Tag Archive | Adventure

Book Review: Come Hell or High Water by Nancy M. Bell

Book Review: Come Hell or High Water by Nancy M. Bell

Come Hell or High Water is book 2 in the “Longview Romance Series” from author Nancy M. Bell. It’s published by Books We Love, out of Calgary, Alberta.

This is a super interesting story with lots of excitement and thrills and spills. The action scenes in the chuckwagon races alone make it worth reading. You get the feeling, reading this series, that Ms. Bell knows something about farms and horses and such. And you would be correct.

She started out in Ontario and not only rode and competed in horse competitions but also taught riding. She continued most of her horse related activities when she moved to Alberta many years ago and still has lots of critters around her on the little farm which she and her hubby occupy. These days, besides writing, she does animal rescue work with various groups in the greater Calgary area.

Come Hell or High Water continues the romance between Michelle Wilson and new-to-the-area vet, Cale Benjamin, whom she is now living with. Michelle rescued Storm the dog in the first book of the series and now has her and her pup. There’s lots of dissension in the air between her ex, her brother and his new girlfriend, and Michelle. She’s a bit ornery at times and hot headed. She’s also big on rodeos, and so if you are a fan, this is the book for you.

As I said at the beginning, the chuckwagon race scenes are riveting and incredibly well described. I was on the edge of my seat and it was just like being at the movies. Pretty exciting. And, just when you think the thrills are over, Ms. Bell throws in snowstorms, truck and trailer accidents and then a flood.

The only thing bothering me in the book was the misprints and slips. I think it needed one more read through by the editor.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

Michelle Wilson has the world by the tail. Cale loves her and she loves him. Storm is happy and healthy. To top it off, Michelle has qualified for the Calgary Stampede. She can’t wait to barrel race for a chance at $100,000 on Showdown Sunday. All her dreams are coming true; nothing could possibly spoil her happiness. Could it? Shelly, her brother’s new girlfriend seems a tad too interested in her old friend Cale Benjamin. And what’s with Michelle’s ex-fiancé Rob who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. Why can’t his brand new wife Kayla keep a tighter rein on that cowboy?

Here’s an excerpt:

“Toad quivered under her, twitching at the huge pieces of flotsam that rushed past just a few feet away. Once the other horse was far enough ahead, Michelle gave Toad his head. Her stomach clenched and flipped as his hind end dropped out from under her. The bank they were standing on collapsed into the river. The buckskin threw himself forward and clawed back onto semi-solid ground. Between the pain in her head and with the use of only one hand, Michelle slid out of the saddle. The rain blurred her vision and her head spun. There was no way she was going to get back on the horse. Stacey was a quarter of the way up the coulee, obviously unaware Michelle was in danger. Another old cottonwood uprooted by the river bobbed by, its branches scraping along the ragged bank.

Toad nudged her with his nose, eyes showing white around the edges. He wouldn’t leave her until she gave him permission. She looped the dragging reins around the horn and swatted him on the ass. “Go on git!” Tears of frustration mingled with the rain on her face. “

Okay, I’m stopping there. Just go buy the book! You can get a physical copy at most Chapters stores in Canada. Or you can order it online from anywhere that sells books.

Here’s the amazon.ca link!

And the link to Nancy’s website. http://www.nancymbell.ca

Happy reading!
Lynne

 

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Book Review: The Moai Murders by Lyn Hamilton

Book Review: The Moai Murders by Lyn Hamilton

Anyone who knows me, knows I am seriously addicted to library book sales. They are for me an opiate addiction. Very deadly. So it’s not surprising that at one of those things held somewhere in the Lower Mainland, I picked up a copy of The Moai Murders by the late, Canadian author, Lyn Hamilton. FYI Moai is pronounced Moe-Eye.

This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ms. Hamilton, but I can tell you, it certainly won’t be the last. I’m glad she wrote several before her untimely death. It had all of my favourite story contents in it: humour, action, adventure, history, mystery, a great plot and a well written storyline.

