Our Greatest Legacy


Book Review: Leave no Trace by Mindy Mejia

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from Simon & Schuster. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Maya had her share of problems as a teen, but she has turned her life around and is working as a speech therapist in the same psychiatric facility that she was treated in. But when her boss (and therapist) assigns her to work with Lucas, her world is turned upside down.

Lucas won’t communicate with anyone but Maya because he thinks he remembers her from sometime in the past. He just can’t quite remember when. Because she’s the only one he’ll communicate with, she’s asked to get as much info from him as she can even though he doesn’t seem to need speech therapy. To have her, a speech therapist, as his only therapist seemed a bit unrealistic to me, even if he wouldn’t communicate with anyone else. It makes for a good story, though.

I like these characters. Maya and Lucas are both psychologically damaged, but they’re still good people trying to do the right thing. As their bond grows stronger, Maya is determined to help Lucas get out of the facility and find his father.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. I love books in which the characters are this well developed. It makes me need to keep reading, although I did have to stop once or twice to cry.

Toward the end of Leave No Trace there is suspense added to the already good story. There are also a couple of twists. This is definitely a book I recommend, and I’m going to have to read Everything You Want Me to Be, Mindy Mejia’s last book, soon.

About the Author

My name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favorite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss).

Website https://www.MindyMejia.com
Twitter MejiaWrites

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Killer in the Band by Lauren Carr

Summer of Love & Murder

Joshua’s eldest son, Joshua “J.J.” Thornton Jr., has graduated at the top of his class from law school and returns home to spend the summer studying for the bar exam. However, to Joshua’s and Cameron’s shock and dismay, J.J. moves into the main house at Russell Ridge Farm, the largest dairy farm in the Ohio Valley, to rekindle a romance with Suellen Russell, a onetime leader of a rock group who’s twice his age. Quickly, they learn that she has been keeping a deep dark secret.

The move brings long-buried tensions between the father and son to the surface. But when a brutal killer strikes, the Lovers in Crime must set all differences aside to solve the crime before J.J. ends up in the cross hairs of a murderer.

Praise for Lauren Carr’s Mysteries:

“Lauren Carr could give Agatha Christie a run for her money!”

– Charlene Mabie-Gamble, Literary R&R

“As always, Lauren Carr brings an action-packed story that is almost impossible to put down. Her mystery plots have so many twists and turns that I didn’t know if I was coming or going. And the action just didn’t stop from the very beginning till the very end.” – Melina Mason, Melina’s Book Reviews

Buy the Book:

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audiocopy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had read this book about Cameron Gates and Joshua Thornton and was happy to listen to the audiobook, since I liked it the first time. Even though this is the third book in the series, it definitely stands on its own.

Killer in the Band is about Detective Cameron Gates solving some cold cases that affect members of the Thornton family. There are several stories occurring at the same time about the different members of the Thortons: murder mysteries, family discord, new friendships, and a May-December romance.

The characters are complex and, as usual in Lauren Carr’s books, there are many of them. She always makes it easy to keep them separate, though.

I like that the characters are all flawed in some way just like “real” people and that they try to overcome those flaws as the story progresses. My favorite characters, however, are the animals. From the horse who opens stalls to the rooster who attacks almost everyone, they bring humor to an otherwise suspenseful story.

I’ve listened to enough of Lauren Carr’s books that the narrator seems like an old friend. He does a great job narrating the stories, and I hope he continues to be the narrator in the future.

I definitely recommend Killer in the Band, whether you read it or listen to it, and look forward to reading more of Lauren Carr’s books.

Author’s Bio

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook


Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Lauren Carr, author of The Root of Murder (open to wherever Amazon.com delivers)



Care and Create

Cynical Wordsmith

I live to care and create.
I believe we are the overseers,
The observers of the universe,
A collective created
For existential self discovery.

By creating, we express,
We reflect on ourselves.
These bring our essence forth,
Allowing us to percieve
The beauty that exists
And enjoy it fully.

By caring, we empathize,
We reflect with others.
These bring our essence forth,
Allowing us to percieve
The beauty that exists
And enjoy it fully.

We observe and we live,
We die and reflect.
This life is all that there is.
Care and create, my friends.
Care and create.

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Book Review & Giveaway: A Flair for Flip Flops by Deborah Garner

New Release

A vacation on the Southern California coast promises rest and relaxation for flamboyant senior sleuth Sadie Kramer and her mischievous Yorkie, Coco. But when the body of a heartthrob celebrity washes up on the beach outside her luxury hotel suite, Sadie’s fun-in-the-sun soon turns into sleuthing-with-the-stars.

The resort’s wine and appetizer gatherings, suspicious behavior of hotel guests, and casual strolls along the beach boardwalk may provide clues, but will they be enough to discover who the killer is?

Or will mystery and mayhem leave a Hollywood scandal unsolved?

*Recipes included!

Available to buy from….

Amazon Kindle    Paperback 
*Free on Kindle Unlimited

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I read A Flair for Chardonnay and A Flair for Drama which I enjoyed, so I was happy to read another book in the Sadie Kramer Flair Mysteries.

A Flair for Flip Flops is a murder mystery with a quirky main character who likes solving mysteries. Sadie often seems to be in the right place at the right time, and she tends to discover clues that detectives overlook. This time, she is on vacation and looking forward to a relaxing week on the beach. Right! The night Sadie arrives, she attends a dinner at which a celebrity is supposed to be the guest of honor, but he never shows up. She does make a new friend, Myrtle, who enjoys mysteries as much as Sadie. The next day, they jump right in and try to solve the possible murder of the celebrity.

I always enjoy the characters in the Flair Series. Sadie is 50ish and dresses rather flamboyantly. Her Yorkie Coco (my favorite) always accompanies her wherever she goes because Coco is so small and easy to hide; although, he tends to get into trouble on occasion.

Although this is a quick read, it’s a fun read and has a surprise or two. Of course, Sadie figures things out before the police do because that’s what she does! If you like a quick, fun mystery, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

“Deborah Garner is gifted at bringing each character to life. She adds details seamlessly, making it seem like you know these people. She presents scenarios that have you thinking you know who did it, and then in the next sentence you are second guessing yourself. And that is to say, this is a great “who done it” … it gets 2 thumbs up from me :)” – reviews Tracy Helps You

“I love the way Deborah Garner describes everything in this book, and I can’t wait to read more in this series! This book literally kept me guessing until the very end.” – reviews Sanity is for those without children

“Deborah Garner has created a unique and very flamboyant main character who seems to find trouble all by herself and turns into an amateur sleuth!” – reviews Miki’s Hope

Above reviews from A Flair for Chardonnay (A Sadie Kramer Flair Mystery Book 1)

About the Author

Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Find the author on the following sites…

Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page   Bookbub

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Blogger & Promoter at Beck Valley Books

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