Monthly Archives: October 2018

Book Review: Honolulu Heat – New Mystery by Rosemary and Larry Mild

Honolulu Heat

By Rosemary and Larry Mild

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Honolulu Heat opens with the Wong family enjoying another beautiful day at home in the paradise of Kauai. Suddenly a hurricane warning is broadcasted, changing the course of their lives forever. The family of three becomes four as the neighbors were away for the day, leaving their young son with the Wongs. They never made it home in the storm, so Noah became theirs.

The family moves to Oahu to be with extended family as their home in Kauai is currently uninhabitable. They are happy in Oahu and decide to make it their home. Noah grows up with love and family, but as soon as he becomes a teenager his rebellious nature lands him in trouble.

It starts out as small infractions. He is involved in tussles with other kids, troubles at school and disobedience at home. But there is another side to him. He is loyal to his adopted family extended family and cares about what they think of him. Unfortunately, the influence of some of his friends will soon put him on a collision course with the law.

Finding himself on the run after his involvement with a murder, Noah ends up in Chinatown tangled up with both a mob boss and an extortionist, both of whom have killed many before and are in a turf war that Noah unwittingly is a part of.

Noah has no place to run or hide, but when he finds out that someone he cares about may be killed, he has to try and get back to someone that will believe in him enough to help stop the violence. Risking everything, he has to prevent another murder or die trying.

Honolulu Heat is a like Scared Straight on steroids. Noah makes bad choices like any kid his age, but basically he is a good kid. He feels guilty about the trouble he has brought to his family as well as his girlfriend.

There are interesting subplots. The lives of the mobster and crime boss are woven into the story adding more and more tension until the last pages where the authors tie up the storylines in a satisfying end.

I like the style of writing of this husband and wife team. The setting of the Hawaiian Islands is interesting and fun to read about. It is the second book I have read from these authors, but the first in this series. The story itself worked well as a standalone novel. I was confused at times trying to keep track of the the number of characters introduced. Honolulu Heat is the follow up novel to Cry Ohana and features the same characters.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Ghost Photographer – Cosmic Journey of Self Discovery

The Ghost Photographer A Hollywood Executive Discovers the Real World of Make-Believe

By Julie Riuger

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher/author in connection with Killer Nashville in return for my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

The Ghost Photographer takes the reader along on Julie Rieger’s cosmic course of self-discovery. Her journey of is not always an easy choice, but she jumps in with both feet willing to take the ride wherever it takes her. But her newly found psychic powers allow her to be at peace with herself and others. Isn’t that about all anyone can ask for?

Julie is often bawdy, funny and willing to share both the good and bad parts of her life with her readers. She explores the reason for her grief, but realizes grief comes to others in different forms that are just as devastating as the loss of her mother was to her. She knows she needs to dig deeper to figure out the person she will be now that she is really on her own for the first time in her life.

Her journey begins when she discovers pictures of ghosts in photographs she has taken. (The pictures are included at the end of the book for you to decide for yourself). She works to develop her psychic gifts with close friends who have clairvoyant abilities. She also references famous people who were prophetic, second-sighted and/or were precognitive. They include Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill to name a few.

The thing that may surprise readers about Julie is her reliance on religion throughout her journey. She repeats how often she uses the power of prayer to protect herself and others from evil spirits. It should not surprise us that good and evil go hand in hand, and protecting yourself with a higher power is often necessary when delving into the unknown. There are a few things that might give you goose bumps. The chapter about “Old Scratch”, whom the Bible says is a stand in for the devil, is pretty creepy.

This is a very interesting, funny and thought provoking book. It is fast to read and full of things that you may or may not believe could ever happen. If so, take it at face value for your entertainment. That is okay, it is Julie’s journey to document and share. If you are a fan of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert or Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Sheryl Strayed you need to read this book. Journey and self-discovery comes to different people in different ways, each of them unique and interesting to read about.

