Cane and Abe

Cane and Abe: James Grippando

Appearances can often be deceiving as one man’s past comes haunting him in the present and his life is about to unravel. A man whose wife died from an incurable illness, cares for her mentally disabled brother, J.T. and visits her father in the nursing home he lives, finds that his past will not leave him alone, the brother in law that he takes care of might be hiding a secret, and his mental status comes into question quite often. Abe Beckham might be a prosecuting attorney at the Miami State Attorney’s Office but that does make him immune to ridicule, suspicion and resentment when his present marriage begins to fall apart and circumstances surrounding a murder investigation he’s handling resembles that of someone called THE CUTTER. The victims are all white women that dated black men in the first set of murders but this time the woman if black? Are they all connected or is someone trying to throw the police off of his trail?

Victoria Santos is a relentless FBI agent whose allegiance is to herself and her job and not to anyone else. When appearing to cooperate with other agencies it’s only a ruse to get information. Along with Detective Riddel and Detective Reyes the investigation into the murder of another victim found in the Everglades begins but the final result and the victim are linked to Abe. Tyla Tomkins is the victim and a phone call appears on Abe’s phone and several voice messages too. Seeming to have resumed a relationship with her when telling everyone they have not connected in a long time, sets the spotlight right on Abe and has him withdrawn and placed out of the loop. With Riddel’s help and friendship he learns some of what they suspect and it leads back to his first wife’s father who cut sugar cane.

As the investigation gets underway and the victim is identified FBI agent Victoria Santos comes front and center to help run the investigation. Enlisting Abe’s help and wanting him to help lead the investigation the name of the victim would alert everyone that things are about to change. Angelina does not seem to be a very tolerant person and although J.T. consumes a lot of his time, and is his first wife’s brother, she resents it and feels that he needs to cut off all ties to his previous life and devote his time to her.

Angelina does not like how involved Abe is with J. T. and Abe’s fidelity is in question when it becomes known that he is connected to the latest victim. Angelina goes missing and is feared to be the newest victim. Abe goes from star prosecutor to the main suspect in his wife’s disappearance.
The bodies are cut up and the victims are left on the fields of the Sugar companies. Author James Grippando gives readers a first hand knowledge of what these companies are like, the fact that many naïve young men came to work for them not realizing the hardships they would face. Added in each victim had a specific trademark that was left on their faces. Ash was smudged on their faces and this comes through when they see the photographs of the victims. As they look closer into the latest death they realize that there are some differences. The history of the sugar companies:

Sugarcane is a plant that does provide sugar and alcohol. Its cultivation began or originated from Southeastern Asia. Introduced in Brazil about five centuries ago, then Brazil was a colony of Portugal. Sugarcane and gold believe it or not at this time were valued the same. The people of Portugal were the few who had to resources needed to explore more venues and search for new lands to conquer and profit. In 1532 the Portuguese arrived here with the sugarcane plant, took the sugarcane they found on their trips to plant and have their own supply or production. The author includes more information about this business and why so many were still involved.

Added in we learn more about Luther Vine and the crimes attested to these companies when hiring these young men to harvest the cane as cutters. Workers were put into debt as soon as they began working. Instead of giving them the tools they needed the money was deducted from their meager wages and they were charged for food and drinks as well as blankets. These men were in debt to their employers and many could not find a way out. As the killer is being sought and Abe seems to be in the spotlight something happens between him and Angelina what changes things even more and turns the heat up on to a burning inferno.

Abe is placed in many awkward positions and submits to a polygraph test related to his wife’s disappearance and fails it. Questions subjectively asked and answers that would relate back to his first wife and other incidents places him in more than just the limelight. But, things start to seem strange and the reasons for his wife disappearance become apparent and the spotlight is now on someone else but just whom can he trust? Who is really on his side and what was behind Angelina’s disappearance.
Checking into the callers that appeared on Tyla’s cell phone it leads to another lead player involved with the sugar companies. Just how many men was she involved with and where would this investigation take everyone when truths are revealed and lies come to the surface. Brian Belter is the loyal for the Corinas Sugar Company and his alliance with Alberto Cortinas is something less than desired. As information comes to light about his relationship with Tyla, Cortinas explains why he’s on his own and he will disavow any knowledge. Missing Tyla’s funeral when summoned to meet this man trying to explain to him the FBI’s position does not change what is said to him and the fact that the FBI is using Tyla’s murder as an excuse to go after the sugar companies.

J.T. has become Abe’s responsibility and is bipolar. He is difficult, often does things on impulse and is known to commit dangerous acts. Getting to know J.T. you begin to realize that he has hidden secrets that he does not want revealed. As author James Grippando brings to light just why Tyla was killed, the reason and how this connects to someone from Abe’s past, a pattern emerges and things might seem to fall into place but then there is a serious twist.

As Angelina’s disappearance comes to and end and the reasons behind it come front and center Abe learns something from a friend that might change everything and possibly life the cloud or fog that is covering his eyes to see someone more clearly. An ending that will make you wonder just what is in store for Abe and whether he will wash off the black ash that seems to be covering his eyes as a harsh truth about someone close to him is revealed and a decision has to be made. With her parents at her side and a high priced attorney, Angelina seems bent on forging ahead, keeping Abe at her side but why and why?

An ending packed with suspense, twists and an easy feeling left in the reader wondering: Is Abe’s decision the right one? What is next for him? Will he remain as a star prosecutor at the Miami State’s Attorney’s Office? What happens when the real Cutter is caught? You won’t believe how! Just how relentless is Santos and why is she out for Abe? As the coordinator for the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes, she is the link between the FBI and local law enforcement. Who is at the root of the killings? Who killed Tyla Tomkins and why? An ending only author James Grippando can write and a character named Abe Beckman that might find himself covered in black ash like the victims if he does not pay attention to what is right in front of him.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer



Varagian2: King of the Norse : Stuart Yates

The main focus of this novel is simply who will lead and rule The New Rome. The coveted throne is the main character of this multi-leveled, complex novel, which brings to light just how far someone will go to gain power, wealth and control. With the Emperor Michael V. out, blinded and banished the Empress Zoe decides to return and hopefully regain control of Constantinople. But, Zoe might be astute, smart and cunning but is she a match for General Maniakes and his minions? Reenter Hardrada who now also wants the coveted throne and who turns his sites and attentions to Norway with one focus in mind: To be KING! But, there are many who want to see him succeed and even more who want him dead as author Stuart Yates brings to light just how dangerous it is to be King, Emperor or Empress. With betrayals, lies, deceits, murders, plots and bribes paving the way for some to gain control whose will win out in the end? General Maniakes is cruel, maniacal and dangerous. His every mood is subject to change and loyalties are tested and those that do not match up wind up dead. Who will rule Byzantium and who will wind up as fodder?

The General has devised a plan that he hopes will not only put him in a powerful position but will allow Empress Zoe to rule but not alone. Priming Constantine Monomachus who has been indisposed, turning him into someone fit and ready to take control might have been his first thought but just might be his downfall. His ability to make money and his financial skills will bring money into to the coiffeurs of this Empire but whose pockets will be lined with gold?

As his plan gets put into action there are others who have will challenge him. Soldiers fight, some changing sides, killers walk the streets, wives betray their husbands, neighbors bed their neighbor’s wives and many lives are lost. But, Hardrada needs gold in order to gain the crown and Zoe has it. But, will she release it to him? Choices are made, and challenges are created and many adversaries come to blows as Constantinople, filled with murder, treachery, deceit, politics and many who seek to gain access and permanent residence on that throne. Will Harald Hardrada live or will he become another casualty of too many battles and wars?

The Patriarch Alexius is powerful and has a plan that he hopes the General will go along with. His idea to restore Constantine as Emperor along with Zoe sounded like a good idea. “ The General fixed Alexius with a penetrating stare.” The Patriarch was smart, needed to be watched and loyal to Zoe. But, the General has his own agenda and wants Zoe to know what is in store. But, the General has his own ideas and since Zoe has paraded herself before the people and the Patriarch has indicated she will be restored to the throne and Empress of New Rome the General felt that Monomachus was needed. With the help and aid of Marcellus a tough taskmaster, he hopes that Monomachus will not only fall into line but come out ready to fight and rule. But, within this man no one sees the hidden guile, deceit and treachery that lurks beneath his grin. No one sees him bedding another woman and making promises to her even if married to Zoe. Blinded by what they think will succeed a plan goes into action and the end result will surprise readers.

