Monday, February 27, 2012

Hide In Plain Sight (The Three Sisters Inn #1), by Marta Perry

Overview (from Goodreads): When her sister was injured, financial expert Andrea Hampton traded the big city for Amish country to help turn her grandmother's house into an inn. But life with the Plain People took a treacherous turn when a string of accidents and pranks threatened her family. Someone didn't want the secrets the old house harbored to come to light. Trusting anyone-- even the handsome carpenter who seemed so genuine--was a battle for Andrea, but her life depended on her ability to find the truth.

Quick Review: This one was nice. A nice romance, a nice Amish backdrop, a nice story, a nice intrigue, and a nice twist in the end. It was a quick and mostly enjoyable read. What bugged me about the main characters was how quick tempered they were towards each other since they first met. Their words were, I don't know how to put it, too sudden? Too defensive. It wasn't a realistic dialogue at first. Later on, it got better. And the romantic part, the male lead, was sweet and very touching.
A good cozy mystery that has you guessing and wondering right until the end (almost).
3 1/2 stars

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Agatha Christie

I have read only two Agatha Christie's books, and was pleasantly surprised. Here's my take on both:

Great book, great mystery, great execution. I love it when they keep me guessing right until the end. There were a few things that bothered me slightly, but so minimal that I will not get into them. I loved the characters, and the plot; although it certainly is outdated, it's so well written that it doesn't matter. I could see a Hollywood adaptation. It's full of twists and turns, mystery, intrigue, suspense. I highly recommend it.
This was my first Agatha Christie book and it did not disappoint. 4 1/2 stars

Very, very good. This Poirot character is wonderfully irritating and funny. Also, although you may think you know who did it, keep on reading until the end because I found it to be surprising. Not what I expected. I love to be surprised, I love an unpredictable mystery, and The Mysterious Affair delivered. Not 5 stars because there were a few boring parts, but the rest made up for it. Nicely written and narrated, Mrs. Christie was very ingenious. A very smart mystery. 4/5 stars

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

After the break

Well, I've been out for more days than I would've liked, but my son was hospitalized and my mind, my efforts, my concentration and my focus have been on him, all the time. He's out now, doing much better, and we're praying and trusting in God that our son will be cleared from his illness in no time.
In the meantime, I have been doing a little reading and I hope to post a few reviews soon. In the works right now are:
The Joy of Calvinism, by Greg Forster
An Amish Family Reunion, by Mary Ellis
Leaving Lancaster, by Kate Lloyd
Why do we have creeds, by Burk Parsons
Temptation, by Jay Adams
So stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Been there, read that

There are many things I love about books, and many things I dislike. There are, however, a few things that I used to tolerate but have become so common, so overly used, that every time I see them in a book, I can't help but roll my eyes and groan "Aw, man. Not again!'
For instance: Romantic leads that "absolutely" hate each other at first, only to fall in love by the book's end. I have read this mostly in Christian fiction. It's lighthearted, funny at times and sometimes interesting, as you can see the characters interact and get on each others nerves. But enough already. If you're a writer, I guess you're talented and creative enough to figure out a way to have your leads meet and get to know each other in a different way. I mean, disliking someone at first is fairly common, but absolutely hating or despising them... no. Please don't.
Also annoying, the phrase "Mental head slap" or its derivatives. I read three, THREE, novels back to back that included that phrase not once or twice. No. It was repeatedly and the majority of the time, unnecessary.
Oh, and one that gets on my nerves every time: When characters refer to one another using their complete name. You know, "Listen, Deborah Smith, don't do that", "What are you talking about, Mathew Jones?" Why, oh why do authors feel the need to do that? And there is a similar one, which can be seen constantly in the Hannah Swensen series (Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, and so on): characters who address each other by name repeatedly in a conversation. For example: "Andrea, can you help me with this?", "I don't know, Hannah. It looks complicated", "Nonsense, Andrea. It's a piece of cake!", "Ok, Hannah, if you say so." This not an actual dialogue from the book, but nevertheless, you get my drift.
And finally, a few things that really distract me from an otherwise interesting plot:
Too many jokes. It's nice to be funny, but when an author tries to be hilarious in every page it's just too much.
A bland male lead.
A dumb female lead.
A lead who is a know it all.
Too many descriptions, as in "I took a left on 48th street, only to realize that I should've gone to 31st street first. So I made a U turn on the corner of 48 and 52nd, passed by Cafe L'Amour, and went straight down 46th street. Later I realize that if I had taken the highway and got off at Exit 9, it would have lead me straight to 31st street through the 29th." No, thank you.
Toddlers who speak and act like 12 year olds.
Characters who have no flaws at all.
Characters who contradict themselves all the time. It's like the author cannot decide what feelings or decisions suit best, so he/she tries them all on in one character.

Well, there you have it. Some of the most common, irritating no, nos that I have come across while reading fiction. We'll see how it goes on my next venture.