Monarch Beach is the perfect beach read of the summer. I spent my Saturday laying out in the sun just enjoying this book. Enjoying the story, enjoying...moreMonarch Beach is the perfect beach read of the summer. I spent my Saturday laying out in the sun just enjoying this book. Enjoying the story, enjoying the characters and enjoying the writing. It's just one of those books you read, it's a great diversion for an afternoon yet you still think about it when it's over. Amanda is a character I will remember as well as her mother and her son.
Amanda has found her husband cheating on her and has no idea how to proceed. Her life has fallen apart in the span of just a few minutes. I can't even imagine what that would be like. Now unfortunately I don't have a wealthy mother to take me away for the summer, but just as well I got to escape with Amanda in this book. Ms. Hughes does a wonderful job making the reader feel the emotions that Amanda feels and empathizing with her. Everything she felt I felt. It was really great writing on the author's part. And I didn't even feel jealousy or disbelief that she got to go away for the summer. These things do happen and Amanda and her mother were so likable, that I was pulling for them so it didn't matter that they could escape in this way that most people can't. I wanted them to and I wanted to see what would happen. The characters were amazing. Mostly we see Amanda since the book is about how she deals with this situation. But I also enjoyed her mother, her son, her best friend and the others that were brought into the plot. All were interesting and kept the plot moving.
The plot never waned from the opening scene where Amanda's life breaks in two. At the start she goes back in time, remembering and that really helped in getting to know Amanda and how she got to where she is and how she will get to where she will be as well. Everything that is in the book really has a point and you understand it by the end. I read quickly through the book while enjoying the sun on Saturday afternoon. It seemed the perfect place to enjoy the book. And enjoy it I did. Once I finally could put the time into reading it without interruptions I could not put Monarch Beach down. I wanted to know what would happen next and how Amanda would handle things. I was almost sad when it was over because I was done with Amanda, yet the book came to a very satisfying conclusion for me. But I had been around Amanda for several hours and I was not ready to let her go yet. That to me is a hallmark of a wonderful character and book.
Ms. Hughes has crafted a book that while it seems simple in plot, it's not and the meaning creeps up on you at the end. You feel very satisfied once you have finished it. But the beauty is to get to that satisfaction you have just read a wonderful light, yet not light beach read if that makes sense. While the subject matter is tough, I never felt down. Ms. Hughes manages to handle the subject matter in a way that never belittles it but never makes it completely depressing. How she did that I'm really not sure, but I loved it. It never felt like it was playing down Amanda's troubles but it wasn't playing them to the hilt either. It's really hard to explain without giving away the book. The simplest thing to say is to read it when it comes out tomorrow. It's a fabulous book that can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys general fiction or women's fiction. It's a must for your beach bag, pool bag, lake bag or any vacation bag this summer.(less)
What is it about the New Adult genre that has drawn me in so fully? I am pretty far from a new adult. In fact most would consider me middle age. I am...moreWhat is it about the New Adult genre that has drawn me in so fully? I am pretty far from a new adult. In fact most would consider me middle age. I am quickly approaching my last year in my 30s, but I can't seem to get enough of the young adult and new adult genres. It's probably because the stories are so interesting and well-written. It may have to do with the fact that they don't mirror my life of work, kids, dishes, laundry and occasional date with my husband. It may be that they remind me of my early days with my husband, those crazy days in college. It may be a lot of things, but I have been drawn in so I expected a lot when I picked up Fall From Grace. What I expected and what I got were two entirely different things and I mean that in the best way possible.
I thought I took an emotional ride in Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens. Fall From Grace goes even further or at least it felt like it at the time. Christine Zolendz captures perfectly the rolling emotions and hormones of this age. The testing of boundaries, the high highs and the low lows. I loved Grace. She's had it tough and there is a lot that I learned about her in the book. She's fascinating, and definitely a multidimensional character. I found myself really rooting for her to make the right decision and find the love of her life. And Shane. Sex on legs Shane. Ahhh, what else is there to say. I love Shane, he's amazing, he's awful, and he's wonderful at the same time. He's a whole different man with Grace and I love that. I like watching him change. I love his character flaws and all. I love the sparks that fly between him and Grace and the sparks do fly. I never knew a book could be as hot as this one and not contain actual sex. Yes it's hard to believe, but let me tell you, there is heat.
