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Lisa's Friday Review

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Have you ever read a book that you just could not put down? Of course you have. You are a reader, right?

Well, this week I took on three totally different genres of fiction and I have been thoroughly satisfied with my reading experience.

If you enjoyed Little Women as a child, dig into this more adult read of sisterhood.

The Book Sisters by Hope Andersen
When Vera, the fourth oldest of the Book sisters, asks her mother for a lemonade stand, the charm of Hope Anderson’s tale is planted. Vera, Virginia, Viveca, Victoria, Violet, and Veronica are the six daughters of Vern and Valley Book and members of a picture-perfect family. The all-American dream, the loving family of which Norman Rockwell depicts in his famous images of Americana. But, as all dreamscapes, reality settles its harsh blanket over the family with the historical events of racism, Viet Nam, political turmoil, and international devastation. As time reveals the dark secrets of this once-upon-a-time family, the Book sisters find themselves caught in parallel universe of unrest. As each sister fights her way to the surface of dark conflicts within her own existence, we see the travesties faced by even the most picture-perfect family.

This superbly crafted tale folds the reader into a safe place that is as abruptly erased with the realities of death and abusive behavior so wrought in society. ope Anderson  Hope Anderson has mastered the art of storytelling in The Book Sisters. For readers familiar with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, a return to that special era in life will be revisited for a short time while Anderson entertains vestiges of this more simple time, before significant events ravaged our nation’s innocence. The Book Sisters is a remarkable read. Fast moving and engaging from the first paragraph. Hope Anderson satisfies her reader with an expertly written story that concludes with a wonderfully balanced conclusion.

Okay, I do not normally go for the karma inspired, philosophically fueled musings of feel-good profits; but this is amazing. 
The Wise Man Said by [Kumar, Priya]

In The Wiseman Said, author Priya Kumar is presented with a warning from her publisher to get back on track and reach her deadline… or else.  But her creative well has run dry and she faces a future of uncertainty. Her professional life has come to a devastating stand still. How can she be productive when purpose eludes her?  From her public, purpose is evident in the eyes of those who excitedly request a fan picture with her or a few words of encouragement personalized with her presence. This is all she ever dreamed to equal a fulfilling and successful life.  So why is she so empty? In a moment of desperation, Priya takes a time-wasting walk to encounter a strange old man who revels her with his presence and leaves her with his life-journey in an aged journal. The written words of The Wanderer occupy her for many hours after her return to her cabin, leaving her with a sense of well-being and a refreshing outlook on life.
“The path may come to an end but that doesn’t have to be the end of the journey.” Priya Kumar’s own words reflect the vast amount of knowledge shared in The Wiseman Said. A book narrated by the enlightening journey and words in the diary of The Wanderer, this is at first glance an easy read, but demands a second sitting as the weight of the lessons presented here far exceed the number of published pages. The Wiseman Said is a surprising guide book to the meaning of life.

And then there is my stand by fiction...crime! I love a good day of intrigue, don't you? (To make this even better, Eliot Parker is a West Virginia author!!!!!)

Stacy Tavitt is hot on the trail of Jamal Harris, making this a combination personal/professional investigation. Not only does she feel responsible for informant Yolanda’s young child, but finding Jamal might bring her closer to solving the mystery behind the murders happening among Cleveland Browns football players murders. Not really a football enthusiast, Lieutenant Tavitt juggles her handicap of sports knowledge with the facts that spread before her. Add this to her live-in brother’s inconsistences and hidden agenda; a crippling respiratory system, compliments of a prior investigation; and a hidden romance, and Stacy has a full plate. But she is a cop above all other aspects of her life and that is where her focus lies.  As Stacy and her partner injured Austin Cerrer combine their efforts with The Cleveland Division of Police Narcotics Unit and the professional football franchise of the Cleveland Browns, she realizes the harsh realities of her physical handicap while refusing to allow her personal needs overcome her professional responsibilities. Surprising plot twists fill any gaps in this well-rounded tale that is the perfect anytime read.
Code for Murder: A Stacy Tavitt Mystery by Eliot Parker is an example of West Virginia’s best kept secrets. Author Eliot Parker paints a believable story of intrigue and mystery in unusual excellence of getting into the mind of a main character of the opposite gender. Set not far from the author’s home stomping grounds, this murder mystery ranks up there with Baldacci and Martini in narrative clarity and character banter. 

School has begun in many West Virginia counties and all the gaps will be filled in next week. With the start of a new academic year, I urge you to continue encouraging reading. For yourself, for your children, for your neighbor. Although this marks the conclusion of my summer of submitting reviews I do NOT plan to stop reading. In fact, do not be surprised to see a review or two in my weekly ramblings. 

Until next week,
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