I love Ms Armstrong's writing, but to be honest, the Darkness Rising trilogy hasn't been my favorite work of hers so far....more**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (B+)
I love Ms Armstrong's writing, but to be honest, the Darkness Rising trilogy hasn't been my favorite work of hers so far. So when I got The Rising, my initial intent was to take a peek and put it aside for later. However, once I took that peek, I was completely hooked - simply couldn't put it down and ended up reading the whole thing LOL.
My enjoyment of The Rising is in large part due to Maya's gang finally meeting up with Chloe's group from the Darkest Powers trilogy. This is something I've been hoping for throughout the trilogy and it finally happening, well it made my day :) I just enjoyed the interactions between the two groups as their circumstances differed a lot. On one hand, you have Maya's gang who all grew in this community of experiment subjects, being monitored without really knowing it. Now on the run, they have to rely on themselves. While most of Chloe's group has been aware of being experiment subjects and have been trying to learn and control their powers. In addition, they can rely on Chloe's aunt and Derek and Simon's father. The contrasting idea between the two projects was also interesting to me. Project Genesis which Chloe stems from was to genetically enhance powers of supernaturals while Project Phoenix which includes Maya was to revive supernatural beings that have been extincted. But quite honestly, at the end of the day, I just wanted updates of Chloe's group as I personally preferred them to Maya's ^_^; And LOL, let just say Derek's reaction didn't disappoint :)
What I also really liked in The Rising was the resolution at the end. Maya and Chloe's groups have been on the run for a while... Is that all their future holds for them? The answer is no :) I personally really wished that they had gone to the supernatural council. I think Paige and company need to know about them, about these projects... However, as they hadn't gone to the council, I think the person they went to make the best sense: Sean Nast. With Lucas and Sean taking leading positions in the Cabal clans and the emergence of the supernatural council, you can see that things are starting to change... and it's quite exciting to actually see Sean's position in the Cabals solidifying :) Perhaps I'm biased, but I feel Sean is someone that Maya and Chloe can trust. He's the one that going to be the most upfront with them. In any case, as I said, I liked the resolution at the end. Yes, they are still dependent on the Cabals, but at least, they are no longer on the run. They can live a "normal" life with their families. Also, they are now aware of their powers and the choices they will have to make in the future. It's not perfect, but it's better than what they could hope for at the beginning of The Rising.
Now, what about the story of The Rising itself? It was okay. To me, the scenes where Maya and her friends were on the run were a bit draggy. There were also some events that I felt were a bit too convenient such as Maya's twin Ash appearance. Still, there were some good twists and those kept the story going :) And finally, Maya realized her feelings for Daniel! Finally! I've been rooting for Daniel since the beginning and seriously, he's such a good guy... How could Maya not like him? This is one thing that Ms Armstrong hasn't handled really well in my opinion in both trilogies: love triangles. There haven't really been any in her adult books and I know YA books need a bit of drama, but she's just not very good at them ^_^; Perhaps because there is such an unbalance between the two potential love interests. In the Darkest Powers trilogy, she did a better job because Simon and Derek started on an equal footing - they both met Chloe at the same time and as brothers, they knew each other so well. But in Darkness Rising? I think everyone was rooting for Daniel.
