Monday, November 5, 2018

The World Beneath (Joe Tesla Series Book 1) Kindle Edition by Rebecca Cantrell

WWII, a medical project gone bad. Post-war leftover tests, are they possible? are they safe? will they help or kill? This is a fascinating book that goes in many directions but the biggest concern at this point in time is an infected monkey, but just how deadly and what is the infection?

Looking for a safe place to work or store the paperwork on this infection, those in the know have reached a strong possibility; a location holding information on the war, and possibly the various testings, labs, no doubt even the doctors and patients involved. This location is probably not where these people expect to spend their last days.

There is a train car, a piece of history underground, a particularly interesting train car, the very car that US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt innocently traveled across the country in, a trip meant to buoy up the people at home during the war. Why is it here?

How is it here? Soldiers start bricking up walls in front and behind the famous train. It doesn't take long to realize the people and a caged monkey currently in the train that has just arrived are doomed as the last bricks are placed.

The author then jumps to present day New York Grand Central Station. In the present there seem to be some leftovers. Are these people with mental and physical problems infected? Were they given the infection all those years ago? The symptoms are all wrong, no two seem to be capable of a "normal" life, but they seem to have small differences of reactions to the infection. Could it be the result of how long ago infection occurred, or has the original been manipulated?

Joe Tesla lives his life in the subterranean tunnels with his psychriatic rescue dog, a probable victim years before and is trying desperately avoid becoming a victim again. This part of the story is fascinating and terrifying. This is one book I can truly say has lots of twists and surprises, especially where our psychologically handicapped hero and rescue dog live. Fantastic story, I could happily read it again! Rebecca Cantrell is a force to be reckoned with, well-researched, I loved this book.

Broken Arrow - America's First Lost Nuclear Weapon by Norman S. Leach

by Norman S. Leach
published by Red Deer Press

America's First Broken Arrow : A True Story of the Cold War, A Doomed Bomber and America's First Lost Nuclear Weapon

Have you ever seen a B36 war plane? Have you ever had an opportunity to see the "Fat Boy" atomic weapon? I have, and both of these are huge in comparison with the size I thought they would be. We had taken a car trip south and part of our route included the Atomic Museum at Alamogordo and New Mexico where "Fat Boy" resides. The reason I know about these combined is because it's an interesting story and by some freak of nature the crash site ended up in British Columbia (the "bomb" was dumped in the ocean when the plane became unstable). For years it was never known where the crash site ultimately was, until it was basically stumbled upon years later where it shouldn't have landed, on Mt. Kologet, north of Smithers, east of the small border town of Stewart and Alaska panhandle, and some of what was recovered ended up in our Smithers museum. 

Were we at war with the US? No, it was a mystery for years what had happened to the flight of this huge plane. How could any of the debris end up there? For an estimate of size, the tail alone was the equivalent of a five-story building and to get it in and out of the hangar, or even sometimes for take-off, the nose had to be the hangar so the tail could dip down enough to get out, and on the tarmac to get enough speed for lift, because it was carrying so much weight, the weight of the very heavy atomic bomb, a very big bomb, "Fat Boy". Maybe not a complete one, but the equivalent weight and position. This was in the time of the "Cold War". The crash discovery was made 40 years after the event, but where was the bomb? Did it explode as a "dirty bomb"?

Because we had moved to Smithers, BC after the discovery of this crash site, it really intrigued us. It took so many years to be discovered, but that's not surprising because it was totally in the opposite direction than it should have been. It was assumed to have crashed into the Pacific Ocean. The good news is that several of the crew survived the terrible weather they had parachuted into on Princess Royal Island off the west coast of British Columbia.

This book is exceptionally well-written, Norman S. Leach wrote this with a passion and a lot of research and it immediately becomes a great non-fiction search and recovery, the product of an amazing piece of history between the flight from a frozen Alaska night, Valentine's Day, 1950 and during the years of the "Cold War".

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Premonition of Murder (Dream Club Mystery 3) by Mary Kennedy

published by Berkley

Mary Kennedy, you've outdone yourself. I loved this, the 3rd Dream Club Mystery, also the 3rd I've read. I find dreams so fascinating in the directions they go. The Dream Club is a perfect example. Beginning with a wealthy, elderly lady hosting a tea-party outside her mansion, she immediately stuns them with the news she dreamed she's going to die, that was the feeling she had from the dream. The Dream Club then tries to help her sort out the dream she had. Fascinating ideas. But are they a portent or a nightmare? The Dream Club is a very mixed group, so she will certainly get a variety of suggestions, though most concur her dream of death was not necessarily what the dream is about. So many different possibilities, especially when her house is a mansion, a beautiful old Savannah home, very large and housing some of her assistants. Are the people who are living there truly caring for her? or is there a darker side to some of them. How many can be trusted?

This dream seems to be complicated as the Club begins to consider the people in the house besides Abigail Marchand, since she is somewhat of a recluse and relies on these others. Of course, with the housekeeper having worked there for over 30 years, she will be receiving an inheritance of $30,000,000. Others appear to be non-threatening, but are they? Who are some of these people who have been showing up recently? Abigail falls to her death, but actually was pushed down the stairs. Finally some questions surface in the group along with Detective Sam Styles, a member of the Dream Club, as they really get to work on what the dreams of all of them have been leading them to, Abigail's housemates and yard-workers. Who is the family member Sophie, from another country? Is she really a relative? What was the real cause of death of Abigail's sister, Desiree? Who is the student recording the artwork in the house? Lucy, the housekeeper, has a son living in the mansion, what is known about him?

