Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson


Reviewed from Kindle

Sadly, I found this book to be somewhat confusing, at times I wasn't sure what exactly it was trying to be. A leading actress disappears and doesn't come back for the next performance, nor any other performance. Her dresser Anna Treadway is beside herself trying to locate the actress or a reason for her disappearance and is understandably worried.

I think my confusion stems from timing, this is the '60s in London, not the '20s or '40s and I found myself floundering with the realization that at times I wasn't sure what decade I was in. The basic missing person and hunt for her is seemingly easy enough to deal with, but so many characters who all seem to be gravely concerned and want to help Anna, just seem to complicate matters. They are all from different cultures and also appear to want to be in the background as much as possible for racial reasons and the book seems to segue into their individual fears and hidden lives.

I was prepared to really enjoy this book, it seemed lively and fun but quickly changed. Anna, who it would seem is cast as poor and class-ridden actually takes charge of the search, but gradually takes on other so-called "different" friends in her search, I think the book is trying too hard to cover too many problematic racial, sexual, and similar prejudices and loses its way, with the exception of Anna, who appears to become stronger as time goes by. Granted, I don't know the country's judicial approach to some of the problems, but they seemed to come from a different time. I really wanted to like this book, it would be a great mystery, if there weren't so many characters with their own idiocyncrasies and problems in the way. As a first novel, I would encourage the author to consider whether she wants more mystery (though there was a good mystery and some surprises) and/or reduce some of the parade of extraneous bit-players. (This last comment comes from my perception while reading; the author, in fact, has taken on a very full story for her first novel and I will happily attempt another story by her).

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Last Librarian (The Justar Journal Book One) by Brandt Legg

An AOI Thriller
reviewed from Kindle

Be afraid, be very afraid. If the future is Utopia, who is allowed in? This book by Brandt Legg is scary, but interesting. Some of our past generations may have been a warning. Think of the Spanish Flu and earlier the Bubonic Plague, a terrible pandemic at the time, then multiply it. Think of Fahrenheit 451 and multiply it. Is this our future? Is there a future? The present in this book is worldwide peace, but is it really? Is the current peace a reality...or an impossibility. Already in our world much of the story-line is already spoken of by conspiracy theorists. Interesting. The mantra of the world leaders is "Peace prevails, always." Even in the face of murders and rebellion it seems.

Going back in my mind to the Spanish Flu, one wonders if this was a naturally occuring flu or something more sinister. Regardless, the outcome was horrific, as was the outcome of a different pandemic in this book. This is a great story of what could happen, what might happen, what has happened on a smaller scale. It is a story of people who care about the past and even the present, the last library is destined for destruction by the billionaire and trillionaire world rulers. Will the last library and librarian survive the destruction? They say history repeats itself, a line that has been quoted historically for centuries. Is this a repetition, a blip or is this the end of civilization? Civilization is not the only thing that dies on our planet. This book covers a lot of ground both in a past much like we currently live in and in the future as described with far more and better technology they we have at this moment in the pre-history of what may come. It seems timing is a major concern of when, where and if, and timing appears to have arrived. Surprisingly, one woman stands in the way of the rulers of Aylantik, one of the divisions of earth's power rulers. As in our WWI, the war to end all wars and again WWII, the war to end all wars these two factors are on their way to annihilation of the current status. Can this woman turn it around? An excellent read!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum

by Kirsten Weiss

I really enjoyed this interesting take on small town quirkiness. This one may have them all beat, but then it is a paranormal town as are all, or almost all the inhabitants. So what would one expect on returning to what was her old home. Well, I suppose, expect the unexpected would be about right, and Maddie is certainly going to get that. Three very good friends are going to need each other's support and caring as shenanigans appear to be common, especially when Maddie's friend Adele tries to talk her into buying the Paranormal Museum which just happens to be attached to the tea room she is opening. Why Maddie would want the museum is as unsure as Maddie herself.

