Tag Archives: fiction

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.

Susan Rogers Cooper – Gone in a Flash

Gone in a Flash by Susan Rogers Cooper. I don’t usually comment on books I don’t like but I picked up a book that was supposed to be funny and a mystery. A good combination – I like both. But I felt like I was reading a bad TV sitcom that needed a laugh track. Everyone was insulting everyone else, yelling a screaming, running around doing stupid things. The bad guys were like “Dumb and Dumber.” I read a few chapters and didn’t finish it. It went back to the library. I don’t like most TV sitcoms either. So it could be something you would enjoy if you’re a fan of that sort of humor.

Mary Louise Kelly – Anonymous Sources

Anonymous Sources is Mary Louise Kelly’s first novel. Kelly is an insider of the news media and her protagonist, Alexander James, is a reporter who becomes obsessed with the death of a young man at Harvard University. James is convinced it is murder. She follows a strange tale that takes her from Massachusetts to Cambridge, England, and back to Washington, DC. She tangles with British and US spies and stumbles onto a terrorist scheme.

The book is fast-paced and fun. Kelly’s plot keeps you reading. You will find intrigue, humor, interesting characters, and insight into news reporting and the intelligence world. It’s one of those books I read in a couple of nights.

Steve Ruediger – P.S.: I’m Innocent

This story is a romp through Florida with the feel of “The Perils of Pauline.” The heroin, Lizzy, is a somewhat naïve, sexy, young woman who keeps `getting caught with her pants down,’ literally. She has a romantic interlude with the villain before she realizes he is a villain.

She stumbles over illegal aliens who are being shipped into Florida. She finds they are treated like slaves by a farmer who believes he is doing the work of God. She is shot at, kidnapped (twice), rescued by an old mafia don, later by her hero, and even once by a Florida panther. Although, she is pretty adept at rescuing herself.

It is fast paced and an easy read. There is plenty of violence and some romance. A little taste of everything for everyone.

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.

Juliann Garey – Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See

Juliann Garey wrote a dark novel into the mind of a manic-depressive, Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See. The title is what made me pick it up and take it home. I kept reading because of my fascination with bipolar disorder. The main character in my novel, The Janus Code, is bipolar but not nearly as tormented as Greyson Todd in this novel. The novel takes us down the deteriorating cycle of an anguished mind. Don’t read this book if you are looking for “happy endings.” This is a first novel for Ms. Garey. I hope she writes more.

Settings and Cultures

I love a story with a good setting. One that pulls you in and makes you feel as if you are there. The three books I’ve read this week are in very diverse places, but all made me feel I was in the worlds the authors were describing.

Tamarack County by William Kent Krueger is set in Northern Minnesota in the winter. Even though I’m here in warm, sunny Florida I felt the cold and the snow. I was shivering in my warm bed while reading. Krueger also surrounds you with a local culture – a mixture of small town and the “Rez” as he calls it. Native American culture weaves in and out of the story.

The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home is set on the coast of Scotland. I could smell the salt air and feel the loneliness of a deserted village on a coastal island where fishing had failed and the families had relocated to the mainland.

Both of these books were good mysteries with complex plots and interesting characters. But what sticks with me is the setting and culture of each book.

The third book is entirely different – A True Novel (II) by Minae Mizumura. I picked this up by accident at the library, not realizing it was the second part of the story. (I’ll go back and find the first book.) The story is about a Japanese man who moves to New York and makes his fortune. Apparently the first book is set in New York, but the second book is all in Japan. I could picture it, feel it, (even though I’ve never been there) and sense the changes in the culture as time passes. This is not the type of novel I usually read. I think the setting is what kept me reading even more than the sad story.

Going back to some other books I’ve recently read and enjoyed, I believe setting is part of the attraction. Deborah Crombie’s The Sound of Broken Glass is apparently a book in a series. I haven’t read the previous books but had no problem jumping in at number fifteen. The setting is in South London’s Crystal Palace, a neighborhood of musicians, a village within the city. The Crystal Palace was a huge glass structure built for the Great Exhibition of London in 1851 in Hyde Park and rebuilt in an even larger version in an upscale neighborhood in South London in 1854. It burned to the ground in 1936, but the neighborhood still goes by that name. I was drawn into the neighborhood and the musical culture.

Lost by S. J. Bolton is more character driven, but the setting in the back streets of London captured me.

Colin Cotterill’s The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die is the latest of his stories set in Laos in the 1970’s. He brings you into this strange place on the other side of the world and he does it with humor.