Lucy murdered, by whom? Sophie is supposedly Abigail's last living relative, is that true? Abigail has requested that Tracy and Ali record all items in the house after her death. A lot going on with this book. I found the views of the Dream Club very interesting, lives being lost strangely interesting as facts became clearer. I enjoyed reading the Dream Symbol Guide in the back of the book, I wonder what the dreams of floating mean?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

by Erin Morgenstern
published by Anchor Canada (

I am so happy to finally obtain this awesome and fantastic exciting book. I first heard of it a few years ago but wasn't able to get it until this month of October. I am thrilled that it went far above my expectations, and they were pretty high! Erin Morgenstern is a fabulous writer. This is probably the longest book I've ever read and yet I read it steadily, only stopping to sleep, eat and since it is frosty these days in northern BC, chopping wood for the fireplace, what could be more cozy for reading?

I loved this book, it's amazing and unexpected, characters clearly defined, the circus itself a character coming to life only at midnight and closing as the sun begins to rise. Not quite your usual circus, no animal acts, no Big Top, no clowns, but on the other hand, not like the famous Cirque du Soleil or the equally famous Russian Circus. A circus like no other. No, Le Cirque des Reves is something beyond, something living, something elegant. Yet, there is a dark side, too. Not obvious, but competitive, selective in its application of what the competitors, who remain unknown to most, will be compelled to do.

What impressed me was the flow of this book. I felt like I could just become one of the spectators, in fact, I think that is exactly what I was! The story is very unique with a style of its own.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Inventor (a Penny Green Mystery Book 4) by Emily Organ

 Independently published

Oh, how I wish I had started this series with the first book by Emily Organ! That said, I really enjoyed reading the Inventor. I didn't really know exactly what I would find and learn in this book beginning in 1884 with a young lady as a reporter for the newspaper, but the story-line was excellent. Everything in this book was well-matched to its time, not to mention a really strong heroine reporting. The Inventor is placed in the time of working with electricity and I'm sure a lot of references were spot on. If not quite in their time, there are notes at the end of the book with dates, names, companies, and even references to what was going on in botany at the time Penny's father disappeared on a hunt for new plants.

This book has over 350 pp. yet I read it in one day. So dedicated to the story I was I simply couldn't put it down. I definitely want to read the previous books Limelight, The Rookery, and The Maid's Secret, (Books 1, 2 & 3 in the series).

A lot of history of Britain especially regarding the work with electricity, chemicals, filaments, but one can just imagine from the descriptions the appearance in a live show of fairies lit up with small lights in their performance. But unfortunately this didn't last on the first live trial. Instead, misfortune soon overtakes witnesses as the man who has created this effect for whatever reason commits suicide. A sad ending. But why? Our intrepid reporter Penny Green is witness, and also as a reporter will certainly be investigating why this happened. When she starts to receive threatening notes, the whole book takes a turnaround. It still is featuring electricity in its earliest days, but the who would single out Penny for very nasty threatening notes and even telegrams? Everything she does for the paper is followed up with threats, but still she can rely on help from her various contacts.

Seriously, I could not put this book down, in fact when I went outside to check on some noises (we live where there is considerable wildlife), I realized I had taken my book out with me!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey

  Penguin Random House
  Tundra Books
  written by Linda Bailey
  illustrated by Julia Sarda

I love the illustrations in this book, both the imaginative and creative drawings, and the creative writing. Kids and adults are going to love these drawings, as creative as the original story itself. This is a childrens book, so creative. As it says, How does a Story Begin? Sometimes it begins with a dream. I am in awe of the creativity and the story in this book.

Mary is an unusual girl. She never really knew her mother, she died when Mary was only eleven days old. She comes to know some poets, writers, and artists, friends of her father and who will become famous through the years. Thus she becomes well-known in her own field. She is unique, well-read, and creative, and she runs away with a young poet who is very much like her, seeing what others don't see, too busy in their own lives to see the creativity in the lives of these two unique personalities. Meeting another creative story-teller, Mary has a lot to think about as a teen-ager.  She sees mystery everywhere, finds creativity fulfilling her life. Her friends want to become famous story-tellers...poets, artists, novelists. Mary, with her wonderful imagination, way with words, and desire to create, to tell stories, writes. Mary is the person who wrote about Frankenstein and created a book that is still known today. Mary grew up to be a classic and exciting author. Sometimes a Story begins with a Dream. If people dreamed of what they wanted to do, of what they are capable of, just look at what they can do!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Gray Ghost: The Bill Dix Detective Series Book 1 by C.L. Swinney

                                     What a thriller! This is one very active, very connected book!
Reviewed from Kindle

What a thriller! What a way to take a vacation! This is one very active, very connected book. I knew I'd heard the words "Gray Ghost" through the years but had no idea until now how important those words were. I just looked at a list of books with that name included and it is a long list. I believe it has also been used as names for operations and various transport mobility during wars. Just picture planes, ships, submarines slipping out of side like a gray ghost in a fog. Just as easily a motorboat of any type could slip away in the usual fog of night with illegal cargo as silently as a ghost when needed. That aside, this was a fascinating book, beginning with murder and the sinking of a speedboat loaded with one hundred million dollars' worth of cocaine in the hull, and two dead bodies on deck. Wouldn't you think a nice fishing trip in the Bahamas would be restful for two vacationing narcotics detectives? But no, first their fishing guides were killed, the boat sunk, all before they even got started. What can you do when you do not have jurisdiction to assist in such a case that could cost your career if you interfere? But Bill and his partner will take the chance. This was a great fast action read, lots to think about, some very fast thinking but the mastermind is so diabolical, how will they ever catch him? Lucky for the readers, this is Book 1 in a series so there is more to come. I was totally whisked away by author C.L. Swinney as I followed their efforts, very exciting.

