Friday, May 27, 2011

A Parfait Murder by Wendy Lyn Watson

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A Parfait Murder
by Wendy Lyn Watson

ISBN-13: 9780451233806
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Obsidian Mystery
Released: June 7, 2011

Source: Unrequested review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover (modified):
Tallulah Jones, proprietor of the sweetest ice-cream parlor in Texas--Remember the A-la-mode--is about to be served up an ice-cold murder...

Life has been good for Tallulah Jones, and nabbing a spot on the judging panel at the Lantana County Fair puts the cherry on top. But when Tally's cousin Bree spots her ex-husband--who left town years ago--strolling the fairground with a vixen on his arm and a fat wallet in his pocket, all the fun goes cold.

When Bree is served a paternity suit by her ex so he can avoid paying child support, Bree's mad and everyone knows it. Things turn sticky when her ex's attorney is murdered in a ride at the fair. Bree's the only one on the ride with her, and Bree's caught holding the murder weapon. She pleads her innocence, and Talley is determined to discover the truth.

My Review:
A Parfait Murder is a cozy mystery. It's the third in a series, but you can follow this story without having read the previous novels, and this novel didn't spoil the mystery in the previous ones.

The characters were varied and complex. Tally's family had some messed up family dynamics that she had to deal with along with solving the murder. There were some nice details about the setting and her job woven into this fast-paced story. An ice cream recipe was included in the back of the book.

I did figure out whodunit before Tally, but the answer wasn't obvious. While I agree the evidence pointed toward Bree, I never understood the logic of her murder motive. If Bree wanted to kill to stop the paternity suit, she'd kill her ex-husband, not his lawyer. Her ex-husband could always get another lawyer as long as he was alive. Yet everyone agreed that this was a solid motive for Bree, proving she really did it.

Tally had a less than glowing view of Christians, and she believed that a youth pastor was a "certifiable whack job" (page 215) because he was a committed Christian. There were no sex scenes. There was a very minor amount of explicit as well as "he cussed" style bad language.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Eloise Carberry folded her arms across her pink-aproned bosom, tsked softly, and shook her head as she threw down the figurative gauntlet. "They sure look alike to me."

Tucker Gentry drew himself up straight and tight as a banjo string. "Criminy, Eloise. It's ice cream. It all pretty much looks the same."

She tsked again.

Tucker and Eloise squared off over a stainless steel table, bare save for two white paper cups, each holding a single melting scoop of ice cream. One of those cups contained Tucker's entry in the hand-churned ice cream category of the Lantana County Fair, a flavor he called "pepper praline." The other cup held a scoop of Texas Twister from Remember the A-la-mode, a smooth vanilla with a swirl of dulce de leche and a kick of ancho chilies.

"They don't just look the same. They taste the same," Eloise insisted. Her claim drew gasps from the crowd behind her. Word of the scandal must have spread through the fairgrounds, as the gathering in the creative arts exhibit pole barn was growing by the minute.

Tucker was just a little fella, his shoulder blades clearly visible beneath the wash-worn cotton of his blue plaid shirt, but he had honed his speaking voice through years as the youth pastor at the One Word Bible Church. "I assure you, if Tally's ice cream and mine taste the same, it's not my doing."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop

book coverAs a part of the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop, you can enter to win one of the two novels below:

My Advanced Reading Copy of Eona by Alison Goodman. Read my review to learn more about this young adult fantasy novel.

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I recently received a review copy of a book I already reviewed. You can win this trade paperback of Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson. Read my review to learn more about this humorous mystery novel. (Please note that this novel has a fair amount of explicit bad language in it.)

This contest is for USA & Canada residents only.

To enter the giveaway:

1) you can twitter me saying "Hi @genrereviewer. Enter me in the giveaway for EONA by Alison Goodman" or "Hi @genrereviewer. Enter me in the giveaway for JUNKYARD DOGS by Craig Johnson" depending on which book you'd like to win.


2) You can leave a comment to this post asking to be entered and naming which book you'd like to win. Please also leave some way for me to contact you--or follow this blog so you can see the winner announcement. I'd be fun if you also included why you're interested in reading this novel.

Every time I do a "your choice" giveaway, a few people choose more than one book. If you do this, you still only have one entry (like everyone else) but, if you win, I'll select which novel to send to you.

This giveaway ends May 31 at midnight. The winner will be randomly selected. I'll announce the winner on June 1 on this blog.

