Heaven or Hell

Fiction - General
328 Pages
Reviewed on 11/02/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Roni Teson spent years perfecting her writing skills before the completion of her first novel, Heaven or Hell. After participating in several writing courses her dream wasn't fulfilled until a stage IV cancer diagnosis interrupted her career, and gave her a new perspective.

During treatment for cancer, Roni focused entirely on her first novel, and a complete recovery.

Heaven or Hell, Roni's debut novel, was completed on the exact date that Roni learned the cancer was in remission. She believes it's no coincidence that the characters changing lives paralleled her own journey of loss, heartbreak, and resurrection.

Today, Roni lives in Southern California and is working on her third novel, still in remission—but she uses the word Cure.

Roni's second book, The Knowing, North Cove, BOOK ONE was co-written with Karen Coccioli and recently completed.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Author Anna del C. Dye for Readers' Favorite

Here is a must have story for every home with normal people. The theme is well-researched and the author portrays a very nice view of life and death. Roni relates a fictitious story and turns it into a possibility for many. This is a hard subject made easy by the author who writes in a form that many people will connect with. Joe is a recovered alcoholic and has only a few days left before he dies. His chosen life has wrought havoc on his body. Now he is in the advanced stages of cirrhosis with no way out. For many years he has hidden behind alcohol to relieve the pain he feels due to losing his youngest daughter in a car accident and, just a few weeks later, his beloved wife to cancer. What is worse is that he left his only daughter to fend for herself from that point on. For many years he has tried to quit and kept falling short. Meanwhile, his daughter went on with her life, but never found closure concerning her father’s disappearance. Now, at the end of his life, he wants to make things better with his daughters and late wife. But would they let him?

I enjoyed this great tale and the characters portrayed in this book. It is a very good book to have handy when someone dies and questions are asked. Though the book is the personal opinion of the author, all who have gone through a family death need to hear that their departed loved ones are all right and that there is an afterlife. This is a very nice work for readers from young adults to adults.

Brenda C.

Juan Joseph Torres lived his life in an alcoholic and drug induced stupor for years. His life seemed to spiral out of control around the age of forty-five after some issues in his life were more than he could handle. His wife Marion had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when his two daughters Angela and Teresa were in a car accident that took the life of his daughter Angela who was only fifteen. Unable to handle the situation he started drinking excessively and left his eighteen year old daughter Teresa to take care of his dying wife. It took years of abusing his body as well as a horrendous trip through hell to finally come back from the brink and become sober. With the help of his good friend Father Benjamin he became a respected alcoholic counselor, but he never contacted his family. Now at the age of sixty-six he is dying and wants to see his daughter Teresa, and meet his fifteen year old grandson for the first time. Teresa is dealing with past issues of her own, and isn't sure that she wants to even meet with her father. Little does Teresa know that Angel, a spiritual being, has been connected to her for some time. Angel isn't sure who she is or why she is connected to Teresa or her family. Will Joe and Teresa be able to take care of their past issues? And will Angel finally figure out who she is?

"Heaven or Hell" by Roni Teson allows us to have a glimpse of a family whose dysfunctional past really shaped their future. From the beginning I was on the edge of my seat wondering how it would play out. Joe Torres and his friend Father Benjamin are trying to locate a homeless man on Skid Row when suddenly Joe collapses and we learn that he is dying. As the story unfolds we see what a wonderful selfless man he has become, but more than that we are allowed to see the depths of despair that he fell into and how someone from his past haunted him as well as tried to guide him. The spiritual aspects of this story were just amazing. I enjoyed the tranquil place that Angel was in, and her two doggie companions were a wonderful touch for me because I am such an animal lover. Roni Teson's storytelling ability breathes life into the characters. Each character is easy to connect with because you can actually believe that life could happen just as it did for them. The reality of the plot and characters is what made this story resonate with me. It is a heart-touching story that pulled me in and allowed me to feel empathy, sadness, and hope. Because Joe is facing the end of his life, and we are allowed to glimpse his out of body experiences, it had me thinking about my own spirituality. This was a book that I truly hated to shut down at the end.

Darin Godby

Author Roni Teson has done a very interesting job of keeping the reader spellbound in her book "Heaven or Hell." This book portrays events about life, death and life after death in a very unique and interesting way. There are many facets within the book that readers will relate to and be driven by. Maybe it is the death of a loved one, the anger that has been built up because of an alcoholic father, the disappearance of a father when you needed him the most, or feeling like someone is around you trying to tell you something. Each of us have our own story to tell and within the pages of this book you will get a gripping story with some heavenly twists in it. Joe, the alcoholic father, later turns his life around by helping others in need and on the street. He becomes a very close friend to the priest in this neighborhood and finds this priest will stand by him through thick and thin regardless of the outcome. Theresa deals with a lot of grief, anger, and hurt when she finds out that her dad is still alive after she, as well as her aunt, had given up years before of ever finding him alive. Then what about the sister who is killed in the automobile accident? What about speaking to people, riding on clouds, and trying to make a difference in her family’s life? There are many things that will entertain you as well as cause you to wonder whether something like this will truly happen as the author has described.

The author includes twists and turns that keep the reader involved throughout the book. The characters are likable. This was a very enjoyable read and I appreciated the opportunity to read a book by Roni Teson. I look forward to her next book.