This is not a warm and fuzzy book. It was good. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It does have dark subject matter. A class of 9th graders are gathered togetheThis is not a warm and fuzzy book. It was good. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It does have dark subject matter. A class of 9th graders are gathered together to kill each other. They are each given a bag with their own weapon, and they have collars put around their necks to track their every move as they hide (or stalk each other) on an island. They are supposed to kill each other. There can only be one winner.
The story centers around three characters (Shuya Nanahara, Noriko Nakagawa, and Shogo Kawada) who are looking for a way to outwit the system and leave the island alive. Between the scenes featuring our three main characters, we get a look at the other students in the class, and this is a pretty in-depth look at their lives. I suspect the author's purpose in giving the backstory to every character is to reveal the human side to the lives that are being lost, which does enhance the tragic feel of this story. Like I said, it's not warm and fuzzy.
But there is an underlying message of hope and friendship and, ultimately trust. I don't want to give the ending away. The book is long. It's 600+ pages. But the ending was worth the build up, especially the twist that threw me off guard.
If you don't like violence or sorrow when you're reading, I suggest skipping this book. But if you don't mind a darker piece of fiction that does have three memorable characters who are driven by integrity against all odds, this might be a book you'd enjoy....more
This book starts out with a mystery. A fire was set to a house, and the fire is worse than your typical fire. And what's even more strange, Niki HanseThis book starts out with a mystery. A fire was set to a house, and the fire is worse than your typical fire. And what's even more strange, Niki Hansen, one of the firefighters, isn't burned in the fire while her co-worker dies from the intense heat of it. Then there is someone Niki suspects was watching her the whole time, and this is likely the same person who deliberately set the fire. But before she can track him down, he's gone. Then there's another fire and another. And each one seems to be worse than the one before. So the questions are, who is setting the fires and why?
While this book is set up with a mystery, it's predominantly a romance. As soon as Finn McLain sees Niki, he suspects she is a fire wizard because she's never harmed in any of the supernatural fires that are being set. Considering the fact that no female wizards have been born in about a century, he also realizes all the male fire wizards will be lining up to be her mate. So while he has a duty to the council to let them know she exists, he would also like to keep it a secret since it'll bide him time to "court" her.
I really enjoyed this book. I don't want to spoil it so I won't say anything else except that this book features the best kissing scenes I've ever read. I could feel the passion between the two characters. But it's also a sweet romance.
I started out reading this author's work before I became her friend. I am friends with her now and beta read this book....more
Love Comes to Cookesville features two romances, but they are wrapped up in the same story. One is between Wade and Hope, and the other is between JasLove Comes to Cookesville features two romances, but they are wrapped up in the same story. One is between Wade and Hope, and the other is between Jason (aka Jay) and Shayla. After Jason broke Wade's trust, the possibility of him ever marrying Shayla (Wade's sister) was destroyed. Turning to drugs and alcohol to deaden the pain of his betrayal, he ends up falling in the wrong crowd and living a very loose life, running from one woman to another, never satisfied with any of them. Shayla, tired of watching this, decides it's time to go live with her brother Wade and help him with the horses.
Meanwhile, Hope is coming to Arizona in hopes of finding a long-lost relative. Not knowing where this relative might be, she decides to work for Wade, but just as soon as they start developing feelings for each other, something happens which forces her to leave without saying anything. (I won't say what because I don't want to spoil it.)
But there are a couple questions that pop up. Can Jason do anything to redeem himself and restore the friendship he lost with Wade and his future with Shayla? Will Hope find her long-lost relative? Is all hopeless for Wade who's been longing for love for the longest time only to find it elude him when he thought he would get it?
My favorite character was Wade. He was such a sweetheart, and he was a very sympathetic character. To top it off, he was a virgin, something hard to find, especially in contemporary romances. What I liked most about this book is how imperfect the characters were. I love to see characters who've really messed up, realize it, and try to better themselves. And while Wade was a sweetheart, even he had his moments. So what we're really dealing with are characters who are human. They have faults, but by their actions they show it's possible to be redeemed. I also enjoyed the love scenes, which happened after marriage, because they were realistic. If you like these kinds of romances, I believe you'll enjoy this book. ...more
What I liked most about this book was that it gave practical steps that I could actually use with examples. For example, one of the things the book meWhat I liked most about this book was that it gave practical steps that I could actually use with examples. For example, one of the things the book mentioned was making a list of good daily habits. First, you're supposed to write down bad habits in your life and then write them into a good habit. So if you write down "watch too much TV" as a bad habit, writing "watch one hour of TV a day" is the new good habit.
There are other things to do, like setting goals, thinking about what you eat, exercise, positive thinking, and building relationships. At a glance, this book doesn't seem like it leads to success (probably because it's not emphasizing money), but it's more about habits to instill in our daily lives that can lead to success.
