Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby Haitus


Some of my followers may remember an earlier post where I talked about how my husband and I were trying to adopt...well we were finally able to! We were contacted a three weeks ago by an amazing birthmother who wanted to give us her precious baby boy. The past three weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind (a good one) and yesterday at 7:30 AM our baby boy was born. So far he has been perfect, but I'm sure once we get home and settled he will become a lot more work and therefore I will probably be reading a lot less. I will still try and do Meme's and posts whenever I can. But, if there is a lull in activity, now you'll know why! =)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Winter Fire by Rachel Ann Nunes

Genre: Chick Lit (kind of)

Publication Date: February 2005

One Word Review: Drama

Author Website: www.rachelannnunes.com

GoodReads Synopsis: Fourth-grade schoolteacher Amanda Huntington said good-bye to her high school sweetheart when she realized he had fallen in love with someone else. Now, a year later, she wonders if she'll spend the rest of her life alone. When she meets Blake Simmons, Amanda finds her life turned upside down. Blake doesn't seem like the knight in shining armor she always imagined. With two adorable children in his care, he is locked in an ugly battle of wills with their troubled mother and worries that the children he has come to love will be lost to him forever. Will Amanda's relationship with Blake and the children only cause her more heartache? Or does she need him, just as much as he needs her?

Kathy’s Review: I was a little underwhelmed by this one. It kind of felt like a soap opera, more focus being on the drama than the relationship between Amanda and Blake. I guess I have a pet-peeve about relationships that move so quickly, especially under such dramatic circumstances. Having said that, I did enjoy the story (for the most part) and liked the characters. I guess I was expecting more of a romantic story, but it seemed more about Blake and his situation. I was also a little thrown when Paula (the kids’ parent) suddenly had a POV. There were a few story lines that were thrown in that I could have done without, but I guess added more drama to the story. Anyway, it was just okay for me.

Bookworm Rating: 2.5

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: 1960

One Word Review: Ok

GoodReads Synopsis: As Martha Leigh approached the sprawling mansion of her new employer, Connan TreMellyn, an odd chill of apprehension overcame her. Soon whispers of past tragedy and present danger began to insinuate themselves into Martha's life. Powerless against her growing desire for Connan, she is drawn deeper into family secrets. But though evil lurks in the shadows, so does love — and the freedom to find a golden promise of forever . . .

Kathy’s Review: When I read reviews comparing Mistress of Mellyn to Jane Eyre and Rebecca I knew I had to give it a try. It didn’t quite live up to those books, but was still entertaining and kept me reading to find out what would happen next. I liked Martha, she was a smart, kind heroine. She is a bit curious, but not as much as I would have liked. The love story was a little lacking; it had a slow build up and then all of the sudden they were in love and yadda, yadda, yadda. I think this is one of those novels that would have benefitted from two POVs, maybe then the actual “being in love” part wouldn’t have seemed so sudden. I also find it HARD to believe that Martha would forgive him his past so quickly, especially since some of his adventures seemed to be pretty current. I guess I just didn’t believe him, if he truly was in love with her he had an odd way of showing it. Anyway, the mystery aspect and the motivations seemed weak, but there was enough suspense to keep me curious.


Bookworm Rating: 2.5
Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Prairie Prince by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: April 2008

One Word Review: Enjoyable

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com


GoodReads Synopsis: For Katie Matthews life held no promise of true happiness. Life on the prairie was filled with hard labor, a brutal father, and the knowledge she would need to marry a man incapable of truly loving a woman. Men didn't have time to dote on women-so Katie's father told her. To Katie, it seemed life would forever remain mundane and disappointing-until the day Stover Steele bought her father's south acreage. Handsome, rugged and fiercely protective of four orphaned sisters, Stover Steele seemed to have stepped from the pages of some romantic novel. Yet, his heroic character and alluring charm only served to remind Katie of what she would never have-true love and happiness the likes found only in fairytales. Furthermore, evil seemed to lurk in the shadows, threatening Katie's brightness, hope, and even her life! Would Katie Matthews fall prey to disappointment, heartache and harm? Or could she win the attentions of the handsome Stover Steele long enough to be rescued?

