Friday, May 31, 2019

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: CREPE EXPECTATIONS BY SARAH FOX

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: CREPE EXPECTATIONS BY SARAH FOX: Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post! Crepe Expectations The Pancake House Mysteries #5 by Sar...

TP&WD: Game Warden Field Notes for 5/31/19

TP&WD: Game Warden Field Notes for 5/31/19

Do Some Damage: Remembering Sandra Seamans by Albert Tucher

Do Some Damage: Remembering Sandra Seamans: By Albert Tucher Sandra Seamans, one of the anchors of the crime fiction community, passed away in her home in Clifford PA on May 23. ...

FFB Review: The Splintered Paddle by Mark Troy


For this really and absolute final Friday in May 2019, I remind you of The Splintered Paddle by Mark Troy. I first told you about this one five years ago in the review below. I remind you of this excellent book today. I also suggest you check out the full list of reading suggestions over at Todd Mason’s blog.


Private Investigator Ava Rome has no idea in the beginning that she is being hunted. She has no idea at all a man from her distant past is in the islands watching her every move. Fantasizing over and over again what he is going to do to her once he finally gets her alone. His name is Norman Traxler and he is coming for her--- after he eliminates whatever she cares about a chess piece at a time.

Ava's latest client, sent by Moon Ito, is a young woman named Jenny Mordan. Battered an assaulted by a corrupt cop named Ron Nevez she wants and needs Ava's help. The fact that Jenny is a freelancer in the world's oldest profession is not a factor for Ava Rome. Jenny is defenseless and Ava's business is to protect the defenseless as it was under Kamehameha the Great before the annexation of the islands by the United States in 1898.  That first law of King Kamehameha, the law of the splintered paddle, is still ingrained in the islands and its people and serves as the very personal mandate of what Ava Rome does each and every day. The defenseless will be guaranteed from harm--period.  Using your badge as a weapon is considered official suppression and Ava's isn't about to put up with that.

That issue isn't the only thing she isn't about to put up with in this complicated mystery featuring multiple story lines. Written by Texas author Mark Troy who spent a number of years in Hawaii before moving to Texas, this new series features an intense take no prisoners heroine committed to solving mysteries from the past and present despite the many complications involved with both. Ethical and principled, willing to go it alone if and when she has to, Ava Rome always advances and never retreats. That might be something that comes from her family and the way she was raised.

Featuring a strong and interesting cast of supporting characters, this complex read features four separate and distinct story lines that gradually interweave as readers are slowly filled in on Ava's often difficult past. A past that has driven many of her choices through her life. Choices that have created at least some of the increasingly dangerous situations she now finds herself in today.

Second place finisher at the 2012 Claymore Awards at Killer Nashville, The Splintered Paddle: An Ava Rome Mystery is one of those rare books that pulls you deep inside a world far from home right from the beginning. It isn't all sundrenched beaches, cool waters, and happy days in paradise. Ava, also seen in the very good novella The Rules, knows something about the dark undercurrents at work in the 50th state in the union and is more than ready to protect the defenseless.


The Splintered Paddle
Mark Troy
Five Star Publishing (division of Cengage)
June 18, 2014
ISBN# 978-1-4328-2859-2
Hardback
304 Pages
$25.95


ARC supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2014, 2019

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Lock It Up


Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Sensitive Crimes, Travelling Cat, Komma...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Sensitive Crimes, Travelling Cat, Komma...: Reported by Lauren                 This week’s Nevermore group was small but mighty. And really into books about life-or-death situa...

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Death Sends a Cable: Margaret Tayler Yates

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Death Sends a Cable: Margaret Tayler Yates: This is a mystery novel published in 1938, set on the Naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba. The main character is Anne Davenport McLean, better...

