**spoiler alert** It's been awhile since I've read/listened to this one, and in my memory LT John Nilson, Nils, was a nice guy, but didn't hold up ver**spoiler alert** It's been awhile since I've read/listened to this one, and in my memory LT John Nilson, Nils, was a nice guy, but didn't hold up very well in comparison to other Troubleshooters, but after re-listening to it, I can see I was wrong! In this second installment of the Troubleshooter series I have noticed something I had put together yet, and that's in the first several books, minus Terri Howe, I've not liked most of the heroines. Besides Terri, I didn't like any of the heroines until Alyssa. Unfortunately, I'm still not crazy about Meg Moore, but I don't dislike her.
First, this book is very aptly titled, but it took me a while to see how defiant Nils is, it's sort of a quiet defiant, and a quiet strength he has. He's not overbearing, he's kind and respectful, but he is in no way beta. He will not give up, and nothing can hold him back. It's a rare quality in romance heroes these days, and they tend be overlooked, but Nils is no push-over. He's just very patient. Extremely patient! Like 3 1/2 years patient! This is how long he's held a torch for Meg! I also like that they have a history, and it's not just they meet and fall in love. Actually, this is sort of a long and painful journey to love, even a little depressing, when John breaks down and admits how much he loves Meg, he does it because she's ready to give her life to save her daughter in a no-win situation, and John is begging her to let him and the SEALs help her. She's desperate and half-crazed from worry and lack of sleep, ready to break down herself. No, this is not a fun romp to HEA, but it is a great story nonetheless.
I can certainly understand Meg's dilemma, and her lack of faith in anyone being able to keep her daughter and beloved Grandmother Eve alive, after all the terrorists know an awful lot about her, and she will do anything, including trading her own life for her daughter's, to save Amy and Eve. I don't fault her for that, even though I think if I were in her situation, I would totally cave to John right from the beginning. Especially after witnessing his magic in K-stan 3 1/2 years ago in getting the job done, in a rather creative way. But not having a child of my own, realizing it has been a long time since she's seen John, I can understand her lack of trust. The thing I don't like about Meg is the way she stayed with her cheating and horrible ex Daniel, even after she found out he was cheating on her for the second time, on Christmas Day no less. After a certain point staying together for the sake of the child is way too damaging, and if you kid knows you're staying with the loser because Amy wants her family, in the end all you really teach your child is to put others values and concerns above your own. This is something I can't stand, and I can speak from personal experience on this. Watching your mother (or father, let's not be biased here) stay for something like that is degrading, and for Meg to not only let this go on, but lead John on at the same time, well, it made me like her a little less, and feel she didn't deserve John.
The story within a story that Brockmann is famous for was included in this book as well. Meg's grandmother Eve, who spent WWII in England and fell in love during the very difficult time, I thought was great. Even if it was a little creepy, Eve was 15 when she fell in love with and married Ralph Grayson, but he thought she was 20. Her deception does excuse him in my mind, because before the marriage is consummated, she tells him the truth. He's outraged and leaves for war immediately. But after 5 years, when he returns they are still married and end up together forever. Eve never told anyone she was 20, they all just assumed she was, she was responsible for her little brother, left to her own devices to look out for both of them from a young age, her parents long dead, her step-parents are generous but neglectful in that they want to live their own lives. Eve really is mature, and does a good job of taking care of her illiterate brother, protecting like a fierce den mother from evil teachers who make him feel stupid. Ralph is hired by her step-parents to tutor him, and the glib Englishman has never seen anything like this beautiful American girl, who can blame him for falling in love with her? It's a great story, and includes a really great part on the true story of the "little ships" evacuation of Dunkirk, France. I love some history in my romances!
