Growing up, we never had a lot of money. We didn’t have cable, or a DVD player, before the year 2000. Big birthday presents included Walkman players,Growing up, we never had a lot of money. We didn’t have cable, or a DVD player, before the year 2000. Big birthday presents included Walkman players, off-brand Duplo blocks, and used cassettes from the neighborhood video store. My tv times consisted of reruns of MASH and Brady Bunch; the only music I heard was the ever-present rock radio station that didn’t filter out curse words. I won’t say I didn’t have a good childhood, I just didn’t get the exposure to “childish” things that most children did. Which is what drew my to this book.
David Vahlberg’s “Robin Hood: Forester of Sherwood” was my first real exposure to Robin Hood. Of course I had heard a bit about the legendary hero: he stole from the rich and gave to the poor. I considered reading up on the legend before I started Vahlberg’s version, but decided that I’d rather go in with a completely non-objective view.
The story isn’t written as a novel, but rather in little vignettes. Each story is written to relate to the others, but could be read as a short story by itself. The first few are about how this merry band came together, then more about the adventures of Robin himself. This was not at all what I expected, but I loved it. With the book broken into short parts, it made it easier to read during just bits at a time. It was refreshing after reading so many novels.
The biggest thing you’ll notice about this story is that it is split into two parts: stories and poetry. After bad experiences in school with poetry, I was pretty hesitant about it at first. But after finishing the first part and reading the second, I quickly realized that they were simply repeating the stories but in poetry form. This made it easier for me to understand the poetry, but I felt like it should have been incorporated more into the stories rather than separated into a second part.
I id appreciate the style of Vahlberg’s writing. I felt like it was a cross between modern styles and classic style; like reading the No-Fear version of a Shakespeare play. Altogether it was a refreshing read. I would recommend this to those of you who might be growing tired or burnt out on reading. This short book is a change of pace that will get any reader back in the swing of things. ...more
Reggie Alexander is just another man trying to get by. His daily activities including his work at the patent office, dinner with his wonderful wife anReggie Alexander is just another man trying to get by. His daily activities including his work at the patent office, dinner with his wonderful wife and son, coaching his son’s basketball team, and planning his path to becoming a patent attorney. But when his godfather, and savior, is found dead, Reggie’s world spins out of control once again as he becomes the prime suspect and begins to discover that Walter’s death may have been part of something much bigger.
The Vintage Club by Darin Gibby was a great read from the very start. It begins not in the present, but far in the past, in the days where living a long life meant centuries. Since I was expecting a story taking place in the present time, I was automatically draw into the story to figure out how this would relate back to the story I thought I was reading.
What I discovered is that this introduction was just one example of how author Gibby delves deep into the past to tell us about the characters, the events of the story, and even the settings of the story. I was amazed at how much detail we were given, especially about the few main characters. At every turn we were learning how these people became who they are and ended up doing what they were doing. He used multiple points of view to tell the story, which only increased my interest and made it easier to learn more and more about each character’s backstory.
While this book was classified as “Fiction – General” on the cover, I would rather describe it with words like mystery, thriller, crime, and suspense. As a fan of Dan Brown, I was excited to see how Gibby seemed to follow a similar model in the Vintage Club. In fact, it fits in well with works by Dan Brown, Brad Meltzer, and even the National Treasure movies: all of them include religion, knowledge lost over centuries, the quest for an item or truth, and plenty of secret societies and conspiracy theories. However, Gibby’s focus on wine and wine-making added another level that wasn’t present in similar stories I’ve read.
With any book this action- and adventure-packed, you know that the climax will completely blow your mind. And I will gladly admit it did, though I was a bit confused. While the story had plenty of plot twists and sudden changes, it seemed like they were too concentrated at the end of the book. I was fine reading up to the most intense part, but the moment I turned the page I was completely lost as to how certain things had happened. I continually felt like I had missed something, but couldn’t ever find it. Luckily, the confusion was over some minute details, but this brings me to another point about the story: the reader needs to read deeper and use what Gibby’s told us previously in order to fully understand the dialogue and events.
I felt like this book was highly intellectual, and appreciated that a lot of the focus was on science and religion. As a religious person who also has a passion for science, I understand that there must be a balance between the two. Gibby has mastered the art of mixing science and religion into a story that will not offend those who are religious and will still make it believable for those whose faith lies in the sciences. I was very impressed.
This book is definitely worthy of five stars, 10 out of 10, or two thumbs up. It kept me hooked from beginning to end. Gibby was even able to conclude the story in a way that both wraps up the story but also leaves you guessing if more could come. I would recommend this to anyone who likes adventure/action/mystery/crime novels, especially fans of Dan Brown. Truthfully, this is a story that I believe anyone would like. ...more
When her mother's identical twin shows up out of nowhere, Lucy Sexton's world is turned upside down. Her aunt takes the place of a sWho is the victim?
When her mother's identical twin shows up out of nowhere, Lucy Sexton's world is turned upside down. Her aunt takes the place of a sibling she never had as she begins to teach her the ins and outs of society. But just as life begins to feel normal again, tragedy strikes leaving Lucy feeling alone. But who is the victim?
