The Story Behind the Story: Singing the Last Song (An Apocalyptic Novel)

I was in high school the day the planes hit the towers. I was halfway through my day before I even knew what was going on. I remember my English teacher telling me there would be no class. We were going to sit and watch the news instead.

Singing the Last Song was born that day.

It was born out of the fears I had about the future of our world. It was born from the fear that the world was ending and the safe small town existence I had enjoyed was about to be destroyed forever.

I was in a serious relationship and I remember being terrified that they would start drafting. My parents had grown up in the Vietnam Era and I had heard their stories. My uncle had been drafted to Vietnam. My father had just barely avoided it due to his student status.

It might seem a selfish thing to be worried that my high school sweetheart could be drafted when so many people died that day but I was a teenager and self centered.

The draft didn’t happen. My boyfriend and I married and then divorced. Afterwards, I married a soldier and went through much of the same pain and fears I had as a teenager except that the man I loved was in Afghanistan. He was being shot at. He was shooting at enemies of America.

The truth is he didn’t talk much about his service but his silence along with other factors led to a slow silent death of our marriage.

Regardless, I still respect him and all the others who served.

Singing the Last Song is about the innocent lives that war destroys. It is about a mother’s love. A sister’s love. The love of a woman for a man.

Let me spoil this for you so there are no unmet expectations. Singing the Last Song doesn’t have a happy ending. It is one thing that readers have hated about the book. It is also a book about the end of the world as we know it.

In these trying times we seem always a step away from pain and war. Yet, each day we can live in love and peace for that day. For that moment.

Birdie, one of the main characters of Singing the Last Song, is part of Rev 21. I wrote lyrics inspired by 1960’s music begging for change.

The Devil in Today is the only song to date that has been put to music. You can enjoy it on YouTube by clicking this link. 

Singing the Last Song is FREE on Amazon (ebook format only) from 8/24-8/28.

Grab yourself a copy. Read. Enjoy. Review.

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FREE EBOOK: Singing the Last Song

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Singing the Last Song is Free on Amazon 8/24-8/28.

 

In a war torn world the only thing left is love.

When Birdie became a singer for rock band Rev 21 she had no intention of ending up in the middle of a love triangle. Neil and Eric couldn’t be any more different and yet she finds herself loving both of them.

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Book Review: Until Tuesday

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Summary: Wounded Warrior Luis Carlos Montalvan finds healing in the companionship of his service dog Tuesday.

My rating: 5/5

I really enjoyed this book and I cried. A lot.

I loved that this book explored social issues such as discrimination against those with “invisible” disabilities. Montalvan has instances where people give him a hard time about being accompanied by his service dog because he isn’t blind. It is so sad to me that in this modern day and age people can still question when someone brings their service dog into a public area. If the dog isn’t wearing some kind of vest or indicator I can see asking but I don’t think I would ever accuse someone of lying about their disability status.

This book also delves into PTSD. I feel that this topic is so important. War does terrible things to our soldiers and the army doesn’t always adequately prepare them. As a former army wife any topics that involve the welfare of soldiers are near and dear to my heart.

I loved learning about the training process for service dogs. It was an interesting and educational read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs or who has family members in the service. This book is also good for anyone curious about service animals and the work they can do.

 

 

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Book Review: The Chocolate Book Bandit

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Summary:Lee is asked to join the library committee but at the first meeting she attends another member of the committee is found dead on the stairs of the library basement. This makes Lee and all the other members suspects.

My rating: 3/5

In truth this book was closer to a 2.5 for me.

The main thing I thought the book did well was the mystery. I did enjoy that even though I figured out who committed murder about halfway through the book. I love libraries and the fact that the murder happened at the library was the main reason I picked up the book. The mystery was a solid 3/5 stars.

I picked this book up without having read any others in the series. This is book 13. It is always hard to say whether a book would be significantly better if I had read others in the series though nothing in this book made me want to run out and grab others in this series.

The first thing that really bothered me about this book was that it felt like there was a lot of information dumping in the beginning. I understand that the writer has to fill in the reader on things that happened in the past 13 books but the way it was done interrupted the flow of the book and honestly was pretty boring and not vital to my understanding of THIS story.

The second thing that really made this book not work for me was the married people in the book lusting after other people. Again, maybe this would make more sense to someone who had read the entire series but it was a huge turn off for me (and made me not like the characters) when Lee is all googly eyed over a hot guy even though she is married. I really had a hard time liking her because of her lust.

