Sunday, April 15, 2018

Murder at the Bus Depot: A Blue Plate Café Mystery by Judy Alter

Genre: Adult, Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

If mystery is your go to reading genre then you must check out Judy Alter’s series.
Her characters are well developed, the setting feels like any town you may have visited or gone through at one time. There is enough mystery here to carry you through from beginning to end.
The main character Kate Chambers operates a small café in the town of Wheeler, Texas. It is a town that is quaint but on the verge of losing some of it’s vital businesses.  Enter Dallas developer Silas Fletcher. He wants to help revitalize the town starting with the old bus depot. The bus depot was the site of a 30 year old unsolved murder. Kate isn’t thrilled with Silas’ plans for the old depot so she tries to save it because of its historical significance.  Enter another murder.  Kate decides that if she is going to save her town and keep its quaint charm then she is going to have to find the murderer on the loose.
This is the fourth book I have read by Judy Alter. However, this is the first one I have read of this series. It held up as a stand-alone book even though it was part of a series.  However, now I need to go back and read the first three in the series. From the time I was small mysteries were my favorite genre. As an adult who teaches middle school, I am more in tune with middle school mysteries than adult mysteries. So, when I come across an author who writes wonderful adult mysteries I want to shout his/her name from the top of the world, or at least from my blog. Please pick up a copy of this wonderful book. You will find the characters as charming, and the mystery as engaging as I did.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Guest Post: Randy Rawls

I was introduced to this author's writings when I was asked to review his book Jingle and the Magnificent Seven.  His books will engage you from the very beginning. So it is my pleasure to have  Randy Rawls write a guest post for my blog.

           My seventeenth book is underway. It’s the fifth in the Beth Bowman series. The idea came to me straight out of the headlines, a spin-off from the illegal immigrant problem. No, it’s not about a wall or the border guards who struggle to enforce our laws. It’s what can happen to young women who enter illegally and fall into the hands of unscrupulous people. As with Beth Bowman number 4, SAVING DABBA, I find myself digging into some dark areas I never considered before.
            When I look back, I see my evolution from a “pure” mystery writer (whatever that is) to one building on our social problems has been a gradual thing, beginning after I moved to South Florida. My first here involved the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl. Then, a 13-year-old runaway, the kidnapping of a 5-year-old, a dirty politician, etc. As I look back, I see that each of those problems surface every day in news coverage. I even took a humorous poke at a fantasy/mystery about a terrorist group. And yes, that, too, was inspired by an actual event in S FL.
            Skipping a few of the incremental steps, we get to SAVING DABBA. As some of you know (not enough, I might add), Beth Bowman, a PI in S FL, is befriended by a group of homeless people. When someone or some group starts killing them, Beth is involved. From there we move into the business of “demonstrations.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I support freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. I spent 20-plus years in the Army to help guarantee those rights. However, I also believe that freedom carries responsibility. Looting, burning, and stepping on the rights of others are criminal acts, not freedoms. This is the world that SAVING DABBA explores—a group who uses our constitutional freedoms as a business endeavor. The police are so busy protecting the demonstrators, they have little time to concentrate on its evil leadership. As things spiral out of control in Coral Lakes, FL, Beth and her friends take it upon themselves to act.
            So goes the story of SAVING DABBA. If you read it, and I hope you will, please accept it as I intend it—not to denounce those who march for worthy causes, but to denounce those who use our liberties to spread discord, hatred, and fear. And, to use each to enrich themselves.
            That’s the trip I’ve taken over my sixteen published efforts, starting with an arson and ending with SAVING DABBA. That’s Randy Rawls of today.

            Thank you, Sandra, for allowing me space on your blog.

Randy Rawls was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. From there, he says he inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country. As a career US Army officer, he had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from his parents. Following retirement, he worked in other ventures for the US Government. Every job has in some way been fun. Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and he cherishes the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.

Today, he has short stories in several anthologies, and a growing list of novels to his credit. As a prolific reader, he reads across several genres and takes that into his writing. He has written mysteries, thrillers, an historical, and two fantasy/mystery/thrillers featuring a Santa Elf. The count is now at fourteen and growing. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.

Buy links for Saving Dabba

Buy link for Jingle and his Magnificent Seven:

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Swimming Between Worlds by Elaine Neil Orr

Genre:  Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This book set in the early sixties to have been written today.  This book looks at segregation during the sixties. Although we no longer have segregation, or not to the extent we once had it, we still have racial issues.  As much as we want to ignore it this problem is still here. The story is told through multiple perspectives.  Tacker goes to Nigeria to help build schools.  He is considered a minority in Nigeria and learns what it is like to be discriminated against.  He returns to the United States still passionate about Africa and wants to help make a change.  He goes back to work for his father’s grocery.  When he lets an African American into the store; and the kid is attacked, Tacker decides he needs to do something.  Tacker has reconnected with Kate a girl from his high school. They have differing views on the racial situation. Tacker is able to change her mind.  The lives of these three people intersect so seamlessly.  Some of the racial tension could have come right out of our own newspapers.  This is the first book I have read by this author. I am glad I was offered the opportunity to read and review it.  Please take a moment and check it out. You really won’t be disappointed.