I don't remember this book well enough to write a proper review, just well enough to remember that I liked it, and it was the first book of a trilogy?I don't remember this book well enough to write a proper review, just well enough to remember that I liked it, and it was the first book of a trilogy? of Scottish lairds and lasses. I remember Iain, just because his name was a new spelling of Ian for me.
I remember "Ransom" the best and the most because it was my first intro to the hero of the Scottish Highlander, and for a long time my favorite fictional Scotland love story. "Ransom" is the second book of the series, and I own it. I haven't read that one in awhile either. Maybe it's time to revisit both of these....more
This book is excellent filler. It isn't a meal, it's a supplement, while waiting for the next Outlander book to become available.
See, I like Tami HoaThis book is excellent filler. It isn't a meal, it's a supplement, while waiting for the next Outlander book to become available.
See, I like Tami Hoag. Her crime thrillers are excellent, and not just to pass time. She warns the reader that before she found her niche in forensics and crime writing, she was a romance writer. So I was fair warned.
This book isn't silly fluff, it's just...filler. It wasn't too predictable, because Tami Hoag does understand suspense and writing and red herrings. So it's not a complete waste of time.
Jake Gannon is a hunky blond California-boy who jogs every morning and eats healthy. I almost want to hate him for telling the female protagonist that she doesn't know how many calories are in her chocolate pecan pie. Actually, I did hate him for that. Anyway, Jake is a biographer who dreams of being a mystery author. So while he's working on his mystery manuscript, he is paying the bills by writing biographies on celebrities. He is obsessed in an almost-stalkery kind of way with actress Devon Stafford. He knows nothing about her except how she looks and that she disappeared a year ago and he wants to find out where she is.
So lo, he travels to the East coast and his Porsche just happens to break down just outside a tiny town where she allegedly is. And the local car mechanic with a tow truck is a woman named Dixie, who keeps getting angry at him for reasons I can't understand.
She didn't seem to mind his pointing out the calorie/fat comment on her chocolate pecan pie, but she flipped out when he said he thought the actress Devon Stafford had a hot body. She pulls a gun on him in the truck, and he wasn't exactly panicking at that point because after all, Dixie is kind of cute.
I won't say the book is entirely predictable, because there are odd things that come up and surprises, but just read this while chilling at the pool and don't expect too much, and you should be fine....more
What's holding me to finish this series is the story's insight into Amish culture. If you want a spellbinding, intense story with a gripping storylineWhat's holding me to finish this series is the story's insight into Amish culture. If you want a spellbinding, intense story with a gripping storyline and twists and turns throughout, then move right along.
This story is very predictable, very "Mary Sue" (the protagonist at least), and supersweet, so much your teeth might hurt while you're turning pages. However, if you want a look into Amish (Plain) life, their strict rules and traditions, their clothing and food and celebrations, then this book does offer that.
Katie Lapp is now Katherine Mayfield, her English name, the name she has chosen since finding out she was adopted by her Amish parents. She takes the risk of the Shunning, and moves in with Mennonite (i.e. Liberal sinning) relatives just down the road from her family's farm. She uses their phone to hunt down her birth mother in New York.
She takes a bus to New York, and is all set to surprise her birth mother with her appearance, when, through a confusing and manipulative plan on the part of her birth mother's husband, a Katie Lapp already exists in the house. Katherine is hired as a maid in her mother's home.
The book splits into 3 separate stories: Katherine's story in her birth mother's fancy estate, serving as a maid; Daniel Fisher's "back from the dead" story as he reconciles to his Amish father and dreams of his lost Amish sweetheart; Rebecca Lapp's downfall in accepting the Shunning and the loss of her daughter. For indeed, it's like a death to her, that she may not even mention Katie's name in her home any more.
I absolutely do not relate well to Katherine/Katie. I didn't grow up Amish, or with a strict traditional set of orders, but I have trouble with her "Mary Sue" attitude...she's so stinking PERFECT. Have a flaw already! Get angry! Smack a wall!
