Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do By: Bruce and Carole Hart

Breaking Up is Hard to DoBreaking Up is Hard to Do by Carole Hart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two people, two different schools, two different cities - yet the first love and first breakup is common.
Julie Stillwell lives in New Jersey, she works on the school paper as a photographer and as the director of the school play. When one of the main actors gets sick she must come up with a plan to find a new replacement in under six days - enter Roy Buckley, a boy known to be smart and up to trouble. When she makes him a star, will he still find her in his light?
Sean Manning is the football star in a school in New York City. His father and coach have big plans for him, yet he is just going through the motions. That is until his crush, Sara Beth Cavanaugh starts to turn turn to him despite her still being the girlfriend of his friends that graduated a year before. Is Sara using him? After a huge injury, can he find what he is looking for?
A good story going back and forth between the characters, bringing to light not just a girl's view but a boy's as well in the crazy stage of first love and the drama included.

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Review: Waiting Games By: Bruce and Carole Hart

Waiting GamesWaiting Games by Carole Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so I went back into the trunk after reading Sooner or Later again, I had to continue the story of Jessie and Michael.
Jessie's parents now know about Michael and the age difference and have a plan to take her away on vacation in the summer - away from Michael. In the meantime, Michael is being pulled away by his band, a new manager, and the influence of a roadie JoJo.
Jessie has sex with Michael, spends the summer wondering if she is pregnant and what or who is is doing. During that time a distance of not just geography begins as she celebrates another birthday and grows up.
A great story that reveals the intensity of teen relationships and the milestones of a teen girl. It also has the consequences of decisions and choices that one makes.
I am wrapping my Bruce and Carole Hart novels in a ribbon and giving them to my new teen girl to enjoy.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: The Time Of My Life By: Cecelia Ahern

The Time of My LifeThe Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life is requesting an appointment and will not be stood up. What if life would and could do just that? And what if life wasn't an abstract thing or being but an actual person?
I guess it depends on whether you are running from it or embracing it.
Lucy Silchester just shy of her birthday receives such a request, that soon becomes a demand. She will have to face life. Unfortunately for her, she has been trying to lie not just to others but herself and has found that she is a big knot of lies and denial.
Life has to follow her throughout her day, from work to home, to the dreaded dinner with her family. Despite their intial meeting filled with her anger and disdain - something begins to happen.
I love Cecelia Ahern's novels and find that there is a certain whimsy, a certain lesson, a way that she can make the reader get lost in the tale and find a piece of them in it. This is no exception- be prepared to laugh, cry, reflect because life wouldn't have it any other way. A definite must read.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: The Elite By: Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)The Elite by Kiera Cass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Selection has been continued in The Elite. The group of girls have been brought down to a handful, America Singer is still in the running - question is does she really want to be?
The past love of Aspen is now face to face, being that he is now a guard at the palace. Competition holds her fears as she has already developed feelings for Prince Maxon, and when those feelings are tested - well, sometimes we fail.
America seemed a lot more unsure of herself in this book, and Maxon - well, he didn't quite sparkle as much either. The weight of the rebellion is at the door of palace (and inside) and the truth of the how the country was created, along with the caste system, is revealed. Sometimes uncovering a truth like that can bring an enemy willing at all costs to protect it out - and it does.
I enjoyed this installment in the series, found myself staying up after 3am to read it. Fast paced, emotionally driven, a new dimension to the characters is created - including the secondary. Does it hold up to the first, no, but I can't wait for the next.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Chosen at Nightfall By: C C Hunter

Chosen at Nightfall (Shadow Falls, #5)Chosen at Nightfall by C.C. Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ms. hunter pulled me through this series and ended it in an amazing way. I could not put this down, found that my earlier disappointment in the last one was short lived.
Kylie left Shadow Falls to be with her grandfather and her kind, but Mario has other plans. Kylie is being visited by a persistent ghost and the complications with her love for Lucas definitely keeps her busy.
From start to finish the book was action packed with great twists - for good and bad- and I was under it's spell.

