Saturday, October 14, 2017

Lois Lenski, Storycatcher (Book Review)

Title: Lois Lenski, Storycatcher
Author: Bobbie Malone
Publication: University of Oklahoma Press, hardcover, 2016
Genre: Biography/Children's Literature
Plot: Many 20th century children – including, surprisingly, Oprah – grew up with Lois Lenski (1893-1974) as author and illustrator, and as a writer she expanded the experience of American children by writing regional fiction which depicted the ordinary lives of children from diverse backgrounds throughout the country. In this goal, she was supported by her editors and also by children who read her books and wrote to her, inviting her to come visit their communities so they could share their stories. Lenski won the renowned Newbery Medal in 1946 for Strawberry Girl and probably should have won it for Indian Captive in 1942 (both Indian Captive and Little Town on the Prairie were runners up to The Matchlock Gun (seriously)).

Lenski was a minister’s daughter from Ohio, who pleased her parents by studying education at Ohio State but took as many art classes as possible, then moved to New York after graduation in 1915 for additional art training, against her father’s wishes. She juggled classes with freelance work for several years, meeting her eventual husband when he taught an evening class she enrolled in with several friends. However, her first really successful literary project took place during a year in London when she was invited to illustrate a book called The Green-Faced Toad. Her career took off after that and never stopped, always characterized by hard work and dedication until poor health slowed her down. Malone implies that the marriage was not successful but it continued until the death of Lenski's husband 14 years before her own.
As Lisa von Drasek (wife of my former Penguin colleague Paul) observes in a review for the Children's Literature Association Quarterly: Malone captures the times and places of Lenski's life, describing the fashions of the Roaring Twenties, the effects of the Great Depression on her marriage, and how the social movements of the 1950s and 1960s informed her series of regional books. Lenski's story is also one of American feminism, a strong current running through the decades of her life that includes her struggles as the financial support of her family. Malone judiciously quotes from Lenski's letters, journals, and memoirs as well as the words of her contemporary admirers and reviewers….

Audience: Fans of children’s literature, including Betsy-Tacy; those interested in illustrators and, of course, fans of Lois Lenski herself.

My Impressions: I enjoyed this carefully researched and somewhat intense biography about Lenski, and learned a lot about her dedication to her craft and commitment to children and diversity. She was way ahead of her time as this lack of diversity is still a problem in publishing although, I believe, is a situation perpetuated not only by publishers but by teachers, librarians, and parents. However, as a child I was oblivious to diversity (or lack thereof) in fiction, and I found Lois Lenski when I brought home Betsy-Tacy and Tib from the Boys and Girls Branch of the Newton Free Library. Later, my mother gave me Judy’s Journey one Christmas, which I think was the memorable book in which the heroine’s dresses are made out of used flour sacks. I read several of Lenski’s other books but never became more than a casual fan of her writing although love her illustrations.
Lois at work

Although Bobbie Malone is very passionate about her subject, she is a historian and does not seem very knowledgeable about children’s literature outside of Lenski (for example, referring to Pulitzer prizewinning Laura E. Richards as ‘Linda” – both Lenski and Maud Hart Lovelace almost certainly read Richards’ novels, Captain January and others, as well as her verse). I enjoyed reading about Malone and her country music historian husband’s explorations to various libraries throughout the US with Lenski papers and/or collected materials. Although she met with numerous of Lenski’s friends and families, Malone’s failure to devote significant space to Lenski’s illustrations of the first four Betsy-Tacy books is a big disappointment. Not only could it have enriched the book by adding a lively element to a fairly earnest work but it would have increased her potential sales as we Betsy-Tacy fans are good book buyers.
 
When Maud Hart Lovelace’s editor, Elizabeth Riley, attended the Betsy-Tacy Convention in 1997, we peppered her with questions. Meeting Miss Riley was a highlight of the convention, and I wish I had come with a long list of questions or tried to meet her later in New York before she died. Riley had created Thomas Y. Crowell’s children’s department which came to include not just Betsy-Tacy, but also the Beany Malone books, historical fiction by Elizabeth Hubbard Lansing, Ann Petry (author of Tituba of Salem Village, which I read in grade school), The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig (who worked in publicity at Crowell and later volunteered at the NYPL on West 53rd – I think I spoke to her there once without realizing), and many others.

