Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Memoir, A Cozy Mystery, And A Romance

Reading books of various genres keeps life interesting and can add a bit of spice.

Today I’d like to share my thoughts on three books that are listed in completely different genres. While the books have very little in common, I found each one to be entertaining and interesting. Today I offer you a memoir, a cozy murder mystery and a fiction romance.


When a person shares their experiences, good or bad, we can learn19 from them if we really listen.

I believe that is the case with FOLLOWING THE WHISPERS, a poignant memoir by author Karen Walker. One doesn’t have to have the same experiences or problems to relate. It’s a matter of understanding how the problems were overcome and then translating that into your own situation.

The author tells how she was sexually molested at a very young age. That molestation, coupled with a loveless home life, drastically effected her growth as a teenager and then as an adult. It also carried over into their ability to cope with sexual relationships, marriage, motherhood, and even jobs.

During her road to discovery, the author had two failed marriages and lost custody of her son. Learning to understand what had happened as a child wasn’t her fault or her responsibility, the author was finally able to develop a stable and loving marriage, as well as connect with her adult son bringing them closer as mother and child.

This book is a great reminder for those with children, as well as though around children, they adsorb much more than we realize. They are not mature enough to realize when a hateful phrase is said in jest. Also, they may not understand the meaning of some words, but they do understand the tone and the frequency of words.

Another thing this book reminded me of is that we often hurt those we love and care about without realizing it. Continues negative attitude can have a degrading effect. Remember to sprinkle some positive in with your comments.

While Karen’s book does deal with very painful and devastating issues, I also found it to be inspiring, uplifting, and insightful. Despite a difficult background, Karen has learned to listen to the whispers of hope, strength, love, inner peace, and self-acceptance.

FOLLOWING THE WHISPERS is a must read for anyone facing difficult issues in their life or know someone else who is.

Author Karen Walker blogs at author karen walker…following the whispers.

Following The Whispers by Karen Walker, Bascom Hill Publishing Group, @2009, ISBN: 9781935098157, Paperback, 172 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


9780425242186This is the first installment in the new Library Lover’s Mystery series by Jenn McKinlay, author of the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series.

Lindsey Norris, the new director of the Briar Creek Public Library, is beginning to settle into small town living where her best friend, Beth Stanley, is also the children’s librarian.

When a vacationing New York editor comes to town, it seems the perfect opportunity for Beth to present her children’s book manuscript for consideration. However, Beth’s author boyfriend, Rick, tries to discourage her for meeting the editor. When she disagrees, Rick breaks up with her.

When Beth and Lindsey present the story to the editor, they find out the real reason Rick didn’t want her selling her book. They go to confront Rick and find him dead. Beth becomes the main suspect and it’s up to Lindsey to sort through the events to find the real killer before she and Beth are the next victims.

Author Jenn McKinlay has created a warm and inviting place with the Briar Creek Public Library and the members of the crafternoon club. The cast of characters are intriguing and sometimes a little zany. BOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING is a delightful read that includes a number of great extras. There is a reading group guide, a knitting pattern, recipes, and a preview of the next installment in the series, DUE OR DIE

Author Jenn McKinlay’s website is

Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay, A Library Lover’s Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2011, ISBN: 9780425242186, Paperback, 304 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

A GOOD HARD LOOK by Ann Napolitano

The central character of this story is author Flannery O’Connor and the20110714__20110717_E08_BK17GOODB~p2 many peacocks that live with her and her mother at Andalusia, the family farm in Milledgeville, GA.

Crippled with lupus, Flannery returned to her hometown. Author Ann Napolitano uses that to create her own unique story of how Flannery may have interacted with townspeople. As with most small towns, the lives of several people are connected in various ways.

Cookie Himmel has a dislike for Flannery and her writing. Cookie is the poster child for Southern womanhood. She spends some time in New York and returns with a rich fiancée. However, Cookie’s new husband, Melvin Whiteson, becomes fascinated with Flannery and her peacocks. 

Decorating her new home, Cookie hires seamstress Lona Waters to make the curtains. Lona’s husband, Bill, is a local policeman hoping to one day be police chief. Their 15-year-old daughter spends the afternoons with Flannery’s neighbors, the Treadles, giving Lona some time to herself. The Treadles’ only son, Joe, is in his senior year at high school and a bit withdrawn. ’Miss Mary’ asks Lona to hire Joe as her assistant for the summer hoping to draw him out of his shell.

As these people begin to interact, you realize an unforeseen tragedy is going to happen. The characters draw you in and author Ann Napolitano describes the scenes so vivid you can almost smell the magnolia blossoms and hear the peacocks’ calls. A tragic afternoon changes the lives of all involved and makes them take a good hard look at where they are and where they want to go.

A GOOD HARD LOOK will keep you spellbound from beginning to end.

Author Ann Napolitano’s website is

A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano, Penguin Audiobooks, @2011, ISBN: 9781101494103, Unabridged Digital, Listening Time App. 11 hours 30 minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This digital audio was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Hope you enjoy the different genres. What are you reading now?



  1. Hi Mason .. good to see Karen here .. and I'm looking forward to reading her book .. I like your thought that we take comments at the face-value we (personally) feel them to be ...

    Following the Whispers can, I'm sure, all teach us so much ...

    Jenn's Books can be Deceiving .. has the extras .. the recipes etc ..

    Ann Napolitano's woven novel sounds interesting .. with its peacock twist ..

    Good selection .. cheers Hilary

  2. Mason - Thanks for highlighting these books. As you say, they are different, but that's one thing I like about discovering new books on your blog; there's such a variety. Karen's story is such a powerful one, and I didn't know that Jenn had a new series started, so that is definitely worth checking out. Thanks!

  3. Great reviews. So nice to see Karen's book here! :)

  4. Thanks for featuring these books. They all sound like interesting reads.

  5. Mason, you're determined to get me to like cozy mysteries. Since I've started reading your blog, I've found quite a few good reads in that genre.

    Karen's book is one I plan on reading. I can relate to the subject matter and I've counseled adult survivors of incest and molestation. You hit it on the head--it's all in how you understand, overcome, and deal with the problems you face in life. Karen chose not to remain a lifelong victim and that's not only a positive step but a good lesson in living life.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  6. Mason, thank you so much for this thoughtful review of my memoir. As Sia says, you hit it on the head - it's al how you perceive things and deal with the problems.

  7. Mason,

    I've heard the buzz on Karen's memoir. It sounds really good.

    The other two books sound equally interesting.

    Thanks for the great reviews. I always love reading them.

  8. I'm almost through with Karen's book and it is really good!

  9. Thanks for the reviews. I'll check these out.

  10. Books Can Be Deceiving sounds really good!

    And also Karen´s book, of course, but not exactly for my holidays.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.