Review: Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) (PF 2014) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Moving Earth coverNow that Charlie Turner has moved out of his family’s home, he has time for a personal life for the first time in ages.  After his father died, Charlie was busy working and raising his grief stricken younger brother while his mother mourned.  Now living in his own cabin on Mountain Shadows campground, Charlie is ready to reclaim his private time and he knows just who he wants to spend it with…..Amos Greene. Aloof, gorgeous, and sexy Amos Greene.  But outside of sex, does Amos want him back?

Amos Greene has more than a few personal demons to deal with.  Past experience has taught Amos that when it comes to romance, you keep it cool, keep it impersonal and temporary.  Then Amos meets Charlie Turner when Charlie comes to work on Amos’ art gallery.  Charlie isn’t satisfied with temporary and he certainly won’t settle on being just a one or two night stand.  And little by little, Amos starts to give in to Charlie’s insistence on a relationship with small steps forward and through all the walls Amos has erected over the years..

But strange, dark things are happening at Mountain Shadows and Charlie’s brother just might be in the middle of things. Soon Charlie finds himself in the middle of an investigation, and draws Amos in with him.  What they find out will have repercussions for them all….

 

Moving Earth is a perfect title for a story about families and relationships on shaky ground.  The second the T.A. Webb’s Earthquake series, the story picks up right after the end of Higher Ground.   Charlie Turner, a absolutely lovable character, has shouldered his family’s burdens after the death of his dad.  That meant trying to be everything to his teenage brother who is grieving and in emotional shock.  Not quite father, not able to be the fun big brother, Charlie is trying hard to fill a role that isn’t his and its not working.  His brother is rebelling and afraid especially when Charlie moves out of the house into his own cabin at his mother’s insistence.  Webb understands complicated family dynamics and it shows in the dialog and descriptions of the family interactions that come into play in Moving Earth.

In a story full of complicated characters, each with their own baggage of personal issues, Damon Turner, the troubled younger brother, almost steals the story away from Charlie and Amos.  Smart mouthed and snarky, Damon hides his fears and anger behind his aggressive behavior and disturbing circle of friends.  This is the character we fear for and want to hold close.  His actions towards his brother and classmates are cries for help.  It makes Damon believable and someone we can relate to.  And Charlie’s anger at and concern for his brother is something we get as well.  Damon’s feelings about his brother’s sexuality are all over the place.  Damon is at times both hurtful, hurling epithets at Charlie and then with an about face, he is accepting of his brother and Amos. In total, Damon is that teenager is search of stability and love who has had his support jerked out from under him in the most traumatic way.  Clearly Damon isn’t dealing with it very well, nor would any teenager in his place.  T.A. Webb navigates this tricky, prickly time for the brothers with sensitivity and authenticity that just deepens the whole feeling behind Moving Earth.

Poor Charlie.  Between his brother and Amos, almost every relationship he has or wants needs an amazing amount of work.  Charlie has to force Amos to look at him in a different manner than Amos’ previous sexual conquests.  I liked the fact that Charlie is not a doormat here and that he demands the respect he knows he deserves.  And Amos, with his pain-filled awful childhood, is a tough character  to crack open. It must be Amos’ decision to open up and become vulnerable once more in order to accept Charlie and his need for a real relationship.  This is a delicate juggling act that Webb handles as well as he does the one between Charlie and Damon.

As with all the interconnected Pulp Friction 2014 series, there are several mysteries running through all four stories and series.  Here the author starts to amp up the suspense that surrounds the riddles of the dark events happening at Mountain Shadows campground.  Dead, mutilated animals are being found in the woods nearby and who is behind this is anyone’s guess.  There will be clues and perhaps some false trails laid but all are quaranteed to keep you glued to this story and all the series that go with it.   And the ending here?  It will startle you and send you back to the first book looking for clues and more information.  Loved it, hated it (for leaving me hanging), and definitely wanting more.  Much, much more.

Did all this happen in 40 pages?  Why yes it did and that fact alone continues to amaze me.  Its like wondering how all those things fit into the magician’s hat.  It’s astonishing even as I marvel that it all works so wondrously well.   I love Webb’s Earthquake series for its complicated sibling relationship as much as I do for its equally complex romance.  Don’t pass this up but start with the first story Higher Ground.

The Pulp Friction 2014 (and 2013) series can all be read separately but they work best when read together to get the full impact of the characters, their intertwined relationships and the intricate plot all these terrific authors have devised.  I highly recommend them all but make sure to start at the first story in each series and build up from there.  I have listed the stories as they are being released below.  Not listed as yet is Round Four but that is coming.

Cover art by Laura Harner

Buy Links:         Amazon         ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 40 pages
Published April 30th 2014 by A Bear on Books (first published April 29th 2014)
ISBN139781310924866
edition languageEnglish
seriesEarthquake #2, Pulp Friction 2014 #8

About Pulp Friction 2014:  Laura Harner ~ Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ T.A. Webb The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends.

The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.  There will be five rounds and one final story written by all four authors.

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

Round Three of Pulp Friction 2014:

Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) by Laura Harner
Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil
Blow Hard (Where the Wind Blows #3) by Havan Fellows
Tremors (Earthquake #3) by Tom Webb

 

Review: Higher Ground (Earthquake #1) by TA Webb

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Higher Ground coverCharlie Turner was just 19 when his father died, leaving a hole in the Turner family that was impossible to fill.  Yet Charlie tried, walking away from college, his boyfriend, and his dreams, everything that mattered to him in order to live at home and take care of his younger brother and mom. Now in his 30’s and with Turner & Sons Construction a success, Charlie has little else in his life beyond family and work, something his friends and mother are concerned about.

When his friend and co worker, Siggy, gets pulled away to work at Mountain Shadows, Charlie is left to meet with their newest client, an art gallery owner who wants to expand his space to include more art works.  The owner of the gallery, Amos Greene, is arrogant, cold, and somewhat smug, especially in his initial dealings with Charlie.  His treatment of Charlie borders on demeaning and rude but Charlie demands respect and professionalism  and gets it.  A standoff made tense by the fact that both men are attracted to each other.

But Charlie has more on his mind than a stuffy art gallery owner,  his younger brother is getting into trouble and his mom wants Charlie to reclaim his personal life by moving out into a house of his own at Shadow Mountain.  Getting a life is easier than it sounds and a demanding new client is the least of Charlie’s problems or so he thinks…..

Higher Ground, the first in TA Webb’s Earthquake (PF2014) series, is a wonder of a story.  Webb’s main character, Charlie Turner, has been through the emotional wringer, and the stress and responsibility he shouldered when his father died has not abated. Forced by circumstances to  be “the man of the family”, Charlie forfeited his teenage years and personal life to make sure his mother and younger brother were taken care of.  Managing his own personal pain, Charlie’s focus was on his mother and brother.  And while his mother has recovered, younger brother, Damon,  is swinging deeper out of control.  Only Charlie seems to be able to reach him.

I think one of the  finest aspects of this story is the brotherly dynamics playing out between Charlie and Damon.  The death of their father forced Charlie into his father’s role when his mother was emotionally and physically unable to parent him and Damon.  But now she has recovered enough to realize what that has done to her older son and is trying to make amends. Their mother wants to reclaim her role as parent/authority figure to Damon, and having Charlie leave the house will let her do that and give Charlie the independence he deserves.  But it may be too late for that and Webb makes us see just how fragile the bonds are between Charlie, his mother, and Damon.

And clearly, Webb understands the combustive nature of teenagers too.  It’s hard enough to be a teenager with hormones playing havoc with you at that age. But then to have that young boy deal with the loss of a beloved father in a car accident, the temporary loss of the support from his mother dealing with her own issues? Devastating especially as it comes with a change in his relationship with his older brother  which goes from adored sibling to someone now in an authority position. All this sends him reeling towards poor decisions and emotional turmoil that just gets worse with each new well meaning intervention.

All the characters, all their actions comes across as authentic and painfully realistic.  You will hurt for Damon as much as you do for Charlie.  This is a tough time for both of them and Damon isn’t, not unexpectedly, handling Charlie’s move well.  So many changes to the fundamental foundation of the Turner family, and the author makes us quake in anxiety and anticipation for the next event to impact them and the damage it will cause.

And on top of all this is a mixed up attraction between Charlie and Amos.  The author’s terrific character development of both men let the reader into the roller coaster of emotions their meeting/working relationship has generated.  Charlie, open and friendly, easy in his sexuality.  Amos, cold, calculating and rushing to judgement, all prickly and cultured.  Their clash instigates some white hot sex driven passion which is just as quickly dashed. Webb leads us through all the assumptions each man has made about each other and then onto the path of adjustments they start to make.  There is so much room for growth here, not only in their burgeoning relationship with each other but also with those other characters that surround them, including Amos’ relationship with Damon.

I have to keep double checking to see that this story is only 45 pages in length. It has the feel of a much longer, deeper story.  Webb gives us textured, real characters and a multi-layered plot that pulls us in and keeps us involved from start to finish. There are some deeply wounding events that occur here that ring with all the emotional truth and pain that close siblings can inflict on each other.   It leaves Charlie and the reader hurting and worried about what comes next.  I can’t wait for the next story in the series, Moving Earth (Earthquake #2).  TA Webb made me care about these people.  Now I need to know what happens next.  So will you.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Great covers for all the series and books,including Higher Ground.

Book Details:

ebook, 45 pages
Published March 1st 2014 by A Bear on Books

One of the Pulp Friction 2014 Series

 From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by TA Webb