Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

“Loss, once it’s become a certainty, is like a rock you hold in your hand.¬† It has weight and dimension and texture.” ~Frank Drum (in William Kent Krueger’s novel Ordinary Grace)

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. ~Aeschylus

Hello, Dear Bloggites! ūüôā¬†¬†January’s Books & Broads Book Club book was Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (yes, I am caught up with the readings, FINALLY).¬† I was hesitant to read this book because of the horrendous pick from November that took me over a month to read (not to mention a month before I even picked it up to read).¬† I am so glad that I did read this book.

ordinary-grace-by-william-kent-kruegerOrdinary Grace is¬†a novel that tells the story of a young boy, Frank Drum, who is coming-of-age in 1961.¬† During the summer of ’61, Frank and his younger brother, Jake, learned the hard truths about death in various forms: accidental, natural, suicide, and murder.¬† Frank was 13 years old during this time and the story is told from his point of view.¬† Yes, the book is written in first person (you all know how I feel about that) and it worked.¬† The way the author, William Kent Krueger, wrote the story made you feel as if you were sitting in your living room having a conversation with Frank about his summer.

The author wrote with wonderful imagery throughout the novel and the reader felt as if he was right there feeling the breeze on their face or smelling the river.¬† The story keeps the reader engaged with Frank and Jake’s antics that wound up placing them in precarious positions and involving them knee deep in the active investigations.¬† Frank’s father, Nathan, is a preacher, and throughout the novel the reader learns about what ordinary grace is from the way the¬†he handles every situation, no matter how bad, in life to how he drew strength from his faith in God.

The characters in the story are well developed and have unique personalities that are relatable.  From past loves to current loves to love lost, each person in the book handle each situation differently.  Some shut down, others got angry, and some just crumbled under the loss and fear.  From cover to cover, the reader will want to keep on this journey no matter how heart-wrenching it may be.  William Kent Krueger wrote the novel so that no one can really figure out the mystery of who-dun-it until the very end.

I read this book in three sittings only because I was super busy with work but I am so glad that I read it! ūüôā¬† I love falling in love with characters that are so personable you think you truly know them and this book provided that.¬† I also love reading a good mystery that keeps me guess and this book provided that.¬† I also love reading about internal strength derived from one’s faith when faced with life’s troubles, and this book provided that.

I give Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.¬† Go out and get a copy, Dear Bloggites, you won’t be disappointed.

~4-Ever, P


Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Green-Eyed Doll by Jerrie Alexander

The Green-Eyed Doll by Jerrie AlexanderYou know me, Dear Bloggites, I cannot resist a debut novel.¬† Today’s book review is on The Green-Eyed Doll by Jerrie Alexander.¬† Jerrie has written many books since this one (you can find them at her website, but I love going back to an author’s roots (if you will) and see how they have grown and improved as writers in each successive book after the debut.

The only thing I can say is I am flabbergasted at the sheer, natural talent the author has!  Usually during debut novels you can find a few errors or the characters may seem incomplete, almost one-dimensional versus a well-rounded character, however, I can honestly say I found zero issues with the book and storyline.

The Green-Eyed Doll storyline is about a former undercover agent who decides to leave the big city and move back to a small Texas town to get away from the major underbelly of city crime life and about a woman who is on the run from her past and lands in the same small Texas town.  You want murder?  You got it.  You want mystery?  You got it.  You want romance?  You definitely got it.  You want humor?  Yep, you got that, too.  Man, you got all of that and a cup of coffee in this book!

Jerrie Alexander has managed to take several different genres of writing and meld them into an amazing storyline that keeps you entranced from page one!¬† You find yourself rooting for the good guy, Matt Ballard, hoping for love for Catherine McCoy, and also find sympathy for the killer.¬† I know what you are thinking, “Why would you feel sympathy for a killer,” but you do!

The novel captures your interest from the very beginning.  There are so many players in this murder mystery, you are spinning to try and figure out whodunit.  The only thing I could say I found wrong with the book is that the story ended WAY too soon for my liking!  I fell in love with all the characters in this book and a part of me hopes Jerrie revisits this Town because there is so much more I want to know.

Kudos, Jerrie, to an AMAZING debut novel, all I can say is, “Can we do lunch so I can pick your brain?”

I give The Green-Eyed Doll by Jerrie Alexander 5 out of 5 Bookmarks!¬† Go visit Jerrie’s website above and order your copy today!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Stillwater: A Jack McBride Mystery by Melissa Lenhardt

Stillwater A Jack McBride Mystery by Melissa LenhardtThis month’s Books & Broads Book Club novel to read¬†was Stillwater: A Jack McBride Mystery by Melissa Lenhardt.¬† I was very excited to read this book because it is written by a local author in the DFW area of Texas.¬† One of the book club members had the opportunity to speak with the author, Melissa Lenhardt, and she offered to join our book club this month to discuss the book in more detail.¬† If you happen to be in the DFW area on Friday, April 8th, come join us and meet the author at 11am at the Burleson Public Library.

Now, onto the review.  The book, Stillwater: A Jack McBride Mystery by Melissa Lenhardt, was full of intrigue, mystery, drama, romance, and some humor.  I was pleasantly surprised that the book had so many facets to it as I read the novel.  The storyline is set in a small Texas town and follows the Chief of Police, Jack McBride.  A big city ex-FBI agent turned small town cop, Jack found his first day on the job dealing with a murder-homicide.

You may think I am giving away the whole storyline, but this is just the beginning.  Throughout the novel, the author managed to take a simple scene of interaction between two characters and create a new element of intrigue in the storyline.  All the characters were well-rounded and easy to like or dislike.

The flow of the story was smooth in transitioning from one scene to the next.¬† I found myself anticipating the next move by each character and amazed at the twist that move turned into.¬† There is some parts of the storyline that are predictable, such as how Jack’s son, Ethan, would react or respond in his teen-angst mindset, but it did not take away from the overall experience of reading the book.

You have your typical arch-enemy storyline between the new and former chief of police, but it had a new flavor to it.¬† The “bad guy” was a very likeable person to all the residents of Stillwater and as the information unfolds you start seeing the tarnish on the shiny image of the former police chief and residents of Stillwater, Texas.

The only fault I would find with the book was how it ended.  The ending was on a cliffhanger (this is the first book in a series) that left the reader a bit put out.  I personally love cliffhangers, but many do not care for them.  I think the author could have concluded the storyline with the same effect without the cliffhanger and still give the full impact she was wanting to give.

I give Stillwater: A Jack McBride Mystery by Melissa Lenhardt 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.¬† Go out and grab yourself a copy.¬† For those who do not like cliffhangers, don’t fret, she has the second book in the series scheduled to be released later in the year.¬† Happy Reading, Dear Bloggites!

~4-Ever, P