Friday, September 15, 2017

A. Keith Carreiro - The Penitent: Part II - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Hidden in the bottom of a roadside ditch as a baby, Evangel is only steps away from her viciously murdered parents. An old hermit finds her there a day later and takes her to his home in the heart of a sylvan wilderness. She is raised in a hermitage built by Matthew where he learns she is touched by a rare spiritual power. 17 years later a series of miracles occur that rock the very nature of her reality. Befriended by outlaws and a king’s champion, she is also betrayed by a woman of the cloth during a bard of the realm’s performance. That night, in a dream, Evangel envisions her future soul mate, Pall Warren, on a battlefield of death, and casts a prayer of protection around him. Thus begins a remarkable journey to save herself and those who believe in her. A hauntingly beautiful and startling tale of wonder.




My Review

The nature of duality always makes things interesting.

In this case, can a young girl really save a deeply troubled man? Well, let's say, she tries.

When Tabard meets Evangel all of the classic conflicts come into play: innocence versus experience, femininity versus masculinity, light versus darkness. Not to mention, the violence and utter brutality he inflicts on her family definitely does not make him a hero. In fact, a character so repulsive seems well beyond the bounds of ever achieving likability.

Yet somehow she manages to redeem him by rising above it all—by forgiving him.

Bewildered, people ask her flat out, "You're friends with him and not mortal enemies? How's that possible?"

Her response? "Perhaps the burden of what has befallen [him] should be borne by both of us."

Now that's a powerful statement.

She knows that seeking revenge will only end up killing the goodness inside her. Emotionally, she's strong enough to break the cycle of hatred. She's not allowing his pain to extend any farther than it already has. She's putting an end to it right here, right now.

But it's a process. Complete healing doesn't happen overnight. Tabard is very much a work in progress. Being good doesn't come easy for him as "he kept brooding over this newly perceived awakening from the darkness he had so long inhabited. He views the change in himself "as a weakness, a vulnerability that seemed distasteful to him."

So it's not surprising when it's not long before he's lured off course. Symbolically, he even falls three times, "as though he was still drunk, drugged, damaged." Evangel certainly has her work cut out for her. He's literally in a struggle over the peace of his soul, and when he comes back to her looking "aged, careworn and beyond weary," she fears that she's failed him, that he may very well be beyond her reach.

Yet she doesn't give up on him. Bravely, she continues to battle his double mindedness until it feels like it's suffocating her. She takes on his emotions becoming fearful, angry, lonely herself. Yet she's willing to do anything in her power so that his spirit can become a little less filled with fear.

In order to keep her bearings she clings to God, trying not to let her doubts overtake her, wondering again and again why her prayers for Tabard keep going unanswered.

Until her wise, old grandfather gives her some pertinent advice, "Your prayers may have saved him from an even greater plight had he continued on the soul's journey he was electing to take. Don't be mad at yourself. He is who he is supposed to be."

But is that enough for her…will he ever be the man she wants him to be? That's the question.

***

The Penitent: Part II can be purchased at:
Amazon

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $15.99 paperback
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 274
Release: May 15, 2017
Publisher: Copper Beech Press
ISBN: 9780997382716
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

A. Keith Carreiro earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education, with the sequential help and guidance of three advisors, Dr. Vernon A. Howard, Dr. Donald Oliver and Professor Emeritus, Dr. Israel Scheffler. Keith’s academic focus, including his ongoing research agenda, centers upon philosophically examining how creativity and critical thinking are acquired, learned, utilized and practiced in the performing arts. He has taken his findings and applied them to the professional development of educational practitioners.

Earlier in his teaching career he was a professor of educational foundations, teaching graduate students of education at universities in Vermont, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. He currently teaches as an adjunct professor of English at Bridgewater State University, as well as teaching English, philosophy, humanities and public speaking courses at Bristol Community College.

He lives in Swansea, Massachusetts. He has six children and 13 grandchildren. He belongs to an eighty–five–pound golden retriever, an eight–pound Maltese, and an impish Calico cat.

Due to his love of family, he has seen his fervor for history, as well as his passion for wondering about the future, deepen dramatically.

Starting on May 23rd until October 9th of 2014, he sat down at his computer on a daily basis and began writing the first book of a science fiction/fantasy thriller in a beginning series about the quest for human immortality.

Links to connect with A. Keith:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 8, 2017

R. Franklin James - The Bell Tolls - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents he collected, letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it’s revealed that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects.

Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar she knows a liar when she meets one. A lot of people in this case are lying and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds particularly financial ones.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancĂ© and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll.

Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.



My Review

"The daughter she wished were dead was the only daughter who could keep her alive."

Harsh words, but true. It's clear Hollis is the proverbial black sheep. Ever since her incarceration and release from prison, her relationship with her family has been, to put it mildly, strained. Out to make a fresh start for herself, she decides to put some distance between them by choosing to go by her middle name. That is until her sister calls out of the blue, looking for her dear sibling formerly known as Rebecca. Because guess what? Mom needs a new kidney, and they're really hoping she's a match.

The family circle now needs her, but it still doesn't feel like including her. In fact, her family cares so little about her that they even make her sleep on the couch when she returns home for a round of preliminary testing. Their lack of consideration kills her inside, and "the emptiness she thought she'd locked away was falling open to the reality of daylight."

Because Hollis isn't agreeing to help her mother because she wants them all to think she's the big hero, riding in to save the day. That's just not who Hollis is, and she readily admits, "She's my mother. It's what you're supposed to do." Yet she's honest with herself about the reality of the situation she's facing, not sugarcoating anything, "She…chose me over death."

It's the honest to God truth, but it offers little in the way of comfort. However, Hollis carries on, determined to make the best of things, even sharing with her friends that for years she's been imagining herself as part of a pretend family in order to cope with the pain of estrangement she's experienced for most of her life. But now that things have taken a turn in a different direction, she relates, "I need to feel like a good daughter. I don't want to be cheated of how that feels like. And a good daughter donates a kidney to her mother."

As the two emerge from surgery, Hollis's mom, who is well know for hating displays of affection, opens the door to her heart, just a crack, and Hollis, unsure of this change in her mother, doesn't know what to make of it. Thrown off kilter, she's puzzled, not wanting to lower her defenses, only to be hurt again. In fact, "her mother's attempt to be kind was almost more than she could bear. Her sharp, mean-spirited barbs were more common and easier to block out."

So will they be able to repair their broken relationship? Only time—and the next installment in the series—will tell.

***

The Bell Tolls can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Overdrive

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Women's Sleuth, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 239
Release: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812177
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. From there she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy. After serving as Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, under millionaire Richard Riordan, she went back to her first love—writing, and in 2013 her debut novel, The Fallen Angels Book Club was published by Camel Press. Her second book in The Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, Sticks & Stones, was followed by The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club, and The Trade List. The Bell Tolls, book five was released in June 2017.

R. Franklin James lives in Northern California with her husband.

Links to connect with R. Franklin James:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway