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review 2017-09-19 09:42
Portrait of Vengeance (Gwen Marcey #4) by Carrie Stuart Parks
Portrait of Vengeance (A Gwen Marcey Novel) - Carrie Stuart Parks

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here? No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming—and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter. As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Let me start off by saying that if you haven't read any of the previous Gwen Marcey stories, I'd recommend checking out the earlier books with this particular series. While the cases themselves could technically make for stand-alone works, there are characters and certain details of Gwen's life that are carried through all the books. 

 

In this fourth installment in the series, forensic artist Gwen Marcey is investigating the murders of a married couple within the Nez Perce tribe (Lapwai community) as well as the whereabouts of the victims' missing (presumed kidnapped) young daughter. Some of the particulars of the case, as far as clues at the scene and specifics regarding the profiling of the killer, appear to echo traumatic events from Gwen's own childhood. As the case / plot progresses, Gwen becomes more and more convinced that finding the answers within this present case will, in turn, answer questions about her own traumas that have plagued her for years.

 

The journey to the truth proves to be a solidly uphill battle, as Gwen finds that many of the key witnesses she is relying on for information have deep-seated prejudices against Caucasian people. In what's now become a signature mixture within this series as a whole, author Carrie Stuart Parks creates her characters and environments by bringing forth a compelling blend of historical fact, details / inspiration from actual true crime cases, and occasionally details from cases Parks herself worked during her own years as a forensic artist. While working within the Nez Perce tribal lands, our protagonist Gwen gets a crash course in the history of such traumatic events as Wounded Knee / Pine Ridge, as well as the development of AIM (the American Indian Movement). It takes little time for Gwen to see that she will need to tread lightly when working with the descendants of people involved in these painful moments within Native history. Though the years have passed, the hurt has hardly diminished. 

 

Having followed this series from the beginning, I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head to find 8 pages into this latest book that Gwen is STILL having fights & custody battles with her ex-husband. I couldn't help but think "it's been four books now, that kid can't have too much high school left for this argument to be relevant much longer.." I feel for Gwen there. On the happier side though, I'm loving that the stories within this series seem to be quietly steering toward a "Gwen & Beth Investigate" kind of trend. Beth has a bigger role in this book than in some of the previous ones. She's such a hoot, I love to see her getting more of the spotlight! Keep your dictionary nearby though. Beth loves her some "word of the day" usage and Parks works in some words that definitely had me feel like I was back in SAT prep days! 

 

The true star for me though has to be Winston, Gwen's Great Pyrenees dog. While Parks always gave him quite the humorously entertaining dog personality, he, like Beth, was more in the background in much of the previous books. In Portrait of Vengeance however, Winston gets solid book "screen" time, scenes that will make dog lovers cheer at the protectiveness of pups over their humans. Go ahead, hug your own pooch after this one. :-)

 

So far, the very first book in the series, A Cry In The Dust, still proves to be my very favorite. But this one is now in a close second. This book proved to be slightly more gruesome in parts than its predecessors -- in one scene, Gwen likens a crime scene to a Jackson Pollack painting. Yeaaah, I'll just let you art fans visualize that one. But if you're not scared off by a little edge, Parks yet again gives the reader one fun ride full of twists and turns that have you wondering who in this story is to be trusted! 

 

It was neat to read in Parks' acknowledgements that she wrote this story (at least in part) while participating in a writing retreat at author Colleen Coble's home. She further notes author Frank Peretti as a mentor in the process of developing this series as well. For fellow fans of Gwen's investigations: when asked whether a 5th book was in the works, Parks answered (via Goodreads):

 

"As of now, book 5 will be a stand-alone about an artist (caught up in a case) in Kodiak Island, Alaska. My publisher wanted me to take a break from Gwen. You'll be meeting Murphy."

 

 

I, for one, am looking forward to meeting this Murphy fella! 

 

 

FTC Disclaimer: BookLookBloggers kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book with a request that I might check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

 

------------------------

ICYMI -- My reviews for the previous books in the series:

 

#1 A Cry In The Dust

#2 The Bones Will Speak

#3 When Death Draws Near

 

* Gwen Marcey also makes a cross-over appearance in Colleen Coble's Mermaid Moon AND Twilight At Blueberry Barrens

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text 2017-09-06 22:53
Wow!
Birds of Utah Field Guide - Stan Tekiela
Lonely Planet Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks (Travel Guide) - Lonely Planet,Greg Benchwick,Carolyn McCarthy,Christopher Pitts

Finally having a bit of down time after some exhausting days hiking. Haven't seen any TV and not even had time to do any reading, but the amazing scenery and wildlife I've seen, kind of makes up for it. 