On a sad and happy note, Kylie's story might be complete, but there will be a new series for her friend and roommate Della Tsang (which I can't wait to sink my teeth into).

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Review: Sooner or Later By: Bruce and Carole Hart

Sooner Or LaterSooner Or Later by Carole Hart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I came across this book in one of my trunks. I have kept it since the first time I read it and fell for Bruce and Carole Hart's writing.
As I turned each page, the flash of me as a teen filled with wonder, excitement, and lost within the pages hit - which had me devouring the book in under an hour.
A great an easy read filled with the high emotions of a 13 year old girl trying to come into her own as she is attracted to a 17 year old boy. I might have read Judy Blume, but the Harts understood me.
Jessie Walters is like every girl was when I was growing up, I even think I was a form of Jessie. She quickly finds herself attracted to Michael Skye and the torment, deception, angst begins.
This is the first of Jessie and Michael's trilogy.
Simple writing, fast read - but 5 stars because for an hour I was a teen again.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: Spellcaster By: Claudia Gray

Spellcaster (Spellcaster, #1)Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captive's Sound a city with many dark secrets and an evil that lies inter weaved within the town and the people that live there.
Nadia has come to Captive's Sound with her father and brother after the abandonment of her mother. Nadia's entrance has been noticed and before entering the town, she and her family are in an accident. Luckily, Mateo is there to save her.
Both Nadia and Mateo have dark secrets that flow in their veins. Nadia born a witch and trained to some degree, but not completely since her mother left and Mateo a boy born within a family that has been cursed for over 400 years, whom are granted visions.
Not everything is as it seems and soon unravels..
I have not picked up a book by Ms. Gray but was amazed at the originality, the pace, the storyline, and development within the pages. I was bewitched and could not put this one down. It does appear as though this might be the beginning of a series, one that I am looking forward to continuing.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Silver Linings Playbook By: Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings PlaybookThe Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to thank Goodreads for picking this book as a recommendation. I was unsure whether I would enjoy this and have been hesitant in purchasing it.

This is an endearing story of Pat, told from his point of view. The reader begins as Pat is released from the bad place (a psychiatric hospital) and placed in his mother's care. Time has stood still for him, but not the rest of the world - imagine 4 years of life happening that you have been unaware of. He is wounded and in search of making things right with his wife, Nikki - that has taken alone time away.
Pat meets Tiffany. She is just as wounded as Pat. Her husband died and she has been suffering. They are thrown together and soon a friendship develops, in a unique way. Maybe there is a way to heal and to accept not just each other, but one's self and the past and present.
Wonderful secondary characters in the novel - from an amazing therapist, a patient and loving mother, a great friend, a loving brother, and a complicated father.

I really did love this book, found that I will never hear a Kenny G song and feel the same way and I will keep my head looking to the clouds finding the silver lining in them.

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Review: Sisterland By: Curtis Sittenfeld

Sisterland: A NovelSisterland: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What an great read. One that explores and offers the reader to explore their past, future, and all that comes between. The complexity of the relationships that we hold in our lives are explored through the main character, Kate Tucker. What is it that lead us on the course we are on? And the people around us?
I found that from the relationship Kate has with her father, her husband, her sister, even her friends and husband's co workers - that she was a much more intricate character.
The book flashes back and forth in the moments within the life of Kate. The read was very raw in the way that this is how natural reviewing one's life comes.
Identical twins Daisy (now Kate) and Violet have had the ups and down of growing up, life, and relationships, but they also have ESP. With flashes into the past, you can see the true differences between the two girls. One becoming free spirited, embracing her gift - the other almost neurotic, searching for "normalcy" and perfection.
Violet goes on tv to announce a great big earthquake - the countdown begins and so does the unraveling of Kate's life.
As I finished the last page I found I was asking myself - are we capable of forgiving our own transgressions, what we have done and what we have failed to do.

