What;s not to love about historical romance? This one had it all! The arranged marriage (under peculiar circumstances), the fashion, the big houses, tWhat;s not to love about historical romance? This one had it all! The arranged marriage (under peculiar circumstances), the fashion, the big houses, the gentlemen, and the not so gentle men, the ladies, and the uh...not so ladylike?!
This was my first book by Jo Beverly and I wasn't disappointed. I loved the characters. I loved how strong and independent a character Elizabeth was - even though it sometimes got her into trouble. I found Lucian to be entertaining as he insisted on the day's standards for a woman he would marry, but ignored the standards set forth for gentlemen. Both characters were extremely likable.
An Unwilling Bride is the second in a series, and that did trip me up just a little bit. There were characters and references to the first book that were not explained sufficiency in this volume to make it totally stand alone. I was curious about the history of the story. (enough so that I am now reading book 1.) Because of not knowing or understanding the history, it made the ending feel long and unnecessary. I am pretty sure if I had read book 1 first, I would not feel that way.
Overall a fun historical romp. There are a few steamy scenes, but probably not as much as you would get in a current PG-13 movie. (Did I mention that I loved, loved, loved, the tension between the leading man and lady?) I can see why Jo Beverly has won RITA awards and is known for her historical romances!...more
Mistletoe Promise was a classic Richard Paul Evans story. There was a bit of mystery mixed with some pathos and a quickly little premise. These elemenMistletoe Promise was a classic Richard Paul Evans story. There was a bit of mystery mixed with some pathos and a quickly little premise. These elements worked together to make an engaging Christmas romance.
The back stories of both main characters (Elise and Nicholas) were heartbreaking. But the characters are resilient people brought together by, of all things, regret.
There were profound insights into human frailty and our ability to hang onto mistakes and punish ourselves over and over again. There were moments of humor, even moments that brought a tear to my eye.
But in the end, there was nothing surprising. A lot of telling - descriptions of where the characters were at and what they were eating or wearing. The past connection between Elise and Nicholas wasn't hard to figure out. Still, I liked it. Given time (and by that I mean more pages - it's only 250 - Hardly time to deeply develop a story) and a more active voice, this could have been a great read.
I did like the ending - what's not to like about Happily Ever After - especially with two characters who deserve it. Fans of Richard Paul Evans won't be disappointed....more
I was looking forward to reading this second book in the series, especially after the cliff hanger (no pun intended for those of you who read book oneI was looking forward to reading this second book in the series, especially after the cliff hanger (no pun intended for those of you who read book one) ending of the first book.
I ended up being disappointed. This edition felt like the book where something was supposed to happen but never did - well that is until the end, and then I was so disgusted by what happened that I still have no words for it.
The big moments of the story were dealt with much to quickly and superficially. And a love interest develops that comes out of nowhere is a little hard to believe. But the characters are still likable, and the world created still intriguing. And there was a good tension about the story, but it was never realized and that was disappointing.
Just an okay book for me. I doubt I will move on to book 3. ...more
This was a hard book for me to rate. I loved the story line. It was well paced, adventurous, romantic, with many good characters. But I had3.5 Stars.
This was a hard book for me to rate. I loved the story line. It was well paced, adventurous, romantic, with many good characters. But I had a few issues.
First issue was that there was nothing compelling about the writing style. It was just okay. Davis did use some interesting and unique metaphors, but otherwise there was nothing to recommend it. Some spots got a little confusing, some dragged (although that was not a problem for the most part.) I also didn't like being reminded of things throughout the book (Like Rema was raised by herself without friends or community - she was just a home spun girl. or that she needed to protect her aunt and uncle)
Secondly, there are only two types of characters, good or incredibly evil. People are more nuanced than that. I really dislike characters who have nothing in them that can be redeemed. And the reader is repeatedly reminded of how awful the evil characters are.
I did like the world created. It was easy to understand the rules of the society and the problems arising from their cruel and self-serving king.
I liked the main characters, Rema and Darmik. (Although I had a hard time with the idea that Rema was a strong and independent young girl given how she was raised. As if blood line was the only reason for those qualities.)
And I must admit, I was hooked throughout the story. For me it was a page-turner. I wanted to know how secrets were going to be revealed. I wanted to know who was on the side of right and if those helping Rema understood her true identity. I wanted to see if she would be rescued at the end - and it doesn't end as you would expect!
So, while I had some issue, overall the book was engaging enough that I have already moved on to the next in the series.
This could have been a great story, however, for me, it was just okay.
I really liked the characters and found their background stories interesting asThis could have been a great story, however, for me, it was just okay.
I really liked the characters and found their background stories interesting as well as tragic. My favorite character though, was a secondary character. Sam, the wise-beyond-his-years high school senior was funny, insightful and a really likable kid. How can you argue with an eighteen-year-old who loves chocolate chip cookies.
The plot was good, but not well executed. Perhaps that is due to this work being a novella - there just wasn't time. In spots I was confused by the conversations. What was supposed to be flirty banter was awkward and hard to follow.
There were spots where the writing was above average, and others filled with cliche.
There was also an element of Christian writing that felt a bit forced. Again, maybe there wasn't time to develop the religious characters in the story, so when their comments came up it didn't flow very well. Maybe the author wanted a spiritual element (since this is a Christmas novella) but especially as it related to the ending just didn't quite work for me.
Who doesn't love a good retelling of a fairy tale? As you can guess from the title of this book, this is an adaptation of Cinderella. (I must admit, IWho doesn't love a good retelling of a fairy tale? As you can guess from the title of this book, this is an adaptation of Cinderella. (I must admit, I am very partial to this fairy tale...it's been a favorite of mine since I was little and watched the Rogers and Hammerstein version on TV.)
While being an adaptation of Cinderella, it is not just a retelling. Yes, there is a handsome prince (although not really a prince) and a humble girl (but not a servant). And yes, there are the two stepsisters (but not ugly) and a stepmom (and you guessed it - not evil - a nice change from the stereotype.) And although the ugly and evil parts have been removed, that does not mean it's a love fest in Ella's home. The family dynamics in the household would be enough of a novel in itself. But the romance part really adds to the drama...and fun!
Cinder makes a great prince charming. Of course he is good looking, rich, and...charming. He has a great sense of humor and knows how to turn on the flirt. And Ella is his match even though she has many challenges to overcome. She is a unusual and refreshing heroine. All of these elements makes for a true love story - not one based solely on good looks or position.
I thought Kelly Orem did a nice job creating a modern-day fairy tale. The pacing was pretty good (There was only one part where I thought the tension lagged.) The characters were colorful but not unrealistic. The conflict for both Ella and Cinder were well defined and resolved in a truly romantic fashion.
Cinder and Ella is a quick read, one that you won't want to put down. And it's fun to read and piece together the original fairy tale with this retelling.
Highly recommended to those who love a clean (some language) contemporary romance....more
This is my second reading in Julianne MacLean's "Color of" books and I was not disappointed. This book contained all the same charm as the other.
JuliThis is my second reading in Julianne MacLean's "Color of" books and I was not disappointed. This book contained all the same charm as the other.
Julianne does a nice job creating characters that a reader can care about and root for. Even the characters who do not have a happy ending (at least in the current book) are people a reader comes to love. The sad part of "The Color of Love" is that I wanted to see Seth get a happy ending as well. And maybe he did, but not how I wanted it. You'll have to read the book to see what happens with Seth.
I did have a couple issues with the story line. First, I had a hard time believing that a woman would still be devoted to a husband who was in and out of her life as frequently as Seth was. If I read the story correctly, it had been 3 years since he had done anything more than send money to his wife and daughter. And there had not been enough contact between father and daughter for her to have any kind of relationship with the man. Just a bit hard to believe.
Secondly, the survival episodes in the book were also a little hard to swallow. I read in the author's comments at the back of the book that MacLean did research for the story, so I guess I will give her the benefit of the doubt, but for a person to survive on an uninhabited island off the coast of Newfoundland also seemed to stretch my ability to suspend belief.
Otherwise, the story was well told. The characters likable (as I mentioned before) and the story line interesting. This is another one of those books that make for good reading on a cold afternoon in front of a fire.
And I will probably read more in the series. I do like that MacLean takes secondary characters from one book and gives them their own stories....more
If you are looking for something sweet and romantic to read on a chilly winter afternoon, The Silver Bells Collection is it. This book is a compilatioIf you are looking for something sweet and romantic to read on a chilly winter afternoon, The Silver Bells Collection is it. This book is a compilation of 6 novellas and each one would make for a wonderful hour in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate.
They were all well written and had a charm that makes it hard to pick a favorite story. I always enjoy stories where the men are men - respectful, heroic (in their own ways), with all the mannners of an earlier day.
One story that I particularly like in the set was that written by Lu Ann Brobst Staheli. She took a slight twist on characters from Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" and wrote an endearing tale that, while it had a happy ending for the main protagonists, it made me wish that Ebeneezer Scrooge had had a different outcome in his early life.
For those of you who know me, you know that I am not a fan of cheesy endings, or endings that are so sweet that they practically drip syrup. None of these tales had those kind of endings. They were all happy, but left the future to the imagination.
For the most part, really enjoyed the story line of this novel, but unfortunately the energy and drama of the beginning of the book didn't carry throuFor the most part, really enjoyed the story line of this novel, but unfortunately the energy and drama of the beginning of the book didn't carry through to the end.
"Don't Let Go" is a story about second chances - the story of highs school sweethearts who years later are reunited. In those years, a lot of life has passed. One of the elements of this book that I liked was that that the life that passed was still an integral part of the story. When Jules and Noah reunite, they have past decisions to deal with, current relationships to overcome, and a journey back together that is neither easy or perfect.
