Reviews by Carol T. (Ankeny, IA)

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Lamp Black, Wolf Grey
by Paula Brackston
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey (7/3/2015)
An easy read. If you like Brackston's other books, you'll like this one. A few key characters aren't as well developed as I'd have liked and at least one major problem was solved by a character I didn't realize could solve it, but this book has possibilities.
What Doesn't Kill Her: A Reeve LeClaire Series Novel
by Carla Norton
Good read (4/25/2015)
A little slow at the beginning, and I had trouble believing a girl who was kidnapped and tortured for 4 years miraculously recovered enough to search for her own torturer, and the torturer was very 1-dimensional thru the entire book. However, as the book went on the protagonists became more 3-dimensional and more interesting. An easy read for a rainy afternoon.
The Witch of Painted Sorrows: A Daughters of La Lune Novel
by M. J. Rose
OK, but... (3/14/2015)
The Witch of Painted Sorrows had promise and perhaps if I were "hooked" on the genre I'd have enjoyed it more, but I was lost by the constant need to "tell" me rather than "show" me and to invest every instant with symbolism and portent.
The Well
by Catherine Chanter
Promise (2/18/2015)
This might be a good book for a book club discussion, but it just doesn't click for this single reader. The writer has terrific and elegant prose, lots of promise, but the first person approach isn't working. If we're only in the protagonist's head, we should know what she knows as she knows it, but she reveals it so slowly that I often wondered if she'd actually lived through the things she was revealing.
The Rabbit Back Literature Society
by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
Rabbit Back Literature Society (10/26/2014)
"Elusive" is the best word to describe this book. Everything about the book is elusive. Nothing is as it first appears - and nothing remains what it seems to have been. Interesting.
Accidents of Marriage
by Randy Susan Meyers
Predictable (6/12/2014)
I'm afraid I needed more in order to really like this book - more plot, more rounded characters, and, frankly, more editing to keep up the pace. While it picked up in places, very often the book lagged and begged me to put it down. With a little more editing and more well-rounded characters, this could easily be one I recommend to friends.
Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed
by John F. Ross
All the things I didn't know (4/6/2014)
John Ross's historical research is impeccable - and his writing draws the reader in. I've lived in Iowa my whole life; we tend to claim anyone who crossed our borders or lived here for any time at all as Iowans, yet I had no idea Eddie Rickenbacker lived here to drive the Cornstalk Circuit and work/race for the Duesenbergs. There was much more to this man than being a WWI flying ace.
Mimi Malloy, At Last!
by Julia MacDonnell
Mimi survives - and thrives (2/2/2014)
My mother was born nearly the same year as Mimi, the middle of 10 children, 7 of them girls. She has never talked about her childhood and steered us away when we tried to ask. She had no missing sisters and her parents lived to ripe old age, but there is something about that era that keeps many people from discussing - or even remembering - it; whether the reasons be deep family secrets or the hardship of growing up on a farm during the depression. Hurrah for Mimi and the women in her family who, however, unwillingly, face the past so they can face the future.
Safe with Me
by Amy Hatvany
A good book for a rainy afternoon (11/12/2013)
This is one of those relatively light-in-plot-and-character books that pulls the reader in anyway. I hunger for a book with well developed characters and character/plot driven responses, but until I find the next one, Amy Hatvany's Safe with Me will do.
A Man of His Own
by Susan Wilson
Enthralling (8/11/2013)
As a dog lover, I loved it - and I don't love all dog stories, even some of the most popular have left me cold. But this one, coupled with the historical aspect and the Pax's people family, drew me in held me there. I was sorry to have it end.
The Mouse-Proof Kitchen
by Saira Shah
Excellent (6/18/2013)
Saria Shah draws readers into Anna's well-planned perfect world just as it comes crashing down -- or does it? That question keeps those same readers intrigued until Anna finds the answer.
The Daughters of Mars
by Thomas Keneally
Super! (5/13/2013)
Daughters of Mars is excellent in so many ways. Not only has Keneally created an enthralling plot and interesting three-dimensional characters, but he managed to write in a way that captures 1915. I could be reading a diary written then, not a novel from nearly 100 years later.
One Minus One: Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries
by Ruth Doan MacDougall
Superb! (4/7/2013)
I understand why Nancy Pearl chose this one for Book Lust Rediscoveries. Excellent plot growing from a believable character, who, while she may not react as I would, reacts in a truly reasonable manner to the forces around her. As with all truly good books, once I turned the last page, I found myself imagining how Emily's life might go on. I will look for more by Ruth Doan MacDougall. (Why haven't I run onto her before? My loss.)
Close My Eyes
by Sophie McKenzie
Good read but gullible protagonist (4/7/2013)
Gripping read - once I truly was able to disregard reality and the gullibility of the protagonist. The author does know how to put together a plot and keep the reader turning pages. Now, if she can just develop a truly believable premise....
The Spy Lover
by Kiana Davenport
Surprisingly excellent (12/2/2012)
Three alternating viewpoints makes this a difficult book to get into, but once I was, it was mesmerizing. And the research was impressive - I was right there with Johnny Tom, Era, and Warren.
The Woman at the Light: A Novel
by Joanna Brady
A Woman at the Light (6/28/2012)
A page turner. Excellent for book club discussions. Good historical accuracy, which is a big plus. My only criticism: for most of the book, nearly everything happens to Emily and we see her cope. I would have preferred her to act rather than react.
Wife 22: A Novel
by Melanie Gideon
Mixed (4/2/2012)
Reading this book was a little like reading someone else's online diary, with Google searches (sometimes random) tossed in for reasons that often escaped me. While I can see this for a bookclub discussion, as a novel I'll remember...not particularly.
Until the Next Time: A Novel
by Kevin Fox
Time Travel with a twist (2/8/2012)
Nice time travel and interesting premise, but the device of using the same names in different generations (Sean Michael, Michael Sean) makes the reader work harder than necessary early on. The more the reader has to work, the more likely he or she will put the book down without finishing it.
Proof of Heaven: A Novel
by Mary Curran Hackett
Fast read, Good analogies (9/3/2011)
While some of Hackett's scenes are contrived and she frequently resorted to telling her readers what they should have gotten from a story or scene when she might have trusted them to "get the point" from what she was showing, the book is a good, fast read, with good analogies - searching and finding, what constitutes a family, the pain and pleasure of unconditional love. An excellent book for book clubs, or just for a few friends to read and discuss.
Before Ever After: A Novel
by Samantha Sotto
Before Ever After (6/15/2011)
I, too, am a fan of time travel, so was a little disapponted to discover this is the story of an immortal man. That aside, the author had an an interesting idea and with a little more effort to round out the characters and make time more linear, could have created a memorable book.

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