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Along with reviews of many well-known titles, this site also searches out unique books
from small, independent presses.
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Give Me Your Answer True
By: Suanne Laqueur
Publication Date: June 2015
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: August 3, 2015
Suanne Laqueur delivers Give Me Your Answer True; her much anticipated (and quite delicious) sequel to her debut novel, The Man I Love.
It’s been three years since Daisy Bianco's unforgivable betrayal of Erik Fiskare (a.k.a. Fish). Daisy’s daemons pay their daily respects—a constant reminder of her lapse in judgment. She slept with David. She betrayed her true love Fish. The fact that Fish was witness to the moment is torture. She reflects upon her time in the hospital after the shooting—when Fish was by her side every day. He promised he would always be there...but he’s gone. He won’t return her calls and has disappeared from her life. How long is long enough for her to pay her penance? When does she get her chance to explain the ‘why’? She doesn’t get to blame her choice on ecstasy or coke. They both knew their relationship changed long before that day—they all changed.
College is a distant memory for Daisy. The once inseparable dance company has scattered to the winds. Embers are the remnants that smolder from the union of former dance partner Will and best friend Lucky. Will returned to Canada. Lucky was still around but he wasn’t dancing anymore. Daisy hadn’t seen David since their one-night encounter; not that she cared to. Daisy is lost. She is a shell of a life walking through the haze of day-to-day existence. She feels nothing. No matter how much she pines for Fish, he remains gone. When Daisy discovers cutting herself breathes feeling, she finds relief. She is still a dancer and must be careful. She must hide her dark secret to make sure her self-inflicted scars remain invisible—at least to everyone but her. On a dangerous spiral and a few therapists later, Daisy happens upon someone from her past—someone who also lived another day beyond the Lancaster shooting. Enter John (Opie). There are no coincidences in life, but perhaps there are angels to carry hope when it is needed most. Such was the case for Opie and Daisy—at least until he discovered her dark secret of cutting herself...
When approached by Feathered Quill to consider Suanne Laqueur’s compelling sequel to her fantastic debut novel, The Man I Love, there wasn’t a second’s hesitation in doing so. Within the first couple of pages of Give Me your Answer True, I knew I was reading yet another grand slam book from this gifted writer. Once I finished the 488 page memory of a book (in less than a day’s time), I was faced with an incredible challenge: ‘Is it even possible for me to gather my thoughts and write the exceptional review Laqueur is so worthy of receiving?’ Her phraseology and scenarios are terrific. Character description such as: ‘He was the most gigantic person Daisy ever encountered. His tall frame and broad shoulders gobbled up the studio floors. He moved like a hurricane...He ate life and spit out the bones...’ is a definitive example of how this author merely opens the door into her word pantry and purposefully selects the perfect word in order to create superb movement in the story. Laqueur insists on creating feeling and compassion throughout her work. Her success of achieving such measure replicates time and again across the pages of Give Me Your Answer True. She manages instantaneous attention and engagement from her audience because she can see and hear them as she writes. She is confident in her delivery and knowledge of the art of dance. One can sense the orchestration of the arabesque as much as feel the barre work in the warm up which complements and breathes credibility into the essence of main character Daisy. Bravo Ms. Laqueur! You have done it again and I have a request: May I have another, please?
Quill says: Tell Me Your Answer True is further affirmation that Suanne Laqueur is a truly gifted writer and knows how to create lasting memory through her superb storytelling ability!
For more information on Tell Me Your Answer True, please visit the author's website at: www.suannelaqueur.com
The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach
By: Pam Jenoff
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication Date: July 2015
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: August 2, 2015
Readers know that, every once in a great while, stories appear which are retained forever because of their capacity to overwhelm and delve into a person’s heart so deeply, that the tale becomes a part of them. Upon saying this, it will come as no surprise to learn that behind the power, suspense, romance and history found in this one amazing creation, is author Pam Jenoff.
