I love period novels like this -this one mostly takes place between 1919-38. But what I mostly enjoyed about it was how the narrative is told between...moreI love period novels like this -this one mostly takes place between 1919-38. But what I mostly enjoyed about it was how the narrative is told between all four women (Sophie, Adora, Genevieve, and Miranda), giving you the story through their perspective made this quite the experience. Riddled with secrets, deceit, intrigue, jealousy and betrayal you can't help but to love/hate these women. Just when I thought I had it all figured out ... yea, I didn't. This happened more than once. It really had me on my toes and no matter how much I tried to figure the whole thing out it just did not happen.
Ms. Bruce-Benjamin's writing is beautiful even lyrical at times. She is an expert at dropping subtle hints that leave you wanting more.. making you devour her novel voraciously.
All in all, there is definitely someone or maybe an aspect of this novel that we can relate to. For we have all (at some point in our lives) loved, been lied to, felt happiness, experienced disappointment or even lost someone dear to us. Highly addictive and one that I can definitely recommend.
This book was provided for review by Pocket Books.(less)
I always have a soft spot for stories about mothers and their love for a child/children and this one won a place in my heart from the first turn of it...moreI always have a soft spot for stories about mothers and their love for a child/children and this one won a place in my heart from the first turn of its page. I was able to connect with Ruby from the start.
At 19, Ruby Oleander finds a baby in a trash can while at a rest stop. Believing that the child was abandoned she grabs that baby and heads off out west in search of a new life and the ocean. Nine years later, she and her daughter Lark, have made a nice life for themselves. Lark is a sweet girl and you can instantly tell that she is being raised in a loving and doting home surrounded by wonderful friends. But all that is about to change when Ruby finds a picture of an infant in the newspaper whose parents have been searching for over the past nine years.
What an interesting premise! I cannot say how many times I questioned myself and what my instinct would have been had I been the one in a situation like this. This is Ruby's story and what cost she'll have to pay in order to do the right thing.
Although some parts were a stretch of the imagination, I really enjoyed the honest feel of the emotions that were written plainly on every page. I felt the tension throughout the courtroom drama scenes and the relief at the support of various friends and community members.
As a mother you can't help but relate to Ruby. I had this churning feeling in my stomach at times while reading because of the heart-wrenching, unthinkable decisions she has to make and their related consequences. There were moments that had me unexpectedly tightening my throat or that caused the watering of my eyes.
This is the story of a mother and a daughter whose lives are turned upside down when a dark secret comes to light. Your emotions will be all over the place - you won't know whose side you're on since there isn't a villain - these are just people following their hearts and doing the best they can to live their lives. An amazing story of love, hope and forgiveness. A must read.
This book was provided for review by St. Martin's Griffin.(less)
When Hannah Legare was 11 years old, her beloved father leaves on a fishing trip early one morning and is never heard from again. Buzz Legare was ever...moreWhen Hannah Legare was 11 years old, her beloved father leaves on a fishing trip early one morning and is never heard from again. Buzz Legare was everything to Hannah and his disappearance/drowning is the one event that defines the rest of her life. Hannah's mother and brother, Palmer, were able to move on - but Hannah has always held on to the hope of one day finding him once again, especially since his body was never found.
Now, at 35, Hannah lives in San Francisco, as far away from Charleston Harbor and her family as she can get, the business that she and her husband, Jon, own is on the brink of bankruptcy and after some crazy stalker-like antics on her part, her husband not only advises that he's leaving her, but that he's also sending her to her mother's for some time to recuperate... physically and mentally. While back in her hometown she gets the crazy idea that now is the perfect time to further investigate her father's death and hopefully get some real answers this time around.
Men and Dogs is told not only through Hannah's eyes, but also through Palmer's, Hannah's older brother. Through them you learn of their father's death/disappearance and how it affected not only each of them, but their family and even the community. Through them you also meet a slew of characters - who were all quirky and special in their own way. Hannah's mother, Daisy, who although she's married to the wealthiest man in town, still shops at thrift stores. DeWitt - the stepfather, who was one of these loud and boisterous characters. Every time he walked onto a page I couldn't help but smile at his nicknames for Hannah. There was Virginia, Hannah's old school teacher and the mother to her first boyfriend (the one she literally ran away from). Through Palmer you also learn of his sexuality (he's gay) and how that is affected by small-town life. Tom, his partner wants to adopt a baby and Palmer is too comfortable with his life to have the want for children and the complications they bring.
