Category Archives: Fiction

Sneak Peek Wednesday: Come This Way by Michelle Schlicher

Come This Way
by Michelle Schlicher
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: Oct. 21, 2016
Genre: Fiction

A hiking and outdoor enthusiast, fifty-year-old Fern Conrad can’t imagine spending her time doing anything else, much to the dismay of her daughter, Colby.

Kara Dawson, a twenty-five-year-old student therapist, has shut life out to focus on her sister’s illness. That is, until a chance meeting pushes her to confront the possibilities—by letting go and moving forward.

Eighty-three-year-old Nettie Campbell heals in the hospital while facing the consequences of her actions. Can she repair relationships and forge new bonds as she comes to terms with the truth?

Come This Way is an emotional, honest look into the lives of women who are discovering their own strength. It is a story about difficult choices and the people around us who help us find our way.

 

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Excerpt: A Trip Down Reality Lane by Ian Thomas Malone

mtA Trip Down Reality Lane
By: Ian Thomas Malone
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Published: Feb 24, 2015
Genre: Fiction

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College life can be tough…

For a junior pursuing a degree in English with no plans for his future, living in the present is far better than the alternative.

One morning he wakes up and embarks on an acid trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with two of his friends.

A step outside reality might be the best way to come back down to earth…

Along the way, the three friends discover what matters most to them, and more importantly, that life is not so much about answers as it is about the exploration of the questions.

When the real world doesn’t quite cut it, take a journey down the rabbit hole.

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Excerpt: Patience, My Dear by Bower Lewis

22609269Patience, My Dear
By: Bower Lewis
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: March 24, 2015
Genre: Fiction

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In this quirky, romantic novel, in the irreverent spirit of Christopher Moore’s national bestseller Lamb, a young woman is getting texts from an iPhone-obsessed God, and she’s not okay with that. Her handsome new neighbor tries to intervene in the dispute, but is he on her side, or the Almighty’s?

Patience Kelleher doesn’t want to be a soldier of the Lord. She doesn’t want His voice in her head, and she certainly doesn’t want Him texting her emoticon-laden messages about boy band singers and sinister solar power corporations. What would a cranky, twenty-three-year-old waitress know about preventing the Apocalypse? He’s got believers for that sort of thing, or the Army. All Patience wants is to keep a job she actually likes, and to avoid falling for her confounding new neighbor, if at all possible. When the Lord enlists said neighbor to convince her to step up, it doesn’t brighten her mood. That was dirty pool.

Zane Grey Ellison doesn’t particularly want to be a soldier of the Lord either, but he’s keeping an open mind. His world’s been pretty skewed since he abandoned his father’s estate, and his preoccupation with the waitress across the street hasn’t helped him regain his equilibrium. The messages she’s receiving from a text-happy God don’t seem all that much more wondrous to him than his discovery of diner food, or the realization that not every girl in the world can be impressed by a Bugatti Veyron. In fact, if Patience would just stop bickering with the Lord for a minute, he believes they might even get the job done.

Patience fights to keep her sanity as Zane fights to keep the peace, determined not to let the world die … not when it’s just getting good.

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Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

22573856Little Peach
By: Peggy Kern
Publisher: Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins
Published: March 10, 2015
Genre: Contemporary
Rating:
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What do you do if you’re in trouble?

When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options.

Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels.

But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition.

This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.

 

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Excerpt & Recipe from How To Bake A Chocolate Soufflé by Carly Ellen Kramer

23269278How To Bake A Chocolate Soufflé
(Cherry Harbor, #1)
By: Carly Ellen Kramer
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: Sept. 23, 2014
Genre: Fiction

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Forget what your English professor told you – life stories are not written in college.

Madeleine LaBlange, Annie Anderson, and Audrey Navarro shared formative years as roommates at Chicago’s Catholic haven for women, the historic Abbott College. If only they could have predicted the collisions between their carefully crafted life plans and the realities they discover beyond campus…

Madeleine harbors dreams of becoming a concert pianist while Dr. Reynold Fenwick, her mercurial graduate school mentor, harbors fantasies of Madeleine. Will pursuing her dreams be worth the cost? Will an evening in Budapest change her life forever?

Annie plans to build a perfect family with her perfect husband in the cutthroat news media industry, until an abrupt tragedy shakes the foundations of her marriage. What happens when she feels pulled between the two men she loves most, her husband and her father?

Audrey leaves her religious, restrictive parents behind and aims for Chicago’s downtown skyline, dating recklessly and staring down each grueling workday one Chicago Dog at a time. Will an island respite lure her away from her corporate future? When she finds herself in the arms of an unexpected lover, will she have the courage to stand up for her own evolving sense of self?

Follow the journeys of these remarkable women, and cheer them on as they navigate life, love, and chocolate soufflé.

Includes over a dozen decadent new recipes from Crowded Earth Kitchen!

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Excerpt: Third Rail by Rory Flynn

thrdrailThird Rail
By: Rory Flynn
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: June10, 2014
Genre: Mystery

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At crime scenes, Eddy Harkness is a human Ouija board, a brilliant young detective with a knack for finding the hidden something—cash, drugs, guns, bodies. But Eddy’s swift rise in an elite narcotics unit is derailed by the death of a Red Sox fan in the chaos of a World Series win, a death some camera-phone-wielding witnesses believe he could have prevented. Scapegoated, Eddy is exiled to his hometown just outside Boston, where he empties parking meters and struggles to redeem his disgraced family name.

