Reviews

Shave Ice Paradise


". . . this adventure journeys to many unexpected places in the Aloha State." --Kirkus Reviews


"I have always been a fan of mysteries. There is nothing quite like a well-done mystery, and Seiler has more than achieved that through Gina and Curly. I highly recommend mystery fans pick up a copy." --Literary Titan ★★★★★



It’s a rare talent to craft a mystery novel that offers a mise-en-scène as rich and complex as the plot. Mark Daniel Seiler accomplishes that with a textured Hawaiian backdrop and a cast of memorable locals who tackle an impossible-to-solve murder and turn it into a delightful peek into the life of real Hawaiians. You will taste the smokey da kine pork sold by the side of the road. You will marvel at the serene beauty of the tea ceremony in a wabi-sabi Japanese tea house. And mostly, you will cherish the relationships between good people struggling to make a basic living while navigating the convoluted politics of glitzy tourist resorts, offshore corporations, and local law enforcement. The mystery will keep you riveted while the characters and the descriptions entertain and educate you. Highly recommended!

-John Leslie Lange, author of Seven Malas ★★★★★


Fun story and setting, locals collide with greedy developers, mystery and romance. Look forward to the next one.

-Caty Clifton



Author Mark Daniel Seiler presents an inside view of Hawaii and its traditions through the eyes of Gina Mori. Gina is wrapped up in solving the death of her elderly Aunt Nalani who was found at the bottom of a sinkhole. The death is suspicious enough that Gina launches her own investigation when the detectives ignore her concerns.  


As Gina explores her Aunt’s death, she uncovers various details and inconsistencies she becomes further convinced of foul play. Along the way she hooks up with Curly, a stream biologist. They become quite the pair as Gina introduces Curly to her crazy friends, while he tries to avoid her meeting his roommate. At times the yarn seems to meander across Hawaii as pieces come together to form the picture. 


This is a complex story that takes you on a ride discovering the different facets of Hawaiian culture. Gina’s father is a Buddhist minister who allows his daughter to make her own choices and applauds her commitment to family and friends.

I recommend this story for those who want a different sort of mystery that bring several threads of a story together in a surprising and unexpected way. Not a typical detective story, but a yarn well spun and compelling to the finish. 

-Rox Burkey, co-author of The Enigma Series ★★★★★



“Shave Ice Paradise” by Mark Daniel Seiler is a rendezvous with murder, mayhem and intrigue set in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. Something’s just not right with the circumstances surrounding her Aunt Nalani’s death, and Gina Mori won’t rest until she uncovers the truth. With her impulsive and headstrong personality, Gina soon finds all sorts of trouble (or does it find her) as she goes up against corporate giants, corruption, coverup and local authorities. 


During all this madness she meets Julius, aka Curly, and the two become a couple. But Curly has a secret past and Gina is a girl on a mission – when the two collide it’s anything but paradise. Let me just begin this review with a totally unprofessional, OMG, because – OMG, “Shave Ice Paradise” is such a fun, engaging story! I feel like I should warn readers right off the bat – don’t start reading it unless you don’t mind your canceling your plans, leaving your house a mess, or spending the weekend in your P.J.’s (or similar lounge attire), because once you start reading, you won’t want to put it down! Hawaii makes a beautiful backdrop for a novel and Mark Daniel Seiler sets a charming stage with scenes full of colorful, tropical splendor, local culture and authentic traditions. I have never been to Hawaii and yet I felt I was experiencing a bit of the islands and the culture, strengthening my resolve to get there one day. 


Seiler introduces the reader to traditions, history and even the language through an engaging plotline and genuine dialogue. There is no “fact-dumping” but a seamless interweaving of information as events unfold. For me, it’s the characters that make this story shine. Every character has a personality you won’t soon forget – they are quirky, inventive and full of gumption – especially Gina. Strong-willed and reactive, sometimes you just have to shake your head in wonder about where she gets some of the hair-brained ideas she comes up with. You might just find yourself praying she’ll come out of things alive. I loved everything about her character. Gina is a jack-of-all-trades-kinda-girl with a job using a different skillset every day. It’s hilarious to consider what her curriculum vitae looks like! She’s also brilliant and no clue escapes her keen intuition. She’s a strong female lead and it’s exciting to root for her. 


Overall I found “Shave Ice Paradise” by Mark Daniel Seiler to be a witty, contemporary, well written cozy mystery full of sparkling characters and a genuine tropical vibe. I highly recommend this read – it’s an energetic and engaging mystery!

-Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views ★★★★★



A mysterious murder leads the daughter of a Buddhist into more than she bargains for in Mark Seiler’s mystery, Shave Ice Paradise. 


