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Monday, July 28, 2014

APPALACHIAN SERENADE by Sarah Loudin Thomas

APPALACHIAN SERENADE by Sarah Loudin Thomas This novella introduces you to some of the characters in MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON. Delilah. the main character here is also a character in Miracle. Charlotte, her sister, and Charlotte’s husband Ed and daughter Perla, also appear. The other major character is shop owner Robert . APPALACHIAN SERENADE tells the love story of Delilah and Robert. The tale is pretty straight forward and the end of the love story ambles to its natural conclusion. The real purpose of the novella is to give you the back story of the characters in MIRACLE. It does the job very nicely with a tiny bit of foreshadowing of a main conflict in MIRACLE. A quick read that will entice you to read MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON. 4 of 5 stars

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE ARSONIST by Sue Miller



THE ARSONIST  by Sue Miller
I enjoyed this very well written book until I got to the end. Then I felt cheated.  Where was the conclusion? What happened?  Who was guilty? Who died? Who loved?
Frankie and Bud were clearly drawn, likeable characters.  Frankie’s life in Africa was detailed enough to make her believable if unknown and unknowable.  Bud was always known and knowable.  Sylvia and Alfie were good foils for Frankie and Bud. 
The fires seemed peripheral to the story, unnecessary even. 
Did I like this book? While I was reading it – unequivocally yes!  Did I like it once I finished the book – not so much.  The last 10 pages seemed like a cop out – I don’t know what to do with these characters and their story, so I’ll just end it.  Very unsatisfying.
1 of 5 stars

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON by Sarah Loudin Thomas



This debut novel is a quick read with a Christian wholesomeness.  You will figure out the love story by the second page, but the story is really about people a small town in West Virginia, their prejudices, secrets and the ability to forgive.
Coincidence and misunderstandings abound as the story progresses to its foreordained conclusion.  You won’t be surprised but you will enjoy getting there. The characters are likeable. The villain is driven out of town. The good folks find salvation and redemption. The writing is solid.
If you like Christian, family centered novels, you will love this book. If you find them boring and cliché ridden, you should read something else. 
4 of 5 stars

Monday, July 21, 2014

MONDAY, MONDAY by Elizabeth Crook



MONDAY, MONDAY   by Elizabeth Crook
I was expecting more of a tale about the Texas tower massacre rather than a tale of damaged people  and their secrets and the damage those secrets caused.  That said the book was interesting for about the first half then I got wearied with all the drama and more drama and more drama that involved Shelly, her lover, her husband, her daughter, her friends, etc, etc.
After finishing the book I decided it was a warning of the all mistakes people make in their lives and how those mistakes affect others far into the future.
The characters were carefully drawn.  The writing was clear. The descriptions of life in Texas were interesting. The drama around the Devil’s Sinkhole was engaging and realistic.  My favorite character was Dan. My least favorite was Wyatt (or maybe Madeline).
But overall, the book was just……..a book. Neither really good or really bad.   So….
3 out of 5 stars

Thursday, July 10, 2014

THE OLD BLUE LINE by J A Jance



This novella gives us the back story for Butch Dixon, Sheriff Brady’s husband in many of J A Jance’s books that take place in Arizona.
Butch becomes the prime suspect in the murder of his former wife who had remarried and changed her name after divorcing Butch.  How he defends himself is the plot.  Although short this is a well-developed story with interesting characters and a layered plot.
Part of the book is a portion of Jance’s next book – REMAINS OF INNOCENCE.
4 of 5 stars

THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling)



THE SILKWORM   by Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling)
This second outing for Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith continues the story of Cormoran Strike, an intrepid detective and war hero, and his assistant Robin. 
This story is much darker than THE CUCKOO’S CALLING and filled with cruelty and foulness.  A failed and failing writer is murdered in a heinous way.  Strike and Robin combine to discover who among the many literary folk did the murder and why.  The many characters are introduced and their stories filled out nicely.  Each of the characters has a possible motive and you will be kept guessing until the final pages.  Rowling writes with clarity as she fleshes out each possible murderer.  The plot is intricate and you will need to pay attention if you are to solve the mystery before Strike and Robin.
Strike’s physical infirmity becomes a defining part of the story and Robin is forced to step up in ways that make her fiancé unhappy.  That portion of the book offers insight into each of the main characters and will allow Rowling to continue the series with continued conflict between Robin, her fiancé and Strike.
A well written, engaging mystery that drags just a bit in the middle when much time is spent defining the characters.
4 of 5 stars

BONES NEVER LIE by Kathy Reichs



BONES NEVER LIE  by  Kathy Reichs
Temperance Brennan is a woman determined to avenge the young girls who are being murdered in Charlotte.  When she learned these murders may be connected to “cold cases” where she was never to bring the perpetrator to justice, she is even more determined.  When Detective Ryan shows up as well, things begin to be very interesting.
This is Reichs at her best. She weaves people and plot carefully together and brings the conclusion as just the right point in the story.  There is enough monstrous cruelty here for the most blood thirsty and enough science for technical in this tale of psychology and murder solved with wit and dogged police work.
BONES NEVER LIE is part of the written series, but can be read without knowing the back story.  Those who only know Temperance through television will not recognize the characters but will recognize good writing and detection.
5 of 5 stars