Friday, April 3, 2020

Review: Just This Banjo by Patrick Costello



Genre: Memoir

Description:

“Desperate for a way to communicate after losing his hearing, young Patrick Costello set his heart on becoming a musician. Ignoring the odds, empowered by his family and a karate grandmaster, Patrick won a banjo in a bet, salvaged a guitar from the trash and wandered into the city of brotherly love looking for a teacher. What happened next is an unbelievable true story of chasing improbable dreams, the kindness of strangers, the IRA, the Philadelphia Mummers, and unconditional love. Just This Banjo will make you laugh, cry and maybe inspire you to pick up an instrument yourself.”

Author:

“Hailed The Merry God of Banjo by The Washington Post, Patrick Costello lost most of his hearing to childhood ear infections. He learned to sing, play the banjo, guitar, harmonica, ukulele, fiddle, dulcimer, autoharp, and other instruments through a combination of family support, his indomitable will, and the kindness of musicians he met along the way.”

Appraisal:

This is the story of a deaf banjo player. Really? Yes, really.

A now deceased friend was deaf and among the best country dancers in my little town, teaching dancing to the less talented at the local bars. So, the concept of a deaf banjo player didn’t seem as off the wall to me as it will to some potential readers. The author explains in a few places that deafness can have multiple causes and in some instances a deaf person can find ways to almost hear. The author’s deafness adds a twist to this memoir, but the bigger part could be applicable to anyone looking to become proficient at a musical instrument. And the story as a whole is a good one that anyone could learn from.

***

If you want to buy Just This Banjo follow the links below. It’s available on Amazon as a paper book or an ebook. But (don’t tell Amazon) the author has also made the ebook available in multiple formats for free at this link

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Reprise Review: Ball Machine by Simon Townley



Genre: Science Fiction

Description:

Rosa Rodriguez, the only woman among a team of technical geniuses, yearns for a partner to match her at tennis. None of the nerds can comply, so she persuades them (in a very unique way) to help her build a tennis-playing android. The story follows the android’s journey as he develops physically and mentally until he’s finally faced with a very human decision.

Author:

Simon Townley has somehow scratched a living as a freelance writer for nearly twenty years.

“He is the author of the acclaimed slipstream / speculative novel Lost In Thought and has written a range of cross-genre novels for both adults and young adults, including prehistoric fiction series A Tribal Song - Tales of the Koriba. The first novel in the series, The Dry Lands, was published in 2012, with the second, In the Rattle of the Shaman's Bones, scheduled for release in early 2014. His dystopian sci-fi thriller Outlivers, again written for both adults and young adults alike, was released in autumn of 2013.”

Learn more on Mr. Townley’s website.

Appraisal:

As Al recently pointed out, the purpose of a review is to help others decide if a story is appealing to them. So, I’ll start with a negative. If you don’t understand and enjoy tennis and soccer, you probably won’t enjoy this book. But before you skip to the next review, I do recommend taking a look at another work by this author. I read and reviewed Lost in Thought last year and loved it (and not a soccer or tennis ball in sight).

Disclaimer over. This is a terrific read. Gosh, Mr. Townley can write his little socks off. Lean, terse sentences move this tale along at a blistering pace. Crazy concepts presented so succinctly that even wild stretches of the imagination seem not just possible, but obvious—of course these geniuses could build a totally lifelike android in a couple months—duh! Of course his penis would work (now if that doesn’t get you clicking download from Amazon, I don’t know what would!)

