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Quickie Book Review – The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde

The Language of HoofbeatsThe Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Compelling read

This is the first book that I’ve read by Hyde, and I can say with out a doubt that it won’t be the last. The author has a way of getting down into the bits of human emotion that most people are afraid to explore. This novel is compelling, touching and the perfect introspective read for a blustery winter night.

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Quickie Book Review – Where There’s Smoke by Jodi Picoult

Where There's SmokeWhere There’s Smoke by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting short read… I’m a huge fan of Picoult’s, but I wasn’t completely won over by this novella. It needed more, ending at a place where nothing felt resolved and everything is still up in the air. Hopefully, it’s supposed to be a precursor to a full-length novel or something.

On a side note, I did like how the otherworldly elements were worked into this story– something I’m not used to reading with this author. I’d read more of the story for sure, if anything else comes out.

Quickie Book Review – Belle Cora by Phillip Marguilies

Belle CoraBelle Cora by Phillip Margulies

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every once in a while, a book or movie comes along that covers almost the entire life span of the central character, and I always love them. They do wear me out, though. Once done, I feel like I’ve lived through all those years right beside my beloved character.

This time, though, I felt as if I had lived the tumultuous life of Belle Cora. The ups, the downs, the heartbreaks and recoveries. The betrayals and fate’s fickle touch.

Extremely well-written, Belle Cora is surely a worthy read. Don’t miss this one!

Quickie Book Review – The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter PeopleThe Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fabulously creepy and morose. Bits of this novel remind me of one of the stories in Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King) because it’s similar in tone, creep-factor and historical aspects. So, that alone should tell you to read this, or course.

The story spans decades and involved a host of characters who all end up connected in one way or another by the end. I don’t want to give too much away, but the legend and lore involved in this was pitch-perfect and I loved how the mood built over the course of the story. McMahon may have just become one of my favorite contemporary authors with this one. It’s not to be missed!

***This book is being release today! Hurry, go get it!

Book Review – The Eve Tree by Rachel Devenish Ford

The Eve TreeThe Eve Tree by Rachel Devenish Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect while reading this book, and it turned out to be a little more literary than I had anticipated (in a good way!)but overall I adored The Eve Tree. It’s a compelling cross-section of familial shortcomings, and how those shape our lives.

Set on a family farm in a time where a crawling forest fire threatens everything, the family converges to make preparations. Three generations of people that grew up on the land, nurtured from and by it, struggle to come to terms with themselves and each other.

The author’s writing style is simple at time and lyrical at others, but throughout the novel her prose is cohesive fluid and I made myself slow down from my normal break-neck speed while reading it because I didn’t want to miss her evocative turn of phrases. Stellar writing and compelling plot made for a A+ novel!

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The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate- Book Review

I’ve been reading a lot of genre fiction lately and it was nice to nibble on a novel with literary flavorings for a change. I couldn’t have picked a better book than The Secret Of Lies to satisfy my craving for lyrical writing, finely-crafted prose and a compelling, intricate plot.

I’ll spare you the plotting, because in my opinion that is what blurbs are for. I will say that the tale spans several years- from the innocence of adolescence to the reality of adulthood. The natural progression of the novel rang true; meaning that the author has a gift with writing from a young-adult perspective as well as with the clarity of time and experience. The descriptive prose was not overdone, nor left short. Barbara Forte Abate is a writer I expect to see more of as her work reminds me of Anita Shreve or Jodi Picoult— both in terms of expertly crafted writing and with her way of seeing humanity with all its flaws, laying them open for the reader to draw their own conclusions.

The Secret of Lies is a wonderful, moving novel and I’d highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys literary or family dramas with a bent towards writers like Picoult, Shreve or many previous Oprah Book Club selections !

Product Description From Amazon:
Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.

Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 – The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control – torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul. And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled.

Colin Preston Rocked And Rolled – Book Review

Reading this book made me realize that it has been a very long time since I’ve read a book with a youngish male narrator. Sure, I’ve read some James Patterson, but those don’t really count, as his stories are less about characters and more about suspenseful plots. This book Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled is male-character-driven, and I found the change out of my norm refreshing. 

Boiled down to basics, it was the story of a young man, adrift during his first year of college for various reasons I won’t go into for spoiler reasons. It has quirky characters, like the Napoleon in the basement and the sage visiting Professor, and we always love Quirky around here. There’s also a good bit of musical commentary throughout (Colin is enamored with the Beatles and the novel is on 80’s time) which gives the novel an interesting flavor.

At times I felt a little irritated by the main character Colin. He thinks like a guy, and I don’t (unless we’re talking firearms, but I digress.) But  it’s possible to care for someone and want to chuck them on the back of the head a time or two (just ask my younger brother!) and such is the case with this novel. I found myself pulling for dear, wounded Colin, hoping that he would come through his troubles like we have all been forced to do at some point or another.

The author, Bert Murray, wove common themes of friendship, love and betrayal throughout the story with considerable skill. In the end, I was glad to have read the book. If you are looking for a coming-of-age tale with interesting characters, a smattering of 80’s music and classic rock and roll, then Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled should suit you just fine!

This book is available at Amazon / Barnes & Noble