Saturday, September 27, 2008

Review - Whittaker Family Reunion by Shirley Roe

The Whittakers are having a family reunion in 1881 St. Louis. Can their present celebration outshine the dark family history?

Martha and Jeremy's teenage daughter, Anna, is quite a different challenge from raising three boys. The excitement about Isaac, Abraham, and Zeke coming home after several years is a welcomed distraction, but ignoring issues doesn't make them go away. Changes abound as Abraham befriends and brings young orphaned Billy into the family and Zeke's respite from England allows him to escape some attention while recapturing the eye of a love from his past.

Roe's appreciation for history is prevalent in her writing. She subtly weaves in the details of travel, expresses the challenges men and women faced at that time, and captures the overall feeling of entrepreneurship and pride as towns burgeoned across the nation.

Shirley A. Roe is the Managing Editor and founder of Allbooks Review. Her previous historical fiction includes, Of Dreams and Nightmares and A Call to Faith and Freedom. Shirley writes a syndicated column for California Chronicles and articles for several webzines and web sites. She is a regular reviewer for Foreword Magazine, Midwest Reviews, Mystique Books, Poetic Voices, and several other review publications and sites.

The Whittaker Family Reunion picks up about twenty years after the family's introduction in Of Dreams and Nightmares. The story naturally flows as the new generation's stories are shared. The Whittaker Family Reunion is a recommended read for any family member. Look for the next in the series, Back to Whittakerville, soon.

Title: The Whittaker Family Reunion
Author: Shirley A. Roe
Publisher: RealTime Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-906806-51-4
Pages: 200
Price: $15.95

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Review - More than Dust in the Wind by Donald James Parker

Star college basketball player Lance "Bambi" Masterson is taken by surprise when his life turns from the path he's always imagined to one full of serious introspection.

Bambi Masterson and his college team finally make it to the national basketball tournament. His future is looking bright, especially with his girlfriend, Lisa, by his side. The tide turns within hours of the great national news, and Bambi is forced to evaluate what truly matters to him.

Parker's conversational writing style makes for a relaxing and enjoyable read. The characters are relatable and the dialogue keeps pace with the narrative. The main character's growth over a thirty year span is quick, but appropriate for the theme of the book. Parker mixes accurate historical data points in to keep the reader aware of the passage of time.

Donald James Parker grew up in Madison, South Dakota. He graduated from Madison Central High School in 1968 and obtained a degree in secondary education from Dakota State University in 1972. After moving to Washington State in 1981, Don focused his writing efforts on software. After twenty-five years of IT work, Don's passion for writing flared up again and the doctors couldn't do anything to cure it, so he now pursues fiction.

More than Dust in the Wind, the second of five novels in the Masterson Family series, is a great read. It shares a lot about the tough questions one may ask himself regarding is core beliefs and how important it is to find the answers by researching, asking questions, and keeping an open mind.

Title: More than Dust in the Wind
Author: Donald James Parker
Publisher: Sword of the Spirit Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-6152-1437-5
Pages: 208
Price: $12.95

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Review - The Black Widow Agency by Felicia Donovan

The Black Widow Agency
Written by: Felicia Donovan
Fiction / Mystery
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Amber Gordon’s life is on a downward spiral. She says she was fired from her automotive engineering job and lost custody of her daughter after being framed for possession of a controlled substance.

Amber turns to the Black Widow Agency where the all-female staff is ready to help her get her life back. Each woman at the agency brings her own expertise and each is willing to jump in to this case without reservation.

The Black Widow Agency doesn’t accept any client that comes to them with a tale of woe. The client has to tell them the truth from the start and must be willing to accept methods that may seem a bit questionable. Katie, the owner, relies on a computer hacker, office manager, and financial whiz to help her develop and execute plans that will give sweet justice to their clientele.

Author Felicia Donovan uses her computer forensics experience to create an intelligent and fun story line with women of varying skill sets (from finance to cyber geek), and ages (from twenty-something to sixty-something) righting the wrongs done to their clients. Her writing balances crime-solving with insight into the lives of the four main characters. She portrays strong women with soft sides and weaknesses.

Felicia (pronounced Fa-lish-a) began writing stories early on and completed her first novel before graduating high school. She became a teacher, but always felt compelled to return to the joy of writing fiction. Felicia left teaching to join a New England-based police department where she discovered the fascinating world of computer forensics. She resides in the bucolic countryside of NH with her two children and three dogs. She has a deep affection for her family, her friends, fine chocolates and well-spun tales.

The Black Widow Agency is an engaging read. It is entertaining, suspenseful, fun, and fast paced. The diversity of the four main characters makes their interactions down-to-earth. I highly recommend this novel to any fiction or mystery lover, especially for those interested in strong female leads.

The Black Widow Agency is available through:,, other online outlets, and local book stores.

Title: The Black Widow Agency
Author: Felicia Donovan
Publisher: Midnight Ink
ISBN: 978-0-7387-1082-2
Pages: 234
Price: $12.95