The plot is amazing, it keeps moving. I was sucked right into the story from the first page even though I was a little confused. I love the paranormal twist to this one. It seems all normal and then there is the paranormal. It's really amazing how Ms. Zolendz wraps it all together so well, making it so believable and so much a part of the story that I never doubted it for one minute.
If you are looking for an emotional thrill-ride then open the pages of Fall From Grace. My only suggestion is to have Saving Grace handy so you can read it as soon as you finish because you won't be able to get enough of Shane and Grace and you will have to know how the story continues and finishes. I loved this book and it has further cemented my love of the New Adult Genre and my love of rock stars too. If I wasn't so happily married I think I would want my own Shane Maxton ;)(less)
Overall I really enjoyed A Whisper to a Scream. I feel like Ms. Berner created two main characters that I could relate to even though I am in neither...moreOverall I really enjoyed A Whisper to a Scream. I feel like Ms. Berner created two main characters that I could relate to even though I am in neither of their specific situations. I am not a stay-at-home mom with a husband on the road and I am not a want-to-be mom with fertility problems. I am a working mom with two children so that puts me somewhere between the two I guess, closer to the SAHM you would think, but then like Annie because I work.
I think that's what made A Whisper to a Scream really stand out to me is the relatability of the characters. I think as a woman (and for the most part this is a book that will appeal to women) no matter where you are at in life you will find something to relate to in both of these characters. Annie and Sarah are very real. They face hardships. They have ups, they have downs, they learn to celebrate the good and deal with the bad most of the time. I loved them. At times I wanted to strangle them but then I understood them. I always came back to understanding them, and then I always came back to loving them. Ms. Berner creates and brings to life wonderful characters and this is her strong suit in writing. Her characters were amazing to me.
Did I have some issues with the book, yes I did, but it didn't spoil my overall love of the book for it's characters. I will eagerly await the second in this series so I can see more of the characters and hopefully get to know more of The Bibliophiles (I'm guessing that is the intent of the series). One of my issues was that some things were paced wonderfully and then things were hurried up and tied up too quickly (or what I thought was too quickly). I wished that it was just a little more evenly paced plot-wise. Another issue I had was jumping around a bit between some of the minor characters. I liked learning about them, but sometimes it left me confused about who it was and why it would be important to the story. I liked having the back story, but by the end, I wished some of that space could have been used to pace the main stories out a little better. That said, again the characterizations are Ms. Berner's strong suit so these back stories really stand out and are memorable even if I had to ask myself who that character was in the framework of the story (who he or she was related to). I also wish I could have seen just a little more of the book club together, but that is a small wish and minor to things overall. These are all personal preferences and really minor in the scheme of how the book was to me and things that only came up after reading the book. While I read the book, I only had complete enjoyment and just kept thinking that I could relate to both women so well.
Overall this book was very much worth my time and yours if you enjoy novels that revolve around the characters. This isn't a happy-go-lucky novel, Sarah and Annie have tough issues to deal with, but in the end I like how they do it. I like that the book club brings them together. I read this book on New Year's Day and it was a great way to spend my afternoon. I went through some emotions but came out feeling happy not drained and eager to see what happens next for The Bibliophiles. I think A Whisper to a Scream is a good start for Karen Wojcik Berner and I'm interested to see where her writing takes her next.(less)
I thoroughly enjoy the historical fiction genre and I am careful about which ones I accept because I as I have stated before I am always scared I will...moreI thoroughly enjoy the historical fiction genre and I am careful about which ones I accept because I as I have stated before I am always scared I will get bogged down with facts and history in a historical novel. Not that it has happened yet and it definitely did not happen with The Emperor's Conspiracy.
