Scattered Thoughts Book Review Summary for June 2013

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june

June 2013 has come and gone but some of the books I read that month continue to linger in my heart and mind, just some outstanding stories. As always, there is something for everyone here, from contemporary to paranormal books, terrific additions to wonderful series.  If you missed them the first time, here is your chance to check them out again:

5 Star Rating:

Hobbled by John Inman

Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed

Mighty Casey by Willa Okati

One Breath, One Bullet by S.A.McAuley

Prelude by Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

A Casual Weekend Thing by A.J. Thomas (4.75 stars) (contemporary)

A Silence Kept by Theo Fenraven (4.25 stars)(contemporary)

Aria of the Eclipse by Vivien Dean (4.75 stars)(science fiction)

Flawless by Cat Grant (4.25 stars)(contemporary)

Stonewall by Martin Duberman (4.25 stars) (non fiction)

The Hanged Man’s Ghost by Missouri Dalton (4.75 stars)(paranormal)

The Night Shift by Missouri Dalton (4.25 stars)(paranormal)(series)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Fennel and Forgiveness by Ari McKay (3.5 stars) (contemporary)

Heart of the Race by Mary Calmes (3.75 stars) (contemporary)

In Search of a Story by Andrew Grey (3.25 stars) (contemporary)

When Dachshunds Ruled the Serengeti by Michael Murphy (3.75 stars) (contemporary)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

The Caveman and the Devil by Chris T. Kat (2.75 stars)(contemporary)

The Jouster’s Lance by A.J. Marcus (2.75 stars) (contemporary)

Review: In Search of a Story by Andrew Grey

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Rating: 3.25 stars

In Search of a story coverReporter Brad Torrence is worried about his job. Brad hasn’t been able to write the stories he knows is inside of him, and he is stuck proofreading and fact checking other  reporters stories.  When his boss tells him that the stories he submitted are boring and to try and find one in the classified ads, Brad can’t believe it.  But disobeying the boss means being out of a job, and Brad does as he was instructed.  Brad is frustrated and ready to give up when a ad jumps out and captures his attention. For Sale: Nursery Items, Never Used.  Thinking that a story of loss and regret would be a perfect subject for his next deadline, Brad contacts the person behind the ad and finds more than he had expected.

Anesthesiologist Cory Wolfe is still grieving over the loss of his best friend and the child he was to adopt.  When reporter Brad Torrence contacts him about the ad he placed, Cory agrees to an interview, thinking it might help him obtain the closure he needs.  During the interview, Cory finds the process of sharing his story emotionally liberating and healing while Brad gets something he can personally relate to in Cory’s story.  After the interview is finished, both men find themselves attracted to and wanting to see each other again.

Cory and Brad find themselves in a relationship that is growing stronger by the day but another mystery finds its way onto Brad’s desk.  Soon Brad is pursuing leads that threaten their new relationship and imperil their lives.   What will Brad do in search of a story?

I love Andrew Grey’s work and look forward to each new story he writes.  The last few books published, especially The Good Fight series, has been outstanding.  I only wish I could say the same about In Search of a Story, but that is not the case.

In Search of a Story has a interesting premise, one that drew me in immediately.  Who doesn’t look through the classified ads and find tantalizing bits of human history offered up in just a few lines.  So I couldn’t wait to see where Grey took this plot and what spin he put on the narrative.  And as far as the outline of the plot goes, the author did a good job.  I thought the idea of a grief stricken almost parent mourning the loss of a child compelling. So too the idea that a connection between the reporter and the person who filled the classified ad is made.  There was so much promise here, so much ground that could have been covered and turned into an amazing story.  But two things kept that from happening. And unfortunately, they are the two main characters.

For some strange reason, neither Brad nor Cory are especially compelling.  These characters came across as oddly flat from the very beginning. While “listening” to Cory tell his story, I was never really engaged in the personal tragedy that was being revealed, there was a distance from the characters and their history almost immediately.  Brad too felt one dimensional, too cub reporter in search of a story that I have seen before.  Much is made of his background with his mother but again the author has problems making that a part of the much larger picture of grief over the loss of a child after highlighting it in the narrative.  From scene to scene, I kept hoping to find a spark that would let me feel part of their story and romance, but it never came about.

There is a secondary mystery here for Brad to solve.  It serves to introduce a measure of suspense and danger into a story that really needs it.  But again, this interesting segment was not given the attention or resolution that it was due and the outcome of this investigation ended up frustrating me with its incomplete story, rather than buttressing up the original plot as I am sure the author intended.

