Another book review blog?!?

Yes because people ask "Have you read anything good lately?" And I have. From a class ...

Friday, December 31, 2010

Stitches - Graphic novel

Author: David Small
Publication Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 329
Part of a Series: No

Subject Heading(s):
  • Child cancer patients
  • Family secrets
  • Father and son
  • Mother and son
  • Mute boys
  • Small, David, 1945-
  • Throat cancer

Geographical Setting/Time Period: 1950s-60s, Detroit

Main Character(s):
  • David Small, narrator. The younger of two brothers in family bludgeoned by silence.
  • Mother, abusive and angry, fearful of imagined poverty,
  • Father, absent and unaware of his son’s anxiety

Plot Summary: A dysfunctional family’s story told through the drawings of its youngest member. Abuse and neglect become secondary to the surgical removal of throat cancer which leaves the boy mute and angry.

Appeal: The story is told in an appealing manner but is somewhat disturbing. The graphics are easy to read and beautifully rendered. Adults and older teens will find it satisfying and complete.

Brief quote: “At home, late at night, I began to have the sensation that I was shrinking down and living inside my own mouth. A hot, moist cavern in which everything I thought, every word that came into my brain was thunderously shouted back at me.”

Prizes or Awards:
  • ALA Notable Books - Nonfiction: 2010
  • Alex Award: 2010
  • Booklist Editors' Choice - Adult Nonfiction for Young Adults: 2009
  • School Library Journal's Adult Books for High School Students: 2009
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2010

Similar Works: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. A graphic novel that explores a teen’s coming of age and the parent-child relationship in a chaotic, dysfunctional family.

Reviewer’s Name: Nancy Rimassa

 Stitches: A Memoir

Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Reader’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Stuck - romance

Author: Elisabeth Rose   
Publication Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 263    
Part of a Series:   No
Subject Heading(s):  
  • Australian Fiction
  • Changing/Dual Perspectives
  • Country vs. City 
  • Elevators –Fiction; Romance fiction
  • Love stories
  • Man-woman relationships – Fiction 
  • Single Parent 
  • Widowers – Fiction

Geographical Setting/ Time Period: Present Day Australia (Sydney; Birrigai)

Main Character(s):   
  • Brad Harding- a single father of two girls; an artist; environmentalist
  • Gina Tait- busy business woman; smart; practical
Plot Summary: Busy business woman and laid back wood turner Brad Harding get stuck together on an elevator. After several minutes of small talk and one intense kiss in the dark, the two are freed and go their separate ways. Brad returns to his two girls and Gina returns to her job. However, neither can stop thinking about each other and meet several times after. These meetings result in the increasing knowledge that their lifestyles are not compatible. Brad's daughters like Gina and see to it that the two not forget about each other.

Appeal: The story line is character driven with a fast pace. The tone is heartwarming and romantic. However, the romantic aspect is mild containing pulse quickening kissing sessions. The romance is more the relationship struggles of two opposites pining for each other with changing perspectives of the main characters. Likewise, there is a lot of internal dialogue. The story is set in Australia and contains the charm of language and exotic location.

Brief quote:  “What was she seeing, or trying to avoid seeing? A man she wouldn’t normally touch with a barge pole? A man she found unattractive in the extreme? Everyone looks attractive in the dark” (43).

Prizes or Awards:  None

Similar Works:  
Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti. Opposites attraction. dual perspectives. Set outside the US; variation of Country vs. City
Chain Lightening by Elizabeth Lowell.  Also set in Australia; Character-driven plot.
Coming Home by Elisabeth Rose. Same author; Also set in Australia; Unexpected love

Reviewer’s Name:  Julia Robinson


Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sizzle: A Novel - Romance

Author: Julie Garwood
Publication Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 436 (large print)
Part of a Series: Maybe

Subject Heading(s):
  • Independent filmmakers – Fiction
  • Romantic suspense fiction
  • Women Students – Fiction
Geographical Setting/Time Period: Current
Main Character(s):
  • Lyra Prescott, a documentary film student
Plot Summary: Lyra Prescott, a film student dives into work on her final school assignment before graduation. She unwittingly witnesses a shocking crime and traps in a sinister scenario headed for a violent ending. At this time, her best friend, Sidney brings dauntless and handsome FBI agent Sam Kincaid into Lyra’s life. After Lyra and Sam experienced a lot, they fall in love and get married.