I seem to recall that we asked more questions about Vera Neville, the other Betsy-Tacy illustrator, about whom less was known, but I remember Miss Riley telling us how Lois insisted on traveling to Mankato to see the places Maud so lovingly described and, for example, how she determined she was to reproduce the exact stove Maud remembered. Elizabeth said the two women were very close in age and had a lot in common, that Lois had a very strong work ethic, and was very busy, so not always available as an illustrator.

Source: After reading a review of this book, I requested that the Newton Public Library purchase it, which the Reference Supervisor did, also putting it on reserve for me. Recommended.

Illustrations copyright to various publishers.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The 13th is Magic! (Book Review)

Author: Joan Howard
Illustrator: Adrienne Adams
Publication: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., Hardcover, 1950
Genre: Juvenile Fantasy
Description: New York is a magic city where almost everything can happen - especially if you live on the 13th floor of an apartment building on Central Park West.  Now of course, as most people are superstitious there is no real 13th floor in hotels or apartment houses, and the one where Ronnie and Gillian live, although it is right about the 12th, is called the 14th.  It is not until the day they find the black cat Merlin that they discover the magical 13th floor where the hall wallpaper is a pattern of bats, owns and broomsticks, with borders made of old charms and incantations. In the various apartments on this floor live a remarkable group of characters that the children meet and then see more of in the adventures that follow on the 13th day of every month.

Like all New York children, Ronnie and Gillian play in Central Park, ride on the Staten Island ferry, and visit the fascinating shops near Broadway.  But not all children are lucky enough to have a little box of daylight savings time to open in a fog, and not all New York children can whistle up a snowstorm that falls only on Central Park while the rest of the city is bathed in dazzling sunlight, or ride with the Comet cleaners through the sky.

Their mother could not understand why such extraordinary things happened only to the Saunders children, and not to other families.

“Perhaps they do, my dear,” their father told her.  “Perhaps they do and the other people just aren’t telling.”

Audience: The dust jacket (from which the above description comes) says ages 6-10 but I love this book nearly as much as an adult as I did when I checked it out frequently from my elementary school library!

My Impressions:  As a little girl growing up in Boston, my knowledge of New York came from this book and The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, and From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and I never dreamed I would one day live there myself. From my home in the suburbs, I was intrigued by apartment living, a talking cat adopting two children, and the mysterious missing 13th floors.  Surprisingly, this reread revealed that Ronnie and Gillian’s apartment was on Central Park West which was actually one of my addresses (although my building was physically on West 97th, this is what is called a vanity address) although in my mind I had pictured their building on the Upper East Side.   I loved the adventures that took place on the 13th of each month and the quirky characters, especially Mr. Weatherbee, formerly of the Weather Bureau, and Mrs. Wallaby-Jones, whose tail reveals she is a kangaroo!  Of course, I especially liked the fact that a cat could bring magic to an ordinary family.  I might not live in a magic apartment building but I certainly had a cat!
As an adult, I have several times recommended this book for reprint to editors seeking hidden gems of the past.  It is very hard for the book's diehard fans to find an affordable copy - AbeBooks currently has one at $665!.   Adrienne Adams, the talented illustrator, also has admirers. Unfortunately, I am afraid a chapter involving the children’s Indian head pennies all turning into half-naked Indians who say, “Howgh!” would disqualify this book from reprint, which is a shame as it is otherwise very charming.  It was quite popular in its day, with at least 9 printings.  I wish that Joan Howard aka Patricia Gordon aka Patricia Prud'Hommeaux were still alive so she could tweak that chapter to make it acceptable to a 21st century audience. I did find some grandchildren. Maybe I will make another attempt.

