Five star review by Angel Lepire, author, TRADING POISONS
I don't know how much you can tell by how someone 'usually' rates the books they read, but let me just say, this was definitely five stars all the way! It was an engaging book, and although it took me a few days, it was all I was reading whenever I had the chance! The characters were interesting, and the suspense was great. You could see little things being hinted at throughout the book that made you think, 'maybe he did...' It was so well written & edited, which I greatly appreciate as a reader & as a writer. I HIGHLY recommend this book if you are at all into mystery/thrillers or just like being sucked into a story. Excellent read.
Through a Broken Window
Lois Henderson, reviewer--- Book Pleasures
Macabre and sinister, these ten tales vary widely in length (ranging from a few flash fiction vignettes of only a few pages to the comparatively lengthy "The Devil of the Desatoya". However, what they do all have in common is a disquieting setting that intrigues the reader and pulls you into an unsettling environment that makes even the commonplace occurrences of everyday life take on an aura that pulsates with evil and the disturbed. The points of view that are reflected in the stories are distinctive and range across the ages, starting with the warped mind-set of a seven-year-old boy, whose obsession with cranberries turns into a fixation on a "shimmering red baseball bat", which he wields with crazed fervour as a weapon of assault on a family pet (Christmas Cranberries). Top that with the allegorical figure of Death itself, traditionally fitted with a scythe, which comes to fetch the murderer of a man who was sleeping with his wife (Death at Jungo). Although the situations described are quite gritty in nature, the language used to describe the unfolding scenarios does not make excessive use of profanities or obscenities, so that it is not offensive in any way. While some of the tales fringe on science fiction, others make skilful use of the natural environment to heighten the sense of impending doom (for a blending of the two, see the use of the forest in "Sylvan Rain").
Falconer's vivid descriptions of an imaginary, haunted and haunting world makes the elements of these tales so tangible and readily accessible that they masterfully encapsulate the vulnerable elements of the human psyche within a microcosm of the broader society. By prefacing the tales with author's notes, Falconer, as it were, distances herself from the actual contents themselves, so that the stories can be seen to take on a life of their own. By creating a midpoint between herself, as the author of the stories, and her audience in this way, she is able to achieve a triangulation of the text-author-audience, so that the protagonists can all the more clearly be seen as existing in their own right, and having a distinctive voice that is quite separate from her own. This illusion of separateness is a way in which Falconer can relate the madness and weirdness of the narrative, while retaining the objectivity and apparent sanity of the omnipresent, but implicit, creator of such a disturbed universe.
Generally, an impressive collection that is likely to appeal to a wide audience . . .
Hope Rises from the Ashes
Four star review by Pam, MOONLIGHT READER.com
...I should have read the first book, but even though I didn't I was able to follow the story. And wow, what a story! It had me hooked from the first page. The story is a little dark, so if you only like to read about flowers, unicorns, and rainbows, this probably isn't the book for you. Seriously though, this book deals with not only heartache, but physical abuse. However, Collie is a strong woman and pulls through.
The point of view changes back and forth from Collie to one other. I'm usually not a fan of the point of view switch-a-roo, but it was done from chapter to chapter and done for a reason which I don't want to give away if you've read the first book.
Also, the genre is a little hard to categorize. It feels mostly like a historical romance, but there is a little fantasy in there; a dragon, a flying lion. But even with those aspects of fantasy, the story feels closer to reality than fantasy. The author even states in the beginning, "Thus, I deliver Hope Rises from the Ashes (again, a story that rides the cusp of genre. Purists beware.)
Although this story is pretty dark, it is really good. I didn't want to stop reading; I had to find out what happened next. Pick up a copy and get lost in Collie's world for a while. In the end, you'll be glad you did.
HOPE FLIES ON BROKEN WINGS
Five star review by Shawn Remfrey, LITERARY LITTER.com
It's the last summer of Collie's innocence. She's at the stage where she must choose her future. Will it be the handsome and safe Arrick whom her parents adore? It would be the proper thing to do. Or will it be the dirty Ganty boy, Dugan, who makes her heart race with forbidden desires?
This book was a rare treat for me. Having already fallen in love with the sequel, Hope Rises from the Ashes, it was a unique opportunity for me to go back and get the beginning of the story. Having spent an entire book with Collie and Dugan already, I loved being able to see how their story began.
This is a difficult review to write, however. I don't feel like I can do the book justice by reviewing it alone. It stands just fine by itself, but knowing what's coming in the next book gives the story more depth.
Hope Flies lets us meet Collie and Dugan and all those surrounding them. We get to see what sort of people they are, their hopes and dreams and desires. We're right there with them as they fall in love and try to figure out if it's worth it, considering all the obstacles. This first book, as a standalone, is a great love story. There's some grit and violence, but just enough to keep you randomly teetering on the edge of your seat. It's definitely worth reading on its own, but see what happens when we read the second book after.
The second book starts where the first left off, well, shortly after. We get to find out the continuing saga of Dugan. We learn where he is and fight along with him to regain his memory and come to terms with the past. Collie...Wow...Collie as a character is a pretty intense study. She goes from this little girl who knows she's supposed to do what's right and proper to becoming an abused 'kept' woman. Their love story continues in the second book, but with a lot more grit and violence.
As a whole, I'm in love with this series. I look at the first book as the scene setting for the second book. It has a great story on its own, but it adds so much texture and 'Ooooh! Now I get it!' factor to the second that I can't really separate them.