To the author's credit, this book IS a better story and better paced than the first book. If this series does continue to improve, I think I will enjoy the third book of this series "The Reckoning". ...more
The synopsis of this book sounds good, but the fact that it's labeled as Christian fiction and took two chapters for me to even get a grip of what wasThe synopsis of this book sounds good, but the fact that it's labeled as Christian fiction and took two chapters for me to even get a grip of what was going on...I gave up. Life's too short to read slow, boring books.
The reviews are really good, so maybe it's me. I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for this....more
I'm a sucker for all things Amish. I don't necessarily regret reading this book, but it certainly wasn't what I expected. I marked it as just "okay" bI'm a sucker for all things Amish. I don't necessarily regret reading this book, but it certainly wasn't what I expected. I marked it as just "okay" because the story itself is dull, the characters don't shine and are somewhat one-dimensional and contradictory, but the insights into Amish culture are interesting, if one is so fascinated by this group as I am.
Katie Lapp is a 22 year old Amish (Plain) girl who lives with her parents and two older brothers (one older brother is married and lives away) and is planning a wedding within a week to a Bishop in the Amish church. He is a widower in his forties with five children and basically needs a mother for them. Since Katie, at 22, is considered "old" by Amish standards to be getting married for the first time, people figure she better grab up Bishop John's proposal before she's ancient.
Katie struggles with the "sin" of hearing music and being drawn to "worldly songs". The only singing that is allowed is the Singing of Hymns, and even then they must be slow and reverent hymns. Instruments are forbidden. At some time a few years back, Katie was in love with a liberal-thinking Amish boy named Daniel who had a wicked guitar. Together they would write songs and make up tunes, and Daniel shared with Katie that he had been sneaking off the Farm to a Bible study.
Daniel drowns in the sea. Katie is devastated. She reluctantly accepts Bishop John's proposal. She doesn't WANT to marry him, or really be Amish, so she struggles (internally, through the whole book) with what she wants and what has been drilled into her head her entire life.
Katie is rummaging in her parents' attic one day and finds a satin rose=colored baby dress with a girl's name embroidered in it. When she confronts her mother, her mother faints. Katie begins to piece together why she struggles with being drawn to music, or why she has auburn hair and everyone else in the community is blond, or why she was born in a hospital when everyone else is just born at home.
No spoilers, but the book does end with a cliffhanger. So therefore, I had to find the sequel, even though I can easily see where this is going. The entire Amish belief system, the shunning process, the strict rules and order, are somewhat fascinating.
The entire book takes place within a week. It's a pretty fast read, and somewhat predictable. But I'm not so turned off from the book that I haven't already started reading its sequel "The Confession". *sigh* Those addicting Amish....more
I'm surprised by how quickly I fell into this book and how sad I was when it was over. Between plenty of duds and predictable sludge, this one was a tI'm surprised by how quickly I fell into this book and how sad I was when it was over. Between plenty of duds and predictable sludge, this one was a true diamond.
As I was reading this, I was reminded of Jodi Picoult. That is not a bad thing at all considering Ms. Picoult is one of my favorite storytellers, with her cliffhanger chapters and twists all throughout...this one is no exception, and the author tells her story through five different voices in alternating chapters.
It is not difficult at all to follow, and I had it figured out by the end, but she still had me impressed with the entire complexity of the story.
Noelle is a midwife who commits suicide early on in the book. Her two best friends, Tara and Emerson, soon discover things about her that are shocking enough to make them realize they truly did not know their friend at all. Through Noelle's remembering, we trace back to her earliest memories of midwifery, her driven college days where she meets her best friends, and the secrets she creates and keeps, probably in an effort of love and loyalty. Some things in the story are known only to the reader, which is nice to have that insight, but frustrating for Tara and Emerson, who will never be able to figure out what Noelle (and the reader) are privy to. Tara's daughter Grace, a sixteen year old who struggles with the death of her father and having any kind of communication with her mother, is one of the voices of the story.
