(Jan) This was definitely the best of the trilogy that tells the story of 3 Highland sisters pathway to finding love and happiness. First Hannah and A(Jan) This was definitely the best of the trilogy that tells the story of 3 Highland sisters pathway to finding love and happiness. First Hannah and Alexander had to deal with the treachery of the Highland clans who wanted what they had; next Susana and Andrew had to find their way back to one another; now, finally it's Lana and Lachlan's turn to bring peace and happiness to their little corner of the world.
Lachlan has been haunted by ghosts his whole life. His father died when he was a baby, and his mother killed herself rather than be without her husband, thus leaving Lachlan all alone. Growing up believing no one would ever love him, and knowing he'd be dead by 30 (as the family curse always kills the Laird by the age of 30), Lachlan decides he must rebuild his castle to leave as a legacy for the future (although his "legacy" will revert back to the crown as there is no heir!). He goes to talk to Alex about clearing his lands for sheep to raise money and there he meets Lana. He's immediately intrigued by her and feels a strong connection.
Lana has talked to ghosts her whole life. Knowing she's weird and different, she figures she'll never marry, until she meets and falls for Lachlan. She knows nothing can come of her feelings - not because he's cursed (she doesn't' believe) but because he's not only the Laird but is also a Duke, and everyone knows Dukes don't fall for ordinary girls (although she is the daughter of an important man and a true beauty in both face and spirit).
Together, they work to help save their people, break his curse, and find true love. :)
I liked how the three books were told concurrently; liked seeing various scenes from different points of view in each book. I really felt for Lachlan - he was so alone and so easily manipulated by those who were supposed to care for him. Lana needed to get over her "woe is me, I'm so nothing..." but she finally does, so yay for her. The ending really ties all the books together (I do love books with no loose threads, all tied up in a neat little bow!) and the epilogue is a bit of extra sweet icing on the cake. While I don't think this book would read all that well alone, it's a good one and the trilogy is pretty easy to get through. I recommend it. ...more
(Jan) When you tell people you are reading a book about a young man who is on the Sex Offender Registry, it's hard to get them interested in hearing m(Jan) When you tell people you are reading a book about a young man who is on the Sex Offender Registry, it's hard to get them interested in hearing more. The book was well written for the most part - I'd describe it as interestingly written. We never know the name of the main character (well, it's Billy, I think) - he's referred to as The Kid. The Kid is a slightly built 21 year old virgin who was raised by a mom who was not the best mom, and left alone, he discovered porn at a very young age and never really looked back. Lacking in basic social skills and much more than a basic education, he makes a few mistakes and first gets booted from the army and then after a failed assignation with a teenage girl, ends up in jail. Now out, he's on the SO list and due to the rules and regulations for those on the list, is forced to live under the Causeway. If the book had focused more on his background and his current life, I'd have given it a 4* easily. However, he meets The Professor - a grossly overweight, incredibly intelligent man who wants to do research on the men who live under the Causeway - almost all of them are also on the SO registry. The Prof helps them set up a living situation with rules and regulations, all of which was interesting, but then a hurricane blows through, the area is flooded and most lose everything, and they scatter. Again, following the Kid to his next living situation was a good segment - but then there came the rest of the book, which focused way too much on the Professor. His storyline a) didn't make sense (I was left still questioning) and b) took away from the Kid, who I found much more interesting to spend time with.
This book does bring up interesting questions about the lives of Sex Offenders. Yes, some are truly bad, bad guys (and gals) who sexually and physically abuse their victims of all ages. Bu then there are those like The Kid, who never really did anything (at 21, he planned to have sex with this girl who was flirting with him online and invited him over to her home - I think she was 14? And I'm not trying to victim shame or anything, but there are definitely young and middle teens who put themselves out there in a very sexual way that would make a 21 year old think - well, why not? And we all know if it was a 21 year old girl who was trying to hook up with a young-middle teen, the freak out would not have been as severe, if it happened at all). Was he guilty? Yes. Does he belong on a list that will punish him for life? 100% no. In many (most?) states, the list of what makes someone eligible for the SO list is incredibly broad - from urinating in public and exposing yourself to rape and child molestation. You can be Bernie Madoff, who ruined the lives of tens of thousands of people, you can be a murdered, you can lie and steal and damage and who knows what else - yet when you get out, you are out. You may be on parole, but you have the freedom to get a job and live anywhere you want. If Charles Manson was released tomorrow, he'd have less restrictions then someone on the SO list. Once on the SO list, you can't live within a certain amount of yards from a school, a library, a park, etc. - leaving most released SO no where to live. Yet you can't leave the county. And you can't live on the streets, because that's vagrancy and you can end up back in jail, which is what people want anyway. And forget about most of them finding a job. It's a broken system that seems make the punishment often more severe than the crime, and it's a never-ending punishment. For those like The Kid, he's now forced into filthy homelessness for at least 10 years (not sure if that meant his parole was over and he could leave the area but still has to register, or if his registrations requirements ended then too). I don't know what the answer is, but I do know the way it is now is not working. ...more
(Dec) I think I liked this one better than Hannah's story, even if I have some significant complaints. Susana is the mother of a 5 year old girl. She(Dec) I think I liked this one better than Hannah's story, even if I have some significant complaints. Susana is the mother of a 5 year old girl. She helps her father run their home and lands, ever since her oldest sister left to marry and get extra help and security. This is a troubled time - their neighbors on either side are lusting after their lands (and the girls); the Laird in charge of their area is absent, and there is much confusion going on about who to trust. Andrew and Hamish, sent from Hannah's husband to help, come across Susana and think she is a cattle thief. Little do they know she is in fact about to take down a real cattle thief and inadvertently let him go. Susana turns her fury on the men she does not know - only to realize she does know Andrew, quite well. Andrew, on the other hand, does not recognize Susana. There is much verbal sparing and some sneakiness by Susana to thwart the men, but soon they come to an understanding that they are there to help and Susana realizes they do, in fact, need the help. Andrew finds himself drawn to Susana, and Susana, fighting her feelings, is drawn to him as well.
First the good...the story is good. It kept my interest, I liked most of the characters (although it took me a while to warm up to Susana, who is quite prickly at first), and the action, when it happens is good - both in the suspense and the sex, which is steamy and more than I expected (I don't remember it being so...descriptive...in the first book). I liked how the main story was resolved, but also how enough was left open to lead to the next (and final?) book, which I will read very soon. As most of this story takes place during the same period of time as Hannah's book, there is little crossover between the two until the last 10% or so (which is fine).
Now the bad...Isobel, Susana's daughter, takes the top spot on this list. She is a spoiled brat. She also is no more 5 years old than I am. She can read, she can pick a lock (never having done so before) with a knife, she is willful, and she speaks way too old for a 5 year old. I was trying to decide how old she should be where she'd still be young enough to make her character work within the framing of the story and I decided 8 would make sense. Maybe 9. I could almost stretch and say 7 - but an older 7, not a just-turned 7. The second thing that was pretty stupid was the history between Andrew and Susana. (view spoiler)[She met him 6 years ago. So she was...16? 18? Something like that. Now, I know people change, but seriously, Andrew swears he loved her at first sight, they had a...one week?...romance, she thought he betrayed her (he didn't - it only looked that way) and he thought she died after she abruptly left him (mean girl lie). She introduced herself by her middle name (Mairi) - why? She never even knew his last name - but let him seduce her (back then a woman from a good family, young, sleeping with a stranger whose last name she didn't know?!). I needed more about what happened between them, how she let him get under her skirts. Did her new husband know she was knocked up when she married him? Why didn't they ever sleep together? And really - Andrew has been mourning her for 6 years, so much so he has been celibate? Really?!! Yet when he sees her he has no earthly clue who she is. It's not like she was hugely fat and pimply and lost 2 stone and her face cleared up, or she was super skinny and flat and all of a sudden grew hips and boobs and whatever. No one changes that much between 18-24 to make recognizing the love of your life impossible. Yet her father figured it out (did he know his daughter got knocked up by a stranger? Did he ever try to insist on finding him and making him do the right thing (for those times)?), as did Hamish - because Isobel, his daughter he knows nothing about, is the spitting image of him. But he doesn't see it - and doesn't even realize the truth about Isobel after he realizes who Susana is. It takes a bit of time for him to add it all up. That's another reason Isobel's age does not work - if she was 8 or 9, it would have been closer to 10 years since he'd seen her and maybe that would have made more sense. Heck, change her character a bit - less young bratty, more wiley bratty, and she could be 12! (hide spoiler)]
