Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tamarack County by William Kent Krueger

Murders, children coming back home, folks getting run off the road, revenge for a 20-year-old murder, and many unusual things happening in the bitter cold county of Tamarack in Northern Minnesota.

What was happening in this town that usually was a quiet place to be?  No one knew the answer, and the police had no clue either.  Even Cork, a retired deputy sheriff, was called in for the investigation that he was more involved with than he knew.

Cork O’Connor wasn't aware that his family would be involved and that part of his family was changing.  Cork is a character you would personally want as a friend. He is a great father as well as a dedicated law man.

TAMARACK COUNTY is the second book I have read by Mr. Krueger.  It is quite different from ORDINARY GRACE, but still beautifully detailed and written.

Mr. Krueger's characters are always an interesting lot.  I enjoyed learning about the Indian traditions and a few Indian words. The landscape descriptions were amazing, but I wouldn't want to live in that cold climate, though, which seemed to be a major theme.

TAMARACK COUNTY definitely kept my attention with a good storyline but a storyline that wasn't gripping until the last half of the book when things did heat up in those freezing temperatures as the mystery unraveled as well as the history of the characters.

The characters were well developed, authentic, and very plausible.  TAMARACK COUNTY is a book about community and family all working together for the good of each other.

TAMARACK COUNTY has religious and philosophical themes as subplots.

A quote from page 205 is quite meaningful and something I believe needs to be shared:

“Anger, hate, jealousy envy, fear.  Fill your pockets with these heavy stones and you spend your life trying not to drown.  Throw them away, and you float."

I hope you get to read this book.  It was thought provoking, introspective, and will hold your interest.  I enjoyed it. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Interview with Jac Wright


  Jac Wright
Welcome to Jac Wright 
author of 
The Reckless Engineer

Love is a Battlefield.
The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.
Jack Connor's idyllic life in the Portsmouth countryside with billionaire heiress wife Caitlin McAllen is shattered when alluring Michelle, with whom he is having an affair and who is pregnant with his child, is found dead and Jack is arrested for the murder.   Jeremy Stone brings a top London attorney to handle his best friend’s defense.

I haven't read this book, but it sounds very good.  

The excerpt above definitely is a great teaser.

Jac Wright is a published poet, published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and Cambridge who lives and works in England.  

Jac studied English literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry, drama, and writing in Speech & Drama classes taken every Saturday for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing classes taken during the university years.  

A published poet, Jac's first passion was for literary fiction and poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts.  You will find these influences in the poetic imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation.

1.  Who are your favorite mystery/suspense/thriller series characters?

The talented Mr. Ripley created by Patricia Highsmith. (What a unique character!)

Cormoran Strike created by J. K. Rowling. (You can’t help but like the big oaf even though he is a very cliché character. )

The Lincoln Lawyer, Micky Haller.  (Very colourful character.)

2.  Complete this sentence: "I am a mystery author/crime novelist/thriller writer and thus I am also..."

I am a mystery author/crime novelist/thriller writer and thus I am also a literary fiction writer, a poet, and an electronic engineer.

This is one aspect of the culture at Stanford when I was a student there, the idea that you need not be pigeonholed into just one area of talent.  You can be a “Renaissance man” who can excel at many things that are considered the opposites of each other.  This idea liberated me from my limited self-image and allowed me to start writing.

3.   What kinds of questions/feedback do you most enjoy (or least enjoy) receiving from readers?
Anything that is not too personal.  I like them to focus on the work than on me personally.

4.  Tell us something about your book that isn't mentioned in the publisher synopsis.

Jeremy Aiden Stone, my series lead in The Reckless Engineer, lives my dream life.  I also live it through him.


5.  Give us a summary of your book in a tweet (140 characters or less).

“Love is a battlefield. The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out into those in the lives of the lovers who will NOT take it lying down.”


6.  What is next for you?

I have two more stories half written: 

The Bank Job (Summerset Tales #2) 

Buy, Sell, Murder (The Reckless Engineer #2)

I have started the fifth, In Plain Sight, with just the plot and the main characters designed and only the first chapter written.  It is a stand-alone full-length book.

I should like to finish and publish all three next year.



It was my pleasure to feature  you on my blog today.

THE RECKLESS ENGINEER sounds terrific.


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Sweetest Hallelujah by Elaine Hussey


They lived on opposite sides of the tracks, Betty Jewel apparently on the wrong side and Cassie on the right side.  Betty Jewel had a secret that she kept for ten years.  A secret unknown to Cassie and that secret being their ultimate connection.

Betty Jewel was the mother of Billie and was dying of cancer.  Cassie was a reporter who found herself a widow and someone who became a part of Betty Jewel, Mama/Miss Queen, and Billie's life.  Billie was a precocious child and the center of the connection between Cassie and Billie's family.

