This books moves at a slower pace than I'm used to but it's been a long time since I picked up and read a lengthy, layered story that delves into the...moreThis books moves at a slower pace than I'm used to but it's been a long time since I picked up and read a lengthy, layered story that delves into the details of the characters. (Again, that traditional publishing thing.) As I read it and sometimes got annoyed with the slow pace, I remembered that I loved Shogun - and if you've read Shogun you know how involved that story is! And this story takes the time to acquaint you with the characters.
There are some authors I read more for the characters than the stories they write. At this point, I'm going to say Jovan is shaping up to be one of those. Don't get me wrong - I liked the story. But I love the characters. I would so be on board to read a book about Sebastian raiding a company, especially if there was a murder mystery involved. Oh hell - I'd like a book about Sebastian breaking legs during his younger years as a loan shark. I also salivate a bit contemplating the possibilities of a Grisham-like novel about Knox's trial of the serial killer, Parley - and what happens after.
The Proviso is a competent storytelling that leaves you wanting more of these characters and their stories and the stories of the other characters who populate the book. You will laugh. You will cry. I'm not giving away the ending. You may start reading and not be able to put the book down. Or, if you read like I do, you will meander through the first two-thirds and then not be able to put it down until you finish the last one-third.
Jovan does a really good job of interweaving the stories of the 3 main characters and keeping the story line timely and interesting while doing it. I was willing to suspend my problems with parts of the story line because overall I enjoyed it and - as stated above - I love the characters. If a plot based on a proviso stating an heir-apparent must do this thing or that thing in order to inherit is a contrivance, it's an acceptable one in exchange for getting to know these characters. Because this story isn't about the people who set the proviso in motion, we may never know their motives - and it really isn't all that important because in my opinion this is a character-driven story. Any story about religion, money, politics and sex is about entanglements, complications, lies, deceit, manipulation, good and evil - and this The Proviso delivers in spades while delving into the human side of the main characters. My favorite part of the cover says what this story is really about: "...embroiled as they are in their war, the last thing they expect to find on the battlefield is love."
And yeah, there's sex. Don't read the book if you have a problem with graphic sex. It's not like the author is trying to sneak it in there - it says right there on the cover there's sex. What I found interesting is that sex almost becomes its own character in this book, and the different ways its used to express the characters. This is something I haven't seen before in books that include sex - it was there just because people expect it to be (romance) or to titillate readers and draw a certain demographic. In The Proviso it's there because sex is part of being human and part of what makes these characters tick.
Religion. This is the first book I've ever read that included Mormon religion, culture and characters that I felt were real. There are believers and non-believers, active and lapsed. There is some discussion about the Mormon religion and (gasp!) not a word about polygamy! Yeah, over a hundred years after the LDS church stopped officially practicing polygamy, finally someone writes a story with Mormon life and culture and doesn't include polygamy. Imagine that. I wouldn't classify this as "Mormon literature" by any stretch, however, so don't let the inclusion of religion deter you from reading the book - or alternatively, don't buy the book thinking this book is about Mormons. The author happens to be Mormon, many of the characters happen to be Mormon - there's nothing more to it than that. The Proviso is most definitely not about Mormonism.
Bottom line? Big thumbs up for this first novel by new author Moriah Jovan. (less)
This is the second book in what is known as the Tales of Dunham series by Moriah Jovan. The first...moreSee the full review at my blog: Stay by Moriah Jovan.
This is the second book in what is known as the Tales of Dunham series by Moriah Jovan. The first was The Proviso, which I reviewed then accidentally lost in a database deletion here at my blog. Never fear, however – Moriah saved it at The Proviso website. Follow that link and scroll all the way down to the end if you want to read it.
You don’t have to read The Proviso before you read Stay. Some of the characters overlap, but Jovan has done a wonderful job of letting the characters from one enter into the next book without the need to read the first book. Oh, you might want to go back and read The Proviso anyway because you’re going to fall in love with Knox (don’t worry – everyone does, apparently), so you’re going to want to know more about him – and The Proviso is his story. But it isn’t essential before you read Stay.
Here’s what I liked most about The Proviso – the characters. And that goes ten times over for Stay because now those characters are combined with a much better (in my opinion) story line and writing. Not that the writing in The Proviso is bad – it’s good – but Stay is better. Again, my opinion. Because I don’t want to give away any of the story, I’m going to mostly talk about the characters and the setting and the writing. If you want to know what the story is about – get the book and read it!(less)
What I've always loved about Moriah Jovan's books is how she brings her characters alive. Each one is a special treat because she not only gives addit...moreWhat I've always loved about Moriah Jovan's books is how she brings her characters alive. Each one is a special treat because she not only gives additional glimpses of characters I've fallen in love with in prior books in the series, but she brings in more people to fall in love with. It's like a family reunion, or a dinner scene from "Brothers and Sisters." You never know quite what you're going to get with family, but it's always going to be interesting and fun!
I like that each book has a slightly different flavor. I felt like I'd run a marathon when I read "The Proviso." I lounged and sighed as I read "Stay." I'm still trying to analyze my physical reaction to "Magdalene," but it's all good!
Cassie and Mitch do not disappoint. You don't have to be Mormon or even know much about Mormons to "get" this story. The story isn't about Mormons and Mormonism, it's about some people who happen to be Mormon and how that affects how they live their lives and the choices they make. I think MJ has done a fantastic job of weaving the religion in without making the book about the religion. This is hands down the best book I've read by a Mormon author that includes Mormon characters.
These books are well written and plotted. The characters continue to be the strong point of MJ's writing, in my opinion. I really recommend picking up one of these books and introducing yourself to the Dunham clan. (less)
I truly didn’t expect to find a gem like this on Smashwords, especially since it’s being given away as a free e-book.
But a gem it is, if you like very...moreI truly didn’t expect to find a gem like this on Smashwords, especially since it’s being given away as a free e-book.
But a gem it is, if you like very, very bad villains and fast-paced thrillers.
It’s so good, in fact, that it went into my Read/Keep category (I usually delete ebooks when I’m done reading them). I’ll try not to give away too much of the plot, which is always the fine line in any book review.
What I like about the villain in this piece is the way he plays mind games with his victims. It totally raises the thrill level. This isn’t a guy who just guns down his opponents. After reading this book, you’ll consider THAT kind of villain crude and crass – and probably not worthy of your time.
Starting with Martin Cormac, the main character of the book, this book plays with your mind from beginning to end. Cormac experiences one of those life-changing events and chooses to react by getting drunk in a variety of locations around Southeast Asia. A chance encounter in a bar brings him in contact with the villain and sets off another chain of life-changing events for Cormac – and a rollercoaster ride of a thriller for the reader. This time, however, Cormac isn’t trying to drown his guilt, he’s trying to stay alive.
I don’t know anything about sailing; obviously, it’s a passion for Chisnell, and a centerpiece of the thrill portion of this book. However, you don’t need to know anything about sailing or racing to realize that the middle of any ocean is a great setting for a thriller (Dead Calm, anyone?) The action had me reading as fast as I could and turning the pages, anxious and yet reluctant to reach the end of the story. Don’t you just hate/ love it when you’re dying to know how things turn out – but that will also mean the end of the book? Only a really good author can create such a dilemma in a reader, and Chisnell certainly accomplishes it with this book.
I also have to credit Chisnell with having the balls to acquaint readers with characters and make us like them before they get killed. You just don’t see that very often in fiction. (Why develop a character if you know he or she is going to be dead soon?) It makes the killing all that much more shocking, because we’ve come to expect that when an author develops a character, it isn’t for the purpose of brutally killing them in a couple of chapters, right? Chisnell has no such restraint, and it makes the story even better. (Trying really hard here not to give much away, but I have to give props to the author for this.)
If you’re a fan of fast-paced psychological thrillers, you’ll love The Defector. Chances are, you’ll be so wrapped up in it, you’ll go out and read the sequel, The Wrecking Crew (also available for free at Smashwords) before I have a chance to review it.(less)
Too long ago, I reviewedThe Defector and promised to review the sequel,The Wrecking Crew. Since it's currently free on Amazon, I figured now would be...moreToo long ago, I reviewed The Defector and promised to review the sequel, The Wrecking Crew. Since it's currently free on Amazon, I figured now would be a good time to actually do that.
My favorite literary bad guy, Janac, returns in The Wrecking Crew, and while I recommend reading The Defector to get better acquainted with this character (and because it's just a damn good book), it isn't necessary. This book stands alone and don't ask me if I have a favorite between the two because I couldn't pick. I love them both.
Janac was a scary character in the first book and in the The Wrecking Crew I found him downright terrifying. As in The Defector, the author has created a ruthless character and he's fearless about following through with that, regardless of the cost to other characters. In my opinion, that's one of the things that makes Chisnell's books so awesome. Very few authors are willing to sacrifice established characters, even if it would make other characters more believable and/or the story better. In the character of Janac, he's unmerciful. Could an entire series of books be based on a "bad guy" character like Janac? After reading this book, I certainly think so!
Although The Wrecking Crew isn't anything like Dead Calm, it has something of that flavor to it. The ocean is a big place and anyone who might be able to help (provided a person was able to call for help) is likely to be hours away. A lot can happen in that amount of time. To me, there would be nothing more terrifying that running into the wrong people in the middle of the ocean, and yet that's exactly where Phil Hamnet runs into him. Chisnell knows his setting well and he uses it to construct a psychological thriller that kept me chewing my fingernails from start to finish.
Absolutely a must-read for lovers of psychological thrillers. I do recommend reading The Defector first, only because it's such a good read AND it sets up the character of Janac, not because it's necessary. I'll say the same thing now that I did a couple years ago when I stumbled across them as giveaways on Smashwords: these books are worth paying for.(less)
If you're only acquainted with Grisham's legal thrillers, you're missing a great read in this book. I absolutely love "A Painted House" and was surpri...moreIf you're only acquainted with Grisham's legal thrillers, you're missing a great read in this book. I absolutely love "A Painted House" and was surprised that it wasn't being touted as the next Great American Novel.
I didn't read this story, I felt it. Absolutely on my must read recommendation list.(less)