From a summer playhouse theatre on a Wisconsin farm to an award-winning star, this novel is an intoxicating blend of the siren's song of the stage and...moreFrom a summer playhouse theatre on a Wisconsin farm to an award-winning star, this novel is an intoxicating blend of the siren's song of the stage and the dreams of a little girl. Encompassing the life of Elsa Emerson over a period of close to fifty years beginning in 1929, this piece is less to do with star-struck wannabees and drug-addled has-beens but more to do with love of family and love of acting as Elsa becomes Laura Lamont. Several tragedies play out that propel Laura to become what she has always dreamed of, an actress. She marries one of the young actors performing at the summer theatre her father directs, and runs away to Hollywood with him. But she is always haunted with the memory of her sister Hildy, a sister whose dream Laura often feels she is living.
Laura's depth of soul is what brings her to fame as she portrays her characters. The title of the book I felt refers to the very descriptive telling of the story...a story told in word pictures. An upsetting incident with her family when she wins the Oscar leaves Laura/Elsa split, grieving and feeling a sense of betrayal to her family, especially to the memory of her dead sister. Laura is not quite the usual film star. Family means every bit as much to her as her career. She loves her children, her husband and her Wisconsin family but her mother comes just short of disowning her. Laura owes a large percentage of her successful career to her second husband, the director of her movies, but this is a good, honest and loving relationship, no shoddy affair, and Irving treats Laura's two girls as his own. When Laura bears him a son, the family is complete.
Emma Straub has plumbed the depths of Hollywood, TV and stage scenarios. From black and white to full color and 3-D, this is the 'Golden Age of Hollywood.' She explores how the innards of Hollywood work, how the directors achieve the best they can out of their actors, and how the actors immerse themselves into their characters. There is glamour in the book, but more, there is true life with all its ups and downs, the good, the bad, the true actors and the ones on the fringes of acceptance. It is certainly not all joy and lightness, especially for Laura and Irving, because of his delicate health. This book is a roller-coaster of personalities, despair, deep emotions of all kinds. This character-driven story is probably a truer view of the world of acting and movies than most, because it gets right into the heart of that world. (less)
Is he alive or is he dead? That is the question... Reviewed from e-book
Well-written, suspenseful, hauntingly surreal and atmospheric twisting between p...moreIs he alive or is he dead? That is the question... Reviewed from e-book
Well-written, suspenseful, hauntingly surreal and atmospheric twisting between paranormal and magical, this book took me by surprise. I really enjoyed the camaraderie between Captain Shelby and the young Ethan Hodges. But is he responsible for the death of Ethan's parents? The young man spends most of his time on the beach with his friend Morgan Olinsworth, so naturally he notices the strange rocks that have suddenly appeared out in the water. Very strange rocks; too well-shaped, too quickly making an appearance and too spooky, bringing goosebumps and shuddering at their odd arrival. What are these mysterious creations? Ethan is determined to snorkel down with Morgan to have a look. Some things are best left alone.
With the appearance of Captain Shelby, a grizzled old man of the sea who lives on a fishing boat as grizzled as he, a warning is given that some things should be left alone and never questioned. Captain Shelby has been a fixture for as long as any resident remembers and always old. His background, as far as can be discovered when Morgan the librarian does some digging, takes his line back to Norwegian roots transplanted to Newfoundland, but this doesn't solve the riddle, it increases it because the names are the same and there is no other history. The stories surrounding the Captain tear at the psyche. Is he responsible for the many odd storms, storms that can even bury a village or uncover a long-buried one? Or is this Atlantic coast village itself jinxed? So many questions, yet some will be answered. Where most citizens of Pelican Bay are fearful of Captain Shelby, Ethan feels connected to him, in fact he the feelings he has for the ancient Captain are those one would feel for a kindly grandfather.
Jesse Giles Christiansen has written this book constantly questioning the connection between Captain Shelby and the sea, almost one and the same. I'm sure Jesse must be an architect, because he has built this story in a well-planned manner with many levels of curiosity and suspense with a bit of horror thrown in for added structural support. Yet the connection between the Captain and Ethan is almost magical. There are so many different nuances to the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am thrilled to learn this is the first in a planned series, and I will be first in line when the second installment is out, I can't wait.(less)
The 'Roaring Twenties,' oh, how they roared! But what happens when a young lady finds herself in that roaring, overblown time of release from the Grea...moreThe 'Roaring Twenties,' oh, how they roared! But what happens when a young lady finds herself in that roaring, overblown time of release from the Great War, a time of bootleg, ragtime and partying? For Clara, it's both a blessing and a curse. For an overlooked, yet caring person this new life she finds herself in is so far removed from her knowledge or personality it is completely foreign to her. A grand adventure.
Beginning with a wish on a star, catching the bouquet at the wedding the family attends and meeting a young college man at that same wedding seems like a wish granted...or is it? Clara sees herself only as a wallflower, an old maid at the age of twenty-five, the girl from the farm no man wants. When Erdman asks her to dance she is overwhelmed with surprise, joy and not surprisingly, eager but reticent to accept his approaches. After all, no young man has ever shown interest in her before. Be careful what you wish for, Clara!
This book spans several decades populated by many different types of characters. It takes the reader into the era completely. The complete opposites in Clara's life are palpable as the background plot takes place in a rural farming area settled by Swedish immigrants, where little changes through the years, which makes Clara's life outside of home that much more exciting. When Clara suddenly disappears into the night, the community draws together in its sadness and caring for the family. The torch blazes bright and long as the families involved live through the decades with the shadow of Clara's disappearance always there. The author has told the story in keeping with the times, well-researched. A love story, a touch of the paranormal, a mystery and a story of deceit, vanity and mobsters. An interesting look into a world where immorality and trust can sometimes go hand in hand. S.M. Senden, in this trip through some of the most active decades you held my attention as I immersed myself in the mystery and a way of life I never saw.(less)
Two authors, two stories, two sisters; twins who, after the death of their father, must work as domestic help on different plantations. Money is neede...moreTwo authors, two stories, two sisters; twins who, after the death of their father, must work as domestic help on different plantations. Money is needed for their mother and sick brother. Alison Bruce and Kat Flannery have personalized the Civil war with these diverse yet integrated stories. Two tales of how life goes on, albeit changed in nature by the war. This book provides an insight into how the people caught in the middle lived extraordinary lives, often far removed from what they have known before.
Well-written with definitive research, I really enjoyed the two stories told from the sisters' points of view. Although they are far from home and working in two different locations and two different types of domesticity, they try to keep in touch by letter, an almost insurmountable undertaking with soldiers from both north and south disrupting travel routes. Their stories show how love can be found anywhere at anytime, even in times of chaos.
Both stories are very different, and show entirely different ways of life and the threat to their existence. I think the authors have a winner here, great characterizations and fascinating insights. A war story that is more about the people and family dynamics than fighting, though the tension is still felt. An unusual telling, but brilliant.(less)
Trixie Matkowski is thrilled but very nervous when her Aunt Stella practically gives her the vacation spot of her childhood, Sandy Point, with an offe...moreTrixie Matkowski is thrilled but very nervous when her Aunt Stella practically gives her the vacation spot of her childhood, Sandy Point, with an offer she won't be able to resist. And she doesn't resist. She is now the new owner of the Silver Bullet Diner, Victorian house, summer cottages, bait shop and a huge chunk of valuable waterfront land.
