The first bonus book I read was Invisible, the first book in the Ivy Malone Mysteries, by Lorena McCourtney. I’m going to say it straight out; I didn’t like the book.
Pros: The protagonist was fine, and I enjoyed seeing an older character in the main role because they are so rare. Ivy bumbles around the mysterious circumstances she finds herself in, as one would expect of an amateur, and perhaps especially as someone who feels out of place in a fast-paced, technologically-reliant world that seems to discount her because of her age.
The mystery was straight-forward, with no red herrings, and easy enough to follow.
As it so happened, I picked up a copy of this e-book when it was free, so I don’t have any money invested in it.
Cons: The pace is slow which, while not necessarily negative, in this case is because the author feels it necessary to include so much day-to-day detail that the narrative is weighed down to a crawl. Perhaps it is McCourtney’s attempt to effect realism into the scenes, and I can appreciate the attempt, but the way she does it comes out sounding more like the LiveJournal of a self-absorbed dull person rather than an illustration of monotony or loneliness…or whatever it is the author was going for.
Ivy really needed a buddy she could think out loud to, someone to help move the narrative along. She starts out with a best friend, but I think she could have accomplished plenty while keeping that friend around longer. It would have livened up the whole book, especially if it had been a feisty friend who couldn’t go places with her.
I didn’t realize the book was Christian fiction when I downloaded it, but that aside, I felt like the whole story stopped several times to evangelize at the reader. It’s one thing to have pious or devoted character, it’s another to insert clunky dialogue that could have been lifted from a pamphlet on how to get someone to church every couple of chapters. I’ll admit that I could be a little sensitive, having been immersed in the church culture for the better part of my life, but there is a way to bring religion into a book without making the reader feel like they’ve wandered into a firing range.
I did finish the book, but I gave it two stars out of five, and I don’t think I’ll be reading any of the rest of the series.