I prefer concrete things with lists to check off so I can track my progress. I'd say this book is great for people who are similar. It takes discipline to stay on course, but I can already see the improvement in my life. This is a book I can see reading again....more
I was excited to read this story because of the idea of a woman catching a rapist and giving him what he deserved. This was a lot of fun to read becauI was excited to read this story because of the idea of a woman catching a rapist and giving him what he deserved. This was a lot of fun to read because I kept wondering how the mouse was going to catch the cat. The mouse in this case is an anonymous woman who knows the rapist's every move and lets him know it. She's always one step ahead of him, and I thought the ending was excellent. It's one of those twists that I have come to expect from Stacy-Deanne.
What I didn't expect but also enjoyed about this short story is that we get to see inside the life of the rapist and possibly what started him down the path he chose. While I can't say I felt sorry for the guy (I mean he was a rapist who wasn't sorry for what he was doing), I did understand why he did what he did. Even so, the ending was the perfect thing. And it was fun to see the detectives Steven and Brianna back, so it feels like you're meeting up with old friends. Steven and Brianna also helped solve crimes in The Season of Sin, and Giving Up The Ghost, and Melody....more
I liked the unique angle in this book. This story takes us into the animal world where we get to see things from the perspective of a group of hard woI liked the unique angle in this book. This story takes us into the animal world where we get to see things from the perspective of a group of hard working chipmunks who are doing everything they can to store up food for winter. They find great satisfaction and accomplishment in securing food for their future. And the rest of the park benefits from this (as we find out later in the story). Then the blue jays show up and after watching them, start to wonder what all the fuss is about. Why save aside for later when the park is full of abundance? This short-term thinking reminded me a lot of the ant and the grasshopper story where the hard working ant had the food when times were lean but the grasshopper did not.
The Haves and Have Nots, however, do not just end with when the winter comes. It takes into account what happened to the chipmunks once the blue jays decided the chipmunks didn't have the right to hold onto the food they spent all summer saving. It looks at the consequences of what happened and how one small species (the chipmunks) made such a huge impact on the park. There were some sad moments but the story has a happy ending. ...more
This was such a cute story! Beth hasn't had any luck in getting a husband. She's been engaged but each time something happened to ruin things. When shThis was such a cute story! Beth hasn't had any luck in getting a husband. She's been engaged but each time something happened to ruin things. When she makes a bet with another woman that she can get married by a certain time, she proposes to her long-time friend Mason. I love how Mason has been harboring feelings for her for a long time but doesn't think she'd ever consider him. These two made such a sweet and awesome couple. This is definitely the kind of book where you can see the characters having a happily ever after....more
This story begins with the main character, Sara Adams, falling off a boat and into the ocean. She loses consciousness, and when she wakes up, she findThis story begins with the main character, Sara Adams, falling off a boat and into the ocean. She loses consciousness, and when she wakes up, she finds herself on a deserted island with some food to eat. As the days pass, she continues to find food someone keeps leaving for her. Finally, she gets to meet the young man. But she has no idea how he got to her island or where he runs off to at night. In time, they fall in love, but before anything can come of it, the Coast Guard comes and takes her back home.
Over the year, she never forgets the handsome stranger who stole her heart, even when she stars dating someone else. But before she can fully commit to the new man in her life, she feels compelled to return to the Caribbean. If she can reconcile her past, she will finally be able to move on. Then she sees the mysterious stranger and has to decide between the two men in her life. And she's about to learn the secrets the stranger couldn't tell her when they were together on the deserted island.
This is a sweet and charming romance with a fairytale-like quality to it. What I liked most about this book was the secret of the handsome man's identity and why he had to keep running off at night or when it rained. His mother opposes any kind of relationship he might have with Sara, and it's the secret that is the reason for it. I loved the dynamics of the new man in Sara's life and enjoyed the suspense as I tried to figure out his true identity. Overall, I thought this was a fun and quick read, and I'm looking forward to books 2 and 3. ...more
I met the author at a writer's conference and was impressed by how nice he was, so I decided to buy his book and read it. This is the beginning of a sI met the author at a writer's conference and was impressed by how nice he was, so I decided to buy his book and read it. This is the beginning of a series, and the end is one of those where you want to know more about the overall conflict between good and evil. The author told me he has plans to write the next book, but there is no specifics on when it'll be available.
That all being said, I really enjoyed the good vs. evil theme. The hero struggles between the desire to get involved in this battle with fear of what will happen, which I found to be a very real emotional reaction. There is a sweet romance, and I enjoyed watching its slow development. The most compelling part of the book that kept me turning the pages was the twists that popped up on who can be trusted and who can't. Though there is an appearance of good, evil can lurk beneath the surface.
