Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Throw Like a Woman by Susan Petrone--A Review

Publication Date: March 24, 2015 

Number of Pages: 336 

Purchase Links: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - 


Forty years old, divorced, with two sons on the verge of adolescence and an ex-husband who considers visitation to be optional, Brenda Haversham isn`t having a whole lot of fun. She`s also no longer qualified for the work she loves, so she`s working in a cubicle instead while trying to make ends meet. 

Brenda is short on money, short on connection with her kids, and short on any kind of social life. The only thing Brenda has in abundance is her anger. And that turns out to be her greatest asset.

When she was a kid, Brenda`s father taught her how to throw a good fastball. That wasn`t of much use to a girl, but it is enough to astound onlookers at a "test your speed" pitching cage before a Cleveland Indians game. The more Brenda pictures her ex-husband`s face on the other end, the harder she throws. And when someone tapes her performance and puts it up online, Brenda becomes an Internet sensation - and then more than that.

Soon, the Indians come calling and Brenda finds her life taking a turn in a new direction. She finds herself standing on the mound as the first woman player in Major League history - and dealing with everything that comes with it. The money is great and the endorsement deals are even better. The fury of "traditionalists," not so much. And the conflicting emotions of her teammates are even harder to manage.

Meanwhile, Brenda`s home life is evolving faster than she can keep up, redefining her role as a mother, a friend, and even a lover. 

As the season winds down Brenda will find out if she has what it takes to be a winner - at both baseball and life.

A funny, poignant, and endearing debut from a writer of rare warmth and humanity, THROW LIKE A WOMAN is a 95-mile-an-hour heater of a novel.


Susan Petrone grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and although she`s moved away a couple of times (Annapolis, MD, and Alkmaar, The Netherlands), she lives there still. Her short fiction has been published by Glimmer Train, Featherproof Books, Muse, Conclave, and Whiskey Island. Her first novel, A Body at Rest, was published in 2009 by Drinian Press. Her second novel, Throw Like a Woman, is due out in March 2015 from The Story Plant. Her short story, "Monster Jones Wants to Creep You Out" (Conclave, 2010) was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Her plays have had performances and/or readings at the Cleveland Playhouse, The Lamb`s Club (New York, New York), St. Johns College (Annapolis, Maryland), and several smaller non-Equity houses in Cleveland, Ohio. She co-authors the Cleveland Indians blog (ItsPronouncedLajaway.com) for ESPN.com`s SweetSpot network. On the non-fiction side, Susan`s work has appeared on CoolCleveland.com and ESPN.com. She holds a master`s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Cleveland State University and lives with one husband, one daughter, and far too many dogs in a little house near some medium-sized woods. 



The third week of the regular season, Andy`s Little League team got discount tickets to see the Indians play the Tigers. Brenda went as a parent chaperone, and Jon went because he was the younger brother and would raise holy hell if he couldn`t come along. Even with the discount, tickets for all three of them plus factoring in a hot dog and a drink each put a serious dent in the entertainment budget. Brenda had made a "no souvenirs" rule for the outing, but when the boys saw the Test Your Speed pitching cage, they begged to be allowed to try. It didn`t help matters that every other boy on Andy`s team tried it, as did all five chaperoning parents, and two other accompanying siblings. She hated caving in to peer pressure, but she didn`t want Andy and Jon to be the only ones not to have a try. She took some of the money she had budgeted for snacks (she didn`t really need a hot dog or a drink) so Andy and Jon could each take a turn. Andy was pleased with his top speed of 48 mph. Jon`s best try was 33 mph, which disappointed him. Carl, Andy`s coach, kept trying to tell him that 33 mph was great for a kid his age, but it didn`t help. Brenda saw the familiar pink blush spreading up Jon`s face. Jon`s tantrums hadn`t eased up, and Brenda walked the fine line between trying to be understanding and not wanting to spoil him.

"Let me try again," Jon whined. "I know I can throw harder than that." 

Brenda put an arm on Jon`s shoulder and walked him a little bit away from the rest of the group. "If I give you the money for another turn, then I can`t buy you a hot dog." 

"Why not? I want a hot dog!" Jon said loudly, the tears in his eyes threatening to start falling any second. Brenda felt herself blushing as red as Andy`s face. "Why can`t I do both?"

"Sweetie, I`m sorry." She lowered her voice. "You had one turn already and you did great, but I don`t have enough money with me."

Carl wandered over and put a hand on Jon`s tiny shoulder. "Come on, sport. I`ll spot you another try." He looked up at Brenda with a smile. "You don`t mind, do you?"

