Saving Sindia by Peggy Edelheit

Good books are really worth curling up with especially on rainy weekend nights. This weekend, I curled up with a one of Samantha Jamison mysteries, Saving Sindia.

REVIEW:

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What is it about?

Samantha went on a solitary vacation in the Ocean City. But as she was expecting a peaceful, away from chaos vacation, odd things began to spring up – a mysterious note that says she’s the lucky chosen one, a woman she bumped with in the boardwalk by the ocean who knew her real identity despite the heavy disguise, and a man who drove a Mercedes car, just to name a few. Then Sam found herself in the midst of mystery that she needed to help solving.

What I Think About It

Peggy Edelheit has a different approach in writing mysteries. The scenes in every chapter are not too heavy – they were as if the mysteries are just part of Sam’s everyday life (which I suppose is really the case owing it to the fact that she’s an author of mystery books). I guess what I am trying to say is that, the scenes and the mysteries in them are just coming naturally. I also loved the little lesson learned portion after each journal entry that I ended up highlighting some of them, although I didn’t enjoy the journal entry parts. I didn’t quite grasp the relevance of them. The chapters were short, which I appreciated, although I suspect that’s also the reason why the story seemed slow-paced (or maybe I am just too inpatient in finding out who or what Sindia really was). And yeah, I also had to admit that I missed the sleuth trio, Martha, Betty and Hazel. I’d never forget their epic skunk shooting back in that Sam’s another mystery A Lethal Time.

Recommendation:

Saving Sindia is a mystery novel that I can categorize as a light read. Comparing to the hardcore mysteries like that of Grisham, Clancy or O’Shaughnessy, Edelheit’s books have this distinction. It’s mystery, and it’s light. Perfect for a lazy afternoon or if you just want to chill. 

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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.

REVIEW:

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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.

Recommendation:

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.

REVIEW:

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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.

Recommendation

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.)

Face of Our Fathers by G. Egore Pitir

When I saw the cover of this book, I figured I would have a hard time to finish reading it. I am a bookworm, sure, but sometimes I have a little patience with historical suspense.

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REVIEW

What Is It About?

Stu and Angie Pierce are a couple who are out there reinventing their lives. Stu is a pilot who takes lesser flying schedule for triathlon training, while Angie does pro bono work as a human rights lawyer. They agreed long ago not to meddle with the other’s business, but when Stu saw a photo of a bruised girl in Angie’s files, he sets out to protect her without even knowing what the real danger is.

What I Think About It

I thought the prologue was something relevant to one of the middle chapters of the book, but when I started reading the story proper, I realized that the book actually has a modern setting and I am spared of reading a historical suspense. First of all, I admire Stu’s determination to respect what he and his wife agreed to. He doesn’t want to betray her trust in not looking into her legal files, but of course, his big time curiosity failed him. It’s just that Stu kept himself in the agony of thinking about all the possible dangers his wife might be facing, when he could have just asked Angie about it straightaway. I sincerely believe Angie should be forgiving.

Thing is, this book has a lot of words dedicated to the back story of the characters, which hid (this is just me, though) or concealed the real message of the entire story. I figured the story is about global terrorism, but I was way to absorbed in the back stories that sometimes I forget what was it about I am reading.

If you are into suspense and is fascinated about books that has a lot twists and turns, the you definitely have to read this book. Get on Amazon for $0.99.

A Lethal Time by Peggy A. Edelheit

I have been asked to read mystery books lately, and I should say that the favor effectively allowed me to go back to those days when I enjoyed then much and now I feel the same way. A Lethal Time, which is the fourth book of Samantha Jamison’s adventures is another mystery novel at its finest.

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REVIEW

What Is It About?

Samantha, a was asked by her good friend Sally to house-sit her ranch while she and her husband Tom went for a vacation. Sam, a mystery writer who thought that a bit of nature communion can think clearly of what to write and also discern on what’s really going on between her and her on-and-off partner, Clay, agreed. She and Clay went to the ranch to spend a romantic time together. Until Sam received an anonymous phone call pleading for help about the missing woods. Then the web of puzzle begins.

