A Woman's Voice

Book Review – The Poppy Fields

D.G. TorrensThe Poppy Fields by Author D.G. Torrens

Emily Matthews is a young woman who is very devoted to her work at a charitable organization that raises funds to help wounded soldiers as they return from the battlefield. Some are amputees…but all of the survivors who benefit from her organization have been scarred one way or the other, whether physically or emotionally. The effects of war and the negative consequences are near and dear to Emily’s heart. She lost the love of her life, Robby, to the war in Afghanistan and after two long and lonely years, she still mourns his loving absence from her life. Now Emily is reluctant to ever fall in love again and is determined to close her heart to such a possibility. Every year she spends time in the much loved poppy field near her home where she relives one of her fondest memories of better times with Robby.

James Harrison, on the other hand, is in his late twenties and a former rifleman who experienced three tours of duty in Afghanistan. He returns to the UK after being injured in battle and receives new training as a physiotherapist. He is also a man whose heart has been broken. James has been in a previous serious relationship with long time girlfriend, Naomi, who decided she no longer wanted to live in Benton Cross. She subsequently leaves to pursue a career in London and James is emotionally crushed when they go their separate ways. He is determined to immerse himself in his work as he caters to the wounded survivors of war. However, in a local bookstore as he peeks up between the shelves of books, he is intrigued and captivated by the most incredible eyes looking back at him…

From then on, an enticing love story ensues between these two very reticent and awe struck individuals. Of course, they certainly meet their fair share of challenges which readily entice the reader as their relationship unfolds…

Author D.G. Torrens is fast becoming a seasoned author with several well-written novels now published. I have had the honor of reading and reviewing two others and “The Poppy Fields” is another crowd pleaser with its many unpredictable twists and turns. I truly enjoy a good love story and this one certainly fits the bill. There are plenty of historical facts and medical data included to spice up the story line and give this fictional novel the required authenticity. There is a cliff hanger at the end of this easy-to-read romantic novel, therefore, I know there is more “good stuff” to come! I can’t wait to read the next installment…

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Apollo Road

Cliff RobertsApollo Road by Author Cliff Roberts

Yikes…where to I start? In this macabre murder mystery, very little is left to the imagination. Protagonist Clint/Jake has been carefully selected and stalked by psychopath Bill Connelly…definitely not his real name. He methodically and emotionally kidnaps Jake. Clint’s new name is Jacob Keys and an untraceable identity is provided for him by his new best friend and potential partner in crime.

Bill has an agenda…Jake is his protégé. The message is extremely clear and very succinct…co-operate or else. Clint/Jake is in a total state of confusion and utter despair. Disabled and relatively new to Florida, he finds himself in a fine kettle of fish. Now unemployed and virtually penniless, his wife is starting divorce proceedings and has been carrying on behind his back for the last four years. How does he know this…because Bill has been stalking her as well! In fact, the blame game started with her and led to his obsession with Jake. He’s bugged their house, he’s bugged their car…and there is not a word or privately shared moment that has taken place between this soon-to-be divorced couple in the last four years. Every word and every action has been heard or witnessed by this self-proclaimed man of justice.

Bill has now taken Jake under his wing and is determined to avenge the mistreatment that has taken place in Jake’s life. Bill has adeptly and calculatedly taken on this role in his life and Jake is at a total loss as to what to do about it. Grin and bear it comes to his mind but then the master plan unfolds bigtime and he is caught up in a sinister plot. Expect the unexpected as the twists and turns take the reader on a well-written and suspenseful roller coaster ride with Bill at the helm calling all the shots until…

I really enjoy Author Cliff Roberts’ style of writing. As he pens this mystery thriller in the first person, he manages to get his reading audience right into the head of the main character. It is a unique method of getting in touch with Jake’s every thought, emotion, and vicariously experiencing his psychological and moral warfare. I had a tough time putting this novel down. I did not want to miss a word of it. It grabbed my attention from start to finish and left me wanting more. Riveting!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ The Recluse Storyteller

Mark SasseThis talented author has done it again. In my opinion, Author Mark Sasse has penned another thought-provoking fictional novel which is sure to grab the attention and stimulate the imagination of many discerning readers with the desire to get to the bottom of complex and oftentimes, perplexing situations.

