Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Million Dollar Mysteries series by Minda Starns Clark

I have heard about this series for a while now. My library, which has a large and wonderful selection if Christian Fiction did not have this one and the budget doesn't allow for purchasing many brand new books these days, so I put these on my wishlist at PaperBack Swap (there is a link to them on the side of my blog). I love PBS! It is a wonderful way to pass on books I have read and, even better, to find more to read! Over the last year or so I received all 5 books in this series and once they were all here I dove in!

I have read Clark's work before in her wonderful and funny Smart Chick Mysteries series, so I knew she was a terrific writer and expected to like these books. But that was not so... I did not like them, I loved them!

The Million Dollar Series is much, much different from Smart Chicks. Where Smart Chicks tended to be funny and clever mysteries with a quirky main character, Million Dollar is much more serious and dramatic. NOT overwhelmingly so... certainly not in a boring way... these are true mysteries with intrigue and twists and turns.. but the best part are the characters, especially the ones that flow from book to book... and the wonderful secondary storyline that is woven throughout this series.

I would recommend these books to any mystery lover... and even to those who aren't fans of mysteries.

Callie Webber is the protagonist in this series... a smart, intelligent woman who is stronger than she realizes. Callie's job is to investigate charitable organizations to see if they are legit and if they are doing what they say they are doing... and if everything works out she has the blessing of presenting them with a grant from her employer, the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation. Callie's boss is Tom.... she has never seen him and doesn't even know his last name! That is part of the condition of her job and Callie is willing to accept it. Her life has been tragically altered and she is rebuilding a new normal for herself and helping others is a large part of that.

To say more would give so much away.... just know that while Callie's job plays a big roll in each book, she often finds herself investigating more than finances... murder comes into play a time or two... as does national security and cyber crimes. The settings change from book to book taking the reader along on wonderful adventures from Appalachia to New Orleans and even into the British Virgin Islands.

Oh yes, these are Christian Fiction and Callie's faith and struggles with trusting God play a big part in her life and in these books. While they are in no way preachy, Callie's spiritual journey is woven throughout the pages encouraging the reader and reminding us that we all doubt... we all struggle.. and when we fall down or run away, God is right there ready to lift us up.

You most definitely must read them in order:

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels

A Dime a Dozen

A Quarter for a Kiss

The Buck Stops Here

Married in Seattle by Debbie Macomber

Yet another fun, light read from Macomber. Her books are like mini-escapes for me when I need a break from the hecticness of life.

Married is Seattle is another 2 story book.

In First Comes Marriage, Jasmine Hartmann finds herself in a most bizarre situation. Her grandfather has found her a husband.... without her knowledge. According to him, Zach Thomas is her perfect match and when the 2 protests that they do not know each other, must less love each other, Grandfather explains that love will come after marriage. Does Grandfather really know best?

Meg's a single mom with a teenage daughter who thinks it is time for a man around the house. So in Wanted: Perfect Partner, Lindsey places a personal ad for her mom. That alone is bad enough, but then Steve Conlan answers the ad and much to Meg's surprise he is perfect or is he?

Looking for a bit of a mental get away? Grab Married in Seattle and enjoy!