Category Archives: character

Janet Evanovich – Takedown Twenty

Humor is difficult to write – at least for most of us. I think Evanovich has humor etched into her personality. Even though I sometimes feel her Stephanie Plum series has probably gone on too long, I still laugh at the antics. Where else would you find a giraffe running loose in a neighborhood in Trenton, New Jersey, or any other city? It doesn’t show up on the news, there are no police reports…people are ignoring a giraffe.

I think the best scene in this book (notice I say scene because these books are very visual) is when Stephanie is getting a lesson about how to cook a steak and she manages to burn down the house. But you have to read it to appreciate it.

Donna Leon – By Its Cover

Donna Leon is an ex-pat from New Jersey who has lived in Venice, Italy for the past 30 years. In her Commissario Guido Brunetti series, while leading us through the waterways of the old city, she plunges us into the slow-paced atmosphere of Venice’s culture – its beauty, food, people, and problems. By Its Cover has Brunetti looking into the theft of rare antique books and pages (illustrations and maps) cut from books in a library. An ex-priest who was a possible witness to some of the thefts turns up murdered.

I find the pace of this story interesting as Brunetti starts his investigation apparently relaxed and not too concerned and increases his tempo and concern to the point where is barely taking time out to eat or sleep before he solves the crime.

Leon’s settings are fascinating and her plot keeps you reading, but for me the best part of her writing is the characters.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh – The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers. Isn’t that an intriguing name for a book? Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s first novel is superb. She tells the story of a young women coming out into the world from foster care with no family, no home, no education, no job… She has a love and knowledge of flowers, which finds her a job and connects her to people. The story swings between her current life and a past life with a foster mother who wanted to adopt her.

The novel is probably classified as literary or women’s fiction. Not my first choice for reading, but this book is exceptional. Diffenbaugh grabs your attention (and your heart) and holds it from beginning to end.

Ingrid Thoft – Loyalty

Ingrid Thoft’s first novel, Loyalty, features Fina Ludlow, a gritty Private Investigator in Boston who is the black sheep in a family of ambulance chasing lawyers. The plot twists and turns starting with Fina looking for her missing sister-in-law. The streets of Boston felt very familiar to me having spent much of my life there. Good story, good plot, good settings, good characters, and the book kept my interest from beginning to end.

Tom Nelson – My Story and I’m Sticking To It!

Small town Anywhere, USA.

Tom Nelson writes refreshing true stories about his hometown Fennimore – the people, the places, the adventures. He writes with humor and heart. For anyone who grew up in a small town (or even a small community in a big city), Fennimore feels like home. He paints a delightful picture that takes the reader back in time and brings back memories.

Lisa Genova – Love Anthony

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova is not a first novel, but she’s a new author for me. The story is about two women living on Nantucket who have no connection until late in the book. One is the mother of three daughters in the process of divorcing her husband and the other is a woman hiding out on the island after losing her autistic son who consumed her life for his eight short years. I won’t get into the plot or the story or I might ruin it for you. The book was fascinating. The author pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.

I plucked the book off the library shelf because I liked the cover or maybe because it takes place on Nantucket. I love the ocean and the Massachusetts islands. I’ve spent some time on Martha’s Vineyard and taken a few trips to Nantucket. The book was a surprise because I didn’t read the reviews on the back or the synopsis on the inside flap. I might not have picked it up. I’m not sure this book has a genre. If does it’s probably women’s fiction or it might fall into the literary category. I read very few of either. They are usually too sad for me, or in the case of women’s fiction, I find the main characters to be too victimized or too wrapped up in their own problems (although by the end of the book they usually get better). In this case, both women were believable and intriguing. I loved this story.

Joanne Simon Tailele – Accident

Great writing!  I finished Accident in one night. The author must have done a lot of research for this book – alcoholism, women’s prisons, legal issues…on and on. But more important to me, her characters are up close and personal – you get right into their heads. The book holds the reader’s attention from start to finish. I’m delighted that I bought it.