Back on Track

New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
I'm reclaiming my small place on the web.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Historical Fiction Review

Lavina: The Saga of an African Princess
by Author Wright
ISBN-10: 1598860062
Review by Heather Froeschl

American history is not a pretty thing but it is something that needs to be looked at, again and again in order to gain understanding. Our economy was built on the backs of indentured servants and slaves, pounding them into the building blocks of our foundation. Slaves were ripped from their homes, families and lives and used for the labor to develop our new world. It isn't often that we are able to look back and learn the true story of such people. In Author O. Wright's novel "Lavina: The Saga of an African Princess" readers are invited to become enlightened of the truth of those harsh times and enticed to look into the eyes of those who were treated so inhumanely.

Lavina is an eighteen-year-old princess of the Bonga tribe of Guinea and is about to be inaugurated; Rabboni is a prince of the Zazunta tribe. The two love each other deeply and are about to tell their parents of their plans to wed when slave traders invade the marketplace where the tribes have come together. Hundreds are captured and brought aboard the slave ship while many more lay dying. Which is a better fate? Rabboni and Lavina are both aboard the ship and are headed to Virginia and a completely different life than what they were certain they were destined for. They pray to the Almighty Protector for help.

A plantation owner buys Rabboni and his treatment is harsh to say the least. Lavina is purchased by kind puritans and is treated like their daughter. Two very different outcomes but the result of their public treatment will eventually be the same. Prejudice, by the very people who needed the labor in the first place, runs rampant. Will the two soul mates ever find each other in the ever growing towns of Jamestown and Williamsburg? Will they ever be free to love each other as man and wife?

Told in the third person the story is relayed with respect, historical accuracy, and contempt for the wrongs that were committed. It reads well, though at times there is repetition of fact and plotline that isn't necessary. This minor detail does little to detract from a well written tale that will captivate readers and shed some light on the realities of our nation's history. The romantic side of the book will appeal to men and women alike while the historical feel will be of interest to every American, or should be. The book has a Christian slant that fits right into the times and explains how the Guinea belief of the Almighty Protector is converted to that of Jesus Christ.

I recommend "Lavina" to every reader, especially those who are studying American culture and history.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Fiction/Romance Review

My Everything
by Denise Skelton
ISBN-10: 0595360238
Review by Heather Froeschl

A female PI, a wealthy businessman, a slightly nuts-o ex girlfriend, and a vindictive cousin are the main characters in Denise Skelton's "My Everything." Benjamin Harrison is on a mission to save his sister's life by hiring Dee Meyers and Meyers Investigations to search out the half sister he has never known. In need of a bone marrow transplant, his sister has precious time to live. Dee takes a special interest in the case after getting to know Ben, and their working relationship teeters on becoming becomes something much more.

Hesitant to get involved, Dee is concerned over the way her friends have handled their own interracial relationships, and her job doesn't exactly show her the best side of humanity. Will Ben be able to win her over? He tries very hard! But other obstacles are in the way. Janet, Ben's ex, and Dee's cousin Terry want nothing less than to come in between Ben and Dee. One of them is willing to go to great lengths to achieve this goal; one of them is willing to kill.

This work of fiction is an interesting look at relationships, and also a glimpse into the real drama of private investigations. The story flows well and offers surprises here and there. A romance set in reality; I feel the book will be well received. The writing is flawless and captivating. This is not your typical PI novel, but something else entirely.

I enjoyed the read and savored the story. I trust readers will find it tantalizing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Non-Fiction Review

Drifting Too Far from Shore
by Michael Spalding
ISBN-10: 0976827700
Review by Heather Froeschl

"Drifting Too Far From Shore" is a true story that reads like a wild ride of fiction. Michael Spalding shares his life story to date, and how he dealt with Attention Deficit Disorder before it was even a recognized condition. Growing up in the 50's and 60's proved to be a challenge that children today are blessed with escaping. If there had been treatments for Michael earlier, he might have led one very different life.

The stories he tells are fraught with great difficulties in school, a father who couldn't understand why his son couldn't comprehend, mischief galore and so much more. The days of his early adulthood were one blur of gallivanting trip after trip, bedroll partner after bedroll partner, and lack of direction or goal. Michael's stories of his adulthood to date are tales of continuing troubles with his father and their business, his wanderlust, temptations of alcohol, and his eventual return to school. It is a life story that is easily recognized as a struggle, but he also had a lot fun along the way.

