(Apr) This was just ok. The premise - a girl from a rich Chicago family is kidnapped, her mother worries about her, as does the detective desperate to(Apr) This was just ok. The premise - a girl from a rich Chicago family is kidnapped, her mother worries about her, as does the detective desperate to find her. The chapters are told as Before and After - before she is found, and after she comes home. I liked the detective's chapters the best, found them the most interesting. The chapters belonging to Colin, the kidnapper, were draggy for the first half of the book - a lot of repetitive boring scenes of he and Mia in the desolate cabin in the remote woods. The story comes together better in the second half, and the ending has a twist that I definitely did not see coming. However, I found the ending a bit too rushed and would have liked that part stretched out a bit more. ...more
(Apr) 1.5* Let me begin by apologizing to those who love this series – and there are tons of you out there. I know what it’s like to truly love a seri(Apr) 1.5* Let me begin by apologizing to those who love this series – and there are tons of you out there. I know what it’s like to truly love a series and be confused by anyone who doesn’t. That said – I really, really did not like this book. I felt it took forever to get through, and the whole time I kept waiting for the story to begin. It never did.
There is no plot in this book. It is what I call a “slice of life” book – and I hate slice of life books! If I had to describe it, I’d say “2 girls grow up poor in Italy surrounded by family and friends and a bunch of inconsequential and non-related things happen that have little to no bearing on anything.” There were way too many characters who did nothing, and the narrator of the story, a teenage girl, is thoroughly unlikeable. She’s supposed to be best friends w/Lena, who everyone likes (why – no idea), but she’s petty, jealous, kind of a bitch to her mother and the boys who like her. She’s smart but doubts herself as she constantly compares herself to Lena and always comes up short. The book felt more dated than late 50s-early 60s. I just didn’t care about any of the characters – didn’t care if they were happy or if they were interesting (IMO, none were – they were all interchangeable and bland).
The ending – I was reading along, and then it just ends. I read a lot of cliff-hanger books, but this just ended so abruptly. I’m sure I was supposed to find great meaning in the ending, but I just kept thinking it needed another few pages, something, anything! I also didn’t like how the beginning starts off with the narrator an older woman – she gets a phone call from Lena’s son, Lena is missing…and then we jump into their childhood and never get back to where it began.
The rest of my Bookclub enjoyed this more than I did and plan to continue the series. I read the blurbs for the other three books and it does not sound like happiness is in anyone’s future – I’ll definitely pass. ...more
(Apr) I read this years ago for one bookclub, but when it was picked for my other bookclub this year, I realized I remembered liking it but could not(Apr) I read this years ago for one bookclub, but when it was picked for my other bookclub this year, I realized I remembered liking it but could not remember the book, so I started it again. I'm glad I did, because I liked it as much this time as I did before.
This is the story of Jews in Italy during WWII - those who fought for the resistance, those who hid and did their best to survive, the Germans who pursued them with a single-mindedness and the Italians who helped hide the Jews and fought against the German occupation of their homeland. I often find that the WWII books that aren't only centered around the Camps and the horror stories we've all heard before are sometimes more interesting. I am not sure how many people realize that Jews lived in Italy, coexisting with the Catholics, during the war. It's a story worth sharing, a story people should know. MDR weaves a story here of many characters - probably a few too many - and it's a sad, funny, all-too-realistic picture of what life must have been like for Italians after Mussolini fell from power and the Germans tried to take over their country. There is Claudia and her father, Jews who have lost half their family when the mom and younger brothers go into hiding.; Renzo Leoni (my favorite character - a man of many faces, tormented by his past, willing to risk his life to help others as his own personal penance) - and his mother Lidia; Father Osvaldo; a Rabbi and his wife and children; Santino, a soldier; Nuns; a distraught German doctor; and other miscellaneous characters, some sweet, others evil. While some might find it hard to keep track of the various charactersI found the story flowed well enough that it all fell into place pretty easily. There were a few characters who seemed to disappear but that kind of makes sense, as people disappeared throughout the war with no one knowing what happened to them. I lost track of a couple, not quite sure how they died, only knowing they did. I found it interesting how, at the end, we see one character an old woman, and discover that she's kept her entire childhood - all that happened to her, all she was involved with - a secret from her children. That seems to be a prevalent occurrence in books like this - and I wish I could understand why older people don't want to share their history with their family. Tragic, sad, private - but think how much history is lost, as well as how much understanding of people. The same thing was part of the plot of another really awesome WWII book - Those Who Saved Us.
The story presented here takes place over 2 years, and so much happens - births, deaths, destruction, success - that it's too hard to really synopsize, but that's ok. You don't need to know too much before starting to read and enjoy it. I recommend you do. ...more
(Apr) While not as good as the first book (Me Before You), I enjoyed this quite a bit. Louisa Clark is still in mourning after assisting the man she l(Apr) While not as good as the first book (Me Before You), I enjoyed this quite a bit. Louisa Clark is still in mourning after assisting the man she loved with his much wanted suicide. Her life is at a standstill, and she does not seem to be able to propel herself forward. After an accident, she recuperates at home and realizes she needs to do something with her life. She promises her family she will go to counseling, which is how she ends up at a bereavement group. What follows is Lou slowly emerging from her stupor, befriending a troubled young woman (could not stand her for most of the book and thought she didn't need the backstory as to why she was so bitchy), finds a man she likes, and finally able to move her life towards something more. To say much more would give too much away, but while not as emotional as MBY, this was a good read and I did shed a tear at the end. ...more
(Mar) I always like to note that to me these are contemporary romances vs pnr, even if they are a bit futuristic (only a few things scream I'm taking(Mar) I always like to note that to me these are contemporary romances vs pnr, even if they are a bit futuristic (only a few things scream I'm taking place in the future, like the auto chef and no guns). They could be romantic suspense, but really, they are not that either, as the main characters are not usually in danger. I also usually like to note that while most of the books in the In Death series can technically be read as stand alone books, they read best when you read in order. There is character and minor storyline developments that occur in various books, and often references to things that happened in past books. This is one the of the reasons I get annoyed at some of the 1* and 2* reviews here, where people note they are diving into a very well established series with no idea of what happened in the past - and then they don't get it, don't like it, etc.
All that said - as usual, I loved it. Not one of the strongest books in the series of late, but still an enjoyable mix of murder, humor, and a few of our favorite characters. Eve and Co. are invited to a party celebrating the filming of a book Nadine wrote about a case many books back (honestly, I have zero recollection of this case - if I knew in which book this case took place, I'd definitely read it again!). Eve finds it odd to meet a woman playing her, as well as the actors playing Roarke, Peabody, McNab, etc. By the end of the party, the actress playing Peabody is found dead. Thus begins Eve's search for the murderer among all those in attendance at the dinner. This book sticks pretty close to the main In Death characters - other than a scene or two with Mira and another couple with Feeney, it's pretty much Eve and Peabody's show (and Roarke, of course!). There is a really sweet scene between Peabody and McNab, and some of the shadows left from Eve's trip to Dallas still linger. However, it was a good mystery (I didn't peg the killer until Eve figured it out - but that's not unusual for me), some good action (between the sheets and otherwise!), and my interest was held. My only complaints...Eve tends to abbreviate the word analysis. However, read this sentence..."I'm going to take the recorders up to Feeney for a quick anal." While we know what she is saying, with the pronunciation just as it sounds when you cut off the second part of analysis. However, reading it - well, it startled me for a second because...well, you know! Secondly - when the killer was brought into the interview room at the end, I was surprised to see I only had like 4 pages left. I felt the ending was a bit too abrupt. I've actually felt that way about several of the In Death books - I feel like there needs to be a bit more...something. But, as always, it was wonderful to be back in the In Death world and I look forward to reading the next one. ...more
(Mar) I am pretty sure I read the first book in this series. I vaguely remember the beginning - the boys locked away, a little girl coming to let them(Mar) I am pretty sure I read the first book in this series. I vaguely remember the beginning - the boys locked away, a little girl coming to let them out. Alas, that is all I remember. However, I have the first book marked as "read" here, so I guess I did. I love HR, but unfortunately most of them blur together for me so only a few really stand out. And while I liked this book, it is not necessarily a stand out.
