The Snow Globe


Author: Sheila Roberts
ISBN: 978-0312594480
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

In The Snow Globe, Sheila Roberts has bewitched readers with a charming storyline unfolding in a terrifically imaginative setting. With the holiday theme as a backdrop, The Snow Globe tells us a warm and pleasant tale about miracles that we all need in our lives, miracles we can use to change our lives for the better. Powered by a beautifully constructed plot and a lovable cast of intriguing characters, Roberts’ poignant prose illuminates the story held within the 166 pages.

As Christmas holiday draws nearer, Kiley Gray’s life has turned upside down, taking an extremely ugly turn. Not only Kylie is left heartbroken after being dumped by her boyfriend (for her sister no less!), she also loses her job and can’t find another. On top of that, her two best friends Suzanne and Allison are way too busy to be there for her having to deal with problems of their own; Suzanne is a chronic workaholic, who regularly neglects her husband and daughter to chase her dream. Allison is dealing with weight issues connected with the passing of her beloved grandmother, the person she is most fond of.

The timing could not have been any worse for Kiley as she is left alone during the holiday season with nothing but her miseries to keep her company in a world she doesn’t trust anymore. Then one day, Kiley wanders into an antique store and sets her eyes on a beautiful snow globe, reputed as a miracle performer for those in need of one. The store owner told Kylie about the awe-inspiring history attached to the snow globe and how it has been passed on from generation to generation. She purchases the snow globe without a second’s hesitant. Who else could be in more need of a miracle than Kylie herself? The snow globe turns out to be a real miracle worker, guiding Kylie turn her life around in astonishing ways.

A heartwarming, modern day fairy tale, The Snow Globe is the book for anyone and everyone in need for a miracle in their lives. Immerse yourself in this delightful book, a book so elegant in every aspect.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

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A Shower of Roses

Author: Tom Milton
ISBN: 978-0982990414:
Publisher: Nepperhan Press, LLC

Tom Milton’s masterful storytelling in his rather poetic yarn, A Shower of Roses, lures readers into a world where a poignant and powerful love story unfolds in the backdrop of an extraordinarily evocative setting. If that did not succeed as the perfect antidote, prepare yourselves to be blown away by his elegant writing that has the power to move you to your very existence.

You may wonder, at this point, what Milton’s secret ingredient could possibly be. For starters let’s say that an unforgettable cast, a graceful prose and snappy dialogues are just the icing on the cake. Above all, it is the stirring human touch the talented author so daringly adds to the mix that does the trick and makes all the difference.

Eva works as a pediatric nurse at a New York hospital. She has made it her life’s to help people by doing little things for them, instead of performing great heroic acts. Things are going well for her when she meets Marek, a Polish exile, and falls in love with him. Marek ostensibly works for a large international bank, but Eva soon learns that it is a cover for his role as a CIA agent with the mission of stimulating a popular uprising against the communist government of Poland.

At the request of the CIA the bank transfers Marek to London, where the story opens in April 1981, shortly after Poland announced that it would be unable to repay its foreign debt and the Solidarity movement emerged. Eva had never dreamed of marrying a man like Marek but she responds to his need for love and she devotes her life to him.

She is fully aware that her husband’s work is dangerous. Every time he goes to Poland she worries that he will be arrested by the secret police. Though he drags her into a world of political intrigue and tests her love by subjecting her to increasingly painful experiences, she keeps her promise to love him no matter what he does until she confronts the truth about him – and consequently about herself.

Milton’s somewhat tragic tale raises one fundamental question that has intrigued me as I turned the pages deep into the heart of the story: how far are you willing to go to prove your devotion for someone you love? Told in flashbacks, Milton shifts gears from present to past with an added elegance, exploring the dire consequences of one’s fate in such a circumstance.

