Margaret Koch tells us a tale of murder, romance, and the occult in (book seven of her Dr. Barb Stark Mystery Series) Cauldron.
It is impossible to read this book without laughing and falling in love with each and every quirky character. While pondering the human condition. When life challenges us with the unexplained do we wish it to be kept a mystery or do we want everything explained?
Is there, in fact, truth to the power of a curse, is magic real? Are we haunted on deeper levels by the mystery of life when it is arcane? Margaret Koch, both answers these questions and leaves us wondering about them as she draws us into the life of Dr. Barb Stark, who is by all accounts a bit different herself.
Ms. Koch is a master at characterization and drawing one into her stories. I have been reading them out of order, but it doesn’t seem to matter much as each book stands alone and fills in bits of backstory to her characters without being redundant. There is nothing repetitive nor predictable in Margaret Koch’s books.
I adored this book, it made me laugh at the foibles of us humans as it led me on the path to discover the murderer. It left me wondering how much of our lives are ruined and changed by the presuppositions we carry around in our heads and hearts.
Dr. Barb Stark has a knack for getting herself caught up in the most unusual events. Combining a natural curiosity, with the way Dr. Stark’s brain leaps from the twitch of an eyebrow, to the sighting of a strange looking man and comes up with two + two equals five. Ms. Koch keeps one guessing about what will come next in her story.
Ms. Koch definitely got me hooked on her writing and the stories she weaves.
We have all heard the term “Blonde Joke,” but never as a part of a plot to commit murder, at least not to this reader’s memory. Ms. Koch’s first book in the Dr. Barb Stark mystery series is delightful making fun (in a nice way) of those who think blondes might be dumb. For Barb Stark is anything, but dumb. She may be petite and blonde, but that is as far as it goes, though in this book she does try to utilize the dumb blonde idea to survive being murdered by a man intent on murdering his wife.
I will not be a spoiler so that is as much of the plot as this reader will tell you. Margaret Koch, is a masterful storyteller, she builds characters that you can love and those you can hate. You might even see some of yourself in her stories, human nature being what it is.
Each new book I read that is written by Margaret Koch, keeps me coming back for another. It holds me spellbound and entertained in a way that is new and different in a murder mystery. They are unlike any other ones I have read. Delightfully told stories that I can recommend even to those who don’t normally like a good mystery.
Dellani Oakes has done it again. In her book Ninja Tatoo, Ms. Oakes gives us a run for our money in this action packed, adrenaline rush, romance novel.
Her main character Teague leaves you breathless and wishing more romance books came complete with such realistic male characters.
Though Ms. Oakes should put warnings on her books, cold shower might be needed during the reading of this novel.
Kudos to Dellani Oakes for once again bringing us a romance novel worth its weight in gold.
Dellani Oakes, has written a brilliant, romantic, science fiction, thriller. Set in the year 3032, this is one book you don’t want to miss. Wilhelm VanLispig (Lone Wolf) is a devilish rogue, sure to turn your eye, and melt your heart, if you are a female, but if you are a male, you may want to run as fast and as far as you are able.
Matilda Dulac a strong, beautiful, heroine is every bit the match for the Lone Wolf. The world Ms. Oakes creates is full of mystery and mayhem. Please, hold on to the seat of your pants, for this book holds surprises that will leave you begging for more.
If you love romance, science fiction, fantasy, or mayhem, you will love this book.
In ‘Looking For Me,’ there is such mystery, sadness, and splendor, as to make one weep, scream, and want to rage at the terrible injustices the human species can foist upon unsuspecting animals and other humans.
With a delicate brush, Beth Hoffman, paints her characters in ‘Looking For Me.’ Each stroke brings us one step closer to understanding and knowing each character. As she breathes life into her characters, we glimpse how easy life can be, and how difficult we make it. We see the depths of evil that can occur in the human spirit and just how imperfect we can be, and we discover the stunning heights we can achieve if we allow ourselves to soar.
Ms. Hoffman’s portrayal of such complex characters gives us a further indication into the vast talent this writer has. I won’t tease you with a preview of this book, for I don’t want to spoil one tiny moment of the discovery one can find in its pages.
One can also understand just how much compassion we can achieve. If we are willing to go the extra mile and realize that no matter how well we think we know someone, there is a backstory that has not been shared with us, one that can be beautiful and yet heartbreaking. As each character unfolds, the motivations behind their personalities become clearer.
Last, but not least this book can teach us a new way to look at nature, and make us wonder who the animals really are and how much we need to open our eyes and look at the world differently.
I loved this book and highly recommend it.