Usually there is just two love stories in Brockmann's novels, but in this one, and the next 2-3 in the series we get another one that stretches out and breaks your heart, several times before Sam and Alyssa finally find their HEA. They met in The Unsung Hero, and here we get to see them interact a lot more, and this part of their story fits very well with the sort of depressing, desperate theme of this book, as it's very obvious Sam is smitten from the beginning, and leaves himself open and vulnerable to Alyssa, who takes almost every opportunity to stomp on his heart and feelings from the beginning. I think it's done very well, because it could be very easy to hate Alyssa, but she's had a hard life, is the best at what she does in a man's field, and has to have her defenses up at all times to protect herself and reputation against sexual harassment, and hurt. She's a very strong person, but at the same time very weak, and Sam sees this and I think the caveman part of him wants to protect her, she just can't let her guard down enough to relax. Plus she has some serious stereotypes against him, assuming he's a redneck asshole, which is kinda funny because if someone were to throw racial stereotypes at her, she would go off. Yet she hurls them without thinking at Sam. It's very hard to like Alyssa, and if this was all I ever knew of her, I wouldn't like her. But I know the next books will show a different side to her, and I like that we get to see them both grow. Don't give up on her and Sam!
I think this is a little bit of a tough book and for it to be second in the series, especially after Tom's difficulties in book one, it's a lot to handle. But I think the characters are worth it. I wouldn't call this series dark, but it is very intense, and even though I may not like some of the characters as much as others, they are all well-thought out and fully human. I don't feel like I'm reading about two-dimensional characters in a book, they feel like real people who could walk off the page at any time. This is something I really love about this author. I highly encourage this series, but take heed - it's not light reading! ...more
Reviewed 05/11/12: So, I just got the latest in the series The Last Boyfriend in the mail the other day. I was about to jump right in and thought I'dReviewed 05/11/12: So, I just got the latest in the series The Last Boyfriend in the mail the other day. I was about to jump right in and thought I'd re-read my review from this book to sorta catch myself up, and saw it was a very brief and sorely lacking of detail. Of course, I had just got it on audio as well, and decided to listen to it this time and not only write a slightly better review, but also refresh myself with the characters.
I kinda wish I had just re-read the book. This audio version is not the worst I've heard, as it was okay in parts, but this narrator is terrible at women's voices and even worse at the kids. I think I could have gotten past the slightly mannish voice for all the female characters, but throw it in with the nasally and whiny kids' voices, I just wanted to cringe every time the kids talk, and they talk a lot in this book! The narrator has a decent enough voice, but it's all wrong for anything fiction. I think he did the male voices just great, but half the book is Clare, with a huge chunk of her kids, plus Avery and Hope, Clare's friends. It sorta ruined it for me the second time, but I'll not let that color my review, as reading it the first time, I loved it.
Speaking of kids, I'm not usually so crazy about kids being so prevalent in my romance books, but if the author does them well, I have no problem. This is the case here. Clare's three boys, Harry, Liam and Murphy are all boys, from the action figures, video games, wanting a dog, the arguing and stickiness, it was fun to watch Clare tame them, and keep them together somehow. It made me tired just thinking about all the stuff she did to keep day to day life going, and it made me like her a lot. She had the work/life/kids balance down, even if it was hard to struggle, she did it. Life wasn't all about work, or all about her kids, or all about herself, it was great to see that balance, something that's usually lacking in most books. Family is usually a big deal in most NR books, and I appreciate that, she doesn't kill them all off to make it convenient, and have the characters obsessed with their job, no time for a social life.
Beckett was pretty good too, and I like that Clare having three sons, and Beckett was one of three sons makes them a good fit. Most guys would probably be intimidated taking on that but since he knows all about being a boy, it was a breeze for him, and he actually liked it. Speaking of brothers, the interaction between them was great too and hilarious! Owen is so organized it makes me drool, in a good way! And of course, Ryder is the one whose book I can't wait for, him and Hope are going to have sparks flying, already do! The interaction between all characters was pretty good, and realistic.
