Guest Review: Caught Up in Time

Final Front Cover_Caught U I TimeWriter Mollie Smith provides her review of Caught Up in Time, by Paora Panadelo.

(Red Penn edited this NZ historical fiction)

Paora Panadelo

Paora Panadelo, aka Paul Baker, has written a book which immediately appealed to my love of history with Caught Up in Time.

The book, based on actual events and people, takes you on a trip through roughly forty raucous, witty, racy, and occasionally poignant years with interwoven stories, songs, and photographs to accompany.

We tend to see the past through rose-coloured glasses, but this book is a no-holds barred look at life in post-WWII New Zealand from the 40s to the 70s, and Panadelo tackles issues which we didn’t want to admit to having back then (just as we don’t want to admit having them now).

Easy to read and highly entertaining

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by Mollie Smith

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Exclusive Excerpt – “It’s Complicated”

28d0e-itscomplicated_cvr_ebook“My daughter’s being taught to hate me.”

The widening of Maggie Lapage’s incredible blue-green eyes told Tom his words came as a shock, and he reminded himself this was about Hailey, not him. He didn’t need to delve into his own fears and frustrations.

“How about you sit back down and tell me what’s going on, Mr. O’Shay.”

He returned to the chair and sat, even though his instincts screamed for him to get the hell out of there. He didn’t need some nosy social worker-type offering sympathy and advice, telling him how to raise his own daughter. Especially not some young thing like the one facing him. To say she was attractive would be an understatement. Her long dark red hair flowed like liquid fire, and with her classic bone structure, full sensuous lips and tall slender figure, she could’ve been mistaken for a catwalk model rather than a children’s counselor.

He rubbed his fingers into his eyes. Who was he kidding? If he didn’t get some help, and fast, he might lose his daughter completely, and he’d walk through hell before he’d allow that to happen.

“I want to help, Mr. O’Shay, I really do.” Her voice was soft and full of compassion. And it made his jaw ache. “But first you have to help me. Please, explain the circumstances that brought you here.”

He drew in a deep breath and held it for a moment before slowly exhaling. “My lawyer told me I needed counseling for my daughter. If I don’t do this, I could lose custody. She mentioned something about Family Justice Counselors. Your agency’s on the list she gave me, so I assume you’re qualified?”

“I’m a licensed mediator, yes. I can work with the courts in high-conflict custody disputes, if that’s needed.” A perplexed frown wrinkled her forehead. “Excuse my confusion, Mr. O’Shay, but did you not say your wife had died?”

“She has.” It took real effort not to come off as frustrated and bitter. “My wife and I had been divorced for about a year before she died. She had full custody of Hailey and I had visitation.” Tom recognized the quick flash of consternation crossing Maggie Lapage’s face, and he rushed to clarify. “It was simply easier that way, not because I’m not a good dad.”

Easier for Deirdre, at any rate. He didn’t get a lot of say in the matter, and he didn’t have the money to fight her at the time. Just as he didn’t have the money to fight her parents now.

The counselor’s inquiring gaze clearly said she needed more information. He heaved his shoulders up and back and tried to formulate a logical explanation that didn’t reveal quite what a fool he’d been.

Roane Black on White
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Releasing “It’s Complicated”

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO 
IT’S COMPLICATED!
28d0e-itscomplicated_cvr_ebook
It’s Complicated
Contemporary Romance
by Joyce M. Holmes

Release date: December 4, 2017

 

He wants a real relationship, she’s afraid to love. It’s complicated, but is it impossible?
She’s a children’s counselor devoted to helping others; he’s a stubborn client reluctant to accept her assistance. He wants a warm and loving relationship; she prefers to keep things physical. Professional boundaries dictate neither of them can have what they want.

Having grown up with no one but herself to count on, Maggie Lapage carefully guards her feelings. Professionally, she goes above and beyond to give others the support she wishes she’d had as a child. When she develops a forbidden attraction to a client’s father, she does what she thinks is necessary, to save his family, and to protect her own heart.
 

