Sunday, August 1, 2010


by Ellen Dye
L&L Dreamspell
Spring, TX
ISBN: 9781603181662

Wanda Jo Ashton grew up in a small town in West Virginia with one goal in mind: to get as far away from her penny-pinching life as she could. Twenty years later, on her 40th birthday, Wanda Jo, who now calls herself Ashton and lives in San Francisco, is expecting an expensive birthday gift from her attorney husband, Reed, only to be rejected by him on a popular TV talk show. Reed, choosing to assume the role of boy toy to a wealthy elderly woman, leaves Wanda Jo destitute and desperate. With her 16-year-old daughter in tow, Wanda Jo returns to her hometown and eccentric family, where she tries to figure out what to do with her life while expecting her husband to eventually rescue her. But what Wanda Jo thinks she wants may not be what she actually gets.

Relatively Crazy is, as we say in the South, a hoot and a half. Filled with fun characters and witty dialogue, it starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up. This humorous tale of a woman’s journey as she deals with a broken marriage while beginning a new and completely different life than the one she led is heart-warming and thoroughly entertaining. There’s a touch of romance, which spices up the story, along with a refreshing dose of camaraderie among some of the women characters. A book readers will truly enjoy (and not want to put down).


by Stephen King
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
ISBN: 9781439148501

Iraq veteran Dale (Barbie) Barbara is on his way out of Chester’s Mill when an invisible shield drops down, running along the small town’s boundaries. Planes, cars and birds crash into it, people run into it, and no one can figure out what it is. The US military’s calculations are that a large force field in the shape of a dome has settled over Chester’s Mill, cutting the town off from the rest of the country. Their efforts to destroy the dome are fruitless, as are their attempts to figure out who did this. The president places Barbie in charge of Chester’s Mill but that doesn’t set well with second selectman Big Jim Rennie, who likes being a big fish in a small pond and isn’t about to let anyone else assume control. Besides, Jesus told the sanctimonious Big Jim that he’s the one in charge. In an effort to keep Barbie from taking over, Rennie maneuvers behind the scenes, manipulating the people of Chester’s Mill with the aid of his new police chief and several newly appointed deputies. As the air turns bad and greenery dies, Big Jim’s focus remains on using Barbie as a scapegoat for several unexplained murders, while Barbie and several others, on the run from Big Jim and his minions, try to put an end to the dome.

This lengthy novel is well worth the time, reminding this reviewer of King’s best novel, The Stand, following the same basic concept: good versus evil, although this battle is among humans. The large cast of characters works well; each is well-developed and essential to the storyline. The thrilling plot is fast-paced, filled with suspense and action. Absolutely one of King’s best in recent years.


by Lee Child
Bantam Dell
New York, NY
ISBN: 9780385340571

Jack Reacher, riding a New York subway in the early morning hours, notices a woman passenger acting strangely. Reacher watches her, ticking off the 12 points identifying her as a suicide bomber. When Reacher approaches her, she pulls a gun and kills herself. Since Reacher was the last one to speak to the woman, he’s taken to the police station for questioning. When the feds show up, Reacher suspects there’s more to this story than a depressed woman committing suicide. This is confirmed when he’s approached by governmental and foreign organizations wanting to know what the woman passed to him before she died. Curious about what everyone is looking for, Reacher begins his own investigation which puts him at odds with law enforcement and leads him to the White House and its past connection to the Soviet war in Afghanistan during the ‘80s.

Lee Child’s 13th offering in the Reacher series is a tense thriller with plenty of bad guys and ample graphic violence. Reacher is a dangerous man confident in his abilities and with his own sense of justice. He isn’t timid when dealing with the FBI, Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and terrorists, all of whom are after him. His brusque, at times edifying narrative, as always, carries the plot forward in an intriguing, entertaining way, and readers will root for Reacher to take care of matters in the way only Reacher can.


by L. Stewart Hearl
L&L Dreamspell
Spring, TX
ISBN: 978163181129

As a youngster, Hamilton Swoop apprenticed under Master Wizard Obsidian. At 20, subsequent to Obsidian’s death, Hamilton returned home after being stripped of his magic by the Wizards Guild. Forty years later, he owns his own antiques business and lives a paltry life with a cat as his only companion. But his life changes when he unpacks a trunk purchased at an estate sale containing a mysterious orb, cloak and the bones of Obsidian. Hamilton sets out for Center City where he intends to turn Obsidian’s bones over to the Wizards Guild. Once there, he learns the new Guildmaster of the Guild of Magic Users and Wizards has been waiting for his return, hoping he will destroy a magical dragon wreaking havoc on the city. Hamilton is reluctant to help an organization that turned its back on him, but when he is offered his magic back, he agrees. From that point, he faces extreme danger as he tries to find a way to battle the dragon and a mysterious, very powerful wizard.

Hamilton Swoop is an interesting character, a passive man with powerful magical abilities. The plot moves quickly, with moments of great suspense. The telepathic communications Hamilton shares with his cat lend humor to this intriguing story. Consider this one of those unique books for youngsters and adults alike who enjoy an exciting story filled with magic and suspense.