Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Review

Blood Defense (Samantha Brinkman, #1)Blood Defense by Marcia Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marcia Clark is a good writer and her plots are clever. I enjoyed her earlier books featuring a female prosecuting attorney in Los Angeles, so I eagerly read her latest, "Blood Defense", featuring a female defense attorney. Samantha Brinkman, a struggling attorney looking for a big case, finds one when a police officer is accused of killing a beautiful television actress and her roommate. When she begins to investigate the case against Dale Pearson, she soon decides that the actress was not the intended target, but her roommate. How can she prove it? Through diligent, and often illegal, techniques, Samantha begins to uncover very disturbing information. Suddenly her office is fire-bombed and her apartment is trashed. She's obviously getting too close to the truth. Her client, Dale, reveals information that almost shatters her and makes her wonder about his innocence. She winds up his case to her satisfaction and you think the story is over, but it's not. Without spoiling the plot, the ending is a shocker you'll never expect. I doubted there would be a sequel to this book, but apparently there is one.


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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Book Review

Crazy BloodCrazy Blood by T. Jefferson Parker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the latest of Parker's well-written books and he hasn't lost his touch. "Crazy Blood", set in the city of Mammoth Lakes, California focuses on half-brothers Sky Carson and Wylie Welborn. Both are excellent skiers and fierce competitors, with a dislike for each other that bubbles over in every encounter. Wylie and Sky have the same father, Richard Carson. Sky's mother, Cynthia, was pregnant with him when she found that her husband Richard was having an affair with his ski student Kathleen. Cynthia shot and killed Richard, gave birth to Sky in prison, while Kathleen gave birth to Wylie. Wylie returns to Mammoth Lakes after a five year absence in the military. Cynthia's out of prison and Kathleen has married and has two more children. Kathleen and her husband eke out a living with their little coffee shop "Let It Bean" which is rapidly losing business to Gargantua Coffee, a chain which has established itself in Mammoth Lakes. Both Sky and Wylie are preparing for the Mammoth Lakes ski championship, which Wylie won before he went into the service. As usual in Parker's books, most of the characters are troubled and flawed. Sky believes that Wylie purposely knocked him off course in a trial run and now wants revenge, threatening Wylie at every opportunity. Both are preparing for the next competition, with the winner having a chance for the Olympics. Complicating matters is champion ski boarder April Holly, training for the Olympics. She and Wylie soon become a couple. Wylie refuses to take Sky's threats seriously although it's clear Sky is a disturbed person who suffers from depression and hallucinations and could be capable of anything. Wylie devotes his time to practice, keeping his two sisters out of trouble, and trying to help his mother's coffee shop stay afloat. There is plenty of ski action within this drama, and an ending that is a twist you won't suspect. This is a novel that's hard to put down.


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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review

After You (Me Before You, #2)After You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book without having read "Me Before You". I loved it, couldn't put it down, yet I didn't want it to end. I'm now anxious to read the book that started it all. After losing Will, Lou travels to Paris, eventually comes back to England and stays with her parents. Still at loose ends, she takes a small flat in London and works at a pub in the airport. One night, while enjoying her rooftop deck, she falls off. An awning breaks her fall and although she is badly hurt, she survives. The paramedic who rescues her begins to figure in her life. During her long recuperation Lou continues to attend her grief group. A young man who also attends due to the loss of his mother makes comments that lead Lou to believe he is the paramedic's son. This case of mistaken identity further confuses Lou's life. When a teenager suddenly appears at her door and says she's Will's daughter, Lou almost unravels. The story unfolds as Lou gets to know Lily and believes that she truly is Will's daughter, although he died without knowing she existed. The story wraps up a little too neatly in the end but it is so well written that you love the characters and keep rooting for them until the inevitable happy ending.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book Review

The Good GirlThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has been compared to "Gone Girl", and it has some parallels, such as the formatting, and the amazing twist at the end, which you'll never guess. Otherwise, I don't think "The Good Girl" is as well written, and could have benefited from some good editing. The story is told in the voices of Eve (Mia's mother), Colin (the kidnapper), and Gabe (the detective), and revolves around the kidnapping of Mia and what the search for her does to the family dynamics. The story bounces back and forth between "before" the kidnapping and "after", so each chapter is titled Eve before, or Gabe after, depending on what is to be told. At first this made the reading difficult because we learn in the first chapter that Mia is missing, then in the next chapter she's returned with no details given. Then she's missing again. By the time you're at the end the pieces of the puzzle are finally in place. Eve is a sympathetic but weak character, married to a cold, indifferent man who always favored Mia's older sister over her. The characters of Colin and Gabe were written with such similar styles, with each using the same expressions frequently, that there would have been no difference between them if we didn't know that one was a detective and the other a criminal. The novel did keep me turning pages, and the ending was stunning. An enjoyable read if you don't get bored by much of the repetition, especially between Colin and Mia.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Do Editors Edit Anymore?

Today there are so many ways to publish it can be confusing.               Although traditional publishing continues to be the standard that confirms your writing is considered good, more people are choosing self-publishing because they don't want to wait to see their work in print.  Does that mean their writing isn't as good?  Some would argue that this is exactly what it means.  Yet, as an avid reader, who enjoys novels, most of which have been traditionally published, I'm amazed at the grammatical errors, format problems, and general lack of editing that I see in these books.  It's not as if an editor failed to look at the manuscript.  The acknowledgments that the author makes usually profusely thank their editor, their critique group, their relatives who offered their "honest" opinion, and on and on.  So how did these simple things get missed?  And why is the author thanking people for a job they didn't do well?  We're certainly responsible for our own writing, and for turning in a manuscript as polished and professional as possible.  Once that's done we count on those we hire to catch the things our eyes missed and tighten our manuscript.  I hear that traditional publishers have become much more critical as to what they'll accept these days.  I wish their editors were critical as well.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Book Review

MoonPies and Movie StarsMoonPies and Movie Stars by Amy Wallen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book. I really did. The author spoke at a meeting of my writers club and she was so engaging I immediately bought the book. I slogged through it to a very disappointing ending. It was overwritten to make the southern characters extreme stereotypes, and descriptions and emotions were repeated, and repeated......The premise is a search for Violet,the adopted daughter of Ruby Kincaid. who abandoned her husband and two children four years earlier for reasons unknown. Ruby runs a bowling alley in Texas and when she sees her daughter on a TV commercial, she decides to head to Hollywood to find her. Accompanying her are Violet's annoying mother-in-law, Ruby's sister Loralva, and the two grandchildren. There are many adventures along the way but they're boring, and so is this family. I won't give away the ending in case someone still wants to read this book, but I'd select it only if there's nothing else around.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas Readers and Writers

However you spend the holidays I hope they are special for you. I will be with family and friends and will reflect on this past year as I've continued to struggle writing my third book, while still promoting my first two. May your holidays go well and may the new year bring you great writing inspiration!

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