medical student and why? Just who was the person closest to her and where was she now? Author Cheryl Bradshaw takes the reader and Sloane back to a town she would rather forget existed to a place where nightmares visit her dreams and her thoughts of the past evolve into the present. With the help of Giovanni she learns the secret of one woman’s past another’s deceit and the final outcome will leave you breathless and wondering who will live to tell the truth and who will be the killer’s next victim? Persistent, hardnosed, straightforward and definitely not someone to trifle with, Sloane Monroe takes her hometown by the bullhorns and let’s them know she’s not leaving until the secret of the past if brought out front and center in the present. “I Have A Secret,” by Cheryl Bradshaw kept this reader glued to the printed page from start to finish. I read this in one hour because I could not put it down. I have a secret that I will reveal to everyone: This is definitely a great book and the twists, unique ending and strong characters are realistic, interesting and let’s hope Sloane and Giovanni return soon. A smart PI who knows how to get the facts, get the job done and definitely can do it alone.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

When Barry Meets Ronnie: My thoughts

When Barry Met Ronnie: Michael Curry


Can two Presidents past and present travel cross-country together in a vintage Caddy and survive? What happens when the President of the United States accidentally chokes on peanut and winds up in a strange place without any identification, money or means of communication? But, sometimes when you least expect it someone comes to your aid and the situation you are in just might turn into a strong learning experience as the President of the United States meets Pete and Dylan and winds up going along with them and many others on an eye opening journey that will take them across many states until reaching their final destination: Washington D.C.


Getting started on the way was not easy as they had several stops to make before starting out. Meeting a man named Ronnie AKA Dutch: The Boss will make you wonder just what past President this might be as you listen to the discussion beforehand, meet his wife and find out where and when they are leaving and their final destination. As they all crowd into his red caddy convertible they settle in for what will be not only a long journey but one that will have stimulating conversation, eye opening revelations and just might make Barry rethink some of his policies and hopefully change his thinking to benefit the American people. When Barry Met Ronnie: Wait until you take the journey with them.


This novel reads as a debate between two candidates and their supporting teams. As they discuss the Cold War, the economic system, our moral underpinnings. They continue to discuss the fact that the United States engaged in the Cold War but it would be quite a risk to engage it as the author relates when it destroys its main external enemy. Pete is the one explaining the many salient points hoping that Barry in his world would no longer turn a blind eye to many of the issues at hand. Hoping to basically change his views, opinions and perspective on immigration, the economy, global warming and many other issues that are often discussed during debates but never really solved. The author through Pete explains in detail National Objectives how they were created and the bipartisan committee that was created to sort through the suggestions and to turn them into an actionable website. There is much more that he shares that the reader can learn when reading the novel and Chapter 3. Then Barry gets into the discussion and begins to wonder about certain things and Pete clarifies a lot hoping that he will understand what he is presenting as he asks what would happen if the objectives created conflict each other? Pete began to think Barry did not have faith in the America people and the electorate to sort through these objectives and come to a decision by themselves. The answer is elaborated on page 37. The author even includes the objectives for the reader to understand and for Barry. Then, Dutch uses California as the example and tries to clarify it for Barry. But, there was more to the trip as Pete and Dylan were laid back about the event excited about going cross country in a car, Manny was just glad to be along and Dutch and Manny were old friends. Manny was the founder and CEO of a medical device the rest you have to learn for yourself. Interesting characters to say the least and quite educational for Dylan to be riding with such colorful and interesting adults. Pete and Dutch met through family connections. Now, they were about to descend on Nevada and hopefully find themselves in Vegas.


They continued with a discussion about nuclear waste, additional fuel to power for every household in American and building of the Nuclear reactors in Georgia. There are many controversial discussions and political issues brought to light in detail in this novel. At one point it seems as if they are trying to convince Barry that he needs to change his attitude, policies and the way he runs the government as they reached the Hard Rock Café Hotel and Casino. But, of course how cool is it to be surrounded by four Elvis impersonators.