I read in someone else's review, I think Willaful (hi Willa!) that most of the conflict in NR's later books is usually external. This is the case in this book, but it's not something I mind. I think there was a little internal conflict with Clare who at first couldn't handle Beckett wanting to help with everything when she was so use to taking care of things herself. This could have been a major conflict if she wasn't so incredibly reasonable and worked it out in a few days. I can see where's coming from, as I've been in that situation, albeit without three boys to take care of. My hubby is ex-military, and when they are gone, and you're in a foreign town, it's just you and your wits. You can cry and complain all you want, but it's still got to get done, and unless you have tons of money (which military doesn't provide) you have to do it yourself. I remember having a few such fights with my husband when he's get back from deployment, I was still doing everything and he wanted to help. It's an adjustment, one that even though he's been out for 6+ years, I still have to mentally make. I wish Clare would have struggled with this a bit more, but I don't think it would have made a very good conflict, as maybe not a lot of people get this viewpoint, or would have found it irritating and come as too independent. It's really not just independence, it's just a way of thinking you get use to if you're gonna be able to hang as a military spouse.
As I mentioned in my earlier tiny review, I do like the bit of paranormal thrown in. Not too much, not to little, but just right. You could have the story without the ghost, but it's a nice element, and I much prefer the ghost in it.
Obviously, if you've read NR before, especially the later ones, you know what you're getting. No big surprises, but it still works. It's nice to get into a NR book, if you like them. I appreciate the way she describes the setting, and I don't feel bogged down in details, but I can picture everything in my head. The pacing and style is comfortable to me, and I think it's pretty darn tight, no big gaps or info dumps, the flow is easy but the story is still good. It may be formulaic, but I still find her books incredibly entertaining, along with a few million others too!
Review from first reading of Nook version, 2/6 - 2/11/12Another new series from NR, and even though every time I pick up one of her books, I think, she can't keep this up, and yet she does. I wouldn't say it's the most fabulous, but I definitely like it, a lot. I can already see the trouble brewing between Ryder and 'the innkeeper' - and of course it'll be the last book. One of the reasons I love NR - she does romance with a little bit of the mystical thrown in, and it's just enough for me, interesting but not the whole focus of the book or the characters lives. In this one we have a resident ghost living at the inn. I can't wait for the rest of the series, I wish they'd print them sooner - we all know NR is about a dozen books ahead, lol....more
It's been a while since I've read/listened to this book, but I am glad I read it again. Well, listened to it again, lol. This is a really heart-wrenchIt's been a while since I've read/listened to this book, but I am glad I read it again. Well, listened to it again, lol. This is a really heart-wrenching book, in so many ways, but I like books that dig below the surface and really show the characters under a spotlight, good, bad, or indifferent. I want to see it all! Over the Edge does not disappoint in the angst, that's for sure!
First, there's the main couple, Stan and Teri. It's so obvious Sr. Chief Stan has a huge crush on LT Teri, and how sweet is that! Stan is a bear of a man, the ultimate repair man, if there's a problem, Sr. Chief will get it done, and in a no-holds-barred, take no prisoners kind of way. Except when he has feelings for Teri Howe. Those he does nothing with, understandably, because he's enlisted and she's an officer, he's more than 10 years older than her, and he's described as not exactly a handsome man. A life with a Navy SEAL would not be easy, so he figures the deck is stacked against him. But he wants Teri to be happy, safe and strong, so when she needs help building her self confidence to stand up to boorish men, Sr. Chief can fix it. It's slightly annoying, but charming at the same time to see Stan trying to resist falling for Teri, even pushing her towards LT Mike Muldoon, who comes across as totally clueless in the book. When Teri ultimately sees through the rouse, she pushes Stan, and holy cow! They are hot together! I love that she's learned to conquer her fear of confrontation and just goes for it with Stan. There's some dark parts, when Teri reveals the reason she's so timid around dominant men is due to child sexual abuse as a child. I love that Stan is so angry and upset over what happened to her as a child that he cries! My favorite scene was in the stairwell when she announces to Stan and all his men that's she's in love with him! She immediately realizes she's probably embarrassing him and herself and apologizes, to which Stan answers in typical, funny Sr. Chief fashion - he's not upset, Teri's declaration has just proved that he can, in fact, accomplish the impossible! Eventually Stan stops fearing he's not good enough for Teri. They are one of my favorite Troubleshooters couples!
