Hinterland

So, I am obviously in a British Mystery Phase.

After Shetland (which I’m still going through withdrawal over), we started watching Hinterland. It’s different, a bit darker, but really good.  Great stories, a tortured but brilliant lead characters, and excellent supporting characters.  I love it.

hanks a couple of friends on my FB Group Pat’s Panthers for the recommendation.

On Netflix.

Any other recommendations?

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Shetland

A friend recommended this series a couple of years ago. Her comment was that it was the best TV Series she’d ever seen. So I watched it — and may have talked about it on FB at that time. And although I’m not sure I agree that it is “the” best series, it is, IMO, “one of the best”.

So, that brings us to 2021 and being locked down for a year and getting tired of everything on Netflix and Amazon. I finally convinced Jeff to watch this. (He, with the very narrow taste, which usually runs to bullets flying, etc.) Anyway . . . we just finished watching Season 5 and he said “This show is so good, in it’s own way, it’s right up there with the best.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s a solid mystery with great writing, really compelling characters and outstanding acting.
I give it 5+ Stars.

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The Frangipani Tree Mystery

From the Back Cover

“First in a delightfully charming crime series set in 1930s Singapore, introducing amateur sleuth Su Lin, a local girl stepping in as governess for the Acting Governor of Singapore.

1936 in the Crown Colony of Singapore, and the British abdication crisis and rising Japanese threat seem very far away. When the Irish nanny looking after Acting Governor Palin’s daughter dies suddenly – and in mysterious circumstances – mission school-educated local girl Su Lin – an aspiring journalist trying to escape an arranged marriage – is invited to take her place.

But then another murder at the residence occurs and it seems very likely that a killer is stalking the corridors of Government House. It now takes all Su Lin’s traditional skills and intelligence to help British-born Chief Inspector Thomas LeFroy solve the murders – and escape with her own life.”

My Thoughts

Another selection for our Family Book Club, and another book I wouldn’t have selected on my own.  My niece, Deborah, picked it because we’d been reading some pretty heavy stuff and she decided we needed something light.  She was right. And this was  delightful.  Set in 1930’s Singapore, it was well written and, well . . .  delightful.  I ordered the second in the series.

Pat

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The Rancher’s Replacement Wife by Pam Mantovani

Another lovely romance by Pam Mantovani. In this story, Ms. Mantovani seamlessly weaves the romance with love of family. In this case it’s the hero and heroine’s love of a child. Add that element to wonderful characters — Graces’ name fits her perfectly, and who can resist a single dad who happens to be a cowboy — sparks that jump of the page, and strong writing. Well done!!

Amazon Link

 

 

 

Back Cover Copy
Private school teacher Grace Winslow has been attracted to Aaron Richardson since the day her rebellious younger sister married the rancher. After her sister deserts Aaron and dies in a car crash, Grace helps Aaron look after her nine-month-old nephew, Noah, who suffers with chronic ear infections. She’s determined to keep things platonic, but when Noah needs an operation Aaron can’t afford, her guilt over her role in enabling her sister to leave leads Grace to propose marriage as a means to provide insurance coverage for her nephew and save Aaron’s ranch from financial ruin.

Even during his hasty, disastrous marriage, Rancher Aaron Richardson had been intrigued by his late wife’s sister. Now he’s struggling to work on his ranch during the day and nurse a sick son at night. He’s grateful for Grace’s help during the evening, and powerfully attracted to her. But Aaron won’t act on his attraction because Grace is everything he’s not: refined, delicate, educated. Still, he agrees to her unexpected marriage proposal only to help his son Noah get the medical care he needs. Soon they develop a bond forged out of mutual respect and trust as they care for Noah and the ranch together. But for a man who values and respects honesty, he’s hiding a secret from Grace about his role in allowing his wife’s desertion.

Now only the love that’s blooming between them can save Aaron and Grace from the repercussions of the truth when it’s revealed.

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Swarvoski Necklace Raffle

In today’s book world, getting reviews is essential for authors. Readers are more savvy than ever and often check out a book’s reviews before purchasing. Also, the Amazon algorithm — that is, where and when an author’s books get shown to the public — depends on the number of reviews.

So, if you enjoy my books, please take a few minutes and help me by letting other readers know about my books. In exchange I’ll enter you into a raffle to win this Swarovski Necklace.

Thanks, Pat

Write a Review
and
Win a Swarovski Necklace

 

RULES

Write a review for any of my books (Patricia Keelyn or Patricia Lewin), and then copy and paste both the text and link below.

You can write new reviews or post reviews you’ve done in the past.  The number of entries you get in the raffle will depend on the type and number of reviews posted here.

New reviews:  3 entries / each.
Previous reviews: 1 entry / each.

