This was a short, sweet, old-fashioned romance that took me out of my reading slump and reminded me why it is that I favoured the romance genre so heaThis was a short, sweet, old-fashioned romance that took me out of my reading slump and reminded me why it is that I favoured the romance genre so heavily in my teens. There's something about a marriage of convenience and the slow falling-in-love that comes with a mature relationship based on mutual respect and admiration that gets me every time.
While Kirsten's beginnings as a writer show in the sometimes awkward dialogue and prose, characterised by repetitive descriptions and use of the same phrasing in consecutive sentences, as well as excessive descriptions of the main character's thoughts that could have been more subtly woven into the story (I believe), I can't deny that the story gripped me and had me experiencing some of the nervous excitement and downright giddiness of a new bride who's found herself married to complete stranger.
I think this book makes for a sweet, romantic read that will leave the reader with a case of the warm fuzzies and a whole-hearted belief that it's never too late to find true love....more
This was a fairly short read. After reading LJ Smith’s The Vampire Diaries series in preparation for viewing The CW TV series, I was a little hesitantThis was a fairly short read. After reading LJ Smith’s The Vampire Diaries series in preparation for viewing The CW TV series, I was a little hesitant to pick up this series after being left very disappointed with The Vampire Diaries. However, I do not like watching a new book-to-series TV show without being familiar with the characters, their backgrounds and situations beforehand, so I felt the need to pick up this series before watching The CW show based on this book. I’m sorry to say that this book didn’t exactly impress me either. I didn’t want to have to read the whole series before watching the TV show, so I started my viewing as soon as I was done with this book and I have to say that (as with The Vampire Diaries) I much prefer The CW ‘s take on this series.
There were noticeable differences between this book and the TV show, like the absence of a few members of the circle. The TV show only has 6 members, while the book has 10. Characters such as Sean, Melanie, Deborah, Susan and Laurel were left out in the TV show, while Nick, Adam, Diana, Faye, Cassie (of course!) were retained with anew character being added in the form of Melissa. Cassie’s mum also dies in the very first episode, while she’s alive (if a little unwell) throughout the first book. Oh! And Cassie’s grandma doesn’t look like the warty, bent old hag she’s described as in the books. She’s a beautiful, warm, gracious and supportive character in the TV show. I’m glad they portrayed her in a much better light in the TV show. Unlike the book, Cassie doesn’t mysteriously meet Adam at a beach in another beachside town while on holiday. She doesn’t have to save him from her obnoxious friend’s brothers by lying for him and she’s certainly not handed a piece of chalcedony for good luck and for summoning him in times of need. More importantly, he doesn’t mysteriously kiss her wrist and a lightning-like silver cord doesn’t connect their two hearts as in the book *rolls eye*. I found all of that a little too dramatic!
I also found it creepy the way Cassie seemed to be obsessed with golden-haired, angelic Diana who she trailed like a lost puppy and then betrayed by kissing her boyfriend- Adam! *gasp* Okay, you can see where I’m going with this. I can’t help but compare the book with the TV series, as the TV series just poses a much more relatable and realistic image of teenagers’ lives in a small town like that. Maybe it’s because this book was written a long time ago and teenagers were different then (or maybe I’m just making excuses and the author was way off the mark in portraying teenagers then). There were quite a few differences between this book and the TV show and I preferred the TV show’s portrayal of life in this quaint little town.