"You don`t have to do that," she said. 

"I want to," Carl replied as he walked with Jon back over to the pitching cage.

"Thank you," Brenda said. "I`ll pay you back," she called after him, but Carl just gave a little wave that said, "No need to." Carl coached his son`s Little League team and was always patient with the kids, even the benchwarmers. He was one of those men who seemed kind enough and decent enough that you couldn`t believe some other woman had gotten rid of him. Brenda wondered if Carl`s ex -wife ever called him a jerk under her breath or wished he`d be stricken with a bad case of crabs. 

Jon was all smiles as he took the first of the three baseballs offered to him by the man running the pitching cage. He threw another 33 mph and then a 35 mph pitch. Jon was reaching for his third and last ball when he stopped and turned to Brenda.

"Mom, you haven`t had a chance to pitch yet," he said. 

Brenda tried not to get misty at her son`s gesture. "That`s very sweet of you to think of me, Jon, but it`s okay," she said. 

He turned and handed the ball to her. "It`s your turn, Mom." Brenda heard a little "awww" from the other chaperoning parents as Jon moved aside. She was touched by his generosity and figured she`d just throw the ball and get the boys to their seats. 

Ball in hand, Brenda approached the faux pitcher`s mound in the middle of the stadium concourse. A quick glance showed her that every kid on the team, as well as the adults and tagalong siblings (did she really just now notice that they were all male?), was watching her. A few people on the concourse had even stopped to watch, as if a 40-year-old woman with saddlebag hips couldn`t pick up a baseball without embarrassing herself. She stopped for a moment and focused on the image of a catcher painted on the electronic backstop. 

The guy running the pitching cage said, "Anytime you`re ready, sweetheart." Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him flash a condescending smile. "I`m not your sweetheart," she muttered. Without thinking, she threw.

She heard the familiar thwump and a small murmur of approval from the men standing around her. She looked up at the digital clock that displayed the pitch speed. It read 72 mph. The guy running the game looked more than surprised.

"Not bad," he said. 

"That was more than not bad," Carl said. "That was great. Here." He shoved a few dollars at the guy and handed Brenda three more baseballs. "Would you do that again? Please?"

This time, Brenda didn`t protest. She took one of the baseballs and faced the painted catcher again. She didn`t look around, but could hear some of the guys talking about her last pitch. She could swear a few more people had stopped to watch. Fine. Let them watch. 

Brenda`s next three throws were 79, 77, and 82 mph. That one surprised even her. All the people standing around congratulated her. Some mumbled that the radar must be broken, that there was no way a woman could throw that hard. She saw a couple of flashes of light, like someone taking a picture. The game was about to start, and the boys started running to their seats. As she and the other parents tried to get all the kids situated without losing anyone, Carl mentioned that he played baseball in the local Roy Hobbs league and maybe Brenda might be interested in playing. 

"It`s the veterans league--38 and over, so you have a few guys who think they`re hot stuff and a couple of them still are--but mainly it`s just guys who love to play baseball. You`d be great."

"I don`t know. I haven`t played hardball since I was a kid. And I can`t hit."

"Don`t worry about it, we use a DH. Josh! Ben! Get away from the beer stand!"

Their conversation was permanently interrupted by the process of getting all the boys into their seats without losing anyone. Brenda ended up in the row in front of Carl, with Jon on her right and a stranger on her left. Andy was next to Jon, talking only to the boys on his right or behind him and trying to pretend that he wasn`t with his mom and little brother. 

Once the boys had gotten their hot dogs and drinks, they settled down and were quiet for the first couple of innings, giving Brenda a little time to think. She considered the fact that she had thrown a baseball an improbable 82 miles an hour. She might have cellulite, a sagging rear end, and a stretch-marked stomach, but she had an arm. It was a satisfying thought.

"What are you smiling about, Mom?" Jon asked in between innings.

"Nothing much," she said with a little smile. "Just happy to be here with you and Andy."

"Mr. Fleishman asked you to play baseball with him, didn`t he?"

Brenda hadn`t realized that Jon had overheard their conversation. "Yes, he did. What do you think? Should I join a baseball team too?"

"Yeah, you should. You`ll need a new mitt," Jon said sagely. "Your old softball mitt stinks. But I think it`s a good idea. Then everybody in the family will be on a team. Andy`s on the Bears. I`m on the Twins. Dad`s on the Beeraholics. And you`ll be on a team."

Brenda actually snorted. "Dad`s on the what? The Beeraholics?"

"Yeah. It`s his softball team. Is a beeraholic somebody who likes beer a lot?"