Of course, most Brockmann books include a blast from the past love story. This one was equally great, the love between Helga Shuler's Jewish brother Hershel, and Stan's Aunt Anna in Nazi-occupied Denmark is sweet and heartbreaking. The re-telling of it by Helga, who's 'losing her marbles' is cute and heart-breaking as well. She's a great story-teller, but her memory is completely 'Swiss cheese,' so she end's up re-telling bits, and pieces, losing her place in time, and she does it with dignity and grace. I just love Helga!
Finally, there's Sam and Alyssa. Their story is just so difficult to read/listen to at times. Not because it's not good, but because it's so gut-wrenching. It's obvious they are soo attracted to each other, and they are both such strong people, afraid to admit 'defeat' by admitting they even like each other. And Sam! Sam completely breaks down and cries over her, when it seems they just can't get along except between the sheets. When Alyssa sees this by accident, it brings a new dawn of realization to her, that Sam maybe isn't such an asshole. Then Sam ultimately lays it all on the line, his heart, his pride, everything to tell her he loves her, and wants to get to know her better. Finally, we think! They are going to get together! Except Sam's ex-girlfriend Mary Lou has a surprise for him. And Sam, being the noble, sweet, honorable man that he is intends to provide for Mary Lou and his soon to be child, even if it breaks his heart. When he comes to Alyssa's apartment to tell her, it's one of the saddest things I've ever read! Your heart just breaks for both of them!
All of this is told against the chaos that is a hostage situation in K-stan, where we meet brave Gina and smooth as silk Max, who have a later book. All sorts of tension, danger, death even, in this book. I think it's one of the best in the series, and it's in my top 3 fave of the series! Highly recommend!...more
This is my 2nd time reading/listening to this book, and I still love it! I think I've grown to love Tom even more, and although I like Kelly, I'm notThis is my 2nd time reading/listening to this book, and I still love it! I think I've grown to love Tom even more, and although I like Kelly, I'm not entirely convinced she deserves him! There's actually three love stories involved, Tom and Kelly are the main couple. Tom's niece Mallory falls in love as well, with geeky but adorable David. And then the historical romance, something Brockmann is well known for putting in her books.
This time it's a three way between Tom's Uncle Joe, Kelly's dad Charles, and the woman they both love but neither could have, Cybele. This is a heart wrenching part of the story, Joe, the ultimate nice guy is in love with Cybele, fighting alongside her for years during WWII in France with the Resistance. Cybele, a young widow already wants nothing to do with love, only to kill Nazis. But then they rescue a wounded Charles Ashton, and it's love at first sight Cybele and Charles. Except Charles is already married and fast becoming friends with Joe. It's the one secret they have between them, and in all their years as friends, 65 to be exact, they never speak of it until Charles learns he's dying. I wanted to cry for them all, Cybele for being so young and already losing her husband and baby to the Nazis is determined not to be vulnerable again. Joe, ah, Joe! Joe has never gotten over Cybele, never married. And Charles wanted to love Cybele, but in 1942, divorcing the wife you just married because you got her pregnant wasn't the thing to do.
Then you have Tom and Kelly. Kelly has pined for Tom for years, but when Tom finally realizes he's in love with her, he's afraid he's going crazy too, from seeing a terrorist every one thinks is dead. This weighs on him heavily, and seeing him be so vulnerable and open made me just fall harder for him. Kelly is too afraid of love, and I don't feel she has that good of a reason. Yes, Charles is not a very affectionate father, but neither was he abusive. I guess we are to believe neglect is the main fear, but I just don't see it. Ultimately Kelly admits to loving him, but their relationship doesn't seem settled yet, and I know from reading the rest of the series, it's not settled until book 2 or 3, not sure.
Mallory and David are cute, but their romance happens a little fast, and reading about an 18-year old girl lose her virginity to a 20-year old guy, when she's not even told him she's still a virgin is a little creepy for me. He's great with her, but the fact it wasn't discussed prior bothered me. Of course, just like David, we were to assume by Mallory's reputation and attitude she wasn't one, but I still think the conversation taking place just before sex would have made it a little less weird.
