Monthly Archives: August 2015

Book Review: Shadow of Seth – Strong Characters and Plot – A Must Read!

The Shadow of Seth coverThe Shadow of Seth

By Tom Llewellyn

174 pages

It is apparent from the first few pages that sixteen-year-old Seth Anomundy has been alone for years, despite the fact that he lives with his mother. She is a hard worker, but a free spirit. Often that freedom means making poor choices and either forgetting about Seth, or dragging him along on some adventure that isn’t necessarily one a kid needed to take.

Now that he is in high school, she works nights cleaning businesses, so he comes home to an empty apartment over a boxing gym in a less than desirable neighborhood. Seth is surprisingly ambitious and centered, willing to pick up jobs here and there to make a few dollars. He goes to high school, making decent grades and most of the time keeps out of trouble.

Then his world spirals out of control. When picking up a clock for repair from one of the wealthiest families in town, Azura Lear answers the door. She is rich, beautiful and wants to spend more time with him. Seth brushes her off, takes the clock back to Nadel, an old-fashion clock repair man to be fixed.

Azura won’t leave him alone. At school she flirts with him and shows up in the most unlikely places to see him. This infuriates her previous boyfriend, who now is out to teach Seth a lesson about dating rich girls that “belong” to someone else.

Then the tenuous thread of stability Seth has snaps. His mother is found dead and the police are not really concerned about another junkie biting the dust. All evidence points towards murder, but they have other cases to solve and figure she put herself in a bad situation one too many times, therefore not much effort was involved in the hunt for her killer.

The only suspect they have is the owner of a diner that his mother used to clean who has turned up missing. Therefore, the case is not being worked until they find Miss Irene. Seth is sure Miss Irene is not guilty, so he begins searching for her, on the assumption that she must know something about the real killer.

Seth’s troubles explode. One of the neighborhood bullies is out to kill him and he doesn’t know why. He is falling hard for a girl that wants to be with him, but her ex-boyfriend and father will do anything to keep them apart. And worst of all he has to figure out how to make enough money to stay in the apartment so he is not homeless.

So this sixteen-year-old’s life becomes a game of cat and mouse while he works in the boxing gym as a sparring partner, runs errands for the clock maker, works in the kitchen at Miss Irene’s diner and becomes the barista for Choo-Choo, the owner of the gym. All this is happening as he continues to search for his mother’s killer.

This fast paced novel turned and twisted through the rough areas of Tacoma, Washington faster than a freight train. Llewellyn takes the reader along for this gritty ride with interesting characters doing sometimes appalling and/or comical things.

Each character is constructed as a whole person, the backstories interesting as well as the mixture of jobs and interests of each. I was especially amused by the barista info. Seth is taught how to make a perfect cup of coffee, so the reader also learns. The little things are important when making an exquisite cup of brew and none of them are lost on Seth. The unlikelihood of the perfect coffee in a boxing gym – good enough for Choo-Choo to come back in the middle of the night to see if there is a cup left – puts such a realistic feel to this book I felt like I could go to Tacoma, find the gym and enjoy a cup with him.

This is a YA novel, but like so many these days, is well worth reading if you are 16 or 61. It is a great whodunit and so much more.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

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Filed under Book Review, books, Coffee, Mystery, YA

WIP Wednesday 2×2

Why 2×2 you ask? Is it a piece of wood I am referring to? Or perhaps one of those breakfasts they offer at our local dinner – 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 pieces of toast & 2 sausage links? *Sidebar* it should be a 2x2x2x2, but who am I to correct the menu for them & it works.

Anyway, the 2×2 I am referring to is 2 weeks and 2 days late for WIP Wednesday. Life has gotten in the way of blogging these last few weeks, so I figured better late than never.

I’ll keep this short and sweet.

  1. Scarf for my cousin is complete. I have enough yarn to make a smaller version for my tiniest cousin (first cousin once removed, but let’s not quibble – remember the 2×2 above). I may take that on vacation with me, it would be a great project for the ride to Florida.

Becky's scarf complete

  1. The lavender baby blanket is complete. I took it to work this morning and neglected to take a picture first. In my own defense, I didn’t finish it until almost 10 last night and forgot this morning when I left at 6:00.
  2. I had to miss the Knitting Group last week, so nothing to report there. I did get the pink bear hat done for the NICU nurse’s baby as well as another two – one complete and one ready to sew together when I go to the next Knitting Group.
  3. I am joining a KAL that Wool & Co ( http://www.woolandcompany.com/ ) has on their website for the football season. It looks fun. Check out the details by pasting the link above in your browser or right click on it and choose “go to”.
  4. Since I got the 2 projects done that I promised myself I’d do before starting anything else, I am going to start those socks that I have been dying to start since buying the fabulous yarn at the Chicago Yarn Crawl a few weekends ago. Just as soon as I catch up on book reviews 🙂 I’ve finished 2 great books in the last 2 weeks, but haven’t had a chance to review them yet. This weekend for sure.
  5. Last but not least I am making more bear hats. No surprises there, they are my go-to quick take to work projects for break time.