"Like how sometimes you say you`re a chocoholic because you like chocolate?"


"The Beeraholics play on Monday nights, so we haven`t seen any of their games, but Dad and Darlene told us about it."

Andy had evidently heard at least part of the conversation, because he turned to Jon and punched him in the arm.

"Ow! Mom, Andy hit me," Jon wailed.

"I can`t believe you told mom about Darlene," Andy snapped in what was obviously meant to be a whisper but was loud enough to be heard three rows away.

Jon started slapping at Andy, who waved him off with a laugh that only infuriated Jon more. As embarrassed as she had been in recent memory, Brenda managed to cease the escalation of hostilities by moving Jon to her other side. 

Jon was silent until just after the seventh-inning stretch, when he looked up at her and said, "I`m sorry I told you about Dad`s girlfriend." He looked like he was about to cry, as though even uttering the name "Darlene" had been treason of the highest order.

Brenda put her arm around him. "It`s okay, sweetie. I didn`t know her name, but I figured Dad might have a girlfriend. He`s allowed to. We`re not married anymore--you know that. He`s allowed to date."

"But you don`t have a boyfriend," Jon whispered in a voice so plaintive that Brenda had to lean in very close to hear him over the noise of the ballpark.

"I live with the two greatest guys on earth," she whispered back. "I don`t need anybody else."


I love sports stories, baseball, romance and a well resolved story with problems.   I got it all with Susan Petrone's novel, Throw Like a Woman.

This was women's fiction at it's finest.  It was easy to relate and empathize with a hard working single mom -- her anger over a cheating husband, an ended marriage, and trying to re-establish a family of three from four.   Anger was Brenda Haversham's defining word.

This story was told in a realistic fashion....how upset would the world of baseball and men only sports be if women were allowed "in"?   This brought all kinds of issues front and center.  Some of Brenda's reactions were humorous and some situations were downright terrifying....not only for Brenda, but also for her kids.

There was definitely a ring of truth though with the reality of the heart of a woman.   Brenda's heart was determined to be successful, support her family, hide her wounded pride and any weaknesses from her coaches and teammates, and yet show compassion to her teammates.  Eventually she would even calm herself enough to listen to her ex and resolve the anger within.    Would she still be able to pitch without it?

Find out for yourself in this fast paced enjoyable story about the first woman to join the major leagues and how she survives it.

I rated this a 4 Wink Read!

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a copy of this book from the author or their representative in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 23, 2015

31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction by Marcia Gloster--A Review

Thirty-one days of my life would never be interesting for someone to read about, although I have never felt life was dull.   It's just once I live through a day, I am often disappointed with my reaction and responses to that day.

Well, this book, 31 Days A Memoir of Seduction was anything but boring.


Marcia Gloster was a college student traveling through Europe in the summer of 1963. When she arrived in Salzburg, Austria to study at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision, she envisioned a month of intensive painting, never expecting to find herself swept into a passionate affair. Nor did she imagine her lover to be a married instructor with a long history of indiscretions. Even at a young age, Marcia knew how to protect her heart. But it had never been taken by a man as overwhelming and sensual as Bill Thomson.

31 Days is the story of Marcia and Bill in Salzburg. 31 days that would redefine love, sex, passion, and permanence for a woman of twenty; and a month that would resonate in her life forever.

Deeply sensual, intensely vivid, and achingly beautiful 31 Days is a memoir that lives in all of us.


Born in Los Angeles, Marcia Gloster has lived the majority of her life in New York City. She began drawing as a young child, believing even then that it would lead her to a career in art. 

While in college, she spent a summer studying painting at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision in Salzburg, Austria. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, she had hoped to continue painting while also working as an assistant art director in publishing. When that proved impossible, she put aside her brushes for many years while building her career as an award-winning art director and book designer. After working in London for two years, she returned to New York, becoming a founding partner of Peartree Advertising, a boutique advertising agency specializing in fashion.

Today, she works for selected clients consulting on marketing and graphic design. Most important, she has returned to her first love, painting. She is a member of the National Association of Women Artists in New York City and Studio Montclair in New Jersey and has exhibited her paintings in New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 31 Days: a Memoir of Seduction is her first book. 

She lives in New York with her husband, James Ammeen.



It was close to eleven when Bill finally entered the studio. Without so much as a glance at me, he stopped to talk to several of the students, mostly girls, about their paintings. 

Ignoring the tension I was beginning to feel, I tried to focus on my painting. I was over him, wasnt I?