I enjoy character driven novels and this story is exactly that. The differences between Hannah and Palmer and how they were both affected by their father's death is the main focus. Hannah is loud and in-your-face not to mention she is stalking everyone for answers while Palmer is stoic and holds everything inside himself. And although she is the only one who speaks of their father and his death/disappearance on a constant basis - she is not the only one who has not been able to forget and/or get over the event.
I enjoyed hearing Gabra Zackman's voice since my version was an audiobook - I found her voice soothing and I think she did a great job with intonation and accents to differentiate the many characters. This is the perfect read to grab on your way out to the beach or pool. It is a fast-paced story with plenty of quirky characters and a witty sense of humor.
This audiobook was provided for review by Hachette Book Group.(less)
Lenah Beaudonte is a 500+ year old... teenager. She was turned by her maker when she was a mere 16 years old. She has ruled as vampire queen for centu...moreLenah Beaudonte is a 500+ year old... teenager. She was turned by her maker when she was a mere 16 years old. She has ruled as vampire queen for centuries and time has made her into a monster. She kills for sport, has no feelings, no emotions. She has longed to be human, if for nothing else then to save herself and any who might cross her path, and with the help of her maker and former lover, Rhode, she has accomplished just that. She is human! Enrolled in the private and secluded Wickham Boarding School she must now pass for an average 16 year old. But her deserted coven will not stand for Lenah's abandonment and she knows she is on borrowed time. This is Lenah's quest to not only be a human teenager, but to stay a human teenager.
Wow, wow, wow!!! I loved this book.
Ms. Maizel has created a wonderful leading lady in Lenah. What a unique character - one of the most creative I've read in a while. I loved that she was a terrible, horror-invoking, menace when she was a vampire. She's a mean girl - gone good. The flashbacks throughout her life, giving you glimpses into her long existence were so bleak and blood-filled, you could not help but hope that her plans of being human work out.
Another thing that I found very interesting were her love interests. Rhode, her vampire sire, lover and the one that I ultimately went TEAM RHODE! over, then there was Vicken, the man she turned vamp in order to replace her loneliness when Rhode was away and, now, Justin, all-around human teen heartthrob. Her chemistry with all three of her beaus ranged from heart-stopping, sigh-worthy, to just plain, give me a minute while I swoon over here. I also really liked some of the supporting characters, but my favorite was Tony, who quickly jumps in as BFF and sidekick to Lenah.
Aside from the characters and their interactions, I really felt that this story worked well. I loved the alternating between the present and the future. Which was pretty neat since Lenah is so, well... human, in the present and such an evil b*tch in her past. I found myself caught up with Lenah learning to be human again after being a vampire for so long, the ever lurking danger of her past and the joys of finding love when least expected.
I have to say that this character-driven novel is one that I truly enjoyed. Its premise was engaging, the writing and content is mature, the characters are flawed, intense, dark and edgy. An overall perfect package... oh, and did I mention the ending? I definitely didn't see that one coming and there was a wicked cliffhanger too. I can't wait to see what happens next.
This book was provided for review by St. Martin's Griffin.(less)
Shey Darcy, at 39, has lived the life many of us can only dream of. She is a former top model that has graced the covers of Vogue and Sport Illustrate...moreShey Darcy, at 39, has lived the life many of us can only dream of. She is a former top model that has graced the covers of Vogue and Sport Illustrated, lives in New York City with her husband and three boys. Life is perfect, or at least it was, when her husband of 17 years decides to finally come out of the closet and confesses to liking men.
Shey decides that moving back to her hometown of Parkfield, Texas is the best thing for her and her three boys. But packing up and heading back home to her family is not going to resolve any of her problems. On the other hand, she finds that she and the boys cannot stop fighting, and now she has her mother to worry about too. Then there is Dane. Dane Kelly, her childhood crush, the same boy who's now grown into a rough and tough, rugged, yet handsome cowboy. By rounding all these elements up, there is something for everyone in this story.
