A perfect example that really good books can come in small (and serial) packages! Having a knowledgeable understanding of the basics in Roman h4.5/5.0
A perfect example that really good books can come in small (and serial) packages! Having a knowledgeable understanding of the basics in Roman history yet shying away from any "entertainment" reading centered in the brutal time, I was delightfully amazed at how deftly Ms. Capshaw wove the horrendous historical realism into a beautiful love story.
The worlds of a slave-turned gladiator-turned wealthy trainer and a wealthy Christian girl-turned slave are such polar opposites that the plot is intrinsically woven with tension and drama while educating the reader. I closed the book with a much deeper understanding of the emotions, trials, horrors, and ultimately the deep humanity that will always shine, even in some of the worst of this world's history....more
I figured out what "speculative fiction" means... stinking hard to review!! So, this 5 star rating is going to come with a lot of caveats and might sI figured out what "speculative fiction" means... stinking hard to review!! So, this 5 star rating is going to come with a lot of caveats and might still end up meandering into confusion. If so, be assured if you decide to read the book, it will all make sense - probably.
First off, the book is undoubtably Christian, the message is strong even if the story seems somewhat harsh. The first few pages may make one wonder why they even picked the book up. It starts as uncomfortable reading. As the plot-line slowly takes shape, however, the genius in the choices becomes very apparent. That does not mean an understanding of the story is obvious, that comes slowly and, at times, with great frustration.
Kate Pepper is a high-powered executive, driven by her abusive boyfriend (who is also her boss.) Success is achieved at all costs and anything less than perfection, whether in her appearance or her performance, is unacceptable. Luckily, she is capable enough to accept that - until a brush with a knife and a faucet of running water change it all. Kate is suddenly thrown into a nightmare of terrible visions every time she encounters water. Not sure if she is descending into madness, Kate searches desperately for answers. As her life slowly disintegrates around her, she finds friends in very unexpected places and slowly learns to deal with her past, her fears and her future.
As the reader follows Kate through the total weirdness that these hallucinations entail and tries to figure out what the heck is going on right along with the character, one cannot overlook the quality that encompasses the writing nor the creativity behind this totally unique and ingenious take on one's journey toward God. For that alone, this book is well worth the read.
I'm kicking myself because I neglected to write a review when this book was read. I still remember generalities but the particulars are gone. I do remI'm kicking myself because I neglected to write a review when this book was read. I still remember generalities but the particulars are gone. I do remember I enjoyed the book, but felt it hovered on the surface a little too much. Could have gone deeper but the story was still engaging, uplifting and entertaining....more
#1 One must love "quiet" books - those where nothing terribly big and exciting happens - the type of books that concentra*Requirements for Enjoyment*
#1 One must love "quiet" books - those where nothing terribly big and exciting happens - the type of books that concentrate more on the day to day happenings in the life of....... in this case the life of a young Mormon couple living in Wyoming at the turn of the 20th century. It is enjoyable, interesting and in some ways cozy and comforting, it just isn't exciting at all.
#2: One must have a passable understanding of Mormon culture and way of life. Much of the overt Mormon dialogue from Enduring Light's predecessor, Borrowed Light, is toned down and becomes (quite nicely) just part of the overall conversation of the book. It doesn't preach, it just shows. A working knowledge of terms is encouraged, however.
#3: One must enjoy reading books about life on a ranch during the early 1900s. This story deals extensively in this area. From the day to day tedium and isolation to the annual round-ups and cut-throat competition that existed in an era before civilization was fully established.
#4: One must love a slow burning, deeply loving but clean reading romance.
#5: Kelly's previous book, Borrowed Light is an almost mandatory pre-requisite. All subject matter has it's origins in that story.
If these requirements are met, then this book is an absolutely perfect read! For me, the slow moving pace of the book was a trial. The romance, however, was a shining standout. Julia and Paul's love had already been established in Kelly's previous book so we follow the couple from engagement through the first year of marriage. Through all the trials and hardships, their love is one every reader dreams of!...more
Actually the synopsis is much better than the book itself but because it is Christmas and we must be filled with the Christmas spirit, I gave the giftActually the synopsis is much better than the book itself but because it is Christmas and we must be filled with the Christmas spirit, I gave the gift of three stars, although two of the stories fell short of even that. Still, if you want light, not really believable, Christmas fluff by the fireside, this one is as good as any....more
I think the biggest problem with this book is that it isn't sure just what it is. Who is the author's target audience? The synopsis reads as if it migI think the biggest problem with this book is that it isn't sure just what it is. Who is the author's target audience? The synopsis reads as if it might be an inspirational. Throughout most of the book, it reads like a clean romance - even to the extent that nothing sexual happens even after the couple has been married for months (c'mon, even the most prudish of us would question that!) Then, near the end, voila! a sex scene! This book doesn't know what it wants to be and therefore leaves the reader just.... confused!