Suddenly he was behind me. We have unfinished business, he said in a soft voice. Surprised, I turned to him. We do? I whispered.

Meet me outside on the parapet in five minutes.

But its not time for the break yet. 

He nodded. Five minutes. It wasnt a question.

I watched him cross the studio to talk with Barbara. As he looked back at me, I again felt the spark. What now? I asked myself. Did I really think he wouldnt come back to me after last night? Is this considered seduction? Hes not exactly asking me out for dinner and a movie, and I dont think a quiet lunch is quite what he has in mind. Unless Im lunch. I think we should get know each other first. But thats not going to happen, is it?

Finishing his conversation, he glanced quickly at me and left the studio.

Kate saw his glance and looked at me questioningly. Taking off the shirt I used as a smock, I whispered, Im leaving. At least I think I am. Ill see you later.

Incredulous, she whispered back, I thought we talked about this. After last night, youre going somewhere with him? What do you think you are doing?

I honestly dont know, but whatever it is, I have to do it. 

I dont think you should go anywhere near him. 

Youre right, I know it. But theres something that draws me to him. 

Kate shook her head. Youre making a big mistake, she said a bit louder. Several students nearby glanced at us.

I nodded, but turned and walked quickly to the girls bathroom. I ran a comb through my hair and put on some lipstick. Looking in the mirror, I asked myself again, What am I doing?

Ignoring my question, I went downstairs to the parapet. It was turning into another hot day and the sun refracted off the whitewashed walls of the fortress. Below, the roofs of the Old City glowed in the late morning light. Bill was standing, his back to the view, staring at me with a small smile as I walked toward him. He looked well, not hung over and confident as usual. There was no hint of last nights fiasco. 

Come with me, he said in a soft voice. Once again, it wasnt quite a question.

I paused, unsure of what to do.

Yes? he asked, taking my hand. 

I was sure this was a mistake especially after last night. But if I went with him, I could never allow myself to regret it, no matter what happened. Somehow I recalled a line from Oscar Wilde, The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

All right, I whispered. 

He turned, looking down the mountain. I dont want to take the cable car. Well walk down the path. We shouldnt be seen.

Were going to walk down this mountain? I thought, looking nervously over the wall at a steep, rocky drop. On what, a goat path?

I followed him to a narrow but traceable path that snaked down the mountain. Never considering Id be going for a hike, I was wearing sandals, and it was difficult navigating around the plants and rocks. Turning, I saw the fortress looming above us. I was certain this wasnt the first time he had taken this path but put the thought out of my mind.

Finally reaching the bottom, he took my hand, helping me over some loose stones. We had come out on a narrow cobblestone street not far from the cable station. Still holding my hand, he led me quickly through the back streets of the Altstadt, crossing the river at the Mozartsteg. Once on Steingasse I wasnt sure which building was his; it had been very late last night. Saying little to each other, we climbed the stairs to his flat and entered the darkened sitting room. Following him to the dimly lit hallway, I saw the door to Kraks room on the left and just ahead the small kitchen, where I now knew the vodka was stored. A white tiled bathroom with ancient fixtures was to the right and Bills bedroom just beyond. 

The night before, I had noticed very little. In the daylight I saw that the bed took up most of the stark, white-painted room, leaving a narrow space of only about three feet all around it. A small lamp sat on a walnut night table to the left of the bed and matched a distressed looking headboard that appeared to be attached to the wall. Opposite, a narrow window looked over the tiled roof of the building next door. In the corner, there was a white spindle-back chair with one of his shirts and a knitted tie draped neatly over it. The dark wood floors were scuffed and bare except for a small woven rug between the bed and the door. But on the far side of the bed, the casements of the window with the spectacular view were wide open, letting in a fresh breeze and flooding the room with bright summer light. Except for the soft, white comforter and a small, framed drawing of a reclining nude above the bed, the room had a simple, almost monastic sparsenessa sharp contrast to the man who occupied it. 

He started to pull down the shades. Do you have to do that? I asked tentatively. Its so beautiful here and were well above the street. 

He looked out the window, then back at me. You know, youre right, he said, as though he had never thought of it before. You wont mind the light?

I wont mind the light? Have I lost my mind? What the hell am I doing here? No, I whispered. 

He went to a phonograph sitting on the floor in the corner and put on a record, The Songs of the Auvergne, I found out later. The music was mesmerizing; the very air seemed to shimmer with the exquisite peasant songs sung in a clear soprano voice. I began to relax a little, at the same time well aware that I wasnt the first girl to experience the magic of those songs. But my natural curiosity had taken over and though I still thought this might turn out to be a mistake, there was something about him that held me there. I looked at him, realizing we had hardly said a word to each other.