Mystery Fanfare: Cartoon of the Day: Required Summer Reading

Mystery Fanfare: Cartoon of the Day: Required Summer Reading

Review: Neon Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel by John Sandford


The United States Marshals went to pick up Clayton Deese after he failed to show up for trial. Everyone knows Clayton Deese did the crime he is wanted for and if it was not for bureaucratic issues they would not already be at least three days behind me.  His ankle monitor went dark at about the same time that he failed to show up for court. No doubt he has left his home in a rural area of Louisiana. Still, Marshals Rae Givens and Bob Matees and F. B. I. Agent Tremanty have to raid the house Deese was living in to make sure he really left. If he is gone, a manhunt will begin as they need to apprehend this guy, not only for what they know he did, but because he is a link to a far bigger target.

When law enforcement hits the house, it is clear that Deese is long gone and is never coming back. The house sits on a large piece of land that has a swamp like area outback that is thickly wooded with at least one trail back into the woods. A trail that clearly gets frequent use. A trail that goes quite a distance back in where there is thick ground cover and clearly more open areas that could be more than one shallow grave. Maybe many graves.

What is found means US Marshal Lucas Davenport is soon on the way to help track down the missing Clayton Deese. A hunt for a contract killer who occasionally indulges in a taste for human flesh. A contract killer who happens to be in close contact with some other folks in another part of the country that also need to be stopped as soon as possible.

The latest in a long line of thrillers by John Sandford, Neon Prey, is another good one. As true with earlier books in the Lucas Davenport series in recent years, the bad guys and girls are known to the reader from their first introduction. Unlike the way it was when this series started when there was a complexity to the reads and there was a solid mystery, there is no mystery at all here expect for the fact Law Enforcement does not know from the start just how bad Clayton Deese is or the identities of some other folks who also need to be stopped. This book is a straight action read where the pace is fast, chapters are short, descriptions of locations are kept to a minimum, and the clock to prevent more carnage is always ticking. For writers, this read, as has the last several in the series, fits the old adage ascribed to Elmore Leonard about leaving out the parts that readers tend to skip.

Pure escapism, Neon Prey, is another good one in the Lucas Davenport Series.



Neon Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel
John Sandford
Random House Large Print
April 2019
ISBN#978-1-9848-8283-7
Paperback (also available in hardback, audio, and digital formats)
480 Pages (461 pages are the actual story)
$31.00


Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Pie Town series by Kirsten Weiss

Treadmill Books: Pie Town series by Kirsten Weiss


After her mother’s death and the end of her engagement, Valentine Harris’ dream of opening her own pie shop is the only thing keeping her going.  Her retro-look shop and delicious pies are starting to draw customers, but when one of the regulars keels over it looks as if Pie Town may  have to close before Grand Opening balloons deflate. Joe, the late customer in question, owned the nearby comic book store but, as it turns out, was a member of a group of amateur sleuths who tried to solve local mysteries.  Could one of the investigations have gotten him killed?

That’s the set-up in The Quiche and the Dead, the first in the Pie Town series. Val is a newbie business owner, but has a pretty sound head on her shoulders—which is more than can be said for Charlene, her 70-something crust maker who has an allegedly deaf emotional support cat and who lives and breathes conspiracy theories.  I’ll admit at first I found her annoying but since there’s a hint or two that Charlene may not believe in theories as much as she believes in yanking people’s chains, I not only warmed up to her, but she became my favorite character.

And it’s a good thing too because there’s already Heidi who owns the new health and fitness studio near Pie Town and promotes healthy living.  Really healthy living, as in putting up a huge sign that says “SUGAR KILLS” right after Joe drops dead.  She’s also dating Val’s former fiancĂ© (who of course is a total slimebag) and exists mainly to cause Val trouble. It’s a character type I have little patience with, honestly, but they show up often in modern cozies.

The tone is gently over the top, with Charlene dragging a reluctant Val into all sorts of improbable situations, and can be very funny.  As the series progresses, more supporting characters are added, including the standard issue cop love interest, but there’s enough that’s fun and fresh to make this an enjoyable series.  Recipes are included.

In fact, I am going to check out some of Weiss’ other series, particularly the Paranormal Museum Mystery book.