Appeal: humor, amusing, pacing, large print is comfortable for reading

Brief Quote: “The way he looked at her made all the memories of what happened last night rush into her thoughts. Her heart was racing. She wanted to throw her arms around him and tell him how happy she was to see him, but she couldn’t let him see her vulnerability”. (P.268)

Prizes or Awards: No

Similar Works: Fire and Ice, a humorous book and yet full of danger

Reviewer’s Name: Songyue Wang

Sizzle: A Novel

Mercy Street - Romance

Author: Mariah Stewart
Title: Mercy Street
Publication Date: 2008
Number of Pages: 302 pages 
Part of a Series: Mercy Street Foundation Trilogy, 1st book of 3

Subject Heading(s): 
  • Romantic Suspense novels
Geographical Setting/ Time Period: United States/current- 2000s

Main Character(s):  
  • Mallory Russo, love interest 
  • Charlie Wanamaker
Plot Summary: Mallory Russo left the police force and started writing novels. She is a talented policewoman, though, and left behind that reputation despite the rumors that ultimately forced her to leave the force. However, a local case finds her involved as a Private Investigator and from this case she realizes she has a gift for perception and detection and thinks she finally found someone who realizes she isn’t a loner as much as she pretends to be.

Appeal: The appeal of the novel stems from several aspects. First, it is a quick paced read that is carried through the suspenseful events (i.e. murders, missing people, a police detective with whom the main character is attracted but isn’t sure if he can be trusted) which happen almost every chapter as well as plenty of dialog to explain thoughts, opinions, and actions. Another appeal factor is the main character of the novel who is an independent (calls herself a loner, but we find out that may just be a mask), private, smart, sleek, and pretty private detective. A third appeal factor is the plot line which is suspenseful but also follows the end oriented rule of romance where a reader expects a happy ending in the fact that both the heroine and the love interest are safe and moving forward.

Brief quote: [Mallory speaking to her love interest, Charlie] “I’ve made good progress on the book I was working on, but frankly, it just isn’t doing it for me. I think maybe the idea appealed to me because it kept me connected to my years as a cop, and when I left the force, I really needed that connection…But I miss working on cases, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I wasn’t even aware of how much until the past few weeks.” (p. 300)

Similar Works: A similar work would be the To Die Series by Lisa Jackson which feature a female detective and fall within the romantic suspense genre. Another similar work would be the In Death Series by J.D. Robb which also feature a female detective and fall within the romantic suspense genre.

Reviewer’s Name: Taryn Kingery

 Mercy Street: A Novel of Suspense (Mercy Street Novels)

Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. ReadersAdvisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Kiss Me While I Sleep - Romance

Author: Linda Howard
Title: Kiss Me While I Sleep
Publication Date: 2004  
Number of Pages: 375
Part of a Series: No

Subject Heading(s):
  • Assassins – Fiction
  • Intelligence officers—Fiction
  • Intelligence service – Fiction
  • Romantic Suspense fiction  
  • United States, Central Intelligence Agency.—Fiction
Geographical Setting/ Time Period: Europe in the Present
Main Character(s): 
  • Lily Mansfield, a hardened, love-starved CIA contract agent out for vengeance.
  • Lucas Swain, handsome hit man with a love of fast flashy cars and a good time.
Plot Summary: CIA contract agent Lily Mansfield has gone rogue to avenge the death of her two closest friends and their 13 year-old-daughter. As Lily plans her vengeance against the dubious Nervi group, she meets up with and falls for CIA agent Lucas Swain, the agent sent to stop her plans. Lily and Lucas are offered an opportunity to take out the Nervi Corporation for good by a mysterious anonymous source. Will they survive?