The only pic of the last few projects is apparently the one of the scarf. I dunno why I didn’t snap a few of the others. Because we all know that a whole bunch of words and no pictures make for a boring blog, I’ve included one of my favorites from the knitting calendar that Leslie gave me for Christmas last year. 🙂

Calendar_Stash

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Filed under baby hats, NICU, scarf, socks, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Pluggin’ Along

This has been a busy week in my world. I started the baby blanket I’m making for a friend at work and have made great progress on the scarf I’ve been working on. Check ’em out

20150805_181137

I love the orchid baby blanket, it has been a long time since I’ve used this color and it is a nice change from blue or pink.

And my find of the week is a local yarn shop with in *GASP* walking distance of our house! I picked up a beautiful hank of tonal red yarn that I am going use to make a pair of socks. I got a really cute pattern that they were giving out at the LYS for the Yarn Crawl. If I can figure out a plan, I hope to visit more shops on Saturday since the Yarn Crawl will still be going on . I know I don’t need any more yarn. But I do have a VISA gift card that I’ve been saving since Christmas that is meant to be used on some kind of fabulous fiber.

That is my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

This week I hope to finish the scarf and get the blanket 1/2 done. A NICU hat needs to be completed before next Thursday as that is the next meeting of our knitting group. If it accomplish those 3 goals, I am going to cast on the socks.

Nothing like having lots of WIP to keep me busy. 🙂

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Filed under Crocheting, Knitting, LYS, NICU, scarf, WIP Wednesday, yarn

Book Review: Night Country Nocturne – as many twists and turns as Lombard Street!

High Country Nocturne

High Country Nocturne

By Jon Talton

317 pages

David Mapstone is comfortable with his life.  He loves his wife, lives in a quiet old Phoenix neighborhood in Midtown and has a Private Investigating business with his friend Mike Peralta, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County. The problem is Peralta is missing as well as the diamonds he was hired to guard.

As with most cases, things are not always what they seem. Good guys are bad and bad guys are good. Mapstone needs to find where Peralta falls on that scale. Both eye witnesses and surveillance cameras show Peralta shooting the other security guard and making off with the suitcase containing the gems. Did he really flip from lawman to lawless? If so, what could possibly motivate him to do an about face and turn his back on all his beliefs, family and friends?

The clues Mapstone discovers just don’t add up to Peralta deciding to risk his life and those he cares about for money he doesn’t need. Then things go from bad to worse in Mapstone’s life as he tries to find Peralta before the cops do.

First, a mysterious woman is trying to kill him. She has impersonated a deputy, stalked him and is earning the nickname Mapstone gave her: Strawberry Death. When she gets too close to someone he loves, Mapstone realizes the stakes are much higher and more personal than he imagined.

Then he gets a call from the current Maricopa County Sheriff Christopher Melton. He is, from all reliable evidence, a dirty cop. As deadly as a scorpion, the sneaky Sheriff “Call me Chris” Melton makes an offer Mapstone can’t refuse. He cannot risk his wife’s reputation and safety, so he reluctantly agrees to work for Melton investigating a old cold case file. Mapstone was the first deputy on the scene of a suicide in the desert. Now Melton wants Mapstone to find out if this was really a murder.

Mapstone has so much on his plate he needs a platter.  He doesn’t need one more thing to complicate the mess he is trying to untangle with the missing diamonds and the cold case. But life keeps adding another heaping helping of trouble to the pile. His personal life is in disarray, he is working for a man he hates, his best friend might be an international jewel thief and his cold case might be heating up and somehow linked to his other problems.

This fast paced mystery is intricately woven to end up with a completely surprising, yet deliciously satisfying end. The main plot of finding Peralta didn’t mind sharing page space with the subplots. Strawberry Death and Sheriff Melton frequently took over demanding attention from Mapstone and the reader.

Talton made me hate some characters, like others and become very frightened for Mapstone when some showed up on the page. Only extremely talented authors can create characters that resonate so deeply with their new readers and he is one of them.

High Country Nocturne is the eighth book in the David Mapstone Mystery Series. Set in Maricopa County, Arizona It works very well as a stand-alone book, with just enough background without long flashbacks or walks down memory lane. This fast-paced novel is easy to read in spite of the twists and turns. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

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Filed under Book Review, books, Mystery, poisoned pen press