Tom O’Shay finds his life caught in a nightmare when he risks losing custody of his daughter. It goes against his character to seek help, but he doesn’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean he has to like it. Everything changes when he falls hard for his daughter’s counselor, and he suddenly has two fights on his hands. One for his daughter, and another for the woman he loves.

It’s complicated, but is it impossible?

 
 
~~~oOo~~~
 
EXCERPT:
“That’s a big gallery, with lots of people going through it. Just think of the exposure your work would get.”
Tom did take a moment to consider it. The Langquest Art Gallery was highly reputable, and the show Tom had done with them had been a sell-out. But to have Maggie go on his behalf to seek out representation, that was too much.
 “What makes you think I want or need to sell my pieces in his gallery?”
“Because, excuse me if I’m wrong, but I had the impression you could use a little financial help at the moment.” The sympathetic look in her eyes made him squirm. No bloody way did he want her wasting any sympathy on him.
“The offer of support is nice, but seriously, my professional life, at least, is doing fine. You don’t have to fix it for me.” Which was the honest, if optimistic, truth. Business was passably good. It could always be better, but it wasn’t on life support yet, and he sure didn’t need Maggie out there drumming up customers for him.
She threw a hand up. “Look, maybe I’m interfering and you didn’t ask for help, but,” she hurried on, gaining speed as she went, “I spoke to this man with the best of intentions. You have lawyer fees and counseling fees, and heaven only knows what else with this court case. They can start to add up—”
“Okay, just stop. You’re making my head hurt.” He folded his arms across his chest. He had no intention of discussing the precariousness of his financial situation with Maggie. “This conversation is over.”
Her eyes sparkled with the love of combat. “Not if I keep talking, it isn’t.”
He glared at her, making it clear he didn’t appreciate her interference. She met his accusing gaze without flinching. “Know what your problem is?” she asked, after
an uncomfortably long stare-down.
“I only have one?”
She reached out and clutched at his hand, those long slender, talon-tipped fingers curling themselves around his, distracting him with their touch. Then she started yapping again, effectively killing the moment.
“You put on a good show, and sometimes I think you even believe it yourself, but you’re not invincible. You can use a helping hand once in a while.”
He shook his hand free and swung away from her, pacing off his frustration. “Contrary to what you believe, I’m not a charity case requiring someone to rescue me. I’ve always maintained if you’re looking for a helping hand, check the end of your own wrist first. I don’t need your pity.”
She moved in front of him, forcing him to stop, returning his impatient glare with an impressively irate one of her own. “It’s not pity, damn it. And it’s not charity. It’s a practical solution to your financial situation. Excuse me for caring.” Both arms flew into the air. “Excuse me for trying to help you out. For going out of my way to come up with
some creative ideas to increase your income. This is a winning proposition for you, one that can pay dividends for years to come. Why are you so stubbornly against it?”
Her logic was infuriating, and it fueled his temper that he didn’t have a reasonable comeback. “Please, just shut up already.”
“Come on. We both know I can’t do that.”
He threw his head back and laughed, more out of exasperation than amusement. “You really can’t, can you?”
“I was only trying to help.” Her tone contained a pout, but her expression remained fierce.
“I don’t want your help. I didn’t ask for your help. Anyone ever tell you how maddening you can be, Maggie Lapage?” 
The force of his words didn’t make her retreat. She stood her ground in front of him and poked a finger into his chest. “And you’re the most pig-headed man I’ve ever met.”
He smiled. “Thank you.”
“That was not a compliment.”
“Sure it was.” Even though he was still pissed off, it wasn’t hard to let the smile stretch into a smirk. She looked so damn exasperated, and for some perverse reason he found it amusing. 
“You’re infuriating!” she yelled and wheeled away from him, flailing her arms in the air again. “Why can’t you see my intentions were good?”
He let his smile twist cynically. “Have you heard about the road to hell?”
“I…give…up.” She emphasized the words by drawing them out slowly.
“Wish I could believe that.”

