Friday, September 24, 2010

Be Still

In her novel, ‘Be Still,’ author Pamela Young tells a spiritual story about the ‘end of times’ where the world is on a collision course with a comet and messages from God delivered by angels forewarns of the end of life on earth.

The plot of ‘Be Still’ focuses on the protagonist Amanda Fox, a reporter for the World News Network. Amanda Fox is a woman who has walked away from a spiritual life to live a more secular life as a reporter. Life for her is about facts. When Amanda hears of the reports of angel sightings and messages from around the world, she is skeptical and dismisses the reports. As she meets the people who have seen the angels, she is shocked by the accounts as they seem so real, particularly the message from God, "Prepare yourself, for the time is at hand." In Greece, a man reports of his encounter with an angel. In New Orleans, Ellie Lebeaux sees and receives a message from an angel. In Victoria, British Columbia, a little girl foretells events that will take place before the world comes to an end. Amanda becomes a believer when the events the girl forecasts start to come true. In the meantime, there are groups who attempt to discredit the angel sightings and messages, as well as a reverend who seeks to profit from the sightings.

‘Be Still’ delves into a spiritual theme that focuses on the assertion that Man has turned away from the spiritual teachings of God and has stopped loving God. Man now manipulates and distorts the true word of God for personal benefit and profit. The story, although told from a Christian perspective, is able to successfully encompass all major faiths. Important themes include the disintegration of our morals and values and how Man’s greed has shaped society and taken people away from the true meaning of what it means to love God. ‘Be Still’ is also a story of a woman discovering what it means to have faith. Amanda runs the risk of ruining her reputation by broadcasting the stories of the angel sightings and she begins to reflect on her own beliefs and how she has lived her life. Amanda’s story is a journey of spiritual growth.

I highly recommend ‘Be Still’ as a story of finding true faith while providing compelling and thought provoking observations on the current state of humanity. Readers will not be able to put the book down until they find out if mankind survives. ‘Be Still’ provides numerous issues to think about regarding the path the world is on and what will become of mankind if we continue to live such violent, selfish, and greedy lives.

Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Everyday Housewife

In his novel, ‘The Everyday Housewife,’ author Bryan Foreman tells a story about a housewife living in Oklahoma City who travels to New York City to pursue a writing career. In New York City, the once sheltered housewife finds herself immersed in a foreign world filled with intriguing people, adventure, and extraordinary experiences.

Katharine Beaumont has been living a mundane life in Oklahoma City as a housewife with a husband who barely acknowledges her and teenagers who are unappreciative and rude. One day her husband confesses an affair. Katharine decides that it is time for her needs to be fulfilled so she hops on board a Greyhound bus and travels to New York City to pursue a writing career. Katharine becomes involved in the lives of an intriguing and multifaceted cast of characters and ends up embroiled in a world of drugs and murder. As she traverses her new life, she writes a book where the main character is Katharine’s alter ego. In the story, Kitty Everhart is a smart, striking, and seductive British intelligence agent who finds herself shipwrecked on a desert island with 7 other castaways.

Katharine’s three and half month experience in New York City takes her out of the security and comfort of life as a suburban housewife and into a world where she makes astonishing decisions that she once thought were out of her nature. The story is filled with engaging plots full of surprising twists and turns, as well as a cast of offbeat characters. For instance, Bree, an emotionally damaged drug addict in an abusive relationship manages to stay a believer in true love. Joe Milano, a bartender who Katharine develops a relationship with, is involved with the mob and is known as a killer for hire. Joe fills the loveless hole in Katharine’s heart and she sees his more human side.

‘The Everyday Housewife’ is a story that utilizes dark humor in an effective manner which helps to enhance and contrast each character’s unconventional attributes. It is an entertaining and engaging character study that focuses on Katharine’s growth from a mundane housewife to a risk taker with her own independent and unique outlook on life. I highly recommend ‘The Everyday Housewife’ as a fun read that will keep readers satisfyingly engaged from start to end.

Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Lost Relic of the Gods

In his novel, ‘Lost Relic of the Gods’ author Jeffery A. Friedberg tells a story about a private eye who becomes embroiled in a quest to locate an ancient relic with great powers that could, if it falls in the wrong hands, destroy the world.