In the end, the story just has an off feel to it.  It leaves the reader wondering more what went wrong, than happy over the characters and their relationship.  If you are new to Andrew Grey as an author, there are so many great books of his out there to start with, so give this a pass.  If Andrew Grey is an automatic must read, then take this as a note of caution and make up your own mind.  Either way, I will be looking forward to his next book as always, because given how prolific Mr. Grey is, even he must have an off day at times.  Consider this one of his.

Cover Art by Brooke Albrecht.  I think the cover is ok, but nothing on the dramatic side.  However, it is in line with the story inside the covers.

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published May 31st 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1623806143 (ISBN13: 9781623806149)
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3825

From Mourning To Joy Once More, Animal Adoptions and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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You always hear that things have a way of changing overnight, but few experience it.  It didn’t quite happen like that here but it was close.  In my instance, things changed exactly one week to the day that I felt my heart shatter.  On June 4, 2013, my companion of 18 years, Winston died.  Exactly one week to the day, on June 11, another Winston came into my life, through circumstances so unusual, so connected, that I knew it was meant to be.   I have written that story, The Tale of Two Winstons – A Terrier Comes Home, to chart the beginning of our journey together.  Before that I had written of my first, indomitable Winston, my love of 18 years in My Winston.  But there was one fact I had left out.  You see, exactly one week before I found Winston, I had another dog, Snowflake, a rescue American Eskimo.

Snowflake was with me for two years, gorgeous and unfortunately so emotionally scarred by her previous family that only I could handle her.  I never got the entire  story but from her hatred of children and families in general, apparently she had been used as a target and punching bag by the people who owned her before me (and was rescued from).   One day we were out in the pasture, running and checking around for a loose horseshoe, when bikers sped by and Snowflake gave chase down the fence line.  Normally, that would have been fine as she couldn’t get through the wire and post fence, but sometime during the night a car had sideswiped the fence and taken down just enough to leave a Snowflake sized hole.  I am sure you all can imagine what happened next as Snowflake darted out onto that winding country  road.  Even as we raced to the vet, I knew my Snowflake was gone.

One week to the day, on that same spot, a shivering, heavily matted, rail thin Winston was found and went home with me carrying him in my arms, the same way Snowflake left that same spot.  Now 18 years later, exactly one week apart, my beloved Winston was gone and another Winston had arrived.  And each time, I knew it was meant to be.  How could it not?  I am not sure I believe in Fate but all these connections?  All these events strung together in order for one magical moment to happen?  How do I not believe in that?  Many people have said that Winston sent the other Winston to me, and I think I can agree there.  During that week of almost overwhelming grief and loss, I swear I could hear the thunk Winston made as he jumped down off the bed to investigate something in the house during the night.  Several times that occurred during that week, but since Winston arrived, not a sound.  This Winston likes to bury his food bowl (on tile no less) just like my old Winston did.  Perhaps one has taught the other his tricks without me knowing.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

My family now includes two rescued dogs, Winston and Kirby whose face adorns the banner of this blog.  They aren’t my first rescues and most certainly won’t be my last.  There are so many dogs (and cats) that need homes in shelters around the country.  And there are so many shelters in need of support, both monetary and in donations of supplies.  I know it is Father’s Day today but perhaps if your Dad is someone who has everything possible and you don’t know what to give him, maybe make a donation to your local animal rescue organization or humane society in his name as a gift.  I know it would be welcome.  I found my Winston by donating food to the shelter.  Who knows if a four pawed love awaits you there as well?  The larger groups, ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States, rescue animals from devastating events such as hurricanes and earthquakes and more.  They need your help too.

So here are some links to get you thinking about rescues and the organizations who need your help to continue their mission to save animals in need:

ASPCA

Humane Society of the United States

Montgomery County Humane Society

Days End Farm Horse Rescue – located locally in MD but travel all over the US to rescue large animals. Truly an amazing organization.

I am sure there are so many local rescue organizations around you that need your assistance.  They are only a tapped computer key away. Check them out as well.  Here are a few pictures of Winston and Kirby playing, they have turned into the best of friends.  Look below the pictures for the week ahead in reviews.  Happy Father’s Day!

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The week ahead in Reviews:

Monday, June 17:               Flawless by Cat Grant

Tuesday, June 18:              Fennel and Forgiveness by Ari McKay

Wed., June 19:                    In Search of a Story by Andrew Grey

Thursday, June 20:           Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed

Friday, June 21:                 The Heir Apparent by Tere Michaels

Saturday, June 22:             Stonewall by Martin Duberman