This is the first book in a new series The Comfort Food Series, and in many ways this cozy is as comforting as apple pie. The Diner is especially meaningful to Trixie, who loves to cook. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and trustworthy and this 24-hour Diner is always full. In a small resort town one doesn't usually expect anything out of the ordinary to occur. But this small town is not without its share of mysteries and murder.
On her very first day the food inspector dies in the Diner kitchen. This definitely is not a good omen! Especially when it turns out that he was poisoned. When word gets around the small town, Trixie suddenly finds herself with lots of food and no customers, except for the enticing cowboy Ty, Deputy Sheriff Ty Brisco. Just what Trixie needed in her life...not. Hadn't she just divorced from Deputy Dog...oops, I mean Deputy Doug? Doug the cheater? Definitely Ty is a man she should avoid, even though they have agreed to share a friendly lost dog that has decided the Diner is home.
Determined to solve the mystery and get her clientele back before she goes bankrupt, Trixie does some investigating on her own. Naturally, Ty does not want her doing this, but she does turn up a few leads and evidence, sometimes by hilarious means. Christine Wenger writes with a flow I enjoyed, great characterization, description, humor and mystery. It is my opinion that the series will do very well, and those recipes that are included sound wonderful. Comfort food indeed.(less)
I love this book! A good old English romp with mystery abounding. Fans of the old-type English mysteries will find this debut series reminiscent of by...moreI love this book! A good old English romp with mystery abounding. Fans of the old-type English mysteries will find this debut series reminiscent of bygone eras, Dorothy Sayer's Lord Wimsey in particular comes to mind.
Placed in the year 1932, a not so typical rich, single young heir Drew Farthering, whose best friend Nick is the son of the butler, lives with his mother and step-father in the family mansion. On the eve of one of his mother's spectacular parties, three young girls arrive from America for a visit. One of the young ladies is the niece of Drew's step-father and a beautiful handful she is. But Drew is not the only admirer at the party. The fiend after prey, Lincoln, has also got his eye on the prize, much to her consternation. Between Madeline, Drew and Nick, he is disgraced and disappears outside with Drew's mother. Shortly afterward, Drew and Madeline stumble across Lincoln's body, or is it? Difficult to tell since his head is blown away.
This is the beginning of a story that will take the reader through many twists and turns. Julianna Deering writes with all the wit the English delivered in pre-WWII mysteries. Nostalgia overtakes me as I read.
As Drew and Nick, sometimes assisted by Madeline, decide to try to solve what has become a string of crimes, there are more mysteries, more deaths. Are they related? It's a possibility, but difficult to link. The more they investigate, the more danger they are in. Yet, the young people feel they are close to the solution often, only to find it to be a red herring. Will they learn the culprit or culprits before the police? Will they learn the true victims of the case? An exciting yet labyrinthian chase through odd places gives added excitement to the quandary. Too many suspects then suddenly too few suspects. Fun and games until it hits too close to home. A different twist to the old-style mystery keeps it fresh. With a surprising ending, I really enjoyed it and look forward to more in the Drew Farthering series.(less)
You don't just read a Tardif book, you live it! Awesome.
From Whale Song to Children of the Fog, Cheryl Kaye Tardif has consistently taken us on many...more You don't just read a Tardif book, you live it! Awesome.
From Whale Song to Children of the Fog, Cheryl Kaye Tardif has consistently taken us on many exciting journeys. Different stories, but always with something new to learn, a fact I enjoy. Now suddenly we find ourselves immersed in her latest book "Submerged." Once again she allows us to get to know the new characters then plunges us into terror and keeps our hearts pounding. There are many heroes in this book, including a very convincing ghost, and hints of other paranormal activities.
Rebecca has no idea she has anything to fear. All she wants is some peace of mind, a couple of days of rest and solitude away from home as she waits for her husband to sign their divorce papers. A small hitch in her plans when her sister can not keep her children for the weekend means that she will have to take them with her.
"Submerged" dishes up a dash of reality, some pinches of the paranormal, a splash of romance and mixes it into a heart-wrenching terror-filled plot that will have you on the edge of your seat. Will the broken "superhero" Marcus arrive in time to save Rebecca and her children? Is it possible to find a new beginning after deep trauma and guilt? You don't read a Tardif book, you live it. With a deft hand she has us caring what happens to her characters. A taut suspenseful plot to rev up the adrenaline.(less)
Bombs, carnivals, terrorists, romance and a past that returns with a vengeance.
Chris Redding knows how to start a book off with a bang, and the actio...moreBombs, carnivals, terrorists, romance and a past that returns with a vengeance.
Chris Redding knows how to start a book off with a bang, and the action never stops. Firemen, carnivals, fundraisers and the past all mix together into a wild ride.
When Firefighter Mallory disarms a bomb in the beer trailer at the fundraising fair, her action and cool head creates questions. How did she know what to do and why did she seem so calm? Out of the past comes her old partner from Homeland Security, a part of her life she had retired from, and none of the firefighters are aware of. Trey shows up hidden in her car, and he is under orders to bring her back into the fold. No matter her former feelings for Trey, it is going to be a hard sell, much of which Trey is unaware.
This book is packed with danger and action, targeting children as an act of terror, but targeting Mallory specifically. Who is aiming to take Mallory out of the equation? How can she be a threat when she is no longer working for Homeland Security and to who? Along with the ramped up action, there is still time for humor and love, but there is also a tug-of-war for Mallory's heart. Will she be able to overcome the deep hurt that Trey is not even aware he has caused and return to her past where she is needed? Or will she continue building on a budding romance with Jesse? This book will get the adrenaline flowing, questions will be answered in unusual ways, all leading up to a tense but unexpected ending.(less)
Anna's Awakening - a perfect title for this multi-layered novel of a woman who has lost her way through grief and loss, when she is awakened to new li...moreAnna's Awakening - a perfect title for this multi-layered novel of a woman who has lost her way through grief and loss, when she is awakened to new life of hope in so many ways. Anna's life has not been easy, ending in divorce when she is no longer able to help her suicidal husband alone. When she decides to put pen to paper of those difficult years, more for catharsis than with any firm plan in mind, it proves worthy of publication, due partly to the fact that she and many others have lived it, but also to help others to understand what clinical depression can do. To her amazement, the book becomes a best-seller and she is off on a signing tour.
Meeting an old crush from high school on the plane as she is travelling to a book signing, Anna finds herself drawn to Jake as she remembers the feelings she had for him, but she is terrified of any commitment and holds herself distant in many ways. However, she soon finds that their lives will become entwined in danger by two entirely different investigations and no longer can they deny their romantic connection.
I am amazed at the number of issues Acacia Oak covers while maintaining momentum and suspense in her writing. This book has everything: mental issues, family, corporate crime, danger, mystery and a tantalizing romance, independently blooming regardless of Anna's fears, as the book proceeds to a very satisfying ending. I really enjoyed reading this fascinating and eventful book, learning new things in the process, something I always look for.(less)
This was a wonderful read! Even without the mystery, sleuthing and unique manner of deaths and attempted murders, I was fascinated by what I learned a...moreThis was a wonderful read! Even without the mystery, sleuthing and unique manner of deaths and attempted murders, I was fascinated by what I learned about oil paintings, by newbies and the old masters alike ... how paints were made, detecting forgeries, techniques, styles and more. Jean Sheldon's research into all types of subjects never fails to amaze me.