 

Zion National Park

 

Bryce Canyon

 

Tomorrow we're heading for Capitol Reef, and after that it's Arches and Canyonland before we head to Salt Lake City and then home. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-22 10:46
"Sueño con ríos y mares", de Tim Parks.
Sueño con ríos y mares - Tim Parks

Imaginaros que, por un azar del destino, James Joyce y Stephen King se conocen. Se hacen amigos, y como a los dos les gusta la literatura, decien escribir un libro juntos. La obra maestra de todos los tiempos. Pues eso es lo que pensaba este tal Tim Parks cuando acometio este bodrio nefasto.

Os cuento de que va, porque imagino que no tendreis el supino atrevimiento que he tenido yo de leeroslo enterito. John James, investigador que vive en Londres con su novia Elaine, que es actriz en ciernes, recibe una llamada telefonica que le comunica que su padre, Albert James, famoso investigador, se ha muerto en la India donde residia con su esposa y madre de John, Helen James, que es medico.Hasta ahi, podria tener cierto interes. Poco, pero alguno.

Pero si os digo que Albert James es un tarado mental que solo hacia que componer teorias absurdas sobre comunicacion de las aranyas (maldito teclado en ingles), que su madre es mas tonta que los jueves, que la novia se lia con el director de la obra de teatro, que John James esta a punto de trincarse a una india morenita pero cuando esta casi a punto aparece el marido de la india morenita que quiere unirse a la fiesta y le corta el rollo, y hay un escritor que se llama Paul que quiere escribir un libro sobre Albert James y la viuda (que ya se ha liado con el escritor) le parece bien hoy y al dia siguiente no.... 

La mejor escena del libro, es la que relata los avatares de John James y la diarrea que le ataca en un antro al que entra a tomar un te, que culmina en que se ve obligado a limpiarse el culo con sus propios calzoncillos (no se si luego les dio la vuelta y se los volvio a poner...).

En resumen, y en tres palabras, una puta mierda.

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text 2017-08-18 02:15
Signing Up For Landscaping Courses Changed My Life

I had been keeping unwell for quite a few weeks and the trip to the doctor earned me a prescription of spending some outdoors, eating better and of course, getting in some form of mild exercise. A neighbour friend suggested that I try gardening, and somehow it made sense, because we did have a reasonably large piece of land, right behind our house. When this same friend suggested that we both sign up for landscaping courses, I agreed.

 

Within the first few classes, I realised that I had done a really good thing by joining these classes, because not only was I learning about how to understand soil conditions, and which plants work best where, I was also learning about which flowers would bloom, all year around and which plants needed minimal maintenance. Although I wondered whether I really needed a Cert 3 Parks and Gardens, I knew that I wanted to learn more about how to section the land I had to have separate areas for flowers and shrubs and one area where I could have my very own kitchen garden. Given that my wife loves to cook, I wanted to give her an area where she could have vegetables and herbs that she liked to use. Within a few classes, I learnt all about how to create my own garden, and that too with a perfect design in place!

 

Even though I didn’t go for the Certificate III in Landscape Construction, with a few weeks of work, I was proudly able to show off the start of a garden, which today is my pride and joy!

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review 2017-05-21 20:38
Book Review For: Of Demons & Stones by Anne L. Parks
Of Demons & Stones: A Tri-Stone Trilogy - Anne L. Parks


Of Demons & Stones by Anne L. Parks is book one in this continuing story of Kylie Tate and Alex Stone....so beware that there is a cliffhanger. I will honestly say that I loved this book and truly wanted their story to keep going. This is a lot of things going on in their story so it will be one you won't want to put down...so beware of that too. I just so happy to have found this author and can't wait for more of her books!

Kylie has been moving up in her company at a top criminal lawyer...but Kylie has to work still with her abusive ex boyfriend who almost killed her. Kylie kept it a secret from the firm due to threats from the ex boyfriend and the shame of his abuse attached with the story. Kylie has avoided all romantic encounters until she happens to meet Alex. Kylie is very much attracted to Alex but thinks that he wouldn't really give her a second look. But Alex it seems has started to notice her and asking her out. Kylie then thinks maybe he is staying with his one night affair reputation and that he might be the one to get her out into the dating world again. Kylie thinks this because she assumes this really wouldn't be very serious relationship for Alex.
Kylie finds soon enough that Alex is wanting more than just a few dates and she does too. But the ex boyfriend too has started to notice that she is seeing Alex and starts to be more confrontational that he has been since they dated.
This story has a lot of drama, love, hero trying to protect 'his women' and also it would seem a possible secret that Alex has told Kylie about.
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