If you entered using twitter, I'll send you a @ or DM telling you of your win and asking where to send the book. If you entered using the blog comments, you'll need to leave your e-mail address so I can contact you or check back to see if you won so you can e-mail me your mailing address. If the winner hasn't responded with a mailing address within seven days, I reserve the right to pick a new winner.

I hope everyone has fun with this!

The blogs participating in the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Finger Lickin' Dead by Riley Adams

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Finger Lickin' Dead
by Riley Adams

ISBN-13: 9780425241912
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: June 7, 2011

Source: Unrequested review copy from publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Welcome to Aunt Pat's barbeque restaurant--family run and located in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee. Named in honor of Lulu Taylor's great-aunt, the restaurant on Beale Street is famous for its ribs and spicy corn bread, but sometimes Southern comfort food can come with a side of murder...

When an anonymous food critic blasts several local restaurants--including Aunt Pat's--with bad reviews, Lulu and her most loyal customers are burning mad, especially when they discover that Eppie Currian is the pen name of their friend Evelyn's cheating boyfriend. When "Eppie" gets his own fatal review, the list of suspects is long: two fuming ex-wives, an irate former restaurant owner, and even someone from Aunt Pat's own kitchen. Now, to catch the real killer, Lulu is going to have to put down her barbeque tongs--before her loved ones get sentenced to a strict diet of prison food.

My Review:
Finger Lickin' Dead is a humorous cozy mystery. It's the second in a series, but you can follow this story without having read the first novel, and this novel didn't spoil the mystery in the first one.

The characters were varied, quirky, and engaging. Lulu was an elderly lady with many friends. She listened to their gossip about who saw who with whom and who argued with whom and so forth, leading her to figure out whodunit. (It reminded me a little of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.) While I did guess right--well, mostly right--about whodunit before the reveal, so many people could have done it that it wasn't obvious who actually had. I kept reading this fast-paced novel to find out if I was right.

While there were some details about the setting and jobs, most of the details were about character interactions and the wonderful food they ate. Some recipes for the food mentioned in the story were included in the back of the book.

There were no sex scenes. There was some explicit bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written, enjoyable mystery.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
"Somebody," said Cherry darkly, "should kill that guy."

"Only as a last resort," said her good friend Peggy Sue. "Have we exhausted all the other possibilities? Rolled his house with toilet paper? Made prank phone calls? Shaken pepper in his sweet tea?" She gave a lilting laugh.

"I'm not so clear what his punishable offense is," said Lulu, tilting her head to one side as she pondered and endangering the small bun of white hair at the top of her head. "We don't like Adam Cawthorn because he's dating Evelyn? Because he's too good-looking?"

"Because he's snarky," growled Cherry. "Besides, I think he's taking advantage of Evelyn, who is, as y'all know, one of my favorite people in the world. He's always asking for a little bit of money here and a little bit there. Besides, he has a weak chin. What good is it if you've got looks but a weak chin?"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grace Interrupted by Julie Hyzy

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Grace Interrupted
by Julie Hyzy

ISBN-13: 9780425241905
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: June 7, 2011

Source: Unrequested review copy from publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover (modified):
Civil War re-enactors have set up camp on the grounds of Marshfield Manor. The group is very believable, especially when the unrest spills out of the camp and into the sumptuous mansion. Grace, the director and head curator of the Manor, manages to settle a minor squabble between some visitors to the Manor and a re-enactor, but she loses the war when re-enactor Zachary Kincade is found stabbed to death.

Jack Embers, the groundskeeper, falls under suspicion when he's linked to the death of Zachary's brother years ago. But Zachary had other enemies: two women out for revenge for a friend Zachary dumped on their wedding day, a re-enactor who was losing the coveted role of "general" to him, and an angry husband whose wife was having an affair with Zachary. Grace believes Jake is innocent, but the police say that the evidence points toward him. She feels responsible for finding out what really happened...and for the sweet tuxedo kitten, Bootsie, found on her doorstep.

My Review:
Grace Interrupted is a well-written mystery. It's the second in a series, but you can follow this one without having read the first novel, and this novel doesn't spoil the mystery in the first one (though it does spoil other events).

There were actually two murders to solve: one that's thirteen years old and one that just happened. I was able to correctly guess "whodunit" for both mysteries before the "reveal," but whodunit wasn't obvious. (Many people hated the murdered men, and it seemed like they all had alibis!)

