Book Reviews

IMG_1200A CORPORAL NO MORE by J. Scott Payne (to be published by Argon Press late 2013)

J. Scott Payne’s historical novel, A CORPORAL NO MORE, gives a heart-wrenching account of one man’s journey through the labyrinth that was this country’s Civil War.
Payne’s protagonist, Joe Little, unhappy with his life as a lumberjack, enlists in the Union Army with the belief that the war will bring some excitement and adventure into his life. But things don’t turn out as he expected. Peril at every turn coupled
with the monotony of long, endless marches through unpleasant terrain, become the
nature of his existence. And, if the assaults by the rebel forces weren’t enough, he is
also finds himself stalked by a killer.
On the bright side, he has a sweetheart waiting for him, Abigail, the daughter of his
former employer. She hopes for his return from the war so they can marry.
But before that can happen, Joe must endure much travail that leaves him bone
weary and brings him close to death.
Payne, once a reporter, gives the reader a brutally frank and accurate picture of the
life of a young corporal during this country’s most devastating war. His meticulous
attention to detail, coupled with a page-turning narrative, make this debut novel an
outstanding read.
I give it 5 stars!
BARGAIN PARADISE, A Novella, by Darlene Blasing (to be published by Argon Press last 2013)
What is it about gardening that is so obsessive? I don’t know but, some spring, I can hardly wait to get my hands in the soil. Darlene Blasing captures this feeling perfectly in her lovely little novella, BARGAIN PARADISE.
Her heroine, Loretta, starts out with a few plants she obtains for free from a construction site and sets off on a journey to create, from the bare earth, a wondrous garden. She enlists the aid of her reluctant husband and together they transform not only the land they own, but the actual fabric of their lives. Woven with her magical prose, Blasing also provides the reader with much factual information about different plants that not only please the eye but also nurture the soul. To call this sweet tale a ‘tour de force’ is not
 an exaggeration.
Bravo, Ms. Blasing!
THERE’S A SOMBODY by Stephen W. Long (available on Amazon and other booksellers)

In his wonderfully complex debut novel, THERE’S A SOMEBODY, Stephen Long delivered to this reader a thoroughly enjoyable ride about the choices made or, more notably, not made by his protagonist, Jim Bass.  Emotionally paralyzed by a tragic event in his youth, Jim makes a decision in the first few pages that will shock many.  How he deals with the aftermath of his choice and the people that befriend him on his journey of self-discovery turn this novel into a “can’t put down page-turner”.  Mr. Long has drawn characters that are richly complex yet, in the end, are, simply, quite human.  I recommend this book most highly and can’t wait to see what Mr. Long has in store for us next.


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