Brown Sugar in Minnesota by Joe Field

Right after reading a book about a murder in Oklahoma, I just finished reading a book about drug bust operation in Minnesota. This book, Brown Sugar in Minnesota made me think of the recent events taking place in my country.



What is it about?

Cooper Smith is a radio reporter relatively new to Minnesota Public Radio. Young and enthusiastic, he is also afraid of the radio station’s “first in, first out” policy – since he is one of the new employees, he would also be one of those who gets laid off first, if the station needs to do so unless he produces a big-shot story. Then he stumbled upon the story about the shipment of heroin called Brown Sugar. His utmost desire of keeping his job coupled by the anguish upon losing a friend in making the story, Cooper goes beyond what investigative journalism normally does and sets out to help turn down the bad guys.

What I Think About It?

When I read that the book is about drugs, I thought of our newly-elect president and his now-famous line – “My God, I hate drugs.” Brown Sugar in Minnesota brought me to the realms of drug syndicate –  how they operate, manipulate and market their product. I guess what I am trying to say is that, the author must have hone through intense research on this (well, he’s a reporter so it could have been easy). Cooper is one brave media man. But of course, the fact that he lost his friend in the process of getting his big shot story affected him big time in the way he handled things. Not to mention his personal connections, because most members of his family is in the authorities, and his ever supportive fiancee who works for the Governor. With this kind of set-up, Cooper has nothing to fear, in my opinion. He just needed to prove himself in order to save his job. There wasn’t too much action though. As a crime book, I anticipated much of guns and highway chases. The highway chase at the very near end was satisfying, though.

I was moved by the part wherein Cooper interviews the heroin addicts in the rehab. Though I kept in mind that I was reading fiction, I can’t help but wonder why there are people who still chose to do illegal drugs. I don’t judge them – I am just at awe about the satisfaction they say drugs give them, only to regret it in the end.


Brown Sugar in Minnesota is not for bedtime read, because you won’t be able to sleep. You’d hate yourself for putting it down. You’d want to know soon what happens to Cooper in the end.

(This review also appeared in Amazon.)


Oklahoma Winds by Cary Osborn

The thing about me reading a mystery book is that I can’t put it down until the mystery as been solved. This is exactly what happened as I read Oklahoma Winds.



What is it about?

When the dead body of a young lady intern was found in the archives  processing room, everyone wants to believe that it was just a mistake, or maybe a brutal accident. But Sydney, the archivist feels like there is something more to it, and it gives her the reason to believe that she is also unknowingly fighting for her life. So she sets out and does her own investigation. Could the crime be linked to the disappearance of a certain girl in the same town several years ago? And as Sydney finds out the truth, she may also find not only Irene’s murderer but also, her own.

What I Think About It

Mystery books are my favorite genre when I was in college. Oklahoma Winds is a book that I could line up with those of John Grisham and Perry O’Shaughnessy, minus the lawyers. The first thing I liked about this book is the female main character. Okay… not to be sexist or anything, maybe it is just something that fascinates me for some reason, or maybe because I am a woman too. Sydney signifies a strong female personality – independent and reliable. I also like the fact that the book not only mentioned an archive, but it became a significant place that everyone would remember. Hardly any new books I’ve read have the words “Facebook” and “library”, and I appreciate the fact that the author kind of tries to remind everyone through her book that, “hey, there’s still archives and library, you know?” Well, maybe it isn’t quite a pleasant reminder because of the gory thing that took place in the archive processing room, but still.

The fun part, of course, is that Sydney tries to do some investigating on her own. I might have done the same, if I saw my intern lying dead in the place where we work, and the authorities are next to clueless about what’s going on. Although I have always noticed this in most of the mystery books that I’ve read. The story kept me guessing until the end on why Irene the intern was killed, who murdered her and why.


If you are a John Grisham or Perri O’Shaughnessy fan, then this boom is absolutely a must read for you.

(This review also appeared in Amazon.)

Where Lemons Bloom by Blair McDowell

It’s already a pleasure to be assigned a romance book fro review, and even more so with a story that gives me more than what I ever expected. Where Lemons Bloom is a mix of romance and crime, and a bit sexy.



What is it about?

Eve Anderson meets Adamo de Leone in an island in Barbados in a very unlikely manner – she almost died. Needless to say, she owed her life to this one hell of a handsome man. Eve spent an entire night with Adamo albeit being perfect strangers to one another. After all, they were both vacationers and what were the chances of them meeting again, right? Little did she know, Adamo is going to be in the same place that she’s gonna be for the next two weeks. Meanwhile, Adamo restrains himself from getting close to Eve. His stained past prevents him from allowing himself to indulge the happiness is doesn’t believe he deserves. Thing is, he could not resist the beauty in front of him, that is, Eve.

What I think about it?

When I saw the cover of this book, I thought I am subjected to read a classic romance book, something a bit too far from the contemporary romance that I am used to reading. But of course, I was wrong. Skipping the book’s blurb, I turned every page with anticipation, craving for more. I loved the way each place was described in a book, especially in Italy (did I ever mentioned I love everything about Italy?). The introduction of the Italian heritage, the beauty of the streets in Lisbon and the breathtaking scene of the beaches in Barbados made me want to think that I have already been there. Yes, that’s how vividly descriptive the author was in this book, which is amazing. I also loved the fact that it didn’t just focus on romance – and including a crime angle to give further conflict between Adamo and Eve is very good.

Although I felt Adamo’s swelling ego when it comes to treating Eve. I mean, c’mon, man! The woman clearly accepted not just you but your entirety, yet you are still refusing because… you just don’t think she deserves you? Well, I am a woman, and I wouldn’t know how a guy’s man works. As for Eve, well, girl, I just don’t think it is necessary to pressure a man into marrying you six months into the relationship. 🙂

Okay, I may have said too much here, but I guarantee that this is just little of what you have to expect in the entire book.

RATING: 4 of 5 stars


Perfect book to bring with you on a vacation – one that involves beaches, yacht and travel.

Get it on Amazon for $4.99.

(This review also appeared in Amazon)