Friday, January 30, 2009

Review - Matters of Faith by Kristy Kiernan

Matters of Faith
Written by: Kristy Kiernan
Rated: Excellent (*****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Chloe is mom to 18-year-old Marshall and 12-year-old Meghan, and wife to Calvin. Her life is like any other with its daily challenges, but even she doesn’t know what she’ll do when her family’s cohesiveness is put to an extreme test.

The novel opens with Chloe reflecting on how having a sixth sense would be helpful in noting the small things in life that become the catalyst to a major turning point. Hindsight is always educational, isn’t it?

Marshall is coming home during college break and is bringing a girl, the first girl to meet the family. First impressions are not always the best and Chloe and Cal have different reasons for not readily accepting Ada. But Meghan and Ada become instant friends, so there’s hope.

The writing in Matters of Faith works with two distinct points of view that engage the reader in just the right way. Kiernan doesn’t waste any words. She balances narrative with dialogue so the reader feels more like a fly on the wall of a real family instead of someone flipping pages. Kiernan’s characters are unique individuals dealing with the typical daily life routine. And because of their ‘realness’, the author is able to connect with a large audience. Like having a conversation with friends, Kiernan’s writing challenges the reader to figure out what he or she would do given the same circumstances. Where many writers create characters that are black or white in their response, Kiernan’s characters are unpredictable.

Kristy was born in Tennessee and raised on the beaches of southwest Florida, where she still resides with her husband, Richard, and their dog. Her first novel, Catching Genius, was published in March of 2007 and has become a book club favorite. Matters of Faith is her second novel.

From the opening lines in Matters of Faith until the final word, the reader becomes a witness during a small portion of time in one family’s life. This novel doesn’t jump out and grab you by the throat, instead it softly winds its way into your heart so you can’t walk away. I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in a great story.

Matters of Faith is available through:,, other online outlets, and local book stores. Visit for more information.

Title: Matters of Faith
Author: Kristy Kiernan
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-425-22179-2
Pages: 322
Price: $14.00

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review of Ramblin' Man by Michael Murphy

Ramblin’ Man
By Michael Murphy
eWings Press, Inc.
ISBN: 1-59705-782-7

The back blurb says this: A young drifter comes to the aid of a runaway heiress fleeing a controlling father. With nothing in common, the ramblin’ man and the heiress find themselves falling in love as her father’s desperate security team manipulates the media into reporting the heiress has been kidnapped.

The blurb is a bit dry compared to the story itself. Think Paris Hilton meets up with a good ol’ Stetson-wearing fella and you’ve got Samantha and Bart, complete with an adorable purse dog named Tinker. She’s run away from her father’s expectations and straight into Bart’s path. He rescues her from some ruffians and whisks her off in his truck, not realizing the turn of events this sets into motion.
Suddenly he finds himself running from hired security thugs and blamed for kidnapping Samantha.

Samantha is opinionated and independent in her own way but she does learn a few things about life beyond prep school and away from decadence. Eventually she moves out of being his problem and into the role of friend and companion. The sparks do fly between them as they hide out in a small town, avoiding Bart’s old nemesis, the authorities and her father’s private security. Until someone recognizes her.

I won’t say more and spoil the ending but I do want to point out that the blurb is wrong in that these two characters do have a lot in common. Discovering that is part of the journey this story makes. At first this drifter and heiress seem almost stereotypical and then you find out there’s more to each of them than meets the eye. You’ll love Bart’s sense of humor and find yourself rooting for everything to turn out all right.

You can visit Michael’s website at: