Friday, December 28, 2012

Greenwood and Archer-Marlene Banks

Greenwood and Archer


Marlene Banks

Lift Every Voice Books (LEVB)/Moody, Sep 20 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802406217



In 1921 in Tulsa, taking advantage of the rage of the white community over a newspaper accusing black Dick Rowland of raping white Sarah Page, the racist White Glove Society screams for the lock up of all colored especially in the affluent Greenwood District. Their bigoted shrill wins causes a race riot in Greenwood leaving over 300 dead (see Son of a Preacherman).



Engaged couple, son of a preacher Billy Ray Matthias and oil heiress Benny Freeman are dismayed since the former’s brother Ethan defended Rowland. Benny’s ex-fiancĂ©e Jordan Franks returns; his dumping her turned her into a recluse until Billy Ray intervened. While believing God wants him to preach, Billy Ray prays for his beloved.



Federal agent DP Dooley believes the race riot affirms his rage with God. He vows to destroy the “Godly” White Gloves Society even as they gain new supporters. Ignoring immense pressure to lock up the colored, fervent racist Police Chief Jake Gilbert saw the Greenwood massacre first-hand. He joins with Dooley to end racial hate crimes in his city with support from the newly created Interdenominational Christian Clergy who wants God in everyone’s life; while the Chicago mob sees an opportunity to expand their operation into Tulsa.



This is a powerful historical that looks deep at the aftermath of the Greenwood race riots. With a present day relevancy, the underlying irony of the tale is the diverse cast believes that God is on their side as so many invoke the Lord’s name in defense of whatever they do. Besides a fabulous look at devastated 1921 Tulsa, Marlene Banks makes a case that claiming Jesus has your back is not soul-deep believing in Jesus.



Harriet Klausner



Greenwood and Archer-Marlene Banks

Greenwood and Archer


Marlene Banks

Lift Every Voice Books (LEVB)/Moody, Sep 20 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802406217



In 1921 in Tulsa, taking advantage of the rage of the white community over a newspaper accusing black Dick Rowland of raping white Sarah Page, the racist White Glove Society screams for the lock up of all colored especially in the affluent Greenwood District. Their bigoted shrill wins causes a race riot in Greenwood leaving over 300 dead (see Son of a Preacherman).



Engaged couple, son of a preacher Billy Ray Matthias and oil heiress Benny Freeman are dismayed since the former’s brother Ethan defended Rowland. Benny’s ex-fiancĂ©e Jordan Franks returns; his dumping her turned her into a recluse until Billy Ray intervened. While believing God wants him to preach, Billy Ray prays for his beloved.



Federal agent DP Dooley believes the race riot affirms his rage with God. He vows to destroy the “Godly” White Gloves Society even as they gain new supporters. Ignoring immense pressure to lock up the colored, fervent racist Police Chief Jake Gilbert saw the Greenwood massacre first-hand. He joins with Dooley to end racial hate crimes in his city with support from the newly created Interdenominational Christian Clergy who wants God in everyone’s life; while the Chicago mob sees an opportunity to expand their operation into Tulsa.



This is a powerful historical that looks deep at the aftermath of the Greenwood race riots. With a present day relevancy, the underlying irony of the tale is the diverse cast believes that God is on their side as so many invoke the Lord’s name in defense of whatever they do. Besides a fabulous look at devastated 1921 Tulsa, Marlene Banks makes a case that claiming Jesus has your back is not soul-deep believing in Jesus.



Harriet Klausner



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Uses for Boys-Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys


Erica Lorraine Scheidt

St. Martin’s Griffin, Jan 15, 2013, $9.99

ISBN: 9781250007117



Anna loved life with her single mom when she constantly would ask the “tell-me-again times” and be reassured that her mother only wanted a single girl, her. However, when she turned eight, Anna learns she is too old for fairy tales as her mom seeks her next husband. Deserted in plain sight in a world she no longer understands, Anna proves a chip off the maternal block as she obsesses over a psychological need to belong. She uses sex to make boys her surrogate family. A boy rapes her and she drops out of school to the taunts of slut from her peers. Still a teen, Anna moves in with her latest boyfriend. Anna meets and envies Toy, whose boys are much nicer than those in her life. When she meets Sam and his family, Anna knows what she wants in life is not the Uses of Boys, but the love of a caring “tribe” like she once had when she was very young with her mom.



This is a deep decade in the life of a child-teen using an inner strength to survive her feelings of maternal abandonment. Anna is a wonderful individual who goes from adored child to surviving slut to caring about people. Readers, especially teens, will appreciate Anna’s captivating coming of age tale realizing the importance of looking past derogatory labels into the heart and soul of others.



Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Italian Woman-Jean Plaidy

The Italian Woman


Jean Plaidy

Touchstone, Jan 1 2013, $16.00

ISBN: 9781451686524



In Florence, her father Pope Clement VII arranges for his fourteen year old daughter Caterina de' Medici to marry the second son of the King of France, Prince Henry of Orleans; forcing her to leave behind her beloved Ippolito. That political marriage also broke the heart of Jeanne of Navarre who hoped to become Prince Henry’s wife.



Patient but bitter, Caterina accepted the affronts by her husband and others in his circle who bowed to King Henry’s beloved mistress Diane de Poitiers instead of the mother of his children. When Henry died, Queen Regent Caterina watches her ailing oldest son Francis become king. However, she prefers her second son hale Henry to replace his sick older brother on the throne in order to insure her dynasty. Jeanne, married to Antoine de Bourbon, supports the Huguenots as civil war breaks out in France with Caterina manipulating all sides to strengthen her family hold on the throne.



This reprint of the 1950s published middle historical in Jean Plaidy’s Catherine Medici trilogy (see Madame Serpent) is an engaging sixteenth century French intrigue. Although the action feels tame compared to contemporary written historical biographic fiction (see The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner), fans will enjoy Ms. Plaidy’s saga as the enjoyable storyline enables fans to understand what motivated the key rivals.



Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 17, 2012

1356-Bernard Cornwell

1356


Bernard Cornwell

Harper, Jan 8 2013, $20.99

ISBN: 9780061969676



The war between the English and French on France soil continues unabated. However, in 1356 as the hostile forces prepare for bloody hand to hand combat at Poitiers, Black Friar Ferdinand allegedly steals La Malice from an old coffin. La Malice is the sword that Jesus ordered Peter to hide in the garden of Gethsemane and everyone wants Saint Peter’s blessed blade as the legend is the person yielding this sword will rule.



Pursuing Ferdinand is Avignon papal enforcer Father Calade and his hooded hawk. The Earl of Northampton orders his mercenary Sir Thomas “La Batard” Hookton and his band to find Saint Peter’s sword. Having just switched sides over payments due, Sir Thomas obeys the order leading his troop across France fighting his former allies, treacherous friends, and warlord hordes and duplicitous churchmen. At the same time major forces prepare for a bloody hand to hand combat at Poitiers with Sir Thomas and his mercenaries joining the deadly battle.



1356 continues the exciting epic medieval era escapades of Sir Thomas Hookton (see the Grail Quest: Archer's Tale, Vagabond and Heretic) as the pivotal battle of the Hundred Years War looms. Though the myriad of subplots never quite cohesively gel in spite of the various factions converging on Poitiers, historical fans especially of the Grail Quest series (though this is apparently a sidebar tale) will relish this deep at medieval combat with incredible bloody battle scenes as everyone wants to claim through la Malice that God supports their holy cause.



Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard-Meesha Mink

Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard


Meesha Mink

Touchstone, Jan 1 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781451688979



Sophie “Suga” Alvarez and Daniel “Dane” Greenley met and fell in love while attending college. Though total opposites in outlook as she believed in hard work while he took the hustler’s route, they became an entry. A few years after their first meeting, they remain a couple, but Suga, a junior account executive is disappointed on the path of their relationship. She wants to drop the “Y” in her status by becoming his wife Sophie rather than his wifey Suga. However, she also refuses to marry her beloved until he ends his loan shark career by going straight.



Dane swears to his Suga he will go legit, but his vow proves too late when the couple is arrested and appear heading to prison; her only escape is betraying her Dane. Suga’s life is in turmoil, but more tsuris hammers her when she learns her father’s felonious secrets and their impact on her relationship with BFF Luscious; and decides to run Dane’s business.



The latest Real Wifey street lit is an exciting fast-paced urban noir as the wifey tries to prove a chip off the old man’s block by taking control of her mate’s loan shark operation. Although the overall premise is similar to the previous Lucious entries (see Real Wifeys: Get Money and Real Wifeys: On The Grind), Suga brings freshness with her seemingly off the streets’ outlook. Fans will enjoy this gritty tale of an urban wifey turning cement jungle warrior.



Harriet Klausner

The Death of Bees-Lisa O'Donnell

The Death of Bees


Lisa O'Donnell

Harper, Jan 3 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9780062209849



In Glasgow, fifteen year old Marnie Doyle comes home to find her father dead from suffocation inside the family house and her mother hung in the outdoor shed. Marnie tells her eleven year old sister Nelly. Neither wants foster care; so they agree to inter their negligent abusive parents Gene and Isabel in the yard and pretend the deceased are in Turkey until Marnie turns sixteen and can legally become her sibling’s guardian. Knowing the druggies that Gene and Isabel are, everyone including Mick the ice cream vender drug dealer demanding payment from their dad buys the temporary abandonment belief.