Appeal: Fast paced story, action oriented. Appeals to women who are looking for an adventure story that involves sex and romance without graphic violence but with some suspense.

Brief quote: 
“The poison was in the Bordeaux that would shortly be served and it was so potent that even half a glass of the wine would be deadly. The manager had gone to extraordinary lengths to procure this wine for Salvatore, but Lily had gone to extraordinary lengths to get her hands on it first, and arrange for it to come to M. Durand’s notice.” (pg. 7)

Prizes or Awards: None

Similar Works:  
Always Time to Die by Elizabeth Lowell –Steamy, Suspense, fast -paced
The Search by Nora Roberts -Romance , suspense.
    Reviewer’s Name: Amanda Hegg

     Kiss Me While I Sleep: A Novel

    Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    It's In His Kiss - Romance

    Author: Julia Quinn
    Title: It’s in His Kiss   
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Number of Pages:  501 (large print edition)
    Part of a Series:  Book 7 in the Bridgerton family series (The first book is The Duke and I)

    Subject Heading(s):
    • Library of Congress SH:
    • Diaries—Fiction; Translators--Fiction
     Geographical Setting/ Time Period: London 1825 (Regency era)  

    Main Character(s):
    • Hyacinth Bridgerton, and smart and outspoken young lady.
    • Gareth St. Clair, a rogue with a heart of gold.
    Plot Summary: Hyacinth Bridgerton is in her fourth London season, and she has yet to meet her match among the men of society.  Then elderly busybody Lady Danbury introduces her young protégée to her grandson, the notorious Gareth St. Clair.  Hyacinth offers to translate a family diary for St. Clair, even though her Italian is less than perfect.  She finds that there is more to Gareth and his mysterious family history than meets the eye.

    Appeal: It’s in His Kiss is filled with witty repartee between the two main characters, which makes for a fun and fast-paced read.  A cast of quirky characters, a few steamy love scenes, and a slight hint of mystery are also included.  A light and witty romance.

    Brief quote:
    “He flashed her a bland smile.  “Not that I wish to give you any ammunition, but the sad fact of it is—most men are sheep. Where one goes, the rest will follow.  And didn’t you say you wished to be married?”
    “Not to someone who follows you as the lead sheep,” she replied. (page 118)

    Prizes or Awards: None

    Similar Works:
    The Courtesan’s Daughter and other books in the Courtesan series by Claudia Dain (suggested by the romance blog Dear Author as light comedy also set in high society London)

    Reviewer’s Name: Joy Woods

    It's In His Kiss

    Form adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

    Resources for Book Groupies

    If you are anywhere near the Norman Public Library you might like to attend a computer class that focuses on electronic or online resources for book group members. Participants will discover how to find the best books for their groups and explore library digital resources that will make their discussions more comprehensive and far-reaching. There will be time to visit with other book group members about what online sites are useful for spicing up discussions.

    The class will be held in the Norman Public Library Computer Training Center on:
    • Saturday, January 8 at 10 am
    • Tuesday, January 18 at 6:30 pm
    • Saturday, February 12 at 10 am
    • Tuesday, February 22 at 6:30 pm
    There is no charge for the class but registration is requested. Go here Norman Public Library Events Calendar to sign up!

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    It All Began in Monte Carlo - Romance

    Author: Elizabeth Adler
    Title: It All Began in Monte Carlo
    Publication Date: July 2010
    Number of Pages: 372 pages. Novel is broken into 83 short chapters
    Part of a Series: Yes, to date there are three books. There is no title for the series. The other two novels are One of Those Malibu Nights (2008) and There’s Something About St. Tropez (2009).

