Wendy Archibald

Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Cold River By Liz Adair

In Adult, Liz Adair, Reviews, Romance on October 17, 2011 at 2:59 am

I don’t normally read romantic suspense. I’m more of a cozy-type gal. However, when I heard the premise for Cold River I was intrigued. Here’s what the back cover says:

Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run any school district–until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northwest timber country. She’s determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.

Hmm. A lady superintendent? A small school district in the Pacific Northwest? I’m so there.

I bought the book and read for an hour one afternoon while my daughters were at piano lessons. When I got home, I couldn’t find the book anywhere. It was incredibly annoying. I looked in all the usual places, but it did not reveal itself. I read two other books over the next few days, but in the back of my mind I was gnashing my teeth. “What happens to Mandy? Does she fall in love with Vince? Does Grange get over his grudge?”

I found it that weekend (on the bookshelf, of all places!) and happily plowed through the rest of the book to reach the satisfying conclusion. And then I had to go back and read it slower so  I could savor the good parts.

Adair has drawn a large cast of likable, quirky characters. She captured the feel of the Pacific Northwest perfectly (I should know–I live here. So does she!) and kept the mystery going right up until the end.

Cold River is a great read, with wonderful characters and several unique twists (steel drums, for one) in the plot. I enjoyed it very much.

 

 

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How Not to Spend Your Senior Year by Cameron Dokey

In Reviews, Romance, YA on March 5, 2009 at 12:09 am

Cameron Dokey has quite a few re-written fairy tales out there that are quite lovely. (I just read The Storyteller’s Daughter and loved it.) In fact, that’s what I was searching for on the library’s website when I found this book and thought I’d give it a try. With her other books, Dokey has a gentle, magical storytelling voice, so I was doubly impressed that she handled the chick lit genre so masterfully.

Jo O’Connor and her father move a lot. No, really–a lot. Jo switched school three times every year in grade school. It isn’t until she’s older that she realizes this is odd. But by then, her father has slowed down some, and has promised Jo she’ll be at one school for her entire senior year.

Because of all these moves, Jo has perfected the art of blending in and being unnoticable. Except–on her first day at Beacon High–she gets noticed. By what she calls a “big man on campus”. It isn’t long before she’s fallen hard for Alex (and he for her) and has actually made a few friends.

Just when things are going so well–and right after Alex asked Jo to the prom–her dad tells her to pack her bags.

When Jo refuses, her father tells her why they’ve had to move so often in the past–it’s kind of a homemade witness protection program. A trial is coming up, one where her father is supposed to testify, so they are in danger because the thug in jail has connections. So–Jo and her father (with the help of Detective Mortensen) fake their own deaths in a car accident.

However, when Jo arrives at Royer High in her new identity as Claire Calloway, she’s assigned to a inter-city student exchange for her journalism class . . . at Beacon High School.

I’m not summing it up very well, so let me just say this: it’s very funny.

I want to read it again before I take it back.

[Note: There are several instances of mild profanity.] 

Highly recommended for teenage girls.