Dragonfly by Carrie Sparks McClain

I have not done a product review in a long time, but when my friend from home asked me to review her debut novel, I jumped at the chance.

My policy on reviews - I don't give bad ones. If I have an unfavorable opinion, I usually go back to the requester and decline the offer. And when I started "Dragonfly," I will admit that I hoped that I would like the book because I have known Carrie for a very long time and I know that this has been an absolute labor of love. I am hard on books. I am picky. I don't like poor characterization, lazy writing or poor plotting. And I loathe boring books - something has to happen!

That being said, I have the utmost respect for budding, new authors. Sitting down and writing that many words is amazing to me because I know how difficult it is. I write an 1000 word article for the newspaper and pat myself on the back for being so prolific. I know that I don't have the creative juices to produce hundreds of thousands of words from my imagination.

Which is why what Carrie has done is incredible. I see so much of our hometown in the novel and could envision the lake and ballfields and the hometown festival. This book is about Aubrey, who comes to Walker to settles her aunt's affairs after she is killed in a car accident. Along the way, she reconnects with her childhood nemesis and finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery.

Carrie definitely knows how to create atmosphere. Even if I was not from the real-life Walker - Winchester, TN - I would have no problems visualizing the small town and its characters. Sometimes in these type of novels, readers can see the plot twist from a mile away. I will admit that I had no idea where Carrie was going with it. She does suspense well.

"Dragonfly" has a very quintessentially southern feel to it. I felt like the dialogue and descriptions were  idealized with a formal, lilting feel - which I am assuming is by design. Sometimes you can see a plot twist or resolution a mile away but I had no idea what was coming in this book. Her plotting was excellent and she keeps the action moving. I am a fickle reader and not to keen on wading through 100 pages of dialogue to get to a plot development. There is none of that here.

If you are looking for a romantic summer read with likable characters and a story that keeps you engrossed, check out "Dragonfly." And come back and let me know what you think. Thank you Carrie for the opportunity. I think that there are great things ahead for you as an author.

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