The titles in the Pie Town series are: The Quiche and the Dead, Bleeding Tarts, and Pie Hard.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Unlawful Acts: Small Crimes: Tuesday Reads

Unlawful Acts: Small Crimes: Tuesday Reads

The First Two Pages: Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark

The First Two Pages: Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark

Bronzeville Books: A Headdress Where It Doesn’t Belong

Bronzeville Books: A Headdress Where It Doesn’t Belong

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 28 Calls for Submissions in June 2019 - Paying mar...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 28 Calls for Submissions in June 2019 - Paying mar...: Pixabay There are more than two dozen calls for submissions in June. All of these are paying markets, and none charge submission fees. ...

Review: A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary: A Samuel Craddock Mystery by Terry Shames


A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary is the eighth book in this long running and very good series. This time Chief of Police for Jarret, Texas, Samuel Craddock becomes increasingly concerned about the disappearance of his neighbor and friend, Loretta Singletary. Until he really sat back and thought about it, he hadn’t paid much attention to the fact that in recent weeks Loretta started dressing different and had a new hair style. Loretta Samuel Craddock was used to how she was, her routines such as the one that included her walking over from her house early in the morning bringing home made cinnamon rolls warm from her oven, and the fact that she kept her life fairly private. She is not one to talk about her personal business or share a lot of confidences so he wasn’t paying much attention to the changes she was doing in recent weeks.

Then she upset the routine by going missing and can’t be found anywhere. The easy explanations of Loretta taking a trip to visit family, shopping with a friend, don’t fit. Loretta is gone and no one has a clue where she has gone. By poking around a bit in her home and asking a lot of questions of everyone in her life, Samuel Craddock begins to piece together the idea that she has signed up for one of those dating sites. In her case, one that caters to seniors and folks that live in small towns. A little research also convinces him that such sites are dangerous for anyone and that is especially true for the older folks.

When another woman in a nearby town is killed, Chief of Police Samuel Craddock’s fear almost becomes flat out panic. The other woman’s personal circumstances mirrored Loretta’s and she used the same dating site. If the local church going folks would quit arguing over the long tradition of the goat rodeo, Chief Craddock would sure appreciate it as there is far more important matters at stake.

A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary by Terry Shames is another excellent entry in the long running series. The author skillfully weaves together a complicated tale of increasing suspense and mystery as the pages go by. Along the way there is plenty of background detail in two secondary storylines regarding life in Small Town Texas and how everyone knows your business. Those secondary storylines work to relieve the suspense a bit and provide a dash of humor here and there while not slowing down the overall pace of the book.

Make sure you take the time to return to the world of Samuel Craddock and Jarrett, Texas. You will be glad you did. 




A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
Terry Shames
Seventh Street Books
April 2019
ISBN# 978-1-63388-490-8
Paperback (also available in eBook format)
272 Pages
$15.95

Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 5/27/19

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 5/27/19

Bronzeville Bee: Cultural Appropriation: Tomorrow’s Introduction & Today’s Confession

Bronzeville Bee: Cultural Appropriation: Tomorrow’s Introduction & Today’s Confession

Unlawful Acts: Incident Report No. 78

Unlawful Acts: Incident Report No. 78

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid: Reviewed by Ambrea Superman fights for truth and justice—but why?  What drives a farmboy from Kansas to become one of the mighties...

Bronzeville Bee: Do #OwnVoices, ‘Write Your Truth’ and Concerns About Cultural Appropriation Mean Writers are Limited to Writing What They Know?

Bronzeville Bee: Do #OwnVoices, ‘Write Your Truth’ and Concerns About Cultural Appropriation Mean Writers are Limited to Writing What They Know?

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 5/27/19

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 5/27/19

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 5/27/19

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 5/27/19

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar May 27-Jun...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar May 27-Jun...: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of May 27-June 2, 2019 compiled exclusively for  Lone Star Literary Life  by Texas Book Lover. ...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Wrecked by Joe Ide


Wrecked by Joe Ide (Mulholland Books, 2018) is the third book in the private investigator series featuring Isaiah Quintabe, known as IQ to his friends. I am just now getting around to reading these books and I understand why everyone raves about them. Early in the book IQ is bemoaning his lack of social connections, and it is more than interest in the case that causes him to accept the request of Grace Monarova, a young artist, to look for her mother who vanished 10 years earlier. He quickly learns that a dangerous paramilitary crew who committed some of the atrocities at Abu Ghraib is also looking for Grace’s mother, because she holds incriminating photos of them. These men are violent and amoral and will kill anyone at any time for any reason at all. The descriptions of their interrogations are sickening to read. It appears to be typical of Ide’s sense of humor to bring this psychotic group to The Burning Man arts festival in Nevada.

