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Laura Pedersen Books In Order

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Publication Order of Hallie Palmer Books

Beginner's Luck (2003)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Heart's Desire (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Big Shuffle (2006)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Best Bet (2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Going Away Party (1999)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Last Call (2003)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fool's Mate (2011)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Picture Books

Unplugged: Ella Gets Her Family Back (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ava's Adventure (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wanda's Better Way (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dana Digs In (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

The Sweetest Hours: Love Stories...of a Kind (2006)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Play Money (1991)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Street-Smart Career Guide: A Step-by-Step Program for Your Career Development (1993)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Buffalo Gal: A Memoir (2008)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Buffalo Unbound: A Celebration (2010)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Planes, Trains, and Auto-Rickshaws: A Journey Through Modern India (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Life In New York: How I Learned to Love Squeegee Men, Token Suckers, Trash Twisters, and Subway Sharks (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Theory of Everything Else: Essays (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Laura Pedersen
Laura Pedersen is an American playwright and an author with over 20 published works to her name. The New York born writer spent a good portion of her youth working in The American Stock Exchange, and the job inspired her first novel, Play Money. She also worked with The New York Times throughout the 90s before concentrating most of her efforts on her writing.

Thanks to her dedication to everything she did, the talented author was recognized as one Of Ten Outstanding Young Americans by President Clinton in 1994. Currently, Pedersen lives in New York, where she also tutors at the Booker T. Washington Learning Center

Beginner’s Luck
Beginner’s Luck comes first in the Hallie Palmer series. The novel introduces the readers to the protagonist Hallie Palmer, the second born in a family of seven. Hallie is just sixteen, a dropout, and a math genius who excels in poker and other games of chance.

However, after accumulating a tidy sum, Hallie has gone on a losing streak, and all the money she had accumulated is now gone. After being kicked out of the casino she went to during school hours and being grounded at home, Hallie decides to do something different. An ad in the local paper for a yard person catches her eye, and soon enough, Hallie is working in Stockton’s elegant home.

The Stockton’s household is made up of Mrs. Olivia Stockton, a woman who is a bit odd but enjoying every moment of her life. Now in her sixties, Olivia enjoys spending her time writing poetry, reading soft-porn stories, and taking care of her Alzheimer’s husband, who is only referred to as Judge. Olivia’s son, Bernard, also lives in the house with his lover, Gil. Bernard is an antique dealer and a gastronome who enjoys making mouthwatering food for his family. On the other hand, Gil is the local theater director and clearly the only sane person in this household. There is also Rocky, an alcoholic and staunch catholic who helps care for Mr. Stockton.

While Hallie starts as a yard person, the Stockton welcome her to their home, and here she learns a lot about life. The family also shows her how to garden and offers numerous teachings on literature, antiques, history, and old music and movies. Every chapter in this book comes with an expression used in poker, and it somehow reflects whatever will happen therein. For anyone familiar with gambling, the jokes come on every page, and there is no doubt that Hallie is one of the funniest narrators you will ever find. Get to read bout all her adventures in the Stockton’s household and the many lessons she learns after just a short stay with them. Thanks to the narrator’s quirky humor, you can be sure that you will never have to endure a dull moment.

Beginner’s Luck is a fresh and funny novel filled with characters who will steal your heart and remain in your mind long after you get to the last page. All the characters come with major flaws, but they are also charming and so believable. This is also a coming-of-age story. It is amazing watching Hallie grow and seeing how much her life changes in one year. While she is gifted in one area, she also comes off as naïve and vulnerable in the beginning, and it is great that she is willing to learn from others. There will be a love interest for the protagonist, but it is refreshing that the author doesn’t focus too much on this in the book.

Last Call
Last Call stars Hayden MacBride, a man ailing from cancer and with just about a year to live. Unlike most people suffering from such a serious illness, Hayden is indomitable and good-humored. He quickly accepts that he doesn’t have much time to live and is determined to make the best use of his remaining days. While he is optimistic in most instances, Hayden is not willing to drag his daughter Diana and his grandson down with his illness. Instead, he enjoys spending his time crashing funerals and enjoying the free food with his grandson in tow. The funerals serve as a learning ground about the afterlife and a break from Diana, who spends all her free time searching for a cure for her father.

During one funeral, Hayden meets nun Rosamond. He is instantly smitten, and the two become inseparable. Rosamond turns out to be Hayden’s best teacher on love and how to live. However, nothing in the convent prepared Rosamond for the people she is going to interact with in Harden’s world. There is his ever-vigilant daughter who can’t seem to trust anyone with her father, as well as her son Joey, a sweet boy who wants nothing but to break free from his overprotective mother. There are also Hayden’s friends and neighbors, Bobbie Anne and Hank. Bobbie offers great advice and is quite the empath, while Hank is an architect thinking about becoming a priest.

Hayden is one character you will love immediately you meet him. His optimism is almost contagious, and it is admirable how he is quick to accept that he isn’t going to live forever. Bobbie, Hank, and Rosamond are just as interesting. It is funny that Hayden thinks that Hank should marry his daughter and not become a priest as he wishes. The story moves fast, and since the book is relatively short, it is perfect when want a quick read.

Last Call is a funny story of laughter, love, and a man’s desire to enjoy the few days left in his life. Through this story, the author proves that we encounter every day in our lives. If only we could open our hearts and eyes to these miracles, our lives would be so fulfilling. This book is perfect if you are looking for a feel-good read. It also reminds you to enjoy every day as it comes as none of us is going to live forever. By the last page, your heart will be full, and you should have a wide smile on your face.

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