I'm not a big fantasy reader, but from the fantasies I have read, I think this one will please fantasy lovers. The world building is amazing. The hero journeys to different lands, and this journey read like a movie. I believe the author has a real gift for writing and engaging people into his books on an emotional level. I hope he will keep writing because I'd love to read more of his books....more
The book opens with a murder and a mystery. While Detective Brianna Morris was at her friend's house, someone knocked her unconscious and killed her fThe book opens with a murder and a mystery. While Detective Brianna Morris was at her friend's house, someone knocked her unconscious and killed her friend, Nadia. All Brianna can recall is a certain smell. It is this first clue and Nadia's journals that start the detectives on the search for the killer. As they read through the journals, they learn some very unpleasant truths about Nadia, and these have something to do with the killer's motive. I can't say any more without spoiling the book, except that Nadia didn't mind using some people to get what she wanted and this provides some motives for who might have killed her.
I really enjoyed this book. As in the author's other book, Giving Up the Ghost, I couldn't figure out who the killer was. Just when I thought it was someone, that person was killed off or found to be innocent, so I was back to trying to guessing who did it. I love the twists and turns the author always comes up with. But when I did find out who killed Nadia, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the killer. This wasn't a case where you hated the killer because of the circumstances that led up to the murder.
A secondary plot involved the romantic tension between ex-lovers, detectives Brianna and Steven. I don't know if these two will ever get together, but he's incredibly devoted to her, even when he tried to pursue a relationship with another character in this book. This romantic tension is another part of the book I enjoyed a lot.
I look forward to reading more books featuring Brianna and Steven as they continue to solve murders. ...more
Wow. This is one of those compelling books that kept me up all night to read it, and when it was over, all I could was think, "Wow. That was one of t Wow. This is one of those compelling books that kept me up all night to read it, and when it was over, all I could was think, "Wow. That was one of the most emotionally-charged books I've ever read." After reading the Casting Stones: The Prelude, I was eager to find out what happened to James Raven and Esther. James chose to marry someone else, leaving Esther heartbroken. After his wife dies, he returns, and Esther believes this is her second chance.
It's hard to say what happens in this book without spoiling it, and I don't want to put up any spoilers. So I'll try to sum it up without ruining the plot. I'll say right away it was not predictable at all. I thought the characters would end up going one way, but they went another. That's what compelled me to keep reading, and in the end, it's what made me say, "Wow. What a great book!"
This isn't a warm and fuzzy book. Esther does get her wish. She gets to marry James and she has his child, but life doesn't turn out as she hoped. There are hard issues addressed here. For one, we take a look at the power of resentment as it builds up over time. What starts as a selfish act didn't lead either character in the direction they wanted to ultimately be in. It's hard not to think of this book without tearing up. The issues mentioned in relation to human emotions are so authentic you can't help but sympathize for even the unlikeable characters in the book. Nothing is black and white. With this book, it's all shades of gray.
I look forward to the next book this author writes, and I will understand next time that I can't predict what will happen and probably find myself reading late at night while I try not to cry....more
The description is what pulled me into reading this prelude, and it hooked me in enough to read the next book. In this story, we're introduced to JameThe description is what pulled me into reading this prelude, and it hooked me in enough to read the next book. In this story, we're introduced to James Raven and Esther. Her father sent her over to William (James' father) and James' home to cook and clean. Esther's father is sure that James will one day be her husband, and Esther is sure of this, too. But will James follow the path set out for him or choose his own way?
Like I said, this story pulled me in. The characters felt real to me, which I know is hard to explain except to say I experienced the emotions they felt. That's what I liked most about this book and the next. I connected to them and understood their motivation for doing what they did. Let's suffice it to say that no one is perfect, but you can understand why they chose the path they did. Very well done!...more
This is a short story. It's perfect if you're looking for something sweet and light that you can read in under half an hour.
With that disclaimer asideThis is a short story. It's perfect if you're looking for something sweet and light that you can read in under half an hour.
With that disclaimer aside, the story ia about Christopher who dated a witch who (upon being dumped) cursed him with a beastly face. Horrified, he ran and hid in some ruins. The story begins when he's been there for a couple of years, always reminded of his hideous appearance whenever he looks into a mirror that he can't break. Rose, the heroine, is an artist who takes an interest in the ruins. From the moment he sees her, he falls in love with her but knows she'll never love someone as ugly as him. Unable to resist her, he talks to her from another room but refuses to let her see him.
I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it, but I enjoyed how being alone for years forced Christopher to understand why being a playboy wasn't a good way to live. I also enjoyed the sweet tone to the story and the moral that real beauty is on the inside, not the outside. There is a twist at the end which was neat, too. It's something I can't recall being done in any versions of the Beauty and the Beast type of stories I've read. So I recommend it for people who want something short, light and sweet. ...more