Favorite Quote: I came all this way because I’m not certain…
Gia Andrews, a humanitarian worker, left her small Tennessee home town sixteen years ago aFavorite Quote: I came all this way because I’m not certain…
Gia Andrews, a humanitarian worker, left her small Tennessee home town sixteen years ago after her stepmother, Elle Mae, was murdered and her father convicted of the crime. When she receives news her father is being allowed to come home because he is dying, Gia comes home to care for him and to figure out exactly what happened that night.
Being known as the daughter of a murderer doesn’t do much to help ease her way back into small town life but meeting a certain attractive bartender helps to take away the sting. As Gia gets to know her father again and try to deal with the guilt of his crime and her abandonment of him, she soon discovers that everyone has a story to tell about that night. As Gia sifts through the half lies and truths, the past comes back to life and she soon discovers there was far more at stake than a simple crime of passion. And the consequences of discovering once and for all what really happened that night may devastate them all.
The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle is a thought provoking dramatic undertaking that takes a decade old crime and uses it to dissect and examine the characters who all were affected by it. While the mystery is a strong base the story is built on, I found the character dynamics far more prevalent. A trio of siblings, torn apart by their stepmother’s death and father’s conviction of the crime must come together and finally deal with the past and their own feelings towards their father and each other. Belle’s voice is a wonderful blend of humor, sorrow, and compassion as she tells us a story of love, loss, jealousy, guilt, and forgiveness. Using the past and the present, Belle guides us down a long twisting road, letting us form our own opinions about what happened as we listen to the victims recollections of what happened and the accounts of all those left behind to question and wonder.
Favorite Quote: “They want an expert to explain she wasn’t a sociopath, just someone who craved constant attention and wasn’t able to solve her own problems.”
“You just described everyone on Facebook.”
Dr. Sheridan (Danny) Doyle has come back to his hometown to visit his ailing grandfather. A victim of an abusive father and a mentally ill mother, Danny rose like a phoenix from the ashes of his childhood and used it to reinvent himself into a famous forensic psychologist. Now he’s back and involved in a series of murders that all date back to a decades old act of violence that has frozen the town in time.
One Of Us is a mystery thriller that steps off the beaten path by giving us the who, what, when, and where fairly early on and concentrating on the “why.” Humor and horror walk hand in hand through the small town of Lost Creek, PA, as the past and present intermingle to try and explain a recent rash of murders. It pits two former residents against one another in a morbid game of cat and mouse as O’Dell strips away the town’s layers to expose a crime that once set in motion, destroys a multitude of lives as it slowly comes to light. A crime that was ignored due to small town prejudice, fear, and ignorance. It’s only when the true story comes to light do we realize just how much of this town and it’s residents was built upon a single act of revenge that was punished in the harshest of fashions.
Lost Creek is a small mining town whose claim to fame is the century old hanging of a group of miners by the owner of the mines. Referred to as the Nellies, these Irish-American miners were immortalized by the town as folk heroes as men who stood up to the injustice of the mines and the men who ran them. Danny Doyle, a descendant of one of those ill fated miners, has always hated Lost Creek. It represents all of his childhood fears-from the dark mines to his hate filled father. He comes back to Lost Creek to see his grandfather, Tommy, who was his savior as a child against the craziness that surrounded Danny. While out on a run, Danny stumbles on to a dead body at the foot of the town’s most historical and gruesome artifact, the very gallows where the Nellies were hung. The murdered man is a descendant of one of the original men who had a hand in the Nellie hangings. As Danny lends his expertise to the investigation, he begins to realize that the murder is but a single piece in a much larger picture. A picture that leads straight back to his family and sets in motion a series of events that changes everything Danny has ever known.
O’Dell builds the storyline slowly; heavy descriptive scenes and characterization give readers a first hand look at the poverty and mindset of those who live in these small towns where the only way to make a living is often met with death. Though Danny is the main protagonist, the rest of the cast is equally compelling and persuasive in their views and actions. From the eccentric four time divorced town detective who was Danny’s pseudo father figure to the egomaniac mine owner’s daughter whose beauty hides a rotten core; O’ Dell gives us a town rich in history and quirky personality.
Danny is an interesting protagonist. A gentle somewhat facetious man whose job has him looking into the eyes of the mentally insane everyday. There seemed to be two sides of him that fight against one another-the boy who struggles with hating and loving his parents and the man who struggles to keep all that pain buried inside, presenting a well adjusted person to the world. Having the story told in the first person helps the reader settle into Danny’s thoughts and world with relative ease.
Though not a whirlwind of action and intrigue, the story flows at a decent if not slow pace, picking up considerably once Danny begins to put the puzzle pieces together. Plenty of dialogue, character interaction, and armchair analysis helps us to see the multiple connections that O’Dell has been slowly revealing to us. Though the actions of some weren’t surprising (I figured most of it out by the middle of the book) the reasons behind them were.
All in all O’Dell writes an interesting tale of madness and circumstance that entertains while offering a brief glimpse into the history of Irish immigrants who can to America with dreams of a better life; only to find themselves in the same if not worse conditions.
The last book of Dean Koontz's I truly enjoyed was One Door Away From Heaven. The last few I’ve read since then seem to be driftDNF
I don't rate DNF's.