When Billie accidentally found out her mother was dying from cancer because of her constant eavesdropping, she was determined to find her father so he could make her mother well.  Billie took a trip to Memphis alone to find her daddy.  This trip is what brought the secret out and what made Cassie want to help even more.  She wanted to be a friend to Mary Jewel even though it wasn't proper for a white person to be friends with anyone in the black community.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH had the "sweetest" characters.  Mama/Miss Queen was strict, but the sweetest ever.  She was portrayed so well, you could vividly see her as well as see through her. You will feel right at home with Mama/Miss Queen.  She had loving arms for you no matter what. The description of her pies and their aroma will have your mouth watering, but everything about her sent out warmth and love.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is set in the deep south when the Jim Crow Laws were still a major part of everyone's life.  THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is heartwarming as well as heartbreaking.

The author perfectly portrays this time in history along with the characters' feelings and fears. Every character was flawlessly portrayed from their expressions down to their clothing. The descriptions of the landscape, the houses, and even the weather was amazing.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is a story about friendship that breaks all boundaries and a story that you will not easily forget.

I truly enjoyed this book because of the bond between the women and the way the author carried it out so well.  You will be right there with the characters sharing their laughter and their pain.  Be sure to have some tissues on hand.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

The Mississippi River was home to Dixie Clay after she married her husband, Jesse. at the ripe old age of sixteen.  She really didn't know anything about what he did for a living, and she certainly didn't know he was a bootlegger.
THE TILTED WORLD is set in Mississippi during the flooding in the 1920's and has a very eccentric set of characters. There are bootleggers, revenuers trying to catch the bootleggers, women who are supporting their bootlegging husbands, and a baby who along with Dixie Clay are two of the main characters, and the characters that carry the storyline.

Dixie Clay and the baby will warm your heart, and Jesse will make you want to set him straight for how he treats Dixie Clay.  
Ingersoll and Ham are the revenuers who have out-of-the ordinary backgrounds...especially Ingersoll.  Ingersoll’s background tells his story in flashbacks.  His background made him the “sweet” man Dixie Clay became ‘sweet” on. 
Franklin and Fennelly are master storytellers, and their detail is incredible.  You will easily feel the river rising, the steels bubbling, the energy in the speakeasies, and the life that was lead in Mississippi at this time.  The writing is smooth and easy and will pull you in just as the river does as the story unfolds.

The book is definitely character driven and quite easy to become involved with the characters whether they are upstanding or not.  There actually aren't too many upstanding characters, but I really enjoyed THE TILTED WORLD once it got on its way.

I didn't know what to expect at first, but THE TILTED WORLD is quite appealing because of the characters and the amazing writing.  You will also find out the meaning of the title.

The ending will have you on the edge of your seat, but it will also have you smiling.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore

A child herself, unwed, a baby, no mother, not attending school, working at a sewing factory, an abusive father, and no place to go.  How much more could Emmalee take?

Emmalee Bullard quit school because her father told her he was tired of taking care of her, and she needed to get a job.  She fortunately was hired at the town's sewing factory and met a wonderful woman, Leona, who treated her like family, but then that didn't work out either for Emmalee.

Emmalee had to make a funeral dress for Leona not long after Leona was going to help her.  Emmalee's heart was broken, and yours will break for her as she suffers yet another loss in her life.

You will fall in love with Emmalee, feel her pain, and want to hug her and take care of her.  You will want to take her away from all of this. 

THE FUNERAL DRESS is about loving someone and wanting to remember them the best way you can.  It is about caring for others even if they aren't family. It is about the bond women have for each other.  Every part of THE FUNERAL DRESS is simply lovely even though it is sad.

Ms. Gilmore's writing style is easy and beautiful.  You will be right there with the characters enjoying their time together as well as being there as they help each other through unhappy times.

This is the first book I have read by this author.  It left me with a deep sentiment about the unspoken bonds women have and also with a better understanding of the plight of many women right in our midst.

THE FUNERAL DRESS will leave you with a lingering warmth and concern for the characters as you close the cover.   Make sure THE FUNERAL DRESS is part of your "must read" list.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Nine Fold Heaven by Mingmei Yip

If you enjoy intrigue, adventure, and a walk through someone's life that includes a bit of espionage, you won't want to miss THE NINE FOLD HEAVEN.

The main character, Camilla, definitely led a captivating, dangerous life.   The book walks you through the pain of her losing her only child, walks you through her quest to find her child, and also walks you through her methods of trying to steer clear of the gang she once was a forced part of. 

THE NINE FOLD  HEAVEN is narrated by Camilla and will keep you totally absorbed in her story.  She is involved in some pretty harrowing situations.  Her character is very deep and thoughtful as well as chilling. She would kill you as fast as she would love you.

THE NINE FOLD HEAVEN will pull you in, will sit you down, and will sail you away on an Oriental adventure filled with love, hatred, cunning deals, an abundance of Oriental thoughts, superstitions and sayings filled with words of luck and/or doom.

