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Showing posts from September, 2011

The Burning Soul by John Connolly

The Burning Soul is the latest installment of the Charlie Parker series.  With Connolly's books it's sometimes hard to write reviews--the plots often have multiple strands that connect by the conclusion and it's hard to balance how much to include in the review to convey the flavor of the story without giving the entire thing away.  There is more hinting in this book that something bad is coming Parker's way at some point and that (possibly) something else bad is keeping tabs on him unless the entity keeping tabs is the same nastiness headed his way in which case it's not fair that evil's doing reconnaissance on an unsuspecting Parker!

Pastor's Bay is a tiny, insulated town on the Maine coast whose inhabitants are wary of outsiders and protective of its own citizens.  It has its small town, small time, petty crime, but little does it know that big government is luring some big city, big time, nasty criminals to its environs to orchestrate a take down of sai…

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly probably could have done with a closer editorial eye.  I get the impression that there were passages from this book in which certain people might have been referred to by the wrong name; however, most of these were the passages in which one of Jo March's letters were being related, so I'm not sure if that was case or if it was a case of certain characters were known by more than one name and this was not explained properly.  While this is a stand alone book, I recommend the reader read the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott before reading this one or at the very least familiarize themselves with that novel's storyline and characters because Donnelly assumes her reader has more than just a passing knowledge of Little Women characters and storyline which is what I have.  I've never read the book--though I have seen parts of a movie adaptation (or the entire movie adaptation, I can't really remember, it was a long tim…

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley is part historical novel and part romance with a dash of family history.  I first saw this book in Target and wrote down the title hoping that one of the libraries would get it (because I don't buy my books; I borrow them from the library).  It took a long time but one of the libraries did eventually get a copy and I borrowed it.  I liked this book enough that I looked up Kearsley's other books, but a couple of them seemed like they kind of had similar plots with time travelling historical romances.  They didn't really pique my interest.

Best selling historical fiction novelist Carrie McClelland is struggling with her current novel, set in France amidst the intrigue of the exiled Scottish court of the last Stewart king.  Upon stumbling on the beautiful atmospheric ruins of Slains castle, whose resident noble family is at the heart of an ill fated Jacobite plot to land the Stewart king on Scotland's shores, Carrie knows she must revers…

White Heat by M.J. McGrath

M.J. McGrath is a British author who has written several non-fiction books about the Arctic and its native cultures; McGrath makes her fiction debut with White Heat, a story set in the isolated, Inuit Canadian tundra with a half Inuit protagonist.  All murder mysteries convey a sense of urgency especially when more people start dropping dead; in the instance of White Heat, the remote, cold, and inherently dangerous environment of the arctic adds to the sense of urgency and danger--if the murderer doesn't get to you, the frigid weather will if one's not careful.

Edie is the best guide on Ellesmere Island, but when she takes two American men out on the tundra for a routine hunting trip and one is shot and killed, a puzzling and dangerous mystery is uncovered --and promptly dismissed by her community's mayor.  More bodies fall in the wake of the first murder as the dead man's travel companion disappears on a later expedition guided by her beloved stepson, Joe, who also ge…

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

The Lantern is Deborah Lawrenson's debut novel.  It's very atmospheric, foreboding, suspenseful, lyrical, and haunting.  The lush, isolated landscape of the French countryside becomes its own character in the novel.

Eve meets Dom, an older gentleman, by chance while on a job in Switzerland.  Immediately the two embark upon a whirlwind love affair that continues after both return to London.  Dom, a previously married man, is mysterious, closed off about his past, and given to mercurial and dark moods.  Their love affair exists in its own isolated bubble--neither makes much effort to introduce the other to family or friends, especially Dom, who insists on compartmentalizing his past and his present; he refuses to discuss the former with Eve because he claims it is too painful.

When Dom proposes moving to an isolated, run down, long uninhabited estate in the Provence countryside, Eve agrees to go with him that summer.  But as the two pass the summer in France, Eve realizes she ne…

South of Superior by Ellen Airgood

Ellen Airgood is a diner manager in Michigan, and South of Superior is her debut novel.  This is the kind of novel that reads fast.  A lot happens while at the same time nothing really happens--it's one of those kind of stories.

Chicago raised Madeline Stone still reels from the death of her beloved adoptive mother, Emmy, a year ago.  Abandoned by her mother, rejected by her grandfather, who refused to raise her and from whom she remained estranged for the rest of his life, Madeline accepts an invitation from Gladys, her grandfather's girlfriend, and Glady's sister, Arbutus, to return to tiny McAllaster, Michigan, town of her birth, to assist in caring for Arbutus, who's become crippled by arthritis.

McAllaster is a tiny, one street town on the coast of Lake Superior where less than 1000 people live year round.  The natives struggle to make ends meet while the rich out of towners summer in mansions built on the lake shore that drive up taxes and drive out native McAlla…