At the end of the day, I'm glad the Darkness Rising trilogy is over. Ms Armstrong did her best with this trilogy; however, I think the odds were stacked against her... There were technically two huge flaws to this series. The first one is that being an avid fan of Ms Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, I knew so much more than the characters themselves... So waiting for the blocks to fall into place and the characters to figure things out was just agonizing! The second flaw was the similarities of what Maya and her friends were going through to the events from the Darkness Powers trilogy. Yes, circumstances were different, but in both cases, the heroines found out she was a supernatural and ended up being on the run, having to figure things out. It just took a lot of the thrills out. However, I'm really excited to see what Ms Armstrong has in store for Maya and Chloe in the future! The Women of the Otherworld series is now going on hiatus and so are the characters for these two trilogies... but I would love Ms Armstrong to pick up this world again in a few years and show us what have become of Maya and Chloe and mix them with our beloved characters from the Women of the Otherworld series :) That is going to be really exciting :)
Grade: 4.5/5 (B+). This grade is a bit on the high side, but keep in mind that I'm really a fan of the Women of the Otherworld series :) For me, The Rising was definitively the best installment out of three books in this trilogy and it was in large part due to the cross-over and the resolution :) As I mentioned earlier, once I started the book, I was hooked and that deserves recognition, hence the B+. As a whole, the Darkness Rising trilogy might not have been Ms Armstrong's best work, but the doors it opens... I can't wait to explore that!(less)
I'm going to start this review by a confession... I don't like self-published books ^_^; I know most of my reasons is all...more**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
I'm going to start this review by a confession... I don't like self-published books ^_^; I know most of my reasons is all about prejudices, but I can't help it. So while I did enjoy Ms Mayberry's books in the past, when I found out that she self-published Her Best Worst Mistake, I was a bit wary. Then, good reviews started popping up and after reading Hilcia's, I knew I had to give this book a try. Especially since the story trope was opposites attract and the hero was a stuffy shirt!
In the end, I'm soooo glad I read Her Best Worst Mistake because I have only one word to describe it: wow! I can with assurance that it is my favorite Sarah Mayberry book to date! Yep, that's how much I looooove Her Best Worst Mistake and it's all thanks to Violet and Martin, because they made the book for me :) The characters were likable, well developed and the chemistry - so hot that it burned the pages! I thought it was clever from Ms Mayberry to have the two characters not really understand each other. Yes, they've been interacting for years, but always kept their distance... so they had misconceptions about each other. And those cleared up as time passed in their relationship. That way, the readers really got to know the characters :) I also really liked how Martin and Violet came together and how their relationship progressed. Yes, it was lust and sex at first, but it quickly deepened into something more. I think the turning point was when they both admitted they wanted each other... and I liked that they precised that if Martin and Elizabeth had married, neither would have made a move. Also, Ms Mayberry proved that you don't need that much conflict in your romance to be interesting. Instead, I like how honest and upfront Martin and Violet were. Of course, my favorite part in all this was how Martin was supportive of Violet, especially after he learned about her estrangement with her family.
Interestingly enough, once Martin and Violet became a couple, the focus of the story shifted away from the "opposites attract" trope. In fact, it turns out that Martin wasn't boring at all. Perhaps a little bit of a stuffy shirt, but not as much as the readers were made to believe. I think that when Martin and Violet finally hooked up, the real Martin surfaced. It seems that while he was with Elizabeth, Martin didn't only stifle her, but himself as well in his quest of betterment and respectability. With Violet, he was able to be more himself and I liked that. I also found it refreshing that Her Best Worst Mistake was not about changing either characters. Yes, Martin was able to let loose, but it wasn't because Violet suddenly showed him how to relax and have fun. I mean, Martin didn't change his work habits or clothing habits... He was just less stuffy because Violet made him more comfortable. Instead, the conflict shifted towards Violet's insecurity and emotions about the relationship and her friendship with Elizabeth. I thought it was extremely well-executed by Ms Mayberry and way more interesting and refreshing.
