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THIEF’S MARK: A Suspenseful Mystery ~Carla Neggers

Monday, September 18th, 2017

“A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man’s search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel”

THIEF’S MARK begins with Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan finishing up their honeymoon by visiting Emma’s Grandfather in Dublin as they begin their journey back to New England.   Grandfather has started an Art Recovery Business, which he still works on finding and recovering art and Emma’s brother has taken over the business at the New England office.  Wendell enters the Inn, out of breath and finally shares that his home has been broken into and he has not yet called law enforcement onto the scene.   The story keeps a steady pace of new mystery and questions and then a few answers.

Sharpe and Donovan think they have a lead and head to England and Oliver York’s country home where another murder has implicated York and a retired MI6 Officer. Oliver as a young boy was kidnapped and witnessed his parent’s brutal murders and the case has never been solved.  Sharpe and Donovan do not believe that York committed the crime and with perseverance and a cast of interesting characters they figure it out.

The story takes place in the UK, Ireland, and New England.  There is lots of background material and the descriptions of the countryside and the seaside are very good.  The story has a complexity, which holds the reader’s attention and makes it difficult to put the book aside.  Fortunately, I had several days to travel through this story to resolution and truly enjoyed curling up with this good read.

Mystery readers and murder mystery readers will truly enjoy this story and the revelations of the plot.  The farm and garden recovery added a nice dimension to the aspects of the story, and then there was another body discovered!

I did not feel as though I had an art history lesson or that the story was as fast paced as say the Di Vinci Code, but it was a good read and engaging.  The writing was good and captivating.  I was touched by Oliver’s recovery from the trauma and how he was coming to terms with having a future as an adult.

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Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe and Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit CarlaNeggers.com.

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A BEAUTIFUL POISON: A Historic Novel ~Lydia Kang

Friday, August 18th, 2017

TLC Book Tours  sent me a copy of A BEAUTIFUL POISON for review and it was a curious little story that turned into a very interesting tale about Allene a recently engaged eighteen year old living in New York City with her wealthy father.  The timing is centered on the facts that WWI is still drafting young men into service and a Spanish influenza outbreak has taken a powerful hold on the residents of the city and causing havoc.

At her engagement party a young woman dies, it becomes apparent that the guest was poisoned.  Allene engages the help of her 2 friends, Jasper and Birdie, and also turns up the volume on her old fascination with chemistry.   Yes!  Indeed it was a poisoning.  Jasper finds an apprenticeship with the Coroner’s Office located at Bellevue Hospital.   The history and the skill at sleuthing are finely displayed without the assistance of computers or even telephones!  The doctor’s work is revealed and the hospital’s developing services are proudly shared.

Lydia Kang is a doctor who studied at Bellevue Hospital.  She loves chemistry and answering questions with another question to research; her characters display her deep interests in history, chemistry, and problem- solving.  It is a celebration for a period in history that is maybe unknown to the rest of us and yet unfolds within the confines of this story.  Birdie has a very difficult job, which is killing her with a different poison and the story definitely gives a good lesson in the role of women in this society and the radical differences between the wealthy and the poor.

Good story telling and quite an interesting read.  A BEAUTIFUL POISON is not highly suspenseful because it took a great deal of time for the characters to communicate and for a number of people to be identified as being poisoned.

I recommend this story for the history lesson and the details of society at this post -Golden Era period of time in our history.  A very readable story I believe the teenagers I know would enjoy this slice of history and mystery very much.

About Lydia Kang

Lydia Kang is a physician and author of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine. She completed her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and currently lives in the Midwest, where she continues to practice internal medicine.

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AMONG THE LESSER GODS: A Novel ~Margo Catts

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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LAW AND DISORDER: A Thriller – or A Harlequin Intrigue Novel ~Heather Graham

Friday, February 17th, 2017

LAW AND DISORDER is the newest book by Heather Graham. “New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She’s a winner of the RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the International Thrillers Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For More information, check out her website or Facebook.” (Book cover)

Dakota Cameron’s family has inherited a stunning house on Biscayne Bay in Florida, near the Everglades. The house has become a small resort/hotel and a Mob Figure, who was into many levels of crime and bootlegging, originally built it as his retreat. He left a message about a buried treasure and Dakota is the most knowledgeable person about the history of the building and maybe she knows the location of the treasure that no one has been able to find.

Another despicable crime figure has decided to locate the treasure and after numerous crime sprees he has amassed a team to help him succeed. In the beginning, he overtakes the resort holding people hostage and making his demands. Dakota is home from New York City, where she is an actress and is held for ransom until she reveals the treasure to Nathan Appleby. What no one knows it that one of Appleby’s team is an undercover FBI agent. The tension to resolution theme is set and the action moves forward as a very assertive Dakota leads the villains to what they want.

I thought the information sharing about Florida was fabulous in this story. I read it over a weekend and as I finished I hopped on the computer and Googled The COE Visitors Center, Royal Palm Visitors Center, The Everglades and Miccosukee Tribal information. I wasn’t very interesting in the alligators or the crocodiles, but I did get caught up on two sights about the bird songs and snakes of the Everglades. I was glad for the introduction of these things in the story. Graham dedicated the book to a number of people and to her State of Florida. I can tell that she likes her State very much.

A week later when I was writing this review, I could not remember what the book was about. I thought it was one theme and then I knew that was not correct so I went back and re-read several sections to remind myself of the story line. This is usually not a problem for me and after some evaluation; I have decided that the title, a very good one, does not fit the story. I could not even remember it was a romance. For me the title and the story did not fit together. It was a good quick read and I liked the Dakota character and her employee Vance and how they set the stage for all my research on Florida. I think it was a good romance but I could not connect because I have never met a man from Florida, who I thought was a good person or treated women well. Dave Berry, the journalist/writer, does make me laugh, but I am not thinking romantically about him! I totally lost interest in the love object in the story as soon as I discovered he was from Florida.

This is a TLC Book Tours book and was a good read LAW AND DISORDER

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