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Robert B. Parker’s FALLOUT by Mike Lupica (a review)

   5 out of 5 stars     ~~    Book Review

Mike Lupica returns to write this most current release, FALLOUT.  Another Jesse Stone true crime created by Robert B. Parker.  And it’s flawless, as usual.  Mike writes in the voice of Parker effortlessly and I really enjoyed this one. 

The small town of Paradise is devastated when a star high-school baseball player is found dead at the bottom of a bluff just a day after winning the team’s biggest game. For Jesse, the loss is doubly difficult—the teen was the nephew of his colleague, Suitcase Simpson, and Jesse had been coaching the young shortstop. As he searches for answers about how the boy died and why, he is stonewalled at every turn, and it seems that someone is determined to keep him from digging further.  (www.amazon.com)

I never cease to marvel at these authors who keep Parker’s storytelling alive for us. All successful authors in their own right.  Lupica, one of the most prominent sports writers in America,  and Reed Farrel Coleman for Jesse Stone.  Ace Atkins for Spencer and Sunny Randall. There is a  list too long to list here.  All speak with the same clarity and write as if they are Robert B. Parker incarnate. 

Check out my fascinating INTERVIEW with Mike Lupica and Ace Atkins.

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Watch for more interviews with authors.  October: Simon Gervais for ROBERT LUDLUM, November:  Horror writer, Kevin J. Kennedy, December: Marc Cameron, writing for TOM CLANCY

 

A few BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

Book Review ~~ The Boardwalk Bookshop

4 out 0f five stars  ~~ Book Review

 

No surprise here. Susan Mallery dishes up another excellent contemporary fiction for women. A great story with lots of plot twists and romance. A real page-turner. 

This time three women who don’t know each other share a lease on a retail space none of them can afford by themselves. They set up shop, books, muffins, and gifts, right off the sand, on the boardwalk in Santa Monica, California. Each has been wounded by love in the past, romantic or familial; it all hurts the same. 

All three main characters are equally balanced with in-depth storylines, so the reader has the opportunity to care about each one of them. Will their particular shop succeed? Will true love win out?  How many nasty turns will life serve up before the women find happiness?

I highly recommend this as your next book. But it’s no secret (by now) that I’m a huge fan of Susan Mallery myself.

Did you miss my Interview with author, Susan Mallery?
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Book Review ~~ Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs

        3 out of 5 stars  ~~  Book Review 

 

A charming story to be sure. Love finally conquers, maybe.  A breath-taking story of how the system fails sexual assault victims and the justice system turns those women into suspects when they are forced to defend themselves. Shocking, but true if you are poor, a woman, and NOT white.  Deftly told by Susan Wiggs. 

I rarely comment on book covers but this cover does the story such an injustice. The beautiful cake, on the cover, suggests that a bakery is the focal point of the story. A woman with blond hair (the only part they got right) with ugly hands and an even uglier manicure.  Sure, the love interest has a bakery, but it plays such a minor role that it doesn’t even deserve a mention. 
This story is about BBQ and I would have thought (if the cover designer had read even the first few pages), a big platter of BBQ ribs would have been on the front. Always, ALWAYS use a hand model if you’re going to stage a cover with ‘hands’.   Cooks don’t have manicures (gels), nail polish (very unsanitary). They have short clean, unpolished nails and knife-nicked hands.

But I digress.  The woman in this story is sympathetic, without being a typical ‘victim‘.  There are times when all she has in the world is her BBQ and the custom sauces she has invented.  The reader likes her.  If the reader is a woman, she can relate to Margot.  No one likes a happy ending more than me, but it’s touch-and-go. 

On sale: July 26th
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Did you miss my Interview with Susan Wiggs? 
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Coming soon! July’s author interview with Donna Ashcroft.

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A Teaching Book Review

This could have been a great story, a fascinating, enjoyable family saga spanning several generations.

Instead, the writer, Bill Kitson, chose to tell his readers the story, instead of showing them.  Chapters of telling, telling, telling.  Then a half page of dialogue and ‘showing’.  For example, the rift between patriarch, Albert, and his son, James. Albert’s decline into dementia would have been an interesting sub-plot if the writer had shown it; not told it.   Jesse’s arduous journey from war-torn Europe back home to England. The First World War (section) was reduced to a few chapters of ‘telling’. Ugh.  Leaving this reader not caring about Kitson’s characters much at all. 

The characters that this writer created were interesting, predictable in places, but on the whole pretty good. But, with the storytelling style of ‘telling’ rather than showing who these people were they were not deeply drawn.  Dialogue enriches not only the story but the characters.  Telling rather than showing is, to my mind, a lazy way of writing.  

for the story.                                                                                     For the writing. 

The formatting was distracting. The pages were not titled with the traditional title and author’s name.  In the front or back, there was no list of Kitson’s other books; a missed marketing opportunity. There was no author biography. 
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Book Review ~ Olivia Holmes Inherited a Vineyard

 4 out of 5 stars ~~ Book Review

In one of my recent searches for new authors to read (and maybe review) I bought this one by Mark Daydy. I wasn’t

 enamored of the title…too long, not very creative and certainly a spoiler alert. Why did the writer give away the plot of the whole story? I thought, ‘a much better title would been  Vineyard in the Moonlight or Grapes to Glass or The Vines. I could go on and on about the wrongness of the title but instead of giving it a pass, I bought the book. 

Next I’m not a fan of a man writing chick lit (fiction for women). They simply don’t have the empathy to write about women for women. I scoffed but ran my credit card anyway. 

I’ve been eating crow with each page that I turned.  This was an excellent story, with well drawn characters.  There was a certain crispness that I don’t find with female authors, much as I luv ’em.  My only critique was that Olivia was a bit ‘wishy-washy’ at times. It would have been a stronger story if she had been more decisive about (for example) leaving her job. She could have done it sooner in my opinion.  But what PANACHE! when she finally did it!  

I’m looking forward to reading the sequel very soon.  

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How Protagonists Engage Readers….or Not

What’s the secret?  Why does one protagonist immediately engage the reader when another is slow to achieve this or never does?  I recently read two novels, back to back, (it sounds like I read sporadically; not true, I have a book in my hand 24/7). 

Anyway, back to my point…..one book (Growing Season by  Melinda Foster) had a single woman, late 30’s, who’s life falls apart.  Long time relationship ends suddenly, and she is found to be redundant at her job of 14 years with the same company. (Most of us can relate to some or all of this.) She is called away to her home town to help family with the business and a small farm.  She was immediately empathetic due to the excellent writing and character development. 

The other book, House on the Harbor by Elizabeth Bromke was not engaging. The four sisters, Kate, Amelia, Megan, and Clara came across as mealy-mouthed and victims. Yep, all four of them. Maybe if the development of the characters had been stronger. Maybe if the author had the reader spend more time with each sister. And the house on the harbor was a non-entity. The house should have been the fifth character.   At first glance, they have  each inherited 1/4 of the house. At first glance….

But this reader didn’t care about any of these women.  I kept speaking to them: “put your big girl panties on and move forward!”  I did finish the book but felt relieved when I had, not satisfied. 

What’s the secret?  Good writing, finely drawn characters, people the reader can relate to.  
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Book 1 in series

 

 

 

 

Book Review ~~ The Raffle Baby

 5 out of 5 stars ~~~~ Book Review

 

This is one of those rare books where the reviewer wants to give it ten, no, a hundred, no, two thousand stars!  The writing is stunning. Ruth Talbot has a delicate, beautiful usage of words that we mortal writers can only dream of for ourselves. 

And her words craft a wonderful story. Griping, grim, tragic at times, nostalgic and loving. About friendship, perseverance, crushing hardship, with no real happy ending.  Talbot takes us tramping across this great nation of ours during one of the bleakest times in our history. The Great Depression. I, for one, never imagined that children….yes, you heard me correctly….children were cast out into the world to join the thousands of ‘hoboes‘ who jumped on and off trains and used them as their only transportation. Following work and seasonal harvests in order to not starve to death. 

Beautiful writing….a book you’ll want to take your time with. Mulling over a turn of phrase in the prose if you are a ‘English literature’ buff….or view, in your mind’s eye, the stunning visuals Talbot paints for her readers. 

This appears to be Talbot’s debut novel and we can only hope that she is working on her next one.  
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet
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Nora Roberts Land by Ava Miles ~~ Book Review

2 out of 5 stars     ~~   Book Review

I ordered more books by this author (hope it was not a mistake) based on the first one I had read. This offering Nora Roberts Land ruined a pretty good story.  The author kept referring to book titles by Nora Roberts and the protagonists of each story. It became very distracting, very quickly.  It smacked of: ‘See how clever I am to know all these titles and their heroes?‘  

I first suspected that this was an indie published book because the formatting was all wonky.  That’s the first clue that an author self publishes. That’s not a bad thing but the author should do their very best at formatting.  The ‘justify’ margin selection would have solved many of the wonky right margins found in this book. It was obvious to me that she had used the ‘left’ margin key. Very distracting. 

The characters were a little shallow. The plot was okay but with the many references to Nora Roberts’ characters it came across as CORNY. 
The sex scenes were lascivious rather than salacious or  scintillating. 

I never finished this book. An unheard-of thing for me.  I usually stick to the bitter end. 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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An Irish Country Yuletide by Patrick Taylor ~~ Book Review

 3 out of  5 stars    An Irish Country Yuletide

A sweet little story ideal for an easy read during the holiday season. If you’re a fan (which I am) of the Irish Country series, you’ll love this novella. 

The village of Ballybucklebo turns out strong for the Christmas season.  All the characters that readers have grown to love return in this book.  Including a few new ones that are a complete surprise. The prodigal son returns after decades of being banished in Australia.  A new young family (temporarily) in trouble arrives to shelter for awhile.  Engagements and new marriages abound.  

Fans of Patrick Taylor will thoroughly enjoy this book. 

Did you miss my Interview with Patrick Taylor?
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde **Review

5 stars     ** Book Review **

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s brilliance as a story teller knows no bounds. In Boy Underground she creates wonderful characters that the reader loves
and cheers for by page three. Secondary characters shine with believability. While the reader may hate some of them, Hyde gives the reader some insight to why they are such terrible parents, friends, and classmates. Dross and riffraff of a small town. 

While weaving this wonderful story about four high school misfits, Hyde brings forth a time in America’s history that should drip with shame for all of us. Woven through this fiction is non-fiction history about social norms and the betrayal of US  citizens, on so many levels.
(Note: This is as much as I am willing to say about the story to avoid, as I do, spoiler alerts.)  

This book is a must for your library; to read and read again and then to keep on the shelf that holds your most treasured books. 

Now available at your favorite book store.
Did you see my Interview with Catherine Ryan Hyde
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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