Hamilton had a nice, dry sense of humour which was sprinkled liberally throughout the story. The editing was pretty good, though there were a few typos missed. And you know I’m a stickler for typos. It kept me stumped right to the very end. And that, is a rarity where I am concerned. I love to profile books, TV shows and movies. I honestly couldn’t figure this one out, but then neither could the heroine, so I don’t feel so bad. Lol!

The only slow part of the story happened at the very beginning. The forward, titled Veri Amo—presumably named after a relatively famous woman from Easter Island who lived from 1830 to 1936, according to Stephen R. Fischer’s work Rongorongo: The Easter Island Script: History, Traditions,Texts—got me thinking and I had to read it twice. When Chapter One jumped into the present, I had to go through it twice as well to get the ball rolling. Once the characters started on their adventure, it was a great read. There were a lot of characters, but each was important to the plot. If you get momentarily lost, go back and check it again until you are caught up. It’s worth it.

Here’s a brief outline of the story from Amazon.
From Booklist:
“Antiques dealer Lara McClintoch and her friend Moira Meller head to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to celebrate Moira’s return to health. When they reach their hotel, they find it’s the site of the Rapa Nui Moai Congress–an academic conference to exchange information on the moai, giant stone carvings that populate the island. After the two join the conference, planning to attend the lectures and field trips, one of the attendees is found dead, thought by police to have been trampled by wild horses. Lara disagrees with the verdict and begins her own investigation as further participants die. Fascinating details about the island’s history and the moai enhance this ninth adventure in the archaeologically rich series.” Sue O’Brien of the American Library Association.
Here’s a couple of links to interviews with her.
http://poesdeadlydaughters.blogspot.ca/2008/02/canada-calling-lyn-hamilton.html
http://typem4murder.blogspot.ca/2009/01/sundays-guest-blogger-lyn-hamilton.html

http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/oct03/a-conversation-with-lyn-hamilton-10036
I thought it was important to include some of Lyn’s obituary in this. If you read it, you will see she was an amazing woman who made a huge impact on a lot of people. We should all be so lucky.

“LYN ELIZABETH HAMILTON August 6, 1944 – September 10, 2009 Smart, funny, creative, strong, loyal and brave – Lyn was all these and more. Beloved daughter of John (deceased) and Gwen Hamilton and cherished sister and sister-in-law of Cheryl Hamilton and Michael Cushing. She is also fondly remembered by the Collins family, her uncle Harris (aunt Elizabeth is deceased) Collins and cousins Peter, Kelly and Nicki. Lyn had many friends. A group of the closest helped her celebrate her 65th birthday last month with a party filled with laughter and love. Lyn kept her battle with cancer private, but the few friends who knew provided wonderful support during her illness. She had a great career, moving back and forth between public service and the private sector, working in public affairs, communications and program management. Then at the age of 50, she decided to add a writing career, using her lifelong interest in archeology to create a mystery series. The first of 11 novels, The Xibalba Murders, was published in 1997 and was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel in Canada. The eighth, The Magyar Venus, was nominated for an Ellis for best crime novel. These books feature feisty heroine Lara McClintoch, who owns an antiques store in Lyn’s hometown of Toronto and travels the world for her business, solving murders along the way. Lyn managed to write and promote most of her novels during vacations, unpaid leaves and weekends. The books reflect her passion for heritage and culture, her sense of humour and her love of travel. She was Director of Public Affairs for the Canadian Opera Company, where she worked with many others to bring a new opera house to reality, an accomplishment that gave her much joy. Before that, she was Director of the Cultural Programs Branch in the Ontario government. In her earlier days in the government, she worked on women’s issues and was particularly proud of a ground-breaking public awareness campaign on domestic violence. She was involved in education and mentoring of new writers. Over the years, she worked with over 100 authors on their manuscripts. She was writer-in-residence for the public libraries in North York and Kitchener. She taught a mystery and suspense writing course at the School for Continuing Studies at her alma mater, University of Toronto.”

