Book Review: Bad Karma in the Big Easy by D. J. Donaldson

bad karmaI was intrigued by the prospect of reading Bad Karma in the Big Easy by D.J. Donaldson since it deals with post-Katrina New Orleans. My family also survived Katrina, although from about 200 miles away.

The setting of the story is the time immediately following Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005. Chief Medical Examiner Andy Broussard is tired and overworked in the temporary morgue. He is perplexed by the bodies of three women who were found naked in the lower Ninth Ward, the scene of much of Katrina’s destruction. There are unusual similarities – the primary one being that these women were murdered.

Kit Franklin, forensic psychologist, is drawn into the case. There are many unusual twists and turns in this mystery. People are not who they seem to be and the killer surprises everyone.

Although part of a series, Bad Karma in the Big Easy reads just as well as a stand-alone novel. Connections to prior books only bear a brief mention and are not crucial to this story. The book is an enjoyable read, although some of the situations are quite horrifying and reluctantly believable. The characters all have depth and I was sympathetic to both Kit and Andy.

I give Bad Karma 4 stars. It’s a good mystery with a satisfying ending. I highly recommend it.


Faulty Friday #1

kindle oopsBeginning this exciting posting venture has not gone as smoothly as I had hoped. I’ve been swamped with a large editing and rewriting project that has taken every bit of my spare time this month. Then, when I finally had the actual time to work on the post, I experienced a number of unexpected, unwelcome and frustrating image difficulties. I hope that is now all in the past.

My first Faulty Friday photo was snapped on my Kindle last night. I’m reading an interesting YA novel, the first in a series, obviously written in UK style. In spite of the differences with American English and style, things were going along swimmingly until I noted the error. Do you see it?

Hopefully you noticed that the word “taught” is incorrect. Taught refers to prior teaching. The word that should have been used is “taut,” which means tight.

Yes, these are the types of things that keep me up at night. Feel free to send me your “oops” in books, advertising or wherever. I may just share them on this page. Stay tuned. There will surely be more errors to follow!



The More You Read . . .


“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

~ Dr. Seuss –  “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut”

Books Read 2013

1. 1-1-13 Camping and Woodcraft ~ Horace Kephart

2. 1-4-13 The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom (A) ~ Carrie Wilkerson

3. 1-5-13 Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business (Did not finish – it was OK) ~ Thor Muller and Lane Becker

4. 1-10-13 Defending Jacob: A Novel (A) ~ William Landay

5. 1-17-13 Alex Cross’s Trial (A) ~ James Patterson & Richard DiLallo

6. 1-19-13 Les Miserables ~ Victor Hugo

7. 1-21-13 The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (A) ~ Timothy Ferriss

8. 1-23-13 The Most Successful Small Business in the World: The Ten Principles (C) ~ Michael Gerber

9. 1-30-13 The Boy in the Suitcase (B) ~ Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

10. 2-5-13 In the Night Room (A) ~ Peter Straub

11. 2-11-13 Folly (A) ~ Laurie R. King

12. 2-15-13 Sharp Objects: A Novel (A) ~ Gillian Flynn

13. 2-19-13 Notorious Nineteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel (A) ~ Janet Evanovich

14. 2-20-13 Dark Places: A Novel (A) ~ Gillian Flynn

15. 2-23-13 Down the Darkest Road (A) ~ Tami Hoag

16. 2-24-13 Greedy Bones (A) ~ Carolyn Haines

17. 2-25-13 Phantoms (A) ~ Dean Koontz

18. 2-26-13 The Glass Rainbow (A) ~ James Lee Burke

19. 2-27-13 The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line (A) ~ Kari Chapin

20. 3-6-13 After Dark (A) ~ Phillip Margolin

21. 3-8-13 Icebound (B) ~ Dean Koontz

22. 3-10-13 Shattered (A) ~ Dean Koontz

23. 3-13-13 And the Soft Wind Blows (B) ~ Lance Umenhofer

24. 3-14-13 Hero at Large (A) ~ Janet Evanovich

25. 3-16-13 June Bug (Murder-by-Month Mysteries, No. 2) (A) ~ Jess Lourey

26. 3-19-13 May Day (Murder-by-Month Mysteries, No. 1) (A) ~ Jess Lourey

27. 3-22-13 Knee High by the Fourth of July (Murder-by-Month Mysteries, No. 3) (A) ~ Jess Lourey