Lord Tristan and his brothers ran away after their father died and their uncle imprisoned them, planning to kill them. The youngest was left at a workhouse, Tristan was sold to a ship's captain, and Sebastian went into the army. They later returned, grown me, defeated their evil uncle, and Sebastian regained his rightful position as Duke. The separation left the brothers not very close, especially Rafe, the youngest who still harbors bitter resentment towards his brothers for leaving him. Tristan is now a ship's captain, and he is approached on night by Anne, who wants to leave England to find her fiancé . Tristan is intrigued by the lady and ends up agreeing to take her to her fiancé . Sparks grow between them during the journey and once Anne is brought to where Walter is, she's able to let him go and move on with her life, letting go of her love for him (view spoiler)[turns out Walter died in the war and Anne just wanted to say goodbye. She felt guilty because he wanted to sleep with her before he left and she said no. (hide spoiler)] Once back in England, Anne and Tristan cannot keep away from one another, even though she promised her family of obnoxious brothers she'd find a husband now that she was ready to reenter society. Tristan, meanwhile, spends a bit of time with his brothers (separately - seems like Rafe does not want to be around Sebastian), and putters around the outskirts of society, just so he can be near Anne. In the end, love wins and the two of them manage to find their own way to make it work.
This was good. Not great - there was a bit too much going on, what with her brothers, his brothers, Lady Hermione, his past, her newest suitor, etc. A bit less plot and a bit more attention to some things that were brought up and left hanging a bit (like Tristan's globe he made for Rafe, more about Tristan's time as a young boy at sea) and it would have been a tighter, better story. Still and all, I enjoyed it and do plan to read Rafe's book, even though he seems like he needs to grow up and get over himself a bit! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(Mar) 2.5* I'm not sure why the newest trend (or maybe not so new?) in books is to write books that feature incredibly unpleasant women who are kind o(Mar) 2.5* I'm not sure why the newest trend (or maybe not so new?) in books is to write books that feature incredibly unpleasant women who are kind of messed up. If they are interesting, or if we can embrace their psycho-ness, then it's maybe ok. Here, I just found myself wanting to reach into the pages to slap Ani more than once.
TifAni, who now goes by Ani (that's Ah-knee, not Annie) is a bitch. She's also incredibly fake and excruciatingly annoying. The story here is told in two parts that are interspersed, along with a million asides. TifAni is the daughter of a father who pays no attention to her (after an incredibly horrible incident, when she gets home from the hospital, he leaves to go to work, and later on is annoyed because the lights and tv are keeping him awake!) and a mother who is a grasping poseur, desperate to be accepted by those with money, those who live the good life in PA's wealthy Main Line area. Tif transfers from her Catholic school to a private school and is desperate to be accepted by the cool kids at school. Instead, she's taken in by a group of odd ducks, all of whom seem nice enough at first. But still, Tif wants to be with the Cool Kids and her machinations to get in with the right crowd ultimately leads to destruction and tragedy.
Ani, now a grown woman working for a hip woman's magazine in NYC, is engaged to the handsome, somewhat bland Luke, who comes from old money and only knows the Ani that she allows him to see. He not only does not know the real Ani, he apparently has no interest in getting to know her. He likes what he sees - the fake slightly kookie, slightly neurotic woman who looks good on his arm. He knows what he likes and likes what he knows and prefers to pretend the bad stuff from her childhood just never happened. Little does he know that she is unhappy, writhing with contempt for anyone who is not whippet thin, full of class and manners and taste, yet afraid if she makes one wrong move she'll be exposed as the ultimate fake that she is.
