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Sheila Deeth has commented on (272) products.

Not Forgotten by Donna M. Zadunajsky
Not Forgotten

Sheila Deeth, December 11, 2014

There’s a casual, chatty, voice-over feel to Donna Zadunajsky’s novel, Not Forgotten, that makes the serious storyline almost a surprise. Great attention to detail results in slow telling with sometimes unconvincing asides. But the story itself is intriguing, leading to some curiously hard to predict twists. No one is quite who they seem in this tale of two sisters, one son, and wounded relationships. Memories lurk behind the scenes. Words of the therapist intervene, and recovery from coma proves swifter and easier than recovery from childhood trauma.

Quick and wise with the computer, swift and skilled at research, and slow to accept comfort or trust another, Deanna tries to pick up the threads of a world she enjoyed, by leaving a world that invited her enjoyment. In so doing, she wakens dark memories and more, and risks losing everything.

I found the medical and police procedural details unconvincing, but that probably says more about me than the story. The protagonist edges her way toward romance, evades disaster, and learns the truth of her past in a nicely twisted mystery, with lots of depth, lots of characters, and lots of introspective musings, all told by a convincingly determined first-person narrator.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review.
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Heart of a Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney

Sheila Deeth, December 11, 2014

As the acclaimed Highland Warrior series progresses, more characters appear, more storylines intersect, and a fine first page filled with names and relationships is a welcome opening to this Highland paranormal romance. After all, there are present and past sibling loyalties to consider, as well as ancient demons, vampires and more, plus castles in Scotland and America, or simply “elsewhere.” But readers, whether faithful of forgetful, will quickly come to speed with the tale, as characters’ natural musings bring earlier histories to life. If it all gets a little rushed at times, just pick out the earlier books and read from the start!

There’s life and death in this story, with cruel tortures and surprising humanity found in the strangest places. But there’s also romance and a storyarc that reveals dark mysteries behind the scenes. Luckily, love is a power for the present, and evil isn’t as one-dimensional as it might seem. Who will fall? Who will be redeemed? And how will these warrior brothers, out of time, resolve the question of where they were meant to be?

The answers still lie in future books, but the balance of past and present mores is filled with intriguing questions of fate and loyalty, while ancient warriors faced with modern-day conveniences (not to mention modern-day, warrior wives) offer plenty of humor, romantic tension, and fun in a romantic adventure that definitely adds depth and mystery to the series.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review. It’s a fun series, best read in order. But please, when does the next one come out?
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The Way the World Is: Book 2 of the Olivia Series by Yael Politis

Sheila Deeth, December 11, 2014

This second book in the Olivia series by Yael Politis takes up where the first novel ended, with Olivia Killion’s world, like the wider world around her, facing sudden unpredictable change. Dreamer Olivia still imagines a perfect life for herself, sitting on a porch, ignoring slavery, shucking corn, watching her child, and waiting for her husband to come home. But past events have made this difficult. Instead she flees to a dream long gone and ends up in a swiftly changing Detroit.

Chance meetings and honest compassion lead Olivia beyond the selfish naivety of her own desires. Innocent questions -- “Do colored children go to school?” -- reveal the darkness of a singularly unequal equality, even as colored slaves still struggle to buy their freedom. And the story of one woman’s coming of age reveals the coming of age of country and people too.

Well-researched history underlies these pages, painting them with delightful, convincing detail. Well-drawn scenes evoke the world of the time, with winter’s snow and ice on the lake, and frantic dashes to freedom. A town grows up, filled with a wealth of characters and needs, beautiful voices, and thoughtful conversations that draw the reader in. Accents are readable and real -- a serious achievement! -- and plots and plans come to realistically satisfying conclusions.

The Way the World Is doesn’t sugar-coat the world or direct its path, but invites readers to see hope behind pain, and joy in honest acceptance. None of us, not even Olivia, needs to achieve all our dreams to find the power that comes from a worthy peace.

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to find this when it was free and I loved it.
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This House Is a Home: A Story of Coal Mining, Family and the Sengers of Stiritz by Philip Nork

Sheila Deeth, December 11, 2014

“Mining develops independence of thought and actions,” says the author in his introduction to this tale of mining ancestry. It wasn’t the experience of my family, but This House is a Home makes it tellingly true as it relates the enticing tale of a school student in the 70s completing the same high school task his son will face in a new century. How will the narrator get his reluctant grandfather to talk about the past? How will he learn enough to create a project? And how will he ever get in touch with those relatives living in homes not yet upgraded, with no telephones? Will his family help?

Young Peter the third seems oddly surprised (from my point of view anyway) to learn his father used cursive not a computer to write his tale. But he’s studying a past where even indoor plumbing wasn’t a given, well-water might be considered to cause diabetes, and Grandpa might never clean up himself or his language -- well, apart from the sh.. word.

Dialog in this novel is a sometimes uncomfortable mix of convincingly colloquial passages with a young student’s penchant for quoting the phrasing of a textbook. After speaking of “the trials and tribulations that the early families had after coal had been discovered,” he asks, innocently, “How can you live without a car?” But it’s told with pleasing good humor and blunt honesty, and the depiction of mining, family, and thwarted love in the 1800s is filled with fascinating detail, and bound to intrigue, even if it's occasionally repetitive -- after all, the history’s being told to an easily distracted boy, and old teaching methods aren’t the same as today.

There are lots of apposite sayings in this tale, and much to be learned about a way of life that’s slower, older, and less cut-throat than the town-life of the narrator. “[R]ememberin’ where you came from is important,” says an uncle, as Peter learns more and more of his family’s past; and “[M]aking money isn’t the only thing in the world.” Sometimes asking questions is all that’s needed to find out who you are, and sometimes the past is a gift, freely given to the present, as in this project and this book.

Disclosure: The author freely gave me an ecopy of this book, and I offer my honest review.
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My Crazy Purple Pen by Ruth Whenham

Sheila Deeth, November 25, 2014

One child’s pen has a life all of its own in Ruth Whenham’s fun rhyming story, My Crazy Purple Pen. The story's brightly illustrated with pictures that invite readers to ask questions -- “Where’s the pen? What has it drawn on this time?” Even the royal corgies are in on the joke as the story progresses. But trouble’s brewing, and perhaps it’s time to find something else to amuse the inky writer. Cool story, great illustrations, smooth reading... What more could you ask? This book is fun for English kids and more. Enjoy.

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to find it when it free.
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