28. 3-25-13 August Moon (Murder-by-Month Mysteries, No. 4) (A) ~ Jess Lourey

29. 3-31-13 The Knightmare (A) ~ Deborah Valentine

30. 4-4-13 The Passage: A Novel (A) ~ Justin Cronin

31. 4-10-13 The Disillusioned (A) ~ D.J. Williams

32. 4-14-13 The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy): A Novel (A) ~ Justin Cronin

33. 4-18-13 September Morn (Murder-by-Month Mysteries, No. 5) (A) ~ Jess Lourey

34. 4-23-13 The Cuckoos of Batch Magna (A) ~ Peter Maughan

35. 4-30-13 The Storm Protocol (B) ~ Iain Cosgrove

36. 5-18-13 Flush (A) ~ Carl Hiaasen

37. 5-22-13 October Fest (Murder-by-Month Mysteries, No. 6) ~ Jess Lourey

38. 5-25-13 November Hunt (Murder-by-Month Mysteries, No. 7) (A) ~ Jess Lourey

39. 5-29-13 Star Island (A) ~ Carl Hiassen

40. 6-4-13 The Moonlit Mind: A Tale of Suspense (A) ~ Dean Koontz

41. 6-8-13 Victims: An Alex Delaware Novel (A) ~ Jonathan Kellerman

42. 6-13-13 Inferno: A Novel (A) ~ Dan Brown

43. 6-18-13 Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages (B) ~ Dean Koontz

44. 6-22-13 Odd Interlude #1 (An Odd Thomas Story) (A) ~ Dean Koontz

45. Odd Interlude #2 (An Odd Thomas Story) (A) ~ Dean Koontz

46. Odd Interlude #3 (An Odd Thomas Story) (A) ~ Dean Koontz

47. Odd Apocalypse (A) ~ Dean Koontz

48. Murder for the Bride: A Novel (A) ~ John D. Macdonald

49. Murder Passes the Buck: A Gertie Johnson Murder Mystery ~ Deb Baker

50. Breathless: A Novel (A) (re-read) ~ Dean Koontz

51. Murder Grins and Bears It (A) ~ Deb Baker

52. Murder Talks Turkey (A) ~ Deb Baker

53. Murder Bites the Bullet (A) ~ Deb Baker

54. Revenge (A) ~ Christine Carminati

55. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel (A) ~ Michael Scott

56. The Magician (A) ~ Michael Scott

57. The Sorceress (A) ~ Michael Scott

58. The Enchantress (A) ~ Michael Scott

59. The Necromancer (A) ~ Michael Scott

60. The Warlock (A) ~ Michael Scott

61. Walking Across Egypt (A) ~ Clyde Edgerton

62. Dance Hall of the Dead (B) ~ Tony Hillerman

63. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (B) ~ Muriel Spark

64. The Appeal (A) ~ John Grisham

65. The Floatplane Notebooks: A Novel (B) ~ Clyde Edgerton

66. Joyland (A) ~ Stephen King

67. Sunset Limited (A) ~ James Lee Burke

68. Dr. Sleep (A+++) ~ Stephen King

69. Fatal Burn (A) ~ Lisa Jackson

70. U is for Undertow (A) ~ Sue Grafton

71. The Bad Place (A) ~ Dean Koontz

72. Hide (A) ~ Lisa Gardner

73. Time Bomb (B) ~ Jonathan Kellerman

74. Servants of Twilight (A) ~ Dean Koontz

75. The Face of Fear (A) ~ Dean Koontz

76. Skinny Dip (A) ~ Carl Hiassen

77. Secrets to the Grave (A) ~ Tami Hoag

78. Wicked Game (A) ~ Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

79. Heart and Soul ~ Maeve Binchy


Book Review: Revenge by Christine Carminati

As a pre-teen I devoured Western novels by Zane Grey and absolutely loved them. After so many years, I thought I was long past reading the genre until I read Revenge by Christine Carminati. I may have to revisit my childhood!