There are subplots aplenty, almost too many to keep track of. Dodson, IQ’s sidekick, is now his partner and wants to regularize the firm, collect past due accounts, set up a website, and establish a social media presence. IQ who accepts badly knitted Christmas sweaters as payment for services, is not on board with this approach, and their conversations on this subject are hilarious. Then there’s the creepy knife designer who is in danger of eviction from his store. He decides the only way out is to blackmail Dodson and IQ into stealing a drug kingpin’s bankroll on his behalf, which goes about as well as the reader has come to expect.

The characters are fresh and lively, down to the bickering middle schoolers IQ hires for a small surveillance task. IQ in particular is a likable individual, with his formidable brain, his MacGyver tendency to improvise weapons, and his total lack of business acumen. The dialog veers between snickeringly comic and deadly vicious, often with little transition. The action is relentless in its pacing, making for an exhausting but enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

Booklist starred review. One of CrimeReads Best Books of the Year.


·         Hardcover: 352 pages
·         Publisher: Mulholland Books (October 9, 2018)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 9780316509510
·         ISBN-13: 978-0316509510



Aubrey Hamilton ©2019

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Do Some Damage: Review: Elementary

Do Some Damage: Review: Elementary: By Claire Booth The seventh and final season of Elementary is here, and it’s about time. The first of the thirteen episodes premier...

Unlawful Acts: Indie Crime New Releases: Week of May 26

Unlawful Acts: Indie Crime New Releases: Week of May 26

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Summoning by Heather Graham

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Summoning by Heather Graham

Sunday Movie Review: Cold Pursuit


Earlier this week, Scott and I watched COLD PURSUIT. A movie that did not do that well when it hit theaters due to some controversy about various comments Liam Neeson had made while doing promotion work for the movie. Then there was the fact that critics did not much care for it.

Liam Neeson plays the classic traumatized father who seeks out those responsible, one by one, after his son is murdered. Because of toxicology results, the local police believe the kid is just another junkie that predictable overdosed. He wasn’t. Liam Neeson eventually begins to cope with his grief by going after those involved in a bloody and violent pursuit of the kingpin that caused the death of his son. He does so despite being vastly outnumbered and out gunned.

Think a less stylish done version of any John Wick movie and do it in the ice and snow and not the rain. There are also no dogs, no partial or frontal nudity, and no neon. Massive amounts of snow. There is plenty of violence and a bunch of folks get shot and die. Not nearly the body count of a John Wick movie, but they do make a run at it.

The bottom line is that Scott and I liked it. COLD PURSUIT is certainly not the greatest in action films, but after a slow start, it does get going generating plenty of action and a high body count. There is also the occasional dead pan humor which we both enjoyed. One of those films that must not and should not be taken seriously and yet some will anyway because they do that.

If we are doing the old star rating system, the number of guns rating system, the dead body count system, or any other clichéd system where 0 is utter crap and 5 is epically good, call this a 4 and move on. Fun, violent as hell, and easily forgettable.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Netflix Synopsis:
The quiet family life of Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver, is upended after his son's murder. Nels begins a vengeful hunt for Viking, the drug lord he holds responsible for the killing, eliminating Viking's associates one by one. As Nels draws closer to Viking, his actions bring even more unexpected and violent consequences, as he proves that revenge is all in the execution.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Review: SPYING ON THE SOUTH by Tony Horwitz

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Review: SPYING ON THE SOUTH by Tony Horwitz: I reviewed Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide  (Penguin Press) by NYT-bestselling author and Pulitzer-winning jour...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Ghost It Was: "The House of the Shrill Whisper...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Ghost It Was: "The House of the Shrill Whisper...: In my previous blog-post, I reviewed " The Bizarre Case Expert " (1970) by Dennis Lynds, published as by “ William Arden ,&quot...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Sconed to Death by Lynn Cahoon

