Book Review: Poison Passion (Gina Wetherby Mysteries) by Linda Jordan

Poison Passion (Gina Wetherby Mysteries) by Linda Jordan

A Mystery Novel published through Metamorphosis Press (11/09/18)

Summary:

Gina Wetherby has been given the task of hand delivering one of her own paintings to her client’s private island before their daughter’s wedding. Gina is thrilled to visit the estate, tour the carefully created garden, and find more flowers to paint for her client. Unfortunately, before the wedding, a murder throws everything into chaos and nobody is allowed to leave the island until the killer is caught.

Keywords:

Cozy Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Horticulture, Flowers, Seattle, Wedding, Murder, Gardener, Estate, Art, Artist, Painter, Food, Cats, Private Island

My Review:

I don’t have the pleasure of reading many cozy mysteries so I don’t have much experience with the genre. That being said, I did enjoy this book. I really liked the main character, Gina. She is not your average main character. She is middle aged, single, and smart. She doesn’t fall in love in this story. The mystery (murder rather) is the focal point, which I really liked. I also liked how savvy Gina was with technology and how useful she actually was during the investigation. She might not be an investigator, but she’s logical and can use her knowledge and skills to assist with the investigators.

Some of the writing was a little clunky in parts, but the story flowed well. The ending was a bit of a disappointment for me as I didn’t think it tied into the characters and story as well as it could have.

This novel was published through Metamorphosis Press on 11/09/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Linda Jordan’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Continental Divide by Linda Jordan

Continental Divide by Linda Jordan

A Women’s Fiction Novel published through Metamorphosis Press (9/14/18)

Summary:

Haley and her daughter Trixie move back to Montana with all their belongings fitting into one little car. Haley has moved her daughter too many times to count and her career and her daughter have suffered for it. Now, moving back in with Haley’s mom, hopefully stability will come back into their lives. With the Blackfoot River rising to flood levels, Haley’s ex following them, and a whole new life at the Montana B and B, life still isn’t stable for the single parent and silent daughter. Maybe this new adventure won’t be as unbalancing as it seems.

Keywords:

Single Parent, Horses, Farm, Single Mother, 12-Year Old, Daughter, New Beginnings, Grandmother, Flooding, Bank Robber, Home Cooking, Websites, Technology, Bed and Breakfast, Trauma

My Review:

Jordan’s writing style flows with an ease that is a pleasure to read.

I was conflicted on my thoughts of the genre and plot. This book was too simplistic to be women’s fiction. It had the simplicity of a chick lit beach read, but the romance element was not the focal point. The book was more about family and moving on and the great community of a small town than a romance. I rather enjoyed the small town feel and the relationship between Haley and her mother and Haley and her daughter. Perhaps this book would have made more sense as young adult and told through the daughter’s viewpoint. Shifting between Haley and Mabel’s viewpoint confused me even further in regards to the genre and the plot as Mabel’s story didn’t tie into the main story enough. Mabel’s story was more of a subplot and it felt like there were two distinct stories. I was quite fascinated by Mabel and her story as well as with Haley and her story. I think that I would have liked to have Mabel’s story separated from this book and given its own novel.

I absolutely loved all the descriptions of food and Winnie’s diner sounds like a place I would like to go. I also really enjoyed the fact that Haley is in technology and is a great website developer. I like seeing women thrive in typical male-dominated jobs.

Mabel’s story was not tied up enough in the end and Haley’s story concluded rather sharply and without the big aha moment that had been building up throughout the novel. I liked Sam’s ending, and of course how much Trixie opened up as the story went along.

This novel was published through Metamorphosis Press on 9/14/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Linda Jordan’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: A Family Woman by T.B. Markinson

A Family Woman by T.B. Markinson

A Romantic Fiction Novel published by T. B. Markinson (12/13/17)

Summary:

Lizzie is back, and this time she has just a few short months until her pregnant wife gives birth to their twins. Lizzie has never had the greatest relationship with her family and would rather not see them, but Sarah has other plans. Lizzie will become a family woman.

Keywords:

 Romance,  Tension, Holding in Feelings, Chain, Parents, Soon-to-be-parents, twins, Lesbians, Sex, Family, Parenthood, Reconciliation, Secrets, Contemporary, Complicated Families, Pregnancy, Relationship

My Review:

The first half of the book – before the twins arrived – had quite a few sex scenes. They were very interesting to read because they were between two females, but there was quite a bit of it.