There is an incredible amount of brand name dropping here (at least when J. R. Ward does it it's almost funny; here is was just show-offy). I'm not hip enough or savvy enough to recognize many of the name brands or hip designers (although hailing from NY in my much younger days, at least I know what she meant when she referred to a Medium Brown Bag - hello, Bloomingdales! Wonder how many people who have never shopped at Bloomies would have no idea what she was talking about). Living inside of Ani's head got tiring after a while - her contempt for everyone and everything around her, her desperate striving to be thin enough, smart enough, good enough to look down on the little people (like a young Leona Helmsley, but not as rich or evil).
I didn't like the way this was written. Too choppy, too many back and forths between TifAni and Ani. I'm not sure if we were supposed to be more horrified by (view spoiler)[when, at 14, she went to a "party" at a guy's house - the only girl among several boys - got drunk and was assaulted by 3 boys who then went on to act like nothing happened and she kept it a secret so she could remain in the inner circle of cool kids (hide spoiler)] or (view spoiler)[when the cool kids turn against her, she goes back to her original gang, hangs w/her friend Arthur - who gets kicked out and goes Columbine on the school, killing 5 kids including most of her tormentors (hide spoiler)]. To me, the most horrifying part was the aftermath of (view spoiler)[the shooting (hide spoiler)] when it is legitimately made to look like TifAni was involved when she truly wasn't. Scary to see how innocent stuff can make someone look so guilty! The whole Mr. Larson thing was weird and uncomfortable and didn't really do much for me. I also don't know exactly why they would want to interview a teacher who was gone from the school by the time the (view spoiler)[shooting (hide spoiler)] happened. The side characters struck me as quite one dimensional - Luke's parents, Ani's boss and also her friends - they all seemed to be plucked out of central casting.
I know book blurbs are written to entice, but I usually find them to be somewhat honest about what to expect in the book. The blurb of this book says "Ani endured a shocking public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself" - I'm not sure what public humiliation is being referenced, because (view spoiler)[the rapes (hide spoiler)] were neither shocking or public, really. The blurb also says "Ani has a secret...there's something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and ruin everything (view spoiler)[again - the rape? That's not exactly a secret. The shootings? Also not a secret. (hide spoiler)]. It says "with twists you won't see coming" - but I'm telling you, there are no twists (view spoiler)[other than maybe the last scene w/Dean, (hide spoiler)]The blurb was written to tantalize and titillate and raise curiosity, yet I find it blatantly misleading.
The ending? Not sure how I feel about it. Kind of feel sorry for Luke, he was a nice enough guy, a bit of a douche, but over all didn't deserve having the rug pulled out from under him when Ani finally decides to be somewhat real. Are we supposed to believe Ani left behind her grasping ways and is willing to be not the be-all-and-end-all of NYC? I didn't see enough growth, enough change, enough realness to believe she'll ever be happy - and while I didn't hate her at the end as much as I did at the beginning, I still could not stand her. Overall, a very meh book. Tried a bit too hard to be Exciting and Important and all it felt to me was a tired copy cat of better books that have come before. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(Jan) Lissie and Will are engaged and burn up the sheets on a very regular basis. That is, until Lissie decides they should take a two week hiatus on(Jan) Lissie and Will are engaged and burn up the sheets on a very regular basis. That is, until Lissie decides they should take a two week hiatus on sexytimes. Will does not want to, but it turns into a bet - if he breaks (begs?) first, he and his groomsmen have to wear pink (mauve) cummerbunds at the wedding. If she folds first, she has to wear the sexy bridal gown he saw her in instead of the more classic one she likes better. Let the games begin. Except, that's kind of what I didn't really like about this. I don't like game playing when it comes to relationships.
