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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Death Wish by Megan Tayte--A Review








SYNOPSIS:

IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE. 

The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint? 

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. Butsuicide? It makes no sense. 

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need. 

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death. 

To believe the impossible. 


FROM MY MIND'S EYE:

I don't read a lot of paranormal/fantasy, but I loved, loved, loved Death Wish by Megan Tayte.  I will be in for the  whole five book series and see where she leads us.

I hope that every one of the five books can live up to the first installment.   I can already tell that this will be a tearjerker for me.

The best part of any book is if it can make you feel something or provoke you to think.  Tayte's Death Wish, actually did both.  There is a storyline about the suicide of her sister and how unbelievingly shocking it was to all who knew her.  (Thinking provoked).    There is an additional storyline about Luke and Scarlett's budding romance...(depth of feelings provoked).    The story just grabs you and holds you until you reach that final page.
  
Tayte developed characters that you loved in Luke, Cara, Scarlet and Jude.
Scarlet's mom made my eyes roll to the point I wanted to smack her.  Yes, lots of feelings were provoked.    I loved the fact Scarlet was new to Twycombe, but easily found friendship in this town and the surfers who surfed and partyed along it's shores.

Nearing the end of book one we finally learn the destiny  that is to be Scarlet's
and that was the second heartache in this captivating fantasy.   I have purchased the second book in the series, (Forget Me Not) and will probably read and review it next month;   I can not escape the thoughts returning to Death Wish and the longing to know the (rest of the story).

I rated this a 5 Wink read!  It definitely stole some sleep.





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.






Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DEFIANT by Mara Li, Jen Minkman, and Lis Lucassen-- A Review









SYNOPSIS:

What can you do when the society you live in isn’t as good and grand as people want you to believe? For Emma, Leia, and Justa, there is only one way to survive – by being defiant.


Three young adult authors from the Netherlands use their storytelling talents to explore worlds where nothing is as it seems and no one is truly safe.


The Red Messenger

Some things are better left unsaid – or unquestioned.

When Emma finds a mysterious note in a coat that once belonged to her twin sister Sophia, the words written on it won’t leave her alone: “The Angel has come”. Angels are a part of forbidden folklore, remnants of the old Jewish religion that was banned by the Realm long ago. Sophia had secrets she never shared with Emma, and they demand to be unraveled. Now, Emma’s quest will change her world forever.


The Island

Leia lives on the Island, where children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are only ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. No one wants to – because the Fools living in the west, behind the wall, are deluded and believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.

But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?


The Tribunal

When Justa is summoned for jury duty in the Tribunal, she is sure of one thing: she needs to stick to the rules in order to get her best friend’s murderer convicted. In her society, jurisdiction is infallible. The choice ahead of her seems clear – but soon, Justa is forced to choose between justice and lies. Will she use her head over her heart, or will Aron, the accused who dares to look at her with such disdain in his eyes, change her mind for good?
 


FROM MY MIND'S EYE:


When I was offered the opportunity to read Defiant, a collection of three Dutch author's young adult work, I was thrilled to do so.    I have been enamoured with the thoughtful approach Jen Minkman takes in her writing and I was hungry to try some other Dutch authors as well.   I was not disappointed in any of the stories in this collection.

All three stories had one thing in common and that was the beliefs that their lives were as they were meant to be.   They believed in their governments and societys' propaganda and had no idea, there were other ways to live or believe...until they were startled into realizing another perspective existed.   At that point the main characters were faced with decisions.   Would they remain loyal to their way of life or would they challenge themselves for more?

All three writer's presented unique stories and characters...characters who were very easy to empathize with and root for their success.

If you like a read that makes you think and invites you into it, this anthology may be just what you need to read.

