The magical visual imagery of the circus and the love story between dueling magicians pitted against one another in a fateful test of skill set the st...moreThe magical visual imagery of the circus and the love story between dueling magicians pitted against one another in a fateful test of skill set the stage for a dreamy and memorable read! Morgenstern's descriptions of the circus ran through my head as though I were watching the story unfold on a movie screen. I could picture the elegant white, black, and grey hues of the circus and its performers, as well as the splashes of red in the scarves of the reveurs. The descriptions were so vivid that I could picture myself walking amongst the black-and-white striped tents on a crisp fall night, anticipating each new and unimaginable sight that awaited me around the bend. I could smell the sweetness of caramel apples mingling with the smoky fragrance of the ever-burning bonfire. I was swept away by the star-crossed romance between Marco and Celia, and was left yearning to know more about their fates. I would highly reccommend this book to anyone who enjoys books that sweep you off your feet and transport you to a magical place that exceeds the realm of possibility.
This book was a First Reads win for me. Changeling Dream is the story of Jillian Descharme, a young vet who can't stop thinking about the white wolf w...moreThis book was a First Reads win for me. Changeling Dream is the story of Jillian Descharme, a young vet who can't stop thinking about the white wolf who saved her life years before. Little does she know that the white wolf is a Changeling and is actually the handsome, mysterious James McLeod. James' wolfen side is drawn to Jillian and wants to protect her, but his human side resists his animal instincts, fearing that human contact will reopen the wounds of losing his first wife and unborn baby to an unknown killer. However, his strong physical attraction to Jillian and his urge to protect her at all costs is a powerful force that draws him out of his self-enforced seclusion and back into the world of humans. In all honesty it took me a long time to finish this book. I don't know if it's because I didn't read the first book of the series which made it harder for me to get into the story, or just because I kept getting distracted by other books I wanted to read. Whatever the reason, I eventually did finish the book and ended up liking it. (less)
The story begins in 1994 with nine college undergrads who are chosen to participate in an exclusive night...moreI won this book from a Firstreads giveaway!
The story begins in 1994 with nine college undergrads who are chosen to participate in an exclusive night class at Jasper College called "Unraveling a Literary Mystery." The class is taught by Prof. Richard Aldiss who teaches the class from his prison cell where he is serving time for murdering two female students in 1982. The goal of the class is to unravel the mystery of the author Paul Fallows' true identity by unlocking the clues hidden inside his novels and through playing a dangerous game called the Procedure. The story alternates between the 1994 night class and present day as the former night class students gather to mourn the loss of their fellow classmate. Alex Shipley, a former night class student, and current Harvard professor, unlocked the mystery of Fallows' identity in 1994 and exonerated Aldiss of the 1982 murders. She soon finds herself in the midst of another mystery, this one life-or-death, which she needs to unravel fast before the killer murders all of her former classmates.
This was the first novel I've read from Will Lavender and I found it quite enjoyable. The alternating storyline was fast-paced and kept me guessing throughout. I was completely drawn into the mystery, but was a bit disappointed with the ending. Without giving anything away, I felt like the climax left something to be desired in light of the suspenseful build-up tht led to the final moments of the story. I was also disappointed with the lack of character development in regards to Richard Aldiss. I found it odd that a man who is serving a life sentence in prison for murders that he did not commit would be content to delay his acquittal in order to teach a night class in hopes that they will be able to solve the mystery and prove his innocence, particularly if he had important information which he claimed to have. I would think he would have shared this information with the students to help them with their search for truth. Despite my disappointment with the climax and character development, I truly enjoyed this story and found it hard to put down once I'd started. I will likely read other books by this author in the future because I like his writing style.
I won an advanced reader's copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I was intrigued with this story upon reading the synopsis of it here on Goodre...moreI won an advanced reader's copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I was intrigued with this story upon reading the synopsis of it here on Goodreads. A Young Wife is the story of Minke who leaves her home to become the live-in caretaker of the terminally ill wife of the wealthy Sander De Vries. Upon the demise of his wife, Sander asks for Minke's hand in marriage and whisks her away to Argentina. As Minke settles into married life in a new country she begins to understand that her new husband isn't exactly the man she had assumed he was. However, these realizations are soon eclipsed by the joyous birth of her son Zef. Minke's world is turned upside down when her son is kidnapped and her husband and sister have to travel immediately to America where Minke and her newborn daughter later join them, only to discover that life in America is very different than it had been in Argentina.