The next stop was dinner and that turned out to be neutral and not party oriented. Next discussion was student loans for college and the requirements needed and the explanations as to why some get the loans they apply for and others do not. Added in why students have to submit majors and how that comes into play when asking for a loan.


The author then discusses nuclear waste, solar and wind-power the pros and cons discussed by both Barry and the others especially Pete. Even Dylan weighs in with his own thoughts when it comes to Family Resource Management which starts a whole new discussion and the waiter they have for dinner brings them full circle with college majors and school loans. Barry seems to present his viewpoints and the rest the opposite as they try to explain why he needs to change his policies and much more.



There are two worlds that the author describes: Barry’s and Dutch’s which are totally different. But, first includes a show that is really quite unique, enlightening and adds some humor to the book called the Shareholder’s Report. This show airs on many different networks and allows a civil servant to present a project he/she thinks their superior should look into and should be funded. The first presenter discussed tunnels to be created for turtles in order to have them avoid going over the highway. You have to read this to find out what he says, the questions asked by the three panel members and Kid Rock who is the emcee to see just how ridiculous this is and why money is not always well spent.


Next they continue to Colorado and the author introduces a discussion of the world or country according to Dutch, which includes his views on economics, political environment, and much more, which you can read from pages 71-72. Interjecting comments from Barry about the EPA and oil prices, fuel sources and more. Then Dylan comes into the conversation and the author or Dutch explains how one man was responsible for figuring out how to use hydraulic fracturing to unlock all of that shale oil and gas. He tells him about George Mitchell.


The conversation turns to immigration and a new term that many readers might not be familiar with Red Card. The author explains to everyone including Barry that a Red Card is issued for a non-citizen of the United States to remain in the United States to work. These people remain here in order to get jobs and send money back to their families in another country. Green Cards are issued to those non-citizens who want to work here and eventually become citizens. There was much discussion that continued about the private sector how this worked in enhance our work force and much more. As the author elaborates to the reader and Barry how this came about and why. Next, he continues with the world of Dutch and the oil industry followed by Dylan’s new understanding of our country and where we came from Reading his book Founding Brothers and participating in the discussion and asking pointed questions allows the reader to know that this young man is more than just a passenger in the car. Education and the DOE were the next discussion and national standards and how they differ in many states. Health plans was the next topic. Health insurance seemed to interest Barry and the discussion began to heat up. Doctors and insurance companies and more were the next topic discussed and argued in Chapter 8. The conversation was interesting and dealt with reasons why certain people received better coverage and related the discussion to a person’s health and they talked about diet and employer contributions to health plans for workers and much more.


The remainder of the book focuses on helping Dylan learns in Chapter 9 more about our country, the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. Discussing the history, many of our leaders and a lecture or speech on the Founding Fathers helps to bring it home for Dylan. The author includes the sins of the Founding Fathers and information most readers might not know about. Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy and information about Benjamin Frankin as well as Anger as the term assigned to Madison and Lust to Jefferson. After creating quite a bit of stir and listing all of the wrongs about these men he continued with The Seven Heavenly Virtues: Faith, Justice, Prudence, hope, charity, fortitude, and temperance. The explanation and how this applied to our founding fathers will spark quite a bit of interest in the group that the professor is lecturing to and those in the cross-country group. But, Dylan makes one statement and sums it all up for everyone.


If you want to find out just where they wind up, if Barry learns anything from this trip, if he changes his viewpoints and what Dylan brings to the table you are going to have to read it for yourself. What happens when Barry finally returns to the White House and sees his family? What happens when the medical personnel check him out and his family finally realizes where he has been? The doctors then explain to him what caused him to choke and become disoriented.

An ending that you definitely won’t see coming and a President that just might surprise you. What really happened to Barry and what did he say in his speech? Read When Barry Met Ronnie and find out for yourself. Can 2 Presidents survive a car trip together when they come from opposing parties? Find out when you read this book. You just never know!


Fran Lewis: reviewer