The Emperor's Conspiracy is a very fast-paced plot based novel that had me flipping the pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen next in Charlotte Raven's world. I had no doubt that Charlotte would end up okay, but I wanted to know how and what the devil was going on. And it seemed like there was a lot going on. Ms. Diener does a wonderful job creating and weaving the plot in this novel and basing it on a historical fact that I did not know about at all which made it more interesting. I like telling my husband things that he did not know since he is a major history-buff. You can easily get caught up in Miss Raven's world which traverses the posh area of London and the seedy back alleyways as well.
I think there was mastery in the creation of Miss Charlotte Raven. Creating her as a chimney sweep who is transformed into a noblewoman so she knows both sides of London and can travel them both well. She is also still mired in both sides so that adds the extra interest and extra plotline to the book. I would have loved a little more depth to her character but realize the length of the novel and type of novel probably limited the character development some. We do see some of her development, but I want more Charlotte and also more of Edward. I feel he was more of a cardboard cutout that got filled in some. I liked him a lot, and feel he was a typical male of the time, and what he needed to be for his job, aloof and distant, but I wanted to know him just a little more. That said, I still enjoyed him and Charlotte as characters. I also enjoyed the secondary characters, though sometimes I was a little confused (but it could have been the medicines, I read this when I had a sinus infection, so I could have been addled some).
Overall this book was well worth my time and has me wanting to check out Ms. Diener's backlist and anything she writes in the future. She writes in a way that is easy to read and catches your interest from the first page. She knows how to plot well and tie up things without making it too pat. Her pacing was also well done, it never felt rushed, I felt the book moved along well. I was kind of sad it ended and to say goodbye to these wonderful characters. I wish I could see more of Charlotte and Edward, they were fun together. So if you enjoy a good nineteenth-century English suspense set in London then this is just the book for you. But be prepared to spend a few hours reading because you won't want to put it down. (less)
Snarky swords, insecure yet coming into her own heroine, hunky hero-to-be (maybe), a sweets baking grandma with mad skills and then really bad guys wh...moreSnarky swords, insecure yet coming into her own heroine, hunky hero-to-be (maybe), a sweets baking grandma with mad skills and then really bad guys who are out to let the ultimate bad guy free. I think that's the makings of a good book, don't you?
Dark Frost is another solid installment into the Mythos Academy series. I started the book and quickly found myself absorbed into the story. I was back at the academy and the surrounding town with Gwen, Logan, Daphne, Carson, Gwen's Grandma and the assortment of teachers and other students at the academy. And we are sucked right back into the story. This time Gwen is on the hunt to find the Helheim Dagger before the Reapers find it and set Loki free.
Lots of action, more character development with Gwen, Logan and Daphne too I thought. Some more backstory is brought out and the story continues to move forward at breakneck speed. I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say that I thought the pacing was spot on. Never a dull moment. The characters were great with more development as I mentioned and I found the story line interesting and it left me satisfied yet ready for book four, Crimson Frost which comes out in December 2012.
Another excellent installment with a few new faces and of course the old ones. Lots of surprises and excitement in this one to keep you turning the pages. If you like this series, then keep reading, you will enjoy this one and be anxious for Crimson Frost as well!(less)
Cinder had a lot to live up to and I usually dread reading books that I have heard nothing but wonderful things about. What if I don't like it, what i...moreCinder had a lot to live up to and I usually dread reading books that I have heard nothing but wonderful things about. What if I don't like it, what if it doesn't work for me? Does that make me strange. Well there wasn't anything to worry about here because I am jumping on the I absolutely love Cinder and can't wait for the next Lunar Chronicle bandwagon!