When we begin, Adelia Monteforte is put on a ship bound for America by her parents. The tide is turning and the end is near for their family in fascist Italy, and her parents want nothing more than for Adelia to be safe and have a shot at a life. This brave young girl arrives on America’s shores and ends up living with her aunt and uncle. Although they are a nice couple, they seem to be more than awkward when it comes to raising their niece. What they do for her, however, is head every summer to a place called Chelsea Beach. And here is where Adelia runs into her destiny. An incredible Irish-Catholic family, consisting of four boys who each have their own attitudes and emotions, envelop Adelia and bring her ‘in’ as part of their family. They all grow up, experiencing emotions from anger to envy to love; yet, even as they are having fun, the fear of WWII going on across the ocean hangs over them like a veil of darkness.
Adelia falls in love with the eldest boy, Charlie, but their hopes for a lovely life are dashed when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and America enters the frightening battle. Pain occurs on Chelsea Beach which sends Adelia running straight into, and not away from, the war. Her job on a newspaper, helping children in an orphanage, dealing with the youthful emotions that have strengthened over time – all of these cause Adelia to find herself stuck in tragedies. The Germans seem almost easier to deal with, considering the fact that every time Adelia turns around, the past comes back to haunt her.
The Kommandant’s Girl was the first amazing novel by this author that dove into readers’ hearts and stayed there. With this new story, readers will once again be in awe of the power and beauty of these characters that will never let them go.
Quill says: Pam Jenoff has yet to make one mistake when it comes to delivering the best of the best in literature.
The Road Behind Me: The Lie of Hannah
Publication Date: June 2014
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: July 27, 2015
RjCook delivers a melancholy introspection of the ‘love’ who got away in his memoir, The Road Behind Me.
It is the summer of 1974 and Cook is bound for Anaheim, California. Hitchhiking most of the way from his northern New Jersey home to the SoCal Utopia breathes new hope for Cook to process the logic of leaving not one, but two loves lost behind. As Cook writes: “...Mostly, it is a story of unrequited love and the lengths to which a man would go to vanquish the demons of painful memoir...” Cook’s theoretical take on love plays out the premise in terms of the ‘average’ number of times man falls in love with woman. Mind you, he is barely 20 when he embarks on his adventure; yet his personal experiences are grounded for him given his heart has been broken twice at this stage in his life.
Cook sets the stage early on; laying out the complexities of his family—multiple siblings and certainly a large blended family. He touches on the relationship with some of his siblings along with the equally estranged and lack of connection with others. All this is achieved within the first handful of pages before he launches into the meat of his memoir. By the time the reader has reached page 7, Cook redirects the reader back to his teens and the late 60’s. The Viet Nam War is a common household discussion, but one that is ‘tired.’ Enter ‘Shelly,’ the first woman Cook ever ‘...passionately kissed...’ and certainly the first female he ever uttered the words 'I love you' to. However, memories of Shelly are not the recollections of the woman who will haunt him for the next forty years...
I found RjCook’s book to be his homage to the sublime ‘innocence’ of a time that has long-since dissipated in our society. It was a time long before internet and cellular phones and the notion of social media might as well have been the equivalent of taking a trip to Mars. Cook portrays a solid performance of painting a picture of what it meant to have his heart broken. There are several passages of prose that lead the reader on his journey of seeking the cure for his ‘broken heart.’ While his memoir is a brief 115 pages, there are opportunities for the reader to feel the emotional depths of his tumultuous struggles. There is a cathartic tone to this story that resonates Cook’s mission of seeking closure for the obvious demons that haunt him concerning the break up between him and his beloved ‘Hannah.’ Cook is generous with his inner thoughts and treats the reader to an abundance of relatable circumstances. By crafting his memoir this way, in my opinion, Cook demonstrated he had a clear vision of the audience to whom he was writing.
Quill says: The Road Behind Me affirms that life can go on even when the heart is oft a heavy load to endure.