Behind Dark Doors by Susan May

Reviewed from Kindle

Fascinating and dark, I enjoyed these short stories, always with a quick twist. These stories bring to mind the old Twilight Zone TV series that were so suspenseful and held a twist. What was particularly different was that the Twilight Zone was visual whereas this book with its several very suspenseful short stories can sneak up on you as you absorb what you are reading. Of course, reading has its own ability to create visually and probably retain the shock that will come as it twists suddenly. Reading this book will definitely leave you with visually presented stories in your mind. It is also Book 1 of a series, so lots to look forward to. I read all the stories in one go, couldn't put it down until I finished the book. Short stories in this case didn't feel short because there was so much packed into them that will claim your mind long after you finish the book. Bring on the next! It's almost like shock therapy. You really pulled me in, Susan May!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy by David E. Fessen

author David E. Fessenden
published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

This book was a welcome surprise to me, featuring some familiar names if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes. It's like Sherlock Holmes rebooted! Such fun, and such competition! The mystery of the exploding speakeasy seems to have become a guessing game to the public. Three men have joined together to solve the mystery and are all living in the same house: Mycroft Holmes (brother to Sherlock), Thomas Watson, a newspaper reporter and son of Dr. Watson, biographer of Sherlock and the butler, Basil Meridan, who is now out of a job and apparently into a new one serving this group. One might say this unusual crew sharing a crowded apartment makes for strange bedfellows.

Beginning with a disaster of unknown cause, four men begin to put their heads to an explosion that doesn't appear to really be what it seems. But let's get back to our room-mates for a bit. When the explosion occurs, we learn some identities of those who were safely out of the room. An English butler, Mr. Watson, and at home, who should arrive but Mr. Holmes, Mycroft Holmes! Who else should turn up, and why? How exciting to have Sherlock Holmes' legacy arrive on your doorstep! They didn't arrive all at once but almost, not quite, prearranged or maybe I could say predestined. Did you love the Sherlock Holmes adventures when you were young? This is definitely up your alley. Just a start but sure feels like more to come. And of course, "Times They Are A-Changing. So take it with a little tongue in cheek, maybe a quarter dose since we don't want problems. Now on with the show! I truly enjoyed this merry mixed group working out the clues, I am so glad I came across this book, a good mystery and a fascinating one.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Hydrofoil Mystery by Eric Walters

written by Eric Walters
 published by Puffin Canada
1st published 1999 Reissued 2018

A fascinating YA mystery the basis of which comes from the actual invention and historic bites of interest from WWI, I found the book very well-defined in its time-frame and place, Halifax, Nova Scotia, with WWI German submarines attacking the east coast of North America, lack of money, lack of entertainment for teens; no wonder people were desperate for both money and entertainment. Thus we find our young hero, Billy McCracken, not so much a hero at this point, he is getting in with the "wrong" crowds and his mother is in a quandry. This boy has a lot of anger buried and possibly doesn't even realize it, but more than that he is gambling and smoking, neither a particularly a healthy life.

Through some interesting maneuvers he finds himself sent off to work for Alexander Graham Bell. He has no idea of how his life might change. This is where the book became very interesting to me. Aside from Bell being an inventor and teacher of so many things, he becomes a real friend to Billy, who he insists on calling William McCracken. Alexander Graham Bell invented the first hydrofoil boat in 1911, intended to resist enemy submarines reaching/attacking the east coast. This I found fascinating. I believe young teens will find this interesting and older teens will be drawn to the technical side, but also what happens when the war and early technology clash. Billy becomes very interested in this machine that is so amazing. When danger lurks, he and others working with Bell are ready and willing to save the ship from attack. I thought the book had a lot going for it and in it. The lives if people in the Maritimes, the inventions and the well-written inventor, the technology, Bell's "lessons" to help young people. Altogether it makes for good reading.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Hidden Village: A Story of Survival in WW2 Holland by Imogen Matthews

 author Imogene Matthews
 published by Amsterdam Publishing
Reviewed from Kindle

This is a book that truly has a strong message
This is a book that truly has a strong message and imparts some very important safety measures, especially for the children. Depending on the reader's awareness of WWII, it is a difficult story and yet made me follow the people involved, really drew me. While I say it is a difficult story, it is even more a very well-written story that encompasses several years, several lives, and a Hidden Village. Now that is very interesting and I loved the story-line, the closeness of the village, the historic significance. I read this whole book without stopping, it grabbed me so much. Was there a real "Hidden Village"? I honestly don't know but I have suspicions of a sort. There have been signs of it. The people are the main focus, because this was the way a community came together and lived and watched out for each other, and protected the Jewish families and in many cases just the children.

Even today the world reverberates with loss and fear, lost dreams and lost family. Sometimes it seems that every generation has a war and it starts all over again. Generation after generation. But this is a story that is innovative, careful, frightened yes, but they are making plans, they are refusing to simply be victims and nor do they leave these people to what is absolute slaughter. I really found this not only an interesting read, but grew up feeling for many of the innocents and those who lost their lives. WWII is a history not forgotten.

The fascination comes mostly with how the Dutch were able to hide so many in some very small places. If indeed the Hidden Village is/was real, it operates in this book as a community living as normal as possible, while being very careful. The Village is not seen easily, thanks to the heavily wooded area surrounding it. But most people know if they go into the woods, they are not as quiet as one might think. Sometimes a twig snaps, sometimes a bird stops in mid-song. But back to the German searches through the community, did they ever find the Hidden part? When refugees are taken in to the village homes the transition is pretty smooth but the need for so many spaces increases constantly. Closets, attics, under floors, small spaces. This book is based on a village in Holland of which some signs have been found. I would say this historical fiction is closer to fact than originally thought. Those who have read Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank will remember they were hidden in this way.

