Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dead Men by Derek Haines

The Hell of Divorce

This is a story about the hell of divorce from the point of view of three men. They are angry, bitter, depressed, and lonely. They have lost their jobs, homes, and their children. Any money they eventually earn goes to child-support. They feel the Family Court favors women and they try to beat the system. These men did not exactly grow up in nurturing homes, which definitely adds to their outlooks on life.

Within a few months, divorce turned three men into confused and bored women haters. David and Tony’s wives discarded them, both had cheated on them. Steve felt his wife measured him by his salary, which he increased with petty criminal activities.

David, an innovative salesman; Tony, a hard working owner of a transport company; and Steve, a well-qualified and dependable accountant, are reduced to feeling useless and worthless to their families and society in general. They end up twisting their skills using illegal activities.

The story begins in their birth city of Perth, Australia. The men move to Sydney, Australia where they all meet by chance, calling themselves The Three Musketeers. This is where the story develops. The reader experiences the trials and tribulations these men experience during and after their divorces. We listen to the ramblings of broken men who can’t be seen as weak. They don’t know how to talk about their emotions and/or feelings in a healthy way. We watch how they do handle life, which isn’t very pretty.

Readers will have different opinions regarding how the story ends for Tony and Steve. David’s ending, where he meets his match, will have readers hoping for the best for him.

The book is dark as the story is rough. Derek Haines strength is developing his characters, and he does an extraordinary job describing three distasteful men who deal with their circumstances in the only way they knew how. While doing so, he does offer his readers a different perspective in the difficult matter of the hell of divorce.

Book Review by Mary Crocco

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

A summer job like no other!

Kelsey, a young woman looking for a summer job, lands one in a local circus in Oregon. She takes care of a beautiful white Bengal tiger named Dhiren. Kelsey is unaware of the true mystery of this white tiger as she develops a caring relationship with him.

After two weeks caring for Dhiren, the owner of the circus announces that Dhiren was bought and will be set free in a tiger preserve in India. Kelsey is overcome with mixed emotions. She wants the tiger to be free, but knows she will miss him terribly.

Mr. Kadam, the man who bought Dhiren, realizes how much Kelsey loves his tiger, and how Dhiren responds to Kelsey, and asks her to take the trip to India with him to assure a good trip for Dhiren. Both Mr. Kadam and Dhiren have hidden motives unbeknown to Kelsey.

This is where Kelsey’s summer job becomes like no other! She finds out the true mystery of Ren, the beautiful white Bengal tiger, who she innocently took care of back home in the circus.

The story doesn’t miss a beat involving readers to experience the deep culture of India, along with its magical legends and mythology. The adventures take place as Kelsey and Ren try to survive the creatures of India’s jungles. At the same time, the readers share the budding romance between Kelsey and Ren as Kelsey tries to break the Tiger’s Curse. It’s impossible to stop reading until we find out if Kelsey and Ren becomes a couple and if the Tiger’s Curse gets broken.

Book Review by Mary Crocco

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Cowboy's Touch, by Denise Hunter

Chicago city girl meets Montana Big Sky cowboy. Abigail is a workaholic expose writer who decides to expose Wade, the handsome cowboy, in an effort to save her mother’s magazine in Chicago. Circumstances get in the way and the article is never printed for the public.

It’s the circumstances that draw the reader to enjoy this western style romance. There is a spiritual message about redemption and forgiveness. The characters wrestle with these emotions and it’s their decisions that compel the reader to reflect on our own decisions.

Denise Hunter describes her main characters, Abigail, Wade, and his daughter Maddy, with amazing detail. The reader feels part of the family from beginning to end. At times we experience ambiguous feelings as they struggle with their decisions.

I recommend A Cowboy’s Touch to readers of all ages, definitely for the young adult ladies. Wade’s daughter, Maddy, is a spunky character the young reader will thoroughly enjoy. It’s a nice way to spend an evening, and a bonus if you like cowboys!

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Book review by Mary Crocco

Friday, March 11, 2011

Louis, by Derek Haines

Derek Haines describes his friend, Louis, as an enigma. He reflects how Louis was someone who taught him how to imagine. Haines engages his readers to travel alongside Louis to all parts of the world. At the end of the trip, we all wish we were friends of Louis.

Teremum was born in Cairo. As a young boy, his almost non-existent family contributed to a perfect resume for being a spy in the British Secret Service. As a spy, Louis led a secret life where he used both his Egyptian and English heritage to his advantage. He used different names to match his secret identities. He was a compassionate man who completed his missions with integrity. As a spy, he had to kill and also be a target. We feel his triumphs and his pain as we travel with Louis.

Louis is a historical fiction, and the author shares his secret life during both World Wars. Readers feel the emotions, the ups and downs, that Louis experiences. One of my favorite phrases in the book is . . . his mind started to wander the corridors of his life again. Derek Haines’s words sum up how Louis felt after suffering a severe stroke. Throughout the book, Derek once again makes us feel his characters true to life.

The ending was abrupt. I selfishly wanted the last chapter expounded. Without spoiling the ending, I am thinking, maybe a sequel Derek?

Book Review by Mary Crocco

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fighting the Devil,by Jeannie Walker

Misplaced Efforts

After reading this true mystery murder, I realize Jeannie Walker is a much better person than I am or ever will be. This is the story of a woman who was abused physically and emotionally by her husband, yet when he dies, she takes on the burden of solving her ex-husbands death. It is believed he was murdered, poisoned over time, by his new wife and his book keeper.

I don’t understand her reasoning. Yes, she has two children by this man, but the things he did to her, including the fact that she had to give up custody of her son and daughter when they were young, just doesn’t equal her efforts in my mind. I also don’t buy into the fact he was going to change after many, many years of being a bastard.

The story takes place in Texas. After years of living low, Jeannie makes her husband’s dreams come true (in the midst of abuse) and they become wealthy. Actually he alone enjoys the wealth because he throws Jeannie out. He only remarries to have a domestic slave.

The gist of the book is about Jeannie’s efforts trying to prove his wife and book keeper poisoned him to death. The book keeper does do time in prison, but the wife never gets charged to this day.
If anything, the book should leave the reader extremely angry with the justice system.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Jeannie Walker. But it’s because of the abuse she endured by her ex-husband, not because she is still involved in getting justice served. I will never understand why she took this burden upon herself right from the beginning. However, today, her children are no longer young and could resume this painful burden, and Jeannie be there for support, but it always was and is just misplaced efforts on her part. The man, as her husband, wasn’t worth it. As Jeannie describes him as a father, she shows he wasn’t much to be proud of either. At this time, if an investigation is imminent, it makes more sense for the children to be at the helm.

Book review by Mary Crocco