Bite-size Book Reviews

These were all new, first-time reads for me, from some of my favorite authors. It was a nice variety of styles and time periods.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Random Acts of Murder by Christy BarrittRandom Acts of Murder, audiobook by Christy Barritt, read by Sandy Rustin

This book is the first in a new series. The heroine is appealing, with her good intentions, insecurities and quirky personality.  She fled the scene of a murder and now she’s being framed for it. The hero is an old high school classmate, all grown up and in charge of the murder investigation.  Ms. Barritt does a good job of pacing the mystery and concealing the identity of the killer.  I would have liked to see more about the heroine’s spiritual and physical conditions, but it is a light-hearted story with lots of other action.  The supporting characters seem interesting; I hope they are developed further in the rest of the series.

 

Snow on the Tulips by Liz TolsmaSnow on the Tulips, audiobook by Liz Tolsma, read by Susan Denaker

Ms. Tolsma has created a vivid portrait of a small Dutch village and its residents near the end of WWII. This is an intense, suspenseful story as much as a romance. The aggression of the Nazi troops was frightening and sad.  A fascinating theme was the relationships of the two sisters near the end of the story. They were both scared and heartbroken, begging their men to not leave them. One man would not fight or resist the enemy, and the other was active in the resistance movement.  The plights of the women, however, were the same.

 

 

A Lady of High Regard by Tracie PetersonA Lady of High Regard, audiobook by Tracie Peterson, read by Barbara Caruso

I liked the natural, dynamic family relationships in this book, and I found the heroine’s balanced behaviors refreshing. In spite of her belief that she was the only one who could save the world, she didn’t always rush headlong into dangers; sometimes she made a decision to be obedient and sensible. I would have liked to see the women from the docks portrayed with a little more intelligence and energy.  The story was a little slow at first, but it picked up momentum and the ending was exciting.

 

 

Buried Secrets by Irene HannonBuried Secrets, audiobook by Irene Hannon, read by Therese Plummer and Jennifer Grace

This is the first in Ms. Hannon’s new Men of Valor series. The romantic relationship is different in that almost as soon as they meet, the hero and heroine admit their attraction to each other and make it clear that they are not interested in a casual dating relationships. They can not become involved while they are working on the mystery, so they agree to wait to start seeing each other until the case is solved. It’s a nice twist on romantic suspense. The villain of the story, who is revealed almost immediately, is very villainous, creative and careful. The plot is revealed steadily. The ending, when the villain attacks the heroine, feels a little contrived, but otherwise it’s a solid story from one of my favorite authors.

 

A Matter of Character by Robin Lee HatcherA Matter of Character, audiobook by Robin Lee Hatcher, read by Kathy Garver

I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series – fluffy fun stuff – and picked up this one to finish the trilogy.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was excellent! The characters were solid – much more complex than in the previous two books. There were so many interesting layers to the plot and such conflicting goals that it was hard to imagine a happy ending, but of course all the loose threads were gathered up nicely and tied in a bow.

 

 

Bite-Size Book Reviews

It was another week or reading and rereading some of my favorite authors. I even read a nonfiction book!

 

rose of winslow street1. The Rose of Winslow Street, audiobook, by Elizabeth Camden

Another creative historical romance from this author. The heroine and the boys are good characters. I liked the way the hero was training up his sons, and his ability to identify fragrances was interesting, but otherwise he wasn’t very appealing. (That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book; I don’t judge a book by whether or not I personally like the characters.) There is a secondary storyline about the father and his inventions that leads to changes in family dynamics – nicely done! My favorite scene in the novel is when the hero meets his next door neighbor and they compare battle scars. Funny!

 

 

2. Back on the Streets, paperback, by Deborah RossBack on the streets

This nonfiction book is a testimony of God’s redemption. The author’s story of childhood poverty, neglect and abuse – and the healing, transforming grace and power of God – should be read by every human being. I met Deborah at a local ACFW meeting and purchased her book directly; it is not easily available. There is a printable order form at John Ross Ministries, or it can be purchased at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI. I found a few used copies on Amazon. I recommend it highly.

 

 

trojan gold3. Trojan Gold, paperback, by Elizabeth Peters

Another fun Vicky Bliss story, pretty much the same as the others. This one is about the Trojan gold jewelry discovered by Heinrich Schliemann and apparently lost in WWII. Someone has found it, lures Vicky and her pals to the site of the adventure, tries to kill them, etc… etc… etc…

 

 

 

 

against all odds4. Against All Odds, audiobook, by Irene Hannon

This is a cleverly-written story with a plot rooted in Mideastern diplomacy and terrorism. The male characters in this series are enjoyable, and I liked this level-headed heroine. She was annoyed and resistant to the intrusion of FBI protection, but once it was made clear that the threat was real, she was cooperative without being overly submissive or hysterical. One thing Ms. Hannon does very well is write of interactions between Christians and non-believers.

 

 

 

presumption of death5. Presumption of Death, audiobook, by Jill Paton Walsh and Dorothy Sayers

This isn’t a good stand-alone book; all of the best scenes depend heavily on a knowledge of the main characters and their history. If you know and like the Lord Peter books, this one is rich with the matured characters living in their country home at the start of WWII. I liked it very much. It feels like Dorothy Sayers, but it was finished by Jill Paton Walsh and published posthumously.

 

 

 

rush of wings6. A Rush of Wings, audiobook, Kristen Heitzmann

This is the first in the “Rush of Wings” series. Mountains, horses, cowboys. The heroine seemed to be in a daze for most of this book. While this was frustrating for the other characters (and me), it is appropriate to the plot. The rugged hero is so attractive that the reader doesn’t realize his failings until he becomes aware of them himself. Ms. Heitzmann’s skill is seen most clearly in the character of Michael. His gradual and inevitable self-destruction, woven into the larger story, is heartbreaking even when he is most villainous. Great writing.

 

 

I should be able to see a correlation between how much cleaning and sewing I have accomplished and number of audiobooks I have read that week, right?  The house is pretty tidy. I’ve been doing some almost-spring cleaning – finally got all of the Christmas boxes back up to the attic – and a little baking.

I made several cards this week and some knitting, but I’ve been slacking in the sewing room. I worked on a quilt for myself, but I need to get some more quilts made for etsy. I’m not making enough money as a writer than I can quit my day job just yet!