Definitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!...moreDefinitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!
I loved this story. It was a great pleasure to listen to it on audio, narrated by the author himself. He seems like a very interesting person to know and to talk with. All the heart of him, his soul, pain, laughter, confusion, and fire that he had in him when he wrote this story emanates from him as he narrates this novel, and I was along for the ride. I actually didn't want to get out of my car when I got home this afternoon, because I wanted to finish this novel. Fortunately, it was near the end when I got home. Even though I was happy to finish it, I wanted it to go on forever. I could easily listen to further adventures of Arnold Spirit.
On an intellectual level, I was aware of the disheartening conditions that Native Americans (or Indians as Arnold calls his people) face on many reservations in the United States, but hearing it first-hand, it struck home to me how hard that life is. It was hurtful to see that Arnold was raised not to reach for any goals, to believe that as an Indian, his future was a big, black void. That he was less than anything. I screamed, "No. No. No!" But I could understand why Arnold had to change his whole mindset and learn to hope and to believe. I think it brings home how blessed many of us Americans are. Sadly, we forget that not all Americans have even the simplest of things we take for granted, such as food to eat every day, more than one pair of clothes, a decent education (Arnold's Geometry textbook at the reservation school is thirty years old) and the ability to get to school without having to walk twenty miles. Not to mention the very short average life-span of a Spokane Indian due to the ravages of alcohol. I know what it's like to be a 'minority' in this country, and everything that comes with it, but I didn't know what it was like to be an Indian, and that was an excellent learning opportunity for me.
This book is very angsty, and it's also very funny. I felt like I was there with Arnold when he goes through his milestones and horrible tragedies. I cheered him on at his successes, and cried with him when he cried. I loved him. I still do. Arnold's a part of me now. He'll stay in my mind forever, even though I will move onto reading other books, and I'm glad for that.(less)
Allie’s Moon is a love story with two lonely people who carry heavy weights on their hearts from the past. Althea Ford had been told for most of her l...moreAllie’s Moon is a love story with two lonely people who carry heavy weights on their hearts from the past. Althea Ford had been told for most of her life that she was responsible for her mother’s death. She focused her existence on making amends for her lapse by taking care of her father through his long illness, and her sister who has emotional problems and ‘fits’. She sees no other life for herself other than the narrow, lonely one she inhabits.
For the past two years, Jeff Hicks has drowned his past anguish in whiskey, becoming a homeless alcoholic, when he was once sheriff. He doesn’t think of the future, only the present. When he’s arrested for stealing an egg, his friend Will, who took over as sheriff, arranges for Jeff to work on Althea’s farm for a month, doing odd jobs that she needs a handyman for. Jeff doesn’t want to spend a month in jail, so he agrees to working on Althea’s farm.
The best part of this story was how these two sad people find peace and solace in each other. It was good to see Jeff stop drinking and heal from the pain of knowing he killed a boy. Even though it was in self-defense, he could never forgive himself. Although not as much time was spent on dealing with Jeff’s alcoholism, I believe Ms. Harrington made an effort for that to be realistic. Allie, as he starts to call Althea, gives him a reason to get through the day, purpose, and joy in anticipating every moment with her. In essence, she is a very good and positive substitute for alcohol, giving him the succor he needed, and helping him get his life back on track. That made his ability to kick his alcohol dependence so smoothly feel more realistic for me. Allie felt as though she deserved nothing more than to be a dogsbody to her sister to pay her penance for her mother’s suicide. But Ben sees the sweet, beautiful, loving woman she is under all her starch and propriety, and he wishes he was good enough for her, wanting to share the heart he thought was dead and incapable of feeling with her. At first glance, Allie does feel that the downtrodden, dirty alcoholic had something about him that draws her eye. When she sees the man he is after he gets cleaned up and finds purpose and peace working on her farm, it doesn’t take very long for her to become attracted to and to fall in love with Jeff. She realizes that he is an honorable, gentle, loving man, and wishes that he could be her happy ending, although she can’t see a future outside of her duty to her sister.