By the way, "fascinating shops near Broadway"? Hardly. That is not the only dated reference in this book but the charm of the characters and setting outweigh these flaws.
Mrs. Wallaby-Jones joined the children in Central Park
Source: The John Ward School copy is long gone (I hope it is being cherished somewhere and was not tossed) but I was lucky enough to get the book from Eastern Connecticut State College via InterLibrary Loan.  I once read the sequel, The Summer is Magic, which is less known but nearly as hard to obtain.

Images copyright to Adrienne Adams/Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, Co.

Monday, October 2, 2017

13 Minutes (Book Review and Casting)

Title: 13 Minutes
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publication: Flatiron Books, Hardcover, October 2017
Genre: YA suspense
Plot: Natasha doesn't remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this - it wasn't an accident, and she wasn't suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.  Natasha's sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn't try to kill her?

13 Minutes is a young adult thriller from internationally bestselling author Sarah Pinborough.

Audience: Fans of Lauren Oliver and Gayle Forman

My Impressions: This is a deliberately paced psychological novel of suspense set among a group of spiteful teens that was a great introduction to a new (to me) author. Much of the story is told from Becca’s point of view: the friend who was dropped by Natasha, and although still bitter by the years-ago betrayal, is flattered when Natasha asks her to help find out how she came so close to dying. The two girls used to be good at chess – now they are playing a complicated game with a killer. The author introduces numerous red herrings, and the pace of the book picks up as Becca begins to guess what really happened. The police detective assigned to the case is fairly useless and (hello, conflict of interest!) starts dating someone who is involved in the case himself.

Unlike most of the books I have read in this genre, 13 Minutes is set in England. Unsurprisingly, mean girls are the same in every country but I was struck in this book how unpleasant every character is and it seemed as if they used much cruder language than American girls of that age.  Unlike American teens, they spend a lot of time on Facebook (which advanced the plot but may not be realistic), and they certainly don’t study much – math and art come into play more than any other subject, and after school drama. Although we have probably all been in the same situation – being dumped by someone we thought was a close friend, it is hard to like Becca. She is rude to her parents, cruel to her only friend, smokes and uses drugs, and not only dates the creepiest guy but also is desperate to keep him (cringe, cringe when they break up and she acts pathetic). I wished the author had made her more likeable. No one in this book knows the old saying that to have a friend you have to be a friend. Natasha, the Queen Bee, is the most interesting and developed character, but so mean the reader is tempted to wish one of the attempts on her life would be successful. An entertaining read with a dramatic ending.

Dream Casting: How would you cast the movie? I came up with some possibilities but you need to work with me a little to imagine them all the right age…

Natasha (as a brunette) - Nina Dobrev from Vampire Diaries
Becca – Aubrey Plaza from Parks & Recreation
Hayley - Dianna Agron from Glee
Jenny – Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars
Hannah – Liza Weil from Gilmore Girls and How to Get Away with Murder
Aiden – Cole Sprouse from Riverdale
Jamie McMahon – Scott Cohen from Gilmore Girls
Inspector Caitlin Bennett - Jennifer Anniston
Dr. Annabel Harvey – Laura Innes from ER

Source: I was provided a pre-publication copy of this book by the publisher and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for review purposes. Please visit the other stops on the tour at one of the links below to enter a contest to win an ARC (I could not make the rafflecopter work - my apologies):
September 27th
The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club & Pink Polka Dot Books - Welcome Post

September 28th
Confessions of a YA Reader - Review
Rurouni Jenni Reads - Review
Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest - Review

September 29th
Smada's Book Smack - Review
everywhere and nowhere - Review
Tara's Book Addiction - Review
My Thoughts Literally- Review

September 30th
A Dream Within A Dream - Review
Here's to Happy Endings - Review
The Petite Book Blogger - Review

October 1st
Reading Wonderland - Review + Favourite Quotes
Never Too Many To Read - Review
Donnie Darko Girl - Review

October 2nd
The Bibliophile Confessions - Review + Favourite Quotes
Stephanie's Book Reviews - Review
Hauntedbybooks13 - Review

October 3rd
The Candid Cover - Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
Supercalireader - Review

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lie to Me (Book Review and Giveaway)

Title: Lie to Me
Author: J.T. Ellison
Publication: Mira Books, trade paperback, 2017
Genre: Suspense
Giveaway: I have one copy to give away – if you loved Gone Girl, you will certainly enjoy this, so leave a comment and I will pick a winner in October.