Even though the two negatives are pretty big, it doesn't detract from the book overall, which is why I still gave it a 4. Hoping Lana's story lives up to this one!! ...more
(Dec) Nice support chapter for Wonder, but should be included in the book instead of asking people to pay money for this. It's nice to see Julian fina(Dec) Nice support chapter for Wonder, but should be included in the book instead of asking people to pay money for this. It's nice to see Julian finally understand what he did was wrong, and to help his parents see that as well. The Holocaust story was a bit much - a bit too pat - but for young readers it should work (so is Julian Jewish? Was he raised Jewish? If so he should not carry his father's first name - usually not done). If you read Wonder, you really should read this as well. ...more
(Dec) 2.5* One of the many reasons I read romance novels is that the characters are often fun (or at least pleasant) to spend time with. Even the dark(Dec) 2.5* One of the many reasons I read romance novels is that the characters are often fun (or at least pleasant) to spend time with. Even the dark brooding dick-hero or the ditzy, flighty heroine usually has a few redeeming factors (and rarely do you encounter the Ditz and the Dick in the same book). So even if I hate the heroine, I can enjoy the hero – or the best friends – or the children – or the dogs. Someone, anyone! I usually end up caring quite a bit about the characters finding, as it is known in the romance world, their HEA (happily ever after). People make fun of romances and those who read them – they think they are simplistic, not well written, and filled with sex (vs. reading mysteries, which are filled with rape, dismemberment, torture, murder, blood, guts, gore…). Yet I find many romances incredibly moving, complex, poignant, funny, clever, and written by authors who are more educated than many of their readers. Why shouldn’t people want to be happy when they read? I’m not sure what is up with the newish trend to write books with the most miserable, unlikable, jerky stupid idiot characters. I guess other find it fun to read about repugnant people, but I have no interest unless there is in fact something interesting about them, which I did not find here. All I can think of is Gone Girl – a book where the characters were repugnant but they were so over the top, so beyond normal, that it was fun to dislike them. I felt the author there invited us to dislike her characters and made us enjoy their psycho-craziness.
When I heard The Nest was a family drama about siblings, my immediate thoughts went to This Is Where I Leave You, a book I absolutely loved, featuring a family that put the “fun” in “dysfunctional.” In The Nest, however, the characters put the “OMFG, what is wrong with all you people, how stupid and nasty can you all be, and does even one of you know how to tell the truth??!!” in “family drama.” The description stars out saying “warm and funny.” Not sure what they read but this book does not have an ounce of warmth or humor. Instead you have 4 siblings, not very close to one another, each keeping secrets. There is Leo, the oldest and most charismatic (we are told this – but I never saw anything charming or interesting or intriguing about him) and a full-of-himself loser; Jack, a gay guy who recently married his long time partner w/o telling his family – but he’s lying to (and basically stealing from) said new hubby; Bea, who also is not honest w/her family and is not married, no kids, a somewhat failed career; and Melody, the youngest of the family who is neurotically raising her twin teen girls and also lying to (and basically stealing from) her husband. There are interspersed chapters about the twins as well, and also Stephanie, Leo’s on again-off again girlfriend – oh and also a firefighter who was a 9/11 first responder. Yes, these stories all sort of go together. And no, not in any way that I found interesting. These people were hanging their entire futures on The Nest – a small nest egg set up by their deceased father which was supposed to give each of the siblings a small amount of money – think nice family vacation – and instead grew to be worth over $2m. However, their distant and lousy mother (lousy parents raise lousy kids?) took most of the money and used it to pay off a waitress who is injured while driving w/Leo (who was married at the time – and very high). Leo’s sibs feel he owes them the money; Leo knows he does but while he has hidden assets in the Caribbean that could help his sibs, he instead screws them over. The post 9/11 storyline was weird (a lot of info to basically set Jack up to be a horrible person); the twins were uninteresting; and the ending was not fitting with the rest of the book as it was schmaltzy and too complete (and this is coming from someone who loves endings that wrap up in a bow) and too…sane and happy and normal. I guess we were supposed to learn a lesson – let go of your need for money, learn to communicate, be honest, and your lives will be better. Eh, I really disliked most of the book – I found it sloggy and boring and overall I was glad to see it end! ...more
(Nov) 3.5* In the Highlands of Scotland, Hannah, the eldest of 3 daughters, comes with quite a dowry - whoever marries her will control a large amount(Nov) 3.5* In the Highlands of Scotland, Hannah, the eldest of 3 daughters, comes with quite a dowry - whoever marries her will control a large amount of land. She meets a hot guy, is almost raped, goes home, discovers she needs to wed now to help protect her family, and in a very short time, finds herself married to Alexander a Baron. Alex doesn't talk much - he has a bad stutter that makes talking hard for him. He is, however, drawn to his new (almost stranger) wife. He finds her quite beautiful - loves her brown eyes, so he decides he must decorate her room in brown, to match. Hannah is quite appalled at her shit-brown room, but does not know how to tell her new husband. If only these two knew how to talk, to say all they think, they would have had a golden marriage from the start. However, Alex is afraid his inability to talk, his weakness as a child while living with an abusive uncle, and other odds and ends will cause Hannah to leave. Hannah, on the other hand, is unable to share what she is thinking - not sure why, exactly - yet she expects Alex to be a mind reader (then again, he expects the same). She is bored being a Baroness, and wants to do more, but Alex does not understand that. It really takes them a while to understand one another. Their sex life is explosive from the first kiss, and as time passes, they learn to communicate, both through notes and finally talking.