Jack Vane is a private eye and ex-Green Beret living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jack has had a tough life that included run-ins with the mob. He also has diabetes and is going blind in one eye. Although Jack is a gritty tough talking private eye whose language often includes profanity, underneath he has a soft spot with a great love for his pregnant wife. His life is suddenly turned upside down when a mysterious woman by the name of Charmant tries to enlist him in a secret global organization called the ‘No One” to help them locate and secure a powerful relic. The relic dates back 5000 years to the ancient Sumerians, where a demon bowl was created that gives great power to the one who possesses it. In the wrong hands, it could cause the destruction of the world. The story opens describing the history of the relic with an evil queen and priest attempting to obtain the relic to gain immortality, but in a vividly described scene, they fail to acquire the power and use it for evil.

After dismissing Charmant as a ‘nut,’ Jack returns home to find his pregnant wife dead. Jack, along with his brother-in-law, Little Boy, a spiritual Native American and ex Army Ranger, embark on a journey to hunt down his wife’s murderer and find the ancient relic. Throughout the journey, jack becomes embroiled in ancient Native American prophecies, supernatural events, and a plot that involves two organizations: “The No One” wants to save the world and “The Combine” wants it for power and destruction. The prophecy deals with an upcoming event that will take place on December 21, 2012.

Told in the first person, ‘Lost Relic of the Gods’ is an exciting adventure filled with Native American folklore and ancient supernatural mythology. A central theme of the story is good vs. evil with Jack struggling with his own internal demons that challenge his own spiritual and moral values. Readers will cheer for Jack as he undergoes his journey of spiritual growth and transformation that involves powerful visions and contemplating his past. Dark characters such as Bacca Harakan add dark intrigue and mystery to the story. Readers will experience graphic scenes of cruel revenge and harsh retributions. Friedburg is able to successfully integrate the world of a private eye with ancient mythology to create an intriguing and entertaining adventure. ‘Lost Relic of the Gods’ is an intense page-turning read about a complicated private eye who becomes the key to unraveling an ancient prophecy. The story will keep readers engaged from start to end.

Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Shakespeare Conspiracy

In his novel, ‘The Shakespeare Conspiracy’ author Ted Bacino tells a historical fiction story based on the age old literary historian debate about William Shakespeare not being the actual writer of the famous Shakespearean plays.

Bacino presents the case of the greatest literary deception in history in the form of a fictional story blended with actual historical data. The story opens in London England in the year 1593. Christopher Marlowe is a 29 year old gay poet and playwright with a vibrant and mischievous spirit. He is known throughout England, including high society, as one of the hottest new writers. During this time period, the plaque is ravaging the country and the Church of England is a major influence in government and social policy. Citizens accused of spying or promoting atheism were arrested, tortured, imprisoned, and often executed. Christopher Marlowe’s former lover, Captain Kyd, is caught with writings that say that “Christ was justly persecuted by the Jews because of his foolishness and that Moses was just a magician.” He is imprisoned and tortured in an effort to give up the name of the person who wrote such blasphemy. He does not give up Christopher Marlowe; however, an officer by the name of Constable Maunder becomes obsessed with proving Marlowe’s guilt. Marlowe is accused of being a spy and charged with heresy. To escape his fate, Marlowe and his new lover Thomas Walsingham, concoct a plan to fake Marlowe’s murder and arrange for a young thespian by the name of William Shakespeare to take credit for writing Marlowe’s plays.

Marlowe flees England and travels to Italy where he travels to 7 cities in 7 years in an effort to avoid capture by Constable Maunder’s agents. During his travels, he trades letters and provides plays to his faithful courier Poeley. Poeley takes the plays to Thomas who arranges to have them transcribed by William Shakespeare. Within the story, historical facts are integrated to unravel a mystery with one logical solution – William Shakespeare could not have been the writer of all of the plays. The plot is filled with adventure and intrigue. Bacino pays careful attention to accurate dialogue and the customs of the period. Readers will enjoy the vibrant, colorful, and comical cast of characters. Readers will get a glimpse of an era filled with political strife, religious domination, and the elite customs and practices of the upper class citizens, including the spirited gay society.

I enjoyed the conspiracy presented in literary form as it helps make the argument more compelling. Actual evidence is cited in the story that includes comparisons of sonnets, similarities between Marlowe’s writings and Shakespeare’s writings, and relevant historical letters. To support the argument, Bacino provides about 50 pages of supplemental historical notes and historical data. ‘The Shakespeare Conspiracy’ is a fun and exciting read that is not only a well written story, but also well researched to maintain historical accuracy. I highly recommend ‘The Shakespeare Conspiracy’ as an engaging and entertaining read with many twists and turns and surprising revelations.

Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services