Note: Even the name of the town has been changed from New Salem *rolls eyes* to Chance Harbour. Okay, so my eyes are starting to spin out of control here, so I’m just going to say that this book didn’t really appeal to me and I don’t look forward to reading the next two books in this series (even though I know I most probably will- because I’m obsessive about finishing series and these are short reads and I can’t help but give these books another chance). So, you can expect two more eye-rolling reviews ahead. ...more
Alex and Seth have been best friends since primary school, when Alex saved Seth from being bullied. Ever since then, Alex has been Seth’s shadow and sAlex and Seth have been best friends since primary school, when Alex saved Seth from being bullied. Ever since then, Alex has been Seth’s shadow and sidekick, fighting his battles for him and being his rock of support. All that while, Alex has silently yearned for Seth’s attention and love- as more than a friend. Unfortunately, Seth has confessed to Alex that he is gay. So, she sits silently by while he parades girl after girl before her to maintain his popular image and not let anyone know that he’s gay. Being a player on the university’s baseball team, and possessing extremely good looks, makes Seth quite a catch and very popular. He cannot risk losing face before his teammates and fellow students. So, Alex doesn’t say a word about it and doesn’t push him to come out of the closet. What she does try to make him do, is use her as his fake girlfriend so that it could serve them both- her by being able to be physically intimate with him (even if it’s just an act) and him by appearing to be straight. Of course, Alex doesn’t know for sure that Seth is entirely unaware of her attraction to him. That’s something I found a little frustrating- although Seth hinted that he knew of Alex’s feelings for him, they never just brought it out into the open and discussed it.
After Seth exposes his attraction to a jock friend at a campus party, he is beaten and rushed to hospital. After this unintended falling out of the closet, Seth is no longer himself and distances himself from Alex. Alex is left all alone without her best friend as he had formed the centre of her existence for as long as she can remember. However, she has an opportunity to broaden her horizons and make new friends when Dink arrives. Dink is the friend of Bruce, the jock Seth had a crush on and Dink had invited Alex to the party at his fraternity house. So when Seth needs to be rushed to the hospital, Dink steps in and takes charge, sitting through the ordeal with Alex. I thought Dink was so sweet and, although Alex tried to give him a chance by going out with him, I hated that she judged him by the way he ate and how big he was compared to her. All of that just seemed so petty next to his nicenesss. But I guess when you’re in love with someone else for most of your life, even sweeties like Dink aren’t good enough. Based on the descriptions of Dink in this book and the fact that he belonged to a fraternity, I imagined Dink looking a little like Beaver from the TV series, Greek (http://images.wikia.com/greektv/image...)
Another person who entered the picture and provided an opportunity for Alex to expand her social circle and get over Seth was Trinity, a friendly new girl on campus who instantly made Alex feel comfortable about an embarrassing experience in a previous lecture and soon became her pillar of strength. Trinity’ss character reminded me a little of Maya in Pretty Little Liars (http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__c...)
This book evoked a myriad of emotions for various reasons. My heart broke for Alex because she loved her childhood best friend who had grown up into quite a hunk. Unfortunately, she was left yearning for his attention as he used other girls to keep up the act and hide his secret. Of course, once the truth accidently slipped out, he was beaten for it and treated in a vastly different manner by people who had claimed to be his friends. Throughout it all, Alex remained his unfailing supporter but when he withdrew within himself and cut her off, she realised that she needed to stop living for him but start living for herself, by first starting to love herself. It was a simple, sweet message conveyed in this book and I’d definitely recommend that others pick it up in order to understand the social challenges faced by many of today’s youth who find themselves in similar situations. ...more
It’s very rare for me to find a book that I literally cannot put down. When I do find that book, you can be sure that I’m going to be recommending itIt’s very rare for me to find a book that I literally cannot put down. When I do find that book, you can be sure that I’m going to be recommending it to everybody and their grandmother. I’ve never been to Italy and, after reading Murder in Italy by Candace Dempsey, my romantic image of Italy had been shattered (I did love the book, though, so you should go check out my review of it). However, now that I’m reading Eat , Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (review coming soon) I’m starting to regain my initial romantic ideas of the place. Reading Waterfall, on the other hand, helped me to experience an entirely different kind of Italy. Having never read a book set in ancient Italy, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I would not be disappointed once Gabi stepped out of that tomb and got whisked away from danger by the dashing Marcello.