This is a five star *****read. Purchase or borrow it with confidence.
Have a great day!
Lynne

Book Review: The Hardy Boys Book 3, The Secret of the Old Mill by Franklin W. Dixon et al

Book Review: The Hardy Boys Book 3, The Secret of the Old Mill by Franklin W. Dixon et al

A Trip Down Memory Lane

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When I was young, just about every kid I knew was reading either a Hardy Boys Mystery or a Nancy Drew Mystery. I used to get one for every birthday and Christmas. If I was really good, there was the occasional one in between. By the time I was grown up, I had almost the complete set. When I moved away from Ontario, I gave the set along with all my encyclopedias to a family of five little girls. Sometimes I think about that action and mourn slightly, but, of course, it was the best thing to do at the time. You can only have so many books. I have enough for three lifetimes or a small village library.

Since the day I gave up my Nancy Drew set, I have been slowly buying them back again ( yeah, so I missed them. Don’t judge me.), plus the occasional Hardy Boys Mystery. The other day, it was lousy outside; rain, snow, darkness, you know a typical British Columbia winter day. I looked at the bookshelves where my short and sweet books are and lo and behold, there sat The Secret of the Old Mill by Franklin W. Dixon. A Hardy Boys Mystery!

So who was this Franklin W. Dixon fellow? I decided to check online and see what came up.

http://www.answers.com/Q/Who_wrote_the_Hardy_Boys_book_series)

According to missy7  on answers.com  a heckuva lot of ghost writers were Mr. Dixon, either that or the guy had the worse case of multiple personalities known to man. There were so many that I couldn’t bother to be as thorough as Miss missy7 was.  Wow! We are talking a whole pile. The series was the brainchild of the Stratemeyer Syndicate ( no we are not talking organized crime here) later bought out by Simon and Schuster in the 1980’s. So nowadays, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are being pumped out by the ghost writers of Simon and Schuster. So there you have it—Franklin W. Dixon in a nutshell! Quite a guy.

This particular book is number three in the series, but already it had labelled the brothers as young detectives, and they were just taking after their Pa, a real life (or fake life….or well, just a fictional real life…) private eye. Yup, daddy was a detective too. So they were just taking after the old man.

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During this story they drive around in their buddy Chet’s ( real name Chester Morton, wow, which today would just mean a whole load of misery, and a kid in his thirties who ends up completely covered with tattoos and on death row) bright yellow, souped-up jalopy named Queen. Oh wow, those were the days. I remember naming my first car. They were always French names and male. My current Dodge Caravan (be nice) is named Anton; not quite Antonio as in Banderas, but in my mind he looks almost the same as we whisk along the highway, with our hair blowing in the breeze from the passenger windows open slightly at a safe level and the only rear window which works, open to get a little counter breeze.
I have, in my youth, driven in a few jalopies, which were fun and required no doors to open. You simply hopped in! Over the existing, seemingly always shut, door. Back then, I hopped. Today, it only happens in the kitchen when I step on something. Or in the bathroom when Mr. Lloyd Kitty has been particularly flamboyant with his cat litter.

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Back to the story…Chet is described as plump and constantly eating junk food, a description today which would have led to cyber bullying indeed. His buddies tease him in a good-humoured way because back then we just teased people out loud and to their face, not online—since there was no online. (Well, that’s not exactly true. I loaded the line every other day with the wash and my mother regularly asked, “What’s on the line? Did you bring everything in?” So yes there was “on line” but not the online we mean today. Whew!) Back to Chet. Chet is a constant homey in the Hardy Boys’ crib. He and Tony, their other buddy, show up here and there throughout the story and near the end help them jump a bunch of guys and get in a fight. Not quite your sweet little angels now, eh?! Heh heh heh.

Eighteen-year-old Frank and his one-year-younger brother, Joe, who is described as “blond and impetuous” (in other words, some little punk kid who probably gave his mother all the grey hair on her head) get involved with a boy on a bicycle who nearly gets hit by a car. One thing leads to another and the next thing you know they are involved with counterfeiters and Mill Wheels, and tracking paper at the local stationary story ( can you imagine walking into Staples and saying, “Can you tell me who bought this piece of paper?” ) wandering through tunnels, getting trapped in trucks, and having their dad get sort-of blown up and stuff like that. All the things which would put hair on the chest of a young lad in the 1950s!

