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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More Book Reviews: Some Mysteries and Some Romances

I've been reading and reading, and have not been posting book by book, as I once did. But I'll catch you up with several mysteries here today. Mea Culpa.

Any Friend of Snowdrop is a short story or novella written by Kathie Freeman and offered free at Amazon for kindle users. Her main characters are a grouchy old man named Edgar and his neighbor's intrusive cat, named Snowdrop. Edgar has a favorite porch chair that he sits in each afternoon, next to his deceased wife's favorite chair, now often invaded by the drat cat. This is a tender love story of friendship, loss and love. I give it 5 stars easily.

Her Handyman, by Morgan Mandel, does not fail to delight readers who have read previous books of Mandel's. A handsome man engaged to his lifelong friend works at helping others solve their problems physically, and sometimes he is able to help improve a person's outlook on life as well. After all, having things fixed by an expert 'Jack of All Trades' would improve anyone's outlook. But when Zoe calls for help, Jake responds and encounters someone like no one he has ever encountered before, and suddenly his lifelong expectation of living life contentedly in a stable marriage to Angelina comes into question. And Zoe, someone who has been hurt by loss and perceived deception, has a lonely existence that Jake wants to help her escape. Angelina, surrounded by a loving, ever-present family, begins to suspect that Jake's work as Zoe's handyman may involve more than just hammers and wrenches. Morgan Mandel once again keeps the reader guessing who will bring Jake forward toward his ultimate goal of helping people as a psychologist until the closing chapter. This is a 5 star romance. To see my other reviews of Morgan Mandel's work, click here  and here and here and here!

Dead and Buried by Karen MacInerny is the second in a series of Gray Whale Inn mysteries, and takes  place in one of my favorite states of mystery: Maine. It also features one of my favorite things: recipes from a bed and breakfast menu. And in addition to the setting and the recipes, MacInerny weaves a complex tale among simple, ordinary people living simple, ordinary lives. Although I hadn't yet read the first book in the series, the characters were easy to get to know. The inclusion of a librarian who values the town's history and a minister whose 'sonorous tones' engages his following easily blends these unusual characters easily into the world of a single woman running her inn capably despite nature's unpredictable weather and a challenging, devious guest's careless water damage. The appearance of her handsome, Texan former fiance contrasts with her budding relationship developing with the  local catch, a fisherman.The descriptions of the cranberry bogs, the pine woods, and the bicycle as mode of transportation are all charming and inviting. When people begin dying, and bodies are found and mourned, the reader is invested in knowing who is responsible and what history has to do with the murders. Another 5 star review, and I look forward to reading more in this series!

This Time Forever by Patricia Paris is a mystery that involves a beautiful young woman, a handsome man, a little boy who has lost his mother to an early death, and has found a new home with the mother's friend. That the handsome man is actually the boy's father adds the first twist to the story. That this father has only recently discovered the boy's existence after searching for years, and that the mother's friend who has taken the boy in is actually the beautiful young woman now involved with the boy's father adds a level of deception and vulnerability to all involved. You'll wonder all the way through the story who will find out what first, and how the truth will change all of their lives. Another five stars for this story.

A Hardboiled Murder, an Annie Underhill Mystery. Michelle Ann Hollstein  writes a story of grandmothers, movie stars, grandsons, a marine, a police officer, an adulterer, a murder victim, an inscribed piece of jewelry, a spurned wife, and a tramride up the side of a mountain during fall foliage season. This is a breathtaking ride that involves a dead body falling from the roof of one of the tram cars. It involves a search on foot through the woods on the side of the mountain, with treacherous cliffs unseen in the dark. It's a story of family devotion, family competitiveness between grandmothers, and a story of a marriage between ages. It's a story of a book group, a callous lover, and an anticipated inheritance. It is quite a cast of characters, each carefully described in the foreword of the book and each well developed through the actions of the story. It is a delight to read, and another five star story.

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  1. Thanks so much for the lovely review of Her Handyman, Terry. You have a wonderful gift of succinctly summarizing a novel without giving too much away.

    Morgan Mandel

    1. Morgan is so right, Terry. Lovely reviews, interesting to read in themselves, and tempting us with delicious-sounding books. Thank you!

    2. Thank you, Morgan and Radine. Reviewing well written books is what I like to do best! And I learn so much from reading your works.

  2. Terry,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed A Hardboiled Murder. Thank you so much for the wonderful review!!! It means so much to me. I appreciate it! I hope you're having a wonderful day! :-)
    Michelle Hollstein (Matkins)

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I'm glad you saw the review here. I did enjoy the story, and will look for more stories featuring Annie Underhill~ you've inspired me to try to finish my first fiction attempt this winter. Maybe you'll see it at Amazon eventually!


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