March Book Reviews Part Two

March was a busy month for me, reading-wise. Here’s the second part of my reviews. If you missed the other post, you can read it by clicking here.

Between The Vines

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After reading the first two books of Staci Troilo’s latest series, I couldn’t wait for Between the Vines. It didn’t disappoint.

Between the Vines is the third and final novella in the Keystone Couples Series. And just when I thought the books couldn’t get better, this one did.

The storyline is well-written and nicely paced. There are touches of humor, and the setting is perfect.

The attraction between Elena and Aaron is apparent from the beginning, although neither one wants to admit it at first.

Add to that Aaron’s ex-fiancée, Heather, who is out to make trouble for Elena. If ever there was a villain to hate, it’s Heather. Troilo did a fantastic job with this character as she did with Elena and Aaron.

I enjoyed all the books in the Keystone Couples series, but this is my favorite. Highly recommend it.

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Blood Hollow

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When my husband insisted he needed to buy me a birthday gift, I asked if I could pick out something I wanted. I went straight to Amazon and purchased the second set of William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series. I hope to finish all the previous titles before the nineteenth book releases in August.

This is the fourth book of the Cork O’Connor series, and it didn’t disappoint. When a young woman goes out of a snowmobile ride on a frigid winter night and doesn’t return, Cork O’Connor is part of the search and rescue team.

Months later, a couple of tourists discover her body. The incompetent sheriff focuses on one potential suspect, Solemn Winter Moon. When Solemn is arrested, Cork’s wife Jo agrees to defend him. She asks for Cork’s help in finding the real killer.

Krueger left a lot of breadcrumbs. Although I had a few suspicions, I kept guessing right up to the end.

The story also touches on the O’Connor family dynamics, Cork, Jo, the children, and Jo’s sister, Rose. Cork also does a lot of soul searching in this one.

I enjoy the small-town setting of Aurora and look forward to revisiting several recurring characters such as Henry Meloux. Krueger also introduces new ones with each book that keep the storylines interesting. Like with the other books, his descriptions of the Minnesota wilderness put the reader in the heart of the setting.

If you like mysteries with small town settings, this is a great series.

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Yellow Hair

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’ve had this book on my radar for quite some time. Given my recent interest in reading about Native Americans, I decided to give it a try.

After reading several reviews, I had high hopes for this book. While there were many good things about the story, I also found several issues.

I’ll begin with the positive. First, I applaud the amount of research that the author did in writing this book. It’s apparent he did his homework. The combination of real historical events and fiction had the makings of a compelling story.

I enjoyed the author’s use of Native American terms such as “six night’s sleep,” or “fourteen winters.” Language such as “The Winter of the Lone Elk” intrigued me. Not to mention the Dakota Tribe’s names of the moons — “Moon when cherries grow ripe,” and “Moon of the Changing Season,” are two examples.

However, there are several issues that I found distracting. The book was written in different tenses. I first noticed it changed with chapters, later during scenes, and finally, there was past and present in one scene. This jarred me from the story.

The repeated use of phrases like “As the whites tell time” were overdone and distracting. I think we know what the year 1858 means.

The book often changed narratives from the fictional story into historical facts. It was like reading a novel and a textbook in the same book.

There was a lot of telling and not enough showing. No showing of emotion. I found it hard to connect to the characters.

There were excerpts that bordered on author intrusion. As an example. “He then heads to the Baker farm to see the bodies for himself and to retrieve the Baker and Jones children, not knowing Clara Jones is dead.”

If the author had taken the time to show readers that scene, it would have read so much better.

Yellow Hair was not a page-turner and the pace slowed even more in the middle. I trudged on but found myself skimming the last few chapters.

Bottom line: Andrew Joyce is a good storyteller. The use of a good editor could have made a difference.

Amazon purchase link