Friday, February 5, 2016

Prison, by Toni V Lee

I really wanted to like this book.  The plot sounded so interesting:  Sonja Grey and Max Trent are narcotics detectives who are chosen to go undercover to capture a "thug" who is dealing drugs at Sonja's church.  Promising mystery, suspense, and romance, it was indeed the makings of a good book.

Unfortunately, this kernel of a good story was completely lost in a bunch of cliches, overly stereotypical characters, and unbelievable dialogue.  Sonja and Max go from acting like immature grade schoolers - dealing with their attraction for each other by picking fights - to becoming the stuff of a Christian version of a Harlequin romance.  I lost track of how many times Sonja admired Max's "bulging, rippling muscles," and at one pointed she deemed him "looking good enough to eat."  For his part, Max struggled with controlling his fleshly desires, allowing himself only to "kiss her senseless"  (more than once), and delivered lines like, "Don't you know my heart beats in time with yours?"

The secondary characters, including the young man they were trying to capture, were basically caricatures, rather than believable, three dimensional characters.   We're also led to believe that the bad guys are going to be covered in tattoos and wear dreadlocks, because obviously, tattoos and dreadlocks equal a thug.

Ultimately, I was disappointed and frustrated while trying to read this all the way through.  I did finish the book, but found myself skimming at times, because it was just too difficult to take seriously.

I received this book for free from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Mountain Midwife, by Laurie Alice Eakes

Ashley Tolliver is a third generation midwife living and working in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. She is devoted to her work and to her clients, but is also feeling a pull to leave her small hometown to go to medical school. When a mysterious couple arrives at her door late one night, she finds herself unexpectedly delivering a baby only to have the driver, baby, and mother (who is dangerously bleeding) vanish out into the night without a trace.

Hunter McDermott is a successful engineer from the DC area who is begrudgingly experiencing his fifteen minutes of fame after rescuing a young girl.  He returns home after working overseas hoping to rest and catch his breath for awhile.  Instead he finds a cryptic phone message from someone claiming to be his birth mother. After confronting his parents, he learns that he was in fact adopted, and goes on a quest to research this new-found piece of his personal history.  His journey brings him to the mountains of southwestern Virginia, where he crosses paths with Ashley Tolliver.

Eakes tells an interesting and fast-moving story here.  The mystery of the young missing mother, and Hunter's personal quest to find his parents are intertwined as Ashley and Hunter meet and forge a tentative relationship. There are plenty of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages, and the characters are well-developed.  The mountains and landscape of the area are described beautifully, and almost serve as a character in their own right.

Unfortunately I did have a few gripes that kept me from giving the book a higher rating. There were some confusing plot lines and continuity issues, and the ending was extremely abrupt, leaving many secondary stories completely unresolved.  It is a shame too, because Eakes is a great writer, and I enjoyed her overall descriptive style.

This is the first book I've read by this author, and little quibbles aside, I would definitely give another of her books a try.

I received this book for free from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.