If you are craving for a book to put you in the mood to discover shocking revelations about the power of love and devotion, grab a copy of A Shower of Roses – not because your search ends here but because it is so achingly beautiful.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

Someone’s Watching

Title: Someone’s Watching
Author: Sharon Potts
ISBN: 978-1608090136
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing

If you are looking for a thriller that is quite admirable for both its visual prose and quick pace, then Sharon Pott’s latest crime flick “Someone’s Watching” might just be the thing for you. Not only does it keep you on the edge with its pulse-racing speed but it guarantees you a seriously chilling thrill ride.

It is not until her estranged father suddenly shows up on her doorstep asking for her help that bartender Robbie Ivy learns she has a half-sister, Kaitlin “Kate” Brooks, who went missing along with her best friend, Joanne Sparks in Miami. Robbie seeks help from her ex-boyfriend Jeremy Stroeb who suggests she should consult Detective Judy Lieber, and Robbie made it her mission to locate her sister.

Robbie is frantic when she learns that Joanne’s body was found drowned in India Creek and the whereabouts of Kate remains unknown. With each passing moment, Robbie knew in her heart that the chance of finding Kate alive is getting slimmer by the minute. Racing against time, Robbie intensifies her search, often going against Lieber and coming close to breaking the law. Along the way, Robbie meets self-help author Gina Fieldstone, wife of politician Stanford Fieldstone, who volunteered to help Robbie to find her sister.

Then, a local congressman commits suicide following a visit to a popular bar the same night Robbie was there. She believes there must be a connection to the events to what happened to Kate and she starts digging deeper only to confront a terrible reality that could put everyone she loves at risk.

The lively South Beach club scene in Miami was portrayed so vividly that its gives the feeling you are right there to witness it all. Peopled with sinister characters, Potts delivers a gripping narrative that will keep you hooked until you have reached the very end of this bone-chilling mystery. Be warned that by the time you get there, you will emerge breathless. An utterly zesty read, “Someone’s Watching” is a terrific crime thriller that should win Potts more fans.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

Pious

Author: Kenn Bivins
ISBN: 978-1936198-66-5
Publisher: Two Harbors Press

If there is a valuable lesson Kenn Bivins’ startling debut novel Pious has to teach us, it is this: you can’t escape reality just by living a lie as there is an enormous price to pay for the severe consequences of hiding behind a masquerade of disguise. Bivins’ absorbing portrayal of one man’s ultimate journey from resentment to redemption in Pious will compel you right from the beginning, as the protagonist goes through a life-changing transformation that will genuinely stun you along the way.

To the eyes of everyone in his close-knit, family-friendly neighborhood of Mechi Lane, Carpious Mightson appears as an exemplary citizen and a caring neighbor who is perceived as ‘calm, cool and collective’ since these are the attributes Carpious inadvertently display on the surface. What his neighbors, co-workers or even his girlfriend does not know is that underneath all that is ‘a man of conflict and rage’ who once was a convicted criminal harboring an ugly secret.

Full of resentment for the horror of his childhood, Carpious has been trying to erase his past by keeping the demons at bay. Now hiding behind God, wearing ‘the guise of a man of virtue and charisma’, Carpious is running away from his past, from who he really is and where he come from by opting to live a lie. No matter what it takes.

That was until his lie inevitably catches up with him. When Ian Kaplan, a registered sex-offender, who knows a dark segment in Carpious’ past moves into Mechi Lane, and his addict of an ex-wife Alethea resurfaces with an agenda to blackmail Carpious by threatening to expose him for who he is, Carpious’ ideal life is abruptly disrupted by these reminders of his former life, a life he had rather not remember at any cost.

As Carpious tries to wrap his head around these potentially threatening disruptions in his otherwise perfect life (or so he thinks), a murder takes place in his peaceful neighborhood. Eventually, the façade of a deceiving life that he’s built starts to crumble down and his resentments re-emerges, as his past life come back to haunt him.

In what follows in this hard-hitting tale of a man trying to disguise his true self, Bivins paints an astonishing picture of the complexities and contrasts between the ugliness of resentment and the beauty of redemption. The poignant narrative is more real than reality itself, driven by a multifaceted protagonist that Bivins meticulously carved out with the precision of an expert novelist.

