Friday, January 30, 2009

Review - Matters of Faith by Kristy Kiernan

Matters of Faith
Written by: Kristy Kiernan
Rated: Excellent (*****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Chloe is mom to 18-year-old Marshall and 12-year-old Meghan, and wife to Calvin. Her life is like any other with its daily challenges, but even she doesn’t know what she’ll do when her family’s cohesiveness is put to an extreme test.

The novel opens with Chloe reflecting on how having a sixth sense would be helpful in noting the small things in life that become the catalyst to a major turning point. Hindsight is always educational, isn’t it?

Marshall is coming home during college break and is bringing a girl, the first girl to meet the family. First impressions are not always the best and Chloe and Cal have different reasons for not readily accepting Ada. But Meghan and Ada become instant friends, so there’s hope.

The writing in Matters of Faith works with two distinct points of view that engage the reader in just the right way. Kiernan doesn’t waste any words. She balances narrative with dialogue so the reader feels more like a fly on the wall of a real family instead of someone flipping pages. Kiernan’s characters are unique individuals dealing with the typical daily life routine. And because of their ‘realness’, the author is able to connect with a large audience. Like having a conversation with friends, Kiernan’s writing challenges the reader to figure out what he or she would do given the same circumstances. Where many writers create characters that are black or white in their response, Kiernan’s characters are unpredictable.

Kristy was born in Tennessee and raised on the beaches of southwest Florida, where she still resides with her husband, Richard, and their dog. Her first novel, Catching Genius, was published in March of 2007 and has become a book club favorite. Matters of Faith is her second novel.

From the opening lines in Matters of Faith until the final word, the reader becomes a witness during a small portion of time in one family’s life. This novel doesn’t jump out and grab you by the throat, instead it softly winds its way into your heart so you can’t walk away. I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in a great story.

Matters of Faith is available through:,, other online outlets, and local book stores. Visit for more information.

Title: Matters of Faith
Author: Kristy Kiernan
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-425-22179-2
Pages: 322
Price: $14.00

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Review - Personal Notes by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Margaret "Peggy" Murray Downer lived her life out of the spotlight, but for the family and friends who knew her, she was a grand lady whose story should be shared.

Peggy isn't sure why her granddaughter wants to know about her life, but Peggy isn't about to refuse the request. She struggles with what exactly to talk about, especially since she is in her 90s and admits that her memory isn't what it used to be. She wrote in journals every day of her life and held on to written treasures from loved ones. She loves sharing stories, but knows she'd need at least another 90 years to get all her current stories recorded and organized. She's willing to share her life with whoever is interested.

Orford uses her grandmother's early journals and tape-recorded stories to create a biography of a woman who will forever remain close to her heart. She pulls the reader in immediately with Peggy's voice in the the prologue. The engaging writing feels more like a conversation with friends than a book being read. Peggy's story is told with compassion and love and succeeds in letting a large audience get to know a wonderful human being.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford divides her time between her growing family, her music studio, and her writing. She believes in writing about ordinary people. Manay of her stories include the people who were most important and influential in her life, including her grandmother, the source of Personal Notes.

Personal Notes is a touching glimpse into the past. A great family read filled with real adventures and delicious recipes.

Title: Personal Notes
Author: Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Publisher: Moose Enterprise Book and Theatre Play Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-894650-70-0
Pages: 252
Price: $17.97

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Review - Killer Butterfly by James R. Vance

Petra's life is a challenging as any other fifteen-year-old with a dysfunctional family, but the choices she makes as she moves through life cross the lines of acceptable, reasonable, and sane.

Petra Rebovka feels entitled to get whatever she wants whenever she wants it. The rebellious streak she develops in order to gain attention as the middle child of three, increase in intensity as she gets older. She's always seeking something 'more'. Men are a constant disappointment, but she can't live without them. One horrific experience changes her life, and the lives of anyone she encounters, into tabloid headlines.

Vance's obvious passion for the thriller genre is apparent through his succint and descriptive writing that has the readers as involved in the story as the characters. He takes a risk letting the reader in on the antagonist's point of view, but he balances it with logical questions, answers, and assumptions the protagonist uses while working to solve the case. He balances dialogue with narrative without wasting a word.

Author James R. Vance lives in southwest France. He wrote his first crime fiction novel, The Courier, drawing inspiration from his knowledge of London and norther France for the storyline. His second novel, Killer Butterfly, features the same two detectives. His third novel in the series, Animal Instinct, will be completed in 2009.

Killer Butterfly is an engaging thriller told in a unique fashion and a recommended read for lovers of the genre.

Available through online outlets, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and

Title: Killer Butterfly
Author: James R. Vance
Publisher:RealTime Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-90680-674-3
Pages: 280

Reviewed for Allbooks Review