What I Think About It

A Lethal Time strongly reminded me of Perry O’Shaugnessy’s Presumption of Death. I thought the book was not for a quick read (which is most probably true due to its number of chapters) but I was so surprised that I was able to finish it overnight. It kept me guessing until the end which I loved the most about the book. I was also on the look out for some cozy time with Clay and Sam, but no. This is a pure mystery book – but yeah, it didn’t disappoint me. The unforgettable part for me though, is the skunk shooting, and right now as I type this, I am giggling so very hard! 😂

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

RECOMMENDATION:

A Lethal Time is a must-read of you are a big fan of mystery and suspense. Each chapter is a surprise, and the ending, although expected, wasn’t even clued in in the entire book.

Get it from Amazon at $2.99.

(This review also appeared on Amazon.)

Deep Blue by David Niall Wilson

When I read the first few pages of this book, I couldn’t decide if it was really horror. Maybe it’s because R.L. Stine works have always been my basis for horror reads. Anyway, I should say that Deep Blue offers more than what a typical horror book could offer.

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What is it about?

It’s about a musical band wherein each member has their own kind of flaw. Brandt the drunkard and could barely pay his bills and Syn, who’s been seeing “angels” since she was a kid. Shaver, Dexter and Liz have hurtful pasts, and all of them are seeing visions while playing blues music. Visions that were all about other people’s pain and they have to feel these pains in order to have them slip away. They had to find out why that happens, and what they need to do about it.

What I Think About It

The book strongly reminded me of Douglas Coupland’s Girlfriend in a Coma, only because of the fact that both books are talking about visions. Deep Blue, I think, is more on spiritual and new gen book (that’s just me, though). The book is so lyrical and vividly written that my mind was able to play the scenes as if I was seeing a movie. To be honest, this kind of book is not my cup of tea, but the change is so welcoming and it certainly got me hooked. I liked the fact that everything and everyone was described in every chapter, and it kept me guessing for the relevance until the revelation.

Deep Blue is more than a horror book – it is a book that talks about how to feel other people’s pain and redemption. I daresay it is not for quick read, but something that would certainly keep you up at night.

Monarchs and Mendicants by Dan Groat

There is always a lot to be said about books that talks about different disciplines and principles in life. Monarchs and Mendicants is one of the suspense book I’ve read that will surely stay in my head for a long time.
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What The Book Is About

Gifford Ulrich (Frog) served in Afghanistan and is suffering from PTSD and is back in the country with an emotional baggage he wanted concealed. He’s aloof and likes to operate on his own, and he chooses not to care about other people and what goes around him. But as he ended up in the streets and is forced to mingle with other street men, he discovers that, as much as he’d like to be indifferent towards the people and things around him, his heart just won’t allow him to do so.

What I Think

It felt like I was reading a John Grisham book for a moment. There were lots of questions and I kept guessing ’till the last few pages. Maybe I’ve been reading too much romance recently that I almost forgot the thrill and excitement brought about by the suspense books I used to read when I was in college. Gifford Ulrich is a complete mystery in the beginning – I kept wondering how he ended up in the streets despite being in the military prior to that. Although I should say that his decision not to trust anyone, or even to care for anyone makes total sense. As a man coming from the war, he sure has experienced many painful losses, and they are not going to be as painful if he were not emotionally attached to the ones he lost. But then I guess caring and compassion for other people is human nature. Gifford slowly began to care about the other street men around him. Add the fact that the new guy Stephen talked to him about it.

I like the fact that I was able to highlight several quotes in this book, which only means it gave me a lot thoughts to ponder on. Also, the presence of Father Michael’s character is quite interesting. He became the hope of the street men who had nothing, as well as those who had something to share. The presence of a priest in the middle of a chaotic place of Benoit that was almost hell signifies heaven’s mercy and is always present even in the middle of tragedy.

Though there were some parts that invited my eyelids to feel heavy (especially when it’s Edward talking, bit I’ve learned to love his character), I sure enjoyed this read, and I won’t recommend it for a quick read. Monarchs and Mendicants is that book that will give anyone to reflect on what humanity is all about.