Although this is my first Jane Porter book, I somehow knew I would enjoy her work. And sure enough, I was very pleased with She's Gone Country. I think Ms. Porter does a fine job of fleshing out her characters - giving them each their own set of problems to face. Whether it was Shey, Dane, one of her three kids, her mother or even one of her brothers, I think we truly grasp their feelings, their struggles and their flaws. You feel like a part of the family by the time you are through reading it.
I really like the family dynamics in the story. I thought Ms. Porter perfectly described how divorce can affect a family. The boys all underwent major life changes, leaving behind their home, their friends, schools, etc. and I think she accurately describes the emotions kids their age might undergo. I also thought it was refreshing to read how both Shey and her ex-husband John, although not always seeing eye to eye, could form an alliance in order to deal with their children.
All in all, She's Gone Country has something for everyone - romance, family drama and even a mystery to solve. It's got great characters that you will not only love, but who you will be able to relate to. I even learned a thing or two from it - what with Shey's modeling and Dane's professional bull riding. This is a great book to escape with. It is chick lit at its best and one that I can see becoming a fan favorite.
This book was provided for review by BookSparks PR.(less)
You know I read all these books of girls running off to Italy to find themselves... (i.e. Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, etc.) why didn't I ever...moreYou know I read all these books of girls running off to Italy to find themselves... (i.e. Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, etc.) why didn't I ever think of that? Gosh!
When Georgia's life comes crumbling down around her she picks up the pieces by changing location, lifestyle, leaving family and friends behind. She finds herself working with an old friend at an up-and-coming restaurant, with a staff that's helpful and encouraging, she makes new friends and even finds a love interest in a neighbor... but although Italy holds its appeal, her dream has always been to own a restaurant in New York.
Ms. Nelson creates a wonderful protagonist in Georgia. She's tough but you can't help to feel bad for her with all the unlucky events she's going through. You like her from the start and will definitely be rooting for her. The supporting characters were just as fun and endearing. But my favorite were the descriptions of Tuscany itself. You will find yourself picturing the rustic backdrop, hearing the sounds and smelling its scent. Ms. Nelson definitely captures the tiny details and creates a very vivid setting. And then there were the descriptions of food - the details were so rich that I could actually envision and practically smell what was being cooked. Mouth watering. All in all, fans of chick-lit, romance and foodies will all find something in Georgia's Kitchen. It is light, entertaining and very charming. It is the perfect summer read and one that I can definitely recommend.
This book was provided for review by BookSparks PR(less)
The Fall is the second installment in Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain trilogy. In The Strain an airplane full of dead passengers is fo...moreThe Fall is the second installment in Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain trilogy. In The Strain an airplane full of dead passengers is found on the tarmac of JFK and shortly thereafter chaos ensues. Vampires... and not of the teen heartthrob nor sparkly variety. These are more animalistic in nature and have one goal in particular... total world domination.
This book reads almost like a movie... it's actually detailed and vivid enough that you have a clear picture of exactly what is going on. Told in the same style as The Strain, you have various viewpoints and resulting vignettes. Sometimes these different points-of-view can be a little disorienting, but once you get the gist of the storytelling, you see how clever it all is as it comes together.
Although I found The Strain to be more of a scientific thriller than a horror story... The Fall was definitely more horror. Very dark, action-packed and with the perfect mix of sci-fi and fantasy you'll find it to be quite the page-turner. While I personally enjoyed The Strain better than I did this second installment, I still would not pass up on the chance of reading this series in its entirety. Eternal Night the third in the trilogy is scheduled to release in late 2011 - I cannot wait!(less)
In Molly Harpers, And One Last Thing, we meet Lacey Terwilliger who has just found out that her husband is cheating on her with his secretary.. the ne...moreIn Molly Harpers, And One Last Thing, we meet Lacey Terwilliger who has just found out that her husband is cheating on her with his secretary.. the nerve! Like any woman scorned, she is blinded by the sheer fact that she wants REVENGE! So she sends out an e-mail detailing her husbands philandering ways... what she didn't expect was the fallout.
In the hopes of hiding out for a while, Lacey makes a quick escape, and goes out to her family's lakeside cabin. There she meets neighbor Monroe - dark, brooding and definitely not looking for any drama in his life.
Lacey will definitely have to make some important decisions - her career/job, her marriage, decide on permanent living arrangements... and whether she can be with a man who is blunt and honest and does not tell her what she wants to hear...
This is chick lit at its finest. Molly Harper not only gives you a fun, spunky and witty heroine - but she also gives you a very quirky tale about one woman's life going up in flames and how she proudly emerges from its ashes.
I have to say that I absolutely loved how not only do we get some real emotions but we also get some zany, wacky and more than once laugh-out-loud moments all wrapped up into this one great story. Lacey is a phenomenal leading lady. She always finds herself in some sort of trouble (mostly by her own doing) and when you finally think she's in the clear, she jumps right into another load of trouble. Monroe and his Hugh Jackman looks... well, need I say more. There were also some very lovable and endearing supporting characters (i.e. Lacey's brother, Emmett, the husband-stealing secretary, Maya - Lacey's potential work partner, etc.).
Although very entertaining, Lacey's feelings, emotions and growth throughout the story were realistically depicted. You really get to know her, she literally feels like a friend by the end of the book. Very well done.
This is one that I can highly recommend to fans of chick lit or even contemporary romance. It has just the right amount of ingredients to make it a very enjoyable read. Loved it.
This book was provided for review by Simon and Schuster.(less)
Irene Stanley and her family's lives are torn upside down when her 15 year old son, Shep, is murdered during a home invasion. Irene and Nate, Shep's p...moreIrene Stanley and her family's lives are torn upside down when her 15 year old son, Shep, is murdered during a home invasion. Irene and Nate, Shep's parents, and Bliss, Shep's sister are devastated by the loss of their young son/brother. This is their story as they all deal with his loss and how their grief affects their lives.
Shep's murderer, Daniel, is captured and awaits his death sentence in a Oregon State penitentiary’s death row. Although the family is now able to sigh a breath of relief knowing that the killer is behind bars and awaits execution, Irene is struggling with depression. Her life is spiraling out of control - she spends her days moping around like a zombie. She does not cook, clean, and does nothing for her teen daughter Bliss. Nate had the opposite attitude. He quickly returns to work and his mentality is more along the lines of what happened happened and we must now continue to live our lives and move on. On what would have been Shep's 25th birthday, Irene decides to write a letter to Daniel in death row. They secretly write to each other for years until the date is finally scheduled for Daniel's execution.
Although the main theme in this story is forgiveness, there were so many other underlying factors that also made an impact on it - capital punishment, religion, family ties, secrets and the complexities of life. The story alternates back and forth from the year of the crime to the present - decades later when appeals have been made and run their course and now the execution is to take place.
I thought Ms. Rakha does a great job in fleshing out her characters - and there are many of them. She not only brings you into her story but she makes you go through all the ups and downs with Irene and deal with the conflicting thoughts going through Tab's mind about the upcoming execution.
All in all, this was a gripping story, it will not only make you ache for its characters but, it will keep you on your toes guessing as to its unexpected secrets and leave you feeling surprised as to its conclusion. I will forewarn that there is not a lot of joy to be found in its pages but it is one that I would hope you don't miss out on.
To learn more about author, Naseem Rakha, check out her site here.
This book was provided for review Terra Communications.(less)
Frankie Stein is thrilled when her parents tell her that she is ready to go to school. Frankie has high hopes for high school - she can't wait to make...moreFrankie Stein is thrilled when her parents tell her that she is ready to go to school. Frankie has high hopes for high school - she can't wait to make friends and to finally have the chance to wear her amazing wardrobe out in public. She's spent her whole life (all 15 days of it) inside her father's lab (a/k/a the Fab) and her only friends are the Glitterati (her pet mice) and her parents. Aside from her mint green skin, the thick bolts in her neck and the seams that are holding her appendages together, she would fit right in. But Frankie is none to happy when she is told that she and RAD's (other monsters like her) have to blend in with the normie's (random normal folk). Generations of RAD's have found safe haven in Salem, Oregon and cannot risk the chaos and uproar that a monster siting might cause - witch hunt anyone?