Ms. Meyer has really impressed me with this book. First she has constructed this future world that while not too different from our world is still different enough that needs explanation. Yet she never mires us in the explanation. She lets the description of the world unfold as you read the book. I got to know more about New Beijing and the futuristic Earth as the book progressed and it flowed so nicely. From learning about the cyborgs, to the hovers and life in New Beijing and the life on the moon as well. Ms. Meyer has carefully crafted the world and it comes to life on the page and in the reader's imagination as you read.
Second the characters. Cinder, I love Cinder. A futuristic Cinderella. A taken-in cyborg and pseudo-step sister to one sweet girl and one vapid girl. In this story Cinder is a talented mechanic and she is the provider for the family. I really liked her character. She's hard-working, she's strong and she's nice. She loves and likes genuinely and she tries to be a good person and succeeds at it. She is self-conscious at being a cyborg and a bit frustrated with it, but the reader understands this. And of course Prince Kai, he is amazing. Not stuck-up, but down-to-earth. I loved him as well and pulled for him and Cinder through the book. I look forward to future books to see what happens. I loved the secondary characters as well, Ms. Meyer does a great job at making them interesting, nice, helpful or evil, whatever the situation needs.
Finally there is the plot. Wow, a lot is going on, but you are never confused. You know me, I won't go into details because I don't want to spoil anything, but just let me say. If you start this book, you will finish it because you will want to know what is going to happen. I loved it and felt it moved at a perfect pace. And the ending is great - it ties up nicely for this book, but it sets up for the next book as well. Which I cannot wait for. When is it coming out? Soon I hope - get writing Ms. Meyer!
So for me, Cinder has lived up to the hype so far. It is a well-constructed story that held me captive for hours and kept me up past my bedtime (and that's hard to do when you take sleeping pills). Cinder is a story for the ages, a new and original way to retell the Cinderella story. I love the setting, the characters, the plot, oh my, what is not to love about this book. Read it, and read it soon!(less)
I have enjoyed Michael Palmer books in the past so I was thrilled to accept Political Suicide for review. One of my first loves is adult suspense read...moreI have enjoyed Michael Palmer books in the past so I was thrilled to accept Political Suicide for review. One of my first loves is adult suspense reads and while I believe Michael started with medical thrillers, he has branched out into more political-type suspense thrillers. This is military centered and is a definite thriller. While it is the second book to feature main character Dr. Lou Welcome, it does not have to be read in order, I have not read in Oath of Office (I did get it from the library to read next) but I did not feel the least bit lost reading Political Suicide.
The characters are fascinating in Political Suicide. Dr. Lou Welcome is the center of the book. He is brought in to help his friend and the doctor that he is helping in the program he is involved in, Dr. Gary McHugh who is accused of murder of a Congressman who's wife he was sleeping with. But there is more to the story than meets the eye. Along with Lou there is also Sarah, Gary's attorney who I really enjoyed getting to know. Both characters were really great and interesting and well-developed and worked really well in the story. I liked how well they fit in the story and how they never felt forced.
The plot is captivating. It starts with a bang and never quits. It keeps delivering new twists and turns with each turn of the page. I could not put it down. I loved that this one was slightly different. No serial killers, I liked the elite military angle. A little scary but definitely interesting and mind-blowing at the same time. Mr. Palmer paces this one perfectly to keep your interest and not give too much away too soon. You know what is going on, but you really can't guess what is coming next, or at least I couldn't. I really like how this book is done and how it all turns out.
I love Dr. Lou Welcome, he has a great moral compass, he's a good friend, and he has a sense of humor. He really makes the book. This is definitely one of my favorite suspense books of the year just based on the great characters and the interesting premise. Pick it up, it's a new release from last week (don't let goodreads throw you, it's out now) and it would make a great Christmas present for the suspense lover in your life or for yourself. Hey we all deserve a great book!(less)
I don't read many books about life in the west, but the books I do read appeal to me. Something about learning about this tough way of life just bring...moreI don't read many books about life in the west, but the books I do read appeal to me. Something about learning about this tough way of life just brings me right into the book and into the plot. The women are tough, they have to be, it's the only way they can survive, at least from what I can gather. Unbroken is one of those books. It spans the period of several years, a lot of heartache and learning and some really tough women who still need someone to lean on when the going gets tough. It's a family saga of sorts, it's women's fiction of sorts, it's about ranching and it's about so much more. I don't even think I can capture in this review the essence of this book, but it captured my heart and mind for the better part of a day. I thought it was well worth my time and I was wishing it didn't have to end.