Drawing Held 6/24/19 — And I’ll post the winner here.

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The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O’Neal

My Review
Most people have their favorite comfort foods. I have comfort “authors”. These are the authors I pick up when nothing else appeals to me, when, for whatever reason, I can’t find a book that grabs me. That’s when I go to one of my comfort authors, knowing I’ll fall into the story. And one of my comfort authors is Barbara O’Neal / Barbara Samuel. I love her books; it is that simple.

Which, brings me to my latest Barbara O’Neal read: The Art of Inheriting Secrets.

I stayed up late to finish it, and afterwards, while laying in bed thinking about her story (rather than sleeping), I realized what sets her books apart for me. Yes, she’s an excellent writer who tells good stories with really unique characters who I’d love to know. But she does something else exceptionally well that is not as obvious; she makes you fall in love with her settings. Then, she creates a community within that setting that you want to be part of. It’s so subtle and masterfully done that even with all the books of hers I’ve read I didn’t realize it until now.
In the Art of Inheriting Secrets, she takes you a sensory voyage of sights, sounds, tastes, and smells to an English village—current day—with a great aging manor house, expansively green fields, exquisite food, and wonderful characters. I so want to go there. So, when you couple this with the excellent writing, story, and multi-layered characters, she’s once again produced a story world I didn’t want to leave.

Enjoy!   Pat Keelyn

Amazon Exclusive:  Amazon Link

Free for Kindle Unlimited Members


From Back Cover

When Olivia Shaw’s mother dies, the sophisticated food editor is astonished to learn she’s inherited a centuries-old English estate—and a title to go with it. Raw with grief and reeling from the knowledge that her reserved mother hid something so momentous, Olivia leaves San Francisco and crosses the pond to unravel the mystery of a lifetime.

One glance at the breathtaking Rosemere Priory and Olivia understands why the manor, magnificent even in disrepair, was the subject of her mother’s exquisite paintings. What she doesn’t understand is why her mother never mentioned it to her. As Olivia begins digging into her mother’s past, she discovers that the peeling wallpaper, debris-laden halls, and ceiling-high Elizabethan windows covered in lush green vines hide unimaginable secrets.

Although personal problems and her life back home beckon, Olivia finds herself falling for the charming English village and its residents. But before she can decide what Rosemere’s and her own future hold, Olivia must first untangle the secrets of her past.

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Gratitude

The custom for the New Year is to make a list of resolutions. Last night (NY Eve), however, my mind went in a different direction. As everyone, including myself, thought about the difficulties of 2018, I suddenly realized there was a lot of good that happened as well.

So, here is my list of good-to-great things that happened for me in 2018. Except for the first two items, which alone would have made 2018 a great year, these are not in order of importance. They are simply sweet icing for the first two.

  1. My SIL returned home safely from his deployment.
  2. A close family member’s medical scare turned out to be nothing.
  3. In June, I took a great cruise and trip to the UK with my traveling buddy, Kathleen Wheeler.
  4. In July, my granddaughter came to visit, flying alone for the first time.
  5. In August, I spent a week in VA with my daughter and her children.
  6. What started as a simple goal to lose 10 lbs., so I could fit into my clothes for the UK trip 😆, turned into major weight loss and improved health.
  7. A personal burden was lifted. (No details, but believe me, this was a big one.)
  8. Blue wave in November.
  9. Discovered local SINC Chapter.
  10. Friends. A big category and I’ve been blessed.
    • My local friends, who gifted me lunches, dinners, & movies: Kathleen Wheeler, Debie Dove, Rhonda Black, and Kathy Howard.
    • My long-time friends and the hours we spent on the phone catching up, two I’ve known since 3rd grade, Kathy Kane & Lynn McSorley, and one from IBM, Marilee Betor, who I’ve only known for about 25 years. 😀😀
    • And I can’t forget, my writer friends, via the phone and Internet, who are way too many to list here.

So, yeah, 2018 was a great year. Hope the New Year can measure up.

I’d love to see other people’s lists as well. Take a moment and share your lists in the comment section. You’ll be surprised how good this makes you feel.

Pat Keelyn

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The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

Another excellent book from Kristen Hannah (author of The Nightingale), The Great Alone is beautifully written (the Alaskan imagery is exceptional) with multi-faceted characters and a riveting story. Even though it doesn’t have the sweeping, historical power of The Nightingale, it’s still a deeply emotional and compelling book.  I highly recommend it.

Enjoy!   Pat Keelyn

Amazon Link


Back Cover Blurb

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska—a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

 

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On Being a Mom

Last year, I wrote about my mother. It’s strange how things you don’t expect surface through writing. If you’re interested, go take a look.