The characters were varied, complex, and likable. They dealt with realistic issues alongside the mystery (like how living under the suspicion of murder for years had messed up a family). The details about the job, Civil War re-enacting, and the Manor and small town setting were skilfully woven into the story and brought it alive in my imagination.

There were no sex scenes. There was a minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this well-written, enjoyable mystery.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The two women glared at me with such sizzling fury I was afraid their eyeballs might catch fire. Flanked as they were by a pair of our manor's elderly security guards, they appeared harmless enough, but both were so visibly agitated it was hard to be sure. They shifted their weight and met my gaze as the guards, Niles and William, explained the situation and handed me the women's photo IDs. I took an involuntary step back in case either of the two in custody decided to take a swing at me.

We faced each other in Marshfield Manor's West Salon, a high-ceilinged room on the mansion's first floor. In the midst of a major refurbishment, the room was off-limits to visitors. Painting scaffolds blocked butternut bookcases, cafe au lait walls, and even one of the floor-to-ceiling windows. The two massive billiard tables that hadn't been removed were covered with protective canvas duck. Since it was Friday and near quitting time, the painters and carpenters had taken off for the weekend, leaving the West Salon empty and quiet. I was pleased that our two security guards had opted to escort our unwelcome visitors here. This way our conversation would not disturb lingering tourists taking a final circuit of the mansion.

Casting a wary glance at the women, Niles did most of the talking. "We tried to tell them--politely, y'understand--that the south grounds were off-limits but they drove straight down there anyway. When we caught up with them on foot, they started beating us up."

"That's a lie," the shorter one, Rani, said. Slim, yet curvy, she watched for my reaction with the alertness of a cat ready to pounce.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Days & Hours by Susan Meissner

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Days & Hours
by Susan Meissner

ISBN-13: 9780736919166
Trade Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Released: September 1, 2007

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover:
A baby is found abandoned and the effect on attorney and mother Rachael Flynn is profound. Marcie, the infant's young mother with a history of drug abuse, is the chief suspect. Marcie insists she's innocent and demands that Leo, her baby son, be returned to her. But Marcie's mother and sister say otherwise.

When baby Leo is found missing a second time, the evidence against Marcie seems overwhelming. But relying on her own motherly intuition--and a faith that God is using her to resolve this puzzling case--Rachael chooses to believe Marcie's story and digs for the truth of what really happened...and who is responsible.

My Review:
Days & Hours is a legal/detective mystery--a lawyer, using information provided by police detectives plus questioning suspects on her own, discovers the truth about her child endangerment case. This novel was the third in the series, and the "whodunits" of the previous mysteries were spoiled in this one.

I liked that this mystery wasn't a murder, especially since the victim was a newborn baby. I was able to figure out whodunit long before Rachael, which was odd considering that she consciously decided to look for the least likely suspect. By the end, I found it frustrating that Rachael had all of the clues but she kept making up impossibly complicated scenarios to explain them rather than considering the simplest, most obvious answer. She also did things that she knew were dangerous (and she didn't need to), yet she didn't even take the easy precautions she could have. She came across as an earnest, naive, but annoying busybody who just couldn't trust other people do their jobs. Her police detective friend was willing to do anything she asked of him, yet she just couldn't keep her hands out of it.

The characters were fairly complex and quirky in what's meant to be an engaging way. The details about Rachael's job as a prosecutor for the county's Human Services were interesting and woven nicely into the story. It's a quick read, and the suspense (for me) came mainly from curiosity about whodunit. Though we're told repeatedly that the baby was in mortal danger, that part kind of felt inevitable (probably in part due to the book description on the back cover), so there was no suspense from that for me. (The baby did get badly hurt, by the way.)

Several of the characters were Christians, though that's easy to forget since it's such a background, rarely mentioned element. Rachael had "hunches" and vivid but useless nightmares that she believed were sent from God to help her solve the mystery. There was no sex. There was no explicit bad language, though one word that's often used as bad language was occasionally used in appropriate context.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The infant lay on his side, half swaddled in a faded yellow receiving blanket. A tiny fist curled in mock defiance rested on his cheek, the other was hidden in the folds of the fabric. Tiny splotches of angry red dotted his newborn face--evidence of his strained entrance into the world and giving him the wrinkled look of an old man. The baby stirred for a moment in his sleep and his mother, standing over him, hesitated for only a moment before she grabbed a shot glass on the table behind her and walked away from him.

