November 28, 2014

Book Reviews (XXXII) His Name Was Ben

                                 His Name Was Ben
                                  by Paulette Mahurin

Hearing the words “it’s cancer,” threw Sara Phillips’ life into chaos, until an unexpected turn of events and a chance encounter with a stranger changed everything—his name was Ben. Based on real events, Ben and Sara discover that when all else fails, healing can come in the most unexpected ways. Chilling and heart wrenching, His Name Was Ben is a triumph over the devastating circumstances and fear experienced when faced with a terminal illness. In this narrative, the power of love conquers shadows and transforms the very nature and meaning of what it is to be fully alive. From the award winning, best-selling author of, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, comes a story filled with soul and passion that will leave the reader thinking about it for days after the last page is closed.
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My Review
  I want to start off with saying  that Paulette Mahurin is an incredibly talented author. I can only hope to someday be half the writer she is. His  Name Was Ben is another wonderful novel from Paulette Mahurin. I really love her books because she tells a great story about people who are not perfect, but are doing the best they can. Paulette Mahurin writes heartfelt stories about deeply flawed and human characters and about tragedy; after all, what would a great story be without a tragic event!

As the author has done in her previous book, here again, she delivers a fascinating read that you just can't put down. Her characters are created with the perfect precision that only Paulette Mahurin can do. The story plot will keep you reading and make you hunger for more when you reach the end. I read her book, The Persecution Of Mildred Dunlap, and fell in love with Mahurin's writing. I have been waiting for another book like it, and she has come through for me. Mrs Mahurin writes stories that pull out a wide range of emotions when you are reading them.  The characters in His  Name Was Ben are relatable people.

She writes heroes and heroines that are a little different than you are used to reading about.  Sara Phillips is a likable character, and we hurt for her as she deals with the hell she’d been through, on the rollercoaster ride her life had become since the doctor diagnosed her with a fearful disease. She will need those around her as she struggles with an ugly reality, the monster in her life – cancer. Once healed from her double mastectomy, she awakens to life when meeting Ben Gottlieb, who works in the legal department at NASA. Ben is a patient, too, waiting to see Michael Zimmerman for a consultation. I hate spoilers so I won’t steal the other readers the pleasure of immersing in this compelling, touching story.

Tazz, the Rottweiler Sara saved from the shelter, is a perfect counter balance for the heartbreaking circumstances, Sara and Ben pass through.

Paulette Mahurin writes stories full of empathy, raw honesty, and grace. Her characters are memorable, the dialogue believable.  All in all the message is a positive one – fight, never give up. It’s about love, life versus living, believing in yourself and others.  I highly recommend this book. A compelling, touching story. My rating:

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November 26, 2014

Guest Promo (LIII)

Author Annette Drake offers contest giveaway to someone answering: What is your favorite memory of Thanksgiving Day?  

                                             A Year With Geno
Single-mom Caroline Taylor wants nothing more than to make a home for her two young sons in Eagle River, Alaska. The only problem: an eviction notice.
When the perfect rental falls through again, she and her boys move in with Air Force Sgt. Geno D’Antoni and his two teenage sons. It’s only for a year, so she can polish her credit rating and save a down payment to buy a home. It’s a perfect plan.
Or not. When Geno stands up to Caroline’s bully of an ex-husband, he retaliates by suing for full custody. Then Geno’s ex-wife, spurned by her fiancĂ©, moves back in. She wants Caroline out. Now.
The tiny spark of passion between Caroline and Geno sputters and dies. Or does it? Maybe they had no chance with the chaos from their pasts eclipsing their future. So why does Caroline rush home to share all the details of her day with him? Why does Geno dream abouther? And when exactly does your best friend become your future?
One thing’s for sure: it’s gonna be a heck of a year!
This book is on sale for 99cents on Amazon

