You know those disclaimers bloggers need to provide at the end of their reviews? Well let’s set the record straight right now. I know this author (we...moreYou know those disclaimers bloggers need to provide at the end of their reviews? Well let’s set the record straight right now. I know this author (we blog together). I’m invested in this author. I want her to do well. She sent me a free review copy, and then I went out and bought her book anyway. I’m thrilled to pieces about her debut release…
…But I was a little bit scared to read it.
Between you and me (and several thousand people on Goodreads), it was like meeting your friend’s baby for the first time and hoping he’s cute. Not that you’d ever let on, but you’d feel sooooo sorry for your buddy if he wasn’t! I’m happy to report Serena has nothing to worry about. No cone-shaped heads or unsightly birthmarks here. Her baby is absolutely adorable (think Shiloh Pitt or Suri Cruise cute--minus the temper tantrums and high heels).
THE RYN is the story of knights and princesses, secret destinies, and mythical bear-man creatures. It’s a beautiful cross between fantasy and fairytale with amazingly intricate world building. I was perfectly content visiting the world Serena created. There was a scene toward the beginning involving the heroine and her brother that made me laugh out loud and I thought “there’s Serena’s humor!” in the same way you might comment “your baby has your eyes.”
Then something amazing happened.
With a brilliant display of craft, the author flipped the script on both her main character and the readers and sucked us deeper into this fairytale. A vine of tangled ivy couldn’t have held my attention any more securely. At that point, THE RYN stopped being Serena’s baby and became my story. I took up residence, I moved in. I became Rose and oh-my-word, it was me falling in love with the handsome knight Sir Julien.
Serena Chase has created a world in which any fantasy lover would gladly spend the day. It is full of allegory, adventure, mystery and just enough romance to satisfy this romance fan.
Bravo my friend on your glorious debut, and bring on THE REMEDY!
Sometime during my prepubescent years, long before I was old enough to actually read a Stephen King novel, I watched the movie Carrie which, in additi...moreSometime during my prepubescent years, long before I was old enough to actually read a Stephen King novel, I watched the movie Carrie which, in addition to scarring me for life, firmly imprinted on my psyche that horror was just not my genre. It took an additional 30 years for me to develop even a passing interest in the author.
But I kept seeing the title 11/22/63 popping up on Goodreads and the subject intrigued me. After verifying with multiple sources that its genre was definitely not HORROR, I decided to give it a try. I can't believe what I've been missing! King is a masterful storyteller and I enthusiastically recommend the Audible.com version of the book(I alternated between listening and reading), the narration is excellent.
11/22/63 is the story of a man who travels back in time to stop the assassination of JFK. It reads like a cross between The Time Traveler's Wife and Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (if It's a Wonderful Life came with a heaping dose of suspense). Not too much romance to turn off the guys, but just enough to satisfy saps like me. I completely enjoyed living in King's version of late 1950's, though I probably wouldn't have liked the real thing.
King hammers home a couple of themes throughout: 1. The Past is obdurate. 2. The Past harmonizes. And King makes the Past a character all his own, a character who adds just the faintest supernatural creep factor to the story.
I absolutely loved this book. More than I've loved a book in a very long time. While I doubt I'll ever put the likes of Pet Cemetery on my Goodreads shelf, I will definitely check out some of King's other work for my next five star read. (less)
Travis is a local boy done good. After hitting it big on the rodeo circuit, he returns home to help his childhood sweetheart save her ranch. Shay has...moreTravis is a local boy done good. After hitting it big on the rodeo circuit, he returns home to help his childhood sweetheart save her ranch. Shay has fallen on hard times and resists any intervention from the man who once left her at the alter.
I'm a sucker for a good childhood sweetheart storyline. And there's something about Travis's cocksure attitude and barely concealed smirks that are so adorable.
Their story is heavy (HEAVY) on the romance and this book boyfriend had my heart beating in my throat. Definitely a five star read! (less)
Argh! I said I was going to take a break from dystopian and here I am getting sucked into yet another series. This post apocalyptic zombie tearjerker...moreArgh! I said I was going to take a break from dystopian and here I am getting sucked into yet another series. This post apocalyptic zombie tearjerker left me with way too many unanswered questions so I'm going to have to read books 2 and 3. (less)
Like Divergent, Veronica Roth's Insurgent moves at break neck speed and you are thrown into the story right from the first page. I found very little r...moreLike Divergent, Veronica Roth's Insurgent moves at break neck speed and you are thrown into the story right from the first page. I found very little recapping of what happened in the last book and for that reason, it took me a little while to remember who the characters were and what had happened to them in the year since we'd last met (I suggest reading the books back to back if you can). Insurgent is a fun summer read, perfect for the beach. But beware, the story ends on such a huge cliffhanger, I actually had the LOST sound effect pop into my head after the last sentence. (less)
From a writer's standpoint, this book was a joy to read. Stiefvater is a master of writing subtext, her chararacters frequently discuss life altering...moreFrom a writer's standpoint, this book was a joy to read. Stiefvater is a master of writing subtext, her chararacters frequently discuss life altering issues without ever actually talking about them at all. Linger is a character driven novel, not alot of action happens until the end, but Sam, Grace, Isabel and Cole's personalities are so deep and complex, I should have been taking notes. (less)
A fascinating, highly readable memoir by one of my favorite teen heartthrobs. Stories about his childhood chutzpah, his hard partying Brat Pack days,...moreA fascinating, highly readable memoir by one of my favorite teen heartthrobs. Stories about his childhood chutzpah, his hard partying Brat Pack days, and the bizarre coincidences that have followed him in life made this book perfect brain candy for the lazy days of summer. (less)
I had a bad reaction to a bonnet book a decade ago (broke out in a nasty case of book flinging) and have avoided the genre ever since.
