Friday, September 5, 2014

Michael J. Bowler - There Is No Fear - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

The most famous boy in the world is a prisoner. He’s been charged with a crime he didn’t commit, a crime that could send him to prison for the rest of his life. Languishing within The Compound, the most secure juvenile facility in California, while the district attorney vows to make an example of him because of his celebrity status, Lance must endure the daily indignities of the incarcerated.

New Camelot is fractured without him. Ricky and Chris are bereft, living for the weekly phone call that becomes their only lifeline to the brother they so desperately love, while Arthur and Jenny feel the loss of their son with a sadness that can’t be quelled. And what about Michael, the highly volatile teen who helped write the proposition that will change California forever? Could he really be the monster he says he is? His hatred of Ricky is palpable, and his instability may well threaten the lives of everyone at New Camelot.

As the election looms closer, Proposition 51 takes on an even greater significance in light of the pending trial of the century. The more harshly fifteen-year-old Lance is treated within the broken justice system, the more he contemplates the wisdom of his idea that children need more adult rights. If The Child Voter Act becomes law, won’t it simply allow adults to throw more kids into prison with impunity?

Whichever way the voters decide, his greatest fear remains the same: will he ever again be with the people he loves?

The Knight Cycle Continues…


My Review

"I'm not ready to be a grownup yet."

With that simple admission, author Michael J. Bowler sums up the essence of young adult literature. So often, writers try to make their teenage characters seem more put together than they really are. It could be a ploy, telling young readers what they want to hear, that authority figures suck. It could be a marketing strategy that love equals sex because sex sells. It could be the belief that teenagers are looking to escape their problems, not solve them, so let's keep them disconnected because they want to be. But that kind of mentality is shortchanging a smart and capable teenage audience.

Yet again and again, publishers choose to spit out the same old story that teenagers don't need adults, feeding them the line that they can overcome any obstacle on their own. All they need is a hot love interest and they're all set, able to conquer anything that gets in their way.

But Bowler knows teens better than most. In 2000, he was invited to visit the White House when he was named the National Big Brother of the Year. For thirty years, he has volunteered within the juvenile justice system of Los Angeles, and he's been a high school teacher for a quarter of a century. He's not writing about some abstract, fantasy concept of what teenagers are supposed to be. He knows them firsthand because he's at the epicenter of youth culture, both good and bad.

That's why the adult characters in THERE IS NO FEAR are just as important as their younger counterparts. King Arthur is a father figure, the stabilizing influence for a group of troubled teens who aren't sure where they fit in or where they belong. He's a source of unconditional love because he expects them to mess up and make mistakes. He knows they're not going to be perfect. He's ready and willing to welcome them home time and again, never shutting his door to the prodigal sons in his midst. Arthur says so poignantly, "I've learned that it's ever and always my job to set a right and proper example for them. I've learned to trust them, and never, ever give up on them."

There are many touching scenes between King Arthur and his adopted son/protege, Lance. When fifteen-year-old Lance is sent to prison, Arthur waits in line outside the gate, desperate to see him. He never misses a visit. The minute he arrives, he's anxiously watching for Lance's face behind the barred window to his cell.

Another key moment is when Arthur has a heart-to-heart with Lance about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his foster father. There is a lot of pain that gets dredged up in that conversation, but Arthur is astute enough to realize that Lance has been carrying around a lot of heavy misconceptions about himself that need to be addressed and set right. It's a talk that's not easy to have, but it's one that Arthur doesn't shy away from.

A second adult worthy of mention is Merlin. Although he only makes one appearance of merit in THERE IS NO FEAR, it's an important one. Lance is foundering under a false sense of identity. He thinks he has to be perfect to be truly worthy anyone's love. But Merlin sets him right, saying, "In this era there seems to be an obsession with the perfect male and the perfect female, and if you cannot live up to those ideals you are somehow a failure. These idealized notions of perfection are like your Hollywood movies, Lance–pure fantasy. Do not destroy yourself because you cannot measure up to the fantasy image of the perfect boy. Would that you could see yourself through my eyes, you would see a true hero, an amazing young man who is more real than most." And that's a certainly a message all media-obsessed teens need to hear—it's okay to be yourself.

If Bowler could be there for every teen out there, you get the sense that he would. However, even if he can't personally visit each and every teen, he's able to reach a lot more through his books. Bowler is an author deserving of a wide spread audience, especially among inner city youth who are at risk of becoming just another statistic in the criminal justice system, like many of the boys Lance meets in prison. They need to hear that they're not mistakes, and that they're loved and someone cares about them. And if Bowler's unable to get to them personally, I think he hopes that his readers will take up the cause, because he can't do it alone, he needs help. Social change may start with one person, but it culminates with the active participation of the many.

The Round Table-inspired works of Bowler's are certainly meant to entertain, but they do so much more than that. They're the trumpet call in the night. They're the summoning sword held aloft. They're a call to action to right the many injustices facing the world today. It's up to readers whether or not they want to remain passive bystanders, who read simply as a means of escape, or if they're willing to take Bowler up on his offer and join the New Camelot because it's real and it's there, waiting right outside the pages of this book.

***

There Is No Fear can be purchased at:
Amazon

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Pages: 284
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: July 17, 2014
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9780990306337
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of five novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place, and There Is No Fear––who grew up in San Rafael, California. His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

He majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University and earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to seven different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He has already written the two remaining books that complete The Children of the Knight Cycle and both will be released in 2014.

He is currently at work on a horror/suspense novel based on his screenplay, “Healer.”

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog
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Blog Tour Site


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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cathi Stoler - The Hard Way - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Private Investigator Helen McCorkendale’s childhood friend, Jimmy Scanlan, has just opened January, the most lavish casino and hotel resort on the Las Vegas Strip. After attending the grand opening, Helen returns to New York and encourages her friend, Laurel Imperiole, Senior Editor at Women Now magazine, to create a get-away contest for readers offering a weekend at the hotel as the grand prize. The winner, Dawn Chapman, a jewelry store employee from Cincinnati, denies entering the contest and initially refuses the trip. Finally persuaded by Laurel to accept, she arrives at the hotel and nearly faints when she passes the hotel’s elite meeting rooms where the International Diamond Dealers Consortium is holding its annual meeting. She insists on returning home immediately.

Suspicious of her behavior, Jimmy visits her suite to encourage her to attend the Saturday afternoon pool party, saying she can leave on his private jet the next day. Later in the afternoon, he finds Chapman’s dead body by the pool. She’s been murdered—an unusual double poisoning by cyanide and diamond dust.

Dawn Chapman was not who she appeared to be, and therein lies a mystery. But to Helen and Laurel, the main task is to take Jimmy Scanlon off the suspect list and clear his name. Will their luck hold? Or will it be a crap shoot, as they roll the dice and do it ‘the hard way,’ going for doubles when the odds are against them. Losing may mean losing their lives.



My Review

Gamblers are a fickle lot. If there's even a hint of a suggestion that a place is jinxed, they'll up and run like nobody's business, never to return. So when a contest winner from Women Now magazine is murdered at the newly opened January Resort and Casino, all of Las Vegas holds its collective breath. Will owner Jimmy Scanlan be charged with homicide or will he simply lose his shirt? Somebody's out to get him and his most trusted friend P.I. Helen McCorkendale is determined to get to the bottom of things and save him from the slammer, as well as impending bankruptcy.

The clues start to add up, one by one. The International Diamond Dealers Consortium is holding a convention at Jimmy's casino. The victim, Dawn Chapman, was poisoned when someone laced her gin and tonic with diamond dust, a modus operandi akin to swallowing ground-up glass. Jimmy's main rival on the Strip is the owner of The Florentine, who tried to keep Jimmy from setting up shop, but failed. His security detail has ties to the consortium, but he begged off holding the convention, claiming that a movie was being shot at his casino and he couldn't accommodate their needs, making it more than suspicious that he was setting Jimmy up to take the fall.

Helen has her work cut out for her, but she's ready and willing to take on some of the richest diamond dealers in the world. They don't want their dirty secrets coming to light, but she doesn't let anything dissuade her from investigating their back room dealings. She knows that she's walking on dangerous ground, looking into the de Groot family, one of the most prestigious in the diamond trade. They recently acquired a red diamond believed to be lost after Tsar Nicholas was executed during the Russian Revolution. With its sudden reappearance, more than a few jewel thieves are looking to steal it for themselves.

Was Dawn Chapman one of those thieves? When her criminal background is revealed, Helen begins to question the motives of this supposed jewelry store worker from Cincinnati. Who was she really and how come she didn't want to visit Las Vegas? Did she cross paths with someone in Jimmy's hotel before she turned up dead? Was it someone from the consortium or another hustler who wanted her out of the picture when it came to stealing the diamond?

Stoler poses a lot of questions as her narrative thread weaves its way toward a compelling conclusion. Sometimes the good guys win, and sometimes they don't. It takes a mystery writer worthy of her salt to shake things up a bit at the end, and not give readers exactly what they're looking for, but something decidedly more off center, something better. There's nothing worse than figuring a mystery out in the opening pages, and Stoler works in enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing all the way to the final chapter for an ending many won't see coming.

***

The Hard Way can be purchased at:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $14.95 paperback
Pages: 280
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Release: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819497
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Cathi Stoler’s mysteries feature PI Helen McCorkendale and magazine editor, Laurel Imperiole. The Hard Way is the third book in the series. The first, Telling Lies, took on the subject of stolen Nazi art. Book 2, Keeping Secrets, delved into the subject of hidden identity. Stoler’s short stories include: “Magda,” in the Criminal Element Anthology Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble, “Out of Luck,” in the Anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices, “Fatal Flaw,” a finalist for the Derringer for Best Short Story and “Money Never Sleeps” both published at Beat to A Pulp. Cathi is working on a novella, Nick of Time, which features International gambler, Nick Donahue. She is also starting a new series, Bar None, A Murder On The Rocks Mystery, with female bar owner, Jude Dillane. Cathi is a member of the New York/Tri State chapter of Sisters In Crime. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Links to connect with Cathi:
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Facebook
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Blog
Blog Tour Site


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Friday, July 25, 2014

DJ Wilson - Ride to Redemption - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Righting another's wrong landed D in WITSEC, the witness protection program and cost him family, friends, and everything of substance in his life.

Loneliness is his constant companion until he meets Candi, the girl of his dreams. He and Candi embark on a three-week ride to redemption where they deal with mind-numbing deceit, perilous treachery, their overpowering lust for each other and their personal demons.

Nevertheless, new opportunities bring a chance to begin again. And, it doesn't hurt that he's got 200 pounds of illicit diamonds to use to ease the pain of those wronged. He will continue the redemption process by way of a well thought out plan involving a 5,000-mile adventure through the Western United States and Canada.

When D meets Candice, aka Candi, she captures his heart, mind and soul the instant she 'inadvertently' almost runs him down in the Starbucks drive-thru. Candi joins him on his three-week, two-wheeled ride to redemption, where they're forced to face their personal demons, while dealing with wanton lust, mind-numbing deceit and perilous treachery.

Spectacular scenery and a cast of unforgettable characters they meet along the way makes the journey memorable, but nothing prepares them for the sacrifices they must eventually make midway in the ride.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same," sadly, does not ring true for Candice and D throughout this first of a two part series. Lust and greed are forever game-changers, even for those who desperately seek redemption.



My Review

In the realm of romantic fiction, male authors are a rarity and when men do pen a romance, they tend to write from the woman's point of view. Not so with DJ Wilson. With his protagonist D, Wilson doesn't just dip his toe into the waters of eroticism, he jumps in with both feet. As a debut writer, he boldly dives into the territory of E L James and Sylvia Day, but instead he allows readers to experience these kinds of imagined scenarios from a guy's perspective.

It's a gutsy thing to do because Wilson is so honest in his portrayal of D. He holds nothing back. D isn't politically correct. He's full of locker room bravado. He's the type of guy who's going to brag about his conquests the morning after. D is all about the physical, even if he claims he wants something more substantial. Ultimately, he's after "someone who could see things through my eyes." And really, what man doesn't want that?

