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SEEDS OF REVENGE: A Green House Mystery (Book #3) ~Wendy Tyson

Monday, November 13th, 2017

SEEDS OF REVENGE is the third book about Megan Sawyer’s small town of Winsome, Pennsylvania.  Megan has left being an environmental lawyer to come home and manage her family farm, the small store and café, and start her life over again.  Her husband was killed in Afghanistan and she needed to do something else. The story begins as she is heading home from Philadelphia where she has been trying to sell her micro-greens to restaurants and she is plowing through the first snowstorm of the season.

In her sturdy truck, Megan picks up a young woman who is having car trouble and so is trying to walk to town. Rebecca Fox is starting a new business and is going to live with her Aunt.    The Fox family is about to have a reunion as arranged by the Aunt and this is not a happy experience and Megan is drawn into the fray when Rebecca’s father is murdered.

Apparently this small town has experienced two other murders and Megan has been very helpful in finding the truth, even when her farm is implicated.  She is definitely a very clever and intelligent person.  She has lots of family drama to unravel of her own and I think there will be another book or two until everything is revealed.

The story is full of lots of small town connections and folksy family events as the reader is in the lead up to Christmas.  We can enjoy the family members and the caroling parties and also the Great Aunt who writes mystery novels.  4 of her books are about revenge murders and are playing an important role in this particular story.

We are also treated to some interesting food treats and a daring amount of Holiday Cookies.


“Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives on a micro-farm with her husband, sons, and two dogs. Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series.”  (PR SHEET)

This book was sent to me as an advanced copy for review by: Larissa Ackerman, Claire McKinneyPR, LLC

It was a good read and I know a number of my readers will enjoy reading all three books.  A nice little romance is blooming and the characters are interesting and you just might find them next door.   A delightful read and a good escape that I can recommend.

Thief’s Mark
A Beautiful Poison
Fudge and Jury


Monday, May 8th, 2017

THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD is a mix of environmental issues and how small town land owners are coping with their reduced circumstances in Pennsylvania.  The tale is wrapped around two brothers who love the same woman and were abandoned by their mother.  I was hopeful about the story and about the premise.  The descriptions were good and one could feel the trauma that the town was experiencing clearly.

The gas company, ironically called Green Energy (What a fraud – like clean coal! Good choice by the author to point out another deception) and they are purchasing lease agreements to drill for gas, pay the landowners and also do fracking within each field.  With the loss of coal production in the area, the town’s people are desperate for income and futures, many sign up for lease agreements right away.  Then occurs an accident and bad weather.

One brother is trying to save his family orchard and his wife is adopting organic measures for her section of the trees.  They want their water to remain clean.  One brother is trying to sell the gas leases.  The boys’ mother, now an environmental lawyer is called upon to help folks understand and provide a solution and reconnect with her sons.  THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD is a warm, sweet story with a bundle of deceptions.  Maybe a good Midwest story but not a very promising educational story for those who have been working on the environment and Greening our world – too wishy, washy.

Several reviewers related the story to Barbara Kingslover’s PRODICAL SUMMER; I can only feel a slight connection.  Whereas SUMMER really did dig deeply into the community feelings and frustrations, it truly added the ballast of how to help minds change and move towards reconciliation of old beliefs, economic frustrations, and the work that needs doing to protect an environmental future that “wins” for everyone – especially the earth.   Then again maybe many readers will enjoy this story because of the “love” story and the infertility issues of the main couple?   Would the story be a helpful teacher towards the environmental issues? I just do not know.

A TLC Book Tours review book.  Definitely in the Women’s Fiction category, a good read – THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD

About the Author:

An environmental scientist with 20 years of experience, Kate Brandes is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wild flowers.

Kate Brandes Facebook
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Flight Behavior
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

PLAYING ST. BARBARA: A novel ~Marian Szczepanski

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

PLAYING ST. BARBARA is an historic look at a time period in American History that was very dramatic -1929 to 1942.  It is a family saga that is about changing lives and thinking; coming into a new age as well as a new decade.  Marian Szczepanski is writing about the historic experiences of her own family in a fictionalized tale which condenses all that history and change into one family’s story.  Playing St. BARBARA would make a wonderful Masterpiece Theater Presentation and series to teach a segment of our history.

Our tale undertakes to tell the story of an Irish Immigrant who takes a German wife and proceeds to lie about her origins.  Fin does not succeed as a professional baseball player but becomes a miner determined to unionize his co-workers in the company town. He is a rabble rouser, extremely poor, and addicted to alcohol and violence.   He has produced 6 children but the 3 boys have died of crib death, violence and poverty.  Fin is furious.

The story in about the 3 daughters and how they free themselves from the state of extreme violence in the family and within the mining community, when the door opens for each of them in turn to act the role of St. Barbara in the yearly pageant they discover a new freedom.  St. Barbara is the patron protector saint of miners. Each opportunity opens the women’s voices and assists in setting them free to make their own way in the world.  The women in the mining community have a special bond between them.  They attempt to protect and assist in providing for each other.  They help out if the KKK ruins the garden or burns crosses, and they provide nourishment to each other.  Some even cross the alley to the black section of the miner’s housing.  They all shop at the company store and each woman hopes their husbands will be able to move up the hill to better housing and pay.

To have all these historic events combined into one family story is at times overwhelming. I had to set the book aside when they started into WWII and the hatred of the Germans and the Jews collided.  There was so much depth and detail I needed a breather.   To feel the fear experienced by this mother and her daughters was very intense and it certainly parallels many of the changes that are being made today.   The public hatred of immigrants is so present today and the coal wars are different but right here again.  As the story was about building up the Steel Industry in the USA – we now purchase most of our steel outside our country boundaries, and we know the terrible side effects of coal for everyone.   I think I needed to put the book down, because I was saddened by how we have not made much change in the decades beyond and yet yes! we have made astounding changes.   PLAYING ST.BARBARA is quite the read and is a wonderful story about the importance of the mine workers then and now.

Marion Szczepanski received her MFA from Warren Wilson College in the Appalachian Mountains. I went to school there also, that was a nice discovery.     She is the granddaughter of Coal Miners and this is her first novel.

Marian Szczepanski on the Web
Marian Szczepanski on Facebook
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It was a privilege to read this novel for review and I am very happy that the author and TLC online book tours sent me a copy.  I am quite sure you will enjoy reading – PLAYING ST BARBARA.

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

Sharing is a good thing!  Thank you

Recommended Reading:
Hannah Coulter
In The Garden of Stone
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay