All posts tagged: 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 …

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. …

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 …

I Still Dream About You – Fannie Flagg

“Meet Maggie Fortenberry. Her life seems pretty much perfect – she’s beautiful, charming and successful, just as you’d expect of a former Miss Alabama. But in fact, Maggie is perfectly miserable. By now she should have been living in an elegant house with an adoring husband and children. Instead, she makes a living selling that dream to others – though her estate agency business has lately been going from bad to worse.” The caption on the back cover sold me, when I perused the bookstore in search of nothing in particular (meaning anything that caught my eye). I immediately jumped to the conclusion that Maggie Fortenberry was a thirty-something less-than-happy woman. I can relate to that, said the thirty-something Louise. Maggie has a plan to end it all, the caption states, and I expected that the story would be a sweet story of Maggie’s serendipitous path back to a joyful life. Because of my hasty and incorrect assumptions, I Still Dream About You is an uphill novel for me. Maggie is a sixty-something woman and …

Tiger Heart – Katrell Christie and Shannon McCaffrey

Tiger Heart by Katrell Christie and Shannon McCaffrey is my summer read 2015. Picture me on a forest green sunbed under the birch trees in my parents’ garden. Cue doting mother (I am an only child) with a cup of tea, and my kid hunting for worms in the flowerbeds – and an extraordinary literary journey is within reach. I followed Katrell from the eccentricities of Atlanta and the beginnings of a teashop called Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party to founding a life scholarship program for young women in Darjeeling, India – and it was a life-changing journey for both of us. Katrell says, “It’s one of those “only in India” stories” (p. 16) and her story certainly is. India and the people Katrell encounters there are so vividly depicted that I can feel the logistical chaos and hear the quintessential melody of Indian-English. Katrell first visited India on a trip organized by Rotary, and while there had the quick idea to visit Darjeeling, where tea is grown. There she stumbled upon a cause. Orphanage …

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

I dare say that Chinua Achebe presented African literature to the world with the publication of “Things Fall Apart” in 1959. Sure missionaries, colonialists, and adventurers brought home accounts of Africa á la “How I Found Livingstone” by Stanley and the fictional “The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger” which concludes “Things Fall Apart”, but all of them have an external point of view. With “Things Fall Apart” Africa was introduced with an African voice. I stand by the paragraph above, and at the same time, I cannot help thinking, that it is aggrandizing hogwash. “Things Fall Apart” is but one book by one man and not the all-encompassing authority on all the people of an entire continent. However, when Africa is involved, many of us in the Western world tend to generalize. Achebe’s novel takes place in an Ibo village in present-day Nigeria. The main character is Okonkwo, a proud man, who has forged his own fortune and esteem. Nevertheless, Okonkwo’s story is not the most significant for me. He is …