Friday, June 08, 2012

Summer Reading Suggestions

It's the time to grab books and head to the pool. Last week, I read two books in very different genres. Bonnie Calhoun's novel Cooking the Books is a very enjoyable debut novel in the P.I. genre. Lena Nelson Dooley's Maggie's Journey is an engaging historical romance.

Sloane Templeton's life is chaos in Cooking the Books. Her mom's died, she's running a business she doesn't want, and she longs to get back to computer forensics. Instead, she's trying to avoid a bad, old boyfriend while maintaining a relationship with the Greek doctor down the street. She's got her aunt's cooking to avoid, her colleague's group of shooting old timers, and thugs all around.

Bonnie Calhoun's debut novel sings with personality. Sloane's voice is strong and sassy with an edge of sarcasm. She's trying to find herself in her new reality while staying alive. There are moments of poignancy laced with sheer lunacy. This book is perfect for people who enjoy first-person detective novels where the mystery involves a non-professional. Sloane has the skills she needs to solve the murder, but doesn't realize it. The book is a romp with a thread of serious undertones. The faith element is woven in carefully, adding to the story without distracting from the action.

With Maggie's Journey, Lena Nelson Dooley has crafted an engaging first book in a story of triplets separated at birth. Maggie Caine is approaching her 18th birthday, living under the stress of a mother who can't seem to accept her. Then as she explores the attic she stumbles upon a possible reason for the desire to change her. Her world shifts with all she knows or thought she knows about herself changed in a moment. Then her parents let her go on a long desired trip to visit her grandmother in Little Rock -- a woman who shares her love of designing dresses.

This book is well-crafted. The longer I read the more I cared about Maggie, her mother, and the other characters. The angst between Maggie and her mom was so strong at the beginning I had to read past it. Once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The love triangle has an interesting angle that adds to the fun in the middle of the book.

At the end, this is a charming story about coming home and the journey to know who we really are. Thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to reading the other books in this series.

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