Lissie is the product of a miserable marriage - dad cheated, mom was a gold digger who also cheated - they were miserable, and very rich, and widowed mom is sure Will is only after Lissie for her money and for sex and is sure he'll bail after a while. Will was raised by a poor single mom, became a football star, saw his hopes and dreams die when his knee was shattered, spent all his money on treatment for his mom and watched her die. They work together at the newspaper and are really happy together and sexually combustable. Lissie decides it'll be romantic to abstain, and Will goes along - except he tries to seduce her by being naked and sexually suggestive. Lissie gets mad that Will is trying to get her to break and she turns the table, also being naked and sexual a lot. The two are having a hard time keeping to their two week break, until they end up fighting because Lissie is, deep down inside, afraid her mom is right and that she will lose Will. Now, I'm sorry, but if you have those kinds of doubts you talk about them - you don't play games and move forward with the wedding. How would two sex-free weeks show Will really cares? Not sure, nor is Lissie. There is some fighting and some not-talking and if it were my friend, I would have suggested they postpone and do some counseling to figure out what her problem was. And from where I was sitting, it was all her fault - I didn't see that Will did anything wrong other than call her on her bullshit. Gotta say, I didn't like her very much - she seems whiney and immature. Also - if she is really as rich as it's made out to be, they are both idiots not signing a prenup. I know, I know - it's romanceland where love lasts forever - but he should have insisted on signing immediately, before Mom tried to bribe him - to show he is not after her money.
A few thoughts - first of all, who has a bridal shower the weekend before their wedding? Secondly, how do you have a wedding dress "on reserve?" Did she actually buy both dresses? Why would she? By two weeks before the wedding, she should be having her final fitting on the dress she owns, and the other one (and why exactly did he even see her in her dress? Did he shop with her?) should be nothing but a fond memory. And finally - really Will? Is wearing mauve cummerbunds such a big deal? Are you and your friends such pussies that the idea of a pinkish sash around your middle freaks you out that badly? Don't most grooms go along with whatever colors the bride picks out - do they really care?? Of course I knew (view spoiler)[from the minute they made the bet that the guys would wear the mauve and she would wear the dress he wanted her to wear - which I think kinda sucks, because a bride should wear what she feels most beautiful in, and as the fashion editor of a paper, what she wears kinda matters. (hide spoiler)]. And do people really walk around such walking hormones, erect and dripping all over the place, that 2 weeks of abstinence is such an incredible hardship?! Eh, overall a nice little, albeit forgettable story that can easily be skipped in the I-Team series. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(Jan) It's rare I give a book 1*. While I love to read, I don't have any pretensions that I could sit down and write a book. Usually I give the author(Jan) It's rare I give a book 1*. While I love to read, I don't have any pretensions that I could sit down and write a book. Usually I give the author credit for putting pen to paper and making a story come out, even if I don't like it. This one, however...well, you ever read a book and finish it and think to yourself "WTF did I just read?!!" I honestly don't understand how this got published. When I think of how many struggling authors send in manuscripts to publishing houses hoping to rise above the slush pile and be noticed, I really can't fathom how this one got noticed enough to catch anyone's interest. How did someone read this and think "yes, this should be published; people will like this?!"
There was honestly no storyline, no plot that made sense, no purpose to the story. It's like the author jumbled a bunch of disconnected ideas in her head and threw them in a literary blender and poured out what she had onto paper and voilà! A book was born. There is a frustrated teenage girl who decides she is a lesbian but has sex with a guy who is gay and gets pregnant. She's unhappy, he's a jerk who sleeps around w/men and women, they are both somewhat estranged from their families, a second child comes along, she gets mad at him, takes the young daughter and runs away. They live super poor, she pretends they are black (daughter is pale skinned and blonde hair - oh and she has a fake birth certificate aging her 2 years, plus she skips a year in school so she's 7 in 5th grade), people accept that they are black, she becomes a drug...assistant?...the girl becomes bff w/a black guy who is smart, they go to college, she meets her older brother there (they don't know who each other are), there is a drug scandal that brings them together, the family reunites (sorry for the spoiler, but honestly, it's so awful hopefully you won't read the book so it doesn't matter that I spoiled it). There is nothing remotely interesting or redeemable about any of the characters. The only thing that was not in the book is the incest I was afraid it was moving towards (thank you for leaving that out). Was this supposed to be funny? It wasn't. Literary highbrow? Nope, wasn't that either. I truly don't know what it was, other than a huge waste of my time. The only reason I finished it was because we chose it for bookclub because it sounded interesting. It wasn't. Maybe I'm not intellectual enough to understand it? Ok, maybe - but that's fine, because I really don't want to be the person who understands and likes this mess of a novel. I hate writing reviews like this, but sorry, this was just an awful piece of crap. ...more
(Jan) Penelope does not like Benedict. Or does she? She thought him so handsome when he came to call on her sister, and she and he developed a bit of(Jan) Penelope does not like Benedict. Or does she? She thought him so handsome when he came to call on her sister, and she and he developed a bit of a friendship. Until he continued to woo her sister, and she discovered he was a horrible friend to her sister's true love, Sebastian. And now Sebastian and Abigail are married, and Penelope is somewhat lonely. She discovers Benedict, Lord Atherton, is courting her younger dear friend Frances. She wants to keep Frances away from Benedict, as she does not trust him. However, her words to Frances get somewhat misconstrued and Frances ends up telling Ben she will not marry him. Now that is two failed proposals he can lay at the feet of Penelope Weston, and he is angry.
