Book Review: A Question of Devotion





Synopsis:

Then she saw it – a sheet of paper in the mailbox, underneath the mail. It was white with large black letters and said LEAVE IT ALONE. 
Mrs. B has a quiet life, and she likes it that way. Morning pinochle games at St. Mary’s Senior Center. Afternoon lunches with Myrtle, Anne and Rose. Peaceful evenings with a cup of coffee and the classic movie channel. 
But one day she wakes to a phone call, which leads to consequences she could never have foreseen. Secrets snowball and threaten to change the neighborhood of Burchfield forever. Someone has to make things right. It’s up to Mrs. B.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

A Question of Devotion by Anita Kulina is one novel that zeroed in on my full attention. An older Polish woman takes it upon herself to solve a case. One that involves her neighborhood. Changes are coming…as well as danger and threats. 

A debut novel, A Question of Devotion, is indeed an interesting mystery. Secrets come to light. Notes with threats are left and phone calls, too. Mrs. B. has a lot to juggle as the heroine of this book. Computer technology is one thing. I found it captivating and funny how one elderly lady’s typical life changes from doing games at a senior center to investigating a crime. 

The characters including Mrs. B are beleivable. For fans of The Murder She Wrote, Piriot, and Columbo, readers will love this book. I was engaged, entertained, and can’t wait for the next installment. Mrs. B is my new favorite lady detective. Smart, brave, and funny. Overall, I recommend A Question of Devotion to all. 

Author Interview with Anita Kulina




Interview With Anita Kulina 

ULM: How would you describe your main character, Mrs. B?

Mrs. B has lived in Burchfield since she and her late husband Albert bought their little house when they first got married. She has two children, but both of them livethousands of miles away. Every morning Mrs. B plays pinochle at the Senior Center in the basement of St. Mary’s Church, where she gets to see her closest friends, Myrtle, Anne and Rose. Dinner used to be a quiet meal watching the classic movie channel, but Mrs. B sometimes has company now that her new neighbors moved in across the street. Burchfield is a city neighborhood that feels like a small town. It’s a very rooted neighborhood, where people live in the same house for generations. Mrs. B and herfriends sometimes struggle to get by, but they have each other and, to them, that’s the most important thing.

ULM: What inspired you to write, A Question of Devotion?

I write what I know. The character of Mrs. B came first, based on the strong women I knew growing up. Then I developed the town of Burchfield, which I based on the world I knew as a child. Most of the characters in A Question of Devotion are based on people I knew, or are composites of people I knew. After I had the characters and the town, I knew right away it would be a series. Theidea for the plot of A Question of Devotion was based on a newspaper article I ran across a long time ago. I had set it aside, thinking, “I might want to do something with this someday.” When Mrs. B was born, that someday had come.

ULM: What other hobbies do you have besides writing?

I love writing, it’s lots of fun for me. Other than being with family and friends, it’s really the way I like to spend my time. I do have to take a break once in a while, though! When I do, you can usually find me walking through my city neighborhood, or in my kitchen baking scones.

ULM: Will there be another Mrs. B novel?

I’m halfway through the second novel and have an outline for the third. So the answer is yes!

ULM: How would you describe your writing?

If you’re looking for a serious, dark book full of dead bodies and mayhem, you need to look elsewhere. But if you want to curl up in a comfortable chair on a cold afternoon with a cup of cocoa and a cozy read, A Question of Devotion might be just what you’re looking for.

ULM: What other books have you written, if any?

A Question of Devotion is my first mystery. I also have a nonfiction book, a historyof Western Pennsylvania. Now that may sound dull, but I assure you Millhunks and Renegades is not a typical history book. It’s told through the lives of the residents of Greenfield, which was once part of Squirrel Hill, home of the notorious Girty family. There are lots of scandals and the book is chock full of tidbits of fascinating information. Did you know Andrew Carnegie once belonged to a street gang, and that he dated Stephen Foster’s wife? 

You can read excerpts of Millhunks and Renegades at: http://www.brandtstreetpress.com/millhunks.html. 

ULM: Where can readers find you and your book online?

A Question of Devotion is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or you can ask for it at your local bookstore. 

I probably should learn more about social media, but the truth is I’d rather be writing. If you’d like to contact me, I’d be happy to hear from you. 

Send me an old-fashioned email at: anita@brandtstreetpress.com

Brandt Street Press is my publishing company. http://www.brandtstreetpress.com/ 

Author Interview & Excerpt with P.K. Tyler


You’re the head of marketing for Novel Publicity, a business woman, and an award winning author. What does a typical day work day look like for you?

P.K.: A lot like this: https://media.giphy.com/media/DpB9NBjny7jF1pd0yt2/giphy.gif
How do you find balance between working life, your family and everything else?

P.K.: Have a forgiving spouse? I don’t do everything, I can’t. It’s just not possible. Thank god for a man who loves to cook and clean! My kids are getting older now so they need less of my focus and more of my driving skills, so I do a lot of reading in the car waiting for them. I don’t know how to organize it, I kind of just do it. I’m really walking talking chaos so I’m the wrong person to give advice on this.

