Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bridges Burned: A Zoe Chambers Mystery

Zoe Chambers is a paramedic and deputy coroner who works hard "to find answers for the dead" in Vance Township, a tight-knit Pennsylvania farm community. In her first two books, Circle of Influence and Lost Legacy, Zoe tracked the killer of a prominent town board member and investigated the suicide of a local farmer. In book three, Bridges Burned, Zoe stops a man from re-entering his burning house in an attempt to save his wife. When the raging fire proves fatal, Zoe empathizes with the grieving, homeless, unemployed widower, Holt Farabee, and his ten year-old daughter, Maddie. She offers lodging to the pair in the dilapidated 1850s farmhouse she shares with her aging, infirm landlady. In exchange, Holt, who has handyman skills, agrees to do odd jobs.

Zoe soon forges a bond with Holt and identifies with Maddie, as Zoe lost her father when she, too, was a young girl. But when Police Chief Pete Adams--a man whom Zoe has kept at a romantic arm's length for years--learns of the living arrangement, he's not pleased as his investigation is harvesting suspicions about the deadly fire and Holt's past. When Pete tries to caution Zoe, she refuses to listen. Might Zoe's stubbornness lead to further peril? 

Small town dynamics color a suspenseful, well-plotted storyline rife with red herrings that reveal how seemingly mundane lives are much more complicated and connected than first believed. But it's Annette Dashofy's likeable heroine--her vulnerabilities and deepening challenges--that makes for another winning installment in this series.

Burning Bridges by Annette Dashofy
Henery Press, $14.95 Paperback, 9781941962398, 288 pp  
Publication Date: April 7, 2015

To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (4/10/15), link HERE

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Let's Be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties

It's not easy growing older, but for Patricia Marx, the decline of the mind provides fodder for a smart, often laugh-out-loud exploration of the human brain—"the three-pound wrinkly glop of glopoplasm in your skull" that contains "about a hundred billion neurons." In Let's Be Less Stupid, Marx--a curious, comic writer and contributor to Saturday Night Live, The New Yorker and the author of Starting from Happy--presents a candid, loosely structured memoir about her four-month mission to better understand, sharpen and boost her brain, which she claims is, "the size of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's fist, the consistency of flan, and weighs as much as a two-slice toaster." She states, "if you were a plastic surgeon, you'd say my brain needed a facelift."
Marx believes the modern world inundates minds, especially hers, with an overabundance of information--"the shoe size of my ex, the names of Sarah Jessica Parker's children, the calories in cottage cheese"--and, with age, the brain becomes a clogged think tank where "our cerebrums are filled with more facts than are contained in all the editions of Trivial Pursuit." Thus, she sets out to examine and test ways of transforming and rejuvenating her "ol' noggin'." She offers a trove of neuro-knowledge factoids and clever self-help strategies fortified with statistical data, word problems, quizzes, brainteasers and "Middle-age Mad Libs"; graphics, doodles, photographs and charts; physical and nutritional enhancements, medical tests and meditations. These accoutrements illustrate, reinforce and/or dispute theories Marx encounters amid her hilariously sophisticated, often literally mind-boggling, "get-smart" crusade.

Twelve Books, $22.00 Hardcover, 9781455554959, 208 pp
Publication Date: July 14, 2015

To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (7/30/15), link HERE 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Saturday Evening Post: Great American Fiction

I am pleased and honored that one of my short stories received honorable mention in The Saturday Evening Post: Great American Fiction Contest. The coordinators of the prize--Steven Slon and Patrick Perry (editors of The Saturday Evening Post magazine)--have compiled the top selections and assembled them in one collection entitled, Best Short Stories from The Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest 2016

My story, "Affentity," which is featured in the collection, takes place in 1922 and is about the relationship between an impressionable young girl and her bootlegging, spiritually challenged grandfather.
To learn more and to order the anthology link HERE

Happy Reading...Enjoy!

The Saturday Evening Post Society, $3.99 ebook, B01A05K7RU, 402 pp
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
To order this book link HERE