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AUTUMN IN OXFORD: A Novel ~Alex Rosenberg

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Lake Union Publishing is certainly sharing some mighty fine reads with me this year.  AUTUMN IN OXFORD is a finely crafted murder, espionage, love story which is about reading every word and storing the details so you will be able to fit the twists and changes into perspective and solve the “who done it” part.  Even though the murder takes place in the first few chapters of the story in 1959, the why and who take pages of history and connection to piece it all together; lots of McCarthyism to uncover.

TLC Book Tours shared a winner with this read.  The writing is top notch and has the wonderful British pacing of the well-ordered sleuth with the push of the American prejudice exposed and revealed – made plain and arrogant.

Tom is a Finish boy who was reared in New York by his dedicated parents, he has married well a wealthy socialite and his writing has won him a Pulitzer Prize.  In his youth, he briefly joined the Communist Party and met the Rosenberg’s and other big names in college.  He left the Party and studied History and is now doing a teaching Fellowship at Oxford.   He meets his neighbor Liz, and realizes he has met the love of his life.  Liz is from Toronto, has 2 children and an unemployed husband who avoided the war by moving to Canada and lives life for appearances.

Tom’s wife insists that he return to New York with her, but Tom does not want to go because of his affair with Liz, also because he is having serious trouble with his passport – some department of government is pestering and threatening his because of his past connections – blacklisting.  Liz’s husband is murdered and now Tom has been arrested and a clever lawyer is now tracking the case and Tom’s backstory is outlined in detail.  One needs to read with care to find all the pieces that will fit together and complete the story’s truth.  I found it very difficult to put the story down, even with the deliberate pacing.

Alex Rosenberg is the author of the novel THE GIRL FROM KRAKOW.  He has lived in Britain and has taught at Oxford, where he made the acquaintance of some of the historical figures that play roles in AUTUMN IN OXFORD.  Rosenberg is the R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University in North Carolina.

Alex Rosenberg Wikipedia

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The Garden Plot: A Potting Shed Mystery ~Marty Wingate

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

“Entire Roman floors were often set on posts, so that the space between floor and ground, called they hypocaust, Pru read on a sign, could carry heated air from the furnace.  Ingenious, but unrelated, and it left her unsatisfied.  And Distracted.”

plotThe Garden Plot (Potting Shed Mystery) delights the reader with a new story about the Gardens of England and their history.   I wish I had read this book before my trip to the UK, so I could have put these many gardens on my itinerary.  Add a blossoming romance to the plot and jump right into the discovery of a dead body and the reader is off to a great mystery story.

Pru is not a spring blossom, detective or tourist just passing through; she is making a major change to her career in midlife and is determined to succeed.  Her early work life was centered in Texas, where she has been a master gardener and designer for several prominent gardens.  Her father was definitely a Texan when he met Pru’s mother when stationed in England.  The family remained in Texas with only one England visit when Pru was 8 years old.  Pru is ready to make a move to being a British resident and garden expert.  She must find a place to live and a new garden to get established and she has set herself a year to meet her goal.  The year is nearly over and Pru is just hanging on to her dream.  Clever was in the layout how the rejection letters from garden applications denoted the start of each new chapter.

While Pru is busy making ends meet by mowing grass and deadheading blossoms, an Amateur Archeological Society is working on finding historic remains, especially of the Roman period in the UK.  One of their members would like the overgrown mess of a backyard redone, as their previous home had such lovely gardens to enjoy.   Pru is hired to first clean up the yard and then design a new garden.   She ducks into the old garden shed in the corner and finds a hedgehog nest and trips over a dead body thus disturbing a crime scene and setting  her true adventure in motion.

I thoroughly enjoyed the backstory and the plant names and historic values; it was such a lesson in history and traditions.  From Roman mosaic flooring to badgers and Grenadine Hall, I was delighted with the references and descriptions.  Understanding how a person with a plan and a desire can trust her ideas and make it happen, not even thinking about giving up until the very last minute, appears to be an excellent opportunity to make a midlife change into a dream come true.  The other characters just added to the confusions and distractions which make a story possible and fun.  The writing had good tension and although I figured out the scratching noise was not mice early on; it still kept me turning the pages to a satisfying conclusion.

I would certainly recommend you put THE GARDEN PLOT on your list.  THE GARDEN PLOT will be released in May 2014.

Marty Wingate is a master gardener who lives in Seattle, Washington.  She is a landscape specialist and lecturer who attended University of Washington and conducts tours.  She has written a number of books on Gardens.  THE GARDEN PLOT is her first novel.

Marty Wingate Amazon Author’s page

tlc logoThis ebook was sent to me by TLC Online Book Tours and Alibi eBooks a division of Random Books.  It was an uncorrected file/ advanced readers copy for my Kindle, a very pleasant read with lots of history of Roman Times in England and beautiful established gardens.  I am sure you will enjoy THE GARDEN PLOT

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet. Donations also welcomed. Thank you for your support.

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THE STRANGER YOU KNOW: A Forensic Instincts Novel ~Andrea Kane

Monday, October 14th, 2013


The book jacket of THE STRANGER YOU KNOW shouts out those words and the reader just wants to know what this thriller is all about.  It is a carefully researched study of a serial killer on the loose in the New York City area. BUT WAIT!   This is the style of a known murderer – rapist who is already in prison. There is no such thing as a copycat killer so how is this possible?

Andrea Kane has penned a page turner with this mystery and it is full of great characters and all the behavioral traits of this specific killer.   The Forensic Instincts “maverick” Investigation firm is on the case and the team is just a study of great problem and puzzle solvers – Handsome, rugged, stunningly beautiful, intelligent, and computer savvy.  The Romance elements are terrific and not gaudy.

The murder descriptions are not for the weak and for some there needs to be a warning about the graphic details.  I found it gruesome but not far-fetched and I know these attacks do take place.  One truly hopes that these kinds of stories do not set- up others for such horrid crimes.  I could not read these types of stories when I was working with children who were victims of this kind of violence.

The warning given, I would also say that this is good escape reading and good a “pay attention” story for college coeds.  Better than a TV show and less violence then most video games. It allows your mind to accomplish some of the figuring out and build on the details the reader is presented.

The Forensic Investigations team is made of interesting, strong characters that have special talents, skills and knowledge of behavioral psychology and forensic research.  They are all very individualistic and quite often blatantly disregard authority.  They are actually the trigger for the serial killer to masterfully attempt to out- maneuver and to defeat the team and their spunky, dynamic leader Casey Woods.

THE STRANGER YOU KNOW is quite the read; I believe you will enjoy it

New York Times Best Selling Author Andrea Kane can be found here
Andrea Kane on Facebook

tlc logo This great murder mystery was sent to me for review by TLC Online Book Tours and Harlequin Mira Publishers.   I thank them for the opportunity and will now go back and read the first book in the series.

This book would make a great holiday gift for the suspense reader in your gathering.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s linking from this site, I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

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The Crown
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