The elegant prose will keep you hooked as the enormity of the repercussions faced by the central character leads to a staggering climax that will never cease to amaze you. In essence, Pious is a praise-worthy, modern-day work of fiction that will leave you transfixed. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

The Lucifer Code

Title: The Lucifer Code
Author: Charles Brokaw
Publisher: Forge Books
ISBN: 978-0765320933

“Welcome to the end of the world as we know it. Within the next few minutes, the course of human events will drastically change.”

Those were the bone-chilling words uttered by Lucifer when Professor Thomas Lourds came face-to-face with the Devil himself in Charles Brokaw’s exhilarating new thriller, The Lucifer Code. Following the footsteps of master of thrillers Dan Brown, Brokaw sends readers through a complex maze in the dark depths of Istanbul, trailing to piece together an evil puzzle that threatens to bring about the end of the world.

Brokaw didn’t waste any time when he immediately plunges the readers into an adrenaline-surging adventure from the opening scene itself, as Professor Lourds pursues a quest more menacing and evil than imaginable as he comes to a challenging face-off with the Devil.

Professor Thomas Lourds is summoned to Istanbul to investigate artifacts never before seen by Western scholars. Upon his arrival, he is instantly caught in a deadly web of assailants chasing him. His captors want him to translate an ancient scroll lost for over thousands of years known as the Scroll of Joy, authored by John of Patmos, who also wrote the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

As it turns out, his captors are not the only one searching for the scroll. The Brotherhood of the Scroll, a secret religious group striving to protect the scroll and, even the CIA wants to uncover what’s written in the aged document, which is believed to be capable of bringing about the end of the world and even raise the Devil himself.

Little did Professor Lourds know that the Devil is already among us in human form and a storm is brewing in Saudi Arabia that threatens to bring the world down around us and destroy humanity, orchestrated by none other than Lucifer himself. While there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the scroll for all the wrong reasons, including a senior official at the White House, Professor Lourds risks his life to save the world from the impending doom as he realizes that the fate of the world rests solely on his shoulders.

With its exhilarating fast pace and The Da Vinci Code-like rush, Brokaw grips the readers with intriguing historical backgrounds and speculations, recreating the thrill of his debut novel The Atlantis Code throughout various exotic locations in the medieval city of Istanbul. I can assure you one thing; this guy sure knows how to weave a thrilling plot out of an age-old belief of the evil rising.

At the end of it all, you will emerge breathless but only more eager for Professor Lourds next adventure, as you can’t help but wonder what Brokaw has in store for Professor Lourds in his next. Needless to say, Brokaw’s fans will absolutely be thrilled with this gripping adventure.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

And Then There Was One

Title: And Then There Was One
Author: Patricia Gussin
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
ISBN: 978-1933515816

An adrenaline-driven, emotionally-charged force to reckon with, Patricia Gussin’s And Then There Was One recounts a heart-rending and an equally disturbing family tragedy that unfolds against the backdrop of every parent’s worst imaginable nightmare. From the first page itself, you will be gripped in the never-ending suspense surrounding a devastating mystery.

Scott and Katie Monroe lead a perfectly happy life with their identical triplet daughters; Sammie, Alex and Jackie, and their prominent careers; she, a forensic child psychiatrist and he, a Yankee catcher. While in Detroit to attend Scott’s sister Monica Monroe’s concert, the picture-perfect family of Scott and Katie are shattered when two of their triplets go missing without so much as a clue.

Scott and Katie are utterly devastated, falling apart in the aftermath of the horror they are faced with. The news was especially unbearable for Katie, being always overprotective of her triplets. ‘She knew that she needed sleep, that she was physically and emotionally drained, but when she closed her eyes, the horrors of what might be happening to her daughters burned her retina.’

It is just too much for little Jackie to learn that her sisters Sammie and Alex have been abducted. ‘She thought about her sisters in some horrible place with nothing to eat. Were they being tortured? Could they even be dead?’ Before long, she crumbles under the heavy stress of grief and survivor’s guilt, taking all the blame for herself.