The last book of Dean Koontz's I truly enjoyed was One Door Away From Heaven. The last few I’ve read since then seem to be drifting away from the suspenseful & mysterious (of which I’m a huge fan of) and more into the spiritually introspective. The City bored me. I didn’t feel like I was reading a story but rather a historical text-book. Lots of purple prose, metaphors, and hyperbole drags the book down and the actual story gets lost in the clutter. Numerous characters and plot lines left me feeling overwhelmed and unsure exactly what was going on. I think from now on I’ll just stick to re reading his earlier works....more
Janine (Jan) married Rod Stoddard during a low point in her life. Both her parents had been killed by a drunk driver and Rod became her anchor in the sea she was adrift in. It wasn’t until later that she realized she had married a controlling abusive man. After years of trying to become the “perfect woman” she knew she never would be, she takes advantage of his absence to escape the hell she has been living in. Helping her is an organization called Moving On (fictional) which arranges to secretly move abused women through a human network to safety. Jan chooses to go to Asheville in order to see her daughter and granddaughter before she disappears for good.
Harmony ran away from her abusive home and her mother refused to keep in contact with her for fear her father would find her. She is devastated when she sees her family home on the news, engulfed in flames. Unable to contact her mother, Harmony panics until a knock on the door reveals her mother.
Tyler, upon learning Jan’s story and her fears that Rod will come looking for her and place Harmony and her granddaughter in jeopardy, opens up her home to Jan. Tyler wants to continue on with her mother’s legacy of helping others but also feels this is the perfect way to pay back Harmony for the friendship she gave Tyler’s mother, Charlotte, before her death.
As Jan and Harmony work on rebuilding their relationship, Tyler opens her heart to another newcomer-Adam Pryor. Soon, their friendship blossoms into a romance, convincing Tyler that she is ready to move forward in her life.
No River Too Wide is the third installment in Emilie Richards’ Goddesses Anonymous series. A series built around a group of women who have created a safe place in the mountains of North Carolina to help women in need. This contemporary follows the lives of three women whose trust have been broken. A wife finds the strength to leave her abusive husband, her daughter guards her heart in order to not be caught in the same trap as her mother, and a single mother betrayed by love finally opens her heart only to find disappointment once again. When the lives of these three women intersect, old wounds are opened and lessons are learned in redemption, forgiveness, and hope.
A compelling story that takes an intimate look at domestic abuse from a survivor’s point of view; Richards’ has three strong voices in here that compete for our attention. The blending isn’t as flawless as I would have liked because of the strength of each of the characters. Each character’s story is just that-their story. Though Richards’ uses these mothers as a bridge to help understand the dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship and the hard choices one will make for the love and protection of a child, I couldn’t help but feel the bridge never truly completes and each woman remains an island unto themselves.
Jan struggles with her first taste of freedom, her fears that her husband could find her at any given time, and trying to rebuild a relationship with her daughter. A majority of the time Jan is in her own world and her interactions with Harmony are limited to short secret visits because she can’t be seen with Harmony. Harmony is angry at her mother for staying with her father all those years and essentially abandoning her while struggling to form keep a friendly relationship with the father of her child who she refused to marry. The interactions between Harmony and Jan are uncomfortable at times. I commend Jan’s strength in leaving her abuser and understand the reasons why it took so long for her to leave. It’s extremely easy to ask, “Why didn’t she leave,” when you are standing on the outside looking it Harmony is personable with a dry sense of humor and a strong sense of self. She understands her anger towards Jan and actively seeks to understand and forgive.
Taylor, also a single mother, allows Jan to live with her in order to help her keep Harmony and her granddaughter safe. Owner of a yoga salon, Taylor shares with us her struggle with having a child as a teenager, her own pain at mother’s abandonment, and her inability to forgive those she feels transgressed against her. Both Harmony and Tyler are alike in their issues. Tyler’s mother pushed her away when Tyler got pregnant in high school and refused to give up the child. Though Tyler and her mother eventually healed their breach, Tyler still harbors resentment of what her mother did and the fact they didn’t have much time together in the end. She also has residual anger towards her child’s father for how he acted when he found out she was pregnant though they too have reached a better place. I can’t say I really liked or disliked Taylor because I never really felt I got to know her. She had a place saver feel to her. I felt she was used more as a stepping stone to help bring in the suspense and mystery that surrounds her love interest-Adam.
The story bobs and weaves, giving us insight into the past and present, while moving forward. Richards doesn’t use emotional manipulation to make you feel sorry for these women. Rather, she digs deep and allows them to come full circle; each finding their own path to peace and serenity. I did feel after I was finished that reading the ones before this may have allowed me a better understanding of Taylor and Harmony.. Regardless, No River Too Wide is a quiet story of triumph and perseverance. The lessons learned show that life is a series of unknowns and that with the acceptance of help from others, you can rise above your circumstances to lead a life that is fulfilling and filled with wonder.
Favorite Quote: “…We are ‘Throwaway girls,’ kids that are too old to be cute and cuddled, too set in our ways, and too old to be saved because the damage has already been done…”
Andy Burton knows a thing or two about survival. Since she was removed from her mother’s home and placed in foster care when she was nine, she’s had to deal with abuse, hunger, and homelessness. But now that she’s eighteen, she’s about to leave Haywood House, the group home for girls where she’s lived for the past four years, and the closest thing to a real home she’s ever known.
