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CHAIN OF CUSTODY: An Inspector Gowda Novel ~Anita Nair

February 6th, 2017

I am very pleased that the Meryl Zegarek Public Relations Firm sent me CHAIN OF CUSTODY for review.  It is always wonderful to read what has been written in other countries and how novelists and authors are approaching social issues in their locations.  This is the second book in the Inspector Gowda mystery series and it truly sheds a light on the culture of Bangalore, India.

I needed to keep my Google search engine warmed up and ready as I researched new terms and words and I was happy to realize that the titles were similar to British law enforcement terms.  I was disheartened as the story wove through the antiquated laws and sanctions, which were such human rights violations as the story unfolded.  I did need to keep a pencil and paper close by to keep the characters sorted and figured out.  The story was a learning experience.  The translation (?) might make USA readers work a bit harder.

From the press sheet:

“Anita Nair has never shied away from the darker underside of life and in CHAIN OF CUSTODY she addresses another one of Bangalore’s compelling human rights issues.  In recent years the city has become a hub for Indian child trafficking.  Children are often picked up by scouts on trains or abducted on the streets of villages and brought to the city.  Sadly, if they’re lucky they are placed into slave-like domestic service – the boys mostly.  The less lucky, the girls, end up in brothels under heavy and brutal guard.”

“Anita Nair lives in Bangalore and is a prize-winning author, playwright, essayist and lecturer.  Her novel LADIES COUPE is a feminist classic, which has been published in thirty languages all over the world.  The Gowda series is a new departure from her into noir and literary crime.”

The novel begins with the murder of a prominent lawyer and weaves into the story of the disappearance of twelve-year -old Nandita.  There are a great many characters in the story including child welfare workers and abducted boy servants.  The police have many interesting positions and interpretations of the law and rules.  The story pulls in Inspector Gowda’s wife, son and mistress and all his confusions about his relationships and his “admiration” for his Bullet cycle.  There is much tension as in the story Gowda and Nair bring it to its proper conclusion

I pushed myself to get into the rhythm of the writing and very much enjoyed reading the book and the revealing cultural insight.  I do not wish to visit this location because of the heat and the violations of human rights; the extreme worries about clean water.  It was reassuring that this author was pursuing the issues in a way that it might become a well read and accepted process to make change occur and human respect more prominent a factor within the culture.   Yes!  Let’s take on the “bad guys” any way we are able.

This London Bitter Lemon Press book will appeal to many readers and particularly those who enjoy a good murder mystery – CHAIN OF CUSTODY

“Nair captures the seedy side of shiny new India vividly, and Inspector Gowda is a welcome addition to the ranks of flawed-but-lovable fictional cope.” (The Guardian)

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LIFT AND SEPARATE: A Novel ~Marilyn Simon Rothstein

January 29th, 2017

LIFT AND SEPARATE just fills the cup and spills over revealing a full life, which raises and supports an older woman’s journey through a rough cleavage of problems (could not resist!). The humor and one liners were worth the entire cost of the book and let us face it, when one is an older woman there will accumulate lots of problems and we all need a laugh to find uplifting results.

Marcy Hammer has been married 33 years and she enjoys being married.  She loves her children, Elizabeth a doctor, Ben a -junior in college, and Amanda a business and marketing person now working on the west coast.  Harvey Marcy’s husband, own a huge business – Bountiful Bosoms – and his major competitor is Victoria’s Secret.  Harvey knows lingerie and he wants the best in life, such as he wants a Leonardo Di Vinci motif on the master bathroom floor.  Marcy is very satisfied with her life and her workaholic husband, who secretly moves out and then tells her that he has been having an affair with a bra model.   Marcy loves being married – Did I already say that?

Dana, her good friend has many problems popping up in her life also.  Her twins are attempting to pick a college and her oldest son is getting married to a girl she does not like.   They share a nice banter and Marcy’s quick comebacks and quips make me envious of her ability to produce funny one-liners.

The house is too big.

Marcy’s mother falls from a stool and breaks her ankles and is hospitalized.  During hospital visits, Marcy discovers a new/old friend and they very much connect over parental illness. Candy has two parents dying and a philandering husband.  Marcy’s oldest daughter, the doctor, is trying to assist her in making decisions and is dating a married man.   Harvey and Marcy are on the same page with this relationship – no way.

There were some universal elements to the story and all the problems and it is important for mature women to find their own niche and maybe even their own house.  The managing of the stress makes for some very funny encounters and some very healthy solutions; great trial and error solutions.

TLC Book Tours and the Marilyn Rothstein sent me an e-copy of this book for review, it was a perfect read to start the year, I truly enjoyed the clear storytelling, the character’s dilemmas and Marcy’s sense of humor.  How much better life is when we help each other and provide the laughter.  Clever and delightful!  – LIFT AND SEPARATE.