We get introduced to Sam/Roger/Houston/Ringo Starett and Alyssa Locke! Their romance is so great because we get to see it develop over several books!!! Usually we get the back story within the romance, but here we get to see it all happen, over several years! It's a bit angsty in parts, but when they finally get together it's book magic!! Plus Alyssa is not your typical white girl heroine, something I wish a lot more authors did, or in reality, a lot more publishers/readers would embrace! No, Alyssa is described as somewhat of a Vanessa Williams type, but better! The fact that her and Sam hate each other when we first meet them, well, that makes it all the better for later! We also meet Jazz, who still hasn't had a book in the 16 book series yet! I can't wait for that!
If you like the military heroes (and heroines, Alyssa is an LT in the Navy!), the suspense and great characters, you can't go wrong with this series!...more
I can't believe I don't have a review yet for this book! I guess I read this before I really started them, but I would have re-read this again just foI can't believe I don't have a review yet for this book! I guess I read this before I really started them, but I would have re-read this again just for the hell of it! I can guarantee I will re-read it again in the future! I just love this series to death!
Evie is definitely my favorite wallflower, even more than Annabelle! There's just something about a sweet, quiet and skittish beauty who finds her own strength while everyone thinks she needs to be guarded at all costs. Who would have thought that a stammering, shy wallflower would proposition the most notorious rake in all of England, and he would accept! Of course, it starts out as a marriage of convenience for them both, but seeing Sebastian grow to love and care for Evie is one of the best things. I love the whole 'jaded rake falls utterly and completely in love with the heroine he is dying to protect' thing - and die he nearly does!
In this book we get a little more info than we are used to about Gretna Green, at least more than I've ever read. Sure, I knew what happened there, but a little background and folklore add to the charm, and I love charm.
Can you imagine getting married in a place like that after traveling at break neck speed in a carriage for 2 days to avoid being caught? Sorta like the Vegas quickie wedding of today, lol.
Anyway, back to the story. There are very few parts of this book I didn't like. This is the book where I really began to dislike Lillian and her harpy ways. I understand St. Vincent is at the top of your sh!t list right now, but still, the man is dying from taking a bullet for your dear friend. What does it take to earn a little respect? If your husband, his friend can forgive him, you should be at least civil to him. And at the end when Sebastian decides to send Evie away, because he can't bare to see her in danger, it's heartbreaking. Most romances with rake-like heroes tell you repeatedly or imply he was hurt in the past. Kleypas is completely subtle, and you almost miss the reasoning for St. Vincent's wicked ways. Seeing him come to terms with his fear of loss is one of the sweetest and understated scenes of beauty. I like that his reformation doesn't hit you over the head.
If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend!...more
I decided to re-read this one, since I plan on reading the entire series, I wanted to go back and start from the beginning. Also to see if I liked thiI decided to re-read this one, since I plan on reading the entire series, I wanted to go back and start from the beginning. Also to see if I liked this one anymore. Maybe just a little, but still have the same issues as I did before.
There is one thing, there's just no denying that
I couldn't help it! It's soo true, especially since I'm not alone in this feeling, because
I did like the Edgard and Trevor stuff even more, and now that I know they have a book together, I'm dying to get to it! Channing was still great, Colby was sexy but both felt a little lacking. I kinda felt like Edgard and Trevor stole some of their thunder.
One thing that really stuck with me this time was the bull riding and potential for danger. I've never seen it in person, and I don't get it, but there is something sexy about a man who's willing to take on a beast like that. Still, I could feel Channing's pain and fear every time Colby got on the bull. Afterall, it ain't pretty.
I think the ending could have been a little more resolved, even just between Channing and Colby, but maybe since this is a family-tied series we got to see the issues with Colby's family dealing with Channing, how Channing really takes to being a rancher's wife and if she ever uses her degrees for something and becomes an elementary school teacher like she tells Gemma. I realize James left Edgard and Trevor's storyline open for a reason, but the rest I kinda wanted more of a epilogue.