Marcello... What can I say about him? He’s handsome (of course!) and strong, sweet and charming, noble and kind, respectful and respectable, sugar and spice, and everything ni- Oh! Ahem...Excuse me! I got a little sidetracked there... No, I should not have added the sugar and spice part. He’s a perfectly honourable, respectable, gallant knight in shining armour. See the Team Marcello button on my right side bar if you don’t believe me! Yes, well Marcello is amazing. Although he initially came across as being a rather simple-minded male chauvinist in his reactions to Gabi, it didn’t take long for him to endear himself to me. I loved the way he accepted Gabi’s unusual nature (unusual when compared to other women of his time) and respected her as a lady. I loved how he remained faithful to Lady Rossi (his intended) even when he was attracted to Gabi. I loved how he was gentle and sweet, yet strong when he needed to be. Yes, Marcello certainly made quite an impression.
Gabi initially came across as a whiny teenager in the opening scene when she’s searching for a potential digging site with her mother and sister. However, it was only once she was transported back to ancient Italy that her true strength and courage were revealed. Being a fan of empowered and capable women a.k.a. kick-ass heroines, she certainly earned my respect as the story progressed.
I won’t give away much regarding the story itself (you really should read it!) but I can say that there’s a lot of action, adventure and romance contained within the pages of what is the beginning of a highly entertaining series. Right from the moment Gabi and Lia place their hands over handprints embedded in the walls of a tomb at an archaeological site in modern-day Italy and Gabi emerges from the tomb into the midst of a battle in an entirely different time period, followed by her arrival and stay at Castello Forelli, her adjustment to the primitive amenities and unfamiliar style of dressing, code of conduct and speech of the period and various other changes (all while pretending to be a noblewoman who has lost her way and her possessions and is in search of her family) we are whisked away on an adventure that is sure to leave us breathlessly turning the pages until we reach the very end and are left yearning for more. I know I can’t wait to pick up my copies of Cascade and Torrent! ...more
Julie Miller’s got a secret and she’s on the run. After years spent being held captive and exploited by a bunch of bad guys, she has escaped and changJulie Miller’s got a secret and she’s on the run. After years spent being held captive and exploited by a bunch of bad guys, she has escaped and changed her name from Laney to Julie in order to avoid detection in any of the towns she passes through while on the run. She eventually ends up in the little town of Marion, the home of Mountain Dew. As soon as she enters town, she visits a market place to have lunch and is approached by a handsome teenager named Austin.
Although she does not want to involve anyone else in her problems by getting into a relationship, she can’t deny the attraction she feels for Austin. She soon finds herself spending more and more time with him and they fall in love. In the meantime, Julie’s checked out the local hospital to sign on as a volunteer. If she’s happy with the hospital, she just might stay. It turns out the hospital is as great as she’d hoped and so she goes looking for a place to stay. Enter Dr. Elsworth- aka Eli- the hunky doctor with a secret of his own.
Eli and Julie have an almost magnetic attraction and he feels strangely protective over her. When he witnesses her cure a little boy with her touch, he is fascinated and curious about her gift. Julie finds that he is too persistent in his inquiries and soon has to confide in him. Wanting to keep her close, Eli sets her up to view an apartment in a building he happens to own and they both become neighbours. Even though he’s aware that she’s in a relationship with Austin, he can’t help but resent their intimacy. Nevertheless, he has his precious hours working side by side with Julie at the hospital each day and gains satisfaction in their short time spent together.
Soon, another doctor joins the staff- he also has a secret. Dr. Marcus Samson is a devilishly handsome, incorrigible flirt who tries to get into Julie’s panties the first day at work. That’s before he finds out whose girlfriend she is and exactly what she is. That doesn’t stop him, though, and all this Greys-Anatomy-like drama makes for some interesting entertainment on the side. When all seems to be going well for them and Julie is almost assured of having finally evaded her pursuers and actually having a chance at a normal life, her past finally catches up with her and her one chance at happiness is threatened, along with the lives of those she cares about. What follows, is an action-packed series of events with some very interesting new characters introduced and a lot more background filled in for the reader to enjoy and, ultimately, anticipate the next book in the series- Earth Blend. Bring it on! ...more
This is the first audiobook I’ve listened to but even though I’m an inexperienced audiobook listener, I would have to say that there could not have beThis is the first audiobook I’ve listened to but even though I’m an inexperienced audiobook listener, I would have to say that there could not have been a better narrator for this than the author himself. The author, knowing his characters best, is able to portray each character’s personality differently through the use of varying accents and a changing tone of voice.