The thing that put the nail on the coffin of me not liking Lee and the book was a jab at self published books. I read widely and I know that there are many books both self published and traditionally published that aren’t very good. I am a self publishing author and I work hard to write a good story. I did not at all appreciate the jab that Lee gave self publishers “I checked the title page. Self published. Hmm. I’ll look at it on my way to the trash I thought “(161). The Chocolate Book Bandit was published in 2013 and of course self publishing has made strides forward since then. Still, I thought it was an unnecessary jab at an industry. Lots of traditional published authors have turned to self publishing some of their works. Hope JoAnne Carl never becomes a self pubbing author  otherwise she is going to have a bit of egg on her face. This was just a personal pet peeve about the book. Even without this comment I still wouldn’t have enjoyed it very much.

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Book Review: All Around the Town

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Summary: Laurie was kidnapped as a child though she has no memory of the two years she was held captive.

Now, she is being investigated for the murder of her English Professor. Her sister and defense attorney, Sarah, wants her evaluated by a psychiatrist because she thinks there is a good chance they can plead not guilty by reason of mental defect or disease.

As the psychiatrist starts to investigate it quickly becomes clear that things are much more complicated than they appear.

My rating:

4/5

I hadn’t planned to read this book. I don’t think I have ever read a Mary Higgins Clark book before though I plan to read more in the future. I actually read this book because I saw the movie and was really intrigued by the story. As usual, the book was better.

This is a fast paced story with lots of sub plots happening. It kept me on my toes from start to finish.

It was different and interesting. I love books about mental health conditions and I was intrigued by the difficulties Laurie faced in the story.

I also loved that her past wasn’t left in the past. The kidnapping isn’t just backstory. Her abductor is still taunting Laurie in the present (not really a spoiler since it mentions this fact on the back of the book).

The only complaint I have about the book is a small one. The narration feels very distant. Example of what I mean: “John and Marie Kenyon flew to Pittsburgh. Laurie had been taken to a hospital to be checked out. The next day on the noon editions of the news, Sarah watched as her mother and father left the hospital (17).”

The distant narration didn’t bother me much since I had watched the movie and already generally knew the story but I am not sure if it would have been harder for me to enjoy the story if I had read it instead of watching it first. I will read a few more of Clark’s books and see if I can get past the narration being so distant.

 

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Book Review: Abby Cooper Psychic Eye

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Summary: Abby Cooper is a psychic intuitive. When one of her clients is murdered Abby can’t help getting involved in the investigation. Especially since the cop investigating is a major hunk who she starts to fall for.

My rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed reading this book. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. I read it in two days. I also grabbed book 2 of this series and book one of another series by the author.

I loved the authors voice. This book was just a pleasure to read all around.

I enjoyed the main character and many of the side characters though at times Abby missed things that should have been pretty obvious to her. She mentions it in the narrative as well with things like “If I had only known then” which was a bit annoying at times.

My only other real complaint about the book is that there was no introduction of the murderer before the big reveal. I am used to cozy mysteries where someone the sleuth has met before and usually interviewed is the killer. In a way, this came out of left field.

So, if you are looking for a mystery that follows tropes and conventions maybe this isn’t for you but it is a ton of fun to read anyways.

I loved the psychic elements of it too.

I would recommend this to readers who enjoy light and fun reading in a mystery. I think people who enjoy the Janie Austen series by Laura Levine and don’t mind a pinch of paranormal will really enjoy this series. Also if you enjoy the Charlaine Harris Sookie books and the Betsy the Vampire Queen by MaryJanice Davidson. That is kind of what this book reminds me of stylistically.

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Book Review: Buddy(How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man)

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Summary: Brian marries into a family which includes two step daughter and a chicken named Buddy.

 

My rating: 3/5

The truth is that I would give this book a rating closer to 2.5. Isn’t bad enough to justify a 2 but I didn’t really like it enough to categorize it with my other 3/5 either.

I am a huge animal lover so I was drawn to this book because it is about a man and his relationship to a pet. Sorta.

Honestly, I spent the first part of the book begging the narrator to get to the point. He goes off on tangents about his first dog and how awesome that dog was. He talks about a ton of other things that are barely relevant to plot. He isn’t very likable (though, as the book is autobiographical props for being so honest) either.

In a nutshell the narrator hates the chicken and is kinda a jerk. The chicken is a loyal pet to his step kids even if he is a pain in the butt at times. Moral of the story is be loving and be present. Takes the author whole book to realize this and it is a very long and often dull journey there.

Brian’s new wife and kids were spoiled brats. I got really frustrated with them throughout the books as they showed now gratitude or respect for him. I thought the kids were spoiled and the mom was unreasonable much of the time.

If you are looking for a feel good or even a humorous story about a city family and their adorable pet chicken this isn’t that story.

I almost quit reading it several time and mostly only finished to see if the author ever explained how the chicken made him a family man because for the majority of the book I wasn’t sure he was ever going to get there.

Not for me.

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