There are problems going on around them due to the ending of the Highlander way of life and demands from Alex's Overlord, to whom he's sworn fealty. Plus there is a bit of action, a bit of ghosts (not usually a fan of ghosts, but here they were ok!), and while we have no idea what is going on with Hannah's other sister back home or Alex's brother Andrew (read the description for the second book in the series and there you go - they have a story!), I did like the youngest sister Lana and I think I will check out her story. ...more
(Nov) Eh, this was just ok. The description sounded right up my alley - fish-out-of-water brawny Scot, innocent English lass, verbal tussles, all lead(Nov) Eh, this was just ok. The description sounded right up my alley - fish-out-of-water brawny Scot, innocent English lass, verbal tussles, all leading to a well deserved HEA. And that is what happened. It just was kind of boring getting to the end.
Alex is in London with his brother and sister. Their English mother has decided Mary Elizabeth must marry an Englishman. Why? We have no idea. ME feels like her mother abandoned her and in fact it seems that way...why didn't mother come to help launch ME into society? Why does mother want her daughter to marry an Englishman, knowing this will probably mean she'll never live anywhere near the family ever again? There are other brothers as well - but we really learn nothing about this Scottish family. ME befriends Catherine, who, while English, seems friendless and unsure how to make her way to finding a husband (someone with money to help her soon-to-be-poor family). Alex has money, there is interest on both sides, but both keep telling themselves they could never be together. Why? Again, no idea.
This was just a very bland book. I liked poor Lord Farleigh, and brother Robert, and could see maybe following up with them in later books. Alex, for all his strength, really got on my nerves because he kept thinking of Catherine as his Angel. And her mother as Mrs. Angel. If I wasn't lazy, I'd check to see how often the word Angel was used in the book. Too many, I guarantee you that! Catherine is only 18, which is too young for my taste in heroines. There were some good scenes, but overall this just dragged a bit too much for me. ...more
(Nov) 3.5* I am not normally a mystery reader - I get too antsy to know who done it, when, how, and why. However, I found this to be a comfortable rea(Nov) 3.5* I am not normally a mystery reader - I get too antsy to know who done it, when, how, and why. However, I found this to be a comfortable read.
Tracy and Sarah are sisters who fight and play and love one another until the unthinkable happens - after a day of competing in a shooting competition, Tracy leaves Sarah alone (Sarah worked in cahoots w/Tracy's boyfriend who plans on proposing that night) and never sees her beloved sister again. For 20 years, Tracy has never forgotten her sister or her burning need to know what happened that night. While a local man with a criminal background was tried and convicted of the crime, Tracy never believed the evidence. She's never been able to let go of the guilt she felt for leaving her sister alone. This guilt ruined her marriage and left her a lonely Seattle police detective. One day she gets a call saying a body was found near where her sister disappeared. Forensics prove it is the missing body of her sister. With a renewed determination, Tracy sets out to bury her sister while uncovering the past and finally learning what happened to her sister.
