Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: The Comforts of Home

I am so happy to be hosting a blog tour for Jodi Thomas's new book in the Harmony series: The Comforts of Home. Here's a short bit from Jodi about the book (my review will follow):
 
I’m very happy to announce the birth of my new book.  It’s been a long labor of love, but I know you’re going to enjoy the next Harmony book, THE COMFORTS OF HOME.  I want readers to feel like they are walking the streets of a small town.  You’ll laugh at some of the people, worry about others and fall in love with a few as they find their way through life.
 
In THE COMFORTS OF HOME  I wrote about people who probably live all around us but we never take the time to know.  One was Ronelle Logan.  She’d lived and worked at the post office without anyone noticing her.  She solved the funeral home’s crossword puzzles before she handed over the magazines, but no one complained.  Tyler Wright, the funeral director, just brought her a huge crossword puzzle book.  He was a kind man who tried to help everyone he came across.  In the lives of these people now and then, wonder happens, brightening the world around.
 
THE COMFORTS OF HOME is about the people in a small town who come together to celebrate life.  They care about one another.  Many nights when I sat down in my study to write I felt as if I was stepping into a world, a place that was as real to me as my life.  I never think of my people as characters in a story, but always as people.   They walk though my life and make it a richer place and I hope they’ll do the same for you as you read THE COMFORTS OF HOME. 

About Jodi:
Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of 34 novels and 11 short story
collections. In June 2011, WELCOME TO HARMONY won a RITA, the highest award for contemporary fiction. Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. You can check out her other books at www.jodithomas.com 

Publishers Weekly Review:
In her third Harmony novel, Thomas takes readers back to that Texas town where a number of romances come to a head after a tornado strikes. Funeral director Tyler Wright struggles to profess his love to Maj. Kate Cummings. Aspiring rodeo star Noah MacAllen keeps returning to Harmony and his best friend (and beloved) Reagan Truman. Reagan, whose “uncle” Jeremiah (he’s her foster father) is dying, wrestles with her feelings for Noah and local firefighter Brandon Biggs. Meanwhile, shy Ronelle Logan meets angry, lonely Martin Winslow, who helps her emerge from her shell. Despite their passion, Claire Matheson has trouble committing to Denver Sims. The tornado leaves each character wondering if loved ones have survived, and this uncertainty forces them to action. Even for readers new to the series, the intricate relationships between these affable men and eccentric women are easy to follow and even easier to love. Thomas skillfully juggles the many subplots, and the relationship between Ronelle and Marty, which inspires both to trust again, is especially touching. 

My Review:
This is my fourth book to read and review for Ms. Thomas. I'm hooked on her storytelling. The Harmony series is so real. Maybe it's because I'm from a small Texas town and I can see a lot of the people I know and (sometimes) love in the characters. It was really a great book and I love that new characters are explored while not forgetting the characters from the first two books. 

Beyond all the romance-y parts, my absolute favorite character in the books has been SaraLynn. I love the interaction between her and Tyler. I actually found myself saying, at one point in the book, "what a sweet girl she is" and then had to laugh because I had made her into a real person in my mind!

Reading these books is like sitting around catching up with old friends. I actually find myself thinking about the characters and what I hope happens to them. When Autumn was introduced, I started wondering where the character was going to go. (Jodi does far better by the characters than I do in my head!)

I'm glad that Tyler got a main story line in this book. He's a great character in the first two and he deserved a "leading role". He's one of those people in your community that goes without being noticed for a long time, yet is so integral to the workings of the town that he would be sorely missed.

I can't wait for the next book. Jodi leaves you wanting more, yet not frustrated at everything not being tied up with a little bow.

You can pre-order the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or at Jodi's Site. While you're there pick up some of her other books. You will not be disappointed in any way by the stories. The fourth book in the series, Just Down the Road, will be released in April 2012.

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