Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

Book Review: Drive-by Shouting by Mark Chase (9781911559122)

41tKonwJ7bL._SY346_Oh, how those girls had loved an artist; now, guitars were carried by buskers and out of touch wannabes, while guys who couldn’t play a note, but called themselves DJs, got laid every night.

Matt and Gram were down and out band members in England finally on there way to the top when they were dropped from their record label.  By pure dumb luck, desperation and selling out, Matt became a TV celebrity and family man, and at 36 years old Gram kept his integrity as a musician by riding the bus to play gigs at local taverns with minimal pay.   After several years and many bad decisions, the fame and fortune comes back to bite Matt in the butt, and he asks Gram for help to which Gram immediately turns him down.  The story goes on to include secrets, revenge, and karma.

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Book review: The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson (0316159360)

This book is an epistolary novel which means it is written in letters.  The interesting part is that the letters are written by one person only.  You would think this would make it difficult to follow how the other characters are feeling, but Ms. Robinson does an excellent job of letting the reader know.

The main character, Olivia, is a down-and-out film producer who is told her sister, Maddie, has cancer.  The story centers around Olivia’s support for her sister (negotiating with her family or doctors on what is best for Maddie), her non-existent love life (should she or shouldn’t she), and to the difficult task of producing a film that has been done before (stand by her ideas or give in to the status quo).

I really enjoyed this story.  It is about hope and hopelessness.  It’s about strength and weakness.  It’s about love of family and love of oneself.  Even though the subject matter is serious, the prose is witty and stimulating.   A good summer read!

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Book review: Them by Nathan McCall (9781433206467) Book on CD

Barlowe Reed is a single, African American man living in a home with his nephew in the old Fourth Ward of Atlanta.  He is fed up with Caeser (his name for white authority) and continues to work as a printer and hang out with the local black men at the Minimart.  Then one day a white couple buys the house next door to Barlowe.  Before you know it more white people start moving into the neighborhood and the locals of the old Fourth Ward aren’t pleased.

This is a story full of racial tension throughout and the climax is predictable, but very thought provoking.  The characters are very simple, but complex and Mr. McCall brings us into the realms of racial prejudice from both sides of the fence.  I listened to the audio book which was read superbly by Mr. McCall.  This is a well written novel that holds your attention to the end.

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Book review: Journey to Her Dreams by Iris Blobel (9781468144765)

Hollie has a great life in Tasmania, Australia living with her father, Murray, on their farm.  She has a wonderful and supportive group of friends and has met the man of her dreams.  However, her dreams are not all good.  She keeps dreaming of a woman presumably in Ireland who is unhappy and being abused by her husband.  The dream seems so real that she has to find out if it is true.

Samantha, or Sam, as her friends and family call her, lives in Dublin, Ireland, is a successful business woman  and is married to a charming man.  Or is he?

Hollie’s dreams take her to Ireland on a quest to find the woman who is haunting her, but little does she know that what she finds will change her life forever.

This is a story about family, friends, and finding the truth. I found both the main characters and the supporting characters to be well-rounded and complimentary to the story.

Thank you to Iris Blobel for giving me the opportunity to review her novel.

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Book review: Edge of Evil (Ali Reynolds #1) by J.A. Jance (0060828412)

Ali has lost her job, her marriage and her best friend all in a few days. The job and marriage are a wash due to replacements with younger women, but her friend’s alleged suicide does not ring true. Ali moves home to Sedona, Arizona and with the support of her family and friends starts an investigation of her own into her friend’s death.

A good, but predictable ending.

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Book review: Fortunate Son by Walter Mosley (031606628)

The story is about two boys brought together by fate and torn apart by fate. Thomas is a young boy man born to a single mother who meets a white, widowed doctor with a young son of his own, Eric. Thomas and Eric become very close growing up in the wealthy doctor’s home in California, but when Thomas’s mother dies unexpectedly, Thomas’s father comes to take him away from the only family he had ever known. From there Thomas’s life is sad and lonely while he drops out of school at a young age and sells drugs on the street. Ironically, Eric’s life is also sad and lonely in that he cannot seem to love anyone like he loved Thomas and his mother even though he excels in everything he does and attracts people who love him dearly. Eventually, Eric and Thomas brought together again in a shocking reunion.

I admire the character, Thomas, for his love of life despite his terrible experiences, but this book is pretty depressing starting when Thomas is taken away from the doctor’s home.

The book tells us that luck is irrelevant.  Thomas was lucky that he still believed in love even though his life negated that feeling, and ironically, Eric was lucky in his life status, but unlucky in love.

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Book review: Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond (9780061863158)

Welcome to the real world of trying to become a child star.

Ruth Rabinowitz is helping her daughter Bethany find her niche in the rigorous and volatile television and/or motion picture business in Hollywood. But is it costing her her marriage and her sanity?

Mimi Rogers is a long-time, aggressive, cranky, talent agent for child, teenage and young adult actors. Coming to Hollywood as a struggling child actor herself that did not pan out, she became a talent agent by accident and the rest is history. She swore that she would not become attached to her proteges, but there is one young actor who touches her heart like no other, but what if this one fails?

Quinn Reilly is a talented young actor at the ripe old age of 14 years old who was pretty much abandoned by his parents who are footing his bills just to keep him out of their hair and abandoned by Mimi Rogers because he made a mistake while living under her roof. Now he resides with a down and out couple who allow him to sleep on a mattress on the floor. Will Quinn succeed in the business or will he fall prey to other temptations?

Allison Addison knows she isbeautiful and talented, but at what price? Mimi knows she is going to be famous, but will her personal life interfere with her dreams?

Laurel Buehl is a talented young actor who knows her mother is dying of cancer, but can’t tell anyone. Her mother loves her too much to have Laurel give up her dream. Can Laurel keep her secret from her father and her friends?

This very unique story tells of the unglamorous world of Hollywood with the hard, often disappointing set backs of being a child actor. The characters are both vulnerable and strong. Their stories are uplifting, heartbreaking and sole searching.

Thank you to Ms. Hammond and LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers for the opportunity to review this book.

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