My only complaint about Her Best Worst Mistake is I think Violet kept the truth from Elizabeth a bit too long... and I have to say, I didn't care much about Elizabeth ^_^; It always seemed to be Violet listening and being there for Elizabeth and not vice-versa. True, Violet withhold the truth, but for two best friends, Elizabeth didn't even seem to realize something was going with Violet, that she wasn't acting differently. Also, it didn't seem to me like Elizabeth inquired about Violet's life. I know Elizabeth was going through a lot at the same time, but she seemed a bit like a crappy friend ^_^; However, I did like Elizabeth's reaction when she finally found out :)
All in all, I loved Her Best Worst Mistake :) If this is the quality level of Ms Mayberry's self-published books, well please, write more LOL. Obviously, there were great characters, good story and good writing, but in my opinion, it also worked because Ms Mayberry was able to crank up the sexiness level :) And amazingly, while Her Best Worst Mistake was a short book, it didn't feel short... so kudos to Ms Mayberry for an excellent book :) (less)
Although this book took me a few days to read, I really enjoyed it... which was a surprise :P See, the whole book is writt...more**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
Although this book took me a few days to read, I really enjoyed it... which was a surprise :P See, the whole book is written in e-mail format, i.e. various ppl e-mailing each other. I didn't think I'd enjoy the format, but I did... a lot. It was such a riot to read all those e-mails. So basically, Mel's old neighbor is attacked in her appartment. Mel is a kind-hearted girl and decided to walk the Great Dane dog named Paco... but because of it, she's been getting in trouble (arriving late to work, missing outings with her best friend)... so Mel e-mails Mrs. F's nephew, notorious bad boy photographer Max to see if he'd dog-sit for his aunt. Max is not interested, but his aunt turns out to be a millionaire... so he doesn't want Mel to tell his aunt if she ever wakes up from her coma that her only relative wouldn't come rushing... so he sends in John Trent, his roomate in college who owns him a favor. John is instantly attracted to Mel and even moves in in Mrs. F's appartment... John and Mel fall in lust and in love, but there's just one problem... Mel thinks John is Max...
It was a very fun book, seriously. There's tons of secondary characters that meddles in our H/H's lives... best friends, co-workers, family and you don't just get to read e-mails from the H/H or to H/H... you have co-workers discussing whether Mel should have sex with John (that was hilarious), family wondering what the hell is John thinking/doing and etc. I really liked John, he's really a nice guy, the kind that cares. As for Mel, she was just soo cute. I think if you've never read Meg Cabot, this is a good starting point. (less)
This is not the typical novel that I read where two persons meet, fall in love and end up happy ever after. This is the story...more**spoiler alert** 5/5 (A)
This is not the typical novel that I read where two persons meet, fall in love and end up happy ever after. This is the story of a teenager who committed suicide and left a series of tapes to people who were involved in her life and contributed to her decision. Clay, the main character, wondered why she did it? Why did she leave these tapes behind? And I think that she wanted people to care... they didn't while she was alive, but I think that she hoped they finally would once she wasn't alive anymore.
I think that for a first novel, M. Asher really wrote something powerful and insightful. Just like DC, I was completely sucked in the book and could not put it down. We follow Clay's emotional journey as he listens all these tapes in one night. Right, only one night... so basically, this novel tells a story that is in the past and it doesn't go beyond that very much, but it's really a great book. I think that M. Asher captured high school life very well... which got me thinking... you know when kids are done with elementary school and they're ready to take their next step. They are usually so excited to go to high school... however, high school is actually scary. Really scary and it's so easy for everything in your world to go so wrong, just like it did for Hannah.
This novel doesn't preach, but it makes the readers think... and I think it captures the way teenagers think very well. I have no complaints about this book at all, except perhaps one thing... How old are they? The author says senior, junior and freshman... but because of where I've been to school (i.e. Quebec province), I'm really not familiar with these terms so I don't know what age correspond to them. But as I said, aside from it, I think this is a very good novel and I was so very sad for Hannah.(less)
Why did I get this book? Because Ms Crusie is an awesome author :D The books she wrote are so funny! Almost always great r...more**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
Why did I get this book? Because Ms Crusie is an awesome author :D The books she wrote are so funny! Almost always great reads :D
My thoughts: Hmm, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been wondering why Ms Crusie has been collaborating with other authors lately to write books. I mean, not that the books aren't good, but to me, Agnes and the Hitman was quite a classic Jennifer Crusie and I didn't see much of Mr Mayer in it. Anyway, for those who were disappointed with Don't Look Down, Ms Crusie and Mr Mayer come back very strong with this book :D Agnes is an awesome heroine, Shane is yummy, the secondary characters are hilarious, the plot ties up well and there's a dog :D I LOL so many times while I read this book :) it's really what I needed.
