Really underwhelmed with this novel. I have read several Jojo Moyes books before but this one was subpar at best. There was no real defining emotional...moreReally underwhelmed with this novel. I have read several Jojo Moyes books before but this one was subpar at best. There was no real defining emotional moments like her other work had. It felt like a bad lifetime moving rather than a book by a New York Times best selling author. (less)
Two peas in a pod, Tully and Kate, started their life long friendship in the summer of 1974. The two could not have been more different. Kate came fro...moreTwo peas in a pod, Tully and Kate, started their life long friendship in the summer of 1974. The two could not have been more different. Kate came from a loving family that was a little on the protective side, while Tully had an absentee mother and was raised by her grandmother. Tully and Kate’s friendship grew out of their mutual insecurities and an unfortunate incident that altered Tully’s path in life. Through college, the early stages of their careers and their journey into adulthood, their friendship will be tested, tried and hold true. The New York Times best selling author, Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane is a true glimpse in a life long friendship.
The story of Tully and Kate was not what I expected. I added Firefly Lane to my to-read list a while ago and finally picked it up. What I found was a great story about a life long friendship. Hannah follows different life events for both Tully and Kate during their 30 plus year friendship. It was great to see the characters grow and developed together and become the women they were meant to be. The change that the Tully and Kate experienced over time was sweet yet disappointing. It was upsetting to see them make the wrong choices, not take advantage of great opportunities and burn a viable love. The drawback from this stylistic choice is that their story was a little disjointed at times.
The ending completely came out of left field and did not do either character justice. It seemed like Hannah combined two different stories into one in regards to the ending. The mash up seemed a little forced and was not a clear continuation from the first three-quarters of the novel. I was glad to see that Hannah has a sequel to Firefly Lane titled Fly Away that will continue the abrupt end of the first novel. If you are looking for a feel good novel with a great an satisfying ending, then Firefly Lane is not for you. (less)
Uhtred is back with vengeance. Out of favor the Saxon monarchy, Uhtred sees no other option but to recapture his birthright territory, Bebbanburg, wit...moreUhtred is back with vengeance. Out of favor the Saxon monarchy, Uhtred sees no other option but to recapture his birthright territory, Bebbanburg, with a limited crew of fellow outcasts. After King Alfred’s death, his son Edward takes the throne as king of Wessex. Years of peace soon come to an end as the Danes, under Cnut Longsword’s leadership; plan to invade the Saxon territories. Uhterd learns of Cnut’s plans yet the Saxons are uneasy to trust him. Men live and die, loyalties are challenged but one thing remains constant in the Saxon Stories Series: fate is inexorable.
The Pagan Lord is the seventh installment in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories Series and is easily one of the best. The detail that readers have grown accustomed to of 10th century England is top notch and expertly researched. There is the perfect combination of war, love and treachery to keep the reader’s interest. A cornerstone of Conrwell’s writing in the series is the funny insults meaning to scorn the opposition. Some of my favorite include the words: fart, stench and one or two expletives.
I really enjoyed following Uhtred throughout his life to experience the various joys and heartbreaks – and unfortunately – defeats alongside him. Even in his hold old age Uhtred is as fierce as ever and still has a few tricks up his sleeve to help persuade the Saxons to believe his tale.
Some of the favorite parts of the novel were the battle scenes, especially towards the end. I find it interesting to see how militarily the world has evolved from shied walls and swords to tanks and automatic guns. The detail that Cornwell uses to describe these scenes is unparalleled. I truly feel as if I am standing with my shield next to Uhtred preparing for battle.
With a conclusion that leaves nothing to be desired, fans are eagerly awaiting the eight novel in the series set to be released in the United States in early 2015. RATING: 4 Stars (less)
Two star-crossed lovers are put to the ultimate test. In 1960 Jennifer Stirling awakes from a horrific car accident that left her without recollection...moreTwo star-crossed lovers are put to the ultimate test. In 1960 Jennifer Stirling awakes from a horrific car accident that left her without recollection of the accident or herself. Feeling like an outsider in her elite world of London’ wealthiest families, her husband, Laurence, tries to reintegrate Jennifer and start their marriage over again. His plan changes when Jennifer stumbles upon a love letter written by the mysterious and heartfelt ‘B’ and is determined to discover his identity and rekindle their passionate affair.
Nearly 40 years later, struggling journalist Ellie, stumbles upon Jennifer’s love letters from ‘B’ and promises to turn her career around with a knock out feature piece. The journey to write the story hits too close to home for Ellie as she risks her career, friends and married boyfriend in the name of Jennifer and ‘B’. This utterly romantic – yet gut wrenching – page-turner fully captures the reader and takes them along for the ride.
