Books I am reading

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Gifts of Christmas

 I have received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for writing a review. This is my personal and true opinion of this book.

All of the Ballad books must be read with a suspension of disbelief. There are hints at spirits present, miracles done, and knowledge known.

Christmas Past is a novella that weaves two separate but related stories from the mountains of North Carolina. 

When the house next to Nora Bonesteel is purchased after years of being empty, many memories of Nora's youth are stirred, the new owners experience some difficult to explain episodes, and Nora communicates with her memories to find a solution to ending the upsetting episodes.

At the same time, on Christmas Eve, Sheriff Spencer Arrowwood and Deputy Joe LeDonne are assigned the unpleasant job of issuing a warrant on a gentleman who lives far into the mountains on a night when snow is closing in.

If you enjoy Appalachian life, a bit of magic and good-feelings in your Christmas stories, this book is for you. Each of the Ballad books are fascinating and can be read independently. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Film Noir Mystery set in Quebec

I received a review copy of this book through NetGalley in return for writing a review. This is my true and personal opinion.

 This is currently on sale for $3.99.

Pray for Us Sinners by Peter S Fischer, in #7 in the Hollywood Murder Mysteries. I had not read any of the earlier book, but had no difficulty in understanding the story. The Hollywood Murder Mysteries is for the late 40's and 50's What The Toby Peters Mysteries by Stuart Kaminsky was for the early 40's. Brushes with Hollywood stars, period pieces, with a film noir vibe.

The protagonist in the Hollywood Murder Mysteries is Joe Bernardi, a press publicist for Warner Brothers studios. In Pray For Us Sinners, he is in Quebec overseeing the publicity needs for the production of the movie, "I Confess" starring Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, and Karl Malden, and, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. While having dinner with the beautiful Jeanne d’Arcy with the Quebec Province Film Commission, assigned to assist Joe in his publicist work for the film. A gentleman the Joe does not know approaches the table, obviously drunk, and begins to argue then yell with Miss d'Arcy. The argument is in French and Joe does not speak French, but he gets the feeling that there is more to this relationship than Jeanne is sharing. The next morning, the gentleman is found dead and all the evidence points to Jeanne. Being the eager, caring guy that he is, Joe becomes embroiled in finding the real killer and clearing Jeanne of the charges.

There are behind the scenes info on the filming of the movie, the relationships of the stars with Hitch and with each other (Clift is a "method" actor and Hitch just wants the actors to follow his orders), the world of broad sheet publishing, the back scene production office, etc. Mr Fischer is very gifted in setting a mood, developing realistic interactions, and creating interesting, multi-layered characters. this is a fun, interesting read, and I intend to get started reading the entire series. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Lost Legacy: A Tale of Murder, mystery and self-discovery

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my review. This is my personal and true opinion.

Lost Legacy by Annette Dashofy is a second novel in the Zoe Chambers series. I have not read the first book and did not feel I was handicapped in understanding the story in any way. As a paramedic, Zoe responds to a call at a local farm. There she and her partner discover a farmer hanging from a beam in the barn. What at first appears to be a suicide is soon questioned as a possible homicide. Zoe remembers that some 40+ years ago another body had been found in this barn, part of a murder/suicide of two brothers. With a link to her family, she tries to ask her mother and step-father what they remember of the incident. Their side-stepping and irritability when questioned, leads Zoe to question what else is going on. A note left by the dead farmer, opens the possibility that her own father, killed in a car crash 20+ years earlier, may still be alive. With all these open questions, Zoe is on the hunt for the truth about all these events, and, an understanding of how they are related.

As Zoe searches deeper and deeper, Police Chief Pete Adams, struggles with his personal feelings for Zoe, and his fear that the truth will bring more pain and disappointment for Zoe. After two more citizens are killed, they realize that the killer is still at work. Zoe has a difficult relationship with her mother, and as Zoe begins to question what role her mother and/or step-father may have played in this tangled web, their relationship only deteriorates more.

This is an excellent book, with well sculpted characters, and complicated, gripping plot, and an assortment of small town characters that provide some comic relief. An excellent novel! I will definitely be waiting for the next book in the series!