Revenge is the story of Hannah O’Reilly, who unwittingly becomes a bounty hunter in post-Civil War Texas after her farm is raided and her sister violated and damaged for life. Hannah O’Reilly becomes Hannah Venganza – Spanish for revenge. On her quest to kill all those responsible for ruining her family, she reluctantly partners with U.S. Marshall Hezekiah Coe. Together they seek the rapists and murderers and fall into each other’s arms at the same time.

I loved Revenge. The characters are likeable and believable and the story compelling. Humor, romance, violence and tenderness are woven into a real page-turner. I highly recommend it and give it an A+!

Book Review – The Cuckoos of Batch Magna by Peter Maughan

The Cuckoos of Batch Magna by Peter Maughan is an amusing “comedy of errors.” The cuckoos are actually the characters in the book!

Batch Magna is a small, close-knit village on the border between England and Wales. Much of the property is owned by the General who dies and leaves it all to a distant American nephew, Sir Humphrey Strange. Some of the residents of Batch Magna are given eviction notices by Sir Humphrey and the community is in an uproar. When Humph comes to visit to further his plans for a vacation village, hilarity ensues.

For this American book reviewer, the unusual dialect was sometimes difficult to read and decipher but I enjoyed the story. I look forward to the sequels. The Cuckoos of Batch Magna gets an A.

The Disillusioned by D.J. Williams – A Book Review

Two brothers whose paths have diverged come together again after their mother’s suicide. The sons of a powerful evangelistic church leader, they are drawn into a mystery as unique as it is horrifying.

Danny and Sam begin a search for a woman who shares their inheritance. They know nothing about her. However,  all roads lead to the African country of Zambezi. Danny leaves his wife, Brooke, behind in Los Angeles and travels to Africa. When nothing is heard from him, Sam follows and Angela the reporter follows him. What they all learn is a lesson in endurance and trust in God.

The intricacies of religion, politics and child slavery are woven  into a riveting story where death is all too common. The Disillusioned is an excellent book and I highly recommend it, giving it an A.

Book Review – The Knightmare by Deborah Valentine

I really enjoyed reading Deborah Valentine’s book, The Knightmare. The beautifully flowing language was easy to read and her descriptions wondrous. The story weaves past and present with a love story lasting through the ages.

This unique tale involves a wounded Templar knight, injured Formula 1 car racer Conor Westfield and his sister Delia, a strange man named Alun and a beautiful lady named Mercedes whose mysterious life and even more mysterious death literally haunt Conor. It’s hard to describe the plot without giving away important information to the story so I’ll just say that magic is involved in an unusual way.

I highly recommend this book and give it an A.

Book Review – And the Soft Wind Blows by Lance Umenhofer

And the Soft Wind Blows by Lance Umenhofer is a peculiar little book. The brief tale of Timmy Enosh and his rapidly dissolving life is both strange and compelling. The rapidly escalating disasters that befall this weird man end up being pretty depressing. However,  I found myself reading very quickly just to see what would happen next.

I can’t say that I “enjoyed” the book but it was definitely interesting. I give it a “B.”

I Think I May be Reading More than My Fair Share

I have done something pretty rare for me and I don’t even know why. I have started and am reading three books at once. And, they are all very, very different. My current reading includes:

Cover of "Les Miserables (Barnes & Noble ...

Cover via Amazon

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo


The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss


Camping and Woodcraft by Horace Kephart


I find myself reading a little of one, putting it down, reading a little of another, putting it down, etc. It’s not terribly confusing because the books are so varied but it is taking me a little time to “get back into” each book when I pick it back up. It’s like “What do I feel like reading right now?” And I pick that one up. There’s no telling when I’ll finish them. They are each around 300 pages long. Luckily Kephart and Hugo’s books are mine so I can take a little longer on those. I guess I’ll finish Ferriss first since it’s a library book.

Wish me luck!

Cover of "The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5...

Cover via Amazon

Cover of