Three Book Reviews and a ROW Check-In

I have ADRD (Attention Deficit Reading Disorder). I’m excellent at starting books, but motoring through until the end . . . Well, that’s a different story. In the last two days, I’ve finished off two novels and reread the last two chapters and the epilogue of a third. Reading a novel in its entirety before beginning another may become my new norm. Below are summaries of my thoughts about three very different books.

A Home for My HeartHave you ever wanted to escape your past? Ever had to choose between love and a career? Ever had to apologize and humble yourself before another?

If so, you will be able to relate to Sadie Sillsby, the matron of the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children.

A number of months ago, I was thrilled to receive a free copy of A Home for My Heart in exchange for a review. Life, as it can, got especially busy, and it wasn’t until this evening (Boxing Day 2013) that I was able to complete it.

To me, a novel’s storyline takes second place to characters I care about. What a delight . . . to read a compelling and believable story about well-developed and diverse characters. Although not a huge fan of historical fiction, if I care about the characters, it doesn’t matter in what era or setting the story unfolds.

When I open a book, I want to enter lives already in progress. When I close it, I want to feel as if the characters will continue their lives without me. Both of these things are true of A Home for My Heart.

My only negative comment would be that even the most unlikeable characters aren’t “all that bad.” There really isn’t someone who riles me so badly that I want to crawl into the story and throttle him/her. (I enjoy despising characters almost as much as I enjoy loving them.)

A Home for My Heart is a lovely story that touched my heart. I’m certain it will not be the only Anne Mateer book I read.

4 out of 5 stars

Deadly DevotionYou may want to grab a cup of tea and curl up with Sandra Orchard’s Deadly Devotion. On second thought, make that hot chocolate. You just never know what you may find in your tea. At least that’s the case if you live in Port Aster.

A tea shop and the colourful local inhabitants . . . They go together, right?

But soothing beverages and suspected murder? Intrigue? A false identity? A police chief who can’t be trusted? A fearless protagonist who won’t back down?

Deadly Devotion includes all of the above and much more, even a hint of romance.

Sandra is a prolific author, and I have several of her novels hovering in the queue. I especially look forward to revisiting Port Aster and catching up with everyone. (Do you suppose the author will offer a special discount to one of her former writing conference roomies?)

4 out of 5 stars


Room by Emma Donoghue came highly recommended. (Thank you, Sally!)

Few books I’ve read deserve the adjective “unique.” Room, on the other hand . . .

Written from the perspective of a five-year-old who spent his entire life isolated from Outside, this book is powerful and thought-provoking, disturbing and eye-opening.

Because this book is like none other, it is also unpredictable. Just what is going to happen to this little guy and his ma?

Although I have never been in a similar situation (thank goodness), I was more of a participant than an observer. Donoghue handles point of view magnificently. The reader is right there with Jack.

If you’re looking for something different and have not yet read Room, I encourage you to add it to your list for 2014.

4.5 out of 5 stars

ROW LogoCelebrating

Christmas with family was lovely. Thanks to a break in the weather and the diligent work of the road crews, we were able to make it to the Homestead.


I finished A Home for My Heart and Room, reread the last couple chapters of Deadly Devotion, and began Karen BallsΒ What Lies Within. I’ve also gotten back to reading Catherine West’s pre-published manuscript. I hope to remain in “the reading groove” throughout the coming year and beyond.


I have a number of blog posts to write in the next couple of days. I must make this a regular habit if I hope to keep up with the guest blogging opportunities that lie before me.


I’m nearing the end of my most recent project and anticipate several new jobs in the upcoming year.

Happy reading, all . . . and to my fellow ROWers, hope to see you for Round 1 of 2014.


8 thoughts on “Three Book Reviews and a ROW Check-In

  1. I must have the same disorder. I even have a book by Dan Brown that I haven’t read all the way through yet. Is it possible to get over this? You’ve seen to make a good start of it.

  2. I tend to build a strong empathy for characters, and sometimes can’t bear the things that happen to them. Sometimes I just have to walk away…

    I, too, like to meet characters whose lives are already in progress, and to know they’re going to keep right on living when I walk away. It makes me prone to enjoying and writing epic stories that span a lot of their living.

    It sounds like you are in a great place, writing and editing wise. And, more importantly, life-wise!

    See you in 2014!

  3. I definitely have ADRD as well. I am usually reading 3 or 4 books at a time, and the next thing you know I pick up another book to start reading. I fully intend to finish them all, I just can’t stick with only one at a time.

  4. Oh, the sheer number of books that I have to have in progress at any one time…. (though nothing against Sandra but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to visit Port Aster if the tea is suspect. πŸ˜‰ )

    What a sweet (and informative) check-in, Steph. Here’s to a great new year with more joyful news to share.

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