This book by Kirsten Weiss is a good solid story with differences from the usual cozies. First, Maddie had a very good job but now is at odds with herself. Adele is from money via the winery her father owns. Harper, the third in the group of young women make up the threesome who are glad to get back together. They've been through a lot, are they ready for more? Spells, ghosts, murder and mayhem seems to be the main attraction in this magical town. And who is suspected of a murder but one of the three. Was it one of them? Was it a so-called "ghost"? Was it a break-in?

Maddie has pretty well decided she may like to buy the museum, the thought is kind of growing on her, especially with GD cat, the cat that sees ghosts. She's left the business world behind but certainly has the ability to bring it up to snuff. There's so much going on in this book, and then of course, there's that gorgeous guy upstairs! So if paranormal, ghosts, old relics of the supernatural days of spiritualists, and/or murder is to your liking, this is sure good reading.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Knock Knock by Debra Purdy Kong

reviewed from Kindle

Who is stalking the senior citizens of Vancouver? 

 Another great read by Debra Purdy Kong. It's not often I get to read a book, in fact a series, located in my "home town". Location well described, as well as the dangers we old folk can face just walking, taking transit, or driving a specific route home. For that matter, is anybody on foot or public transit ever completely sure they are safe? I've read several of Debra Kong's books and enjoyed them all. Her characters are always interesting and often in unusual ways. It's a long time since I lived in Vancouver and even though it has changed so much I recognize some parts of it, the people in my old neighborhood.

Doesn't life have crazy moments; imagine a complete misfit supposedly watching out for the safety of senior passengers on public transit. Are these people coming or going? Now imagine that misfit causing more problems than benefits, a real snobby sort who needs to learn a few manners. Casey Holland has her hands full as security officer, and dealing with a person who is not fitting in or not even seeming to care about the people he should, even with stepped up security. She's also trying to plan her wedding, yet still be avidly aware of those riders mostly elderly or frail, and whether they are being followed suspiciously when they get off the transit, she notices the women especially are often wearing more jewellery than they should, and talking about their lives with no thought of their own privacy. She does her best for them including hints on what can make them safer when they get home. But is it enough? In the meantime, Casey is still unable to have her wedding! Too much going on and so little time to plan. When a break-in happens to one of her regular customers, Elsie, resulting in a brutal attack that lands her in hospital, Casey steps up her vigilance, and even begins to escort some of the more vulnerable home, an action that has just begun to really escalate to deadly crime and very nearly takes her own life.

A well-thought out story, a timely story, I really liked it, even with the fears and danger lurking in the shadows watching to take advantage of the elderly in this murder mystery. I'm glad I got to read it, it is compelling in its awareness of what is needed to protect the vulnerable.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Spider Woman's Daughter by Anne Hillerman

written by Anne Hillerman
series originator Tony Hillerman, r.i.p.

What a delight to be able to carry on reading the Hillerman Navajo books! After the death of her father Tony Hillerman, his daughter Anne Hillerman has taken on the cloak of wonderful Navajo mysteries. She has segued seamlessly into the series, which is not too surprising as she often worked with her father on the stories. All my favorite characters are here. Joe Leaphorn (but will he survive his attempted murder?), Chief Largo, Jim Chee, now married to fellow cop Bernie (Bernadette) Manuelito who is witness to the close up shooting. Who targeted Joe Leaphorn? Why? Where is his housemate who seems to have disappeared or just simply left the house? So much to be learned and Bernie, as the only witness, is not allowed to work the case.

This is an in-depth look at the life and beliefs of the Navajo nation and at the same time a truly well thought out police case, with surprises, action, loss and crime. Chaco Canyon is as true to reality and mystery as always. Always a major crime to be solved but at the same time we learn a bit of history, a bit of lore, a bit of healing, and a sense of community. Wow! I loved this book! It's like being reunited with old friends. Thank you Anne Hillerman for continuing the series. I've missed the stories and am so happy to be able to continue with this new book. As before, the very active Navajo police at the fore, surrounded by the legends and lifestyles of the Navajo, Zuni, Pueblo and other nations; a wonderful balance.