The book starts off with a burglary scene in the upper-class suburb of Rocky Falls, a fictitious town in North Carolina, during which Leonard Noblack, a middle-aged Jazz artist with hopes of making it big is busy carrying out his own twisted form of justice by killing a terminally ill pet cat belonging to the family whose home he has broken into. Leonard makes for an interesting character, with his strange addiction to waterless hand sanitizer and its alcohol content and his vague, senseless justification for his nefarious activities.
We soon shift to a scene with the book’s main character, J. Davis Swain III, who is an investigator with a major law firm arriving at the scene of the crime and trying to figure out what the cryptic messages left by the burglar on the walls might mean. After similar burglaries occur, with all appearing to be connected and are obviously carried out by the same person, Jeff is forced to speed up his investigation and soon comes to a shocking realisation about just how close to home this criminal’s target is. With circumstances getting more serious and the level of danger escalating after an accidental death, sparking the idea for a kidnapping and even an attempted rape, Jeff is forced to mobilise all resources at his disposal and even team up with a nosy local reporter he has a one-night stand with, while feeling guilty for keeping it from his girlfriend who he no longer has any feelings for, and even manages to handle a visiting ex-girlfriend that he’s not quite over and who’s been added into the mix after being a target of Leonard’s all while fearing for his safety and for the safety of those associated with him. Along the way, we get a glimpse into the twisted mind of a jazz artist of no special talent who refuses to come to terms with his situation in life and seeks to obtain some measure of recognition for his work through engaging in dangerous criminal activity.
I enjoyed this novel immensely and was quite shocked at the way it ended because it left me with so many questions, making me think that this may be the beginning of a series written by an exceptionally talented debut author. ...more
Prince Ash is escorting Meghan Chase, the girl he loves (who is also a half-faery princess and daughter of the Summer King, Oberon) to the Winter CourPrince Ash is escorting Meghan Chase, the girl he loves (who is also a half-faery princess and daughter of the Summer King, Oberon) to the Winter Court at Tir Na Nog as promised to Queen Mab. Meghan has to go with him to fulfil her end of the bargain since he helped her retrieve her kidnapped little brother and return him safely home. However, she wants to stop off and check in on her injured friend Robin Goodfellow (aka Puck). On their way, they realise they’re being followed. They manage to shake off their follower for a while and reunite with the faery cat, Grimalkin, while visiting with Puck. They soon set off again with Grimalkin in tow but come upon their predator once again and are forced into a confrontation. When all is said and done, they finally reach the Winter Court and Meghan is unsure about whether she can still trust that Ash’s feelings for her are true, as he distances himself from her once at Court, and whether she can count on him to be there for her while she’s held captive there. This icy little snippet of what to expect in the second book of the Iron Fey trilogy certainly whet my appetite. Before starting this series, I was so sure I’d be Team Puck (I love my underdogs!). Besides, Puck was my favourite character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Then along came Prince Ash and, along with Meghan’s, he stole my heart. There’s something about his icy demeanour and internal struggle over his feelings for Meghan that just makes my heart melt every time he’s around Meghan. I expect that’s how most Team Ash supporters feel about this fierce and noble prince. I look forward to seeing what happens in The Iron Daughter. ...more
The sequel to “If I Stay”, I have to admit that I liked this glimpse into the life and heartbreak of a rising rockstar infinitely better than If I StaThe sequel to “If I Stay”, I have to admit that I liked this glimpse into the life and heartbreak of a rising rockstar infinitely better than If I Stay. I expected Adam’s voice to sound nagging, but was thankful that after the first 50 pages or so I grew to warm up to his voice and even understand his situation a lot better. It was sad to witness his heartbreak but, while I understood why Mia chose to distance herself from him, I couldn’t help but want to strangle her for giving up such a good guy and shattering his heart into a million pieces. I found it exciting reading about their little night-time jaunt to Mia’s favourite places before they would depart on tours to different ends of the world.