I think that this book would be great in a book club discussion.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: Rapunel's Daughters and other tales

Rapunzel's Daughters and Other TalesRapunzel's Daughters and Other Tales by Josie E. Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very short stories are in this anthology by multiple talented authors. Each story contains a new twist on a beloved fairy tale.
31 stories in all, great for one a day for a month. A great way to experience a new realm and feed your love of stories and reading.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Garden of Stones By: Sophie Littlefield

Garden of StonesGarden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets." - Gloria Stuart

This book amazed me. A tale of a dark stain on American history and those that survived. The story flashes back and forth from 1978 to 1941 and beyond.
As Patty prepares for her wedding police come to the door to ask her mother, Lucy about Reginald Forrest. A name from the past, one of many names from a dark time, a time she never talked about.
Lucy Takeda spent her early years in LA, upper middle class, having nice things and a good life. Her father owned a plant, her mother, Miyako suffered from manic depression. When Lucy's father dies, her mother, an "Auntie" (neighbor), and her are rounded up by the War Replacement Authority and placed into Manazar refugee camp.
A story of mother and daughters, of the evils of the world, of what you would do to protect the ones you love - this book is filled with an amazing depth of story, character. Filled with details that embrace the reader and touch the senses and heart. Twists and turns as secrets are unraveled and revealed only to the reader making us realize the depth of love and secrets made for protection. Actions make one morally question these characters - a perfect quote -"If her mother's gift have bound up with suffering, Lucy knew it was a gift of mercy. She would never tell anyone.."
This book would be great in a book club, so much to discuss and enjoy with other people. I also know I have found an author to follow

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: The Witch of Portobello By: Paulo Coelho

The Witch Of Portobello A NovelThe Witch Of Portobello A Novel by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A story told through a series of interviews about "Athena" Sherine Khalil, the Witch of Portobello.

A woman with an amazing message, one who listened to the call and answered, one who over time touched the lives of all around her and in time was persecuted for the messages.

I loved reading the development of Athens through others eyes and at the same time reading their change due to the effect that Athena had in their lives.

A simple message - Love. How hard is that? Apparently some don't hear the message, some are incapable of feeling it, yet is it that controversial -- yes, in times of entitlement, times where compassion alone seems to be in the past, fear of change, fear of being vulnerable has lead to a complacent society. No longer are we going on the search, following the call of our soul.

This book will make you think about the world we live in and the world we developed for ourselves to live in - it will be a story that carries with you.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: The Blood Gospel By: James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell

The Blood Gospel (The Order of the Sanguines, #1)The Blood Gospel by James Rollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok, I am biased and if James Rollins is listed as an author I am going to buy.

The Blood Gospel is a bit different than his SIGMA series, but follows a certain way of writing - time, date, place stamped for scenes, the action, the mystery, the camaraderie of the people.

An earthquake at Masada opens something that has been sealed for many years and is deeply sought after. Enter a soldier, who was there to care for the scene and the people affected, an archaeologist, to bring some answers and uncover the secrets that once laid within, and a Vatican priest, who has many secrets to him and those he serves. They all fit the prophesy and haven't necessarily come together by chance.

The site at Masada leads them on an adventure to Germany, Russia, and the Vatican - they are not the only ones looking and know the power that lays within the pages of the Gospel that Jesus wrote in His Blood. It is a race against time and the enemy.

I really enjoyed this, but there just was something I think in my expectations that it just failed. Was it the overdoing of certain scenes - like that of an overactor, when you just roll your eyes to get through, was it the extreme development of a couple characters that kept coming up over and over, maybe the lack of connection with one of the main characters. But don't let my expectation take you away from a great writer and an interesting story.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: Bloodline By: James Rollins

Bloodline: A Sigma Force NovelBloodline: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