Then one night Harkness’s police-issue Glock disappears. Unable to report the theft, Harkness starts a secret search—just as a string of fatal accidents lead him to uncover a new, dangerous smart drug, Third Rail. With only a plastic disc gun to protect him, Harkness begins a high-stakes investigation that leads him into the darkest corners of the city, where politicians and criminals intertwine to deadly effect.

Excerpt

When the first headlights burn in the distance, Harkness shoves the wire cutters in his back pocket, climbs through the fresh hole in the chain-link fence, and scrambles down the gravel embankment. He pulls on a Red Sox jacket to hide his uniform and finds his place in the center of the road like a pitcher taking the mound—focused and ready for tonight’s game. His departmental counselor would see this late-night return to the scene of the incident as proof of risk-seeking tendencies. His brother George would just shake his head and tell him to get over it and move on. Thalia would tell him to have another drink. But they aren’t here. Only Officer Edward Harkness, formerly of the Boston Police Department, stands on the Turnpike, ready to see if a stranger in a car will kill him.The first contender appears, a white BMW that takes the curve at Kenmore Square and races toward Harkness. The roar grows louder and echoes from the cement walls of the Pike. At twenty yards, the headlights set his Red Sox disguise aglow.

Harkness runs west toward the car. No dodging. Stay on the line. These are the rules of engagement tonight.

The BMW hurtles closer and the driver hits the horn. Breath steaming in the cool night air, Harkness runs down the yellow line. The horn screams and the car swerves so close that Harkness could reach out and touch the doors as it flies past, its slipstream spinning Harkness to the ground. The driver lays on the horn, the note bending lower as the car speeds away.

“One down,” Harkness whispers. His palms scrape in the grit as he stumbles to his feet and turns to watch the red taillights smearing toward South Station.

When Pauley Fitzgerald stood here exactly a year ago, the highway was crowded with Sox fans driving home. In the blurry security video, he leaps across the lanes, pivots sideways, ricochets from one lane to the next, and somersaults over moving cars. More than three million people had watched Turnpike Toreador the last time Harkness checked YouTube, staring in sick fascination as Pauley Fitz dropped, danced, and died. After it was all over, the Staties couldn’t even find his teeth.

Harkness runs down the empty highway as the white eyes of new headlights race toward him.

authorrory

Rory Flynn is a Boston-based mystery writer whose novels include Third Rail, the debut of the Eddy Harkness series (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2014). Author Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins) calls Flynn “a suspense writer to watch.” And readers compare his work to Robert B. Parker, Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, and George V. Higgins.

Website

Review: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

18656072The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street
By: Susan Jane Gilman
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Genre: Fiction
Rating:
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In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, “The Ice Cream Queen” — doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality.

Lillian’s rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.

 

1thoughtsBefore Lillian was the Ice Cream Queen, she was a Russian immigrant named Malka. A little girl who had been dealt one crappy card in life. Not only does her father abandon them when they get to America, but her mother blames her for their misfortune in America. So when Malka gets trampled by a horse, leaving her crippled, her mother turns her back on her and washes her hands on Malka. Luckily for Malka, the man who was steering the horse takes pity on Malka and welcomes her into his house where she becomes part of the family. The family runs a frozen ice business but soon take on the task of gelato, which is where Lillian is born.

“I had entered the church Malka Treynovsky Bialystoker. I emerged, however, Lillian Maria Dinello.
The Legend of my American life had begun.”

This was an interesting tale of a young immigrant who becomes a huge ice cream mogul. She overcame everything in her life and became successful in the one thing she set out to do, make ice cream. There were a lot of bumps in her life but in the end, that’s what shaped her into the woman that she is today.

I liked that the story was mixed between past and present time. In the present time, Lillian is in court for tax evasion and a few other things. So she recollects her life leading up to that moment. The fact that the story would go back and forward in time helped break up the story. There would be times when I’d start to get bored with the storyline and then all of a sudden we’d go back in time and there would be a change of pace. Even so, I did feel like the story was a tad bit too long. If it wasn’t for those time jumps, I’d probably have put the book down. It just seemed like there were parts that would drag on for a while.

This was a good story that could easily be true. There were no crazy plot twists or embellishments that made you think that this was all make believe. The fact that when I finished the story, I sat back and thought, “Huh. So this really wasn’t based on a true story?”, really earned the author points.

 

1favequote“WPIX was only a local station, for God’s sake. And we aired at 7:00 A.M. on a Sunday-a Sunday! And maybe I had had a few drinks. But darlings, you try hosting a kiddie show for thirteen goddamn years.”

kRISTIN

Excerpt: The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris

17166248The Pieces We Keep
By: Kristina McMorris
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: Nov. 26, 2013
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction

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Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying—but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.

As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound—and perhaps, at last, to heal.

 
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Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower 
By: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: Feb. 1, 1999
Genre: Fiction
Rating:
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 Standing on the fringes of life… offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

 

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