The Characters: There were sooo many characters in this book, but I think they all contributed to the laughs :D First, Agnes was awesome :) and she's not called Cranky Agnes for nothing :) I really enjoyed her character as well as her anger management troubles LOL As for Shane, great hero. He's the serious, cool type... we know very little about his past, but you know, he's a man you can depend on... he's also very capable and sexy LOL :) I think that Agnes and him were really a match made in heaven :) I did have a little problem with Shane's job, even if it was for the government... I know I shouldn't feel this way. I mean, what's the difference btw Medina from Linda Howard's books and Shane... but I guess it's the setting. After all, this was more a comedy than a romantic suspense book... The other secondary characters were great and each had a purpose... none seem superfluous and all contributed to the laughs :D
The Story: I really enjoyed the story and the ridiculous situations... Ms Crusie is one of the few authors who can take outrageous and ridiculous situations and not only make them funny, but work. But seriously, the plot was really compact. I mean, everything fit and there was no loose ends, which was a great accomplishment, given that this plot was a bit complicated :)
What I liked? Pretty much everything. It was truly funny, without trying too hard... and I really felt like reading a classic Crusie. Also the cover, I think the cover was great and it represented the book well :D
What I didn't like? Well as I said, Shane's profession... and Brenda!! OMG! that woman, LOL, I loved it when Doyle/Frankie was bitching at her... she totally deserved it. such an unlikable character.
Review: All right, another not-so-great synopsis, but forget about it, the book was GREAT!! (As if you didn't figure it out by the grade :P any...more5/5 (A)
Review: All right, another not-so-great synopsis, but forget about it, the book was GREAT!! (As if you didn't figure it out by the grade :P anyway, I cried sooo much while reading this book, my eyes hurt!
The Characters - I really liked Lily and Artemas... although Lily seemed a bit too perfect... You know, too understanding, too forgiving, too good... but at the same time, she was a fascinating character. I mean, she's such a strong character and her strength is built on so many tragedies... and she's very down-to-earth... There was a lot of love in her and passion... and I was happy how Ms Smith portrayed her... she stood by her husband's name, fought for him, protected him... she didn't fall right back in Artemas as soon as he opened his arms... Poor Artemas actually, he really had to work hard! So yeah, she was a fascinating and very complex person with in-depth characterization. As for Artemas, man... I wish there was a man who loved me like he loves Lily. Sure, it's painful, but it must be something. Artemas is the definite leader of the family, the perfect brother you could have. He holds the siblings together and command with respect... It's definitively someone that you want to have on your side which made it the most impressive when Lily stood against him. Anyway, I liked his ruthless side as well... and I really liked the fact that he loved Lily so much... it did seem a bit obsessive, the way he insinuated his way back into Lily's life after his wife died... the only thing that bothers me a bit is the way he kept contact with Lily once he married through his right-hand man, Tamberlaine... it just seemed so arrogant, that he kept track of her, how she was living, if she was happy... but at the same time, it didn't allow Lily to forget him, because Tamberlaine would show up asking about her wellfare and updating her on Artemas' situation... but in the end, he's a great man...
Other characters include Artemas' siblings, Lily's aunts, Hopewell Este (the man who bought Lily's familial farm house) - most of them have some story and development, although main characters are really Lily and Artemas.
The Story & Writing - One thing that was very different from all the other books I've read by Ms Smith is that this one wasn't in the first-person pov... which I greatly appreciated. I think this book was more powerful at the third-person and it allowed the readers to have more scope on everyone's feelings. The pace was also excellent... we see glimpses of Artemas and Lily as they grow and exchange letters... Lily's parents accident really changed her life and we get to witness that... and time goes by, after the tragedy, before Lily and Artemas are brought back together by fate... which was needed it. I mean, the time, because I can't image Artemas and Lily being able to cleared everything in a few weeks and live happily ever after. Time heals... and time was necessary in their case. Hmmm, what else... I liked the fact that so many things happen, tragedies... and it didn't only happen to Artemas or Lily... Seriously though, I think that I've always loved this kind of story... two persons that love each other, but can't be together due to circumstances... and are then brought together by fate and the stars :P Anyway, a very engaging and emotional ride.
The Cover - well, it's kind of unremarkable... I mean, it does not stand out... but it does fit the title.
Review: I really enjoyed this book as it was exactly what I was looking for. It was well-written, with a believable story and real characters.