Marcia, he said. Come here. I want you to kiss me.

Surprised, I moved close to him and kissed him lightly on the lips. He shook his head and backing away from me, he took off his coat and laid it carefully on the chair. Speaking softly, he said, That wasnt a kiss. I will teach you how to kiss.

I wasnt sure I understood what he was saying. I was twenty and I had kissed a fair number of guys without anyone ever complaining. Taking my face in his hands, he said, Puff out your lips, like a pout. I want to feel the softness of your lips, the inside of your bottom lip. Make them soft, open them, relax them.

Putting my hands on his shoulders, I kissed him. He told me to try again, and again and again, each time telling me in a gentle voice what I was doing, right or wrong. I wondered if my eyes should be open or closed, but after a minute or so it didnt matter any more. Our kisses were becoming more intense and the room seemed to be becoming warmer. Finally satisfied after a deep kiss that left me trembling, he stepped back and took off his shirt, putting it carefully on the chair along with his jacket. Turning back to me, he said seriously, Its too hot for clothes, and began to undress me. 

I was wearing the red dress I had bought on Saturday with Kate. His eyes never left mine as he unbuttoned it and slowly slid it off. He unhooked my bra, and I stepped out of my panties, blushing as an unfamiliar desire began to blossom inside, permeating my entire being with heat. 

Kissing me softly, he slowly started to caress me. Now I want you to watch me, he said.

Breathless, I sat down on the bed, fidgeting nervously and attempting to cover myself with the comforter, while at the same time looking anywhere but at him. Taking my hand, he told me in a soft but firm voice to look at him. I did, reluctantly. His body was lean but surprisingly strong and unlike the night before, he was very ready for me. I put my hand to his chest, feeling coarse hair and thinking, this is more than the difference between men and boys.

Bill became my tutor that day. Taking his time, he taught me how to touch him, when to be firm or gentle, when to move and when to stop, guiding me to enhance his every desire. At the same time, his hands were everywhere, slowly caressing and asking me to tell him how I felt. He was creating sensations I could never have imagined. 

He was slow, very slow, and every caress felt like feathers touched with fire. He began by kissing my eyes and then my lips, moving to my breasts and down my stomach. He parted my legs and started kissing me between them. I felt his fingers, gently teasing. The soft sounds I heard were coming from me. As my desire became almost unbearable, he slowly arched over me, whispering, You are on fire. 

I had no words to describe what he did to me that day. Tears were running down my face as I moved with him. Cautious about allowing myself an orgasm, there was no denying the intensity of the moment and it was a powerful, pure sensation. He was totally in control and I was way beyond thinking. This was far from the same man I had been with the night before.

While we were making love, the Songs continued to play, burning into my memory. At some point later, he got up to change the record.

No, Bill, I said, please, dont change it. Its so beautiful, please play it again. 

Nodding, he put it on again. 

Resting, we lay together and talked quietly, his hands moving over me in soft, slow caresses. 

Can I ask you a question? I whispered.

He nodded, but seemed suddenly tense.

I asked him to tell me about London; where he lived and more importantly, about his painting. 

He appeared to relax and looking at me, he said, I have a flat in Chelsea and thats also where I have my studio. I dont have any photographs here of my work but if I had to describe it, I would say my paintings tend toward impressionism but with a more contemporary edge. If you want to know what I like the most, it would be drawing and painting nudes. 

I asked if he painted every day. 

Almost every day. I also teach drawing at St. Martins. After all, one needs to make a living, although I do sell quite a lot.

He said he loved teaching and felt gratified by it. When he had been asked to become an instructor at Kokoschkas school, he had welcomed the chance. He felt it gave him a change from London and he always returned home with renewed energy. 

Ive never had a real, everyday job, he said. I started selling when I was still studying art. I have to be free, alone really, to work on my paintings. 

He said his friends were mostly artists and actors but he didnt mind spending time with potential buyers and collectors. After all, they do buy my work and I feel they deserve some of my time.

I was facing him, my head resting on his right shoulder. I could feel his hands beginning to caress me again. He asked me about myself and I told him about my painting. I hardly recognized my own voice, which had become strangely low and raspy. I said I was tending toward impressionism as well, although I was just beginning to develop a real direction in my paintings. I added that for the past year I had been working closely with one of my instructors who understood what I was trying to do.

He looked at me with a silent question. 

No, Im not sleeping with him. Im not that kind of girl. 

He laughed.

