Welcome to my blog where I share book reviews
and life along the winding road

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mermaid's Bane - 5th Cozy Mystery, Lowenna Series

Mermaid's Bane - the Fifth book in the Lowenna series - is now available on Amazon.

When Flora, one of the ladies in the Lowenna Knitting Circle, dies suddenly it puts everyone on edge. The woman the Circle refers to as The Mouse, surely didn’t have any enemies, but is there more to Flora than meets the eye? And why are women who wear a mermaid pendant suddenly in danger? Gia can never miss an opportunity to uncover a mystery, but she has much more to contend with - her pregnancy, and the possibility of neighboring shops to Lowenna Antiques closing.  And then there’s a newcomer who gathers bouquets of flowers – some of which are known to kill!

Other cozy mysteries in the Lowenna series:
  1. A Graceful Death
  2. High Tide
  3. Gwinnel Gardens
  4. Trouble at the Manor

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Let me start off by saying I loved A Man Called Ove and thank goodness Fredrik Backman ignored the many rejections he received and continued trying to publish his book. It has now sold nearly 3 million copies worldwide. A good lesson for writers - don't take rejections seriously.

Fredrik Backman takes the reader through an emotional roller coaster with many laugh out loud moments and a few tears. I couldn't quite figure out the setting as it's written in English not American English, but when Ove talked about Kroner, I looked up the writer's bio and realized it was set in Sweden.

This was a book club choice and I'm so glad someone picked it for us to read.

From the cover:
At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet, a curmudgeon with staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots . . . People think him bitter. But must a man be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered on his face all the time, doesn't always tell people what they want to hear, and remains silent when he has nothing in particular to say?

“You will laugh, you will cry, as his heartbreaking story unfolds through the diverse cast of characters that enter his life, all uninvited. You will never look at the grumpy people who come into your life in quite the same way. A very memorable read.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune, Best Books of 2015

Friday, September 15, 2017

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander goes into details and statistics that show segregation is still alive in the U.S. today. Her thoughts are that the powers that be have found a new way of denying rights for the African American community by incarcerating more of them than the white race and in fact more African Americans are under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850.

The War on Drugs, Ms. Alexander states, is the major problem as it targets poor African Americans who often take plea deals for drug crimes that hold higher penalties than more viscous crimes. After release from prison, they find it difficult to find work and often discriminated against even if an arrest does not lead to conviction.Only the states of Maine and Vermont permit inmates to vote, others deny voting which often continues after release. With debts piling after release from prison for probation fees, court fees, drug testing and treatment and parole monthly fees they find it difficult to keep up with these even if they can find work. Because debts are deducted from payroll, their only way to survive is to take work that is not legitimate and paid in cash - the debts continue to increase. With a conviction, they are also denied public housing, ineligible for food stamps, denied licenses for certain professions. This often results in a revolving door into prisons because they turn to the only place they can find help, drug suppliers. Ms. Alexander feels the inability to vote has also made a drastic impact on elections.

One way the police often catch people carrying drugs is to ask them if they can search their belongings. Even when carrying drugs the request is rarely refused because of fear of the police. They cannot afford an attorney and take a plea deal rather than risking a longer sentence in prison. The War on Drugs has given authorities more ammunition to use against the drug communities and SWAT teams can descend upon a residence with no warning and no warrant encompassing many innocent family members in their roundup.

There is a lot of repetition in the book and although many of the examples Ms. Alexander gave of arrests indicating that African Americans are singled out, rather than show these people were innocent, she states they were actually carrying illegal drugs. But feels white people are not arrested as often and not treated the same when they are arrested and would not consent to a search without a warrant.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Murder in the Night Final by Peter Bartram

Murder in the Night Final is the last book in the Morning, Noon and Night trilogy by Peter Bartram. Colin Crampton is back in Brighton after a visit to Brighton Beach, New York in the Murder in the Afternoon Extra. The last book ties up all the ends nicely, with a few surprises. I thought using the Great Train Robbery to develop the plot for the trilogy was a great idea. Colin Crampton never disappoints, he's a well developed and likable character. Looking forward to hearing what's next for Colin Crampton's adventures in crime.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Game of Crowns by Christopher Andersen

I thought Game of Crowns by Christopher Andersen, was going to be a fictional story of the royal family after the Queen's death, but although it starts off that way, it continues with the background of the royal family and the battles that Camilla and Kate have overcome to be considered part of the family known as The Firm.
Although Charles has assured people that Camilla (referred to by the Queen as "that wicked, wicked woman") would not become queen of England, this would only have been accomplished had he chosen a morganatic marriage. The legal term "morganatic" refers to an agreement that if the spouse is not of equal rank, would not be entitled to the titles and privileges by marriage (as was the case of Edward and Mrs. Simpson). Apparently it would take an act of Parliament, along with identical laws in fifteen Commonwealth countries, to prevent Camilla from becoming queen. Royal protocol was affected when the primogeniture law was dissolved which put women on an equal footing to the male heirs. But the Queen still kept Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall at a distance by keeping the late Queen Mother in the list of female rankings in order to separate the Queen and Prince Charles' wife. 1. The Queen, 2. The Dowager Queen, 3, Duchess of Cornwall, 4. Wives of the sovereign's grandsons. There is also protocol on which order the royals must attend functions. Camilla was left waiting in a downpour at one event until Princess Anne arrived so that she could walk behind her. Princess Anne absolutely refused to curtsy to the Duchess of Cornwall (which she would only have to do if Charles was not present). The Queen then changed the order of precedence to be observed at court to be on blood principles so that neither Princess Anne nor Princess Alexandra was required to curtsy to Camilla.
The book is an interesting insight into the workings, wealth and extravagance of the royal family and how sadly Camilla and Charles made life uncomfortable for Diana, the Princess of Wales.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Green by Ted Dekker

Green is part of a series which started as a trilogy and then Green was written as a prequel. This is called "The Circle Series" but Green is not the beginning, nor the end. The story is never ending.
Ted Dekker is referred to as a Christian fiction writer and although there were some parts of the story that were taken from biblical characters and events, I wouldn't categorize it as such except for the good overcoming evil part with a few vampires thrown in.

My thoughts:
As a reader it's difficult to know which book to start with. Although Green is titled "The Circle-Book Zero-The beginning and the End" online recommendations suggest reading the others first (Black, Red, White).
I found the numerous characters confusing but they may have been developed more within the previous books. It might also have been helpful for a family tree or chart in the front to refer to. Although I read most of the book, I didn't feel a connection with any of the characters and felt there were too many unanswered questions which may or not have been satisfied in the other books. I wasn't compelled to continue with the series.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Murder in the Morning Edition by Peter Bartram

Murder in the Morning Edition
Murder in the Morning Edition is the first mystery in Peter Bartram's new Colin Crampton's trilogy set in Brighton. This is a fast paced story and you won't be able to pause, even for a cup of tea. 
Colin, ever the observant reporter, notices a man acting suspiciously when Colin and his girlfriend, Shirley are seated at a seaside cafe. While Colin is observing a Brighton robbery on the beachside Volk's Railway, another robbery, The Great Train Robbery, is taking place farther north and outshining Colin's story. But never to be dissuaded, Colin chases motorcycle rockers, and goes on the hunt for what he knows will be a big headline.

(The World's Oldest Operating Electric Railway)