Monday, August 22, 2016


We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly Reviewed by Lorien Goodale

 We meet Ash and Pia, a youngish married couple without children, after they have moved from New York City to rural Vermont. Ash grew up in such a place, and he and Pia decided to make a fresh start in a farmhouse. They planned to live simply, learning how to do the things country people did (like canning) by the seat of their pants.

Their plans are  interrupted first by the problems Pia has getting pregnant; the fertility specialist confirms she will "need help". As the couple deals with this news, a bigger problem arises: warnings of a superstorm to come within the year. Ash and Pia have dramatically different reactions to thiis. A lot of the book covers their actions around the storm.

What I liked: I liked seeing how regular, so-called normal people might react to a coming disaster. I was intrigued by the environmental issues of the story. It has a realistic ending, not something sugar-coated. It was interesting to see a woman write from a man's point of view.

I thought she could have done a better job of showing us how people felt at times, instead of telling us. I had trouble at times actually seeing the setting.

Overall, it was an entertaining read.

Reviewed by Lorien Goodale

Saturday, August 16, 2014


This is the newest Tempe Brennan mystery. I enjoy listening to this series in my car, usually, so reading a paper copy was a change for me.

One of the best things about this series is feeling like you are right in Temperance Brennan's head. I also enjoyed getting to know her mother, who is a character, and plays an interesting role. Ryan is a central character again, and it was great to finally figure out where his mind was and what was going on with him - as much as you ever can.

I have to say the pattern of Tempe going off on her own to take on the bad guys is getting a little overworked. I don't blame Skinny for getting so exasperated with her all the time. And what is with her problems with Slidell? I think he's hilarious, smart, and a good cop.

When I read the ending, I had a "what the heck?" reaction. It seemed a little too pat.

However, despite my annoyances with Tempe, and her bullheadedness, I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment. If you like Reichs' series, you will think this is a great one.

Reviewed by: Lorien Goodale

Publication date:  9/23/2014

Winterkill: Follow the Wayward Path by Kate A. Boorman


This is a young adult novel centered around Emmeline, her friends, family, and enemies. It seems to be set in Canada. However, the people in the novel live in a pre-industrial society.

Emmeline lives in a small village within a fence, in a community full of fear and strictly regimented in their activities and traditions. We find out pretty quickly how stifled and trapped she feels. This is completely believable, as are the actions that proceed from this. She is after all a teenager.

As you might expect in a society under tight control, there are a lot of secrets, but thankfully it doesn't take long for these to unwind. The plot moves at a good (fast) pace.

If you like dystopian fantasy, or novels about primitive societies, you will probably like this book.

Reviewed by: Lorien Goodale

The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo


I almost didn't read this book. I'm glad I did, though, because I'm always looking for a good mystery series to read. A big plus for this one is the setting, which is not one I'm that familiar with.

This is the 6th in the series about a female police chief in Amish country. Formerly Amish herself, Kate Burkholder investigates a murder and opens up a large can of worms involving many of the Plain people. The author really puts you in Kate's head, as well as those of other key characters. There is some crazy stuff going on, but despite my low threshold for thrillers, I was able to handle it. I sort of saw the end coming, but there were definitely some surprises.

It seemed to me that it would be a lot easier to get into the book knowing Kate's back story. I would recommend reading these in order - which is what I look forward to doing.

Reviewed by: Lorien Goodale

Prototype by M. D. Waters


Prototype is the sequel to Archetype; both are dystopian novels. In the first book, we meet Emma, who is in her mid-twenties and married to Declan. Except it isn't nearly that simple. I don't want to ruin the first book for you. Suffice it to say that Emma runs away to search for the parents from whom she was kidnapped years ago. That brings us to the beginning of the second book.

I enjoyed both novels, but I liked the first one the best. I found Prototype a bit disjointed at times, and despite lots of action it didn't hold my attention all that well. I wasn't as interested in what happens to Emma. She ran away to find her parents, despite having some really significant ties in her home town, which she conveniently remembers when she has to go back there. Her behavior is erratic and unexplained. Some of the plot solutions come a bit too pat in the second book.

I found myself thinking at the end of the second book that perhaps these stories could have been more concisely made into a single novel with more (realistic) loose ends than the conveniently tied up ones that the author wrote.

Overall entertaining, but not outstanding.

Reviewed by: Lorien Goodale

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

This is the debut novel by this author. I had to remind myself of this after I finished, because her work is polished and flows well.

The setting of the novel is more rural than rural Missouri, in the Ozarks. We first meet Lucy Dane, the seventeen year old protagonist, as she is dealing with the disappearance, and then death of a friend (Cheri). Soon, however, we find that this isn't the first time Lucy has had a significant disappearance in her life: her mother vanished when she was too young to remember it. Lila Dane never returned. Lucy stumbles across something that compels her to try and figure out what happened to Cheri, and along the way begins to pry open the past about her mother.

McHugh does a great job of introducing us to the key characters and their personalities. I felt as though I could see into their souls, to the good and bad of each. Part of the reason for this was the writing from different points of view. While we spend the most time in Lucy's head, Lila and others also have their chance to show us what they see. Sometimes I find this annoying in a novel, but I welcomed it in The Weight of Blood. When I saw the names at the beginning of the chapters, I thought, "ooh, now I get to find out what they think about the situation."

Once I started reading, I didn't want to put it down. The action is realistic, and while there is some graphic violence, none is gratuitous. The plot moves at a steady pace, picking up at the climax, as it should. There's no wasted space in this book, no embellishments or unnecessary characters.

I would definitely read any future works by this author.

Reviewed by: Lorien Goodale