Can you smell the stench of death within the many homes as several heads are lobbed off, others are skewed and some are burned? Death, violence and carnage fill the many pages of this novel as the author graphically describes what happens when the General is displeased, someone dares to challenge him and betrayals come to light. Wars are fought, battles are won and lost and a new Rome is the reward. Can Harald restore the Varangian?

Sides are drawn as we get to know two major players within this complex story: Nikolias finds himself being used as a pawn as he tries to come to the rescue of Leoni. Once the General’s concubine she has been tossed around many times, used and then placed with his mother he hoped for safe keeping. But someone thought otherwise and wanted to test his loyalties and his mother was sacrificed and Leoni once again at the mercy of another. But, smart, crafty and cunning somehow she manages to come out ahead.
Harald seems to be a major thorn in everyone’s side as messages are sent, loyalties are tested and several commands are changed.

  Varangian: Stuart Yates

Can you see the bodies strewn and smell the stench of death that permeates like a rancid perfume in the air? Death, carnage, violence and so many killed in order to prove their own strength and take over the throne or Rome. As we learn more about those killed, those that sought revenge we never see the orchestra leader that created the silent death music and conducted the soldiers in such precision that those that were victims never heard their footsteps or saw their blazing swords. The setting is 10th century Constantinople, the time period highly volatile and the two sides distinctly different. Harald Sigurdsson, called Hardrada is in a cell with several other men hoping to find a way to freedom. Thinking that the Empress Zoe, his lover, would come in his cell would not happen. Within the walls of the palace there is treachery, deceit, lies and hate as so many seek out power, influence and will do anything including debase themselves to get it. When we finally meet the much coveted and loved by many men, Empress Zoe, we hear her thoughts as she speaks to her maid, Leoni never realizing that those close to her would be her downfall. Leoni, young, beautiful, thinking she is so smart in many ways, beguiling to men and finding her way into many beds, allows herself to become the mistress to a powerful general and then a concubine or lover to the present Emperor whose goal is to remove Zoe, who took him in when married to his uncle, adopted him and finds himself in power. But, the present Emperor Michal V, is more than just boastful of his prowess in bed and manipulations of others as he took is being managed you might say by a eunuch whose principles are questionable, whose ability to take him to task quite cunning but whose end will surprise you.

Throughout the beginning of the novel we learn about the wars that took place, the battles between the many military factions working for and against the establishment of New Rome/Constantinople. When the story opens we learn about the demise of many Varangian, those that served in the elite unit of the Byzantine Army. These men guarded the Emperor. But, one man stands out Harald Hardrada whose loyalty is to the Empress but whose quest will force him to do more than just choose sides and loyalty. The Patriarch of the Royalty, Alexis, gets away when warned by Zoe, whose life is endanger when she becomes dispensable to the Emperor, a thorn in his side as he seeks to rule on his own at any cost. Releasing Harald from prison, threatening to kill Zoe, he sends him to bring back the Patriarch for him to stand in support of him during his coronation. But, Michael is deranged, delusional and really sick and thirsty for control power and uses Harald as his messenger and toys with his love for Zoe in order to get what he wants.

As Harald embarks on his journey, others are sent to find him and take his life as Michal changes course, imprisons the one man loyal to him, sends Zoe away to a nunnery and devises a plot so sick and diabolical it will take more than just the return of the Alexius, Patriarch of the great city of Constantinople, his support and Harald to get what he wants.

There are many who Zoe trusts and one is Scythian Guard who becomes her lover. When found out he is sent away to seek Harald and told to kill him. Along with a young soldier named Andreas he hopes to succeed but along the way they encounter more than one obstacle, a young girl that appears to be dangerous, taken with Andreas, yet a pawn this wild band that she belongs it and that threatened her if she does not stay her course, do their bidding and follow the path they have outlined for her.

