Category Archives: contemporary fiction
The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson
Published August 15th 2012 by Fire & Ice Books
Format: Kindle ebook: freebie
Length: 194 pages (or 224 pages?) / 330 KB
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fairytale
Reading Level: All Ages
Goodreads | Amazon
Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust. But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect — read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice — stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?
Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.
Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.
Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.
And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.
I first saw The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson during its blog tour and when I saw it was available as an ebook freebie, I snapped it up. I adore fairytale rewrites. A fairytale mash up is pretty much guaranteed to make me happy. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back was fun and light and a nice, quick read. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It…ignited a fiery ball of rage in my chest that burned with the heat of a thousand suns. Let me explain my epic rage to you. (I’m about to be harsh. Sorry.)
Wilson used the biggest, baddest ugly stepsister/duckling cliché of them all. The world is being tricked, everybody! The ugly stepsister isn’t really ugly at all and with a little bit of effort, some hair styling, and a touch of makeup she can be utterly beautiful. The underdog is only some eyeliner and lip gloss away from being the pretty princess. Mattie’s style is punkish and funky, she’s got an attitude and a problem with stupid people, but none of that matters because she apparently has great boobs. In fact, we’re told that one of the first real meetings between Mattie and her object of obsession Jake is between lover boy, a skimpy robe, and her awesome boobs. It’s one of those ridiculous situations where if the nerd takes their glasses off they are suddenly pretty or handsome and as a certified ugly person, I am deeply insulted. Ella is just misunderstood and Mattie really isn’t ugly. The only problems these girls have are the ones manufactured in their heads. They are rich, beautiful, and hormonal and I want to gag.
[deep breath] Sorry if some of my indignation got on your clothing. I think I was the completely wrong person to read this book. Yes, it has a basis in the fairytale Cinderella. But it is also a teenage drama and teenage drama makes me want to scream. I have zero interest in teenagers’ petty problems. I would have dropped Jake like a hot potato after he asked me to do the school project on my own and then add his name to it. No excuses; I don’t care how much pressure your parents are putting on you. Instead, Mattie continues to chase after the ass. I think my eye started to twitch at this point.
Despite my displeasure with many things, I did finish the book. The Stepsister Strikes Back has some charming points and watching Mattie make a real connection with Ella and then stand up for herself against her mother was nice. It’s predictable but that’s just the nature of the creature when dealing with a fairytale rewrite. It would have been nice to see some sort of twist but the plot remains fairly straight forward. It would help if the book followed the blurb it has but it’s less about Mattie taking charge and coming into her own and more about everyone around Mattie teaming up to get her and Jake together. It’s a disappointing fake out, really. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson was just ok in my opinion. I’m mostly just glad I didn’t pay for it.
Rating: 2.5 stars : Meh
Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop (hosted by Pen to Paper) where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it’s entirely up to you), that we can’t wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Expected publication: February 5th 2013
It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother’s existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea–and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right–but it’s a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
I found this one just cruising around Goodreads one afternoon. I have a ridiculous love for teenage spy or thief plots. Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig and Heist Society by Ally Carter are some of my favorites in this genre. I noticed that Carriger even has another series that is set after Etiquette & Espionage but is in the same universe but it looks more supernatural than anything else. So I’m not quite sure what I’m going to be getting with Etiquette & Espionage if it’s set in the same universe as the more supernatural sounding Parasol Protectorate series. But I can’t wait to find out!
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
Published March 13th 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books
Length: 368 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, YA, Chick Lit
Reading Level: 13 & Up
ISBN 0062066064 (ISBN 13: 9780062066060)
Goodreads | Amazon
Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.
Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.
The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.
But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?
Ah, high school; the classes, the lunches, the cliques of snobby girls and self-absorbed boys. The pickpocketing and housebreaking? High school was never like that for me! But Valley Prep is no ordinary school in Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig. Let me just get one thing straight. The main character, Willa, is insane. Not because she starts a crime spree and has delusions of being Robin Hood. Oh no. Willa is insane because she is riding a bike through the deserts of Arizona. In the first few chapters we establish that her bike is her only way of getting around and she rides it to school and everywhere else. Even to other towns. This is clearly a mark of a crazy person. I don’t care how young or fit you are, nobody rides their bike through the heat of Arizona in summer and not keel over dead.
