Review: The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery 

 

Three women in an L.A. suburb find themselves in the middle of some changes. Big changes. Marriage, divorce, pregnancy, death, grief, friendship, and new beginnings all play a part in this new series by one of my favorite authors. 

The writing is excellent, from the fleshed out characters to the descriptions of the coastal setting. Technically, everything is on point as Mallery invites us into the lives of three women of different ages, their families and friends, their businesses.

But there’s something missing for me. Excitement, maybe. And I get it that lack of excitement is one of the relationship issues in the book, but the reader should still somehow be pulled into the book… And I just wasn’t. For one thing, there was a lot of “telling instead of showing” (like when one character sat across from her friend and next to her other friend and put her purse on the free chair). I liked the book enough, but I wasn’t totally invested in it. It didn’t thrill me. 

On the other hand, Mallery successfully shows the reader real emotions. For example, one character is mourning a loss. Brava for getting to the nitty gritty of being beside oneself with grief. The scene at Goodwill – I can picture that kind of thing because I have seen people just UNDONE like that. I’m thinking WOW as I remember reading Mallery’s take on it.  And the spa scene with the possible future stepchild – realistic and full of tension. 

Although this particular plot was a bit of a downer for me, I enjoyed Mischief Bay and its inhabitants. I’ll be on the lookout for book number two. 

-calliope 

buy THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY

Review: Children of the Knight by Michael J. Bowler

20140330-090851.jpgPretend, if you will, that the legendary King Arthur has magically and mysteriously arrived in present-day Los Angeles. Gangs, poverty, despair, crime, children abandoned to the streets…these are all very real current problems in any major city, and Los Angeles has more than its fair share.

The story centers around fourteen-year-old Lance. A classic street child, he’s experienced every form of abuse and neglect at his young age. With the exception of his English teacher, when he does go to school, nobody sees his potential. But isn’t that true of so many of these throwaway kids? When he meets Arthur, his world changes and he becomes part of a mission. A mission to save the kids that nobody seems to care about, even their parents. A mission to clean up parts of the city that have been allowed to fall into neglect thus perpetuating an attitude of crime. A mission to change the way society treats children who, at first glance, don’t appear to have much to offer. Along the way Lance and Arthur recruit a ragtag group of youngsters who truly are representative of today’s youth.

Part Arthurian legend and part urban fantasy, this very ambitious novel by Michael Bowler addresses a very real and shameful problem. Why are so many children, and some very young ones at that, left neglected, abused, and abandoned? And even more importantly, whose responsibility is it to save these children? All too often it’s seen as “not our problem” but Mr. Bowler and I seem to be in agreement on this issue. It truly is society’s responsibility, for the children are the future.

This story resonated with me on so many levels. As a mother, I can’t imagine a parent treating their child in such a harmful manner although I’m completely aware that it happens far too often. As a teacher, it touched me deeply and reinforced my deeply seated belief that we cannot overlook any child, no matter how insignificant their contribution may seem. And as a human being, which we should all be able to relate to, it shames me that so often children are thrown away like this. Not every child is fortunate enough to be born into a loving, caring family. But does that means they’re not deserving of every opportunity to make something of themselves? It takes just one person to make a difference in the life of a child.

~Thalia

Buy it Now: Children of the Knight