So off to "normie" school she goes under tons of make-up and conservative clothing to hide her more "original" traits. There she meets other monster teens who quickly befriend her Claudine (Clawdeen), Draculaura, Lagoona Blue, Deuce, D.J./Jackson Hyde, and Cleo.
In alternating chapters from Frankie's POV, you also meet new student and town resident, but more importantly, normie, Melody Carver. Melody and her family have just moved to Salem from Beverly Hills. Merston High and the town of Salem, Oregon, are in for a surprise when their September Semi (ironically themed "Monster Mash") - gets a tad bit more ghoulier then anticipated.
Oh, but I loved Frankie. She's such a sweet thing. I loved her attitude, her love of who she is and what she looks like really gives a positive vibe to the story. Ms. Harrison truly makes her shine throughout Monster High's pages. Although we do read a lot about Melody, and I did enjoy her chapters, Frankie's story was so much more interesting. I loved the mystery of who was a monster and who was a normie.... I kept trying to guess which monster the kids were... I found myself quite entertained by this.
I will forewarn that there is a cliff-hanger ending - so be prepared to be left feeling anxious for the next book. What will happen to Frankie, Melody, and their friends? The writing is witty, fun and definitely appealing for tweens. Super cute story and one that I think will be a sure hit with youngins plus there are some great messages scattered throughout. You guys also have to check out their "RAD" website. This is the start to what seems to be a very promising series. I can't wait to see what happens next.(less)
In a world where modern science has evolved human beings into genetic time bombs — where males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to...moreIn a world where modern science has evolved human beings into genetic time bombs — where males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. It has become a hopeless world where most have to resort to prostitution, force and violence. Where young girls are thrust into polygamous marriages in order to keep civilization alive.
When Rhine is kidnapped by Gatherers and forced to be a Bride to Governor Linden - she is forced into a world of wealth and privilege. A new world that although she might not have chosen, she can live comfortable enough. It also helps that she resembles Governor Linden's first wife, Rose, and that she is not sore on the eyes. But Rhine can dream of only one thing.... Freedom. She dreams of returning home to her twin brother and living out the rest of her days (the remaining four years) there. She has no wish to be any man's bride, nor live competing with sister brides, and especially not of bringing a child into a hopeless world.
She knows that she'll have to be smart in order to break free and hopefully with the help of the new friend she finds in her assistant, Gabriel, she just might be able to find hope and the means to break free.
This is my favorite type of dystopia. Where it's not overly incredible - where science took a wrong turn and altered the way things were. Nothing too drastic. Nothing involving bombs or the devastation of the planet. Just some slight tweaks that can make a whole new world of difference. That is what you'll find in Wither.
There were various different dynamics in this story that I really liked. For instance, I loved the camaraderie between Rhine and her sister wives, Jenna and Cecily. Although they had one main thing in common, Linden, they also found some peace with one another. Even though all three girls felt differently about their marriage and their living situation, they still cared for each other and formed bonds. There was also the Linden situation - an unwanted husband. Although Rhine (and you, as the reader) want to hate him you find that you can't. He is naive and unaware of exactly how ruthless and cunning the world and his father can be. Not to mention his feelings for Rhine and, her sister wives, are true. Then there is the relationship between Rhine and Gabriel - that although it never felt like love to me (at least not yet) can eventually become something stronger. I think Rhine is too focused in this first book in the trilogy in finding freedom than she is finding true love. I commend her for that.
Ms. DeStefano's Wither is a story that will captivate you. It will hold you from its first pages and spit you out at then end with only one thought: I need more! Rhine is a very strong and brave young woman. Her oppressive situation is one that will have you at the edge of your seat (whether it be in anger, indignation, or just because you can't sit still from the excitement of it all). I cannot wait to see what happens next.(less)