Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Benediction by Kent Haruf

Hello All,

I am a lucky reader of an advance reader's copy of Benediction by Kent Haruf. I fell in love with Kent's writing and characters with Plainsong, which remains my favorite of his books.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/benediction defines benediction as 1. A blessing.
2. An invocation of divine blessing, usually at the end of a church service, among several other definitions. These two I feel are most appropriate to this book.

As with other books by Mr. Haruf, this book has several storylines: the end of Dad Lewis's life as he succumbs to cancer; the story of young Alice as she adjusts to living with her grandmother, neighbor to the Lewis's; how a minister and his family come to an early end of his career; and how a older mother and daughter move in and out of the lives of these people of Holt, Colorado.

There is sadness in this book, but also happy moments, as people come together, and look over the good moments in their respective lives. Regrets exist too, but those are there for everyone.

I believe the title Benediction refers to the blessing that people can be in other people's lives. Almost all of these characters are a blessing to each other. It's what we can do for others, and what we can appreciate when others do for us.  

Happy Reading,

Benediction by Kent Haruf 2013 Knopf ISBN 9780307959881

This book was sent to me for review by Knopf; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely

Hello All,

Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely is an excellent into the world of all things Austen. In this adventure, Elizabeth Parker and her great Aunt Winnie travel to England for a Jane Austen Festival being held in Bath. First they stop in London to enjoy some of its wonders, and then move on to Bath and the Festival.

On the plane to England, aunt and niece overhear, then become involved in, a conversation that renowned Professor Richard Baines is having with a female student about the deeper meanings he has "discovered" in Jane Austen's works. All of these meanings/stories are sordid, and go against all Jane Austen scholarship. Before the professor can share his "findings" at the Festival, he is murdered, and Elizabeth is the unfortunate one to find his body. Elizabeth and Aunt Winnie are pulled into some amateur sleuthing, by family members of the professor, and by a friend of Aunt Winnie's who is accused of the murder. As they find out that detecting in England is not all Miss Marple, they discover another body and eventually solve the murders.

I loved the settings and atmosphere of London and Bath. I also loved the setting of the Jane Austen Festival, and hopefully a real one exists. This is one of the few books I've read where I would have liked more descriptions of London, Bath and the Festival; usually I look for a little less description, but this was a trip I wanted to know more about. I also thought that the character of Professor Richard Baines was perfectly despicable and I liked that I felt that way.

I found Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely to be a good read and I recommend it!

Happy Reading!

Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely 2012 Minotaur Books ISBN 9781250007421

This book was sent to me for review by Minotaur Books; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blog Sabbatical

Hello All!

As you may have noticed, I have not written a blog post in over three months. I seem to have some kind of writer's block.

For now, and possibly for the summer, I'm going to take a sabbatical from blogging. I've had some positive changes in my life (Tucson Festival of Books, visitors from out-of-state, started learning blues and swing dancing, & more); maybe these other adventures are keeping my brain from focusing on writing.

I hope to be back soon!

Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

Hello All,

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie is an excellent entry in the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series. Duncan and Gemma's relationship continues to grow, their blended family shows the natural ebb and flow of children at different ages, and both their careers take interesting turns.

Rebecca Meredith, at age thirty-five, is perhaps preparing for her last chance at the Olympics in rowing when she is found dead in the river. She is also a Metropolitan detective, one who can get very focused on her work. Duncan, returning from vacation, and his junior partner, Doug, end up working on Rebecca's case. They aren't sure it's murder, but due to her skills at rowing and other evidence, it becomes clear that Rebecca didn't drown.

Gemma, who is just finishing up family leave time for their foster daughter, follows up on another angle of the case, that of Angus Craig, a former senior officer with the Met, who resigned under a cloud. Rebecca had reported him for rape, and Gemma had a long ago run in with Craig also, but without the same results. Gemma and her junior partner start unofficially investigating Craig as a possible serial rapist.

More suspects are added to the mix, such as an ex-husband of Rebecca's, and her current lover. Who would have wanted Rebecca Meredith dead? Was it personal, related to her detective work, or because she was going to test her skills for the Olympics? The path to the resolution twists and turns with interesting results.

I enjoy this series by Deborah Crombie thoroughly, and love both the mystery and the personal lives of Gemma and Duncan. This entry in the series stands very well on its own; no need to start at the beginning. Unless you want to...

Happy Reading!

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie 2012 William Morrow ISBN 9780061990618

This book was sent to me for review by William Morrow; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.