Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sea Change by Karen White

  1. Sea Change. Karen White. Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated. 2012. 416 pp. paperback, ISBN #: 9780451236760.
Ava Whalen has been looking for something for a very long time.  What she wants and needs is far beyond her understanding. After a very quick meeting and romance, she marries Matthew Frazier.  Off they go to a happy life forevermore in St. Simon's Island in Georgia, U.S.A., right?  Wrong!  There's a haunting, palpable tension present from the moment Ava sets foot in Matthew's home.   Soon she discovers that Matthew was married before and that his wife died in a car accident that not everyone thinks was accidental!

The island is also strange for Ava as she is deathly afraid of water and doesn't know why.  She's determined to conquer her fears, however, and begins to settle in her new home.  Her relationship with Matthew is fraught with tension as his late wife Adrienne's paintings and items fill their home, creating a haunted atmosphere.  When Ava meets Adrienne's brother John, he tells her he believes that Matthew caused her death.  Although there is no factual evidence, things Adrienne did and said before she died indicated to John that Matthew knows more than he is admitting!  The finding of a ring, the absence of a briefcase, and other odd occurrences spoil what should have been a very special time for the newlyweds.

After Ava becomes pregnant and falls, an x-ray reveals a horrific finding for which Ava has no explanation.  Finally agreeing to Matthew's suggestion of hypnosis, as he's a psychologist, they discover bits of a truth that seems to relate to Ava's past, far before she could ever have a memory.  The plot becomes even more riveting and tense with the addition of a parallel plot occurring between two couples in the 1800s and culminating in the War with the British.  What does it have to do with Ava and the Frazier family?  Is Ava losing her mind and why do her mother and grandmother show up at this specific time to visit?

Karen White's writing is improving with dramatic leaps and bounds in this latest novel.  She's created a multilevel mystery that glues the reader to the book, with just enough clues to tantalize but so carefully crafted that no one can guess what will eventually enfold. Sea Change is a wonderful, must read for the summer or anytime written by a master of suspense and intrigue!  A best seller for sure!

Deborah Harkness - Shadow of Night Contest and Giveaways!!!

SHADOW OF NIGHT BY DEBORAH HARKNESS.  Penguin Group (USA) Inc. July 2012. $28.95. hb. 592 pp. ISBN #: 9780670023486.

My review of this amazing book is forthcoming on the web pages of the Historical Novel Society.  loved both books (first was called A Discovery of Witches).

On July 10th, Viking will publish this novel.  Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont, witch historian and vampire geneticist respectively, have time-walked to the 1590s Elizabethan England on their hunt for the magical alchemical manuscript Ashmole 782 - its sudden appearance and disappearance has upended the delicately ordered world of magical creatures (witches, vampires and daemons), threatening to unleash unprecedented metaphysical chaos.  SHADOW OF NIGHT has been called "a must-buy by Library Journal and critics everywhere are making it mandatory summer reading.

The publisher of this unique tale is offering a specially designed "Ashmole 782" temporary tattoo and a set of 6 buttons for giveaway along with a finished copy of SHADOW OF NIGHT.  The buttons each display a different alchemical symbol which you will come to understand as you read the novel. To get to this giveaway, click here and here.

On Deborah’s Facebook page, you will find a contest leading up to the book’s publication. Every Friday from June 1st to July 6th, four winners will be selected to receive an advance copy of SHADOW OF NIGHT signed by Deborah and sample bottles of two perfumes specially selected to represent the scents of Matthew and Diana. To enter,  click on this link to the contest page starting today. 

Some exciting news for readers who haven't gotten around to A Discovery of Witches: Amazon is offering the e-book as their "Deal of the Day" on June 10th, where readers will be able to buy it for just $2.99 on that day only.  Then you will be ready to read SHADOW OF NIGHT when it hits stores!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Betty's Little Basement Garden by Laurel Dewey

Betty's Little Basement Garden. Laurel Dewey. Publisher: The Story Plant. June 2012. 450 Pages. ISBN #: 9781611880380.

Betty is a very unhappy lady.  Losing her son three years ago and her husband more recently, she's overwhelmed with grief and financial debt. Little by little, she is selling off parts of her home furniture and other items. But the picture she presents to her ultra-conservative, opinionated friends is one of strength, agreement, and perfection.  Something is rotten in Denmark, indeed as a famous bard once wrote.

Her marriage was actually a disaster and her son died of an overdose of drugs, providing memories and nightmares that she attempts to evade by several strong, daily nightcaps! But Betty's world is about to turn upside down, all beginning with a friend's campaign to stop the selling of legal marijuana and the production of medicinal marijuana plants in the neighborhood.  Betty can't stand the carping and rigid, stereotypical stuff she hears, especially since it nudges her memories of her son's initial start with drugs.  However, never one to be the rebel, she reluctantly and incorrectly signs her name to a petition to stop the spread of marijuana in any legal shape, size, or form.

Soon however, after finally going to the doctor for some severe neck pain, she meets a man named Peyton who actually works at a local health food store and is licensed as a medical caregiver who gives patients marijuana or "herb" as he insists on calling it to patients who are sick or dying.  When she sees the results on a dying woman in person, a part of her more truthful side has to admit there is a better way.  

So begins this long tale of Betty's foray into dosing home-made chocolates with the "herb" and then beginning to produce her own plants, forms of this new "medication," and obtaining her own license as a medical caregiver.  Some funny moments follow with a date her old friends talk her into taking and her reactions to both the date and them after the date, as well as little by little letting go of restricted and uptight exterior she's been living.  Readers can decide how much is educational, how much is a bit much, and how much of this information is real.  It certainly appears to be well-researched and one about which the general public knows little.  The experiments in producing the products are sometimes funny, sometimes more anti-cause than even the author expects, but the end of the story, as well a a growing romance with another character is quite pleasing and unique.  Interestingly done, Ms. Dewey!