I liked Tracy quite a bit. She was smart, she was loyal, she was a good cop. I liked how chapters were interspersed showing Tracy and Sarah growing up - Sarah was quite a brat! Seeing the aftermath of Sarah's disappearance, the work Tracy put in to finding the truth, her rekindled friendship with Daniel...I really enjoyed it all.
The ending was not what I was expecting, and I enjoyed that twist (at least to me it was a twist). It got a bit draggy after that (amazing what feats of physical endurance characters in books are able to withstand and perform - that was my complaint with a couple of other books I've read previously). I am not sure I need to read more Tracy books, but for those who enjoy mysteries, I suggest you give this one a go. My mother reads almost only mysteries and I plan to have her read this while she is here visiting. If she likes it, I'll know my assessment of this being a pretty good mystery holds up! ...more
(Nov) This could have easily been a full length book. Hippolyta Royle has been kidnapped by the evil (or is he?) Duke of Montgomery. His housekeeper M(Nov) This could have easily been a full length book. Hippolyta Royle has been kidnapped by the evil (or is he?) Duke of Montgomery. His housekeeper Mrs. Crumb discovers Hipp in a dungeon(!) and lets her free. I vaguely remember this happening in DoM's book. So now Hipp is on the run, afraid of getting caught, when she spies a carriage coming down the road. She begs for help, but as she is dressed in stained, smelly rags, the owner of the carriage, Matthew Mortimer does not believe she is an heiress, as she claims to be. He allows her in the carriage, and they travel on until he can drop her off at an Inn. He thinks she's a whore. She thinks he's just a grumpy regular guy (in fact he just became an Earl). There is interest between them, as well as a cutie pie mongoose named Tommy Teapot. Due to a compromising situation, they are forced to wed. Wedding night is great, morning after not so much as Hipp receives a blackmail letter that threatens to tell her secret to all of London unless she pays a ransom. What will she do? Will love prevail? Well, romance readers - a) it's Elizabeth Hoyt and b) what do you think?! Charming addition to the Maiden Lane series which I think has gotten better as the books continue to be written. ...more
(Nov) 3.5* I guess once Gone Girl became such a big hit, everyone felt the need to write books that were not really thrillers so much as mystery thril(Nov) 3.5* I guess once Gone Girl became such a big hit, everyone felt the need to write books that were not really thrillers so much as mystery thrillers, with unlikable main characters, questionably reliable narrators, and a "twist" that you may or may not see coming. It also seems to be the trend to make the mystery part "holy shit" and part "really? this could all really happen? ok, sure!" A friend said this read like it was The Girl On The Boat, which is true - there are definitely similarities to The Girl On The Train, so I can't see someone not liking that yet liking this. RW is an...atmospheric writer. I don't know if that's exactly what I mean, but I felt the boat moving, I was almost nauseous with how much she drank, how little sleep she got, how bleary-brained Lo was during much of the book. I both liked that and was a bit disturbed by it.
Lo (ok, hate that name - how is that a nickname for Laura?!) works for a travel magazine and due to her boss's maternity leave, is about to embark on an inaugural trip on a high class ship (that is really more of a giant luxury yacht). Just before the trip, her apartment is burglarized while she is home asleep. This leads to many nights of sleeplessness and even questioning of her own sanity, as she drinks more, becomes more sleep deprived, and fights w/her boyfriend. She gets on the ship and we meet a large cast of characters - too many for me; I kept forgetting who was who and what their story was. Her first night on the ship she hears a noise in the cabin next door (Cabin 10...duh duh DUH!!!) that to Lo sounds like someone being thrown overboard. She gets up and sees a smear of blood on the glass divider between her balcony and the one next door. She calls for help, but by the time the steward shows up, the glass is clean, the cabin (which she had been in earlier when she borrowed mascara (ewww...I'd hardly borrow my daughter's mascara, let alone a stranger) from the lone woman occupant) was empty and she is informed that no one was ever in that cabin.
From here on, Lo tries desperately to figure out what is going on. Did she imagine it, due to alcohol and sleep deprivation? Is she being gas-lighted? I am not a big mystery reader, and several times I wanted to peek at the ending just to avoid my own desperate need to know what happened (e-books make doing that much harder; plus I didn't really want to ruin it for myself!). I sort of figured out part of the "who done it" but not the how or the specifics, which I definitely did not see coming! As in her previous book In A Dark, Dark Wood, the mystery played out at the end a bit too much - I had a hard time believing Lo could physically do all she did, all she endured. Plus the explanation of the mystery itself was a bit "really?!" I did really like the bits that showed how Judah was desperate to find Lo, who was out of communication while on the boat, as well as the "chat room" scene where people online speculated as to what happened to the missing Lo. And I liked the last couple of pages - a nice wrap up.