~~~oOo~~~

 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she’s not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.
 
Links:
 
~~~oOo~~~
 
GIVEAWAY!
 
A $10 Roane Publishing gift card!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use a RoanePublishing.com Gift Code.  No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing’s marketing department.

Through Fire, by Sage MacGowan

2017-11-06 to 10_THrough FireReleased earlier this month, Through Fire

All her life Cass has been the wallflower, quietly content to make her mark from behind the scenes. As a cognitive psychologist in the research field, she will use her intellect and tenacity to heal the “broken” brain. Because she learned long ago she isn’t capable of fixing broken minds; maybe not even broken hearts.

Bryan doesn’t want to even think about his present. To escape his past, he had always looked to the future. As a materials engineer he will use his ingenuity and talent to develop state-of-the-art products and devices. But now an accident has drastically broad-sided his life – and the hits keep coming.

They give each other the motive to step beyond self-consciousness – to reach outside themselves to touch the other. They discover the courage to pull one another close. To love. To be loved. From one another they draw the power and fortitude to move beyond mistakes.


About the Author

Sage MacGowan
Author’s Website

Tucked away in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Sage lives with her
daughter, a dog, a cat, and a bearded dragon. Growing up, and for quite some time after, she was a reader and a dreamer, but didn’t often put pen to paper. Then late one night, listening to music, story ideas dancing through her head, she was overcome with an inescapable urge to actually write. She is a nature-worshiper and spends a fair amount of time hiking and camping (in a tent, not the wussy RV kind), when she’s not playing Sudoku. She also rides horses as often as she can, which isn’t often, so she gets her horse fix by volunteering at the local therapeutic riding center.
Sage MacGowan F-Book
Author on FaceBook


Excerpt

“Cass! What are you doing here?”
Her weak knees managed to get her through the curtain and to Bryan’s side where he lay on a hospital gurney. She took in his bent legs, arm draped across his abdomen, and pale face sporting a sheen of sweat.

“I stopped by the Biosystem Lab. While Jeff was failing miserably at making something up, Marcy told me he had dragged you to the medical center.”

He looked back up at the ceiling.

“Since apparently you were ambulatory, I took a chance and came here to Urgent Care rather than Emergency. What’s going on? Are you okay?” That was stupid. He plainly wasn’t, but the question slipped out anyway.

Bryan winced and screwed his eyes closed. “I’ll be fine. They’re just covering their butts.”

“Quit being such a guy. What procedure are they performing in order to cover their butts?”

“How did you get in here?”

“I lied. What’s wrong?!”

His eyebrows lifted. “Lied about-“ His breath hitched and suffering washed across his face. “-what?”

Worry tightened her chest. “Bryan, please!”

“I’ll call you la-“ His words became a groan and he rolled away from her, curling into a fetal position with his arm wrapped tightly across his abdomen, panting forcefully.

Cass turned to run to the nurse’s station, almost colliding with a man in scrubs pushing a wheelchair into the curtained area. Was it a good thing or a bad thing that he was the same nurse who had been at the front desk handing over forms when she was plying the receptionist?

“So sorry about the wait. Let’s get you loaded up. But first, how about I give you a little something for the pain?”

Bryan grunted out between clenched jaws, “No, I’m fine.”

The nurse looked over to her. “We men are too hard-headed for our own good.” Turning back to Bryan, he admonished, “That’s what got you into this mess. Okay, sit up and step down.” Bryan relinquished his grasp around his belly, then levered himself up and reached down toward the floor with one foot. The nurse looked back at her. “You can wait in the chairs just out there, Mrs. McCaffrey.”

Oh crap! Her stomach leapt and her mouth dried instantly.