I enjoyed Pretty Crooked. It was cute. I thought there was just enough introspection on Willa’s part to make her decision to steal from the rich girls believable but not drawn out. She’s a teenager, so impulse control is sort of nonexistent. But she’s also one smart cookie. So there was just enough soul-searching to create a balance. My biggest grip is, once again, the romance. Willa and Adian fall into that old cliché where Willa doesn’t really like Adian because he’s kind of a jerk but never mind that because he’s hot and makes Willa all tingly. (sigh) Maybe I’m expecting too much from teenage characters or there is a decided lack of originality in YA books when it comes to love-interests. It seems to be a cruel pattern. I was rather hoping Willa would drift to Tre but it looks like he’s just a friend. I rather thought they’d make a better match.
But the best parts didn’t happen until the end of the book. I cannot wait for the sequel. I’m more interested in what Willa’s mother was up to and who that man she was sneaking off to see was. Was it really Willa’s father? Does the calling card Willa found belong to him? Was that man that ransacked Willa’s house really sent by the Glitterati or perhaps someone more sinister? I can see this turning into a type of super-secret agent girl. If Willa’s father is really the FBI agent who left his card, why did her mother choose to keep them apart? The suggested mountain of secrets is just delicious.
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig was good but the hints for the sequel were even better. I liked the characters, even with the irritating structure of the romance. It was a fun read. You find yourself rooting for Willa even as you know her actions are going to eventually bite her in the ass. Pretty Crooked also has a good example of cyber-bullying and just why we need better laws against it and why parents need to be more proactive in their teenagers’ social and internet activity. (I could do a whole rant about the cyber-bullying but I’ll spare you my rage.) I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman
Published December 6th 2011 by Tor Books
Length: 349 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
ISBN 0765328526 (ISBN 13: 9780765328526)
Goodreads | Amazon
From book jacket: The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction? A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret. For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe, hidden, and apart from one another. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood. Now, only a few remain. With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a virtual stranger, to deliver her Hallow – a broken sword with devastating powers – to her nephew, Owen. The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress. As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel a deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales – and history itself – as they discover that the sword may be the only things standing between the world… and a horror beyond imagining.
It’s strange going from a middle grade book to a young adult book to an adult book. I feel like I have whiplash. The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman is the first adult book I’ve read in some time and, wow, could I tell the difference. Blood, gore, and sex and more than a few places where I crinkled up my nose and went “ew”. A plethora of violent characters and a rather harsh view of humanity as a whole are present in The Thirteen Hallows. I obviously need to read more adult books if I’m that unused to bloody violence in my thriller slash fantasy books. Michael Scott and Colette Freedman blend the modern world and ancient legend together seamlessly in The Thirteen Hallows as we follow a story thousands of years in the making.
The Thirteen Hallows is a dark ride through the mists of time. England is a land of legend and there is more than one superstition holding the kingdom up. (Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave The Tower of London, that England would fall. Several ravens have had their wings clipped and are taken care of by the Yeomen Warders because of this.) We’re treated to the same amount of myth and legend in this book, everything from King Arthur to the hunting horn of the Horned God. Don’t get attached to anyone in this book, chances are they are doing to die. It will probably be a violent, bloody death too. Things get chopped off. Torture happens. Thus we have the moments that made me say “ew’. It’s not terribly graphic but I’d say if it were a movie it would rate an ‘R’ just for the violence and definitely for the amount of sex. Again, nothing graphic but it is there.
There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book, all of them awesome in some way. Most of them meet bloody ends in various painful ways. Each chapter is another character’s point of view and chapters are short. The story is actually quite a bit shorter than the number of pages suggest because some of those pages only have a few sentences on them. Chapters are only a couple pages long. This makes for a fast paced read and a rush of events. (Well, you have to hurry when you are trying to save the world!) Normally, this type of choppiness would annoy the crap out of me, but for some reason the bouncing narrative works for The Thirteen Hallows.
I have nothing but praise for The Thirteen Hallows. It hit all the points. The characters were all great and the plot is fascinating. I was never irritated or annoyed with anyone or anything. If you’re looking for some modern fantasy with a bit of bite and something outside of the usual young adult formula, then The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman might be just what you are looking for.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Published April 3rd 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 361 pages; hardcover
Genre: Mystery, Horror, Contemporary fiction
Reading Level: Teen
ISBN 0316125849 (ISBN 13: 9780316125840)
Goodreads | Amazon
Jazz, Jasper Dent, is a normal enough teenager in the small town of Lobo’s Nod. He has his girlfriend Connie and his best friend Howie. He even has a part in the next high school play. But Jazz is also the only son of an accomplished serial killer and Dear Old Dad Billy Dent taught his son everything he knew. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops only wish they could – from the killer’s point of view. Now people are turning up dead once more and Jazz must track the new killer down in an effort to prove that murder does not run in the family, especially as the new killer is doing everything just like Billy Dent did all those years ago.