Their lonely gay neighbor Lennie the “pervert” pariah realizes what is going on and begins feeding and sheltering the sisters. Meanwhile Mick finds the passports of his two missing customers so he knows something is not right. When Lennie’s dog finds the buried bones, he reinters them in his yard. Finally the kids’ estranged maternal grandfather Robert T. MacDonald visits his offspring seeking redemption from his daughter for abandoning her twice but is nasty towards his grandchildren. As their plan unravels, Marnie and Nelly also navigate school.



The Death of Bees is a fascinating relationship drama starring two young victims of parental neglect and abuse. The intriguing storyline rotates perspective between Lennie and the sisters so that the audience receives a more rounded view of events. Although Nelly’s voice feels off key, readers who enjoy a gritty extended family Scottish street lit drama will appreciate redemption vs. abuse of two young sisters trying to shine brightly in a dark environs.



Harriet Klausner



Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Two Week Wait-Sarah Rayner

The Two Week Wait


Sarah Rayner

St. Martin’s Griffin, Dec 24 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9781250021489



In Brighton, Lou and Sofia are a happy couple residing in the B&B owned by the former’s mother. Lately Lou has had bladder issues so she accompanied by her partner go for tests where she learns she has a large fibroid cyst on her womb. Lou undergoes surgery to have the nonmalignant tumor removed.



In Yorkshire, Cath survived a cancer scare but at the cost of becoming infertile. She wants desperately to give her caring husband Rich an offspring. Investigating alternatives Cath thinks the costly egg sharing procedure is the best choice though there is no guarantee of success; as the child will have Rich’s DNA and that of another female.



Lou wants to be a mother too though Sofia detests the idea of raising a child. Investigating options, Lou believes the egg sharing concept is the way to go as she could share motherhood with another woman. Soon the dreams of Lou and Cath will converge.



The Two Week Wait is a fascinating look at how individuals share the same life-changing desires though seemingly polar opposites (especially when it comes to their respective sexual orientation); Cath and Lou share the same dream of motherhood. Although the character driven storyline can slow down at times due to the deep look at the emotions of the lead two women, fans will respect both females (and Sarah Rayner) while relishing their angst-laden efforts to become mothers.



Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Cove-Ron Rash

The Cove


Ron Rash

Ecco/HarperCollins, Nov 6 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780061804205



The Cove lies near the Appalachian North Carolina village of Mars Hill. The villagers fear the Cove as a home for ghosts and fetches. Living near the Cove on the same farm where they grew up are the Shelton siblings. Due to a birthmark, locals ostracize Laurel as a witch who they believe belongs with the shadows of the Cove while her brother Hank has just returned from the front minus a hand. Thus working their family farm is almost impossible as no one will accept a job on land where Laurel Shelton resides.



While at the creek doing laundry, Laurel finds a severely injured Walter Smith, who suffered massive hornet stings. She heals the mute flutist and soon nurse and patient fall in love. At the same time, Army recruiter Chauncey Feith decides Walter is a dangerous adversary working for the Kaiser. An ultra-patriot, Chauncey, emboldened by alcohol, decides to take matters into his hand and eliminate the enemy threat to Mars Hill.



This late WWI drama is a deep atmospheric thriller that warns readers to beware of patriots who claim the flag belongs only to them and those who think the same way as they do. Anyone with a differing opinion is a traitor (mindful of Iraq circa 2003 with Congressional Representatives Ney and Jones changing House cafeterias’ French fries to freedom fries). The Shelton pair and Smith are fascinating fully developed characters while the townsfolk represent uneducated superstitious rural folks; with Feith over the top of Mount Mitchell as a super-patriot flag waiving stereotype. Readers will enjoy Ton Rash’s strong look at the home front during WWI.



Harriet Klausner





Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright-Rea Nolan Martin

The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright


Rea Nolan Martin

WiaWaka Press/Lulu, Apr 10 2012, 25.00

www.lulu.com

ISBN: 9780557074952



In Canaan, New Jersey, sixty-three year old beautician Vera Wright and her husband Monk attend services at the Church of St. Jude the Apostle as they do every Sunday. Father Max Alter’s sermons encourage his flock to let God into their life. Heeding her pastor’s advice, Vera begins coming to church for the daily mass



One day at the church, Vera sees a light shine through the glass window of Jesus. She notices the light reflects that half the attendees seem redeemed while the rest stained with the blood of salvation. Having let God into her life, Vera is shocked with what the Lord wants from her; as the Divine Father picked the least (in her mind) to lead the world to a new spiritual revelation.



The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright is a thought provoking tale that uses humor to remind readers what matters in life. The profound storyline focuses on the awakening of the heroine who must overcome her doubts and the doubts of others including those who know her as the baby boomer beautician. Rea Nolan Martin provides a wonderful inspirational story as Vera “almighty” affirms what eighteenth century hymnist William Cowper wrote: “God Moves in Mysterious Ways.”



Harriet Klausner