Lesa's Book Critiques: Sconed to Death by Lynn Cahoon

KRL This Week Update for 5/25/19

Up in KRL this morning an end of May catch-up of mystery reviews and giveaways-"Murder on Trinity Place" A Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson, "The Loch Ness Papers" A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton, "Murder in Midtown" A Louise Faulk series by Liz Freeland, and "Wed, Read & Dead" A Mystery Bookshop Mystery by VM Burns

We also have a review and giveaway of "Game of Bones" by Carolyn Haines along with an interesting interview with Carolyn

And a review of the latest Hailey Dean Mystery movies on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel

And the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier

Up on KRL News this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of "Harlow" by Kathi Daley

And a review and ebook giveaway of "Mystery Night Murder" by Leslie Langtry

And a review and giveaway of "Bad Pick" by Linda Lovely

And a review and ebook giveaway of "Magickal Mystery Lore" by Sharon Pape

Happy reading,
Lorie 

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Bull by David Elliott

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Bull by David Elliott: Reviewed by Jeanne As we all keep saying, we love book bingo! It encourages us to read a bit more widely.   This time around,...

Scott's Take: Gotham City Garage: Volume 1 by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing


Gotham City Garage: Volume 1 by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing is an “Elseworlds” DC Comics graphic novel. An Elseworlds is a comic book that takes place outside of the prime or main Earth storylines which means that things are very different from the usual various versions of characters found in the main universe. “Elseworlds” series there is the “Red Son” storyline that goes off the idea that Superman was raised in communist Russia. In that storyline, Lex Luther won and took over the world and subsequently turned the planet into a Mad max style wasteland. Humanity is mostly controlled by “ridealongs” that are sort of memory chip implanted in the brains of people to keep people happy and placated. This brutal new world order is enforced by an evil fascist version of Batman that works for Lex Luthor.

Gotham City Garage: Volume 1 depicts a different version of things where all the heroes and villains are bikers. This graphic novel is a tie in to a line of statutes put out by DC Collectibles. This book collects the first six issues by various artists depicting an America in a distant future where the entire country is a wasteland. That is for a special place, a utopia of sorts, named “The Garden.” An action there results in Kara Gordon being forced to flee to the “freescape” that is a desert area fought over by various motorcycle clubs including one known as the “Gotham City Garage.”

The heroes of this story are Big Barda, Zatanna, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, and our main protagonist, Kara Gordon aka Supergirl. This version of Supergirl has Kara raised by Jim Gordon who also had his own daughter, Barbara Gordon. While Jim Gordon knew she was an alien and sought to hide her from Lex Luthor, Kara and Barbara had no idea Kara was an alien. Kara begin to figure out something was up when her powers started to manifest during her teen years.

Her powers continue to build while she is on the run in the freescape where she joins the resistance led by various heroes working out of the Gotham City Garage. The heroes use motorcycles as their chief mode of transportation as they wage war against the forces of Lex Luthor who are firmly in control of the last city on the planet.

I enjoyed this Elseworlds tale despite the inconsistent art throughout. Gotham City Garage: Volume 1 is a great place for people to start reading comics or are already reading comics and looking for something different than the norm. Those interested in women as strong characters or heroes will find a lot to like in this book. The read features a solidly good story as well. Gotham City Garage: Volume 1 is a good book.


City Garage: Volume 1
Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing
DC Comics
June 2018
ISBN# 1401280196
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
144 Pages
$16.99


Material supplied by the staff of the Dallas Public Library System. The copy I received came from the Bachman Lake Branch.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Friday, May 24, 2019

Bronzeville Bee: The Life-Changing Impact of Seeing Yourself in Fiction: Representation for Muslims

Bronzeville Bee: The Life-Changing Impact of Seeing Yourself in Fiction: Representation for Muslims

Unlawful Acts: Small Crimes: Friday Reads

Unlawful Acts: Small Crimes: Friday Reads

FFB Review: Styx & Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery by James W. Ziskin

As we enter the final weekend of May 2019, I offer you a review from over a year ago on a book first published in 2013. I have the rest of the series here from the library and have yet to read them so they auto renew. Don’t be like me. Get on them after you check out the full list over at Sweet Freedom.

