Tag Archives: Short story

The Four Corners of the Sky by Michael Malone

Four Corners of the Sky
 
 
Michael Malone is the author of ten novels, one collection of short stories and two works of nonfiction. Educated at Carolina and at Harvard, he has taught at Yale, the University of Pennsylvaniaand Swarthmore. Among his prizes are the Edgar, the O. Henry, the Writers Guild Award and the Emmy. He lives in North Carolina, with his wife.
 
 
For the first time since Handling Sin, a riveting novel of love, secrets, and the mysterious bonds of family, from master author Michael Malone.

On her seventh birthday, Annie’s con artist father left her behind at his boyhood home, then he raced out of her life. Years later, Annie, now a top Navy jet pilot, returns home on her 26th birthday. But everything changes when Jack calls to say he is dying, and needs her to fly to St. Louis to bring him the airplane he gave her the day he left. And if she does, he will give her the one thing she always wanted, that he always lied to her about the name of her mother.

The Four Corners of the Sky is a novel of love, sacrifice, and the inexplicable bonds that hold families together. Michael Malone brings these rich characters to life as only he can, evoking the unspoken motivations that drive people to define who they are and break out of those bonds when the call of love comes.

 
MY THOUGHTS:
 
When I was offered the opportunity to read this book I jumped at the chance.  I have not read a book by Michael Malone before and thought that the premise had real promise.  This is really a fantastic book!
 
Annie Peregrine is seven years old when her father Jack leaves her at her aunt’s house in Emerald, North Carolina.  But, even though he is leaving, he leaves behind his airplane King of the Sky, a fixed-wing, single engine Piper Warrior.
 
Many years pass and Annie hears very little from Jack, whatever contact there is is confusing, especially to a child. With the help and guidance of her Aunt Sam and Uncle Clark, she becomes a pilot in the Navy.  She learned all she knows about flying from D.K. Destin, a retired Lt. US Navy Pilot. 
 
Out of the clear blue she receives a phone call from her father telling her that he is dying, and that if she flies King of the Sky to St. Louis to see him he will then give her the name of her mother, information she has always wanted.  What is strange is that she is also contacted by the FBI who is also looking for her father in connection with a missing relic from Cuba. 
 
This is the type of novel that shouldn’t be rushed, as each of the characters has so much to offer.  The writing and development of the story is so unique and well done I will make sure to rush out and get more by this author.  This book is highly recommended!
 
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God Only Knows by Xavier Knight

 god-only-knows1 

Julia Turner, an ambitious educator in her mid-thirties, leaves a high-profile job in Chicago to return to Dayton, Ohio to serve as superintendent of Christian Light, the K-12 private school system from which she graduated two decades earlier. A single mother with an ugly divorce and a complex childhood in her rearview mirror, Julia views her mission as a chance to contribute to her hometown and conquer the demons from her past. But she never expects to confront the one sin she and her childhood friends agree to bury as teens-the accident that left Eddie Walker hospitalized and incapacitated.

Meanwhile, Detective Peter Whitlock, Eddie Walker’s older bother, is still determined to find the person(s) responsible for his brother’s condition. As an unrelated investigation leads to another woman who is involved in the accident, the responsible parties must decide whether they will keep their dark secrets, or tell the truth and let God decide the outcome. 

 

This book centers around a racially charged crime.  Four black girls (Julia, Toya, Cassie, and Teri) meet when they attend Christian Light School in Ohio.  They are truly the minority as the school consists of almost all white students.  One fateful night their lives change – one of them is attacked and with help they are able to fend off the attacker, debilitating him in the process.

Each of the girls has moved on, and more than two decades later has gained success in their lives.  But, the memory of what happened all those years ago continues to haunt them.  

Julia Turner is raising her niece, and after an ugly divorce and tarnished childhood she agrees to go back to Christian Light and act as superintendent.  This might be her one chance to prove that she has what it takes and put all of her demons behind her.  What she doesn’t count on is Police Detective Peter Whitlock, the brother of the boy who was debilitated years earlier, still investigating his brothers crime, determined to bring the people responsible to justice.

This was a very believable tale – I could see how four girls could bond over a terrible tragedy and agree to keep a secret that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.  I really enjoyed how the characters interacted and how the author wove the story between the past and present.  A very good read!