There are several times that there are near misses of the villagers getting caught. Finding an English pilot once and an American pilot later, both in the woods, shows how chancy any outdoor activity is. How they managed to get the glaring white 'chutes out of the dark forest fast enough for them not to be found amazes me. But life goes on and on, and for probably years the Hidden Village was not found. My thanks to Imogene Matthews for the courage, insight, endurance, and the ability to see things that may or may not have been there and interpreted it all into a polished and fascinating piece of historic value. This is the best I have read in this genre.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Deal Gone Dead: A Lily Sprayberry Realtor Book 1 by Carolyn Ridder Aspension

written by Carolyn Ridder Aspension
reviewed from Kindle

Round and round the suspects do go, when they will stop no one will know 
Is there a sale on cast-iron skillets in town? They seem to appear with a bit of regularity in this book. Unfortunately, no one is cooking with them. What's a realtor to do when she finds her client dead from a blow to the head, a death by cast-iron skillet! Myrtle Mae Redbecker may be difficult, but who would do anything remotely like this to an elderly woman, the elderly woman you have an appointment for morning coffee with?

Lily, stuck with a childhood nickname of Lillibit, finds the news gets around faster than she could possibly guess, being that all she did was look out in front of the house only to see a large group of Myrtle Mae's neighbors gathered already! Who sounded the alert? or, being a small town, who rounded up citizens in siren vehicles. I'm from a small town but the only time we would hear that is to announce lunch hour at noon. Then again, Myrtle wasn't the favorite of the block but curiosity will win out every time no matter the draw. Yes, there is something about small towns or counties that seem to be able to pass news faster than the telegraph, and in this case one of the fastest is Lily's old beau from college, her ex-boyfriend, now County Sheriff Dylan. With the arrival at Myrtle's home of her great-nephew Jesse, craziness is compounded. Sheriff Dylan is checking the house and body out, Lily is trying to keep Jesse out of the house until given the all-clear.

In the meantime, what will happen with the sale of Myrtle Mae's property, the reason why Lily had come to the house, other than coffee, in the first place. Finding her dead is certainly going to complicate things, since there are three bidders, one to be accepted this morning. The reason for getting together with Myrtle that morning was that she had made a decision on which buyer she wanted.

I love these Southern cozy mysteries! Well crafted, yet a veritable verbal pile-up. You never know what direction they're going to go. As it happens, the sale is for the property, and Jesse has no claim on the property which Myrtle had put in a trust. Are big developers going to be changing property in the area into condos, tearing down history? But wait!! Who is putting holes in the walls and floor of the attic? Why? When? How? So much to look into, but what I love about this book is the mysteries, who is doing what where and why? Surprisingly, the answers are not all that forthcoming, there are more mysteries yet to add to this story, some long-standing.  Carolyn Ridder Aspension, for a small town this story has plenty to say--I really enjoyed reading it, suspense, mystery, and all the knotted threads to unravel. Questionable property lines may throw a shovel in the mix ending the sale, since there seems to be an extra shovel by the window most days. There seem to be several thoughts on who has a right to the property, what property is being questioned, many secrets and as many secret missions to solve them. And then there's the long history of the "hidden money" story. This book was funny, sad, different and enjoyable. I leave the final outcomes, discovery and enjoyment for other readers to visit unspoiled and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Death by a Honeybee (a Josiah Reynolds Mystery #1) by Abigail Keam

author  Abigail Keam
review based on Kindle

 I really enjoyed this book by Abigail Keam , sharp, witty, and dedicated to her bees; as a former beekeeper, I also not only self-involved into the mystery of the death of this beekeeper, but also learned some new things I didn't know before. With such a shocking death, one might wonder how in the world anyone will be able to get to the bottom of this crime, if, indeed, it is a crime. I loved the character of Josiah and also of Matt the upcoming lawyer, his partner Franklin provided a combination of humor and good advice. Not so much the unhelpful Taffy and Nancy. But back to the bees. Who killed Richard Pidgeon? Or was it an accident, a heart attack? There are so many angry honeybees around him who would be able to tell. Nothing will calm them for some time.

Josiah, owner of this land and a most vigilant beekeeper, has not been lucky in love. She also seems to be thrown into chaos of the wealthy kind, she has it (mostly when married to Barron), then she doesn't (mostly when he married #2 wife). Of course this probably has more to do with her losses with her lawyer fees and other similar matters trying to keep on top of arrest for this crime she didn't commit. Though she loves the home her husband Brannon had built, when they came to a place in their lives when their interests drifted apart, divorce reared its ugly head yet she reveals that she never had closure, and then he died leaving behind his first wife Josiah and daughter, he leaves little else, which may be causing someone they knew, or maybe #2 wife simmering with the idea he was been murdered and by Josiah? Life in this town is like a chess game!

There are a lot of characters in this book, and each has a reason to be included. Everyone from "Daffy" Taffy to Officer O'nan, a vindictive piece of work. Every year there is a honey competition at the Farmers' Market and there appears to be a very tight race between Richard and Josiah to win in previous years, casting suspicion on Josiah, especially since the very dead Richard was found in one of her hives. Definitely a quirky murder, if that is what it is, but why at Josiah's? Now Josiah is the number one suspect for the murder of Richard, this before murder has yet to be proven. What Josiah learns is that everyone has suspicions, and she won't be allowed to communicate with her friends and others in town until her name is cleared. The more I read the more there appeared to be issues between people, but also others appear to be strong and honest. It's a complicated town, though a portion of the population seems to be well-off financially, others are in need, and of course there are the renowned Kentucky horses to also make you either rich or poor. It's curious how much transferring of funds and/or properties goes on in this town, and why? There also seems to be a number of people with allergies: asthma, bee stings, (maybe that famous bluegrass of Kentucky causes Josiah's breathing problems?)

