Whenever I’m working hard on a new writing project, I try to read more ink-on-paper books to give my eyes a rest from looking at a screen. This month I’m trying very hard to finish up a project for my local writers group, so I pulled out a few volumes taking up space on my bookshelf in hopes that I can fill up another box of books to donate – er, share with fellow readers.
The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith
Isabel Dalhousie #1
I purchased this book at our writing group’s fundraiser. It took much longer for me to read this than it should have. It’s not terribly long, but there is very little actually happening, so there’s no incentive to continue. The narrative is full of unexpected (But not particularly exciting) tangents, and none of the characters stood out as interesting. There is a mystery, which is resolved in an expected way, though to me it was rather unsatisfactory. It’s difficult to imagine anyone is so well-versed in music, literature, art, and philosophy as the main character is, and her thoughts and actions brought to mind someone far older than she’s described. I have to agree with some other reviewers that Isabel sounds much more like a man in his 60s than a woman in her 40s. I did find it interesting that McCall Smith is a basoonist in an orchestra he founded, called the RTO – the Really Terrible Orchestra, and yet the photo on the book jacket shows him with a tuba. This is the first of a series, but I’m probably not going to look for any of the rest unless I need a good nap.
Sweet Tea at Sunrise by Sherryl Woods
The Sweet Magnolias, Book 6
I purchased a hardcover copy of this book at a library fundraiser, and it resided on my bookshelf for several years. At one time, I devoured every book I could find by Sherryl Woods, but as I get to know more authors and try to read their books, my old favorites were set aside. Anyway, my return to the world of this prolific author was well worth it. This is women’s fiction, with a strong dose of romance. The Sweet Magnolias are a group of friends in the small town of Serenity, South Carolina. The interesting thing about this group is that it includes two generations of women, and a few mother-daughter duos. Each installment in this eleven-book series focuses on one of the women in the group, and in this one, divorcee Sarah Price returns to her hometown of Serenity with her two young children. Meeting former MLB player Travis McDonald brings out many of her insecurities, not realizing he harbors a few of his own. Reading about the way they help each other gave me so much reading pleasure that as soon as I was done, I searched the online catalog for our local library and reserved the next book in the series.
Midnight Shores on Whisling Island by Julia Clemens
Whisling Island Series, Book 4
This is the only e-book for me this month, and I read it because I’m on Julia Clemens’ review team. The women in books 1, 2, and 3 are revisited, with storylines continued and new ones begun. A few romantic conflicts were satisfactorily resolved. I was glad to see Olivia finally make up her mind to give her handsome neighbor a chance. Bess finally realizes that the younger brother of her neighbor and longtime friend is truly devoted to her and that she should admit that her attraction to a younger man is a not a bad thing. Gen and Deb are still happy, and Lily is able to re-connect with her husband. Bess’ assistant Alexis is not so lucky in love, but is able to strengthen her relationship with her mother. The editing problems I saw in book 3 were not seen in this volume, so it was a nice easy read. I see book 5 is coming soon, and I’m wondering what’s in store for this group.
Honeysuckle Summer by Sherryl Woods
The Sweet Magnolias, Book 7
I borrowed this book from our local library. One of the characters in book 6, Raylene Hammond, played a pivotal role in helping Sarah and Travis resolve their conflicts. Raylene is a wonderful friend, but she suffers from agoraphobia. I wanted to find out how she overcomes that, and was happy that the next book in the series was about her. Since Raylene is confined to her house, she interacts only with the people who come to her, and the new sheriff’s deputy arrives when Sarah’s little boy runs off while in Raylene’s care. As with all Sherryl’s books, Raylene’s struggle to overcome her fears is related in gripping detail, and my heart suffered with her. This is a wonderful series.