I enjoyed THE NINE FOLD HEAVEN. The story flowed nicely, with the added bonus of vicariously living Camilla's life.  All of this was masterfully carried out.  It felt as though you were in her shoes or her disguises feeling the fear of the situation or the warmth of her love for those closest to her.

I have never read a book by Ms. Yip, but her writing style is enjoyable, smooth, detailed, and absorbing.  This is a sequel to SKELETON WOMEN, but I had no trouble reading it as a stand alone. 5/5

Click here to watch a book trailer.

I received this book free of charge and without compensation from the publisher in return for an honest review.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

North of Supposed to Be by Marcia Ferguson

Holy set of characters.  There are so many wonderful characters in this book, but the one that counts is Bronwyn.

Bronwyn is a photographer who rescues a Prime Minister's sons from kidnappers, and as she is rescuing them is shot.  She recovers and then gets taken care of by the Prime Minister and his wife and by being taken care of, I mean taken care of.  :)  She has places to live...something she never had before, a servant/bodyguard named Jeeves, and everything paid for.

She wants for nothing even though she has no immediate family to share her newfound wealth with since she was left alone when she was eight years old.  The best gift the Prime Minister and his wife give her is an estate in Maine.

You will follow Bronwyn through her recovery after the shooting and a few other harrowing incidents, but the main gist of the book along with its wonderful details about Pittsburgh is that Bronwyn is designing her estate in Maine and choosing the people she will have live there.  That would be a wonderful dream to have come true.

The book is full of quirky, but great characters you would want to meet.  Bronwyn is someone you definitely would want to meet and actually be.

NORTH OF SUPPOSED TO BE is filled with Ms. Ferguson's marvelous details about each character and places visited by Bronwyn.  She specifically details places in Pittsburgh, PA, which is where I live.

Ms. Ferguson takes you around the world and throughout the United States as you travel with Bronwyn.

A great deal of research went into this book.  It is an enjoyable, quick read even thought it is quite long. The pages just seem to fly by.

Give it a try if you want to meet some great characters and take a trip to Pittsburgh and other places without leaving your  home.  You should enjoy it.

I am going to rate this book a 3/5, though, because of its length and because I got lost a few times with so many characters. :)

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday Snapshot - 10/5/13

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy.

It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Melinda’s site.
How about this bumper sticker?
Isn't it funny?  :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Maverick Touch: The Cat by Ashley Nemer

From simply buying a pet and seeing something suspicious going on in the pet store to a murder and finding love.

Nadia, a newspaper reporter, got herself into some deep trouble this time.  She always did like mischief, and she definitely got herself into more than mischief this time.  Her co-worker was murdered on one of their investigations, and a man who calls himself Mr. A has drawn Nadia into an online chat room.  A chat room that ultimately leads to trouble, a rescue, and a new friend. 

MAVERICK TOUCH: THE CAT is a cozy mystery with wonderful characters that you will become attached to.  The closeness of Nadia's family was a very touching addition to this murder mystery.

All the techie content was refreshing too.  I have never read a book by by Ms. Nemer, but most likely will read her other books.  

MAVERICK TOUCH:  THE CAT has an easy style, an interesting plot, and above all terrific characters that are quite authentic and ones you would want to know or have for your own family.

If you need a break from a regular, gory mystery, but a mystery that will keep you interested, you won’t want to miss this book.  There definitely is some suspense, though, for those who MUST have some action. 
The ending pages became quite tense. 

MAVERICK TOUCH: THE CAT was a quick, fun, sweet read....I actually needed tissues a few times. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

"Ivy and Mary was here."

Those words are the beginning, the ending, and the basis of NECESSARY LIES.  Those five words go full circle in this incredible, haunting book.

You will be transported to another world as you read NECESSARY LIES. A world of poverty and illiteracy as well as pity for the way the families had to live.

Jane, a physician's wife, was the new social worker dealing with the Hart and Jordan families.  The families worked on a farm owned by Mr. Gardiner who had connections with both families - connections that were not on the up and up.  The Hart girls, Ivy and Mary Ella, were the biggest problems for the family and definitely the social worker.  Together each family told a lot of secrets and "necessary lies" to the social worker.

The book's characters were genuine and will tug at your emotions.  One thing after another happens to the family, and the social worker gets drawn into the family's plight even though the social services agency told her some of things she was doing for the family were not acceptable.

The book flowed very nicely and was divided into chapters told in the voice of the main characters. You will become attached to the characters as I did and will be staying up late to "turn the pages" of this well-researched and beautifully written, poignant book based on a true program implemented in North Carolina.

NECESSARY LIES is the perfect title because lies were necessary for the characters to survive.  It is heart wrenching yet informative as you follow the characters through their inadequate, restricted days.  I thoroughly enjoyed this insightful, sensitive first book I have read by Diane Chamerblain. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.