The midwifery aspect is good background for this story, knowing that midwives and the mothers they "serve" often have deep, intimate relationships that a mother and a doctor often do not, or cannot. The book explores relationships between husbands and wives, and mothers and daughters. It does ask difficult questions, and poses its own answers, not necessarily right or wrong..just is.
I highly recommend this story to anyone already familiar with Jodi Picoult's fiction, or anyone looking for a good, deep "women's relationships" book. ...more
Everytime I read another SAA book, it quickly becomes my favorite. So this one is ONE of my favorites, of course, but not *the* favorite (The Sugar QuEverytime I read another SAA book, it quickly becomes my favorite. So this one is ONE of my favorites, of course, but not *the* favorite (The Sugar Queen took that title).
Once again, Sarah Addison Allen introduces beautiful, quirky characters with some kind of struggle, usually familial related or needing a sense of belonging somewhere, and they find it right where they always have been.
I see the same recurring themes in her novels. However, instead of being bored or bogged down, there is enough of that magic woven through her stories to keep a reader interested in each novel for its own story.
Highly recommended, probably for just female readers. I see nothing in the books that men would like. Definitely my favorite new author discovery of the year.....more
I love me a good Stephanie Plum story. I've been with this series since the beginning, and so far, none of the books have failed to make me laugh-out-I love me a good Stephanie Plum story. I've been with this series since the beginning, and so far, none of the books have failed to make me laugh-out-loud. They really are that funny, and I don't mean just a *chuckle*, I mean a giggling to yourself out loud so your husband says "What are you doing. What are you reading."
I'm not entirely sold that this series needs to continue to 17+ books, though. I'm ready for Stephanie to pick Joe already, and realize Ranger just isn't it, and have some married life shenanigans. I can see her still with her antics as a bounty hunter for Vincent Plum, and I can see her married to Joe, and I can see her having probably funnier instances...a wedding, a pregnancy scare, lots of advice from Grandma, Valerie, Lula, etc.
This flip flopping with Ranger/Morelli is getting old and honestly the Ranger stuff seemes forced. At least in this one.
Fans of the series, go ahead. Sure laughs. Morelli is hot, as usual. Ranger is mysterious as usual. Grandma is hysterical as usual. I think Lula has only gotten funnier.
If this is your first time with Stephanie Plum, go back to one of the first four books. Skip around. It's pretty much the same stuff going on, the same dilemmas...a car blows up, Grandma goes to a funeral viewing, Steph can't decide between two hot men, and an entire list of crazy FTA's that she has to haul in.
I shouldn't really mark this as "read" since I only made it halfway without getting disgusted enough to stop.
I read a ghost story by Heather Graham aI shouldn't really mark this as "read" since I only made it halfway without getting disgusted enough to stop.
I read a ghost story by Heather Graham a couple years ago that was a good creepy one. Every now and then I like a good shivery ghost story.
This one fell short for me for two reasons, one that is the author's fault, and one that isn't.
First, what was HER fault (Aw, that sounds so petulant) is that she didn't give this story enough thought...let me get this straight. This woman who has some kind of weird esp-y nightmares and can see murders has this idea from her drama-club college friends (too many for me to keep up with or care about) to buy this run down Scottish castle and recreate a drama within the castle for tourists. So she makes up this Scottish laird and a whole history about him, and their idea takes off.
Then, this laird appears and claims to be that one she made up. Except, he may HAVE existed, in history, because there IS a statue in the village that everyone knows is that laird...except I thought she made him up. I was confused. Then throw in that there is some kind of serial killer on the loose in Scotland who is drowning women. I am intrigued by the serial killer thread, not so much the Is-this-laird-real-or-isn't-he storyline.
