Saturday, 19 January 2019

All Things by Amber Belldene


All Things by Amber Belldene
Self published in America in September 2018.

Featured in 5Books1Theme: Pride Month and a book with a Vegetarian/Vegan Character. Included in my Vegan Bookshop

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A priest and a rabbi walk into a lesbian bar…

If something is unjust in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Reverend Alma Lee will face it down. She leads her vibrant church of St. Giles’ with compassion and sass. Her busy days involve match-making, meddling, and saving the city’s beloved lesbian landmark, The Carlos Club. Alma meets the intriguing Rabbi Naomi Cohen there, and she’s smitten. 

Death comes to the church’s door…

When the proprietor of The Carlos Club turns up dead on the steps of St. Giles’, Naomi’s brother is the number one suspect. She needs help exonerating him, and Alma’s knowledge of the neighborhood makes her the perfect priest to solve the case. If only Alma’s ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Cesar Garza will accept her help. She still feels the pull of their old connection, but she’s convinced the sexy-smart rabbi is her perfect mate. . . Too bad Naomi is playing by different rules.

Can Alma solve the case before the murderer silences her forever? 

About the Reverend Alma Lee Mystery Series
Meet the Rev. Alma Lee, the next priest-detective in a long line of clergy sleuths from Father Brown to Clare Fergusson, Brother Cadfael to Sydney Chambers. Only, instead of a rural village, Alma’s turf is San Francisco—gritty, gay, and glorious. Her methods border on the absurd, and she has more attractive admirers than anyone who’s taken holy orders has a right to. If she's on the case, the murderer doesn't stand a chance.

All Things was recommended to me as a Veganuary read by Andreea at Cheeky Lines because its central character, the wonderful Reverend Alma Lee, is vegan. I loved Rev. Alma! Part Latina and part Chinese, she grew up in the San Francisco Mission district where she now ministers so understands its people and their foibles. Alma was only fairly recently appointed to St Giles, a struggling Church, but her scatterbrained blend of prayer meetings and pastoral care is making St Giles popular again with worshippers of all genders and sexualities. She is surrounded by a good supporting cast of distinctive characters that I look forward to getting to know better in future books. I don't tend to read Christian fiction so was a little wary of this aspect of All Things. However, although Alma is a preacher herself, she doesn't actually preach to her readers. This novel is crime fiction that happens to be set around a church, rather than religious fiction that happens to include a crime. I'm giving extra points for the Vicar Of Dibley mention too!

I liked the way Belldene takes Alma, and us, through the investigation of Cindy's murder. I won't go into details so as not to inadvertently give anything away! The sparring between Alma and her Detective ex-boyfriend is great fun to read and, don't worry, they Don't head into love triangle territory! I was disappointed by proofreading errors abruptly dragging me out of the story. I can excuse a couple, especially in indie books, but there are several nonsensical sentences and an odd timeline moment too. A shame although I wouldn't let that put me off reading further Rev. Alma Lee mysteries when they are published.

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10 comments:

  1. I like how diverse this one is! I absolutely love the sound of this one having veganism included, and LGBT+ characters, and also having so many nationalities included too! And yay for it not being too preachy either even though it does feature a reverend as the main character.

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    1. I'm glad that Andreea recommended this series to me and am looking forward to the next mystery :-)

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  2. I don't usually read books with church or religion because I don't want to be preached at so I'm glad to hear that didn't happen in this book. This sounds like a good mystery.

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    1. It's a fine line between religious fiction and fiction where the characters happen to be religious!

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  3. Sounds like an intriguing mystery.

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    1. I thought this was a good mix of classic-style mystery and diverse contemporary setting :-)

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  4. Sounds like this has some nice inclusivity. I tend to be wary of books that seem to have a lot of religion too, but I've found they can be really interesting as long as the author isn't preachy toward the reader. Glad to hear this one wasn't!

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    1. I think All Things is pitched just right on the religion angle. The church setting allows for a connected community of people, but as readers we don't get preached at. Despite being non-religious myself, I might go along to Alma's church though (if it actually existed, obviously!)

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