As Michael’s plans come into play, the games begin but there are those appearing close to him that have another goal in mind. Manipulating not only her lover the general, Leoni, manages to help General Maniakes put his own spin on how he wants things to go, arrange for Constantine the brother of the eunuch, Orphano, to return and restore his power, and hopefully be successful in his plans to get Zoe back on the throne. Within each plan there are many subplots and plans and those that appear to be loyal just might have other agendas in mind as we hear the voice of one young man named Nikolias working with the general but whose quest for power too might lead him in another direction. Battle scenes that come next, descriptions quite graphic, the Alexius soon to return and the entire cast just might wind up in the same place. But, can Harald bring Zoe back on the throne, convince the Patriarch to return to the city, and lead the Varangians to victory? But, what about Crethus, whose loyal to Zoe, a messenger for the Empire and now faced with having to kill Hardrada? The plot gets exciting when his two friends create a diversion, finally escape and then confronts Crethus with a startling truth and two men just might be at a standstill.

When the ending comes near just who survives, who will rule and where everyone winds up you just won’t believe. Author Stuart Yates takes us deep inside the mind of a man so delusional he actually believes his own power. When the people speak out and their wishes are known, violence breaks out and the sides and swords are drawn.

As Hardrada and Ranulph work side by side to take back what is theirs, find a way to destroy the Scythian Guard, deal with Crethus and hopefully rid themselves of Andreas, the surprise twists, turns and subtle nuances that the author creates will keep you guessing, wondering and joining in the fight, drawing your own sword, deciding which side you are on and the final battle is won. Just who will remain standing and whose plan worked? Will Harald get back what he lost? Will he remain as the head of the Varangian or will he and his two friends finally be free? What about the veiled threat made by someone at the end? The answers to these and many other questions will come when our brilliant author brings us the sequel titled: King of the Norse. Volume II. To get a sneak peak you are going to have to read this great fast paced novel first to get look at the first chapter of the next book. Can you see the bodies strewn? Can you smell the threat of death? Can you see the carnage? Whose bodies? Whose deaths? Read this outstanding novel to find out and close your eyes and picture the scenes. Characters that are quite colorful, devious, well defined, clearly described and a plot that is easy to follow and subplots that will draw you in even more. This is one novel you want to read.





The Healer

The Healer.


Murran: Frank Fiore

Trey Davis learns the meaning of survival, trust, friendship, loyalty and deceit in a powerful novel by author Frank Fiore, Murran. Take a trip back in time to the 1980’s and meet Trey Davis a young boy whose life drastically changes as his mother has chosen a road that would lead to her own destruction and hoped that her son would not follow in her footsteps. Forced to move from his comfortable home, live with his grandmother and follow her rigid rules, Trey worked hard to break the bonds that would tied him, protect his younger sister and find a place where he would feel respected, needed and wanted. All too often young teens and young adults follow a path that leads them to the streets, gangs and the life of many young African American teens trying to take on the law, fend off rival crews, deal in drugs, alcohol and anything that will render them money in order to find their way to the top of a gang and get what they feel is their rite of passage.

Meeting Trey and his sister Nichelle, as they walk the streets in Harlem we find them vulnerable and a target of a gang run by a young boy named Darrell. Rival crews fight, others warned against invading their turf, bodies fall, weapons come out and the danger of just being outside is real. As Nichelle is about to be brutally attacked and possibly raped by another crew, Darrell comes to her rescue thereby endearing him not only to her but to Trey as well. Friendships ensue, initiations happen and Trey finds himself fighting for acceptance and wins. The language and dialogue is quite authentic, the teachings of the educators required that the author research Black Americans like Dr. King and Malcolm X and explaining their ideals, their teachings and what they hoped to convey.