Kathy’s Review: This was another enjoyable story from Marcia McClure. I was glad at least one of the leading characters had a normal name (Katie), even though our hero (Stover) was stuck with a very unique one. I did enjoy Katie and Stover, although I felt the book went by a little too quickly. While I realize this is a “romance” book, I still would have liked a little more buildup between Katie and Stover; I love a little more tension at the beginning. The side story of Jared and Pillar was sweet and I loved Stovers three little sisters. I also thought Katie’s home life added a little more depth to the story, and was happy that everything ended up well. All in all, I thought this was a good book and one I would read again.

I just have to get this off my chest, the only thing that bothered me about this story was how whenever Katie was thinking about Stover (which was all the time) she always thought of him as “Stover Steele” I guess I just got tired of hearing his first and last name throughout the entire story. This happened with a couple other characters as well, and I just wonder what the significance is with using his last name all the time? I guess it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine and distracts from the flow of the story…at least for me.

Bookworm Rating: 4

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

Genre: Historical/Regency

Publication Date: January 2010

One Word Review: Enjoyable

Author Website: www.julieklassen.com

First Line: “For years, I could not recall the day without a smoldering coal of remorse burning within me.”

GoodReads Synopsis: Believing herself guilty of a crime, Olivia Keene flees her home, eventually stumbling upon a grand estate where an elaborate celebration is in progress. But all is not as joyous as it seems…. Lord Bradley has just learned a terrible secret, which, if exposed, will change his life forever. When he glimpses a figure on the grounds, he fears a spy or thief has overheard his devastating news. He is stunned to discover the intruder is a scrap of a woman with her throat badly injured. Fearing she will spread his secret, he gives the girl a post and confines her to his estate. As Olivia and Lord Bradley's secrets catch up with them, will their hidden pasts ruin their hope of finding love?

Kathy’s Review: I was originally drawn to this because of the cover; I love all the covers of Klassen’s books. Anyway, the story started off interesting and there was somewhat of a mystery (actually a couple) throughout the story. I enjoyed that it was a different perspective of the regency setting than I am used to. In this story we follow Olivia as she becomes an under nurse and moves up as a governess. I rather enjoyed getting to know the “servants” and seeing things from their perspective. I also liked Edward, or Lord Bradley. He has a few secrets of his own, but mostly I liked his interactions with Olivia. They have a sweet romance and it was fun to watch it grow. I do wish there had been more, I don’t know, banter or something between them. They kind of lack some of the chemistry that I like, but they did have a very sweet relationship that grew over time. The story was enjoyable and I liked all the characters. Would recommend to any regency fans!

Bookworm Rating: 4

Friday, June 4, 2010

For Keeps by Natasha Friend

Genre: Teen Lit

Publication Date: April 2010

One Word Review: Blah

Author Website: www.natashafriend.com


GoodReads Synopsis: For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It’s been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that’s how Josie likes it. Until one day, in the pet food aisle of Shop-Co, they run into the parents of Paul Tucci, Kate’s high school boyfriend—the father Josie has never met. If Mr. and Mrs. Tucci are back in town, it’s only a matter of time until Paul shows up. Suddenly Josie’s mature, capable mother regresses to the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile, Josie’s on the verge of having her first real boyfriend, while her free-loving best friend, Liv, begins yet another no-strings-attached fling. When Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci, she finds herself questioning what she’s always believed about her parents—and about herself. In FOR KEEPS, Natasha Friend tells a fresh, funny, smart story about what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed.

Kathy’s Review: I’m wavering between giving this a 1 or a 2. The whole story idea seemed kind of clichéd. I liked the parts with Josie and Matt, but they were few and far between (and I would have preferred a more PG relationship with them as well). Another blogger, Janseen, compared this to Gilmore Girls and I totally see what she meant. The story is awfully similar, but it was lacking the charm of Gilmore Girls. I guess I’m also a sucker for happy endings and I really wanted things to work out for Kate. Anyway, the story was just kind of boring, but kept me interested enough to finish. I was more interested in the Josie-Matt story and enjoyed the times they were featured. Josie’s BFF Liv was on okay side character (although, I didn’t care for the gay dads storyline). Overall, it wasn’t what I was looking for and probably wouldn’t recommend.

Content: There is swearing, underage drinking, and mild sexual content.

