Thursday, June 20, 2013

Still Faithful

Still Faithful
A Back to Omaha Adventure-Book Two
Jewell Tweedt
Amazon Digital Services
ISBN: 978-1479209286
162 pages
Near the end of the American Civil War, the Southern states were in the process of transporting gold bars to their treasury. Since the war ended, this treasure did not arrive at its intended destination but disappeared. So what happened to it?
Logically, one man probably could not have stolen all of it, but definitely could possess part of this wealth, enough to last him the rest of his life. President Grant wants and needs this money for the governmental debts of the war and assigns the task to recover the treasure to a Pinkerton agent.
Jason Reynolds is to work undercover as a deputy to the sheriff in Omaha where the likely suspect Cal Moore has some unfinished business. Cal intends to reunite with the woman who was his betrothed prior to the war. During a battle, Cal was shot in the leg. Since the common practice of the time was to amputate, he decided to take his chances and deserted. Fortunately, an older woman who lived in isolation, found him and nursed him back to health.
Unfortunately, Cal waited for three years before attempting to find his love, Claire. Besides his leg, he also suffered from a head injury which changed his personality. He did not even let his parents know that he was alive. Claire has moved on in her life, marrying the sheriff and giving birth to a daughter.
As a Pinkerton agent, Jason plans for this to be a temporary assignment. What he doesn't plan on is to discover his attraction to young shop manager, Arianna Quincy. However, Jason has a past that continues to haunt him. Can he get beyond the past for a new future?
.Still Faithful is a Christian romance novel set in the frontier Omaha of the 1870s. These characters are realistic with the story line believable and well-organized.
Still Faithful is the second novel in this series by Jewell Tweedt. The story is easier to understand if the reader has read the first novel in the series, Faith of the Heart.
Jewell Tweedt works full-time as a middle-school history teacher . She was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska while now residing and working in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
For those readers who enjoy a mix of romance and history, Jewell Tweedt writes a wonderful reflection of frontier life in Omaha.
A Cold White Sun
A Constable Molly Smith Mystery
Vicki Delany
Poisoned Pen Press
Scottsdale, Arizona
ISBN: 978-1464201608
August 2013
$ 14.95
250 Pages
Spring Break is always a relief for students and teachers especially in ski communities like Trafalgar, British Columbia. These people can't wait to enjoy their winter activities in their home community.
The local police, the Canadian Mounties, realize that what is a relief for others frequently means more work for them.
A teacher takes her dog with her on her morning run with plans for her entire family to have breakfast together. They plan to be together and to enjoy the rest of the day skiing. However, when she is killed by a shot to the back of the head, all secrets if this family are quickly revealed.
Cathy Lindsay was a high school English teacher who also taught a writing class at the local college. She had a successful husband with an internet business and a son and daughter. Why would anyone want to kill her? Is this a case of mistaken identity?
For Constable Molly Smith and her superior, John Winters, their investigation begins with Cathy, her family, friends, colleagues, students, and anyone close to her. Quickly, it becomes apparent that Cathy did not have a happy marriage and was flirting with another teacher. Added to that, her husband has a mistress in another town who he financially supports and spends a week each month at their home. Does that mean that their lovers killer her?
A COLD WHITE SUN is a fast-paced mystery that makes you constantly wonder who actually killed Cathy and why. As a reader, you are with Molly throughout the investigation even as she frequently is assigned to menial tasks that don't directly lead to the murderer. Also, what is special are the daily life for Molly with her mother, her boyfriend, her possible boyfriend, and the challenge of her career interfering in her personal life.
Parallel to this investigation is the issue of adoption from both the perspective of the grown child and the parent who felt forced to give their child into another family. having a sense of belonging and always wanting more are often issues
Vicki Delany is retired from being a systems analyst for a financial firm. Now she lives as a writer of many mystery novels in Prince Edward County in Ontario, Canada. She has written numerous novels.
A COLD WHITE SUN captures the people and spirit of British Columbia, Canada. This mystery is well-developed and logically as each step in the investigation is revealed. With believable characters and real-life problems, this novel is a fast-paced mystery. I definitely look to more novels by this marvelous author.