As the story continues, however, the angst that added so much to the dialog and plot line fizzles. Yes, there is a happy ending (I knew there would be...and wanted that), but that ending lost the intensity of the rest of the story.
The story line with Jules' teenage daughter I thought was spot on (having raised a few teenagers myself.) I found the conversation between mother and daughter realistic and entertaining. It's always easier to watch the teenage drama unfold from the outside. I loved how innocent parental concern turned into arguments.
Without giving a spoiler, just let me say that things went too easy with Seth. He blended in too quickly.
I wasn't crazy about the 'breezy' writing style - but Lovelace was able to pull it off as Jules' personality since the story was told first person. I also wasn't pleased with the amount of offensive language. I know there a lots of readers who do not mind that - but I thought it a little excessive. To me, if you're going to use expletives they should mean something - not just be a replacement for adverbs and adjectives.
Bottom line - an enjoyable story - flat ending....more
This is one really difficult book to review. I will start by saying that I think Marie Lu is a gifted storyteller. For all the discomfort I felt readiThis is one really difficult book to review. I will start by saying that I think Marie Lu is a gifted storyteller. For all the discomfort I felt reading "The Young Elites," I kept reading because the story was compelling.
Lu creates an interesting new world (although it did remind me of Renaissance Italy.) And a culture not to far removed from what we see daily in our world, where people are persecuted out of fear and superstition. The fantasy element of the story was well told and the Elites powers were interesting if not original.
"The Young Elites" is told in two POVs, but mostly through the voice of the protagonist - Adelina Amouteru. Adelina is a complex character, emotionally and physically abused by her father as a child, she grows up not understanding or even realizing the powers that she has been given. She is an interesting combination of need and darkness. I had a hard time relating to her and still can't decide if I like her. It was easy to be caught up in her plight (Lu did a great job making her sympathetic.) I am left wondering what her true nature really is and will we ever see it? Or, is what is blossoming throughout the story the real Adelina?
The other voice in the story is that of Taren Santoro. He is also a difficult character to figure out. Without giving spoilers, let me just say that his motivations are confusing. I suspect there might be more to him than is revealed in this first edition of the series.
Other characters, while not as well-defined, are easy to like and also complex. Enzo and Raffaele, while they seem transparent are anything but. I was left with just enough doubt about their true natures to be unsettled.
The epilogue was a bit out of place for me, but a good lead in to the next book.
Lu has again written in first person and for the most part it does not feel intrusive. She seems to excel in the technique.
Overall, I am somewhat undecided about "The Young Elites." It is a dark and violent book. The story in spots plods, in others races, to the point of not quite understanding what is happening. That being said, I think I am hooked. I will read the next book. I find myself hoping that there is some sort of redemption in the end. There is enough foreshadowing (if I am reading it correctly) to see that kind of ending. But be warned . . . this is not "Legend." It has none of the feeling of her first trilogy. None of the characters grabbed me as Day and June did. This book is unsettling in its darkness.
I would recommend it for Fantasy and Distopian readers....more
I really liked this book. It wasn't your typical poor girl goes to America and finds love and riches story. In fact, there was such an element of realI really liked this book. It wasn't your typical poor girl goes to America and finds love and riches story. In fact, there was such an element of realism to it that I found it refreshing!
Ellis Island is the story of young Irish girl, who grows up and marries her childhood sweetheart. When he is injured fighting for the IRA, she goes to the United States and works to earn money so her husband can have the medical treatment he needs. What was supposed to be a one year separation, turns much longer.
I loved Ellie's character. She was strong, determined (if not a bit stubborn, Irish you know), hard-working, and still a bit naive. It was interesting to see how she dealt with the transition from a poor, small, Irish town to the advanced, bustling, New York City. She had temptations to fight, and struggles to overcome, and Kate Kerrigan did a nice job in making both those conflicts ring true.
The writing was interesting. The secondary characters well-drawn. The plot believable and compelling.
I enjoyed the perspective of Ireland in the early 1900's, and especially the small-town mentality and adaptability.
If you like historical fiction, this is one I can highly recommend....more
Orphan Train was a well written historical novel. I enjoyed the story. I loved the history. I liked the characters.
But overall, it ended up just beingOrphan Train was a well written historical novel. I enjoyed the story. I loved the history. I liked the characters.
But overall, it ended up just being a nice story. Which isn't bad - I would recommend the book to people who like historical fiction. It kept my interest, but wasn't compelling.
I didn't care for the present tense usage, especially in the historical retelling. I also wasn't crazy about the time jumping (something that usually doesn't bother me). I think I just liked the historical part of the story more than the present day. Although I did like the similarities between Vivian and Molly.
Some offensive language, but not excessive. Otherwise a clean read....more