I expected a happy ending and I got it. I would’ve been heartbroken otherwise. There were so many great, heart-melting lines of Adam’s that I would’ve liked to include in this quote but I’m too lazy to add them in right now. However, there is one quote from a kitchen scene when Mia’s family was still alive in which Mia says that she’s afraid to share Adam with any more people than she already has, by inviting her family along to one of his concerts. This is Adam’s response:
“You dumb-ass,” I crooned, kissing her on the forehead. “You don’t share me. You own me.”
Now tell me, who wouldn’t fall for a guy who could say something like that? ...more
I received this book as a First Reads Giveaway win from Goodreads. This is not the sort of book I would normally pick up and read (I seem to be winninI received this book as a First Reads Giveaway win from Goodreads. This is not the sort of book I would normally pick up and read (I seem to be winning books like these from goodreads a lot lately) and yet, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned from it. Before reading the book, I had no idea that such a thing as Kairos and Shen therapy existed (although the physical aspects of both therapies reminded me of a one-day Body Talk Access workshop I'd attended). I found it interesting how these therapy sessions helped bring to the surface Eva's past traumas and the emotions that accompanied them. While I was saddened to read of the degree of abuse and neglect she suffered, I am glad that she has found a way to heal. There are many who are deprived such opportunities. When I came to the last section on Secrets of Transformation, I found myself grabbing a pencil and underlining many passages that I could relate to and which I considered important for my own personal groth and development. All in all, I think this was a good read and I'm thankful for the opportunity to have read it....more
I went into this book with a great many expectations based on the sheer number of raving 5-star reviews I’d read for it. Although a short and enjoyablI went into this book with a great many expectations based on the sheer number of raving 5-star reviews I’d read for it. Although a short and enjoyable read, I cannot help but be saddened that my expectations were not entirely met. While the book caught me from the first page with its warm, cosy family scene which introduced Mia’s happy family and their familiar banter, I was shocked at the suddenness of the accident and their death. I certainly did not expect to have the aftermath of the wreckage described in such gruesome detail. I’m not a big fan of near-death experiences and Mia’s state of alertness in the hospital and during the surgery called to mind the Jessica Alba movie “Awake” during which a patient under anaesthesia remained conscious of all that was happening to his body. I did, however, enjoy that movie but I found it hard to enjoy this book since most of it consisted of flashes of the past and I prefer my stories told in the present. Despite these slight issues I had with the book, there are certain scenes that will forever remain etched in my memory- mostly those with Adam in them. The famous one which I’m sure most people will not forget is when the famous rock star Brooke Vega arrives at the hospital and creates a diversion so that Adam can get past the stern nurse and spend a few seconds at Mia’s bedside. My heart completely melted at that point. Of course, the closing scene and Adam’s little speech also left me a little misty-eyed. Yes, I’m a sucker for sensitive, artsy, poetic, emo rocker dudes who also happen to look completely swoon-worthy. *sigh*...more
I’ve had this book on my shelf for at least 3 years now and, sadly, only found the time to pick it up now as part of a reading challenge I participateI’ve had this book on my shelf for at least 3 years now and, sadly, only found the time to pick it up now as part of a reading challenge I participated in here on goodreads. I’m so glad that I finally got around to reading it as it has opened my eyes to a different and fresh perspective on what it means to be a Muslim. Seeing the beauty of Islam through the eyes of recent reverts to Islma, people who were not brought up with it in their lives and, therefore, did not take it for granted and place it second to their daily activities but rather strove to maintain the practice of Islam at the forefront of their daily activities, has instilled in me a certain pride in the beauty of my religion. Sadly, most of the world does not see Islam for the beautiful and peaceful religion it is. Instead, they choose to believe the false propaganda generated by the media which serves the interests of those who control the media and are therefore in positions of greater power to influence the ideas and beliefs of an unquestioning public. To declare that you are a Muslim in this day and age is to invite unfair discrimination and prejudice, to alienate yourself from those who would otherwise call you their friend and to be regarded with suspicion at every turn. However, a true Muslim places their religion before the approval of others. Seeing how much of discrimination these brave and courageous women faced when deciding to first adopt a more modest, Islamic way of dressing even before they decided to become Muslim, and the elevated levels of discrimination they faced once they had accepted Islam and chosen to take the big step of donning the niqaab and covering themselves completely, I have come to realise how easy some of us have had it by growing up in supportive, Islamic backgrounds and amongst people and friends who , although not entirely informed with regard to our religious practices, chose to set aside an prejudices they might otherwise have had and accept us for the people we are and even accommodate our religious practices where necessary. The sisters whose stories are contained in this book are truly worthy of respect for their unyielding resolve to march forward in the face of such great challenges and seek an Islamic way of life in an opposing Western world.
