I started this novel they way I always start contemporary romances, with trepidatio...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
I started this novel they way I always start contemporary romances, with trepidation. I’ve read several bad ones and generally try to stick to historical because I just enjoy them more. However, since I loved Lisa Kleypas’s historicals, I’m always willing to try her contemporaries. She doesn’t disappoint. I had read Christmas At Friday Harbor so I was generally aware of the basic characters that would be in this book. My only complaint on that novel was that it was too short. Seriously, this author’s books typically run almost 400 pages so that measly 200 didn’t seem like enough time to fully develop the characters or the plotline. This book definitely rectifies that problem being slightly over 300 pages.
This story follows Lucy Marinn and Sam Nolan in their journey to love and happiness. [cue sappy music now]
Yeah, I know, but it’s a ROMANCE novel, really what did you expect? Battle the Huns for control of a futuristic society? Anyway, Lucy is going through a tough time. Kevin, her boyfriend of 2 years dumps her to be with her self-absorbed younger sister (not to mention they have been sleeping together behind her back for months) and also kicks her out of their house to move said sister in. Lonely and depressed, she moves in with a few friends until she can sort things out. Sam Nolan is happy in his life just the way it is. He is a bachelor who never gets involved beyond the physical and spends way too much time looking after his vineyard and caring for his niece. So when Kevin shows up asking him to take Lucy out on a date to help her move on, he reluctantly agrees. What harm could starting a new relationship do?
The story obviously gets more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it. I instantly sympathized with Lucy because I’ve experienced several situations in my life where I work my damnedest to accomplish something and then it’s just handed out to people around me like fucking candy. So that feeling of resentment Lucy gets towards Alice (her sister) is something I can relate to completely. I was blown away by Alice’s sheer self-obsession and how she really didn’t see that what she did was truly wrong, saying simple “I did it to make myself happy and since you and Kevin were growing apart, I don’t see why it should bother you. I won’t apologize for working on my happiness.”
Seriously lady?!?!?!? You fucked your sister’s boyfriend and then basically kicked her out of her own house so you could move in! That’s wrong on more levels than I can comprehend. Then Sam shows up claiming her ex is pushing him to date her so she’ll move on and she is beyond enraged…but also charmed by Sam who just radiates charisma. I loved watching them interact and seeing their love spring up and grow despite their best efforts to stay out of an emotional relationship.
I only have one issue with this book. The first is that there are small bits of magic in the book which just felt out of place. Lucy can turn glass into animals when she is highly emotional and Sam can make plants grow and flourish simply by touching them. It’s not something they go into a ton of detail about or is ever really explained. It’s just kind of mentioned off hand and left at that. I felt like this is an adult book so unless we go into to witch and zombie territory, magic should stay out. It didn’t bother me a whole lot, I just felt it would have been better if that wasn’t present.
Anyway, this book is really good and if you like contemporaries or just love Lisa Kleypas’s work in general, this book is for you.
****Thank you to McMillan Publishing for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****(less)
I had thought that after reading this novel a second time, it would be easier to re...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
I had thought that after reading this novel a second time, it would be easier to review but fuck was I wrong. Reading it again put me in even more awe of it because I noticed things the second time around that I missed the first. I find that reviewing it now is even more daunting because my words are insufficient to adequately describe the….um…see I’m already failing to come up with an adjective worthy of this novel. Amazing? Awesome? Astounding? Why do they all start with “a”? Regardless of my lack of vocabulary, this is a novel that will illicit more emotions than you thought possible while confusing you and making you wonder why they heck you keep reading.
It’s a bit difficult to summarize this story because it encompasses so much. The most basic description I can give is that it follows two characters, a girl named Celia and a boy named Marco, for a very long period of time, almost thirty years in fact. Both have only been told that they are a participate in a game but their respective teachers refuse to give them any more description than that. How do you win the game? Who is my opponent? How do we compete? What is the purpose? They are never told. But both strive to succeed to attain the respect of their teachers. The only thing that becomes clear is that the venue for the competition is Le Cirque des Reves. This tale follows the pair throughout the duration of the challenge.
The above description does not even begin to do justice to the sheer loveliness of this story. But, before I start fangirling, I’ll state what will annoy the daylights out of you, at least on your first read. The main source of the confusion is the way the story jumps around. Though the tale is “mainly” about Celia and Marco, it has many, many (many, many, many, many, many) more characters and it jumps around from different perspectives and even time periods. One moment you are reading about Celia being trained at a young age, then you jump ten years in the future to the perspective of a boy named Bailey who has nothing to do with anything beyond the fact that the circus arrives in his town and he falls in love with it. Then you jump to a clockmaker in Germany who is commissioned to make a special clock for the circus. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. For the first half of this novel, you can’t make any fucking sense out of it. I remember thinking during my first read how I wished it would just stay with Celia or Marco because I found the pair so interesting, but alas, my wish wasn’t granted. Though now, I’m glad that it wasn’t because I appreciated the many perspectives so much more during the second go. It jumps to completely unrelated sequences in the most haphazard fashion imaginable. Where the fuck is Erin taking this story?!?! How the hell are all the people’s perspectives going to line up in a way that makes sense? Why the fuck am I still reading this infuriating thing?!?!?
If you stick through the first half, well you are in for a treat. In the second half, everything starts coming together. Celia and Marco meet and fall in love like we all knew they would and everything actually does wrap up rather nicely. All the random people start to become connected with the story in ways you weren’t expecting and it made me wonder how the author managed to write something so stunning that I was in speechless. The first comment I want to make is that the writing is gorgeous. Erin Morgenstern writes in this brilliant way that describes every setting perfectly, but not in that overly dull, I’m wasting your time writing five pages describing this utterly plain England countryside way that some authors insist on doing (::coughs:: JRR Tolkien ::coughs::). It just completely enchants you to the point that even though it’s irritating the fuck out of you, you keep reading, if only to see the elegant way the story is portrayed. You grow to love all the characters, even the ones that you have no idea how they relate to the story.
This novel is that perfect fairy tale for adults that we’ve all been craving. It has that indefinable magical quality that hooks into you and leaves you seeing stars. It is the type of book that demands a second read, possibly immediately after the first because you see things through a different light. I’m hesitant to make this comparison because these two novels are nothing alike, but it demands a reread the same way Fight Club does because after everything is revealed in the end, you see so many things more clearly and completely differently than the first time. It’s utterly fantastic and I recommend it to every single individual on this planet with access to it and the ability to comprehend it.
****Thank you to Vintage Books/Anchor Books for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****(less)
I must say that I am thoroughly disappointed with this book. I was more than a litt...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
I must say that I am thoroughly disappointed with this book. I was more than a little nervous to start this novel because it is a Christian novel and I am….well let’s just say I’m not. Though the Christian elements were always present, it’s not what bothered me the most. There were several things that bothered me much more and that it what I will discuss here.
I found that the author didn’t seem to really know how to write a believable teen voice. This novel follows 4 families on their journey to get over the death of a loved one and varies other issues that arise and while the adults sounded very real, the teens sounded fake to me. The all felt very forced. Leigh, if we assume is a believable character, is very shallow and selfish, claiming to love Jake with all her heart and yet she dumps him just because she thinks he is going to leave her. After this, she completely avoids him. She has to leave town for a few months and blatantly refuses to respond to his calls or texts or emails. As soon as she arrives at her grandparents, were she is to stay, she falls head over heels for another guy. She does claim to feel minimal guilt about Jake, but has no issues blazing on in this new relationship. In real time, she is only out of town for a little over a week before she comes back to help out a neighbor, but in that time she has managed to get over Jake and “fall in love” (read lust) with Dylan. Poor Jake was the only teen character that seemed believable to me. He’s struggling with depression and doubting his faith because bad things just keep happening to him. First his best friend gets pregnant and dies in childbirth, then his mom gets breast cancer, and finally Leigh dumps him just because he has been a bit distant lately. For all you wondering, by the end of this novel, he’s back to being confident about his faith, but I enjoyed seeing him struggle with it.
I also felt like this novel was much too short to follow so many characters. It isn’t even 200 hundred pages yet it attempts to follow 4 different families (each with 2 or more perspectives) through a death of a friend, a house fire, and a cancer diagnosis. Plus, the story doesn’t even end. It just does stops. Nothing is resolved beyond a surgery removing all of the cancerous cells in the cancer victim. Leigh and Jake still haven’t talked, the house that burned isn’t rebuilt, and so many other issues haven’t really been touched on. I hate books that stop rather than end, but I hate it more when that is the end of the story. I realize life doesn’t tie everything up in a neat little bow for you, but some things do get resolved. It looks like there is a sequel planned, but as I could barely tolerate this novel, I won’t be reading the next.
Now for the one religious element that I can’t ignore. This novel almost felt like an attack to those people who don’t follow the Christian faith. In this entire novel, there are 4 characters that are not Christian. One is a teen boy who has lost his faith after the death of his sister. He cuts himself and enjoy watching graphic videos online showing animal cruelty. Two are a married couple with a son who just recently found Christ. They are both abusive towards the son. The father is also a drunk who apparently killed 2 people in a drunk driving car wreck. The fourth person is a doctor who shows a considerable urge to convert after praying with a family. The message this sends me is that everyone who isn’t a Christian with no intent to convert is evil and I don’t like that message. Oh and there was one questionable character. Dylan makes no comments either way. My thoughts on Dylan are this, he’s a bit creepy. He’s related to the 2 people who were killed in the drunk driving accident and the ending felt very much like a set up to see him go a bit psycho. Now that is pure conjecture, but that was the impression I got from him.
All in all, I disliked this book intensely.
****Thank you to Lynn Dove for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review****(less)
Generally, I try to stay away from contemporary romance (I'm more of a historical r...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Generally, I try to stay away from contemporary romance (I'm more of a historical romance girl), but I love everything I've read by Lisa Kleypas, so I wanted to give this one a shot. It was a great story, wonderfully written, with real emotional content. I enjoyed it completely. My only real complaint is that it was a bit to short for my liking. It felt a bit rushed.
****Thank you to McMillan Publishing for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****(less)
This is, in my opinion a young adult fiction novel worth reading. It is the story o...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
This is, in my opinion a young adult fiction novel worth reading. It is the story of Ashley Stevens’ first semester in college and her relationship with Natalie, a new found friend and Jeremy, a love interest. It is set in modern times and told from the first person perspective.
Blindfolds was a quick read that kept my attention. What is Natalie hiding? What will happen with Jeremy? How will Ashley's first meeting with her fraternal grandmother go? I just had to know. I have read other reviews say it has a rather abrupt ending and I have to agree. I can't say much without giving the ending away, but I think the book could benefit from an additional chapter or even a very brief epilogue. That being said, I still liked the ending.
My only annoyance with this book is a personal one. When Ashley has to pick a novel from a list to read for school, she picks Wuthering Heights. This has become a complete and total cliche and drives me completely bonkers. It seems like every book I pick up here lately has the main heroine reading (and adoring) Wuthering Heights. Seriously people variety is the spice of life and there are TONS of classical novels to choose from. Read The Picture Of Dorian Gray or Great Expectations or The Phantom Of The Opera, something different!
****Thank you to Lisa Campbell for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****(less)