The worst part of this book was Allie’s horrible sister. She was such a mean, self-absorbed, evil person. She treated her sister terribly, manipulating and taking advantage of the kind woman that Allie was. I think the depths of her ugliness kept this from being a higher rated book for me. Olivia’s antics were too much for me, I think. I didn’t feel fully satisfied with the book after what she put Jeff and Allie through before it was over. I feel like she worked them over a little too easily, even though Jeff was onto her early on in the book. (view spoiler)[ The fact that she was willing to let a man hang for something he was innocent of put a bad taste in my mouth (hide spoiler)]. I do regret that this was enough to knock this book from five stars to four, but it just affected my enjoyment too much.
Overall, I really did enjoy this book. I read it in one day, which says a lot. Allie and Jeff are two characters that I wanted to find peace and happiness. They both deserved to be loved. I appreciate that Ms. Harrington gave us characters who had a lot of anguish and issues to deal with, giving them a happy ending together. Those are my favorite kinds of romance stories. I haven’t been reading many western romances lately, which is a shame, since they are favorites of mine. This is my third book that I’ve read by her, and I can say that Alexis Harrington is one to reach for when a western romance fan wants a emotional read. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sadly, this is a very weak three stars. It was sooo hard to read this book. It just didn't keep my interest. My attention kept wandering, until there...moreSadly, this is a very weak three stars. It was sooo hard to read this book. It just didn't keep my interest. My attention kept wandering, until there would be an appealing snippet that caught it, and then it would be off again.
Honestly, this is not a bad book. It's just underwhelming to a die-hard paranormal fan who has some favorite series that Bring It. I know that it's First Book Syndrome, because there are some ideas that I like about this series, that will make me keep reading (which is a good thing since I bought the subsequent books). I know some of my friends who have similar tastes enjoy this series, so that makes me hope I will find the next books appeal better.
What I liked:
*I liked Abby a lot. She has had a tough life, and she's very down to earth, adaptable, and strong-minded without being annoying. She has an everyday, regular girl appeal that I liked. She is the type of woman who can take it on the chin and doesn't throw herself into a sobbing heap when things get hairy. I admire her for what she overcame with her abusive father and two parents that were alcoholic. And she didn't stay in denial too long when her life got weird. She saw the evidence and adjusted her worldview accordingly. *Dante was also likable. He had that sexy old world vampire vibe that I liked a lot. I appreciated that he really cared about Abby and had been half-way in love with her since the book started. *Viper. Oh my! I really liked him. I can't wait to read his book! I liked that he was Boy Scout prepared. He had a solution to most situations, and that made it fun to see what relics he had to deal with various situations. And I liked his loyalty to Dante. He was a good friend.
What could have been better:
*The worldbuilding felt...unfinished to me. There were some mildly tantalizing elements that made my interest perk, but they teetered off too often. I do think she introduced some interesting characters in the PNR world of this story that make me want to keep reading, so that's a plus. *Paper Tiger villain. The main villain was lame....He was the type to get others to do his dirty work and he just didn't impress me. I did like that she turned things around and gave a more intense climatic situation. But things still fizzled a bit on that score. *Although I felt that Abby and Dante had good chemistry, the love scenes didn't really enthrall me. I guess I just have high standards for paranormal. I don't want to compare, but when you read some of the other top series, you do have a benchmark that you expect from books in that genre.
I admit I was disappointed with this one. It was so hard to keep reading at times, but I persevered. At the end, I was glad I finished it, not just because I hate dnf'ing books. At least I got to meet some pretty cool characters like Abby, Dante, and Viper (who is kinda droolicious) But I still have hope that the next books can turn it around.(less)
The Harrowing was a pretty good book to read around Halloween. It was nicely scary, and the story idea was quite interesting. Ms. Sokoloff integrated...moreThe Harrowing was a pretty good book to read around Halloween. It was nicely scary, and the story idea was quite interesting. Ms. Sokoloff integrated Jewish creation lore into this story. I thought that it gave this story an individuality for a ghost story/supernatural horror story. This was a major strength of this novel.
