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19 Mar 2009

Avenging Autumn Seasons Change Series Book 1

Avenging Autumn Seasons Change Series Book 1 of 4 written by Derek A. Schneider and published by AuthorHouse is a tragic romance at 230 pages in length.

Derek Schneider lives in Camby, Indiana with his wife and two sons. After co-writing and supplying the artwork for a little known, very independent comic book that was eventually put on hold, he decided to focus all of his energy on writing. Inspired by various musical artists, Avenging Autumn is Mr Schneider’s first published book, the second book in the series The Wintermen is also now available.

The cover art for Avenging Autumn depicts a graveyard with a dark haired woman leaning against one of the head stones; this lower half of the image is shown in black and white while the top half of trees are shown in their full autumn glory with orange coloured leaves. The title is central top in bold black lettering while the authors name is in black at the bottom with a white background. The back cover also has the autumn trees at the top below this can be found a short synopsis and author biography.

Avenging Autumn Seasons Change Book 1 follows the story of Benny Writeman and Autumn Sanders. We see them as fully grown adults married and growing up their love blossoming. When Autumn is killed and returns from the grave telling Benny vampires are responsible and she can only truly rest once they are dead, together they turn to the only two people they know they can trust to help them. Death and destruction is their path in seeking those responsible while the family is brought closer together in losing one of their own.

Derek Schneider has created a great and slightly unusual story which holds together nicely. With its historical references I believe it’s the comical nature between the characters which helps to move the story along. The Writeman brothers are very much like the Winchester brothers (Supernatural) brought up in a family with a dark and dangerous secret. Even in dark times love can be a beacon of hope and can still exist between the living and the dead. While death is at their doorstep it is their love for one another and those around them which keeps them fighting onward.

Avenging Autumn is a book aimed at those around the age of 18 years plus and I’d recommend it to anyone, the characters are funny, and the story is ever expanding. I had this book complete within two days and give both Derek Schneider and Avenging Autumn Book 1 four out of five stars.

By R.N. Hadley

4 Mar 2009

Postmarked Baltimore

Postmarked Baltimore is written by Jeff LeJeune and published by Broadmoor Books an imprint of Sterling House Publisher, the novel is both religious and philosophical, and 214 pages in length including prologue.

Jeff LeJeune changed the direction of his life after he survived a deadly disease at 21. He is now a teacher at St. Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles, LA, where he was recently named a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction. Mr LeJeune has also written a fantasy novel, The Final Chase, which was his first book published, also with Sterling House.

The cover art for Postmarked Baltimore was created by Brandon M. Bittner, it depicts the close up of what appears to be cream paper or parchment with a red ribbon just off centre lying landscape with a bow at the centre of the front cover and encompassing through the back cover. The title ‘Postmarked Baltimore’ is coloured red centre top of the cover while the authors name is also red at the bottom. There is also a small review by author John Ed Bradley. The back cover however does not contain a synopsis, but in fact two reviews and a biography of the author, Jeff LeJeune.

Father Perry Burns lived a solitary life but before that there was Noel, the love of his life, the woman he’d do anything for, she was the one, she was his but for Father Perry Burns she no longer existed. Here we see two sides to the main character, Perry Burns, a teacher, a man in love doing everything he can to be with the woman he loves and, Father Perry Burns a man tormented by the inner demons of his past and trying everything to forget, until the day 15 years later when he finds a later from Noel, ‘Postmarked Baltimore’.

Postmarked Baltimore is a story namely of journey’s, of the journey through life ever complicated, of the journey of a relationship tormented by truth and lies and the journey into man-hood, of growing up, experiencing life and the real world seeing how good and at the same time evil it can be, making a stand and taking the right path.

It is our past and our parents who shape who we become in the world, how we handle truths and lies, good and evil; they teach us to protect those who we love and that self sacrifice is the only sacrifice one should make, and yet nothing but life prepares us for dealing with our inner conflicts.

Postmarked Baltimore reminds us that memories can be both healthy and fatal, and that it can only take one to either make or break you. Perry Burns traded one ring for another in becoming Father Perry Burns, but at what cost? What really occurred 15 years ago?

We all die in the end, but our journey of up’s and down’s, positives and negatives, starts and finishes is also full of life and death. We are the phoenix on a journey through life; there is no destination just the stops we make along the way. It’s a never ending cycle of learning from the mistakes we make.

Jeff LeJeune is a wonderful author who has created highly believable characters and situations that you will often be left thinking of similar moments having occurred in your own life or someone you may know. The writing flows easy and makes for a quick read as the chapters aren’t too long or drawn out. I’d recommend Postmarked Baltimore to anyone aged 16 or over, and I would even recommend this book to anyone wanting to find a book to get them back into reading. I give Postmarked Baltimore 4.5 out of 5 stars.

By R.N. Hadley