Havana Lost

Havana Lost
Libby Fischer Hellman
The Red Herrings Press
Chicago, Illinois
ISBN: 978-1-938733-38-3
August 16, 2013
$ 16.99
Coltan is a natural resource that most of us don't know much about. However, in today's society we are completely dependent upon this ore which is partially utilized in every cellphone and electronic device. Although it can be recycled, coltan is more economic to mine and is more valuable than gold. Because of the difficulty in extracting this ore and its limited availability, the value of this ore creates problems similar to the gold rush of many years ago.
Francesca Pacelli lives a life of privilege. She is the only child of a wealthy man who does have mafia connections and is the owner of the premier casino in Havana in the year 1958. With their close family ties in Chicago, there seems to be no limits to their power and influence.
As a teenager, she is accustomed to receiving admiring looks and has a steady relationship with a boy who attends an Ivy League school. Her future is definitely promising.
However 1958 in Cuba was not a settled time in the country with many rebels fighting the government of Batista.
Francisca’s father realizes the possible danger in their country and makes plan for her to return to Chicago which seems like a foreign country to her. Francesca meets a rebel who is different from anyone she has ever met, falling in love. She runs away with this man, missing her flight to the states leaving her parents wondering where she is really living.
However, her father's people eventually find her, removing her as an unmarried pregnant woman to live in Chicago. She has no idea what has happened to the man she loves.
Havana Lost is the story of Francesca, her love, her former love, her son, his wife, and their daughter along with coltan. The pace is quick, well-organized, and enthralling. With utilizing real history into this fictionalized story, Libby Fischer Helllman has proved her expertise as a writer beyond the mystery genre.
Previously, Libby Fischer Hellman has written numerous mystery novels often combining social problems into a fictional story. As a Washington D.C. Native to her life today in Chicago, she has written numerous novels.
Havana Lost is a wonderful novel from the historical aspect completely immersing the reader into the life of those living in Cuba through their revolution.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Celtic Woman

Audiences can sense when performing are enjoying creating music and that is what Celtic Woman does best, having fun singing. They thoroughly love performing for audiences around the world and that makes the audiences around the world continue to love their shows whether they are recording for a PBS special or live.
Celtic Woman is the name used by this group that has been around for ten years. Currently there are three Irish singers: Chloe Agnew, Lisa Lambe, and Susan McFadden. Also included is Mairead Nesbitt who has to be one of the most active violinist in the world, playing the violins as she skips, runs, and twirls while still playing her violin. All four ladies are dressed in colorful, flowing dresses and gowns that constantly move with their swirling. Accompanying the group is a small quartet of superb singers with a small band that plays an assortment of instruments including different types of bagpipes and two percussionists who has an immense assortment of drums to vary the rhythmic styles of each selection. While performing the stage lights are constantly in movement adding to the mood of each song.
This group thoroughly pleased the large audience at the Orpheum Theater last Tuesday night with frequent standing ovations throughout the program. What is noticeable in their performance is their connection with the audience whether making eye contact, sitting on a lap, or walking around, Celtic Woman is superb with pleasing their fans.
The first half of the program consisted of many of their Gaelic songs including Enya's well-known "Orinoco Flow", the Scottish ballad "Caladonia", and was highlighted with "Danny Boy" sung in beautiful three-part harmony accompanied only by the solo violin. The second half started with the bagpipe in the back of the audience slowly processing to the stage as the introduction for "Amazing Grace. The other songs in the second half were more popular with "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables and "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was a beautiful and unusual arrangement along with "Shenandoah" and the heart wrenching "Ave Maria". The program concluded with "You Raise Me Up" with many standing ovations and encores.
The women looked like they were from a fairy tale with their ballgowns and long swishing dresses. Mairead Nesbitt as the ever-moving violinist unquestionably commanded the stage connecting the audience with the performers along with Chloe Agnew who makes swiveling hips seem appropriate at all times along with her phenomenal voice range and perfect intonation. The bodrain player completely entertained everyone with this percussion instrument demonstrating the unique qualities of this drum with a variety of tones and rhythmic sounds. Also, the male Irish dancer was phenomenal with his speed of dancing and high kicks definitely reminiscent of River Dance.
Celtic Woman has been around for ten years and continues to amaze and delight audiences. The night closed with "Mo Ghile Mear" which perfectly stated what the audience warmly felt for this group “till we meet again” which people were humming as they left the theater.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Bughouse Affair