The story, or rather the character arc, because this is all about Vitas, the android, is full of subplots and interesting secondary characters (I particularly enjoyed Ng), but never confusing. In fact, the book’s full title is: Ball Machine - the Inside Story of the Lies, Seductions and Sporting Triumphs of the Android Vitas Rodriguez. I think that describes the plot very nicely. Until the very last page, I didn’t know how things would finish for Vitas. I did enjoy the ending, but it’s a credit to the author, that I would have enjoyed the other alternative, too.
Highly recommended--a very unusual and fascinating read.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK


FYI:

Added for Reprise Review: Ball Machine by Simon Townley was a nominee in the Speculative Fiction category for B&P 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran February 7, 2014.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Monday, March 30, 2020

Review: Spellbound & Hellhounds by Nia Rose



Genre: Urban Fantasy/Coming of Age/Mystery

Description:

“Enter the world of Raen, turn left at the land of dragons, and you’ll find yourself in the country of Aeristria. A place overflowing with magic and creatures that were once only heard of in fairy-tales. In the heart of Aeristria is the capital city, Tolvade. Here you will find shops and taverns, laughter and fun, runesmiths looking for their next job and sneaky pickpocketing imps. Steer clear of the galloping gang of centaurs and you will see the headquarters of the prestigious Coven.

Within the Coven’s lower ranks, you’ll find Vanessa, a third-year Hunter itching to become a Spellweaver. Her and her trusted demon partner, Botobolbilian, must investigate an explosion at the academy and bring the culprit responsible in. Easy job, right?

Wrong.

Vanessa and her partner find that this investigation runs deep in black magic and sprinkled with feral demon summonings. With countless lives on the line, Vanessa struggles with self-doubt and following her heart (and laws) as she tries to right the wrongs of these heinous criminals and bring them to justice before they do any more harm. But, with an oncoming yearly blizzard just days away, is it too late?

Even with all the magic, spells, and power on Raen, this job might be the last that this duo ever faces…”

Author:

“I am a proud mother of four beautiful children that light up my life and home with their laughter and tomfoolery. I have one fuzzy prince, Thor, the king of the protective puppies and one handsome (if I do say so myself) husband. If I had any weaknesses it would be that I feel too much, I drink too much coffee, and that I love with all my heart. With the temper of a red-headed battle mage, the sass of a rebel princess, and the street smarts of a rogue, I live my days in the comfort of those that I hold dear and the limitless worlds that I create to share with all of you.”

You can follow Ms. Rose on Facebook and see her other books on her Amazon Author page.

Appraisal:

Vanessa grew up in an orphanage where she had to fight for everything she had or wanted. So she has a chip on her shoulder and is hard to get to know, or like. She has been accepted into the Coven to refine her magical skills, she also lucked out big-time when she received her demon partner, Botobolbilian. Something strange happened when Botobolbilian went through the transference to become Vanessa’s demon partner. He is a huge ogre who speaks with sophistication, always has a book in hand to read, and wears a suit. Vanessa calls him Bobo, which drives him batty. He is a great character and Vanessa knows she is lucky to have him for protection.

Vanessa hopes this mission to investigate the explosion at the academy will be her ticket to move up in the rankings to be a Spellweaver. What she finds is far more than she bargained for and it ends up with her needing to be rescued from the Hellhounds. This is when we meet Leon who is her superior. Vanessa has a reputation of causing problems and when Leon and Vanessa are called to report to the Coven they decree that Leon stay with Vanessa at all times until they have investigated the Hellhound problem. However, Vanessa is like a dog with a bone and goes against the Covens orders to investigate.

The characters are all well-defined and diverse. There is a lot of action in the caves under the academy with some unique magic. Vanessa discovers that there is black magic involved. But finding who has turned to the dark side and why is a mystery. Vanessa has learned to stand by her convictions through her hard knock life. Now she needs to learn how to control her fears and stay focused to control her magic. She is a flawed character who is going through some growing pains but she turns out to be a great character to cheer for. You’ll want her to come out on top to get the respect she deserves. The climactic battle at the end is as emotional as it is physical with magic flying around in every direction. But it all comes around to a satisfying conclusion. Spellbound & Hellhounds is an enjoyable read.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Spellbound & Hellhounds is book 1 in Ms. Rose’s, Coven Chronicles series.

★★★ The Coven Chronicles is part of a dual trilogy. Also, all books end with cliffhangers! ★★★

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of proofing issues, such as missing, wrong, or extra words.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Friday, March 27, 2020

Review: Ravens’ Will by Terry Graves



Genre: Epic Fantasy/Coming of Age/Sword and Sorcery

Description:

“A fairytale retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, reimagined as an epic Saga during the Viking age.