I occasionally read mysteries but they have to have something unique to pull my interest in. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga definitely fit the bill and is probably the most interesting mystery I’ve ever read. It all centers around the very different main character. I was blown away by Jazz. First of all, I always seem to enjoy books with male main characters more than I do their female counterparts. Perhaps it is that male characters tend to avoid several stereotypical behaviors that even a well-written female character might display. (My kingdom for a female character not obsessed with some hot guy.) Then we have Jazz’s unique connection to serial killers and his very chilling reactions to the world around him. People fascinate me. Well, they also annoy the crap out of me, but the ‘why’ of their behaviors fascinates me. Jazz stands on the cusp of two worlds, his motivation to be good and that part of him still under the sway of what his father taught him; the killer inside that Jazz does not want to get out (or thinks he should not want to get out). Jazz is the most complex character I’ve read about in a long time. The boy gave me goose-bumps several times in this story.
I Hunt Killers kept me guessing. Lyga keeps throwing Deputy Erikson in our faces as the killer but as a reader we know that because Erikson is so visible in the story that he can’t be the killer. It’s a kneejerk reaction of “that’s too easy”. At one point I was convinced that Jazz was having some sort of split personality and really was killing those people himself. We even suspect Sheriff G. William and the journalist Doug Weathers because Jazz himself suspects him. We are perfectly strung along. In the end, the killer is plainly visible but was the one person Jazz never suspected. Surprised the hell out of me too! I can’t wait for the sequel. I hope Jazz is a few years older in the next book, out of high school and considered an adult. It would be interesting to see what Jazz does as an official profiler.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is going on my list of favorite books for 2012. I adored all the characters, even the greatly disturbing Billy Dent, and was captivated at every turn. I couldn’t put it down! It has the best of the mystery and horror genres, with a complex plot and creepy, deeply unsettling thought processes. Here there be demons, folks. Check your squeamishness at the door. That said, I Hunt Killers is also an enthralling, wild ride with many twists and turns and I recommend it to anyone looking for a unique murder mystery that will make you check the door is locked multiple times.
Memorable Quote: “Sometimes his programming simulated human emotions pretty well. And sometimes he convinced himself that it wasn’t programming at all.”
Warning! If you disturb easily, I might give this book a pass. (Or at least make sure all the lights are on when you read it.) There are, of course, descriptions of murder and blood in this book but there are also mentions of rape, possible matricide, animal cruelty and death, grief, and a whole host of other unnerving behaviors and events. Do not read before bedtime, that’s all I’m saying.
The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer
Sujean Rim (Illustrator)
Published December 22nd 2009 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Length: 250 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Reading Level: Ages 9 & up
ISBN 141696794X (ISBN 13: 9781416967941)
Goodreads | Amazon
Annie loves her grandmother’s teashop, the Steeping Leaf. She and her two friends, Genna and Zoe, spent their childhoods at the teashop and now Annie is excited to be working there. But she finds out that the Leaf is having financial troubles. Now Annie is faced with losing a beloved part of her past while her two friends seem to drift further and further away from her. Annie will do everything in her power to help her grandmother and keep the Steeping Leaf open but with developers sniffing around, a painful crush on her co-worker, and time running out, Annie doesn’t know what is going to happen.
I bought a copy of The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer during my trip down to Main Street Books about two months ago. The blurb sounded cute and I was already dropping a stupid amount of money during that trip, so I thought one more book couldn’t hurt. It was a bit of fluff and cuteness is pretty much the only thing it has going for it. I have a thing for tea and a nostalgia streak a mile wide, so Annie’s pain over the possible loss of her grandmother’s teashop hit a cord with me. I’d rather be sitting in a locally owned coffeehouse than a big old noisy Starbucks any day. In fact, during November I can be found in a little hole in the wall place called The Crooked Tree Coffeehouse every Saturday morning having breakfast, drinking a bottomless cup from the coffee bar, and pounding out a few thousand words on my laptop with some good friends. I adore the place. (It’s called NaNoWriMo. Solid proof of my insanity.)