    Subject Heading(s): 
    • Americans-France-Fiction
    • France, Southern-Fiction
    • Monte Carlo (Monaco)- Fiction
    • Jewelry theft- Fiction
    • Extortion- Fiction
    • Romantic suspense fiction
    • Mystery fiction
    Geographical Setting/Time Period: Monte Carlo, France. Present day.

    Main Character(s): 
    • Sunny Alvarez- a naive yet sassy and independent woman.
    • Mac Reilly- a driven and intelligent private detective.
    Plot Summary: Sunny and Mac are meant for each other, or so they believe until Sunny tires of Mac’s commitment to his work and lack thereof to her. In an impulsive move, Sunny leaves Mac for France hoping to find clarity and peace. But once in Monte Carlo, she soon finds herself in the company of jewelry thieves, a murderer, a black mailer and true friends. Sunny, along with the help of Mac, must discover who is who before it is too late.

    Appeal: The novel is fast paced with an action driven plot and detailed characterization. It is a great escapist read, with glamorous characters, decadent lifestyles, exotic locations, romance and mystery. It does contain mildly graphic descriptions of a sociopathic/nymphomaniac lifestyle.

    Brief quote: “As the doors slid shut, she had a sudden memory of her and Mac together in another elevator in this very same city, Monte Carlo, just last summer. She had been wearing a short black chiffon dress that fell in narrow pleats, sashed at the waist with satin ribbon, and held loosely at the back with three tiny crystal buttons” (129).

    Prizes or Awards: No awards.

    Similar Works: 
    Hard Candy by Mary Lynn Baxter - Romantic suspense, male detective, murder
    Perfect by Marne Davis Kellogg - Romantic suspense, jewelry heist, luxurious lifestyles
    Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot - Relationship/romance, set in France

    Reviewer’s Name: Ashley Miller

    It All Began In Monte Carlo 

    Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    The Highlander's Maiden - Romance

    Author: Elizabeth Mayne, copyright is under M. Kaye Garcia
    Title: The Highlander’s Maiden
    Publication Date: 1999
    Number of Pages:  295
    Part of a Series: Yes.  Harlequin Historicals
    Subject Heading(s):  
    • Man-woman relationships-Fiction
    • Highlands (Scotland)- Fiction
    • Historical fiction, Love stories
    Geographical Setting/ Time Period: Scotland, 1598

    Main Character(s):
    • Cassandra MacArthur, feisty redheaded daughter of a Scottish laird who prefers the outdoors.   
    • Robert Gordon, Scottish cartographer who is good with a sword but generally self-controlled.
    Plot Summary: When the king orders Cassandra MacArthur to marry and guide Robert Gordon, a cartographer from an enemy clan, she hides the letter and swears that she never will.  As the two face perils together they begin to fall for each other, although their families could never allow such a match.  When Cassandra tries to run away with Robert her father locks her in a tower.

    The pacing is fast, driven by adventure and the sexual tension between Cassie and Robert.  The language is all written with a Scottish accent and terminology.   All the men wear kilts.

    Brief quote: 
    I canna seem to erase from my mind the vision of your hair floating round you in that shaft of sunlight. You were so exquisitely peaceful – a naiad—fair enough to grace King Neptune’s court.  Too beautiful to die so young.” page 115

    Prizes or Awards: None

    Similar Works: 
    “To Tame a Highland Warrior” or “Beyond the Highland Mist” both by Karen Marie Moning for Scotland, kilts, strong heroines, and strong tension between main characters as one pursued the resistant lover. 

    Reviewer’s Name: Jessica Conley

    Highlander'S Maiden (Harlequin Historical) 

    Form adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Here Burns My Candle - Romance

    Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
    Title: Here Burns My Candle
    Publication Date: March 16, 2010 
    Number of Pages: 454
    Part of a Series: Yes, part one of two; the sequel Mine Is the Night will be published 3-15-2011.