The Last Letter from Your Lover is the second novel by Jojo Moyes I have read and I am 100% a fan of her work. I love her writing style and the way she creates her characters to be either likeable or evil when necessary. Moyes’ plot line is well thought out and peppered with characters that are the perfect vehicle for the story and theme. Jennifer is neither annoying nor whiny, which is common in contemporary romance novels, when making hard and life changing decisions.
Predictability is the enemy is any author and is Moyes had one fault in the story that was it. The conclusion of the novel was more obvious with each passing page towards the end of the text. With that being said, it was an ending that left the reader wholeheartedly satisfied. RATING: 4 Stars (less)
The seeds of war have already been sowed by 1772 and the Fraser’s and Mackenzie’s find themselves right in the middle of the beginning of American his...moreThe seeds of war have already been sowed by 1772 and the Fraser’s and Mackenzie’s find themselves right in the middle of the beginning of American history. Honor and duty calls upon Jamie as he is asked to represent the Crown and help unite the residents of the Ridge and Native Americans. Claire continues to push the medical envelope to help patients survive the hardships in 18th century North Carolina. Rodger and Brianna struggle to assimilate in a world that they never imagined they would be apart of. Tensions rise and loyalties are tested in the sixth installment of the New York Times best selling series Outlander in A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
I have a love-hate relationship with the Outlander series. I have experienced highs and lows in the novels for the characters, in frustration of their choices, plot line missteps and much more. Since the fist installment in the series, this is hands down my favorite book. There was more action in this story, more decisions and more interesting secrets that come to light. Seeing the characters struggle and forced to make hard choices about their lives and the lives of those they love was an aspect that the other books were missing.
My favorite part of the story was Gabaldon’s infusion of history into the text. This is something she has done in other books to great success as well. It’s always interesting – at least for me – to get history from a human voice, rather than in a textbook. The biggest logistical concern I have for the books in general is the character’s interpretation of time travel. After failed attempts for their “theories” on the subjects I do not understand why they do not see the errors in their logic and adopt a new theory or come to a different conclusion.
Overall this book is one of the better ones in the Outlander series. I gave up on the novels for over a year and jumped back into them to prepare for the new Starz series. I would have liked Gabaldon to add some subtle reminders of some plot details that could have gotten lost from book to book, especially if the themes carried over.
Outlander is a Starz original television series that will appear on August 9, 2014. RATING: 4 Stars (less)
Diana Biship and Matthew de Clairmont are dealing with the consequences of their quest for what vampires refer to as the Book of Life or Ashmole 782,...moreDiana Biship and Matthew de Clairmont are dealing with the consequences of their quest for what vampires refer to as the Book of Life or Ashmole 782, according to witches. With Diana's beloved second mother Emily murdered, the paranormal couple must act quickly and decisively to save themselves and their lives of those they love. But as centuries of secrets from the de Clairmonts continually mount, Matthew must revisit some of the darkest points in his life to complete their quest. And even with Diana’s increasing power and abilities, she still has her own obstacles to overcome in order to become the witch she is destined to be. Magical, enchanting and a true page turner, Harkness' final installment in the All Souls Trilogy provides a dramatic conclusion to the New York Times best selling series.
Over one year and 30 books later I was happy to sink my teeth back into Harkness' story of Diana Bishop and Matthew de Clairmont. The characters were as strong willed, judgmental and as devoted to each other as I remember. It took some time for me to recall the nuances of the complex plot line which detracted from the first portion of the text. I would have liked for Harnkess to include more subtle reminders of the first two books in this “The a Book of Life” to help establish a pace. However, once I got fully immersed there was no stopping. I got fully sucked into the story and needed to find out all of the secrets that Diana and Matthew were hunting for so long. I was rooting for them as a couple, and individually when they had to face their past in their own, and wanted to discover the reason why the congregation forbade creature interaction.
"The Book of Life" was expertly written and was full of different allusions and figurative language and elevated the text from a mere paranormal story into a superb read. With numerous themes present ranging from forgoing one’s fears to relying on help from freinds, any reader will find something to relate in the novel. For those who did not read “Discoery of Witches” and “Shadow of Night” I highly recommend doing so before picking up “The Book of Life” to fully appreciate different nuances and the multiple plot lines that Harkness uses throughout the trilogy. I recommend this series to those who like “Twilight” but want something a bit edgier or readers who are a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” and would like a vampire and witch novel.
Robert Knight, the Duke of Hawkscliffe, is determined to solve the untimely death of his forbidden love and will stop at nothing to figure out the tru...moreRobert Knight, the Duke of Hawkscliffe, is determined to solve the untimely death of his forbidden love and will stop at nothing to figure out the truth. During his quest for vengeance Hawkscliffe, stumbles upon one of London’s most renowned courtesans, Belinda Hamilton, who he enlists to help him. At the risk of scandal, his political career, family name and his heart, Hawscliffe is unaware of the lengths he is willing to go for the ones he loves and the ones he thought he loved.