Bookworm Rating: 1.5

So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones

Genre: Teen Lit

Publication Date: May 2009

One Word Review: Fun

Author Website: www.jennybjones.com

First Line: One year ago my mom got traded in for a newer model.


GoodReads Synopsis: Isabella Kirkwood had it all: popularity at a prestigious private school in Manhattan, the latest fashions, and a life of privilege and luxury. Then her father, a plastic surgeon to the stars, decided to trade her mother in for a newer model. When her mother starts over with her new husband, Bella is forced to pack up and leave all she knows to live with her new family in Oklahoma. Before her mother can even say "I do," Bella's life becomes a major "don't." Can Bella survive her crazy new family? Will the school survive Bella? How can a girl go on when her charmed life is gone and God gives her the total smackdown?

Kathy’s Review: So, I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I’m not sure why. Bella definitely starts out as a total snob. I understood why she was so upset about the move, the new family, the new culture and starting at a new school. I was very frustrated with her Mom, it seemed like she never took the time to see things from Bella’s perspective, and personally rushed into her marriage way too fast. Bella does grow on me throughout the story and is a likable character. The plot was entertaining, although a bit predictable. I was a little disappointed when the “big secret” was revealed, I thought there would be more to the story then what we found out. Overall, it kept me reading and I liked the chemistry between Bella and one of the boys and may be curious enough to pick up the next book. Oh, what I really liked about the book was how clean it was. The characters didn't drink, smoke and there was no sexual content.

Bookworm Rating: 3

Reading Order:
Book One: So Not Happening
Book Two: I’m So Sure
Book Three: So Over My Head

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Genre: YA Fiction

Publication Date: February 2010

One Word Review: Great

Author Website: www.allycarter.com

GoodReads Synopsis: When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected. Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history-or at least her family's (very crooked) history.

Kathy’s Review: Ally Carter has become one of my favorite YA authors. Her books (at least the ones I’ve read) are clean, have cool storylines with super smart heroines. I really enjoyed Heist Society. I admit, the story did remind me of a few spy movies (The Thomas Crown Affair, After the Sunset, Entrapment, etc.), but it still holds its own and to be honest I think it would make a great teen movie. I liked Kat, her conscience is working on her and she wants to get out of the “family business”, but gets sucked back in and as much as she wants to go clean, she is also very good at what she does. I loved the relationship with Kat and Hale, I thought he was great! I wasn’t expecting a love triangle, but I was pleasantly surprised when it slowly crept into the story. I’m still Team Hale and I’m hoping for another book so I can find out what happens with them. Great, entertaining story.

Bookworm Rating: 4.5

The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

Genre: YA Fiction

Publication Date: April 2010

One Word Review: Okay

Author Website: www.jessicabrody.com

GoodReads Synopsis: Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. It’s that mysterious, powerful force that brings harmony to the universe. You know—do good things and you will be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what’s coming to you. A sort of cosmic balancing act. But when Mason Brooks, Maddy’s boyfriend of two years, gets caught tongue-wrestling with Miss Perfect Body Heather Campbell, and absolutely nothing happens to either of them—except that they wind up the hot new couple of Colonial High School, it seems like Karma has officially left Maddy in the lurch. That’s why Maddy and her best friends, Angie and Jade, decide to start the Karma Club—a secret, members-only organization whose sole purpose is to clean up the messes that the universe has been leaving behind. Whether they’re modifying Heather Campbell’s acne cream as part of “Operation Butterface,” or righting a few wrongs when it comes to Angie and Jade’s own slimy exes, they know they’re just doing what Karma should have done in the first place. They’re taking care of one another.

Kathy’s Review: I was a little disappointed in this one. It just reminded me so much of The Lonely Hearts Club, The Naughty List and the movie Mean Girls all wrapped into one. Maybe it was my mood, but I just didn’t care for the story or characters. It seemed that Maddy was really shallow at first (she does get a little better as the book goes on), and was obsessed with the “in” crowd and not really appreciating her current friends/situation. I was also disappointed with how Mason and Maddy never really had any resolution; I wanted to have a little more closure. I did like the “new guy” and I was glad when Maddy finally takes responsibility and does the right thing. Overall, the book was just okay for me, again a lot of it could have been my mood, but I’d still recommend it to anyone who enjoys Teen Lit.

Bookworm Rating: 2
 
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