Sadly, this was a DNF for me. I had high hopes for it, but I just couldn't seem to get into it no matter how hard I tried. The writing style just wasn...moreSadly, this was a DNF for me. I had high hopes for it, but I just couldn't seem to get into it no matter how hard I tried. The writing style just wasn't for me and as much promise as the story held, it wasn't enough to get me through.(less)
Sometimes when I look back at my own crazy childhood, I have to wonder how I made it out a somewhat normal, functional adult. But then I read stories...moreSometimes when I look back at my own crazy childhood, I have to wonder how I made it out a somewhat normal, functional adult. But then I read stories like this and all I can think is how I guess it could have been worse.
Joshua's life story begins when he is born to Claudia, a single woman who has dropped out of college to help bring on the revolution. She is a feminist and believes strongly that New America is just around the corner. After a one night stand, Claudia finds herself pregnant with Joshua. For the first few years of his life, they spend their time traveling between communes where they live with other feminists or activists, some of which take on a helping role in taking care of Joshua. His father, Claude, is unreliable and rarely shows up when he says he will.
I felt a connection with Joshua right away. His mother was clearly mentally unstable and this left him without a real home or family. He was constantly moved around to different homes and left with strangers. At even the young age of four, where most kids are only worrying about getting a swing during playtime at the park, Joshua is losing sleep at night worrying about nuclear bombs and war. I can't imagine how terrifying it must be to be that young and worrying about things so completely insane and having your own parent put those fears in your head.
I don't think it will come as a big shock to say that I absolutely despised Claudia. Even though it is clear that she has her own deep set of issues, I had a hard time finding and sympathy for her. She left her son with strangers, or even alone during the night because she just had to get out, and put her son in far too many inappropriate and violent situations that no person, especially a child, should ever have to live through. It was frustrating reading all the things that took place during Joshua's young life and not being able to reach through the pages and smack his mother around a bit.
Still, by the end of this story I couldn't help but find myself feeling uplifted and empowered. Even though his childhood was not ideal, Joshua still turns out to be a remarkable person to be proud of. Did he lay down and let life beat him? No way. Instead, he has used his experiences as a live a better life and he is thankful for the experiences he did have, even though they weren't always good ones.
Overall, Free Spirit is a truly amazing, although quite upsetting at times, story of a young boy coming of age in a far different world than the rest of us can even imagine. Joshua's feelings are honest, even at the hurt it may cause his mother at times, and his life story is one that will stay with me for a very long time. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those who prefer deeper emotional reads and memoirs.(less)
After two years apart, Anne is finally ready to give Neil one more chance to win her heart forever. They have gone on vacation to England and soon fin...moreAfter two years apart, Anne is finally ready to give Neil one more chance to win her heart forever. They have gone on vacation to England and soon find themselves lost in the mountains. As if this isn't upsetting enough, they discover human remains along with a mysterious necklace that quickly brings danger along with it. Anne is seeing visions and finds herself torn between the present and the past. Who is the ghost-like woman that Anne sees crying and how are they connected?
Shadows of the Past is a gripping story of two women who have never met, but are deeply connected. The story alternates between the past and the present, slowly bringing to light the true evil haunting both unassuming women. We first meet Genevieve, a nun living in a monastery in the late 1400's. After a very hard life, she has been living here for only a short time when a new Mother Superior has taken over and strange things start happening. Genevieve seems to be a target of this mean woman and is desperate to get help.
Next we meet Anne. After a long breakup, Anne and Neil are trying to work beyond their harsh history and are attempting to mend their broken relationship. If you want to know if a relationship is built to last, the easiest way is to test it in a stressful situation. This is exactly what happens to the couple when they come across bones and a strange cross in the mountains. Anne immediately starts seeing strange visions of a woman and bad things start happening to them while they are stranded in the mountain overnight. Something evil is after them but they don't know why or what.
This was such a fascinating tale that I can't even decide whose story I enjoyed more, Genevieve's or Anne's. I needed to know why Genevieve was in so much danger, and I also wanted to know what happened between Anne and Neil to break them apart years ago. But of course, I was most desperate to find out how the two women were connected and why they were being targeted by evil. The author does such an amazing job building the suspense and pacing the two stories out perfectly that I found it very hard to put this book down even for a few minutes.
Overall, Shadows of the Past was an intriguing mystery that held my attention throughout. Whether you are a fan of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, mysteries, or even romance, this book a book for you. (less)
Back in June I was fortunate to receive a novella called The Island for review. I enjoyed this story quite a bit and was thrilled to learn that the au...moreBack in June I was fortunate to receive a novella called The Island for review. I enjoyed this story quite a bit and was thrilled to learn that the author was released a companion novella from a different character's point of view.
After hearing from Leia in The Island, it was only fitting that we hear Walt's side of the story. I was anxious to hear how he came to cross the dividing wall and came across Leia. But not only do we learn about Walt's adventure, we also learn a lot more about the "Fools" and how they live.
Walt is a fifteen year old boy who is just trying to figure out life on his own terms. He has questions about his faith and heritage but also doesn't want to give up on it. He wants to find his own way, even if that means having to cross the wall to the Unbelievers and put himself in danger. He is a strong character, likable, and one that everyone can connect with no matter what their age.