Trey falls prey to the gang’s wishes, finds himself on the wrong side of the law more than once and learns important lessons that he can either take with him and savor or wind up in jail. As he becomes more embroiled in the gang’s work and their dealings with the Crips, Trey finds that in order to help his mother who has returned and wound up in the hospital with Aids, he needs to find a way to get the money for her medicine in order to safe her life. But, Trey’s efforts fail and his grades plummet forcing his grandmother to take action. Arranging with Mr. Jackson, his English teacher to tutor him two afternoons a week did not make Trey happy but would change his life forever as he gets to know more about him, his heritage and the fact that he is a Maasai Warrior. Equating the word warrior with that of his position in the gang the Warrior would set him apart from what the teacher was trying to tell him. But, his interest peaks as he learns more about life in Kenya, that the tribe is warriors but do not follow gang mentality and intimate their members. Maintaining African Survival-American Survival Achievement and Integrity: Maasai. The author brings to light a real organization called Family Maasai derived from the Maasai tribe of East Africa “ who are the keepers of the cattle and lovers of children.” Their goal is to stabilize and strengthen the lives of young African-Americans and help these young people move through the stages of adulthood and become responsible members of the African-American Community. This made a great impression on Trey but not in the way they hoped. What did impress him was his teacher’s African name and the fact that he killed a lion. But, there was more to Mr. Jackson’s story, his reason for being in America and why if and when he returned to Kenya his family might not welcome him.

Trey wanted more than what Mr. Jackson could offer and Ms. Cummings too as he leaves the center and finds himself once again with his crew. Darrel and Porter were his mentors you might say and he found them more of a true warrior than Mr. Jackson. Money was what he wanted and how he got it did not matter to Trey. Traitors were dealt with, rival gangs were taking over the streets and even the police detective, Greco could not stop what would be a turning point in Trey’s life and force him to have to make a decision that would change things for him and his family forever. When the police arrive at his grandmother’s apartment and his sister says they want to arrest him for murder, what he decides to do would allow readers to learn just what it takes to survive, hide from the law in plain sight and hopefully teach a young teen some lessons in life that he will never forget.

With his protector, Mr. Jackson, he sets off for Africa and what he experiences most teens might not survive as Trey will now learn and understand the true meaning of the word Warrior, respect, ritual and responsibility which are the 3’rs of the Maasai.

Arriving in Kenya would require that he and Mr. Jackson travel by foot many miles. The terrain would be rough and upon meeting his family the welcome was not what you would expect. His decision to go with him was based on the fact that the police wanted him for murder and he was not going to find out what that meant at this time. Throughout the novel the author flashes ahead to the present where Trey has been caught and he is relating the events to his sister before his final fate is determined.

The Masai are fierce warriors. Becoming a warrior and the preparation called Warriorhood will aid in teaching young males Character traits that mark these people are bravery and courage. Each Masai warrior carries a sharply honed spear which is part of their general attire. As Mr. Jackson/Matumbo learns about what his tribe has been doing since he left, Trey learns the meaning of the word stranger. Not taking his malaria pills a big mistake and hearing the Doc speak of the Maasai quite enlightening. Hearing Matumbo speak about the Maasai and the farmers allows readers to understand why they have the custom of cattle raids and their refusal to “work and take jobs or to sell their land and cattle as an impediment to Kenyan development.” Selling to these people is a disease. Protecting their homestead, maintaining water sources for the community and making sure that their livestock is safe from wild animals and theft is how they protect their homestead.

Many other customs are discussed throughout the novel as we learn more about the circumcision ritual for both men and young women, as well as the fact that they can have more than one wife or partner. Jealousy does not exist and they keep zebu as their primary cattle. But, Trey’s mind is not on all of this he wants to become a warrior and circumstances arise that forces him to kill a lion even though he is not a member of the Maasai or initiated. The ritual is one that is painful, no painkillers and requires that he withstand whatever is involved. But, when the Basara raid and someone close to him is hurt, what Trey does just might prove his loyalty to these people and much more.

When someone goes after the people of Matumbo’s tribe, lives are in danger and decisions made Trey just might learn some life lessons that he can take with him if he returns home. Listening to the words of the laibon the religious and political leader of the tribe, learning the many traditions, becoming initiated hopefully with strengthen his character.