The apartment was quiet except for the low sounds of a TV that had been left on for no reason. Toys belonging to the baby's siblings lay scattered about his porta-crib, which stood at an odd angle in the living room, along with a cardboard pizza box, an empty liter bottle of cream soda, and Dixie cups that had been used as ashtrays.

A car seat sat on the floor across from the porta-crib. It was new, given to the baby's mother, Marcie, by a nonprofit group dedicated to keeping little ones safe in their mommies' and daddies' cars.

Marcie didn't have a car. A friend had brought her and her third child born in three years home from the hospital that day. There was no daddy to speak of. Nine months ago there had been, certainly. But not today.

Marcie sauntered into the kitchen and rummaged for a cigarette. She wasn't entirely sure who the father was this time. It annoyed her that she didn't know.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Worst Thing by Aaron Elkins

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The Worst Thing
by Aaron Elkins

ISBN-13: 9780425240991
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 3, 2011

Source: Unrequested review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Cover (slightly modified):
For Bryan Bennett, designing hostage negotiation programs is the perfect job--as long as he keeps a safe, theoretical distance. What he refuses to do is deal directly with kidnappers or teach his own programs. They bring back memories of his own kidnapping as a small boy. Thirty-some years later, he still has a fear of enclosed spaces and intense panic attacks that follow nightmares of his imprisonment.

So when Bryan's boss asks him to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland, to teach his corporate-level kidnapping and extortion seminar, he automatically says no. But the CEO of GlobalSeas Fisheries, Inc. has specifically requested Bryan--or no one else. Bryan finally relents...

For decades he's treaded gingerly around the edges of his deepest terrors. Now, on this trip, his worst fears come true and he has no choice but to face them head-on. Will Bryan and his wife survive when a kidnapping plot goes wrong and throws them into harm's way or will a man from Bryan's past take this chance to get revenge?

My Review:
The Worst Thing is a suspense novel about hostage negotiation and panic attacks. The author wove vivid details into the story about hostage negotiation, what it's like to be a hostage, and what it's like to deal with panic attacks. This was very well done and very interesting.

The characters were varied, complex, and quirky in an engaging way. I always understood why the characters were acting the way they did. I had a hard time putting the book down because I found it so interesting and suspenseful. The suspense was created by the danger of the kidnapping situation and by Bryan's inability to handle his intense panic attacks. Despite the serious situations, there was an underlying humor in how the characters viewed the situations and their fear.

There was some explicit bad language. There was no graphic sex. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written, suspenseful novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The food had been wonderful, the wines had been excellent, and the creme brulee was slipping down our throats like nectar from Valhalla. Wally, Lori, and I were all feeling relaxed, happy, and expansive. I knew it couldn't last, and it didn't.

Wally slid his unfinished dessert to one side and leaned earnestly forward. "Bryan, I have a proposition for you that I think you're going to love--that you're both going to love."

Well, that was when the alarm bells really started jangling. Actually, they'd been jingling quietly in the background ever since he'd offhandedly invited Lori and me to dinner at Cafe Campagne at Seattle's Pike Place Market. The ostensible reason was to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, February 23, 2010, but I knew Wally well enough to know that very little that he ever did was offhanded. There was always something behind it, and that's what had me worried.

Read more from chapter one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Secret Place by Leslie J. Sherrod

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Secret Place
by Leslie J. Sherrod

ISBN-13: 978-1-60162-894-7
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Urban Christian
Released: March 1, 2011

Source: Review copy from the author.

Book Description, my take:
Charisma Joel's husband--a renown psychiatrist and the head of the psychiatric department at a large hospital--has fallen into a deep depression. Though he didn't explain want's wrong, he was given medical leave...but his rival now holds his post at the hospital. He's too ashamed to seek help, especially since he's convinced he'll lose his job permanently if word gets out that he suffers from severe depression.

Afraid of what others will think of them, especially those at their church, Charisma hides the reason why her husband never leaves home anymore. After living like this for nearly a year, Charisma is desperate to escape this living nightmare. She approaches her husband's rival for help despite knowing she should go to someone else. In the past, Dr. Miles Logan has tried to have an affair with her, and he's still interested. But she's also tempted by the desire in his eyes. Still, she can't quite bring herself to admit to him that her husband needs help.