Nostalgia and cuteness was able to draw me in and The Teashop Girls is a sweet but predictable story. Everything turns out well in the end. The most interesting parts of the book were the interaction between the three girls, who come from very different backgrounds. I don’t really see how the three girls end up as friends in the first place, they are so different. Annie is middle class but her two friends Genna and Zoe are upper-class. Annie’s normality is at odds with Genna’s absent parents and obsession with dramatics and Zoe’s micromanaging parents and preoccupation with tennis. They’re moving onto high school and the teashop is pretty much the only thing they have in common anymore. But the past is not quite strong enough to hold them together. Annie seems to be the only one wanting to hold onto the bright memory. Annie’s frustrations with her friends are very real and I think we’ve all had those friends who just drift away from us through no fault of our own. The only odd thing about the book I could note was that Annie called her grandmother by her first name, Louisa. For a relationship that was portrayed as so close, this seemed very distancing. I don’t understand why the author would choose to do that.
The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer is a fun read and would be perfect to read to a little girl. Perhaps you could create your own teashop girls club? There are several recipes and activities includes throughout the book. I can image having a lot of fun in somebody’s backyard, reading this book and having a tea party with some little girls. (I’ve already decided to give this book to my friend, whose little girl is 16 months old. I’m sure they would both get a kick out of it. I’m thinking it would make an awesome birthday party in a few years.) It was a nice read, something to pull out during a quiet moment and have a spot of tea with.
(P.S. I’m trying something a little different with the format of my review posts. Let me know what you think.)
I really should keep better track of those books I get because another book blog reviewed them. The review for Heist Society by Ally Carter appeared on one of the many, many book blogs I read and I thought it sounded cute enough to give it a try. Then I discovered it had a sequel, which makes it the first in a series and thus qualifies for one of my 2012 book challenges. I’m cooking with fire now people! I wonder how long I could keep this type of pace up? How do you feel about two reviews per a week? Won’t that be fun! (Until I crash and burn but whatever.)
With a family like this, who needs enemies? Katarina Bishop’s greatest con of her life was scamming her way into the Colgan School only to be kicked out when the headmaster’s mint-condition 1958 Porsche Speedster ended up on top of the fountain and Kat was caught on surveillance video. But Kat didn’t do it and she’s rather irritated because whoever did was very, very good. Of course, coming from a family of very talented thieves, this could be anybody she knew. Kat tried to escape the life but when a dangerous man’s paintings disappear and her father is the only one who could have done it, Kat finds herself playing a perilous game to protect her family. After all; once a thief, always a thief.
Kat has two weeks to return Arturo Taccone’s stolen paintings and it is two weeks spent jumping all over the globe, from New York to Paris. I shudder to think how long the characters must have spent on planes. This was a fun read. I genuinely liked Kat as the main female character because she has a brain and skills but at the same time is just a kid put in an impossible situation and is uncertain and a bit scared. Her family is great; everyone from Uncle Eddie, who appears to be some sort of King of Thieves, to Kat’s cousin, Gabrielle, who couldn’t be more different from Kat. The relationship between Kat and Hale is interesting, even if the introduction of another boy, Nick, for added tension ended up kind of blah. Hale is instantly jealous of the other boy, acting a bit childish, while Kat doesn’t appear to care or have time for the little boys circling her. She has bigger fish to fry.
It’s interesting seeing the glimpses of life in a family of thieves (even a made up one) and reading about people who are trained from childhood to see everything and think on their feet. People are generally dull and seeing people who are so much more is exciting. It’s the reason we read fiction books; so that we can meet people more exciting than ourselves. Everyone in Heist Society is interesting but being set in the modern day means that the reader can trick themselves into believing for just a second that they could be those characters, racing around the world and planning to rob an unrobbable museum. It’s the mark of a great story.
The author mentioned that the paintings depicted in the book are fictional but I also have to say that the museum Kat and her gang end up robbing is probably fictional too. At least, when I tried to look up the Henley museum Google gave me a funny look and called me stupid. I was disappointed by this because I was looking forward to seeing pictures of this mythical Henley museum but I guess that writing about a fictional place is easier than trying to match details about a place that really exists. Oh well. Half way through the book, I was absolutely convinced that the secret would be that Kat’s family organized all of it, stealing the paintings and using the sacred name Visily Romani, just to drag her back into the life, to bring her home. Heist Society is all about family and how far one would go to make sure they are safe. But the ending was not what I was expecting.
