Book Review: Legacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal

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Legacy of the TropicsLegacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every once in a while, you come across an author who can write across multiple genres and make it seem like an incredibly easy task. Mary Deal is one of those not-so-frequent-few who can deliver romance, mystery, thriller, historical, and contemporary all throughout a wide variety of settings. Legacy of the Tropics is my fifth read from her growing literary works, and while I’m not sure if it’s my favorite yet, it is definitely in the top two or three of what she’s produced. At a 50-foot glance, it’s a collection of three short novellas (~90 pages each) revolving around weather impacts in those lush and beautiful (not always serene) beach locations many of us adore. While each of the stories are stand-alone, and the first two are completely separate, there is a connection between the characters in the third story which was a beautiful surprise.

One of the facets of Deal’s work I’ve grown quite fond of is her ability to incorporate detailed histories of her characters all throughout the text without overwhelming the reader. Sometimes it’s a few pages, others it’s just a line here and there. By the end, you’re fully immersed in someone’s struggle or plight, rooting for him or her like no one before. In all three stories, weather plays a huge and dramatic role. At first, it’s a freak storm impacting a boat at sea off the cost of Puerto Rico, then it’s an unexpected rip tide on a beach in Hawaii. I’ve been to both places and she instantly brought me back there. By the third, a powerful hurricane wrecks havoc on an already burdened set of inhabitants and characters we’ve come to know. Deal knows how to toy with your emotions… whether it’s making you want to reach thru the pages to save the victim yourself, cry when someone unexpectedly takes a turn for the worse, or shout with strength when it appears a reward might finally happen. But it’s never over when Deal’s at the helm. Just when you think things are looking brighter, she drops the truly big one on you! Every possible conflict appears among these stories.

Deal’s knowledge of these places and various water-related incidents is vast and descriptive. You will feel (1) stuck in the middle of an ocean with little hope for survival, (2) as if you’re being lifted by 100 mph winds into the air as a roof is ripped off your house, or (3) the jitters when a sea creature begins attacking your legs just because it wants to toy with you. Between the ocean-life and real-life in between the words of these 3 stories, be prepared for emotion, knowledge, and shock. I expected to read one story for the next 3 days. Instead, I read 1 last night and 2 first thing this morning… and I still want more. What a fantastic way to share a common theme and experience. Awesome work, Deal!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


365 Challenge: Day 171 – Blank

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Blank: (a) showing incomprehension or no reaction, (b) unrelieved by decorative or other features; bare, empty, or plain, (c) a space left to be filled in a document


I spent a little energy this morning thinking about the posts I need to write in preparation of a long-weekend getaway to visit family in Louisiana this weekend — if we are able to get down there given all that’s occurred with Hurricane Harvey (more on that later). A few words popped up, which I’m outlining in my head as to how I will blog about them for Saturday thru Tuesday while I’m away. The one that felt pertinent for today is the word ‘blank.’ I checked the trusty online dictionary, as I always do, and found a few appropriate definitions for the 365 Daily Challenge.

It all started yesterday when I was attempting to be funny with a comment on a post from my friend Nel @ Reactionary Tales. I left a few words blank with “____” for her to complete. She came back with a hilarious response and it just made me laugh until it then bugged me because I couldn’t remember the name of the game/quiz/magazine that you could buy to play with your friends and fill in the words. I kept thinking… am I getting old enough to be one of those guys who says “wuz that ole game we done played back when…” (yeah, apparently when I get old I bring out some southern accent that I do not have) and then I just wanted to cry about it. I did not cry. Too many other things got in the way. But sometimes a good old-fashioned cry helps. There I go again… “old-fashioned” — why is age such a big deal today? OK, I am way off topic. Nel finally knew what I meant, after a few back and forth jabs, she said “MadLibs?” For a second, I wondered if she had an expression on her face, sorta like, ‘dude, that game is so 1990s…’ Does anyone even know what I am talking about?