On the other hand, the crimes committed and how they were carried out are compelling and complicated. It seems like what could be described as a relatively straightforward mystery becomes a full-blown investigation that takes many twists and turns. Rayna Hunt, a somewhat uncomplicated individual, a brilliant artist who is thwarted by a horrific injury to her hand is the main character. Once she overcomes her frustration, fear, and depression, and finally embraces the use of a prosthesis, she trains to paint again, her character blossoms and she takes on teaching painting. Her class of seniors and troubled teens become the family she misses, with her daughter living in New Mexico. Rayna still has issues with self-esteem though and a very patient Paul, director of the Stratford Art Museum, waits in hope of a return to the relationship they had prior to her accident.
The characterizations in this book are so much fun yet realistic. The unity built between the seniors and the teens is wonderful to watch and they soon become a team with the purpose of keeping Rayna safe when she unknowingly becomes a target while embroiled in a police investigation. As an expert at discovering forgeries, her life is seriously threatened but who is responsible? Is it her beloved friend Paul? Why is she a suspect? How did so many paintings get switched in several different museums? It's not as though you could carry one in under your arm and replace the original hanging on the wall.
I am quickly becoming a huge fan of this author who can write such good mysteries in so many different styles. With several people involved in the crimes, the detective Diane Parker, Rayna and her art class involved in trying to solve the crimes, this book is a great balance of friendship and criminals. Fun and sometimes grisly at the same time. As the only member of my own family who can't even draw, I thoroughly enjoyed my romp in the art world. With Jean Sheldon's ability to bring a feeling of comfort in the midst of chaos, I loved this book.(less)
Brigitte Goldstein has produced a novel built on very well-researched Jewish history from the 1300s to present day. Though a work of fiction, it has t...moreBrigitte Goldstein has produced a novel built on very well-researched Jewish history from the 1300s to present day. Though a work of fiction, it has the feel of reality. Of course much of the story includes real events especially the religious observances as well as the many relocations and deportations of the Jews through the centuries. With the many attempts to expunge all trace of the Jewish faith it is amazing how that faith has kept them going through all the trials and tribulations. It all begins with a centuries-old codex allegedly written by a woman named Miryam who is considered dead to her family after she is defiled by a Cathar priest and leaves her behind at the age of 16 in their exodus, at which time she renames herself Dina. The codex is a letter, or perhaps series of letters written to her sons, raised secretly with what Jewish teachings she is able to provide them although their father is the priest. She is explaining why she did what she did and how it was to protect them.
This book covers a lot of ground and also a few genres. We have historical fact and fiction, romance, fantasy, and war all wrapped up together in a fascinating package. Though many words were unfamiliar to me, I found that the meaning often could be absorbed as the text went on. I did check dictionaries at times, though. I find the medieval text works, but the modern day portions are a bit heavy on the academic side. This said, I still enjoyed the book with its believable historical fiction, so well-written that it makes it hard to believe it is fiction.
The book centers around three distinctive times in Jewish history: the banishment of Jews by King Phillipe of France in the early 1300s, a time of the Inquisitions and heretics; the ousting of Jews from Spain during the Spanish Civil war followed by the Nazi evacuation of Jews from Germany. It was at this time in the late 1930s and early 1940s that the second major story begins, but also ties in with our present day translators as they flee to escape from the Nazi agenda of World War II. During their escape through the Pyrenees mountains our current party must stop for the impending birth, and the mother-to-be is taken to a secret village for the birth. It is referred to as Valladine, and the baby grows up to become a well-respected historian but always feels the pull of the place she calls Valladine. At this point we leave the past and go into the late 20th century where this whole translated story will be presented to the academic world. Altogether an informative yet entertaining book, a rare blend. I enjoyed it as both.(less)
Excitement and chaos reigns among Kelly Flynn's familiar and friendly group in Fort Connor, Colorado. Their good f...moreReview based on Advance Reading Copy
Excitement and chaos reigns among Kelly Flynn's familiar and friendly group in Fort Connor, Colorado. Their good friends Megan and Marty are getting married and Kelly is in the wedding party. Megan has everything under control down to the minute. The dresses are gorgeous and ready, designed and made by Zoe Yeager, a local seamstress, assisted by her sister Vera.
Zoe is friendly and creative, but she has a secret. Zoe suffers from spousal abuse, hiding her bruises and nightmarish life from the world. This all-too-familiar scenario is discovered by Kelly and her friends, who try to help her make the decision to finally leave Oscar, her husband, and go to a shelter. When she does call her friends and tell them she is ready to leave they make plans to get her out of the house quickly and secretively. With shelter volunteers keeping her away from her husband, her friends feel she should be safe from danger, but is she?
Though Zoe's problems put a damper on the friends' spirits, they pick up the threads of their plans. When Zoe is found dead of a single shot to the head in the church parking lot, everyone immediately turns their radar toward Oscar as the murderer. There seems to be no question about it, but questions have a way of turning up strange things. Kelly and her friend Burt get to sleuthing quickly when other suspects for the murder come under scrutiny.
Meanwhile, Megan, organized as always yet easily panicked in unforseen changes, has been feeling confident that all is in order for her wedding, when her sister announces she has become pregnant and needs her dress adjusted. Prior to starting her own business, Zoe had worked for Leann O'Hara, long-time local seamstress. Fortunately, Leann steps in to help with the adjustments, another problem solved ... or is it?
Maggie Sefton writes with the ability to bring her readers right into the lives of her main characters, and this book is no different. The warmth and camaraderie is engaging and shared. With a permanent cast of this size, I appreciate the Cast of Characters page in each book. Kelly's sleuthing methods are definitely a part of her personality and with the help of retired police detective Burt and his buddy on the force, everything comes to a satisfying conclusion. In this, the 9th book in the series the conclusion satisfies in more ways than one. Knitting pattern and recipes included. 4 1/2 stars(less)
I love this off-beat murder-mystery. Secrets abound from all directions. The characters are consistent throughout the book, and what fascinating chara...moreI love this off-beat murder-mystery. Secrets abound from all directions. The characters are consistent throughout the book, and what fascinating characters they are. With Detective Rita Moldova's Roma background, and as a "trailer park" kid in her school years, the stigma still sticks with this main character, especially with certain old classmates. Her mother is the keeper of tradition and maintains extraordinary senses and powers. I always enjoy learning something from all books I read and this one did not disappoint. The tradition and ancestral life of the Romanians tweaked my historical nerve. I feel there is more to be told with this family.
What is going on in the town of Keyport? Women's bodies are turning up devoid of blood with no signs of struggle, no signs of needle marks. Who will be the next victim? Enter our heroine, Rita, a most unusual member of the local precinct. She is able to see the victim's last view prior to death. Yet, so far, her "special crystal" has failed as never before, no longer sending the killer's face to Rita's perception. A special investigator, handsome Matt Boulet, is sent in from an elite yet secret section (PCU) of the FBI. He has an immediate profound effect on Rita, physical, mental, and sensorial, setting the stage for a beautiful sexy and loving relationship as a background to the action. The crystal appears to have decided these two are soul-mates and the attraction is tangible. A cross between police procedural and paranormal, this story works well. The writing is taut, fascinating, terrifying and exciting. This genre definitely fits Lorrie Unites-Struiff>'s writing style like a glove. I would love to see a sequel or series of this story, it is that good, and leaves this reader wanting more.(less)
There are so many people in this world carrying far more baggage than their emotional stability can handle. This fragile yet entertaining story of two...moreThere are so many people in this world carrying far more baggage than their emotional stability can handle. This fragile yet entertaining story of two such strangers and their journey is a realization that there is life after the death of the soul.