After her shift ended, she picked Charlie and Bobby up from school, and they drove to the address. The sun was setting, but there was just enough light for Caroline to make out the house. The driveway hadn’t been plowed, so she parked her car on the street.
She tried to hide her disappointment from her boys. Discarded hubcaps, tires and a broken chair were heaped on the front porch. The front door looked as though only the frost held it in place. A car on blocks occupied most of the driveway.
Leaving the motor running, she told the boys to stay inside where it was warm, and she climbed out to go peek in the windows. She stepped lightly on the hard-packed snow. Climbing the three steps to the front porch, she saw no lights on in the house, but she knocked on the front door anyway. When she did, a hound bayed at the house next door.
When she peered through the dirty windows, any sliver of optimism died. Caroline saw overflowing black trash bags, a pile of clothes and more broken furniture in the living room. One of the ceiling panels hung at a precarious angle.
“Wow. What a dump,” she said aloud.
“Can I help you?” a tall, dark-haired man asked.
Caroline screamed. “Oh, my God! You scared me!”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Well, you did!” she yelled at him. Her rapid breathing made plumes of vapor in the cold air. “Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to sneak up on people?”
“I’m sorry. I’m leery when people stop at this house, with all the trouble we’ve had from these neighbors. I’m sorry.”
He extended his hand, and Caroline looked into his brown eyes. She saw his apology was sincere. She thought she was tall at two inches shy of 6 feet, but he towered above her.
“I’m Geno D’Antoni. I live in the house next door. I heard my dog barking, and I was afraid these folks came back.”
“Caroline Taylor,” she said, shaking his hand. “I was considering leasing this house, but it looks so run down.”
“It is run down. So, they’re trying to rent it now, huh? I think the city might have a problem with that, considering how clogged-up the septic tank is.”
Geno stepped off the porch to the bottom of the short stairwell. Caroline turned her back on the house and slowly stepped off the cluttered porch, her hands extended as though to balance herself on the slippery wood. She reached for the wrought iron banister but it was shakier than she was.
“Can I help you?” he asked, offering his hand.
“No, I made it up here, I can make it down.”
She stepped onto the top step, and her right foot shot out from under her. She fell down the steps and landed on top of Geno, knocking them both into the snow.
“Oof!” he cried.
Caroline stood up as quickly as she could. “I’m so sorry. Let me help you up.”
She reached for him, and he gave her his hand. She helped to pull him up.
“Oh my God, you’re heavy,” she said, starting to laugh.
“You’re not exactly a petite flower yourself, missy.”
“I’m so sorry,” she mumbled before she doubled up with laughter. Finally, she stood and said, “I’m sorry. I’m just having the worst week.”
 “It’s okay. Is there anything I can do?” he asked.
“No. No, but thanks for the warning about the house.”
She turned and faced the sagging front porch. “I’m an optimist by nature, but not even I could find much to be hopeful about with this place, especially if the septic tank isn’t up to code.”
“That’s just one of many problems. The last tenants tore this house up pretty good. You can do better. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine. Thank you.”
He walked to her car and opened her door.
“Is it nice inside, Mom?” Charlie asked.
“Does it have a fireplace?” Bobby asked.
“I’ll tell you guys all about it,” she said, climbing into the car. “Thanks, again,” she said to Geno, looking up into his brown eyes. He shut her door. Driving away, Caroline glanced in her rear view mirror. She saw Geno wave as she drove away.

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 Author's Bio

Annette Drake is a multi-genre author whose work is character-driven and celebrates the law of unintended consequences.
A Year with Geno, her contemporary romance set in Eagle River, Alaska, was released on summer solstice, June 21st.
Annette’s second novel, Bone Girl, premiered in March from Baskethound Books and is available in ebook, print and audiobook. Her debut novel, Celebration House, was published last August by Tirgearr Publishing.
Now, Annette turns her attention to regaining her sanity and writing the two sequels to Celebration House. Both books are slated for publication in 2015.
She left high school after two years to obtain her GED and attend Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, where she earned a degree in journalism. Annette worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Missouri and Kansas from 1987 to 1993. After earning a bachelor of science in nursing in 1994, she worked in hospitals in Missouri, Alaska and Washington before returning her focus to writing.
Annette makes her home in Spokane, Washington. A member of the Inland Northwest Writers Guild and Spokane Authors & Self Publishers, she loves libraries, basset hounds and bakeries. She does not camp. Much.

Giveaway:  The author offers  a copy of her book to someone answering: What is your favorite memory of Thanksgiving Day?
How to connect with Annette:
She loves to hear from writers. Please email her at: