Sunday, June 29, 2008

Leaving November (Clayburn Novels Series #2) by Deborah Raney

Daughter of the town drunk, Vienne Kenney has escaped Clayburn for law school in California. But after failing the bar exam—twice—she is back home with her tail between her legs, managing Latte-dah, the Clayburn cafe turned upscale coffee shop. Jackson Linder runs the art gallery across the street and Vienne has had her eye on him since she was a skinny seventh grader and he was the hunk high school lifeguard who did not know she existed. Now it is his turn to fall for her and suddenly Clayburn seems like a pretty nice place to be...until Vienne discovers that Jack is fresh out of rehab and still struggling with the same addiction that ultimately killed her father.

My Review:
As a child of an alcoholic, I can relate to Vienne Kenney. She does not really want to return to painful memories of Clayburn, KS after her mother's stroke, but she must. The business, a cafe, needs attention. Vienne turns the lunchroom into an upscale coffee shop and names it Latte-dah and meets a bit of opposition from some in the small town. Romantic tension is provided by Jackson Linder, Vienne's high school crush, when he returns from rehab to reopen his art shop across the street. Jackson has problems of his own as he struggles to stay sober. Can Vienne overlook Jackson's past? Will her mother approve the changes in the cafe? Will there be enough business to keep these two new business ventures going?

This is the first book by Deborah Raney I've read, and what a delightful surprise it is! It will not be the last one of hers I read.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Whole Truth by James Scott Bell

Desperate to keep his law firm afloat, attorney Steve Conroy has agreed to take the case of convicted criminal, Johnny LaSalle, particularly since there's a lucrative retainer connected with taking this case. After interrogating Johnny LaSalle, Steve wonders, "Could this be his long lost brother who was kidnapped at age seven from their bedroom and never found?" Is it possible to unravel the world of corruption and redeem his firm and a possible relationship with a long-lost brother?

My Review:
An addicted lawyer struggles to keep clean while life seems to dump on him. He discovers his kidnapped brother is still alive but is on the other side of the law. The characters are not believable; one is a religious fanatic who has a following of young, strong men. He twists things upside down and inside out. It is difficult for me to believe that so many could believe an idiot like this. This novel is filled with metaphors and similes such that it drags. Then as if time is slipping away, it skips quickly to an unrealistic ending, leaving this reader scratching her head. I've read other novels that this author has penned and enjoyed them. This is not his best work.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Elevator by Angela Hunt

I'm often asked to recommend a "good book." First, my definition of a good book is one that is well written. It's difficult for me to enjoy a book with run-ons and sentence fragments. A good read must have believable characters, the plot should flow, and finally, the ending should satisfy with a sound conclusion. In addition, I want to read material without R-rated language or scenes.

I've never gone wrong with an Angela Elwell Hunt book. Her motto is to "Expect the Unexpected." I've read twenty of her diverse novels. Each time I read an Angela Hunt book, I'm sure that she cannot possibly surprise me with yet another new twist, but I turn the page and blink! Angie does not disappoint.

My Review:
In one of her latest, The Elevator, set in Tampa, Florida during an approaching hurricane, three women become trapped in an elevator. You'll meet: a betrayed wife, seeking revenge and carrying a gun, a mistress with new knowledge, determined to confront her lover, and a cleaning lady, afraid of having her horrible secret revealed. They soon discover that the one thing they have in common is--a man! I can't reveal more or I'll spoil it for you.

Although I did not want to put this one down, I found myself reading slowly to savor every word. The ending is impossible for any reader to guess. Try it, you'll like it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sincerely, Mayla (Just As I Am Series #2) by Virginia Smith

Mayla Strong’s life is finally starting to seem normal. She has been working at the same job for four years, living with a good friend, and enjoying a deep relationship with God. But when Mayla is suddenly laid off, the placid surface of her life is shattered. In this touching sequel to Just As I Am, Mayla comes face-to-face with the responsibilities and joys of friends and family. As Mayla tries to help her friends, she realizes that God has all the answers—the trick is letting go long enough to let Him prove it.

My Review:
This sequel to Just As I Am, takes up with the main character, Mayla, still struggling with issues. Like the first book, this one made me LAUGH out loud! I love the way Virgina Smith tells a story. What a terrific read.