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review 2016-03-31 19:53
Depravity by Emilie J. Howard
Depravity - Emilie J. Howard

Lehem, Iowa, 1979: it’s a small ranching community, tight knit, a little afraid of outsiders, and into rodeos and parades. Pretty soon they won’t know what hit them. This story is told in three parts, but it’s a tight story and one part flows right into the next.

Peter Carston is fresh out of high school and new to the Sheriff’s department. He’ll be receiving some tough on-the-job training with the mayhem that’s about to ensue. There’s a new stranger in town; he’s exceedingly polite and it’s obvious from the beginning that he knows something about the bloody messes that happen during the full moon. He’s the second son of the Warfield family and not very happy to claim the name. Unknown to Peter, his family history will make him a target.

So things come to a head with the second son and the story enters Part II. The eldest Warfield son arrives in town and tries his best to make amends for the mess that occurred in Part I. Still, Peter and the rest of the Sheriff’s office aren’t quick to trust. Their fears are soon validated as yet more bodies keep turning up. The Warfield brothers have a dark family history which comes to light as the city girds it’s collective loins for the show down. Part III continues the grudge match with an unexpected assailant.

On one had, the story has a Western genre feel to it – good guys with high morals protecting the common people. On the other hand, this is so a horror tale with it’s body count and twisted villains. It’s an interesting mashup and I wasn’t convinced that it would work. The beginning is pretty darn slow and the manner-minding young hero (Peter) was pretty boring. However, the bad guys are very interesting and it’s really them who steal the show and carry the story forward.

There’s an asylum and some twisted human experiments. Then the Warfield patriarch has some pretty warped ideas of family loyalty. Toss in some demented members from a mercenary band and you have yourself one big fuster cluck. This book definitely explores a few different faces of depravity.

There’s not many ladies in this story which might explain the steady decline of Lehem. Peter has a high school sweetheart that has to be protected and coddled all the way through. There’s only one female police office and she’s nameless, on and off the screen in a jiffy. Then there’s the lost love of one of the Warfield’s and her young son. She too is admired for her beauty and coddled throughout the book. Really, the only interesting female character is the loud, obnoxious sister of one of the unfortunate murdered souls.

I very much enjoyed Howard’s Cold Hollow and I can see echoes of that same genius in this book but it was not the same fully engrossing experience. I enjoyed the initial mystery and then the reasons behind the insane killings. I even reveled a little in taking out the last few bad guys. I will continue to explore this author’s works.

I received a copy of this book at no cost (via the narrator) in exchange for an honest review.

Narration: J. Scott Bennett did a good job with feel of the story – light Western twang for most of the characters. His cultured accents for the rich Warfield family were well done. His little kid voice was spot on.

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text 2015-12-26 14:31
Dr. Howard J. Marans, MD

Dr. Howard J. Marans, MD


Orthopaedic Surgery


Howard J Marans Md

11190 Warner Ave Ste 306

Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Insurance Accepted (32)


Dr. Marans's Overview


Dr. Howard J. Marans graduated from the Univ of Toronto, Fac of Med, Toronto, Ont, Canada in 1982. He works in Fountain Valley, CA and specializes in Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. Dr. Marans is affiliated with Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center and Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center.


Dr. Marans's Experience


Years in Practice: 33


Dr. Marans's Specialties


Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine

Dr. Marans's Education & Training


Medical School: Univ of Toronto, Fac of Med, Toronto, Ont, Canada; Graduated 1982


Dr. Marans's Accepted Insurance


Aetna Basic HMO

Aetna Choice POS II

Aetna HMO

Aetna HMO Deductible Plan CA members only

Aetna Managed Choice POS Open Access

Aetna Savings Plus of CA

Aetna Signature Administrators PPO

Aetna Vitalidad Plus CA con Aetna

BCBS Blue Card PPO

Blue Cross CA Advantage PPO Preferred DirectAccess Plus


Dr. Marans's Office Information & Appointments


Office Locations


Howard J Marans Md

11190 Warner Ave Ste 306

Fountain Valley, CA 92708

(714) 979-8981


Office Hours and Information

Other Physicians in Dr. Marans's Practice


Not Available

Dr. Marans's Hospital Affiliations


Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center

Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center

Source: trello.com/b/WwEsIudN/dr-howard-marans
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review 2015-12-22 19:40
Cold Hollow by Emilie J. Howard
Cold Hollow - Emilie J. Howard,J. Scott Bennett,Emilie J Howard

Angus Barner is relocating his family to a quaint town, Cold Hollow, in Vermont because he’s been offered a good job there. His wife Sophia has sold her bakery and plans to open a new one. The kids are excited over the adventure. Everything seems peachy until the odd rules of Cold Hollow are enforced. The town is full of odd people who have odd habits. Not all of them are benevolent folk.

