Review of TEMPER CA–Heartbreaking & Healing


Heartbreaking & Healing: a tale of love & loss in a small California town

Joy rolls into Temper CA, back to the town she both loves and hates and doesn’t understand, for her grandfather Isaac’s funeral. This universal tale of angst and confusion revolves around the relationship Joy had with her mother and father, hippies of the 70s who lived in one house with their friends and did the usual of the period—slept together, drank, built their shared house, took acid, and brought their child up to live free and discover life with little guidance.
The complications that arise are microscopic and macroscopic, from dealing with the secrets and truths of her upbringing as a child and why she went back and forth to live with her grandparents, to the larger issues of economic disparity and race.
Award-winning author Paul Skenazy draws us into Joy’s story with language that alternately soothes and upsets. The short chapters create suspense and tension as Joy pieces her life together, finding truths that keep her from being at peace with herself and her girlfriend Angie. As many of us who came from small towns can relate, Temper, CA introduced Joy to a family she thought she knew, but didn’t. My heart hurt for her when she realized she’d created her own past, and she wished things had been different not only for herself but for those she loved, and even those she thought she hated.
A brilliant novel, deserving of all accolades and our reading pleasure.
Paul Skenazy’s website:



REVENGE IN 3 PARTS – Valerie J. Brooks

I can’t thank Ludwig enough. Not only for his review of my noir novel but for keeping me up-to-date with the latest thrillers. He knows his craft (and what he loves), and I wonder what would happen if he applied what he knows to writing his own thriller. What do you say, Ludwig?

Ludwig's Thrillers

Do you guys remember the show Revenge featuring Emily VanCamp? I was a huge fan of that show, so you can imagine my excitement once I got the chance to dive into this read that features such an addictive tale revenge.

In REVENGE IN 3 PARTS By Valerie J. Brooks, we have a powerful heroine called Angeline who goes on an investigative mission to avenge the death of her sister Sophie. However, this is not an easy task and Angeline knows this. She’s willing to sacrifice the people that she loves in order to accomplish her goal.

This book turned out to be the perfect combo between Second Life by S. J. Watson and Flamingo Lane by Tim Applegate. Author Valerie knows exactly how to ambush the reader with twists and turns throughout a powerfully written psychological thriller. I feel like this book might be just what you need to…

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Fantastic Find at the Bookstore #3: Mapping the Months

I love finding out from other authors and readers what they love. In the following, blogger and author Becky Ross Michael collects a number of books and this selection was a complete surprise to me. I didn’t know about bookmaps. Did you? Can you imagine what that was like before the internet, how exciting it would be? Now we can actually Google maps that show us the neighborhood as if we were standing there, surveying the area. But before that, in a mystery book, a map would have made us feel that we were there, in the setting. Thanks, Becky! I’ll be hunting the shelves now.

Platform Number 4

December and January are common months in which to buy a new calendar or to receive one as a gift. I’ve saved several collectible calendars that were given to me over the years, including those bearing wonderful illustrations or photos from Norman Rockwell, Dick and Jane readers, and one of my favorite television shows of all time, Castle. While digging through the sale bin at a bookstore, in 1998, I found an excellent calendar marked 50% off, probably because we were already well into spring, even by Michigan standards. Why would I buy a calendar that late in the year? Besides the price being great, this calendar pictured a style of book that I’d already been collecting for years…the Dell map back!

map backs mineMap backs (or mapbacks) were published by Dell, beginning around 1943. These paperbacks are often mysteries,  are numbered (over 500), and feature a map on the…

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