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Throughout it all, they interact peacefully with the local sheriff who has no trouble telling them everything that’s going on in the rich underbelly of crime in their little berg. Today, if the cops know you by name when you walk into the station, it’s not because they respect your dad and want to give you an award or have you help them solve a crime. Nope, no way. We will leave that one there.

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So of course, they solve the mystery and their last words are nice and corny and no one ever swears, not even the bad guys. It was a nice time back then. Post WWII when the world was shiny and bright and mom was at home all day (not working like Rosie the Riveter in the munitions factory anymore and sitting out back smoking cigarettes, chewing gum and drinking beer with her buddies after work)

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cause the war was over, and dad smoked a pipe constantly (not worrying about his future lung cancer or emphysema) and sat in an easy chair and was home to listen to your troubles and give you good advice which rivalled the advice God gave Moses in the Bible.

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Man, I love the Hardy Boys. I think I’ll check the second hand store and see if they have anymore of the old ones. I don’t want to read the new ones in case Chet’s car is now a Jaguar XK XKR-S GT convertible which does zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds, and instead of having twenty bucks in his hand, he thinks nothing of popping a hundred in the tank every other day.

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And Mr. Hardy is smoking pot in the garage and rhyming off clever little gems that sound more like a Cheech and Chong rerun.

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Mrs. Hardy has just returned from drug rehab and had a couple of fentanyl scares. And Frank has piercings everywhere which occasionally get painfully ripped out in a fight or while he’s crawling through a tunnel underground somewhere chasing Columbian Drug Lords. And Joe, dear little Joe, has green and pink hair; no sweet little blond-headed moppet is he anymore, no he’s got muscles like the Rock,

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and mimics Vin Diesel on a good day.

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No, give me the old Hardy Boys. I like those guys. I’ll just sit in my rocker and daydream.

You can buy the Hardy Boys mysteries all over the place and especially at second hand book stores. Enjoy!

Have a nice day!

Lynne

 

Book Review: Spellbound by Patricia Simpson

Book Review: Spellbound by Patricia Simpson

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This winter I’ve had one of the worst colds in years. I’ve spent almost ten days in bed now, and am barely starting to feel like a human being instead of a snot-filled zombie.
As most of you know, I’m a total book addict, but as an editor, I unfortunately seem to spend more time editing than reading for fun. So while I’ve been recuperating, I’ve also been reading some of the books stored on my kindle.

I couldn’t decide what to start with, so went to the bottom of the pile on my iPad and found this little number.

I’ve never read anything by Patricia Simpson before, but I must say I’ll certainly be checking out more of her work. I understand this is a self-published book. That always makes me nervous, especially in this day of indie publishing where everybody and his brother thinks they are a great writer and editing often means just checking for spelling and punctuation. But apparently, Ms. Simpson knows the meaning of the word and takes it seriously.

This was an extremely well-written piece. I caught only one typo near the end of the novel, and from what I can remember, only one misuse of a word. (It’s bollocks, not bullocks. That shows the American in the author.) It was darn near to perfection as far as the proofing was concerned.

The content was well done and the story-line was pretty plausible. Yes, there were a few vague moments of mystery and unexplained paranormal events, but the excitement level made up for it. And even though the ending seemed rushed—I’d have liked it dragged out and given a bit more explanation of what seemed like a pretty miraculous event to satisfy my inner Sherlock—it at least made the romantic aspect of the story come to a happy end.

I’m giving it a four-star rating **** just because as an editor I would have had Ms. Simpson fill in the paranormal blanks for those who need the facts sorted out. Like myself.

It’s five star ***** for excitement and very hot love scenes which had no porn in them—yay! I hate porn in the middle of a good love scene—but were written beautifully and made for a few fast page turns. There were the appropriate villains, more than one so we had to really think, and the hero was wonderful. I loved Tara the heroine’s thoughts and how she responded to the otherworldly events she was being drawn into. I probably would have reacted the same way.

There were only a couple of uncomfortable dialogue lines which seemed trite and not well thought out, but most of it was well done. I didn’t like the cover of the kindle edition. The fellow on the cover certainly held no resemblance to our hero, Hugh. I love the hard copy cover. That was great!