The Characters - Melinda was a good main character: she wasn't a TSTL heroine, nor career-driven person nor an airhead. She's strong and mature with a life experience - tragedies as well as happiness. The main male character is Jack Savannah... The book does focus on Melinda, but Jack plays an important role in it. He's an ex-Marine who've settled in Virgin River after he retired. He bought a cabin and converted it into a bar which he runs with his friend, nicknamed Preacher. From the start, he's attracted to Melinda and hopes that she stays... Jack is the quiet alpha male: strong and dependable, he has your back, is generous and nice and everything. He's quite the perfect man.
Other characters include Doc, an old and grouchy man - my favorite kind of old man in books :P, and a couple of other secondary characters that will probably be more developed in the following two books.
The Story & Writing - Ms. Carr writing style is very good, very smooth and gentle. That's the feeling you get when you read her book - gentleness. As I said, it's also kind of "old-style." In fact, I would say that her writing style reminds me a lot of Susan Wiggs... As for the story, I really enjoyed it. It wasn't about Melinda's growth or evolution, but how she found love again, unexpectedly. I liked how the small town life wasn't too cliche... and the turn of events made the book quite refreshing.
The Cover - I like it :D It fits the story very well.
Review: Wow! This book was indeed very good. It was also very different than most of the historicals I've read recently. I...more**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
Review: Wow! This book was indeed very good. It was also very different than most of the historicals I've read recently. I much prefer contemporary... but have read popular historical authors such as StepAndhanie Laurens, Lisa Kleypas, Judith McNaught and etc. However, And Then He Kissed Her is set in the 1890's where things have started to change I guess. Women have more rights/liberties, the ton isn't as attractive as they used to be, etc. So all in all, it was quite a refreshing historical romance for me :)
The Characters - I liked both main characters very much. Emma is an interesting female, not a TSTL heroine... Although she is a virgin and a bit innocent, she isn't totally naive. She has a very strong sense of what's proper and what's not, also a strong opinion. I liked that she was so perseverent in pursuing her dreams... She's also smart - knows when to step down and end things. So quite mature... I also really liked Harry :P I usually like absent-minded guys, I think it's cute :P At the start, Harry is quite an arrogant man, but no matter what he thinks, he is actually open-minded... and I liked how he accepts the fact that perhaps he was wrong and tries to make it right. His past also adds character to him... Emma was also given some "past" but I thought it wasn't that much developed and so, it didn't impact the story as it should... but that's a minor detail.
The Story & Writing - Ms Guhrke's style is pretty good- the story flows well and the pace was perfect - but more importantly, it agrees with me and so, I don't have complaints about it :) As for the story, I like it a lot. As I said, the time period was new to me, so it was very refreshing. I liked the interaction between Emma and Harry and it wasn't too much cliché. I also liked that they didn't have sex right away, which gave more time for the characters to know each other. There wasn't any huge misunderstanding between them, no huge obstacles standing in the way... I thought the ending came quite naturally... All in all, a good storyline, backed up with solid writing.
The Cover - I like the cover, but not too sure about both characters embracing each other... LOL
Review: Oh man, I really liked this book! You basically follow Laura and Sébastien's realtionship, the good and the obstac...more**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
Review: Oh man, I really liked this book! You basically follow Laura and Sébastien's realtionship, the good and the obstacles in a very humoristic way. I really liked the relationship - esp. since it's a real one- but to see the culture differences between Laura and Sébastien, as well as the two families was quite hilarious and entertaining.
Characters - I have to admit that Laura sometimes annoyed me with her insecurities, but given this is a "real" story and not fiction, I can understand and sympathize with Laura's insecurities. Seriously, I'd have acted the same way :D Other than that, Laura really has a strong voice and her thinking pattern is quite unique, which provides lots of funny moments and many laughs. Since this is a first-person novel, this is Laura's story and so, it's harder to comment on Sébastien. I liked his personality and he can be very romantic at times... In addition, if he looks anything like on the cover, yummy. Laura sure is a lucky woman.
In addition, both families were highly entertaining! It's funny how the dynamics of both families are different and the same at the same time. Both Laura and Sébastien are lucky people.
Story & Writing - As I said, Laura has a very strong voice and shares her thoughts and feelings with the readers very well. Since the relationship spans on a few years, the pacing was very important and Ms. Florand did very well. Weeks and months passed rather quickly without the readers realizing; it didn't get stuck, it flowed well and this was very enjoyable. Also, it's quite nice to see that in real life, a couple doesn't fall in love and get engaged within a week :P
The Cover - It's a really nice cover; however, it'd had been more fun and realistic if the girl had chestnut hair instead :D
Am I keeping this book? YES! This is a definite keeper.(less)
Going into Take a Bow, I have to admit I wasn't too sure what to expect, because the blurb is a bit vague. Also, while I e...more**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
Going into Take a Bow, I have to admit I wasn't too sure what to expect, because the blurb is a bit vague. Also, while I enjoyed Ms Eulberg's previous books, I had some apprehension due to the blurb because I'm not a fan of high school drama and it seems inevitable in the story... And indeed, there was some echoes of high school drama, but it definitively wasn't the focus of Take a Bow. I felt the book was more about friendships, their dreams and their journey :)
So I really, really enjoyed and loved Take a Bow :) However, to be frank, I'm having finding the right words for this review - this is my third attempt ^_^; It's hard to put it into words because as soon as I started reading Take a Bow, it just felt right and I was sucked in the story. I really liked how the book opens with the four characters awaiting for their audition to CPA. We get a brief introduction to each character, but also a feel of their personalities and their aspirations. More importantly though, it immediately sets the tone of the book and introduces the readers to the reality of their world. Then, fast-forward four years and Carter, Sophie, Ethan and Emme are about to start their senior year... and that's when the story really starts :)
Now, when I think of Take a Bow, three elements come to mind: the characters, the friendships and the setting. To me, it's the combination of the three that made Take a Bow such a winner :) I'll start with the easiest for me: the setting. I really liked that CPA was not a regular high school, because for me, it added another layer of complexity, set Take a Bow apart from most contemporary YA books and made it more interesting. Why? Because most students attending CPA are passionate about their arts, know what they want in their future and are already on the path of achieving it. Singing, writing music, dancing... these are not hobbies for them, it's their livelihoods. And I find admirable that they commit to it at such a young age. And it definitively was a commitment. Otherwise, why audition each semester simply to remain at CPA and then, audition for roles or spots in productions and showcases and actually perform? The auditions and the competition also contributed to make the characters tougher and more mature... It felt like a totally different world to me while still remaining a contemporary book and feeling real. So the setting was definitively key for me here :)
When it comes to the characters, I have to command Ms Eulberg for coming up with interesting, layered characters, but also for her writing since Take a Bow is told from four different POVs and each had a very distinct voice. Also, it was great to be privy to all four's thoughts and emotions and it definitively made the book stronger. Another kudo to Ms Eulberg for the intricate ways all four storylines connected and intersected each other :) Sometimes, when you read a book with multiple POVs, it feels a bit clunky, the change of POVs too abrupt... But in the case of Take a Bow, it flowed really well and it did feel like I was reading one book and not four stories. Oups, got a little carried away LOL. Back to the characters. I absolutely loved Carter, Emme and Ethan, they were great, real and so lovable!! I liked how Carter was so down-to-earth when it came to his fame, his acting career and his talent. He was just a nice guy, trying to figure out who was the real Carter Harrison and in no way was he spoiled or arrogant. I think it speaks very loudly of Carter's personality and the way he was raised. What I liked the most though was Carter's journey throughout the book, the growth and the maturity he gained. I liked that he realized that nobody was pushing him to be an actor, that all these years, he's misread his mother's behavior and action. She wasn't pushing him to be a superstar; she wanted him to be happy. I thought for him to walk away from acting to pursue his passion was both brave and wise. Emme, I loved Emme!! At first, she appeared to be shy and not confident, but the inner strength this girl has! I also loved her loyalty to her friends, even if someone might not have deserved it... and that part of Emme really made me connect with her. I've been in Emme's shoes where I knew I was being manipulated and used... But at the same time, it's hard to give up such a friendship that was so dear to you. Even then, Emme never stooped to the level of being mean or wanting revenge... And I loved seeing Emme coming out of her shell and gaining confidence. As for Ethan, I have to admit that I had some doubts at first. The guy definitively made some mistakes... But once you see the way he stood by Emme, always being there for her, loving her... He definitively redeemed himself. You can't help but loving him and root for him! And I believe that with Emme, he won't repeat the same mistakes. He has someone to ground him... Finally, there's Sophie. She was made to be the villain of the book and therefore is not very likable... and yes, in some ways, her character is a bit stereotypical. However, it doesn't make her character less real. What I liked is that Ms Eulberg didn't backtrack at the end, redeeming her character. Sophie is the way she is and does not change. I'm sure she did consider Emme as her best friend when she was younger, but truth is, the most important person to Sophie is herself. Even when she was dating Carter, she was already imagining their breakup - just before her launching her first release ^_^; Everything she did was to achieve superstardom and that's what mattered to her. In a way, you have to admire her determination and her will... even though she's going about it the wrong way.
