February 2013 Bookshelf

Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo

I am devouring Linda Castillo's series set in Amish country.  This book was very similar to her first, Sworn to Silence, in it's descriptive plot.  She writes a disturbing crime for sure but something about how she writes keeps me reading as I stomach the crimes.  If they ever made movies of her books I wouldn't be able to watch them, the reading of the crimes is enough.
In this book, book 2 with former Amish Chief of Police Kate Burkholder, an Amish family is brutally slaughtered.  Kate and her team are on a race to find out who did it before it happens again.  What makes her job more difficult is that the pacifist Amish culture doesn't want "Englisher" help.  They would rather just let the crime fall under the category of "God's will".  Now I believe in God's will for sure but when a crime happens I also believe God set certain people in place to help bring about some form of justice. Anywho.  Kate and her team race against the clock and find out things they never knew they would as the perpetrators are finally revealed.
Another great book from Castillo, she continues in her tight plot lines and good character development.  We learn more about Kate's back story and her team of cops.  In fact the second I finished this one I picked up book 3, Breaking Silence.

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

Breaking Silence, Linda Castillo's book 3 in a series, was as good as books 1,2, and 4 are.  And in this book the crime she describes wasn't as brutal as the ones in the first two books.  This was a welcome change for me.  I wasn't sure if I could stomach another brutal crime scene.  While crime is never welcome this book's crime at least was "mild" compared to books 1 and 2.  That is true in book 4, Gone Missing, as well (since I read that one first not knowing there were 3 books that preceded it).
Painters Mill, and close by Millersburg, have been experiencing Amish hate crimes the past few weeks.  Then one morning an Amish couple and man are found dead by what appears to be an accident.  But when the coroner starts his examinations he finds that the deaths were no accident but in fact murder. Kate Burkholder and her team start looking deeper into the hate crimes and connecting the two.  But are they connected?  Only time will reveal as their investigations uncover truth.
I'm really enjoying this series by Castillo.  I think she's working on book 5 and I will definitely be reading it when it comes out!

"J" is for Judgment by Sue Grafton

It's like a mission for me to get through this alphabet series from Grafton.  I suppose it's lucky for her that she crafted a decent character in Kinsey Millhone and has been able to capitalize on it.
This was a longer book than most of her alphabet so far (a-i) and I felt like it dragged on.  She needs to keep it a bit shorter.  Although since she's almost done with the entire alphabet I suppose that probably hasn't happened.  Also in "J" Grafton decided to beef up the reader on California history in the areas of Santa Teresa and Perdido...sigh.  It didn't add to the story and I think that history should add to the story not make it drag out.
In this book Kinsey is on the hunt for a "dead" man who doesn't seem to be dead after all.  Her hunt takes her to Mexico and then back to her old stomping grounds.  In the midst of searching out the "dead" man the reader does find out, along with Kinsey herself, about Kinsey's own family that she never knew she had.  As usual Kinsey does things and discovers things that are slightly unrealistic but yet apparently believable enough since Grafton has made a fortune off of her character.

Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman

I almost gave it one star but thought 2 was probably more fair.  Stephen King (stick with me) says in his book "On Writing" to stay true to your character.  Meaning if they cuss, they cuss.  If they do drugs, they do drugs.  You see what he's saying I'm sure.  Well Fishman made her characters pot heads and drunks.  UGH.  Perhaps that was true to her characters but UGH.  It was over the top, especially the language.  I should have counted how many times the f-bomb was dropped.  Too much.  I don't mind it here in there, in keeping with the whole "be true to your character" thing but it was so laden with the f-bomb that I think it detracted from the story.
Ruth Wasserman just completed her freshman year of college at U of M (GO BLUE!) and is back home in the Deep South for the summer. She arrives home to a withdrawn brother, parents acting weird, and her own eating disorder haunting her at every turn.  The book is the story of her summer and discovering not just herself but her brother and parents as well.  Fishman writes decently but the story was nothing to write home about.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

What a great book.  The POV reminds me a little bit of Room by Emma Donoghue.  The POV of this book is endearing.
Max and Budo are best friends.  The only problem is that Max is the only one who can see Budo.  Budo has been alive for 6 years, which is a long time for an imaginary friend.  But Max needs someone who gets him.  Max is different and Budo helps him navigate through life with his differences.  But when a teacher at Max's school goes off the deep end and takes Max with her Budo is stuck.  He can only do what Max has imagined him to do.  With the help of some other imaginary friends Budo sets out to save Max.
Matthew Dicks book about imaginary friends is a wonderful read, very endearing, and very engaging.  He accomplishes what, in my opinion, the Toy Story movie series also accomplishes.  You believe that it could actually be true.  The book was written well and was a very easy read.  It was so enjoyable.

Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale by Lynda Rutledge

This book had such potential and in my opinion it fell short of Rutledge's intentions.
On the last day of 1999 Faith Bass Darling wakes up to the voice of God telling her to sell everything she owns in her mansion.  By early morning she had managed to drag half of her valuables out on to her front lawn. Selling off genuine Tiffany Lamps for $1 and other valuables for pennies the town is in a frenzy and scooping up the Darling fortunes before Faith realizes what she has done. Problem is Faith isn't going to remember, she's got Alzheimer's and time is short.  The book spans the entire last day of 1999 and features several people from Faith's past who show up and try to piece together the past 20 years leading up to this day.
It isn't that Rutledge writes bad but her story is disjointed and confusing.  It was kind of boring too.  I was disappointed because as I said above, I felt like it had such potential.  Rutledge didn't develop her characters enough to make the reader care about the various stories happening.  It was a disappointing novel and I'm disappointed to say that.


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