Bite-size Book Reviews

Another eclectic collection of books this week. While Christian fiction – especially romantic suspense – is my favorite, I also enjoy some “clean” secular books.  I usually find those in the Golden Age authors, especially Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham and Agatha Christie. Clive Cussler and Elizabeth Peters, although their writing styles are entirely different, are also enjoyable.

 The first book in this week’s list is FREE in Kindle version!

bid for love1. A Bid For Love, kindle, by Rachel Ann Nunes

This fast-moving story has all the right elements for a romantic suspense novel: the hero and heroine have similar jobs at art galleries, they are at an art auction and both want the same unusual statue, they both have friends and family support networks, and they are both Christians. The bad guys are street thugs and the FBI agents must be avoided until the hero gets the statue back to his boss. It was a little confusing at times, but I enjoyed it. The scenes with the family of young children were especially appealing.



night train to memphis2. Night Train to Memphis, paperback, by Elizabeth Peters

The second-to-last book in the Vicki Bliss series shows a significant improvement in character development, not only of Vicki, but of other characters as well. Relationships have changed, and the conflict is more intense. The setting is Egypt, which is the author’s field of expertise, so that may be why the story is better than the previous ones. The complex plot is woven into real-life issues challenging Egyptian archaeologists today. Schmitt, previously played as a comic figure, has developed into a more intelligent and meaningful character, garnering more respect from others in the story. There is a feeling of conclusion in this book, but Elizabeth Peters did finish one more Vicki Bliss book before her recent death.



icecutters daughter3. The Icecutter’s Daughter, audiobook, by Tracie Peterson

Ms. Peterson has captured the community life of European immigrants to Minnesota in this interesting story. The heroine’s relationships with her male family members and her female friends from town create a multi-faceted character who behaves naturally throughout the book. The hero is a nice manly guy with good prospects, torn between his old and new lives. Business development in the region for that time period is portrayed in the icecutter’s family as he finds a way to survive industrial competition and also in the expansion of the furniture business.



devils gate4. Devil’s Gate, audiobook, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

Action, adventure… standard Clive Cussler fare! This is one of the novels in Numa Files series. The plot is easier to follow than some of the Cussler books with more personal interaction and less action. The African dictator was less interesting than his double-crossing mercenary. The beautiful Russian scientist/spy is a fun character, but Paul and Gamay Trout steal the show in this story.



nightlight5. Night Light, Kindle, by Terri Blackstock

The “Last Light” community (from the first book in this series) has survived the initial crisis, but the government has started to establish order through new economic policies, conscription of mechanics and engineers, seizure of all working vehicles and plans to maintain an orderly society. The various characters’ responses to these edicts represent an interesting cross-section of society. This book introduces a new social group to the series: drug users, criminals, abandoned children, and others who live in an apartment complex without the skills, knowledge and resources of the more privileged suburbanites. Ms. Blackstock creates a believable dynamic between the groups of people. This book kept me up until 2:30am.

SPECIAL KINDLE DEAL:  THE RESTORATION SERIES BY TERRI BLACKSTOCK:  The above book costs $7.99 and is worth every penny of it, but you can get the entire four-book set HERE for $8.99! I have only read the first two so far, but I loved both of those, and I plan to read the others soon.

restoration series

enter a murderer6. Enter a Murderer, paperback, by Ngaio Marsh

A classic retro read with the author’s favorite theater setting. Inspector Alleyn is “immature” in this novel, with silly behaviors that distract from the story instead of giving insights to his character. The journalist is a good Watson, and his impetuous behavior is consistent throughout the series. The worst character is the lead female, and her interactions with the other characters are unconvincing. And yet, it’s a great detective story from a Golden Age author and has a permanent place on my bookshelves.