Archive | April, 2009

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie

13 Apr

tendergracesmagendieFavorite Lines: “Mothers–they have so much power. a few little words, and a few unthoughtful actions, can nurture or destroy a child. It’s a power I always said I’d use wisely. I sometimes feel as if I’ve failed.” (ARC  p. 195)

Bonus Favorite Lines: “Grandpa Luke tried beating the babies from Grandma Faith at first. His fists made the first two children, a girl and a boy, come out strong jawed and ornery. He told her the third one was born dead, wrapped its twisted body in his oily flannel shirt, and buried it in the woods. But Grandma thought she heard a pitiful mewling as he left the room and that sound haunted her to her last thought. While Grandpa scraped the burial dirt from his fingernails, Grandma cried.” (p. ARC 9)

Virginia Kate Carey was born in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia to a wild young woman and a smooth salesman. One of three children, she revisits her painful childhood after her mother passes away and she returns to handle her mother’s affairs.

Dragged into the past by a journal that houses her grandmother’s thoughts and is peppered with her mother’s comments, Virginia Kate begins the journey of coming to terms with her mother’s selfishness and inadequacies, while discovering that she can always find her way home.

Ms. Magendie‘s debut story is an excellent foray into the world of poverty, alcoholism, and abuse, and showcases humanity’s ability to claw itself up from it all. She takes a young woman born into poverty and placed in hellish situations, and forces her to come to terms with the path that led to her pain. She shows her heroine, Virginia Kate, what her grandmother and mother were exposed to, from infanticide to molestation. This gives the heroine empathy and enables her to see a little more deeply into her troubled family’s past.

Tender Graces is all about coming to terms with the past. It is a book that takes place from the 1950’s to present and flip-flops in time. It is a southern women’s contemporary women’s fiction you cannot miss. It subtly shows the abuse all of the characters faced, their reactions to it, and the damage that results. It is not a violent or sexually explicit story.

Tender Graces is an excellent book for people who seek out women’s literature and those who don’t. It is a gripping story that promises to take you to the mountains of West Virginia and dumps you into the lap of a family struggling to survive.

Let’s be Friends Award

13 Apr

award_lets_be_friendsThanks Kimberly for the Let’s be Friends Award.

The Let’s be Friends Awards stands for this: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.

Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready

7 Apr

Favorite lines: “Sometimes in the middle of the night,” he says, “when I’m in the studio, a song will remind me of you. One line of lyrics, or even just a riff that travels up my spine the way your fingers do. And suddenly I’ll miss the way your skin smells in all the hidden places. I’ll miss the way you sigh when I slide inside you, and the way your eyelashes flutter. Or I’ll just miss the way you laugh at one of my stupid jokes. And sometimes this happens in the middle of the day when I’m at the station, and I know you’re upstairs in the office, and I could walk up and see you in less than a minute.”

I somehow find my voice. “Why don’t you?”

His gaze meets mine, stealing what’s left of my breath. “Because I want you  to miss me, too.” (ARC p. 307-8)


Con artist Ciara Griffin has found a new life as the mascot for the DJs at 94.3 WVMP. On paper she’s the owner Elizabeth,

but in reality she’s just a woman falling in love with a vampire while trying to survive all the machinations that come with the undead. If it isn’t danger coming from a vampire, then it’s danger aimed towards one, and seeing that Ciara works with the undead…well you get the point.

On Halloween, it all begins when a WVMP broadcast is interrupted by an anti-vampire sermon. The broadcast pirating is soon connected to a group of occult hating people determined to put women in second place, and unfortunately for the station a reporter for Rolling Stone is sniffing around for an exclusive into the ‘gimmick’ about vampire DJs. The investigation brings up the past, and introduces Ciara to necrozoology Dexter.

Ms. Smith-Ready‘s next urban fantasy installment in the WVMP Radio Series, Bad to the Bone, picks up shortly after Wicked Games ends. Interest in the independent radio station is starting to wane and while it attempts to resuscitate its slumping numbers, death threats from a secretive religious group arrive. There’s never a good time to face a possible death, but the timing is especially bad because a reporter is digging for dirt on the DJs. This sets the story up and pulls it along as the characters evolve emotionally and secrets unravel.

Most of the characters have emotional issues, but Ciara and Shane had the most. Both of their problems stem from their parents. Shane looks into his feelings surrounding being Catholic and a vampire, and giving up his family. And Ciara has to face emotions, something foreign to the former con artist. Ms. Smith-Ready did an excellent job of showing the many thoughts that might go through a woman’s mind as she considers sharing her life with someone. The good and the bad parts of a relationship with a vampire are exposed as Ciara faces life altering decisions.

Bad to the Bone is told in first person, present tense, putting the focus on Ciara. But I think the vampiric, dog Dexter stole all of the scenes he was in. I am not an animal lover, but he sounds like the perfect dog…okay, it is kind of gross that he only drinks blood, but every animal has a flaw.

The only thing that bothered me about Bad to the Bone was how fast a couple of characters and their relationships seemed

to end. We spend a good amount of time with them only to see something major happen and stop the development of both.

I can’t say I’m disappointed with Bad to the Bone in any way. Not after reading about a bargain with the devil, the secrets only blood can tell, and the set up for the next book in the series.

Bad to the Bone will be released May 19, 2009.