Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Sugar Queen and Killer Swell

I am behind on my books and I need to write a review the second I finish them and save it or something! Most books are from the library and I return them, so I don't have them in front of me to refresh my memory. If you haven't read before, I have Swiss-Cheese Memory. Lots of little holes in there. These reviews actually help me remember what I read. Not kidding.


"Killer Swell," is a contemporary mystery/crime/detective novel by Jeff Shelby. It's the first in a series of 'Noah Braddock' crime stories. Noah is a shorts-wearing, beach living, early 30's detective, hired by an ex-girlfriend's mom to find her missing daughter. He's not sure why though. This lady hated him, and her and her rich husband broke them up. Why is she slumming for his help? As he digs, he finds that his ex-girlfriend was in over her head. It's fun, fast paced and I enjoyed the characters, like the slightly psycho twin brothers, and Noah's best friend.


I picked up "The Sugar Queen" by Sarah Addison Allen at the library after I read and really liked "Garden Spells." Like 'Garden Spells,' Ms. Allen imbues this book with charming/charmed characters that are quirky and fun. Josey is 27 and lives at home with a mom that she feels she has to make up to. Josey was a horrible child and to atone, sacrifices her adulthood to take care of her mom. She is really a shell; always agreeing, always doing, never feeling, unless it's with her candies, cakes and cookies, hidden inside her closet, away from mom's prying eyes, When Della Lee, a local waitress, is found hiding out in her closet and won't leave, Josey's life is turned upside down, or actually, right-side up.

It is also follows the story of Chloe, a local sandwich shop owner who was recently betrayed by her boyfriend. Chloe has a problem with books. they won't leave her alone. They follow her, appearing anywhere and everywhere. Self-help books and forgiveness books appear when she breaks up with her boyfriend, and follow her in her car, end up on the work counter, in the kitchen at home. She can't escape them. (Man, how awesome would that be?) Chloe and Josey meet, become fast friends, and Chloe slowly learns to find the self she lost in her relationship and how to forgive.

Della helps Josey blossom, admit love, make friends, and slowly free herself from her mom's guilt-hold over her, all from the comfort of Josey's closet. In the end, Della gives Josey something even more wonderful and magical than she ever knew.

Good stuff. Go read it.

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