Author Requested Reviews 2011

Watch The Hour by J.R. Lindermuth
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: (316 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars

In the 1870s in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region, mine owners and their employees, particularly the Irish immigrants, are in conflict over working conditions.

Private police forces commissioned by the state but paid by the coal companies are sworn to protect property of the mine owners. The miners know their real purpose is to spy upon targeted agitators and intimidate and break up strikers.

The Mollie Maguires, a secret society some see as working to improve the lot of the Irish and which others damn as a terrorist organization, are viewed as an increasing threat.

Benjamin Franklin Yeager is a coal company police officer. He does his best to follow orders while trying to be fair to the workers whose lot he sees as little different from his own. Despite his efforts at fairness, Yeager’s job makes him the enemy of the Irish.

And that’s the crux of his troubles. For Ben is in love with an Irish girl.

“Conflict and emotions runs high through a maze of doubt, self-worth, fool headed stubbornness, and the promise of love.  Benjamin, “Ben” Yeager has the world on his shoulders, struggling to keep peace in every direction.  Is he the saving grace to a town that is the catalyst to his future or could the gumption that he shows set him on a path to a world of salvation
Masonville a town in the state of Pennsylvania sets the backdrop for a cast of complex characters that takes you on a journey of self sacrifice and personal discovery. This is Ben Yeager’s town, deputy sheriff, honest friend to some, a “bully boy” to others.  He’s genuinely concerned about the people around him.  Quick to defend at a moment’s notice but too shy to show his softer side.
Ben, in love with an Irish girl, not of his faith nor background but from the wrong side of the tracks.  Wanting to marry and seek a new life, tired of a job where there is killing.  Ben has duties and obligations as a deputy to a town who thinks of him as the enemy. He has to contend with the plight of his Irish neighbors, the working class of Masonville who that he feels is no different than him in upbringing; in essence they’re all the same.
The down trodden Irish immigrants working hard for pennies a day as miners, compared to as slaves of the south. Their plight is the mines and the dangers it holds. From dusk to dawn in sot covered faces these low class citizens tirelessly work without any hope of reprieve.  Castaways in an ever progressive society they are a kept group of people living in poverty but content for that’s all they know.  Harsh as their lives are they maintain as the working class in an improvised, but thriving community.  
In this story of complex characters Ben is the binding thread, but there are others around him that weaves in and out of his life.  There are two that captured my intention.  Father Paul Delaney is once such person, the village priest to this patch of land called Masonville.  A reserved person satisfied with the simple life, knows his place, kept around only to keep peace among the oppressed workers.  Desperately seeking solace from daily battles with his faith, while fighting the curiosity of a sinner.
From the reserved to the infamous.  “Old Man” Mason, a cantankerous old coot, who has more money than God.  He controls the lives of the people who reside in this all forgotten village with an iron fist.  Considers himself above all others including “the Irish vermin”.  Hunger for power at any cost.  You want to better yourself, then this is the guy that wrote the book on being self-sufficient.  He calls the shots in Masonville only because he has the power and the money to do so.  He’s all about business and don’t mind stepping on the few who get in his way.
I must admit that I was a bit curious about a book titled, Watch The Hour and what that meant, not sounding like the usual love story that I’m accustom to.  Once the surprise of not finding the typical boy, girl story then I was able to get involved and focus on the reading.
This book takes you in a maze of directions, leading you on individual struggles of each character and how they overcome their hardships.  The author J. R. Lindermuth displays a wealth of knowledge and history on the mining industry and the growth it brought about in creating jobs for unskilled laborers.  He gives you a peek of the workers and choices they made in order to live.  Courage of the unknown, tolling the line, choosing the dank and darkness as their overseers.
Author J. R. does well in placing the reader in the world of 1800 living, were buggies and wagons are daily necessities.  The use of Irish slang is an adjustment the reader must make but once there, you are consumed in the lives of these people.  The smell of traveled dirt roads, a since of the dampness of the mines, the musty, heavy laden air filed with dust and sot, the tightness of your chest when trying to catch your breath with the sweet smell of fresh air. The author draws you in the story, playing on all senses.
There are so many characters in this tale that they are too numerous to mention.  Becoming bored is not possible because there are lessons that need learning.  Turn a page and you’re faced with a new adventure in the lives of these colorful townspeople, you become to care about each person whether be good or bad. This is not your quick read, what the author gives you is a well-rounded story of drama and sweet romance, mixed with a nice bit of history.  A complete read from beginning to end. 
If you’re looking for something a little different than your usual boy, girl romance then you’ve found it.  You leave with understanding these people lives and appreciating the challenges of life that they faced.  You come away remembering them all. 
Watch the Hour is for all who are looking for a resolution and awaiting the hour in which it happens.  Go out and get this one before they are all gone.  This is one for your keeper shelf." 
Rating:  4 Stars  Review date Feb. 2, 2011

