Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure by Carolyn Arnold – Book Review

Book: The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing
Publication date: 16 June 2020

What a read and what a ride!

The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure by Carolyn Arnold is the third standalone installment in the Matthew Connor adventure series.

"You can't seriously be thinking that we'd hop on a plane in pursuit of a treasure that might not even exist."
Matthew grinned. "That statement pretty much sums up exactly what we do."

I've previously read The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh, which is the second book in the series, and loved it!

The book opens with archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor attending an exhibition that's meant to get people excited about his book series about his adventures.

The truth is Matthew is procrastinating the writing process and I loved how Arnold portrayed the procrastination process. As a writer, I totally related to Matthew then and there.

After the exhibit, Matthew is approached by a Professor Mel Wolf who claims he found an ancient diary by famed pirate Gasparilla. After much debate, Matthew agrees to Wolf's proposition and drags his friends Robyn and Cal along to search for Gasparilla's treasure.

"I expect you to succeed in securing this diary for me. Do we have an understanding?"
"Yes, ma'am."
"Very good. do whatever you have to do. Kill whoever you have to."

As soon as they decide to embark on the journey, the trio and the Professor are attacked by armed men who chase them across Washington D.C., which makes the search for Gasparilla's treasure a personal matter for Matthew. Not to mention, going on a new adventure means delaying writing his book.

Here's a writing tip from Arnold and Matthew's editor ;)

"His editor, Riley Zimmer, had told him more than once, "People like danger, Matthew. It sells books. That's why thrillers are the number one genre out there."

Like its predecessors, The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure is narrated in several third-person perspectives, primarily Matthew's but the view point include those of Robyn and Cal as well as Detective Colin Doyle and the bad guy.

As Matthew and his friends head for Spain, we learn that there is some back history to Mel Wolf and the diary and that during the Washington chase a woman was killed in her bed by a rogue bullet, which brings into the story a Detective Colin Doyle.

One of the things, I liked about The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure is the character assembly. We have the trio from the previous books, some backstory to each, and we meet Daniel, who is the aide for Matthew's father but also a deep and well-connected character who may have been some kind of Special Forces agent at some point in his life.

Matthew's friend Cal is the constantly sarcastic one, offering tons of humor despite the evident and endless danger. I also felt that Cal and Robyn are more mature characters than Matthew, whose character flaw is impulsiveness, which puts his friends in danger. Still, the trio acts as each other's backbone.

I was a little confused by the names when it came to the pirates and their first mates. Each had a name or two. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the book.

"You are a dreamer, Matt. You really want to hop on a plane for Spain, on the word of man you just men, in pursuit of a mythical pirate's treasure? We don't even know where in Spain."

The scenes travel between the United States, Spain, Canada and I won't tell you where else but it's one hell of an amazing ride.

I could easily lose myself for a couple of hours reading The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure and an exhilarating couple of hours they were!

There are lots of flashbacks from the first book in the series City of Gold, a book I plan to read.

Overall, I loved Carolyn Arnold's The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure. The book is full of travel, adventure, wild chases, danger, mysterious people, and everything in between.

"When you set out after a legend, nothing is for certain, but we weren't left with much choice. As the saying goes, we were between a rock and a hard place. If we didn't try, Sophie was dead."

Oh by the way this series including The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure would make for a great movie!

Overall rating for The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure by Carolyn Arnold: 5 stars.

Note: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure by Carolyn Arnold from its publisher Hibbert Stiles in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Case of the Broken Doll by Alison Golden – Book Review

Book: The Case of the Broken Doll
(Book 4 in The Inspector David Graham Series)
Author: Alison Golden
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Number of pages: 230 pages
Publication date: 3 December 2016

Can anyone give a book 10 stars? Because that's what this book deserves!

The Case of the Broken Doll is the third book in the Detective Inspector Graham Series by Alison Golden. The book can be easily read as a standalone.

Inspector David Graham is a tea-loving detective in the small British island town of Gorey. He heads the Gorey Constabulary which includes three other members: Sergeant Harding and Constables Roach and Barnwell.

The Case of the Broken Doll is different from the rest of the books in the series as Graham stumbles on a cold case that has pained the citizens of Gorey for years. Graham learns that 15-year-old Beth Ridley had disappeared one morning on her way to school almost 10 years ago.

"People don't just vanish into thin air, Marcus. I know the world is a strange and mysterious place, but I'm still a big fan of cause-and-effect when it comes to explaining what people do and why."

Graham decides to sleuth around the case but ultimately reopens it. He discovers a story Beth had written featuring animal characters but soon Constable Roach determines that the characters represent people in Beth's life and attempts to solve the mystery of who is who and Beth's deductions and secrets about the people around her.

One of the things I like about the series is seeing how the sergeant and two constables are developing. Graham is already a developed and insightful character. In The Case of the Broken Doll, Graham acts as a kind of teacher to his constables. I liked the way he explained that the evidence they had would not be admissible in court and so on.

"You're culpable of putting two and two together and getting seven. Fascination doesn’t equate criminality. Obsession doesn't connote murder. And his preoccupation with Beth Ridley shouldn't lead us to assume guilt." (Graham to Sergeant Harding)

Soon after this comment, Sergeant Janice Harding realizes her mistake and tells Roach – on a similar note pertaining to the case: "We've both been fixated on the person and not on the evidence." This is character development within the course of the book and it's excellent!

In addition to the mystery of the missing Beth Ridley, there is a second minor mystery at play, where Graham instructs Barnwell to investigate. This adds to the already-suspenseful novel.

I literally couldn't put The Case of the Broken Doll down. I gobbled it up in 24 hours! I stopped doing everything else – including work – and just had to read and finish it. It's been a while since I've found a book I couldn't stop reading like that. Thanks Alison Golden!

What Graham uncovers in The Case of the Broken Doll will leave you gaping and stunned. The story is amazing, unputdownable and the best in the entire series!

Overall rating for Alison Golden's The Case of the Broken Doll: 10 stars.

Add the book on Goodreads.
Other book reviews in this series:

The Case of the Missing Letter

Start reading the first book in this series, The Case of the Screaming Beauty when you subscribe to Alison Golden's newsletter. I downloaded The Case of the Broken Doll when the author made it free for a week as part of her #StayHomeReadBooks series.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Takhayyal writing prompt 107: Take Me There

Welcome back Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's monthly picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.

I hope you are all staying safe and taking all necessary precautions. The world is beginning to open and realize that we will have to live with this corona virus but it's important to remember that we need to take care of our health no more than ever.

As the world opens up, people, myself included, feel like Summer 2020 will be a different experience. That said, I always look at pictures I took on my phone to transport me to places.

That's why when I saw this picture posted by friend, author, and poet Erin Al Mehairi, I immediately asked for it and decided it would be the writing prompt for June.

It spoke me to and I hope you find it inspiring!

So without further ado, meet the June writing prompt… 

Picture taken at The Twinsburg Ledges in Northeast Ohio. Photography by Erin Al Mehairi

Look at the image and let the words flow. It's not important WHAT you write. What's important is that YOU WRITE!

Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction, an imaginary situation, an artistic thought; you name it and write it.

General rules:

·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·  Use the image for inspiration and write your piece in the comments below or publish it on your blog and leave the link to it in the comments
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·     It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets or tag me @NadanessSobhi and I'll retweet you :)