It is late January of 1960 as Styx & Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery begins and Ellie Stone gets some bad news from the local sheriff.  Her father was found unconscious in his New York City apartment and is now in the hospital in critical condition. Eleonora “Ellie” Stone, a reporter and the only living child of Professor Abraham Stone, is going to have to take some time off from her job in New Holland and go back home to see about her dad. Their relationship is not a good one as they are estranged and now she is faced with dealing with their past issues as well as the current crisis.

Upon arrival she soon learns that it was not a stroke or a heart attack that put her father in the hospital. He was violently assaulted and his home office and library was ransacked. This occurred just days after her brother’s grave was severely vandalized. While the police believe the events are not related and the assault on her father, a renowned Dante scholar and esteemed professor, was nothing more than a random burglary, Ellie has her doubts. Especially since another professor, well known to her father and a colleague, died in somewhat mystery circumstances in close proximity time wise to the assault on her father.

That fact, what happened to her brother’s grave, the very specific damage in her father’s apartment, and more makes Ellie question the police investigation from the start. Ellie considers herself a “modern woman” and has no problem with asking questions and pushing for answers when she isn’t thinking about the past or enjoying the pleasures of the present. She drinks, she smokes, she likes a good time with a man who strikes her fancy, and Ellie won’t put up with nonsense from others.

Styx & Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery is the start of a series and a good one. While all the characters are complicated in this tale to some degree (no cookie cutter cardboard cutouts need apply), Ellie Stone is exceedingly complicated. There is depth and nuance to this character that is rarely found in the first novel of a series. She also has a subtle sarcastic streak that appealed very much to this reader.

While historical mysteries are not my usual reading material, I thoroughly enjoyed Styx & Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery. A complicated tale with characters of depth and nuance, the mystery itself was a difficult one to solve kept this reader engaged, and the read was flat out very entertaining on all levels. Styx & Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery was a very good book and is strongly recommended.


Styx & Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery
James W. Ziskin
Seventh Street Books
October 2013
ISBN# 978-1-61614-819-5
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
270 Pages
$15.95


Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2018, 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

There is an FFB Review Tomorrow

For those handful of folks who missed my having a FFB Review on the blog last Friday, I do have one set up for tomorrow. It is a repeat review as I am having a hard time reading or writing reviews. The last couple of weeks the grief is back with a vengeance. That fact, warmer weather which makes things way harder for me, and various issues here have meant that I am having a hard time getting much of anything done. My mind is mush these days.

I am coping as best as I can. Please be patient.

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 5/23/19

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 5/23/19

Unlawful Acts: Small Crimes: Thursday Reads

Unlawful Acts: Small Crimes: Thursday Reads

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 5/20/19

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 5/20/19

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 46 Writing Contests in June 2019 - No entry fees

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 46 Writing Contests in June 2019 - No entry fees: Pixnio June is a great month for writing contests. There are nearly four dozen contests this month, and none charge entry fees. Prizes r...

Mystery Fanfare: BARBECUE MYSTERIES for Memorial Day

Mystery Fanfare: BARBECUE MYSTERIES for Memorial Day: Did you know that 53% of Americans will be barbecuing this Memorial Day weekend ? Will you? I posted my updated   Memorial Day Crime...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Le Carre, Gonzalez, Miller, Towles, Tre...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Le Carre, Gonzalez, Miller, Towles, Tre...: Reported by Jeanne Nevermore opened with a re-reading of a John Le Carre book, The Russia House . Published in 1989, the plot has a ...

The Rap Sheet: 13 Is a Lucky Number, Right?

The Rap Sheet: 13 Is a Lucky Number, Right?