The premise of Lauren Baratz-Logsted's The Twin's Daughter had me very intrigued from the first time I read about it. It's a story that you hear on the news: "Twins reunited after 35 years; story at 11." With all of the technology we have, it's become very easy to find out information on people all around the world. But this story is set in the 1800s. With no internet or telephones, how did Helen ever find Aliese? This is what quickly drew me into the story, the mystery of it all.
Although I haven't been fourteen in roughly ten years, Lucy's character was very relatable. I loved how Baratz-Logsted showed Lucy's character maturing and becoming a woman. Even her relationships with other characters slowly became deeper and more mature as the novel progressed.
If there was any part I did not like, it was that it took me a while to figure out when and where the story was taking place. Many other books I read (at least, those that are set somewhere other than Anytown USA in the present) tell you in the beginning the year and location. London is mentioned in the novel a few times, however I couldn't figure out the time period at all. It may have been something I missed, but I eventually figured it out by looking up when the mention Gilbert and Sullivan opera was active.
This book definitely had me guessing all the way until the end. And it wasn't just guessing about the main mystery. There were many different things for the reader to try and figure out. How did the tunnel come to be? Would Kit return? Who was the red-headed man? Even if a reader did not get lost in Lucy's life, all of the mystery and intrigue that Baratz-Logsted wound through the story would keep them reading until the end.
I give The Twin's Daughter five stars because as soon as I finished it, I was ready to read it all over again. I would recommend this to those that love a good mystery, 19th century London, or historic crime novels. Actually, I'd recommend it to any readers, as it seems there is something in it for everyone. ...more
It’s the end of Beth’s world, or at least the end of life as she knows it. Life with her cheating husband ends as her daughter’s married life just begIt’s the end of Beth’s world, or at least the end of life as she knows it. Life with her cheating husband ends as her daughter’s married life just begins… on the other side of the world. When her father, her last close family member, passes away, Beth hits rock bottom and doesn’t know which end is up. She decides to return to her family’s cabin at Stutter Creek, where her and her father spent plenty of time making lasting family memories. She hopes to heal while reminiscing about her summers spent at Stutter Creek, and maybe even running into Big John, a summer crush who got away. But when young women in the area start to going missing, will Beth’s relaxing dream turn into a nightmare?
Stutter Creek impressed me from the moment I began reading it. Within the first page, it had grabbed my full attention and would not let go. This story was definitely good at that. Author Ann Swann has mastered the art of engaging her readers. With the level of details she gives in the events that happen, there was no way I could put the book down.
One aspect of Stutter Creek that I was pleasantly surprised to find was the paranormal aspect. I can’t give much detail about it, but it flowed really well with the story. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy dealt with the way technology was involved in the story. I felt like it was a bit over the top, and honestly I was waiting for the “punch line” or a more believable explanation of what happened.
While I have seen Stutter Creek classified as a “romantic suspense” novel, I really would shy away from calling it “romantic” at all. In fact, the majority of the story contains no romance at all. As I read this, I was constantly comparing it to a novel by Dean Koontz I had read a while back. Both were very detailed about the crimes committed, both left the read wanting to know more of what happened, and both had a paranormal aspect to them. This book should be classified more as a thriller, suspense, or even horror novel. It was very enjoyable, but not romantic at all.
I loved how this book switched between narrators. It’s truly the only way to get to see entire picture of what was going on. But Swann didn’t just stop at switching between the protagonists and antagonist, but also to the point of view of various minor characters. This is like watching a movie on a cut-down full screen view versus being in the studio while it is filming: you get a 360° view of what is going on.
The author’s use of various points of view is not the only thing that helps bring you into the story. The main character, Beth, is easily relatable to anyone who has experience a significant loss, or even to someone who suffers from depression. I was easily able to understand her need to get out of her everyday life.
Stutter Creek was good. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick read, since you won’t be able to put it down when you pick it up. I recommend it to fans of Dean Koontz, as it reads similar to books of his that I have read. I would NOT recommend this if you are looking for a romance novel, as you will be very surprised. But for anyone who enjoys thrillers or horror stories, definitely give Stutter Creek a read. ...more
Birdie Kaminsky is living the dream life (almost) after she gains her inheritance and meets the man of her dreams. She's given up her life as a commonBirdie Kaminsky is living the dream life (almost) after she gains her inheritance and meets the man of her dreams. She's given up her life as a common thief so put down roots and settle into a normal life as a journalist and newspaper editor in Liberty, Ohio. But when someone hacks into the newspaper and starts slowly stealing Birdie's money from her back account, Liberty is set on high alert. It can only mean one thing: Mama's back.
This book, much like author Christine Nolfi's other work, is told from multiple perspectives. I love this way of story-telling. It gives you a better sense of what is going on in the town. Even better, it lets the reader in on secrets that other characters don't yet know. I've always thought that it made me feel a bit special, but honestly it lets you feel like you are part of the story. Like you are right there in Liberty with the characters.
