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Monday, June 19th, 2017

AMONG THE LESSER GODS was a story I enjoyed reading very much.  The writing was clear and the story straightforward as it explores the ‘blame game’ and how blame changes the lives of individuals and the surrounding characters and community.  We begin at the end of university in California for Elena Alvarez and a gap year arranged by her Grandmother in Colorado; space to figure out what comes next.

Elena has been living a very tense life with lots of adversity.  As a child, she accidentally set a deadly fire and this caused her family great disruption and a great deal of blame.  Her mother abandoned her and she has led a life of blaming herself and now finds herself pregnant and no plans for life ahead.  Her Grandmother has found her a volunteer job caring for two young children who have lost their mother to a car accident while the father figures out all the changes he will need to make and still accomplish a living wage; long haul trucking is no longer a working option.  Elena’s Grandmother has a permanent house in Leadville, but choses to live in the Ghost Town where she reared her children and lost one.  The family is full of mystery and unknown factors.

Elena who is mathematical and scientific is not sure about caring for children and yet her conversations with them are magical and revealing allowing the story to unfold in a gracious connection.  The community is a place with lots of adversity as the mining company is slowing down and evolving into new directions.  The characters unfold the realities behind the adversities and the strength of character and community bonding is a boon to self – discovery.  The mysteries are compassionately uncovered.  What a good story and first novel and yes I have to agree with other quotes – I want to read Catts’ next book for sure.  The power of listening – potent answers are uncovered.  AMOUNG THE LESSER GODS has the power of redemption.

“Margo Catts has a sharp eye for the intricacies of family, love, and tragedy. In luminous prose, she deftly explores the impact of the past upon our lives. This is a heartfelt book that will break your heart at times and at others fill you with joy.” — Daniel Robinson, author of After the Fire

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About the Author:

Margo Catts grew up in Los Angeles and has since lived in Utah, Indiana, and Colorado. After raising three children in the U.S., she and her husband moved to Saudi Arabia, where her Foreign Girl blog was well known in the expat community. Originally a freelance editor for textbooks and magazines, she has also done freelance writing for business, technical, and advertising clients, all the while working on her fiction. She is a contributing author to Once Upon an Expat. Among the Lesser Gods is her first novel. She now lives in Denver, Colorado. (TLC page)

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LEFT TURN AT PARADISE: A Rare Book Mystery ~Thomas Shawver

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

“The more I observed, in fact, the more  I thought Professor Middleditch’s instincts were correct – the marae was nothing more than a Potemkin village established to fool the Inland Revenue and the Ministry for Maori Development; a ruse to grant Ivo Mackin full title to the land.”  (At 64% on Kindle –unproofed copy)

Michael Bevan’s at it again trying to make his Antiquarian bookstore in Kansas City his main business enterprise. His friend Josie is certainly helping him make the best of a tough situation, and yet they both hope the bookstore will find it’s prize treasure.  Wouldn’t you just know it; Bevan’s finds a hidden journal by a mariner who was on Captain James Cook’s voyages to the South Seas and Hawaii. The bookstore may just make those dreams come true if a buyer can be found at the California International Book Fair.  This certainly could be the turning point.

In California, Bevan’s discovers that there are actually three journals and a British bookseller owns journal #2 – until both journals are stolen and a young man disappears.  The adventure begins and takes the reader to New Zealand and into the mountains, to rugby games and to meet scholars galore all of whom are hoping to cash in and own the whole set.  The pace is fast and steady, with many of the most interesting pitfalls and distractions one can imagine happening on boat rides and in the mountains with the natives attempting to protect their leader, the multimillion dollar mining expert, rescuer of the Maori youth and owner of the third journal.  There is never a dull moment and lots of surprises along the way.

I once again enjoyed learning about rare books and I loved looking up words and geography of New Zealand’s National Parks and Mountainous regions.  I brushed up on my Hawaiian legends and myths, I took a small detour to read more about Captain James Cook and his travels, and I thought about the rich and the poor in many communities and how they are acting out in various ways – including with violence towards each other and certainly towards Caucasian people.

I was happy to read LEFT TURN AT PARADISE because I had also reviewed THE DIRTY BOOK MURDER  by Shawver earlier this year.  It was a good days read maybe for a hiking trip, although I was glad to be home and looking up extra research on the work, and it is an ebook and quite inexpensive with an e – reader.  Books will not be available until after August 26th, 2014 so I should not have put a quote on this review because I cannot check it against the final copy of the printed material.

tlc logo Thank you to TLC online Booktours  for choosing me to review this fun book.  I know many of my readers will enjoy the adventure in this mystery – LEFT TURN AT PARADISE.

Book #3 – THE WIDOWS SON is on the way in the Rare Book Mystery Tour

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