Will Andy be able to carve out a better life for herself and find the happiness she is searching for? (Goodreads)
Throwaway Girl is a bittersweet story of a young girl who is “thrown away” by everyone she has ever loved. In a dispassionate abet sweet voice, Andy (Bernice) Burton begins her story at age 6. Abused by her drug addicted mother, Andy is taken away and placed with a series of foster families where a diet of drugs and alcohol ultimately take their toll in a climatic event that leads her to the Haywood Home.
In Haywood Home, a group home for troubled girls who are unable to be placed with foster families, Andy finds the security and comfort she has always longed for. Knowing she will be forced to leave in a few weeks, Andy reminiscences back on the events that led her to the home and struggles with her new found freedom.
Scarrow’s easy going and poignant voice quickly lulls the reader into a sense of complacency as the protagonist tells her story; alternating between the past and the present. Though I expected a more tragedy laced dramatic tale, it is obviously written for a young audience. The steady pacing, short chapters, and straightforward deliverance reveals a pain filled life without the darkness and in depth descriptions one might find in a more adult or mature YA. Scarrow introduces such topics such as self harming, drugs, alcohol, and rape; incorporating them in to the storyline without actually addressing them beyond a cursory acknowledgement.
An easy read over all, I did feel the short length and journal-like aspect of the story doesn’t really allow the reader to connect with Andy or the issues presented on a personal level. We hear what has happened but I never felt we really experienced how Andy felt during those times. We see an evolution in Andy’s character development but not for those she interacted with. I was left with questions concerning some of the people in her life and the reasons behind their actions. Her lack of curiosity at times was disconcerting.
Though I wasn’t blown away by Throwaway Girl, it does offer some interesting insights into the lives of children who are forced to run the gauntlet know as the foster care system.
Not bad but the storyline was weak and didn't develop into much. The hero bails on the heroine 30 minutes before they were due to be married. He disapNot bad but the storyline was weak and didn't develop into much. The hero bails on the heroine 30 minutes before they were due to be married. He disappears-no contact and no real explanations. A few years later, her mother passes away and heroine learns she has to travel the world and visit certain locations with the hero in order to secure her inheritance. The entire book is them traveling while he repeatedly says he's sorry and she tells him it doesn't matter, she hates him. Then, it just ends. You have to pick up book two to find out if she forgives him and if he ever tells her the truth about what he left. No romance at all.
Emmalee Bullard dropped out of school to begin work at the Tennewa Shirt Factory at age sixteen when her father refused to take her to school anymore and demanded she find a job. She is paired with Leona Lane, a long time employee, whose own life could have mirrored Emmalee’s but for some of the decisions she made. Leona teaches Emmalee everything she knows about sewing and soon a friendship is borne between the older woman and this younger girl. When Emmalee gets pregnant by a local boy three years later, Leona sees Emmalee struggling to be mother and father to her baby all the while having no one to help her. She offers Emmalee the chance to get out from underneath her father’s thumb by asking her to come live with her and her husband. Leona lost her own son years ago and was unable to have anymore. Leona knows Emmalee could be a good wonderful mother if she is just given the chance and the baby would give Leona another chance at love.
When an accident claims Leona and her husband’s life, Emmalee finds herself adrift again with no relief in sight. Her baby’s father is unable and unwilling to help her; a victim of his family’s ambitions. Disappointed by the life she could have had before Leona died, Emmalee wants to honor Leona in the only way she knows how. She wants to make Leona’s funeral dress. While some of the town rebels against the idea, they don’t feel an unmarried mother should have that right, the funeral director gives her the chance. Using some fabric Emmalee finds in Leona’s home, Emmalee begins the dress, pouring her heart and soul into it’s making. Each stitch holds a dream, a prayer, and a hope for a chance to do right in her life for her daughter. When the town divides on whether Emmalee should be allowed to keep her baby, Emmalee finds she has more friends then she knew and a wall of courage that holds true as she begins the fight to keep her daughter.
Set in the hollers of the Tennessee Appalachian Mountains, The Funeral Dress tells the story of a young woman born into poverty and her struggle to rise out of it despite the ties that bind her. Told in an gentle engaging manner, Ms Gilmore paints a compelling portrait of life and poverty in small southern town during the 1970’s. Two female voices tell the story, effectively showcasing the similarities and differences between the women whose lives begin to intertwine from their first meeting. Using sewing as the base to hold the varied storylines together, we see the traditions and comradely that grew between women who worked in the textile factories. They were friends, enemies, confidants, and gossips. They built a family amongst themselves whose ties often went deeper than those they had with their husbands.
Though the story starts out slow, it gradually lulls you with its haunting verse and straightforward telling. Heavily character driven, the alternating points of view offer background information as Emmalee tells her story in the present and Leona tells her story in the past-leading up to to the point of her death. We see the circumstances that led to Emmalee and Leona becoming more than just fellow employees. We see the gifts of strength, courage, and love that Leona leaves with Emmalee after her death. Religion, prejudice, judgment, and compassion all swirl together as the boundaries of family are expanded upon and Emmalee learns that family can be composed of more than just those of her blood.