(Oct) Yeah, I get the complaints - did Rhage and Mary really need another book? No, even if Rhage is one of the best of the BDBs. Is JRW still doing h(Oct) Yeah, I get the complaints - did Rhage and Mary really need another book? No, even if Rhage is one of the best of the BDBs. Is JRW still doing her over-the-top-brand placement-silly talk-too many storylines? Yup. Do I care? Nope. I enjoyed this. Not as much as I did other books in the series, and really, what is the point of the reporter and the receptionist (and what is up with her boss? Something shady to be sure)?
At first I wasn't enjoying this. I started keeping track of my thoughts while reading…who the hell is Bitty (and what an annoying name that is)…ok, I’m kind of hating Mary – I mean seriously, she leaves the just-missed-death love of her life to go take care of some kid? And the only reason she saved her husband is because of Bitty?! WTF is that?!!...um, I hate trigger warnings, but this should come with some for anyone who’s ever dealt with infertility – because man-o-man, Rhage’s thoughts about having a child, and what it would mean to have the flesh of his flesh, etc….that could be tough for someone to read…love Rhage and how honest he is…still hating on Mary…oh really, didn’t see that one coming w/Bitty and Rhage (if you truly didn’t you don’t read romance very often!)…
But then I started enjoying the book more and my mental complaints started fading into the background. Is this a great book? No, not really. Is it an enjoyable book? I think so. I love Rhage - how honest he is, how open he learns to be. I like Assail, and hope he a) gets clean and b) gets Marisol. I felt V featured almost as much in this book as did Rhage, and I am expecting that he is either going to continue to feature prominently in the next few books as it appears he has some issues or he'd going to get his own 2nd book (fine with me - Rhage and Butch and V are my 3 favorites). Not sure what is going on w/the rest of the Vamps, and anxious to see how JRW is going to make sense out of Xcor and Layla. And please tell me Lassiter is going to get his own book one day because I love him bunches!! So, there ya go. I get why people may be burned out on the series, especially as it's so far removed from how it began, but for me, I'm still along for the ride because I still enjoy spending time with the brothers. ...more
(Dec) I didn't have heroes, per say, growing up. However, I had three women I loved - Julie Andrews because of Sound of Music, Lucille Ball because of(Dec) I didn't have heroes, per say, growing up. However, I had three women I loved - Julie Andrews because of Sound of Music, Lucille Ball because of I Love Lucy (and Mame - not really a great movie but one I love a lot) and Carol Burnett because of her wonderful and funny Carol Burnett Show (plus her hysterical role in Once Upon A Mattress). I definitely remember spending my SA nights at 10 years old (or so) watching All In The Family; M*A*S*H; Mary Tyler Moore Show; Bob Newhart Show; and Carol (I know I date myself but they really don't make shows like they used to). This book was just...nice. It wasn't necessarily all that well written (Carol used a lot of exclamation points - something I too am guilty of - but between those and some of the language she used, it almost sounded like she was trying to appeal to a young audience of her girlfriends), and it jumped around a bit and at times was repetitive, but still - it was Carol, telling us about the making of the show, the skits (in great detail - almost too much detail), the guests, the support staff, and my favorite part of each show - the Q&A at the beginning of each show (she talks about one of my favorites - when a woman, who looked like Bea Arthur (Maude) came up on stage to sing - find it on YouTube and watch - so funny!), etc. She even talks about working with Julie and Lucy - heaven! If you love Carol, if you fondly remember Eunice and Mama (she does a nice job telling us about how she met Vicki Lawrence and her rise to stardom on the show - and talks about the great Tim Conway scene about the elephants - if you've never seen it, find it on YouTube and watch it!), Nora Desmond, Went With The Wind (the curtain rod dress!); if you actually know who Lyle Waggoner and Steve & Edyie and Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray and Roddy McDowell and Garry Moore were...read this book. The end is a listing of each episode and the guest stars (gotta admit there were names there I didn't know, but I knew most). I loved her beautiful signing voice and the poignancy of "I'm so glad we had this time together" at the end of each show...Carol, thank you for the years of laughs both then and now (when I see an old clip, I still LOL - and when I think of Tim and Harvey cracking each other up I LOL some more!!). I love you!! ...more
(Oct) I found this at times quite readable yet still draggy. Nora is happy enough in her own life, until one day she receives an unexpected invite to(Oct) I found this at times quite readable yet still draggy. Nora is happy enough in her own life, until one day she receives an unexpected invite to a bachelorette party (in the UK, a Hen Party). It is unexpected because the bride, Claire, is Nora's one time best friend who she has not talked to in years. For some odd reason she agrees to go. That was the first thing that really threw me - if you have not talked to someone in years, and you are not invited to their wedding, why on earth would you spend the time and money to go see them and celebrate an event you will have no part of? However, Nora agrees to go along with another old friend, Nina (at least she and Nina have kept in touch).
