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, April 28, 2006

Fiction Review

If Only I Could...
by Greg M Sarwa
ISBN-10: 0976620235
Review by Heather Froeschl

Fate is sometimes undeniably cruel, at others, a gracious soothing mother to us all. When faced with harsh truth should we fight back with all we are worth? Or is it sometimes better to let fate take over and accept the outcome? What if the love of a soul mate is involved? Should we jump at a chance at happiness? Greg M. Sarwa addresses these questions and more in the novel "If Only I Could...."

John Kadel is an old man, living in a nursing home, accepting of the mistakes he has made in his life, but not accepting of the fate his doctor has advised him of. Time is growing short. Funny that Fate would also step in to shove his long lost love into his back, sending him sprawling to the sidewalk. Their lives were crossed since early childhood; they were destined to be together, but a few very bad decisions left them apart. Is it too late now? At what cost is happiness found at last?

This novel is the best soul mate story I have ever read. Well-written and balanced in descriptive scenes, dialogue, and plot, it is a page-turner I didn't want to put down. But then, neither did I want the tale to end. Greg Sarwa is a talented author to keep an eye on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Children's Fantasy Review

Seareach: Power of the Waves (Seareach)
by Gregory Kreis
ISBN-10: 1933626054
Review by Heather Froeschl
Fantasy once again comes to life in novel form. In the first of a promising new series, "SeaReach: Power of the Waves," by Gregory Kreis and Caroline Morrison, the epic begins with enchanting events and enticing detail.

In the magic filled world of Anoria, the Great Crystal has been muted by the evil lord Korack. That very night, four babies were born to the dying queen as her King died in the battle to save them all. The children were secreted away to another dimension, Earth, each with a piece of crystal and power over the four elements of Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Upon their twelfth birthday, the quadruplets must return to Anoria, restore the Great Crystal and defeat Korack once and for all.

Learning who they are, and what they are meant to do, as well as discovering their magical powers, the children are thrust into a reality that is all fantasy to them. Wizards, giants, demons, elves, banshees, dragons, and so much more await them on this journey. One child does not make it to Anoria as the crystal he relates to is silenced under Korack's evil attack in that portion of Anoria. He must wait for his siblings, whom he has never met, to help him begin his trip. Another child accidentally returns to earth and cannot journey back to help in the battles until her crystal recharges. The remaining two siblings must do what they can to restore the magic in Anoria.

In the tradition of Tolkien and Rowlands, the authors have embarked on a mystical fantasy journey that is sure to enchant young readers. The writing is superb and the plot well planned. Characters are as realistic as could be, making them relatable and likable. It is a fast paced, adventurous tale that is full of mishaps, danger, and good overcoming evil. Not all is as evil as it would appear, leaving me with a satisfied feeling of open-mindedness. Well done!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Autobiography Review

To Nam And Back
by Randall Juge
ISBN-10: 1595263160
Review by Heather Froeschl

Randy Juge ends his book with the line, “Think of all those names on a memorial wall that can’t tell their story.” And so he took the time to tell his. “To Nam and Back” is one pilot’s tale of his role in the Vietnam War.

Questioning, “Why me?” in regards to why he survived while so many did not, is surely something most veterans of wars do. Randy Juge examines the “whys” in every chapter of his book. He relates the story of his Purple Heart incident, when a bullet passes right through his flight helmet, luckily just grazing his skull when it could have killed him. He shares tales of having to wait for another helicopter to land and watching as it hit unseen wire only to crash, and of a fist-sized hole in his tail-rotor shaft, which could have easily taken him down. He jokes about his using many of “this cat’s” nine lives. And he tells the tales of men who he lived side by side with in the war, men who he joked with, made bets with, trained with, and flew with. Juge explains why he has trouble with authority figures thanks to Colonel Chicken Shit, his feelings about the Vietnamese people, and the power of forgiveness.

Besides the war stories though, Randy Juge tells his readers about his family, and how the war affected those in his life. He shares the American Tale of a veteran. This is a personal story of a very public war. It is well written, in a personable tone. It is likely near to what many Vietnam veterans would share if they were asked to tell their own story. If only more of them would, so that we will never forget. I applaud the author on a job well done.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fiction Review

Moonlight in Vermont: a novel
by John Hilferty
ISBN-10: 059535839X
Review by Heather Froeschl

The tale begins with the frozen body of a skier riding to the top of a ski lift in Vermont. After a typically wicked blizzard the night before, it is no wonder that the man froze to death. The question is, what was he doing on the lift after it had been cleared for shut down?

And then we begin the examination of the life of Ethan Atwood, World Cup skiing athlete. Taking the world by storm on the Italian slopes, embracing the joy of the hometown mountains in Vermont and paying homage to ski gods of the Colorado Rockies all comes naturally to Ethan. Coming out of his personal shell is another matter. He is somewhat shy and very much focused on what needs to be done when he straps on the skis. When a fan club invites him to dine, he cannot refuse, and the wheels of fate are set in motion. After a terrible accident, Ethan finds a twisted comfort in one fan's attention. This time in his life will have drastic affects on his future, and dealing with the injury he sustains is only the half of it. Will the love of his life see him through?

This novel so immerses the reader into the atmosphere that is Vermont. I cannot praise the author enough on this aspect of the book. Vermont weather is not simply put up with, it is experienced, and it is obvious that the author lives in it. The intensity that is downhill racing is sent to the reader's mind in images so vivid you will feel the rush of wind and ice crystals on your cheeks. The feel of the ski town comes right off the page and is as real as it gets in a novel. The descriptive writing here is absolutely well done. Characterization, plot and pace are all masterfully executed in John Hilferty's, "Moonlight in Vermont, a Novel." From the very beginning, readers will be hooked and the last few chapters will not allow you to out the book down.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Ficition/Sci Fi Review

The Cattle
by Greg M Sarwa
ISBN-10: 0976620219
Review by Heather Froeschl

Big Brother has never been watching more closely. Under the guise of terrorism counteraction, the United States government embarks on a whole new frontier - the National Identification System. Your social security number is no longer enough - the government wants your DNA.

Every person in America will be implanted with a Radio Frequency ID chip, that when accessed, will authenticate information such as your date of birth, SS number, fingerprints, and DNA profile. You cannot refuse, and the process begins very soon. The computer programmers and Law Enforcement have already been implanted since they are on the front of the terrorism war, and the final days of testing the system are commencing. But something goes wrong, and someone discovers the real purpose of the implants. There is a deeper, darker side to these chips and it goes much further than the details of your DNA. Will the public learn the truth before it is too late? Is this the terror filled world that we now live in? What is the price of living in the land of the "free"?

This fast paced, well-written story is an intense ride. One of the best conspiracy theory books I have ever read, I am betting that it will take the world by storm. I cannot find a bit of fault with "The Cattle" except to say that there might be readers who believe it to be true. The possibility of it all is the scariest thing. I highly recommend Greg M. Sarwa's book, "The Cattle." Outstanding!