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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blog tour stop and review posted for The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello! Enter to win a Kindle!

About Sibella: Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons. Find out more about Sibella and her other books at her website.

About The Clouds Roll Away Kindle Giveaway: Please share the contest on Facebook and twitter!

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!

One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift certificate to
To enter simply click on one of the icons below! Then tell your friends! Winner will be announced January 3, 2011 on Sibella's blog:

The Clouds Roll Away (Raleigh Harmon)

About the book:

Closing her assignment with the FBI's Seattle office, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, expecting a warm welcome. Instead she finds herself investigating an ugly cross burning at a celebrity's mansion and standing in the crosshairs of her boss at the Bureau. And the deeper Raleigh digs into the case, the murkier the water becomes...until she's left wondering who the real victims might be.

To make matters worse, Raleigh's personal life offers almost zero clarity. Her former confidant is suddenly remote while her former boyfriend keeps popping up wherever she goes. And then there's her mother. Raleigh's move home was supposed to improve Nadine's fragile sanity, but instead seems to be making things worse.

As the threads of the case begin crossing and double-crossing, Raleigh is forced to rely on her forensic skills, her faith, and the fervent hope that breakthrough will come, bringing with it that singular moment when the clouds roll away and everything finally makes sense.

My review:

For me this was more like 3.5 stars but closer to three than four, so that's why I gave it three. Interestingly enough, I read through chapter 7 of The Stones Cry Out and never had the desire to pick it up again, so I didn't. But then I'd read some positive things about this author's work and saw some nominations for awards and thought maybe I missed something. So I agreed to do a blog tour for this book.

I did finish The Clouds Roll Away because I agreed to post a review for the tour, or I probably wouldn't have finished this book. The writing style seemed kind of choppy to me and sometimes spiritual reflection seemed to come out of the sky. It was nice that I read it around Christmas since that was the time period for the majority of the story, but at the same time the continual references to phrases in well-known Christmas songs and hymns annoyed me. Why not just say mom was listening to Silent Night? Or O Holy Night? Most people know the lyrics anyway, so quoting partial phrases didn't make sense to me. Even non-Christians know those songs.

Anyway, I did find some aspects of the FBI theme compelling and it was kinda cool how various seemingly unrelated elements pulled together toward the end. At the same time, I found some of the details a bit gruesome (like people's faces being blown off and then described further than that) and so I got some unpleasant visuals of bloated dead bodies and such. I was scared for her when she kept dealing with the crack house. But other than that, I would have to say if I never read another book by Sibella I wouldn't be sad about it. She just doesn't write the type of stories I enjoy reading. If she had gotten a little deeper into her relationship with her mother or with Demott, then I would have enjoyed the story more. It just seemed too superficial to me and other than worrying about Raleigh on occasion, I didn't connect much with the characters in the story.

On the positive end, I did feel like I knew Raleigh better by book's end, so that was good, but if I hadn't been doing the tour I probably would've stopped reading it about halfway through when the part about finding the dead guys in the water came up, because it grossed me out so much. At that point I still felt like I barely knew Raleigh. It could be one of those situations where reading prior novels in the series would have given me an entirely different perspective.

I did find it interesting that a white author had written so many negative things into this storyline that were racial stereotypes for both white and black folks, and the author hasn't been criticized. Then again, this story was set in the old south, so racial tension has pretty much been a deep thread in Virginia history for centuries, so it fit the storyline. Did this book inspire me? Not really. But it might inspire someone else. The author definitely knows how to weave a compelling, if not a bit gruesome and complex suspense/crime mystery. That was well done.

The Clouds Roll Away was published by Thomas Nelson and released in March of 2010. This book was provided to me for review by Litfuse Publicity and did not in any way influence my opinion of the book.

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