Saturday, October 13, 2012

Reviews by Tim: Fall is calming and a time for contemplation, part 1

Review written by: Tim

There comes this time each year that is just unique. No other season is quite the same. Fall is calming, cooling and it seems a time for collecting thoughts and contemplation. One of the activities I see as increasing this time of year is using that screened porch for reading. Even at night and I do keep a lamp on a side table out there just for that purpose, the air is not so cool that a pair of jeans or khakis and a cotton sweater won’t do the trick. No insects to speak of and the gentle breezes stirring only add to the effect, almost like good music. With the sharing holidays approaching, I like to consider what titles I’d be willing to offer as gifts and I never give a book that I haven’t read. I mean, that would be like recommending a coffee one has not tasted.

This first book in a murder-mystery series introduces Realtor Valerie Pankowski and her best friend since childhood, Kit James. Val, who has just signed her divorce papers and a lease on a new apartment, receives a call from a prospective client, Mavis Woodstock (a vaguely familiar name). Mavis insists she has to sell her house as quickly as possible, but then doesn't keep her scheduled appointment. Kit, whose glamour belies her bold and often brash ways, remembers Mavis from their school days, an unattractive girl who was ignored when she was lucky, ridiculed when she was not. She also remembers Mavis being the only daughter in a large family that was as frugal as it was wealthy. When Val and Kit cannot locate Mavis, they begin an investigation, encountering along the way a little romance, a lot of deception, and more than one unsavory character.

My Review

Here’s a first title in a series and one that I could give to my friends who enjoy a quick and yet stable story. We've all known ladies like these main characters who are always into something they have no business involving themselves with and yet they put their hearts and souls into doing what they perceive is good. Val and Kit make just such a pair. If you enjoy zany antics and friendships that are all about doing together what neither would ever do alone, then you’ll like these characters. The story is written to be quite misleading and gives the amateur sleuth in most every reader a chance to pick the villain … several times. I really look forward to the next in this series.

My Rating:


From a different point of view, it is likewise important to discover titles that might tarnish the friendship were one to use them as a gift. So while finding good titles is primary, being able to avoid others is sometimes almost as valuable.

In 1778, during the peak of the Revolutionary War, a secret document is hidden and its whereabouts are known to only one man. Now, more than two centuries later, Seth Layton accidentally discovers the journal that will unlock its location and he is on a quest to find it. Joined by his grandfather and new female friend, Madison, they are chased by unsavory characters and some powerful people through historic Philadelphia to the streets of Washington DC. What American secret will the journal unveil and will Seth and his companions live long enough to reveal it?

My Review

Have you ever read a book and suddenly you had the realization that the author and a pal had seen a Nick Cage movie and one said to the other, "Hell man, I could write a better one than that." Well I think this particular title has that going on. I hate to be negative with anyone who wants to be a writer and gives it a try, but that said, this is not particularly well written, word choice was not always up to snuff and the story was so old hat as to be boring. I can't say that I could recommend it to anyone which is something I always hate to admit.

My Rating:


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