Old prophecies of the Norse say that, before Ragnarök, a great winter will fall upon the world.

The gods have been defeated and vanquished from the Nine Realms. Skaði, the Snow Queen, is the last line of defense. From the highest peaks of Ásgarð, she protects the Bifröst Bridge and wards off the trolls and giants that try to conquer Miðgarð.

But dark omens run freely. There is word of two ravens that fly once again over the world, and fishermen have seen the scales of a giant serpent slithering under the waves of the sea. The song of winter that Skaði sings every night is slowly dying away into nothingness. And when the Snow Queen’s power finally falters, the winter will end and Ragnarök will begin.

Meanwhile, Gerda has been living in the small village of Veraheim for all her life. The daughter of a swineherd who loves to drink and tell tall tales, Gerda dreams of traveling far away and performing mighty feats, together with her friends Kairan, Runa and Alarr.

She has always thought this was an impossible dream... until she finds the giant trapped under the ice of the frozen lake.”

Author:

“Terry Graves is a pen name for Victor Selles, a Spanish writer. He has served coffees for a living and cleaned and prepared dinosaur fossil bones just for fun.

Under his real name, he has published a dozen short stories in different Spanish anthologies and magazines… He has translated Lucy Clifford's, The New Mother into Spanish, has written scripts for two short films and has won a couple of literary competitions. He is proud to say that some of his work has been rejected by both Granta and 2000 AD magazines.”

To learn more about Mr. Graves check out his blog, or his Facebookpage.

Appraisal:

Ravens’ Will begins with a prologue to set the stage for the story proper. It’s full of Old Norse terminology, and names that made my head spin. Luckily there is a detailed glossary at the end of the book. The prologue seamlessly turns into a bedtime story being told by a grandmother to her two young grandchildren.

The story centers around four loyal twenty something friends who have grown up together in the small village of Veraheim. Gerda, Runa, Kairan, and Alarr have diverse family histories and distinct personalities. When Gerda discovers a giant frozen under the ice in a local lake not too far from their village … well, you have to put on your fairytale hats here. The giant was just discovered in a lake they ice skated on as kids year after year. Not only that, but the giant has been frozen there since the war between the Gods and the Giants, which happened hundreds if not thousands of years ago. At any rate let’s say it was time for him to be discovered and so he appeared there. That works for me in a fairytale.

So now the tale takes off, following a few poor decisions made by the group. Or let’s say by Gerda, okay? As a result the giant is awakened and then set free. Now the quest begins to free Kai from the Snow Queen’s fortress in the far north across the Bifröst Bridge.

The plot is detailed and as twisty and turny as a roller-coaster ride. There are treacheries and conspiracies afoot, along with witches, magic, giants, and trolls. The winter travel is grueling with poor provisions. Runa has to make a difficult decision and Gerda feels betrayed.

As this story comes to a close there is word of two ravens that fly once again over the world. All four of the friends are scattered around the countryside. Kai may be mostly dead, but not dead dead. Gerda is trying to survive in the company of trolls. Runa has run off with the witch to learn her craft. Alarr seems to be a pawn in a conspiracy to overthrow the king.

Old prophecies state when the Snow Queen’s power finally falters, the winter will end and Ragnarök will begin. The author does a good job weaving together five story arcs in this epic saga. Now the stage is set for more story as winter seems to be coming to an end.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Ravens’ Will is book 1 in Mr. Graves, The Snow Queen Saga.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of proofing misses such as missing or wrong words. Nothing that threw me out of the story.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 130-135,000 words

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Review: Rambunctious by Rick Wilber



Genre: Short Story Collection/Science Fiction

Description:

“In these nine stories of determination, seemingly ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary circumstances as they confront their fears and embrace their challenges on a near-future Earth or an alternate-history past or even on a far distant alien world. 

• A single parent with a Down-syndrome daughter considers what his life and career might have been as a parent and a pro football player in some alternate reality.

