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The Arsonist By Sue Miller

two-half-stars

Title:  The ArsonistThe Arsonist by Sue Miller

Author:  Sue Miller

Publisher:  Knopf

Release Date:  June 24, 2014

Pages:  320

Genre:  Mystery/Romance

About the Book:  

From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator’s Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.

Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for 15 years, Frankie Rowley has come home-home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident, or arson? Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognize her father’s slow failing and her mother’s desperation, another house burns, and then another, always the homes of summer people. These frightening events, and the deep social fault lines that open in the town as a result, are observed and reported on by Bud Jacobs, a former political journalist, who has bought the local paper and moved to Pomeroy in an attempt to find a kind of home himself. As this compelling book unfolds, as Bud and Frankie begin an unexpected, passionate affair, arson upends a trusting small community where people have never before bothered to lock their doors; and Frankie and Bud bring wholly different perspectives to the questions of who truly owns the land, who belongs in the town, and how, or even whether, newcomers can make a real home there.

Wanda’s Review:  

Several house fires within a short period of time had residents in Pomeroy, New Hampshire, fearful. The fires were started in the early morning hours and occurred in summer residences that were unoccupied – families had not yet arrived for the season. It seemed there was an arsonist in this small town.

I was immediately swept in by the promising beginning, but the storyline soon fell flat, and my expectations were not met. Unfortunately this book had little or no impact on me.

A few positive comments – The descriptive writing was beautifully crafted and most of the characters were vibrantly drawn. My favorite characters were Alfie and Sylvia, and this part of the story did capture my attention. Alfie’s failing health and his early stages of Alzheimer’s, along with their lost love and failing marriage drew me in. Their story developed with emotion throughout, but suddenly it seemed to be dropped, and went nowhere – disappointing.

Bud and Frankie’s romance seemed to take over the storyline and the arson fires took a back seat. There was no intrigue and very little emotion connected to the fires – little to no suspense, whatsoever. Fires started by an arsonist are a terrifying experience, and I expected a big crescendo of suspense, but it just didn’t happen.

And finally, the ending was disappointing – not a satisfying conclusion. I’m sorry to say, this book failed to capture my excitement. 2.5 stars

About the Author:  Sue Miller (born November 29, 1943 in Chicago) is an American writer who has authored a number of best-selling novels. Her duties as a single mother left her with little time to write for many years, and as a result she did not publish her first novel until 1986, after spending almost a decade in various fellowships and teaching positions. Since then, two of her novels have been made into feature films, and her book While I Was Gone was an Oprah’s Book Club pick in 2000.


Greater Devotional: A Forty-Day Experience to Ignite God’s Vision for Your Life By Steven Furtick Book Review

five-stars

Title:  Greater DevotionalGreater Devotional by Steven Furtick

Author:  Steven Furtick

Publisher:  Multnomah

Release Date:  September 9, 2014

Pages:  128

Genre:  Religion

Book Description:  In Greater, Pastor Steven Furtick challenged us to dream bigger, start smaller, and ignite God’s vision for our lives. In this devotional designed for daily guidance, you’ll begin your journey toward the greater life God wants for you.

Over the next forty days of teaching, scripture readings, and prayer, your life will change. You’ll find the confidence to believe that nothing is impossible with God, the clarity to see what He’s calling you toward, and the courage to take your next step.

Dream bigger. Start smaller. Ignite God’s vision for your life.

Wanda’s Thoughts:  

Many times we end up settling for less in our lives, becoming frustrated with who we are, and not knowing how to move forward. This devotional will take you from mediocrity to a much greater destiny, a destiny we were meant to have – a “good enough to greater”.

There are 40-days of devotions, each day giving a Scripture reading, with a reflection, and ending with a prayer focus. Refreshing all the way through, you’ll certainly be blessed by this devotional, and an excellent way to start the day. You will soon believe that God is preparing you for greater things.

I received a complimentary copy of this devotional from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:  Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, named by Outreach magazine as one of the top 10 fastest growing churches in the nation. In four years, Elevation has grown to more than 6,000 people in regular attendance in three locations. Steven holds a degree in communication from North Greenville University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Holly, have two young sons—Elijah and Graham—and make their home in the Charlotte area.


Behind the Taffeta Curtain by Verne Castress Book Feature


Title: Behind the Taffeta Curtain

Author: Verne Castress

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 102

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Format: Paperback/Kindle

Clair, a small-town girl attending Iowa State University in 1940, has her palm read for a laugh—and gets a surprisingly specific prediction about her career, marriage, and children. She laughs it off, with no idea of how accurate it will turn out to be.

After a failed romance, she hastily marries a man named John, has two children, and very soon finds herself miserable. John is not only abusive and controlling, but also a compulsive gambler. In an effort to support their family, Clair finds work in a nearby department store, and her career in fashion begins.

In the sixties and seventies, Clair works her way up through the industry, chipping away at the glass ceiling of a field with far fewer women executives than the ad firms of Madison Avenue at the time. As an executive buyer for numerous retail conglomerates, she travels the globe searching for innovative fashions and meets regularly with iconic designers such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Oscar de la Renta. Among the fashion elite living the high life, there are steamy affairs, drugs, and suicides, as tragic elements mark the lives of these women in fashion whose insecurity remains hidden beneath their stoicism.

This novel tells the story of Clair’s journey through the fashion world, a single mother contending with the conniving wiles of men and women and facing obstacles in the devious, behind-the-scenes political struggle of those climbing to the top.



Verne Castress retired following a forty-five-year career as a fashion executive, for which she traveled the world in search of innovative fashions for the American market. The mother of two adult children, she currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

 

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