25 Women to Read Before You Die

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Sheila Deeth has commented on (359) products.

Robin in the Hood by Diane J. Reed
Robin in the Hood

Sheila Deeth, August 18, 2015

Robin is going to rob banks, and she might fall in love. She’s fallen out of favor at her rich school because Daddy’s fixed the books and can’t pay the bills. But now...

From the first scene, told in a convincing first-person teen voice, to the last, Robin in the Hood is delightfully tongue in cheek, randomly crazy, and humorously odd. It tells of a teen coming of age, family trust lost long ago, the dawning of love, and the bombing of bad guys with trebuchets and jello pits. But there’s wisdom and mystery hidden under the crazy action, quick-fire dialog, and rapid romance. Creek, though mystically odd, repeatedly retreats to an appropriate distance. Robin, though over-the-top and wild, slowly learns there’s more to love and rejection than quick assumptions. Prayers, though no one is sure who they’re sent to, are answered. And a nicely modern Robin Hood theme slips pleasingly into the space around a hidden lake.

This isn’t the sanitized Robin Hood where rich people never get hurt. Nor is it the overly-socially-conscious sort that agonizes over other poeple’s pain. Rather it’s a quick sharp romp through modern fantasy, blending fairytale, romance, excitement and fun in well-measured portions --- a fast, cool, highly recommended read.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy during the author’s blog tour. I’m just sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it.
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Khawla's Wall by Andrew Madigan
Khawla's Wall

Sheila Deeth, August 18, 2015

Along the Arabian Peninsula, “Wasta is the hand that guides every aspect of life.” But influence, like walls, serves a genuine purpose, holding everything in place. And there are many walls in this intriguing novel.

Author Andrew Madigan paints places, past and present, with vivid words, using old times and customs to remind reader, and protagonist, that space is not happiness; luxury is no guarantee; and privacy is not peace. A pearl-diver seeks the best treasure from depths, while fake pearls flood the market; an honest employee seeks honest improvement, but mustn’t rock the boat; a generous son tries to be true to his past, but the past won’t be true to him. And a beautiful women hides behind her wall of temptation.

Is Khawla seeking freedom? Is Mahmoud seeking love? And do the outsiders with statistics and computers want truth, or just a truth that fits their safely walled assumptions? Beautiful writing, evocative scenery, well-wrought history, and smooth sociology pull the reader in. Clear authenticity, generous and well-researched sympathy, and honest dialogs recreate a wholly believable emirate culture, pleasingly observed and humanly flawed. A wall is built, and the reader must turn the pages to see who it will hurt, should it ever fall.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I loved it.
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Fairy Tale Murders by Kelly Money

Sheila Deeth, August 18, 2015

Told with fascinating and convincing detail, Kelly Money’s Fairy Tale Murders is a dark tale of the birth of and search for a sick serial killer in Topeka. The story opens when Detective Kate Kingsley’s best friend leaves home with no forwarding message. A strange parcel contains an oddly inscribed children’s story. And a young man sinks into sexual temptation and evil.

The author’s attention to detail brings locations and occupations convincingly to life. But an equally detailed approach to her antagonist’s actions make this a novel best read by mature readers with strong stomachs, perhaps. Short chapters invite the reader to pick up and put down the book during a busy day. Leisurely, sometimes bumpy narration leaves time for extensive backstories. And dialog, though sometimes long-winded, keeps all the details in place for the casual reader. Meanwhile, the antagonist's mounting errors are carefully choreographed as the tale draws to a close.

Kate and her partner are pleasingly ordinary cops, with real world distractions and lives. They add a lot to this tale of a less ordinary young man whose life devolves into the surreal. The presence of a strong female lead deepens a tale of female loss. And “no stone” will be unturned as the investigation proceeds.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy and I offer my honest review.
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A Ripple in the Water by Donna Small

Sheila Deeth, August 18, 2015

When does attraction turn to love? When does loss turn to need? And when does a child become a man? These questions and more fuel Donna Small’s quietly convincing tale of middle-aged romance, where the widowed mother of a swimmer finds herself falling for the coach. But the biggest question of all is, when can a woman of a certain age date a man of a much younger age?

The characters feel very real in this novel. A mother’s concern for her daughter, the correct application of sunscreen, swimming, swim meets, and everything in between is authentically and evocatively portrayed. Kate’s journey from grief is described with a pleasingly light touch, honest, deep, and healing. Meanwhile, her unexpected journey to romance feels equally real, from tentative admission of attraction to something which grows convincingly. And if the wonderful, gorgeous guy is a little too adult for his age, isn’t that how age-different romances are meant to start.

There’s a tentative darkness to this tale, with haunting fears invading growing delights. But most of all, there’s a thoroughly modern honesty, a genuine feel for human love and flaws, and a pleasing delicacy that’s thoroughly sensual without overabundant sexuality. There's a lot of soul-searching as the story progresses, but the problems are real, and the result is a thoroughly enjoyable, absorbing read.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review.
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Now I Am Paper by Uvi Poznansky

Sheila Deeth, August 11, 2015

Now I am Paper, by Uvi Poznansky, begs to be read with a small child who enjoys playing hide and seek. Whose little foot would the tree like to feel? Who would it love to hold and swing? And who might climb?

Pictures in beautifully suffused light evoke a happy childhood time, for child and tree. But the life of a tree includes more than leaves and branches. The ax intervenes and the reader soon sees, together with child and tree, how wood becomes paper.

It’s a nicely intriguing lesson in real-world mechanics, but that’s not the end. Leaves of paper can speak just as surely as those on a tree, and they do. In the final product, the author’s poetic and artistic touches combine to make this a beautiful poem to share, and a lovely picture book for all to enjoy.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review.
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