The story opens by jumping from one character to the next pretty quickly. Don’t let this throw you off as we will get to know these characters more later in the story. Myrna has an abusive husband, Bob, and she’s just about fed up with him. Meanwhile, a truck driver (Ray) fell asleep at the wheel, causing an accident. Forest Ranger Bullock is meeting out some serious assault on Hugo. All this is going on as the Barners pack up the last of their belongings in Connecticut and head out to Vermont.

Once the Barners arrive in Cold Hollow, the focus shifts to them for the majority of the story. Sophia revels in opening her new bakery. She puts the kids (Liam and Leila) to work part time there and even then needs to hire another hand to keep things going. Myrna becomes an important part of the story as she forms a friendship with Sophia and tries to smooth the way for the Barners in the town.

Mizar is a very shady character. Technically, he is the mayor of the town but pretty much he is a bully with authority backing him up. He checks up on each and every town resident regularly and this is usually to elicit some kind of protection money. He uses Bullock as his muscle, when needed. As he tries to elicit one shady tax after another from the Barners, Sophia starts pushing back. I enjoyed trying to figure out Mizar. At first, I thought he might once have been a kind of good guy that had to instate a kind of martial law and then his ego got too big for his britches and things had just been getting worse since then. That didn’t turn out to be the case, but I definitely enjoyed trying to figure him out.

The Barners are generally good-natured and this gets them into an untenable position. However, they have treated several of the townsfolk with kindness, that few are indifferent to them being bullied. Myrna especially has grown quite found of them all. She knows how the town works and she does her best to smooth things over and/or beat the cranky into submission behind the scenes. Indeed, Myrna’s story arc (from abused house wife to independent bakery assistant) was most interesting. She’s not a goody twoshoes nor does she believe in the absolute right or wrong of an action. She’s really a kind of grey character, committing some actions a person might not agree with but doing so for very good reasons. She quickly became my favorite character.

Meanwhile, we were privy to that serious beat down Hugo took from Ranger Bullock at the beginning of the book. Hugo pops up again later, though he isn’t moving too well. When I started the book, I didn’t know if Hugo deserved the beating or not. It was hard for me to tell who was the bad guy in that situation, even as I disliked Bullock’s obvious enjoyment in his work. Later, it does become clear who is the bad guy between these two and that all ties back to Mizar.

With all these interesting characters running around, the plot thickens. There’s no way to call out of the valley, even with cell phones. Whenever the Barners want to leave on a shopping trip, they have to check in with the local law enforcement. The rules are indeed strange. Then Angus makes a chilling discovery, which is followed by yet another worrisome discovery. The Barners don’t like what they see now that the curtain has been pulled back.

The ending was not what I expected. I really felt for the Barners in that last bit of the book. Myrna steps up and shines as a beacon of righteous payback for all the years of abuse from Mizar. Even as she started making her plans, pulling in allies, and calling in favors, I still wasn’t sure if she would be successful. Indeed, I had my little doubts that all would not end well. The tension in this last 5th or 6th of the book was intense! When all was said and done, I was satisfied with how things turned out. Not everyone gets out alive but many wrongs have been righted. It was a very satisfying book.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

Narration: J. Scott Bennett had to do some New England accents for this story. Most of the time he was great, though sometimes characters would slip out the New England accent (like Sophia). I didn’t really mind this much as each character still had a unique voice. The female voices were believable for the most part – one little old lady sounded like an asthmatic man (but, hey, that might be me in 40 years). I liked his gruff voice for Hugo and his kid voices.

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text 2015-08-09 23:33
Reading progress update: I've read 20 out of 343 pages.
Fabled Circus - J. Stephen Howard

Putting this aside until I can give it my complete attention. School starts soon and that give me 3 hours a day where I am not working or mommying it.

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