I also really liked Robin, the main character. She starts this story at a complete low, but shows courage, ingenuity, and strength of character that is crucial for the ordeal she will face, along with her new-found friends.
The message that no one is worthless or a discard resonated with me. We all have a place in the world, and have individual worth as people. Through Robin, Cain, Lisa, Patrick, and Martin, this theme comes to life. There was a bit of a Breakfast Club vibe to this story that I enjoyed. You see the five archetypes for young adults come together: The musician/artsy kid (Cain), the sexy promiscuous girl who no guy can resist (Lisa), the football star (Patrick), the nerd (Martin), and the depressed, black-wearing strange girl (Robin). Each character has their own issues that they are dealing with that make them feel like that are burdened down by life. On the downside, I wish that Lisa's character had been given a little more depth. I didn't really get to see why she was promiscuous, other than something in her past had driven her down that path. Perhaps she was molested and no one believed her. Also, I felt that Waverly, Robin's Southern Belle roommate, and Patrick's girlfriend, could have been more three-dimensional. I realize she was just a secondary character, but she's an important one.
The major reason I did not rate this higher was a matter of personal tastes. I am not a fan of the teen slasher horror motif. Unfortunately, that was the direction that this story went towards. I sound like a fuddy-duddy, but I didn't like all the drinking and drug use. Yes, I know lots of college students toke up and get drunk, but it made me uncomfortable. It started out nicely eerie and gothic, which I really appreciated. However, I didn't see why the possessed character had to turn into an ax-wielding murderer. That seemed a little off-course from the original direction of the story. In fact, I could have done without that element. The demise of one of the characters seemed to be too abrupt and the way in which the character's body was used seemed kind of crude and unnecessary. If the author wanted to convey a sense of risk to the characters, I think there were other ways to go with this.
Overall, this was a good book. I liked the very unique idea behind the haunting, and it had some good messages about identity, tolerance (it touches on anti-semitism) and friendship. I just wish that the story had kept to the original gothic elements and atmosphere the whole way through. (less)
Polar Quest was pretty good. This was my first book to read in the Rogue Angel series. Considering that it is #16, I wasn't lost. The idea of Annja be...more Polar Quest was pretty good. This was my first book to read in the Rogue Angel series. Considering that it is #16, I wasn't lost. The idea of Annja being chosen by Joan of Arc's blade is a nice touch. Thus far, this series reminds me of "Witchblade" meets "Tomb Raider." Since I love both comic book series, that's fine with me.
Annja's likeable. She's pretty intelligent, and knows how to get herself out of a tight fix. She's not invulnerable, and gets hurt quite a bit in this story. I like that she's got a sense of right and wrong, and is willing to put herself in jeopardy to save the day. She can hold her own, which is always great in a heroine!
Garin is an interesting character. Apparently an ongoing antagonist/frenemy of Annja who is constantly trying to seduce her. I like that sort of character who's straddling the wall of bad and good. He reminds me of Vandal Savage from the DC Universe, and Ian Nottingham from "Witchblade." Their flirtation livened up this book. He sounds kind of sexy. I definitely hope to see more of him.
I admit this was a bit slow at times, a lot of talking and dialogue to push the plot along. I guess I was expecting more action. There were some good moments, but I would have liked more. This was more of a suspense story than straight-out action/adventure, which is fine if that's my expectation, but it wasn't. I think this would have been rated higher if there was more action. Even so, it was a good story. I loved the Antarctic setting. Those aspects felt very realistic and well-researched. Believe me, Annja doesn't run around in the book with her boobs hanging out like she is on the book cover. She'd get a nasty case of frostbite with the 50 below weather!
For the things that appealed to me outweighing what didn't appeal, I'm going to round this one up to four stars. (less)