Margaret Pritcher is the reclusive raconteur. She is obviously very intelligent as she writes programs for company manuals and manages to support herself in the simple life she is accustomed to. She lives by herself in an apartment and talks to absolutely no one….with the exception of Aunt Janice and twin girls, Pam and Sam, who live down the hall…and at times, out loud to herself. She slips out very late, at the same time every Tuesday night, to buy groceries for the week. She does so to ensure that she will not run into anyone she might know at the local grocery store which is open 24 hours a day. Margaret has an extremely over active imagination and since the death of her mother five years earlier…she is pretty well a total recluse.

However, Margaret has either a vivid imagination…or a sick mind…as she slips in and out of the stories in her mind. These are detailed activities and reports about the people who live in the other apartments on her floor…such as Cheevers with the Red Hat or Mrs. Johnson the mother of the twins, or other people such as Reverend Davies that she has been exposed to over the years. These are the tales that the reclusive storyteller is sharing as she explains and vividly describes their lives…using different names that are somehow inexplicitly connected to them and to her. In her mind, they are real…Margaret feels an indescribable presence which surrounds her and then she loses herself into a trance like state. The stories then take on a new life form within the recesses of her mind. It is one of these stories that she openly relates to Pam and Sam as they sit mesmerized before her eating their ice cream. These two young girls are her only genuinely captive audience until…each one of her tales touches a nerve with the people she knows.

No pen…no paper….no computer record the stories of this reclusive raconteur. Yet…each thought appears to be a story that is so realistic that it could actually occur in life to any number of people. The characters are real…at least to Margaret. The scenes leave off from one experience or series of events to another. Each time she returns to this ongoing saga in her mind…she knows exactly where she left off right up to the last minute detail. She never forgets an imagined event or the emotion these characters feel. She is totally captivated by each of them as she systematically and expertly tells their stories.

Who is Margaret…and why does she live this way? Has she been blessed or cursed with her uncanny knack for storytelling? You be the judge. It is well worth reading this fictional novel to find out. The reader gets expertly drawn into the presence she senses…her gift of retelling the imagined events of her dreamed up cast of characters…or better yet, ask yourself how Margaret knows what has gone on in these people’s lives that so evoke these incredible stories and forces them to face their past fears?

I have a feeling the gift of “The Recluse Storyteller” by talented Author Mark Sasse will be as mesmerizing to its reading audience as Margaret’s gift of storytelling is to Pam and Sam.


Book Reviews ~ End Result (Hero Series #2)

Mel ComleyEnd Result (Hero Series #2) by Author M. A. Comley

I have only read one previous novel Virtual Justice (Justice Series Book #7) by seasoned Author M. A. Comley and I am delighted to have the opportunity to read another one of her intriguing mysteries. In this new series, the Prologue to “End Results” grabbed my attention right from the onset. The unexplained murder sets the pace for what is yet to come. Once I started reading this fictional crime novel, I had a tough time putting it down.

Moving on to Chapter One with the introduction of Hero Nelson, a supervisor for the Met Police Department, I was further drawn into the story line and the mysterious murder of Stu Daws. Garroted to death, the police seem to have little to go on but DI Nelson has the nose for crime solving. After the birth of his twin daughters Zoe and Zara, he is unable to take a leave of absence until he solves this crime. Julie his partner is distracted these days due to a personal crisis going on in her life but Hero Nelson forges ahead with his due diligence as he makes every effort to get to the bottom of this heinous crime. Now he has been informed of another death in his area…

DI Hero Nelson and partner DS Julie Shaw work in tandem along with the other copper members of their team to discover the connection between these two murders. It doesn’t take long for Hero to get to the realization that Cathy Daws is the common thread. He certainly has his suspicions that Daws’ wife Cathy is involved but she has a rock solid alibi to add to his frustration in solving this case. Regardless…he is relentless in pursuit of justice as he digs into the case to try to piece together the puzzle of clues in order to ferret out the murderer…or is it murderers? Only time will tell. He needs a break to crack this case wide open. Stan Foster might be able to help out there but…a third murder takes place. Once again, Cathy Daws has a “cast-iron” alibi. To add to Hero’s frustration, what can he do to help his twin sister Cara out of the fine fix she’s in, the one that could result in the end of her career?