James Rollins will do it right every time!!!
Sigma Force is back in full swing with a not to be put down action/adventure/mystery novel. The pieces have been set and board is being played - the Guild has now taken steps above and beyond your imagination. How high and how far back is this group - let me say it can surprise you and then again with the way the world is today, it might not. Secrets will be uncovered leaving more questions (hoping for another Sigma book) for another adventure.
In Bloodline, the president's daughter is kidnapped - is she the key or the unborn child that she carries. Unable to conceive with her husband she turned to in vetro fertilization, and the Guild has interests in something that carries as far back as Moses.
I love these books and find that Mr. Rollins has the reader not only enthralled, entertained, but also left with questions about society, science, and morality. The lines can blur in what seems like fiction, but how fictional is the science - not very.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: The Next Always Book One Of The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy By: Nora Roberts

The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1)The Next Always by Nora Roberts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Confession: I have in my past lived near Boonsboro and have seen this Inn (before it was renovated) and have walked in to Nora Robert's shop on multiple occasions (even when she first opened it)- I know the area.
Reading this book brought me back, to the pizza shop, ice cream shop, Nora's shop - but there was something else about it that unsettled me, it felt like an ad - that is right, an expensive ad to boom business to the Inn. After looking up information, was I surprised to read of the three million dollar renovation that Nora Robert's did on the Inn - no! And I suppose this trilogy was just the way to pay for it.
I was disappointed that the characters were not developed as well as the Inn, I was hoping to read about an area that I loved, only to have the details of each room written about. Who Cares? I wanted to shout over and over - the fireplace, the deco of the rooms, exposed walls - wasn't this supposed to be a book of finding love. Boonsboro is in one of the most amazing places, between Frederick, Harpers Ferry, Sharpsburg, and Antietam, an area of hills and fields and I read about rooms. Even when the main characters went out to a fancy eat, did they go into the Yellow Brick Bank in Shepardstown or the Hilltop House Hotel (which is now falling apart)- no one knows, because there was no need to deliver an "ad" about a company she has no interest in.
Tsk, Tsk, Tsk - I fell into my expectations and my love for an area just to be let down with an ad.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: Love, Rosie By: Cecelia Ahern

Love, RosieLove, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Through letters, e-mails, and message chats 50 years go by with the ups and downs of life between two best friends, Rosie and Alex.
I could not put this book down - I felt like I was looking into the deep recesses and privacy of another human being, reading their letters to those closest to them. An interloper I was into a diary of a lifetime. How original for Ms. Ahern to use the style of writing she has, although in the beginning I strained through a couple pages to get into the style alone. Then I jumped in.
A quick read that takes you into the complications of maintaining and keeping a friendship, the blows life gives and the amazing joys, the times missed and the perfect timing needed. Rosie and Alex's story comes alive and they are very much "human", I guess this is why as I put the book down I found myself writing my own family and friends.

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Review: Perfect Timing By: Jill Mansell

Perfect TimingPerfect Timing by Jill Mansell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I must admit that at times I can not control the fact that I love an author and lose her only to find her once again.
Ms. Mansell will not disappoint. I have read multiple books by her and with life catching up and moving, I found I lost her - only to be reunited with Perfect Timing.
Poppy Dunbar has met someone - the one she believes is the "one" the night before her wedding, when she calls off the wedding, finds out her father is not her real father (she is a result of an affair her mother had), and jumps on a train to London a new life begins (and that was just 24 hours of it). With twists and turns Poppy and her secondary characters all come to life off the pages, her shy boss, her two roommates, what was to be her sister-in-law - they all have amazing dimensions to them. Is there too good to be true? Is there illusion and truth? How great a character Poppy is can be witnessed through her relationships with other characters, especially Alex and Rita.
A great beach read for Spring Break.

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Review: Stop Walking On Eggshells 2nd Edition By: Paul T Mason, MS and Randi Kreger

Stop Walking on Eggshells: taking your life back when someone you care about has borderline personality disorderStop Walking on Eggshells: taking your life back when someone you care about has borderline personality disorder by Paul T. Mason
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The diagnosis comes back and you are left with an answer but more questions - When a loved one comes back with the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, know you are not alone. SWOE is a guide for you to help yourself. With lay term information about the disorder and a megalist of resources at your disposal, this is definitely the first book in a step of them to help.
This book is for you, the caregiver, the child, the parent, the spouse of one affected by the disease.

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