The main characters of Unbroken are Gwen and Meg. Both tough ranching women and both very different. Meg is skittish, she's been hurt. She's recently divorced, and she's raising her son on her own while making a go of a lifestyle that few women choose to do on their own. Gwen is married with two kids and a father-in-law and she's at a point that she's feeling a little resentful of ranch life and the toll it takes on her, her children and her marriage. Her friendship with Meg is a little forced at the beginning but over time the women become good friends. I liked getting to know both Gwen and Meg through the elements of ranching and parenting. It framed them and made them easy and interesting to get to know. I also liked seeing how they grew and changed around each other. How Meg admired Gwen and how Gwen admired Meg. Both thought the other was strong. It's always greener on the other side. How very true in life.
As far as the plot goes, Ms. Forbes doesn't waste time, the story speeds along through time, the cattle give birth, winter comes and goes, various people die (I will admit to crying from time-to-time) and the big plot events happen. And just when you think you have the story figured out, it takes a new turn and you learn to admire the characters even more. This isn't a laugh a minute story. It's tough, it's real, but that's what I liked about it. No punches are pulled, but I liked the resilience of the characters and how they don't give up even when it would have been easier. To me that was the great take-away value of the book, don't give up.
Unbroken was a very satisfying read for me. I had an afternoon of peace with my husband and children gone and I was still recovering from being sick and I just relished reading this book. I found myself putting off eating so I could read "just one more chapter" because I was so involved in the lives of the characters. Ms. Forbes has a way of drawing you into the lives of the characters and making you feel like you are there living and working beside them, being friends with them. It's wonderful and when the book is over you feel sad, because you want more of the story even though the story has come to it's conclusion. But you want more because you don't want to leave the characters. To me that is the mark of a good book, when the characters and the storyline stay with me after finishing. When I'm still thinking about something they said or did or wondering about a point the author was making or even applying something to my life. Unbroken has something for everyone. Descriptions of ranching life, romance, friendship, parenting, tough decisions and so much more. There is never a lull in the plot and I found it to be an amazing read.(less)
I loved One Moment. It is one of those books that will stand out in my mind for months to come even in the blur of the many books I read each year. Th...moreI loved One Moment. It is one of those books that will stand out in my mind for months to come even in the blur of the many books I read each year. The story is tight, enthralling and never loses pace. The characters come to life, feel like people I know in situations I would know as well. It's just one of those books that grabs you and holds you from the first page until the last.
Maggie is the girl we all wanted to be. The girl with the gorgeous boyfriend, all the great friends, but as with any book, and with life, is everything what it seems? One afternoon everything changes when her boyfriend Joey jumps and all goes wrong out at the lake. And the worst thing, Maggie cannot remember what happened in that moment before Joey jumped. That's where the story takes off. That's where the suspense starts and the characters start to develop and build. This is where we get to know Maggie, Joey, Pete, Shannon, Adam and the others. A group of close-knit friends, but a group of close-knit friends with secrets. I liked Maggie, enjoyed watching the story through her eyes even though it was painful at times. Ms. McBride does a marvelous job telling this story. Weaving the story in and out through the characters. Weaving them together with secrets and lies and together through friendship. It's truly the tale of being a teenager with friends. I liked getting to know each of the main characters, I liked some more than others, but by the end I think Ms. McBride lets the reader know the inner intention of each character be known and I really like that. I felt each main character was really well fleshed out and I almost didn't want the story to end even though it came to it's natural conclusion.