J.R. Lindermuth lives and writes in Pennsylvania.  A retired newspaper editor/writer, he is librarian of his county’s historical society. He is the author of four other novels and has published in a variety of magazines.

More Books To Enjoy by J.R. Lindermuth

Purchase these books at:
Whiskey Creek Press
Barnes and Noble

The Sweater Curse by Leanne Dyck
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Thriller
(87 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Aspiring knitwear designer Gwen Bjarnson is stuck in Purgatory. To escape, she must re-examine her life, journey through her past and right a wrong. Young and in love, she works to establish her career, except fate has different plans. One rash act and she loses everything. Never resting, always seeking, and yearning for what she can no longer have...

"Alone, waiting, held captive in a grey area of betwixt and between, Gwen Bjarnson purpose is unknown.  For her to understand the end she must revisit her past, leading her on a path of rediscovery.
She has moxie, she has style, and men find her charms hard to resist.  She knows how to play the role of seducer.  Gwen is a product of her environment, the skeptical nonbeliever of all things good.  Taught at an early age that the true measure of a person is based on wisdom and not beauty, Gwen rebels against values placed on her with a hardening of the heart and non compliance, forever disconnecting herself from the institution called family.
An undeniable pessimist consumed with thoughts of opulence and grandeur.  Gwen focuses those aspirations in her ability to create unique pieces of art, manipulating yarn in any form that she desires into an attention grabbing garment.  All of this could not be accomplished if it wasn’t for the help of her lover, confidant, ego booster and muse, Jay Cardew.  He’s the guy you want around if you want a tender push into fame. 
Gwen and Jay are a mix match sorrowful couple wanting their heart desires, they are two deserving characters.  This is a story told from Gwen’s perspective, given insight into her despair.  Unusual appearances of secondary characters make for a mixture of comical, complex and sometimes sullen story.   
There’s a mysterious presence looming throughout this story that Author Leanne Dyck manages to engulf the reader in.  I found myself totally engrossed in Gwen’s world as she wonder on her life’s journey determined to break free of the circumstance that has captured her, lingering her in a perpetual state of torment. 
If ever there’s someone to cheer for then Gwen is the one. Take a seat as you become consumed in her quest for redemption, searching for unconditional love of the one who will become her path to salvation. Go out and pick this one up, your find yourself immersed as well.  I recommend The Sweater Curse for all who’s looking for life to give them a break."   
Rating:  4.5 Stars Review date March 4, 2011

Enjoyed this review? Watch for:
"The Sweater Curse" sequel
Excepts of this book can be found at:

Also in progress:
Struggling with dyslexia and raised by overprotective parents, Lyndi longs for a boyfriend, an adventure, a life. She enlists in a youth group hoping to fulfill her dreams.