I rated this 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, April 17, 2015

Deadly by Sylvia McDaniel-- A Review



 SYNOPSIS:

Meg McKenzie has been responsible for her sisters since she was twelve when her mother died. While she longs to have a normal life like all young women, she must dress in pants and take on a man’s job as a bounty hunter in order to provide for her sisters. In this western historical romance, she has her pistols set on one last bounty to pay off the farm and began to live her dream. But one man stands in her way. One man that can’t see past her bounty hunter fa├žade to see the true woman inside.

Sheriff Zach Gillespie has a secret. In the small Texas town of Zenith, there is only one woman who could calf rope his heart. Unfortunately, Meg McKenzie has the opportunity to expose his secret to the world. In the past, she’d already left him vulnerable, naked, and tied up and now she’s on the prowl again. He must choose what kind of man he is, a law-abiding sheriff or an on the run outlaw. Will her belief in him lead him down the right path? Will she give him a second chance to show he’s the only man for her?


FROM MY MIND'S EYE:

My mom prefers light hearted romance novels.    I love a good mystery with some romance added in.   But I also like to explore other genres as well.  Sylvia McDaniel brings both a mystery and a romance read to the first tale in the Lipstick and Lead series...Deadly.

Think three daughters, basically raised by a single father, who happens to be a bounty hunter.   Then one day they loose their daddy and are left to their own devices and the knowledge of bounty hunting he left them with.   Deadly is the story of the oldest girl Meg, the reluctant bounty hunter.

McDaniel lends real quality to her characterizations through her story.   There is humor in her work as both main characters struggle for the upper hand in bringing a bad guy to justice.  These characters have misunderstood one another for quite some time and there is a lot of growing tension and frustration between them.

Although I prefer a romance with quite a bit less sexual explicitness, I found the twists within the story enjoyable and the overall story fun and enjoyable.

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.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Thin Black Line by Simon Gervais--A Review



Publication Date: April 07, 2015 

Number of Pages: 400 

Purchase Links: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - 




SYNOPSIS:

Mike Walton had experienced terrorism from every angle. As a covert field operations officer, he thought he`d seen it all. But that was before terrorism struck him directly at home. Suffering devastating physical injury and unthinkable personal loss, Mike had one of two choices: give up or fight back. And giving up wasn`t in his makeup.

Mike and his wife Lisa - a medical doctor and fellow counter-terrorism expert - are recruited by the International Market Stabilization Institute, a privately funded organization operating outside official channels to protect North America`s financial interests. The strikes that destroyed Mike and Lisa`s household - the work of Sheik Al-Assad - are bringing the Western economy to its knees. And they are only the beginning. If the Sheik succeeds, the world will change forever, and the next attack is just around the corner. Mike and Lisa must lead a hastily assembled team to Europe to stop the madness before time runs out.

Rippling with tension, raging with action, and replete with the kinds of details only a true counter-terrorism insider can provide, The Thin Black Line is a nonstop thriller of the first order. It announces an unforgettable new team of characters and a distinctive new voice to the thriller world.
 

MEET THE AUTHOR:

SIMON GERVAIS was born in Montral, Qubec. He joined the Canadian military as an infantry officer and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1997. Assigned to the Infantry School in Gagetown, New Brunswick, he received extensive training in advanced reconnaissance and small-unit tactics.

In 2001, he became a federal agent. His first posting was in Toronto, where he served as a drug investigator. During this time, he worked on many international drug-related cases in close collaboration with his American colleagues from the DEA. However, in 2004, his career switched gears and he was placed with a federal anti-terrorism unit based in the Ottawa Region. During the following years, he was deployed in numerous European and Middle Eastern countries.

In 2009, he became a close-protection specialist tasked with guarding foreign heads of state visiting Canada. Among many others, he served on the protection details of Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President, Hu Jianto.

In 2012, Simon was transferred to his organizations counter-surveillance unit. During the next two years, he participated in a number of intelligence gathering operations. In May 2014, he returned to his former unit to serve as a bodyguard for the American ambassador to Canada until his retirement in September 2014.