• A young girl on an isolated Florida island discovers that her quirky grandparents are even stranger than she thought.

• A high-school basketball player confronts the ghosts of her past.

• A young woman struggles to make peace with the horrors of her forgotten childhood.

• An elderly woman slides into dementia even as she finds some essential truths that were lost in the hazy mists of her memory.

• A baseball player becomes a spy during an alternate-history version of World War II, where he plays a pivotal role in stopping the Nazi war machine.”

Author:

“Novelist and editor Rick Wilber has published several novels and short-story collections, several college textbooks on writing and the mass media, a memoir about his father’s life in baseball, and more than fifty short stories…”

Appraisal:

Each of the stories in this collection has three things in common.

The first thing is each of the stories has some science fiction as part of the story. However, while always there, if you’re like me and prefer your science fiction not be too far out there, whether that means too far in the future or into the vast reaches of the universe from Earth to be able to relate to, that wasn’t an issue here. Instead the science fiction aspects enhanced and emphasized the more important parts of the story.

Second, each of these stories was originally printed elsewhere, whether a magazine or a short story anthology of some kind. While I don’t know what the other stories Wilber had published over the thirty-year period these were drawn from, I know there were others that didn’t make the cut for whatever reason, and these felt like a “greatest hits” collection to me.

Which leads me to the third comment. Each of these stories was excellent. Sometimes a short story can feel like a bigger story that got cut short or that important details were dropped. Sometimes a short story leaves me wondering what the point was. These were all excellent, fully formed stories that would each be a satisfying read by itself. If you’re into short stories, especially if a taste of science fiction appeals to you, definitely grab a copy of this collection.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

My review is based on a pre-release ARC and I can’t judge the final product.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words

Monday, March 23, 2020

Reprise Review: Sliding Past Vertical by Laurie Boris



Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Description:

“Sarah Cohen is a walking disaster. She means well, but the ex-diver’s hasty decisions wreak havoc on her life in Boston. Good thing Emerson is a phone call away in Syracuse, with a metaphorical mop to clean up the mess. Their long-distance friendship can be excruciating for him, though. Years after they shared a brief college romance, he’s still in love with her. When everything goes wrong, Sarah takes another plunge: back to the scene of her last mistake, to start fresh. Unfortunately for Emerson, the move puts her too close for comfort. Her attempts to straighten her life’s trajectory are sometimes amusing and sometimes catastrophic. With Sarah around, is anyone safe?”

Author:
Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and used to be a regular contributor to the multi-author blog, Indies Unlimited. This is her fourth novel.
For more, visit Laurie’s website.

Appraisal:

This is the third Laurie Boris novel I’ve read. Sliding Past Vertical has one significant difference from the other two, there isn’t a major character with a fatal illness. But the qualities from her previous novels that made them both excellent reads are present in Sliding Past Vertical. Characters you can relate to, with typical human flaws and mostly likeable. Even those you don’t care for are realistic and not unlike people you’ve met in real life. The stories each have real world plots that shine a light on the human condition in an entertaining way while possibly enlightening the reader about their fellow man.

As for the specifics of this book, I liked Sarah, the protagonist. At least for me, that is important. If I don’t like the main character, warts and all, I find it harder to care what happens to them. However, the character I related to the most was Emerson. It was obvious early on that Emerson’s feelings for Sarah were much deeper than hers for him. He’s been biding his time and now sees his chance. How and whether this will resolve itself is a question until the very end and one that could easily have hit a false note, regardless of the resolution. Somehow Boris hit the perfect pitch.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Some adult language and situations.

Added for Reprise Review: Sliding Past Vertical by Laurie Boris was the WINNER in the Contemporary/General Fiction category for B&P 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran September 28, 2013.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

Friday, March 20, 2020

Review: Fire Me Up by Alicia Street



Genre: Contemporary Romance

Description:

“FDNY Firefighter Harper Sheehan made a career out of saving others, so how could he forget the small, determined woman who shoved him out of the path of a careening car that would have taken his life. Not that quiet schoolteacher Marni Ross has an easy time forgetting him either. But she knows a handsome hunk like him would never be interested in someone like her. When Harper loses his fiancée to a rich Wall Streeter and seeks a new start in a sleepy village on the North Fork, he runs into the same woman who once again surprises him, this time shaking up his world like never before.”

