All posts tagged: Book review

The Mountain Midwife – Laurie Alice Eakes

In “The Mountain Midwife” Laurie Alice Eakes asks us what makes a family and a community in crafting a story where these two themes play pivotal roles for the characters. Ashley Tolliver descends from a long line of Appalachian midwives and now she is left behind by her family, who have moved away to pursue medical careers. Hunter McDermott finds out that he’s adopted after a mysterious phone call from his mother, asking him to help his sister. “The Mountain Midwife” is a lovely tale, written with great skill, about these two characters and the actions that pull them into this small mountain community. For Ashley, the community is her family. All the women, she has assisted in birthing and their families rich or poor. For Hunter, his thoughts about the family unit are challenged, but he instantly has a connection and sense of responsibility to his biological mother. The Appalachian Mountains are a beautiful backdrop, while the characters try to navigate the tumultuous landscape of their lives. “The Mountain Midwife” makes the second book …

Delivering the Truth – Edith Maxwell

In 1888, a Massachusetts a mill town, known for its carriage industry, is subject to a vicious fire. Soon after the son of a factory owner is stabbed to death with a knitting needle. The main character is Rose Carroll, who is a Quaker midwife. She is a charming heroine and I can easily see how she can be the center of The Quaker Midwife Series. Being a midwife, Rose moves many circles in town, and the police officers purposefully asks her to keep her eyes and ears open, but Rose would have done so anyway; she is curious by nature. Through Rose midwifery, we meet high and low and see behind the façade of the individual households. As the knitting needle used in the murder is Rose’s own, her incentive to solve the crimes is high. I found the introduction to Quaker society to be a wonderful frame for the novel. The Society of Friends with their simple lifestyle and vows of peace and compassion balance the horrible crimes. That said, Rose isn’t a …

Miles Away – Addison Kline

Miles Capadonno was sentenced to 17 years in prison for a murder, he didn’t commit. However, Miles spent the time getting smarter and stronger, and now as the end of his term, he is ready to get his revenge against the mastermind behind it all – his father. Miles is a part of the Capadonno crime family with their home base in Carrion, New Jersey. I find that the characters – especially the Capadonnos, who carry “Miles Away”. The family dynamics are exquisite and while the family reads mob all the way, the characters are developed individually. I love the pater familias, who is now bedridden and at death’s door due to cancer, but still the ruthless king and domineering mastermind. Miles’ siblings are equally well defined. Miles as a character is very bound to the music of Springsteen, and it is evident that Addison Kline took inspiration from a lot of mood-defining music throughout the story. There is plenty of Springsteen, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bat for Lashes, Smashing Pumpkins to guide the reader …

Hanover House – Brenda Novak

Merely calling ”Hanover House” a prequel, doesn’t do it justice; it is a CLIFFHANGER! (note the capitalization). The added cruelty is that “Her Darkest Nightmare” (The first book in the Hanover House Chronicles) is set for publication in September 2016 – that is an eternity in reader-years! Get ready, readers, to be excited by the fast-paced, action-packed thriller, that will leave chills down your back. Brenda Novak keeps the suspense high even though, we also follow the point-of-view of Jasper, a psychopath with a horrific plan for Evelyn. Evelyn was Jasper’s high school sweetheart and the one that got away – when he kidnapped and tortured three other girls. Evelyn is still marked by the trauma, but has chosen a career as a psychiatrist to understand what makes a psychopath. She is embarking on a new endeavor, founding Hanover House in a small town in Alaska. Hanover House will house 200 the most malicious mankind has to offer and not everyone is happy about it. One of those is the local trooper Amarok, who despite …