The Bughouse Affair
A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery
Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
A Tom Doherty Associates
A Forge Hardcover
New York
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3174-8
$ 24.99
269 pages
Sabina Carpenter as a former Pinkerton operative and John Quincannon, a former Secret Servie agent joined forces to establish their own private detective agencies in San Francisco during the 1890s. Unfortunately for the two, they are joined by the mysterious Sherlock Holmes, or a man pretending to be the supposedly deceased investigator. Or is Holmes alive and well and willing to help in San Francisco?
Sabina is in pursuit of a local pickpocket who preys on wealthy men. This female criminal usually attacks her victims by stabbing them in the side with her hat pin. While the victim is reacting to the pain, she quickly empty his pockets.
John is currently looking for a thief who prefers to break into the houses of prominent businessmen while they are out during the evening. He is employed by the insurance firm that happens to insure these wealthy homes. The company greatly prefers to hire the agency to retrieve the stolen goods rather than having to pay for the value of the stolen property.
Through past experiences both investigators examine the well-known culprits and decide to begin questioning the most likely candidates who have similar habits in continuing their criminal life.
John closely analyzes those who have already been robbed and notices a relationship which lets him conclude who the next victims might be. As he plans to watch for the thief at a particular house, he is joined by the legendary and annoying know-it-all Sherlock Holmes.
THE BUGHOUSE AFFAIR is a fast-paced, mystery novel alternating between the two investigators while they attempt to avoid the involvement of the supposedly dead and questionable Sherlock Holmes.
The story is realistic with problems and distractions for both Sabina and John while they continue in an organized and logical way. They have an unusual relationship which leads to tension between the two that could develop into a romance. However, with the past for both of them, caution is well understood. Who knows what looms in the future?
The authors, Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, are a husband/wife writing team with both being successful independently. Marcia Muller has written more than thirty-five novels and received the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award in 2006. Bill Pronzini also received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers in America in 2008 which makes the two, the only living couple to share this honor. Together they have written three previous novels.
The Bughouse Affair definitely demonstrates what two experienced award winning authors can do collaboratively. I look forward to more of these well-written novels with the delightful characters of John and Sabina in the future.

Keeper of Reign

Keeper of Reign
Emma Right
Telemachus Press
Longboat Key, Florida
ISBN: 978-1939337696
May 2013
$ 12.99
340 pages

What if we were long ago cursed and all our wisdom, history, and tradition was divided and recorded into five books? Naturally, the best way to keep the information safe would be to assign each of these books to five different people. Those whose families had the responsibilities of these books did not always know which other families were also keepers. This kept the books and people safe.

This curse turned our normal sized human selves into Elfies and also developed a technology for lanterns and an unusual relationship with dragonflies. And, the books, too, shrank when we did and needed to be safely hidden, for our enemies know without them we would be rendered eternally hopeless.

Jules Blaze is a sixteen-year-old boy with one younger brother and three sisters. As the eldest, he finds himself as heir of a Keeper, one who keeps the valued history of his people. With his father away fighting to keep their people safe, Jules reluctantly realizes his responsibilities to his siblings as their home in attacked since his mother is a Keeper.

Gehzurolle is the evil lord who possesses armies of Scorpents. He desires to possess the books of the five keepers in order to destroy the Eflies. So begins the race for Jules to find the books while keeping his family and friends safe and out of the hands of the dreaded Scorpents.

Emma Right resides in the Pacific West Coast where she home schools her five children. Previously she has successfully been employed by advertising agencies, winning numerous awards.

Keeper of the Reign is a fast-paced action adventure novel for all ages, even though it is considered to be a young adult fantasy novel. (This would be wonderful tale to read aloud to children at night with many short chapters and frequent cliffhangers.) There are no problems with bad language or inappropriate scenes, although there is some blood and violence with the children’s quest to survive.

The story is well-written with characters who are complicated and often conflicted about their choices in considering the consequences of their actions. From page one, the story leaps into action never resting until the end with definite foresight of a possible sequel.

Keeper of Reign is a wonderful story for all ages as they join Jules on his quest to save his people.