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Book Review: Long Road to Mercy – Baldacci’s New Series Not to Be Missed

Long Road to Mercy

By David Baldacci

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher/author in connection with Killer Nashville in return for my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

FBI special Agent Atlee Pine is a loner. She specifically requested an assignment in a tiny office in Shattered Rock, just outside of the Grand Canyon. Pine began her life as a team with her twin sister, but no longer works well with others. Just her and her administrative assistant are perfect for her loner lifestyle. She doesn’t mind hard work or long hours. As a matter of fact it suits her well, leaving less time to think about the serial killer that abducted and most likely killed her twin sister Mercy when they were young children.

Pine gets a call that there is a missing person and a dead mule at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. A missing person is not that unusual. Hikers wander off and go missing, but it is extremely unusual to have someone from a group disappear leaving a dead mutilated mule in his wake. As Pine begins investigating she begins to see the disappearance is just the tip of the iceberg in a much bigger plot with huge ramifications.

It sounds like an impossible riddle:  What do the Grand Canyon, a dead mule, the Russian and Korean governments, a possible kidnapping and/or murder and a lone FBI Agent have in common? Baldacci weaves an intricate tale full of action, adventure and intrigue. His characters travel the United States in their quest to find the truth, trying to live long enough for justice to prevail.

I have read many books by Baldacci, and am very excited to find he has begun this new series featuring Atlee Pine. She is a character that has many sides and secrets. Some of them are hers, and some are truths that have been kept from her. I am anxious to find out more.

Baldacci’s latest page-turning thriller lives up to his reader’s expectations and beyond. It is hard pressed to find anyone who has not heard of this award winning, NYT Best Selling author. There is a reason for the accolades; his books are complex yet easy to read. I learned more interesting facts about the Grand Canyon than I’ve heard before, making me want to visit the only one of the Seven Natural Wonders that is located in the United States.

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Book Review: A Christmas Revelation – A New Holiday Novella

A Christmas Revelation

By Anne Perry

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

London 1868. Nine-year-old Worm knows what hunger and cold feels like. His life has gotten a bit better, he no longer lives on the streets but in a free clinic for women of dubious occupations. Squeaky, the bookkeeper, has a past that will forever haunt him, but for some reason has a soft spot for Worm that he tries hard not to let show. But when Worm comes home and tells him a beautiful girl has been taken by a couple of ruffians, he gets drawn into the mystery and danger that he worked so hard to get away from.

Squeaky tried to dissuade Worm from searching for the taken girl by telling him that Christmas was in a few days. The boy has heard the church bells on Christmas day, but did not know anything else about the celebration. Squeaky pulled out old memories, and successfully convinced Worm that they could pull off a celebration for the staff and current residents of the clinic. The good news was Worm was very excited to help with decorations and the tantalizing descriptions of the Christmas feast made his mouth water. But the bad news for Squeaky is that Worm is still determined to help the girl and cannot let it go.

So begins a journey for the both of them, winding through the worst parts of London in the darkest of winter nights. First they have to find her, which was not an easy thing to do. Against all odds they locate her and even manage to speak with her. She claims she is not being forced to remain with the two men, but Worm does not believe her. In order to free her, the unlikely duo has to pull in favors from unsavory characters, go places no child should ever see and risk their lives.

Perry’s characters come alive on the pages. Victorian Christmas traditions are masterfully woven throughout the mystery of the beautiful woman to lighten up the intensity of the story. Squeaky and Worm, along with the rest of the staff of the clinic decorate, plan the menu and even have time to search out a special gift for the special day.

The story is one of hope and redemption, even in the toughest of times. The characters are scruffy and often thought of as lower class. They may not have money but they do have the important qualities that matter most. They care about each other and strangers, share what they have even if it isn’t much and find happiness within the world they live in.

This is an unusual Christmas story, but one that will become a favorite.  I am a fan of all things Christmas and it was refreshing to read a novel with a new twist on the age old story of love and redemption.

Internationally renowned, award winning author Anne Perry is best known for her Historical novels; most noted are the Monk Series and Pitt Series. She began writing annual Christmas novellas in 2003, and has written one every year since, including The Christmas Revelation available November 9, 2018. This is the first Christmas novella I have read by Perry, but have enjoyed many of her other books. I encourage you to read A Christmas Revelation; it is a quick and thoughtful Christmas tale that will leave you thinking about the story and characters this holiday season.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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