Saturday, January 28, 2017

Copycat - Kimberla Lawson Roby



Book Description:
Befriending Traci Calloway Cole is the best thing Simone Phillips has ever done. Traci is the kind of woman Simone wants to be-in every way possible. She begins copying her role model. Not because she wants to be Traci. She just wants to be exactly like Traci.
Traci doesn't worry, though. She knows Simone doesn't mean any harm and that her mimicry is only sincere admiration. Until she discovers how far Simone's obsession has gone.
It is then that Simone's entire world begins unraveling, and dreadful secrets from her past are exposed with no warning. Secrets that she'll do almost anything to protect.


Review:

I wish I had done some research on this author before I accepted it from the publisher for reviewing.  I would have known then that it most likely wasn't the books for me, but I still would have kept an open mind.  However, since I did agree to review it here goes:

I will not be doing a lot of recapping since you can get the gist of the story by reading the synopsis.  What I will tell you is that the story, while an interesting concept, was filled with unlikable characters and not just the protagonist.  Traci was unlikable to me too and had a very unusual way of looking at the world around her.  The naivete she showed when she ignored Simones copying of her, was just another word for stalking and she should have seen that.    Traci is supposed to be a smart, multi book published author yet she doesn’t know that her friend is turning into her twin sister???  I had to stretch myself a little way too far to give any credulity to this story.

That Simone can get away with putting off her fiancé like that was just another thing that stretch my disbelief.

Further, I am not a fan of fiction especially women’s fiction, that goes as far as this book did to add Christian beliefs, bible verses etc.

This would have been all been a   more believable read had it been for the young adult crowd.

To add to this: the writing was very flat, the characters are one dimensional and there was no growth of the character’s whatsoever.


*ARC supplied by publisher.      

Thursday, January 26, 2017

On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Book Description:
 Kristan Higgins returns with a pitch-perfect look at the affection—and the acrimony—that binds sisters together 


Ainsley O'Leary is so ready to get married—she's even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn't anticipate is for Eric to blindside her with a tactless breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half sister, Kate, who's already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband.  
Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan's death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and sometimes the people who step up aren't the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended-family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one. 

Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.






REVIEW:

Have you ever read a book that you just knew right from the very beginning you would be best of friends with these characters if they were only real? This is how I felt once I was about 25% done with this book.

This book was almost everything I love in a book - it was filled with realistic characters, realistic situations, some happiness (at the end) and a lot of sad...the one thing, and an important thing, it was lacking was humor. Not that there was totally none, but it just wasn't there in big enough doses to make this a 5-star rated book. But this was definitely a 4.5 star book.

I read to escape the realities and traumas of everyday life -this book just left me dazed through most of it. The love of the sisters for each other was plain to see (again, once you have read about 25 to 50% of the book) …but the heart-aches just took a bit too much out of me and out of this book.

I did love how things did take a turn with the sister’s and their feelings and actions towards each other developed.

Getting to the 'happily-ever-after’ was almost too painful to get to and didn't last long enough to satisfy me or to make up for all the other trauma. I am glad that each did find their HEA even if one was a little iffy and not very traditional in the romantic novel sense.

Seeing two such smart women mess up their lives for one worthless man and one that was less than forthcoming, was astounding to me.

What is even odder for me is even with all that said, I could not put this book down -even though it was a painful journey through the sister’s lives, it was fascinating and so well written that I can look beyond my own petty problems with this book and see that the author was trying to tell us - that we as women are so much more than just being a shadow to the men in our lives. We shouldn't forgive lying out of hand, we need to have a spine...and I'm happy to say that each of these women did learn this lesson. It was a difficult and rocky path, but they learned.

Most of Ms Higgins other novels may have the sadness, frustrations, and problems of everyday life that this one had, but they also usually include a good dose of humor. Yes, the humor is mostly the self-depreciating kind, but it is humor nonetheless. You need to really look closely to see the humor interspersed with the pain in this book.

It really was a satisfying read for me, even with the issues I had with it.

