Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sisters Like Us (Mischief Bay, #4) by Susan Mallery

Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery

Book Description:The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…
Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgeling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.
Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.
Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.

Harper and Stacey are as opposite as sister's can be, and each has their own uniqueness. One, Harper is as perfect as a particular type of mother can be. She is the type of woman who decorates her house for every (and I mean every) holiday, cooks homemade everything and is always dressed well. Since her divorce she has tried to turn her crafting into a business; a virtual assistant business. She is not doing well, either with her business (she has never worked outside the home) or with her daughter. The typical entitled teen.

On the other hand, Stacey is looking for a cure for MS, she is a scientist, she is also very pregnant and has not told her mother. Stacey is also worried that she will not be able to nurture or love her child.

These two have what I considered the worst mother -a know it all throwback to a very different era when women put their husband and children first and Bunny (the Mother---that name is telling isn't it!) lets her daughters know flat out that what they've done is not good enough (Harper getting a divorce and trying to make a living) or abnormal (Stacey for working and putting family second).

The good parts of this book are that it combines narrative for both sisters and the parts were written so you have a clear understanding that each was their own person. It has an interesting love story, the mother Bunny is almost redeemed at the end and the daughter grows, matures and learns many valuable lessons.

The bad part is that I couldn't connect with either sister, and it took more than 50% of the book to stop being annoyed (and that's a mild word compared to what I really want to say) with these women and to stop wanting to smack them silly.

It's not a bad beach read as long as you don't mind being frustrated for much of the novel.

*ARC supplied by the publisher/NetGalley.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It

 Book Description:
 "One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There's only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn't necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.
With a tough islander mother who's always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter--a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was--Nora has her work cut out for her if she's going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.
But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise...and the chance to begin again."

 Wow! Kudos to Kristan Higgins -this is a book I highly recommend and will be put on my comfort bookshelf to be read and re-read.

I am so sorry that I waited so long to read this book. Sometimes Ms. Higgins books are hit or miss -this book hit it out of the ballpark for me.

This had everything that an avid chick lit reader could want, sans the ultra-descriptive sex scenes.

What our protagonist, Nora went through in her life would have sent most people off the deep end, but Nora is a Downeaster. Stolid and solid to the core. This book gives us a look back at Nora's growing up years (and they were not especially pretty) right through many...well we could call them tragedies but I won't. I'll call them for lack of a better term, learning experiences -because that is what Nora treats them as. 

This book is written with younger characters, and most likely a younger audience in mind. However, the characters are also written with a thought to maturity that keeps a reader like me very intrigued and interested.

This book has tragedy, mystery redemption and love going for it. There seems to be something for everyone in here. Sometimes Nora can seem to be a 'goody-two-shoes' type, but she really isn't she is just hasn't let the New England stolidness over-ride her sense of hope and her efforts to make things better and to help people.

*ARC supplied by the publisher.

Monday, February 19, 2018

This Fallen Prey (Casey Duncan, #3) by Kelley Armstrong

This Fallen Prey (Casey Duncan, #3)

When Casey Duncan first arrived at Rockton, the off-the-grid, isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect. There are no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. She certainly didn't expect to become the town homicide detective. But, the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned. And she never thought that she'd have to be responsible for him. 
The longer Oliver Brady stays in town, the more people seem to die around him. When evidence begins piling up that someone inside Rockton is working as his accomplice, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he's truly responsible for committing.

Another excellent addition to the Casey Duncan series.

This book was sometimes a frustrating read -unfortunately I can not tell you why it was frustrating because it would give too much of the plot away. 

If you have read the first two books then you know the basics behind this one -Casey has left behind all she knew as a cop and come to this "town" with a friend who is running.  This compound (an off the grid hidden place -and I mean REALLY off the grid)  if for people who need to disappear; both criminal and the innocent.

In this book, the town is forced into taking someone who is being accused of multiple murders.  His step-father is paying to have him 'incarcerated' here instead of put to the death penalty.

Let's just say that things don't go smoothly; but did we really expect them to?

Action, kick a$$ing, searches galore, a loss of some residents and a ton of shooting of both the innocent (  someone we liked) and the evil.  Unfortunately this book kind of ends on what I would consider a cliffhanger. We are never really sure what happens to one of the 'bad-guys...unless there is going to be a follow-up.

The town does gain a new resident though - and if you have read the first two books you are going to either applaud or groan with who it is!

*ARC supplied by the publisher.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Stand -Stephen King (complete and uncut version)

The Stand

"This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man."

This is my favorite Stephen King book fo all time, so why am I not giving it a rating you may ask. Well, it's not because of the writing (although it was a little heavier on the God VS Satan than I usually can take) -it is because of this edition!