Author:

“Alicia Street is a USA Today bestselling author and a Daphne du Maurier award-winner. She writes both sweet and spicy romances and sometimes collaborates with her husband, Roy. She spent many years as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. A compulsive reader of every genre, Alicia loves watching old black-and-white movies and inventing new recipes for soup.”

To learn more about Ms. Street you can visit her at her web site or on Facebook.

Appraisal:

Marni Ross seems like a mild mannered second grade school teacher, however she is anything but that. Harper Sheehan, a New York Firefighter, is in the midst of changing his career for his fiancée. He thought she wanted a less stressful life for them so they could settle down and raise a family. So he leaves his position as a New York Firefighter and buys a partnership with his Uncle Phil who owns a bar and seafood grill, The Blue Albatross Tavern, in the peaceful seaside community of North Fork. But firefighting is in Harper’s blood and he joins the volunteer fire department and other out-reach classes on fire safety. His fiancée thanks him by breaking their engagement for another man.  

Marni and Harper have chemistry going for them, however, both are reluctant to give in to it. Harper’s recent breakup prevents him from moving too fast, he doesn’t want to scare Marni away. He already has a cottage in which he can see his dream of a family come true with Marni. Marni’s abusive ex-husband prevents her from developing any relationship beyond friendship with any man, but her blood boils when Harper is near. It’s exhilarating to watch their relationship develop, Marni is full of surprises. Then it’s heartbreaking to watch pride and misunderstandings complicate their journey. Thank goodness Harper has Uncle Phil to mansplain Marni’s behavior to him. Uncle Phil became a surrogate father to Harper when his own father died firefighting when he was fourteen.

Then all bets are off the table when Marni’s ex-husband shows up in town. Tension and emotions run high when Harper’s protective instincts go into overdrive. If you like a bit of suspense in your romantic stories this may be right up your alley. Fire Me Up is an enjoyable read.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Fire Me Up is book 1 in Ms. Street’s, North Fork Series. 

"Heat level ~ some steamy love scenes."

Format/Typo Issues:

Nothing significant in proofing or formatting.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Reprise Review: Cairo Caper by Barbara Silkstone



Genre: Humor/Mystery/Adventure

Description:

“Wendy Darlin joins her archaeologist boyfriend, Professor Roger Jolley, in a quest across Egypt looking for a lost artifact for the Egyptian Antiquities Society that will assist them in locating Antony and Cleopatra’s burial tomb. All they had to do was get from Cairo to the Temple of Taporisis Magna alive. However, not everyone is who they say they are and they find themselves running for their lives.”

Author:

Barbara states on her blog, “My writing history began humbly enough when I started an underground newspaper in Catholic grade school. I was threatened with excommunication by the nuns so I went further underground. I’ve packed many adventures into my life excusing even the disasters as ‘material for my next book.’… I enjoy doing playful things with language, blending two distinct words to create a new word… I now write criminally funny fairy tales ripped from the headlines… shaken, not stirred, and served with a twist and a chuckle.”

This is Ms. Silkstone’s third novel in her Wendy Darlin series. She has three other comedic mystery books along with her “true fiction,” The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men & One Woman. Silkstone contributed to the anthology Indie Chicks and The WG2E All-For-Indies Anthologies: Spring Hop Edition. Her books are also available on Audible.com. You can connect with Ms. Silkstone at her new blog although she’s been messing with us by posting recently on her old blog, too. Her facebook page is yet another option. I also feel like I should add that Ms. Silkstone hosts The Second Act Cafe that is dedicated to getting even by having fun.