Important ideas that I have picked up from this book include how all-encompassing the daily practices and rituals that inform our existence as Muslims actually are. I never truly understood what people meant when they said that Islam is not just a religion- it is a way of life. Now I’ve moved a little closer to understanding how Islam can be a way of life. In our every action as Muslims, we are taught to exhibit an Islamic identity. There are Islamic guidelines on the proper social etiquette and ways of conducting ourselves in the social, business and family environments. We are provided with clear guidelines for our dressing, grooming, personal hygiene and other personal, everyday matters. Many of the sisters interviewed said that that was one of the main attractions of Islam as it provided them with such clear instructions on how to live a good, Islamic life and that the logic and reason behind many of its guidelines appealed to them. All sisters agreed that Islam served to provide them with a clear direction and granted purpose to their lives.
Another aspect of this book that appealed to me is that it provided a modern-day rationale for polygamous marriages. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had encouraged men to take wives during a time when many women were left widowed as a result of a battle that significantly reduced the numbers of men and, since these women were in danger of turning to prostitution in order to earn a living, the men were encouraged to take them in as their wives if these women would have them. Although I have never been comfortable with the idea of polygamy, I have to admit that even in today’s times there are many women who are left destitute once their husbands have passed on and cannot go on surviving without the financial support of a male breadwinner. In this book, an interesting aspect of how polygamy may benefit the modern career woman is discussed. It is stated that should a woman want to marry, but also wants to have her own space and not have to deal with a demanding husband 24/7, she could allow her husband to take another wife so that she can have some free time to focus on her studies, career, social life or just her own personal growth and development. It is important to note that a man cannot take another wife without the permission of his present wife and a man is not allowed to take another wife simply because he lusts after the other woman.
Coming back to the idea of Islam providing these newly reverted sisters with a deep contentment due to a new purpose in life, I have to admit that I grew ashamed at my own neglect of this purpose as a Muslim. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the demands placed on us in our daily lives, that we become so engrossed in our daily activities that all we want at the end of the day is to indulge in some mindless recreation- which is usually in the form of unislamic viewing of TV or listening to Music. As Muslims, we are taught that our life on this earth is fleeting and transitory, so we should not grow attached to this world as our eternal life will be in the Hereafter. Rather, we should view this world as a test wherein we are constantly challenged and have to step up to these challenges and bear them with patience or overcome them in the best manner possible. Our free time should be spent engaging in family activities, sport or other useful endeavours which will not allow us to grow complacent and lazy and deviate from making steady progress toward our ultimate goal.
Muslims are taught to never mock the religions of others, but to always show the utmost respect to the religious beliefs of others. However, while many Muslims strive to exhibit religious tolerance and acceptance in their daily interactions, it is sad that many innocent Muslims (such as the two sisters described in this book) are victims of despicable acts of prejudice and hate based on a widespread condemnation of Muslims in the post-9/11 era. Many people, sadly, do not stop to think before judging and harshly sentencing a vast majority of Muslim people to a lifetime of unfair prejudice and discrimination based on the actions of a select minority whose ideas don’t even stem from anything remotely resembling true Islam. It is my hope that someday Muslims may be able to walk the earth with their heads held high and not have to cower in a corner, accepting the baseless accusations thrown at them for fear of inciting the wrath of any government and its unquestioning public. ...more