As the investigation sends the FBI on a goose-chase with several suspects and false leads, Scott and Katie’s suffering continues as hope eludes them. ‘They each seem to cycle in and out of paralysis. In and out of hope. In and out of despair.’ As the seemingly never-ending search for the missing triplets continues, Scott finds himself collapsing under despair as much as Katie has. ‘He didn’t know if he could take another day of agony, another day of uncertainty, another day of abject helplessness.’ What if their daughters are never found, or not found alive?

Narrated just over a span of one week, Gussin effortlessly ensnares the readers into the heart of the terror that engulfs the Monroe family. The flawless, taut writing makes it a thrilling ride from cover-to-cover as Gussin gradually peels layer by layer of the dreadfulness that await to engulf not only the Monroe family but also us, readers. Similar to that of the emotional roil of The Lovely Bones and the adrenaline rush of Gone Baby Gone, Gussin tugs at your heart mercilessly with the extremely vivid, distressing details that would make you recoil at times and gasp at other.

An utterly absorbing thriller that will leave you breathless, the fast pace of it will send you turning pages at super speed in your quest to find out the fate of the missing triplets. You will not be able to close the book until you have reached the end of this haunting tragedy. Rush into your nearest bookstore, grab this book and dive right in! You have got to read this one.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

A Line Blurred

Title: A Line Blurred
Author: Bryan Healey
ISBN: 978-1453690833
Publisher: CreateSpace

As its title evidently suggests, Bryan Healey’s debut novel A Line Blurred underlines the bitter consequences of blurring a line that could trigger serious repercussions. With acute details, Healey reiterates that our actions involve consequences that could forever alter the course of our lives. For better or for worse.

Kevin is an executive living a depressed, painfully predictable suburban life frustrated that life didn’t quite turn out the way he wanted it to. His relationship with his wife Kylie is hanging by a thread over their loveless marriage. Refusing to believe that there is nothing in their marriage left for either of them and hence it is practically over, the couple leads a life under the pretense of normalcy for the sake of their two kids.

When a chance encounter brings a new woman into his life, Kevin finds himself completely drawn to her, risking everything in his life. As their romance flourish, Kevin seeks comfort in Rachel as she soon became his ‘emotional outlet.’ On the other end of the spectrum, Kylie meets Christopher, a much younger man, with whom she starts a dangerous relationship that could have equally serious ramifications. Unbeknownst to each other, Kevin and Kylie continue their affairs and lead their life at home ignoring the bigger problems in their married life.

Each constantly finding rationalization with their guilt, the couple has grown comfortable with their deceit to the extent that each never questioned the other, reaching an unspoken “mutual truce of circumstance”. When the inevitable caught up with them, it threatens to destroy their lives with irrevocable damages to everyone involved.

Told over a span of five days, A Line Blurred narrates a succinctly-written, moving account of the dire consequences in its wake plunging one family into emotional doom, when an important line has been blurred that cannot be redrawn back, that cannot be undone. The extra-marital affairs set against the backdrop of mundane everyday life will jolt you with such force that you will almost feel the blow it brings with it.

Healey has given life to utterly believable characters that you will immediately grow close to. There were times I felt frustrated with the absurdity of Kevin and Kylie staying in their marriage, seemingly ignoring its lifelessness. Isn’t it better for them to separate on mutual terms than live in an almost torturous life? Other times, I find myself empathizing with their reason for doing so; putting their children’s well-being first. Now how could anyone go against that that? Along with Kevin and Kylie, we are torn between the dilemmas of their marriage, unsure to the decisions that could set them free.

Ironically, the blurring of the line following a few coincidences and twist of fate in Kevin and Kylie’s married life is ultimately what makes the couple realize the hurtful truth which they have been deliberately avoiding. The startling climax of the book thus comes as an utter shock where stakes were raised against the odds. As you close the last page, you will be left wondering ‘what if’.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com