Something fishy surrounds the mysterious death of Gina Mori’s Auntie Nalani. The feisty daughter of a Buddhist minister contacts her police friend, Carla Moreno, for details on the crime scene for starters before Gina investigates. Curly (aka Julius), a stream biologist, is busy gathering samples for the Department of Land and Natural Resources near the crime scene at the time she shows up. The two hit it off, and Gina takes Curly with him to search for more clues after he finds Auntie Nalani’s missing handbag. 


Even though Curly becomes immediately enamored with Gina, he has a difficult time reading Gina’s feelings because of her hardcore persona. It doesn’t help that she is the complete antithesis of what he would expect from a foxy-looking female. While Gina, undoubtedly, is a force not to be reckoned with, the two become an item until one of them divulges a bit of their skewed past. 

A chain of events, spurred by a bus accident and an agrochemical company, leads Gina to further sleuthing, and this time without Curly’s help. The more information she gathers, the more she fears that she may be the next on her aunt’s murderer’s hit list. 


Award-winning author Mark Seiler weaves in “all things Hawaiian” in Shave Ice Paradise. Although Seiler’s new mystery opens with the plot’s crime scene, readers should expect immersion into the fauna, flora, culture, traditions, and language of Wai Nau, the northwestern portion of the Island of Hawaii, from the get-go. 


There is more to Gina Mori than the bumbling, awkward persona she displays around the Buddhist temple where her father serves as minister. Once she gets wind of her aunt’s death, Gina morphs into stealth mode. Her gutsy, no-nonsense approach to how she handles herself around the townsfolk makes her a complicated character to read for several chapters. One thing is for sure though: she’ll do whatever it takes to get answers. 


Curly enters her life very early in the plot. A bit reserved to her gutsiness, Curly has no idea what’s in store when he falls head over heels for Gina and joins her on some of her sleuthing adventures. While a light romance builds, there are other issues brewing, such as their pasts... 

This first glimpse into the protagonist’s flaws is just the tip of the iceberg as Seiler slowly but deftly develops the inner workings of his cast—a vital and attractive element to his literary writing style. It is from this character- building element that Seiler’s storytelling takes off and provides the perfect setup for him to cleverly weave in a Hawaiian word here or there, the area’s landscape, and even environmental issues. 


Scenes mainly shift between Gina’s investigations and her relationship with Curly, but as the story develops, scenes begin to glance at other characters with their strengths and shortcomings. Chapters are short and engaging and close on light cliffhangers until the plot thickens. Seiler pulls from the several tangled situations to create unpredictable twists and turns, a ticking-bomb climax, and a slam-bang ending. 

-Reviewed by: Anita Lock ★★★★★



Shave Ice Paradise by Mark Daniel Seiler is a mystery set in the beautiful paradise location of Hawaii. The scenery is succinctly depicted and takes you down a path colliding with a mystery - the suspicious death of the elderly Auntie Nalani, who was found at the bottom of a cave, wearing a kimono all wet and wrongly tied. The only time she wore her Crane kimono was when she performed the Tea Ceremony at the little Murakami Teahouse, so something was afoot. Even her trusty grey faded bag that she always carried with her was missing - she never went anywhere without it. Gina, determined to get to the bottom of what had happened, does things that will change her life forever; her chance meeting with Curly sees to that. Along with Moreno, Gutierrez, and DS Alvaro, they set out to investigate what happened to Auntie Nalani. Is it an accident or murder? There are a lot of clues throughout the story so watch out for them. Be a sleuth, and you will find them.


Mark Daniel Seiler's Shave Ice Paradise was an enjoyable read, and I particularly enjoyed the scene at the Japanese tea house; the tea ceremony reminded me of my trip to China last year. The story is peppered with exotic sayings and words and, being a British reader, this was a real treat. Spectacular, descriptive images of local life, people, their politics, tourism and a unique way of dealing with life. The characters are fun and real and you won't forget them after you have finished the book. I loved the quotes at the top of each new chapter, making it so different when compared to other books. This is a fast-paced, whodunit mystery, an imaginative and intriguing story.


Gina is on a mission, and it’s one she never envisioned herself having to accept. When Aunt Nalani is found dead, Gina is asked to dig further into the case as the police don’t see a reason to do so. Known for her uncanny ability to find things, Gina finds it difficult to say no to her aunt’s good friend and her pleas for answers. Her investigation leads her to Curly, and things are never the same. As the two work on the down low with Moreno, Gina’s good friend and confidant, they uncover a trail of clues they can only begin to understand.


Shave Ice Paradise, a novel by Mark Daniel Seiler, details the mysterious death of Nalani and Gina’s quest to uncover the truth about her disappearance and discovery of her body in a place Gina is sure she’d never been. When Gina meets Curly, the entire tone of the book changes, and the story takes on a new feel. Gina and Curly are an unlikely pair indeed.  The addition of Curly adds a welcome dimension to what could have been a sobering plot with a cast of mourning characters. I appreciated the occasional comedic relief provided between both Gina and Curly and Curly and Moreno.


Seiler writes a fast-paced mystery novel. Gina and Curly move quickly from one site to the next and rapidly begin putting two and two together. I am impressed with the way Seiler is able to relate one clue to the next and keep the pace of the story flowing smoothly. In addition, the dialogue throughout the book is engaging and helps to develop a cast of well-developed characters. I found myself trying to work through the clues even when I took breaks in the reading.

There is some profanity throughout the book though not enough to deter readers from continuing. Seiler assigns this type of language appropriately to his characters, and it adds to the story by helping readers visualize how emotionally invested they are in the events. I am not one to use profanity in my own writing, but I appreciate it when it adds to the plot.


I have always been a fan of mysteries. There is nothing quite like a well-done mystery, and Seiler has more than achieved that through Gina and Curly. I highly recommend mystery fans pick up a copy.

Reviewed by Julie Hodgson for Readers' Favorite ★★★★★



Gina is on a mission, and it’s one she never envisioned herself having to accept. When Aunt Nalani is found dead, Gina is asked to dig further into the case as the police don’t see a reason to do so. Known for her uncanny ability to find things, Gina finds it difficult to say no to her aunt’s good friend and her pleas for answers. Her investigation leads her to Curly, and things are never the same. As the two work on the down low with Moreno, Gina’s good friend and confidant, they uncover a trail of clues they can only begin to understand.

Shave Ice Paradise, a novel by Mark Daniel Seiler, details the mysterious death of Nalani and Gina’s quest to uncover the truth about her disappearance and discovery of her body in a place Gina is sure she’d never been. When Gina meets Curly, the entire tone of the book changes, and the story takes on a new feel. Gina and Curly are an unlikely pair indeed. The addition of Curly adds a welcome dimension to what could have been a sobering plot with a cast of mourning characters. I appreciated the occasional comedic relief provided between both Gina and Curly and Curly and Moreno.

Seiler writes a fast-paced mystery novel. Gina and Curly move quickly from one site to the next and rapidly begin putting two and two together. I am impressed with the way Seiler is able to relate one clue to the next and keep the pace of the story flowing smoothly. In addition, the dialogue throughout the book is engaging and helps to develop a cast of well-developed characters. I found myself trying to work through the clues even when I took breaks in the reading.

There is some profanity throughout the book though not enough to deter readers from continuing. Seiler assigns this type of language appropriately to his characters, and it adds to the story by helping readers visualize how emotionally invested they are in the events. I am not one to use profanity in my own writing, but I appreciate it when it adds to the plot.

-Literary, Irvine, CA ★★★★★


I have always been a fan of mysteries. There is nothing quite like a well-done mystery, and Seiler has more than achieved that through Gina and Curly. I highly recommend mystery fans pick up a copy. 


Shave ice paradise is a mystery murder story. The story begins with the daughter of a Buddhist called Gina Mori. There is something suspicious about the death of her Aunt Nalani, and Gina sets out to find out why. As she is searching for the truth, she meets Curly, and that is when I believe the story takes a different turn. Gina has much to deal with. Curly has her own secrets and drama, and Gina has to go up against many obstacles in order to solve the mystery.


The story is set in Hawaii and describes a beautiful tropical paradise filled with genuine scenes that makes you want to visit. The characters are compelling, and I enjoyed the relationship Curly had with Gina. Nothing about the story is predictable, and I think that is what made this book enjoyable.


The literature had a steady pace. Everything about the storyline was well thought out. The author has potential in this genre, and I look forward to reading more from him. 

I would recommend the book to people who like to read murder tales.

-Review by Jeyran Main ★★★★★




Like mysteries, but want a lighter heart novel that is a breeze to read? Shave Ice Paradise is just that novel! Gina Mori’s aunt, Nalani dies and she feels there is more to her death than what the police are saying. It doesn’t seem that they are doing a very good job. Her aunt would have never gone to that place, and she herself found her aunt’s missing handbag after all!

While on her mission to find out what really happened to Nalani, Gina gets tangled up with a new transplant to Hawaii, Julius, known as Curly. A stream biologist, he gets more than he bargained for as well with Gina. She just will not let go of Nalani’s death, and she also recruits her good friend Moreno to help.