So, if you want a fast and interesting read with a lot of action, some romance and some otherworldly adventure, this is the one I’d choose.
Nice job.

Lynne

From Amazon.com:

“From award-winning author Patricia Simpson comes a haunting time-travel. A week before her wedding in Scotland, Tara Lewis stumbles upon a hidden tomb and accidentally awakens a spellbound knight. But Tara refuses to acknowledge the chivalrous shade. She doesn’t believe in the spirit world-or true love for that matter-until the touch of the handsome knight awakens her troubled heart. To gain his freedom, the knight must recover a valuable Psalter and deliver it to its rightful owner. But completing his quest proves difficult. Hugh finds himself hopelessly attracted to the woman who freed him and duty bound to protect her-from an ancient enemy, a modern threat, but most of all from a forbidden love that could ruin both their futures. As Tara’s wedding day dawns, she and Hugh must make a fateful choice. Will they keep their promises or follow their hearts? Or will the ancient spell that binds them destroy their one chance at happiness?”

Product Details
• Paperback: 264 pages
• Publisher: Patricia Simpson (February 14, 2009)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0982344244
• ISBN-13: 978-0982344248

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Biography:
Patricia Simpson grew up in the wilderness of Western Montana, where it meant a 3-1/2 hour drive just to buy shoes. When she was young, the iPod hadn’t yet been invented, and there were no radio stations in the area, so on the many long drives for shoes, Patricia amused herself by reading novels or creating her own stories in her head. She was encouraged to write by her sister, who always asked to be read what she had written so far that day, her Egyptian-born English teacher in junior high, and then again by a creative writing professor at the University of Washington. Instead of seeking a writing degree, Patricia chose to pursue a BA in Art and has worked as a graphic artist/web developer at the University of Washington since 1982. Patricia still enjoys painting almost as much as she loves to write.

Ms Simpson has won numerous awards for her fiction, including Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, Career Achievement Award, and has been a finalist in the RITA awards and for Best Indie Paranormal of the Year.

Her Scottish husband encourages her to accompany him on his frequent business trips around the world, and whenever possible Patricia goes with him to scope out spooky historical places to use as the settings of her books.

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spellbound-Patricia-Simpson/dp/0982344244

Book Review: Queen of the Night by J. A. Jance

Book Review: Queen of the Night by J. A. Jance

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First of all, I have to state without hesitation, I love J. A. Jance’s books. I’ve read almost all of the Joanna Brady series, and some, more than once.

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That being said, I have mixed feelings about this particular offering from the author.
I got lost almost immediately in the profusion of characters and opening scenes, each of which sounded like the start of a different novel. It took me awhile to determine what was going on and sort everyone out. I had to start the book a couple of times and go back and reread. Maybe it was just brain fog on my part, but even at the very end, I was momentarily confused, trying to remember who one of the characters was.

There are a lot of people in this book. Some are pretty amazing, and I can definitely see how they all fit together, but I kept praying someone would get killed off so I had fewer names to recall. Thankfully, murder mysteries usually satisfy that goal.
I also felt there were almost too many plot lines. But, they were all necessary—I think. At least everything wound up connected, somehow, in the end.

It was an interesting, suspenseful read, that’s for sure. And yes, very reminiscent of Tony Hillerman, whom the book was dedicated to. But, there were things as an editor which I would have liked to have seen changed. Too many “thats” for a fiction work, and way too much past perfect tense, plus too many characters, and plots, and openings.
Would I recommend it? You betcha. But be alert and keep your memory working. You might want to take notes or you could lose track.

I would say it’s a three star based on the confusion and editing points, and a four star based on thrill factor.

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Here’s a link to Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/hfp82bd

And Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/jogxn45

Have a great day!
Lynne

Announcing the release of my book trailer for A Hallowe’en Tale

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I just spent the last week working on a book trailer for my e short story A Hallowe’en Tale which was released in October of 2012. It was a fun experience. I used the moviemaker app on my iPad.
Here’s the youtube link to the little film. I hope you enjoy it!

Lynne