The chemistry was a no-go. Too convenient. Oh, what a hunky laird, oh look we're in his castle, oh he won't kick our little drama troupe out, oh look he took over my bedroom. Get out, too convenient.
Here's what isn't the author's fault, but why the story didn't work for me: I'm intrigued by anything in a kilt. True. However, just coming off the Diana Gabaldon train ride that is Jamie Fraser, there is NOTHING that is going to turn my head and make me hop trains. So this poor "hero" finds himself stacked up against larger than life fictional Jamie Fraser and he stands no chance. First of all, if you're going to write a Scot, then write a Scot, ye ken? Write the language o' the day, lass, make me read it as a bonny Scotsman, aye?
And I got annoyed that the heroine's last name is Fraser. Ugh. Pick something like MacDougal or Graham....more
I wanted to hurry up and read this book before the movie came out (in August) because I thought the movie looked interesting. I've been hearing piecesI wanted to hurry up and read this book before the movie came out (in August) because I thought the movie looked interesting. I've been hearing pieces of this book coming up in book conversations, seeing it on waiting lists and bestseller lists.
This is one of the better books I've read of recent, and it deserves all the attention and screentime it can get.
Generally speaking, the book has little to no slow parts. It moves at a steady, clipped pace, and changes often between the points of view of Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter. The book takes place in the span of about two years, all in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s.
The book opens with Aibileen remembering the white families she's worked for, as "the help", raising white babies and cleaning and cooking. She cares most for the children and prides herself on taking care of babies instead of being known for her cooking, like Minny, or cleaning. However, it is cleaning advice that Skeeter Phelan needs from Aibileen when she decides to take a job at the Jackson Journal writing the "Miss Myrtle" column dispensing advice on cleaning and housekeeping.
Minny is mouthy, but since she cooks the best she is usually not fired as quickly..but her mouth always gets her in trouble. You can't sass a white woman if you're "the help". She crosses the wrong white family, and finds herself unable to find work. Through lies, she is hired by Celia Foote, a "white trash" girl who married up, but since she married the ex-boyfriend of the Junior League president (and Minny's former employer), Celia is treated with almost as much disdain and disrespect as a colored girl.
Skeeter Phelan is a white, Junior League member, college educated girl with dreams of being a journalist in New York City. She aims for the highest possible job she can, a senior editor at Harper & Row Publishing House. Almost laughably, the senior editor herself sends Skeeter a personal note with advice and slight interest in this headstrong Mississippi girl and challenges her to send in some ideas of what she might want to write about.
Since Skeeter doesn't fit the mold very well of a Junior League, white Southern belle with high hopes of marrying a rich "catch" and repeating the lives of her friends and mother, she begins to see things in Jackson, Mississippi for as they are instead of accepting them for what they've always been.
"Friendship" isn't exactly the right word used to describe any of the ties between any of the women in this book. "Loyalty", "fondness", and "bond", yes. It's an interesting, if not entirely original, view of white and colored women in 1960s Mississippi.
As Skeeter takes on the massive, dangerous project of getting colored "help" to tell the truth of what it's really like to work for a white family, her eyes are opened. She has no true friends; the white girls don't understand her and don't sympathize with Civil Rights. The colored girls don't trust her and don't necessarily want friendship. Her mother's greatest hope for her is to be married. Her only suitor is a Senator's son with his own past and narrow-minded future.
Not all of the "truth stories" spoken by the colored maids are terrible ones. There are sweet ones, touching ones, stories that show that not all white families were overbearing and unfair. But to speak out, especially publicly, is to risk lynching, vandalizing, or even death. Colored or white.
This is entirely a "female bonding" story. I already know it will be an excellent "female bonding" movie. It's a good summertime read, and will not disappoint....more
About 1/3 of the way into this book, I predicted it. I stuck with it, because it's not a terrible story (I've read waaaay worse), but it's so fluffy aAbout 1/3 of the way into this book, I predicted it. I stuck with it, because it's not a terrible story (I've read waaaay worse), but it's so fluffy and cheesy that it's almost painful to read. And I was right, the author didn't surprise me with some snappy twist ala Jodi Picoult. She just finished her merry little story. I'm glad I don't cry easily.