We meet Rhianna, a palliative nurse, orphaned at birth and suffering a series of abuses at the hands of her foster family. She is beautiful, caring, has much love to give, yet burdened with her past. She has been hired to care for an elderly but rich patient with approximately six months to live. Their relationship grows much like that of father and daughter, and as a gift to Rhianna on her birthday, he sends her on a vacation near the Bahamas to Angelina's Island. A vacation that turns out to be more adventurous than relaxing.
Here we meet "Tyler", the reclusive owner of the island and so-called resort, also heavily burdened with secrets from the past, abandonment and betrayal. Their first meeting is definitely not pleasant. His only contact with the outside world is the arrival of his supplies by the captain of a solitary boat a few times a year, and that is how he wants it. Unfortunately, to make room for Rhianna on the supply boat, some boxes had to be left behind. One of these boxes contains the only method to contact anyone in case of emergency, parts to repair the all-important long-range radio telecommunicator, and the boat will not be returning for several weeks.
The story is anything but maudlin, though. It is exciting, fun, irresistible in its telling with both characters feisty and entertaining. The book is both heartwarming and electric. I absolutely loved this book! Cherish D'Angelo aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif has a knack of inviting the reader into the lives she writes about with such depth, and the locations with such clarity. I am totally immersed in the story.
Jonathan Tyler's wife abandoned him and their very young daughter, Misty, as soon as she learned the child was deaf. Once Rhianna learns of this she offers to teach Misty ASL, which she had learned when tending to one of her patients of the past. Misty is the magnet who draws these two lost souls together as they share the bond of love for this young child. The housekeeper and her husband have already noticed the sexual tension between the two, but what our two main characters assume may be lust, the others see as love. The relationship requires trust, something neither feels confident within themselves to give.
Over their six weeks of isolation and no contact with the outside world many discoveries are made between the two, their perceptions subtly change, and Rhianna reaches a point where she no longer wishes to leave the island. At the same time, she still feels the need to return to her patient JT. Yet, new information comes to light about JT Lance, which threatens the whole relationship, also putting Rhianna in extreme danger. Will there ever be true happiness for either Rhianna or Jonathan? Can the past be mended? Whatever the outcome, the reader can be assured that the story will be captivating.(less)
Nancy Gettelman writes with an authenticity and realism I find comforting. It often feels as though she is personally telling me about something she...moreNancy Gettelman writes with an authenticity and realism I find comforting. It often feels as though she is personally telling me about something she has been doing. Of course, in the case of a murder mystery that is not what she has been involved in other than trying to figure out "whodunit". The best way to describe this feeling is that parts of every story give me the feeling of familiarity. Exceptional physical descriptions of Milwaukee bring pictures to my mind. An awesome experience and very good writing to involve the reader to such an extent. If Gretchen Meier is typical of the people of Milwaukee, then I would put Milwaukee on my list of cities to visit.
Gretchen is a widow of several years with two grown sons working at a large beer distributorship. She has a very close relationship with her sons, and also with her mother-in-law. Immediately as the reader begins the story, Warren Reuter, the owner of the distributorship, is found dead in bed at his home. Assumed as an insulin overdose accidentally taken by the diabetic Warren himself, it takes a while for the coroner to discover this is not only a murder case, but the weapon and usage is very unusual. Gretchen is not your usual in-your-face nor butting-in-with-the-police type of protagonist, and most of her investigation is done in her thoughts. She thinks everything through thoroughly, she is very human and concerned about the people she suspects. She is also concerned about the fate of her sons, both as suspects and for their future in the business.
Who would have the knowledge and the motive to kill him? He was engaged to a young widow from California who sold her house at his request and moved to Milwaukee; she has a son who works in another town but visits her occasionally. He had recently offered to sell his share of the Green Bay distributorship to Gretchen's two sons, over the objection of his partner. Warren has two estranged sons. Who of these people and others would have a motive to kill him? Someone expecting to benefit from an inheritance? Who would have the special knowledge on how to kill him? Why does Marla, his fiancé, act so strangely? Life is, really, just a mirage. What we see is not necessarily real.
These are the questions that keep Gretchen awake at night and her mind will not leave her alone, especially once her sons become suspect. Enjoying her visits to talk with Warren's lawyer, Stephen Boswell, whom she has known socially for some time, they discover a mutual feeling of romantic interest. When his sister visits, she and Gretchen become fast friends, and Patricia encourages them. As a therapist, Patricia goes with Gretchen to visit Marla, and soon finds that she has a psychological personality disorder that has a bearing on Marla's isolation from the death, and which coincidentally also applies to Warren. She feels that both show signs of being sociopaths.
These are the bare bones of this latest book by Nancy Gettelman, enjoyable, suspenseful, and with psychological intrigue. There is enough in this book to make it part of a series, if the author wishes to. I think the combination of Gretchen, Stephen, and Patricia would make an excellent team for private or amateur investigation. Another intriguing novel for Nancy Gettelman, every one very different, and every one interesting.(less)
Skein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton Published by Berkley Prime Crime
Maggie Sefton has assembled a great mixed group of friends in her Knitting Mystery...moreSkein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton Published by Berkley Prime Crime
Maggie Sefton has assembled a great mixed group of friends in her Knitting Mystery series. I find as a reader I feel like I am a part of the story, it's an interesting and comfortable feeling. Yet not all is sunny in the small town of Fort Connor, Colorado. As with most of the country, the financial downturn has affected many of the residents, including Kelly's boyfriend, Steve, who is an architect, and her friend Jennifer, in real estate. As a result, Steve is working two jobs as much as he can, spending almost all his time in Boulder and very little in Fort Connor. To make matters worse from Steve's point of view, Kelly not only has her consulting work, but she has a large inheritance and would willingly share it with Steve, but it just increases his feeling of failure and he refuses to take any money.
Of course, this wouldn't be a cosy mystery without a murder. It all starts when Kelly steps out on her patio one night and is startled to find a barefoot college girl standing there. She doesn't answer any questions, just rocks and smiles. It doesn't take Kelly long to realize the girl is stoned out of her mind, and must have walked along the trail by the golf course behind the house. She is high on Ecstasy. Kelly calls 911 and the girl is taken to hospital. Kelly has no idea how she got there, but the trail is not a safe place to walk at night, there have been some recent attacks on women walking alone.
Kelly learns that the girl has been on her own since childhood and that Barbara, one of the knitting teachers at House of Lambspun, the wool shop where Kelly and her friends meet. Barbara had more or less taken Holly in, and she grew up with Tommy, Barbara's son, who is now studying medicine. Apparently, Holly calls on Tommy constantly, drawing him away from his studies and work as a paramedic. With Mimi, the shop owner, taking an interest in her, the girl turns herself around and does well. She even takes knitting classes. Then a party she attends has her turning to alcohol but not drugs. The next morning, her body is found on the trail.
The coroner calls it a drug overdose, but Kelly can't shake the feeling there is more to it, and starts to investigate, to the chagrin of Steve, who twice arrives at the home they share on weekends to find her gone. He is on the brink of staying away in Boulder for good. How can this be happening? With her consternation of Steve's reaction, Kelly still pursues her investigation. Holly knew the trail wasn't safe, and she was trying to become a good person. What went wrong? Jealousy? A mother's overbearing protection? A drug dealer? So many questions. It seems everyone is trying to steer Kelly a different direction. Brick walls are up against Kelly as she tries to get at the truth. Will she learn what really happened in time? There are several possibilities, many supplied by another girl who grew up with both Kelly and Tommy as classmates through the years. Which of the possible suspects might prove to be a murderer? It will keep the reader guessing. What will happen to Kelly's romance and future?
In the midst of all this is woven an engagement and the wild search for a wedding dress and other plans necessary for the wedding. This book is a cozy with subject matter that is meaningful in today's world where parties, drugs and alcohol play a major part, especially in college. We also end with a cliff-hanger. Will there be a happy future for Kelly? That will require reading the next book, "Unraveled". I really enjoy Maggie's books, they are fun, genuinely "cosy" yet with a good murder mystery, and this one did not disappoint. Recipe and Knitting pattern included.(less)
All I can say is "Wow!", when is the next book coming out? I'm going to have to start testing my walls to find a portal. This bo...moreReviewed from an ebook
All I can say is "Wow!", when is the next book coming out? I'm going to have to start testing my walls to find a portal. This book captivated me so much I was barely able to put the book down. Melodie Campbell's writing is imaginative and mesmerizing as she transports her protagonist into an entirely different world. The clothing and attitudes resemble many time lines in our world history, but the surprise here is that they are all happening at once. I can only describe this story as hot, steamy, seductive and hilarious. Did I say hilarious? Yes, the humour is outrageously funny, the characters are definitely full-fledged, and the plot line is incredibly and indelibly strong.
What can a girl, a teacher of veterinary medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, do when a very large blond man suddenly appears in her classroom wearing a tunic, leggings and a sword hanging from his belt? Of course, her first thought is that a medieval festival has come to town, but why would he be here? A need to protect the only student in the room at the time prompts her to step around her to confront this warrior. When Rowena speaks to him, he turns around and walks through the wall. Kendra, her grad student, sees nothing, wondering who her teacher was talking to.
That night she has the most real but unlikely dream of a different world, rather obvious by its two orange suns. Rowena, Row to her friends, has a gift. She can communicate in a sort of mind meld with animals, especially horses and dogs. But here there are no wild animals or birds, but a small squirrel and a fish. Suddenly a deep voice rings out "Who are you?" Dream over, she puts it out of her mind. Two days later, alone in her classroom marking tests, two men suddenly appear through the wall. When she speaks they are startled to learn that she can see and hear them. And then they are gone.
Now the dreams take on a life of their own, always taking up where they left off the night before. Once she discovers these aren't dreams but are really happening, she is shocked that in this world her grandfather and cousins live, people she has never heard of. Her mother came from this world but how could it be? It seems so medieval. She learns from the man she has met that her mother disappeared from wherever this is and has never been seen again. Unfortunately, her mother died when Row was young and she knew nothing of her background. She learns that a curse was laid in this different land that caused all babies born to be male, eventually bringing procreation to a standstill. Now we know why these men are coming through the wall, they are seeking fertile women. In her classroom, she goes through the wall and finds herself in the same place her dreams took her, and now she knows where the men are coming from on the other side. But where is this place?
This is where the story really takes off, and what a wild ride! On a quick visit back through the portal, Kendra is once again in the classroom and returns with Rowena. As a Goth girl, Kendra is first believed to be a boy as they come out of the portal to be faced again by men. Rowena motions to her to play the role, easy for her to play as she is trained in martial arts. When later Kendra is dressed in the clothing supplied in the castles and fortresses, her look changes immensely.
In this country called Lands End, with no women of child-bearing age, Rowena is alternately coupled, kidnapped, and/or married, by someone from each corner of this world. She does not know the politics of rulers, but her sharp wit and sense of humour get her through everything. Men are ready to fight to the death over possession of her. However, these men have not met up with modern women and it is a total eye-opener to them. Who is shocked more, man or woman? This book is so much fun, hard to describe without giving out all the tasty plot. I keep thinking of the main male characters as a combination of Diana Gabaldon's Jamie Fraser and the hilarious swashbuckling Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. I absolutely loved this book, especially the characterizations. The baffling complexities between the main characters, coming from such vastly different backgrounds, gives impetus to the humour, raucous skirmishes, and rollicking good sexual fun.(less)
A good old-fashioned western romance novel. The west is still barely settled, the Civil War not lon...morePublished by Imajin Books Reviewed in e-book format
A good old-fashioned western romance novel. The west is still barely settled, the Civil War not long over, and Marly Landers is on the trail of the man who conned the townspeople out of their money. Marly feels a personal responsibility for this event, so he is heading off to El Paso from the small town of Cherryville, Kansas to collect the money and see that justice is served. Dressed in hand-me-downs of oversize shirt, pants, boots, worn droopy hat, and oilskin duster, he looks like a young teen trying to beat the odds of solitary wandering in the deserts and mountains as he tracks the culprit, Charlie Meese.
In the meantime, Texas Ranger Jason (Jase) Strachan is on the trail of a confidence man who has cheated some high powered people in Austin. He is currently in Dog Flats, about as small and desolate a town as it sounds. As he's finishing a beer, our protagonist Marly arrives, looking for work to pay for a room for the night, a meal, breakfast and a packaged lunch. He offers to do anything from mucking out to waiting tables, even cooking. Jase has seen this boy on his past few stops and is very interested in him because he's discovered they are both trailing the same man. He's seen him work at every stop. Jase knows Marly has been traveling on foot for most of the way from town to town. He is taken with Marly's tenacity and is interested in why they are after the same man. Of course, he's not going to get into that part of it yet. Not sharing his own business in El Paso, he does mention his destination and suggests they travel together. Jase will supply horse and tack, and the boy will work for him.
In Abilene they get Marly a horse and saddle, but he has never been on a horse and definitely not a mulish one. After being thrown and giving his horse a stern talking to, while guffawing cowboys watch the whole procedure from the railings, they are once again on their way with Marly riding the newly but aptly named "Trouble". The next purchase was new clothes and about this time Jase gets the feeling that Marly may be older than he first guessed, maybe about sixteen.
What does a Texas Ranger do when he suddenly discovers that the boy is a girl? Well, once he gets over the shock, he knows there has to be a very important reason why this girl is traveling as a boy, a strong, hard-working and strong-willed boy at that. He must protect Marly's disguise, whatever her reason, and does not let her know he is aware of her gender. With lessons from Jase she soon proves to be well-able to handle all situations she finds herself in, and able to do her share of watch shifts when camping, rifle at the ready.