I loved how Lizzie and Sarah interacted with each other in their day-to-day lives. Lizzie’s devotion and love for Sarah, the mother of her unborn children, the love of her life, her partner in everything was amazing. I felt my heart patter every time Lizzie thought about Sarah before she spoke or went out of her way for Sarah. I want that deep, satisfying, unconditional level of love!

Lizzie’s relationships with her brother, her father, and her friends were so interesting to watch. The dynamics were fascinating. Especially as the subplots became more and more complex.

This book was humorous and fun, just like the first two in the series. I found the level of detail in the actual birth of the twins completely fascinating, as most movies and books gloss over birth.

This novel was published by T. B. Markinson 12/13/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

T.B. Markinson’s website

Book Review: House Divided by Jami Deise

House Divided by Jami Deise

A Contemporary Humorous Fiction Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (11/08/17)

Summary:

“…because like every other working mom in America, the logistics of day-to-day suburban life with school-age kids fell squarely on my shoulders.” (Kindle Locations 393-394).

Erin and Jack are married with two kids. They both have careers. They have opposite political views. They can leave all the politics at work. That is, until Erin loses her job and Jack gets an amazing job offer – as the star of a very politically-centered show. The new money means Erin can be a stay-at-home mom, like Jack’s always wanted her to be. Erin never wanted to be a trophy wife, but jobs are slim for democrats. Home life is just as busy as work life, but without a career, Erin doesn’t really know who she is anymore.

Keywords:

Humor, Politics, Republicans, Democrats, Organizations, Working Mothers, Stay at Home Mothers, Family, Husband and Wife, Kids Activities, Soccer, Work/Life Balance, Politically Correct, Career, TV, Republican TV

My Review:

So many times during my read of this novel, I grew frustrated with Jack because Erin did all the work in the house! Gah! If Erin wants to have a career, she should be able to have a career! This book made me frustrated! Frustrated for Erin and her situation, how people treated her and thought about her, and how Jack disregarded her wants and dreams.

My life is so different from Erin’s life. I learned so much about the chaos of working motherhood, stay-at-home parenting, living above your means, trying to keep up with the upper class, and so much more! This book had so many world building details and insights into the lives of these unique characters. I felt like I learned so much!

This book was so entertaining! The dialogue was spot on. The writing style was immersive, eloquent, and smooth. The storyline made sense . The characters were detailed and interesting – flawed and everything.

I loved this story and the writing style and can’t wait to read the next book from Deise.

I received an ARC from the author and this is my honest opinion.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on 11/08/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Jami Deise’s Website

Facebook

Book Review: Mildred In Disguise: With Diamonds by Toni Kief

Mildred In Disguise: With Diamonds by Toni Kief

A Contemporary Fiction Novel published through Toni Kief/Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest (03/28/17)

Summary:

Mildred knew that stepping into the casino would bring up memories of her late husband’s gambling debts, but at 71-years old, she needs a job. The casino is close and hiring. Instead of working as a cashier, she is chosen to work undercover. Her career as a meter maid has only prepared her for some of what she’s in store for with this new job.

Keywords:

Casino, 71-Year Old, Grandma, Theft, Retirement, Undercover, Danger, Disguise, Police

My Review:

What a whirlwind! I never expected to read a book where the main character was over 70 and still running around getting into trouble! It was neat reading a book with a character you don’t normally see as the main character. Mildred is a great blend of sarcastic, witty, humorous, and get-it-done undercover detective. Her disguises are hilarious.

The story was fully fledged and the mystery was layered. Mildred got her share of bruises during her investigations, but also stepped down when the big guys were needed to catch the bad guys.

I loved the insights into a large Casino and the life of an older and semi-retired lady.

This novel was published through Toni Kief/Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest on 03/28/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Toni Kief’s Website

Book Review: An Unlikely Goddess by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

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An Unlikely Goddess by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

A Historical Fiction Novel published through Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (10/14/13)

 

Summary:

“A straight man who won’t sleep with you because he wants to be serious? Marry him,” Manoj said, “Be happy and have lots of babies.” (Kindle Locations 3601-3602).

