13 June 2013

Thursday's Review: What Matters Most by Bette Lee Crosby

Copy of book was provided by the author in exchange for review

Published: March 31, 2013
Publisher: Bent Line Publishing
Price: $14.00 Paperback
               $ 3.99 e-Book
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

There is just something about a Bette Lee Crosby book that allows the story to just slide off the pages. I think that I have read almost everything that Bette has written, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. What Matters Most is another enjoyable and charming read from this master of southern literature. 

Louise and Carl have an established life in New Jersey. He has worked at the local bank for his whole working career, she has successfully raised two children and is active in the local scene. That is until Carl's Uncle Charlie leaves them a house in Florida. Suddenly their life is in upheaval.

Like all of Bette's books, this story was easy to get into and flowed quickly for me. She has a wonderful voice which makes me feel like she is sitting in front of me telling me the story, rather than being miles away while I am reading her book. In addition, Bette's characters are always full of personality and pizazz. There were several characters in this book that really fit that bill, and although I had a bit of a hard time identifying with the main characters of Louise and Carl, there were several supporting characters who I identified with right off the bat. It's not that Louise and Carl were not great characters, they were. It was just that, in the beginning, they were not very likable. In fact, I remember thinking several times that they had to be the most self centered, clueless people in the world....but that was the point. As usual, Bette painted this picture in a true to life way that everyone can enjoy. 

As I said, overall this book was thoroughly enjoyable. The story itself was told with Bette's customary charm and wit and the characters were incredibly real. My only regret is that I only have one more of Bette's books left to read. I can only hope that she writes and publishes more soon, so I don't have to wait too long.

11 June 2013

Tuesday's Review: Parallax View by Allan Leverone

This book was provided by the author in return for my review. 

Released: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Rock Bottom Books
Price:  $ 13.95
                 $  3.99 Kindle Edition
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tracy Tanner is a CIA operative who is tasked with what she feels could be the easiest operation she has ever been assigned to. All she has to do is deliver a letter from the head of one superpower to the head of another. What could be so hard about that, right?

Put yourself into late 1980's, back when the US and USSR were the "Superpowers" and the balance of the world depended to a large extent on their relationship with each other. I remember this time period quite well -- the interplay between President Reagan and Premier Gorbachev, the famous "Tear Down the Wall" speech, and the subsequent dismantling of the USSR. InParallax View, thriller writer extraordinaire Allan Leverone has crafted an action packed and explosive back story to these events that definitely kept me riveted. The story that Mr. Leverone presents in this book is not only riveting, but entirely plausible, which only made it more exciting in my mind. From the first chapter to the last, I was never quite sure what was going to happen next, but I certainly knew that I couldn't wait to find out. 

The setting of this book and the story were not the only things that drew me in, either. As he has in prior books, Mr. Leverone has thrown into the mix a cast of interesting characters that I quickly came to love or hate as the story dictated. CIA operative Tracy Tanner is the type of heroine I love to see in books. She is a strong female with many skills that has no trouble "keeping up with the boys". On top of that, she can really kick ass. On the other hand, Air Traffic Controller Shane Rowley is a surprise. Ordinary to the extreme on the surface, there is much more to him than you at first expect. As the book progressed he quickly became my favorite character, and in my mind, the hero of the story. By the time the book ended, I was wishing he was real....I really would like to have met him. 

And then there is the author. Allan Leverone has quickly established himself as a thriller author extraordinaire, partly through his ability to write noteworthy books across several genres. Whether you are reading one of his psychological thrillers, mysteries, horror thrillers, or politically based thrillers, his work is always top notch with lots of twists, explosive action (and I do mean explosive), riveting story lines and masterfully crafted characters. His current novel, Parallax View, definitely fits this profile and is another successful chapter in his career. 

I have been thinking lately that I missed reading the Tom Clancy political thrillers that I used to love so much. This book would hold it's own with any of them and definitely sated my appetite. Many thanks to Mr. Leverone and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book for making this book available to me.