I haven’t published a “weekly” book review since the end of October. Oops. Excuses… NaNoWriMo, followed by Christmas. I read at least 15 books in that time, even if I didn’t get much writing done. The following, except for the Mary Stewart book, are all Christian fiction in a variety of genres.
1. Last Light, Paperback, by Terri Blackstock
Last Light is the first book in the Restoration series, about a Y2K-style event happening in the suburbs. That setting made it unusual. It wasn’t in the country, where it’s easier to improvise water, heat, and food, and it wasn’t exactly like Y2K, which was a predicted event. This was a devastating event that happened with no warning. The characters were interesting, with believable responses and relationships for that setting. The mystery seemed like a secondary event, but it was wrapped up neatly at the end. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.
2. Grandmother’s Letters, Kindle, by Rebekah Jones
This is a sweet story with unexpected plot twists. Several story lines run separately for most of the story, gradually connecting near the end. Ms. Jones is good at writing about relationships. The characters are well-defined and interact naturally; the crotchety old man and the children are especially engaging. Although the plot is mostly about a treasure hunt, the resolution to that puzzle is almost anti-climactic after more interesting discoveries along the way.
3. Without a Trace, Audiobook, by Colleen Coble
This is the first book in the Rock Harbor series. Ms. Coble does a good job of portraying a terrifically-stressed heroine who is dealing with the recent deaths of her husband and son as well as demanding relatives and a career made more complex by her personal situation. There is a particularly effective plot thread in the story that makes the reader anticipate its discovery by the characters. It’s set in the far north, with canine search and rescue teams. What’s not to love about that?
4. Tarnished Silver, Kindle, by Chautona Havig
Chautona Havig is a writer who can cross genres and styles while still maintaining her own “voice.” Tarnished Silver is a story of two stubborn people who are forced to confront the 25 year old secret they thought they had buried. Their story reminded me of the urgent attitude of the young lovers in Romeo and Juliet. The story is enhanced by a sensitive portrayal of multicultural relationships.
5. Madam, Will You Talk? paperback, by Mary Stewart
Retro Read! This is an old favorite from Mary Stewart, who has the gift of being able to balance exotic locations, romance, young and old friends and family members in a complex mystery. Her books always have brave heroes, dashing heroines, bad bad guys and tension, usually with violence. This one has a surprising motive and resolution, with a heart-wrenching twist at the end. But don’t worry, they all live happily ever after.
6. The Survivor, audiobook, by DiAnn Mills
This book is a sequel to “The Chase”, which I loved. I have to admit, I started this book feeling annoyed that the relationship between the hero and heroine from “The Chase” had fallen apart. It is a well-plotted story, keeping me uncertain about the secondary characters. Almost any of them could have been guilty, including the damsel-in-distress. This book is on the edgy side of Christian fiction, with considerable violence and immorality (not in the main characters!) I liked the book very much, as I do all of Ms. Mills’s novels, but I hope the romance sticks this time.