*ARC supplied by publisher

Fatal by John Lescroart

Fatal

Book Description:
From New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart, a riveting standalone novel about the unexpected, shattering, and lethal consequences of a one-night stand on a seemingly happily married couple.Kate loves her life. At forty-four, she’s happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything changes, however, when she and Ron attend a dinner party and meet another couple, Peter and Jill. Kate and Peter only exchange a few pleasant words but that night, in bed with her husband, Kate is suddenly overcome with a burning desire for Peter.
What begins as an innocent crush soon develops into a dangerous obsession and Kate’s fixation on Peter results in one intense, passionate encounter between the two. Confident that her life can now go back to normal, Kate never considers that Peter may not be so willing to move on.
Not long after their affair, a masked man barges into the café Kate is sitting in with her best friend, firing an assault weapon indiscriminately into the crowd. This tragedy is the first in a series of horrifying events that will show Kate just how grave the consequences of one mistake can be.
An explosive story of infidelity, danger, and moral ambiguity, John Lescroart’s latest thriller will excite and satisfy both his current and new fans.

REVIEW: It was difficult for me to   like this book since it showed us the worst in the human animal, but I did end up reading the entire book.   I do admit to skipping and skimming parts since there had been so much redundancy. 

I don’t know if it was the authors intention to write the characters as flat, unlikable, bleak and uninteresting as he did or to fill the gaps of the story with so much trivia and description about San Francisco, but this for me did not a good read make.

It was an interesting piece for showing that no matter how small our actions are (and this one was a doozy!)  our choices affect so many around us.  The ripple affect I imagine.

Unfortunately, there was less that I liked about this book than what made this a boring read.

The conclusion was not quite the shock to me that I imagine the author wanted it to be.  That does not mean that I figured it out early on -I did not-it is just that by the time I got to the end I just didn’t care.  The characters were just that uninteresting.

The author did add things that, in my mind had been totally unnecessary -why add the part of the terrorist attack and what about the anorexic and Ginny?

It almost felt to me that this book was written in the 70’s and then edited it to bring it up to date and the parts never meshed.


*ARC supplied by publisher

Monday, January 23, 2017

Falling for the Highlander (Highlanders #4)

Falling for the Highlander by Lynsay Sands


Falling for the Highlander (Highlanders #4)

Book Descrition:

Lady Murine Carmichael has known her share of bad luck. But when her debt-ridden half-brother tries to sell her off in exchange for a few Scottish horses, it’s the final straw. If keeping her freedom means escaping through harsh countryside alone, so be it. She has barely begun her journey when she lands an unlikely escort—the brawny Highlander who just refused to buy her virtue.
Dougall Buchanan was disgusted by Lord Danvries’ shameful offer, but Murine herself tempts him beyond measure. Even bedraggled and dusty, the lass glows with beauty and bravery. Dougall wants to do more than just help her flee. He wants to protect her—with his life and his heart—if she’ll only let him. For Murine may be pursued by a powerful foe, but nothing compares to the fiery courage of a Highlander in love


This book was written with Ms Sands usual flair; with great character's, a wonderful mystery, hot romance and comedy.  (I won't soon look at carrots and a loaf of bread in the same way, I'll tell you!!!)  Yes, you have to read the book to find out what I mean by that, I don't want to spoil one of the funniest and most unusual scenes of this type I have ever read!

I liked that we got to revisit some of the character's from past books in this series,  no matter how small a part they played.

Murine finds out that her step-brother is going to use her and her body as a bargaining chip for a pair of horses or auction her off to their cruel neighbor .  Once she realizes that he is never going to stop being a cruel ass-hat she decides to leave on her own (while riding a bull instead of a horse mind you!) and meets up with the Scottish hottie.  He decides to protect her since she is the one who saved his sister Saidh in a previous book.  

But as n all of Lynsay's books...things get a bit complicated and did I say hot?

This was a great read by one of my favorite author's.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Seven Minutes in Heaven (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #3) by Eloisa James

Seven Minutes in Heaven  (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, #3; Desperate Duchesses, #9)


Book Description:

All of Eugenia Snowe’s problems start when Edward Reeve, an arrogant bastard son of an earl, bursts into her registry office. He wants a governess and he wants her. She gives him the governess he demands, but she refuses to give herself.
No question that Eugenia enjoys crossing wits with the brilliant inventor, but she will never tarnish her reputation with an affaire, particularly with a man who doesn’t realize she’s a lady!
She holds her ground…until he kidnaps her.
Ward will stop at nothing to convince Eugenia that they’re meant to be together. He promises her heaven.
She gives him seven minutes.


If you are looking for a historical love story that doesn't feature a virginal miss that needs extreme coaxing, wooing and gentle kisses to drop her proverbial drawers -then you will love this book.

