Rainshadow Road is a contemporary romance with a little magic realism thrown in. If you like books by Janet Chapman and Sarah Addison Allen, I would s...moreRainshadow Road is a contemporary romance with a little magic realism thrown in. If you like books by Janet Chapman and Sarah Addison Allen, I would say give this one a try. It is set in a quaint community with family and relationship issues a strong element of the storyline.
Lucy is a glass artist who lives in a quaint coastal town of Friday Harbor, Washington. Lucy's younger sister, Alice, almost died as a child. As a result, their parents made allowance for the younger Alice's misbehavior while expecting Lucy to understand. The balance of sister equality was shattered, and, as always in this type of situation, bitterness overshadowed the sister's relationship. As adults, their relationship worsens when Lucy learns that her fiance is leaving her for Alice. Kevin had been having an affair with her younger sister for months. Worse, Lucy is living with Kevin and is asked to move out so Alice can move in.
For the first time, Lucy's parent's do not defend the younger sister's actions. Never having been looked down upon, Alice has a difficult time with her parents disapproval. She convinces Kevin to set Lucy up on a date, knowing her parents will have an easier time accepting the new situation if Lucy is happy.
Sam Noland is the convenient friend used for Alice and Kevin's scheme. Sam, thankfully, happens to have more honor than Kevin. He immediately informs Lucy of Kevin's plan. Meanwhile, Lucy has a bicycle accident and Sam feels obligated to care for her, and a distasteful arrangement soon becomes a real friendship that develops into love. Sam is a traditional romantic hero with a troubled past that is very difficult not to like. He and his brothers were raised by alcoholic parents, and have emotional issues as a result. In addition, their sister passed away in an accident a year earlier and the brother's are all helping to raise their niece.
I enjoyed this book, but then I love all books by Lisa Klepas. She has a smooth writing style and lovely characters. The magic realism was a bit of a twist. During times of extreme emotion, if Lucy is holding a piece of glass, it will turn into various assortment of birds or butterflies, while Sam has a deep connection to nature. I read fantasy, so a little magic realism doesn't bother me in a contemporary read, which is why I also adore all books by Sarah Addison Allen.
Okay, now I'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent here about the romance genre. I read several reviews on this book that complained about its predictability. When I pick up a romance, it is that exact predictability that I'm looking for, much like walking through the same garden but in different seasons. Whether the flowers are blooming, leaves are falling, or snow covers branches---the path always leads back home. If I'm looking for surprises and angst, I read a different genre. If I'm looking for mindless escapism with a happy ending, I read romance. Rainshadow Road was everything I want in a romance and I have already ordered the rest of the books in the series for the library. My only uncomfortable moment in this book was the whole concept of the sister and ex-fiance setting Lucy up on a date, but Kleypas fixed it by having Sam be immediately forthcoming about the whole thing. Honesty is so refreshing to read in a book, isn't it?(less)
This is the second Freda Warrington book I have read. Even as one of her back list titles, Ifound it just as compelling as Elfland. First published in...moreThis is the second Freda Warrington book I have read. Even as one of her back list titles, I found it just as compelling as Elfland. First published in 2002, I would describe A Taste Of Blood Wine as a cross between Anne Rice and some of the more edgy modern paranormal romances, only with Freda Warrington’s incredible voice. However, I only refer to this book as a romance because the main element of the story is driven by the two lead characters, Karl and Charlotte, and the extreme measures they are willing to take in order to be together; the horror reference falls within those extreme measures. Warrington is not opposed to killing off her likable characters, but this story, at its core, is a romance with a happy ending, only the journey is a bit more brutal than most.
There are quite a few unique aspects about this book I find intriguing. The story takes place in England during the 1920’s, post World War I. Also, the heroine, Charlotte, has social difficulties that cause discord with her siblings and aunt. Her anxiety toward crowds, strangers, and change within her personal environment, creates a unique main character not often seen in genre fiction. Once again, Warrington’s character development is marvelous; her characters are not perfect and their flaws generate some interesting motivations. The antagonist, Kristian, is brilliantly demented. Kristian is a master vampire who views himself as the dark hand of God, the enforcer of His will---I LOVED this twist on Vampire fiction. Kristian is annoyed that Karl, his favored creation, has opted for independence and refuses to subjugate to his demands. Worse (in this master vampire's mind) Karl is an atheist. Therefore, Kristian goes after the woman Karl loves to force him back home. Lastly, and I will not give this final story element away, but I will say that I like Warrington’s theory on why vampires exist.
This author truly has a gift for story telling. A Taste Of Blood Wine is well worth the read! It is the first book in a trilogy, but since it was only published in the UK I had to buy it used, though it arrived in excellent condition. However, the others may be difficult to find. :o( ~Jan(less)
I came across this author while downloading a bunch of samplesto my eReader. For the record, I have decided that eReader samples are a marvelous thing...moreI came across this author while downloading a bunch of samples to my eReader. For the record, I have decided that eReader samples are a marvelous thing. I usually get my first twenty-five pages from a sample, and from there, if the author has intrigued me, I borrow it from the library. Or, if I just can't wait one more day---I buy the book!
I bought this book.
This is the first Kylie Griffin novel I've read, and I have to admit that this cover was too tempting to ignore. Out of all the book samples I read that day, this is the only one that compelled me to push that ever-tempting red "buy it now" button. Vengeance Born is the first book in a new paranormal romance series. For those of you who like books by Nalini Singh, I would recommend you try this author.
The setting is in a fantasy world where humans and demons are at war, with a human deity referred to as The Lady. The heroine of this story, Annika, is half demon, half human, raised by her demon father. Annika is a product of revenge in the war between the humans and demons, raised amongst demons who despise her humanity. However, she is gifted by The Lady, the human's deity, as a powerful healer. In an act of betrayal to her demon father, she helps a human escape the demon's torture chamber in return for his help in her own escape.
The hero, Kalan, is The Lady's chosen leader. Imprisoned by the demons, his death a real possibility, he agrees to Annika's offer, hiding his true identity. Throughout their escape from the demon's territory, Kalan is challenged by his own prejudice toward the demons, while conflicted by his faith, and the undeniable gift that his deity bestowed upon a half human/demon.
Without question, this book has a romance genre feel, complete with love-angst, sexual tension, spicy scenes, and followed by a happy ending. (All our book group members know how much I adore a happy ending) With that said, there was depth to this story, especially concerning racial prejudice. I was engrossed by the fantasy world Griffin created. She formed a believable war between two races fueled by ignorance and prejudices on both sides. It was an enjoyable read, and in many ways thought provoking---with a happy ending, of course! Jan(less)
A stranger calls Charlotte from across the street and hurries toward her. Charlie Trudeau, a small town news reporter, is f...moreTrue Vision is a mind rush.
A stranger calls Charlotte from across the street and hurries toward her. Charlie Trudeau, a small town news reporter, is first puzzled by the use of her given name, and then horrified when she witnesses this woman hit by a car as she crosses the street, murdered in a hit-and-run. While Charlie tries to help, the woman dies in her arms. Upon the woman’s death, Charlie receives a jolt to her “other” senses that awakens a latent psychic ability.
And this all happens within the first chapter.
True Vision is non-stop action from beginning to end. Charlie begins to receive flashes of memory from anyone she touches. And while she’s trying to handle her new psychic awareness, someone keeps trying to murder her. She soon learns she has a family connection to the stranger murdered by the hit-and-run; Laurette was her cousin. Their mothers are estranged sisters. Noah, a police detective from Laurette’s hometown, and her friend, arrives on the scene to help solve her murder, and stays to help Charlie when it becomes apparent she was the intended victim—not Laurette. From one near-miss murder, to following attempts, Charlie and Noah are drawn together to help catch Laurette’s murderer, and to keep Charlie from becoming the next victim.
And that’s the entire teaser I’m going to give you because I want you to read the story!
Personally, I think what drew me in the most were the two main characters, Charlie and Noah. Lamb created two very likable protagonists. I was immediately invested in their journey. I also liked her writing style. She has a snappy voice and perfect pacing. The mystery unfolded slowly, the romance was believable, and the premise was interesting. The story was packed with intrigue, family secrets, romance, and a solid mystery that kept me turning the pages. I also liked the fact that she didn’t spend too much time in the antagonist’s point of view, which is my particular pet peeve. If an author makes me spend too much time in the bad guy’s head, sorry, but I will skip the pages. Lamb didn’t do this. Her pacing was perfect, a page here and there, just enough to strengthen the story without boring the reader (mainly me) into skipping forward. Be forewarned, this book is high on the sensuality level and has graphic language. I’m giving it a Chili Pepper On Fire rating. The love scenes between Charlie and Noah have enough heat to peel paint off walls, and… oh, my, goodness... there’s more than just one of these scenes. ~Jan(less)
The Hunger Games is a sci-fi novel for young adults, but this book has such adult concepts that it will be a compelling read f...moreWell, where do I begin?
The Hunger Games is a sci-fi novel for young adults, but this book has such adult concepts that it will be a compelling read for all ages. It has received a lot of accolades and I understand why. I will also say that I haven't been more emotionally invested in the plight of a character in a very long time. I read this book in one sitting. The writing is phenomenal!
The Hunger Games is set in a futuristic world of "former" North America. After environmental catastrophe and war, it is now divided into 12 districts, with the Capitol as the ruling body. Each district has its purpose for the Capitol, from agriculture to coal mining. To remind the twelve districts of their absolute power, the Capitol holds a tournament each year called "The Hunger Games" where a boy and girl are chosen from each district by lottery to complete in the games. The Hunger Games are a televised, fight to the death, competition where only one survivor remains. The district who's contestant is the last remaining survivor is rewarded with gifts.