    Subject Heading(s):
    • Nobility -- Scotland – Fiction
    • Family secrets – Fiction
    • Scandals – Fiction
    • Scotland -- Social life and customs -- 18th century – Fiction
    • Love stories
    • Family secrets
    • Scandals
    • Eighteenth century
    • Nobility – Scotland
    • Marriage
    • Personal conduct
    • Men/women relations
    Geographical Setting/ Time Period: 18th century Scotland

    Main Character(s):
    • -Dowager Lady Marjory Kerr: a headstrong and well-bred aristocratic mother.
    • -Lady Elisabeth Kerr: wife of Lord Donald; beautiful but humble daughter of a Highland weaver.
    Plot Summary: Based on part of the Book of Ruth, this novel is set in late 18th century Scotland and describes the changing relationship of a mother, Dowager Lady Marjory Kerr, and her daughter-in-law, Elisabeth. Their family suffers extreme loss as a result of the Jacobite rebellion. Marjory and Elisabeth realize they must work together to reclaim their lives, their faith in God and their hope for the future. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, this story sets the stage for the next book in which Marjory and Elisabeth find redemption and romance.

    Appeal: An even mix of action and dialogue, the third-person narrative begins slowly but picks up quickly as conflicts arise and secrets are revealed. While the dedication to period authenticity tends to slow it down, dialogue, interspersed with glimpses of different characters’ introspections, along with short chapters help to pick up the pace. The characters are identifiable by their human flaws, which makes them easy to relate to and gives the plot many layers. Their actions push the narrative forward and support the frame, fleshing out the realistic portrayal of life in 18th century Scotland. Belief in God and redemption through faith are central themes. This story is open-ended, with significant elements left to be resolved in the next book. 

    Brief quote: “Elisabeth could not ignore the mounting clamor from the street below. Fear lodged itself in her throat like a pinch of stale cake. No matter how firmly she swallowed, ‘twould not move. Instinctively she clasped her wedding ring, slowly spinning it round her finger. Come home, Donald. ‘Tis not safe in the street.” (page 39, first paragraph of chapter 8)

    Prizes or Awards: none

    Similar Works: Grace In Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs Christian romance set in Scotland; Outlander by Diane Gabaldon, historical fiction, set in Scotland

    Reviewers Name: Lori Chatman

    Here Burns My Candle: A Novel 

    Form is adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Fired Up - Romance

    Author: Jayne Ann Krenz 
    Title: Fired Up
    Publication Date: 2009 
    Number of Pages: 344
    Part of a Series: First book in the Dreamlight Trilogy and also an Arcane Society novel.

    Subject Heading(s):
    • Arcane Society
    •  Curses
    • Helpfulness in Women
    • Interpersonal Attraction
    • Men psychics
    • Men/Women relationships
    • Romantic Suspense Novels
    • Suspense Novels
    • Transformations (Magic)
    Geographical Setting/ Time Period:
    Seattle and Las Vegas, Present Day (alternate universe in which individuals with powerful psychic powers exist).

    Main Character(s): 
    • Chloe Harper, a smart, empathetic and independent private investigator with the psychic ability to read dreamlight energy. 
    • Jack Winters, a powerful and brooding business man with the supernatural power of superb strategy.

    Plot Summary: Chloe Harper is a private investigator who possesses the ability to read people’s dreamlight, a kind of aura created by dream energy. Jack Winters has inherited the Winters’ family curse and is developing multiple psychic talents that will eventual drive him to madness and death. Jack hires Chloe Harper to find the Burning Lamp, a supernatural artifact created by Jack’s ancestor, Nicholas Winters, to increase psychic powers. Jack and Chloe must find the lamp and use it to reverse the curse before it is too late.

