Friday, August 19, 2011

~Some Reviews, Short and Sweet~

I have been reading at a decent pace lately, I am pretty proud of myself. Although, I should not take any is the books themselves who carry me through their pages quickly, anticipation growing as I need to know more about the stories. I have read a few more since my last post:

By Accident by Susan Kelly (From Goodreads):

A grieving mother finds solace from her son’s death in a relationship that quickly blurs the line between friendship and intimacy. By Accident portrays a year in the life of a woman after the accidental death of her teenage son. Laura Lucas is numbed by the loss, a loss that is paralleled in the spate of upscale construction—and attendant destruction—in her starter-home neighborhood. It’s about Laura's relationship with a young tree surgeon who slowly becomes a replacement for her son—but also an object of desire.

The story reveals the delicate nexus where solace becomes sex; the role of men and women as unmarried friends; and examines grief in a marriage. It portrays the pain of change and the poignancy of acceptance through Laura's eyes, and occasionally, through the quirky outlook of her ten-year-old daughter. And before the story ends, another brutal, random accident will redefine Laura's life once again.

My Thoughts:

I expected this story to have more lust and desire between the two main characters,
Laura and Elliot. Instead, it focuses more on how the Lucas Family deals with the loss of their teenaged son, Whit. Laura is unable to let go, her husband grieves in his own way, and Ebie, their ten year old daughter, watches as her family starts to unravel. That is, until Elliot moves in next door. He is a tree surgeon by trade, a fun-loving, good-looking single 28 year old guy, who slowly begins to bring Laura out of her grieving state. Laura's husband is distrustful, Ebie is delighted, and Laura has mixed feelings. As I said, this story did not go in the direction that I thought it would, but, it was a good read!

Very Good!

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks:

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

My Thoughts:

I have read some Nicholas Sparks books, but not all of them. Some of them I have started, and had to put down...too predictable, some characters unlikable. The ones that I have read all the way through, I loved (Message In A Bottle, Nights In Rodanthe, A Walk To Remember)....even though they were predictable. I fell in love with the characters and their stories...sometimes it is just nice to get lost in a sweet romance novel. Safe Haven took me by surprise. It was a definite change from Spark's other was a nice change. It was not just a woman and a man falling in love, over-coming obstacles that lead to a happily ever after. It was so much more. I fell in love with "Katie" a.k.a. Erin, an abused woman on the run from her psychotic husband. I loved the setting of the story, Southport, NC, a small coastal town, very historical and picturesque. The story moved along at a fast pace. I read in in a day, and lov
ed every minute of it. If you haven't read it yet, and are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you're in for a wonderful surprise.


Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner:

Some bonds can never be broken...
Addie Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That's what Addie believes after Valerie moves across the street when they're both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popu
lar crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat.

Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her parents' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, caring for a troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She's just returned from Bad Date #6 when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat. "Something horrible has happened," Val tells Addie, "and you're the only one who can help."

Best Friends Forever is a grand, hilarious, edge-of-your-seat adventure; a story about betrayal and loyalty, family history and small-town secrets. It's about living through tragedy, finding love where you least expect it, and the ties that keep best friends together.

My Thoughts:

I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did! I have not read any other Jennifer Weiner novels, and now that I've read this one, I am excited to try her others. I picked this one up solely because I loved the cover! I was pleasantly surprised! Not only is it about two girls who vowed in elementary school that they would be BFF's, it is also a mystery and adventure story with a romance on the side. It is definitely a chick lit book, but so much more. The characters are likable and believable, and this story is definitely not predictable. Worth reading!!

Very Good!

I am currently reading Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst, and Over And Under by Todd Tucker.

Happy Friday everyone ~ Have a fun-filled reading weekend!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Various Reviews ~ Long Time No Post

Hi All!

I am still here....just have not been blogging in awhile. I have read a few books, here are some short reviews:

From May to December by Pat MacEnulty:

Jen Johanssen is a former porn actor trying to fit into the world of academia. Her sister, Lolly Johanssen, is a cancer survivor. Nicole Parks is in prison for loving the wrong guy. And Sonya Yakowski, also in prison, is a member of a family of traveling criminals, desperately missing her young son. The lives of these four women converge in a Florida prison, where Jen and Lolly have joined forces to put on a grant-funded drama production. Despite their remarkably divergent histories, these women come together in unexpected ways, each beginning to confront and forgive her own past.

My Thoughts:

This is the second Pat MacEnulty book I've read, and I enjoyed it. I liked Sweet Fire better than this one, but I still liked it.....enough to order her other books that I have not read. This story is bittersweet....a tale of two sisters, who have never been very close, who become close in a matter of months. It also portrays women in prison....good women who made mistakes...and choose to better themselves and prepare for life outside prison walls. Great story, in my opinion.

Babylon Rolling by Amanda Boyden:

Ariel May and her husband, Ed, have just moved to New Orleans with their two small children. Their neighbor, Fearius, is a fifteen-year-old just out of juvenile detention. Across the street, an elderly couple, the Browns, are only trying to pass their days in peace, while Philomenia Beauregard de Bruges, a longtime resident and “Uptown lady,” peers through her curtains at the East Indian family next door.With one random accident, a scene of horror across front lawns, the whole neighborhood converges on the sidewalk and the residents of Orchid Street are thrown together, for better and for worse.

My Thoughts:

I couldn't wait to see this....I loved Pretty Little Dirty, so I had high expectations for Babylon Rolling. I had some difficulty with it in the beginning, but once I got going, it was a roller-coast ride! Told in alternating voices of the neighbors of Orchid Street, it is a tale of love, deceit, drugs and alcohol, and redemption. I felt so many emotions while reading Babylon Rolling...and it was one of those books that I thought about when I was not reading it. I looked forward to my lunch hours and evenings when I could pick it back up and see what was happening with Ariel, Ed, Prancie and Joe, and the others. The story takes place just days before Hurricane Ivan is due to hit New Orleans, and during Mardi Gras time. I learned a lot about Mardi Gras that I didn't know, too. Babylon Rolling is not a cut and dried story. It begins with a neighborhood in turmoil, and ends with the aftemath of destruction....and Hurricane Ivan never even makes it to New Orleans. Recommended!

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard:

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

My Thoughts:

I was a little disappointed in Like Mandarin. I am not sure what I expected, but I found Mandarin's character a little weak. I guess I was expecting a more shocking idol in her. The premise was very promising, but the story did not deliver.

Willow by Julia Hoban:

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy - one sensitive, soulful boy - discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.

My Thoughts:

I liked the story of Willow well enough, but it is not one that will stay in my thoughts for long. I found myself getting aggravated with her throughout the story, especially with how she treats Guy, a boy who clearly adores her, and wants to help her. I am not a cutter, and have never known anyone who is, but I do have an ocd that is somewhat similar, so her descriptions of her disease struck home with me. Julia Hoban did a wonderful job describing the feelings of shame and self-worthlessness of someone who is unfortunate enough to suffer with something as devastating as self-mutilation.

I am now looking forward to starting Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, and I am half-way through Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst.

Happy Friday Everyone!!


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