  

Xavier Knight, pseudonym for C. Kelly Robinson, is Essence bestselling author of NOT ALL DOGS, BETWEEN BROTHERS, NO MORE MR. NICE GUY, THE STRONG SILENT TYPE, and THE PERFECT BLEND. Xavier is currently in Dayton, Ohio with his wife Kyra, busy at work on his next novel.

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Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah

saffron-dreams

Join Shaila Abdullah, author of the novel, Saffron Dreams (Modern History Press), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in March on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

From the darkest hour of American history emerges a mesmerizing tale of tender love, a life interrupted, and faith recovered. Arissa Illahi, a Muslim artist and writer, discovers in a single moment that no matter how carefully you map your life, it is life itself that chooses your destiny.

After her husband’s death in the collapse of the World Trade Center, the discovery of his manuscript marks Arissa’s reconnection to life. Her unborn son and the unfinished novel fuse in her mind into one life-defining project that becomes, at once, the struggle for her emotional survival and the redemption of her race.

Saffron Dreams is a novel about our ever evolving identities and the events and places that shape them. It reminds us that in the midst of tragedy, our dreams can become a lasting legacy.

MY REVIEW:

I had a hard time putting this book down.  Shaila Abdullah’s “Saffron Dreams” is a book that will tug at your heartstrings and won’t let go.  Arissa Illahi marries the man of her dreams, a man she meets by chance and then meets again years later through a matchmaker, an age old tradition she despises but this time the matchmaker really did get it right.  Truly a marriage that was meant to be.

She has everything she could ask for: a strong marriage, the freedom to pursue her career without worrying about financial issues, and a child on the way.  Her husband’s dream of being a successful writer is still in the works so for the meantime he works in the World Trade Center.  And, on the morning of 9/11 she watches in horror as the planes strike not once but twice, changing her world and shaking her to her core.

She has so many decisions to make but the hardest part is going to be raising her child without a father.  She struggles with her feelings and even contemplates ending her life to try and end the pain that she feels.  But, she becomes a wonderful parent of a child that has some disabilities that require his dependance on his mother.  She also discovers a manuscript her husband had written and uses its contents to shape the life she intends to lead.

This is one of the most poignant books that I have read.  I think all Americans can remember where they were when the attack on the World Trade Center occured, but this author sheds a different light on it.  The writing is excellent and this book was very hard to put down.


Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer, based in Austin, Texas. Her creative work focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistani women and their often unconventional choices in life. Her debut book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, is a collection of stories about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities despite the barriers imposed by society.

Among other accolades, the book won the Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction and the DIY Festival Award. Abdullah received a grant from the Hobson Foundation for her new novel, Saffron Dreams which is about the trials and tribulations of a 9/11 Muslim widow.

Abdullah has written several short stories, articles, and personal essays for various publications, such as Dallas Child, Web Guru, About Families, Sulekha, Women’s Own, She, Fashion Collection and a magazine of the Daily Dawn newspaper called Tuesday Review, etc. She is a member of the Texas Writers’ League.

A Pakistani-American, Abdullah is also a seasoned print, web, and multimedia designer as well. See a complete bio at http://www.shailaabdullah.com/bio.html

SAFFRON DREAMS VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ’09 will officially begin on March 2 and end on March 27. You can visit Shaila’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in March to find out more about this talented author!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.

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The Family Bones by Kimberly Raiser

the-family-bones

 

A New Home, A Loving Family, A Dark Secret 

 

Will they stay? Will they survive? The Weavers have inherited family property in Astral, Pennsylvania, a town so small that Mrs. Weaver can find no mention of it on the Internet, save for a tiny spot on Google Earth. Hoping for a simpler, small-town existence for their young family, Steven and Tara eagerly head to Astral to see what they hope will be their dream house. As they explore their potential new home, the Weavers begin to discover secret passageways, secret rooms, and long buried family truths; some difficult truths are revealed and no longer kept in the far reaches of the closet. There are reasons for everything, and sometimes the explanations are so simple. But sometimes, simple can also be horrifying.

With two little ones at home it is hard for me to fit time in for reading sometimes.  Sorry kids, but The Family Bones was a book I was literally unable to put down!