As all great series, such as Alex Haley’s, ‘Roots,’ or ‘North and South, by John Jakes, Robert Walker’s series Annie’s War; Love amidst the Ruins, follows suit. You are glued to your chair, so to speak. Impatiently awaiting the next episode, learning about aspects of American History, that although fictionalized, carry both reality and the seeds of truth in these books. As with book two, book three takes us deeper into the mind of John Brown, enabling us to see both the humanity of the man, (in his probable prejudices,) and the madness and genius of him. I learned so much more of what might have happened and what did happen during those days of the raid in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, (later to become West Virginia,) then I had from any history book, given to me as a child or young women in school. It did as the author hoped and wrote at the end of book three, incite me to further research on my own, the story of John Brown, his men, children, and the story of Harper’s Ferry and its place in history.
Although, the author did take considerable liberties in his portrayal of some of his characters, it makes the story more engrossing and not less. The author does fully admit, to taking these liberties and this reader fully believes it is in the taking of these liberties that Robert Walker gave a glimpse of what might be the truth of the mood and heart of the people living in and around Harper’s Ferry in 1859, and in the abolitionists themselves. For without the liberties it would be another history book with dates and facts, dry and unyielding about the minds and hearts of everyone who lived during that time.
I cannot believe this series will not hit the silver screen at some time and go down in history as one of the best written of all times.
I was so lucky to be able to get an advanced copy of Ellen Dye’s newest book, Ending Up, due out shortly. It is a fascinating story of one woman’s plight to overcome her upbringing and her recent divorce only to find that the place she ran from as a young woman held the best of all futures for her.
Ms. Dye created a lovely book that is sure to charm and enchant other readers as it did me. Her characters have depth and the situations could be written from my life or yours. For who among us isn’t looking for Mr. or Ms. Right? This is not just another romance novel, it is a witty, delightful read that will surely have you laughing, crying, and wondering what comes next.
Ellen Dye has a rare talent for creating characters and plots. I for one will look for more of her work.
I highly recommend Ending Up.
A LITTLE BOOK WITH A LOT OF HEART
Leyla Atke's book Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat is a little book with great magic and heart. It is a book that I don't believe you have to be a cat lover for it to touch your heart, instead if you are a lover of life you will find this book worth the time to read.
It drew me in from page one and held my interest sometimes in sorrow, when tears sprang from my eyes unbidden, and sometimes in delight for the little black cat held enchantment in its soul.
Ms. Atke held me in the palm of her hand as she laid out her story. It left me believing in the value of hope and miracles and wishing it wouldn't end. I believe Ms. Atke has a definite talent for story telling that can only continue to grow. She weaves her tale so naturally, she makes you believe it is all true and if it isn't it should be.
The book contains charming illustrations done by the author and could be read by and to children as well as enjoyed by an adult.
Many movies and books have been written and filmed depicting life in the old west. Some of them are from the perspective of Native Americans, a few depict the life of the Chinese immigrants, who fled their country or were sold into slavery, many times to die in the mines, working on the railroad, and many of the women were sold into the sex trade. More often the old west is depicted as a glamorous period in history. Although, many of these films and books include a few Chinese, Native Americans, or Mexicans, it is usually the white man that holds the place of the main characters and women come from various degrees of class. Del Norte, by Julia Robb, is different, it depicts life in the old west more clearly and in this reader’s opinion more honestly. I would place it in the category the wonderful movie Broken Trail.
Seldom have I come across a book that so unmistakably takes a reader into the heart and soul of many different types of people. It shows people as they are not as caricatures, but as men and women with dreams, hopes, bitterness, fears, and love. Del Norte is such a book, one that shows how the races may have attempted to intermix into their own society.
It has all the elements of a great read, adventure, love, hate, full and rich characters, and it’s wonderfully written.
Brava to Julia Robb, for writing a book of such richness, and bringing one aspect of how life may have been in the late 1800’s. I can hardly wait to read the next book.
My Fingerpaint Masterpiece by Sherrill S. Cannon, is probably one of my favorite of her children’s books, for its message is more subtle. It tells a story of the importance of truth, learning to recognize and accept one’s own work for both the things one likes and those one doesn’t like.
Yet its meaning is deeper and purer than that, for Ms. Cannon clearly understands a child’s view of the world, there is a sense of color and majesty in this story and its meaning delicately put.
Ms. Cannon recognizes that most children are a bit impatient with sitting still and finishing something when other things are calling. She also clearly understands that they are not necessarily pleased with the result when they feel it isn’t good enough for the world to see. My Fingerpaint Masterpiece, tells us just how sensitive a child’s view of themselves can be and the nurturing us adults must teach, by both our actions and reactions.
Ms. Cannon has written another masterpiece of children’s literature in her new book. Its subtle messages of learning honesty even if few believe you while allowing us as adults to recognize that children see grown-ups clearly.
The illustrations are colorful and beautifully done.