Incarnation is a metaphysical thriller. Written in the past tense, third person point of view, Kelsey is the main character, a scientist at BioVenture where she works for Myron Crouch who was once a student of Kelsey’s father. For the most part Kelsey lives a quiet life until she goes skiing with Harrison, one of her colleagues, and gets swept under an avalanche. When Kelsey is taken to the hospital, doctors diagnose her with a head injury but are unable to explain the coma she was in and connect her with a therapist to help Kelsey through the amnesia.
During the course of healing from the accident, Kelsey discovers she has an unusual and inexplicable link to what appears to be another life. Her childhood imaginary friend Iriel is now a mysterious young girl that Kelsey is determined to open up to in order to learn more about Iriel and about herself. Meanwhile, as Kelsey is caught between two worlds, she’s also caught between two men –Harrison and Stan. The former is fond of her though hesitant in his approach due to Kelsey’s mother who verbalizes her immediate dislike of him. Stan is a powerful lawyer with somewhat controlling behaviors. He quickly befriends Kelsey’s mother, sneaks into Kelsey’s house when she’s not there, and even drives by Kelsey’s therapist’s office when she’s there for an appointment.
Hays writes detailed scientific information which was a challenge for me to follow. While the specifics are necessary to move the story along, they slowed the pace of the story a great deal. Unfortunately, the pace was already somewhat staggered. The story segments were fragmented and brief and I had difficulty switching from one scene to the next.
The other thing about Incarnation that didn’t work for me was the level of character depth. Kelsey’s story is mysterious and interesting. However, the character was distant and disengaged from most of her story. “Kelsey just shrugged as she left. The day felt very fine as she walked to her car.” 83 In addition, the main character’s lack of decisiveness and engagement in the storyline as well as in her relationships was frustrating. “…he gave off a faint odor of alcohol and she thought maybe he’d been drinking.” 85 Kelsey Dupuis is a scientist. Her career is befitting of an individual who studies evidence and makes decisions. Yet she isn’t even sure if the man she is with had been drinking despite the fact that he gives off the smell of alcohol.
My favorite character in the story is Stan. Despite his creepy behaviors and controlling tendencies, his odd and overt drug use, and his overeager attempts to hurry along a relationship with Kelsey, Stan is the most developed character in the story. He’s unique and believable in his demeanor. Had the other characters been given the same attention, they might have held my attention more.
I think Incarnation is a book that science fiction readers, science lovers, and individuals who enjoy poetry would read. Iriel’s past life story intertwined with Kelsey’s modern day frustrations make for a balanced novel and gave the story a poetic feel to it. In some ways, I think Iriel’s story might even have made a good stand-alone novella, reaching an entirely different kind of reader.
Overall, I’d give Incarnation a 2 and ½ star rating. Though I would recommend it to science fiction readers and would be interested in reading their reviews.
Have you read Incarnation? I'd love to hear what you thought of the book!
Laura Davis Hays is a California native, the only child of a theoretical physicist and a librarian. Her prize-winning body of work includes a forthcoming fantasy series, the Atlantis Material, and a collection of linked stories set in Denmark, her ancestral homeland, in the early twentieth century. Hays is also an accounting consultant, a performing pianist, a composer, and a skier. She and her husband live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with their two cats, Rufus and Dexter.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
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If you’re looking for a good book about a rugged man who longs for the love of a strong woman, this is that book.
Mountains Never Meet is the story of Maggie Flannigan. She’s an engaged woman who is struggling to give up her independence to a man who comes from a different way of life than she does. He’s from an elite family. She’s the daughter of a Women’s Studies professor. He’s orderly and neat. She’s a bit of a slob.
The novel weaves Maggie’s story all over the world –Boston, Paris, and Africa as she works out the issues she has with her fiancé and the issues she has within herself. Filled with romance, sex, and internal conflict this book has a steady pace that kept me turning pages during a three hour plane ride.
I was a little shocked to discover that Maggie was thirty-five years old. Her history of chasing after men and bar hopping gave the impression she was about ten years younger. As I kept reading though, I couldn’t help but wonder if this wasn’t part of her self-conflict and her journey to stop running away from things. On the other hand, it could easily be that I have no frame of reference for the men and bars lifestyle in order to understand or relate to it.
The most interesting part of this book was the strong woman / needy man didactic. So many novels flip this scenario around and while Adam’s clinginess surprised me, I was pleased to see a new spin on the male / female relationship in the book world. Who is Adam? Does Maggie find love? Or will the pressure from the fiancé’s mother trump all and have Maggie walking down an aisle strewn with flower petals?
Mountains Never Meet is a fantastic airport or beach read. It’s light, humorous, and all about the mushy love stuff. Watch out for page 190 –the plot twist there will have you freaking out! And if you never want to look at mountains or long distance separation the same way again, be sure to get to page 279. My heart was crying out when I got to that Swahili proverb. Pick up Mountains Never Meet and you won’t put it down until you get to the last page.
Knotted is the first person POV story of Cassie, the almost eighteen year old daughter of divorced parents. Raised between her mother’s home in Pennsylvania and her father’s in England, Cassie is a parentified teen who is shocked to learn her father is going to remarry. Despite her mother having married again pre-novel timeline, the reader has no inkling that she’s bothered with having a stepfather, yet she makes it clear how she feels about her father remarrying.
A transatlantic flight gets her “home” to the land where she was born, but hasn’t lived in many years. An awkward reunion with her father becomes even more awkward when she meets her stepmother-to-be. During her three weeks “across the pond” Cassie finds herself falling in love with her father’s fiancé, fascinated by her new stepmum’s interesting family dynamics, and on a journey to discover herself.
I was intrigued by the storyline as soon as I heard about Knotted. I’m a fan of all things related to family dynamics, I'm a mother, and have a passel of teens, so I was excited to read about Cassie. Right away I found the first person POV to be fun and helped catapult me right into the novel. But also right away, I didn’t care for Cassie.
Her attitude, her inability to make a decision, and the constant challenge to form a complete sentence frustrated me. “Didn’t she…Hasn’t anyone tried to talk to her since all of this happened?” 187 And then I realized several of the characters had trouble forming sentences. “Well I guess it’s her parents mostly. But…they weren’t…you see…” But Cassie’s constant parenting of her parents was over the top. “Leaning back in the seat, I turn to look at him, and wait until he realizes that my eyes are fixed on his face.” 17
I really liked Emmy, the stepmother. She showed a desire to connect with Cassie right from the start and was likeable. Although I didn’t like her name, I could see why the author chose it. Something as youthful as Emmy really portrayed the character’s fullness. She’s young –much younger than the man she’s going to marry. Her homemaking struggles, her cooking experience, and her love for shopping and planning parties really rounded her out. I thought Emmy was the most developed character in the novel.
The story kept me reading even though I was frustrated with Cassie. I enjoy a good love story with a coming of age factor and Knotted has that. One thing stood out to me as I spent time with this unusual family was the potential for so much more.
I would love to read a prequel to this story. Even though I didn’t like Cassie’s personality in Knotted, I think I could like her more if I had a glimpse into the seventeen years before this novel took place. Why does she parent her folks? What caused her mom and dad to split up? Why did her mother take her away from the country where she could have grown up in or near the home of her father? The lack of history made it hard for me to relate to Cassie and I wanted to understand her more. I wanted to like her more.
As I got to the end of the book, things started to change –for me and for Cassie. She was still struggling with sentence structure and unable to make a decision, but there was hope for her and it showed. I don’t want to give anything away, but I really hope there’s a sequel to this novel. I’d love nothing more than to see Cassie blossom and show the world what she’s capable of. If she and her family can find some closure and connection along the way, it’ll be that much better.
This goes to show you don’t have to like the main character to enjoy a good story. I look forward to reading more by Quenby Olson.
As part of the WOW -Barbara Barth blog tour, I had the opportunity to read Danger in Her Words. I’ll be posting an author interview with her here on May 16th.
If you’re looking for a book within a book and interested in reading something a little on the naughty side, you’ll fall in love with Danger. In it, Susan is a columnist who is known for writing about her little dog, Daisy. A widow, she misses the human touch. Hugs, kisses…and sex. As she explores her feelings about this, Susan decides to try her hand at writing a little erotica and conjures up her main character, Jamie.
Written in short chapters, Danger in Her Words, is told from the views of Susan and her character Jamie, whom she gets to do some of the “dirty” work for her. From researching online dating, to flirting with men at a local bar, and experimenting with a little sex themselves, the two find themselves in all kinds of adventures. Susan even finds a little unexpected danger on her journey through widowhood as she seeks to find herself.
When I read Danger in Her Words I was looking for a book with a little romance and mystery. What I found instead was a book that was not quite as “vanilla” as I had expected it would be, Barbara can write quite the steamy scene! I also experienced some frustration as I read Susan’s story. As someone who can’t relate to the idea of widowhood, I found myself a little uncomfortable with how Susan went about finding herself. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t take kindly to the idea of casual sex or sex outside of marriage, this book might not be your cup of tea. In fact, if when choosing a book you aren’t turned on by naughty sex, you might not want to add Danger to your online shopping cart.
Danger in Her Words is a quick read with the thread of sex wound through it. While some of the scenes might be more than you bargained for, it’s not erotica. It’s a sexy story within a story that shares how Susan and her character Jamie wade through the waters of being single again. It’s a reminder that the only rules a woman needs to follow are the ones she makes for herself…just don’t forget to screen the men you come in contact with because you never know what kind of danger you might be inviting in.
The Pat Boone Fan Club is a memoir of just under 250 pages written by Sue Silverman. In it, Sue shares her life journey as a white Anglo-Saxon Jewish woman. From childhood to adulthood, Sue shares her inner struggles of finding herself and becoming comfortable in her own skin. She experiences many life challenges such as sexual abuse, empty marriages and a loneliness that comes from feeling displaced.