I have read a lot of books along these lines, horror and suspense being my favorite.  One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is that even though the events lead you to believe that some of this is not plausible, she somehow finds a way to make you believe that they could happen. 

This book is about the Weaver family.  After being willed an old farmhouse in Pennsylvania, they are looking forward to starting a life in a small town.  Upon exploring the house they find more than they bargained for: hidden rooms, secret passageways, and an encounter with a relative that they didn’t expect to be on the property.  

This is not your average suspense story.  The author has done a fabulous job of providing twists and turns that even the most seasoned suspense reader will delight in trying to figure out.  This is the first book by this author and I am anxious to read what else she has up her sleeve.  Great job! 

kimberly-raiser

Kimberly Raiser has led an interesting life so far. Her writings started with lots and lots of poetry. It wasn’t until Kimberly turned thirty that she decided to actually attempt to get published. Of course, it is rare that money can be made from being a published poet, and in order to write really thought provoking poetry her life needed to be in a general pit of despair, but along came this wonderful man who made her joyously happy! Low and behold, the fiction writer came out, and the poetry rested in the dusty pages of her past.Born and raised in New Jersey Kimberly always loved Science Fiction and Adventure. This would be real adventures, from firefighting to chasing down shoplifters, to up and moving to center city Philadelphia just for the experience!

 Now, residing in the Oldest City of our Nation, St. Augustine, Florida, Kimberly’s passion for adventure can be found on the pages of her prose turned stories. After a lengthy attempt at trying to finish the great novel she decided to focus on writing short stories to break into print.
 
After two years of gathering enough published short stories her collection of warped and witty thoughts are gathered together in “Stranded: Stories from the edge of infinity…”Kimberly has managed to drive both of her children and her loving husband insane with constant moments of, “Let me read this to you!”, or the all too famous, “Read this, it’s only a page!” Of course, her daughter always begs her to please read without doing the voices.
 
Kimberly did not have a third grade teacher by the name of Stephen King, but alas, here is something more exciting, her grandfather , Henry Kunicki (google it!) grew up with the famous physicist David Bohm  (Who worked with Albert Einstein, you’ve heard of him)!!! They used to fantasize about space travel together! This made for a family heavily influenced by Science Fiction!!! Now that is pretty cool.
 
The next book you will see on the shelves will be the Sci-Fi Thriller “The Family Bones”, Kimberly’s first full length novel. This is due to be released in October of 2008!!!
 
Also in the works is “Warped Factor of One” A collectin of really warped stuff!!! 
For more information about the book or the author please visit http://www.kimberlyraiser.vpweb.com
Watch the video:
 
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Feelin Chunky ’09

Here’s another challenge I am signing up for.  To sign up visit Feelin’ Chunky.  Here are the details:

HERE IT IS! As promised! The Chunkster Challenge 2009 Edition!  
SIGN UPS END MARCH 1st
There have been a few changes to the rules so please read closely:
*A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature (fiction or nonfiction) Don’t complain folks, I read all thousands of pages of the Twilight series and they were good, but not a challenge. A chunkster should be a challenge. 
*If you read large type books your book will need to be 525 pages or more I asked around and  the average LT book is 10-15% longer or more so I think that was a fair estimate.
*No Audio books in the chunksterIt just doesn’t seem right. Words on paper for this one folks.
* You may start any time after signing up. You must complete your reads before or on Nov 15th.
*Short Stories and Essay collections will not be counted. 
*Books may crossover with other challenges (see option 4 for a collaborative effort with TBR challenge)
*Only option 4 requires that you make a set list of books to complete the challenge
Those are the basics. Here are your options:
*The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the reader who has a large tome or two to read, but really doesn’t want to commit to more than that. 2 books is all you need to finish this challenge. 
*Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? – this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to 3-5 Chunksters over the next ten months.
*Mor-book-ly Obese – This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to 6 or more chunksters OR three tomes of 750 pages or more. You know you want to…..go on and give in to your cravings.
 
And lastly, in an intriguing collaboration with the wildly popular Miz B of the TBR Challenge we have:
*Too Big To Ignore Anymore – this option is for those chunksters on your TBR list. You may select any number of books over 450 pages but you must LIST THEM to complete the challenge and they must be on your TBR list as well (honor code folk, I don’t have time to be the challenge police)
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