Bryan’s head whipped around so fast his hand slipped off the gurney mattress when he was only halfway off. Luckily the nurse was a large man and caught him easily, then guided him to the wheelchair seat. “Careful, now.”

Bryan’s surprised gaze was firmly pinned on Cass. She narrowed her eyes into a “Don’t you dare!” expression right as Bryan opened his mouth, then another spasm of pain caused him to curl away as he was pushed through the opening in the curtain.

* * *

“He’s right in here.” The nurse indicated the room with a wave of his hand through the doorway, then went on his way down the corridor.

Cass stepped in and, heart in her throat, walked over to the side of the bed and sat in the chair. “I’m sorry I told them we…that I was… But I figured they wouldn’t let me in to see you otherwise. I just panicked. Please don’t be mad.”

The corner of Bryan’s mouth tipped up. “Of course not.” He swallowed. “It’s good to see you again.”

She nodded and grasped his hand in hers. Now, how should she present this? If she asked, he would say no, he was fine, she didn’t need to do that, he could take care of himself. But it wouldn’t be right to take charge and state her intent, as if he had no say in the matter. Giving him back his service dog was a no-brainer, but how was she going to weasel herself back in as well?

A midline approach seemed best. “When you’re released, I’ll drop Iambe at your apartment. She can help you out while you finish recuperating, so you don’t need to strain anything while your incision heals. And I can stop by often -“ Her eyes slid away. “- maybe even stay there for a bit to take care of her so you can rest and not have to worry about taking her out for walks or bending over to feed her, that sort of thing.” She lifted her gaze to assess his response.

There was a moderate smile on his face. “That’s not necessary. The incision is quite small, actually. They did their repair laparoscopically.” A teasing light came into his eyes. “So you’ll need to come up with another excuse.”

Cass took a deep breath and leaned closer, resting her chin on her crossed arms atop the side rail. Her voice shook. “Can I come home?”

His smile slowly slid away as he reached out, tucking a stray section of hair behind her ear. He ran the backs of his fingers down her cheek and thumbed away the escaped tears. Softly he pleaded, “Please come home.”

 

 

Book Review: The Locksmith, by Barbara Howe

Reviewed this for Booksellers NZ – Reposting my review from their site…

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_locksmithWho is the Locksmith, and what role does he play in this fantasy tale? You will keep this question in mind as you read through the adventures of Lucinda Guillierre, a young girl living with her stepsister Claire and her stepmother, in the magical world of Frankland, ruled by The Office.

The Office was created in historic times by the Great Coven, which established the four offices of Air, Fire, Earth, and Water, and their leaders. Each Office has a Guild, for the study and training of Witches and Wizards of each element.

Unsettled by her lack of magical progress, she resigns herself to a future as a normal person, but agrees to take her sister Claire to challenge the path to meet the Fire Warlock, to have a wish granted. She takes with her, her only true possessions her father left her —two large books…

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“A Talent For Murder”, by Andrew Wilson

WILSON-Adrew_a-talent-for-murder-Author Andrew Wilson has so well slipped in to merge with Agatha Christie the novel reads as grippingly as any of her works. Meticulously researched, he adopts Mrs Christie’s persona in this tale of her famed missing eleven days.

Anxiety and panic attacks fill Mrs Christie as she relates the events of what is readily plausible in that time and in her world of crime novels.

Wilson teases us with characters she meets; we want to keep reading to know them, to know more about them. We are in suspense as we read on and learn more. How each character involves with and revolves around each other, and the plot, is breath-holding – in the sense of building our feelings of foreboding, and character empathy.

So well written I devoted two evenings to completing it. Christie, as character, reads people, actions and settings, and records them in such detail that it is easy to believe this story is truth. She shares her emotions – bereavement, stress, loss, anger, desperation – in reasoned detail. Her voice builds reader empathy