From the very beginning the reader is made brutally aware of the desperation of the district's inhabitants with Katniss, the lead character, who hunts illegally and eats rat stew so her mother and sister won't starve. When Katniss's twelve-year-old sister's name is drawn in the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her place in the Hunger Games. Peeta's character, the male contestant who's name was also drawn from District 12, is also compelling. The author created a solid back story involving the two lead characters. When Katniss's father died in a coal-mining accident, her mother fell into a severe depression and left her two daughters to starve. Peeta is the bread maker's son; he purposely burns a loaf of bread, receiving a beating from his mother, and throws it into the woods where he knows Katniss is hiding. Then, four years later, his name is drawn with Katniss's, and they are now expected to fight to the death.
Collins did an amazing job developing her characters and forcing them to make difficult choices. As a reader, I was invested in the fantasy world she created. Children are murdered while the world watches for entertainment!
This book is well worth the read. I can't wait for our February meeting. Without doubt, The Hunger Games will stir up an interesting discussion.
Hope to see you in our library someday soon, Jan (less)
As with all of Allen's novels, The Peach Keeper is an enjoyable read. Hints of magic, southern charm, a bit of mystery, friendships, old and new, are...moreAs with all of Allen's novels, The Peach Keeper is an enjoyable read. Hints of magic, southern charm, a bit of mystery, friendships, old and new, are the bases of this storyline. Allen books always seem to have a bit of magic realism involved, superstitions made real, like putting pennies on windowsills to rid a house of ghosts.
This story centers around two woman, Paxton and Willa, whose grandmothers were childhood friends. Willa's family encountered difficult financial times and her grandmother became a house cleaner, while Paxton's family remained financially secure. Due to different societal distinctions, the granddaughters never became friends. Paxton is the head of a local Women's Society Club restoring a historical home named The Madam. The Madam once belonged to Willa's family. During the excavation of an old peach tree a skeleton is unearthed along with long buried family secrets.
Paxton and Willa are drawn together by a mystery involving their grandmothers and learn that true friendships are not diminished by time or distinguished by social expectations. Filled with personal growth, family relationships, acceptance of what cannot be changed, and acting on what can, are all elements that make this book yet another lovely read. ~Jan(less)
I am quite excited that “The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” got selected as one of the reads for the summer. While this is technically a Young Adult nove...moreI am quite excited that “The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” got selected as one of the reads for the summer. While this is technically a Young Adult novel it doesn’t always read like one.
The story follows Karou, a blue haired art student in Prague, who leads a sort of double life. All of her sketchbooks are filled with creatures made up of different animals. When her fellow students look at the creatures Karou tells fantastical stories about these creatures. It is almost like she thinks that these creatures, or Chimera, are real. What Karou’s friends don’t know is that these Chimera actually do exist. Karou visits these creatures via a door when opened from the inside leads to another world where the Chimera live. Ironically enough the Chimera also enjoy Karou’s sketches and stories of the humans. When Karou enters into this world she is surrounded by the creatures that raised her.
There is Issa, who was serpent from the waist down, woman from the waist up and a hood and fangs of a cobra and beautiful face. Then there was Yasri, parrot-beaked but with human eyes and orange curls. Then there is the creature that she thinks of as a father figure, Brimstone. Brimstone deals in wishes, and who Karou sometimes refers to as the Wishmonger. Brimstone has the arms and torso of a human but it is covered in a hide instead of skin. He has the legs of a lion but the feet of a raptor. The most engaging part of Brimstone is his head is part of a ram, including its horns, but covered in hide which changed to scales around his nose; this is all set off by his reptile eyes.
While the creatures that inhabit this world are fantastical, there is another special quality to these rooms that they inhabit. It is in fact a portal to cities all over the world. Daily men and women would visit Brimstone and bring him teeth of all kinds of animals, including in some cases human teeth. They in turn get paid in wishes. Karou will also go out to do errands for Brimstone, exiting the same door she came in but now she may find herself in Paris, New York, or Marrakesh. While she is doing errands for Brimstone she starts to notice that the imprint of a hand has been burned into all of the portal doors. It is here in Marrakesh that she has a fight with a man, who turns out to be an angel. She gets away, but Akiva the angel feels compelled to find her. From the moment that Akiva enters the story you know that there will be a romance between, him and Karou.
This is quite an enjoyable read, but I did have to remind myself at times that it is intended for a young adult audience. There was a part of the plot that I had a problem with, I don’t want to give too much away so I won’t get into the specifics, but the more I thought about it the more it bothered me. But without this crucial plot point we could not have the conflict that is needed for the end of the book. This is the start of a trilogy so it will be exciting to see where the story will take us. ~Sarah (less)