I was starting to explain more, but he leaned over to kiss me. I felt tremors running through my body. Turn over, he said softly. There was no rushing, just teasing, soft caresses, and gentle hands pulling me to my knees. I felt him move behind me and then the intensity and heat of his body on mine. 

I had never experienced such pleasure. It was as though all the shimmering warmth and beauty of the day had coalesced into an incandescent moment beyond time, creating a sensual transcendence that defied reason and denied all thought. 

Exhausted, we finally slept. 

I woke as he got up and went into the bathroom. Its after four, he said. I have to get back before the end of the day. Do you want to come back to the studio?

I sat up, dropping the comforter in front of me. I told him Id rather go back to the flat. I knew how to get there and since I hadnt gotten much sleep last night, I was tired. He smiled, ignoring my comment.

As I started to get out of bed, I saw him staring at me. He came over, moving me back on the bed and began making love to me again. This time it was quick and we laughed about it.
Put some clothes on, luv. Do it quickly or well never get out of here. 


Anyone who follows my blog or my book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads is in for the most inconsistent exploration of literature they will ever find, possibly.   Don't follow me if all you want to read are reviews in just young adult or romance or horror or mystery suspense.    I'll throw a review in of any genre at any moment.   I even shock myself with my eclectic reading.

31 Days:  A Memoir of Seduction, is just that....non fiction, a memoir.   It could be categorized as autobiography and it could be classified as romance.   Is there a genre for heartbreaking?

From the moment I began to read, I found it difficult to separate myself from this book.   I could not let the story lapse for any length of time.  I give credit to Gloster for her writing ability.    Her story was captivating, flowed smoothly and drew this reader in for the long journey.   She was able make the reader connect with her characters and not just the main characters...all of them.  She told her story beautifully and responsibly and made the journey from naive young woman to a thoughtful and wise woman.

Gloster was able to stir the emotions and as much as I empathized with her youthful character, my tears fell for the temporariness of it all.  But that is what life is, only temporary.   We alone can make the most of this life we are given and Gloster did her best to succeed in life and love, learning from her mistakes and continuing forward.  

If you can empathize with youth, and recognize that we don't always get the happily ever after, and yet there is always hope and opportunities to be taken advantage of, then you will suffer with the characters and eventually triumph as well, you will love this book.   I rated it a 5 wink read.

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a copy of this book from the author or their representative in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Last Words by Stacy Green--A Review


A teenaged girl’s tragic death appears to be an accident until Criminal Investigator Cage Foster discovers evidence of a hit and run. 

Cage’s investigation reveals more than one person might have wanted the young girl dead. As Cage navigates through the web of lies and anger, a break finally comes. But just as Cage is ready to set a trap for a killer, his world is turned upside down. 

With his unborn daughter’s life hanging in the balance, Cage must decide between his family and finding justice for an innocent victim.


This is the final novella in the Cage Foster series.  It is a very short read at 98 pages, but we get to see more of the Investigator's personal side.

Although this is supposedly the last in the series, I certainly hope he is revived at a later date.   He is the type of character I would want investigating my situation if I were murdered or harmed.

Green writes great characters, twisted and deviant crimes and is a great storyteller.   Her writing is easily read, satisfying and a bit disturbing.   I would encourage anyone who loves mystery/suspense to read her books!

I rated this four winks!

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I purchased this novella for my personal E-Book Collection.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Flash & Dazzle by Lou Aronica-- A Review


What happens when everything you thought was true changes all at once? What happens when each relationship that means anything to you suddenly becomes far more real than you ever thought it would be? What happens when every moment becomes invaluable as all of them pass far too quickly?

Flash and Dazzle is the story of two friends who have known the best of times who develop a true taste for life during the worst of times. It is the story of the friends and lovers who enter their orbit, some for a long time and some only for a moment. It is the story of legacies, burdens, and the kinds of secrets that are only revealed when theres nothing left to tell. 

It is a funny, moving, deeply honest novel that will inspire you to call everyone you care about and thank everyone you know for what they`ve given you.


Lou Aronica is the author of the USA Today bestseller THE FOREVER YEAR and the national bestseller BLUE. He also collaborated on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller THE ELEMENT and the national bestseller THE CULTURE CODE. 

Aronica is a long-term book publishing veteran. He is President and Publisher of the independent publishing house The Story Plant.



It wouldn`t be fair to call Daz a slug. After all, he had been a third team all-conference striker in college, and he was still slim and fleet. However, getting him out of his apartment in the morning had always been a considerable task. There was the ringing the doorbell seven times before going in with my key part. There was the, don`t you remember we have that meeting at 9:30 part. There was the, I really don`t give a shit what your hair looks like part. Then there were the inevitable battles with toothpaste choices (Daz was the only person I ever met who kept multiple flavors of toothpaste in his bathroom), Cap`n Crunch (the only thing he deigned to eat for breakfast), and Power Rangers (which appeared on ABC Family at 8:30 every morning and from which Daz took surprising delight for someone his age).

On most days, by the time I got to his place to pick him up, I`d already read the relevant sections of the Times and the Journal and surfed three or four entertainment, media and business sites on the web. About a year ago, it finally dawned on me that I could sleep fifteen minutes later in the morning if I brought my bagel and coffee with me so I could have breakfast while I waited for Daz to get ready. On certain days I thought it might be smart to bring a lunch as well. 

It was this way from our first days in the City. The only difference at the beginning was that we were in the same apartment and Daz sometimes dragged himself out of bed earlier if I made enough noise or if I did something like flick water on his face after my shower.

The other difference was the nature of our living quarters. The place on Avenue B had been only moderately better than sleeping on the street. The lobby was tastefully adorned in crack vials, hypodermic needles, and spent condoms, and our "doorman" was a sixty-something guy with more jackets than teeth who squatted in front of our building. My mother came to visit exactly once, sneered at my decision to live here rather than commuting from a garden apartment in Hastings, and told me that if I wanted to see her in the future, I knew the Metro-North schedule. She didn`t even give me her little faux kiss on the cheek on her way out the door. This irked me until I thought about the possibility of her being propositioned by a male prostitute before she could get a cab out of the neighborhood. I imagined her scandalized expression and smiled.

A year later, when we were recruited as a team by The Creative Shop, we made our first "big move." It was a walkup in Hell`s Kitchen - not exactly Fifth Avenue, though a huge improvement over what it had been only a few years earlier - but the space was a lot better and a much higher grade of junkie and hooker hung around outside. When we got our first major bonus checks - one of several to come our way in the past few years - we knew it was time to find someplace a little more respectable, someplace where we could have a party and not worry if our guests could make it in and out of the building alive. 

It was my father`s accountant who first suggested we consider buying. The thought had never even crossed my mind, though admittedly we did a terrible job of managing the money we made and got brutalized on our 2011 tax returns. He also told us that if we bought, we had to buy separately to get the most bang for our tax deduction bucks. It was an odd thing to think about. We had lived together for eight years at that point and while we knew we`d eventually find romantic partners to move in with, the notion of no longer being roommates for financial reasons seemed incongruous. In the end, though, it really did make the most sense. And with Daz at 89th and Broadway and me at 91st and West End, we were nearly roommates anyway.

"Who do we have a meeting with this morning?" he said, coming out of the bathroom with a toothbrush in his mouth. He had different colored toothbrushes for the different flavors. The gray brush meant fennel. 

"It`s just us."

"Us? Like you and me?" He returned to the bathroom to spit.

"And Michelle and Carnie and Brad and Chess."

"Sounds like the meeting we had at Terminal 5 last night." 

We`d all gone there to see Beam, an incredible British trance rock band.

"Except this time we`re going to have a serious business conversation and it won`t look as cool if your head lolls back and forth."

"And what will we be talking about again?" He`d asked this question from his bedroom, where he was almost certainly trying to decide if it was a red flannel shirt day or a blue flannel shirt day.

"The Koreans."

"Motorcycles, right?" he said, sticking his face out the door. 

"Cars. Affordable luxury for twenty-somethings."

"Twenty-somethings want luxury?"

"They do if it`s affordable."

"That`s why you`re the word guy and I`m the picture guy. I wouldn`t have a clue how to pitch this."

"Good thing I`m around then, huh?"

He disappeared back into the bathroom, meaning we were somewhere between eight and fifteen minutes of departure time, assuming I kept him away from the Power Rangers.

I finished my bagel and scrolled through my Twitter feed. Not finding anything to capture my attention, I stood up and walked around the apartment. The morning crowbar exercise notwithstanding, we spent much less time in Daz`s place than we did in mine. This was primarily because I had the better toys - the sixty-inch TV, the foosball table, the multiple gaming systems, the Bang and Olufsen stereo with full theatre sound (the potential of which I never got to exploit because of the co-op rules) - and also because I actually kept food in the place. Daz hadn`t done particularly much with his home space. The obligatory Crate and Barrel couch and coffee table, the Mondrian print squaring off against the Dave Matthews Band poster, the formal dining table that he never explained why he bought (I don`t know; maybe he wanted me to have my bagel and coffee in comfort), the airbed he propped up against the wall next to the couch rather than deflating, and not a hell of a lot else. 