Alison Bruce does an excellent job on setting the scenes and customs of the old west. History, characterizations, and the long ride of the heroes of the story are convincing for the time. There is lots of action and gun-play as they work together on a case in Fortuna. For the rest of the journey the tension builds between the two as jealousy raises its green-eyed monster more than once, with neither being aware of the feelings of the other. Again the author works this tension beautifully. The arrival in El Paso is almost, but not quite, diminished by the avoidance of communicating these feelings to the point that I wanted to say, Get on with it! A very satisfying read all in all, with an interesting blend of fun and trickery at the end. A mixture of many points of view, the author covers a lot of ground in personalities, geography, and lifestyles. If you're looking for a dish of the old west with a dash of romance and humor minus the raunch dressing, this book is for you.(less)
A prequel within a sequel, answers to questions considered from "Divine Intervention" with its many re...morePublished by Imajin Books Review based on eBook
A prequel within a sequel, answers to questions considered from "Divine Intervention" with its many references to The Parliament Murders. This second book begins with an unconscious leader of a PSI team of the Canadian Federal Bureau of Investigation (CFBI), Jasmine (Jasi) McLellan. She has been hospitalized after the gunshot wound she received in the previous book went sour and developed a serious blood infection. Even worse, it was discovered on this second trip to hospital that she also had a concussion with brain swelling. Doctors are non-committal at this point, but a threat does hang over her that if they can't stop the infection from spreading to her heart, they are looking at amputation. This is enough to terrify her friend and co-worker, Victim Empath Natassia Prushenko, and seriously affect her other partner Ben Roberts, top profiler and Psychometic Empath. Three months have gone by since Natassia joined the PSI team, working on the case that had been solved only weeks ago, leaving Jasi with her injuries. In her coma, she is living in the prequel, reliving The Parliament Murders, while friends and family are living in the sequel to the first book. They are in the present, which happens to be July, 2012.
I am one reader of probably a large number of readers who really wanted to learn the story of The Parliament Murders, and now we have it. Cheryl Kaye Tardif has whet our appetites and then come through with a great read to digest! I love this concept, giving us the earlier story through Jasi's coma, and perhaps her subconscious feelings of guilt. At the same time we are getting snippets of what is happening with the rest of the team waiting and watching over her. The high suspense factor of The Parliament Murders is heart-pounding and the desperation to solve the case is every bit as exciting, though told through Jasi's mind. Someone is killing off the Canadian Members of Parliament in Ottawa, one by one, and doing a nasty job of it, too. What is the connection between the victims? A reason doesn't seem to be forthcoming. This is the case that bothers Jasi so much. The story is well focused, fast-paced, a real thriller. The action and race against time happening in Jasi's mind is underscored by the perception of the slow passage of time by her friends, family, and medical staff, waiting, fearing. A dramatic conflict of perceived time.
One thing I like about series is how the characters grow and become familiar. It's somewhat like adding people to your group of friends or family. This is also true in a working community, especially in a high risk group who provide a safety net for each others' lives. These PSI investigators are definitely a family, tuned in to each member's needs, and abilities. We met them in Divine Intervention and learn a little more about them as they wait for Jasi to wake up. Another great psi-fi thriller from Cheryl Kaye Tardif.(less)
A bit of fun, a bit of romance, a bit of history, a bit of relaxation, a bit of underhandedness, and a corpse no one will miss! This is #9 of the Knit...moreA bit of fun, a bit of romance, a bit of history, a bit of relaxation, a bit of underhandedness, and a corpse no one will miss! This is #9 of the Knitting series, but to be fair in my review I must say it is several years since I read one of Maggie's series, #2 "Needled to Death", so I am coming into this cozy series with little knowledge of what has gone before. Just the same, I feel attuned to the book. I'm delighted that this series takes place among the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, a beautiful location with lots of inspiration for a book of this type. I can almost associate the colours of the landscapes with the colours of the yarns featured in this series.
The story is centered around a mixed group of friends, all ages, male and female, with several interests in common. Added to the mix, an author of Western History has come to town as Curt's houseguest and the whole group immediately takes to him. These friends sound wonderful, I would love to meet them in person. Maggie Sefton brings her characters alive with their speech, a trick of emphasis that I could hear quite plainly in my mind. The hub at the center is Lambspun, a yarn and knitting shop with a room where friends can gather, knitting and chatting, with a convenient café attached to the shop.
Though most of these friends are knitters, with Mimi and Burt taking turns at the register and spinning skeins into balls, they enjoy each other's company in sports, barbecues, and sharing their moments good or bad, in a complete group or just two or three. Kelly Flynn, the amateur sleuth of the group, is trying to deal with her heartbreak over her ex-boyfriend Steve, who walked out on her in #8 "Skein of the Crime." In #9, the current book, her friends, who are also his friends, are trying to get them back together. Steve lives in Denver, and sometimes manages to come to town to visit with some of them.
In Unraveled, Kelly is deep into her work as CPA for Arthur Housemann, a land developer and investor. She often stays in Denver rather than commuting if she is needed again the next day. She is, in essence, hiding out from her anger and hurt because of Steve by throwing herself into her work. The recession has hit the community of Fort Connor hard, as it has elsewhere, so when real estate agent Jennifer gets a client for a large piece of ranchland, she is excited to find that the client is none other than Kelly's boss. A cinch of a sale, since he is offering full price, or is it? The property owner has made a fortune out of being dishonest and tough.
When Jennifer races to present her offer after hearing there is another offer being submitted that would defeat any other presented, she and Kelly see a truck pull out of the driveway and come barreling down the road toward them. When they pull into the driveway, Jen goes in and suddenly yells for Kelly. She has found the owner all right, but he's dead. It appears to be a suicide, but why now?
This book has a different approach from some cozies, in that the corpse does not come into the story right at the beginning. Characters are all fleshed out and continuity is primary in the early part of the book. In the remainder of the book, the discovery of the corpse takes us in a different direction. Kelly has her own little trigger for going into sleuthing mode. She gets a kind of buzzing that grows more insistent if she ignores it. She has already been alerted by the buzzing that this is more than a suicide, and launches into her own investigation. With two prime suspects, it is an interesting journey to reach a final conclusion.
I enjoyed the book and its nuances. Definitely a lighter read in many places, the camaraderie is a pleasant set-up for the mystery to come. I'm looking forward to the next book to learn the fate of Kelly and Steve. As a bonus at the end of the book there is a knitting pattern and a recipe.(less)
Kimberley and Kayla R. Woodhouse have put together an indelible thriller that will keep your heart pounding, yet uplifting and heartwarming at the sa...moreKimberley and Kayla R. Woodhouse have put together an indelible thriller that will keep your heart pounding, yet uplifting and heartwarming at the same time. With trials and tribulations enough to make Job's miseries seem almost trivial in comparison, this intrepid trio face incredible odds against survival while their Christian faith stays strong, at least for two of them. The third member of the party will come to it but has two injured "girls" to rescue off one of the highest, steepest mountains in Denali park in an Alaskan winter, all the while being pursued by terrorists who are looking for something they believe the mother has information on, and then to leave no witnesses alive. They are out to kill these three and they are very good at what they do, leaving no trace.
This book is a wonderful story of faith and survival, but it is also full of tips for survival woven into the story, and an awareness of a rare neural disorder that can be deadly in a matter of moments, a disorder that one of the authors actually suffers from. I was aware of this disorder, but learned more for which I'm grateful to the authors. So, we have a mixed bag in this book Terrorists, a man who has lost too much in his life and must learn to live again, a fast-paced, wild ride of a thriller, a 12 year old girl, Andie, with a rare disorder of unimaginable consequences, families disrupted by death, a love story, and deep, inspiring faith.
