Friday, September 30, 2011

Claim of Innocence

Written by Laura Caldwell
© 2011 by Story Avenue, LLC
438 pp.

From the book cover: “ Forbidden relationships are the most tempting. And the most dangerous.

It was a crime of passion – or so the police say. Valerie Solara has been charged with poisoning her best friend. The prosecution claims she’s always been secretly attracted to Amanda’s husband . . . and with Amanda gone, she planned to make her move.

Attorney Izzy McNeil left the legal world a year ago, but a friend’s request pulls her into the murder trial. Izzy knows how passion can turn your life upside-down. She thought she had it once with her ex-fiancĂ©e, Sam. Now she wonders if that’s all she has in common with her criminally gorgeous younger boyfriend, Theo.

It’s Izzy’s job to present the facts that will exonerate her client – whether or not she’s innocent. But when she suspects Valerie is hiding something, she begins investigation – and uncovers a web of secret passions and dark motives, where seemingly innocent relationships can prove poisonous….”

Lawyer Izzy McNeil goes from civil court to criminal court when her friend Maggie needs help. Valerie Solara has been accused of poisoning her best friend while teaching her how to cook a Mexican dish. The grieving husband says he saw her put something blue in the mix. Another friend says she asked her about poisons. . . why? Valerie’s own father was convicted of murder and executed years ago. Is she following in his footsteps?

The characters in this story are normal, everyday people with normal problems. Izzy is 30 with an ex who, although engaged, thinks he may want to get back with her. She also has a 22-year-old hunk of a new boyfriend.  Maggie is a partner in her grandfather’s law firm and he’s starting to show his age. Valerie is a widow with a 19-year-old daughter she’ll do anything to protect. How these women all come together to try and save Valerie from a murder conviction makes an interesting story. The story takes an interesting twist at the end after the verdict is in. Is she guilty or innocent? Read the book and see. Easy to read, short chapters, and good dialogue.

I won this book from one of Book Trib’s weekly contests.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Map of Time

© 2008 by Felix J. Palma
© 2011 English Translation by Nick Caistor
Published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster
609 pp.

From the book jacket: “Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence.

What happens if we change history? Felix J. Palma explores this questions in The Map of Time, weaving a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting – a story full of love and adventure that transports readers to a haunting setting in Victorian London for their own taste of time travel.”

I put off reading The Map of Time because of its large size. However, once I started reading it, I hated to put it down. In the story, H. G. Wells writes a book about time travel that fascinates 1880’s London. Imagine his surprise when an acquaintance opens a business supposedly taking people to the future world of 2000 where they’re able to secretly observe a battle between humans and automatons (robots) that are destroying the world. One thing leads to another and ‘future’ and present people get involved in numerous ways. It was sometimes hard to follow the twists and turns as different characters would try to explain what would happen if they would do this or change that, would the other still happen? What would happen if they were to run into themselves in the future or past? Could they travel to the past and change things for the better or would the world be better off left as it is? The book really made me think as I was reading it.  Here's just one example from the book - if you could travel to the future to arrest a person who had killed in the past, have you prevented the murder, and if you did, was a crime still committed? If the crime wasn't committed, why would you need to arrest the person?  It's just one big circle that never ends!

In places I thought the story was a little wordy but I just skipped ahead a few paragraphs when that happened. It was written in 3 parts and the author did a wonderful job tying them all together. Some of the characters were real authors including H. G. Wells and Bram Stoker. It was fun reading how the author wove them into the story. If you like Jules Verne or H. G. Wells you’ll enjoy this book. For more information you can visit .

I received this book unexpectedly from Simon & Schuster; I think it came from a contest I entered.