Anyway, I will continue on with the series, and soon! How could I not, picturing hotties like these:
Original review from 9/7-9/19/11I've heard many great things about this series, and I'll probably keep going with it, but I'm not sold yet. This book seems promising though, so I have high hopes the author will get better with time. First, I knew going in this was an erotica book, but that the main two characters would have a happy ending. Since they do, and the other two side characters seem to break off on their own, I guess I can't complain, but I'm not really a fan of reading/seeing the so-called hero of the book get a blow job from someone who is not the heroine, especially when we know they've met and he supposedly wants it to be the heroine, but settles for some other 'buckle bunny.' Gross! And to top it off, the next day he's with the heroine! Not weeks apart, not even days! Dis-gust-ting! The whole premise seems a little thin, but workable. I genuinely like the characters, they're easy to like, but the author only seems to scratch the surface and I like a little more depth. I left feeling like I just got a glimpse in their lives, like a peeping tom, and therefore was not too heavily invested in their lives or what became of them. I like a little more depth, if the characters are hurting, I like to be crying right along with them, and in this I just felt a kinda blase about it. So one would think the sex was out of this world, then right, if the author skimped on the characters? Not really. It was great, but again I felt like I wasn't allowed to see and experience all the good bits. I was surprised at how fast they happened, as in it didn't take long to describe them. Sorta like a 'Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma'am!' and that was it. I really wanted to linger over it, especially the last sex scene, it could have been way sexier, way more drawn out, way more emotional and then I think it would have made Colby, the hero more sympathetic. He was so obsessed with her and wanting to be with her, he couldn't express himself in words, so I expected his actions to speak for him, but it all happened so fast, like a whirlwind. I could have really come to like him a great deal more, but all he could say was "Mine!" We didn't get to see much more emotion from him than that. Channing is a great character, but she too felt a little lacking. Actually, the hottest scene for me was Edgard and Trevor going at each other, because they were actually almost fighting, fighting emotions, fighting each other, Trevor fighting his fear of what he truly wanted from Edgard. It was the sexiest part of the book for me. And believe me, I never thought I'd find two guys going at it sexy, but it was well done. I wish the rest of the book had been that way. I hear it gets better with each book, so I'll keep trying. I like the setting, the author creates likable characters, so even if it never gets better than this, I'll still check them out....more
*Not a full on review, as there are plenty of them out there, just a few of my thoughts*
This is the second time I've read t*****CONTAINS SPOILERS*****
*Not a full on review, as there are plenty of them out there, just a few of my thoughts*
This is the second time I've read this book. I have to admit, the first time I liked it but didn't love it. But it stuck with me, as only a really good story can, for over the years I've thought about Jamie and Claire often and compared lesser characters to them. I even read the next two in the series, but it's been so long ago, I'm planning to re-read them as well. The first time I listened to this on audio only, while at work, so that was probably not a good idea, as I couldn't devote my full attention to it, and full attention this book deserves. This time, I listened to audio as well as reading along in my nook. Why? For one, I own both. Also, narrator Davina Porter is a miracle worker. Some books are a little difficult for me to read and fully immerse myself into, as I tend to get hung up on pronunciation and meaning and even the cadence. If it doesn't sound right when I read it, I can't get past it, so I keep reading it and reading it, and anyway - it's too distracting to me. I've learned if it's not modern English, I should find the audio and read along. That way I can learn new words and if it's an author I like, such as Gabaldon, the cadence of the story. All that to say, it helps me delve deeper into the story. And in this book with the Gaelic, the Latin for plant names, and even just the different plants and items I've never heard of - Ms. Porter breezes through all of it easily.