    Appeal: fast-paced, suspenseful, dual point of view, character driven, familiar characters, steamy, paranormal, contemporary, playful

    Brief quote: “It was as if something inside her recognized Jack Winters in ways she could not explain. Maybe she was simply responding to his own very high level of talent, she thought. Or perhaps it was the darkly fascinating dreamlight she saw in his footprints.” (p. 17)

    Prizes or Awards: none.

    Similar Works: 
    • Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick (Dreamlight 2), 
    • Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle (Dreamlight 3), 
    • Second Sight by Amanda Quick (Arcane Society), 
    • Moonglow by Angie Ray, 
    • Kiss and Tell by Cherry Adair. (Recommendations from NoveList)
    Reviewer’s Name: Julia McConnell

    Fired Up: Book One in the Dreamlight Trilogy

    Fat Tuesday - Romance

    Author:  Sandra Brown  
    Title: Fat Tuesday
    Publication Date: Original Hardback: 1997, Reissued in paperback: February 2008
    Number of Pages: 458 Part of a Series: no

    Subject Headings: 
    • bayou
    • criminals
    • Louisiana
    • Mardi Gras
    • murders
    • New Orleans
    • police corruption
    • romance
    • suspense
    Geographical Setting/Time Period:  New Orleans, LA, present day

    Main Characters:  
    • Burke Basile: troubled policeman
    • Remy Duvall: unhappy trophy wife
    • Pinky Duvall: Remy’s husband, a wealthy criminal defense lawyer with many underworld associations
    • Wayne Bardo: Pinky’s hitman and Basile’s enemy.
    Plot Summary:  In a botched drug raid, Basile accidentally kills his friend and partner, Kevin Stewart, who was being used as a human shield by Bardo. Bardo is tried for his role in the death, but Duvall gets him acquitted. Basile vows to get revenge. He kidnaps Duvall’s wife Remy, trying to use her as bait to draw Duvall close enough to kill. Basile and Remy initially dislike each other. He thinks she is a glorified prostitute, and she is afraid of him. During their time together these feelings change dramatically. Remy realizes she must stand up for herself and wishes to escape from Duvall’s control into a loving relationship with Basile. Things come to a head on Mardi Gras night, when secrets are revealed and justice is served.
    Appeal: Pace: Quick, lots of dialogue and action, less description. Characterization: The hero shifts from untrustworthy to trustworthy. Hero and heroine’s points of view are both shown. They each have strong personal ethics. The hero is manly—strong, takes action when threatened, and tries to hide his emotions. The heroine is virtuous—religious, wants to do good. Frame: General feeling of uneasiness, uncertainty about characters survival. Gritty descriptions of crime and criminals. Geographical setting is more important at the end, in a creepy bayou and a Mardi Gras costume party. Story Line: Many surprises and plot twists, the sex scenes are not too explicit, not too chaste, the heroine chooses between two very different men.

    Brief Quote:  “His malcontent stemmed from the night he’d spent lying next to Remy while upholding his resolve not to touch her. What he’d told her last night was only partially true. If he made love to her, she would hate him. He would be like all the other men, including her husband, who had exploited her. “(p 355)

    Prizes or Awards: none

    Similar Works:  
    • Remember the Night by Linda Castillo (also takes place in New Orleans
    • Kiss and Tell by Charry Adair (also involves a kidnapping)
    • Cypress Nights by Stella Cameron (also romantic suspense set in New Orleans)
    Reviewer’s Name:  Alexis Whitney

    Fat Tuesday

    Breathing Room - Romance

    Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    Title: Breathing Room
    Publication Date:   2003 (2002)              
    Number of Pages: 372 (Avon paperback)
    Part of a Series:    No

    Subject Heading(s):   
    • Americans in Tuscany
    • Desire
    • Fiancés
    • Film actors and actresses
    • Men/women relations
    • Sexuality
    • Women psychologists
     Geographical Setting/Time Period: Tuscany, Italy/2002

    Main Character(s):  
    • Dr. Isabel Favor: a capable yet vulnerable self-help personality.
    • Lorenzo “Ren” Gage: a devilishly dashing film actor.