  Leanne Dyck earned her first writer's paycheque for an article published in a knitting magazine.  More recently, her writing has appeared in Island Writer Literary Journal as well as in the Kaleidoscope magazine.  Writing is a solitary sport, but Leanne is a team player. She bats for the Crime Writers of Canada, kicks for the Victoria Writers Society and is in goal for the Mayne Island Writers Group.
  Follow Leanne Dyck's writing career by visiting her website:

 More Books To Enjoy  by Leanne Dyck

Purchase these books at:
Barnes and Noble
Decadent Publishing

The Life 
of Polycrates and
Other Stories for Antiquated
by Brendan Connell 
Publisher: Chomu Press
Genre: Fantasy/Fiction 
Length: (266pgs)
Rating: 5 Stars
Myth and imagination are confronted with historical precision in Brendan Connell's newest collection of short fiction, bringing together a number of stories previously published in journals and anthologies as well as never before published material that includes the novella 'The Life of Polycrates', describing the rise to power of the ancient Greek ruler, his eccentric deeds and the fantastic personalities around him.

This is a book of bizarre histories and cerebral studies that explores the darkest passages of the human heart and brightest depravities of the human mind.  

"If you enjoy reading an accumulation of outrageous stories from the strange to the dark wickedness of the macabre then get ready for your senses to be assaulted in The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children.
I must admit that once I started reading it was a bit overwhelming but as I continued on the stories kind of grew on me.  This is not a book for the timid or faint of heart.  Your sensibilities will get torn into in just one story.  Author Brendan Connell pulls no punches in getting his point across.  Yes, each story has a message and oh how he tells it, sometimes funny, often times odd.
Brendan has a unique way of storytelling, he gives his readers an intimate view placing them right in the midst of the wackiness of his characters.  I felt I became a part of each story, observing as I sat laid back sitting reclined on a window seal.  With a mixture of fantasy and realism Brendan writes in a highly intellectual way, phasing his words with great care.  A casual observer will notice his unique writing style and descriptive passages that will leave you mesmerized.  Precision and technique has been mastered and it shows in this collection of stories.  Brendan has done well in utilizing a skill that is uniquely his own.  With his gift and the command of the English language us mere mortals may be taken aback for a moment but by the time the first story is completed you will understand that you have just delved into a mind of a complicated person who’s on the verge of exploding but that’s a good thing.
Each story carried its own weight and not one intertwined with the other.  Your reading will take you to the ancient cities of Greece on down to the dusty road of Montana.  Although the stories are short when you’re finished with each one you will feel that you have read a full length book.  One such story is “The Life of Captain Gareth Caernarvon”, a hunter with a taste for the most unusual of delicacies.  That title alone is an insight to what you' re in store for.  Your reading will take you on a trip into a world of oddities and familiar settings but most will have you wondering what normal person could imagine it all up.  But there you have the gifted world of Brendan Connell, giving us a glimpse of the makings of one of the greatest to put pen to paper.
“Words convey the mental treasures of one period to the generations that follow.” Anonymous.  That quote sums up my thoughts of these stories and the author.  In this book you get a treasure of words, thoughts and ideas wrapped in profound messages.  I’m still in awe of this book and its characters.  A good book keeps you thinking about it days even weeks after you’ve finished it and I’m still remembering. 
Through the turns and twists you will walk away having experienced something special.  Place this one on your coffee table for a great conversation piece.  You get eleven short stories for your reading enjoyment.  This book is one for the keeper shelf. " 
Rating:  5 Stars  Review date April 29, 2011

Brendan Connell was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1970. He has had fiction published in numerous places, including McSweeney’s, Adbusters, Fast Ships, Black Sails (Nightshade Books, 2008), and the World Fantasy Award winning anthologies Leviathan 3 (The Ministry of Whimsy, 2002),
and Strange Tales (Tartarus Press, 2003).

More Books to Enjoy
by Brendan Connell

        The Translation of Father  Torturo     Dr. Black and the Guerrillia

                          Metrophilias                             Unpleasant Tales

Blind Swimmer

Purchase these books at:
Barnes and Noble

Look out for these Books:
The Architect (2011)
The Metanatural Adventures of Dr. Black (2012)

To contact Brendan Connell click on link:


J. R. Lindermuth said...

Thank you, Deborah. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I definitely liked and appreciated the review.


Jodi Webb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Sweater Curse said...

Thank you, Deborah, for your positive review of The Sweater Curse. I enjoy visiting your beautiful blog and have added it to my blog roll.