Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lazy Days of Summer Book Review--AMANDA HOLLAND reviews THE CLOUDS ROLL AWAY by Sibella Giorello

Today, I'm glad to introduce my sweet friend Amanda Holland, who has written our LAST Lazy Days of Summer book review (school's back in session for many of us!). We "met" via the #momswrite hashtag on twitter, which I highly suggest you check out, if you're a mom who writes! Amanda blogs at Grace in Our Moments, an absolutely lovely blog where she occasionally posts snippets from her own writing!

Amanda is reviewing The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello. Make no bones about it, I am a total, unabashed fan-girl of Sibella's writing, so I couldn't wait to hear the low-down on this third book in her Raleigh Harmon mystery series. Looks like I'll be adding this to my collection, too! This series also boasts meaningful, flowing titles, and cover art I never fail to enjoy.

Here's Amanda!

The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello

Book Review by Amanda Holland

Returning to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, isn’t going as well as FBI agent Raleigh Harmon hoped. She faces a boss still holding a grudge from Raleigh’s disciplinary transfer to Seattle and a hate crime case involving a rap star with a burning cross in his yard. Tensions are high in her personal life as well as her mom fights to keep her fragile hold on sanity. And Raleigh’s persistent ex-boyfriend keeps popping up everyone, leaving her feeling torn about their past—and their possible future. 
The danger steadily increases as Raleigh investigates hate crimes, drug dealers, the KKK, and a town who doesn’t welcome a rap star living in their midst. Her cases begin to criss-cross, blurring the lines between them and making the stakes even higher. She soon realizes that that the danger is much closer than she ever imagined. Raleigh has to rely on her instincts, her skills, and her faith if she’s going to live long enough to close her case.

Born and raised in the deep South, I am a Southern girl to the bone. I love the South, and Sibella Giorello captures it perfectly in The Clouds Roll Away, from the locations to the culture to the sometimes complicated heritage. Her writing style is beautifully descriptive. I also love a good mystery, and this book definitely fits that category. It’s not a “light” read—it has a gritty, film noir feel. Faith is an underlying theme throughout the book, but it’s something the main characters struggle with often.

Raleigh Harmon is one of those characters you like from page one—but the more you get to know her, the more you like her. A former debutante turned forensic geologist and FBI agent, she is haunted by her father’s unsolved murder. She’s tough and somewhat cynical, but clings tightly to her faith, sometimes struggling with the brutal crimes she investigates as she tries to reconcile the darkness of her job with her faith. The supporting characters are just as intriguing, from her mentally ill mother to her ex-boyfriend and his prestigious family.

This is the third book in the Raleigh Harmon series. I liked the first one, loved the second one, and after this book, I’m completely hooked on this series. Sibella Giorello has made her way onto my favorite authors list, and I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.

AMANDA HOLLAND is a wife and working mom of two boys. She stays busy launching her new career and rediscovering life after graduating from college in May as a dental hygienist. She is also an aspiring writer, blogging at Grace In Our Moments ( She grew up in Arkansas, now lives in Texas, and dreams of getting to Tennessee one day. She is a Christian fiction addict who loves a good mystery, crime shows, cooking, Arkansas Razorback football, coffee, and cheesecake.

****I'm so excited to hear that Raleigh returns to Richmond in this mystery! I can't wait to buy it. I don't often find authors I recommend whole-heartedly, but Sibella is one of those authors! How about you? Which author do you love to recommend? And have you read any of Sibella's novels?****


Bethany Macmanus said...

Wow, a gritty crime novel set in the South? Count me in! Thanks for sharing your review, Amanda. This is now on my TBR list. :)

Heather Day Gilbert said...

I know--Sibella's novels are great. And you might want to start with THE STONES CRY OUT if you haven't read that one (another cool title!). BTW--LOVE your profile pic on here!

sibella giorello said...

Amanda, thanks for such a thorough review -- it's wonderful to know a true southern gal understands Raleigh and her complicated world.
Both you and Heather make me want to send out a cyber fist-bump! The South, baby!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Cyber fist-bumps accepted and returned, Sibella! Thanks for stopping by. I've got to get caught up on your books before the next one comes out!

Amanda said...

Cyber fist bump! Thanks Sibella! I love your books and looking forward to reading more.