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Showing posts from October, 2011

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Published in 2009 The Everafter is Amy Huntley's first and (thus far) only novel.  It's a fast, suspenseful, and sad read--I read it in a day.  Unfortunately, it is not available in county; I requested it through Inter-library Loan.

Madison Stanton wakes up dead in an endless, dark void populated only by the glowing objects she lost during her lifetime.  She discovers each object is a portal to the moment in her life when she lost that object.  She can use these objects to relive those moments to see her family and friends again who were involved in those moments, but there are rules.  If she finds an object while reliving that moment, it disappears from the void and she can never return to that moment in her life.  She can change the moments' outcomes, but in changing them, she also changes herself in imperceptible but monumental ways.

Using these objects Madison slowly pieces together who she was, who her family and friends were, when she died, and, she hopes eventually…

In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming

In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming is the first in a mystery series starring an Episcopalian priest, Clare Ferguson, and Miller's Kill chief of police, Russ Van Alstyne.  I mentioned in a previous entry there was a second mystery novel that I'd read and liked well enough but didn't like the characters enough to want to read the rest of the series.  This is that novel.  This title was on the book club list for a library in the Philadelphia area that our book club will be reading next year, and I decided that I wanted to read it too.

The Reverend Clare Ferguson is new to Miller's Kill and St. Alban's parish, a tiny town and Episcopalian parish in upstate New York.  One bitterly cold winter evening Clare, just two weeks into shepherding her new flock, discovers a newborn baby boy bundled in blankets inside a box left on the steps of her church.  When the body of a local teenage girl is discovered in the snow out on the frigid shores of the kill, Van Alsty…

Still Life by Louise Penny

Still Life is Louise Penny's first novel in the series that features Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.  Life is a good book and a gripping mystery; however, the characters didn't make enough of an impact on me to want to read the entire series.  This was also the case with the next book I'll review.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to the tiny village of Three Pines to investigate the suspicious death of Jane Neal, a beloved local woman found dead of a mysterious wound on a path through the woods near her house.  In addition to the difficulty of proving the death was a homicide warranting a thorough investigation or a hunting accident, the investigation is hampered by the negligence and arrogance of Agent Yvette Nichol, new to Gamache's team.  Meanwhile, Gamache, master of observation and detail, is convinced the suspicious death has roots sprung from seeds planted and left festering for decades.

I have to say that Nichol really irked me. Okay, if I'm honest,…

Saint's Gate by Carla Neggers

Saint's Gate is the first in a series by Carla Neggers that will star an ex-nun turned FBI agent and her deep cover FBI operative lover, which is really only a minor spoiler because let's face it, savvy readers will know right from the outset that these two will hook up by novel's end.  I have a hard and fast rule that when an author starts the first lines of the first chapter with a main character's first and last names, as Neggers does with this one, I ditch the book because it always strikes me as a lazy way to start a story and probably a sign of mediocre writing. However, something about the story of Saint's Gate grabbed me.  Neggers sets up an intriguing mystery with an unusual heroine at the center of the story.  The art history and iconography elements add interest to what could be a run of the mill procedural FBI caper.

FBI special agent Emma Sharpe works on an elite team that tracks dangerous, high end art thieves who are often well funded.  Out of the bl…

In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault

In Search of the Rose Notes is Emily Arsenault's follow up to The Broken Teaglass, a novel previously reviewed here on the blog.  I was looking back at previous posts and when I clicked through Teaglass' I decided to head to amazon to see if Arsenault had published a follow up yet.  Sometimes these new authors can be tricky--some take forever to publish another novel, some never publish another novel.  I'm still waiting for Ronlyn Domingue's follow up novel to The Mercy of Thin Air--and I've been waiting five years for it!  I'm also wondering when Katherine Howe will publish a follow up novel to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  Anyway I went to amazon and that's how found out Arsenault had published a second novel.

While Notes doesn't have as unique a premise as the setting of a dictionary company, poetry plays an integral role in this novel.  The narrative is split between 1990 in the months leading up to and those following the disappearance of…

Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry

Coming Up For Air is the first book by Patti Callahan Henry that I've read.  I enjoyed it--great story made even better by great writing and vivid characters.

Ellie's mother is controlling and a force to be reckoned with but in the wake of her sudden death, Ellie becomes unmoored as she realizes she has come to a crossroads in both her life and her marriage.  Ellie admits a heart breaking realization to herself: her marriage is loveless and she can choose to stay and allow it to wither what's left of her heart and soul or she can choose another path; a path that won't end with her becoming a numb, emotionless, steely woman like her mother.

Rusty, Ellie's husband, shows only the kind, charming self to the public, but Ellie knows he has another darker side, prone to cruel words and temper tantrums that he shows to her.  While he's never raised a hand to her, Ellie's come to realize that she mistook his ways of controlling for ways of loving.  And she's ti…