Cheri Reviews Walking the Labyrinth by Lois Cloarec Hart

When I was sent a copy of Walking the Labyrinth, put out by Ylva Publishing, I was very intrigued by the description. I’ll share it here for you.

Is there life after loss? Lee Glenn, co-owner of a private security company, didn’t think so. Crushed by grief after the death of her wife, she uncharacteristically retreats from life.

But love doesn’t give up easily. After her friends and family stage a dramatic intervention, Lee rejoins the world of the living, resolved to regain some sense of normalcy but only half-believing that it’s possible. Her old friend and business partner convinces her to take on what appears on the surface to be a minor personal protection detail.

The assignment takes her far from home, from the darkness of her loss to the dawning of a life reborn. Along the way, Lee encounters people unlike any she’s ever met before: Wrong-Way Wally, a small-town oracle shunned by the locals for his off-putting speech and mannerisms; and Wally’s best friend, Gaëlle, a woman who not only translates the oracle’s uncanny predictions, but who also appears to have a deep personal connection to life beyond life. Lee is shocked to find herself fascinated by Gaëlle, despite dismissing the woman’s exotic beliefs as “hooey.”

But opening yourself to love also means opening yourself to the possibility of pain. Will Lee have the courage to follow that path, a path that once led to the greatest agony she’d ever experienced? Or will she run back to the cold comfort of a safer solitary life?

That really does sum up the book pretty well. There were a few things that made me want to read this book. The main characters were older, Lee had experienced the type of loss that scares the crap out of me, and there’s some mysticism mixed in there, too. And, overall, I wasn’t disappointed. The first half or so of the book is dealing the the assignment that takes Lee away from home and gives her and Gaëlle the opportunity to develop their friendship. The second half of the book was, for me, much more engaging and interesting. Although, I do admit to shedding a few tears in the first chapter.

There were a couple of things that pulled me out of the story a bit but they’re probably not things that most people will care about. I’m pretty picky about dialogue and some of the conversations felt more scripted than natural. They still allowed me to connect with and learn about the characters so, again, it’s likely not to be a big deal to anyone other than folks who focus strongly on conversational exchanges. The only other thing I want to mention that bothered me is that the group of characters that are in their very early 30’s seemed to be closer to 16 in their actions and speech. At first I thought it was just one character but then there was a whole group of them and they all seemed to have the mentality and emotional responses of teenagers. It just didn’t ring true to me. But, again, that’s in the first half of the book and I quickly forgot about them once they were gone.

Overall, I liked the book and think that lovers of romance novels – particularly folks looking for older protagonists and/or mysticism – will enjoy it, too.

Click here to download a sample or to purchase Walking the Labyrinth

Tick,Tock by Karin Kallmaker

I’m not really fond of the autumn as everything starts to points towards a dark, cold and windy winter season that will last for months, luckily enough there are a few things that lighten up the bleak autumn days – The Halloween Invitational at The Royal Academy of Bards and The Autumn Romance writing contest at The Athenaeum!

Yes you’ve got it right a lot of new fic’s to lighten up your life – follow the links and go look at the new stories for your self.

The Halloween Invitational gives us a number of fic’s from the pen of well-known writers from the (fan) fiction world. I can’t say that I have read them all, but I did take a look at the ones penned by the writers that I like the most.

If you want a taste of the possibilities of new love you can look up Artemis Callaghan’s “Light up the sky with Standard fireworks” it’s not exactly Halloween, but it’s a celebration and it holds a promise of a new loving relationship. If you can live suspended in time in the memory of shared love you might want to look up Karin Kallmaker’s “Tick, Tock” – it’s touching but sad, and if you are ok with a visit from beyond – you can look up Lois Cloarec Harts “Midnight Message”. Finally if you want a bit of a scare – and it is a Halloween Invitational after all – you can try out the short fic (!) from S X Meagher “Stormy Weather”.

The Autumn Romance writing contest at The Athenaeum is quit different – this is a contest! We – the readers – get a month to read the 9 stories entered in the contest and vote for the two titles that each of us like best. While the voting is on the stories is posted without information on who penned each story. As long as the contest run I don’t think that I should tell you which stories that I like the best, but I guess that it would be ok to say that I do have a couple of favourites.

The stories entered present a mix of storylines – you’ll find a story with a bit of a supernatural soul mate theme in an ancient Chinese setting in “Forbidden History”, a short modern-day romance in “Still Standing”, and a story of mature love that lasts a lifetime in “An October Romance” – and a number of other themes. I urge you to go read and cast your vote.

The Grand Old Lady by Lois Cloarec Hart

I hate it, when a story makes me cry, and this one did. Of course, in order to do that, the story has to touch me, and obviously this review is a recommendation for you to read it.

Hailey Anders is a happy woman when she is accepted as a manager at the Peregine Hotel, an all-female residence that is referred to as the “Grand Old Lady”, having been built in 1903.

There is another grand old lady, however, who has been living at the Peregrine seemingly forever, Miss Margaret Coulter, a lady in her eighties. She is held in very high regard by the entire staff, and before long, Hailey and Margaret become close friends. I’d venture to say that they fall in love with one another, but in a grandparents/children sense of the word.

However, Margaret reveals the story of her love to another woman to Hailey, and the way the two care for each other is deeply touching.

Unless you are allergic to tears, don’t miss this one.