Meanwhile, Penelope, one night at a dance, goes into a room and discovers her closest friend Olivia in the clutches of the evil Lord Clary. She intervenes, Olivia leaves the room, but before Penelope can follow, Clary grabs her, starts messing with her, and she is only saved by the timely intervention of none other than Benedict. Clary leaves, Ben helps Pen clean up - but all of a sudden Frances and her mother appear in the doorway. One look at their rumpled clothes and hair and Mama decides Penelope was no true friend, that she warned Frances off because she only wanted Ben for herself, and that Pen is a woman of loose morals. Between Clary's evil gossip about Pen (he spreads word she's basically a slutty whore who will spread for any man for the asking) and her worries about what Frances and her Mama will say, Penelope is a mess. Her parents find out, Ben does as well, and this all culminates in their marriage. I like books where the marriage occurs early enough so we actually get to see the mismatched (or are they?) couple find their way to making a marriage work. Ben and Pen are surprised at the chemistry between them and they certainly heat up the sheets. There are issues of honesty and communication they need to work through, as well, as dealing with Clary, Atherton's father, and Olivia's disappearance. The one thing this book sorely needed was more backstory explanation. While I believe series should be read in order, when the series features new H/h in each book, the books should most of the time be able to stand on their own. However, here there was so much about Atherton's miserable father and what happened between him and Sebastian and Ben's sister and a mystery - all of which was explained and solved in the previous book - that if you'd not read that book (or, like me, read it a while ago and don't remember all the pertinent details) you will be lost. Things left a bit hanging in the last book get explained a bit more and of course Ben and Pen find their HEA - although I gotta say I found the ending a bit of a cop out and I also found it odd that while Clary was telling all that Pen was a tramp, once they were married it never came up again. In the end, we are left with Clary in the wind, Olivia missing, and a great excerpt for the next book featuring Olivia and Pen and Abigail's brother James. Really looking forward to that one. ...more
(Jan) I love some of the Spindle Cove books, but this was just ok. Violet was in love with the boy next door who thought of her as a friend until one(Jan) I love some of the Spindle Cove books, but this was just ok. Violet was in love with the boy next door who thought of her as a friend until one night he didn't. And they made love. And then he left. With nothing but a note. Violet is sad, but then finds her stiff upper lip, goes off to live in Spindle Cove, and has a satisfactory life. Until one night, during a dance, a bedraggled stranger lurches in, mumbling in a language no one recognizes. Except Violet, who thinks she recognizes the language - and possibly the stranger. Could he really be Christian, her long-lost love? She communicates with him, can't decide if it is him or not (spoiler - it is!), and then has to decide what to do. Turns out he's been a spy and is undercover and he got hurt trying to come and see her and now he needs to escape. Will she help him (spoiler - yes!)? Will they have sex (yup!)? Will it all work out ok in the end (You betcha!). This was a nice, simple story, a cute but ultimately somewhat bland entry to the SC series. ...more