The size of a man’s herd and the number of children the man has sired determines his status and importance. As Trey becomes part of this tribe he finds himself drawn to Matumbo’s sister. Will she respond to him and what will happen when they learn the truth about why he fled to Kenya? What happens when the truth comes out? Going from a proper home to one filled with drugs and crime, living in fear for his life and sister’s and joining a gang thinking they were family and would protect him, Trey Davis learns the true meaning of family, understanding, loyalty and values when he crosses over to the other side of the world, enters the Valley of Kenya and hopefully will survive.
Murran: Warrior: Will Trey ever become one? Will he be prosecuted for a murder he did not commit? What happens will surprise readers as the author flashes to the present and Trey must decide whether to handle his deeds and fate head on. Characters that are true to life and dialogue that reflects gang mentality and quite vividly depicted. Murran: A definite must read for teens, young adults, parents, guidance counselors, history teachers and anyone that wants to teach young adults the true meaning of becoming an adult and family. Author F. F. Fiore has once again penned a five star novel.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Burnt Edges: My review

Burnt Edges: Dana Leipold

Laurel Page lived in a world that she created within her own mind. At times she totally disconnected from the realities that she endured in order to deal with the torture, abuse and hate that others inflicted upon her. Pain is one way that Laurel dealt with worry. Pinching the inside of her upper arm helped her to become ready for what her mother or father did to her or would do to her. Bruises on her arms, physical, sexual and verbal abuses her constant companions, Laurel needed to develop her own defense system in order to survive.

Laurel feared her father more than anyone else in her life. Like a tsunami ready to devastate an entire population or a 10.0 earthquake, her father’s behavior was so volatile you never knew when he’d explode. But, physical force was not the worse of it. Her father was never really in a good mood and when he was she never knew when the tide or the direction of the wind would change. Rusty her brother could never win any favor with him. Greg was the youngest and seemed the one that could almost say anything to his father and even help when work hammering and sawing had to be done. Rusty received his ridicule and innuendos were made about his birthright making him an outcast in his own home. Laurel had to do chores but she never received an allowance or any praise for helping around the house or doing the chores that her mother demanded of her. Never a thank you. Never a kind word and rarely a hug or a smile. But, her father often had other plans for her and when drunk and wanting more from Laurel, he would take advantage of her when no one was around. Not having anywhere to turn and no one to confide in, Laurel lived in fear of her father’s nightly visits. No young child should ever withstand the sexual abuse that this father inflicted upon her. The anger welled up inside of her but there was nowhere to release it. So, she harbored her anger within her, prayed he would leave her alone and tried to disengage herself from the incident by putting her mind somewhere else.

Living with her grandparents in the same home brought her some relieve as her grandfather would tell stories to her and her brothers but caused Laurel to lose her privacy and her own room. But, her grandmother was forgetful and the end result was the death of her dog Red. But, just when she thought he could rest her father paid her a visit and the nightmare continued, the fear in her eyes when he touched her and the pain she willed away. But, when she tells her mother about what her father has done her reaction will shock readers, alienate Laurel even more and then cast her aside like yesterday’s trash.

Scholl was part of her save haven as she and her friend Joan would talk about life, moving in to together when they both graduated High School. But, at ten years old her mother and grandmother packed all of her dresses and decided she needed clothes that were more grown up. Then something changed and her mother started treating her like an outcast and President Kennedy was shot and killed. Life was hard for Laurel and her parents were never really there for her or to help her understand the many changes she encountered. But, girls are wicked and one in particular had it in for Laurel and when she decided to defend herself why didn’t her mother realize that she needed her support? Every situation was about the mother, her need to feel above everyone else, not wanting to admit her own shortcomings and instead inflicting pain on Laurel.

Her family’s dynamics would change as her brother Rusty was drafted and sent to serve in Vietnam. Not wanting to go to the army his father insisted he serve his country and the end result would drastically change him and not for the good.

Laurel lived each day within her own shadow never really finding peace anywhere or even her own identity. But, when she and Joan finally moved into their own apartment and she began a new chapter in her life things changed. Getting a job in the mailroom in a big office in Los Angeles. Meeting new people and feeling her own self-worth should have changed her. But, in some respects Laurel remained afraid and unsure of herself. Leaving her wide open for another fall. Living with Joan was great and meeting her new boyfriend Dave would lead her to Larry. Larry and Dave were friends and Dave hoped they would hit it off. But, as you get to know Larry and hear the way he spoke to Laurel you will soon realize that he was not much different than her father or mother trying to control her every move, what she wore and even what she ate. At times you would think she would stand up for herself but Laurel remained silent of too complacent which allows readers to understand that even though she was on her own things did not really change. Being accepted for who she was never really happens at this point but Laurel just wants to feel loved. Larry remains steadfast and wants to marry her because he is about to go into the service. But, weddings are not planned in a day and things often change without any warning and Larry left hoping to return to Laurel while his mother and hers planned a wedding that her mother was unsure of. Face value and how things look to the public has been one of the things that Laurel’s mother needed. Never wanting to feel embarrassed and never sticking up for Laurel, she was not particularly happy with the fact she moved out and even less happy about the wedding. But, things would not pan out the way anyone expected as another young man comes into the picture and Laurel finds herself in a difficult situation that she does nothing to get out of. Loyalties change, faithfulness is discounted and Laurel and Paul who works in another part of her company seem to bond.

Relationships change, feelings are not as strong and temptation wins out as Laurel realizes that things are about to change. With a wedding not too far away a hidden surprise will change it all. What will happen when she reveals her relationship with Paul? What will her mother say? What happens when her father becomes ill and he has one last message for her? Will she forgive him or is it too late? What about her mother? What does she say to Laurel that might finally wake her up to who and what her mother really is and why some things remain the same?

Strong words are spoken and a truth comes out but someone cannot face it. A mother and daughter that will never repair the damage and a family that will never be one. What is Laurel’s final fate? What happens when Larry learns the truth about her relationship with Paul? How does her mother react to the fact that the big wedding is not going to happen? One young girl that grew up too fast. One mother that would not see the truth and unveil a deception that was right in front of her. Laurel and Paul or Laurel and Larry: Which one will keep her heart? What will happen if and when it is her turn to become a mother? Will history repeat itself? Will she be the same way to her child as her mother was to her? As her grandfather said” But God doesn’t give us more than we can handle He’ll put us through the fire a few times, so we get a little burnt around the edges, but all in all, we come out fine.

When Laurel realizes the truth and the final conflict comes about just that will have the Burnt Edges? A story told as if it were ripped out of the pages of a magazine or newspaper headline, Burnt Edges brings to light what happens when a father feels justified abusing his daughter and his sons and a mother turns a blind eye to it all. Heartfelt, conflicts that are real and true to life and characters that will remind you of how much schools, parents, teachers and guidance counselors need to be more aware of what abuse of any kind does to a young girl or any child, Burnt Edges is just the beginning of Laurel’s story. I can’t wait to find out what happens next when author Dana Leipold pens the next chapter in her life. Strength, Courage, Persistent and Hopeful: Laurel: What’s next?

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Karmic Alibi

Karmic Alibi.

Karmic Alibi

Karmic Alibi: Patricia Karen Gagic

A prologue or introduction that is very powerful and would set the stage for what the author learned at an early age. “ Many suffer and struggle with their own demons, and cannot find peace within.” Within the pages of this book the author hopes to share her experiences, how “ we can live in a harmonious state on our beautiful planet Mother Earth.” A very important point and very important start is that we as people must learn to forgive ourselves knowing that “ no other person walks in our shoes. It is our job to love and remember our “Foreverness.” Karmaic Alibi: begins with a little girl’s wish and promise to be good and dedicate herself and her life to saving the world. A definitely hard task but one that in 1962 was the impetus that began what happened to our author on her tenth birthday. A heavy burden fell on her as she entered the prayer room of her house and felt for the first time in her life that every part or her body was responding and enveloped in whatever was within this room.

