17 August 2009

Mini-Review Roundup

Last week I provided an opportunity for people to submit a mini-review via a Google Docs Form.

There were 6 submissions, so here they are! (Many thanks to the contributors too)

PANIC, Jeff Abbott, a thriller, rating: 3

Review by Bernadette from Reactions to Reading

A thriller featuring a young documentary film maker called Evan who discovers his mother's body, is hounded by her killers and learns that nothing he thought he knew about his family is true.
It was action packed as a good thriller should be but there were so many double (and triple) agents that I lost track of parts of the plot. I listened to this as an audio book and found, rarely, the narrator was not terribly good which I think detracted from my enjoyment.

NO MERCY, John Gilstrap, thriller, rating: 5

Review by Alan from A Million Blogging Monkeys

Jonathan Grave, formerly of Special Ops, has to avenge the vicious murder of his wife as he attempts to retrieve stolen nerve gas from terrorists.
Good features: Action, pacing, characters fighting evil
Gilstrap's other books, including Nathan's Run, are excellent.

BAD THINGS HAPPEN, Harry Dolan, mystery, rating 4

Review by Barbara from Barbara Fister's Place

A mysterious hero falls into an editorial job at a mystery magazine in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is compelled to find out what led to the publisher being pushed out a window, the first of several deaths. The writing pulled off a preposterous project: to write a puzzle plot reminiscent of golden age mysteries using a hardboiled style, keeping tongue in cheek but not overdoing the archness.
It's billed as a thriller. It isn't. Smart and fun, though.

BIG HAIR, FLYING COWS, Dolores Wilson, mystery, rating 4

Review by Maria from Bear Mountain Books

Bertie is a tow-truck driver in a small town. She's getting threatening letters. Who could it be? She knows everyone and everyone knows her. Is it a joke or does someone really have it in for her???
I loved the humor, the family sagas--love, laughter and tears! Some parts were a little silly and some things were resolved a little too quickly. It's a cozy and it was a fun read!
I will be looking for the next in this series and more from this author!

SHADES OF GRAY, Jessica James, historical fiction, rating 5

Review by Wisteria Leigh of Bookworms Dinner

Although the novel takes place during the Civil War in Virginia, it is also a passionate love story between Alex and Andrea who are fighting on opposing sides. Circumstances bring them together and they are forced to live in the same house. Andrea is a pro-Union Southerner. She can be the Southern Belle, petite and sophisticated or a rough riding horseman spying behind enemy lines for the Union. Alex, the epitome of southern gentile society is a ruthless Confederate Captain. The characters of Alex and Andrea are brought to life in their spirited dialog about the war and their patriotic honor.
Have you ever become so enchantingly entangled in reading a story that it no longer is print on a page but it becomes part of your life? The people have souls, they breathe. The setting is not flat but alive and auditory. You turn pages eager to find out what happens next, but when the end comes you grieve. Shades of Gray is that kind of book and it takes a masterful gifted storyteller like Jessica James to create the allure.
James writes with such wit and ease when Alex and Andrea are bantering back and forth: speaking, screaming, arguing and debating about the war, slavery, states rights and more. The alliteration is awesome and I could read sentences over and over again. Andrea’s unconventional spirit and intelligence makes her my favorite heroine in all literature. What a little spitfire: stubborn, full of spunk, so real and so genuine. I loved this book and carry the memory with me still. A feat not many authors can successfully do. Jessica James has an extraordinary talent. Her writing is untouchable. This one I see as a movie!!!

THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, Heather Gudenkauf, literary fiction, rating 4

Review written by Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness

Seven-year-olds Callie and Petra are best friends. Callie, traumatized by an event in her past, hasn't spoken for over three years. Petra has become Callie's voice, and the girls are inseparable. One summer morning, Petra's parents wake up to find their daughter missing. When they go to see if she's with Callie, they discover that Callie is missing too. Fearing the worst, a search begins for the two missing girls which drives the rest of the story forward.
This book is told in multiple voices, which gives you a sense of what the different characters are going through. I thought Gudenkauf did a great job capturing each of the unique voices, and the technique helped to show how much the different characters were not able to tell each other. I also thought the plot of the book -- the search for the two girls -- was compelling and entertaining; I stayed up pretty late for a few nights in a row because I was so eager to finish the book.
My one criticism is that I didn't feel like there was enough to show the relationship that Callie and Petra had. We get a lot of it in flashbacks, but there aren't many scenes with the girls together. Their relationship -- described as soul mates -- is such an integral part of the book, but I never felt like I knew enough about it or really believed it. However, I think this is a small quibble with a book that I enjoyed very much.
I received this book as part of a blog tour for TLC Book Tours. The book is Heather Gudenkauf's debut novel, and I think she did a fantastic job. The book is definitely recommended.

1 comment:

Marg said...

I don't think it will be a huge surprise when I say that of those listed Shades of Grey really caught my attention!


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