An Unlikely Goddess focusses on the cultural traditions of an Indian family in both India and America, with a specific focus on the first born daughter Sita. From her very birth, where she was supposed to be a boy and not a girl, she disappoints her mother, father and herself. She must figure out what she believes in order to find her way in a world where she is considered an outsider. Sita’s family is seen by Indian relatives and neighbors as the opulent immigrant family in America, where wealth is taken for granted, but their reality is far different. Sita’s family struggles to stay afloat in America and this borderline poverty affects Sita and her own struggles to be American and fit into the unforgiving expectations of the American schoolchildren.

 

Keywords:

Culture, South Asia – India, Immigrants, Fitting In, Breaking Away, Poverty, Expectations, Faith, Stuck, Happiness, Freedom, Female Main Character

 

My Review:

I will jump right in and say that Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is like the South Asian version of Amy Tan. Rajakumar’s story in Unlikely Goddess is about a young girl growing up as a woman, an Indian immigrant displaced into a vastly different culture than the one she grew up in, parents who want their children to stay true to their culture and traditions, the oppression against females and their independence, and more. Unlikely Goddess is a brilliantly written, masterfully told, powerful story about Sita.

Rajakumar was able to weave a story that was as fascinating and informative as any of Amy Tan’s novels about Chinese immigrants or turn of the century China. An Unlikely Goddess was a story alive that gave me an unusual insight into Sita’s life. Sita was a fascinating character. Her story was the main focus, but through her the reader is privy to the angst a teen feels in America as culturally and ethnically and financially set apart from her peers. Sita’s discomfort was the reader’s discomfort. Rakajumar is able to translate the book’s emotions so that the reader is involved in Sita’s life and her emotions and desires.

It is not just Sita that the reader feels compassion and understanding toward, but also her mother Mythili. Through books like these readers can gain a true understanding of what it’s like to be thrust into an environment where you are the one apart, where you are the one that is different, where expectations are placed on you for your gender and your culture and your skin color.

This book blew me away and I appreciated Rajakumar’s prose and style and story so much that I plan on reading everything else she has written.

This novel was published through Createspace Independent Publishing Platform October 14th, 2013 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar’s Website

Facebook

Book Review: A Woman Lost by T.B. Markinson

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A Woman Lost by T.B. Markinson

A Romantic Fiction Novel published by T. B. Markinson (01/02/14)

 

Summary:

She is predictable as pie, always ordering a chai tea when out at the local Starbucks with her best friend Ethan, and avoiding talking about her relationship like they are the plague. She doesn’t like to open up and swoons – inside her own head- at any pretty woman. She feels like she gets cornered into doing what she doesn’t want to do and can’t figure a way out of it, even if all it would take is one conversation. She is a relationship wuss.

 

Keywords:

 Romance, Relationships, Unsupportive Family, Friendships, Lesbians, Tension, Holding in Feelings, Coffee, Chai

 

My Review:

Lizzie isn’t just a relationship wuss, she tries very hard. Her personality holds her back. Don’t we all do this? We’re worried about what our partner will do or say so we don’t bring up those difficult questions at all. Push them to the back of the closet where they can’t affect us, but they always do eventually. Markinson has a way with building her characters. Lizzie, Sarah, Ethan, and Maddie are all realistic layered characters with personality quirks and humors all their own. I really enjoy Markinson’s characters in everything that she writes and A Woman Lost is no exception.

A Woman Lost was built on tension. It was apparent in every word and every scene and I was just waiting for it all to fall apart or blow up. I wasn’t disappointed. Markinson herself describes Lizzie: “You’re so wound up all of the time that sometimes you crack.” (Page 35). Lizzie keeps her feelings bottled up inside, but not just because it adds tension to the story. She has a reason for doing this. Markinson has built her up and given her complication and motivation and backstory to explain who she is and why she does the less applaudable things that she does. If she has such a great girlfriend, why would she pursue the new hot chick? If any of us would succumb, so would a character like Lizzie. The story is realistic and the characters are realistic in this way and that is why Lizzie is so very relatable even while you want to kick her in the pants and tell her to stop being such a ninny. It’s difficult to do that when you’re as stubborn as Lizzie, “I should always go the exact opposite of my gut feeling; however, I was too stubborn to ignore my intuition.” (Page 228).

This novel was published by T. B. Markinson January 2nd, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

T.B. Markinson’s website