The purpose here is to shed some light on the reality of ADD, as well as tell an interesting story. You will come to know how it feels to have it and also come to understand those who deal with it a little more. Mostly, readers with come to know Michael and will find him an irresistible character, who just happens to be real.

The book is written in first person and reads well. I enjoyed seeing the world through Michael's perspective and trust that other readers will find it a unique experience. I recommend "Drifting Too Far From Shore," but warn that it is not a book for young people due to its adult content.

Non-Fiction, Food Allergy Guide Review

Let's Eat Out!: Your Passport to Living Gluten And Allergy Free (Let's Eat Out!) (Let's Eat Out!)
ISBN-10: 0976484501
Review by Heather Froeschl

"Let's Eat Out!" will make you hungry and give you the power to protect yourself from food allergies at the same time. This series is an amazingly comprehensive guide that is sure to help thousands of people to feel more in control of their lives.

Addressing ten food allergens in seven international cuisines was a project that took years of research. The result is an allergy free passport, 496 page, full color book that includes 175+ menu items with descriptions, and preparation questions for you to ask to restaurant staff, and so much more that will give you the inspiration to once again go out to eat. There are snack ideas, beverage categories, quick reference guides and extensive detailed menus to learn about. Knowledge is power and so is asking the right questions. The authors give you the knowledge as well as the right questions to ask in order to protect yourself and/or your loved ones who have food allergies. The book even includes information on 50+ global airlines that offer special meals.

The main book is so easy to use with color coded tabs on the chapter pages, making it simple to open up to Indian Cuisine or American Steak and Seafood, among others. Each chapter offers an interesting overview of that culture's cooking habits, which I promise you will make your mouth water. The introduction and first couple of chapters are a step by step guide that will help those who are new to dealing with allergies as well as those who have lived with them for years. Written in layman's terms, you will not need your doctor sitting beside you in the restaurant in order to order!

In addition to the main book there are small passports available that are meant to be carried along in the pocket as you explore the world of dining out. Whether you are a world traveler or simply heading into town to sample some various cuisines, these smaller guides are for quick reference. Three of them focus on certain cuisines, while a fourth offers a multi-lingual phrase guide that is dedicated to communicating special dietary needs. This passport provides translations from English to French, German, Italian and Spanish.

The series is the first of its kind and promises to enrich the lives of many people. A well-written, professionally researched, gorgeous and sturdy book that is likely to become a common sight in many a restaurant and home.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Fiction Review

RED SEX , white drugs , Blue Rock n Roll
by Gerard Kuc
ISBN-10: 1411651812
review by Heather Froeschl

A writer searches for just the right inspiration to pen his novel but cannot find it anywhere. It isn't his apartment with broken air conditioning; it isn't the local diner where the local color's emit large odors as the homeless often do; and it certainly isn't in his daily work office where he processes people's bills and ducks for cover from the supervising shmoe. So where does one find their muse?
Greg winds up looking in NYC and a famous hotel known to inspire others, but only after he deals with his life...his lover Joan, her bi-sexual "friend" Kelly, his need to find a better apartment, and so on. He becomes trapped in a triangle of secret sex and can't seem to find a way out. Some wonder why he would want to.

Will Greg find what he's looking for? Will his novel be inspired by the sights of Manhattan or will he find his muse right in front of him?

Gerard Kuc's "RED SEX, white drugs, Blue Rock n Roll" uses an eclectic collection of slang from various counter cultures in America. The preface states that the book has no time frame but there are references to recent culture that remove the possibility of the story taking place in the culture of most of its slang. This adds to the interesting appeal of the novel. It is a colorful book that gives a glimpse of the male mind, the writer's mind (the character writer, not necessarily the author) and the societal mind of America. This is an accomplishment.

Due to the detailed sex scenes the tale is not meant for minors. This reader noticed a need for an editor's eye to scan the book but it wasn't anything major. I enjoyed the read and found it refreshing to see that an author has written what they wanted to and not restricted himself to what society might expect. Very well done!