Anyways… ‘blank’ started it all. Then I was walking home from meeting a friend for lunch and I had a song that kept popping up along the way. I  found myself singing along (in my head — at first), not really knowing who sang it or what the name was. Finally, there I am walking down 1st Avenue in NYC with my phone, searching the lyrics I could remember, finally stumbling upon it. And then I was sadly ashamed of myself. Not because I couldn’t remember the song name or the artist. Not because it was someone very current and popular. Not because it made me feel so old. But because it was Taylor Swift. I mean no offense here. And I know very little about her. But for some reason, I don’t like her. Too many news articles about all the issues she has dating. “Get over yourself girl, shut the hell up and live your life. Stop telling me about it.” OK, rant over… again, if you love her, sorry, I don’t mean any offense.  The song was “Blank Space.” Well… I’m still not a fan of Ms. Swift, but it’s been playing on Spotify a few times a day around my apartment. I really need to take away Ryder’s permission to use my laptop.

For a small laugh, picture me… shorts and a tank top… walking down a NYC street… with my iPhone blasting “Blank Space” and no headphones… just speaker volume on high… singing… I’m a little shocked I made it home without someone — really, anyone would have at that moment — beating the cr*p out of me for torturing them with my awful voice and dance routine. Yeah, the head was bopping side to side… “cause we’re young and we’re reckless… go down in flaaaaaaaaames” {Aside: Ironic word. Eh, I will not validate that this happened. Never put in writing what might come back to haunt you.} It’s playing right now as I type this post. Here you go, enjoy my torture, click to listen to the song (not me):  Blank Space.

Back to the 365 word… I began creating my author website yesterday ( and it’s got so much blank space because I don’t have a lot of graphics, photos or images to use yet. Once the book cover comes back to me and I approve it, I can load more. Until then, it feels so blank! And I kept thinking… what do people want to know about me? How much should I put on an author website. I mean… I reveal EVERYTHING about myself on “ThisIsMyTruthNow” but what should I do on the new site? Any ideas? I could use some advice and input as I am apparently not creative enough to figure it out on my own. Or maybe I’m so creative in writing that I can’t design a visual blog and website. Help!

And lastly, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, my mind is a complete and utter blank over what is happening in Texas and Louisiana from all the impacts of Hurricane Harvey. I lived through the super storm Sandy in NYC years ago. I lived in NY during 9/11. I watched Katrina hit New Orleans years ago. But for some reason, seeing the flooding — and what it’s done to all the people of Houston and the surrounding areas — has created a huge blank space in my mind. Blank over shock. Blank wondering how do they survive. Blank at how anyone can possibly handle this much water and not lose everything they ever loved. It’s awful to witness, which means it’s impossible to imagine what’s really happening to the people most impacted by it. My mind is just blank as to how / why / who / what / when / where…. and everything that comes with it. I send tons of love and prayer and hope to any of the victims and people impacted by this tragedy.

I considered just leaving the whole post ‘blank’ as a very small way to remind us all not to be empty or blank in our support of others, but words often do more justice. We love you Houston. We should do anything we can to help them. And while I am and will do something outside this blog, I also dedicate this post (completely poking fun at myself) to them, in the hopes a little laughter will go a long way to pushing everyone to help the victims survive and carry forward.


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Zeitoun

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Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book club I belonged to several years ago selected Zeitoun and we had a week to read it. I enjoyed the book and hadn’t realized how many horrible things happened in New Orleans besides the actual impact of the hurricane. Based on some reality, the story helps a non-Louisiana native understand the true impacts of the hurricane, not only on the land but on the people.

The imagery and language were strong, and the characterizations were very intricate. Since reading the books, I’ve spent time in Louisiana (both rural and New Orleans) and hear so many different stories of what actually happened.

I may re-read this one in preparation for the next American Crime Story TV anthology. I enjoyed the “OJ Simpson” season 1 so much and am excited to see what they can do with the impacts of Hurricane Katrina. And this book will help me prepare and remember as much as I can before diving in.

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