I just love a good mystery and talented Author M. A. Comley has delivered just that. I realize that “End Result (Hero Series #2)” is the second book in this crime solving series but it is a stand alone novel and I never felt short changed by not reading the first one. Although, it does give me the itch to go back and do just that. However, I am going to revisit the first novel in the Justice Series. Today, I just downloaded a copy of Cruel Justice (Justice Series #1). I need another great mystery novel to read and this author sure knows how to deliver one!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Cape Maybe

Author Carol Fragale Brill Cape Maybe

I came upon this fictional novel strictly by chance. The author did not approach me for a book review which is so often the case, therefore, it is refreshing to write this review just because…

I was immediately captivated by the realistic plot and the protagonist, Katie, in this well-written novel that is both heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time. The story is related in the first person by Katie, an eleven year girl with an alcoholic mother. Katie is in dire need of love and emotional support during these critical and formative pre-teen years. Her mother fails her miserably but her loving and kind grandfather affectionately called Poppi, rescues Katie from her unbearable home life and emotionally taxing situation. Poppi lives with his widowed brother Nack. Together, they readily embrace Katie into their family life and try to create as stable a home environment for her as possible.

Katie grieves the loss of her mother’s presence but fairs quite well with the guidance of Poppi, Great Uncle Nack, his female friend Ursula, as well as her young son, Dennis. Along with her best girlfriend Cam and Dennis…Katie manages to enjoy many aspects of her life. She secretly craves Dennis’ attention but he appears to be smitten with Cam. Unfortunately Poppi suffers a debilitating stroke which takes its toll on not only him, but on Katie and Uncle Nack as well. In order to deal with her grief, Katie succumbs to the temptation of the liquor bottle to deal with her sorrow.

As Katie becomes a teenager, she is put in a very compromising situation with Jake…her sexually demanding boyfriend. Alcohol becomes a factor in many of Katie’s poor decisions and lack of good judgment. The captivating twists and turns in this young love/romance novel along with the daily challenges faced by Katie are a real page turner. I enjoyed every word of “Cape Maybe” by talented Author Carol Fragale Brill

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ The Admirer’s Secret

Pamela Crane
The Admirer’s Secret by Author Pamela Crane

The Prologue sets the pace in a gut wrenching way as it lays the foundation for the story of Haley Montgomery to follow. It gave me an eerie feeling and sent shivers down my spine to witness the despair of this very troubled person. How in the world did it get to this point of such utter inner turmoil and sense of hopelessness?

And then Haley’s story begins….a twelve year old girl in a hospital room waiting by the deathbed of her father. Her grief is unabashed as she mercilessly pounds away on her mother’s chest to release her sorrow as she witnesses her beloved dad waste away before her very eyes. First Jake’s suicide and now the impending death of her father. Haley is beyond consoling and finds a secret place within to help her deal with the depth of her grief.

Years later, she still resides in the quiet town of Westfield, New York. At twenty seven years old, she has the dream of becoming a screenplay writer. The nonstop rejections of her manuscripts do not daunt her nor dampen Haley’s desire to fulfill her dream. During the time when she decides she could benefit by furthering her writing skills…Allen Michaels, a well-known Screen Play Writer and Producer who is escaping some skeletons in his own closet…decides to offer a writing course in the town of Westfield. Right from the very first moment Allen sets his eyes on the beautiful green-eyed student in the front row of class. It seems that he is mesmerized by her innocent beauty and personal magnetism. However, Haley also has a secret of her own. She has been receiving anonymous letters from what appears to be a secret admirer. Her gut tells her she should contact the police, but nonetheless…she is intrigue by the hauntingly beautiful content of these almost daily messages. Yet…there seems to be an even “greater force” that is orchestrating her life when her computer goes on the blink and Marc, the cute IT guy, arrives at her door to repair it!

Three lives so closely knitted together by chance or co-incidence. It appears that both men are so deeply affected by the compelling and innocent Haley. Will Allen Michaels lure her away from the safe community of Westfield with promises of success and fame or will her heart continue to skip a beat as she entertains a possible future with Marc? There is a sense of foreboding in the air…something is off kilter. Who is the secret admirer and to what extent will he control Haley’s life? Or…is there something else amiss?

Talented Author Pamela Crane takes her readers on one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride in The Admirer’s Secret. I was glued to every page in this romantic and mysterious fictional novel with its many unpredictable twists and turns. Wow…what an incredible read! You will not want to miss a word as this intriguing and captivating novel unfolds. A special thank you to the author for her personal note at the end of the book. It is not always easy to write on a topic so close to home. It takes faith, courage, and a keen desire to reach out to others in order to make them more aware of this type of situation and the negative consequences. In my experience, it can be very therapeutic for the writer as well. Great book!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ River Oaks Plantation

Barbara Robinson Page-Turner with Southern Charm…a Brilliant Masterpiece

B.J. Robinson’s books just keep getting better and better. This one sports a dual storyline and makes for a real page-turner with Southern charm. It’s a blend of the Civil War era plantation times and contemporary during 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area and surrounding parishes. Her characters are realistic. You’ll fall in love with both heroes, but Maggie and Danny were my favorite couple.

If you enjoy plantation novels or novels about the Civil War era, you’ll love this one. I loved the twist at the end. The plot is awesome. I’ll read more of this author, and I hope there’s another plantation novel coming soon. If you haven’t read her, don’t miss this book. It’s like reading two romantic historical novels in one, love in the antebellum South and love in contemporary times with alternating chapters. You’ll get your money’s worth in this one. You’ll laugh, cry, and fall in love. The book pulls you in quickly and holds you hostage.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Virtual Justice (Justice Series Book 7)

Virtual Justice (Justice Series Book 7) by Author M.A. Comley

“Virtual Justice” is my first exposure to talented Author M.A. Comley and after reading this 7th Book in the Justice Series…I am chastising myself for not starting with Book 1. The Prologue captured my attention right from the onset with the eerie encounter and first-date experience between two strangers who met online through a dating service. The macabre theme sets the pace for the haunting story to follow. Married couple Lorne and Tony Warner operate a dog kennel with the help of their daughter Charlie. Lorne, a former copper and Tony her second husband…an ex-soldier and amputee who survived the war in Afghanistan make a compatible and lovable couple. Their relationship and rapport sets the tone for a congenial home atmosphere.

Lorne, now a private investigator and a fine sleuth is hired by Stacy Meldrew to investigate the disappearance of her sister Karen. With dogged determination, she refuses to leave a stone uncovered as she makes every effort to solve the very troubling case of the missing Ms. Meldrew. Lorne taps into her resources by contacting her friend and former partner Katy on the Met police force as well as psychic friend, Carol who quickly senses death.

…And then enters Bella Croft who decides to find a date online. Her blind date…a handsome accountant by the name of Morris. Mesmerized by him…Bella becomes like a puppet on a string. Mind boggling…spine chilling…unpredictable! I could not put this book down. Talented Author M.A. Comley has penned a fictional novel about the unthinkable crime. You won’t want to miss a word of this one!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ My Life Untold

Sean & Sarah Gee BuroMy Life Untold by Authors Sarah & Sean Gee Buro

What a lovely story and so well-told. It is epic in its vastness as it starts with Magda’s parents and Magda herself, as a young child crossing the ocean and landing on Ellis Island in New York. The journey is harsh but what occurs makes it even worse. Magda’s father is accused of stealing a pocket watch from the ship’s captain and other items from his fellow passengers. As a punishment, his tongue is cut off and thrown overboard. Now as a mute…it is initially very hard for him to find employment in this new country where he hoped to have a better life for his family. He eventually succeeds and with the combined efforts and income of both he and his wife…after several years, they manage to save enough money to buy a farm in Gettysburg.

Magda has been homeschooled thus far but she now must attend school with the other local children. She does not fit in well with her peers. With the exception of Samuel who seeks her out on a regular basis, she pretty much sticks to herself. Right from the onset, he is smitten with her but Magda does not return his affection. She is intent on burying her head in the books so generously provided by her kind and caring teacher Mr. Dawson.

