Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Story to Tell: A Novel by K. J. Steele

No Story to Tell: A Novel. K. J. Steele. Fiction Studio Books. 2011. 388 pages. ISBN #: 9781936558209.

Victoria Lackey is a fighting survivor, beginning on the day of her birthday when her twin died and she lived. Her family weren't too thrilled with her and wished her brother had lived. One doesn't need too much of an imagination to know how she grew up; her abusive father and cowering mother die young, followed by an Aunt; and Victoria falls where she will. It's amazing as we progress and meet Bobby her husband who treats her more like a child and possession than a wife. Then we meet her friend, Rose, who seems to be the only one who is sensitive to Victoria's inner world - a world no one in this small town of Hinkley really knows about - oh what a surprise is waiting to burst out of its shell!

Then we meet Elliot Spencer, the man who thinks and feels so widely that he speaks to Victoria's dreams in a way that mirrors so much within any reader's life as well. For Victoria wanted to be a dancer but the people around her, except for her mother who once fought for her to be in a dance recital, thwart her every attempt. Now she decides to give in to the fancy to start a dance school. Where will it go?

How will Bobby react to his new woman who most of the time reacts with fear and submission to him, while he in turn demeans and commands her. What choices does she have. The plot evolves with some strange phone calls and messages that Victoria believes are coming from Elliot and which encourage her more. Again, what a surprise is coming that will shock readers to the core!

One can dream about the "road not taken," but Victoria is a well-developed character who begins to observe her world and dream about possibilities, something almost every reader can relate to in some way.

No Story To Tell is about recreating one's world - something to tell one's self more than other dreamers and idlers! Fascinating read, Ms. Steele!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fool's Mate by Laura Pedersen

Fool's Mate. Laura Pedersen. CreateSpace Publisher. 2011. 452 pages. ISBN #: 9781463652883.

Josie Kincaid is a cable news network journalist who wants to be reporter who makes a momentous, award-winning contribution to her job. But Josie's a definite out-of-the-box character who is funny, sloppy, and tough lady who is often her own worst enemy. She courts disaster on the job, has cost the company a heap of money by getting into dangerous situations and leaving behind costly wrecks. Her excessive drinking and reputation as the gal who sleeps around with anyone certainly don't help her public persona.

Now she's royally ticked that her company is chipping away with budget cuts and a newbie has been placed in her cubicle, a posh, upscale Yale graduate lawyer who is smart, preppy, and serious, everything that Josie isn't. About all they have in common is having famous parents. That's all about to change, and the journey is the exciting concern of this very funny novel. It all begins when Calvin, the newbie, marries a "society" gal, and Calvin and Josie are thrown together in a journey to Africa, a trip that will change everything and require Josie to grow up fast. Is she up to the task?

Rambunctious and still attracted to Calvin, Josie finally faces the seriousness of a threatening election situation in North Africa that could change all of Europe. Now she has to begin learning to listen to her head and heart about the news and Calvin! What a trip!

It's been quite a while since this reviewer read a Pedersen novel; her skill has evolved in a grand way that I found so pleasing! Fool's Mate bounces along and then proceeds at a taut, riveting pace as the cast of characters in this cleverly-crafted novel live, learn, and grow in a way that gives new meaning to folly and wisdom!!! Delightful!!!

You're Not the One by Alexandra Potter

You're Not the One. Alexandra Potter. Penguin Group, USA. 2011. 384 pp. ISBN #: 9780452296909.

Lucy Hemingway and Nat Kennedy believed they were bound together ever since they visited Venice, Italy and hear a message about those couples who kiss on a gondola traveling under a certain bridge. They each have a memento of that experience and are totally elated with knowing how deep and solid their love is and will endure!!!

But things crash when Nat meets someone else and tells Lucy he is sorry but he will be getting married. It's now ten years later and Lucy pretends it is "water under the bridge" as the saying go. But deep down, she has never stopped loving Nat and wondering what happened to their guaranteed dream life together. Meanwhile, she's an assistant at an art gallery with an owner, Magda, who wants to be Lucy's matchmaker. What follows is as much of a mystery as a romance as Lucy on an assignment to deliver art pieces to a buyer discovers that the purchaser is Nat. As the days go by, they discover their new love but also discover some irritating quirks about each other that are both funny and yet puzzling. How is the promise of eternal love and never being unconnected to happen when they cannot tolerate each other for more than a few minutes?

And what about Adam whom Lucy meets and could really love getting to know and date were it not for Nat who keeps popping up in Lucy's world too often for it to be coincidence? Must Lucy and Nat do something to break what now feels like a curse? How many misunderstandings can Adam endure? What about Lucy's sister who was formerly so cold and uncaring and now reveals a devastating secret that changes Lucy's perspective on all the aspects of her crazy bohemian life?

You're Not the One is a funny, romantic, mysterious, intriguing read you won't forget for a long time. It certainly makes one think about who is "the One!"