Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Walking the Labyrinth by Lois C. Hart

Publisher:       Ylva

Lois C. Hart does not issue books as frequently as some authors, but when she does have one come out the reader can be sure that it will be an interesting story that is well produced.  Walking the Labyrinth continues that pattern.

The death of her wife from cancer has caused Lee Glenn to descend into a private hell where she doesn’t eat, doesn’t leave her house and has cut herself off from everything.  Her life has come to a shocking halt until her friends finally stage an intervention and she is forced back into the world.  Lee and her partner in a successful private security company decide she will take on a protection detail for a spoiled ex-model who says she is afraid of her husband.  This should be an easy assignment to help Lee ease back into things because the client wants to return to a remote part of Canada where she was raised.  Lee doesn’t realize she is about to meet a unique group of people who are going to help restore her soul.

Lee Glenn, a woman in her sixties, is about to discover that there is life after disaster.  Her guide on that trip will be Gaelle Germaine, the spoiled model’s mystical, spiritual mother.  Gaelle is building a labyrinth to help with her meditation and she coaxes Lee into helping her with the job.  Lee thinks spiritualism is “hooey,” but Gaelle is fascinating.  Just as feelings develop between them, Lee discovers something about Gaelle that is horrifying and it causes her to flee from what can only be more pain.  Lee isn’t the same person however and she cannot forget what she has learned from Gaelle.  Now the question is, is she strong enough to follow a new sense of being?

Where to start with the wonderful things about this book?  First, the story is about older characters.  This is particularly enjoyable in a genre that seems to be dominated by younger people who are just beginning the lessons that older women have completed.  The book also has a very appealing spiritual quality to it.  It doesn’t advocate any particular system, but opens the reader to probing thoughts and questions that can be pondered outside of the book.  The characters are also interesting.  Many people have known someone who has been destroyed by the tragedies of life.  They also know that calm, reassuring person who seems to radiate wisdom from a place deep inside.  These are the people you want to be like when you meet them, if you can just figure out how they developed that state of being.  And all of this is wrapped up in a story that is completely understandable.  No convoluted vocabulary or esoteric ideas that confuse the reader and get in the way of the message.

Lois Hart isn’t finished writing yet, but Walking the Labyrinth may turn out to be her magnum opus.  If so, she couldn’t hope for any better.

This is a highly recommended book.  Read it and prepare to go on a journey of your own discovery.

On the Rocks: A Willa Cather and Edith Lewis Mystery by Sue Hallgarth

Publisher:                   Arbor Farm Press

There is nothing worse than a book that doesn’t deliver what it says it is.  If a title says it is a mystery, then there should be a mystery.

The book starts with a murder.  Willa Cather actually owned a home on Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy, and the story is set there.  While she and Edith Lewis are out in a boat one day, they see a man’s body thrown off of a cliff.  The rest of the story is more an explanation of village politics and the events that follow the murder than it is a mystery.  Who committed the crime and why becomes clear early in the story.

On the Rocks is more about the relationship between Cather and Lewis than it is about the mystery.  For people who are Cather fans, this might be interesting, except it’s based on conjecture.  The book assumes that Cather and Lewis were lovers.  That is a topic that is much discussed in the literary community, however, since Cather refused to address it herself and there is no direct evidence in either direction, writing the story this way reflects the author’s own interests more than the truth.  At any rate, that doesn’t make the book a mystery.

The book is rather bland for mystery fans and anyone else should remember it’s listed as fiction.  It isn’t challenging reading.  Keep that in mind if you decide to buy it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Angel's Touchd by Siri Caldwell

Publisher:       Bella Books

Angel’s Touch is a paranormal story that brings together familiar themes – financial interests versus preservation.  In this case, it’s the preservation of sacred land near a spa.

Kira Wagner specializes in developing property, selling it and moving on to the next place.  This time she has settled in Piper Beach where she wants to renovate a hotel and build a spa for women.  Megan McLaren is the best masseuse in town and Kira wants to hire her for the spa. 

Megan agrees to consult with Kira on the building of the spa, but her reason is to protect the ley lines, power lines where angels gather, that run through the property.  Megan believes in angels, past lives and soul mates.  She uses that knowledge to deliver a healing touch with her massages, but she also knows there is a downside.  She and Kira have known each other before, more than once, and the endings have never been happy.  As the women develop feelings for each other the problem becomes that Kira cannot understand Megan’s resistance and Megan doesn’t know how to explain what she experiences to Kira or why the land is so important.

Angel’s Touch is a well written romance with a slightly different plot line.  The reader isn’t required to suspend much belief to feel the story is realistic. The characters are interesting and the book is well produced.  The book was quick to read and provided a few hours of good entertainment.  Overall it was quite enjoyable.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rush: Books 1 and 2 by CJ Reid

Publisher:       ReadReid

Usually two books would not be included in one review, but they comprise a series and the same comments apply to both of them.

This is a perfect example of a fairly good story that was ruined by not having a good editor or production staff.  The mistakes in the book are so numerous that not finishing the first one was a real consideration.  The second volume didn’t fare as well.  It's not just a matter of spelling mistakes.  Before the first two pages could be finished there were six grammar mistakes, several uses of the wrong words (Reid has a real fondness for saying "passed" when she means "past') and incomplete sentences.  It's also clear that what has been issued as two books could have been one good book if a competent editor had gone over them.

The series features women who race cars on streets in LA and make their living that way.  They’re tough talking and acting.  Each club forms a family that every member is ready to defend with her life.  According to this story, these women spend all night driving and partying (alcohol and drugs) and most of the day sleeping it off.  Getting into a club requires an initiation and a ceremony of acceptance.

This is the world that Dylan Kelly stumbles into with her brother.  They come from a broken home and are barely making it when Dylan meets a member of the Femme Fatales Racing Club.  Dylan quickly discovers that she can’t resist the world that the club represents, even if it means lying to her brother.  The two books follow her efforts to join the club and then how her presence threatens to destroy it.  Meanwhile, there’s plenty of racing, information about cars, tension and sex.

This culture may exist, certainly it exists for men.  Frankly, the book reads as if CJ Reid is trying to create a community where this exists for women.  Parts of the book just don’t ring true, but they might be.  The books would have much more punch though if they were edited down into one volume.  That would intensify the action and spare the reader from so much talk about car parts.

If you like stories about hard driving women who act like men, this might be your book.  You have to get past the numerous mistakes though which do interfere with the pace of the reading.  It might be better to save your money and look for other books about the same topic.