The plot is masterful. The suspense of what happened in that one moment drives the whole book and while that doesn't sound exciting on the surface, trust me, Ms. McBride makes it very exciting. I think I read this in one sitting. I had to know what Maggie would remember. I had to know what the secrets were. I had to know what happened. I just had to know about that One Moment. And you will too. This is just one of those books that you cannot put down.
Definitely one of my top-five favorites so far this year. A masterful contemporary YA that has it all friendship, first love, and a gripping what happened type of plot in it. You won't be able to put One Moment down, I couldn't.(less)
If you are looking for one of those romances that happens to two people who aren't looking for romance then this is just the book for yo...moreRating 4.5/5.0
If you are looking for one of those romances that happens to two people who aren't looking for romance then this is just the book for you. I have to say I enjoyed every minute of Rainshadow Road. Both Lucy and Sam are troubled souls just looking for some form of peace, really just in the form of a solitary life. Lucy thinks she can do this with just her career, Sam thinks he can do it with his vineyard and a few women who come and go in his life with no commitment. Of course we know this means they will end up together. But the fun in reading this book is how it comes about.
Lucy is a great character and Ms. Kleypas does a wonderful job helping us understand why she is the way she is. The family dynamic is introduced and the reader sees how Lucy and her sister came to be the way they both are. I think this really helped to understand both women in the story. Of course you still love Lucy and Alice not so much. But the focus is on Lucy and Sam and the chemistry between them. Sam's family is also explained and I'm sure more background was brought out in the first book, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, which I have not read, nor do I think you need to read to enjoy this book. I will go back and read the first book (it's already on my Kindle) but I enjoyed Rainshadow Road on it's own. Sam is an amazing man, I like the hot, geeky guy. I love his t-shirts in the book and always looked forward to hearing about a new one. Just one of those little added details that made the book even better for me. Ms. Kleypas seems good at the little details. I also loved the addition of little Holly. What a sweet little girl who has tamed two big men.
With great chemistry, great romance and a plot that keeps the book moving, Rainshadow Road is one of those perfect romances to pick up and take to the beach. And I am looking forward to the third book in this series, Dream Lake, due out in August which is about the third brother, Alex.(less)
I love romances and Roxanne St. Claire's return to contemporary romance is a real winner (she has primarily been doing romantic suspense for those unf...moreI love romances and Roxanne St. Claire's return to contemporary romance is a real winner (she has primarily been doing romantic suspense for those unfamiliar with this wonderful author).
First this involves four friends, each with some kind of baggage to work through, so these aren't "young" women. These are women who are my age. So that was a plus to me. Then they were college friends. Women who could lead separate lives, but when one is in trouble, they are there to help. So when Lacey loses her house during a hurricane, the other three return to help out. In Barefoot in the Sand you get hints of the other three and hints of their pasts and issues but the main story is about Lacey, her daughter, Ashley and Clay.
But not only do you get the romance, you get the backdrop of building something larger, a resort that the women will be involved in and I love that sort of thing added to stories. And of course Clay is the architect, and a younger man (go Lacey!) But there is so much more to the story. Ms. St. Claire has really built layers to the story and to the characters that kept me interested in the book and reading. And unfortunately the book was over all too soon (even though it's over 400 pages) and now I can't wait for the next book to get more of Barefoot Bay.
The romance, the setting, the characters, the plot were all executed very well. I loved the supporting characters and the way the town was controlled by just a few people, but how things could be changed. I also liked the realistic look at dealing with a teenage daughter. Some things were dealt with a little too easily, but it's fiction, it's a romance and it's meant to be fun and not heavy so I can deal with it.
In the end, I think that Barefoot in the Sand is the perfect book to put into your beach or pool bag for this nice warm May weather, or wait until your weather is warm and you are heading to the beach. But it is sure to put you in the mood for the beach, warm water and sun plus a little romance. I love this type of book, it leaves me happy in the end and I will be waiting for the next in the series, Barefoot in the Rain, featuring Jocelyn in November 2012.(less)