Heat Lightning by Ruth Coe Chambers

Heat Lightning

By Ruth Coe Chambers

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

3half

The town of Bay Harbor waits for the return of their fathers, sons, brothers, and fiancés from World War II. While they begin to enjoy the return of freedoms lost through rationing and the war effort, they gradually welcome the men and face the aftermath of battle with them. Some return unable to face the lives they once led, while others come home to build lives they never started.  Through tragedy and renewal readers can join in the dynamics of the people of the town and their relationships. Will the town ever be the same again?

I enjoyed this story and the multifaceted characters Ruth created. Her portrayal of the small town with all the uncomfortable transparency of living really drew me in. The characters’ dramas tantalized and made me want to hear more. Their motivations and transgressions pulled me through the tale wondering what would come of it and who would win out in the end.

The structure of the story and the tragedy of the ending confused me a little after the tense but quiet life of the town before everything came unraveled. The author took on a brave task with the myriad characters and their personal dramas, mostly succeeding at separating their individual threads of the tapestry. Throughout, I wondered if Anna Lee really was the main character. Sometimes it seemed as if the book had no main character, though the ending focused on Anna Lee and her impressions. I also felt a little bit of a rush toward the ending to cram in the remainder of Anna Lee’s life before her return to the town. Her experiences in Tallahassee and beyond could have made their own book, but I think a time jump would have made more sense.  Sporadic passive writing also added some discontinuity to the narrative.

Whether you love small-town life or hate it, Ruth’s tale of a changing society in the confines of a sleepy Florida town will pull you in and  make you feel part of their life and dramas.

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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Deep Blood by Phillip Thompson

Deep Blood

by Phillip Thompson

Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction

Four Stars

This story is a gritty, manly murder mystery tale, written about a time and place when men don’t cry and folks don’t take a picture of their dinner with Instagram. Everything fits to make messed-up characters, crazy backstories, and wonderful life to everyone in the story. Every character has character from Colt to Mr. Wofford, the kooky witness who looked like a “bloated version of Raggedy Andy”. “Just a little bit on the country side”, they called it. The main character’s description of spitting his chewing tobacco, the pleasure it gives him, and the satisfying irritation it causes in his father is a great example of the little, relevant details of the story. Somehow Phillip has made even the little things like this enrich the atmosphere .

Under the colorful atmosphere lie deep themes of shame, abuse, racism, family sins, and blame. Colt keeps his wounds to himself, but they follow him wherever he goes and color all his actions. Most characters are the same and it feels like a special treat when each one opens up. No character escapes the pain and scarring of a life in a poor town where racism and poverty have affected everyone.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to adults (some language, sensitive themes, and sex). I read the whole thing on a Saturday and every time my kids or the dog interrupted me, I couldn’t wait to get back to Deep Blood. I wanted to read more about Colt at the end. I hope Phillip decides to write more books about this character!

After reading Deep Blood, I realized how meaningful the title is. No, I’m not going to explain. Read the book! I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net I received this book from the author for the purposes of unbiased review.

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Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene

Mark of the Loon

by Molly Greene

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Madison Boone is a real estate agent and house “flipper”  in Sonoma, California. In her hunger for the next house to renovate and resell for profit, she comes across the fascinating B estate. With the help of her best friend and lawyer, Genevieve Delacourt, Madison acquires the Blackburne estate. It seems she has taken it right from under the noses of a mysterious buyer who has sinister motives. What kind of amazing  payout could cause such aggressive action from the other buyer? What mysteries are hidden in the quirky old home among all the memories and mementos left by the Blackburnes? Who is lurking around outside the house? Can Madison let herself open up to Gorgeous Cole Welles?

This mystery novel was the embodiment of everything you imagine when moving into a home. “What if there is more to this place than I thought?” It’s what you always think. You know you do! Every exciting flight of fancy is explored and this time there is something behind all the suspicions. We also get a healthy dose of romance for the main character and her friends.

Molly writes a rich story full of lush descriptions. Her characters are deep and chock full of relevant issues for women. She explores divorce, career priorities, living alone, bereavement, and other issues women face.

The only thing I didn’t love about the book was the sometimes excessive description, especially at the beginning of the book. All the descriptions were beautiful and gave me an exact picture of what was being described. But it felt like it interrupted the story on more than one occasion. This is really a personal preference though. I know that more than one of my friends would pinch me for saying that.

The style was a very natural, gradual one, with mysteries popping up here and there amidst regular life. Madison was an engaging character that I could really connect with. Her fears about being hurt by others and her drive to ignore her pain by covering it up with busyness really spoke to me. I also really liked the subtle insertion of hints of the paranormal without so much that it became a paranormal book. It added to the mystery and gave it a wider appeal.

Now I have to go and figure out what I can unlock with that mysterious key I found under my baseboards!

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/mollygreene
Website/blog: http://www.molly-greene.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5561802.Molly_Greene

About the Author:

Molly Greene is an author, blogger and freelance writer with an extensive real estate background. Her debut novel, Mark of the Loon, is available on Amazon. Molly has renovated six homes over the years and is currently completing number seven, all the while plotting her next book and her next life adventure. Visit her blog at http://www. molly-greene.com and follow her on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/mollygreene

When Girlfriends Break Hearts by Savannah Page

When Girlfriends Break Hearts

by Savannah Page

Genre: Chick-lit, Women’s fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Life is sweet, her job is great, and her dreams are coming true until bitter betrayals descend on Sophie. Her relationship with her dreamy boyfriend Brandon explodes when he confesses to one of the worst misconducts a couple can face. Control-obsessed Sophie faces one of the biggest challenges of her life as her friendship is tested with her cherished circle of friends. Can she learn to forgive, reconcile, and carry on with her life?

When Savannah Page labels this book as “chick lit”, she is not kidding. If you have too much testosterone for stories including “feelings”, relationships, decorating, gardening, or girls nights with baking and chick movies, this book is not for you. The rest of us will love it!

Savannah’s characters are peppy and fun, and her plot is meandering but realistic. I felt like Sophie and her friends could be real people here in Seattle. I enjoyed Sophie’s personal growth from a woman who clung to her sense of control over her life, to maturity in understanding “letting go” of things for her good and the good of those she loves.

I did feel that the action of the book struggled after the climax. The descriptions turned to introspection, and skimped some on the dialogue and action. Many transitional scenes took away from the power of the message. The message held true, though, and brought some important lessons that everyone needs to know.

Savannah serves a warm, delicious serving of tangy life, drizzled with spicy drama, and topped with a sweet fluffy dollop of  sisterhood. Sophie would certainly have a bestselling menu item at “The Cup and the Cake” with that kind of entrée!

Website and Blog: http://www.savannahpage.com

Facebook: /SavannahPageAuthor  ( http://www.facebook.com/SavannahPageAuthor )

Twitter: Savannah_Page    ( http://twitter.com/Savannah_Page )

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5378484.Savannah_Page

Book Available (ebook) on Amazon ~paperback coming soon on Amazon~