I gained so many memories with the movie game that Josiah & Matt played often, sometimes joined with Franklin it was so much fun. Old movie quotes from old stars and even a dance taken from Dick Clark's TV Dance show in the late '50s and '60s. If you like movies and stars from either side of the 1940s, you'll enjoy all these references (maybe even play along), I did. This book was an unexpected pleasure to read, even with the deaths. I love new discoveries! I enjoyed every minute! Thank you Abigail Keam for an enjoyable reading day!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Dying Words (A Ghostwriter Mystery #4) by C.A. Larmer

author C.A.Larmer
reviewed from Kindle

This is the first book by C.A. Larmer I've read and it was certainly entertaining and mysterious. Roxy is a ghostwriter and she has recently finished up with a photo to insert in the more or less textbook/memoir she has been working on for billionaire Sir Wolfgang Bergman. Surprisingly, the photo almost takes on a life of its own. What can possibly be so important or so damaging in that photo to be such a contentious issue. Sure, everyone seems to be looking at something or someone else, but why? Is the photo revealing something that Bernie is so desperately trying to convey to the family with his dying words with ""?

Roxy has her hands full with trying to help Bernie's daughter Sondra who certainly is very focused on what she imagines must be a fortune. Finding a copy of the photo and studying it tells them nothing of importance, and therein lies the mystery. This is a mystery that no one wants to talk about, a mystery that seems to turn around every time Roxy gets close, but Bernie's daughter is definitely not going to give up, not at all! Even as the people in the photo begin dying off or are killed off. Roxy, with her good friend Gilda, a policewoman, make no headway. They figure Sir Wolfgang has the answer, and maybe he does, at least part of it. The mysteries will take you down the garden path, so to speak, but so much happened in Indonesia with the survey group that nothing seems clear. Clearly, everyone knew something about this mystery, but with all the deaths and murders, no one seems to know it all. This was a good mystery, one that didn't want to be solved, and I really enjoyed the book.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Unsent Letters by Daralyse Lyons

author Daralyse Lyons
published e-book by Imajin Books (2018)

This book is probably the closest to a true love story as I've ever read.
Strangely, parts of it are very close to my own life and I'm sure other romantics would feel the same way. I wonder how many readers will have  been through some of this story themselves; the love and passion alive and finally getting themselves where they needed to be. This book is amazing! To me, it felt very real, the discovery by family members of the letters that tell the story. It is a beautiful love story, never independently known, but the flow was wonderful. It took a bit of focus at times to realize again that these letters were never sent, beautiful as they were. A whole lifetime of wonderful, loving letters. I thought the premise was insightful and well-thought out. It reminded me of the letters my mother still has from WWII between herself and my dad. I remember her condensing them into a complete story for the 5 of us, me and my brothers, leaving out the "personal" parts. Now after reading Unsent Letters, I can only think of them like the letters never sent.

Daralyse Lyons has given us a book that is personal, thoughtful, filled with love and hope. I was gripped by it, read right through to 3:30 a.m. and even reread some parts. I think the story is remarkable in its continuity and honesty. I am so thankful for the connection of the family/families, especially considering other familial changes and understanding. Honest and real. A true love story.  

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Louisiana Longshot by Jana Deleon

author Jana DeLeon
review from Kindle

Well, I'm almost sure Longshot refers to a weapon, when I first saw the title I thought it referred to a drink. Sure. But this book turned out to be so humorous I was completely taken in, especially since it combines two different military operations and a lot of secrets. What can you do when your best assassin ends up on a worldwide hit list? Naturally the first thing would be to make her disappear, at least for a certain length of time. Where better? The Louisiana bayou, perfect if you don't become the meal of an alligator!

Fortune is a personal assassin who has blown her cover. Her new identity "Sandy-Sue Morrow" is obviously about as opposite as possible to her own. When Fortune learns where she will be, how will she ever be able to play that one out? Initiative? Improvisation? She will be the doppleganger as Sandy-Sue, who is a librarian, knitter (well, that could come in handy), and former beauty queen who also happens to be the niece of Fortune's boss...what? This will not be a new appointment, this is strictly to have her off the grid until she is no longer in danger from the arms dealers' hit list. This book is full of quirky citizens and rules, the town is named Sinful, yet Sundays have their own quirky regulations for a surprising reason. The Sinful Ladies Society is comprised of Seniors; one might say they are still living in the '60s but some are very capable, surprisingly versatile, and definitely not your accustomed "little old ladies".

I loved this book, full of adventure, murder, mystery, and some very good friends, the essence of quirkiness, even elderly as they are. What a surprise to learn their history! This book is fun, different, and what's with the deputy who keeps popping up out of nowhere? With so much going on one might wonder how anything gets accomplished, and for that matter does anything get accomplished? This is a read that will take you on unusual adventures just by being there. I can hardly wait to read more by Jana Deleon.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Witches and Wine ( A Paranormal Cozy Mystery)(California Witching Book 1)

written by Samantha Silver with Megan Marple
reviewed from Kindle

 Every so often I like to read a cozy in between other perhaps not-so-cozy books. Let's face it, I'll read almost any genre but not quite all, I have my limits. I enjoy paranormal cozies and this one hit the spot.

What do you say when somebody tells you that you are a witch, yes that is the right word, our heroine is a witch and she will soon be making some sweeping changes in her life. For instance, she is currently working in a no-future job at a car lot, when a lovely woman, Barbara, a complete stranger to her tells her she is a witch. Surprised that she didn't know she was "different" we learn that she was in fact witchy parents to help her understand odd things about herself. Already I'm enjoying this book. This girl's life is about to become bizarre. Taylor is happy to leave her job and is on her way with Barbara to Rosemary Creek to live and learn. How does she come to meet this lovely woman with so much confidence in Taylor that she even offers her to share her own daughter Karen's suite? Interesting story, an event that Barbara witnesses. Taylor has just saved someone's life but is not even aware of what she has done. There are a lot of interesting things that occur that Taylor is in control of...or almost in control. She is constantly shocked at what she herself is doing. There will be a lot of twists and turns as the two girls try to solve a mystery with witchcraft while Karen's mother is being held for the murder of her ex-husband. Will witchcraft and magic win out?