Aside from that, the story itself can be wonderfully engaging. It is told well, the twists and turns of the plot are believable and interesting. One falls in love with the characters (well, maybe not Abigail, she was just annoying) Sam was scrumptious - everything one would want in a western hero, the orphaned children were written realistically without becoming maudlin or syrupy and the plot deals with darker subjects without overdoing it. Yep, the very good and the bad - sticks it right in the middle - three stars says it all....more
Awwwwww... Sweet and clean and Christmas! What a nice diversion during a hectic season. While the situations were a little far fetched and hurdling anAwwwwww... Sweet and clean and Christmas! What a nice diversion during a hectic season. While the situations were a little far fetched and hurdling an amazingly grown-up sixteen year old heroine was a stretch, one couldn't help but love the indomitable spirit of Marian, nor the long-suffering sweetness of Gil. This is a story that teenage girls will gobble up and women can relax, escape and giggle at....more
Technically speaking, this would rate a 2.5 star but the sweet story warrants rounding up instead of down.
Here is the perfect example of the differencTechnically speaking, this would rate a 2.5 star but the sweet story warrants rounding up instead of down.
Here is the perfect example of the difference between a good storyteller and a good writer. The story telling is wonderful in this book, both Akira and Bryce are basically good, honest and compassionate people trying to do what's right for everyone while striving to maintain a level of happiness for themselves. The reader grows to love them both as they struggle with other's expectations and their own growing feelings amid the backdrop and barbarity of medieval Scotland. The Christian aspect is obvious but presented in a very unthreatening but uplifting way, making it part of the tale rather than an aside from it.
It's in the actual writing of the story that it falls apart. The sentences often seem elementary, the transitions very basic, the dialogue bordering on kitschy and the overall flow somewhat clumsy. It feels like a novice writer trying to tell a great story. If one doesn't mind or is able to overlook all the shortcomings in the writing style, this could be a very enjoyable read....more
If I were looking at this from a strictly professional point of view, this would not rate higher than a three star. But, I'm not, in spite of the manyIf I were looking at this from a strictly professional point of view, this would not rate higher than a three star. But, I'm not, in spite of the many mildly annoying glitches that jumped out, I really liked these stories! So... here is what I should tell you:
Talbott's mechanics need work. Her use of the word "and" is applied so often it literally litters the pages and (hee, hee) a simple comma will do! Once she lands on a term, or name (in this instance "toerag", I don't even know what that means) she wrangles it into every possible mouthful. Variety really is the spice of life and desperately needs to be incorporated in writing fiction. Historically speaking.... well, we won't even go there, the rut is so deep.
Now, her is what I want to say:
This is the most fun I've had reading a book of short stories in a very long time. If one can overlook the flaws and just enjoy the ride, it's light highlander high-jinx that is clean, engaging and just plain fun to lose oneself in. Each story is long enough to engage and enthrall but short enough to read in between real life obligations, making it the perfect escape!...more
The last *sigh* in an absolutely wonderfully exciting, fun YA time travel/adventure/romance trilogy. While the writing isn't Thoreau, the story tellinThe last *sigh* in an absolutely wonderfully exciting, fun YA time travel/adventure/romance trilogy. While the writing isn't Thoreau, the story telling is as good as it gets! This is clean entertainment at its very best....more
4.5/5.0 Again, it must be noted that this book, like the first in this trilogy, is NOT a stand-alone read. All three books must be read in order if one4.5/5.0 Again, it must be noted that this book, like the first in this trilogy, is NOT a stand-alone read. All three books must be read in order if one expects to truly enjoy them. "Cascade" would make little sense if one picks it up without having first read "Waterfall" and, like "Waterfall", it doesn't have an ending. It just quits - mid-stream, expecting the reader to continue to the third book to find the answers and reach a conclusion. Annoying as that is, it is such a heart-pounding ride that, instead of chucking the book at the wall in anger and frustration at the author for such blatant machinations, I'm actually going to give in and find that last book.
In this installment, Gabriella and company are once again bouncing back in time, fighting for their lives and their loves. All the excitement is ratcheted up, as the sisters find themselves both hailed as heros and cursed as enemies with a bounty on their heads so high that danger awaits at every turn. The attempts at teenage dialogue is still as cheesy as in the first with words such as "lame" and "stress-o-rama" ( "stress-o-rama"...really?!?!?) peppering the dialogue. The overall story is still as engaging and the ride so much fun, one can overlook those few flaws in an otherwise superbly written, clean YA romantic-suspense.
I really hate giving a book a lower rating than a three if there is not something in particular that I really dislike. TherReally 2.5/5.0, rounded up.
I really hate giving a book a lower rating than a three if there is not something in particular that I really dislike. There isn't anything wrong with this book, it just isn't very well done and all those little "not very good" things add up to an "Eeh" and a shrug.
Here's the gist. The story is so-so, the writing elementary, the plot - while promising - never succeeds in grabbing one's attention enough to invest in the outcome and the Christian message overshadowed the actual plot at times until it often felt like a sermon couched in a story. Basically... a surface read. ...more
A very light, sweet, clean romance. The unique setting is what really makes the story stand out from the rest, though. Readers of any kind of historicA very light, sweet, clean romance. The unique setting is what really makes the story stand out from the rest, though. Readers of any kind of historical romance are so used to the servants being only background comments that a book that actually allows those servants center stage is wonderful in and of itself. Gist offers a very realistic look at the realities, both good and bad, in the life of the servant class while weaving a very sweet romance into the fabric. For that alone this book is highly recommended reading....more