“For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn Simon Rothstein owned an advertising agency in Connecticut. She grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazines, and married a man she met in an elevator. Lift And Separate is her debut novel.” (Back of Book)

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WILD HORSE SPRINGS: A Novel with Romance and Cowboys ~Jodi Thomas

January 26th, 2017

“New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas is a fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. She is a certified marriage and family counselor, a Texas Tech graduate and writer-in-residence at West Texas A&M University. She lives with her husband in Amarillo, Texas.” (TLC website)

WILD HORSE SPRINGS is full of the love of Texas and begins with the beginnings of romance between two couples and the sorting out of a love triangle.  If you like romance this is a good book for you, and I know a number of folks who will truly enjoy this book and the vivid descriptions of Texas wrapped up with the author’s love of the beauty of the countryside.

I received an advance reader’s e-copy of the book and it was missing a cover, table of contents, author’s notes and any acknowledgements.  I can tell that the book was well written and the sentence structure was well constructed.  The dialogues made my mind just hear the drawl and the flavor of the country folks.  My copy also needed a good edit as the typos and misspellings were distracting at times.

I like a good romance and a good horse story (horses were not the main focus) and I thought the story of how a community supported their own and solved a dangerous problem caused by foreigners (not true Texans) and outsiders.  The support was fabulous and went the extra mile when a young boy needs assistance everyone rallies as best as they know how.  When a child is a victim everyone is concerned and does the right thing.

What I found disturbing is that this book promotes small thinking and encourages the reader to remain in small thinking.  There were only 2 characters that could really think and explore outside the 10 year old value-programed capacity.  The Park Ranger was a “follow the rules” person and yet was able to go beyond childhood thinking and explore other possibilities from her vast experiences of her childhood and her parental values.  She was a great character and I felt relief in each of her sections even while she was being “tamed” by a Texas Ranger.  She had depth and capacity not just redundancy and a tired old worldview.

I am not sure I want to promote this book, although a good story and I know my romance readers would truly enjoy it, I feel I need to point out that I do not want to share old, small ideas in this current era.  The book has an underlining current about prejudice and hate that many people will not even note or is so pervasive it will not even bubble into the conscious mind.   The bad, cruel people are totally outsiders and need to be removed from the community before they kill everyone. The Sheriff’s daughter has writer’s block until she comes home to find release in safety, and then there is no indication that her thinking got larger and more diverse; only clarified her relationship feelings – I figured she was going nowhere and I did not find hope in her character only sadness.  Dan and Brandi represented security and safety to so many and I am happy they found love – neither indicated intricate thinking skills but then their love was the central point of the story. I would suggest that WILD HORSE SPRINGS is a cautionary tale.

What we do not acknowledge and recognize is very frightening these days.

A TLC Book Tours Book You will find other reviews of this book at the TLC Link and I am sure most will be very favorable.

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I HATE EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU: A Humorous Memoir With Fiction ~Clinton Kelly

January 23rd, 2017

Best known for his work on WHAT NOT TO WEAR and as the moderator on THE CHEW, Clinton Kelly is well regarded for his humor and style.  NET GALLEY sent me an e-copy of his new book I HATE EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU for review and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it – laughing all the way!

I have only had television in my life for the past year, and so I must say that this is my first contact with Mr. Kelly and it was wonderful.  All the New Yorker glam and then the early years of growing up on Long Island where he threw his “baby” sister up in the air to encourage her cheer-leading career, just started me laughing until I lost my cool sophistication and my tea leaked out my nose.   No eating while reading this one.

His essay about going to Sweden when he was worried about Ted Cruz winning the election made me want to join him. Clinton Kelly truly enjoys food and that was a very interesting part of each of the essays.  The language is often “off colored” and “sexy” and very east coast confident.  Throughout the book, the sex scenes are not detailed they are just suggested – No kiss and tell.  Mary his terrier pup must be having a spectacular life; they couldn’t choose Australia because there is a 6-month quarantine to bring a dog with you.  I learned a number of new things and what! A Mud Bath (Amazon called it ‘death by mud bath’) – well I never knew any of that!

In the essay about 1980s pornography and high school experiences, I was relieved to see that homosexuality was not as closeted as it was for my location and generation.  I have to believe that my days of high school had to be so much more horrid for the “gay” community than Kelly’s time even though it sounded fairly miserable also.

At a time where “hate” is truly surfacing in pure ugliness, I am hoping Clinton Kelly can keep folks laughing and sharing the more important moments of life. I believe when one can laugh and teach about life, one brings hope and joy to our flawed spaces.  I can highly recommend this book, be prepared for the language and lifestyle issues and I am sure you will laugh too when you read I HATE EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU.

“Kelly was born in Panama City, Panama, of Irish and Italian ancestry, and raised in Port Jefferson Station, Long Island, New York. He graduated from Comsewogue High School in 1987. He attended Boston College and graduated with a degree in communications in 1991; he was president of Boston College’s University Chorale. After college, he attained his master’s degree in journalism, specializing in magazine publishing, from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1993” ( Wikipedia)

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