A dense book with a poetic gracefulness, the author draws readers into her life while simultaneously writing in a way that allows them to experience the disconnectedness that Sue describes having endured. It is inspiring to read the words she penned, knowing she went from “setting the bar so low for myself, I trip over it” to becoming an accomplished author, speaker and teacher.
This is Sue’s fourth book. She is a writer, a public speaker, and a teacher in the Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In addition to the Pat Boone Fan Club, Sue has written two other memoirs as well as Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, a book of poetry and has had short works published as well.
If you enjoy reading poetry, stories about truth and being inspired by the underdogs in life, this is a book
you’ll want to pick up and read. The Pat Boone Fan Club will inspire you to examine your own heart and
life and find the underdog in you.
Are you an underdog in life? Have you overcome difficult life experiences? What helped you find your way along life's path? Who or what helped you raise the bar in your life? Post a comment and you'll be entered in a giveaway for a chance to receive a copy of Sue Silverman's book: The Pat Boone Fan Club!
Wendy Orr author of Peeling the Onion writes a compelling novel about Anna and a car accident that changes everything for her. For a short book, 166 pages, Peeling the Onion examines the layers of the main character Anna -who she was, who she is and who she will become. Her life is that of a bright and bubbly 17 year old until she is in a car accident that leaves her questioning everything.
Peeling the Onion is a book about self, relationships, and healing that comes from the inside out. Anna goes through the grieving process as she goes through the changes this accident causes in her life. The question is what will her life look like in the end? The author writes from Anna’s POV and gives readers an incredible view of what this character has experienced.
**If you have recently experienced the trauma of a loved one being in an auto accident, take heed–Anna’s situation may be troubling to read.**
Connor is a typical teenage girl, stuck in the middle of her family life. Literally. Until the day comes when she discovers she’s not so ordinary after all. She has incredible abilities, like turning herself invisible. As she sorts through the regular teenage angst that youth are prone to, she also has to figure out what to do with these new abilities. As she muddles her way through, Connor befriends some other young people who she finds are more like her than she would have guessed.
This book is excellent. It hooked me from the first page. Not only that, but prior to picking up this book, I’ve never read any science fiction work and didn’t have an interest in the genre. Now, though, I am counting the days until the sequel comes out! The storyline is compelling, the plot twists surprised me and I couldn’t put Connor down until I read the very last page.
Connor is a 4 ½ star read for sure! Pick up your copy of Dormaine G.’s great sci-fi adventure! You’ll be glad you did!
The Moon Sisters is enchanting. In just under 350 pages, author Therese Walsh weaves a tale of two sisters and their journey to find answers to some of life’s questions. Olivia Moon is adventurous and free spirited. Her older sister, Jazz, reality focused with an interest in having a little more control in life than her sister. Olivia and Jazz’s journey is both literal and symbolic as they strive to understand their deceased mother, her death, self and each other.
Therese’s second novel is sure to be just as popular with readers as her debut novel The Last Will of Moira Leahy, which was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books of 2009. Enchanting, mysterious, and spot on in regard to the bond of sisterhood, you won’t go wrong reading The Moon Sisters.
This novel will have you reflecting on your own sisterly relationships, the idea of family and the beauty of forgiveness.
Music is my magic wand. it can soothe my frustrated mood, help me feel emotion when numbness settles in, and it can motivate me in a heartbeat.
Unlike Owen, the character in Sarah Dessen's novel, I'm not enlightened though. Owen would be disappointed that I favor country music and even "mass produced crap sung by teenager[s] completely controlled by corporate marketing". But I can't help it. Sometimes it's the repetitive lyrics of Party in the U.S.A. that helps me believe all my dreams can come true even if I don't fit in with the celebrity scene.
I believe any music lover would love Just Listen. Regardless of the genre or the artist or the meaning behind the music of your choice, Sarah Dessen teaches us all a thing or two about music and communication.
Yes, communication. her characters (exquisitely detailed) weave all manner of communication into their lives. They don't even have to talk all the time to get their point across. Because in this novel, sometimes actions speak louder than words.
A tale of friendship, sisterhood, family and silence, Just Listen is a 5* read that I didn't want to put down once I picked it up.
I'm emotionally spent Tired. Feeling like I need to cry but not really knowing who I'm crying for -myself or the characters in Wally Lamb's We Are Water...maybe both. I'm sitting on a plane and have just finished reading this novel. During the course of reading it, I found myself experiencing a myriad of emotions. Frustration with the art world lingo. Well, with my ignorance of it anyway I know nothing about art and found the first chapter to be a bit difficult to get through as I was introduced to the nuances of the subject while trying to sink into the story line.
I was intrigued by the theme of the book -the family secrets, the rules that the characters lived by. Whether the rules were handed down from someone else, a previous generation of others or were made up along the way; the various view points were weaved beautifully throughout each scene. I felt like I was given an opportunity to get to know the characters. To really learn about their beliefs and points of view and values. As a mental health provider I found the portrayals of provider and client to be vivid and honest in the descriptions. The contrast of beliefs between the characters provided a depth and understanding about how individuals who believe so differently can still get along and love one another. Poignant, descriptive, and well-written. 5* for sure.