Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review of Never Forget by Jody Hedlund

I had the pleasure of previewing Jody Hedlund's latest release--Never Forget. The setting for this final installment in the Beacons of Hope series is set at Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island, in the late 1800s.

Abbie Watson’s grandfather is the acting keeper of Rose Island Lighthouse. The only problem is Gramps is senile. Flipping from present day to somewhere in his long-ago past, Gramps is unable to carry out his duties as acting keeper. Luckily, Abbie is more than capable of tending the light and caring for her grandfather. If only she could make the superintendent realize it. If only Abbie’s husband hadn’t been a drunkard. Now that he is deceased, how will she ever convince anyone that she and Gramps should remain at Rose Island? Abbie will do anything to help Gramps remain at the only place he knows and loves.

Following at severe storm, Abbie discovers a man washed ashore. He has no memory of how he got there, or even who he is! Before she can figure out what to tell Gramps, he assumes the stranger is his former assistant one moment, and Abbie’s late husband the next.

Unintentionally, the strange man is led to believe that he is in fact Abbie’s husband. Guilt plagues her, but she allows the charade to continue, hoping it allows a little time for her to figure out how to keep Gramps on Rose Island.

I love the characters in this story. Abbie is proud, strong and loyal—the perfect heroine, even though she is tripped up by many imperfections—one being her ability to avoid the truth. She is easy to like. Nathaniel is giving, kind, tender, but has a tortured soul. He desperately wants to make up for the sins of his past life.

The added detail of dealing with a loved one suffering from dementia adds a bittersweet tone to this story. It's easy to understand how those rare moments of clarity are priceless to Abbie and her sister. What wouldn't we do to have those treasured moments?

The pace is very good from start to finish. I was immediate hooked into the story. The twist and turns were surprising. Just when you think things are coming together, Hedlund throws a curveball. This might just be my favorite in the Beacons of Hope series. 

As usual for Hedlund, the writing, editing, all the details are impeccable. A really good read.

Read in order, this series follows the journey of a wooden cross as it is passed along from one person to another. The individual stories are unique, so the books work quite well as stand-alones.

Never Forget is available for pre-order at Amazon for $4.99.  I highly recommend this one!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Short Reviews of September Reads

From a psychological thriller to Jody Hedlund's Historical Newton & Polly (which I reviewed here) to a bedtime novel followed by a crime drama, I read a wide variety of books in September.

Huntress Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers Book 1)
 by Alexandra Sokoloff

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke watches from across the street as a mysterious out-of-place woman catches his eye. Moments later, than same woman appears to be eyeing Roarke’s undercover agent as the agent steps out into the street and is killed. Soon Roarke discovers it might have been no accident.

His investigation leads him to find the mysterious woman fits the description of a woman present at other mysterious accidents, and a murder. Roarke’s hunt takes him from San Fransisco across three states and back. He is searching for the connection between the seemingly unrelated crimes. He is soon convinced that he is on the trail of a female serial killer—the rarest of all killers.

This tale was gripping! I enjoyed the pace and the writing. The story was believable and the MC likeable. This book has all the elements of a great thriller. I want to know more about what’s inside this woman, so I will likely read another from this four book series—perhaps all of them.

Take Me With You 
by Catherine Ryan Hyde

After reading a couple of heavy suspense novels back-to-back, I needed something lighter. I chose Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It is a very sweet bedtime story.

A science teacher spends his summers traveling the western states. On this journey, his RV breaks down, and it looks like it will cost him an important destination, until the mechanic makes him an unlikely deal.

In many places, the writing style reminded me of a children’s book, and a few places were redundant. Still, this book was a delight to read.

We’re planning on traveling those same places next year, so that made the locations of keen interest. It seemed the author had first-hand knowledge of some nice hiking trails. I’m planning to research the spots mentioned in the book.

The characters were more than likeable—they were lovable and hateable. This story of the developing relationship between a divorced man grieving the loss of a son and two neglected sons of an alcoholic, is a great bedtime read. It will likely not win an award for writing, but it is nonetheless a good story.

If you're looking for a great literary work, skip this one. But if you want simply sweet, this is it.

The Drop
From the Harry Bosch crime series
by Michael Connelly

Working old unsolved cases, Harry is given a ‘hit’—DNA from a 1989 rape/murder case matches a convicted rapist. The only problem is the 29-year-old convict would have been eight years old at the time of the murder.

Before Harry can make any real headway into the case, he is baffled to be assigned to a current case, and told it takes priority over everything. Why did his long-time enemy request his involvement in the investigation of his son’s death—an apparent suicide?

I had previously read The Black Echo, so was familiar with the Harry Bosch series. I had particularly liked the true-to-life feel of Connelly’s writing. This book was just as realistic.

The characters have well-developed strengths and flaws, giving them great depth. Connelly’s story flows easily, making the pace enjoyable to read. He includes just enough technical jargon to give the story an insider’s feel. Descriptions are detailed, but not flowery. There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep you on the edge of your seat.

I plan to read more books in this series.

Do you tend to read mostly the same genre, or do you also like to switch it up?