Time Traitor
Written by Todd McClimans and Reviewed by Ann McCauley

 
Duck Pond Epiphany
Written by Tracey Barnes Priestley and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
         Time Traitor is a historical novel written for middle schoolers, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing this wonderful story. (After all The Book
Thief was written for the same age group and look what’s happened to it.) Kristi and Ty are misfit students at an exclusive boarding school.
Ty, an immigrant, whose British mother died was left in the care of his cold, wealthy stepfather. He is small for his age and a victim of bullying.

         Kristi, a wealthy African-American student, is angry with her father. Kristi hates history, thought of it as nothing but old names in dusty books. She is a
creative practical joker and focused on their history teacher, Mr. Arnold.

         She defends Ty against the bullies. He is humiliated to be defended by a girl.

         Ty wants to disappear into the pages of his books, far away from the loss of his mother, and the bullies who make every school day miserable.

         The unlikely pair discovers Mr. Arnold’s time machine and his plot to go back to colonial times. To protect his secret, Arnold swishes them back to the
middle of the Revolutionary War.

         A colonial farm couple rescues Ty and Kristi. Their son was killed in the war; they are mourning their loss.

         The Revolutionary War rivets the reader. Affluent Kristi is shocked to have been treated like a slave. Ty has to be careful not to be mistaken for a
British spy because of his British accent.

         Dr. Arnold’s obsession with clearing his ancestor, Benedict Arnold’s name, and changing the course of history adds a sense of urgency.

         Time Traitor is a page-turner with many plot twists, well developed characters that brings history to life.  Third person POV provides insight to the
motivations of the main characters. Will Kristi and Ty thwart Arnold’s mad scheme to alter American history? Will they ever make it back home?

Ann McCauley is the author of Runaway Grandma, (2007) and Mother Love, (2004, Revised-2012). She’s a contributor to the anthology, Women Writing on
Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing, (2012) and a contributor to the new anthology to be released in 2014, Writing After Retirement. She’s a
freelance writer working on her Master’s in Creative Writing. Visit annmccauley.com.
Can Kids Alter American History
         If the first half of life is about ambition, seeking a place, finding a career, reproducing, and finding happiness, what remains for the second half?
More specifically, what does 53-year-old Lee MacPhearson, an educated painter, want to do with her life after her children are grown? Author Tracey
Barnes Priestley, a trained therapist as well as a writer, explores Lee’s dreams and needs and comes to some surprising, unexpected conclusions in her
novel, Duck Pond Epiphany.

         Thinking she wants to test her wings and try independence, and urged by her best friend, Barb, a flamboyant Artistic Director at the Oregon
Shakespeare Festival, Lee MacPhearson leaves the husband for whom she has filled the role of proper faculty wife. Although she’s already a gallery
owner, she needs the independence of standing on her own. Before it’s too late she must make a leap into the world of independence and find out who
she really is. Her craving is one that many women will identify with.

         Soon, though, her pregnant friend, Barb, the Artistic Director, gives birth and discovers she has cancer. It’s almost more than either one can
handle. Lee’s son, Sam, returns home recovering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol just in time to help care for Barb’s new baby, Lily. There’s time
for reflection and soul searching and in an unusual twist, Lee makes a courageous decision that might not be right for everyone.

         Priestley writes with heart, clarity, and unusual sensitivity as she explores each character’s needs. The complex plot builds effectively and Lee
finds new depth and unexpected meaning in the second half of her life. This story about living life to the fullest is for everyone, but it will resonate
especially well with women over 50 who want to live the fullest life possible.
 
Reverb
Written By J. Cafesin and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
In Love With His Own Music
         James Michael Whren is brilliant, sexy, rich and in love with his music and himself in J. Cafesin’s new novel, Reverb.

         He’s 28 when his older brother dies. Though his father approaches him with large family responsibilities, he refuses to accept them. He’s on his own
unique and sometimes destructive path as we discover when a stranger named Kate brings him home after a car accident. He rebuffs friends who care and
follows a lonely path until he meets a young woman named Elisabeth, and her son, Cameron. Can she finally spark a connection that has eluded so many
others and if so, how will it change all three of them?
         Reverb explores both loneliness and love and covers a huge gamut of human emotions and resistance to them. James is a complex character struggling
to find his own unique path to happiness and self-acceptance. Can he redeem himself from his obsessions and addictions and be happy or will he remain
trapped by demons? Will love win out and what costs will it come with?

         Cafesin writes with detail and thought and for the most part the book moves along at a good pace. More importantly though, we care about James
and the life he’s trying to lead. Musicians, dreamers, and those drawn to romance will enjoy the conflicts James faces on his journey.

Author J. Cafesin describes herself as a novelist, essayist, realist, and idealist. Visit her blog at http://jcafesin.blogspot.com to read her latest thoughts and
discover how all of these facets of her work come together in Reverb.
 