Prayer of a more determined and heartfelt kind filled the room with the voice of this young child as she prayed, remembered what her parents told her about God and how her heart “ached to the point of desperation that night.” She though that she was now given the job of saving the world from destruction. Questions surfaced within her mind as to why there were people who would want to hurt others and cause them to suffer? Answers were given within the realm of her knowledge and other questions asked at the same time. Her world she said existed to lover her family, grandparents, neighbors, cats and her teacher. But, something happened within that room an angel appeared and from that point on she had someone on her side to guide her, talk to and help her understand: the Wisdom Auditor. The voice of this angel resounded within her and he explained that she will now follow a “sacred path to simply know the true nature of yourself and once the karma ripens you will no longer remain in the body you have come to know.” The scene described between the Wisdom Auditor and the author on pages 6- 8 are quite powerful and when their hearts and minds were the same it was she states the gentle nature within “guiding us to flourish in our spirit and soul.” There is much more that the reader must learn for himself/ herself to truly understand. The author continues with several chapters that will enlighten readers as to how they bonded, worked together in unison and the invitation to learn to trust. Read Chapters Three and Four to learn more. Learn the definition of her Karmic Alibi: As you learn about that night in Chapter Three and feel the power and understand what happens the author shares that night became an anchor and excuse for things not right: It became her Karmic alibi. The taste of tear “ was always on my lips.” Powerful!

Chapter Seven asks a very important question: “Could you imagine a world where forgiveness would never be necessary, where all actions would be without malice, or intent to cause suffering.” Think about the question before answering it. As the chapter continues we learn more about her experiences, her life lessons and how her life took on greater meaning as the journey she was going to experience and those to follow would not be smooth. Every step of the way the Wisdom Auditor was there for her including helping her understand and deal with the death of her father and why her life was spared. Chapter ten focuses on “When Love Finds You,” Chapter 11 explains A Voice in Harmony with the Universe. She includes her own words in the form of some beautiful and powerful poems but Chapter 15 “ mastering the five Radical Degrees of Life Will help readers understand her true message.

Degree One: Risk: What would you do if there was a world without risk? What path would you follow: Would you follow the unexpected path leading to the unknown? But, as the author explains when we risk it all, and deal with the hand of fate, “destiny or karma arrives.” But, she continues to explain that Risk is an illusion we create for ourselves and if our motives or motivations are out of the ordinary then our lives will be more meaningful and beneficial to others and there is no risk. She continues to explain the second half: Inspired to be Wired Triggers and in this case with Risk is triggers a creative impulse and inspiration which guides your inner wisdom to be able to handle and manage with patience the Radical Risk. The rest read on page 97. As we learn about Degree Two: Root: What would you do if we living in a world without suffering? Imagine that!

She poses a great question: Do you wake up every morning believing that you have a fortunate life? She continues by adding how we can learn to create integrity as protection to rid ourselves or sidestep negative energies, confrontations and less than favorable circumstances. Adding in how to cultivate new flexibility in your Radical Root mind leading into Inspired to be Wired is a “tenacious attempt to share real life experiences with empathy in the hope that at the base of your suffering there is a desire to empower yourself to change. The rest read page 99. Degree Three is Remedy: Imagine a world that is finally at Peace and you are the harbinger of that moment. Added in Inspired to be wired outlines the diversions and remedies that will “nurture and strengthen the restoration of your attitude resulting in a better quality of life. Degrees Four and Five: Four: Realization and Five: Reality. Four states: Imagine that your life has transcended all your fears, problems and chaos. Learn more as you read page 103 and then page 105 to understand Reality. Impermanence, overcoming stage fright on your death bed and forgiveness. Listen and understand with your heart open. Create your own Radical Reality thinking with the understanding that this is the time to see things as they really are. The last sentence on page 105 says it all. Read it and learn why. She adds the definition of terms and a short quiz to find out What your Karmic Alibi is? She adds in the website which this reviewer will check out and learn more about, So, take the journey along with author Patricia Karen Gagic and find your Karmic Alibi by entering her world, hearing the voice of the Wisdom Auditor, understanding her experiences, meeting different people, relationships and jobs and learn how integrity can be your protection and compassion the common expression of your being and more.

Hear her voice as the journey is told through her eyes but at different stages of her life as she views things differently from start to finish.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer