Posts Tagged Lost Love

The View From Here – Rachel Howzell

Storyline: Rachel, I don’t know HOWzell you did it! But, somehow you took a potentially depressing premise and made it both very entertaining and enjoyable.

Nicole and Truman are quickly approaching their 11 year anniversary. They have a beautiful house in the hills, take trips all over the world and have great jobs. Even with all of this, the two of them have grown apart and the rift is getting wider and deeper as time goes on.

Truman has become somewhat of an adrenaline junkie and in preparation for one his latest adventures, there’s an accident and he’s gone missing. She’s haunted by her choices and her past with Truman and her possible her future without Truman.

Or is he really gone…?

Nicole must fight her inner demons and overcome her grief before it destroys her…

Grammar/Spelling: There were no issues with the grammar and spelling.

Character Development: I have not had the unfortunate experience (*knocks on wood*) of losing anyone that is near and dear to me in real life, but I truly felt it with Nicole’s experience. I could see that she was an average woman, one who felt betrayed by her husband and who was lonely; Nicole wasn’t a super hero capable of leaping over devastation and pain in a single bound. Nicole went through the stages of grief like any normal person would and asked the same questions that anybody else would. “Why did this happen? How can you people move on like he was never here?!”

Writing Style: The writing style was smooth and engaging. I really felt like I connected with Nicole and her loneliness, depression and grief. I could also feel the pain, frustration and sadness of that her best friends felt as they watched their friend fall through the emotional floor of depression.

I really liked that Ms. Howzell used a series of flashbacks to develop the relationship between Nicole and Truman to show that they really did have a wonderful relationship and, like any other couple, had their ups and downs.

Continuity:  No issues at all with continuity.

Overall Rating: 4+

I really and truly enjoyed The View from Here by the lovely Ms. Rachel Howzell. Even as Nicole spirals downward and out of control, it would be incredibly easy for anyone to relate to her pain and loss. I believe The View From Here would be a wonderfully therapeutic read for someone who has recently lost a loved one and it’s definitely a great read for everyone else!


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The Crimson Eyed Dragon – D.M. Trink

Storyline: The Crimson Eyed Dragon by D.M. Trink (Wonder if the “D” stands for “Dragon”…?), is a great mystery story for those who believe in the power of love and indulge a little in World of Warcraft.

Jared is a typical teenager: he’s ready to fight zombies, increase his warlock powers and work on getting his driver’s license. And all while on his summer break. Whew! As if World of Warcraft games aren’t enough, he is drawn into the mystery of a statue he finds in an antique shop. Who is Abigail? And what of the mysterious rubies?

As Jared and his friends (and even the cute older sister of his best friend) try to unravel the mystery of a past love, they find themselves in the middle of a situation that could spell the end of their summer vacation – permanently!

Grammar/Spelling: I noticed a smattering of punctuation and grammar issues though out the story. For example: Rural Ontario, Canada was a sprawling, thriving network of  communities outside the cities that specialized in agriculture and forestry and it was easy to get lost amid its’ vastness. I don’t believe that “its’” in this case should have the apostrophe. (I could be wrong – it COULD happen.) I think another read-through by a beta reader could correct these issues.

Character Development: I don’t know if it’s because they’re Canadian, but the teenagers in the book seemed very polite! I’m kidding. But, seriously, they were very sweet characters that reminded me of the type of characters found in a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book. There doesn’t really seem to be a need for too much character development given the nature of the story.

Writing Style: The writing style was simplistic, straightforward and perfectly suited for younger readers. Ms. Trink peppers the story with quite a bit of World of Warcraft references and even though I don’t play, I was able to follow (for the most part) what Jared was talking about. The Crimson Dragon is also full of dragon lore (I didn’t know that some Japanese dragons could turn their breath into clouds and that sprayed fire and water.)

I would like to note that the dialogue seemed a bit old fashioned. For example: “Oh my goodness!” shouted Griffin. “What are we waiting for—let’s go!” It doesn’t seem natural for a modern 15 or 16 year old boy to exclaim that.

I know that this is a story aimed at the younger readers, but even so, I believe that a 15 year old would probably exclaim something more along the lines of: “Alright!” shouted Griffin. “What are we waiting for-let’s go!”

Continuity:  I noticed no issues with the continuity of the story.

Overall Rating: 3

The Crimson Eyed Dragon by Ms. D.M. Trink was a great story with several twists and an intriguing mystery. I would highly recommend this book to younger readers with an interest in mysteries and dragons. (It doesn’t hurt to have some World of Warcraft knowledge in your back pocket as well!)

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Isle Royale – John Hamilton


What do they call a Quarterpounder with cheese in France? A Cheeseburger Royale.

What do they call a good book about bootlegging? Isle Royale.

What? No Pulp Fiction fans in the house? Shameful!

Seriously though: John Hamilton’s action packed, bootlegging filled book, Isle Royale is really great! (AND it’s less fattening than a cheeseburger from McDonald’s.)

It’s the Roaring 20s and we all know what THAT means: Bootlegging! And the MacDougal family is caught up in the middle of Lebeck’s treachery as he uses their lighthouse on Lake Superior as his base of operations. Though, liquor isn’t the only thing on LeBeck’s mind; he is also after the heart of his former love, Colleen. He is determined to sweep her away from the island and her miserable life as the wife of Clarence, the lighthouse keeper.

Ian MacDougal is looking for some excitement in his life and his only friend on the island is Sally, the daughter of the assistant lighthouse keeper. Too bad we often never know what we’re truly asking for. Now, the two of them must figure out a way to save their families from the Lebeck’s thugs and get to the Coast Guard station during one of the worst storms in living memory.

The ghostly crew of the Chippewa might be their only hope for survival as Lebeck’s insanity grows and the storm threatens to tear everything apart.

Grammar/Spelling: No issues with grammar or spelling.

Character Development: Oddly enough, my favorite character was Jean Lebeck. This poor guy. He left his love to go fight a war for a country that he didn’t support and even though he survived to tell about it, it left him twisted and evil. Mr. Hamilton uses a series of letters written to Colleen to show the downward spiral from a sweet, ideological man into a shell-shocked, self-loathing person. Even at his most insane, he only wanted the love of Colleen to fill the void where his humanity had once been.

Writing Style: Isle Royale was chock full of maritime knowledge and boat information. Even though I’m ex-Air Force and as far-removed from the Navy as a person can be, I was still able to follow even the most in-depth information that Mr. Hamilton presented. Impressive – given that I can only name a handful of planes (like…um…4?) that I have done weather support for and now I’m pretty sure I could pick out a dinghy without much trouble. I’m so proud of me.

Continuity:  No worries here either. (It’s like this guy’s got talent or something… Sheesh!)

Overall Rating: 4+

Isle Royale written by the extremely gifted John Hamilton was a sharp adventure story with just enough romance to balance out all of the explosions and such. This was another tale that had me glued to my computer screen. I didn’t realize that I had read it so quickly until I was done with it.

One thing to note: I’m not entirely sure it’s quite YA because of the language though… But, I may be a fuddy-duddy.

Overall, it was seriously a great read and I recommend it to just about anyone (the language thing being the only reason it’s not for everyone). Great job, Mr. Hamilton!

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