The Impossible Wish kept me guessing about what would happen all the way until the end. For once, I was almost always guessing wrong. Though it was frustrating to constantly come to a plot twist that wasn't at all what I expected, it speaks volumes about Christine Nolfi's writing ability that she can leave a reader surprised.
While I loved the book, there were a couple of things that prevented me from giving it all five stars. The first problem I had dealt with the character Hector. If you know Liberty, then you know the previous stories. (view spoiler)[ A troubled person comes to Liberty, finds love, and settles into a new, better life. (hide spoiler)] Hector's character didn't quite fit my expectations. I felt that there was no conclusion to his story line, like there is more to the story that isn't there. Hopefully it will show up at a later date, maybe a budding romance with Liberty's favorite makeup maven? We'll have to wait and see.
This story is more action-packed and mysterious than I had thought it would be, but unfortunately it seemed like the climax was entirely too short. I felt like the conflicts were resolved entirely too quickly. My hope is that there is more to the story, parts that will be revealed in a sequel. (view spoiler)[But I wish that the final conflict had been a bit more of a stand-off, because I don't believe that Wish could have been captured in the way that she was. Either way, I want to know more about her life with Spider, both before and after the events of this book. (hide spoiler)]
I really did like this story. I've liked all of Christine Nolfi's work so far, and I'm sure I will love any future works. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes exciting and mysterious stories. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who has read Treasure Me or Second Chance Grill, the first two Liberty, Ohio stories.
I thought that the story of Birdie Kaminsky was over at the end of Treasure Me. I was wrong. And I'm hoping that I am wrong in thinking that this is the end of her story. As a fan of the author, I'm left hoping that there will be another story featuring Birdie. But even if there is not, there is one thing I want to see in the next liberty tale: (view spoiler)[a description including a Birdie Baby Belly. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
What is a person to do when they need to take a break from their life, when things have become too overwhelming to go on? For Mary Chance, the answerWhat is a person to do when they need to take a break from their life, when things have become too overwhelming to go on? For Mary Chance, the answer comes in the form of a small-town diner.
Second Chance Grill is the second in Christine Nolfi's Liberty, Ohio, series which began with Treasure Me. In this story, we finally get to learn how Liberty and all of it's inhabitants came to be where they were in the first novel.
The first thing I liked about this book is that it can be read alone or as a part of the series. I had read Treasure Me a while ago, but had trouble remembering some of the finer details. I was a bit worried about how that would effect me while reading this story, but as I read on I realized that you don't need prior knowledge to enjoy this book.
Christine Nolfi is probably one of my favorite authors. She may not be a bestselling author yet, but if she keeps up the good work I know she will be. Christine has mastered the art of writing a story full of adventure, suspense, and love, while being able to leave out the overwhelmingly graphic language and violence. Now, I'm not saying that I don't like reading stories with violence, foul language, or gratuitous sex. I'm simply saying that this story was able to engage me and keep me reading without the need of any of that. And in this day, where it seems like the only way to get anyone's attention is with something over-the-top, I feel like that is a huge accomplishment.
My favorite thing about this book was how it drew me in and made me feel like Liberty was my home. Though it is in no way a utopia, Liberty is striking similar to the small town in which I grew up which is coincidentally right outside of Cincinnati (another key location in the story.) From the little locally owned diner to the neighborhood gas station/garage, Liberty could easily have been my home.
Who would I recommend this to? Well, the better question is who wouldn't I recommend it to. I don't recommend you read this if you are looking for an action-packed thriller or mystery, something erotic, or a horror novel. But if you want a book that will sometimes make you smile, sometimes make you tear up, and always make you wanting more? Check out Second Chance Grill by Christine Nolfi....more
I've come to appreciate the work of lesser known authors and I've learned that cover quality can really deceive you. This quick read was definitely inI've come to appreciate the work of lesser known authors and I've learned that cover quality can really deceive you. This quick read was definitely interesting, but not so realistic. I liked the premise and Samantha's struggle with the sale of her beloved ballet studio, but I wasn't find of the way Logan was introduced. ...more
I can't give it all five stars, because i found two major flaws. One, Maddie went from alcohol and drug addictions to a Stewart addiction, yet no oneI can't give it all five stars, because i found two major flaws. One, Maddie went from alcohol and drug addictions to a Stewart addiction, yet no one ever stop her from that one. And two, I hate books with no real ending. I don't want to make up my own or interpret anything. I just want the author to give it a real sense of closure. ...more
Adventure. Fighting. Incredibly witty dialogue. All things I've come to expect from Joseph Robert Lewis. And he doesn't disappoint his fans in Raziel'Adventure. Fighting. Incredibly witty dialogue. All things I've come to expect from Joseph Robert Lewis. And he doesn't disappoint his fans in Raziel's Shadow. If you like adventure or fantasy, this is your book. It's the tale of Zerai, a prince whose kingdom has been destroyed by ghuls and demons. He is one of the only people left from his nation, and the last of the royal bloodline. His quest to find the Magi, priests who study directly under angels, and retire his nation will draw you in until the last word. 5 stars. Definitely check this one out. ...more