This is the first book in a while where I haven’t taken some exception to formatting or style. There are no annoying bits, the story was well paced, and I didn’t want to kill any of the characters for being too stupid to live. There are some loose ends that I hope are taken care of in the sequel. We never learn who stole the paintings, the person using the alias Visily Romani, really is. We never hear the story of how Kat meet Hale when coming to steal the Monet or even learn Hale’s first name. (I was looking forward to that story!) Heist Society by Ally Carter was a complete pleasure to read and I’m looking forward to the sequel.
Angel in the Front Room Devil Out Back by Stanford Diehl
Twenty years ago Jackson Moon discovered that everyone in Solomon’s Rock, Georgia had a black heart and that the powerful men who ran the town, including his own father, were not what they seemed. A few people gain redemption by the end of the book and the story is rife with modern gangster plots, cold-blooded killers, and people who simply have no luck. Why was Bosco’s Bar and Grille burned to the ground, its patrons and prostitutes roasted alive in the upstairs rooms, all those years ago and what does it have to do with crime boss Michael Grant’s civil war park and current legal troubles? Jackson Moon is determined to find out.
At 420 pages long, Angel in the Front Room Devil Out Back is probably the longest books I’ve read for pleasure in years. I’m not a big fan of contemporary fiction and when I began Stanford Diehl’s book I was not sure I was going to finish it. At the beginning, a lot of confusing characters were thrown at the reader and you were not completely sure if everyone you were reading about was important to the story. Also, I wasn’t completely in love with the protagonist, Jackson Moon. It seemed like our main character couldn’t decide whether to be a hero or a coward. But I persevered and after the first half of the book I was dying to know just what Jackson Moon had up his sleeve.
Despite some mistakes, (Jackson enters a car twice at one point and the author often calls the main character by his given name Jackson and then by a nickname of Jackie together, which disrupts the flow in my opinion and threw me) the book ended up being intriguing and very involved. Jackson Moon does not turn out to be the clueless boy fumbling with his sense of right and wrong that he appears to be at the start. All of the characters are important to the story and serve to further the plot; even the love interest Bridgett Baines has a purpose besides just looking pretty. The story twists and turns and has a few good surprises.
I like this book and I grew to like the characters, especially when the main character appeared to gain a brain. There is a lot of violence and a disturbing amount of racism. People die and are maimed during the story and, although I have no problem with violence in books, there were a few parts that had me muttering “ew”. I’m glad I picked up the book and that I finished it rather than give up at the beginning. You can’t miss a thing in Angle in the Front Room Devil Out Back because every word is essential.
(Please note that if violence or extreme racism disturbs you, you might want to pass on this book.)
Angel in the Front Room, Devil Out Back by Stanford Diehl
I’m not usually into contemporary fiction. I’m much more a fantasy / sci-fi girl. I can’t remember how I even found this book (I have a bad habit of just clicking through Amazon and just writing down titles) but the summery was half-way interesting. So I picked it up at the library last weekend. It’s a big book, 420 pages long, and I might not even finish it if the characters don’t settle down soon. I’m only 80 pages in but I’ve already come to two conclusions; everyone in Solomon’s Rock, Georgia is evil and Jackson Moon has a split personality.
Twenty years ago something bad went down in Solomon’s Rock, something so bad that it scared Jackson Moon into running. Now, years later, he’s back in his hometown to find some answers. Too bad he can’t decide whether to be the hero or the coward in this book. During one confrontation with a person from his past, now the commissioner, he is cowed by the man telling him to keep his nose out of the town’s business. But only a few pages later, in a confrontation with a judge, Jackson Moon plucks up the courage to sass back to the other man. Jackson held the judge’s gaze. “If I can’t dig up any bodies,” he said, “maybe I’ll have to bury some.” It’s like we’re dealing with two different people.
There are a lot of characters in this book and more are coming out of the woodwork on every page. We’re still figuring out where everyone fits and slowly learning what might have happened in Solomon’s Rock, Georgia 20 years ago. Right now I think we’re still stacking the deck with the cast and I’m hoping that the book picks up after the next few chapters. The reader doesn’t know much at this point and the protagonist appears to know even less.