Description: They built a life on lies. 

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

Audience: Fans of novels of psychological suspense

My Impressions: This break out novel was a fast-paced read with lots of surprises and I quite enjoyed it.  The book is told from several different points of view, beginning with Ethan, the slightly narcissistic husband, who wakes up to find his wife missing and becomes the chief suspect behind her disappearance.  Later, we get his wife's perspective on their relationship.  Who is lying?  Is everyone lying?   Will the detective see past the distractions to find the truth?  Although very derivative of Gone Girl (it's not the first and won't be the last) and full of unlikable characters, it was sufficiently unpredictable to hold my interest and, in fact, I stayed up until 2 am to finish it.  I will certainly investigate Ellison’s other books.

About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison is best known for a series starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and also writes the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI” with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband.
Source: Thank you to TLC Book Tours and to Mira Books for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.   Please visit other stops on the tour below:

Tuesday, August 29th: Jathan & Heather – guest post, “On a Good Marriage”
Tuesday, September 5th: Clues and Reviews blog and Instagram
Tuesday, September 5th: Books & Bindings
Wednesday, September 6th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, September 7th: Why Girls are Weird
Friday, September 8th: Novel Gossip and Instagram
Monday, September 11th: That’s What She Read
Monday, September 11th: Tome Tender
Tuesday, September 12th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Wednesday, September 13th: Buried Under Books
Friday, September 15th: Mama Reads
Monday, September 18th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, September 19th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, September 20th: Jathan & Heather
Wednesday, September 20th: BookBub Blog – 12 of the Best Psychological Thrillers Coming This Fall
Friday, September 22nd: The Book Diva’s Reads
Monday, September 25th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, September 25th: Suzy Approved
Monday, September 25th: Snowdrop Dreams
Tuesday, September 26th: Read Love Blog
Wednesday, September 27th: Becky on Books
Thursday, September 28th: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, September 29th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Spider's Web

When I was about eleven, my mother and I came across a radio broadcast of what seemed to be a children's book, appealing but completely unknown to us.   We were fascinated.  For some reason, the show's signal was very weak, and it would disappear periodically and particularly at the point where the narrator might have told us the title or author.  There was a boy and a garden and time travel, all of which we invariably enjoyed.  In those pre-Internet days, there was no way of finding out what the book actually was.   I think we might even have called the local PBS station without success but what I especially remember is being in our kitchen in Newton at dinner time and straining to hear what was coming from the radio.   The show was The Spider's Web and the book was eventually revealed to be Tom's Midnight Garden (1958), a delightful fantasy about a lonely boy, recuperating with relatives, who finds a mysterious playmate in their garden at night.  Author Philippa Pearce wrote several other books, which I own, but this was her masterpiece.   It won the Carnegie Medal which is the award for Britain's best children's book.

Once we finally caught the title, we raced for the library and the copy we found had this very cover. We didn't always remember but it became a game with us to turn on the radio and see how long it would take for us to identify the book.  Usually, we did know them: I seem to recall Joan Aiken and Lloyd Alexander (and turning it off when it was The Wind in the Willows, one of the few English classics we disliked), among others.   Frances Shrand was the narrator and there was a catchy tune at the end, which some helpful person has posted:

There's a web like a spider's web 
Made of silver light and shadows 
Spun by the moon in my room at night 
It's a web made to catch a dream 
Hold it tight 'til I awaken 
As if to tell me my dream is all right 

Does anyone else remember this show from the 70s?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Presidents' Day (Book Review and Giveaway)

Title: Presidents’ Day
Author: Seth Margolis
Publication: Diversion Books, Hardcover, 2017
Genre: Suspense
Giveaway: I have a copy of this book to give away. Please leave a comment if you are interested (US and Canada only).   Tell me what you're currently reading!
Plot: In this ferocious novel of suspense, the presidential race has a number of men all determined to get to the top. Each man has a locked closet of secrets. And one man holds every key.