    Plot Summary:       When Isabel loses her money, career, and fiancé, she leaves New York for Italy to start rebuilding her life. Her  plans are upset by a chance encounter with “Dante,” a handsome stranger who turns out to be Hollywood villain Ren Gage—and the owner of the Tuscan farmhouse she’s renting. Further complications arise when Ren’s ex-wife Tracy arrives at his villa with her four children. Isabel and Ren’s relationship sizzles as they conquer their vulnerabilities and their differences in order to come together.

    Appeal:                 Phillips’ fast-paced style is humorous, descriptive, and steamy, with plenty of quick-witted, engaging dialogue. Characters are familiar yet nuanced, becoming well-developed as the story progresses. The story is character-centered, incorporating multiple points of view. Brief, lavish descriptions of the Tuscan setting provide a romantic frame. Characterization and frame may be the key points of this novel’s appeal.

    Brief quote:           “You’re one uptight chick, Dr. Favor. Is that a building block of your philosophy? ‘Thou shalt be the most uptight chick on the planet’?”
                                 “I’m principled, not uptight.” Just saying it made her feel stuffy, and she wasn’t stuffy, not really, not in her heart anyway. (p. 86)

    Prizes or Awards:  None known

    Similar Works:       Summer in Tuscany, Elizabeth Adler (fast-paced, steamy, Tuscany)
                                 Strange Bedpersons, Jennifer Crusie (humorous, engaging romance)

    Reviewer’s Name: Sara Vaughan

    Breathing Room

    Beguiled - Romance

    Author: Deanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand
    Title: Beguiled
    Publication Date: 2010 
    Number of Pages: 461 (Large Print)
    Part of a Series: No

    Subject Heading(s):
    • Charleston (S.C.) Fiction
    • City and Town Life- South Carolina- Charleston- Fiction
    • Dog walking- Fiction 
    • Journalists- Fiction
    • Robbery Investigation- Fiction
    • Romantic Suspense-Fiction Mystery- Fiction (Pioneer Library)
    • South Carolina- Fiction (Library of Congress)
    Geographical Setting/ Time Period: Present day Charleston, South Carolina

    Main Character(s): 
    • Rylee Monroe- a roller-blading dog walker in Charleston, S.C.
    • Karl Sebastian- lawyer, family friend, and dog walking client
    • Logan Woods- crime reporter for local paper and aspiring non-fiction book author (afraid of dogs)

    Plot Summary: A strange series of Robin Hood style robberies affecting wealthy Charleston residents casts suspicion on Rylee Monroe- a local dog walker who literally holds the keys. Handsome family friend, Karl Sebastian offers to represent Rylee, and new friend, reporter Logan Woods, falls for Rylee as they look for answers together. But whose motives are honest and who is hiding a sinister secret?

    Appeal: Christian Romantic Suspense, Intriguing Mystery, Gentle Read

    Brief quote: “I’ve got half a mind to sic my dog on you- for old time’s sake,” she said.
    “I’ve got half a mind to let you.” She jutted out her bottom lip. He was tempted to snare it between his teeth. Not the most appropriate of icebreakers. (Gist and Bertrand 2010, 387)

    Prizes or Awards: Author has won 2 Christy (recognizing excellence in Christian fiction) awards (2006, 2007) and nominated for 2 RITA (Romance Writers of America) awards for Best Inspirational Romance

    Similar Works: mysteries by Phyllis Whitney- endangered heroine, suspense
    Million Dollar series by Mindy Starns Clark- female investigator, Christian romantic suspense fiction
    Savannah series by Denise Hildreth- contemporary Christian romantic fiction set in the South, gentle read
    Family Tree series by Patricia Sprinkle- contemporary intriguing mystery, set in the South

    Reviewer's Name: Beth Lyle