I enjoyed the humour of this story. I enjoyed the camaraderie between the two girls Karen and Taylor, and the secrets they each had. Oh, yes, Taylor most definitely is a witch. She wants to be a veterinarian. Since her "specialty" is healing, what could be better than to work with animal rescue?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Blue Water Hues: an Ashley Grant Mystery by Vicki Delany

written by Vicki Delany
A Rapid Reads Orca Book, advance reading copy (ARC) 

Well, this book certainly starts with an attention-getter! A very new, very high class inn is up in smoke. That got my attention. What is going on with this beautiful resort in such an amazing location? It's a good thing the newly located Canadian, Ashley Grant, is a paramedic and already on the job. Ashley has just moved from Toronto, Ontario to Victoria and Albert Islands in the Caribbean, what an adjustment! Fortunately the country is outfitted with a firefighter, an ambulance driver and a police office, in other words, your standard very small country or county town service people, because they are going to be utilizing all three in this book. In the meantime, though discovered to be arson, the fire was quickly contained, mostly smoke, and the resort is mostly open. Yet, why arson? What could be the reason, or the attempt in the first place. Is there yet more going on in this the story?

This is the second Ashley Grant Mystery, I'll sure try to read the first, I suspect it would be quite different. But back to the Caribbean and the fire, it doesn't take long for Ashley to be asking questions with a death from the fire and a puzzling second death that evening, which oddly appears related...or is it? Will there be more? Well, maybe a near-miss, possibly attempted murder.

I enjoy the interactions with the local people especially in small locations. Often there will be some opinionated, some caring, some murderous. It surprises me that Ashley has so many phobias yet goes to live where she will find herself trying to avoid them. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for her move, to get past her phobias. I enjoyed this book, so descriptive, making me long for a trip to the Caribbean.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The B-Team: The Case of the Angry First Wife

by Melodie Campbell
an Orca Rapid Reads

 Another fun "family" mystery by Melodie Campbell. Reading a book by Melodie is complete enjoyment. How she can stuff so much fun in a Rapid-Read book is amazing to me. A little different from her previous comic villains, but a part of the same family, that of Gina Gallo et al, the "vigilantes", namely Kitty, Ritz, Dino and Del are determined to do justice to the wronged, in this case return a stolen necklace to its rightful owner. Still something always seems to go awry and in this book the rightful owner is more likely the unrightful owner. The usual "family" business and connections, plus another entry to romance carries on with Del as does in the Gina Gallo books. I love these quick but very complete books by Melodie! Very entertaining. This review is based on an Advance Reading Copy (ARC).

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Nobody's Child: The Georgia Davis PI Series #4

by Libby Fischer Hellman
reviewed from Kindle

 I've had the privilege of reading several of Libby Fischer Hellman's books over the past few years and I have never found one I didn't enjoy! Her main characters are amazing, well-fleshed out, and comfortable to know. One thing I found interesting was how her characters interacted between books at times, sort of like brief cameos. Through all the various genres she has written, this one really stands out, perhaps mainly for its tone and subject.

Well written as always, there are so many different lines we could follow and never get lost. Georgia is an unusual person for having been a cop previous to becoming a private investigator; she has a few personal traits that hold her back from fulfillment, particularly friendly communication, but within her work abilities she definitely has the spunk and invaluable investigating gene. The subjects covered are unfortunately very real and very difficult to deal with, trafficking possibly most common whether drugs, artifacts, babies, young women, body parts, etc. Yet this happens all too often in the world of today. Libby definitely knows how to get acknowledgement of crimes found in many large cities, even smaller towns. These things don't just happen, these crimes are worldwide and she handles the content with feeling. Cleaning up any of them will be a long hard road for all fields of crime busting and freedom seeking. Friendly helpful conversation between Ellie Forman and Georgia Davis here and there in this story-line is brilliant. These are two characters who have their own books by this author, it isn't usual that you will find them in the same book, but personally I thought it was genius.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker

This review is based on an Advance Reading Copy (ARC)
by Shawn Smucker

Book 2 of The Day the Angels Fell Book Series. 

I am very taken with this book, totally unexpected, vibrating with intensity, and a fascinating story. Even from the beginning you know this is going to be an interesting book. I get the feeling that had I read the previous book "The Day the Angels Fell," it would have amplified everything I read in this book. But perhaps this book was already amplified from the beginning. Not having read the previous book may not have clarified this one. All I know for sure is The Edge is what is important. I am in awe with what the author has portrayed with the characters and the landscape.

There is so much going on in this book. Family relations, heroic children, the ocean that takes you Over There, the Tree of Life, the realities and the possibilities. As mentioned, the book I am reviewing here is an Advance Reading Copy. I can't help but wonder at what may appear in the final version. I expect the characters will become full-grown, and many questions will be answered.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Perfect Stranger - a Novel by Megan Miranda

 Author Megan Miranda
publisher Simon & Schuster Paperbacks

What is reality and how do you recognize it? Kept me reading into the night!
 Though I kind of got lost here and there in the book, sure enough the catch up would come along. I found the book interesting, with a lot of twists and turns and enough confusion to wonder, is she real or is she not? A unique take on composition considering the psychological aspects making it a puzzle to be solved for sure. I'm sorry I hadn't read Megan Miranda's "All the Missing Girls", a matter I'll remedy as soon as possible. Here I am not only going the wrong direction but reading the second book first! Regardless, the book took a hold on me and I found it fascinating and unexpected.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Bear Grylls: Ghost Flight

Bear Grylls
Reviewed from Kindle

Those of us born in the 1930s and through the 1940s know about WWII, and the Third Reich. Still there are so many secrets even now, into the new century. How much has been hidden from the world, how much has been hidden from the very Allies who fought for freedom and respite? What don't we know? What do we know about a Fourth Reich, or a Thousand Year Reich? Scary, isn't it? Did Adolph Hitler really survive? This book by Bear Grylls really grasps you and draws you in to "what if?" Though a book of fiction it contains a lot of fact. I was mesmerized by a number of methods of escape, the way these people bonded with occasional differences as we all have.