But not without...moreI had a bad reaction to a bonnet book a decade ago (broke out in a nasty case of book flinging) and have avoided the genre ever since.
But not without a little guilt.
Edgy or not, I write a Christian romance blog and to ignore the Amish is to ignore a huge section of the inspirational market. So I put "read a bonnet book" at the top of my to-do list, but it kept slipping somewhere behind call Aunt Edna and clip my toenails. I just couldn't get excited about it.
Last month, my Google alerts picked up a conversation about an edgy Amish novel that caught my attention. I checked Amazon for the novel being discussed, Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long, and when I read the one star review nestled between all the four and five star ones, my interest grew. It sounded like just the kind of book I'd looooove. Then a friend on Goodreads called Kelly Long the Amish Deeanne Gist, and I was sold (read the backstory on my Deeanne Gist obsession at my blog).
Don't let its vanilla cover fool you, Lily's Wedding Quilt had everything I love in an edgy inspirational romance, high romantic tension, lots of relationship angst, and kissing scenes that'll flap your church fan. It's the closest thing I've read to Deeanne Gist this year except, obviously, Deeanne Gist.
In addition to raising the heat level, I loved that the author touched on the topic of depression in the Christian community. In my opinion, there is some misinformation and harmful teaching coming from pulpits on that issue and her book does a great job addressing it.
As long as I don't picture Jacob kissing Lily with that married Amish beard of his (those things aren't attractive at all) I can say Lilly's Wedding Quilt is one of the best romances I've read in 2011.
(I did not receive this book for review, I purchased it myself).(less)
There is just something soooo romantic about marrying a complete stranger only to fall in love with him later-
Yeah...I guess when you type it out lik...moreThere is just something soooo romantic about marrying a complete stranger only to fall in love with him later-
Yeah...I guess when you type it out like that it doesn't sound very appealing. But in Christian fiction, the marriage of convenience story line is one of my favs and The Doctor's Lady rocks this plot device.
In order to pursue careers in missions, Eli and Priscilla need to find spouses. Since neither of them is interested in getting married, they decide to be disinterested together, thus begins a beautiful business relationship.
I love how Hedlund throws Priscilla and Eli together in a cross country caravan with her former flame (cause when your husband's just not that into you, the last person you need witnessing the fact is your ex-honey and his pregnant wife). Alternately awkward and poignant moments ensue making this subplot one of my favorites of the book.
If you're looking for a highly engaging historical romance that's heavy on the romance (my favorite kind), pick up The Doctor's Lady and hang on for the ride. (less)
I'm a little late to the Laura Frantz party, my book blogging friends have been singing her praises for a while. But now I see the appeal. I found her...moreI'm a little late to the Laura Frantz party, my book blogging friends have been singing her praises for a while. But now I see the appeal. I found her writing style lyrical and poetic and reminiscent of another one of my favorite authors, Tamera Alexander.
The Colonel's Lady is the kind of novel you'll want to savor on lazy Saturday afternoon (even if your lazy afternoon means reading a good portion of it in parking lots while playing family chauffeur). Whether you can while away a rainy day on your sofa, or have to sneak it in between running errands, I must insist you read this book.
Set in a backdrop of the Revolutionary War, The Colonel's Lady was about the relationship between Colonel Cass McLinn and Roxanna Rowan, the daughter of one of his slain soldiers. The relationship between Roxanna and Cass may have been forged on a deathbed promise, but it grew in intensity as the story progressed until it mirrored the colonel's intense personality and the intensity of his kisses.
Yeah, there was some *really* good kissing in this book (that alone might be enough for some of us to go storming the bookstores, eh?). But throw in a few plot twists readers won't see coming, and a climatic battle at the end, and you've got a recipe one of the best historical romances of the year.
Well done, Laura Frantz. I'm looking forward to reading your backlist.
Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Revell for my review copy.(less)
First up, this is not a review. If you want to read how awesome the story is check one of the hundreds of other reviews here or on Amazon (and make no...moreFirst up, this is not a review. If you want to read how awesome the story is check one of the hundreds of other reviews here or on Amazon (and make no mistake, the book is awesome). No, this is the writer side of me gushing about Stiefvater's ability to write emotion that pours off the page. Margie Lawson grads will recognized empowered emotions and fresh description in just about every paragraph.
I highlighted a couple of my favorites on kindle:
"I'd gotten close to him again and I'd caught Cole. He came with a very specific set of symptoms. Irritability. Mood swings. Shortness of breath. Loss of appetite. Listless, glassy eyes. Fatigue. Next up, pustules and buboes, like the plague. Then death.
I really thought I'd recovered. But it turned out I was just in remission." (Isabelle's thoughts on her rocky relationship with Cole, Kindle location 727).
"In the syringe the liquid was colorless as spit and thin as a lie. In my veins it was razors and sand, fire and mercury." (Kindle location 3887)
A couple of quotes probably doesn't do the book justice but the aspiring writer in me demands that I now read everything this woman has written. She is just that good.
P.S.- I love the characters of Sam and Grace, but I found the tortured relationship of Cole and Isabelle infinitely more interesting. They were by far my favorite characters in this series.