Angel Demarco is this world famous actor, nominated for an Oscar, but he keeps saying he's not that great of an actor. He causes mass riots and press stampedes everywhere he goes. He's a drug user, an alcoholic, and a womanizer, and he sees no reason to change his ways.
Francis Demarco, Angel's older brother, is a priest, and for the last 16 years he has stepped in to fill a "father" or "uncle" role the best he can for Lina Hillyard, the 16 year old love child of Angel and Dr. Madeleine Hillyard. Only...Angel doesn't know his daughter ever existed, and the author gives hints that Lina is Angel's daughter, only it isn't confirmed until halfway through the book.
Madeleine Hillyard has become a cardiologist, raised her daughter with a priest who is her ex-lover's brother from their teenage years(ugh) and is the best of the best of heart transplant surgeons in the Seattle area. Lina is troubled, bratty, and has spent 16 years with a mother who wants to be a friend and a father role filled by a priest. A very young, handsome priest (of course) but he is also HER best friend and her mother's best friend. Are we weirded out yet?
Angel Demarco, at 34 years of age, has had enough heart attacks to finally land him in a Seattle hospital awaiting a heart transplant. He's spoiled, angry, and bitter, but somehow Madeleine thinks he deserves a new heart. Oh, and of COURSE his ex-lover is the head surgeon for his transplant. He hasn't seen her for 16 years, has no idea he has a daughter, and thinks his brother has married her. He doesn't even know his brother is a priest.
Since he's SO famous, the hospital is under strict security. Lina doesn't even meet her father until about halfway through the book. If she had shut up and stopped storming out of every scene the first half of the book, she may have let her mother or Francis the Priest talk to her and she could've met her father sooner than that.
I won't spoil it with my prediction.
I'll say none of the characters are believable. I refuse to believe this handsome young priest who has stepped in at 18 to take care of his little brother's brokenhearted teenage thrill has spent 16 years being her "best friend" and she is clueless, and he is pining over her. Please. I'm also not buying that Angel will change his ways as quickly as he does after his transplant. I'm also not buying that he has such a recovery from his cocaine and alcohol days. I'm also not buying that Madeleine the cardiologist suddenly resurrects her feelings for Angel after 16 years, never saw his movies or his face anywhere and he's soooo famous?
Skip it. This review was more of a rant, a vent. I think Kristen Hannah has wrote better things than this one. A good heart transplant book? "Change of Heart" by Jodi Picoult or even the cheap "Charade" by Sandra Brown.
After posting an unfavorable review of "Fiery Cross" (as unfavorably as I can get...I do adore this series, even if all Claire and Jamie did was sit aAfter posting an unfavorable review of "Fiery Cross" (as unfavorably as I can get...I do adore this series, even if all Claire and Jamie did was sit and drool and spit sunflower seeds at each other. Face it, Jamie would still be hot and Claire would still be snarky) I found "Breath of Snow and Ashes" a deep, refreshing breath.
The book starts with an intense, gruesome scene in finding the charred bodies of a family in the North Carolina woods, and keeps up the intensity until the last page, when my not-so-favorite characters of Brianna and Roger are forced to make some final decisions about their family's welfare.
Fans of the series, keep at it. You won't be disappointed by this one. There seems to be less Brianna and Roger, less of the minor characters, and much more Claire and Jamie. After all, that's what we want, that's what drew us to these books in the first place.
The minor characters, as they are introduced, are still intriguing. Tom Christie and his family blew me away. The introducing of Wendigo and "What does Ringo Starr mean to you?" had me taking a pause to reflect on the entire series. Fergus, Marsali, John Grey, Ian, all the children, all of Jamie's Ardsmuir buddies...they're all here, all churning up storylines, trouble, rescues, emotions, all like good characters should.