Other than the air hockey table. And the massage chair. The latter was Daz`s first significant purchase once he bought his place. I asked him why he wanted one - he never seemed in need of a massage - and he gestured toward the chair to suggest that I give it a try. Once I did, I understood immediately.

I sat there now and set the chair to knead. I would have loved to have one of these in my office, but one of the unspoken deals Daz and I had was that we wouldn`t spend a lot of money on something the other guy already owned. What was the point? I kicked the massage level up to medium and switched from kneading to tapping. I thought about taking my shoes off to use the foot massager and then checked the time on my phone instead. 

"I mentioned that the meeting was today and not in August, right?" I said, my voice vibrating from the thumping my back was receiving.

"I`m done," he said, walking over to stand in front of me in blue flannel. "Just a quick one-on-one with the Cap`n and we`ll be out of here."

I turned off the chair and got up. Daz opened the box of cereal and poured it directly into his mouth. "Let`s go," he said, taking a swig from a milk carton and grabbing his keys. 

I gathered my stuff and we made our way out the door. Daz locked the two deadbolts and my eye fell on his keychain - a plastic hot dog that he`d burned with a cigarette lighter in honor of our first (and only) camping trip. He`d toted that thing around for the last ten years. 

"I think Michelle and I had a little thing last night," he said as we walked out onto Broadway to begin our search for a cab.

I laughed. "I was with the two of you the entire time. You didn`t have a thing."

"No, I think we might have. It was an eye thing."

"An eye thing as in she saw you and said hi?"

"Don`t be a schmuck. I can tell the difference, you know. I think she kinda likes me."

"Daz, everyone kinda likes you. See that woman who just stepped in front of us to steal our cab? I`ll bet she likes you. You`re a likable guy. I just wouldn`t get my hopes up about Michelle if I were you."

"She came to my office just to see my drawings the other day. She`s never done that before."

"Daz, reachable goals, remember? Reachable goals."

"I think you might be surprised here."

"Surprised wouldn`t begin to describe it. Stunned speechless maybe. Or shocked to the point where I needed a defibrillator."

He regarded me sternly. "Why do you think I couldn`t get a woman like Michelle?"

"Did I say that?"

"Pretty much exactly that."

"You`re misunderstanding me. I`m speaking specifically about Michelle. A woman like Michelle - you know, gorgeous, smart, clever, burgeoning career - you could get a woman like that. Anytime you wanted, probably."

"But not Michelle specifically. Translation, please."

"A translation isn`t necessary. Right now, the only thing that`s important is that we find some way to get the hell downtown."

Eventually we took a gypsy cab, one of those out-of-town car services that roamed around the City skimming off fares from Yellow cabs during rush hours. I hated doing this - I was very loyal to my city - but at 9:05 on a weekday, it really was the best we could do. 

"If we left earlier, we wouldn`t be riding in a fifteen-year-old Impala right now, you know," I said.

"If we left later, we wouldn`t be doing this either."

"You know, it`s a good thing you`re an artistic genius. Otherwise you`d be working at Burger King. No, you`d lose your job at Burger King because you`d always be showing up late. Then you`d be out on the street collecting bottles to exchange for cheap liquor."

"Never happen."

"You don`t think so?"

"Nope. Cause you`d be around to drag my ass out of bed so I could keep my job making french fries."
  "Don`t be so sure."


Words for describing Flash and Dazzle:  a tearjerker, brilliant, heartbreaking, thought provoking, memorable....I will never forget this book!

Here's what I thought I was going to read.    I thought this book was a man's read.    A story about two men and their friendship.   I thought I would have to push myself through it.   I thought I would maybe be bored and I thought I wouldn't care for it.     Could these suspicions have been any further from the truth?  I came so close to not responding to the request for a read and review.

Well let me just say, that decision would have been to my detriment and a great loss, knowing what I know now.   Flash and Dazzle is a story about love and friendship and the sins friends can commit against even their very best friends.   It is about life changing events and how we respond to them.  It is a story of life, in all its wonderful goodness and badness.

Aronica has a very engaging writing style and tells his story with  refreshing candor and humor.   I felt as if this was the most honest story I have read this year and one that I will not soon forget.   It touched my heart and soul in a very deep and profound manner.

To say I loved it is a much lesser representation of how I truly felt.   I love authors who speak to my heart.   I rated this read 5 Winks!

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a copy of this book from the author or their representative in exchange for an honest review.