Sabin – A. M. Hargrove

Romance and aliens. Yeah, I wasn’t sold immediately either, but bear with me, within the first chapter, you’ll be hooked by A. M. Hargrove’s “Sabin”. Selena grew up as a live-in maid at her elderly parents’ house, dreaming of life as the little mermaid. She studies marine biology and we are first introduced to her as she dives into the depths of the Caribbean Sea. Sabin, on the other hand, is otherworldly and on Earth as the leader of the Seven, an elite group of fighters who want to keep the universe, and in particular a necklace called Judgment Day, safe. “Sabin” holds every promise of a romantic story. The chemistry is electric between the two, but I wouldn’t call “Sabin” merely a quickie. There is more depth to A. M. Hargrove’s story and characters, making “Sabin” much more enjoyable. That said, I still read in the course of a night. The alien aspect is strangely enough realistically incorporated in the story; it doesn’t seem alien (pun intended), it is just different enough to be …

I Still Dream About You – Fannie Flagg (part 2)

(Some time ago I wrote part 1 of my reading experience about “I Still Dream About You” covering the novel to page 151 and then I put the novel down and took a breather.) I finished the novel! Finally! And I like it. “I Still Dream About You” isn’t one of the novels, that I haven’t been able to put down – I actually took a break from it at one point – but in a quirky, roundabout way, Fannie Flagg tells a wonderful tale about what we plan our lives, how our lives turn out, and most importantly, what happens then. Maggie Fortenberry was a small town golden child, crowned Miss Alabama back in the day, and celebrated as if she was Miss America. She never got the husband or family, she expected, and in her sixties, she is an aging real estate agent, living alone. However, Maggie isn’t alone in her life, and I believe this is the main theme in the novel. Her life is populated with her colleagues/friends, the woman who …

Six – Lissa Jay

Chloe works under the alias Nina as an exotic dancer in the aptly name bar The Fox Hub. She meets a member of her audience, Six, who is the VP of Company of Sinners MCs. Desire and love ensue in that order and of course a couple of obstacles for their relationship. The plot is okay believable. The MC-gang related community is a great back drop for the novel, but “Six” is by all means and purposes a quickie. The story is hot and read in the course of an evening. But what is it that make us want to read about Chloe, the exotic dancer and Six, the criminal and biker? What is the allure of fantasies? A fantasy doesn’t necessarily have to be connected with our daily lives in any way. The subject matter can be the furthest from ourselves and yet, we can be entertained or appalled by it in relative safety i.e. without earning a living as an exotic dancer or getting involved in a tuff war between rival MC gangs. …

Manfred – Lord Byron

”Manfred” is one of my go-to-books – dramatic poem, as Lord Byron calls it. I love “Manfred” on so many levels. First of all, I recommend everyone to read “Manfred” aloud. The language and rhythm are beautiful. Reading aloud is an almost musical experience. Just as an example: “We are the fools of time and terror: Days Steal on us and steal from us; yet we live, Loathing our life, and dreading still to die.” (lines 258-260) I also recommend “Manfred” to those who lose their breath when they study a classical reading list and instantly get Intellectualitis. “Manfred” is short, dramatic, and still profound. Every time I’ve read “Manfred”, I get something different from it in terms of themes, but before I go there, let me tell you about Manfred. Manfred is a nobleman, living in a Bavarian castle high in the Alps. He is haunted by the death of his love, Astarte, and the reader gets the sense that their relationship and her death are somehow untoward. Manfred is the original Byronic hero, …

Asylum – Madeleine Roux

Asylum has a creepy vibe even before you open the book. The cover photo is of a girl or woman who turns her head just as the photo is taken, or maybe there is something sinister about her. That atmosphere is unease that continues through the book is Asylum’s forte. The book includes disturbing photos that tie into the story. You know there are there, but they creep you not nonetheless. And the peculiar thing is, I looked at the photos before I read the book, and didn’t find them scary, but as I turned the pages and saw e.g. the girl dressed in her Sunday best, staring into the camera with empty eyes and with a jagged scar across her forehead, I was definitely scared. Dan Crawford attends the summer programme at New Hampshire College and just happens to be housed in the old mental institution Brookline. Dan and his newfound friends Abby and Jordan explore an old office and find a disturbing photo that Abby feels strangely drawn to. Dan on the other …