Will Jaeger in particular who has been beaten, imprisoned, and no doubt starved, also had his wife and son taken. Are they still alive? Just when almost the last vestiges of clarity and expectation of death, his confidant and best friend has come to rescue him. He is needed for a joint mission. The war is not over after all.

Once the story gets into planning the mission, the book gets even more interesting. This mixed group is going to be learning a lot in a short time. This book is very well written. It is exciting and terrifying at the same time. You will not be able to put it down. I look forward to reading the next book! Amazing story! Bear Grylls really knows how to grab an audience!

Monday, June 25, 2018

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

written by Emily Barr
published by Penguin Teen Canada

What an amazing read! I am not normally a fast reader, and wasn't really what one would call fast when I read this book, but I read the entire book in one sitting, very unusual for me. Flora Banks was a healthy, happy young girl in the early part of her life, but it all ended when she was ten. I have always been interested in stories that have a medical background running through it. Why would everything stop when she was ten when she is seventeen now? There is definitely a story here that will prove to be very interesting and very surprising. There is obviously going to be something unique in its structure and in Flora's life. She has a tattoo, she's had it since she was ten, it is on her hand and says FLORA, be brave; very strange for a child that age. But Flora is not five, she is seventeen! She is at a party, it says so on her arm. She and Drake kissed on the beach and she remembers, she's never remembered anything for any length of time, but this she remembers longer than any other thing. Unfortunately Drake is her best friend Paige's boyfriend but he is moving to Norway to study in the frigid north. But why is she like this? What happened when she was ten?

According to her notebook, which is not in her handwriting, Flora can not retain the memory of anything within an hour or possibly less. (Until Drake kissed her on the beach, that's a memory she has partially retained but won't write in the book.) The notebook tells her she had a tumor and it was removed causing her to lose memories of the present. She has Anterograde Amnesia. But does she? Something doesn't sit right. When her parents are called to Paris because her brother is ill, they assume her friend is coming to be with her, not realizing that her friend is angry with her and not a friend anymore. As a result, Flora, having found her passport and money is on her way to North Pole in Norway to visit Drake, so she decides. With Drake in her mind she is remembering, she is not losing the memory. Will she find him? Will she be able to get herself halfway around the world with her memory problems? What is so frightening about traveling? Why didn't her parents take her with them to see her brother in Paris? Why does she want to go to Flambards? Why are her parents so against it? So many questions in this book. The ending took me by surprise, though it shouldn't have. It is in the background of the "memories" and the notes on her arms, post-it notes, and notebook. Why won't her parents take her to a favourite place? This is an incredible story of loss, fear, sadness, lies, over-protection, self-blame, angst, confusion, joint effort between Jacob her brother and Paige who is her best friend, to free Flora from her trapped brain. So much sorrow, angst and need. Did Flora ever get real comfort? Her biggest support will come from the dying brother Jacob and her friend Paige. FLORA, be brave.

As said earlier, I usually take longer to read a story but I was so into it, and I admit to a bit of confusion and occasional lapses while reading, leading to distrust. This is a book I will read again, and a great book club story in my opinion. So, now, what is the real reason for the subterfuge. It is listed as Young Adult, which I consider absolutely correct, Flora is seventeen - now eighteen.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cracks in the Sidewalk by Bette Lee Crosby

reviewed from Kindle
by Bette Lee Crosby

A very diversified author, Bette Lee Crosby has used a true story for the basis of this unusual book of loss and retrieval of spirit and joy. A single lonely child who dreams of a big family, but has a family and friends who bring happiness to her life. Then one day as Elizabeth becomes a young lady, a young man is suddenly like a new addition to the family. A little worrisome at times but these two are very obviously in love and when he gives Elizabeth an engagement ring she is over the moon. Elizabeth has always dreamed of having lots of children and apparently Jeffrey wants the same. Whatever doubts the parents may have could be interpreted as fearing losing their daughter, after all, they have been a family of three for so many years. But they help them get a home of their own, and soon the first child is born. Thus it begins, a fairytale in the making.

But time has a way of passing and the second child arrives. Beautiful happy children. Life is good, the children are loved by all the family. Soon the fairytale will be falling apart. Pressure of work, pressure of raising a family, pressure of trying to keep up with bills, the usual trials of early years of a hasty decision of marriage and children. Problems everyone can relate to at some point in their lives. But Jeffrey believes the opposite, he believes he has been chosen to have problems and that someone should help him, and at this point the fairytale is mostly over. How little he knows about life. How little time his own family must have spent to bring up a seemingly good, caring man but rather a man who is fractured with what he can't do for his family. So many in life have hidden problems. Most deal with them in semi-organized manner, but there are those who will trip over the "cracks in the sidewalk" without even realizing the road they are heading to. With a third child on the way with complications, Jeffrey is lost in the cares of family and bills and lack of customers coming to buy at his store and the goodness in him becomes lost with the stretch and the fear.