Since this is my second time around, I knew the basic story line already, and was afraid I'd be too bored. Instead, I found myself focusing in on the little details that I maybe lost the first time, either due to not paying close attention, or jumping ahead in my mind wondering what was going to happen next. This book is so multi-layered, that I'm sure if I read it a third time - I'll catch even more. The first time I read it, before Claire 'fell' through the stones, I felt was a huge waste of time. Now I see it for what it is, a huge but incredibly subtle info dump - one that I enjoyed a ton more this time. I even looked up the name of the perfume Claire loves, L'Huere Bleue. It's real and made by Guerlain. In the scene she's putting it on, the sun is setting and a huge storm is coming. This is also where we first really 'meet' Jamie, or Frank does anyway. L'Huere Bleue, or the blue hour, twilight. Eerie story telling going on here, just the first of many such instances in this book.
Yes, this book is huge. But it draws you in so much that by the time you finally get to the end, you can't wait to jump into the next 800+ pages to follow Claire and Jamie to Rome and see what happens. Yes, there is romance and sex. But this is not the hearts and flowers love story that would make you roll your eyes. Neither is the sex! Yes, there is some very graphic detail of physical abuse, of the mental, physical and sexual kind. But again, this is not the hearts and flowers kind of story. This whole book is a raw unfiltered look at what most likely happened in Scotland in 1743, told by someone who comes from 1945 and finds it just as horrifying and barbaric as we would find it.
This book is not for the faint of heart, both because of it's size and the contents. But I think most anyone who appreciates a great story will like this.
There are many reasons I decided to read this book, but one of the first quotes of this book speaks to why I chose it:
There is no duty we so much undeThere are many reasons I decided to read this book, but one of the first quotes of this book speaks to why I chose it:
There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. - Robert Louis Stevenson
Yes, it seems cheesy to read a book about a project to become happier, but if wanting to be happier is a crime, then I guess I'm guilty. I don't understand why some feel the need to poke fun at those who are simply trying to become a better/happier version of themselves, which is what happened to me when people saw me reading this book, and what happened to the author when she told people what she was doing. Not your thing? Okay, fine - but don't be a negative Nancy, because it just goes to show how much you might really need this book.
All that being said, I only gave this book 3 stars because even though I don't mind cheesiness, sometimes this book went even too far for me. Rubin comes up with 'The First Splendid Truth,' which obviously means there are more than one. These are her bold proclamations, as if she were Aristotle handing down some wise and ancient wisdom. Now, I'm sure the author didn't intend it that way, but it felt, well - cheesy in it's presentation. Reading the 'Splendid Truths' part of the book made me want to roll my eyes and give up. Luckily, there are only 4, so it doesn't happen often. Also, it did sort of bug me that Rubin, who is obviously well off financially, comes across as so matter-of-fact about it. She talks about how fortunate she is, but for me it doesn't really feel genuine. One final thing that bugged me throughout the book was the entire presentation. I thought I would be reading mostly about Rubin's Happiness Project and how she changed her life, what worked and what didn't - and that's what you read. But, the way everything is set up felt more like a highly structured and analyzed research project, really because it is. She has charts, and graphs and reads all sorts of 'important' research and is constantly presenting those facts before she talks about her revelations and how she thinks they fit in with her experiment. I get this is a project, but for me there was almost too much talk of scientists and studies and surveys for it be fun. It's like she zapped the fun right out happiness. To the author's credit, she does mention that she does have the tendency to do exactly that.
"Was I searching for spiritual growth and a life more dedicated to transcendent principles - or was my happiness project just an attempt to extend my driven, perfectionist ways to every aspect of my life?"
I was looking for more of the spiritual growth and less of the scientific driven research, so if that's what you're looking for as well - be warned.
I will say that I still did enjoy reading this book, and found myself nodding in agreement and thinking about how I could change my viewpoints to create more happiness. Right from the first chapter, she mentions a line in a David Byrne song, "Once in a Lifetime," which I've never heard, but will probably track it down. "This is not my beautiful house," is in a nutshell what I've been thinking for the last year plus. My life was not the way I wanted it to be, so I've been making changes, some drastic, some not so drastic. Most of the changes Rubin talks about in her book, I've already made in some way. There were still a few that I hadn't thought of, and may try, but ultimately the goal is to create your own happiness project and find what works for you.