There's more than a hint of fantasy to Wilson's writing. D is looking for the perfect someone, the kind that doesn't exist. Reality is too messy and complicated for him to find a woman gift wrapped to his specifications. No matter how many fallen stars he wishes on, it's not going to happen. In fact, Wilson gives the usual preconceived notions a twist when it comes to gender expectations by having D say, "I'm not a toy to be played with, just to be discarded, when the fun runs out. Huff!!!! Sounds like a woman's complaint, I've heard too many times before. Go figure." The exultation of breath and the four exclamation points help drive the point home - both men and women want to be desired for more than their bodies, they want to be wanted for who they are.

There's a tension that exists in the narrative. D succumbs to Candi's charms because he likes that she's a good listener. He's had a slew of problems in recent years from marital to financial, and he's all about starting from scratch. D is crossing his fingers that Candi can be the key to his making a fresh start. He's lonely and looking for companionship, but the two of them end up spending more time fooling around than forging any type of lasting bond.

When it comes down to it, all relationships are about trust. If it's not there, it's not going to work, period. When details of Candi's background come to light, D is rocked to his core. He was starting to give his heart to this woman, and now he's in too deep to get out unscathed. In the beginning D said, "I silently wished that Candi could be a part of that hope I'd felt this morning and that we wouldn't end up as heartache later on."

As the first book in Wilson's series concludes, it looks like D is not going to get his wish. He's left reeling when Candi throws him a curveball, scratching his head at how these events could have transpired. He thought he knew her. He thought that even after she revealed all of her painful secrets, there weren't anymore shocking revelations to have to endure. Boy, was he wrong.

But not all is as it seems from D's vantage point. There's more going on than he's aware of. Wilson teases the reader into his newly released follow-up, creating a momentum to catapult the story forward. It's a trick of the trade to leave the reader wanting more, but in this case it's justified because it fully encapsulates the angst that D is feeling as the final chapter unfolds. Should he give Candi another chance? Should readers? If this ride is all about redemption, then Wilson's urging everyone to stay tuned, because it's not over yet.

***

Ride to Redemption can be purchased at:
Amazon, Smashwords

Prices/Formats: $3.99 ebook, $10.95 paperback
Pages: 282
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release: December 2, 2013
Publisher: Fideli Publishing
ISBN: 9781604147773
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, I graduated from Cumberland University, located in a small town you've never heard just inside Kentucky quite a few years ago. At the present, we're living beside beautiful Dale Hollow Lake.

Blessed to travel, blessed with health, blessed with second chances, too numerous to list here.

As a blogger, featured on many sites, including the Huffington Post, I have been humbled beyond measure, more times than not, by all that life has thrown our way.

Successful, that's me, catastrophic failure, that's me too. We've been there, done that and have the life changing scars to prove it.

Our writings reflect life through the throes of heartache and loss, as well as through the joys redemption brings.

"Life is not waiting for the Storms to Pass, It's Learning to Dance in the Rain."

Links to connect with DJ:
Web Site
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog Tour Site


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ken Dalton - Brother, can you spare a dime? - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Bear’s planned afternoon of beer and baseball is interrupted by a phone call from a man he hardly remembers from their years at Elko High. So begins the tale of a cold-blooded murder and the theft of a dime worth two million dollars!

Faced with bi-coastal murder suspects, Pinky hands Bear, and Flo the sweaty task of tracking down one of the suspects along the hot, humid North Carolina shoreline while he chooses to pursue the other on the Kona coast of Hawaii. But Pinky, after imbibing too many Mai Tai’s with a bevy of sky-goddesses, and a moved-up court date, is forced to return to Carson City, sans suspect.

Bear and Flo hit pay dirt and with the identity of the killer in hand they fly across the Pacific Ocean to the smoggy Beijing airport where they meet Joe, the uncle of Pinky’s Chinese secretary. The enigmatic Joe quotes Confucius and Shakespeare as he purposefully guides the dynamic duo to their final destination— oxygen sparse Lhasa, Tibet.



Cliff hanger contest

Brother, can you spare a dime? ends with a prize winning cliff hanger that defies all logic.

Let Ken know how you would answer the question and he will choose the two answers he likes the best. Both winners will receive a complete paperback set of his Pinky and Bear mystery series.

The Bloody Birthright
The Big Show Stopper
Death is a Cabernet
The Tartan Shroud
Brother, can you spare a dime?


Five books, each one personally inscribed!

Email your cliff hanger answer to ken@kendalton.com and in a couple of months Ken will post the winners' names on his Facebook page.


My Review

Ken Dalton has created a sub-genre of fiction all his own—the comedic mystery. Murder isn't supposed to be funny, but somehow he makes it so. Not the act of killing per se, but more like the personalities of his two investigators, looking to piece it together. Flo and Bear are a trip. They're partners, not to mention lovers, who are just as adept at solving a crime as they are at fleecing their boss. Pinky, who they derogatorily call "the shrimp," serves as the straight man to their laugh-a-minute humor. He's the money hungry, sex crazed lawyer, who hires them mostly because he's afraid of them.

In this installment of Dalton's series, the clues they have seem pretty cut and dry. A successful rare coin dealer is shot in the head while sitting in his wheelchair. His brother stumbles across his body, walking through the blood, touching the gun and it's no big surprise when he's charged with the homicide. The twist is that his brother's two million dollar 1894 S dime is missing, and it doesn't help that his commercial real estate business could use just that amount to stave off impending bankruptcy.

But Pinky doesn't think he did it, and neither do Bear and Flo. So they backtrack the movements of the deceased, discovering that he talked to two other collectors about the dime at a recent coin show. They start with one then move on to the other as they begin to tighten the noose. But it's all lighthearted fun as the chase begins. Bear and Flo continually squeeze more funds out of Pinky to finance their expense account, and Pinky mutters and groans that he's going to be broke by the end of their quest. Their back and forth bickering is as hilarious as it is revelatory. With each expenditure request, Bear and Flo get closer and closer to nailing their target, and Pinky gets closer and closer to blowing his top.

Where do Bear and Flo finally end up? China. Dalton does an exemplary job of showing what it's like for two average American citizens, traveling in a Communist regime. The crowds. The oversight. The pollution. Money is important, but not as much as being connected to the right people. In China, it's not what you know, but who you know, and luckily a relative of a friend of theirs puts them on the inside track. They end up doing the impossible, finding one suspect hiding among a billion people, not an easy task to say the least.

Bear and Flo provide plenty of comic relief, but they're also intrepid, gritty investigators. Mystery fans will enjoy following them from lead to lead, as they work doggedly to bring the guilty to justice. Their chuckle inducing antics make them real and relatable, but their crime solving abilities are what make them second to none in the mystery department. Dalton gives armchair sleuths the best of both worlds in this refreshing duo, a twosome unlike any other they're bound to encounter.

***

Brother, can you spare a dime? can be purchased at:
Amazon, KenDalton.com (personalized inscription and free shipping)

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback
Pages: 310
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Release: April 9, 2014
Publisher: Different Drummer Press
ISBN: 9780578140391
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Ken was born in 1938 at Hollywood Hospital. He grew up in Los Angeles with his parents, his older sister and younger brother.

In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus attacked Ken at the age of five. By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces to mitigate the effects of Polio, Ken’s luck changed when he met the girl of his dreams. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken and his family moved to the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home surrounded with apple trees.

Some time later, Ken, designed, built, and operated a small winery that produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Then, in a moment of madness, Ken began writing. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated. Many more golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens. Eventually Ken felt the urge to write his first novel.

Now, after the publication of The Bloody Birthright, The Big Show Stopper, Death is a Cabernet, and The Tartan Shroud, Ken has published his latest Pinky and Bear mystery, Brother, can you spare a dime?

Links to connect with Ken:
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Facebook
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Diane Daniels Manning - Almost Perfect - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

An old woman who has given up hope and a boy who believes the impossible wonder if life would be perfect at the Westminster Dog Show.

Seventy-year old Bess Rutledge has dreamed of winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life. Despite her decades-long career as one of America’s top Standard Poodle breeders, she has decided she’s too old to hold on to her foolish dream. She sells off all the dogs in her once famous kennel except for the aging champion McCreery and his mischievous, handsome son Breaker. Part of her senses they might have been the ones to take her to Westminster, if only she’d dared to try.

Bess meets Benny, a teenager with mild autism who attends a therapeutic special school, and learns he has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. Benny is drawn into the world of dog shows and becomes convinced he has found the perfect way to win his mother’s attention. If he can win Westminster with either McCreery or Breaker, he just knows she will finally be proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy. . .

Up to 100% of the author’s profits will be donated to charities serving animals and children.



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My Review

Some authors just know how to set the pace. Diane Daniels Manning is one of them. The short, zippy chapters of her dog-centeric novel ALMOST PERFECT move faster than a pup's tail when begging for a treat. This is a plus for a story that covers a lot of ground. Bess goes from a standard poodle breeder convinced that she just whelped her last litter to letting Benny, her precocious neighbor, keep her in the game as he persistently moves her closer and closer to the world's most prestigious dog show.

Benny is the ying to Bess's yang. He's a year away from high school, but he's different from other kids his age. On account of his autism, he finds he can relate better to dogs than he can to people. Turns out, Bess feels the same way. They're both on the recalcitrant side. They drive the people around them up a wall, including each other, but somehow they find a way to work together. Bess knows that Benny loves her dogs just as much as she does, and that goes a long way in strengthening their reluctant friendship into a lifelong bond.

They've both screwed up, and they've both let people down. It's hard for Bess to show love. She keeps everyone at arm's length from her son to her twin sister. She has a difficult time letting people in, so instead she puts all of her focus on her dogs. She's stacked up blue ribbons and trophy cups over the years, but she's also pushed away all of the people who care about her the most.

Benny has the opposite problem. He's hungry for affection, chasing after his mother's approval. After his parents' divorce, his father became his primary caregiver. However, he always saw Benny following in his footsteps and one day joining him in his law practice. After Benny's diagnosis, it became apparent that that isn't going to happen, and he never got over the disappointment, secretly wishing that somehow Benny might be able to turn it around and be normal. His mother, on the other hand, looks at Benny more like a meal ticket rather than a young boy starving for her attention. She doesn't care that her son's overweight or that the head therapist at his special school is worried about his progress. The only thing that makes her smile is when Benny steals money out of his father's wallet, providing them with the means to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Sad, but true.

But it's the two dogs in their lives that get Bess and Benny to where they need to be. McCreery, the pride of Bess's career, and his young son, Breaker, help them get their priorities straight. They give them a common goal, winning a championship, but they do more than that, reminding them that while dogs are pretty great, people matter, too. Win or lose, they each learn a valuable lesson - dogs have the power to bring people together, and keep them together. A lesson neither of these two loners ever thought they'd be able to learn, much less embrace.

***

Almost Perfect can be purchased at:
Amazon

Prices/Formats: $3.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
Pages: 330
Genre: Pet Fiction
Release: January 29, 2014
Publisher: Beltor
ISBN: 9780578136394
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Diane Daniels Manning is the co-founder and director of The New School in the Heights, a therapeutic school in Houston, Texas which helps children dealing with social-emotional challenges find success in school and life. She has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H from Harvard and is a practicing child psychoanalyst certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Formerly, she was the Director of the Reading and Learning Disabilities Clinic at Tufts University, Lecturer and Research Associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard, and Chair of the Department of Education at Tulane University. She learned the inner workings of dog show kennels by writing an authorized oral history of a lifetime President of the Poodle of Club of America. Her writing awards include the Faulkner-Wisdom Novella Prize and the Women in Film and Television Short Script Competition.

Links to connect with Diane:
Web Site
Facebook
Goodreads
Blog
YouTube
Blog Tour Site


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