Andrea and Me

This year, however, I want to write about being a mom. Maybe we’ll both learn something unexpected. So here it goes.

I’ve never been particularly maternal. As a young teenager, I decided after my first babysitting job that I wasn’t going to do that again. Instead, I went out and got a job waiting tables so no one could rope me into watching kids for spending money. Also, I never planned to have children of my own. (Okay, I was a teenager, and the more my family rolled their eyes when I made this claim, the more stubborn about “no kids for me” I became.) But, I pretty much kept saying and believing it well into my twenties.

I was twenty-six and had been married about six years when I got pregnant. It wasn’t planned, but then, sometimes the best things that happen aren’t.

I will admit that as soon as I found out I was expecting, I was excited. (Oh, and did my sisters and mother have a field day with that after listening for years to my proclamations of childlessness.)

The most vivid memory I have, however, is from the day I brought my infant daughter home from the hospital. I put her in her crib, and for a moment, stood watching her sleep. It struck me in that moment, so strongly that I can still remembers the panic that rose up, tightening in my chest.

I never wanted to love someone that much.

Yes, after years of not wanting a child, I was now more vulnerable than I’d ever been in my life— simple because of the strength of the love I felt for this tiny creature. Looking back, I think a part of me knew that I would love her like this, and maybe I didn’t want to be that defenseless.

Andrea with her oldest daughter, Morgan.

My daughter is now all grown up with children of her own. Being her mom did not suddenly make me the most maternal or domestic woman on the planet. I didn’t bake cookies or host kiddie tea parties. I was a working mom, with all that entailed, and I loved it. Having a child, however, change me in one significant way. I am totally at my daughter’s mercy. Still.

Considering the above, let’s shift gears a bit. For those of you who’ve read my books, I’m guessing my revelations is surprising. A majority of my books are populated by children. Even my thrillers revolve around kids. Why? Well, I posted a bit about that when talking about my A Mother’s Heart series. (Why A Mother’s Heart) Other than what I say there, however, I’ve yet to figure it out.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and please, feel free to share your “mom” stories in the comment section.

Pat Keelyn

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Wine In My Sippy Cup by Deborah Dove

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to read a book about a mom. Also, because I’ve been reading so much heavy (but great) fiction and nonfiction lately, I wanted to read something lighter, something that would make me laugh. Thus, Wine in My Sippy Cup by Deborah Dove, a book I’ve had on my eReader for months.

You all know what’s coming, right? Since I only review books I love?

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book. It’s not my usual genre—humor? chick-lit?—but I loved the title, so I picked it up. Well, this book is delightful. It’s wonderfully written, funny, and insightful. Anyone who’s ever had to raise, watch, or even deal with children on a daily basis will recognize the heroine’s plight. It will make you laugh, but will also make you recognize a few truths about being a mom and a wife. One of my favorite passages . . .

I hand Hugh the phone and walk him to the door. Just as I’m about to close the door, he lurches forward, grabs my breast and plants a sloppy kiss on me. “I’ve always liked you Lizzie,” he slurs. “You’re so fun.”

“And you’re so drunk,” I say, pushing him out the door. “Just go home and let’s pretend this never happened.”

I close the door and sigh. You know your life is pretty pathetic when you get felt up by drunken tootsie roll and your first thought, however horrible it might be, is ‘at least someone stills find me attractive’.

This is not just a funny book, however.  It’s also heart-warming and poignant (I shed a few tears) as Liz reflects, and eventually comes to understand not only what it is to be a wife and mother, but to be a woman and human. Yes, I loved it, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as  much as I did.

Enjoy!   Pat Keelyn

Amazon Link


Back Cover Blurb

A sophisticated, put together career woman prior to having kids, now Liz Cartwright is lucky to go to the bathroom by herself, much less get out of the house wearing matching shoes and a clean shirt. While she is preoccupied with the sometimes mind-numbing responsibilities of motherhood, her husband is becoming increasingly distant and preoccupied with work, giving Liz the distinct impression that she is losing her husband along with her sense of identity. Armed with a book on spicing up her sex life purchased at a sex toy party and the help of her three best girlfriends, Liz embarks on an all-out attempt to rejuvenate her marriage and find personal fulfillment.

However, things in Liz’s life have a tendency to fail with hilarious results, and her attempts to woo her husband are no exceptions. Despite numerous setbacks—a pantiless tennis court seduction gone awry, a stolen vibrator and an unfortunate incident involving a thong—Liz is determined to reclaim her romantic mojo, until a chance encounter with her first love and a hobby that inadvertently turns into a job opportunity make Liz reevaluate what love inside marriage means and the price she is willing to pay to reclaim her sense of self-worth.

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