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

With Thoughts of Jason

Title: With Thoughts of Jason
Author: Caleb A. Mertz
ISBN: 978-1424114535
Publisher: Publish America

Caleb A. Mertz’s coming-of-age novel With Thoughts of Jason explores one young man’s struggle to come to terms with his sexuality and the fateful repercussions of his eventual coming out. Mertz thoughtfully investigates the complex issues of homophobia and hate crimes with a bold yet sensitive take on the intricacies of such social problems.

Jason has always been extra-sensitive to what people might think of him if he reveals his true sexuality. The fear has prevented him from doing so and Jason continues to live a closeted life, a life of misery with silent suffering. To add insult to injury, Jason is constantly bullied at school with name-callings and other defiling acts.

Turning his life around with the help of his close circle of friends, Jason gradually builds enough self-confidence to accept him for who he is. Over the few years that follows, Jason evolves from a closeted loner to a confident young gay man. Jason’s social life takes off from there as he meets new people, people with new interests, people who are like him. That’s when Jason meets Danny. With their instant connection, Danny eventually becomes a vital part in Jason’s life.

Through thick and thin, Jason and Danny struggle to survive in a world they are not fully accepted. Over time, Jason moves away from his family as they turned their back on him and friends he once knew abandoned him. To Jason’s eyes, it is the world against him. Life takes a tragic turn for Jason and Danny when a chance encounter leads to an unfortunate event.

As Mertz navigates us through the inner conflicts of the protagonist, it is quite evident that the writing comes straight from the author’s heart. In effect, Mertz expertly guides us through Jason’s pain and vulnerability, and eventually towards the tragic fate that lurks in the shadows. The sensitivity with which Mertz approaches around the subject is highly noteworthy, as exploring the fragile concept with such finesse could not have been as easy as it seems. If anything, it is proof that Mertz is rapidly making a mark in the literary world as a writer with a fresh, distinct voice.

The highpoint of this engrossing page-turner is its devastating finale that is unbelievably shocking, deeply moving and devastatingly sad. The finely-woven plot is not only satisfying but also heart-breaking. In sum, With Thoughts of Jason is a highly complex and equally thought-provoking novel that is both fresh and original. It makes you pause and take a moment to wonder about the cruelties of life and as you read the final words of the novel, you will be left hoping that no one will have to endure such cruelties regardless of who you are.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com