Dr. Logan has his own troubles. His fling with a woman that looks remarkably like Charisma turns sour when he discovers the woman is mentally ill. She's jealous that she's been dumped for Charisma and vows revenge. When all these people converge on one horrible day, someone ends up dead. But secrets are finally exposed, and Charisma and her family can finally find the healing and freedom that comes from surrender to God.

My Review:
Secret Place is a Christian general fiction about a family dealing with mental illness. It seemed like most of the characters were at least slightly mentally ill, which was almost overdoing the topic, but it also made for a couple of quirky characters. I liked how the author brought the Miles-and-girlfriend plot-line into collision with the Charisma-and-husband plot-line, but the extent to which she further tied everyone together strained my willingness to believe.

The characters were complex and realistic. I understood why they acted the way they did, and they faced realistic struggles and temptations. I loved Pepperdine, the friend who's so earnest in her desire to help but who doesn't know what's wrong. The story was fast-paced. The suspense was created by all the decisions--both well-intentioned and bad--making things worse.

Many of the main characters were Christians, though several tried to run their life their own way. There was some prayer, sermons, and such, but they never came across like a lecture. Mostly, it was Charisma thinking about how the Sunday school lessons that she's teaching or a memorized Scripture is related to her situation. However, she didn't always act on what she knew Scripture was telling her to do. She struggled with why God wasn't handling things the way she wanted Him to.

For those curious, Charisma and her husband did believe in miracle healing but also that God can use medicine and doctors to help heal people. There was no explicit sex. There was a minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful, interesting novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
"Have fun." Charisma pecked her daughter on the cheeks as the eleven-year-old slipped out of the passenger's side. Charisma did not miss the rolling eyes. "At least try to have fun."

She watched April drag up the walkway to the waiting porch light before gearing her old Grand Am back in drive. Charisma was grateful for the sleepover, grateful that the mother of April's classmate insisted that all the girls in Homeroom 6-14 be invited, not just friends.

As she turned off the narrow street in the heart of East Baltimore, Charisma tried to remember the last time she'd had a Saturday night free.


He was waiting at home.

A CD played in the portable CD player she had hooked up to her car stereo. A wire was loose but with a quick tweak to the right and then a pull to the left, one of the speakers in the back of the car played loud enough for her to hear the compilation of Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, and another gospel singer, a local girl. She couldn't remember the name.

Charisma stopped at a traffic light, looked to the right and down Marigold Street to house 319. The lights were off, the door was closed, and the shades were drawn shut.

Darkness in the middle of an otherwise busy inner city block.

Read more using Google Preview.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Wedding Shawl by Sally Goldenbaum

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The Wedding Shawl
by Sally Goldenbaum

ISBN-13: 9780451233196
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: NAL
Released: May 3, 2011

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads (slightly modified):
Izzy Chambers is about to get married, but much remains to be done. Then the wedding plans get complicated when the wedding party's hair stylist begins missing appointments. When she's found dead, things really begin to unravel. Rumors circulate about the stylist's past and her connection to an unsolved murder years ago.

All the Seaside Knitters really know is they must rally to find some answers. They need to silence the whispers about Izzy's friend so that she can completely focus on her happy day while wearing the wedding shawl they're knitting for her.

My Review:
The Wedding Shawl was a cozy mystery in every sense. I felt emotionally warm and comfortable just reading this story due to how nice everyone was. Actually, I'd call the novel a general fiction with a whodunit mystery because the story was more realistic to how things happen in real life than most mystery novels. I also liked that the police weren't idiots or "the enemy."

While the suspense was low, there was a thread of sadness for what the unsolved murder was doing to the people involved. The main characters wanted to make that sadness go away (as much as possible). There was enough uncertainty about who the murderer was that I kept reading to discover the answer. I did figure out whodunit before our heroines, but they figured it out soon after I did and had a good reason not to see the answer before then. I thought the mystery was handled very well.

The characters were engaging, complex, and had flaws, but they still came across as extremely nice people that would be relaxing to hang out with. They almost made me want to learn how to knit. The vivid details about the setting and people brought the story alive in my imagination.

This book was the fifth in the series, but you don't need to read the previous ones to follow the events in this one. This book didn't spoil the mysteries of the previous books, but I suspect it spoiled the relationship outcomes of the previous novels. (I haven't read them, so I don't know.)