While the Hen weekend lasts only a couple of days, we get snippets of back story, enough for us all to realize that Claire is a class-A bitch and always has been (maybe why only 3 women and one gay man could attend her party?). The cast of characters includes Melanie, who leaves the party after the first night and was a completely pointless character; Tom, who is gay and bitchy and really, just because a man is gay does he really belong on a girls' weekend; Nina, a lesbian doctor who is at least somewhat normal (albeit also bitchy); and Flo, who is not bitchy but not really sane either; her devotion to Claire is more than over-the-top. There are many scenes of Nora in the hospital, with no memory of how she got there, thinking back over the weekend - that is the main story - what happened to who and how.
Once Gone Girl became such a bit hit - bat-shit crazy heroine, mystery that makes no sense to the lead character, non-linear time line until it all comes together - the wannabe-books that have followed have been many and varied. IADDW is another in this vein. It's good, but not great. Yes, I definitely wanted to know the who and the how and the why, but I wanted to know for my own sake, not for the sake of the characters, because I really didn't care if any of them ended up happy. I know the current trend is to write unpleasant, unlikeable characters, but after a while it gets exhausting spending time with people who I would never care to know in real life!
I just think too much of the plot was left to chance. And even more made little to no sense. You have Claire, a woman who has been so awful, so calculating, so miserable to her friends since she was a young teen yet everyone still sees her as the golden one. As a teen she did something pretty shitty - she broke up the young love between Nora and James. And now 10 years later she's confessed to James, her fiancé, what she did all those years ago and he freaks out and thinks about breaking off the engagement. Really - over what was nothing more than a somewhat mean, somewhat childish and selfish prank. And she's so afraid that he will tell people what she did when she was a stupid teenager (teenagers are forever doing selfish and stupid things - who cares?!) and make people think badly about her that she decides he must die. So she sets up an elaborate scheme, one that she ends up dragging Nora into (who she didn't even know would be there). The ending was over the top and ridiculous - really, Nora and Claire, both injured and weak, were able to get to the house and have their confrontation and the chase in the woods? And Nora - mooning over a high school boyfriend? Even if it turns out he didn't send you the GTFO text, he still blew you off after your abortion, and you let him. You both were too immature to handle your relationship at 16 and unable to talk about things. So 10 years later you still moon over him and he's gone on with his life until he discovers one small thing about his fiancée - he cock-blocked her meeting a friend of his and swooped in to get her himself. That's ok, but as a 16 year old Claire helped break you up with your girlfriend so yes, let's end the marriage plans? Claire, James, and Nora...blech!
There were a few Britishisms that took me out of the story a bit, but that' on me, not a real criticism of the book. I think the book either needed more realism or more crazy to make it more readable. Good, but hardly great. ...more
(Oct) 3.5* I think I'm one of the few who takes comfort in the idea of no afterlife. Trying to imagine existing forever, whether on another plane or a(Oct) 3.5* I think I'm one of the few who takes comfort in the idea of no afterlife. Trying to imagine existing forever, whether on another plane or as another being, is overwhelming to me.
Janie's son Noah is weird. He's 4, he refuses to be bathed, and he has nightmares, often waking and asking to go home and to see his other mother. Professor Jerome Anderson, a widower, is unexpectedly at the end of his career as he has a brain disorder that will slowly rob him of his ability to speak and then to understand and then to function. Janie is desperate to find help for her son, and this desperation leads her to Jerome. Jerome has spent decades researching reincarnation, and when he meets Janie and Noah, he believes this could be the key to helping Noah.