I was a little worried at first that this story would turn super religious because Walt's grandfather, Thomas, is a strong believer in the Goddess Annabelle. He is obsessed with going to Temple and determined to get Walt to join him too. Thankfully though, the story did not become preachy and I wasn't turned off from it.
What I loved most about this story was not only learning the history of the Fools but also the mystery. There is murder and deception that Walt is determined to see resolved. The two themes come together in a spectacular way and I just inhaled the story as fast as I could. The author also does a fantastic job of reminding readers of the events of the last book without rehashing it all over again.
Overall, I truly enjoyed The Waves. Maybe even more so than The Island because I already had half of the back story and this was the perfect way to add to it. If you love dystopians, Young Adult or short stories, I highly recommend you pick up both The Island and The Waves as soon as possible. These reads are perfect for a chilly afternoon read or when you are in need of something quick yet satisfying. (less)
Everyone has their own story when it comes to 9/11. It's something that no matter where you were or what you were doing at the time, you remember ever...moreEveryone has their own story when it comes to 9/11. It's something that no matter where you were or what you were doing at the time, you remember every minute of that morning. Unexpected is Michelle Rhodes' story. It's her first year of college and she is living alone in New York City when tragedy strikes. Even though she didn't know anyone who died that day and was a few miles away, she is still having trouble dealing with it. She leaves school and goes home to Pennsylvania to her parents.
Then she meets Connor Donnelly. He offers her a job and a place to live in order to get her back into the city. He is struggling with 9/11 in his own way and wants to help Michelle get over her fears. But soon Michelle and Connor find themselves in a tangled relationship and she doesn't know where to turn. Is she strong enough to face her fears and help Conner face his?
Michelle's story was one that I understood and connected with immediately. Even though I wasn't in New York on 9/11 and didn't know anyone personally that was killed, it still affected me greatly. In fact, I still get nervous when I see planes flying low to the ground on their way to the air force base nearby. I don't think this will ever change. So even though Michelle wasn't directly involved, I could still understand her fears.
I admit I had a hard time liking Connor at first. He came off as cocky and demanding and I couldn't understand why Michelle was so attracted to him. Even though he was her boss at the bar, he seemed to think he ruled her life and tried to control her outside of work too. It took me a while to warm up to him, some of the things he did just threw me off.
Eventually though, I came around and started liking him more as his story came to light. He was hurting just as badly as Michelle, even more so, actually, and he was having a hard time dealing with his loss. Did he make the best decisions? Absolutely not, but I began to understand them.
Unexpected was a very emotional read with a very heavy topic. What I liked most about this story was that it didn't make me feel like people who weren't immediately affected by the events of 9/11 were wrong to feel the same as those that were. Everyone was affected in their own way and needs to grieve in their own way too.
Overall, this was a quick, heartfelt story of love, loss and moving forward. I highly recommend Unexpected to anyone and everyone, especially those still dealing with the events of 9/11. (less)
When I was first approached by the author for a possible review of Pink Slips and Glass Slippers, he explained to me that he wrote this book in respon...moreWhen I was first approached by the author for a possible review of Pink Slips and Glass Slippers, he explained to me that he wrote this book in response to a dare. Someone had said that men can't write romance and he was out to prove them wrong. I immediately knew that I had to read the book. Not because I agreed with the person who challenged him, but because I agreed with the author and wanted to see if he had succeeded. He most definitely did.
Pink Slips and Glass Slippers is the story of Brooke Hart, a successful business woman who is still trying to find her way after the loss of her husband, Tanner. She was working for GenSense, a research company, when it was sold to Pharmical Solutions and she decided to make the move along with it. Unfortunately, the new company is nothing like her old one. They are interested in only what will make them money, not the drugs that could save thousands of lives.
I have to admit to liking Brooke right away. She was incredibly smart and successful, yet that didn't impact her personality at all. She was very kind, hardworking and sensitive. I couldn't imagine the pain she was going through after such a horrific loss and that just made me cheer for her even more. She also reminded me a little of myself in a few ways, especially when she would get angry (although I'm not really sure that's a good thing).
Then we have Chase, the CEO of Brooke's new company and a very handsome one at that. Sparks fly between Brooke and Chase immediately but of course, nothing can happen since they work together. Chase is a loving father and only wants the best for his son, even if that means keeping up appearances where he'd much rather move on.
The relationship between Brooke and Chase may have started out with just a mutual crush, but eventually things start to heat up and once it did, I couldn't get enough. Things don't come easy for the pair though, and some pretty hilarious misunderstandings make them have to work that much harder to make things right. Even though there were some heavy subjects fused in with the romance, they didn't weigh the story down one bit. If anything, the personal backgrounds of the characters bring them to life and make their budding relationship all the more believable.
Overall, even though some of the romantic talks and metaphors came off as a little corny, I definitely have to say that the author did one heck of a job putting that "dare" to shame. There's a reason that this book has been so successful. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who enjoys romance with a hint of mystery and a lot of substance. (less)