There are still pieces of this story that are slow. There are still pieces that made me wonder about Gabaldon's copy editor...but the rest of the intensity and pace of the story should make up for it.
I do want to plug two favorite scenes, for readers who are already fans of the series...something to look forward to:
-A sweet, subtle scene when Jamie is leaving with Ian to the Indian lands, he is riding away on that horrid beast Gideon, and turns to look over his shoulder at Claire standing in the second-story window of their home, holding a hairbrush. Reminiscent of "Outlander" anyone, when Frank saw Jamie's ghost?
-A favorite storyline from this, Claire's kidnapping, where you aren't really surprised that some men finally just took her away. She's still believed to be a witch among some people, and some people just don't know what to make of her. She remains her stubborn, fighter self through the entire ordeal (to a fault) but in classic storybook form, Jamie MUST rescue her. You know he's coming, you know he's going to be murderous (we've had 6 books to prove just how much Jamie would go through for Claire's protection...and we know how seriously he takes his vows), but when he does show up...the entire book is worth reading for that.
One more book in the series to read until I have to sit and wait with countless other Outlander fans for the final piece. I've got to pace myself!...more
I didn't know this was part of a series that Tami Hoag set in southern Louisiana, amidst swampy and sultry people. I like the idea of that series, butI didn't know this was part of a series that Tami Hoag set in southern Louisiana, amidst swampy and sultry people. I like the idea of that series, but this book wasn't that exciting. I did read "A Thin Dark Line" a few years ago, which has the same setting, the same swampy, sultry people it claims to hold and was excellent. This book didn't quite have that hook, but it was still a good time-killer.
Laurel Chandler is this prosecuting attorney who returns home to Bayou Breaux, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun Country, to heal and recover from a nervous breakdown over the loss of a huge case in another county, one that involved child molesters being set free. She's one of the strangest looking female protagonists I've ever encountered, with a heart-shaped face, black hair that I'm not sure is curly or straight, and these Buddy Holly black-framed glasses that she keeps pushing up her nose throughout the entire book. She also dresses frumpy and is skinny, since the cook Mama Pearl constantly tries to feed her and tells her she's going to blow away in the wind. Instead of eating, Laurel eats antacid tablets.
Her sister, Savannah, is a beautiful nymphomaniac who has a nasty reputation and finds herself the fourth or fifth victim of a serial killer, one called the Strangler who strangles his female victims with silk scarves and dumps their mutilated bodies in the swamp.
Tami Hoag writes well paced, well-set, extremely intriguing dialogue, but this one fell short on characters. Laurel Chandler isn't really likable. She's strange looking, which I could get over if she wasn't such a frump and so self-deprecating. She hated herself and convinced me to hate her, too. I had no confidence in her either. She takes it upon herself to find this serial killer who murdered all these women, including her beloved sister, who we are supposed to feel real sympathetic about dying. I'm not saying Savannah DESERVED to die, I'm just saying with her bawdy lifestyle, we shouldn't be surprised she had a horrible death. I figured we'd find her liquored up and through a windshield.
Tami Hoag gives us a few unsavory characters from which to choose our suspect. A hypocritical televangelist with a fetish, a scarred-up barkeeper who hits on every female but comes across as a creep, a smooth-talking GQ lawyer from an influential family, and our male protagonist whom Laurel falls for (of course) a Cajun thriller-writer who has his own shady past and had me wondering why exactly he IS a protagonist. He was pretty unsavory himself, except for his wonderful French-filled dialect.
That's the best thing about this book, is the nice French phrases and Cajunspeak that Tami Hoag supplies her characters, to where you are speaking just like them. She even provides a handy dictionary in the back so you can decipher what they're saying.
A good beach read. A pool read. Kill time. Solve the mystery. But I think she did it better in "A Thin Dark Line". ...more