The farm house and land known as Stone Croft are in much need of repair and refurbishment. After much hard work and determination, this hardworking family restores Stone Croft to its former condition. Eventually, they are able to purchase an adjacent piece of farming property. However, in order to operate it, they hire a handsome farm helper by the name of Lars. There is only a few years difference in age between Lars and Magda and soon an inevitable attraction occurs between the two of them. And then….Magda’s life turns upside down with the start of the American Civil War. Initially, Lars is determined to enlist for a period of three months but much to the frustration, anger, and sorrow of love struck Magda, he re-enlists for a period of three years.

Magda, the protagonist in this captivating and heart wrenching story, faces a bleak future after a series of sorrowful events. Death, betrayal, and unprecedented challenges crop up in every corner of her life. She then decides to do the unthinkable when she takes matters into her own hands…

You will not want to miss Magda’s breath-taking story as penned by this talented author duo, Sean and Sarah Gee Buro. They have captured a wonderful combination of romance and American history in this refreshing, well-written, romantic fictional novel. Kudos to them for such an enjoyable read!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ The Luck of the Weissensteiners

ChristophImmediately after reading the book description of this fictional novel, I very much wanted to read the book in its entirety. I realize that “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” by talented Author Christoph Fischer is classified as a fictional novel but words can barely describe how much more it is than that…his style of writing is seasoned, well-researched, captivating, and true-to-life. It brings back memories of my first encounter as a young school girl with the heart wrenching plight of the Jewish people when I read “The Diary of Anne Frank”.

Author Christoph Fischer has such an incredible gift. He is able to quietly and softly bring his reading audience into the lives of his characters and touch their hearts in a memorable and profound way. In 1933, Greta with her kind and gentle manner accepts Wilhelm’s offer of marriage after she becomes with child. At the onset of their relationship, he is smitten with her as she visits the book store where he is employed. He persistently pursues this beautiful, intelligent, young Jewish woman with unabashed veracity. She is also aware of this handsome, blond, German man who has definitely piqued her curiosity and eventually succumbs to his amorous advances.

After their quick marriage, she stoically adapts to a life on the farm which she has never before experienced. She makes every effort to fit in with Wilhelm’s immediate family as well as be at the mercy of the often times harsh and cold reception of his extended family, Johanna and Benedikt. Wilhelm soon finds himself in the midst of emotional turmoil. He is married to a Jewish woman who has given him an Aryan looking, golden headed boy just like himself. With the rise of Hitler and anti-Semitism, he feels his half Jewish son, three year old Karl, is no longer safe in Bratislava. Greta is now pregnant again and Wilhelm’s first reaction is to protect his little family and leave this unsettling situation. It’s sad to say that Wilhelm eventually buys into some of the anti-Jewish propaganda and starts to believe in their faulty genetic makeup. With the help and persuasion of Johanna, he decides to do the unthinkable…

Greta, on the other hand, faces the challenges she is now confronted with in her usual honourable, stoic, and admirable manner. Many unexpected twists and turns take place in the lives of the Weissensteiners as their “luck” continues to protect them and keep them safe from Jewish deportation. Johanna’s previously hard and cold heart is in the process of being thawed as she experiences the gentleness of Jonah…Greta’s father. Johanna is drawn to the love and acceptance she encounters in the midst of this forgiving, loving, and embracing family. In many ways, Johanna now desires far more to emulate this devoted family rather than shun them like she has in the past. Much to her surprise and confusion, this reaction is an unexpected and unprecedented change of heart. It is very apparent that the Weissensteiners have the ability to touch many hearts including the Countess and her friends…

This touching novel has certainly left its mark on me. Early in the morning…I eagerly rose to read a few more chapters before I started my day. In the evening before bed time, I engaged in the same activity with not wanting to miss a word in this captivating epic story with plenty of historical facts and authenticity to make every word penned remarkably believable and enticing. I was so expertly drawn into the story line in this incredible novel that I felt mesmerized by the cast of characters depicted…how their lives were intertwined and how their stories unfolded. This historical novel is such a wonderful and enjoyable read. Thank you to Author Christoph Fischer for sharing his talent with all of us! Simply put…I loved this book!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

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