Wilson’s re-creation of Christie’s work is exceptional; and, what good news – he is working on the next Agatha Christie Adventure, A Different Kind of Evil.

Published by Simon and Schuster, UK Ltd, 2017

ISBNs:
Hardback: 978-1-4711-4821-7
Paperback: 978-1-4711-4822-4
eBook: 978-1-4711-4823-1

A Talent For Murder also includes

  • an Editor’s Note, written by John Davison
  • Acknowledgements of the research resources used
  • an Exclusive Extract from A Different Kind of Evil

Teaser video
http://a%20href=


Andrew Wilson’s website is behind his portraitWILSON_Andrew

Find him also at Simon n Schuster UK
Tweet him … Twitter @andrewwilsonaw

Released  in NZ in July, via Booksellers NZ Distributors
http://booksellers.co.nz/directory

 

No wonder it’s a marked down price!

Spotted Led Zeppelin – You Shook Me at a knock-off LedZepp cock-up
price, and being a lover of Stairway To Heaven,
grabbed it!

When reading the book, I found my “editor-mind” taking over. There are So Many c**k-ups in the text it is a very poor production. *

Then of course, I looked properly at the cover…
“4 DVD BOOK SET COLLECTORS LIMITED EDITION”
and at the foot, “UNOFFICIAL AND UNAUHORISED”
S. O. Dear, me…

Okay, I bought it for the DVDs. But the errors, that a good proof-reader should have found and fixed, Really bugged me. In one section, whole paragraphs (even a part-paragraph) had been repeated. Couldn’t help m’self. I grabbed a pencil and marked up the initial paragraphs…LedZepp 1st sections
…then the repeated paragraphs…
LedZepp 2nd sections
… and all the other, minor proofing slips, which I won’t show here.

What a disappointment for Led Zeppelin fans! But then, many won’t mind as the content contains a host of information which I’d not known. So, you get what you pay for, I guess.

* Publication data:
Author? not mentioned – content possibly lifted from other sources?
© Hurricane International Ltd
First Published by FHE Ltd – but – Date?
Photography? Courtesy of Pictorial Press, Wikimedia Commons, and Getty Images – unless indicated otherwise
ISBN: 978-0-9939170-1

Recommendation? Good if you only want a “potted” summary and the DVDs, and can live with the errors.

 

 

Private Paris, by James Patterson

AB-16 Tag ex Private ParrisA piece of tagging, appearing any and everywhere among the streets of Paris, seems innocuous enough…its meaning obtuse, but not overtly offensive; more a puzzle, really, or a code, with no meaning – yet.
Not exactly a top priority for either the Paris La Crim force or the Private Paris agency.

Jack Morgan arrives in Paris from Berlin, but what was Patterson-J_Private Parisa routine office visit becomes a case involving a girl kidnapped or missing, who may or may not want to be found. Rescued yes, but not detained.

While tracing Kimberley, Jack discovers Paris’s hidden world of crime, murder, cultural clashes, arms trading – all among the idolatry of its cultural icons of the arts, fashion and culinary expertise. The missing girl’s case becomes secondary to a world of pseudo terrorism, and Kimberley is pivotal to both.

There are many characters for the reader to keep track of as they come and go, but the plot easily meshes together all the elements of a conspiracy undreamed of. This is the eleventh of the Private series, another I’ll have to pick up on at number one, and was written with Mark Sullivan.

Publishing in 2016 by Century, for Penguin Random House

ISBN:
Paperback – 978-1-780-89279-5
Hardback   – 978-1-780-89278-8

Reviewed for distributors Booksellers NZ

The Gangster, by Clive Cussler

“He heard footsteps. Then labored breathing. The hoboCUSSLER-C_The Gangster_cover
limped into the trees. He saw Bell, plunged a hand into his coat, and whipped out a knife in a blur of starlight on steel. Run? Thought Bell. Not and turn his back on the knife. He grabbed the heavy satchel to block the knife, and formed a fist.”

My first – but definitely not my last — foray into Cusslers’ works, The Gangster, is a well constructed presentation of the early nineteen-hundreds New York world of the wealthy, the poor; exploited immigrant workers and old school family; gangs and victims; the murderous and the law keepers.