This is a joyous story and a completely sad story. If life were easy, there wouldn't be stories like this, but that is not the way it would be. Once that loss of control of self takes hold it escalates into oblivion. And yet their kids mean a lot to both parents. Unfortunately, one is about to deliver the third child but there are serious complications. Liz must deliver early for the baby's health. And now this happy loving family has broken. Keeping in mind this is based on a true story, this is a very strong image of how people will/can react to each other. A man who is caring for the children (until another woman comes in but I'd be unsure as to how quickly that mistake would be complete), he does care, but begins to lose sight of the childrens' needs as far as their mother's condition goes. A mother who is in terrible crisis healthwise and wants only to be able to see her children, visit with her children and is being denied. Grandparents who learn that in their state they have no say in anything, not even to take care of the children sometimes. So here is a story that can't come full circle. Hatred is very close to the surface, hatred of others, hatred of self, Elizabeth appears to be showing no hatred, but how much time does she have left? There is so much more going on in this tale, and very likely it is similar to other misconceptions of life. How long can people go on under stress. We hear about it all the time. Some hold on longer than others but the end result is too often the same. This story should be read. It needs to be read. Someone's life is going to be so full of stress and feelings of uselessness. If only we could understand each other, care about each other, and give the other something to live for.
This book is really special. Thank you Bette Lee Crosby.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Knock Knock by Debra Purdy Kong

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 "hometown". 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. Who/Why would someone hire this person who ignores the people he is assigned to guard? 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.

The Place That Never Existed by Jim Ody

reviewed from Kindle
written by Jim Ody
publisher CrazyInk

What can I say about the creativity of this book? All I can say is "WOW!" This is the first book I have read by Jim Ody and I must say it is a tightly woven story that leads the reader in many directions.  From psychological overtones, to several sexual encounters, to a heartfelt love that survives regardless of multiple efforts to kill it. From a honeymoon in a village that seems a little strange and has a history of missing people to an ending that the reader will not see coming, my attention was grabbed from the beginning. Of course with a title about the non-existent place that is the source of fear, confusion and deadly pitfalls, I just knew I had to read this book. I am very glad I did and I will be looking for more by this author. The build-up was something that couldn't bring to mind where it was going and when the finale came it was spot on. Jim Ody, you took me completely by surprise.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Twenty-five Years of 22 Minutes by Angela Mombourquette

an unauthorized Oral History of This Hour Has 22 Minutes as told by cast members, staff and guests
by Angela Mombourquette

I really like the way this book is laid out. All the people involved in the conception, follow-up, performance, and the production are recognized in this book. Imagine in this day and age a comedic version of the news becoming a long-running (25 years at the writing of this book) award-winning show coming out of the maritime provinces for the most part. The book is segmented by conversations with each of the people involved in any way with the show. Basically, the book is like an interview with each person; the fact this show ran on a significantly low budget (virtually none) is astonishing. At times it reminded me of the old Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney "We'll put on a show!" "Let's put on a show!" movies.

I really enjoyed how everyone would work on the ideas they came up with. Some of them though really comical, came off badly, which almost made them even funnier. If you were and still are a fan of the show, you will really enjoy this book. If you didn't always watch it, you will enjoy learning how it all went together and wish you'd watched it more. This is a genuine satirical Canadian TV show, with the humour of the Maritimes. No wonder it's had such a long run! 5 stars to this one.

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 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 than 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.

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!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Brain Loses the Game by Thomas Marchante

by Thomas Marchante
reviewed from Kindle

Who's up for a game? Is the rabbit hole still intact?
 Played like a game of chess, I have found another author to thoroughly enjoy, and especially our sleuth, Charlie Handler, who plays the game completely to win. Oh, how I love this premise! A mind that talks to itself and answers its questions to solve questions, so very me. A fitted out van far beyond what might be expected in sleuthing.

For those who prefer a different style, such as footwork, paper trails, I say give this one a chance, a very different approach that produces answers faster.

Check out the wife first, right? Caution, earplugs needed when asking her questions about her husband. Speech from Gilly is like chalk on a blackboard. No answers there anyway; Mack is the real person who Charlie needs to locate.  Or is he? He hasn't been seen or heard from since Charlie was hired to find him, dead or alive. A lot of questions to be answered. Charlie has been searching for players in this corporation since she was hired. Is this just a wild goose chase? People on her list to report on are there one moment, the next gone. And what is, to Charlie's versatile mind, entertaining. Going back in my history to when I was working, I sometimes wonder if we were being played or at least in a game, would we ever know it? Certainly an odd book and an odd choice for the future for Charlie. This had various threads throughout, but how do they get untangled? Of course, they still get tangled, wouldn't anyone in contact with the first person tangled want to know how and where that happened? I enjoyed this one completely, especially as the first part certainly was so in sync with how I solve thoughts or problems. Thank you Thomas Marchante... or is it "The Monitor?" or "The Joker?"

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Inspector Rebecca Mayfield Box Set 1

by Joanne Pence

Very entertaining, really enjoyed all three stories
Beginning with The Thirteenth Santa, quite frankly I thought it took off with the hilarity of the old Keystone Kops films. How can a big van carrying 12 elderly Santas just disappear? Even more bizarre, where did the body of the thirteenth Santa come from? Christmas Eve has never been so strange. Some of the characters in the first story carry over into the next, some don't.

The second story, One O'Clock Hustle, has Rebecca Mayfield, Homicide division, working on several cases as the story goes along. Not quite a carry-over from book 1, but just as suspenseful and fast-paced as the first. It also carries over Richie Amalfi, completely in character, but would he actually kill someone? Another entertaining story, and still connected in some ways to the first and as high tension with humor as the last.

The third story, Two O'Clock Heist, is as tense and entertaining as the rest. I loved this entire boxed set, I downloaded it on to my Kindle. I can only imagine what the set would be like reading it on paper. I almost want to start reading it all again, but I just finished the set, which also included Richie's Italian Dialect, how it is used in San Francisco and what the words mean which I found really interesting. Joanne Pence has truly gone out of her way to bring an exciting and entertaining set to her readers.