The Other Side of Nothing
Olive is feeling the weight of the world on her heart. When a tragic loss and unrelenting memories from ghosts of the past leave her at the edge of sanity with thoughts of suicide, she decides to hire a hitman …for her own death. Cash in hand, Olive meets her hitman Russ only to realize two things. One, her ghosts of the past won’t be laid to rest so quickly. And two, she’s somehow hired the one hitman with a conscience. Olive is about to discover her story is far from over.
The Other Side of Nothing is a literary drama novel by J.L. Pete. Struggling to let go of her traumatic past, Olive Owens has lost her will to live, leading her to seek the services of Russ James Beckett, a hitman who takes up to 30 days to change his clients’ minds before he acts upon their wishes. But Russ sees something in Olive and doesn’t want her to die. The two bond over their tragedies and develop a burgeoning friendship. Russ takes it upon himself to help Olive see that she has much to live for while Olive learns more about Russ and his mysterious organization. However, it is never easy to avoid the ghost of one’s loved ones. Will Olive find closure to her sorrows? What does the future hold for Russ and Olive?
The Other Side of Nothing by J.L. Pete is a moving story that touches upon some heavy topics, such as losing a loved one, depression, suicide, and death. It follows two people who find help and kindred souls in each other under the most unlikely circumstances. The character-driven narrative contains a hint of magical realism and the paranormal, adding a distinct flavor to the story’s darker aspects. Olive is a person whose life is turned upside down after a harrowing tragedy. Her relationship with Russ is the anchor around which the plot revolves. Russ is a hitman with a heart of gold. I liked that, despite the subject matter, it ends optimistically. Highly recommended.
Death Drives a Minivan
When North Grove Farmers Market worker Kerrigan meets Death on the job, he’s pretty certain there’s been a mistake. When Cupid arrives too, Kerrigan becomes pretty certain he’s completely lost his damn mind!
A hot boxed minivan soul negotiation later, Kerrigan learns in order to keep his soul, he must help someone find love and mend a few hearts along the way. The one person handpicked for him to help is a Costco demonstration girl named Hannah. The girl he fell for through an online dating site and then rejected before they met. The one girl, as luck would have it, who also has a matching soul in jeopardy.
Coffee addictions, old flames, a haunted church cemetery, and magic arrows that determine their fate. Is it a classic fairy-tale love story? Definitely not. But does Death really drive a minivan? Oh, you bet he does.
Death Drives a Minivan is a dark romantic comedy written by J.L. Pete. Kerrigan had never really given much thought to the Grim Reaper, aside from the images of spectral hooded figures bearing scythes usually seen during the Halloween season. And he never would have expected the Grim Reaper to make an appearance at the North Grove Farmer’s Market where he sold organic produce. Kerrigan was really a pot grower by avocation, but he hadn’t yet figured out how to get the proper licensing to do it as a business, so for now, he made do with selling carrots, kale and pears at the market. So when a strangely attired man with long white hair, who oddly enough, reminded him of Steve Martin, addressed him by name and pointed a long finger at a silver minivan, Kerrigan had to seriously consider what was going on. Was he really doomed to end it all in a minivan? Sensing that no other options were available to him, Kerrigan resignedly followed the creepy man to his minivan. Obviously things would never be same.
J.L. Pete’s dark romantic comedy, Death Drives a Minivan, strips the ordinary out of the everyday world, including the local farmer’s market and neighborhood Costco store, and it shines an unnerving light at the strangeness lurking underneath. I watched spellbound as Kerrigan found himself at the center of his own bizarre Christmas Carol and wondered just how he was going to get himself out of it — not his life, but, rather, his own unsettling predicament. Pete’s characters are quirky and original, and their individual stories are poignant and worth following. The plot is a Dickensian adventure through the absurd underpinnings of the everyday world. And yes, I’ll be keeping an eye out for silver minivans in future and opting to stay out of their driver’s focus. Death Drives a Minivan is highly recommended.
Call It MagicMagician Harper Adams doesn’t know it yet, but she has a guardian angel of sorts. Not one sent from the heavens but a less than law abiding time traveler from the future. Against every warning Harper’s guardian angel, Reagan Snow, has been given to stay the course and stop his playboy ways, he’s fallen in love. How is this even possible? Only time will tell.
J.L. Pete’s Call It Magic is a smart, funny, heartwarming love story. It is unique in its genre in that it comes with a sci-fi twist. Disappointed that her family forgot her birthday – again – and stood up by her date, Magician Harper Adams ends up celebrating her birthday all alone in a restaurant. When she discovers her car has been towed away, it appears as if all the angels of misfortune are up against her. But when she accepts a ride to the towing yard from a helpful stranger, she realizes this one is a good angel. Despite his murky past, Reagan Snow seems like the type of guy a girl could easily fall for. Except for one little complication: he’s from forty-two years into the future. On supervised parole after having served a jail sentence for multiple DUIs, Reagan Snow is ordered to time travel to 1993 to help Harper. What he expects will be just an annoying inconvenience turns out to be a major complication as he falls hopelessly in love with her, considering one of the cardinal rules of his probation is not to get personal with his ‘case.’
Call It Magic is one of the most entertaining, endearingly hilarious love stories I have read in a long time, and I was hooked from page one. J.L. Pete’s style is smart and sassy, rich in witty dialogue, and her characters are totally likeable. It was both fun and touching to follow Harper and Reagan as their love grows and strengthens, despite the impossible hurdle of time. I found myself either laughing out loud at their antics or literally moved to tears for their seemingly impossible situation. I was riveted up until the very end, and I would love to discover that there is a sequel to Harper and Reagan’s story.