The book is interspersed with fascinating anecdotes from other published works on reincarnation - often in India, Indonesia, and other places where people believe more easily than here in the USA. If even half these stories are true, it is hard to discount the idea of reincarnation. The book was quite compelling, and I really liked it until the end, which I felt ended a bit too abruptly. There were questions left hanging and there was a layer of sadness that cast a pall over my overall feeling about the book.
I have read a few interesting fiction reincarnation books - one by Lois Duncan and my favorite, Audrey Rose (and saw the movie). I liked this, but I liked those a bit better. ...more
(Oct) 3.5* I love MJD. I have read much of what she's published, and enjoyed most of it (some of her Betsy books fell short as did other books and sho(Oct) 3.5* I love MJD. I have read much of what she's published, and enjoyed most of it (some of her Betsy books fell short as did other books and short stories here and there). I think she writes the best "Forwards" of anyone - you must read them before diving into her books. Here she warns readers that she is writing not a parody as much as an homage to romance books. I love romance and like all dedicated romance readers, there are some tropes I love and others I can't stand (hello secret baby!). I think she stretched thin her list of tropes she added to this book, but much of it was spot on.
The book begins with a Vegas cocktail waitress having just finished a barely adequate one night stand. Next thing we know she's knocked up with twins and baby daddy is not interested. Ok, so far, easy enough. That is all the prologue and then Chapter One begins and the twins are all grown up. This is the story of Blake, the "good" twin. His brother Rake (really?) is terrible. We know this because Blake tells us -and everyone else - about a million times throughout the book. Rake only appears once or twice here. Anyway, Blake a rich single guy, likes to sleep around, dedicated to his business (not sure what that is). He ends up in Sweetheart N.D. to help his mother.
Now, I know I'm not a business woman, nor a land speculator. But I also like to think I'm of above average intelligence and can understand many things when explained (ok, not math or science, but still...). However, I have absolutely no idea - none - as to what the storyline is that brings Blake to N.D. Somehow his mother is there, there is a farm, Blake gave money...to the bank? to the farms? to a bad guy trying to turn the entire town into a mini golf resort? I did not understand at all what Blake did that was so awful, why his mom Shannah was mad at him, why she insisted he go there, what she expected him to do while he was there, why Natalie was pretending to own the farm and what she was doing there, why Shannah kept Blake's money from him...I mean basically the entire plot was so either over my head or non existent that it was not my fault I missed it. Seems to me if Natalie thought Blake was rich (he is but his mom controls his trust fund until he turns 30, which is a year (?) away) she should be bringing him breakfast in bed and providing bjs on demand in order to save the farm that is not hers. Instead she too hates Blake at first and works him almost to death to prove a point that was never explained. If any of this had made sense, I probably could have given this a full 4*. But even without understanding the premise of the book at all, and even with not really caring for Natalie, and even finding Shannah annoying, and even not getting the brief introduction of the Grandfather character, and even not really getting most of the supporting characters...I rated this as high as I did because I loved Blake. He was anal, he was pompous, and he was so much fun. I loved his song list for Margaret (I was truly hoping to see one more Blake/Margaret scene after he rose from his sick bed), I loved his bond with Rose, I enjoyed his bizarre stream of consciousness. He made me laugh even though I had no idea what was going on. While I lament MJD no longer writes hot and steamy as she did in the first Wyndham Werewolves and Betsy books, the one sex scene was well done. And now, of course, I must know why Rake is in Italy! So I will definitely pick up the next book and hopefully that plot will make more sense (any sense would be appreciated). ...more
(Sep) 3.5* The best of the 3 in this series, Shame on Him features Lorelei - a lawyer, following in the footsteps her snobby parents laid out for her.(Sep) 3.5* The best of the 3 in this series, Shame on Him features Lorelei - a lawyer, following in the footsteps her snobby parents laid out for her. Dallas is another PI, one who totally rubs Lorelei the wrong way, even if in her dreams her rubs her in all the right places. Lorelei seems to have picked up a bad habit -she is finding dead people all over the place. Dallas shows up to help, and one thing leads to another. I've always been a sucker for enemies-to-lovers stories, so this really worked for me. These are more fun than funny, but you will still find yourself smiling a lot and laughing out loud at times. ...more