The ending is introspective when Emmales is offered another chance from an unlikely source to prove to the community and herself that she is more than able to care for her child. Though we aren’t left with any concrete answers to the various unanswered questions that circled throughout the story, we are left with the feeling that Emmalee has the tools and the know how to carve out a life for herself beyond the confines she grew up in. I would have enjoyed seeing more interaction with her child’s father and the grandparents. There was a subtle drawing of lines there that leaves you feeling there is much more to the story to come. Part of me hopes Ms. Gilmore revisits Emmalee’s life and yet another part is satisfied with the way she leaves it, allowing the readers to provide their own ending.
Either way, Ms. Gilmore has penned a lovely tale of small town southern fiction that will stay with you long after you reach the end.
Favorite Quote: “Sometimes you have to go away. Then you can come back new.”
When Mary Crow promised her longtime lover that she would no longer handle criminal cases, she never expected a murder to land at her front door. When the daughter of a prominent politician is found fatally victimized and her boss is charged with the crime, Mary is placed in the intractable position of proving his defense even though she knows it could cause her to lose everything that matters to her.
As Mary divulges deeper into the crime, she finds herself embroiled in a centuries old mystery that stems from a similar murder that occurred 1958 and a ghost story that still haunts the Appalachians surrounding her town. She is also having to deal with personal issues when her lover and his nine year old daughter return from a court ordered visit with her grandparents changed and suddenly acting cold towards her. With the help of the local sheriff’s fiancée and friends from her time as a prosecutor, Mary will learn the hard way that blood is thicker than water and often times the ghosts of our pasts are never truly laid to rest.
Music Of Ghosts is the fifth installment in Sallie Bissell’s Mary Crow series. A suspenseful mystery series whose protagonist, Mary Crow, is a Cherokee lawyer whose penchant for trouble follows her around like a shadow. Even if you haven’t read the first four, the story line’s crisp clean lines and smooth telling allows for instant comprehension and immersion. Heavily character driven with a multitude of twists and turns, lore inspired mystery and suspense builds slowly, intertwining with an on going deeply rooted romance that is not without its own drama.
Set in a small mountain town of North Carolina’s Pisgah County, legend and lore winds together to give us a well written personal glimpse into small town life and the reservations and prejudices that often come with it. I enjoyed meeting Mary and seeing the effort she has made to conform her life to the expectations of her lover, Jonathan Walkingstick. An intelligent and admirable woman, she has sacrificed so much of herself to be with him. A decision she didn’t make lightly nor does she regret. My heart broke for her when Jonathan places his own needs and wants above hers and isn’t there when she needs him most of all.
The secondary characters round out the storyline and further encourage the appeal of this story. Offering up a smattering of humor and eccentricity, I found myself engaging with them all. Everyone has a place in the story, be it large or small, and isn’t used as unnecessary filler. Bissell cleverly uses this small town appeal and eccentricity to keep us on our toes as we are given various clues to both mysteries while keeping our villain hidden right before our eyes.
The ending is an action packed finale that answers all our questions and wraps up the mysteries nice and neat. Mary’s personal life doesn’t wrap up as neatly and we are left with more questions than answers. Hopefully Ms. Bissell will not wait eight years to write book six.
Ms. Bissell’s Music of Ghosts is a enjoyable suspense thriller that will appeal to all readers who enjoy the thrill of a good small town mystery with a strong engaging female protagonist.
Favorite Quote: “Life is often an illusion, Cicely. Illusion that is very real, very strong, but still-place the right amount of force on the right spot and it breaks.“
Night Vision, the fourth installment of Yasmine Galenorn’s dark and sensual fae fantasy, picks up right where Night Seeker ended. Well-plotted and cast with characters that are strong and personable, Night Vision is filled with taut suspense, delicious intrigue, and dangerous antagonists. While Night Seeker was the turning point of the series; very physical and action packed, Night Vision is the emotional aftermath. Galenorn spends more than half the book addressing the emotional changes Cicely is experiencing as she takes her place as the Queen Of Winter. We are taken deep into Cicely’s psyche as she struggles to overcome her fears of the future and her sorrow at what she is losing. A strong storyline with captivating subplots further drives this story towards the finale as Cicely, her wounded prince, and an obsessed vampire all fight for what they want.
Ms. Galenorn continues to evolve and strengthen her convoluted world with her own fascinating twists on supernatural mythology that first started in Night Veil. Detailed descriptions and scenes define this installment as Cicely meets the Winter Court and learns what will be expected of her as Queen. There is no turning back for her or Rhiannon. The arc remains a subtle presence as long running open storylines are finally closed for good. Galenorn is preparing for the end, leaving clues that will have long time readers wondering how she can end this series with our hearts in tact. The world continues to blend carnal passions, electrifying action, dynamic characters, and stark reality into a sensuous feast for the senses. Well plotted, it creates a satisfying development for the main characters and culminates in two very different sort of conflicts that will be decided in the final book.
I continue to enjoy Cicely Waters as a character. Loyal, intelligent, and strong willed, she has made choices that many would balk at making yet she made them without batting an eye. A perfect heroine whose strong moral code that shines against the manipulations of those around her. Born to a drug user with no knowledge of her father, her survival on the streets made her into the warrior we see before us. Her maturity has grown throughout the series, though she still has a vulnerable side that preserves her humanity. We continue to share an intimate connection with Cicely as her pain, her sorrow, and her triumphs become our own. It has been an exciting ride as we have watched her grow from a solitary figure to having friends, family, and a lover. She is still scared but she has learned to trust in herself and others. She has finally reached the point where she can share her life freely with her lover, Grieve, but her association with the Vampire Court will continue to shadow her.
Grieve and Lannan are the two men who are integral parts of Cicely’s life. Grieve, a former Fae Prince of Summer, has been a part of Cicely’s life since she was a little girl. Past installments show us that they are actually old souls who cheated death and found a way to reunite. Grieve’s love for Cicely is a physical entity. Their chemistry burns the pages with each small moment they are able to steal. Lannan, on the other hand, is a sado masochist vampire whose obsession with Cicely has only brought pain to their relationship. Cicely originally signed a contract with the Crimson Court and Lannon for help, but her rise to royalty dissolved the contract and left Lannon angry over the circumstances. In Night Seeker, she and Lannan formed a tentative truce that is reinforced in here, leaving us to wonder what new position he will hold in her life.
The cast of supporting characters are a vivid and dynamic group. Each one fully capable of holding their own story. I like that each have distinct, separate personalities and substories; ensuring they are never overwhelmed by our protagonists. The main conflict of the story is a whirlwind of intrigue, tension, and action, though for me it was short and I wish the two storylines had balanced better. As I stated earlier, more than half the book is spent watching Cicely and Rhiannon (to a much smaller extent), take the thrones and I felt the in depth descriptions and internal thoughts dragged the story down in certain areas. I also wish sometimes we could see other POVs besides Cicely’s. I would pay big money to know where Lannan is emotionally right now.
Regardless of my small issues, Yasmine Galehorn’s Indigo Court series is an addictive heady noir urban fantasy that stretches all your boundaries. I highly recommend. I am looking forward to Night’s End, set to release in July 2014, though I am sad this is the final book of series.
An enjoyable mystery thriller about a young lady who escapes the big city for some down time in a small religious town. As she settles down in her newAn enjoyable mystery thriller about a young lady who escapes the big city for some down time in a small religious town. As she settles down in her new life, she discovers some strange happening in the town. The men are disappearing and she's positive the creepy priest and his hunchman nun has something to do with it. With the help of the local sheriff, she begins to dig beneath the placid town's surface, only to discover that things are not what they seem and her investigations may get her killed.
A good solid premise hooks you from page one. Engaging quirky characters and a well plotted mystery kept me guessing to the very end. I loved the heroine with her charming mixture of sarcasm and snark. She walks a fine line that will keep you entertained.
Club Ties, book 2 in Mara Mcbain's Trinity Falls series, starts out with a BANG and doesn't let up till the very last page. I want to add that I readClub Ties, book 2 in Mara Mcbain's Trinity Falls series, starts out with a BANG and doesn't let up till the very last page. I want to add that I read the kindle version even though it's not listed here.
Club Ties is Mox's (Ginny and Zeke's son) story and a well told story it is. Better then book one, the romance and suspenseful action blend well as Mox finds the love of his life and does everything humanly possible to protect her from her sadistic ex-boyfriend. I love how easily McBain incorporates further world building and character development to allow us to see what's happening beyond the H/H's storyline. Fans of MC romances and SOA will LOVE this installment and I'm more then ready for book three which is said to release this summer.
**warning** There is graphic violence with abuse and rape scenes.**...more
Stoneybrooke is a small town, located on the west coast of Ireland. Multi generational families all live, love, and gossip there together. When locale girl, Chicky Starr, runs away to find love with a visiting American boy, she has no idea that she will end up abandoned thousands of miles from home. Using her wits, Chicky secures employment and invents a plausible story to explain away her ‘errant husband’. When she learns that an old historic mansion, the Stone House, is up for sale back home, she uses her savings and purchases the home, intent on making it a bed and breakfast. With the help of her niece Orla, the previous owner, and an old friend’s son, Chicky gets Stone House up and running and ready to welcome her first guests.
A Week in Winter is a series of character novellas all contained within a larger story, intertwining and feeding off one another. A lovely fictional contemporary that explores the expectations of family and the fine line we walk in order to save face and keep the peace. I have always enjoyed Binchy’s books. My two favorite books from her are The Glass Lake and Circle Of Friends. Set amongst the Irish, a fascinating group of people to begin with, I find her in depth characterization and flowing storylines gently draw you in and transport you to easily into her world. Romance flavors the air though her stories often take a more pragmatic view of life and love in general with bits of advice and morality lessons tossed in for contrast. Dry wit and humor balances the story well. We aren’t always guaranteed a happily ever after for some couples but they are always given an adequate ending that serves them best.
Meeting each guest was an interesting experience. Some come to Stone House with a purpose and some arrive by chance. Each come with preconceived notions, only to be caught unawares of the gifts they will be given. It’s all done in a very subtle way that sneaks up on them, leaving almost all the guests content, if not happy, with the new paths that have been opened to them. We first meet Winnie and Lillian. Winnie is in love with LIllian’s son Teddy but Lillian doesn’t want Teddy to have a new woman in his life. When Winnie plans a get away week for her and Teddy, things get confused and she finds herself arriving in Stoneybrooke with Lillian. John is a famous actor travelling incognito who finds himself at a loss when he is pushed, career wise, in directions he doesn’t want to go. Fredia is escaping a bad relationship, Henry and Nicola are escaping a tragic loss, and Anders is escaping a forced destiny. The Walls arrive, disappointed in having won second place in a contest, and a disgruntled retired school principal Nell Howe brings gloom and doom in her wake.
Each individual story explains how they came to Stone House and the reasons behind their dissatisfaction. They learn that life often throws obstacles in your path and sometimes all it takes is a neutral ear to listen for the problems to sort it all out. The stories circle each other, coming together at the end to give us an ending that reassures us that these people are more than ready for the next step in their lives.
Though Ms. Binchy passed away last year, her writing will continue to appeal to everyone who enjoys timeless heartwarming journeys into small towns and the people who inhabit them.
Favorite Quote: “I chose to serve my time with broken people.“
Greer Cannon has pushed the envelope too far when she is caught shoplifting for the upteenth time. Her parents decide to send her to McCracken Hall, a private school for troubled teens. Greer does her best to obey the strict rules and participates in the therapeutic “help” sessions in order to gain access to privileges and make her stay less prison like. When she meets the gorgeous and charismatic Addison Bradley, Greer feels like her stay at McCracken will finally become bearable.
Addison Bradley has come to McCracken Hall of his own accord for a severe drinking and drug problem. Militant in both his physical and emotional upkeep, he absorbs Greer into his life and philosophies. When he introduces Greer to his mentor, Joshua, Greer feels a kinship with the older gentleman and begins to understand the reasons behind her destructive behaviors.
As Joshua instigates himself more into Greer’s life, she begins to question his motivations. What does he want from her and what is the hold he has over Addison and the rest of their group? As she uncovers more of Joshua’s lies, Greer gives voice to her suspicions, only to be placed firmly on the outside of Joshua’s circle. Can Greer convince her friends that Joshua is dangerous, or will she learn just how far Joshua will go to keep his secrets safe?
The Believing Game is a mild psychological/coming of age thriller. Told in a straightforward style, everything is presented firmly and with little fanfare. By fanfare, I mean there was no real anticipation or build up to each stepping stone on the story. Though, this particular style and tone works in the telling of this story. It presents like an uncomfortable memory. Snarky humor and teenage musings kept the book from becoming too matter of fact.
Told from the point of view of Greer Cannon, we learn she is sent to a privileged “reform” school for her problems (stealing, promiscuous sex, and eating disorder). We get a ringside seat to her thoughts and feelings about her problems, her family, the school, and how she attempts to deal with it all. Greer was an interesting character. Not given to overly emotional teen angst or grandstanding, we learn why she choose to do the things she did. She has a jaded outlook towards herself and her place in life. She has no remorse over what she has done in the past, she is a bad girl through and through. Yet she has a certain honesty about herself that is refreshing. Her first reaction when first seeing Addison is telling.
“I noticed him. And then he noticed me back. It surprised me. He didn’t look like someone who would look at me. But he did. A lot…It wasn’t that my face was supremely magnetic or anything. They gave me back shampoo. They didn’t airbrush me.”
Greer understands the way to play the game at the school in order to leave but does not place a lot of hope in the actual cure. She feels the teachers and counselors are merely reciting from a script, playing the game right along with her. It’s only after she meets Addison and Joshua that she begins to honestly question her choices and the actions that lead her to McCracken Hall.
Addison was less developed for me then Greer. We don’t get much insight into his feelings or point of view-only what Greer sees and deduces. She senses from the beginning that something isn’t right about him or his situation but chooses to ignore her own misgivings in order to remain by his side. Once their relationship solidifies, in her eyes, we begin to see a change in Greer. She strives to become a better person in order to justify to herself that she deserves to be with Addison.
"Look at me Addison. I’m trying to be the best version of myself for you."
That’s not to say that the relationship between Greer and Addison is harmful, because it’s not. It’s actually healing for Greer, though she shows a dependency on Addison that is worrisome in the beginning. As we watch Greer grow within herself, additional characters are introduced who all seem to physically embody the dysfunctional emotions that are part of Greer’s life. We meet wrath, greed, lust, gluttony, pride, and envy. Each one sent to the school for reasons of their own making.
Joshua, our villain, is introduced in deceptively small doses in the beginning. His charismatic personality a seemingly breathe of fresh air among the repetitive rhetoric spouted by the school’s counselors. Joshua instigates himself into Greer’s small group of friends, spreading his ideology with damning praise and false prophecies. We are shown the evolution of a cult leader. Corrigan does a wonderful job of showing the effects of such a personality on these impressionable intelligent teenagers. The kids in here all feel abandoned by their families in some fashion or form, so it was easy for Joshua to slip into a pseudo role of father, mother, and confident. What is really interesting is that Greer isn’t the only one who sees the flaws beneath his exterior. Everyone involved feels the faint stirrings of discontent but like Greer, they all have something to lose should they choose to verbalize their feelings. It’s only when something happens to one of them that is just too big to ignore does Greer finally choose to risk her own happiness by making a stand.
The ending is heartbreaking, illuminating, and confusing as we watch the effects of Joshua’s fall from grace ripple through Greer’s friends and the school as a whole. Corrigan resolves the main conflict in one clean swoop then drops us and we are left looking around wondering, “Is that the end?” I was left with more than a few questions. There are also some events in here that were unbelievable and jerked me out of the story.
Regardless of my misgivings, I found the story engaging if not overly suspenseful and exciting. I recommend for those who enjoy a more contemporary non-pnr based YA with a realistic base and tone.
A sweet, adorable, slightly angsty, romantic coming of age story about young friends who part on less then stellar terms and run into one another 8 yeA sweet, adorable, slightly angsty, romantic coming of age story about young friends who part on less then stellar terms and run into one another 8 years later, only to find their feelings never changed. ...more
Crow's Row is a new adult romance centering around a collage aged girl who witnesses a brutal murder, only to find herself kidnapped by the gang who cCrow's Row is a new adult romance centering around a collage aged girl who witnesses a brutal murder, only to find herself kidnapped by the gang who committed it. As she tries to make heads and tails of her situation, she finds herself falling in love with the gang leader and learning more about her brother's death. Slow going, a majority of the book centers around our heroine and hero's romance with small injections of the plot. The book has a very YA feel to it. Reading, I didn't feel like I was seeing and hearing 20-30 yr olds but rather 15-20 year olds. Actions and dialogue pointed to a much younger crowd. I would have loved more interaction with the gang/drug running aspect, but the story is told from the heroine's POV and she is kept far from that. The last 1/4 of the book explodes with action and suspense though we are left with a cliffhanger. Regardless of any problems I had, the story does have an addictive quality to it that has me wanting book 2. ...more
Christian romance is not my go to genre. However, I do occasionally read in order to "cleanse my palate" so to speak. Claiming The Prize is a lovel3.5
Christian romance is not my go to genre. However, I do occasionally read in order to "cleanse my palate" so to speak. Claiming The Prize is a lovely, romantic, sensual love story about an MMA fighter and a ex mma fighter's daughter. Drago and Grace meet, fall in love, get married and THEN the story starts. We watch as their relationship continues to grow as Drago fights his way to the world championship. I like how we are not given a Christian love story but rather a love story with a couple of faith. No heavy handed religious preaching in here. It is a soft underlying factor in the story that blends realistically. Our HH have to deal with jealously, insecurity, envy, ect...yet rather then have it drag out with a lot of misunderstanding and angst, they communicate with one another and lean on their faith for guidance. Our HH have steamy chemistry with some smexy scenes that tantalize and satisfy without needing the dirty talk that has become the norm lately. The added MMA storyline is interesting and well done. My only complaint? It's a bit straightforward and some deeper some mystery & conflict would have been nice. All the conflicts resolve themselves relatively easy and fast....more
Not sure where to start. Reflected In You disappointed me. I expected more growth and development character wise from our MCs. Instead, we see more jeNot sure where to start. Reflected In You disappointed me. I expected more growth and development character wise from our MCs. Instead, we see more jealiousy, obsessiveness, lies, and sex. I wasn't convinced of their romance in Bared To You but gave it the benefit of the doubt as it was the first book, an introduction and set up. Yet in here, there is still no viable reasons as to WHY they are even together. A strong sexual attraction is understandable but why are they falling in love? What attracts then to one another beyond sex? I don't think Day addresses that in a realistic fashion. There is nothing I have seen in either book that can convince me this couple should be together.
The constant emotional barrage they subject themselves and each other to is exhausting. They are both drama queens. Everything is !!!!!!! for them. Even if I can't understand it, I would have still enjoyed had their story shown some advancement but all I felt was relief when it was all over. While Im still convinced this is merely another version of 50 Shades, I enjoyed 50 Shades more because I actually liked Christan and Ana. There is nothing likable, to me, about Gideon and Eva. ...more
Meh. White Trash Beautiful has all the necessary tools for a potential kick arse story. Abused heroine with a drugged out boyfriend and mom, a dead inMeh. White Trash Beautiful has all the necessary tools for a potential kick arse story. Abused heroine with a drugged out boyfriend and mom, a dead in job, a potential white knight rock star hero. What we get is a harlequin-esque YA that takes every possible cliche and trope, spins it around a few times, then ends. I wanted this to be good. I wanted this to overwhelm me. I didn't want a foul mouth heroine who indecisive nature causes her to cheat, lie, and eventually allow her beta hero to whisk her away; but only after the requisite confrontation and devastating moment.
To say I'm disappointed is an understatement....more
Holy....I'm not sure what to say or where to start. This is NOT a book I would normally gravitate to. While I read a ton of erotica, I'm not one for aHoly....I'm not sure what to say or where to start. This is NOT a book I would normally gravitate to. While I read a ton of erotica, I'm not one for anything that smacks of the slave/master theme, even if consentual. And this most definitly is not. In fact, I was ignornat of this book till friend and fellow blogger, Amy, tweeted me and said we need to read.
Me-Uhhh, no. Amy- Why? Me-You KNOW how I feel about this subject matter. Amy-The buzz says it's good. Me-No Amy-Awww, come on. Me-No, I'll cry and feel like crap for a week after I read. Amy-No you won't. Just read it. Me-No, I'm sensitive. Amy-You're not that sensitive. Read the book. Me *whining* No Amy-READ IT WOMAN!!!! Me-Eep Ok.
So I read it. And I cried. And I got angry. And I found myself having to stop and remember to breath because I was so upset over Livvie and Caleb. This is not a light, fluffy, feel good HEA story. All I could think to myself this whole book was how unfair it all was. Livie is a fantastic heroine. Roberts doesn't make her extra special. She is a normal young woman and her actions and emotions are spot on to what Caleb has in store for her. At times I became angry at her submission, yet the rationale side of me knew that by submitting, she was in reality, gaining control. I commend Roberts for creating a male lead who is so horrendious yet was able to impart enough emotion from him to us to actually make you feel sorry for him at times. I find myself disgusted that I even waste an ounce of sympathy on Caleb, but alas, I do. *sigh* I am a mess right now. This story is not for the faint of heart. There are scenes and situations that may offend.
The sequel has released already but I need to hold off on it till I process this one....more
Favorite Quote: “I wondered if I could live with the version of me that Rachel was trying to create.”
Clare, a budding fashion designer and clothing repurposer, doesn’t remember a whole lot about the sleepy seaside town of Winston, California, having moved away as a child. After her parents get divorced, she and her mother move back into the “haunted” family home and are attempting to start their lives over.
The town is getting ready to celebrate it’s annual Fourth Of July festival, but this year, a somber pall falls over the town. A suspected serial killer has struck twice and the town and it’s residents wait on pin and needles for him to strike again. When Clare’s “gift” resurfaces with a vengeance, Clare knows that the sleepy town of Winston is holding some dark secrets, secrets that could shatter the town and her life forever.
The story begins with a look into Clare’s family history. Claire’s pregnant great grandmother was the victim of a violent crime. In the instance between her baby being born and herself dying, a gift developed. The women of her family are psychometric. They are able to see and sense emotions from clothing. Sometimes benign, sometimes violent, the gift skipped Clare’s mom and landed solely on Clare. Clare was warned as a child to ignore her gift for it will only cause her grief. Clare does her best but when she comes across an old designer jacket, one touch sends her into oblivion and her gift kicks back in with a vengeance. Clare searches for the the jacket’s owner and comes to find out it belongs to Amanda Stavros, a supposed victim of the serial killer. Further investigation leads her to the town’s #1 suspect, Jack Dimaunahan. Local bad boy and a serious crush for Clare.
Hanging By A Thread is a lightweight supernatural YA. I have been told this is the third book of her Banishing series but was unable to confirm that. Though smoothly written with a steady pace, the premise promised more than what was delivered. I expected more action, suspense, and definite inclusion of Clare’s unique gift. While the book was entertaining to a certain extent it was a low key entertainment, not eliciting much emotion either way for me. I’d classify this as a romantic contemporary with paranormal aspects.
We spend a great deal of time learning about Clare. Littlefield seems to do an in depth character analysis of her life and her passions (repurposing clothing) yet for all that is written, I ended the story feeling like I never really got to know the true Clare. Perhaps it’s because it was written in Clare’s voice, you miss the other characters observations which can sometimes bring us a deeper look at our protagonist. I did enjoy meeting her though. The repurposing of clothing is a particular interest of mine since I dabble in it and I like how Littlefield uses that to link her to the other “gifted” members of her family while creating friction between Clare and her mother. In the beginning, Clare has a nice bit of snark to her but it’s soon buried under a more mature attitude that had me having to reminding myself exactly how old she was.
Our secondary characters are abundant and personable, but again, we don’t get to an in depth look into their psyche. Jack is the typical misunderstood bad boy and I felt that his and Clare’s romance was a bit rushed. We get a “soul mate” feeling from Clare even while she questions his guilt but the chemistry is missing something. Her best friend Rachel was a little more developed but the build up of her character and her part in the drama feel flat once details were revealed and the main conflict played out. Again, I wanted more from her characters and the storyline then Littlefield was willing to give.
There are multiple sub stories running through out the story that cause confusion at times. I found myself wondering why certain aspects were added as they really didn’t add to the story and faded away without explanation. The action is minimal and very benign for what I expected of a supernatural thriller. At times I was hooked by the story and other times I had to stop myself from slipping through boring scenes. I enjoyed the conflict between Clare’s Nana and her mom. Nana is a very interesting character that made me smile on more than one occasion.
The mystery itself is solid and interesting with injects of suspense and intrigue but the solving of it and resolution of the main conflict was anti climatic. Again, I expected more. More information on the villains. More inclusion of the villains into the main storyline. It’s solved and were done.
As I stated earlier, this is a lightweight paranormal YA. I never quite got over the feeling that I was being “told” a story rather than reliving someone’s story with them. A quick read that I’d save for a put it in my beach and/or rainy day read. The appeal of it is more geared towards a younger YA crowd, in my opinion.