I loved the story line -it reminded a bit of one of Amanda Quick's books - A widow (who is actually a peeress) owns a Governess agency -a wrong side of the blanket gentleman with a step-brother and sister to raise, needs a governess - hilarity (well at least amusement) ensues, several governesses take to the road, heat builds between Ms Snowe (owner) and Mr. Reeve (Gentleman of dubious lineage) and let me tell you the heat is intense when you hit the 50% mark and I loved the allusion's to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Mistakes are made, feeling hurt but of course, all will be well in the end.

I forgot how much I loved most of Ms James writing and after reading this I think I will be re-reading her earlier works and buying some of later books to add to my library!

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Love for Leah (The Amish Matchmaker #4) by Emma Miller

A Love for Leah by Emma  Miller


The Widow's Second Chance 
Widow Leah Yoder married for love once. Now that she's come home to Seven Poplars, she wants a marriage of convenience that will provide a longed-for family without dishonoring the memory of her late husband. A steady, serious older man would be ideal—someone completely unlike handsome, fun-loving Thomas Stutzman. She and the aspiring organic farmer agree to court to prove that this time, the matchmaker has made a mistake! But as their friendship deepens, will Leah settle for what she thought she needed, or put fear aside for a second chance at happiness?




This was another delightful addition to the Amish Matchmaker series. It is filled with all of our usual secondary character's and is written with Ms Milller's usual light touch, a good bit of comedy and enough tragedy to really pluck at your heart-strings.

I have to admit that while reading this book I was torn in two different directions. This book is about a former Amish girl, Leah, that turned Mennonite for her late husband. They went on a mission to the jungle and there she lost her baby and her husband to a fever. She travels home and decides that she would like to re-marry; she wants an older widower with children so she can have a ready made family (and one or two of her own) and not take a chance on losing her heart again.

But destiny steps in when she goes to the local Amish matchmaker who disregards what Leah wants and gives her what she so desperately needs. And that is love with a wonderful man and a second chance at happiness.

I love the well drawn character's, the well thought out plot-lines, the emotional roller coaster that reading this book provided and the warmth I find every time I find myself in Seven Poplars. I can never wait for the next book to come out!

*ARC supplied by publisher
.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown

Product Details

"New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown returns with a heartbreakingly hilarious novel about three women who had nothing in common, except their husband.Leaving one widow behind is unfortunate. Leaving three widows behind is just plain despicable. Oil heiress Kate Steele knew her not-so-dearly departed husband was a con man, but she’s shocked that Conrad racked up two more wives without divorcing her first. The only remnant of their miserable marriage she plans to keep is their lakeside cabin in Bootleg, Texas. Unfortunately, she’s not the only woman with that idea.
Fiery, strong-willed Jamie wishes Conrad were still alive—so she could kill the scoundrel herself. But for their daughter’s sake, she needs that property. As does Amanda—twenty-eight, pregnant, and still weeping over the loss of her true love. On a broiling July day, all three arrive in Bootleg…with a dogged detective right behind who’s convinced that at least one of them conspired to commit murder. One momentous summer filled with revelations, quirky neighbors, and barefoot evenings on the porch offers three women the chance to make the journey from enemies to friends, and claim a bright, new beginning. " 



I would have to give this book 3 1/2 stars if I want  to be brutally honest. I liked this book, but I was just not amazed by it.

Ms Brown writes,  as usual, with a horribly unlikable protagonist- in this case a dead man who is a polygamist. And adorable (sort of) antagonists -in this case the three wives Conrad left behind.  Each of these wives are as different as night and day and that works to the stories advantage.

Difficulties emerge when the Detective working this murder case starts having feelings for one of the suspects (one of the wives. Yes, all of the wives are initially suspects.)

The reasons I have for not being amazed by this novel is that I felt that Gracie (the child of the middle wife) was just too saccharin sweet, took up to much room in the book that could have been devoted more to the romance/murder aspect and that the conflict among the wives shouldn't have been 'fixed' so quickly.  I started to get a bit annoyed with Kate and her waffling; I could understand it, but the fact that she kept going over the same things over and over again was a little too much.

All of that aside though -this was a read that kept me going until late in the night wanting to see how everything ended.  The character's are well developed, the story was a bit unique and the mystery was, well, mysterious.

This book was written with Ms Brown's usual  mixing the funny and absurd with the serious and she had a good hand with giving each of our wives (Jamie, Kate and Amanda) a unique 'voice' and personality.  Some author's seem to have a bit of a problem with this.

If you are a fan of say, Fannie Flagg, I won't say that Ms Brown rates as highly as that - you will most likely enjoy Ms Brown's books -but she is on her way of being a very notable Southern chick-lit author with a great sense of style!

ARC supplied by publisher.