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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

TLC Book Tours review book

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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THE WORTHINGTON WIFE: A Romance with a Decades Old Mystery ~Sharon Page

Monday, February 13th, 2017

We have all the splendor of Downton Abbey and the long sweeping estates of the old families of England in the 1920s, we also have a decades old murder mystery amidst all the glamor and confusions of finding a new Earl for Worthington Estates. Oh and the Roaring Twenties are truly the “rage”.  We find it all in THE WORTHINGTON WIFE.

Lady Julia Hazelton is attempting to make a difference in the lives of War Widows who have been abandoned to their own fates and some have taken up prostitution in order to survive and care for their children.  She is wanting to use some of her trust money to make loans and find employment for these widows, but her Brother, The Duke of Langford, says “no” although he agrees with her assessment that the country has deserted these families.

Lady Julia was the intended bride of the new Earl of Worthington, but her Anthony was killed in the War.  She has been trained to be a great lady in an estate and her mother and grandmother are pushing her to marry one of the men of money available to her from other estates.  Lady Julia wishes to marry for love or to not marry at all.  She is quite beautiful and quite outspoken, though her vision of the world is quite limited.

Along comes a discovered heir to the Worthington Estate, he is a painter in Paris, an American, a bootlegger, and of course he is handsome and muscular and was a pilot in the War.  He hates what his English relatives did to his family in New York City and that they refused to send funds and his father and mother were killed struggling to raise their boys and were killed because of their poverty.  He has a score to settle.

There is the matter of the disappearance of several young women in the area, who have never been found.  There is the matter of the sporty red roadster, which was seen in the area a number of times.

The story is well written and the bodice ripping, lusty sex does not happen until after marriage and there is no lack of descriptive drooling and lust from afar and very restrained.  The story about the abuse of war widows, disappearances, and financial woes of the estates are very sharp and point out the changes in the country making arranged marriages important and passé.  The Americans to the rescue is kind of a boring theme but vital to keeping interest going.  The Roaring Twenties are just getting started and truly messing with the rules!

It is a long book, one of those great escape reads that are signs of excellent story telling and a worthy romance   Thank you TCL Book Tours for sharing THE WORTHINGTON WIFE with this reader.

“New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sharon Page is author of more than 20 books. Sharon has won two RT Bookreviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Colorado Award of Romance, and the Golden Quill.

The mother of two children and wife of a terrifically supportive husband, Sharon has a degree in Industrial Design and worked in structural engineering before fulfilling her dream of becoming an author”(TLC)

Be Seduced….

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Sharon Page Website

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PhDEATH: The Puzzler Murders ~James P. Carse

Monday, October 17th, 2016

This Book will not be published until NOVEMBER 1,2016

Every once in awhile a book comes along that just takes the reader on a wonderful ride; turning around so many things at one time thought to be true but are now varied.  James Carse has indeed accomplished this mind changing with a hauntingly interesting tale, which plays with the imagination and the expectation with delight.

The setting is a major university in a major city on a square.  We are allowed to join a select group of the faculty to be part of an intellectual combat team attempting to outwit the Puzzler and a deadly agenda.  The NY Times puzzle master is trying to help, along with the city’s top detective, and U.S. Military Intelligence.  The 10 puzzles are difficult and the committee had to call in a fifth grader to assist them in the solving of at least one of the ten.

As the whole faculty is sometimes made fun of for the academic snobbery, many are revealed to be working too many angles and not actually involved in what they were hired to do.  Nothing is dull in this story from the shared philosophy discussions to the humorous personality traits exposed.  We are treated to the complete academic year and even a bit of summer session.  The reader must take a good look at essential issues, because they are urgent and fun and one must turn on the thinking skills and get right into gear.

Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc. www.mzpr.com sent me an uncorrected Galley for review and in the promotion material with the book was this paragraph:

“The mystery is complex and the book has a great deal of wit and humor.  Will Shortz, NEW YORK TIMES Puzzle Master makes a decisive appearance in the book along with Bernie Sanders, Lady Gaga and other celebrities.  Members of the faculty and all of the victims, except one, are entirely fictional.  Carse says they bear no direct relation to persons living or dead.  They are composites so carefully drawn that some readers may feel they are real and perhaps even recognizable.  The one exception concerns a highly dramatic crime that led to prosecution and imprisonment.  That person, once a colleague of Carse’s, is long dead.  The author leaves it up to curious readers or NYU alumni to figure this one out.”

That paragraph just sent me right to open the book and start reading.  I had to keep putting the book down, when I wanted to just keep reading and reading.  Good twists and hooks found here.

From the cover:

“Carse, Emeritus Professor himself at a premier university – in a major city on a square- shows no mercy in his creation of the seemingly omniscient Puzzler, who through a sequence of atrocities beginning and ending with the academic year, turns up one hidden pocket of moral rot after another.”

“The engaging and insightful stories explain why Carse has gained an almost cult-like following at NYU and beyond.”  (-Publishers Weekly)

James P. Carse Website
James P. Carse Wikipedia

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