Julian Mellow has spent his life amassing a fortune out of low-risk / high-reward investments. But the one time in his life he got in over his head, he left another man holding the bag, and made an enemy for life, one who has nothing to lose.

Now, Mellow has an even greater ambition - to select the next President of the United States – and to make that man do his bidding, in business and beyond.
Mellow’s plans relate to an African nation where his son died years before, where a brutal dictator still rules supreme, and where a resistance movement lurks in the alleys, waiting for the right time to strike. Margolis spans the globe to weave together a complex story of politics at its most venal, where murder is a part of the political process, where anyone’s life is up for sale, and where one man – that bad penny of an enemy – could bring the whole kingdom toppling.

In a thriller that will keep you up at night, Seth Margolis asks who really puts the next person in the White House? And at what cost?

Audience: For readers of David Baldacci and Brad Meltzer comes a timely political thriller from the bestselling author of Losing Isaiah.
Seth Margolis

My Impressions: This was an enjoyable suspense novel, perfect for someone like me who devours every Baldacci the minute it comes out. While I missed the humor that Baldacci manages to include in each novel, I love a revenge novel and rooted fiercely for Zach Springer, investment banker scapegoat, who can’t move past Mellow’s betrayal of the years Zach slaved for him. Three years after losing his job and reputation, Zach’s obsession and spying on his former boss have destroyed his relationship with his long-suffering girlfriend but finally paid off with a glimpse of a real conspiracy, yet Mellow and his henchman will kill anyone who gets in their way (and several who don’t).

While Mellow is a one-dimensional baddie (oddly tolerated by a normal-seeming wife), I appreciated the character of Sophie DuVal, model turned revolutionary. Sophie and Melow’s son Matthew were in love but he was killed before her eyes by thugs sent by the corrupt government of the fictional country of Kamalia; hence, her and Mellow’s interest in deposing the Kamalia government. I was less interested in Kamalia (so obscure it only just got a State Department analyst) and Sophie’s idealistic desire to oust the current ruler, but that plot element added an interesting twist to the story.   And who's to say it's really improbable?  There's a reason why book groups are rushing to read It Can't Happen Here.

I imagine most readers, like me, will be extremely annoyed by the conclusion of this book – let me know what you think!

About the Author:  Seth Margolis lives in New York where he works as a branding consultant when he is not writing.  This is his eighth novel.    Connect with him at Website * Facebook * Twitter  
Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes.  Please join Seth Margolis as he visits TLC Book Tours with the bloggers below:

Monday, July 31st: Tales of a Book Addict
Wednesday, August 2nd: Write Read Life
Monday, August 7th: Book Nerd
Tuesday, August 8th: Buried Under Books
Thursday, August 10th: Mystery Suspense Reviews
Friday, August 11th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Tuesday, August 15th: Helen’s Book Blog
Wednesday, August 23rd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, August 24th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, August 25th: Girl Who Reads
Thursday, August 31st: Bibliotica
Thursday, August 31st: Tome Tender
Monday, September 4th: Jathan & Heather
Monday, September 18th: Brooke Blogs
Thursday, September 21st: Blogging with A

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Thief's Mark (Book Review and Giveaway)

Title: Thief’s Mark, Sharpe & Donovan
Author: Carla Neggers
Publication: Mira Hardcover, August 2017
Genre: Romantic suspense
Giveaway: I have one copy of this mystery to give away. If interested, please leave a comment telling me about another romantic suspense book you enjoyed. US/Canada only, please.
Plot: A murder, long-buried secrets, and a man’s search for answers about his traumatic past bring FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan to a quiet English village.

As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.

Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma’s grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the reclusive Oliver, an international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at his country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished. As the danger mounts, new questions arise about what really happened 30 years ago.

Although Emma and Colin seem somewhat unnecessary to this story, they try to work effectively with local law enforcement and locals who have no reason to trust these American interlopers and have never revealed what they know about the fateful events of 30 years ago.

Audience: Fans of cozy English mysteries, fans of romantic suspense

My Impressions: On the surface, this book contains a lot of elements I appreciate, a charming setting, mostly in the Cotswolds but also in Maine; a detective duo who are smart and like to banter; loyal retainers; representatives of the MI5, Britain’s secret intelligence agency; and so on. However, it was sometimes hard to follow the plot and the deductions of the characters. It was never clear to me why Oliver’s parents were robbed and murdered – was it for money? If the kidnappers did not plan to ransom Oliver (as we learn), why not kill him with his parents? Why wouldn’t the kidnappers be concerned about being recognized if they (eventually) follow Oliver to the Cotswolds? (Even if they worked for his parents in London, presumably their faces were splashed in every newspaper in the country). Why did Oliver – known for his calm demeanor – really flee when he discovers the dead body and why, once gone, does he so readily agree to return? If he is worried about the accuracy of his recollections on the night his parents were killed, why not consult a professional?

Readers like me who joined this series in progress learn that Oliver is a former art thief who taunted Emma’s art expert grandfather and brother for years but has now stopped stealing and instead provides consulting services to the MI5. This reminded me of The Art of Deception, which we published at Wiley, about the exploits of an audacious computer hacker turned technology security expert. I suggest that readers interested in Emma and Colin go back to book 1, which is called Saint’s Gate.
A Cotswold home I saw in June, which once belonged to Graham Greene.
Henrietta is intended to be a charming heroine, retired from intelligence work and improbably able to support herself as a gardener, despite no training and a dearth of experience while living in London. However, she is alternatively gruff or not very appealing (and why does she dress like an old lady?) so it is hard to care what happens to her (her past adventures as a spy were likely more interesting). I liked Emma better and was intrigued by her past as a nun, but she has little to do in this story except worry about her grandfather and Oliver, and occasionally wish she were still on her honeymoon. I suspect that if I had begun this series with the first book I would have been more invested in the characters. I also might understand why the priest thought he had a vocation instead of embracing his love of Aiofe (supposedly Irish for Ava) O’Byrne (I hope he stays in the priesthood; surely having Emma leave the convent is enough for one series?).

Another thing, as a plot device, aren’t most cell phones password protected these days? Surely that makes it hard to check the phones of murder victims to examine their placed calls.  Finally, I don’t care how charming your Cotswold village is – when there’s an unsolved murder on your block, it’s crazy not to lock your door! While I more or less guessed who the murderer was, I was mistaken as to the precise motive.

Source: I was provided an electronic copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes. I don’t read a lot of ebooks and found the erratic formatting annoying: the way the sentences ran together, it wasn’t always obvious which character was speaking. Reading this as an ebook made it hard to go back to analyze all the issues surrounding the death of Oliver’s parents.
Please join Carla Neggers on her TLC Book Tour by visiting the REVIEW TOUR for Thief’s Mark:

Tuesday, August 29th: Clues and Reviews
Wednesday, August 30th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Thursday, August 31st: Reading Reality
Tuesday, September 5th: Jathan & Heather
Wednesday, September 6th: Deborah Blanchard
Friday, September 8th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, September 11th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Tuesday, September 12th: Run Wright
Wednesday, September 13th: A Holland Reads
Thursday, September 14th: Novel Gossip
Friday, September 15th: Read ‘Till Dawn
Monday, September 18th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, September 19th: Buried Under Books
Wednesday, September 20th: Books and Bindings
Thursday, September 21st: Ms. Nose in a Book
Friday, September 22nd: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, September 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, September 26th: Mystery Suspense Reviews
Wednesday, September 27th: Book Nerd
Thursday, September 28th: What I’m Reading