There was no explicit sex. There was some minor explicit use of one curse word (d---). Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable, well-written novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
It would be a night of murder, they'd been told. And there'd be lemon squares, too.

The group, mostly women, gathered in a half circle, some in the old leather chairs that book browsers coveted and others in the folding chairs the bookstore owner, Archie Brandley, had set up for the special event. At the other end of the cozy loft, narrow aisles separated wooden bookcases that rose nearly to the ceiling. One section was crammed with mysteries, the spines straight and proud--a perfect background for the night of crime.

Danny Brandley sat in the center of the open area, hunched forward with his elbows on his knees, his sea blue eyes greeting acquaintances and strangers as they claimed their chairs. A wrinkled denim shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, showed off an early-summer tan. On the floor, near scuffed boat shoes, a few notes on scattered yellow sheets indicated that Danny wasn't much for formal talks. Izzy had called it a "discussion," and he'd taken his friend at her word.

Read more using Google Preview.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Princess of the Two Lands by Lois M. Parker

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Princess of the Two Lands
by Lois M. Parker

ISBN: 0812700880
Trade Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher: Southern Publishing Association
Released: 1975

Source: Personal library.

Book Description from Back Cover (modified):
Fearful whispers sweep the length of the land of Egypt. Moses is back. Moses--whose name was not to be spoken, whose name the Egyptian rulers had obliterated from the nation's monuments and records. Scota, the daughter of a minor wife of the Pharaoh, is excited but she also feels a vague sense of dread at the news brought to her father by the handsome general of the Egyptian armies.

The nation is caught between Moses, who brings the demand of his God that Pharaoh let His people go, and a Pharaoh who refuses to release them. Princess Scota is torn between her loyalty to her father, her fear of the priests of Amon-Re who want her for their temple, and the might of Moses' God.

My Review:
Princess of the Two Lands is a Middle Grade biblical/historical novel. It's been a favorite of mine since I was a child, and I still read it periodically. However, it's probably hard to find now.

The characters were engaging and interesting. Scota was a kind and curious 13-year-old. There was a romance of sorts (as she's given in marriage to the general), but it's not the kissy-huggy type. It's more a growing to care for the other person. Because the marriage wasn't physically intimate, the difference in age between the two never bothered me though he was probably twice her age.

The author stayed true to what is given in the Bible, but the details about Moses and the plagues were a backdrop to the events going on in Scota's life. However, since the plagues affected everyone, they also had a major impact on her life. There was a nice amount of daily-life and political historical detail woven into the story. These details didn't get heavy-handed or turn into a lecture. For those who are curious, this author made Thutmose III the pharaoh of the Exodus.

Scota and other Egyptians did begin to question the power of the Egyptian gods and acknowledge the existence and power of the Hebrew God. There was no bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd highly recommend this charming, enjoyable historical novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The hand on her shoulder gently pressed a little harder. Scota, Princess of Egypt, opened her eyes to the dim gray light of early dawn. Her companion, Mery, leaned over her.

"Gracious Lady, it is time to rise. You are hymn leader for the royal awakening this morning."

Scota sprang out of bed, tumbling her wooden headrest to the floor. To be disgraced by being late the first morning! Her slave, Berenike, knelt at her feet with perfumed oil for a hasty anointing. Dahamun, an elderly relative, slipped the plain white linen robe over her head and adjusted the folds to perfection. Mery brushed back Scota's hair and tied the linen kerchief in a straight line across the forehead, then brought the sides to frame her face.

The two thirteen-year-old girls were breathless by the time they reached the antechamber. The other young singers had already assembled, and Scota took her place before the line of slender girls. Mery, the daughter of a minor noble, stood in the shadows at the rear. After her parents' death, the court had reared her as part of Scota's household.

Scota's bare feet tingled from the coolness of the stone floor, but she hardly noticed it. After her nervous glance to see that all was in order, she signaled the others.

With the grace of many hours of practice, the singers, girls from the highest-ranking families of Egypt, sank to their knees and began the morning hymn by which Pharaoh and his queen began each day.

"Awake in peace!" Scota hoped her father would be pleased with her.

"Great Queen, awake in peace!"

The Great Royal Wife, Meryetre, would be stirring now, slipping from her bed to kneel as she aroused her husband. Of course he had heard the singers, but it was not for anyone less than his consort, if she were near him to do it, to awaken the living incarnation of the god Amon-Re. He must wait for her touch.