What sounds like a very complicated story is actually a book that I couldn't put down. Action-packed from the moment the plane they were flying home in is sabotaged and crashes high on Sultana Mountain to the final murderous attempt. The plane was originally owned by Andi's father Marc until his murder, and now is owned by her mother, Jenna. It was flown by Hank, a "trusted" friend of Marc and Jenna prior to Marc's death. Who was the mysterious last minute passenger? After he took over piloting the plane when the radio was shot out, what caused him to pass out? Was he responsible for the crash or was he trying to correct the damage? Can Jenna and Andie trust him? When Jenna took over piloting she realized that none of the controls were responding. That there would be a crash was inevitable.
I took away so much more from the book than just a great story. Living in the north myself, I found the survival techniques very useful, especially how to keep warm through the bitterly cold nights and what to have with you for survival preparation. I also took away a refreshing of my faith. I applaud the authors for the smoothness with which they wrote this book, the interaction of the characters, more noticeable because of the manner in which the chapters are written, the heart-pounding action, the exciting plot, and pulling it all together so believably. The chapters are told mostly by the three main characters in the first person, almost giving a feeling that the reader is invested in the story. I look forward to more from this author pair, mother and daughter. This is the duo's debut as a writing team, and an exceptional one.(less)
The cover of this book is a portent of things to come. A good man walks from the light into the dark side, where man becomes f...morePublished by Enterabooks
The cover of this book is a portent of things to come. A good man walks from the light into the dark side, where man becomes fool. A story of opposites, complications, passion, action, threat, going from confusion to comprehension. Opening with the dead body of a naked woman on the beach, with two male witnesses to the accidental death, the story takes a sudden turn to our heroine Sandy Reid, met in "One Deadly Sister", Book 1 of this series. She is studying to become a lawyer. She receives a phone call from an "old acquaintance" the caller tells her. However, there are two reasons why Sandy is unsure about this caller who wants to get together to talk over old times. The caller, identifying herself as Abby Olin, her married surname, a name not known to Sandy, and she calls her Sandra, although Sandy has never been known as Sandra to friends and acquaintances. Yet Sandy becomes curious and decides to meet with her. A grave mistake which brings back some old memories and also traps her in a whole web of trouble.
Rod Hoisington has put together another fast paced murder mystery with a strong protagonist in Sandy. The book is filled with a wide variety of unique characters from her nemesis State Prosecutor Moran, to Abby and her assortment of odd acquaintances. Moran is once more his harassing self, unjustly aimed at Sandy, actually putting her under arrest to destroy her chances at graduating law school at the very least, or blacklisted for the bar at the worst.
Once again Sandy is involved in a high-profile case, plus two other cases that may or may not be connected. She must try to solve everything while she is out on bail and before Moran finds something he can use to rescind her bail. He is planning to charge her with conspiracy to commit murder. Wonderful story-telling as it weaves its way throughout the book, even to a possible kidnapping the mother won't report. These are but a few of the strange happenings she stumbles upon. Fortunately for her, Sandy has many friends in law enforcement and her personal lawyer. Between all of them, and unexpected help from Abby's ex-husband, the net begins to gather all these facts and possibilities, crimes and perpetrators into a loose net, not convinced fully whether they are related cases or not. Rod Hoisington is very good at keeping the mystery going and bringing surprises along the way. My attention was held through to the surprising ending.(less)
This is Book 4 of the Charlotte McNalley Novel series, and as such, the main characters come to us fully formed with personalities intact. Unfortunate...moreThis is Book 4 of the Charlotte McNalley Novel series, and as such, the main characters come to us fully formed with personalities intact. Unfortunately for me, this is the first I've read. Author Hank Phillippi Ryan knows what she's about in the world of investigative reporting and television, and in the fictional world of Charlotte, better known as Charley McNalley, her experience comes through. The book, though a novel, rings true and the plot(s) are tight. An accident is witnessed by Charley and her crew which leads to the perfect story for them to blow the lid off a story just in time for ratings week, a deadly race to the deadline. But another story, full of secrets, and considered worthy of ratings week will almost spell the death of our intrepid heroine.
I really liked the plot line of the major investigation, it was well-thought out, driven hard, extremely plausible, and action packed. On the brink of her wedding, Charley and Josh are certainly not inseparable. She has suspects to keep tabs on, does surveillance with her crew at night, spending more and more time away from home. On top of that, she receives an opportunity of a lifetime, which will take her away even further. Will she make the right decisions in time to save her upcoming marriage and new family? Will Josh make the right decisions? Will their secrets tear them apart?
For those who have been following the series, there will be surprises in store. Characters will be leaving the series and new characters will arrive. Who will remain? Who will take up the offers of change and to further their careers? I love a book that keeps you wanting more. This is a series I want to explore from the beginning. Very well written, strong characterizations.(less)
Starting right off with the death of an informer, we meet Mary Magruder Katz, a criminal defense attorney in Miami, immediately thrown into heavyweigh...more Starting right off with the death of an informer, we meet Mary Magruder Katz, a criminal defense attorney in Miami, immediately thrown into heavyweight cases building up to overload. Her friend Judge Liz Maxwell is about to up the ante with a serious criminal investigation aimed at her, and needs Mary's legal assistance. It doesn't help that the dead informer was the main witness in a case that Judge Maxwell is trying.
If that were not enough, Mary's hunk of a boyfriend, Carlos, desperately needs help for his "cousin", actually the son of friends of the family, Luis. Luis was taken into custody as a terrorist on a business flight for his parents from his home in Argentina. He has completely disappeared into the Federal system with no information, no paper trail, no formal charges, and one partial phone call. Mary takes on all these cases with only one assistant. She knows she has serious and short deadlines to accomplish all this, and spends almost all her time on her work, until the threats begin.
It is June in Miami, and living up to its steamy hot weather. Not only is the weather stifling, but the caseload is threatening to stifle Mary for good. Are the threats related to the case for Luis? Possibly, but no one can find out where the Feds have him, he might even be out of the country. Are the threats related to her investigation of why Liz is in danger of being removed as a judge? Again, possibly, but who would be going after Liz? She appears to be honest and fair in her judgments. Certainly they can't have anything to do with a suit against Carlos, which has just been added to her caseload ... or can they?
Mary, though frightened having already been assaulted, is only more determined to carry on with all her cases regardless of the threats. When she gets a threatening call on her brand new Blackberry that she hasn't used, nor given out the number, and her home is broken into, she hightails it over to Carlos' with Sam, her dog, and moves in temporarily.
Barbara Levenson's writing is interesting, well researched, and filled with unique characters. The story is a blend of judicial, legal, and federal investigation and performance. It outlines the chaos and paranoia in the ongoing search for possible terrorists. It addresses greed and corruption as it can happen from within the judicial and the policing arenas, particularly with drug money involved. It also highlights the qualities of the honest in these same arenas. Bringing some light humor into play is the interaction between the parents of both Mary and Carlos, who have their own plans in play.
Mary Magruder Katz is an interesting character, one I would like to see grow. I enjoyed reading this book, and I appreciated Ms. Levenson's chapter breaks with subtitle whenever the storyline backtracks so the reader knows when there is a time shift. This is the second in a series and I will be looking for Fatal February, first in the series, and look forward to the third.(less)
This was a tremendous undertaking for a debut novel. With a unique plot, a depth of perception, and strong characterizations, Tiffany Baker has done v...moreThis was a tremendous undertaking for a debut novel. With a unique plot, a depth of perception, and strong characterizations, Tiffany Baker has done very well with it. Some parts of the book seem to drag, but the 3rd part moves along quite quickly and with a surprising wrap-up.
