Saturday, April 23, 2011

Key of Sea

Key of Sea is Mary Stella's second book that takes place in the Florida Keys. When Dora Lee Morrison gets her walking papers from her now ex-husband, she returns home to figure out what to do with her life now that she's not a trophy wife. She drives back in to her grandfather Willie Hanson's Marina and Mall and moves back in to one of the cottages on the property, the one that has been hers since her parents died. Bobby Daulton has been in love with Dora Lee since before she left to make her name as a model and now that she's back, he decides that it is time to convince her that all her dreams are right there. The only problem is that her marriage and it's abrupt end has given Dora Lee a distinct dislike for being told what to do and has cost her most of her confidence.

Watching Dora Lee try to first figure out what everyone else around her seems to already know about starting over, and then taking her first steps in finding a new dream and identity, was very interesting. I liked how Dora Lee was willing to work hard and dream big and Bobby was supportive, but willing to call Dora Lee on her narrow view of life when she comes in to conflict with the shop owners at the Marina and Mall and her assumptions about herself and the world. I also enjoyed seeing glimpses of Victoria and Jack from All Keyed Up, and seeing the dolphins at Dolphin World again. Since Willie is dating Jack's Aunt Ruby, we get to see more of her and all of her gumption and wisdom.

This was a fun, light read. If you're not able to go on a vacation to the Florida Keys, this book can make you feel like you're sitting on the porch with the Marina and Mall gang watching the sun set.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

All Keyed Up

When Dr. Victoria Sheffield arrives at Dolphin Land at the beginning of All Keyed Up by Mary Stella, Victoria expects her research to make her name in the research world. Jack Benton, the nephew of the owner, has been recovering while trying to save Dolphin Land from foreclosure. Jack wants to be sure his Aunt Ruby isn't being taken advantage of by the research scientist, and his DEA instincts say that Victoria Sheffield is hiding something. It isn't her love and enthusiasm for dolphins, or her qualifications, he soon learns.

I liked watching Victoria and Jack as they found their way through the challenges of getting to know each other and learn to work together. Also, having a scientist who was enthusiastic, intelligent and committed to her research was very nice and felt consistent and well done in the story. I liked learning more about the dolphins and more about Jack, Victoria and Ruby based on how they reacted to the dolphins in the story. Ruby treats them as part of the family and beloved friends. Victoria loves the dolphins because of her passion for learning more about them and she is devoted to them. Jack doesn't want to believe that the dolphins know what is going on, but he keeps finding himself talking to them.

All Keyed Up is a very fun, light read. It is a perfect beach book. And if you can't get to the Keys in person, All Keyed Up is a good book to take your mind there.