Finally, the friendships. I loved, loved the many friendships in Take a Bow. The chemistry and bond between the members of Teenage Kicks is the friendship that stands out the most for me. How Ethan, Emme, Jack and Ben (by the way, Jack and Ben were great, great secondary characters!!) formed an unit and had each other's backs. The support the boys gave Emme, how everyone was happy for each other when accepted in the college of their choices, etc. Carter envied Emme for the band friendship and I did too :P I also enjoyed the budding friendship between Emme and Carter; how good a listener Emme was and her encouragements to Carter. Also, how Carter was there for Emme. Even the brittle friendship between Sophie and Emme... In this case, it felt like the two girls just grew apart and this happens so often in high school. Sometimes, you have to let go even if it's hard... I have a feeling Ms Eulberg wanted to write about friendships at different states and how they affect one's life and she did a great job. I also very much loved the romance between Emme and Ethan and I liked how Ms Eulberg focused on theirs, that she didn't feel obligated to give everyone a love story. Emme and Ethan had such a chemistry, they knew each other so well. Seriously, they were a great match and it was very heart-warming to see them finally get together :P Friends to lovers theme lovers, you're going to like this one :)
Take a Bow was almost the perfect contemporary YA for me... but it wasn't because of two things. The first is I wished we've seen a bit more of Emme's feelings towards Ethan throughout the book. I loved how it ended, the way they get together... Emme's declaration that she's had feelings for Ethan for a long time... and how she didn't need to figure them out while Ethan had a girlfriend, etc. was really perfect. However, throughout Take a Bow, we read about Ethan's feelings for Emme and understood where it came from. But I don't feel the same way for Emme. What she said definitively made sense and I know it was genuine. Perhaps she didn't want to acknowledge her feelings and therefore that's why we didn't get more... but I thought it came a little bit out of the blue ^_^; My second is wishful thinking on my part: I wanted Take a Bow to be longer. I loved everything about it, but I can't help but think that if it was longer, the book would be more completed and perhaps, we'd get more development for Emme's feelings for Ethan :P Seriously though, I think Ms Eulberg should consider writing slightly longer book :)
I really enjoyed Take a Bow and am recommending it to everyone :) It officially became one of my all-time favorite YA novels and have propelled Ms Eulberg onto my auto-buy author list :P I hope everyone who gives it a go enjoys it as much as I did :)(less)
People will say what they want about Nora Roberts, it doesn't change the fact that she's one of the most consistent and so...more**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
People will say what they want about Nora Roberts, it doesn't change the fact that she's one of the most consistent and solid authors out there, and not just in romance. You have to be in order to publish 200 books! Of course, not all of her books are wowzers, but they are almost all enjoyable. Truth be told, I've yet heard people say unanimously "Stay away from X book, it was a real dud." And if we continue being honest, her 'duds' are often better than a lot of books out there. That's why I keep looking forward to Ms Roberts new releases. She's become an auto-buy author, but also a comfort author. Yes, I know what to expect, but at the same time, Ms Roberts delivers :) And I'm glad to say that Ms Roberts indeed delivered with her 200th book, because The Witness was a winner for me :)
What made The Witness was a winner for me? Well the fact that I stayed up till 3am to read as much as I could. I was hoping to finish it, but alas... it's quite a big book. I don't know if it's age or what, but I don't stay up late anymore to read. Sleep has become more important... *gasp* I know! So I really have to be into the book to stay up late... and 3am?!? I was really, really into it LOL. If it had been during the week-end, I would probably have stayed up till I finished it :) The second reason this book was a winner for me is simple: I liked everything about it :) The characters, the story and the setting - liked and enjoyed it all.
I have to say, I especially liked Abigail and Brooks. I thought they were just so likable and had such great chemistry together. Ms Roberts has written socially awkward characters, but never to Abigail's level. Think of a cross between Temperance Brennan from Bones and Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory :) The thing though is I don't think Ms Roberts was trying to be caricatural or build on the success of such characters. If you look at Abigail's past, given her upbringing and the years of hiding, her personality fits, makes sense and that's what I liked about her character. She was genuine. Had Abigail's childhood been different, I had no doubt she would be sociable and comfortable :) And seriously, her personality paired with Brooks' gave rise to some really funny moments, loved how her mind was so literal at times :) Speaking of Brooks, I always say that Ms Roberts excels at writing grumpy hero like Simon Doyle in The Search, but The Witness reminded me that she can do charming heroes as well :) The type that get under your skin before you realize it :) Really, for someone who is not used to socializing or interacting with people, it's no wonder Abigail was confused and baffled by Brooks LOL. It's no secret that I love the "happy-go-lucky heroine thawing the stuffy hero" trope, but before The Witness, I thought the opposite wasn't as good. However, that's exactly what you get with Abigail and Brooks. A laid-back hero who draws out a socially awkward heroine and I realized that what I liked to read was characters out of their depth :) It was endearing to see Abigail trying to find her balance, coming to grasp with the relationship and Brooks being there for every step. I loved his endless patience with Abigail and the fact that he never pushed, he waited for her to be ready. I also admire his integrity when it came to his work, but also his flexibility, the fact that he acknowledged there were shades of grey in the world. Seriously, Abigail lucked out with Brooks because he was a great man.
I enjoyed the story; I thought it was well-balanced between giving us a glimpse of Brooks and of Abigail's lives. I have to say, I was really surprised by the direction the suspense took. Throughout the book, I kept expecting a particular event (highlight to find out: for the mafia to find Abigail) to happen and I could definitively see the building up for it. I was at the edge of my seat, dreading the moment... I kept thinking how improbable it'd be and why now? However, as I said, Ms Roberts totally surprised me. It was unexpected, but more importantly, it fit with the characters' behaviors, especially Abigail, and made The Witness really interesting. So kudos to Ms Roberts :)
I think everyone will enjoy The Witness :) Especially since Ms Roberts laid back on the research with this one. It's a great feeling when you feel like the author is listening to you. I enjoyed the secondary characters, they fleshed out the background a bit more. I actually liked that they did not steal the spotlight and that for once, there was no secondary romance. As usual, Ms Roberts did a great job with the characters interactions. I liked seeing Brooks with his family, how they welcomed Abigail... and once again, Ms Roberts did not overdo it. I feel like she held back a little, restrained herself, but not in a bad way. Instead, it was so the focus remained on Abigail and Brooks, which was definitively a good thing :)
While I loved Abigail, Brooks and their interactions, I did have a little issue with their romance. A tiny, wee issue really and that was the timeline of their romance. I felt things happened rather quickly between our H/H. From the moment Abigail and Brooks met to the moment the plan is put into action is 3 months I think. Three months is actually not bad, but when I read it, it felt much shorter than that. I know part of it was that Brooks got under Abigail's skin, but it was hard for me to believe she would open herself and trust him so quickly... However, when you take The Witness all together, it is a very small issue and not enough to ruin the book for me, that's for sure :)
The Witness was a great book, one that I really enjoyed. It was a definite winner for me and I can't think of a better way for Ms Roberts to celebrate her 200th book :)(less)