 

Have any tips for those of us that work from home?

P.K.: I’d say the most important thing is to accept that you can’t do it all and not only is that okay, it’s normal and good.

 

The Feral 

IT STARTED TO RAIN AS they walked, but Norwood kept an impossible pace. Julip slipped and fell more than once, but he just kept going. She guessed he was right to hurry; they had to get back before nightfall so they didn’t get caught. Ma would be furious as it was, what with them gone missing for so much of the day.

The sky darkened despite it still being midday, and clouds rolled in behind them. Back home it would be a mess. Rain put everyone in a sour mood. The sea was too volatile to risk going out when it stormed, and while the rainwater was clean and safe, the ocean steeped in chemicals that could peel a person’s skin before too long. Their father had burning water scars up and down his arms and speckled across his face from working as a jellyfisher for so long. By comparison to other men who worked the sea, he had remained pretty intact.

The Cotillion was probably having a great time. Rain meant clean air and fresh water, for a little while at least. Sometimes if the rain came at the same time as a toxstorm, it would bring the fumes down to Earth, keeping everyone inside for days, sometimes weeks. The last time that happened, Julip had been nine and was forced to stay in her parents’ dwell with no one but her brother for nineteen straight days. The damage the fumes caused still marred the walls of the bedroom they shared.

The siblings had complained, begged to be allowed outside, but nothing they said or did would convince the adults to let them go. Only her father ventured out to pick up a daily ration of food and water from the Center-of-It-All. He would bundle up, covered from head to toe in fabric and plastic. Even his head was wrapped in one of her mother’s scarves, and his eyes hid behind goggles he’d made out of extra window plastic.

Thirteen people died during that storm, and two more were blinded. For months after, there was a rash of stillbirths on the reservation. The Daughters all agreed that the fumes had come down and poisoned the babes. It’d been five years since the last bad toxstorm whipped through Greenland, so one was due to come soon. Julip loved the cool rain as it soaked through her scarf. She uncovered her head and felt the water trickle down her face and saturate her hair. Parents would take the littlest kids on the rez outside, strip them, and scrub them red. Clean rain meant a real washing, not a quick, timed wipe-down with the gray water from the sinks.

Norwood pulled a canteen from his trouser pocket and caught drips of water from the oversized leaves surrounding them. The trees weren’t much taller than him, but the forest canopy closed in as they walked. Soon they walked on dry earth, and the only remaining evidence of the rain was the heaviness of her hair and the sound of water dripping on leaves high above.

“I’ve never been deep in the Wilds,” she said.

“Ya’ve never been shallow in the Wilds.”

“True, but there ain’t even words for this back home. It smells different, dirty, but my nose ain’t pained by it.”

“‘Cause it’s real. This dirt is from the Earth, not the toxes.”

“Why do we have so much tox on the rez if this is right here?”

“I dunno, but I reckon it’s ‘cause we’re human. People made the toxes. In some way, I guess it’s only right we live in ‘em.”

A howl rose from deep in the forest, and Julip yelped and bent down, trying to blend in, hide in the underbrush. Her legs wanted to give out, but she squeezed her eyes shut and demanded her body not betray her.

http://smarturl.it/Jakkattu1

About the Book

They came as saviors to a deteriorating Earth

Julip Thorne questions whether there is more to life beyond the barren dirt, acidic seas, and toxstorms her people work and die in. Living in poverty on the withering Greenland Human Reservation, she wonders if the alien Mezna goddesses are truly as holy as the temple preaches. Julip begins to dig deeper into the history of the planet and her leaders’ rise to power. But nothing can prepare her for the atrocities she uncovers.

Meanwhile, Jakkattu prisoner Sabaal suffers constant torture and heinous medical experiments as her Mezna-priest captors seek to unlock the key to her genetic makeup. Escaping from captivity, she finds herself suddenly alone on the hostile alien planet of Earth. To survive, she’s forced to work with the same Mezna-human hybrids she’s loathed her entire life, but the more they work together, the more they realize that their enemy is the same.

When humans and Mezna collide, will Sabaal turn out to be the genetic vector the Mezna have been searching for all along, or will she spark the flame that sets a revolution ablaze?


About the Author

P.K. Tyler is the author of Speculative Fiction and other Genre Bending novels. She’s also published works as Pavarti K. Tyler and had projects appear on the USA TODAY Bestseller’s List.

“Tyler is essentially the indie scene’s Margaret Atwood; she incorporates sci-fi elements into her novels, which deal with topics such as spirituality, gender, sexuality and power dynamics.” – IndieReader

Pav attended Smith College and graduated with a degree in Theatre. She lived in New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off-Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry for several international law firms. Now located in Baltimore Maryland, she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not penning science fiction books and other speculative fiction novels, she twists her mind by writing horror and erotica.

You can follow PK Tyler on Facebook, Twitter, and sign up for her newsletter, or visit her website here.