Disappearing Act: A Mother's Journey To The Underground

Written by Sharon Murphy and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
Whatever She Had to Do
         What would you do to protect your child from abuse? Is kidnapping ever justified?  Sharon Murphy’s Disappearing Act: A Mother’s Journey to the
Underground chronicles her experiences as a rebellious woman and later as a battered wife protecting her young son, but her story goes further. What
distinguishes this memoir from other cautionary tales about family abuse is the fact that Murphy’s son is Maya Angelou’s grandson. Sometimes power twists
love and this is never more true than in the struggle for possession of Murphy’s son, Colin. The mother, her ex-husband, and Grandmother Maya Angelou vie
for the opportunity to look after the boy, and each is convinced that s/he is the best person to raise Colin. The good news for Colin Ashanti Murphy-Johnson
is that everyone loves him.
         Unfortunately the narrator suffers from an abusive upbringing and doesn’t document her husband’s early mistreatment because she doesn’t recognize it
for what it is. When she finally walks out, her husband, Guy Johnson doesn’t resist. He simply wants his son in his custody, so he can raise him to be a strong
black man, but when Sharon Murphy sees bruises and welts from a belt, her mother’s instincts kick in. She’ll go to any lengths to fight for her son’s safety.
That means violating a custody order and leaving the state to save her son from further assaults.
         Although the beginning of the book seems belabored, the author makes up for it by the end. She finds a program that teaches her to take responsibility
for her own part in things and to accept what is beyond her control. Her son knows he has two loving parents and a grandmother who can give him every
benefit of her experience and connections. He’s a lucky man, and we are lucky readers to get this up-close and personal look at a story that only Sharon
Murphy can tell. 
 
After I'm Gone

Written by Laura Lippman and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
Real-Life Case Through Mystery Writer's Eyes
         Businessman Felix Brewer goes missing one Fourth of July and so do his family’s resources. He leaves his wife, Bambi, his three daughters, and his young
mistress, Julie Saxony, behind. Then his devoted young mistress disappears ten years later-ten years to the day-and his family wonders again about Brewer’s
unique take on the meaning of Independence Day.
         Brewer’s disappearance would have been a simple, open-and-shut case if the mistress’s corpse had not been found in a park twenty years later along
with an unstamped passport and a single diamond stud earring. Retired Baltimore detective Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez is working cold cases for extra cash
when he delves into the hidden motivations and secret suspicions involved in this case. He finds a shoebox full of receipts for items sold years ago, and it
provides the key to unraveling this mystery.
         Lippman is well known for her nuanced characters and complex motivations. Asked about her skill with both male and female characters, the author
said, “I can write female characters freely, emotionally - no one is going to question my knowledge of what it is to be a woman in the world. I’m a little more
on-guard when writing men…
         I think part of what draws Sandy to the Julie Saxony case is the he is a kindred spirit, someone else whose entire world is centered on one person-and
who felt incomplete without that person.”
         Based on a real-life Baltimore missing person’s case, After I’m Gone is a book for those who love mysteries and the characters involved in them. Why
would you opt out of your family’s life before you have to? And what would you leave behind if you did? You might want to consider these questions as you
read Laura Lippman’s After I’m Gone.  
 
Competition Corrupts
The Burgess Boys
Written by Elizabeth Strout and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
THE BURGESS BOYS
Written by Elizabeth Strout and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN # 978-1-4000-6768-8
Random House

DUCK POND EPIPHANY
Written by Tracey Barnes Priestley and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN # 978-1-938314-24-7
She Writes Press
233 pages

REVERB
Written By J. Cafesin and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN #: 978-0615756394
Entropy Press


TIME TRAITOR 173  pages
Written by Todd McClimans and Reviewed by Ann McCauley

Northampton House Press, 2014
ISBN#
978-1494268442

DISAPPEARING ACT: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY TO THE UNDERGROUND
Written by Sharon Murphy and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN 13 # 9781490523446
Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2013

AFTER I'M GONE
Written by Laura Lippman and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN# 978-0-06-208339-5
William Morrow

         Family secrets can alter relationships years after they should have been
resolved. The Burgess family has a big secret that has been kept for years:
when he was four, Bob Burgess unwittingly released the parking brake on the
family car, which ran over their father and killed him. Or so he believes. But is
there more?  Elizabeth Strout created an emotionally charged, highly plausible
story of a family secret that eats away at the emotional core of a family in her
novel, The Burgess Boys.
         When teenage Zachary Olsen tosses “a frozen pig’s head through the
front door of a mosque” during Ramadan, chaos erupts. What was first charged
as a misdemeanor turns into a hate crime. Zachary’s mother, Susan, calls her
two brothers, both lawyers, and asks them to leave Brooklyn and return to
Shirley Falls, New Hampshire to defend their nephew.
         The boys have always been competitive. Jim, a skilled attorney
constantly belittled her younger brother, Bob, a Legal Aid attorney. Bob
accepted it. He believes he caused his father’s death in a car accident when
both boys were small, and he cannot forgive himself. Their old competition rises
up fiercely when the brothers come home to work together. Tension resurfaces
changing family and community dynamics.
         Author Elizabeth Strout has a talent for taking ordinary people and
events and turning them into characters that work. The story builds and twists
as the characters dig deeper and deeper into how they were changed by an
event they barely acknowledge. Whether you identify with the siblings or are
grateful for a better relationship, you don’t want to miss the emotional
rollercoaster or the exquisite prose of Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys.
+++
 
Embracing the Second Half
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Hooked On Books
July 2014 - September 2014
Editor's Note:

1.Do you have a favorite author to recommend?

2. Do you have a favorite book that everyone should read?

Writer Advice welcomes reviews of recently published books. Be balanced, be fair, and pick a book you want to honor. Let your voice come through. Submit your reviews of approximately 250 words to Lgood67334@comcast.net. Unless there is a byline, the reviews in this issue are written by B. Lynn Goodwin.


“The great gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world.”  -- Elizabeth Hardwick
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