Note:  As a personal asideThe Tony Hillerman books were so realistic, exciting, and full of lore that my husband, daughter and I took a trip from New Westminster, BC Canada through all the places mentioned and then some. We went to Chaco Canyon, Pueblo Bonito, Monument Valley, Gallup, Window Rock, and of course Shiprock. We had opportunity to speak with the very friendly people we met in Shiprock during their fall fair. Our first and only long trip. We learned that the Navajo knew of small towns and cities throughout BC, Alberta, and Northern Canada and most we talked to had relatives all through those areas.

My first Tony Hillerman read was the "Thief of Time" which I found in a tub of books in a pharmacy several years ago. Little did I know then that this was one of the most informative finds I would be likely to see and my favorite.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Condition - Book One: A Medical Miracle? (The Condition Trilogy 1) by Alec Birri

by Alec Birri
reviewed from Kindle

A horrific aircraft crash, a fire, a pilot with no way out, are there passengers endangered? Thus begins a complete turnaround of knowledge. Waking up in a hospital six months later is it any wonder there would be questions? The last of the dressings are being removed but does Dan recognize what happened? This book is strange but fascinating and will taunt the mind of both the character and the reader.

It seems that things are not necessarily as they seem. A bit of anxiety causes Dan to temporarily black out, but since the doctor is there but not attending, there is something different going on. "Amnesia, hallucinations, and now, paranoia." This from the doctor who is about to restart a drug treatment that apparently was in use before. The patient thinks he should go back to the scene of his "accident" to which the doctor agrees and with reason.

This book is quite creative in dealing with several issues. The more one reads, the more comes to light as to what is truly going on. We've determined some parts of it, but there is so much more. I found this book fascinating in its growth and twisting the reader around as Dan begins to make a few differences in what he allows and what he will find in the end. There are many books written about similar stories, but this one, though on a bit of slow start, which I would say was necessary, is just incredible with twists and turns. Are the patients prisoners? Are they experiments? What really is incredible is the time sequence. How long has he really been in the hospital. Who is this patient really? Strange at times, confusing at times, and yet the book has a hold on me.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Yesterday's Lost by Sam Cheever

by Sam Cheever
reviewed from Kindle

A truly horrifying nightmare of a well-described old history home from start to finish. Ghosts? Yes, there are, but not so much the type that just hang around for who knows what reason, but terrifying with no outer appearance to speak of nor floating around minding their own business. What would that business be? It's hard to say. A whole neighborhood is wary of the goings on. An older couple and their children live in the house, so what can be so terrifying?

Two detectives arrive on the scene when a call has been made. Neighbors are gathered outside, descriptions of the chaos within, only in the evening, are confusing and blood-curdling screams are heard within. What is happening? Our two detectives tentatively enter the house simultaneously front door and back door and find nothing but signs of strife, heavy air, fog and stench of death. So where are the family? What was making the screams? And who is the old-fashioned girl in the window?

This was a good story of haunting, serious damage, and broken-spirited investigators who have tragic results of their investigation. I shouldn't have read this one when I went to bed!

A truly horrifying nightmare of a well-described old history home from start to finish. Ghosts? Yes, there are, but not so much the type that just hang around for who knows what reason, but terrifying with no outer appearance to speak of nor floating around minding their own business. What would that business be? It's hard to say. A whole neighborhood is wary of the goings on. An older couple and their children live in the house, so what can be so terrifying?

Two detectives arrive on the scene when a call has been made. Neighbors are gathered outside, descriptions of the chaos within, only in the evening, are confusing and blood-curdling screams are heard inside from without. What is happening? Our two detectives tentatively enter the house simultaneously front door and back door and find nothing but signs of strife, heavy air, fog and stench of death. So where are the family? What was making the screams? And who is the old-fashioned girl in the window?

This was a good story of haunting, serious damage, and broken-spirited investigators who have tragic results of their investigation. I shouldn't have read this one when I went to bed!