Simon is now a full-time writer and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He has volunteered as the Security Director of ThrillerFest since 2013. His debut novel THE THIN BLACK LINE will be published by Lou Aronica at The Story Plant on April 7th, 2015. He is represented by literary agent Eric Myers of The Spieler Agency.

Simon, his wife and their two children divide their time between Ottawa and South Florida, which they consider their second home.
 

http://simongervaisbooks.com 

EXCERPT:

Mike was a few meters behind the four suspected terrorists when he heard the familiar sound of an automatic weapon firing in the distance. He whipped his head toward the noise and decided it was coming from the direction of the tarmac. The Ottawa police officers who had just arrived on scene looked at each other in disbelief. 

Then time seemed to shudder to a stop. 

As if the clatter of gunfire was the cue they`d been waiting for, the four suspected terrorists pulled out AMD-65 submachine guns they had concealed under their heavy clothing and opened fire on the startled police officers. Several of them tried to reach for their guns but were cut down before their hands touched their holsters. Rounds upon rounds were lodged in the officers` chest cavities, for their bulletproof vests weren`t designed to stop the 7.62mm rounds. 

As Mike was reaching for his 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol, he heard a muffled explosion coming from the airplane. Shit. Dropping to one knee to make him as small a target as possible, Mike tried to aim his pistol at the nearest shooter. But with all the scared and panicked passengers running to and fro struggling to find cover, he could not get a clear shot. 

Cursing, Mike looked around, trying to find something he could use as cover. He spotted a concrete pylon five meters to his left and went for it.

What the fuck? This isn`t Afghanistan! Mike thought, clenching his teeth.

***

Asad Wafid had the pleasure of seeing the five police officers he fired at go down as he emptied thirty rounds into them. He expertly released the magazine and replaced it with a fresh one. He was proud of Hassan and Fadl. They had initiated contact the moment they thought they were compromised. Well done! 

Focusing his attention on the unarmed Canada customs officers who were trying to hide behind the Air Canada ticket counter, he grabbed an M67 grenade from the left pocket of his overcoat and took out the pin. He calmly counted to three, then lobbed the grenade behind the ticket counter. It exploded two seconds later. Wafid was rewarded with strangled screams. When several wounded officers crawled out from behind the counter, another grenade thrown by one of his brothers in faith finished them off. 

Wafid felt a sense of accomplishment. No more screams came from behind the desk. 

***

Zima Bernbaum`s heart had jumped when she`d heard the crackling of gunfire. She quickly deduced that terrorists were fighting over control of the aircraft with Paul Robichaud. Before she could provide backup for Robichaud, the four men Mike had been following had suddenly opened fire on the crowd.

After reaching for her pistol inside her purse, she slipped off her high-heel shoes and took cover behind the metal recycling bin on her left. It wouldn`t stop a bullet, but it did provide concealment behind which she could assess the situation. She looked for Mike, but he had disappeared the moment the bullets had started flying. She pointed her firearm toward one of the terrorists, but a terrified young father and his tall son darted in front of her, pushed away from an attacker`s line of fire by a courageous army captain, effectively blocking her shot. Just as a spray of bullets cut down the military officer, Zima felt a tremendous punch to her stomach. 

***

After safely reaching the concrete pylon, Mike scanned the area around him. Some people were still madly dashing for safety, but most were smart enough to have found some kind of cover. Just then a fusillade of bullets chiseled the concrete just inches from his face, forcing him to remain immobile. 

Damn! That was close. 

After the firing in his direction had subsided, Mike counted to five. Then, taking a deep breath, he poked his head out from behind the pylon just long enough to see one of the gunmen throw a grenade behind the Air Canada counter. 

Another couple of rounds hit the pylon, forcing Mike to take cover and spattering pieces of concrete into his face and shoulders. The grenade exploded loudly, followed shortly after by a second blast.

Damn it! cursed Mike. Where the fuck is the backup? Where`s Zima? He had lost visual contact with her. With Robichaud having his hands full on the airplane and all the police officers down, Mike knew he was the only one who could stop this bloodbath. He was outnumbered and outgunned, but still, he had to do something or the body count would keep rising. Perspiration was quickly forming on his forehead, and his pulse was hammering off the charts. 