A few things I really liked:
Quotes, quotes and more quotes. She quotes a lot. Which I happen to love, I'm obsessed with quotes. One of my favorites in the book: "It is easy to be heavy, hard to be light." - G.K. Chsterton
I really appreciate how honest Rubin is with her feelings. There's nothing too startling, or even terrible, but she doesn't always paint herself in the best light. She acknowledges her flaws, and attempts to find ways to change them in the hopes of making herself, and her family happier.
There's a chapter where she's focusing on work, and changes she can make to feel happier with hers. On this front I felt like I was reading about myself. She talks about feeling legitimate and her desire to like things because they seem like the right thing to do.
"I have an idea of who I wish I were, and that obscures my understanding of who I actually am. Sometimes I pretend even to myself to enjoy activities that I don't really enjoy, such as shopping, or to be interested in subjects that don't much interest me, such as foreign policy. And worse, I ignore my true desires and interests."
This chapter (called March) was probably my favorite section in the book, as it's the one area I am still working on.
On the whole, I'd say this is a pretty decent way to spend some time, reading this book and trying to make yourself happier. There's nothing earth shattering or even new. This is all stuff we basically know, but it's all put together in one book. If you have an open mind and want to be happier, then I say go for it. It can't hurt and at the very least it might just remind you to focus your thoughts on being happy, which is what this book has reinforced in me. ...more
I was a little wary of this one, knowing how much I love SEP's contemporaries, and this was her first book ever, and a historical to boot. I thought mI was a little wary of this one, knowing how much I love SEP's contemporaries, and this was her first book ever, and a historical to boot. I thought maybe she stayed away from historicals because she may not have been that good. Although this is the revised edition of the original edition, called Risen Glory, so I don't know how much she changed to make it better. Even still, I could tell this was a SEP novel. It had all the same characteristics of her contemporary romance books, just the setting and time period were different. The way she describes her characters, their surroundings, the struggles they face, the typical bull-headed hero who somehow I still manage to like, the heroine who's strong and determined, but still vulnerable. All SEP traits, and things that I love.
I know this book got mixed reviews, but I guess I don't see how. If you like It Had to Be You or Natural Born Charmer, how could you not like this one? Unless it's the time period, which I can understand, it's not my favorite to read about. Actually, that's not true, I enjoy reading about history, it's just this time period in the south doesn't mesh well with romance for me. I tend to have a problem with the whole slavery thing, morals and all that. But this book handles it fairly well, even having the heroine, Kit change her tune when she realizes exactly what it meant to be a slave. It does gloss over it a bit, and really over everything of the time period. Without the ward/guardian relationship and Cain controlling Kit's fortunate, it'd have to be spun a little different, but you could almost pick up this story and drop it in a modern context.
I did like Safronia (not sure how to spell it, as I listened to the audiobook) and her struggles as well, that part would not have translated to modern terms so easily. The animosity she has against white men is understandable and I love that Mangus knows her well enough to love her the way she needed. I wish we had learned a bit more about Mangus as well. I especially liked the part where (view spoiler)[he threatened Mr. Spence and his mine with dynamite! So cool and collected, this is when I fell in love with him too, just like Safronia (hide spoiler)].
At first glance this doesn't seem like typical SEP, but I felt right at home in this story. I went to sleep thinking about them, wondered how Kit and Cain would end up together forever, was amazed at Kit's personal growth, and just enjoyed myself the entire time. I think if you like SEP's traditional romances and don't mind historical settings, you'll like this one as well.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is just basically a bunch of well-known quotes from the best of the best of Dr. Seuss' books, with a very nice forward from Audrey Geisel, Dr. SeThis is just basically a bunch of well-known quotes from the best of the best of Dr. Seuss' books, with a very nice forward from Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss' wife. My favorite quote:
"I learned there are troubles Of more than one kind. Some come from ahead And some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready, you see. Now all my troubles are going To have troubles with me!" - I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew...more