Saturday, June 15, 2013

Looking For Me and A Conspiracy of Faith

I have two very different books to share with you today. Both are fascinating stories and will hold you captivate as you transcend into the wonderful world of the authors’ imaginations.

LOOKING FOR ME by Beth Hoffman

The Southern charm seeps out and surrounds you in LOOKING FOR ME. It’s heart-wrenching at times with laugh-out-loud moments woven throughout the story.

coverNarrator Jenna Lamia may live in Los Angeles, but she does an excellent job with the Southern flare in this story. Her cadence pulls you in and holds your attention while her mannerisms adds to the charm of the characters. Between Lamia’s vocalizations and the author’s vivid characters, listeners will feel they are a part of the story and won’t be ready to leave when it ends.

Teddi Overman grew up on a farm in Kentucky, but left home in the middle of the night when she was 18 leaving only a letter for each member of her family. She traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, where she began a career as an antiques dealer and faux-finishing specialist. There she built a life for herself with a group of zany friends - Olivia, Inez, and Albert.

Teddi is always drawn back to her family’s farm and the mysterious beauty of the Red River Gorge. It was there that her brother, Josh, went missing when he was only a teenager. While many, including her family, believe Josh is dead, Teddi continues to believe he is alive and thriving in the wilderness. Josh always had a special bond with animals and nature. He was the healer of animals and she was the healer of furniture. When signs that Josh might still be alive surface, Teddi’s world is turned upside and she begins searching for answers. Her path leads her to discover things about her family she never know and better understand how her brother’s disappearance tore her family apart.

LOOKING FOR ME is told from Teddi’s viewpoint as an adult while she copes with running her business; caring for her grandmother, Grammy Belle; and trying to decide where her life is going. The story reverts back to her childhood at times, giving glimpses of what the family’s life was like before and after Josh’s disappearance. There are bits of romance intermingled to add a good balance to the story.

While there is a bit of a mystery and some romance involved, this story is about family and life in general. It’s about how people face the hardships and triumphs in different ways and how we can know people, but never really know them - even family.

Author Beth Hoffman has created likable, well-developed characters that readers will want to visit again. She writes in such a manner that you feel the characters’ pain and sorrow, as well as their joy and hope. Hoffman’s eye for detail translates into vivid descriptions of the countryside and animals, the feel and texture of the furniture and antiques Teddi deals with, and the kaleidoscope of emotions the characters encounter. She draws you deeper into the story as she presents you with an element, only to withhold the true nature of the item leading you to ponder about it before she reveals all.

LOOKING FOR ME appears at first glance to be a lengthy book (and audio). However, as you’re pulled into the lives of Teddi and those surrounding her, you’ll begin to think it’s not long enough for you’ll want to know more and more. Be prepared with a box of tissue handy as there are moments of sadness and heartbreak, but hope always abounds. This is a story about the travels in one’s life and striving for happiness, compassion and family.

Author Beth Hoffman’s website is
Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman, Performed by Jenna Lamia, Penguin Audio, @2013, ISBN: 978-1611761702, Unabridged, 10 Discs, Listening Time: Approximately 12 Hours 

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman, Pamela Dorman Books, @2013, ISBN: 978-0670025831, Hardcover, 368 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure - The book was also sent to my by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Life at Department Q remains a mixed bag of chaos and order as Danish detective Carl Mørck and his Syrian assistant, Assad, go about their daily work. This time around they are helped tempA Conspiracy of Faith Coverorary by Yrsa, who is a story all by herself.

Narrator Graeme Malcolm does a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. His interruption and mannerisms give each character their own distinct voice. His cadence with the emotional aspects of the story draws the listener in and holds them spellbound.

Author Jussi Adler-Olsen brings his quirky characters back for a third installment in the Department Q series with A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH. The group takes on an old and unusual mystery when a message is discovered in a bottle. The note appears to be written in blood around 1996. It clearly reads ‘Help,’ but the elements have obscured much of the remaining words.

Yrsa and Assad slowly piece the message together letter by letter. The team soon locate the parents of the note’s author. However, when contacted the family refuses to talk about the boy and won’t say whether he’s alive or dead. As they continue their search, Mørck and Assad find the boy’s brother that was with him when the note was written. In doing so, they discover a serial killer is preying on the fears of certain religious groups and getting away with not only kidnapping and extortion, but also murder. The closer the Department Q team gets to finding the killer, the closer he gets to pulling off another kidnapping scheme with deadly consequences.

Mixed in with the search for the killer, Adler-Olsen gives readers a glimpse into the private lives of the Department Q team. In addition, he blends in antidotes of the police department’s daily activities.

Adler-Olsen has created well-developed characters with his main members of Department Q. He has made them likable and realistic with their own unique quirks. In addition, he has a knack for presenting villains readers loathe, but can’t help but have moments of compassion for. He gives the killer an appalling childhood that shaped his outlook on life and his attitude toward certain religious sects.

A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH is another intriguing case for Mørck and Assad with the help of Yrsa. Fans of suspense will find this book very appealing. 

Author Jussi Adler-Olsen’s website is

A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen, Performed by Graeme Malcolm, Penguin Audio, @2013, ISBN: 978-1611761627, Unabridged, 12 Discs, Listening Time: Approximately 15.5 Hours

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was also sent to my by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Thanks for visiting today. Do you ever find yourself feeling sorry for the villain in a story? Have you ever had a story to inspire you to try a new hobby such as antique shopping?


  1. Mason - Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed Conspiracy of Faith. Jussi Adler-Olsen is such a talented author, isn't he? And I do like the Department 'Q" characters :-) - Thanks for sharing

  2. Hi Mason ... thank you so much for your gorgeous review of LOOKING FOR ME. I'm delighted that you enjoyed Teddi's story and I appreciate your kind words!


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