Gaelan Foley’s “The Duke” is unlike any other historical romance book I have read from the quality of writing, plot structure and even the time period. This Regency Romance covered all emotions that top tier historical romances have from extreme happiness, sadness, love and betrayal yet Foley executed it superbly. Belinda and Hawkscliffe came alive off the page and I was truly rooting for them and their happiness. My favorite aspect of the book was the complex plot structure that utilized political undertones and multiple outside character story lines. Foley defied historical romance stereotypes that often plague the genre, such as an unplanned/forced wedding or unexpected pregnancy, and blazed a path for an enjoyable and steamy read.
I devoured the novel and could not put it down at home, work or late at night. I recommend this read for readers who like historical romance books but want something unique.
One word to describe Moyes novel, Me Before You: WOW (please note the uppercase). This book is simply beautiful. Ironically I first heard of this word...moreOne word to describe Moyes novel, Me Before You: WOW (please note the uppercase). This book is simply beautiful. Ironically I first heard of this word of mouth hit via word of mouth and through one of my old teachers who said if I was to read one book this summer Me Before You was it and after finishing it, I know why. Lou Clark is going nowhere fast and at 27 years old its time for her to start thinking about the future. She is given the push that she needs when her boss closes his restaurant and she is forced to find employment elsewhere. Working through a series of temporary positions, Clark is unable to find a job that she likes, until she spots a caretaker position for 6 months. She accepts the position helping wheelchair bound Will Traynor and the rest is literary history.
Me Before You is one of the most impactful novels I have ever read. Moyes deals with real world issues through a refreshingly honest lens. The characters are true, pure and extremely likeable. Even though the ending was a little on the predictable side, I had no idea the title wave of emotions that would come out of it. I finished the novel at 3:00 am – because I simply could not put it down – and literally lost a night of sleep based off of the dramatic ending of the story. There is no wonder why Me Before You is a best seller and beloved by fans world wide. Me Before You is not only my favorite novel of Summer 2014 but of all time. (less)
I picked up "Brava, Valentine" in haste while I was looking for an audio book to listen to for a long drive. I read/listened to Adriana Trigiani's "Th...moreI picked up "Brava, Valentine" in haste while I was looking for an audio book to listen to for a long drive. I read/listened to Adriana Trigiani's "The Shoemakers Wife" and enjoyed it and figured I would give this novel a try as well.
In short, this book was underwhelming at best. Trigiani tried to do too much in a relatively short novel and bit off more than she could chew. There were too many subplots, undertones and social concepts that she tried to employ but it came off as sloppy. The protagonist Valentine was far from like able and even verged on pathetic on several dozen instances.
I did not realize that this book was a second in a series and I have to commend Trigiani on providing background information for me to understand what was happening. (less)
Emma Frazier is confronted with one thing that no woman wants to hear: "she is the ugly friend". After that ill-fated night with her two besties and h...moreEmma Frazier is confronted with one thing that no woman wants to hear: "she is the ugly friend". After that ill-fated night with her two besties and her mutual "friend," Emma wants to make a splash and have her uber hot boss notice her by promising an article on Trip Monroe, NASCAR legend. On the journey to land an interview Emma discovers a lot about herself, her moms and her friends on her quest to become confident in her life.
Let me tell you what I really think about the novel:
(view spoiler)[ For those of you who read the novel, you understand Maria Geraci loves to use this line a lot. At first it was a little annoying - okay a lot a bit annoying - but once the tone was fully established and I got used to her style, the phrase got more palatable. Emma Frazier: how I would love to tell you so much about life and love, yet I am sure you would take none of it. Emma's whiny and constant complaints about her weight and image were a lifting grating since this is fiction. If I wanted to listen to people complain about their looks I would go out and socialize, not pick up a novel. With that said, Richard and Kimberly were my favorite characters because they were real, multi dimensional and were able to stick it to Emma in the end. Okay, okay, for as much bashing I did on Emma, I really did enjoy the book. It was interesting and held my attention to the point in which I could not put it down until it was complete. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, I would recommend this novel for those who want a fun, quirky, chick-lit read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was my favorite of the three books so far. I loved the plot line and that character development throughout the text. Lisa Kleypas did a good job...moreThis was my favorite of the three books so far. I loved the plot line and that character development throughout the text. Lisa Kleypas did a good job - in the entire series - elevating the characters from typical "historical romance" archetypes and making them better than the rest.
There were some minor details that kept this form earning 6 star book status. Stylistically, Kleypas kept using the same phrasing over and over (I.e. said St. Vincent sarcondically) that got to be a little much sometimes.
"Devil in Winter" is hands down my favorite historical romance novel and lived up to the hype that it received when I first started the Wallflower series. (less)