Sandra Ruttan Reviews: Things Nobody Knows But Me by Amra Pajalic


Amra Pajalic's memoir, Things Nobody Knows But Me, is an unflinching look at the formative years of the author's life. As a Bosnian Muslim who spent time living in both Australia and Bosnia before the war, Pajalic looks at the clash of cultures and customs between the homeland of her parents and their adopted country, and how her own experiences shaped her.

Pajalic writes with brutal honesty about growing up with a parent with mental illness, and how this was handled and mishandled by family, friends, and the authorities. The view in Bosnia was harsh and there was little sympathy or real support for those who had mental health issues, while even case workers and medical professionals in Australia failed to effectively diagnose Pajalic's mother.

It wasn't until Pajalic was a teenager that a school counselor introduced her to the term manic depression, otherwise known as bipolar disorder. 

Pajalic doesn't shy away from the sense of impending upheaval from each of her mother's episodes and hospitalizations. She is transparent about her own frustrations and how this shaped her experiences as a young child, often burdened with household responsibilities that should have fallen to parents.

From incidents of sexual abuse to her first sexual exploits, Pajalic chronicles her life growing up with cultural and religious conflict, as well as the unending cycle of family problems that shaped her life. I had been looking forward to reading this book for a year, since I first heard it was contracted, because I also grew up with a mom who was undiagnosed bipolar until my late teens. I found that, although the geographic location may have been different, there were so many aspects of Pajalic's experiences with her mother than were similar to mine; namely, that sense of waiting for the shoe to drop as you watched a parent spiral towards another breakdown and the inevitable fallout that would stem from it.

I was also fascinated by the chance to reach across cultural lines and gain insight into the perspectives of both Bosnian Muslims in their homeland, and how things evolved once many were transplanted in Australia. Pajalic's tales of courtship with her husband highlight the realities of an older generation holding on to customs that have evolved in the world they left behind, ultimately creating a generation of immigrants who are out of step with their own homeland because they were extracted from that natural cultural evolution.

The narrative flows through Pajalic's childhood and her journey to adulthood and is at time engrossing, entertaining, and shocking. Pajalic is relatable, and whether she's talking about skipping school, shoplifting candy from a story, making out with a boy for the first time, or the fear of telling a parent you dropped the milk, readers will connect with the story of her journey. I was riveted and squeezed in minutes at all hours of the day and night to finish this book, which I highly recommend.




Sandra  Ruttan ©2019

Sandra Ruttan oversees content scheduling and editing for the Bronzeville Bee, which publishes fiction and non-fiction http://www.bronzevillebee.com/ and is the submissions editor for Bronzeville Books http://www.bronzevillebooks.com/

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sandi and Fireflies

Sandi loved fireflies though we rarely saw them at our creekside apartment. When they did appear, she was so happy to see them. One evening after we had moved here to the house I grew up in while she had spent almost the entire summer in the hospital, she had a rare evening when she could go outside for a little while. Scott and I managed to get her outside in the yard where she sat for a few minutes as four or five fireflies danced in the grass. Within a day, she was back in the hospital and I never saw them out here again.

Last summer, there were a few though days would often pass before I saw any of them again. There was one evening when several showed up and I thought for sure I heard her say my name, but it must have been a trick of the wind.

This year there have been quite a few, especially in the last week. As I write this while sitting out in the backyard, more than a dozen of them are flitting around flashing their lights.

I know it is silly, but I like to think of this as her way to say hello and that she is still here in some way. I am looking for signs and I know it is silly. I miss her so much and it is still so very hard.

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Only days left to win books by Heather Blake, Jon Land, Kathi Daley, Gretchen Archer & more in KRL

Only days left to win a copy of "A Witch to Remember" by Heather Blake

And to win a copy of "Knit One, Die Two" by Peggy Ehrhart, and while there check out an interesting interview with Peggy

And a copy of "Message in the Mantel" by Kathi Daley

Also to win a copy y of "A Sip Before Dying" by Gemma Halliday and while there check out an interesting interview with Gemma

And to win a of a signed copy of "Strong as Steel" by Jon Land

And to win a copy of "Double Agent" by Gretchen Archer

Happy reading,
Lorie