It revolves around the ever-growing enterprise of Branco driving his way up from labourer on the run to the top of the criminal killing chain. His scheming is well spread, well executed, all the while working in secret. His final goal? Well, let me just say…someone as high as you could get in 1906 US.

In his way are the city police and the highly respected Van Dorn Detective Agency, whose top agent Isaac Bell had met Branco years earlier when involved in high jinks while at Yale.

Fast paced, the scene shifts turn the tale to something as close to an action movie as any novel can get, while the Prologue allows new readers such as me (or am I the only one?) an effective introduction to both characters.

This is Cussler’s ninth in the Isaac Bell series, co-authored with Justin Scott (as have been all but the first). I would have appreciated seeing the credits for the art work prefacing sections of the book; they are a perfect “match” to the style and setting.

Published by Michael Joseph imprint of Penguin Random house NZ,

ISBN:
Hardback:  978-0-718-18287-8
Paperback: 978-0-718-18286-1

US Release date: March 1st.
NZ Release is scheduled for April
Reviewed for distributors Booksellers NZ

For earlier  titles in the Isaac Bell series, visit the author’ official site…
http://clive-cussler-books.com/category/books/isaac-bell/

 

Reviewing Chains and Memory, by Marie Brennan


‘I turned. I shouldn’t have—I knew that even as I was turning.
BRENNAN-Marie_Chains and Memory
But my skull was full of cotton wool, and the thought came through
too slowly.
The guy who’d been staring at me was just a few feet away. As I turned to face him, he hurled something at me.
It hit me before I could react, square in the chest, and exploded into a burst of powder. I inhaled it, involuntarily—and burning fire traced its way into my mouth, my nose, my throat, my lungs…setting every nerve ending on fire.’

This, the third in Ms Brennan’s futuristic and magical series THE WILDERS – following Welcome To Welton (Book 0) and Lies and Prophecies (Book 1), will be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of her followers and all readers of magical fantasy. I wish I had read the first two in the series before reading Chains and Memories, as it does assume the reader has some familiarity of the world in which it is set—

A world of the far future, in which peoples with magical powers are accepted among the ordinary populace, providing the government has them firmly under control. But parallel to this world is a real magical world, in which those with uncontrolled powers are of two kinds – each with their own agenda.

Our protagonist is Kim, born without powers, but taken by the Otherworld in her teens and turned into a half human, half sidhe.  Her mother has done her best to shield Kim from government control.

Until she is attacked, and changed to one with full magic. This part of her past is hinted at, but lays the base for her suspicions and her fears.

While trying to have government control of Wilders amended (as unlike others, she was fully normal for her childhood, thus never going through the training of wilder children) she comes up against the prejudice of the normals, including her mother’s. She works and takes up independent training in magical skills, and finally is allowed to join the [name it] group of trainee Guardians – Wilders whose skills are used to govern and control forces from the Otherworld.

Julian, another wilder, is driven to have the control device removed from all Wilders, and Kim empathizes with the cause – and with Julian; their relationship develops beyond that of training buddies, infuriating his younger sister, Neeya, only recently released from the wilder children’s training centre.

Events change things, moving rapidly as the political system manipulates the wilder populace, and the two Otherworld peoples seek to take control of the Wilders for their own gain.

Who to trust?
Who to believe – the Seelies or the Unseelies?

And entwined in the magical and political threads of the tale is another, just a s enthralling  – of love and sacrifice.

Published 2015 by
BookViewCafe
ISBN: 978-1-611381569-0

Cover Art & Design by Averey Liell-Kok and Amy Sterling Canil
(blog followers know I don’t usually mention cover art/design, which  tells you something)

SWANTOWER_For Marie Brennan
Click for Swantower Buy Links