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Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: 'The Ranger'

By Ace Atkins
Crime fiction
June 2011
G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN: 978-0-399157486

Quinn Colson hasn't been to his rural Mississippi home in years. And by the time this visit is over, every reason he had to stay away presents itself.

The initial reason for his return is his uncle's funeral. Uncle Hamp not only was the county sheriff, he was the one who walked into the woods to find a young Quinn who was lost in them for two weeks. It isn't until after the funeral that Quinn learns his uncle killed himself. The new law, an old high school buddy of Quinn's, is ready to settle for that, but Quinn isn't. Neither is tomboy-turned-deputy Lillie.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review: 'Tigerlily's Orchids'

By Ruth Rendell
Crime fiction
June 2011
ISBN: 978-1439150344

A quiet little corner of London may look like the kind of place where nothing ever happens. But Ruth Rendell knows better in her latest stand-alone novel, Tigerlily's Orchids. Not much is as it seems, other things are what they seem, only more so, and it never pays to make assumptions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: 'The Reservoir'

By John Milliken Thompson
Historical fiction
June 2011
Other Press
ISBN: 978-1590514443

Although it's a well-known axiom to not judge a book by its cover, in this case it is all right. John Milliken Thompson's debut novel, The Reservoir, has as its cover a gorgeous, sprawling tree that hasn't leafed out, with an amber wash that harkens back to another time. It is desolate and nearly devoid of life. The cover is based on something that exists, yet has been turned into something else.

That's an accurate description of the novel. It's based on a true story, but Thompson, a nonfiction and short story writer, has taken the bare bones of what was known and turned it into a stark, sad story that is steeped in old-timey feel.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Review: 'The Dark Enquiry'

THE DARK ENQUIRY                                                        
By Deanna Raybourn
Historical crime fiction
June 2011
Mira Books
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1237
Lady Julia Grey thinks she has settled well into married life with the dashing, enigmatic and brilliant Nicholas Brisbane. She blows out windows in his consulting roms experimenting with explosives while he tries to protect her by not revealing what cases he's working on. She insists on playing a greater role as helpmeet. He plans outings for her in the country to help her brother Plum, Brisbane's latest apprentice, find some missing jewels.

There's a lot of protecting and going behind each other's backs in displays of love and competitiveness. It's bound to come to a head.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: 'Jane Austen: A Life Revealed'

By Catherine Reef
YA biography
June 2011
Clarion Books
ISBN: 978-0547370217

Young adult readers can be especially passionate about their favorites, as has been seen when Harry Potter and Twilight took off in popularity. Transferring that loyalty to other books that are at least a bit similar has not always been successful, although the vampire subgenre remains healthy for both YA and adult paranormal romance genres. Those who hope interest in a great romance could lead to young readers discovering Jane Austen don't often meet with success. In addition to the language barrier, there are the slower plots and, let's face it, no broken headboards.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: 'Graveminder'

By Melissa Marr
May 2011
William Morrow
ISBN: 978-0061826870

Rebekkah has spent most of her young life running away from the town where she lived briefly as a teen. The years weren't many but they were filled with love from her stepfather and grandmother. Then her mom split with her stepdad and she's pretty much been on the move ever since.

Until she receives a late-night call that Maylene, the woman who became her grandmother, has died. Rebekkah heads right back to Clayville, noticing that her ever-present feelings of anxiety disappear when she crosses the city line. Even though she's with Byron, the boy she kissed once, betraying her late stepsister, and even though she and Byron have the biggest "oh we shouldn't" but you know they're lying thoughts. The anxiety even stays away when she discovers Maylene was murdered.