The premise of this story was extremely interesting and promising, and while I enjoyed it, I found the dialogue and character development to be somewhat lacking. Many of the characters in this book were unlikable (Sander, Griet, Fenna, Meneer & Mevrouw Dietz) and made me cringe, especially Fenna who made the wicked step-sisters in "Cinderella" look like saints. Even Minke, who for most of the book was naive and impulsive, was a difficult character to connect with and root for. The dialogue between the characters in this book felt stilted to me and lacked personality. However, the ending of the story made up for these things in my opinion and Minke redeemed herself once and for all. (less)
I won this book from a Goodreads First-reads giveaway. This was the first book I've read from author Jean Thompson, and based on my feelings about thi...moreI won this book from a Goodreads First-reads giveaway. This was the first book I've read from author Jean Thompson, and based on my feelings about this book, it won't be my last. The Year We Left Home follows the members of one Iowa family from the 1970's through 2003. This sweeping family saga takes readers through the ups and downs of one family's life - the tragedies, setbacks, and successes - and their individual journeys as they pursue their own versions of happiness. My first impression of this book was that it was rather bleak. The characters were flawed and no one seemed happy with their lot in life. However, it is these characteristics that give this story a genuine quality. Real people have flaws and real life isn't always rainbows and lollipops. As I read this book I reflected back on my family history and recognized several of the same threads of experience have run their course in my own family - death, marriage, divorce, triumphs, estrangement. Each family comes with its own unique set of relationships, dynamics, dysfunction, and issues, which makes this story all the more authentic because it doesn't sugar-coat the experience or wrap it up into a neat little package at the end. Great story - glad I won this book!(less)
I won this book from a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. The Paperbark Shoe by Goldie Goldbloom is the story of Gin Toad, an albino woman living in the r...moreI won this book from a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. The Paperbark Shoe by Goldie Goldbloom is the story of Gin Toad, an albino woman living in the rugged Australian Outback with her husband and two children. Gin's story takes place during WWII, when 18,000 Italian prisoners of war were sent to Australia to labor on farms. It is upon the arrival of two Italian POW's to the Toad farm that the story begins, and the lives of Gin Toad and her family are irrevocably changed. When I received this book I was eager to delve into it after being hooked by the synopsis on the back cover. The unique perspective of Gin Toad kept my interest throughout the book, but the gritty and bleak tone of the story prevented me from really enjoying the story and connecting with any of the characters. This story was a bit too depressing for my tastes, and that, combined with my general antipathy toward all of the characters, made it just an okay read for me.
I was thrilled when I won this book from a Firstreads giveaway because I read Stevens' other book - Still Missing - last year and I loved it! Never Kn...moreI was thrilled when I won this book from a Firstreads giveaway because I read Stevens' other book - Still Missing - last year and I loved it! Never Knowing was every bit as addicting as suspenseful as her first book - I couldn't put it down once I'd started!
Never Knowing tells the story of Sara Gallagher's search for her birth parents and her horrifying discovery that her biological father is the infamous Campsite Killer who is still on the loose. This discovery sets off a terrifying chain of events that has Sara torn between protecting the life she's built with her 6 year-old daughter Ally and her fiance Evan, and her growing sense of obligation to help the police capture her serial killer father.
This book had me on the edge of my seat, and more than once I wanted to reach through the pages and shake some sense into Sara. I found myself empathizing with her conflicting emotions, but her impulsivity was frustrating at times, although it made the story so much more suspenseful. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to any books that Stevens' writes in the future,(less)
I'm really enjoying this series! These books are fun and perfect for light summer reading. This series is like an edgier version of Twilight with a he...moreI'm really enjoying this series! These books are fun and perfect for light summer reading. This series is like an edgier version of Twilight with a headstrong female character who makes Bella look like a snivelling wuss. Can't wait to read more of this series!(less)
This book was required reading for the Accomodations & Adaptations in Early Childhood Education course that I'm currently taking. This book is Hay...moreThis book was required reading for the Accomodations & Adaptations in Early Childhood Education course that I'm currently taking. This book is Hayden's account as a special educator working with a child named Venus who did not speak or seem to hear others speak to her. Hayden's reflective and conversational style of writing made this a quick read despite the bleak and depressing subject matter. As a future teacher it is important for me to read about others' experiences working with children who have special needs because it is likely that I will teach children with disabilities throughout my career even though I am not studying to be a special education teacher. Reading Hayden's account showed me that it is not safe to assume that a child is unteachable or unreachable. (less)
I recently received this ARC to review and I have to admit that the synopsis on the back did not immediately capture my attention. Despite my initial...moreI recently received this ARC to review and I have to admit that the synopsis on the back did not immediately capture my attention. Despite my initial disinterest this book ended up being an unexpected delight. Pao tells the story of Pao, a young boy who flees to Jamaica with his mother and brother after his father is killed in the Chinese Civil War. Upon arrival they are taken in by his father's friend Zhang Xiuquan who teaches Pao to follow in his footsteps as a mafia figure in his town of Kingston. However Pao is quite unlike the stereotypical gangster. His sensitive nature and careful strategical approaches to matters of business and the heart are modeled after the sage advice immortalized in The Art of War, written by the ancient Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher Sun Tzu. Set against the backdrop of post-colonial Jamaica, the reader gets a sense of the changing economical and political conditions that contribute to the course and direction of Pao's life. This global and historically accurate context gives the plot and characters a realistic quality which makes this book a genuinely entertaining read. (less)
I won this book from Goodreads First Reads. In this story Eddie Reeves is searching for answers as to why her father, a talented and well-known artist...moreI won this book from Goodreads First Reads. In this story Eddie Reeves is searching for answers as to why her father, a talented and well-known artist and photographer, would take his own life. Her grief-fueled search leads her directly to Culler Evans, a photographer and former student of her father. Together they search for clues as to why her father would have committed suicide, but the real mystery lies within Culler himself. I enjoyed this story all the way up until the ending, which was very anticlimactic in my opinion. It felt like the story kept building up and then sort of fizzled out at the end. Nothing was really resolved and Culler remained just as mysterious at the conclusion as he was throughout the story. Overall I found this book to be an enjoyable, entertaining read. The plot reminded me a tiny bit of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close because of the whole searching-for-answers-and-messages-after-the-senseless-deaths-of-their-fathers storyline, but that's where the similarities ended. (less)