As the three get tangled up in the investigation, they uncover things that Gina never thought was possible. Corruption, greed, corporate giants and local authorities covering things up come to light as Gina journeys to uncovering the truth about what really happened. Maybe Gina should become a detective, with her sense of finding things!

I really enjoyed the scenery the author laid out as the backdrop in this story. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and feel like I have now had a touch of it. I also enjoyed the sprinkle of Hawaiian words through the story as well, it added a unique touch.

-Chelsie, Goodreads


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River's Child


Winner of the publisher's 2016 Landmark Prize for Fiction, Seiler's (Sighing Woman Tea) eco-novel is a thought-provoking dive into a future after the dystopia gives way to hope. Strong storytelling makes this a solid choice for book clubs interested in complex characters, environmental discussions, and gender issues.

-Library Journal




In this futuristic apocalyptic world, author Mark Daniel Siler creates a place that expands the imagination, with adventure that reminded me of Lord of the Rings. The fight to save humanity is spread over years of struggle, loss, and heartache, but the main characters Simone and Mavin will defy all odds hoping to save the remaining people of the world.

When Mavin was a young boy growing up in New Mexico, he never thought that simple plant seeds would be so incredibly important. Now, in a world that is constantly being hammered by severe weather from ice storms to hurricanes, it has become vital to protect the world's food source. After taking advice from his college mentor, Mavin makes the decision to work for a plant at the northernmost part of the world that works in developing ways to keep these seeds viable for future generations.  In the last few months, Mavin could not help but feel that his superiors had been hiding something important from their employees, but whenever questioned they would quickly change the subject.

One morning when Mavin shows up to work and no one is there, he knows something must have gone terribly wrong. His fears are amplified when he realizes the plant has locked down and he is not able to manually open any doors.  He is trapped with no way to communicate with the outside world, and as days turn to months his dread is heightened even more. Without any knowledge of how much time has passed, Mavin goes into a deep depression until one day a group of women amazingly get into the plant.

These women tell Marvin they have a mission to retrieve seeds from this place and take them back to their city to help feed their starving population. Even though Mavin knows exactly the seeds they are talking about he is weary of these unusual strangers, as they seem to be intelligent but also have no knowledge of modern science. As they travel together with the seeds in tow, Mavin becomes more aware that the world he knew once is gone.  How will he find his place in this new world that seems to be intent on keeping him detained? For in this new world women run the country, while men and their opinions are given little to no respect at all.

This book was an absolutely wonderful read, and even with all of the books out now with an apocalyptic theme, this book still kept my interest. I thought it was fascinating that the author took the characters through an adventure that took place over years and years, which is why this story reminded me a little bit of Lord of the Rings. Just the sheer long and epic story that these courageous characters went through was amazing, and had me hooked from the first page.

An incredibly original story of epic proportions!

Reviewed By: Kristi Eldridge ★★★★★







RIVER’S CHILD


Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views ★★★★★


“River’s Child” by Mark Daniel Seiler follows Mavin Cedarstrom after he is rescued from an underground seed vault by a mysterious group of women where he has been trapped in stasis for thousands of years. Upon his revival, Mavin finds that the world has completely changed, both geographically and culturally.

In this dystopian world, famine runs rampant. Domesticated grains rarely live to be harvested, as they are constantly under attack by mold and disease. Seiler succeeds in building a complicated environment, where this famine leaks into everyday life, including social customs and politics. The nuance he builds between government officials, their decisions, and the issues they face provides an eerily realistic administration. It’s easy to imagine present day countries debating similar issues.

Seiler also provides an interesting take on the evolution vs. religion debate. Though his character Mavin is from the past, most of his futuristic companions have built their entire society on the concept of goddesses shaping the world for them. The different views conflict throughout the novel, and both Mavin and the reader are surprised to find some cross over between the two. The future’s mythological explanations line up with the past’s scientific ones in unexpected parallels.

“River’s Child” spans several years following a long, twisting story with many different narrators. The story never drags, and the audience remains invested throughout. My sole criticism is that the time jumps often happen without warning, leaving the reader feeling displaced in the narrative for a time; other than that, the plot and the pacing are both strong.

One of the things I loved about this novel is the way Seiler can explain concepts without turning the story itself into a lecture. The reader gets to learn about the consequences of domesticating plants as well as the societal impact of enforcing extreme gender roles.

The ending ties the book together nicely. Though it leaves room for a sequel, I don’t think one is necessary. The reader is allowed to assume what they want. Overall, I enjoyed “River’s Child” by Mark Daniel Seiler. It’s different from a lot of other science fiction out there and definitely worth picking up.

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