When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how record-breakingly huge the baby boy would ultimately be. The girl who proved to be Truly paid the price of her enormity; her father blamed her for her mother's death in childbirth, and was totally ill equipped to raise either this giant child or her polar opposite sister Serena Jane, the epitome of feminine perfection. When he, too, relinquished his increasingly tenuous grip on life, Truly and Serena Jane are separated--Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the future May Queen and Truly to live on the outskirts of town on the farm of the town sadsack, the subject of constant abuse and humiliation at the hands of her peers.
Serena Jane's beauty proves to be her greatest blessing and her biggest curse, for it makes her the obsession of classmate Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans who have been doctors in Aberdeen for generations. Though they have long been the pillars of the community, the earliest Robert Morgan married the town witch, Tabitha Dyerson, and the location of her fabled shadow book--containing mysterious secrets for healing and darker powers--has been the subject of town gossip ever since. Bob Bob Morgan, one of Truly's biggest tormentors, does the unthinkable to claim the prize of Serena Jane, and changes the destiny of all Aberdeen from there on.
When Serena Jane flees town and a loveless marriage to Bob Bob, it is Truly who must become the woman of a house that she did not choose and mother to her eight-year-old nephew Bobbie. Truly's brother-in-law is relentless and brutal; he criticizes her physique and the limitations of her health as a result, and degrades her more than any one human could bear. It is only when Truly finds her calling--the ability to heal illness with herbs and naturopathic techniques--hidden within the folds of Robert Morgan's family quilt, that she begins to regain control over her life and herself. Unearthed family secrets, however, will lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually break the Morgan family apart forever, but Truly's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County's uncaring ignorance, and the possibility of love in unexpected places. (less)
A complicated yet cohesive story that takes the reader through such obstacles as mental health, low self esteem, wrong priorities, abuse, and more. Th...moreA complicated yet cohesive story that takes the reader through such obstacles as mental health, low self esteem, wrong priorities, abuse, and more. These do not overwhelm the reader by all applying to the same person, but the book most certainly shows us the law of six degrees of separation and how it does or can play out in our lives. The need to be in contact with ourselves and those closest to us is a strong theme.
Jo-Anne Vandermeulen has captured life trapped within the minds of mental health and how very hard it is to see the warning signs in many cases. She has delved into the core of situations that can affect us adversely or bring such cases to light. Though a novel, it is so close to truth that it could easily be a collection of biographies. The book is centred around the separate yet somehow closely woven lives of 12 individuals, some with obstacles and some on the outskirts affected by those obstacles of others.
The book is very interesting and suspenseful, and representative of many lost souls who are unable to recognize their own needs. It covers a time period of just 7 months, jam-packed with action and reaction. This book is not necessarily morose, it does have its lighter, happier moments. It shows how there can be weakness in the strong and strength in the weak. Powerful and passionate, I think this is a wonderfully written book, it gripped me right away and kept me reading into the night. I am so glad I had an opportunity to read it, and highly recommend it. A must-read. 5 stars(less)
This novel is written by a bookseller about a bookseller, in fact the author is very respected in the industry. There are se...moreHound by Vincent McCaffery
This novel is written by a bookseller about a bookseller, in fact the author is very respected in the industry. There are several mysteries in the book, some solved before they are even thought about. The story is creative and true to the background of both writer and character. This is his first novel featuring Henry Sullivan, the first in a trilogy. Perhaps the character of Henry will advance and grow in future stories.
Do not expect a roller-coaster ride on this one. This book builds slowly, forming each character and location completely. The mysteries are almost background to the characters. The most consistent part that positively glows throughout is Henry's love of books and quotes from many of the old classics. In his work he meets many people with different preferences, different feelings about books. There are readers who have a full-bodied love of reading classics, readers of westerns, unexpected secret lovers of books, and the collectors. I think I would not be too far off the mark to say that the author has lived in this book, it lends so much personality to the books themselves.
The novel is not just about books and the book trade though. It also twists and turns around several love stories, past and present. Many of the characters have connections they are unaware of or have never questioned. There is also the murder of someone very special to Henry. One of the final mysteries begins as a love story after the discovery of letters and pieces of paper stuck in books in a hidden room. As an old mystery, it has its own unique pull, and it's own surprising finish.
Did I like the book? For content, story-telling, learning something new, and characters, yes I did. Expecting a mystery, I had my blinders on evidently because I started reading with a definitive murder mystery as the main theme of the book in my mind. Once I took the blinders off, I found the book enjoyable, but not a "real page-turner". This book does not need to be devoured but savoured slowly. All told, it was an interesting read, I'd recommend it but not for anyone who is looking for instant gratification and action in the mystery department(less)
A Hotel in Paris: a Minola Grey Mystery by Margot Justes Margot Justes’ debut is a lovely light read but a consuming read. I’m happy to learn this is t...moreA Hotel in Paris: a Minola Grey Mystery by Margot Justes Margot Justes’ debut is a lovely light read but a consuming read. I’m happy to learn this is the first of a series. I don’t have anything negative to say about this book. I enjoyed it right through from beginning to end. It opens with a murder on page one, and the story becomes a delightfully interwoven mystery and romance. The main character, Minola, is a passionate innocent, an artist of great talent and the story is told with detail only an artist would see. Although not mentioned in her bio, Margot Justes must be an artist, or at the very least has the eye of an artist or photographer, one thing is certain she has an eye for detail that brings everything to life and colour. I do not mean by this that the book is overloaded with detail, it is all very much a part of the flow. The detail is essential to the story, and also gives the reader the feeling they are involved somehow.
The romance flows through the book weaving in and out of the murder investigation, one genre playing out smoothly with the second genre. A fascinating blend and dealt with a light touch. As first in a proposed series (the second book is in progress), there are some well established characters, building from their early entry in the book to the final page. Other lesser characters add colour and interest to the story. The character of Minola is someone I would enjoy a cup of coffee with, and I would love to visit an art gallery with her. You can not help but feel attached to her and she seems to attract people with her personality and conviction. Peter, the Chief Inspector from Interpol, must consider Minola as a suspect, but also a witness as the person who was first on the scene of the murder. He must learn patience in his meetings with her and also learn to believe a person can be totally honest, not a trait he is used to. He is working on the case with the French police solely because the murder victim was already being investigated by Interpol for his international financial affairs.
I will be watching for the next episode in this series and look forward to it with pleasure. Thanks to Margot for an entertaining and suspenseful book. I recommend this book for its flow, research, interesting characters and a story that builds from start to finish.(less)
Spellbinding, gentle yet full of characters. A charming, magical fantasy, Sarah Addison Allen has created a book that draws the reader in quickly and...moreSpellbinding, gentle yet full of characters. A charming, magical fantasy, Sarah Addison Allen has created a book that draws the reader in quickly and holds the attention. Spellbinding, gentle yet full of characters, it is also the growth of the main character that is interesting. I absolutely loved the character of the apple tree, we should all have one! It is a book of discovery, relationships, but over it all the mystical aura of the garden is the central theme tying everything together. There is humor in the part of Aunt Evanelle and a growing fondness for her. She always turns out to have done the right thing in the end, comical as it may have seemed at the time. I look at this book as enriching, I enjoyed every part of it. I will look forward to more from Sarah Addison Allen with bated breath. Very smoothly done! (less)