Thursday, May 22, 2014

Steve Justice's: "The One" 5/5 stars

Steve Justice's The One tells the story of an unnamed, discontent professor who desperately wants to feel like he is living his life rather than just submitting to the whims of others. 

Through the professor's thoughts and actions, Justice expresses the unpredictable and irresistible passions of love and what it can drive a desperate man to do. 

The professor's frame of mind is gradually overtaken by his need for appreciation, affection and companionship. His decisions reshape his responsible, conservative mindset into one of wild, almost masochistic abandon, making him a hazard for himself and anyone who gets in the way of his wants. 
I urge readers to read beyond the chauvinistic, narrow minded personality of the professor and view the brilliance behind the scenes of Justice's work.

This novel is meant to be enjoyed as a psychological thriller. 

The effects of jealously, tragedy, more than a decade of unfulfillment, and a lackluster marriage, congeal in the mind of the professor over the course of the novel and bring his characterization to life. 

Past the mid-point of the novel, I read not for the plot (though it is well told and well constructed) but to understand the professor's changing psyche, and to observe how his transformation would affect his life and the lives of those he holds most dear.

For readers looking for a thrilling, literary read, this novel is definitely "the one". Okay bad pun... but seriously, Steve Justice's "The One" will satisfy your needs for a fresh literary voice. Coupled with the excitement of how the professor's search for romance is going to conclude and if all his efforts are going to leave him better or worse, this is a novel you do not want to pass up. Five stars.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Elizabeth Rose's: Lost in Apple Grove 4/5 stars

Elizabeth Rose's "Lost in Apple Grove" tells the story of a woman named Esther Mathers, a dedicated family woman, a veteran of war time America, and a general inspiration in terms of her diamond hard character. 

Rose builds Esther's characterization throughout the work, leading the reader through a series of flashbacks derived from Esther's dementia. 

Music, objects, smells and situations serve as catalysts for her memories, and as lost as she is in her own mind and in the physical sense, I had the distinct impression her journey was somehow bringing her closer to herself and her estranged family.

Through her memories we also are introduced to many members of her family. Their tumultuous life seems to have cut their family ties, and Esther's escape may be what they need to come back together. 

The makings of a very emotional and suspenseful story are within the pages of Lost In Apple Grove. There are many places in this draft that leave me desiring elaboration. 

Sometimes the draft felt rushed. Scenes constructed from Esther's memories were set up very well and felt integral to the story because of how Rose meticulously penned them. Other scenes and characters were blurred in my mind's eye, and I'm not sure if this was meant to be symbolic, as if the characters perceptions were not as honed as the memories of Esther. 

As a whole the work is full of thematic elements that I readily picked up on. If more attention were given to the draft, this work could easily become a praised literary novel. I recommend this novel for those looking for an interesting, literary read.