Monday, November 24, 2014


CATSINTHECRADLEOFCIVILIZATION - Cats n the Cradle of CivilizationGlenda Nagel, editor for Getty Museum’s monthly magazine loves her home in the Juniper Hills and her cats. When an ivory and emerald statuette of the cat goddess Bastet makes its way to her home and sets her cats on edge, Glenda is panicked.
Who knows about his and why has the darkly handsome, new Director of Egyptian Antiquities become so determined to visit her high desert home? Doesn’t Egypt have enough sand?

Available at Rogue Phoenix Press


 RATING: 3.5 Stars

Glenda Nagel has built a reasonably happy life for herself. She is the editor of Getty Museum’s monthly magazine, and lives with her three cats in a nice house in Antelope Valley, outside Los Angeles.  If she wishes, she can arrange to work at home instead of in her museum office.  Presently, she is working on a magazine article about the discovery of the tomb of an Egyptian Princess, Kia, and also looking forward to meeting the museum’s new Antiquities Director, Dabir Riyadh, whose family is highly respected in the field.

But on the day she meets Riyadh, her comfortable life starts falling apart.  She learns that some very valuable artifacts from Princess Kia’s tomb have been stolen.  Two Interpol investigators, Lydia Thompson and Nasim Shabouh, are coming to talk to Riyadh, and when the new director learns of this, he unexpectedly gives Glenda a gift, a lovely vase.  She can’t find a good place for it in her crowded office, so she takes it home.  One of her cats gets extremely upset, the vase is broken, and Glenda finds that an exquisite, ancient statuette of the goddess Bastet was hidden inside it.  From there on, things become very tense and alarming. Glenda starts working with the Interpol agents, and hiding from the tomb thief and a criminal organization that wants to buy the artifacts.

I really enjoyed most of this book.  Many of the characters, especially Glenda, Nasim, Riyadh, Lydia, and even Glenda’s secretary, are interesting and believable.  There are some very nice settings: the museum, Glenda’s home, Riyadh’s mansion, and a few other homes in the Antelope Valley region.  The central plot is an excellent romantic suspense story.  Glenda is definitely being pursued, and the little statuette of Bastet becomes very important.  I even enjoyed the relationship between Glenda’s Persian cat and the statuette, although this plot point actually just drifts off.

And that, unfortunately, is the major reason I cannot say I enjoyed the whole  book.  There are a few too many little plot lines that are brought in, often getting in the way of more important elements, and then just fading away, either forgotten completely or getting a very brief resolution.  I’m still glad I read the book, because there were so many interesting characters and fascinating important plot points. I hope the author writes some more suspense stories.  But I have to give this one 3.5 stars.

I’m grateful for the reviewer’s copy I was given.

Reviewed by: Roberta

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Monday, November 10, 2014

REVIEW: Cross Keys by Ally Shields

Conspiracy, murder, and magic…and the death of all they hold dear.
When the first wanderer—a common elf who isn’t authorized to use the portal—is spotted on the streets of New Orleans, the king assigns Kameo Ryndel to assist in the elf’s capture. But before she can intervene, humans with guns shoot the wanderer and steal his body. When Seth Lormarc, an Elite elf from a rival guild, appears at the scene, Kam suspects he is involved.

Seth Lormarc is in New Orleans to find out who was behind the portal breach, and his best lead is the intriguing Kam Ryndel. When he stakes out her apartment and finds her sneaking out in the middle of the night, dressed in black and leaping to the top of the nearest building, he knows there’s something unique about the beautiful elf. That kind of feat requires magic. Ancient magic.

As their paths cross during their investigations, they develop an irresistible attraction, although there’s little time for romance. The portal breach is tied to an illegal smuggling operation that has come to the attention of the human CIA. But the stakes are raised when Kam and Seth discover a band of conspirators and a rebellion deep in Elvenrude that promises nothing except destruction of their world.

Available at Amazon


RATING: 5 Stars

‘Cross Keys’ works equally well for fans of romantic suspense, crime drama, and paranormal fiction, which have all been blended together in a wonderful piece of cross-genre literature.  I enjoyed all of it, and recommend it highly.

The novel begins by revealing that there are active elvish businesses in New Orleans, as in other cities, and that these elves are expected to follow strict rules, to avoid letting humans know about them or about the portals between the human world and Elvenrude.  Kameo Ryndal is assigned by the elvish king to find a violator of the portal rules, but she ends up witnessing the murder of this common elf by humans who also steal his body.  Then she spots another Elite elf, Seth Lormarc, at the scene, and must determine if he is involved.  But Lormarc is there investigating how a common elf breached the portal, and he sees Ryndal as a possible answer to his question.

Members of rival guilds, Lormarc and Ryndal don’t want to work together or trust each other, but as their two investigations continue to cross paths, they have to form an alliance, especially when the human CIA learns of a smuggling operation that may be part of a dangerous elvish conspiracy.  Even though their quest becomes more and more dangerous, revealing a serious threat to Elvenrude, they still develop a strong attraction to each other, making them both more determined to save their world.

I have been a fan of mystery and crime fiction since I was in high school – my father got me hooked on Ellery Queen and others of that ilk.  In the decades since, I have also gotten very fond of fantasy and paranormal romance.  ‘Cross Keys’ appeals to all those interests, and can therefore pull a reader in so deep you don’t want to leave.  Everything is here: intriguing mystery, constant suspense, very appealing characters, well-drawn settings both human and elvish, and surprises around every corner.  Therefore, I rate this book worthy of 5 stars.

I am very grateful for the reviewer’s copy I was sent.

Reviewed by: Roberta

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