This was an updated edition with extra pages -but what you may not know is that they tried to update the dates in the book too. The book was written in 1978:
The novel was originally published in 1978 in hardcover, with a setting date of 1980. The first paperback release in 1980 changed the setting date to 1985. The book was later re-released in 1990 as The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition; King restored some text originally cut for brevity, added and revised sections, changed the setting of the story to 1990, and updated a few pop culture references accordingly. The novel marks the first appearance of Randall Flagg, King's recurring antagonist, whom King would bring back many times in his later writings. ...

The updating most certainly did NOT work (who in the 90's would still reference 'shag carpeting'?) and it kept pulling me from the story. Luckily I never did get rid of my adored original copy.

If you can get your hands on a used copy, grab it. If you have no problems with heavy religious philosophizing -grab it.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

The Golden House

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
A modern American epic set against the panorama of contemporary politics and culture—a hurtling, page-turning mystery that is equal parts The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the VanitiesOn the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons: agoraphobic, alcoholic Petya, a brilliant recluse with a tortured mind; Apu, the flamboyant artist, sexually and spiritually omnivorous, famous on twenty blocks; and D, at twenty-two the baby of the family, harboring an explosive secret even from himself. There is no mother, no wife; at least not until Vasilisa, a sleek Russian expat, snags the septuagenarian Nero, becoming the queen to his king—a queen in want of an heir.
Our guide to the Goldens’ world is their neighbor RenĂ©, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he ingratiates himself into their household. Seduced by their mystique, he is inevitably implicated in their quarrels, their infidelities, and, indeed, their crimes. Meanwhile, like a bad joke, a certain comic-book villain embarks upon a crass presidential run that turns New York upside-down.
Set against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and politics, The Golden House also marks Salman Rushdie’s triumphant and exciting return to realism. The result is a modern epic of love and terrorism, loss and reinvention—a powerful, timely story told with the daring and panache that make Salman Rushdie a force of light in our dark new age.

I have always wanted to try a book written by Mr. Rushdie ad I’m not sorry I tried this book…tried being the operative word!  Apparently, I just don’t have the brains to become engaged with this sort of complex novel.  I didn’t care for the political views of Mr. Rushdie but realize that this gives me another view of the world.

This was a beautifully written book, with deeply complex characters that just didn’t capture my attention -I think I will be giving Mr. Rushdie a pass from now on.  Apparently, I just can’t appreciate books like this – OR he just can’t write for the masses! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…
Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.
As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke

So this is supposed to be the final entry into this -a trilogy? I don't believe it. Yes we did manage to find out who the bad guy (CEASARE? too lazy to get up and see if this is the correct spelling, sorry!) is -but Nevada and Conner didn't. And wouldn't they be surprised to find out? Are we just supposed to sit here and pretend the Texas magical community is safe? We are not supposed to read about Nevada's and Conner's wedding all while they hunt and kill the bad guys???

Oh well -the fact is there was a lot crammed into this book and I loved every minute of it. I adore Cornelius and his daughter, the new tiger/dog, finding out what exactly Arabella and Catalina can do. And my I say wow! Leon? Nevada's father-yikes! And, well, her Grandmother (you know, the OTHER one!)

There is just too much in this series, and particularly this book that I love that I can't list them all here. 

This was a wonderfully complex read, sometimes difficult to keep all of the character's straight but well worth the effort. I love how everyone grew and took responsibility for themselves and what they can do. I really love how Conner is somewhat tamed by the love of a good woman (cliched, I know, but perfect for this type of character and what he has gone through). 

This is a trilogy that I have been reading often and is now going to be shelved on my 
'comfort read' shelf.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan MalleryA wonderful story full of romance, forgiveness and the unavoidable ties that bind, SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS is Susan Mallery at her very best.
Kelly Murphy's life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing's prodigal son, who's set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone.
But Olivia's return isn't as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She's determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family…whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now.
While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?
Told with Mallery's trademark heart and humor, the Tulip Sisters are in for the most colorful summer of their lives…

 "I'm not even 25% into this book and I already want to throw it though the wall. All the characters have on their minds is sex...I don't condemn thinking about sex, but this is ridiculous!!! If it wasn't for the fact that I promised the author and publisher I would read and review this, I wouldn't be using my precious book reading time on this.
It damn well better, get better!"

Okay so I know that I complained...a lot, about the over abundance of sex in this book and not necessarily the active kind -I mean come on how many times a day can your thoughts turn to sex (when you are not a 14 year old boy at least???)? I found that women of this age that put so much time into thinking of sex was a little unrealistic (then again I'm not of this age!) But the book did get better once they got laid.

There was a lot of intrigue, emotional angst and secret keeping - so much so that I wonder if I could ever forgive my friends and/or sister some of these closely guarded secrets?

I did NOT like the fact that we have a story that was at best a trilogy of romance novellas that seemed to be meshed into one book based on several lies and one large project...very little character development is allowed when you are developing so many at one time and in so few pages.

Not a bad book by far, but this author (who used to be a auto read for me) has become a hit-or-miss author and I find that I don't like spending my book money on something that isn't going to be a fairly sure thing.