I absolutely love the premise behind this story. A bookstore named The Bridge, with owners that care more about the people that walk through the front...moreI absolutely love the premise behind this story. A bookstore named The Bridge, with owners that care more about the people that walk through the front door than the sales that walk out. A place where community members can find a safe haven, open up, get personalized book recommendations as well as friendship, and hopefully eventually find their way out of whatever darkness they were in to the hope and happiness on the other side of the bridge.
I was tempted to pick up The Bridge and then happily saw that there was a prequel called The Beginning....so I figured I'd best start there. The Beginning is a short story/novella that tells the powerful stories of heartbreak and hope of the owners of the bookshop (Donna & Charlie) and the first customer (Edna) that they "help." The stories were heartbreaking in their details and uplifting in the way that they were able to move beyond the pain and re-build themselves and their lives, yet I didn't find that there was any real emotional impact. I felt awful for the characters but didn't manage to find a way to connect with them or really "feel" their pain. That may be a product of the length of the short story but I fear it may have more to do with Kingsbury's writing style.
The narrator did a lovely job of conveying Kingsbury's words, but I don't feel that the content enabled her to shine in any particular way...perhaps/hopefully as the story deepens in The Bridge so will the emotional content thus allowing LaVoy more opportunity to test her acting chops. I don't know however that I'll be continuing with the series to find out.
On a side note: I did not realize going into this that it was Christian Fiction. I don't read a lot of Christian Fiction as I sometimes feel that the religious elements overshadow the plot. (Just my personal opinion as a spiritual but non-religious individual) That said there were many moments within this story where I felt that the dialogue and actions of the characeters seemed too effusive or simply too good to be true. It sort of jarred me and through me off the story. I am sure that the interactions are realistic for a small percentage of the population (and it probably would be a wonderful world if they were true of a larger percentage) but since there were so far out of the realm of what seems realistic to me, I had a little bit of trouble getting past them and back into the story.(less)
I'll preface this review by saying that I've not previously read any Pike so I'll be making no comparisons to his other work.
When presented the opport...moreI'll preface this review by saying that I've not previously read any Pike so I'll be making no comparisons to his other work.
When presented the opportunity to listen to this novel, I jumped:) I'd been seeing the book around the blogosphere a bit and had heard great things about Pike. Plus...Witches...how could I resist. I was not disappointed.
Pike builds an incredibly interesting, albeit complicated, world that we ever so slowly gain more insight and more knowledge of as the book progresses. Although I must admit that aspects of the parallel "Witch World" universe absolutely boggled my mind, I was also immensely impressed with Pike's creativity. His telling rather than showing us most of this new world did seem to make the story move at a much slower pace than necessary, but for some reason I was fascinated enough by his creation that this fault didn't bother me as much in Witch World as it usually does in other novels.
The characters are also equally complex and that is magnified by the fact that there are in essence two of each character and the two may be similar but are rarely identical - at least until some time after becoming "connected." Jessie is especially hard to read sometimes. I was baffled by how easily she adapted and accepted her changing reality and begrudgingly admirous of how tough and brave she was under stresses that might have broken me. And by the end, I was desperately worried for her...how far would she go...how much would she change to adapt to this new life? The secondary characters each add something important to the tale and to the emotional quotient. Can Jessie really trust Jimmy again? Whose side is Russ really on? What is Al up to? And I totally fell for Kendor;)
The narration was by Justine Eyre was smooth and a believable voice as an adult Jessica. As with all good narrators I became so drawn into the storytelling that I forgot the storyteller.
Despite the slow pace, the suspense kept me riveted to the story...I needed to know more about the characters, more about the world, and how in the world this would all end. And then it didn't end...LOL I'll certainly have my eyes open for Book 2!(less)
I jumped at the chance to review this one...you all know that I can't resist a good Witchy story. What the Spell was well written and I enjoyed the na...moreI jumped at the chance to review this one...you all know that I can't resist a good Witchy story. What the Spell was well written and I enjoyed the narration but sadly this just didn't deliver as expected. I found the main character Brooklyn to be pretty unlikeable and incredibly shallow (even for a teenager) and I was never able to make any connection to her. The parents are typically absent in this one...they simply unbind her powers and then let her run wild with no guidance at all.
I also found the plot to be lacking in substance...I hoped and expected that we would be privy to more of her struggles with accepting and learning magick....with her new experiences practicing magick etc. However, the sole plot line seemed to revolve around Brooklyn's efforts to get into the popular crowd and all of her machinations to do so. The love interest Asher was likeable enough and his sister was perhaps the one saving grace in the book...I loved the bits that she was in. I listened on with the hope that Brooklyn would eventually start taking her magic and her life more seriously, but she never really redeemed herself.
There was a lot of potential here: the history of the tribulations of their families as witches, a young girl learning to use her gifts without compromisung her values or family's safety, the brewing danger of things to come that was simmering under the surface, Asher's whole family's situation... Maybe these themes will be explored more in the upcoming books in the series...but I don't think I'll be picking up book 2 to find out.
All in all, it was a fairly predictable and pretty annoying tale of a teen girl (who happened to have magick) and how far she'd be willing to go to stay in the popular crowd.(less)
Heart Like Mine was an amazingly well told story that touched upon so much more than I ever expected.
The language is crisp and smooth…not overly flowe...moreHeart Like Mine was an amazingly well told story that touched upon so much more than I ever expected.
The language is crisp and smooth…not overly flowery but descriptive enough to convey what needs to be conveyed. The pacing is perfect: slow and angsty when necessary and picking up pace along with the suspense when appropriate.
This book tackles some pretty difficult issues and does so admirably. From marriage and commitment, to death and step-parenting we see it all from varying perspectives thanks to the author’s smart decision to write this one from multiple points of view. Hatvany manages to combine all of these POV’s into a seamless and well drawn narrative. We never feel pulled into different directions as with some multiple POV situations.
I connected immediately with the main character Grace and felt deeply for each and every one of the other characters. Grace, a woman content and happy to never have children, is suddenly thrust into the role of parent when her fiancé’s ex wife passes away. Her struggles with how to handle this situation from feeling like a third wheel in her own home to figuring out how to love and discipline a difficult and grieving teen felt real and compelling. It was also fascinating to see how the couple dealt with their new reality and struggled to develop a new normal.
Ava and Kelli both broke my heart in different ways-they are written strong and complex and will easily work their way inside as well.
All told this book exceeded my expectations. I don’t always connect to contemporary fiction..I generally prefer escapist literature…but I’m so glad that I picked this one up!
I found Cassandra Campbell’s delivery to be perfect. She was able to perfectly change it up a bit to play the parts of Grace, Kelli, and Ava and be completely believable. I would not hesitate to pick up another audio with her narrating. (less)
When offered the chance to review Gena Showalter's Last Kiss Goodnight, I was thrilled. I had heard such great things about her other books and was mo...moreWhen offered the chance to review Gena Showalter's Last Kiss Goodnight, I was thrilled. I had heard such great things about her other books and was more than ready to jump on the band wagon and explore her work. Plus...how gorgeous is that cover! Unfortunately this one really didn't work for me. Perhaps this just isn't a good subgenre for me? Or perhaps Gena Showalter just isn't the author for me? To be honest, I almost didn't finish it.
I found the pacing of the novel to be incredibly slow...many times I was very tempted to fast forward in the hopes of finding "the good stuff." I also found her writing to be a bit pedantic...which didn't help with the pacing issues...and the dialogue to be very forced and awkward. It just felt to me like a whole lot of nothing happened in this book. There was a lot of repetitious activity and dialogue...it just didn't stay fresh. Sure there were a few intense moments during fights or flights...but I just wasn't captivated.
I also felt that the whole storyline was just too contrived...1,2,3 and we're thrown into this prison like environment that is the Lukas' circus and our main characters spend the whole novel striving to extricate themselves all the while fighting their growing attraction. There were facets of the world that seemed like they might be pretty fascinating, but it really wasn't explored enough for my taste. I have very little idea of when this book was set and what changes occured in the world due to the Otherworlders' arrival. We basically spend the whole book watching Solon and Vika interact with the bars of his cage between them.
I also had an incredibly hard time connecting to any of the characters and that saddened me. I think there is tremendous potential in the characters and relationships of Solo, Blue & John, as well as Michael (and I am assuming that each will be the subject of a subsequent book) but I didn't feel like that potential was maximized. We learned a bit through the course of the book about Solo and his history...but the character really didn't show a whole lot of growth or interaction within these relationships as he was separated from them for the course of the book.
Our heroine Vika was also hard for me to connect with. I honestly had a very difficult time accepting her developing relationship with Solo, because she just seemed like such a child. Whether due to her tortured upbringing or her actual age (which I don't recall being stated in the book)...the character felt about 12 years old. Her speech patterns, mannerisms, and thought processes were just not those of an adult woman. She definitely needed Solo's protection and help...but anything more than that just felt completely inappropriate to me. Not a good thing if reading a Paranormal Romance.
With all of that said, I am sure there probably is an audience for this book. Sadly, I'm apparently just not it.
Regarding the narration: It's hard for me to judge based upon the fact that I didn't much care for the book itself...but I feel that George Newbern did a fine job with what he had to work with.(less)
Ten Tiny Breaths was my first “New Adult” read (for some reason I was very resistant to this trying out this new category) and I can’t say enough good...moreTen Tiny Breaths was my first “New Adult” read (for some reason I was very resistant to this trying out this new category) and I can’t say enough good things about it. This story just blew me away. The writing is beyond fantastic….the setting believable as a backdrop but not distracting. It flowed perfectly and kept me itching to get in the car so that I could listen to more. Kacey and Trent are incredibly well developed characters that are so easy to connect with. The supporting cast is equally amazing…Kacey’s sister Livie, Storm and her adorable daughter Mia, the guys at the bar, and even the landlord Tanner.
At the core though this is Kacey’s story… She and Trent are terribly damaged individuals who with time, the help of friends and therapists, and love…manage to be an inspiring tale of growth, healing and forgiveness.
Narration Notes: A+, Elizabeth Louise was perfect in every way(less)
In One Tiny Lie, we finally get to hear Livie’s story…and though certainly not as damaged as her sister Kacey…Livie has not escaped the trauma of her...moreIn One Tiny Lie, we finally get to hear Livie’s story…and though certainly not as damaged as her sister Kacey…Livie has not escaped the trauma of her childhood unscathed. While at college and finally away from her sister and friends and all that is familiar, she must start to question herself…who she really is and who she wants to be. We have another set of great secondary characters. Connor & Reagan, Grant & Ty and especially Dr. Staynor…unorthodox in the extreme but such a heart! Add in an amazingly hot and (of course) damaged Ashton and we have a firestorm brewing. (I’ll tell a secret…I think that I even fell a little bit in love with Ashton)
It’s no secret that I love flawed and damaged characters…I love to see them work and grow and overcome their obstacles…whether genuine or psychological or both. I love the happy ever afters just that little bit more for the extra angst and struggle. Truth be told..I think that each and every one of us is flawed in one way or another…and we draw hope from tales such as these.
Narration Notes: A+, Elizabeth Louise was perfect in every way
I can’t recommend this series highly enough…I absolutely loved it…and if anything that I’ve said appeals to you, you’ll probably love it as well.(less)