I can`t believe this is actually happening. Shit! Shit! Shit! 


A little voice inside his head reminded him that next time, he should maybe be a little more careful about what he wished for...

Mike looked around him. 

Chaos.

Think, Mike! he commanded himself as he concentrated on controlling his breathing. His first target should be the gunman who kept firing at his position. Kneeling down so he wouldn`t appear to be in the same position he had been when he`d taken that quick look moments ago, Mike adjusted his stance. Making sure to remain under the cover of the pylon as much as possible, he extended his arm, took quick aim at the terrorist, who was busy reloading his weapon, and fired two rounds within half a second. He hit his target squarely in his center mass.

Goddammit! From his covered position, he saw that even though the gunman staggered a few steps backward, he didn`t go down. They`re wearing body armor! 

Aiming higher, Mike fired two more rounds. This time his target went down with two bullet holes in the forehead.

Mike inched his neck out farther from behind the cement pier and saw the first passengers come pouring out of the aircraft and into the waiting area. With so many people rushing behind them, they couldn`t turn back once they entered Gate 17 and realized what carnage was awaiting them there. 

Mike caught sight of one of the three remaining gunmen pointing his AMD-65 in the general direction of the oncoming passengers. Mike raised his weapon and emptied two rounds into the terrorist`s armor-clad chest. He adjusted his aim and pulled the trigger again. His third bullet entered the base of his target`s skull and exited through his mouth. A gush of blood sprayed the wall to the right of the Jetway.

FROM MY MIND'S EYE:

I rated this a five wink read.    Yes, I lost a fair amount of sleep over The Thin Black Line as I couldn't put it down.   With the very first words, I was hooked and locked in for a hair raising ride with this book.

Everything I imagine our scary world to be was emmulated in this story of terrorism and heroism.   Characters were well developed and fleshed out.   The plot  flowed smoothly to a satisfying conclusion.   I desperately want to read more about Mike and Lisa Walton's journey into saving our world.

This is a very fast paced, breath holding and hair raising thriller.    Words really don't convey the realism and believability of this work of art, rather Simon Gervais.   I found it to be intriguing and can't wait for more from this exciting new author!


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.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes--A Review





SYNOPSIS:

There's a ghost on the loose—and a fox in the henhouse

Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee started seeing ghosts, Chicken's been pestering her to figure out who killed him.

With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken's widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so. Something's definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow—and Emma Lee just prays it's not her luck.



FROM MY MIND'S EYE:

I have found Tanya Kappes's writing to be light hearted and enjoyable reading as I explored A Ghostly Grave and Sleepy Hollow once again.   Although it was a paranormal read, it is not the normal seriously scary paranormal read.   Kappes throws together a mix of humor, mystery, tongue in cheek paranormal with a small southern town twist and a mildly insecure heroine and a touch of romance with the frustrated small town sheriff-boyfriend.   A recipe baked to perfection for those seeking some easy and light hearted  reading.

Kappes's characters are portrayed in true southern charm and seem realistic in their small town gossipy mannerisms.  The story flows fluently and quickly.

I rated this a four 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.





Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Reading Recap











Storyplant provided a lot of reading this month!   And I felt  really blessed.  I enjoyed it all.




Harper Collins provided a fun paranormal story.

And Stacy Green provided two Cage Foster Novellas for my
                          readng pleasure.



Last but not least was a western romance by Sylvia McDaniel.

All in all March moved too quickly for me to keep up with my reading goals, but it was nonetheless an enjoyable month of reading!

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 - 


SYNOPSIS:


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.
 


MEET THE AUTHOR:







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. 

http://susanpetrone.com 



EXCERPT:


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?"

"Yes."

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

"Yes."

"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."

FROM MY MIND"S EYE:

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.