Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Completely Different…..Yet

Have you looked at something and automatically thought they are completely different? Yet when you look closer and begin to compare, you find they do have similar items in common after all.

That’s the way of books. They can be from completely different genres, being nothing alike. But when you think about the stories and the characters, you find they have similar traits. A murder mystery and a romance -- nothing alike. However, both have strong female protagonist, both feature strong ties with family/friends, and both provide hours of enjoyable entertainment for the reader/listener.

A FATAL THAW by Dana Stabenow

The winters can be long and cruel in the Alaskan territory. Many speculate that’s what lead the Park rat to randomly murder 9 of his neighbors on a sunny day.

But upon closer examination, he only killed 8. The ninth victim was killed with a different weapon. Now it’s up to Aleut P.I. Kate Shugak to figure out who the other killer is.

Aided by her trusted companion Mutt, a husky-wolf mix, Kate searches through the dead woman’s tarnished past. The list of suspects is lengthy including just about everyone in the area. There are former lovers, wives out for revenge, ivory smugglers, local pot smokers and even the Park’s resident state trooper on the list.

The elements aren’t the only danger Kate faces the closer she gets to identifying the killer. When a second murder is committed, Kate knows time is running out.

Author Dana Stabenow does a fantastic job placing the reader in the midst of her generic 20 million acre Alaskan national park. Her vivid descriptions brings the landscape to life making it as much of a character in the story as Kate. She also includes traditions of the region and its people giving another layer to the story.

The characters are colorful and realistic. A FATAL THAW is fast-pace with action and suspense. This is the second installment in the Kate Shugak Mystery series, but is a stand alone read.

Narrator Marguerite Gavin brings the characters to life with her interruptions. Her style and delivery adds depth to each character. Her steady pace gives emotion to the suspense of the story.

Author Dana Stabenow’s website is  
A Fatal Thaw by Dana Stabenow, The Second Kate Shugak Mystery, Performed by Marguerite Gavin, Brilliance Audio, @2011, (Book @1993) ISBN: 978-1455837564, Unabridged, 5 Discs, Listening Time 6 Hours, 10 Minutes 

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

Caitlin Marshall is happy with her job and life in general. The only problem…she is madly in love with her boss and he doesn’t return the feelings, at least not yet. Caitlin is certain in time he will realize they are meant to be together.

Meanwhile, renovation is underway at work and Caitlin soon discovers the contractor, Joe Rockwell, is an old childhood friend of her brother’s. To her dismay, Joe remembers her and what they did as children. He reminds her continuously and in front of everyone, they are married. It happened in a ceremony that her brother performed in the boy’s clubhouse when she was 8 and Joe was 10.

At first Caitlin finds the teasing annoying but in time hopes it will make her boss jealous enough to show his true feelings for her. She finds the more time she spends with Joe, the more comfortable it feels.

Caitlin has plans to go home to Minnesota for Christmas but at the last minute gives her seat to a soldier instead. She winds up spending Christmas with Joe and his family. Her feelings begin to change and then she gets the invitation she’s been wanting so long, her boss asks her out.

The journey Caitlin takes from here is filled with just about ever emotion. Has she finally got what she wanted or has it slipped away?

Christina Panfilio does a wonderful job in her narration of these intriguing characters. Her dialect and style give depth to the characters’ emotions and adds to the story. Her voice will draw you in and hold your attention throughout the story.

Author Debbie Macomber delivers a story of love, loyalty, caring, hope, and laughter. THE FORGETFUL BRIDE is set around Christmas, but is a story that can be enjoyed anytime.

Author Debbie Macomber’s website is

The Forgetful Bride by Debbie Macomber, Performed by Christina Panfilio, Brilliance Audio, @2011, (Book @1991) ISBN: 978-1455844302, Unabridged, 4 Disc, Listening Time 4 Hours, 43 Minutes 

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Do you find a common thread among books you read? Thanks so much for stopping by today, I really appreciate it.


  1. I love the way you found similarities between two very different books! And they both sound interesting in their own way. Thanks for telling us about them. :)

  2. I always think I'm a smarty pants and guess many endings and such. When books aren't what they seem (in a good way)I'm delighted.

    This makes me think there's similarities in many things--it's a small world after all. :)


  3. Different, yet both sounds great! Thanks for the reviews and options.

  4. Mason - What interesting choices! You're absolutely right that sometimes, very different books can have similarities, and you've done such an excellent job of showing that here. Thanks.

  5. It's interesting that at the very root of stories, the similarities can be great. It's how they're told that gives them their unique spin/genre.

  6. Elizabeth, I enjoy finding a common thread among books that appear to have nothing in common.

    Teresa, it is indeed a small world at times. I like the twist at the end of books that gives you something completely different than what you thought was going to happen.

    Clarissa, both books are good and fit my different moods of reading.

    Margot, thanks for the kind words. My varied reading choices sometimes surprises even me.

    Joanne, you're so right about the way the story is told gives them their unique genre/spin. Reminds me of telling one person a story in a room of 20 and by the time it gets to the last person, the story is completely different than when it began.

  7. I like comparing things and finding commonalities when it doesn't seem like there would be--nicely done. The first sounds like just my kind of book, too. Alaska isn't a place I'd want to live, but I love it as a character, particularly the Alaskan Native stuff.

  8. Excellent reviews that definitely pique my interest. Thanks for posting them. It IS interesting to compare and contrast mysteries and romances.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs


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