Appraisal:

The non-stop action starts in the first chapter with Wendy hurling a large glass ashtray, the only weapon she could find, into the nose of an assassin on their sixth floor hotel room balcony in Cairo, sending him toppling over the railing. His body apparently disappears from the sidewalk and Wendy and Roger are followed on a comedic run through a crowded Egyptian market place. Poor Wendy, she is one smart gal and very capable, but things just seem to happen to her. Unsurprisingly, Wendy soon becomes instrumental in being able to fulfill their quest.

With the addition of characters like Habib, Petri Dische, and librarian, wannabe-author Fiona Feelgood, who was looking for her own Egyptian treasure and material for her book Erotica for Dummies, put me in mind of Silkstone’s own true fiction book, The Adventures of a Love Investigator. Then there is the mystery of who is legit and who is involved in the antiquities black market. The way Ms. Silkstone plays with words is unrivaled and the way she incorporated segments from favorite movie clips was genius. She uses sharp wit throughout her stories, her plots are strong, and the action nonstop. I really enjoyed reading about Wendy and her tomb raiding adventures and hope to see more of Habib and quite possibly Tickemoff, the friendly street peddler, in future Wendy Darlin books.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

This story stands on its own, and is young adult appropriate.

Added for Reprise Review: Cairo Caper by Barbara Silkstone was a nominee in the Mystery category for B&P 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran September 12, 2013.

Format/Typo Issues:

No issues with editing or formatting.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words

Monday, March 16, 2020

Review: Get That Job by Christine Reidhead



Genre: Self-Help

Description:

“Inasmuch as there is a no one-size-fits all method to get that job, because jobs and interviewers differ. There is a regular pattern to job interview questions and job interview weaknesses. All of the suggestions will work for you if you follow the tips of job interviewing in this book.”

Author:

“Educator and Humanitarian, Christine Reidhead, is an Assistant Professor and the Founder and CEO of the Nonprofit Organization, AfrikRising. The youngest of five children, she was born in Mesa, Arizona”

Appraisal:

Reviewing a book like this can be problematic. I’m not the expert on the subject. Presumably the author is. However, I’m also no spring chicken. I’ve interviewed for jobs a few times over the years. Even been hired after some of those interviews. I’ve also been the one interviewing and, based on the results, hiring or not. So, based on that …

One size doesn’t fit all and figuring out what works for you and your unique personality is up to you, but this book has lots of good ideas to consider and integrate into your interviewing process. With the exception of one minor nitpick where the author advised against using wi-fi for an online video interview (I think depending on your specific service, this might be the best option), all of her ideas and recommendations made sense to me. Next time I have a job interview, I’ll be coming back to this book as part of my preparation.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 7-8,000 words

Friday, March 13, 2020

Reprise Review: Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio



Genre: Chick-lit

Description:

San Diego weathercaster Jaswinder Park is summoned to Maui to help her grandmother. Planning on being there just a few days, she ends up with much more than she bargained for.

Author:

The author of four other novels, Dee DeTarsio is a news producer and writer, currently living in San Diego.

For more, visit DeTarsio’s blog.

Appraisal:

Haole Wood has both mystery and humor, wrapped up in a chick-lit storyline.
The mystery revolves around a murder early on with several viable suspects. These include Jas, the protagonist, who is the last known person to see the victim alive (although she knows at least one other came after her, since she didn’t do it). That another person with motive is her grandmother is more than a touch unnerving.

The humor comes from multiple directions. Sometimes it is how the author chooses to word something, like with the play on words in the chapter heading of “Blonde Leading the Blind.” Other times it is the characters, as with almost everything to do with Jaswinder’s grandmother, both the communication difficulties the two have due to language differences and the situations her grandmother gets herself in. That Jas is first sent to Hawaii to bail her grandmother out of jail is one example, even though that seems serious.

A chick-lit story line is a female protagonist, through her experiences and events in the story, learning about herself and ending up in a better place at the conclusion. That happens too, no matter how unlikely it seems through much of the book. A fun read which I highly recommend.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Some relatively mild adult situations.

Added for Reprise Review: Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio was a nominee in the Chick-Lit/Women's Fiction category for B&P 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran October 8, 2013.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of typos.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words