Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“If I was smart, I would pick up my hat and gloves and never return here. But we’re going to solve this.” She held on to that. “We are going to solve this murder.”

Set on accomplishing something independent of his father’s help, Hamish DeLuca goes to Boston, where his cousin is opening a posh nightclub. Regina “Reggie” Van Buren is also in search of independence, away from the society life she grew up in. But she and Hamish never expected they’d be joining forces to solve a mystery in Murder at the Flamingo by author Rachel McMillan.

After the way I enjoyed all of the Herringford and Watts mysteries by this author, there was no question I’d be reading this novel. McMillan has a distinct way of personifying a city, and 1937 Boston comes to life here, the social climate pulsing between different classes. Plus, I dig a hero (or heroine) who wears glasses!

Even with the title, though, murder isn’t a part of the plot until more than halfway through the story. While I do appreciate the character development along the way, I found much of the read to be slow, and my interest lagged until about the last third of the novel. Also, due to a “feelings back and forth between two men” kind of love triangle setup I tend not to care for, the end of the book was a downer for me.

Now, I feel I should mention to fellow ChristFic lovers that this isn’t a “come to Jesus” kind of story. Still, 1) this is a new series, and you can’t judge an entire faith arc by one book (or by one “book” or season of any person’s life, in real life); 2) I’ve already seen this author’s finesse with faith before, even without quoting scriptures and such; and 3) there are themes in this novel that should indeed be important to people of faith, if you can recognize and appreciate them.

All things considered, I’m looking forward to next year’s release of the second Van Buren and DeLuca mystery.

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You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Every year, Rick dresses up like the Grinch and delivers rhymes to promote the town of Christmas, Florida. But the town postmaster, Edie, isn’t moved by Rick’s charms. Perhaps he’ll need to be a bit more insistent in his pursuit of Edie in You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by author Paula Moldenhauer.

Since I either skimmed or skipped reading the blurb before picking up this book, I didn’t realize it’s a romance involving an older couple. A bonus! I enjoy stories about people finding new love later in life, along with some of the perks and practical complications they may have on their hands.

This novella is heavy on its faith theme. Though I especially like how a supporting character owns it in one scene (out of the mouth of babes!), I think a “less is more” approach would’ve been a good fit for this book. It seems the story, perhaps inadvertently, gives the impression that the level of God’s goodness is based on how much a person gets what they want.

Also, the characters’ feelings seem rushed after a certain point. I think tension can be all the more meaningful when characters wrestle with that middle area, when they don’t go to extremes of “I love you” or “I’m done with you” too suddenly.

Still, this quick read should be right down the alley of plenty of Christmassy ChristFic romance fans.

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You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch is Book One in the Tinseled Tidings series.

 

 

Heart of the Wilderness by Janette Oke

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Heart of The Wilderness by Janette Oke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Kendra is orphaned at a very young age, her grandfather, George, sees no better choice than to take her to live with him in the backwoods. But given that George has lived alone as a trapper for years, the life he provides Kendra, away from the city, may not be enough for her in Heart of the Wilderness by author Janette Oke.

I first read this novel a number of years ago, so it didn’t hold any big surprises for me. Indeed, it’s not the kind of read for major surprises or twists. It’s a simple, easygoing story with only a few characters most of the way through.

Now, while I’ve enjoyed a good deal of this author’s easy reading over the years, this one almost seems to wander along the path of Kendra’s childhood, girlhood, and young womanhood. There’s not really a driving focus until quite late in the book. Then the last few chapters awkwardly rush to pull the faith theme together, to introduce some rather last-minute characters, and also to squeeze in a new, underdeveloped romance.

Nevertheless, even with the weaknesses I recognize in these novels, I still consider the Women of the West series to be one of my all-time favorites. It’s trailblazing fiction: some of the first of its kind in ChristFic as we now know it. Historical stories that are easy to digest but that also tuck some important nuggets inside.

 

Giveaway: The Movement of Crowns Series

Even after devastation, all is not lost.
The Movement of Crowns Series by Nadine C. Keels

“Overall, The Movement Of Crowns series is an excellent read. The stories are compelling, the people are very well written. I thoroughly enjoyed all three books.” ~iRead Book Reviews

Find the giveaway for these three books in the Faith, Hope, and Book Love group on Facebook.
Giveaway ends July 6, 2018.